MasterCard and AccorHotels have announced a partnership that will offer MasterCard cardholders exclusive privileges when they stay at selected AccorHotels properties in Asia Pacific.From delicious meals and award-winning spa retreats to a complimentary night’s stay, MasterCard cardholders can look forward to an exciting range of indulgent treats and deals when they stay at more than 550 AccorHotels properties in the region.As part of the three-year partnership, AccorHotels and MasterCard have introduced three programs to make cardholders’ holidays a little more special.Cardholders looking for a much needed escape can book a three-day, two night stay at any of AccorHotels’ participating resorts and enjoy a complimentary night with AccorHotels’ Dream Getaway program from now until 31 March 2016.They can also look forward to an array of personalization services, including bespoke butler and nanny services, and kick start their day with breakfast included for up to two people for each day of their stay.Those longing for some fun in the sun can enter AccorHotels’ My Resort Moment competition – by snapping and sharing a special moment at an AccorHotels hotel or resort on Instagram, one lucky cardholder stands to win one of four luxury resort stays worth up to US$1,000 each month from now till 31 March 2016.To unlock these exclusive deals, all cardholders need to do is visit the MasterCard-AccorHotels partner page, enter their Le Club AccorHotels loyalty number, and the last four digits of their MasterCard card. Cardholders who are not yet a Le Club AccorHotels member can sign up here.“We are very excited to partner with MasterCard to offer their cardholders special privileges and offers when they stay with AccorHotels and hope that this partnership will encourage their members to explore more of our hotels and resorts across Asia Pacific,” said Michael Parsons, AccorHotels Vice President Marketing & Strategic Relationships, Asia Pacific.“AccorHotels has more than 550 participating hotels across 17 countries and we continue to open one new hotel per week on average across the region, so there are choices for every type of stay, from city centres to beachside resorts and everything in between.”“Asia Pacific has long been home to some of the world’s top tourist attractions, and MasterCard’s Global Destination Cities Index 2015 showed that six of the most visited cities in the world are now right here in Asia,” said Nagesh Devata, group head of Merchant & Acceptance Development, Asia Pacific, MasterCard.“Through our partnership with AccorHotels, we want to provide MasterCard cardholders traveling to countries in the region with not just great value but also access to an array of exclusive rewards and privileges that will make their trips even more priceless.”Hotels under the AccorHotels brand include Sofitel, MGallery by Sofitel, Pullman, Grand Mercure, The Sebel, Novotel, Mercure, Adagio and ibis. Learn more hereSource = MasterCard/AccorHotels
Sabre and HNA Aviation Group solidify relationshipSabre and HNA Aviation Group solidify relationshipSabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR), the leading technology provider to the global travel industry, has entered into an agreement with HNA Aviation Group to provide its airlines with software that will help create more revenue opportunities while operating more efficiently. Sabre Airline Solutions will play a key role in helping the airlines navigate the highly complex operating environments that are seen in China and the global aviation landscape. HNA Aviation Group is one of the fastest growing airlines in China and has earned a 5-star Skytrax rating for its level of service.“We are honored to work with the HNA Aviation Group to help them with their technology and business needs as they continue to grow,” said Hugh Jones, executive vice president and president, Sabre Airline Solutions. “China is a critical aviation market for Sabre because of its rapid growth. With that growth comes an increase in operational complexities. Our technology with help with that complexity and will allow HNA’s airlines to compete more effectively in a very competitive global environment.”“HNA Aviation Group, one of HNA Group’s core entities, is built on the enormous tourist market in China and is devoted to the development of aviation and tourist industry,” said Mr Xie Haoming, COO of HNA Tourism Group. “The industry-leading solutions that Sabre has developed will make our airlines more efficient and profitable and enable us to better service our customers.”HNA will harness the AirVision Planning and Scheduling and AirCentre Movement suite of products. The AirVision Planning and Scheduling solution will enable HNA to accurately forecast demand and deliver profitable schedules across their network all while enabling its airlines to capture more revenue. It also takes a comprehensive view of the airline to deliver solutions on time and on budget while providing around-the-clock global customer care.The AirCentre Movement Manager and Recovery Manager will help HNA enhance cross-functional operations control through integrated workflow and systems that intuitively manage daily operations and disruptions to protect on time performance and passenger experience.