Share Economy Faces Weak Q1 but Expected to Improve Economic and Mortgage Finance Commentary Economic Growth Mortgage Bankers Association 2015-05-25 Staff Writer May 25, 2015 446 Views According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Economic and Mortgage Finance commentary for May 2015 written by Joel Kan, associate VP, industry survey and forecasts at MBA, economic growth struggled its way through the first quarter.Kan believes that Q1 was mostly impacted by the stronger US dollar, lower exports, as well as trade and inventory disruptions on the West Coast. On the other hand, low retail sales signified that consumers were not spending much in Q1, and a decline in industrial production could be a sign that businesses are not motivated to increase production and invest.“We still believe that some of these are temporary factors and that domestic growth will pick up in the second quarter, given that the job market remains strong and there has been upward pressure on wage growth,” Kan said. “Because rates have been low for most of 2015 until recently, we revised our refinance originations estimate upward for both the first and second quarters due to higher than expected MBS issuance data and strong refinance applications in the months of February, March, and April.”In his commentary, Kan mentions that refinances are expected to be $551 billion in 2015, compared to a previously estimated $510 billion. MBA now estimates a total of $1.28 trillion in mortgage originations for 2015, compared to $1.12 trillion in 2014. Purchase originations are expected to increase to $730 billion in 2015 from $638 billion in 2014.“The BEA’s advance estimate of first quarter growth was a paltry 0.2 percent, the slowest quarter of growth since the first quarter of 2014,” Kan said. “We and others are becoming increasingly skeptical that the government’s seasonal adjustment process is fully capturing typical first quarter weakness. This is another reason we are less worried by slower reported growth in Q1.”Although interest rates have been low mostly placing concern on economic growth, the MBA expects rates to increase through the course of the 2015 and the Fed will raise rates in September as the economy and job market grow stronger.“A strong job market leading to sustained wage growth is a factor that drives household formation and that is expected to pick up this year, providing a lift for housing,” Kan said. “We now look to the purchase market to drive the overall housing outlook. Rental vacancies remain low and rents continue to increase, and with home prices still increasing, it is likely that more buyers and sellers will return to the market in the short term.”“However, a differentiated purchase market remains, as higher loan size tiers are growing more rapidly than the lower loan tiers, a sign that entry level and first time buyers still face hurdles,” Kan said. “Even though lower rates have brought additional refinance borrowers into the market and caused us to raise our originations estimates for 2015, refinance activity has been extremely low in recent weeks, as mortgage rates hovered around the 4 percent level.” in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News
NFL Power Rankings: Patriots and Steelers don’t look like AFC favoritesCardinals rank: #18 (▲4)At least Carson Palmer has looked like a capable quarterback the past two weeks. The Cardinals desperately need to get healthy, especially along the offensive line, but they’ll be competitive as long as Palmer throws the ball like he has the past couple weeks. Each week in The Consensus, we’ll give you a look at where national outlets (and we here at ArizonaSports.com) are placing the Cardinals in their league pecking order. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Arizona Sports’ NFL Power Rankings Week 4: Chiefs reign; Cardinals plummetCardinals rank: #23 (▼5) Once elite tackle Jared Veldheer and guard Evan Boehm look utterly lost on the right side of Arizona’s line. — Craig MorganWeek 4 NFL Power Rankings: Let’s talk about your QBCardinals rank: #21 (–) Palmer had his best passing game of the season Monday night, but six sacks were too much to overcome. He’s now 1-9-1 when taking four or more sacks as a Cardinal, and unfortunately for him and Arizona, he’ll be facing defensive linemen such as Fletcher Cox, Gerald McCoy and Aaron Donald in upcoming weeks.NFL Power Rankings, Week 4: Titans hit top five; Steelers plungeCardinals rank: #24 (▼5)Wonderful opening drive, then … wot happened? Randomly came across that phraseology recently while perusing the 1979 Pocket Book of Pro Football. (Yes, I. Am. A. Football. Nerd.) Appropriate for this blurb, though, because the late-’70s Cardinals declined after losing coach Don Coryell and dynamic RB Terry Metcalf (to the CFL), with hopes rested on an aging quarterback. Sound familiar? Carson Palmer might not be Jim Hart, but this could be his final season. Maybe Larry Fitzgerald’s, too. Bruce Arians’, as well? With David Johnson — who’s as dynamic as Terry Metcalf — out of action, is this 2017 version of the Cards on a similarly depressing downswing? The way the Arizona Cardinals started their Monday Night Football contest Week 3 indicated that Bruce Arians’ team might be ready to make a push. They dominated the first half of play in every way but on the scoreboard and were tied with the Cowboys 7-7.Dallas controlled the second half and earned a 28-17 victory that leaves the Cardinals wondering if they can put together a complete game.The loss took its toll on the Cardinals in various NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 4. The MMQB NFL Power Rankings Poll, Week 4: Titans Look Good in the Top 10, Dolphins Take a Hit, and a New No. 32!Cardinals rank: #25 (▼3)No