South Korean spy agency explored technology to hack chat app

first_img New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Kakao Talk is a free mobile chatting app that is used by 38 million people at least once a month in South Korea. Kane Lee, a spokesman for Daum Kakao Corp. which operates Kakao Talk, said the company’s servers have never been breached. However, Lee said there are hacking tools that could infiltrate mobile devices without going through the servers.The story emerged earlier this month when a searchable library of a massive email trove stolen from Hacking Team, released by WikiLeaks, showed South Korean entities were among those dealing with the Italian surveillance firm.Two previous NIS directors, who successively headed the spy service from 1999 and 2003, were convicted and received suspended prison terms for overseeing the monitoring of mobile phone conversations of about 1,800 of South Korea’s political, corporate and media elite.Earlier this year, another former NIS chief was sentenced to three years in prison after being found guilty of ordering an illicit online campaign to support then-ruling party candidate and current President Park Geun-hye ahead of the 2012 presidential election.The spy service has previously countered that its agents were only trying to cope with North Korean cyberwarfare by posting comments meant to counter messages that praised the North and spread groundless rumors about South Korean government policies. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall How do cataracts affect your vision? ___Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim and Youkyung Lee contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.center_img Top Stories National Intelligence Service chief Lee Byoung Ho told legislators in a closed-door briefing that the agency bought hacking programs from an Italian company, Hacking Team, in 2012 that were designed to intercept information from cellphones and computers, according to details released to reporters by the office of lawmaker Shin Kyung-min, who attended the meeting.Lee didn’t indicate whether the agency obtained the technology for hacking Kakao, but he acknowledged that it asked Hacking Team about getting such technology, according to Shin’s office.The spy agency didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.Lee said the hacking programs bought from Hacking Team would be ineffective for spying on civilians because the NIS only received enough to monitor 20 different devices at once. He said the programs have been used mainly for research as the country looks to strengthen its cyberwarfare capabilities against North Korea, which Seoul blames for repeatedly attacking Internet networks and stealing information from computers, Shin’s office said.Lee also told lawmakers that the programs the NIS purchased from Hacking Team were used by 97 intelligence and investigation agencies in 35 countries around the world. Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s beleaguered spy agency has acknowledged exploring the purchase of technologies to intercept communications on the popular Kakao Talk smartphone chatting service, but maintains it only intended to strengthen its monitoring of rival North Korean agents, not South Koreans, lawmakers said Tuesday.The revelation is sensitive because the country’s spy agency has a history of illegally tapping South Koreans’ phone conversations. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

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Mantra Group set for Outrigger acquisition in Queensland

first_imgMantra Group set for Outrigger acquisition in QueenslandMantra Group is set to take over management of four Outrigger Resorts in Queensland next month, increasing its network to 52 hotels and over 8,000 rooms and securing its place as the largest accommodation provider in the Sunshine State.The four resorts are based in popular tourism destinations and will rebrand on 1 July 2015 as Peppers and Mantra hotels as follows:Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa, Noosa – to rebrand as Peppers Noosa Resort & VillasOutrigger Surfers Paradise – to be rebranded Mantra on View Hotel Surfers ParadiseOutrigger Twin Towns Resort – to be rebranded Mantra Twin TownsBoathouse Apartments by Outrigger – to be rebranded Boathouse Apartments Airlie BeachMantra Group CEO, Bob East, said: “The Outrigger Acquisition is a natural fit for Mantra Group, extending the Group’s footprint in key leisure destinations.  The properties are complementary to our existing portfolio and we look forward to working with the owners, guests and team members to make the transition as smooth as possible” The Mantra GroupSource = Mantra Grouplast_img read more