“This relationship with HNA Aviation Group is a great opportunity to introduce new tools and continue to build a stronger team in China,” said Dasha Kuksenko, vice president and regional general manager, Asia Pacific, Sabre Airlines Solutions. “Sabre has significantly increased its presence and engagement in Asia Pacific by developing an operations center in Shanghai, which complements our team in Beijing.”To commemorate the agreement between the two companies, a signing ceremony was held yesterday in Beijing with executives from HNA Aviation Group and Sabre in attendance.About Sabre Corporation Sabre Corporation is the leading technology provider to the global travel industry. Sabre’s software, data, mobile and distribution solutions are used by hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotel properties to manage critical operations, including passenger and guest reservations, revenue management, flight, network and crew management. Sabre also operates a leading global travel marketplace, which processes more than US$120 billion of global travel spend annually by connecting travel buyers and suppliers. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world.About HNA Aviation Group HNA Aviation is making a leading global modern aerial transportation comprehensive operator in solving problems by focusing on air transport enterprise cluster and integrating all kinds of trip elements. Based on the cluster of air transport enterprises, HNA Aviation seeks global expansion and presence in the entire industrial chain by establishing supporting industries of aviation maintenance technology (MRO), general aviation (aviation academy), business trip service (sale), ground support and aviation logistics. HNA Aviation holds 18 airline companies, possessing aircraft fleet of more than 700 carriers in total, and the passenger volume has mounted to 90 million people each year.Source = Sabre
Raffles Hotel and Gardens by the Bay win Top Influential Brands awardsRaffles Hotel and Gardens by the Bay win Top Influential Brands awardsRaffles Hotel and Gardens by the Bay won Influential Brands® Top Influential Brands awards for the Heritage Hotel and Tourist Attraction categories respectively. The announcement was made at a black-tie ceremony held at Capitol Theatre on 7 November 2017 in conjunction with the 2017 CEO Asia Conference (now in its 5th edition).“These deserving names represent brands which are enjoyed and loved by consumers in Asia. We are proud to have identified the finest selection of Awardees this year that clearly represent Asia’s ambition to build prominent local and global brands,” said Mr JorgeRodriguez, Managing Director of Influential Brands.The win is backed by more than five years of consumer insights and surveys covering five Asian countries and more than 5,000 participants. The countries surveyed include China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. The Asia-wide study was conducted via both face-to-face and online surveys. More than 50 categories from “Online Marketplace”, “Food and Beverage (F&B)” and “Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)”, to “Electronics” and “Beauty & Wellness” were covered. Only top 5 brands from each category qualified for this award. There were 33 winners for the “Top Influential Brands” awards this year.Influential Brands®, in partnership with knowledge partner, Deloitte Singapore, education partner, SIM, and official car, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, rolled out the red carpet for the glitzy event. It toasted some of Asia’s captains of industry across 50 industries such as Hospitality, Property, Bank, Airline, Automobile, F&B, Healthcare, Retail, Technology, FMCG, as well as Communication among others. Mr Teo Ser Luck, Member of Parliament, was the Guest-of-Honour at the event.The event was a huge success as more than 400 influential Asian C-suite executives from over 100 leading companies across the region including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and China attended the event. The theme for this year: “The Future of Business in Asia”.Raffles Hotel and Gardens by the Bay’s wins were among 46 distinguished CEOs (6 Top CEO of the Year awards), brands (1 Hall of Fame; 33 Top Influential Brands; and 4 Outstanding Brands awards) and personalities (1 Influential Woman of the Year and 1 Influential Artist of the Year awards) awarded at the event.Source = Influential Brands®
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has launched its second Le Méridien hotel in Bhutan.Set on the banks of the Paro River, Le Méridien Paro Riverfront offers views of the Himalayas. It provides just 59 rooms and suites, plus a restaurant, swimming pool, fitness centre and spa. All guests would also be offered free access to Ta Dzong, Bhutan’s National Museum, as part of the hotel’s ‘Unlock Art’ programme.The opening of the Paro property comes less than a year after the launch of Le Méridien Thimphu, which offers 78 rooms in Bhutan’s capital city.“Bhutan truly is a one-of-a-kind destination waiting to be discovered, and with two stunning Le Méridien hotels in Paro and Thimphu, we are delighted to help adventure seekers unlock the country’s mythical allure,” said Brian Povinelli, global brand leader for Le Méridien Hotel & Resorts.