comment. NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand Heading into Week 4?Cardinals rank: #25 (▼2)The Arizona Cardinals had the Dallas Cowboys on the ropes early on Monday night. Here’s a shocker: They found a way to screw it up. This has become an alarming trend for Arizona over the past two years. The Cardinals were up 7-0 and then had a touchdown called back. Then, Phil Dawson missed a field goal. Arizona lost control of the game from there.The Cardinals allowed Ezekiel Elliott to get some momentum. It also let Dak Prescott get out of the pocket, where he made some big plays and beat Justin Bethel and Tyrann Mathieu on 50-50 balls. Still, the defense overall is a good unit.The concern for Arizona is the offense. With no David Johnson, there’s little punch in the run game. That’s a problem for Carson Palmer. It makes the offense one-dimensional, and the offensive line is horrible in pass protection. That line should be embarrassed with how many times five guys were beaten by the three-man rush. Week Three power rankingsCardinals rank: #25 (▼2)This team can’t get to the playoffs if its quarterback keeps taking damage. NFL Power Rankings: The Chiefs are for real, but is anybody else any good?Cardinals rank: #20 (▼3) They are 1-2 and injuries have killed them. They just can’t get anything going on offense with all the problems. 2 Comments Share Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires USA Today Power Rankings – Week 4Cardinals rank: #24 (▲1)Even with passing game and defense rounding into shape, the absence of RB David Johnson continues to haunt this sinking squad. This is an issue that isn’t going to go away for the Cardinals. The defense is good, but the offense is inconsistent and is going to cost the team games. Arizona Cardinals fans watch the second half of NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cowboys won 28-17. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling NFL Power Rankings: Falcons hold another early lead over PatriotsCardinals rank: #23 (▼3)Things are drying up in the desert, as the door is closing on the NFL’s oldest team. There’s time to recover in a suddenly weak NFC West, but they need David Johnson to get healthy enough to help. – / 32
Main opposition Akel joined environmentalists on Wednesday in criticising the government over its intention of granting more licences allowing the construction of golf courses.On Tuesday, the cabinet approved a deadline for proposed developments to secure the necessary permits instead of reviewing previous decisions after a series of environmental violations in recent years.“Let us remind people that the government was committed to the creation of a golf course inside a Natura 2000 area at Cavo Greco and had approved the leasing of 59 hectares of state land in the Ayia Napa forest,” Akel said in a statement.The party expressed its strong displeasure and disagreement with the decision, arguing that such areas were protected due to their biodiversity.“With these actions the government flouts the European acquis communitaire and should be prepared to face the consequences,” Akel said.There was also the matter of the drought, the party added, with each golf course needing one million tonnes of water annually.“This alone is a huge problem especially when farmers are having their water cut.”Akel said protection of biodiversity and national forests, and proper management of water reserves should not be set above financial interests. You May LikeFittorsIn 20 Hairdos, See Why Women Over 60 Should Try It ShortFittorsUndoyourselectednews.comIs it time for watermelon already?yourselectednews.comUndo90MINMouseville – One Man’s Answer To Finding Mice In Backyard90MINUndo Brazil prison riot kills 52, with 16 decapitatedUndoCypriot ambassadors gather in Nicosia for annual briefingUndoIran’s Revolutionary Guards publish purported exchange with British warshipUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
11Mar Rep. Tedder asks local high school students to submit ideas for repealing outdated state laws State Rep. Jim Tedder is holding a contest for area high school students to submit their ideas for outdated criminal laws that should be repealed. The winners will be able to spend the day at the state Capitol with Rep. Tedder.Michigan still has many outdated laws on the books and the legislature is dedicated to repealing these unnecessary regulations. A workgroup has been formed and representatives are looking for input from Michigan residents.“This workgroup is a great opportunity to get high school students involved in their state government,” said Rep. Tedder, R-Clarkston. “The young minds in our state are some of the best and the brightest. They are the future leaders of Michigan. Their input is valuable and I am excited about the prospect of sparking some interest in our state’s government.”The competition is open to high school students in Clarkston, Independence Township, Lake Angelus and Waterford Township. Students who wish to enter can submit the law they think should be repealed and a short explanation as to why. Submissions should be sent with the subject line “ought to not be a law” to Rep. Tedder’s email at JimTedder@house.mi.gov, they should also be submitted to the workgroup itself at http://gophouse.org/clr/.Submissions are due by April 6. One winner from Clarkston and one from Waterford will be chosen by Rep. Tedder and his staff.“I look forward to seeing the ideas that are submitted,” Rep. Tedder said. “There are some odd rules on the books and I know the students will have some great ideas.” Categories: Tedder News