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Falling Leaves and Further Inventory

first_imgTo see the full report, including regional data, click here. September 26, 2017 693 Views Starter Home 2017-09-26 Brianna Gilpin Share Falling Leaves and Further Inventory Though many believe spring is the optimum time for home buying, a report by Trulia said starter-home buyers should think again.According to the report, starter home inventory increases by approximately 7 percent in the fall months compared to the spring, which leads to listing prices that are about 4.8 percent to 3.1 percent lower in the winter and spring than in the summer, respectively.Trulia found that 70 of the largest 100 metros experienced peak annual starter home inventory between October and December, based on their Inventory and Price Watch data from 2012 to 2017. It also found that listing prices of starter homes dip between January and March annually as a result of the spike in inventory that happens at the end of each year.“Nationally, the number of starter and trade-up homes on the market has decreased substantially, falling 20.4 percent and 12.5 percent respectively, during the past year, while inventory of premium homes has fallen just 2.3 percent,” Trulia reported.The share of starter homes dropped to 20.5 percent from 23 percent year-over-year and homebuyers will have to spend 2.3 percent more of their income in 2017 than they did in 2016.Trulia reported that inventory is at the lowest it has recorded since they began keeping track in 2012, but starter homebuyers should be able to find consolation at the end of the year.“That seasonal spike in inventory also tends be followed by lower listing prices at the beginning of the year,” Trulia reported. “As a result, fall and winter is prime hunting time for starter homebuyers to think about trying to bag that all elusive starter home, rather than packing it in for the season.” in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, Newslast_img read more

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Nami says comanage gas plans now or freeze pending Cyprus solution threatens

first_imgTurkish Cypriot ‘energy minister’ Ozdil Nami has said that there should be co-management of the island’s natural reserves right now or Greek Cypriot energy plans should be frozen until a Cyprus settlement is reached.In comments to Phileleftheros, published on Sunday, Nami made it clear that Turkey was in a position to block planed drilling in all areas of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and did  not rule that out.Ankara blockaded the path of a drillship belonging to Italy’s ENI in block 3 for two weeks. The Saipem 12000 is now due to leave for Morocco early in the week having failed to reach their drill site.The breakaway regime lays claim through its own ‘exclusive economic zone’ , which in effect says that half of Cyprus’ EEZ belongs to them, including blocks 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 12 and 13.Turkey, which says it is protecting the rights of Turkish Cypriots, also has claims on parts of various blocks in Cyprus’ EEZ saying the areas in question form part of its continental shelf. The claim includes part of blocks 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7, to the south and southwest of the island.Block 10, awarded to US giants ExxonMobil, which is due to drill in the coming months is not contested by Turkey.However Nami when asked about block 10 reportedly said: “Turkish Cypriots have rights to all blocks. The natural resources of Cyprus belong to all Cypriots. Both sides therefore need to be involved in a mechanism that ensures that they have a say and will benefit from these natural resources. The fact that we did not take any action on block 10 does not mean that we will not take action in the future. ”But it can all be avoided, he added, if Greek Cypriots accept co-management of the gas, or freeze plans until a Cyprus solution, even suggesting a formula for this be drawn up as a prerequisite for resuming the settlement talks. He also said he believes this could prove to be a vehicle that could lead to a solution of the Cyprus issue.If there is no possibility of such an interim energy agreement, Nami said Turkey could intervene and prevent drilling in block 10 as well. “It could happen. It depends on the situation at the given time. There should be a dialogue with the Turkish Cypriot side on hydrocarbon issues in order to resume talks on the Cyprus issue within a defined timetable. Dialogue, or the freezing of drilling activities to avoid the poisoning of the talks climate”.Asked whether when referring to a dialogue with Turkish Cypriots did he mean co-management of any hydrocarbon reserves, Nami said: “Yes, from A to Z,  take joint decisions on who is active in the EEZ, when and how. We have to reproduce what would take place in a federal Cyprus. And we have to do it today. If we insist on taking advantage of natural resources before a solution to the Cyprus problem, then we will have to apply from now on what would happen in the context of a solution. If one tries to use the hydrocarbons as a pressure lever to the other side, then this will certainly be a source of tension. Why should the Turkish Cypriot side allow the Greek Cypriots to use such a pressure lever?”You May LikeSolar SolutionsCalifornia – New Program Giving Solar Panels to Homeowners With Electricity Bills Over $100/mthSolar SolutionsUndoLCR HealthTop Doctor Warns Against Abdominal “Deep” Fat (And How To Get Rid Of It)LCR HealthUndoVehicleBuff ReviewWhat 5 Car Wax Sealants Were Voted Best of 2019?VehicleBuff ReviewUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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Rep Bizon hosts indistrict coffee hours for local residents