U.K.: Tesco adds plant-based meals to its meat ais … U.K.: Tesco trials removing plastic from fruit and … Leading British supermarket chain Tesco says it will remove more than a hundred more best before dates from its fruit and vegetables, in the latest push to cut down on food waste.The company says that newly commissioned research of reveals 69% of customers believe scrapping best before dates is a good idea, while just over half of the 2,000 shoppers surveyed believe scrapping best before dates helps them keep perfectly good food for longer.Best before dates will be scrapped on 116 additional products including apples, oranges, cabbages and asparagus. This follows the supermarket removing the guidance dates from around 70 fruit and vegetable lines earlier this year. “Removing best before dates is our way of making it easier for customers to reduce food waste at home and save money in the process,” said Mark Little, Tesco’s head of food waste.”It’s simply not right that food goes to waste and we’re going to do everything we can to help.”Last week, CEO Dave Lewis called for global transparency on food waste as twenty-seven of Tesco’s biggest suppliers published their food waste data for the first time.Tesco became the first UK retailer to publish the amount of food wasted in its U.K. operations in 2013. The retailer is now over 70% of the way towards its goal that no food that’s safe for human consumption goes to waste from its U.K. stores and distribution centers. U.K.: Greenyard Frozen and Tesco announce new part … You might also be interested in October 08 , 2018
September 17, 2012The sun began to set on Arcosanti’s Colly Soleri Memorial Garden Saturday evening as alumni new and old, workshop participants, volunteers and employees were joined by visitors from across the world at a wine and cheese reception before the concert. [Photo and text by Donald Mahoney]The Colly Soleri Memorial Concert series was started in 1982 to honor Mr. Soleri’s late wife.[Photo and text by Donald Mahoney]Returning for her eleventh time here at the Colly Soleri Music Center, Sonya Lee delighted the audience with an eclectic mix of pieces by Mozart, Chopin, Satie, and a well received rendition of John Cage’s 4’33.[Photo and text by Donald Mahoney]After the concert, attendees enjoyed delicious poached salmon, cauliflower au gratin, and salad with Paolo’s dressing.[Photo and text by Donald Mahoney]
The government’s foreclosures bill was yet to be finalised as the Finance ministry is still in talks with the Troika of international lenders (European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund) over some of the controversial provisions that would allow banks to foreclose insolvent borrowers’ properties.Negotiations are ongoing at a technocratic level, with the focus being on striking the appropriate balance between the rights of borrowers and lenders.A meeting between the Finance minister and the Troika’s Cyprus mission heads to reach agreement has yet to be scheduled, but Georgiades and Interior minister Sokratis Hasikos, along with Attorney General Kostas Clerides, met at the Finance ministry on Monday noon to discuss the contested provisions.“The issue has reached its high point,” Hasikos said, entering the meeting.As the bill has acquired ‘prior action’ status – meaning it needs to have been passed before the next tranche of international aid to Cyprus can be released – the government had planned for it to be ready for Legal Services to review and submit to the Council of Ministers by Wednesday.The bill would then be forwarded to parliamentary parties for review, ahead of voting at an extraordinary House plenary session before September’s Eurogroup that would decide on approving the next aid tranche. This planning required the bill to have been finalised by Tuesday, but deadlines are nearing and agreement on the final text has yet to be reached.The Cyprus News Agency reported on Monday that the bone of contention was a clause allowing the borrower to appeal the foreclosure process in court, a provision not acceptable by the Troika as it was deemed to make the process more time-consuming.The government also insists on borrowers being allowed an active role in determining the value of their property collateral – also not acceptable to the Troika.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoKelley Blue BookYou Won’t Believe How Affordable These Ford Car Models AreKelley Blue BookUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
11Mar House bills protect Michigan taxpayers by prohibiting tax credit extensions Categories: Glenn News Reps. Glenn, Chatfield ensure state can’t extend costly MEGA creditsMichigan taxpayers are protected from additional financial liability due to budget-busting Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) tax credits under common-sense legislation introduced today that prohibits the state from extending the costly credits, state Reps. Gary Glenn and Lee Chatfield announced.Since the MEGA credits were greatly expanded in 2008, the program has accumulated a projected taxpayer liability of $9.38 billion. The Republican-led Legislature and newly elected Gov. Rick Snyder ended MEGA in 2011, but even with the irresponsible program’s demise, state law still allows the existing credits to be increased and extended. Legislation introduced today by state Reps. Glenn and Chatfield prevents this from happening.“No governor should be allowed to extend or increase these tax credits, not next year and not 15 years from now,” said Rep. Chatfield, R-Levering. “Although the current governor has no intention of extending these harmful tax credits, the reality is that a less fiscally responsible administration could come into office and put our state in greater financial jeopardy. We simply can’t allow that to happen – the stakes are too high. It’s up to us to make sure the mess created during the Lost Decade is cleaned up not only for current Michigan taxpayers, but for future generations.”The $9.38 billion estimated liability is projected to be incurred over the next 17 years. This year, the credits created a $325 million state budget shortfall.Rep. Glenn, R-Midland, said major employers who took advantage of the offer of tax credits in return for creating new jobs or retaining existing jobs are not to blame.“The fact that the tax credits are being claimed by employers who upheld their contractual obligation to create or retain jobs is, on the one hand, good news for our economy and working families. Those employers aren’t at fault; they did what they agreed to do,” Rep. Glenn said. “The question is, was it a good policy in the first place, and certainly we must change the lack of transparency from the Department of Treasury about the supposedly unpredictable timing of the existing credits’ impact on our state budget, plus take steps now to ensure that taxpayers’ current $9 billion financial liability, and the length of that liability, is not increased even further.“It’s important to do what we can to protect Michigan taxpayers now. It’s well past time for us to put a stop to the state’s ability to hand out blank checks and put future generations on the hook for billions of dollars. These important reforms will give us all a clearer picture about how to deal with and eliminate these looming financial obligations.”House Bill 4333, sponsored by Rep. Chatfield, prohibits MEGA tax credit extensions as currently allowed in the Michigan Economic Growth Authority Act. HB 4334, sponsored by Rep. Glenn, prohibits MEGA tax credit extensions as currently allowed in the Michigan Business Tax Act.