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced a Hillsdale County-based project has been awarded a $228,000 Michigan Business Development Fund grant, according to Rep. Eric Leutheuser.Grand Rapids-based Speedrack Products Group Ltd. seeks to add to its manufacturing capacity and is expected to purchase a facility in Litchfield as part of a $5 million investment. Speedrack, a supplier of pallet racking and storage systems, expects to create 38 jobs with its expansion into Hillsdale County after considering sites in Ohio and Indiana.“This is exciting news for our area,” said Rep. Leutheuser, of Hillsdale. “Speedrack knows that we have great employees and a great location for their manufacturing business. And the state knows that ‘border counties’ like ours are vital to Michigan’s comeback.”The MEDC-based grant is allocated to assist with facility-related upgrades and purchasing of new equipment. Speedrack also has a manufacturing facility in Quincy, Mich.### Categories: Leutheuser News,News 27Jan MEDC grant to help company bring 38 jobs to Litchfield
Categories: Kahle News State Rep. Bronna Kahle invites Lenawee County residents to join her for local office hours on Friday, July 7 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Lenawee County District Library, 4459 W. US 223 in Adrian.“I always appreciate the opportunity to meet with people in our community and learn about what’s most important to them,” Rep. Kahle said. “Residents interested in discussing matters concerning state government are welcome and encouraged to stop by and talk with me.”No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Kahle’s office at (517) 373-1706 or BronnaKahle@house.mi.gov. 28Jun Rep. Kahle hosts district office hours
25Jun Rep. Kahle welcomes Lincoln Elementary students to state Capitol Categories: Kahle News,Kahle Photos State Rep. Bronna Kahle of Adrian welcomed third and fourth-grade students from Lincoln Elementary School for a tour of the state Capitol. Rep. Kahle was excited to meet with the students and brought them to the House floor.“I enjoy seeing young people take interest in their state government.” Rep. Kahle said. “It was a pleasure to meet with them and hear their questions.”PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Bronna Kahle visits with Lincoln Elementary School students during their trip to the state Capitol in Lansing.
Share1TweetShareEmail1 SharesMay 20, 2014; Business InsiderHere is an odd conundrum. A settlement deal negotiated between the federal government and JPMorgan Chase may look like a big number for government and for homeowners, but a number of experts suggest that JPMorgan may be getting off lightly. JPMorgan, for its part, says that the deal includes more than $100 million for Detroit. Should the appropriateness of stricter punishment for home mortgage scofflaw JPMorgan outweigh the need of bankrupt Detroit for $100 million, even if the source of the money might have harmed many Detroit homeowners over the years of its illegal activity?As many, including NPQ, have reported, the federal government’s punishments of Wall Street banks for their various depredations during and after their instigation of the meltdown of mortgage markets haven’t been all that punitive. Better Markets, a nonprofit nonpartisan Wall Street watchdog, was underwhelmed by the Justice Department’s $13 billion more-sweetheart-than-punishment settlement with JPMorgan.For having knowingly sold toxic subprime mortgage-backed securities, which JP Morgan admitted, the government hit Jamie Dimon’s firm in November of 2013 with what was supposedly the largest settlement ever agreed to by a U.S. corporation. Better Markets contended that the $13 billion was a cheap way out, approved by Attorney General Eric Holder, for JP Morgan to purchase “blanket civil immunity for years of alleged pervasive, egregious and knowing fraudulent and illegal conduct that contributed to the 2008 financial crash and the worst economy since the Great Depression.”If it were truly a bad deal, JPMorgan’s board would have been frog-marching Dimon out of the C-suite, but instead they rewarded him with a 75 percent raise. Maybe part of that raise was because Dimon and his lieutenants were able to make personal calls to Department of Justice senior staff and negotiate the deal largely in secret (including one-on-one negotiations between Holder and Dimon), without scrutiny from the courts or Congress. The settlement includes $4 billion in assistance for homeowners, $2 billion in a penalty payable to Justice, and the remainder for settling other state and federal claims.Better Markets filed suit to challenge the settlement, but yesterday the Justice Department told the federal judge hearing the case to reject the case because Better Markets lacked standing. In its defense, Justice said that the settlement was “presumptively” unreviewable. In one of the oddest justifications it might have used, DOJ argued the department’s power and authority “to settle claims of the United States is undiminished, and that includes ‘the power to make erroneous decisions as well as correct ones.’” In other words, Justice might have screwed up and let Dimon and his colleagues off the hook for all time, but screw-ups are within its power and cannot be challenged.Justice’s public message is implicitly that reopening the settlement for review would delay or perhaps undermine the plan for $4 billion in assistance for homeowners. Although not explicitly part of the settlement, JPMorgan also announced a plan to devote $100 million in loans and grants over five years for Detroit for home mortgages, job training, and blight removal. Dimon told the Detroit Free Press that specific beneficiaries of the funds will include the nonprofit employment and training program Focus: Hope, plus the Eastern Market, the M-1 streetcar line, and various workforce development projects. Others likely to see some share