first_img Categories: Bizon News 17Jun Rep. Bizon hosts in-district coffee hours for local residents Calhoun County residents are invited to join state Rep. John Bizon for June coffee hours this weekend.The coffee hours will take place at the following times and locations:Friday, June 19 at 9 a.m. at Maria’s Garden, 1410 N. Eaton St. in Albion.Saturday, June 20 at 8 a.m. at Ritzee Hamburgers, 1463 Michigan Ave. W. in Battle Creek.“Coffee hours are a great opportunity for me to meet with local residents and discuss their concerns and issues regarding local and state issues,” said Rep. Bizon, R-Battle Creek. “Their feedback is an important resource to help me better represent their needs in Lansing.”Residents who are unable to attend coffee hours can contact Rep. Bizon at (517) 373-0555, DrJohnBizon@house.mi.gov or RepJohnBizon.com.###last_img read more

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Rep Bizon Step up to support heart health for women

first_img Categories: Bizon News,News ### State Rep. Dr. John Bizon of Battle Creek encouraged support today for efforts aimed at improving heart health, particularly among women.The first step? Wear red on Friday – National Wear Red Day – to show support for research related to cardiovascular health. Bizon co-sponsored a resolution approved by the Michigan House to declare Feb. 3 Go Red for Women Day in support of the American Heart Association effort.The resolution also declares February as Heart Month in Michigan. Supporters encourage heart-healthy diets and exercise along with donations to support research aimed at reducing cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death for women in the United States.“We’ve got to do more to tackle this critical health issue,” said Bizon, an ear, nose and throat specialist for nearly four decades. “For your wife, your mother, your daughter, your sister, your friends and yourself – get active in this effort.”More information is available at www.goredforwomen.org.center_img 02Feb Rep. Bizon: Step up to support heart health for womenlast_img read more

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Rep Maturen introducing bill to ensure tax assessment process is fair for

first_img21Mar Rep. Maturen introducing bill to ensure tax assessment process is fair for all Categories: Maturen News,News State Rep. David Maturen of Vicksburg today said he will introduce bipartisan legislation to ensure that the tax assessment process is fair for small businesses and local communities by doing away with a tactic some large retail corporations have used to dramatically reduce the taxes on their properties.“Lawyers hired by big corporations have won assessment disputes by claiming that sales of older, vacant buildings – which often have restrictions on how they can be used – should be considered when determining the value of new, mint-condition stores,” said Maturen, a licensed real estate appraiser. “This theory lacks common sense. It would be like a resident building a new home and expecting it to have the same taxable value as an old, boarded-up house down the street.”Maturen said his legislation will eliminate this loophole, known as the “dark store” theory after the old, vacant structures that big box retail chains have convinced the Michigan Tax Tribunal to use as comparable properties when determining the assessed value of new stores.In some cases, the “dark store” loophole has brought the assessed value for the entire property – a brand new building and the land on which it was built – to less than the cost of the land alone.Maturen said his legislation will improve the approach used by the Michigan Tax Tribunal when it considers an assessment dispute. It will require the Michigan Tax Tribunal to complete a highest and best use analysis of the property in question, as well as the properties being used as comparables.“Members of the tax tribunal should be required to consider the three universally accepted appraisal principles – cost, income and sales comparison – when they’re making an assessment determination,” Maturen said. “This will ensure the tax assessment process is fair for all parties involved.”Maturen’s new bill is a reintroduction of his HB 5578 of 2016, which passed the House in June 2016 but did not make it to the governor’s desk.###The bill is expected to be designated as House Bill 4397.last_img read more

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Rep Howrylak supports legislation enacting local government retiree task force recommendations