14Mar Lenawee County officials testify before Rep. Kahle, committee PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Bronna Kahle, of Clinton, hosted Dr. Michael Osborne, superintendent of Hudson Area Schools; Dan Rogers, program manager of the Southern Michigan Center for Science and Industry (CSI); and CSI official/former state Rep. Nancy Jenkins during the House Workforce and Talent Development Committee today. Kahle’s guests spoke in support of legislation to increase professional development instruction for high school counselors, which emphasizes college preparation and career counseling as a portion of their currently required continuing education standards. Categories: Kahle News,Kahle Photos,News,Photos
22Jun Rep. Jeff Noble’s June Column Over the past month we have been hard at work in the legislature.As a strong believer in the Second Amendment, law-abiding citizens shouldn’t have to seek the government’s permission to exercise their right to bear arms. Personal protection is something I do not take lightly. This common-sense legislation returns to the people their fundamental right, ensuring law-abiding citizens are not restricted or prosecuted for carrying a pistol for their personal protection. The bill package was approved by the full House and now moves to the Senate for consideration.The House Health Policy Committee, on which I serve, approved a six-bill bipartisan package focused on combating opioid addiction in Michigan. The package includes legislation requiring medical professionals to consult with parents or guardians when an opioid-based medication may be prescribed to a person under the age of 18. I believe it is important we work to educate young people and parents about the risks associated with opioid medications. Other bills in the package increase access to opioid abuse treatment, allow pharmacists to use their discretion to refuse an opioid prescription without fear of legal ramifications and require school curriculum to address the risks of prescription drug abuse. Having moved out of committee, the bills were voted on and passed by the full House. They have now moved to the Senate for consideration.Another important piece of legislation under discussion is House Bill 4466. This bill will prohibit a driver of any vehicle from holding or using a portable electronic device on any highway or street in this state. The prohibition will include while the vehicle is stopped at a light or intersection. This bill defines “use” as conducting a search; viewing, taking, or transmitting an image or video; playing games; performing a command or request to access an internet page; and composing, sending, reading, viewing, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving an e-mail message, text message, instant message or other electronic data.This legislation is vital because many drivers are paying more attention to their phones than to the road. Too often, as I drive throughout the district, and to and from Lansing, I see someone operating a vehicle while using their mobile device. Common sense should tell us to focus on driving to ensure our safety as well as those with whom we share the roadways.If you have any ideas, comments or questions for my office, please do not hesitate to call us at 517-373-3816 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to hear from you! Categories: Noble News
A pair of bills were introduced on Sept. 12 by state Representative Martin Howrylak to improve the late fee assessment process for corporations and limited liability companies (LLC).In accordance with state law, an annual report is required each year from limited liability companies and both domestic and foreign corporations that do business in Michigan.Under current law, domestic and foreign corporations must file an annual report by May 15th. The first $10 penalty is imposed for payments or reports submitted by corporations between May 16 and May 31. A subsequent $10 penalty is added for payments made on or after June 1. LLCs are also required to submit an annual report by Feb. 15th and face similar penalties for filing after the deadline.Rep. Howrylak’s legislation seeks to make the penalty assessment process more straightforward. Under the bills, any entity that fails to file an annual report and its corresponding filing fee by the deadline will be subject to a $10 penalty for each 30-day period the report is not received. The maximum penalty will be $50, which is the cost of the initial filing fee prior to the Feb. 15 deadline.“The current penalty structure is confusing and unfair,” said Howrylak, of Troy. “My legislation will ensure these penalties remain intact while simplifying the process by assessing late fees on a monthly basis.”House Bills 4916 and 4917 have been referred to the House Committee on Commerce and Trade for further consideration. 14Sep Rep. Howrylak seeks to clarify late fee assessments for the business community Categories: Howrylak News,News
29Sep Rep. Rendon invites residents to October office hours Categories: Daire Rendon News No appointments are necessary to attend office hours. Those who are unable to attend, but would still like to speak with the representative, may contact her Lansing office at (517) 373-3817 or DaireRendon@house.mi.gov. State Rep. Daire Rendon of Lake City will sponsor local office hours for the month of October.“Office hours are an opportunity for residents to meet face-to-face with me and ask questions, offer ideas, or share thoughts regarding state government,” Rep. Rendon said.The representative will be available at the following times and locations:Friday, Oct. 6Crawford County: 9 to 10 a.m. at Goodale’s Bakery, 500 Norway St. in Grayling;Kalkaska County: Noon to 1 p.m. at Trout Town Tavern & Eatery, 306 Elm St. in Kalkaska; Friday, Oct. 13Ogemaw County: 9 to 10 a.m. at West Branch Area Chamber of Commerce, 422 W. Houghton Ave. in West Branch;Roscommon County: Noon to 1 p.m. at Fred’s of Roscommon, 422 N. 5th St. in Roscommon; andMissaukee County: 3 to 4 p.m. at Missaukee County Commission of Aging, 1980 S. Morey Road in Lake City.