of the funds, as outlined in a brochure released by JPMorgan Chase, include Midtown Detroit, Southwest Solutions, and Techtown. Described as the “centerpiece” of the program, $50 million will be targeted to two Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)—Invest Detroit and Capital Impact Partners.Of course, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was ecstatic about the announcement and suggested that it might nudge state legislators in Lansing to come up with the $350 million the state is supposed to provide to the “Grand Bargain” that private foundations, the City, and the bankruptcy judge have negotiated to help aid public pensions and to stave off the possibility of selling artwork from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan welcomed the $100 million, certainly likely to take significant interest in $20 million of the offer in loans and grants to the city’s land bank to auction homes to potential owner-occupants. “They are filling holes in our redevelopment plans in one stroke,” he said.Presumably, were JPMorgan Chase dragged back into negotiations with the Justice Department over the $13 billion settlement, Dimon and his board members might find themselves temporarily hard-pressed to make the $100 million commitment to Detroit come to fruition. If calculated as a corollary investment on top of the $13 billion settlement, the $100 million is a pittance, with half of it to come back to JPM’s coffers in loan repayments.Since Dimon did much of his negotiations around the Detroit investment with Quicken Loans owner Dan Gilbert, who has made the revitalization of downtown Detroit a personal and business mission, the JPMorgan commitment looks like a step toward big corporations expanding the boundaries of their social consciousness to saving bankrupt cities. Given that Detroit has long lived under a decision-making dynamic controlled by and often for the benefit of corporations (particularly automobile manufacturers), the notion of a corporate-controlled revitalization might be worth taking a deep breath or two.For regulators and watchdogs concerned about the propensity of the federal government—and, surprisingly, the Obama administration’s Eric Holder—to implicitly buy into the “too big to fail” argument around banks and let corporate criminals escape personal liability and criminal prosecution, it is a matter of whether the corporate entities that brought the U.S. economy to its knees should be permitted to buy back their good names (plus blanket immunity) in secret negotiations with pledges to help homeowners here, Detroit nonprofits there, and CEO Jamie Dimon always.—Rick CohenShare1TweetShareEmail1 Shares
Share19TweetShare4Email23 Shares“exit.” Credit: photo by Ricardo Bernardo / zone41.netJuly 6, 2017; AtlanticIn 2013, President Barack Obama appointed Walter M. Shaub, Jr., an attorney specializing in government ethics, to a five-year term as the director of the United States Office of Government Ethics (OGE). This office was created in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal. Though OGE can recommend punishment, it has no enforcement mechanism. The five-year term is intended to give the office independence by ensuring directors’ terms overlap presidential administrations. According to its website, the OGE today works with 4,500 ethics officials in more than 130 agencies: “When government decisions are made free from conflicts of interest, the public can have greater confidence in the integrity of executive branch programs and operations.”President-elect Trump told reporters, editors, and opinion columnists in an interview with the New York Times in November, “The law’s totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” Trump subsequently invited Shaub to remain in his position. On Friday, July 6, 2017, Shaub submitted his resignation letter (posted on Twitter), effective July 19, 2017, nearly six months before his term was set to end in January 2018.On Sunday, July 9th, the White House provided ABC’s This Week with this statement:Mr. Shaub has been outspoken by leaking, tweeting, and writing letters to Democrat members of Congress, but since the president was sworn into office, he never once raised travel, passive holdings, or other ethics issues involving the President in a single discussion with the White House Counsel or Deputy Counsel overseeing ethics and compliance.Shaub responded to ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview on This Week saying, “That’s just a ridiculous statement.”Shaub’s concerns with President-elect Trump were immediate. The OGE sent a number of messages on Twitter urging Mr. Trump to limit obvious conflicts of interest. Shaub delivered this speech at the Brookings Institution on January 11, 2017, regarding his concerns with Trump’s plan to move his assets into a so-called blind trust managed by his sons. NPQ reported on this speech at that time.I need to talk about ethics today because the plan the President-elect has announced doesn’t meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every President in the past four decades has met. My hope is that, if the Office of Government Ethics can provide some constructive feedback on his plan, he may choose to make adjustments that will resolve his conflicts of interest.The New York Times reported that on April 28, 2017, Shaub issued a data request to see the ethics waivers given to ex-lobbyists in the executive branch—a request that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, refused. On May 22nd, Shaub sent Mulvaney, in addition to every federal ethics officer, every inspector general, and the six members of Congress responsible for government oversight, this 10-page response reasserting his legal authority to see the ethics waivers. The White House eventually relented.One waiver, apparently applying to (without naming him) Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, granted retroactive permission to communicate with news organizations where White House staff might have formally worked. Shaub told the New York Times, “If you need a retroactive waiver, you have violated a rule.”Since its creation in 1978, the public had hardly any awareness of the Office of Government Ethics. Now, it is full of urgency. Writing for the Atlantic, David Graham described Shaub as “an unlikely heartthrob and hero for some of the president’s critics.”His face appeared on t-shirts and a Facebook fan group, surely a strange reversal for an office accustomed to toiling in dusty obscurity—and for Shaub, a man so self-effacing and austere that he stripped his office of all decorations.