first_img Categories: Howrylak News,News 07Dec Rep. Howrylak supports legislation enacting local government retiree task force recommendations The House this week – with bipartisan support – approved pension and retiree healthcare liability reforms designed to ensure the promises made to local government employees and the fiscal stability of Michigan communities.The reforms are based on policy recommendations contained in Governor Rick Snyder’s Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government Task Force report.“The initial legislative package that was introduced in the House went far beyond the scope of what the task force recommended,” said state Representative Martin Howrylak. “I opposed the package as introduced because I believe local governments should have the flexibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of their communities. As such, I was pleased to work with my colleagues to advocate for legislation that better reflected the task force’s suggestions.”Michigan communities have roughly $7.46 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and $10.13 billion in unfunded health care liabilities.  In response to this growing problem, Governor Snyder developed a task force comprised of policymakers, employee representatives, pension managers and insurance and accounting professionals committed to develop policy solutions to address this complex issue.The task force’s report acknowledged greater transparency and accountability is needed and agreed that a stress-test system should be developed to measure the community’s ability to fulfill promises made to employees while maintaining vital community services. In addition, the task force advocated for a Municipal Stability Board to provide technical assistance to local governments in reviewing their finances and developing corrective action plans.In light of the concerns expressed by members of the House, the bills in this package were rewritten to follow the task force’s policy recommendations. If this new package is signed into law, all local governments would be required to report pension and retiree health care liabilities to the Department of Treasury. Treasury officials would be responsible for flagging local units that are not funding their pension liability at 60 percent or failing to fund their other post-employment benefit (OPEB) liability at 40 percent. If further action is needed, a local unit would be required to submit a corrective plan of action to a Municipal Stability Board. This body would be composed of a state official, a local government representative, and a local employee representative appointed by the governor.A local government flagged for underfunding would be required to keep submitting plans of action to the Municipal Stability Board until the board signs off on a plan that will address the municipality’s underfunded pension and/or OPEB liability.As a result of the changes made to the bill package, the legislation was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support Dec. 7.“I supported the final product that followed the task force’s recommendations because I believe this legislation will provide flexibility and valuable resources to help local governments achieve fiscal stability,” said Rep. Howrylak.The Senate passed similar legislation on Dec. 7. In order for the reforms to become law, the Senate and the House must pass the same bills.For more information regarding the Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government Task Force visit the following webpage:https://www.michigan.gov/documents/snyder/R3_Task_Force_Report_579101_7.pdf.###Note: The House legislation: House Bills 5298, 5300, 5301, 5303, 5304, 5305, 5306, 5307, 5308, 5309, 5310 and 5013.last_img read more

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

first_img17May May is Mental Health Awareness Month Categories: Noble News A column by state Rep. Jeff NobleTens of thousands of Michigan residents who live with mental and behavioral health illnesses struggle to get the care they need.In any given year, around 336,000 adults in Michigan are documented having a serious mental illness and 84,000 adolescents experience a major depressive episode, with only 44 percent of all individuals receiving some form of treatment.As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on the work the legislature is doing to combat flaws in Michigan’s mental health care system.As a member of the House Health Policy Committee, I’ve seen firsthand the need for increased mental health awareness in our state. I was proud to personally sponsor legislation to combat the growing shortage of mental health care professionals in Michigan by growing our state’s talent pool in our psychiatric facilities.We’re doing so by allowing employment of qualified professionals who were previously convicted of certain minor felonies or misdemeanors. Individuals convicted of serious crimes will still be excluded from consideration, however, because safety is our number one concern. In fact, I introduced another bill requiring the permanent revocation of medical licenses for anyone convicted of sexual assault under the pretext of medical treatment.In regards to those with minor infractions, however, I believe it’s time to make use of the many talented and educated people who are currently being overlooked because of past mistakes unrelated to their ability to care for patients.But my bill is just one of the many efforts being made to better mental health care in Michigan, thanks to the work of the House bipartisan mental health C.A.R.E.S. Task Force, named for its commitment to community, access, resources, education and safety.As a result of the report published by the task force, House lawmakers have introduced numerous pieces of legislation to improve mental health care in our state. The measures address treatment and prevention in Michigan’s jails and judicial system, train individuals to recognize a mental health crisis, expand opportunities for people in need to be connected with care, fill the shortage of mental health providers, deliver care early to adolescents, ensure veterans are connected with services, combat the opioid epidemic and more.Though I am proud of what we’ve accomplished thus far, there’s still more to be done. We continue to work to eliminate the stigma attached to mental illness and do all we can to improve access to care for those in need.last_img read more

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Wentworth announces assignments for House Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates

first_imgVice-Chair Rep. Daire Rendon, of Lake CityMinority Vice-Chair Rep. Donna Lasinski, of Scio TownshipLynn Afendoulis, of Grand Rapids TownshipKyra Bolden, of SouthfieldBen Frederick, of OwossoBeau LaFave, of Iron MountainTerry Sabo, of MuskegonKaren Whitsett, of Detroit 16Jan Wentworth announces assignments for House Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates “Michigan drivers are demanding more affordable car insurance rates, and it’s well past time we deliver them,” said Wentworth, of Clare. “I’m confident this group of legislators – with representation from Detroit all the way to Menominee – will develop a meaningful fix that unquestionably brings real rate relief for all Michiganders. Let’s get to work and get it done.”The House Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates will be one of a select few panels with the authority to report legislation to the House floor for consideration. Categories: Wentworth News State Rep. Jason Wentworth today announced the lawmakers who will be on his team for the newly announced House Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates. Wentworth was tapped by Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield to chair the committee earlier this week.The temporary committee is specifically tasked with crafting genuine reforms to the state’s controversial no-fault insurance system, which forces Michigan drivers to pay the highest car insurance rates in the nation.The bipartisan committee will include the following legislators:last_img read more

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Rep Wakeman Website gives Michigan drivers a say in lowering car insurance

first_img New legislative site to provide public interaction, latest news on reform 22Feb Rep. Wakeman: Website gives Michigan drivers a say in lowering car insurance costs Categories: Wakeman Newscenter_img State Rep. Rodney Wakeman, together with House colleagues, this week announced the creation of a special website to keep people informed about the House Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates while giving Michigan drivers a chance to have their voices heard.The website, www.ReduceMiRatesNow.com, allows anyone to easily offer input that could help shape future legislation.“This website gives Michigan drivers a say in the plans – which is what the process of electing officials is all about,” said Wakeman, of Saginaw Township. “The input we receive will be integral in the ultimate effort to lower car insurance costs for the more than seven million drivers across our state.”The website includes a news tab allowing residents to keep up to date with developments and committee meeting schedules. Ideas submitted by Michigan drivers concerning legislation will go directly to the committee, assuring every submission will be considered.“Michigan drivers – the people directly affected by highest-in-the-nation car insurance rates – deserve to have a seat at the table and have their voices heard,” Wakeman said. “I encourage everyone to visit the inclusive site, submit stories and ideas, and be part of a much-needed historic solution.”Wakeman also encourages residents to “like” the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ReduceMiRatesNow/ to follow the latest news regarding the committee.last_img read more

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Suit Filed against Pittsburgh Buffer Zone

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares September 5, 2015; Pittsburgh Post-GazetteNPQ has been covering the ripples from this summer’s Supreme Court decision striking down Boston’s 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics. A number of localities that had buffer zones have voluntarily eliminated them before they were challenged, but now five pro-life activists in Western Pennsylvania have come forward and filed a lawsuit protesting the 15-foot buffer zone Pittsburgh instituted in 2005.Pittsburgh enacted the ordinance in order to prevent individuals from protesting, picketing, or demonstrating within the specified 15-foot distance from the entrance of any hospital or healthcare facility, such as an abortion clinic. The ordinance also mandates that protestors remain eight feet away from individuals walking into clinics—in this lawsuit, a Planned Parenthood.Recently named a top-ranking nonprofit, Planned Parenthood has been a leading health organization providing both men and women of a range of demographics affordable services. However, Planned Parenthood has also consistently been in the news and has received a barrage of conservative backlash because it provides abortions as part of its services.The plaintiffs named in the suit, Nikki Bruni, Julie Cosentino, Cynthia Rinaldi, Kathleen Laslow, and Patrick Malley, have cited several concerns with the use of the protective barrier, most notably the impingement of their freedom of speech.According to the lawsuit, these buffer zones create “anti-speech zones on the entrances to an enormous number of facilities throughout Pittsburgh that provide any health care services.”In the suit, the plaintiffs indicate that it is not that their speech has restricted demonstrating, but rather it prevents them from speaking and conversing with women entering the health facility. According to the lawsuit, the five plaintiffs regularly stand outside the Planned Parenthood on Liberty Ave in downtown Pittsburgh and try to peacefully discuss options other than abortion with individuals walking into the clinic.“It’s not a matter of demonstrating as much as communicating,” said the plaintiffs’ attorney, Lawrence G. Paladin, Jr. “That is the desire—to be able to speak to people.”The suit indicates, “Plaintiffs seek to have quiet conversations and offer assistance and information to abortion-minded women by providing them pamphlets describing local pregnancy resources, praying and to peacefully express this message of caring support to those entering, and existing the clinic.”The crucial difference between the Massachusetts’ buffer zone case and this current lawsuit against Pittsburgh is the actual distance of the buffer zone. While buffer zones in Massachusetts were required to be 35 feet away from a health facility, Pittsburgh’s zones are less than half that length, with a 15-foot radius. In McCullen’s case, lawyers argued the 35-foot distance prevented such counseling from taking place. Evidently, the lawsuit against the City of Pittsburgh is taking a similar route. Whether a 15-foot radius would practically prohibit counseling and speaking directly with individuals may also be a crucial factor in the decision.—Shafaq HasanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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Funding the Ferguson Commission to Do Something

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares November 18, 2014; St. Louis Post-DispatchThere was one dissenting vote in the decision of the Missouri Development Finance Board to authorize a grant of $100,000 for the so-called “Ferguson Commission,” whose members were sworn in earlier this week by Governor Jay Nixon. Noting that other studies have been done in the past, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder indicated that he expects the report of the Ferguson Commission to “gather dust on lots of shelves…[and not] be an important part of the solution to Ferguson.” Where will the remaining funding for the commission come from? Given the Republican victories in the elections, giving the GOP control of both houses of the state legislature to face off against a lame-duck Democratic governor, it would appear that philanthropic contributions will be needed and sought.The MDFB made its grant from its cash reserves, but the money will be administered by the United Way of Greater St. Louis. The grant will pay for “operating costs, research and other related expenses,” according to a letter from Mike Downing, the director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, to Marie Carmichael, the chair of the MDFB. However, Downing indicated to Carmichael that the total costs of the commission could be as much as $1 million.In an editorial, the Post-Dispatch described Kinder’s “no” vote as a mistake. It called on the commission to examine why other commission reports have ended up as dust-collectors. However, the editorial also advised the public not to “expect miracles” from the Ferguson Commission:“St. Louis has long pushed questions of racial inequities under the rug. Patterns of housing segregation that developed over decades won’t be reversed overnight. Inequities in school funding, and gross inequities in student outcome, do not lend themselves to short-term fixes. All too often, student achievement is tied closely to poverty rates, and job opportunities are a function of educational attainment. No group of 16 individuals, no matter how diverse and talented nor how well staffed and funded, can fix that in 10 months.”It isn’t clear whether Kinder is correct or incorrect in his across-the-board critique of commission reports. For example, a state commission on tax credits recommended that many Missouri tax credits should be eliminated, and apparently some have been nixed by the state legislature, though efforts to reinstate some have been undertaken at various time, including expanded tax credits for anti-abortion pregnancy counseling centers. Instead of comprehensive tax credit reform as the commission recommended, the changes appear to have been piecemeal, with some credits modified and capped, but others simply extended, and even new ones introduced.To answer Kinder’s critique, Nixon’s commission is going to have to get a more precise charge than it currently has, else it will be issuing a report that comments on but does little to address a broad range of mega-issues that are outside of the ability of metropolitan St. Louis or the state of Missouri to address on their own. But in addition, complementing the commission’s review, there has to be ongoing and stepped-up community organizing and policy advocacy toward building a political dynamic for action. If there is good to come out of the commission, it will have to be translated into gubernatorial policy and legislative action. While the report might generate useful ameliorative ideas, the basis for turning ideas into action depends on political mobilization. The commission’s work shouldn’t substitute for, but rather build on the legitimate protests of activists in Ferguson and elsewhere demanding that the circumstances that led to Michael Brown’s death be corrected.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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NIMBY in North Carolina A Church Objects to Siting of Homeless Shelter

first_imgShare13TweetShare1Email14 SharesDecember 8, 2015; WRAL-TV (Raleigh, NC)In any community, it is critical to ensure that the siting of a facility is done with as much sensitivity to the community as possible. In this particular case, WRAL-TV, serving the Raleigh-Durham area in North Carolina, reports that an AME church serving the local African American community in Fayetteville is protesting the siting of a homeless shelter in a lot adjacent to their church. In essence, the implication is that the facility has been “dumped” there.The city council recently voted to allow Operation Inasmuch, which has been providing meals for hundreds of homeless people over the past eight years, to build a 40-bed overnight shelter next to a primarily African-American church.The pastor said the nonprofit had garnered the support of two predominantly white churches in downtown Fayetteville, which were concerned about homeless people on their properties, before getting the city council to approve a building in the predominantly black church’s majority minority neighborhood.“They wanted them out of there, and so, therefore, [they] feel that it’s all right that [they] bring them to our neighborhood,” he said. St. Luke AME Church’s pastor called the vote “for the shelter a vote against his congregation.” He told the TV station that a tent city nearby, along with a growing homeless population in the neighborhood has forced the church to hire off-duty police officers.The church itself says it provides thousands of meals to the sick, shut-ins, senior citizens and children, prompting the nonprofit’s leadership to say that the “organization and the church should be on the same side of helping those in need.”“They didn’t lose, we didn’t win. Who won was the homeless,” Operation Inasmuch’s director told WRAL, pointing out that the vacant lot where the shelter will go has been the scene of drug dealing and prostitution.Operation Inasmuch insisted that the shelter would be safe. St. Luke’s pastor is considering legal action to stop the shelter from opening—and if that fails, a fence.—Larry KaplanShare13TweetShare1Email14 Shareslast_img read more

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NY Land Trusts Get 18 Million in Grants in Celebration of Earth

first_imgShare29TweetShareEmail29 SharesApril 20, 2016; NewYorkUpstate.comIn celebration of Earth Week, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced that $1.8 million in grant funding would be distributed across 55 nonprofit land trusts during the upcoming fiscal year. This historic level of funding will help to support programs that protect farmland and other natural resources as well supporting urban initiatives such as community gardens. In addition, grants were given to organizations that have committed to the Land Trust Alliance’s goal of having 40 nationally accredited land trusts in New York by the year 2020.This $1.8 million in grant funding from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund will continue to have a positive economic impact on the state of New York, as it will allow organizations to leverage an estimated additional $2.25 million from other funding sources. Leveraging one source of funding to secure others is a common and often successful strategy in many nonprofits. Talking to other potential funders with support already in hand shows there is confidence in a program or service, and also increases the number of stakeholders around a given cause.State senators praised the investments as a “win” for each community in which the organizations are based. These grants have a positive impact on the local economy as well as on the environment. It is estimated that each dollar invested through the various grants generates $7 in tourism and improved public health. Jobs are created or sustained to deliver the outcomes of the grant. This is in addition to other economic benefits of increased property values and supporting local businesses.The grants awarded ranged from $80,000 to $2,750. By region, the Finger Lakes area received the largest percentage of the funding, with awards totaling $310,500. Projects supported through the initiative include:$80,000 Professional Development Grant for the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy.$30,000 Capacity Grant for the Finger Lakes Land Trust.$30,000 Capacity Grant for Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo.—Kelley MalcolmShare29TweetShareEmail29 Shareslast_img read more

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Big Sur and Other Environmental Causes under the Trump Administration

first_imgShare24TweetShare3Email27 SharesVentana Wilderness / Steven VerlanderJanuary 2, 2017; Santa Cruz SentinelA recent fire and the national election are testing the limits of the Santa Cruz-based Ventana Wilderness Alliance. The nonprofit has been fighting hard to protect and preserve the Big Sur Wilderness for almost 20 years. They’re fighting even harder now.The Soberanes Fire burned 200 square miles of Big Sur last summer. The Alliance’s executive director, Mike Splain, says although the fire was destructive, President-elect Trump’s land-use policies could add fuel to the fire when it comes to conservation. Trump’s pick for Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, received an extremely low lifetime score of three percent regarding his environmental record from the League of Conservation Voters.Just as Planned Parenthood and other progressive nonprofits experienced upticks in fundraising soon after the election in anticipation of decreased government funding, the Alliance has also seen a bump in fundraising, which Splain calls the “Trump Effect.” Basically, many Americans are stepping up to help the nonprofits they perceive as possibly being negatively affected (i.e., getting funded less) by the incoming administration. NPQ reported on the post-election trend of “rage donating” that buoyed many nonprofit organizations.Splain says nonprofits like his “pick up the slack” during financially lean times when the government either slows increases of reduces funding. For example, the U.S. Forest Service’s budget to maintain trails, provide education on the outdoors, etc. has been drastically cut over the years. Instead, much of their current budget is devoted to fighting fires.That brings us back to the Soberanes Fire—it might have been prevented or lessened with proper visitor, recreation, and land management, which all incur ongoing (operational) costs. At $236 million, the Soberanes Fire is being called the most expensive wildfire in U.S. history. If more money was devoted up front to paying more staff and providing more ongoing maintenance, it may have been a more cost-effective route (and less ecologically damaging), contends Splain.Add the fact that 2016 was the hottest year on record, with California in what seems to be a never-ending drought, and what results could be a recipe for conservation disaster in the future. Nonprofits like Ventana Wilderness Alliance, however, continue to work hard and fight every day to preserve and restore what they can.—Angie WierzbickiShare24TweetShare3Email27 Shareslast_img read more

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Neotion has launched an HbbTV tablet service that

first_imgNeotion has launched an HbbTV tablet service, that will include a catalogue of apps supported by Neotion’s  BlueBridge platform.The app is designed to let viewers navigate Hbb TV content on a tablet or smartphone whilst in front of their main TV screen, with the viewer able to connect to the TV apps via WiFi.“The Hbb Tablet service is aimed at owners of TV screens which are connected and Hbb compatible who would like to have an individual navigation and control using their tablet,” said Neotion.It said the launch comes as the Hbb TV standard is being deployed in Europe and beyond, with more TV manufacturers producing screens with an integrated Hbb browser and internet connection and more TV channels launching more TV apps related to their programmes.last_img

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TV sales in Germany are likely to fall below expec

first_imgTV sales in Germany are likely to fall below expectations this year, ending 18% down on the 2012 figure at 7.7 million units, according to consumer electronics trade associations GFU.Revenue from TV sales is also likely to be down by 17% at €4.8 billion, according to the the GFU.However, sales of smart TVs account for a growing share of the market, with 73% of new TVs sold now internet connectable.The GFU expects the overall consumer electronics market to turn in sales of €9 billion in the last quarter, up 4% on the previous year, with tablet devices performing strongly.last_img

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Netflix UK in the UK and Ireland has acquired Home

first_imgNetflix UK in the UK and Ireland has acquired Homeland and American Horror Story from Fox, extending an existing programming agreement between the pair.The deal with the Hollywood studio’s TV sales arm, Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, give Netflix two seasons of espionage drama Homeland and also the first two runs of horror anthology series American Horror Story.Homeland is on premium cable net Showtime in the US and American Horror Story on FX.The content deal builds on the existing agreement between Netflix UK and Fox. The streaming service already carries Fox-distributed series including Sons of Anarchy, Arrested Development and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix said, “These global smash series are two of the most talked about shows in entertainment, and we think that our members are going to love these latest additions.”Separately, Netflix has picked up exclusive rights to cop series The 100 for its Canadian service. It acquired the series from Warner Bros. International Television. In the US it airs on broadcast network The CW and new episodes will launch in Canada within 24 hours of the US TX.last_img read more

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RTL Netherlands is close to launching its joint su

first_imgRTL Netherlands is close to launching its joint subscription catch-up service with Dutch public broadcasting organisation the NPO and commercial broadcaster SBS, according to RTL executive Jan Paul Dekker.Speaking at TV Connect, Dekker, who is in charge of non-linear products for RTL Netherlands, said that the NLziet service, which was announced last year with a proposed launch date of early 2014, will “aunch pretty soon” and offer a year’s worth of ad-free catch-up content for an access fee. The initiative, with will let viewers log-on to watch shows up to 365 days after their original broadcast, is one of a number of digital projects that RTL Netherlands is working on.Last year, the firm bought Dutch VoD service Videoland in a bid to move into subscription VoD and fend off competition from the likes of Netflix, which is now also live in the Dutch market. However, Dekker said Videoland is “more like Amazon Prime” than Netflix, as premium movies are available to watch on a PPV basis, whereas on Netflix many recent titles are unavailable on the platform.On top of this, RTL has its own RTL XL catch-up platform, which Dekker says it is trying to use now to connect second screen and linear TV experiences.“We put watermarking in our signals so you can sync the videos that that you are watching. We want to use it as a catch-up, but also as a TV companion,” said Dekker. “This will definitely bridge the gap from linear to non-linear.”last_img read more

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