12Jun Rep. Hauck helps secure $3 million for key Isabella County sewer project to protect Chippewa River and its users Rep. Roger Hauck successfully secured $3 million to help protect the Chippewa River and its users from sewage overflows, part of a state budget plan given final legislative approval today by the Michigan Legislature.The money will assist development of a sewer system for Isabella County’s Nottawa Township/Beal City area aimed at preventing sewage discharges into a drain that connects to the river. High E. coli levels have been found upstream, creating potential health hazards.The community is under orders from the Department of Environmental Quality to create a sewer system.“We have a duty to fix this,” said Hauck, who has worked diligently with state and local officials on the issue since joining the state House in 2017. “We simply can’t have raw sewage flowing into our rivers. It’s bad for the environment, it’s bad for residents, and we must find a solution. This funding is a huge step in the right direction.”The money also will some provide some flexibility moving forward, potentially leading to a sewage system connection with a neighboring system.Hauck also was successful in efforts to include $600,000 in the state budget to support a project improving Lincoln Road from Broomfield Road to the bridge over the Chippewa River.The state budget for the fiscal year starting in October also includes record funding for road repairs, workforce development and K-12 schools, along with significantly increased investment in school security. Public universities, including Central Michigan University, will also get a funding increase. Overall, however, the budget does not increase state government spending.House Bill 5579 and Senate Bill 848 advance to Gov. Rick Snyder for his consideration. ### Categories: Hauck News,News
Categories: Lucido News,News 04Dec Rep. Lucido plan helps protect taxpayers against corrupt officials The Michigan House today approved a plan from Rep. Peter Lucido that helps hold corrupt public officials accountable to taxpayers.Lucido’s legislation calls for revoking taxpayer-funded retiree health insurance coverage in cases where a public official has been convicted of a job-related felony such as bribery or misuse of public funds.“The Legislature, as stewards of the public’s money, has a duty to do the right thing for Michigan’s hard-working taxpayers,” said Lucido, of Macomb County’s Shelby Township. “There’s no way we should be paying for benefits of corrupt officials who violate the public trust. There must be consequences when taxpayers are betrayed by the very people who are supposed to safeguard their money.”Lucido’s reform will require the forfeiture of retirement health benefits if a public employee is convicted of a crime that also requires a judge to revoke pension benefits.“We must have zero tolerance for public corruption,” Lucido said. “This plan protects taxpayer dollars and preserves public trust.”###House Bill 5918 advances to the Senate for further consideration.