“I wanted to not be so attached to this office that I’d be afraid to lose it,” he told the New York Times.In his speech at the Brookings Institution, Shaub spoke about Secretary of State Tillerson forfeiting millions of dollars in bonus payments. “He clearly recognizes that public service sometimes comes at a cost. The greater the authority entrusted in a government official, the greater the potential for conflicts of interest. That’s why the cost is often greater the higher up you go.”Shaub concluded his speech with a message meant for the president’s ears.It’s important to understand that the President is now entering the world of public service. He’s going to be asking his own appointees to make sacrifices. He’s going to be asking our men and women in uniform to risk their lives in conflicts around the world. So, no, I don’t think divestiture is too high a price to pay to be the President of the United States of America.As we all know, one of the things that make America truly great is its system for preventing public corruption. For a long time now, OGE has helped developing countries set up their own systems for detecting and preventing conflicts of interest. Our executive branch ethics program is considered the gold standard internationally and has served as a model for the world. But that program starts with the Office of the President. The President-elect must show those in government—and those coming into government after his inauguration—that ethics matters.The OGE’s chief of staff, Shelley K. Finlayson, is expected to assume the role of acting director. Trump could appoint someone else to serve temporarily until he chooses a permanent replacement. In any event, Shaub’s departure is likely to cause anxiety among ethics officials and critics of the president.Shaub plans to work for the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of election law experts, as the director of its ethics program. Here, Shaub will join others in working on ethics reforms at all levels of government.—James SchafferShare19TweetShare4Email23 Shares
Share14Tweet17ShareEmail31 SharesBy The Photographer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia CommonsFebruary 14, 2018; Pasadena Star-NewsThis is an update on the ongoing debate about nonprofit status of hospitals that has been raging around the country. Not two months ago, NPQ reported on a call for nonprofit hospitals to do more charitable work to ensure they maintain their nonprofit status. This was based on what appeared to be a growing challenge to their nonprofit status on various fronts. There is the famous case in New Jersey in which a judge challenged the nonprofit structure of a hospital, and a recent IRS ruling revoking the tax exempt status of another hospital. NPQ has reported on this for years, asking questions about how charitable nonprofit hospitals actually are.A new wrinkle has emerged in California where some hospitals have launched a new preemptive strike, petitioning the state attorney general to reduce the amount of charitable work they are required to do to maintain their tax-exempt status.It has long been a topic of discussion that nonprofit hospitals are required by law to do some charitable, community-based work to justify the tax exemptions they receive. The IRS does not have a specific amount, however, so there is a lot of room to self-determine how much a hospital is giving back to its community. The IRS Form 990 has a Schedule H devoted to this.In California, however, there is a separate law that allows the attorney general there to determine exactly how much charitable work a nonprofit hospital has to do, and this is what is being challenged by four different hospitals. Three hospitals have petitioned to have their amount reduced by about 50 percent and another has asked for it to be reduced by 70 percent. One of the hospitals was recently converted to for-profit status, but has to abide by the charitable work amount for six years as part of the agreement to allow the transition.Advocates for hospitals are saying that they do more than their fair share: They give on average about $11 of charitable work for every $1 in tax deductions they receive. Community advocates, of course, argue the opposite—that hospitals are not doing enough.The attorney general has a limited amount of time to respond to the petition, and a hearing on one of them has been scheduled. These very petitions were submitted to the current attorney general’s predecessor not long ago and were declined. The hope is that this new attorney general will have a different point of view.—Rob MeiksinsShare14Tweet17ShareEmail31 Shares
Russian pay TV operator NTV Plus has withdrawn male interest channel Man TV from its Basic Plus line-up.Gameland TV-owned Man TV, which was launched last year, is targeted a men aged 25-45 living in urban centres, airing a mix of imported series and movies and magazine content.
Al Jazeera could bid for UK as well as international rights to English Premier League matches, according to Al Jazeera Sports director Nasser al-Khelaifi.Al-Khelaifi told Reuters that the broadcaster was weighing up whether to make a bid for the UK rights. He said that Al Jazeera would look at all European markets on a case-by-case basis to see whether there was room for it to launch a sports channel.Meanwhile, the possible acquisition of French rights to English Premier League rights by Al Jazeera could serve as the basis for a rapprochement between the Qatar-based broadcaster and Canal Plus Group in France, according to Le Parisien magazine.Al Jazeera has so far failed to strike a deal with Canal Plus for carriage of its two beIN Sport channels on the CanalSat platform. According to the magazine, Canal Plus may seek to extract a share of English Premier League rights as part of the price of any deal for carriage of beIN Sport.
UK free-to-air digital-terrestrial TV service Freeview has launched a new marketing campaign called Left Behinds.The campaign focuses on the items left behind after a jumble sale including used toys, ornaments and stuffed animals, with one of the animals breaking into song, joined by the other characters. The performance is witnessed by an onlooker, establishing the premise that entertainment is better when it’s free.The campaign will be supported with interactive VoD activity across 4OD and ITV Player. Freeview has also created a dedicated website which launches along with the ad on November 22. This will feature a game show and backstories for each of the toy characters.“This campaign follows our much-loved ‘Tadpoles’ and ‘Cat and Budgie’ ads. We’re introducing new characters but the ad is just as surprising and effective at demonstrating the joy of having free entertainment,” said Owen Jenkinson, Freeview’s head of marketing.“Indeed, with 95% of the nation’s favourite TV programmes available on Freeview, it encourages consumers to question whether they need to pay for TV when they can get great quality and variety content subscription-free.”
Wrestling entertainment company the WWE has launched its direct-to-consumer channel, WWE Network, in the UK and Ireland, with the channel to be available on Roku devices from today.In a post on the WWE website yesterday, the wrestling organisation said WWE Network is available direct via the web, iOS and Android devices, games consoles, smart TVs and digital media players.Separately, Roku announced the channel would be available on all current-generation Roku devices in the UK and Ireland from later today.WWE Network is available for £9.99 (€13) in the UK and €12.99 in Ireland with no long-term contract commitments. The launch comes ahead of the Royal Rumble wrestling event, which is due to take place on January 25.The WWE initially planned to launch the channel in the UK in October, but this did not come to fruition, and the channel was indefinitely delayed just 20 minutes before another scheduled launch a month later.
Liberty Global-owned cable operator UPC Switzerland is jumping on the e-sports bandwagon by launching its own dedicated eSports.ch portal.Citing the statistic that over 750,000 Swiss viewers tune into live streams on leading e-sports service Twitch each month, UPC said it had taken a decision to invest in its own service. The Liberty Global unit has hired a content team of “active eAthletes”, which will provide information tailored to bringing e-sports to a wider public.The service will feature Spotlight, a regular programme featuring four hosts, including Alexander ‘Äxel’ Fuchs, David ‘Alpha’ Meszes and Lea ‘Kuraï’ Alves, who will present the latest Swiss-centric e-sports news in German and French.UPC has teamed up with local digital marketing agency Blue Glass Interactive to launch the service.The portal is being launched as part of the wider Connect & Play set of packages introduced by the operator, which are designed to highlight the capabilities of UPC’s high-speed broadband network. The basic Connect & Play 200 offers high-speed internet with speeds of up to 200Mbps, over 140 TV channels including 85 HD services and seven-day catch-up TV and free phone calls within Switzerland. Higher-tier services including 400Mbps internet and 500Mbps internet respectively, along with 180 TV channels, are also available.“Today we operate the most powerful and future-proof network in Switzerland based on optical fibre cable, which we have built up without public money and in a non-discriminatory manner for urban and rural areas alike. We already have the most customers with a superfast Internet connection in Switzerland. This investment in the network makes an important contribution to the development of an open digital society in Switzerland, from which gamers can also benefit,” said Eric Tveter, UPC Central Europe CEO.