Share8Tweet2Share1Email11 SharesDecember 19, 2016; The GuardianGlobal warming is changing Alaska, and the state’s indigenous peoples are hit the hardest. Melting polar ice, the retreat of glaciers, rising sea levels and the consequent flooding of coastal communities, increasing storm intensity, crop failures, damaged infrastructure, and endangered plant and animal species are among the threats to a way of life that has endured for thousands of years. The New York Times reports even more alarming news:A spate of extreme warmth in the Arctic over the past two months has startled scientists, who warn that the high temperatures may lead to record-low ice coverage next summer and even more warming in a region that is already among the hardest hit by climate change.The Guardian takes an especially close look at how climate change is causing the loss of the subsistence way of life in Alaska. Animal habitats and migration patterns are shifting. As sea and river ice change, hunting and fishing become more dangerous. Food insecurity is an urgent and growing problem; in these remote areas, a gallon of milk costs $15 due to the costs of transportation.The Guardian describes an island community that caught just 36 walruses compared to 600 only a few years ago.The extreme warmth of 2016 has changed so much for the people of the Arctic that even their language is becoming unmoored from the conditions in which they now live.The Yupik, an indigenous people of western Alaska, have dozens of words for the vagaries of sea ice, which is not surprising given the crucial role it plays in subsistence hunting and transportation. But researchers have noted that some of these words, such as “tagneghneq” (thick, dark, weathered ice), are becoming obsolete.After thousands of years of use, words are vanishing as quickly as the ice they describe due to climate change.The Artic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe. According to NOAA, and given today’s news referenced above, the temperature increase is accelerating. Towns and villages have to decide whether to stay and adapt or move. Given the relative paucity of local government and philanthropic financial support, the only positive outcome some see resulting from a calamitous storm or large waves would be the release of federal FEMA funding.The Guardian reports some 230 communities are in imminent danger from rising sea levels as the sea ice retreats. The Guardian shares its own assessment:The U.S. has no national sea level rise plan, no system to deal with displaced people. Even as the country’s first climate change refugees emerge from within its own borders, the issue is very much on the sidelines. The incoming president isn’t sure what the fuss is about, vacillating between calling climate change a “hoax” concocted by the Chinese or simply claiming that “nobody really knows” if it exists.As we witnessed at Standing Rock in North Dakota, sophisticated advances in engineering are not the only form knowledge takes. Indigenous societies have rich sets of experiences and explanations relating to their environments. In Alaska and elsewhere, we risk losing this priceless local knowledge, which encompasses sophisticated arrays of information, understanding, and interpretation that can guide us in our interactions with the natural world in the days and years ahead.This is one reason why the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007 after nearly 25 years of contentious negotiation. But while this Declaration protects the rights of native peoples, their lands, resources, and their unique cultures and traditions, international laws are no match to the laws of nature.—James SchafferShare8Tweet2Share1Email11 Shares
Share6Tweet29Share5Email40 SharesBy Careilly5801 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia CommonsAugust 8, 2017; Washington PostImmediately after the Senate failed in its final attempt to either repeal or replace the ACA, President Trump tweeted, “3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let Obamacare implode.” Based on his administration’s lack of action, he seems willing to do everything he can to make his words come true.The annual enrollment period for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the time when those wishing to get insurance for 2018 must choose their plan, is set to begin on November 1st. For more than 10 million people, that short six-week period is all the time they have to assess the changes in the coverage that will be available for 2018, including new premiums, and decide whether they want to reenroll for their current coverage or select a new plan or provider. This process isn’t easy, and the penalties for not completing it within the timeframe is high—insurance coverage may be lost or the wrong level of coverage may be selected.Under the Obama administration, the federal government assertively worked to offer encouragement and support, especially through the use of nonprofit ACA “navigators.” According to the Washington Post,In each of the past four sign-up seasons, the Obama administration was a clear cheerleader for the marketplaces, engaging in widespread marketing efforts, supporting nonprofit “navigators” who helped with community-based enrollment and loudly proclaiming the availability of insurance plans—and federal subsidies—to just about anyone without employer-sponsored coverage, Medicare or Medicaid.One way to ensure that the ACA will “implode” is to impede or withhold this effort, and that seems to be the administration’s game plan. When the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which are responsible for managing the sign-up process, were asked by the Washington Post what the plan was for the new enrollment cycle, they would only state, “As open enrollment approaches, we are evaluating how to best serve the American people who access coverage on HealthCare.gov.” Even that statement was quickly retracted.In June, the organizations, many of them nonprofits, with federal government contracts to help individuals navigate the healthcare system, attended a meeting in Baltimore with HHS officials to learn about the upcoming enrollment process. They left knowing only that this was going to be a difficult year for their organizations and