Eutelsat 117 West B was launched by SpaceXEutelsat’s 117 West B satellite has entered into full commercial service, providing coverage over Latin America.The second all-electric satellite in Eutelsat’s fleet is designed to complement the 2013-launched Eutelsat 117 West A, creating a multi-satellite neighbourhood at 117° West, which is already used by Millicom’s Tigo Star, Stargroup and Televisa.The satellite, which is equipped with 48 Ku-band transponders connected to four beams, will also provide services to telecom operators and government service providers in Latin America.The satellite will provide coverage over Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the Andean region and the ‘Southern Cone’ – the southernmost areas of South America.Eutelsat launched the Eutelsat 117 West B satellite from SpaceX’s Space Launch Complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida last June. It has now gone into service following a seven-month period of ‘orbit-raising’.
Virtual and augmented reality headset shipments will grow nearly ten-fold between 2016 and 2021 according to research firm IDC.The International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker claims that total headset device shipments will reach 99.4 million units in 2021, up from 10.1 million in 2016.This represents a compound annual growth rate of 58% across the five-year forecast period as new device launches, more content for consumer and enterprise users, and lower prices drive the market forward “at a breakneck pace”.Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Augmented and Virtual Reality team, said that 2016 marked “an important step for the AR and VR headset market with product finally arriving in end users’ hands and on their heads.”“While there was clear demand coming primarily from technology enthusiasts, what became readily apparent were the use cases for enterprise users across multiple verticals and for consumers with gaming and content consumption.“This sets the stage for the multiple aspects of the market that device makers, platforms and content providers, and developers will be addressing in the months and years to come.”IDC predicts that the value of AR headsets will grow from US$209 million in 2016 to US$48.7 billion in 2021. Meanwhile, VR headsets will grow from US$2.1 billion in 2016 to US$18.6 billion in 2021.“VR setups already range from sub-$100 to more than $1000 and though it’s too early to tell, the low-cost experiences may prove to be inhibitors rather than promoters of the technology as they can potentially disappoint first time VR users,” said IDC senior research analyst, Jitesh Ubrani.“On the other hand, due to the sophistication of the hardware, most AR headsets are expected to cost well over US$1000. This makes the technology far less accessible to consumers initially, though that’s probably for the best as the AR ecosystem and wide social acceptance are still a few years away.”Separately, a recent Strategy Analytics report on Virtual Reality claimed that current VR experiences “lack the context required for real engagement with the medium”.The study claimed that growth in the VR market will be driven by the creation of compelling experiences that allow the user to “experience, preview, and escape reality”.“Early adopters of VR are predominantly gamers who are driven to the medium by the promise of ‘being there’. However, the biggest risks to the nascent VR market are the lack of context, the lack of social capabilities and the hard-wired headset restricting player movement,” according to the report.
YouTube is rebranding its subscription service from YouTube Red to YouTube Premium and has confirmed plans to launch the service in Europe for the fist time.YouTube MusicAnnouncing the move, YouTube said that it will soon launch Premium in Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.It also said it will roll it out in Canada with “more expansion throughout 2018 and beyond”.“With YouTube Premium, you’ll get access to the full slate of YouTube Originals, including recent hits like the Karate Kid-inspired series, Cobra Kai, the dance drama, Step Up: High Water, and upcoming series like the sci-fi thriller, Impulse, and Liza Koshy’s Liza on Demand,” said YouTube in a blog post.“More new Originals from around the globe are on the way – featuring comedies, dramas, reality series and action adventure shows from the UK, Germany, France, Mexico, and more.”As well as original movies and series the new YouTube Premium service includes ad-free videos and download options across YouTube. It also gives users premium access to a new YouTube Music streaming service.YouTube Music is due to launch on May 22 and will include a reimagined mobile app and new desktop player designed for music.An ad-supported version of YouTube Music will be available widely, but YouTube Music Premium will give users background listening options, downloads and an ad-free experience for US$9.99 a month.“YouTube Music is a new music streaming service made for music: official songs, albums, thousands of playlists and artist radio plus YouTube’s tremendous catalogue of remixes, live performances, covers and music videos that you can’t find anywhere else – all simply organised and personalised,” said YouTube in a separate announcement.The news comes after YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said earlier this year that YouTube will make a “big push” in launching its subscription offering YouTube Red, as well as a revamped YouTube Music service, in new markets in 2018.YouTube Premium will be available for US$11.99 per month (US price) – US$2 more than the current price of YouTube Red. However, existing YouTube Red customers will continue to get access for US$9.99 per month. YouTube Music Premium will be available on a standalone basis for US$9.99 per month (US price).YouTube Red is currently available in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and South Korea.