those trying to navigate the system.Daniel Bouton, Health Insurance Marketplace Program Manager for the Community Council of Greater Dallas in North Texas, told the Post, “Every time the question was brought up, the only answer we received is they were working on it, and they hadn’t made a final decision about whether they were going to have a marketing campaign this year.” Jessie Menkens from the Alaska Primary Care Association asked, “Is there a commitment at this time to proceed with this outreach?” Menken reported their response was, “They very kindly said, ‘We’re not able to provide a commitment to that.’”State officials who are responsible for coordinating with the federal government have been no more successful in receiving guidance.Heather Korbulic, executive director of Nevada’s marketplace…has tried to find out whether HHS intends to contact Nevadans with ACA health plans to remind them to enroll—a particularly pressing issue because the state exchange operates under a hybrid system and pays about $5 million to rely on HealthCare.gov. She also has tried to get federal officials to provide a list of currently enrolled residents so the state can notify them directly.“I ask this question every week,” Korbulic said. “It’s verbal, written, and to different levels of management…We are desperately seeking answers.’”Limiting implementation support will make it difficult for the program to reach the same number of people it had in prior years. But that’s not the only way the administration’s lack of action is hurting those most vulnerable. Following passage of the ACA, the House of Representatives went to court challenging the payments made to these navigator programs, alleging they were not specifically permitted under the new law. While the legal process went forward, the Obama administration continued with this element of the ACA, and insurance companies saw it as an important element of the overall program. The President tweeted his recognition of the importance of these subsidies…and threatened to withhold them: “ObamaCare is in serious trouble. The Dems need big money to keep it going—otherwise it dies far sooner than anyone would have thought.”The impact of this uncertainty has been seen in increased rates and the withdrawal of insurance companies from the marketplace. According to S&P Global, just this week saw Anthem Insurance take both paths, as it announced significant changes to its operations in two more states, Nevada and Georgia. Earlier this year, it had exited California, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Business Insider reported, “Nevada Insurance Commissioner Barbara Richardson said in a statement that Anthem requested a 62 percent average rate increase, without factoring in the cost-sharing reductions, or CSRs, that many insurers have relied upon.” Fourteen counties in Nevada would end up with no insurance available under the ACA.The weight of Trump’s strategy of allowing ACA to falter through inaction will first fall on the households who will again find themselves uninsured and facing pain of unaffordable medical bills. The hospitals, doctors, and nonprofit organizations that serve them will scramble to protect them. And, the president who promised that we’d have “great health care…in a much-simplified form. Much less expensive and much better” is going to leave millions in the lurch, paying more for what little coverage they can get.—Martin LevineShare6Tweet29Share5Email40 Shares
Share9Tweet18ShareEmail27 Shares“Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.” Photo: Becky CortinoFebruary 28, 2018; Colorado Springs Independent“Business can no longer be divided into the private sector (for-profit), the public sector (government) and the plural sector (nonprofits). Now, there’s a fourth sector that encompasses ‘conscious capitalism,’” proclaims Rhonda Van Pelt in the Colorado Springs Independent.Jonathan Liebert is CEO and executive director of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Southern Colorado. Liebert also directs the Colorado Institute for Social Impact (CI4SI), which was launched in 2016 as a BBB initiative and now operates independently, with a $150,000 budget. The nonprofit, notes Colorado Springs Independent reporter J. Adrian Stanley, supports “four types of businesses: social enterprises (exist to solve a social issue, but also have commercial goals), social businesses (in which social and corporate goals are weighed equally), conscious capitalism companies (regular businesses that recognize a need to have a positive social impact), and benefit corporations (for-profit companies that include positive impact on society, workers, the community and the environment).”Liebert is a “conscious capitalism” adherent. Says Liebert, “We live in a capitalist society; business is the economic engine of how things get done. But you can make money and provide higher purpose, not only for your employees, but also for the community.”But who are these “conscious capitalist” firms? Well, Liebert cites a book called Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose. Originally released in 2007, with a second edition published in 2014, the book’s website lists supposedly exemplary firms, such as Starbucks, TOMS shoes, Stonyfield Farms, and Trader Joe’s.Liebert notes that Standard & Poor’s top 500 companies “conducting business the traditional way have an average 118 percent rate of return over 15 years.” But if you “look how conscious capitalists are doing: 1,681 percent. It’s unbelievable.” Amazon, one notes, is listed as a “conscious capitalist” company, which may have spiked the average a little, given that $5,000 in stock purchased in Amazon 20 years ago would be worth $2.4 million today.Regardless, these are impressive financial returns. Some of the firms listed also have some progressive policies. Still, if you dig even a little, the “conscious capitalism” variety looks pretty similar to plain-vanilla capitalism. Take Starbucks, for instance—a supposed “conscious capitalist” company that is known for its progressive policies, such as helping raise money for community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and its commitment to hire refugees.But when you look at where the money goes…well, how about former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz? A year ago, Jen Wieczner wrote in Fortune that Schultz, who was about to retire at the time, would continue getting paid. As Wieczner writes, “Having taken home $21.8 million in 2016, Schultz, whose net worth is an estimated $3 billion, has long operated under a promise by Starbucks that he’ll continue to make at least as much as the company’s CEO, even if he doesn’t have to do the job anymore.” One might ask: In what moral universe is a company that has a CEO take home a thousand times what a barista earns an example of a “conscious capitalism”?Naturally, at over $100 billion, the net worth of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is even larger. The point is not to denounce billionaires. But clearly the system is fostering anything but greater equality.Of course, on the ground, Liebert and his colleagues are doing good work in Colorado Springs. Van Pelt cites businesses they have supported, including “Blue Star Recyclers, which employs people with “disAbilities” to recycle discarded electronics; the Men’s Xchange, which offers a fresh start through gently used business attire; and Who Gives a SCRAP, which sells unwanted craft supplies and keeps them out of landfills.” Van Pelt adds that CI4SI partners with the local Small Business Development Center and community college and offers training, networking events, and consulting to help businesses increase their social return on investment.Liebert makes one interesting observation. Citing survey data from the Boston-based marketing firm Cone Communications in 2016 and 2017, he notes that, “Seventy percent of Americans believe that companies have an obligation to take actions to improve issues that may not be relevant to their everyday business…[and] seventy-eight percent of Americans believe that it’s important for companies to stand up for important social justice issues.” Survey respondents named economic development, poverty, hunger, environment, human rights, education, health, and disease as areas where business should play a socially productive role.According to Van Pelt, Liebert sees this data as a sign that “the tide is turning.” But another interpretation might be equally valid: namely that the gap between people’s expectations of business and actual business performance has never been wider.—Steve DubbShare9Tweet18ShareEmail27 Shares
Russian service provider ER-Telecom has doubled the number of digital channels it offers to TV subscribers.The number of channels on ER-Telecom’s digital network has increased to 100 from 55. Divan TV Plus subscribers now have access to 20 educational channels, 18 movie channels, 10 sports channels and nine children’s channels. The package also now offers all of the Discovery channels that are available in Russia.ER-Telecom, which operates in 42 cities across Russia, has been offering digital cable services since 2006.
Sony is to launch a movie channel in the UK. Sony Pictures Television Networks is launching the Sony Movie Channel, coming after the launch of its Sony-branded channel last year.Sony Movie Channel, and its time shifted +1 sister network, will air contemporary library movies and TV movies and will be available on Sky’s basic package. Advertising sales will be handled by SPT joint venture Dolphin TV.Kate Marsh, senior vice-president, broadcast and channel development, SPT, said: “Movies are a strong driver in the pay TV world so we’re very excited to launch Sony Movie Channel in the UK. Offering a wide variety of contemporary film entertainment every day, the scheduling will attract movie lovers of all tastes, helping advertisers reach a range of demographics.”
BT’s ad campaign for BT SportUK regulator Ofcom has ruled that BSkyB has not breached its broadcast code in refusing to carry ads for BT’s new rival sports channels. Following a complaint lodged by BT earlier this year, Ofcom said today that Sky was not in breach of its code on the prevention of undue discrimination between broadcast advertisers.In a 16-page document outlining its findings, Ofcom said that, in its view, “Sky is pursuing a legitimate commercial interest.” It added that “given the limited extent of the effects on BT” it believes that “Sky’s approach is proportionate.”Commenting on the ruling, Sky’s group director of corporate affairs, Graham McWilliam, said: “We are pleased that Ofcom has confirmed that we are acting entirely reasonably in declining to advertise a direct competitor on Sky Sports. As we said at the time, BT’s demands are a bit like Tesco expecting to advertise inside Sainsbury’s.”A BT spokesperson said: “With regulation you win some and you lose some. Whilst this decision has gone against us, we are delighted that Ofcom is going to investigate Sky over their refusal to supply us with Sky Sports on Youview. That is a far bigger issue for us than their refusal to show our ads so this has been a good week for BT in terms of regulation.”Yesterday, Ofcom said it would launch a separate investigation into BSkyB’s practices in wholesaling its sports channels, after receiving a different complaint from BT in May on this issue.The probe will focus on a claim by BT that the terms under which Sky offered its Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels to the YouView platform were an abuse of its market position. In particular, Sky is making the sale of the channels conditional on BT making its own sports channels available on Sky’s platform.BT alleges that Sky has “refused to provide Sky Sports 1 and 2 to BT on YouView on fair terms whilst providing them to other pay TV retailers such as TalkTalk.”However, Sky’s McWilliam dismissed the complaint as “entirely without merit.” He claimed: “BT has reinforced its reputation as a serial complainant by returning to the regulator about the supply of Sky Sports 1 and 2 to the YouView platform.“Our position here is just as reasonable as in advertising. BT has itself been clear that it wants to be the exclusive seller of its own sports channels in order to shore up its broadband business. We simply want a level playing field whereby each company supplies its sports channels to the other so we can both offer our customers all Premier League football next season.”