Local band John Deery and the Heads will open the concert.Derry band John Deery and the Heads will share the stage with one of the best known bands in the world when they support the Beach Boys at their open air gig in city’s Ebrington Square tonight.The local five-piece beat off some serious competition to secure the support slot for the American legends at the event, which was offered by Derry City Council as part of its Music City programme for 2014.The concert is one of the main highlights of the hugely successful LegenDerry Maritime Festival currently taking place in the city. The appearance by the Beach Boys is one of the highlights of a packed nine-day programme of family friendly events currently taking place during the LegenDerry Maritime Festival, which has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the city.Tickets are still available for tonight’s concert.Contact the Millennium Forum Box Office on 028 71264455, or at the Festival Village located along the Quay as part of the Legenderry Maritime Festival. bandbeachboysconcertdeeryDerryheadsjohn DERRY BAND TO BRING GOOD VIBRATIONS BEACH BOYS SHOW was last modified: June 25th, 2014 by stephenstephen Tags: ShareTweet Like the Beach Boys, John Deery and the Heads are renowned for their vocal harmonies, and according to singer-songwriter, John Deery, the band takes inspiration from the US stars who have influenced generations of music lovers.“Our band ‘John Deery and The Heads’ has been working hard in the city for the last number of years building up a fan base and feel this will be an excellent opportunity to get our music out to a wider local audience,” he said.The Beach Boys.“The Beach Boys’ vocal harmonies have inspired our own band’s four part harmony style, which has helped us increase our profile hugely this year.“We’ve been lucky enough to feature regularly on national TV and radio as well as becoming Soundcloud’s worldwide Artist of the Day with four-part harmonies on the track ‘Moonlight Sinatra’.”
Those who lost their lives on a Sunday evening on March 20th, 2016 were Sean McGrotty, his sons Mark, 11 and eight-year-old Evan, his mother-in-law Ruth Daniels and her teenage daughter Jodie-Lee Tracey.Four-month-old baby girl Rionaghac-Ann was saved by Mr Walsh.The hearing was formally opened by Coroner for Donegal, Dr Denis McCauley.He stressed at the outset of the 20 minute hearing the aim of the pre-evidential hearing which was held in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel in Buncrana. Sean McGrotty, Louise James with their children Mark, Evan and baby Rioghnach-AnnA pre-evidential hearing held today into one of Ireland’s worst coastal tragedies in which five people from Derry drowned has heard the inquest will take two days and will hear from at least 12 witnesses.Five members of the same family perished when an Audi Q7 4 X 4 vehicle in which they were traveling slipped off Buncrana Pier and into Lough Swilly in Co Donegal in March 2016.An infant baby girl was saved when her father passed her out the window to local man Davitt Walsh who bravely tried to come to the family’s aid. AT LEAST 12 WITNESSES TO BE CALLED FOR TWO-DAY INQUEST INTO BUNCRANA PIER TRAGEDYDavitt WalshDR MCCAULEYLouise JamesSEAN MCGROTTY ShareTweet Dr McCauley said the aim of the hearing was to promote an effective process and to prevent an adjournment in the inquest.He said he intended to hold the inquest over two days on November 22nd and 23rd.Among those present was Michael Staines, solicitor for Donegal County Council, Eoin Armstrong for the motor insurer as well as Inspector David Murphy for An Garda Siochana.Members of the family of the late Sean McGrotty, who was driving the Audi Q? when it slipped into the water, were also present.Dr McCauley revealed how there were 69 draft depositions taken following the tragedy from local people in the area at the time of the tragedy.However, he estimated that he has whittled this down to 12 depositions which will be heard during the inquest.He said “This was a terrible tragedy and having looked at a lot of the evidence, I think because of the scope of the inquest I would propose is that we have to look a the events of the night and what actually happened.“We should always look and fully explore the facts of the case and I also propose that we look at piers and slipways of Donegal and get as much information as we can about that,” he said.He said he had also contacted the Irish Water Safety Authority and the Raod Safety Authority of Ireland in relation to the inquest.He said he would like to be able to discuss what people should do in relation to situation when their cars may enter water.He had also contacted car manufacturer Audi but he had not heard back from them.Solicitor for Donegal County Council, Michael Staines said a report into piers and slipways in Co Donegal was currently being undertaken and would be completed by the time the formal inquest takes place.Mr Staines added “We will co-operate completely and thoroughly with the inquest.”Coroner Dr McCauley added that he will swear a jury in to sit at the inquest.The hearing was adjourned until September 27th for mention.AT LEAST 12 WITNESSES TO BE CALLED FOR TWO-DAY INQUEST INTO BUNCRANA PIER TRAGEDY was last modified: June 16th, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: