The growing environmental pitch for ditching the straw

first_imgTORONTO – This holiday season, cocktail hour could really suck for the straw industry.That’s because some establishments are ditching plastic straws as public backlash grows against the ubiquitous convenience — a seemingly innocuous tool that has become emblematic of the world’s plastic pollution problem.Customers like 31-year-old Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster are leading the charge, by asking wait staff at the bars and restaurants she visits to not bring her a straw.She says she’s trying to reduce the overall garbage she produces, and believes these little gestures are finally starting to get some traction.“This year was the first year I feel like a server went, ‘Absolutely, we’re totally on board with that.’ A couple of times I’ve had that response. And that tells me, ‘Oh, they’ve heard about this, it’s now becoming a thing,’” says the Toronto actress, who has also emailed bars she frequents to suggest they limit straw use.“Sometimes I feel kind of embarrassed about these little choices and I feel embarrassed about coming off as some kind of crazed eco-warrior hippie person.”But she’s certainly far from alone in her crusade.Two years after a video of a sea turtle impaled by a straw turned up on YouTube, the campaign to eliminate straws seems to have hit a new level of mainstream awareness.Establishments now run the risk of being shamed on social media for serving a glass of water with a straw, and as more businesses make changes, those lagging behind risk appearing out-of-step with the times.Bar owner Rachel Conduit admits she caught on to the movement a bit later than she’d like, but says she recently switched to biodegradable straws at her two Toronto bars, Handlebar and Farside.She’s also told her staff to stop habitually putting straws in mixed drinks, and only leave them on the bar for customers to grab if they want one.“The reason it took so long is the places I think where bars and restaurants often go to buy straws just don’t stock (biodegradable versions). So you have to go out of your way to order and find and source and get them delivered,” says Conduit.They are more expensive — she says 3,000 biodegradable straws cost her more than $100, while the same amount from her local cash-and-carry run less than $20.Conduit chalks that up to the cost of doing business, and guesses it would be offset by using fewer straws overall. Before the switch, she says the bars would go through 400 to 600 straws a month.But she doesn’t see the day when people will ban straws altogether.“Some people love their straws. They have nice lipstick or they have sensitive teeth. I think people will always use them.”Food service consultant Geoff Wilson agrees. Despite the social pressures and greater awareness, he says cost is still the determining factor in how most businesses choose to operate.While it might be relatively easy for a small, independent outlet to make the switch — with bars especially able to fold increased costs into the price of fancy cocktails — he doubted the broader industry would go biodegradable. Large chains, especially, would have a hard time, he suggested.“Take the cost of one straw — the differential — and multiply that by millions of straws,” says Wilson, principal at fsStrategy Inc.“The implication is pretty significant for margins for an operator. And operators’ margins are getting squeezed by everything else, including rising labour rates in Ontario. It’s going to be a real tough sell to get an operator to say, ‘Sure, I’ll go with a paper straw at 50 per cent more or whatever the amount is.’ It’s not going to happen.”He also doubted a consumer would pay more for a fancy straw.“And quite honestly, it’s pretty hard to drink a smoothie or an Iced Capp or whatever without a straw while you’re driving in the car. Unless you want to wear it.”Nevertheless, at least one big Canadian franchise has jumped aboard.Boston Pizza switched to biodegradable straws from plastic straws in January 2017, says spokeswoman Alexandra Cygal, noting it’s part of a broader strategy to switch all packaging to more eco-friendly versions.“Across our 380 restaurants in Canada, each restaurant might go through an average of maybe over 120,000 straws a year. So that’s a huge impact,” says Cygal.She calls it “a bigger hurdle” for bigger brands to pull off, especially a franchise business like Boston Pizza in which each restaurant is owned by a franchisee. She acknowledged that the added costs are passed down to those individual store owners.“We want it to be great for the environment, and definitely the kind of responsibility that we bear, we also want to be sure that the costs aren’t too high because we’re passing those down to the franchisee.”There’s certainly an opportunity for some businesses to market and build their brand by appearing eco-friendly, says Phillip Jacobsen of the online compostables retailer Greenmunch, based in Sherwood Park, Alta.He says his paper drinking straws have been a bestseller for over five years, with the biggest growth in the past year.While half of his business traditionally comes from individuals buying for parties, weddings, and special events, he says there’s growing demand from restaurants, bars, hotels, caterers and larger events.And these days, new businesses seem more likely to consider their eco-profile and work it into their brand, says Jacobsen. It doesn’t hurt that colourful paper straws photograph well and lend easily to Instagram and other social media promotion.Jacobsen says his corn straws also sell well, but he notes they must be diverted to a commercial compost facility in order to fully break down. That can be hit and miss, depending on the city you live in, he adds.In Toronto, Jennifer Wright of the advocacy group Green Shift bemoans a lack of support from some garbage haulers, noting she routinely hears complaints about collectors who refuse to believe their disposables are genuinely compostable.“The East Coast, for example, seems to be much more progressive in trying to really work with the compost facilities and support this, whereas in Toronto they love to just constantly say, ‘No,’” says Wright, president of Green Shift, which also distributes eco-friendly products including biodegradable straws.“Some places sell fake biodegradable and what happens is that it tarnishes everything because then the waste hauler will say, ‘Forget it, it’s all going to go to landfill.’”But making the switch is still worth fighting for, she says.“Don’t get discouraged if you can’t put it in compost right now, you have to realize you’re part of the change,” says Wright, who supplies most universities across the country as well as companies including Air Miles, HomeSense, Winners and Canadian Tire.Ch’ng Lancaster, too, says every small step helps.“We have so completely bought into this feeling that we deserve convenience as if it doesn’t cost something,” she says.“I do think small changes lead to bigger changes.”last_img read more

Maria Shriver And Olivia Munn Attend Courage In Journalism Awards

first_imgMore than 300 media personalities gathered in Los Angeles this week for the Courage in Journalism Awards, hosted by Aisha Tyler (CBS) and First Amendment Attorney Ted Boutrous, and attended by many accomplished women of the U.S. media and entertainment world, including Maria Shriver, Olivia Munn, Annette Bening, Chelsea Handler, Jennifer Westfeldt, Mary Hart, Brooke Anderson and Louise Roe.Olivia Munn at IWMF Courage In Journalism AwardsCredit/Copyright: Vince Bucci for IWMF

The Awards were presented to Khadija Ismayilova, a radio reporter from Azerbaijan, Asmaa al-Goul, a freelance journalist from Gaza, and Reeyot Alemu, an imprisoned Ethiopian columnist, for their courageous reporting under difficult and sometimes life-threatening circumstances.Chelsea Handler at IWMF Courage in Journalism AwardsCredit/Copyright: Vince Bucci for IWMF

”This event which I come to just about every year, always humbles me deeply. And it always inspires me. These amazing women encourage me. Their stories uplift me. Their work astounds me and leaves me in awe. It’s so good to know that these women and so many others like them are out there every day, risking their lives and their livelihoods in pursuit of the truth. All of us here tonight and around the world are beneficiaries of their courage, their voices and their noble struggle”, Peabody-winning journalist Maria Shriver told the audience.
Annette Bening at IWMF Courage in Journalism AwardsCredit/Copyright: Vince Bucci for IWMF
Ted Boutrous, filling in for Cindi Leive (Glamour) who was unable to emcee the event due to suspended air travel from New York, explained: “The IWMF does vast, far-ranging work – all with the core principal that no press is truly free and no news is truly representative without women’s voices.” “And around the world, women journalists still face incredible obstacles. Many of them work in countries where it’s dangerous just to be a woman, and doubly so to be a woman asking questions and taking names”, Aisha Tyler added.Maria Shriver at IWMF Courage in Journalism AwardsCredit/Copyright: Vince Bucci for IWMF

The 2012 IWMF Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Zubeida Mustafa, the first female editor in the Pakistani mainstream media and a true trailblazer who paved the way for Pakistani women to ascend to the leadership ranks of her country’s news media.

In addition to honoring women journalists who have shown tremendous courage in the exercise of their profession, the ceremony also paid tribute to women journalists who have given their lives to report about domestic and armed violence, corruption and abuse of power, injustice and tyranny – including Marie Colvin and Mika Yamamoto who died reporting from the conflict in Syria earlier this year.

The 2012 Courage in Journalism Awards in Los Angeles have been made possible through the generous support of Bank of America and Chevron.

Founded in 1990 by a group of prominent U.S. women journalists, the International Women’s Media Foundation is a Washington-based organization that is dedicated to strengthening the role of women journalists worldwide. The IWMF empowers women with the tools, knowledge, and confidence to serve as a prominent voice on global issues. The IWMF’s programs provide training, support, and advancement for women journalists worldwide. At the core of the IWMF’s mission is the belief that no press is truly free unless women have an equal voice.last_img read more

Sri Lankan woman proposes to girlfriend on radio

Dil herself summed up her overwhelming excitement in a Pharrell Williams’ song, ‘Happy’. Dil Wickremasinghe asked her girlfriend, Anne Marie O’Toole, to marry her live on national radio (in Ireland) in a simple but touching speech. Now that they can become a true family in Ireland, congratulatory messages have been flooding in for the couple.Rosemary Mac Cabe wrote: “Mega congratulations to the 3 of you Dil! Such massive love going around right now xx”Meadhbh Higgins tweeted: “Congratulations to you and your family! Phoenix is one lucky little boy All the best to the three of you.” And the answer was, of course, a firm ‘Yes’ laden with uncontainable joy and love.It has been a great week for Dil and Anne Marie. Not only are they engaged after a historic vote in favour of same-sex marriage, they also welcomed their first child on May 17, 2015. Feeling like she had nowhere and no one to turn, Dil moved to Ireland in the hopes of living a better life.She said: “I came to Ireland 15 years ago. I just knew this was a country that would give LGBT people the equality right they well and fully deserved.”The couple met at a mental health conference in Wicklow in April 2010. There truly is no better way to celebrate five years of bliss than welcoming a newborn and being seen as equal to heterosexual couples in the eyes of the law.Same-sex marriage triumphed in Ireland, after 62 per cent of the Irish Republic electorate, or 1,201,607 people, gave the nod.A huge crowd gathered in central Dublin to celebrate the milestone achieved in the predominantly Catholic country. There are already calls for the Church to reconnect with its younger generation.Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin, said: “I ask myself, most of these young people who voted yes are products of our Catholic school system for 12 years.He continued: “We [the Church] have to stop and have a reality check, not move into denial of the realities.”Ireland expects to wed same-sex couples from Autumn 2015. (Courtesy Like the battle to legalise gay rights around the world, Dil also went through a rocky ride to being accepted for her sexual identity.She recalled being disowned by her parents: “I was homeless actually in Sri Lanka for about three years.”Her workplace also abandoned her, as she described: “I got my first job in radio in Sri Lanka which is my dream job, but sadly I was fired after six months when they found out I was a lesbian.” A Sri Lankan radio presenter proposed to her girlfriend on the radio, after Ireland legalised same-sex marriage in a landslide vote on May 23, 2015. The Newstalk presenter said: “Now that we can and there’s nothing and no one that is standing in the way, will you marry me?” read more

Annan welcomes ceasefire announcement by Palestinian groups

Mr. Annan “hopes that the groups, the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority will do everything necessary to ensure that the ceasefire represents a full and complete end to violence and terror and is a turning point in breaking the cycle of violence between Palestinians and Israelis,” a UN spokesman said in a statement issued in Geneva, where the Secretary-General is attending a meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council. “Along with the agreement on Israeli withdrawal from Gaza Strip and Bethlehem, today’s ceasefire announcement offers a glimpse of hope,” the statement added. “The task now is to press ahead with the difficult process of implementing the Road Map, so as to make a reality of the vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.” Sponsored by the so-called Diplomatic Quartet of the UN, United States, European Union and Russia, the Road Map peace plans calls for Israel and the Palestinians to take a series of parallel and reciprocal steps culminating in the achievement of the two-state vision by 2005. Mr. Annan commended the Government of Egypt for its sustained efforts to help bring about the latest cease-fire. read more

UN officials outraged at accounts of Sri Lanka war crimes stress need

The comments by the Secretary-General’s Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and on the Responsibility to Protect, Jennifer Welsh, follow the release yesterday of a report by the UN human rights office (OHCHR) that identified patterns of grave violations, including indiscriminate shelling, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, harrowing accounts of torture and sexual violence, and recruitment of children. Welcoming the report, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hoped that its recommendations will help support the efforts of the people and the Government of Sri Lanka “to carve a durable path towards long-lasting peace and stability and respect for human rights, through a genuine and credible process of accountability and reconciliation that meets international standards.“The victims of all communities, their families and the Sri Lankan nation itself demand no less than a full and proper reckoning,” he added in a statement issued by his spokesperson.Indeed, the report recommended the establishment of a hybrid special court to ensure that justice is served.“Sri Lanka has gone through a very dark period of its history during the years of the conflict, which has caused immense suffering for all communities,” the Secretary-General’s Special Advisers stated. “Accountability is not just a matter of justice; it is also a matter of reconciliation, peace and non-recurrence,” they continued. “The wounds of the past need to be properly treated and healed in order to write a new peaceful page in Sri Lankan history.”The Special Advisers called for the establishment of accountability and reconciliation mechanisms that would meet international human rights law standards.“This is a process that will be painful and difficult, but indispensable for long-lasting peace and stability in the country,” they added.Ms. Welsh stressed that the Sri Lankan Government has the primary responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. “This responsibility entails bringing to account those responsible for crimes committed but also taking concrete steps to prevent their recurrence.”For his part, Mr. Dieng cautioned that outstanding grievances among Sinhalese and Tamil communities could pave the way to further violence. The Special Advisers highlighted that respect for diversity and intercultural dialogue and non-discrimination must be incorporated into national level policies. They also recommended that the Government ensure greater representation of all ethnic and religious communities.“The voices of the minorities need to be heard because they too are Sri Lankan,” they stressed. read more

Global investors must play full role in shifting world to clean energy

India: The Power of Pine Needles. Millions of people around the world, with no access to electricity, are destined to a life of poverty. But one couple in a remote part of India has found an innovative solution — right under their feet — showing that small-scale solutions can help solve big problems.Credit: United NationsFor her part, Mindy Lubber, President of Ceres and director of its Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) said investors are better positioned than ever before to address climate risks and seize the economic opportunities presented by clean energy. “Ultimately, global investment portfolios need to shift far more capital to low-carbon business activity and away from risky high carbon sectors that may perform poorly in the years ahead,” she added.Ms. Lubber called on all investors globally to set ambitious clean energy investment commitments; establish clear goals for reducing carbon risk exposure in their portfolios; encourage regulators worldwide to implement mandatory climate risk disclosure requirements; and to continue advocating for policies such as economically meaningful carbon pricing and ending fossil fuel subsidies. Participants at the 2016 Investor Summit on Climate Risk, co-hosted by the United Nations Foundation, Ceres and the United Nations Office for Partnerships, UN Headquarters, NY UN Photo/Mark Garten ‹ ›”Cities and businesses recognize the economic benefits that come with fighting climate change, and they’re setting a great example by establishing clear goals and measuring the impact of their work,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP, three-term Mayor of New York City, the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, and chair of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, who joined a discussion on climate risk disclosure. ”The more reliable information investors have about climate change, the easier it is for them to make informed decisions, and that will help drive more financing to projects that reduce carbon pollution and promote sustainable economic growth,” he said.At a press conference later in the day, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said the solutions to climate change are at hand and much more cost competitive.With the adoption of the Paris Agreement, two things had become clear: there are indeed huge risks to not tackling climate change in a timely fashion; and there are financial opportunities in transforming energy sectors, the automobile industry and oil and gas, among many other attendant sectors.“There are more opportunities to do well, to do good, and to have a just transition that [ensures] the wellbeing of everyone,” she said, adding that she had also seen a remarkable shift in the financial community about fiduciary responsibility. “We have shifted to an understanding […] that it is not about quarterly results. It is about the long term stability of the economy and of industry as a whole,” she concluded. “Markets now have the clear signal they need to unleash the full force of human ingenuity and scale up investments that can generate low-emissions resilient growth,” he said , speaking just days after scientists confirmed that 2015 was the hottest year on record.“The world now counts on you to act at the speed and scale needed to transform the global economy. To keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees, and even 1.5 degrees, we must begin the shift away from fossil fuels immediately. We need a massive scaling up of investments in clean energy and energy efficiency,” he said.Organized by the non-profit Ceres, the UN Foundation and the UN Office for Partnerships, the all-day meeting sought to catalyze a global shift toward exponentially cleaner energy fast enough to meet the long-term objective of December’s Paris climate accord to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero to avoid dangerous climate warming.“In 2015, clean energy investments stood at around $330 billion dollars, more than six times higher than in 2004. This is a good down-payment, but far less than the “clean trillion” needed annually throughout the coming decades to keep temperature rise to acceptable levels and limit the risks from climate change,” Mr. Ban said, laying out five steps for the investor action.National climate plans of developing countries must be financed, with institutional investors particularly well placed to provide the significant amounts of capital needed.Pension funds must use their influence as investors and shareholders to accelerate the rapid de-carbonization of the economy.The banking sector must continue scaling up the green bond market while changing its lending practices to support green investments, reflecting the growing risk in the brown economy.The insurance industry must strengthen climate resilience and disaster risk reduction efforts, especially in the most vulnerable countries.Investors need to know how the impacts of climate change can affect specific companies, sectors and financial markets as a whole, with clearer disclosure.“Investors and businesses that redirect resources to low-carbon, climate-resilient growth will be the economic powerhouses of the 21st century,” Mr. Ban concluded. “Those that fail to do so will be on the losing side of history. Every decision on investment and resource allocation must be part of the solution. Every dollar must be invested in low-carbon goods and services.“The private sector is the engine that will drive the climate solutions we need to reduce climate risks, end energy poverty and create a safer, more prosperous future for this and future generations. Each of you has a major role to play,” said the UN chief. read more

The shifting nature of world powers analysis

On July 15, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa sealed the deal on a $100 billion international bank, with a reserve currency pool worth more than a further $100 billion.During the dog days of summer, a game-changing meeting quietly took place in Brazil. It didn’t make world headlines, yet analysts say what came out of that meeting will likely have enormous implications for global economics and politics.On July 15, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa sealed the deal on a $100 billion international bank – the New Development Bank, formerly known as the “BRICS Bank” – with a reserve currency pool worth more than a further $100 billion.Its aim? To lend developing countries funds to pay for infrastructure projects and other investments. The controversy? This is exactly what the American and European-backed World Bank Group has been doing since the 1940s.The implication? A new shift in the world’s economic and political power, says Brock political science professor Pierre Lizee.“Essentially, what we’ve had is a world order that was focused on the United States,” says Lizee. “Now what we have is a rise of new actors and institutions that are challenging the U.S.-led global order.”The World Bank Group consists of five institutions that aim to reduce poverty in developing nations. They do so through offering an array of financial and technical assistance, including providing loans for development initiatives, promoting foreign direct investment and mobilizing capital in international financial markets.But this assistance comes with strict “conditionalities,” such as liberalizing a country’s trade, financial and investment sectors, privatizing national industries and reducing public sector spending.Critics say these conditionalities take power away from a country to govern its own economy and provide basic services such as health care and education. And, the enormous debts incurred by countries forces governments to spend their precious resources on debt serving rather than on these basic services, keeping them perpetually poor.Enter the BRICS group, headquartered in Shanghai, China, the country on the cusp of usurping the United States’ position as the world’s largest economy. Meanwhile, the United States is among the top 10 most indebted nations in the world, but has the most debt of any country in absolute terms, according to a 2013 Forbes report.“This new BRICS bank, in large part, will be controlled by Chinese money and the Chinese will use that bank to finance development projects in Africa,” says Lizee. “In all of this, what the Chinese are trying to do is create a new sphere of influence worldwide where control financial flows, models of development, where they’ll eventually try to counter-balance the influence of the U.S. in global financial circles.“This is extremely important because this a complete reversal of what we’ve known for the past half-century in terms of the nature of global politics,” he says.Much as critics welcome this new rival to decades of World Bank-dictated policies they say have largely benefited Western nations, there is concern about rising Chinese influence on the world stage.Analysts say that, unlike Western assistance that is also tied to a country’s democracy, human rights and environmental performance, China has few if any such conditions. This raises fears that an important layer of accountability might become eroded.“Power is being shifted from Western governments to non-Western governments, but below all of this, you have people,” says Lizee. “And these people in the Western world and the non-Western world want a world of democracy, a world of human rights.“They will still pressure these governments and institutions like the BRICS bank to promote democracy, human rights and so on as they promote development around the world.”At around the same time as the New Development Bank was officially being signed into existence, things were heating up in Russia with the downing of the Malaysian Airlines flight in Eastern Ukraine.Reaction from the United States and other Western countries over the downed jet – and the entire Crimea situation in general – has further damaged a deteriorating relationship between Russia and the West, with sanctions harming both sides.Russia has set up a Eurasian Economic Union, having as its members Belarus, Kazakhstan and, on Sept. 20, Armenia. The Union aims to create a market of more that 170 million people, modeled on – and possibly rivaling – the European Union.Lizee says Russia is being motivated to seek out new markets in part because of its “growing tension with the U.S.” and its oil and gas reserves.“For Russia, the Chinese market is becoming more interesting,” says Lizee. “What we’ll see in the coming years is the sense of an ambivalence on Russia’s part in terms of how Russia defines its sphere of influence, how it defines its markets, does it look East rather than West?”“What the U.S. will do with regards to the situation in Ukraine and Crimea will be central: will the West be able to enter into a dialogue with Russia in its long-term objectives? Will that then shape Russia’s behaviour?”If you’re interested in this topic, tune into the podcast “Shall We Dance? The shifting power balances of China, Russia and the United States.” This is the first of a monthly podcast series produced by Brock University. read more

Former Buckeye Cameron Heyward juggles academics preparations for NFL

After lining up a job that guarantees a multimillion-dollar contract, the best benefits an employee can hope for and fame and recognition as the newest member of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ dominant defense, it’d be easy to throw away your textbooks and forget lecture halls ever existed. But former Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward isn’t taking the easy way out. Even after being drafted in the first round of last month’s NFL draft, Heyward still attends classes and will graduate with a degree in education at the end of this quarter. The motivation to finish college all comes from within. Heyward knows he wants to earn a degree and do something that has not been done before by anyone in his immediate family. “I’m pushing myself,” Heyward said. “I want to impress my family. I’ll be the first one to graduate and that’s just a big accomplishment.” Now that he’s been drafted, his textbooks aren’t the only books he needs to study. Heyward was fortunate to get a playbook from his Pittsburgh coaching staff, something many draft picks weren’t able to do as a result of the NFL lockout. He said the playbook was the first thing he asked for when he arrived in Pittsburgh on April 29. “The playbook is like a magazine,” Heyward said. “I could read it all day, but I’ve still got to look at my textbooks.” Reading his textbooks might not help him a great deal when he’s studying opposing offenses and which quarterback he’ll be trying to sack on Sundays, but it could end up having a bigger impact sooner than he imagined. If the NFL and NFL Players Association don’t reach an agreement on the labor situation, delaying or canceling the season, Heyward said he will take advantage of the opportunity to complete his student-teaching duties. Heyward would be teaching elementary aged children. “I definitely want to do my student-teaching,” Heyward said. “I didn’t get a chance to do it, and I won’t until after my career. But if I can go into that … that’d be so much fun and that’s truly a dream of mine.” If an agreement is reached and Heyward ends up on the field instead of in the classroom, he will get a chance to return to Pittsburgh, where he’s already been welcomed by some of the town’s biggest celebrities. Heyward said Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger called him and wide receiver Hines Ward sent him a text message to congratulate him. With offensive weapons like Roethlisberger and Ward and a defense that has allowed the fewest points in the league two of the past three seasons, Heyward sees no reason why his new team shouldn’t compete for a championship every year. “I like to think we have the best defensive line in the NFL right now,” Heyward said. “It’s unbelievable. We should be in the Super Bowl every year.” Roethlisberger and Ward won’t be the only ones welcoming Heyward to the Steel City — Heyward was born in Pittsburgh and said he still has a lot of family in the area. “It’s like going back to your old stomping grounds,” he said. “I’m very grateful and I feel blessed to be in this situation. Not a lot of players get to say they’re going somewhere that they actually know a lot about. “I get to see my extended family a little bit more. I’m a big family guy and the chance to see them a little bit more, I love it.” Heyward said he’s “ecstatic” about being a Steeler but that it hasn’t yet hit him full force that he will be playing professional football in his hometown. “I’m just an average kid right now,” he said. “It hasn’t really set in to me that I’m going to be a Pittsburgh Steeler yet.” Heyward is just an average kid who stands 6-foot-5 and pushes 300 pounds, plays defensive end for one of the NFL’s elite franchises and goes to class on weekday mornings. read more

How to beat shrinkflation the biscuits and chocolate cheaper than they were

first_img“While price cuts for products are not always in proportion to size reductions – it is not the case that customers are being short-changed all the time,” the BBC investigators concluded. However shoppers were warned that the cost of some treats had risen considerably, while at same time shrinking in weight.Worst was found to be a a four stick Kit-Kat which has risen from 40p to 60 (50 per cent) since 2014, while becoming seven per cent smaller. Fears that ‘shrinkflation’ has left shoppers paying more for less are unfounded…at least for some chocolate and biscuits, and investigation has shown.A report last year from the the Office of National Statistics (‘ONS’) concluded more than 2,500 reduced in size and increased in price in the last five years.However the new survey from the BBC has found that savvy consumers could get better value for money if they know where to look.The best ‘shrinkflation’ beating deal discovered was a three pack of Jaffa Cakes, which have not only increased in weight by nealy 6 per cent since 2014, but also decreased in price from £2.35 to £1.55.Likewise a bar of Toblerone, which despite having decreased from 200g to 150 (25 per cent) in the past four years, has seen a price drop of nearly 40 per cent. A bar now costs £1.50 instead of £2.49.Of the 19 types of chocolate and biscuits surveyed from Asda, Ocado/Waitrose, Sainsburys and Tesco, nine (47 per cent) have seen price drops since 2014. For example a three pack of Yorkie raisin and biscuit has seen a price drop of 20 per cent, but a weight decrease of just 13 per cent. A Twin Twix bar has also increased in price by 36 per cent, while a bag of Snickers bites will set you back 49 per cent more today than in 2014, an extra 49p.Mark Jones, a food and drink solicitor at Gordons law firm said consumers were still be hitting by ‘shrinkflation’ for many products.“The products which did not increase in price were broadly ‘bulk buy’/large pack products where economies of scale mean margins are less stringent,” he said.“Overall, and by some distance, a smaller pack size means a higher price.”Manufacturers have increasingly blamed the rising cost of raw materials for the price hikes, and the weak pound, which makes imports more expensive.Other companies said they had made changes to reduce calories and bring products in line with health policies. KitKat has see some of the biggest price rises center_img KitKat has see some of the biggest price rises Credit:Bloomberg However the European import price of sugar has been falling since the middle of 2014, and reached a record low in March 2017. Raphael Moreau, food and nutrition analyst at retail experts Euromonitor International, said: “Despite its stabilisation since second half of 2017, the pound remains at a low historic rate against the euro. Chocolate confectionery and biscuits have been particularly strongly affected.”Decisions to shrink pack sizes are more often prompted by retailers seeking to boost margins than by branded food manufacturers, which are more likely to see their brand image damaged as a result of negative publicity on traditional and social media.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Intermat 2015 sees MTG launch new mining wear protection solutions

first_imgAt Intermat 2015 last week, attended by IM, MTG introduced its innovative U design bucket side protector for its ProMet range to the market, which includes the MTGtwist hammerless locking system. The new protector offers up to 4 times more resistance than the MTG LS/LA shrouds and keeps robust and stable with wear material ratio over 70% compared to MTG LS /LA shrouds.Other advantages are its increased contact surface that reduces plastic deformation to the sides of the bucket as well as the fact that they are reversible, which allows changing their position and therefore increasing wear life. They boast a new design for an optimum distribution of the wear material and increased protection of the locking system.The new ProMet bucket protection shroud has been specifically designed for 30, 40, 50 and 60 mm blade thickness excavators.Also released was the new StarMet Wear Bottom Leg Shroud, which protects the bottom leg of the adapter and its welding area. The main advantage of the StarMet Wear Bottom Leg Shroud is that it duplicates the wear material of the bottom leg adapter and therefore reduces the down times of machinery related with GET. This product “is easy and fast assembling and has already been satisfactorily tested for almost one year in highly abrasive applications.”The new StarMet Wear Bottom Leg Shroud is currently available in StarMet adapter sizes 120, 180 and 500, it will also be released for tooth adapter sizes 50, 60 and 240 beginning on June 15, 2015.last_img read more

Internet une étude minimise ses dangers pour les enfants

first_imgInternet : une étude minimise ses dangers pour les enfantsUne étude financée par la Commission européenne, et menée dans 25 pays auprès de plus de 25.140 internautes européens âgés de neuf à seize ans, tend à relativiser les impacts du web sur un jeune public. L’enquête EU Kids Online parvient en effet à la conclusion que les dangers associés à l’utilisation d’Internet par les enfants sont largement surestimés.Menée par la London School of Economics, l’étude révèle que 60% des jeunes âgés de 9 à 16 ans utilisent quotidiennement Internet. Ils surfent en moyenne une heure et demie par jour, pour une grande majorité depuis chez eux (87%) et à l’école (63%). Et si seulement un quart des parents ont recours à un système de contrôle, 70% des enfants ayant participé à l’enquête dialoguent régulièrement avec leurs parents au sujet de leurs activités en ligne. Internet se révèle être bien moins source de conflits que ne peut l’être la télévision.À lire aussiAmygdalite : chronique, caséeuse, cryptique, de quoi s’agit-il ?Quant aux dangers du web, largement craints par l’opinion publique, ils ne s’avéreraient finalement pas aussi importants que l’on peut l’imaginer. Seuls 12% des enfants (8% en France) déclarent en effet avoir vécu une expérience perturbante ou désagréable lors de leurs activités en ligne. En outre, ce qui est considéré comme choquant par des adultes, ne l’est pas toujours aux yeux des enfants. “Par exemple, 14 % des enfants ont vu des images sexuelles sur Internet, mais ils sont seulement un tiers à estimer que cela a été une expérience pénible”, note l’étude. “9% des enfants ont rencontré en face à face une personne connue sur Internet et seulement un sur huit de ceux qui ont fait de telles rencontres l’ont vécu comme une expérience perturbante”, révèle également l’enquête.Une expérience se montre toutefois plus difficile que les autres pour les enfants : le harcèlement en ligne via des messages insultants et agressifs. Seuls 6% des jeunes européens disent avoir été victimes de tels messages, et les deux tiers d’entre eux déclarent avoir été “assez” ou “très” perturbés. Chose que la grande majorité des parents ignorent.Le 17 janvier 2011 à 19:02 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Free Mobile des tarifs agressifs en vue

first_imgFree Mobile : des tarifs agressifs en vue ?Alors que le lancement de l’offre mobile de Free ne devrait pas tarder, on s’achemine vers des tarifs bien en deça de ce qui existe actuellement sur le marché.Alors que la date de lancement de Free Mobile n’a pas encore été officiellement communiquée, les paris vont bon train quant aux tarifs qui seront appliqués par le nouvel opérateur téléphonique. Xavier Niel, le fondateur de Free, a ainsi promis “un prix clair, facile à retenir” et surtout de “diviser la facture par deux”. On s’achemine donc vers un tarif aux environs de 15 euros par mois pour un forfait illimité.À lire aussiRéseau 4G de SFR : tout sur les forfaits, les lancements et les prixUne théorie soutenue par la plupart des analystes, relaye ainsi La Tribune. “A 15 euros, Free Mobile peut faire un carton et conquérir 1,5 million d’abonnés dans l’année”, explique d’ailleurs Stéphane Beyazian, analyste chez Raymond James Equities. Mais Free devra néanmoins se préparer à une riposte des opérateurs historiques, pas franchement décidés à laisser ce nouveau venu marcher sur leurs terres, à l’image d’Orange dont un de ses dirigeants n’hésite pas à parler de “blitzkrieg” (guerre éclair, ndlr). Il va y avoir du sport…Le 28 novembre 2011 à 16:30 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Jarjus double sends Real second Place

first_imgBy Sulayman Bah Real de Banjul yesterday managed to close the gap to two points with leaders Gamtel after thrashing Interior 2-1 thanks to Yankuba Jarju’sbrace.Victory over police outfit Interior in one of their two rescheduledgames in hand shoots the defending champions to second position ahead of Bombada.Real got off to a flying start with in-form striker Yankuba Jarjurifling in the opening goal from an Ebrima Sidibeh’s assist aftertwenty-three minutes ticked in the first-half.Jarjue should have doubled the score had he not tapped the ball over the crossbar when team-mate Sam Gibba coaxed his marker to find his way inInterior’s half.But the match wasn’t a one-way traffic as Interior soon found the back ofthe net from a Khalifa Jarra’s header from a corner.Resumption of play saw Yankuba who was making most of his newfound scoringboot in the face of striker Madi Fatty’s dip form, nestled the ball intothe back of the net with Ebrima Sidibeh again turning provider.RDB are now on 22 points two points below leaders Gamtel on 24 pointsin eleven matches.  ]]>last_img read more

Magnetic Media live from Grand Bahama Kick Off weekend

first_img Recommended for you More Marketing in TCI for Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 15 Apr 2015 – Stay tuned for the photos, videos, news reports and more including Turquoise Morning from all of the events of the inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival.Kick off Weekend on Taino Beach in Grand Bahama with weekend access to the hottest show, Music Masters Semi Finals, just $20.Also featuring Grammy nominated, T-Connection and Midnight Rush.Magnetic Media taking Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival from Grand Bahama to 27 countries and cities on One Caribbean Television, Power 92.5FM, Kiss 102.5FM, Radio Turks and Caicos and nine social media including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest,,, YouTube and Instagram.center_img Related Items:bahamas junkanoo festival Turks and Caicos Premier invited to Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival; Opening weekend in Grand Bahamalast_img read more

Eric Schneiderman NY Attorney General To Speak At Entertainment Law Event

first_img RihannaPhoto: Steve Granitz/Getty Images (L-R) Jay Z, Rapsody, Lady Gaga, Alessia Cara, Childish Gambino, SZA, Taylor Swift, Luis Fonsi, Bruno Mars, Cardi BPhotos: Eric Schneiderman: N.Y. Attorney General To Speak At Entertainment Law Event Who Are The Latest Performers? | 60th GRAMMYs Twitter Tina TurnerPhoto: Bill Marino/Sygma New York state Attorney General will speak at official GRAMMY Week event on Jan. 26 in New York CityBrian HaackGRAMMYs Dec 15, 2017 – 4:52 pm New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will make a special appearance as a featured speaker during the 20th annual Entertainment Law Initiative Event & Scholarship Presentation on Jan. 26, 2018, two days prior to the 60th GRAMMY Awards.As Attorney General, Schneiderman has led the fight to protect New Yorkers by suing to block the travel bans, leading a coalition to defend the Clean Power Plan, intervening to defend the Affordable Care Act, and defending the rights of sanctuary cities. His efforts curtailed ticket scalping in New York, protecting artists and fans and securing nearly $7 million in settlements from ticket brokers thus far. He is also an avid jazz enthusiast and music preservation advocate.The event will also recognize this year’s recipient of the ELI Service Award, Fox Rothschild LLP partner Michael Reinert, who is being saluted for his commitment to advancing and supporting the music community through service. Alongside Reinert, attorney Allen Grubman, partner at Grubman, Shire, Meiselas, & Sacks, P.C., will receive the Recording Academy President’s Merit Award in recognition of his many years of work protecting the interests of creators.Also honored at the 20th annual event will be two student winners of the annual ELI Writing Competition, which challenges students attending an ABA-approved law school to write a 3,000-word paper analyzing a compelling legal topic facing the music industry. The winning student will receive a $10,000 scholarship, airfare/hotel accommodations for two and two tickets to the 60th GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, and two tickets to GRAMMY Week activities including the MusiCares Person of the Year Gala honoring Fleetwood Mac, the official GRAMMY Awards after-party, and more. The student runner-up will receive a $2,500 scholarship. The results of the competition will be announced in January.Individual tickets for the Entertainment Law Initiative event are now on sale. For more information on sponsorship and multiticket packages, contact Neil Crilly at More 60th GRAMMY Awards News Watch GRAMMY Rock Performances On Apple Music Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert, Madonna, and Queen Latifah perform at the 56th GRAMMY Awards Class Of 2018 Special Merit Awards Recipients News MusiCares Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban 60th GRAMMYs: Who Are The First Performers? Kelly ClarksonPhoto: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images Lady GagaPhoto: Lester Cohen/ Facebook Class Of 2018 Special Merit Awards Recipients These 15 Artists Are First-Time GRAMMY Nominees 60th GRAMMYs: Full Performer List Tina TurnerPhoto: Bill Marino/Sygma Nile RodgersPhoto: Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images Meet The GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Class Of 2018 Find Out Where 60 GRAMMY Nominees Were Born Luis FonsiPhoto: Victor Chavez/ Bruno MarsPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Miles DavisPhoto: Thierry Orban/Sygma/Getty Images RihannaPhoto: Steve Granitz/Getty Images Clive Davis and Pharrell WilliamsPhoto: Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images Kelly ClarksonPhoto: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images Class Of 2018 Special Merit Awards Recipients Read more Watch GRAMMY Rap Performances On Apple Music Dave GrohlPhoto: John Shearer/ Who Will Play With Lang Lang At GRAMMYs Salute? Bruno MarsPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Miley CyrusPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images 15 Records That Could Be Set | 60th GRAMMYs Uber Partners With Best New Artist Nominees (L-R) Jay Z, Rapsody, Lady Gaga, Alessia Cara, Childish Gambino, SZA, Taylor Swift, Luis Fonsi, Bruno Mars, Cardi BPhotos: These 15 Artists Are First-Time GRAMMY Nominees Performers Added To 2018 Person Of The Year Show Kendrick LamarPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Lady GagaPhoto: Lester Cohen/ Dr. DrePhoto: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic Kendrick LamarPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Watch GRAMMY R&B Performances On Apple Music ‘2018 GRAMMY Nominees’ Album: Buy Your Copy Meet The GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Class Of 2018 15 Records That Could Be Set | 60th GRAMMYs Watch GRAMMY Rock Performances On Apple Music Watch GRAMMY R&B Performances On Apple Music Watch GRAMMY Pop Performances On Apple Music (L-R) Jay Z, Rapsody, Lady Gaga, Alessia Cara, Childish Gambino, SZA, Taylor Swift, Luis Fonsi, Bruno Mars, Cardi BPhotos: Who Is Presenting At The 60th GRAMMYs? Miley CyrusPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Soprano Isabel LeonardPhoto: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images) Who Is Presenting At The 60th GRAMMYs? Rihanna Among Performers Added To 60th GRAMMYs Who’s Performing At The 2018 GRAMMY After-Party? Miley CyrusPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Miles DavisPhoto: Thierry Orban/Sygma/Getty Images Watch GRAMMY R&B Performances On Apple Music KhalidPhoto: Justin Lloyd/Newspix/Getty Images Chris StapletonPhoto: Steve Granitz/Getty Images Cardi BPhoto: Thaddaeus McAdams/ Chris Stapleton, Sting Added To 60th GRAMMYs Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert, Madonna, and Queen Latifah perform at the 56th GRAMMY Awards Email Who Will Play With Lang Lang At GRAMMYs Salute? 60th GRAMMYs: Who Are The First Performers? Bruno MarsPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Watch GRAMMY Country Performances On Apple Music Watch GRAMMY Jazz Performances On Apple Music 2018 GRAMMYs: 60 Nominee Facts Kendrick LamarPhoto: Lester Cohen/Getty Images Chris StapletonPhoto: Steve Granitz/Getty Images Uber Partners With Best New Artist Nominees Kendrick LamarPhoto: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Nile RodgersPhoto: Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images Meet The GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Class Of 2018 (L-R) Nick Sanborn (Sylvan Esso), K.Flay, Cardi B, Kevin Hart, Logic, KeshaPhotos: Watch GRAMMY Country Performances On Apple Music Watch GRAMMY Jazz Performances On Apple Music Bruno Mars, Cardi B Added To 60th GRAMMYs Lineup Rihanna Among Performers Added To 60th GRAMMYs MusiCares Clive Davis and Pharrell WilliamsPhoto: Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images Watch GRAMMY Country Performances On Apple Music Kelly ClarksonPhoto: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images Watch GRAMMY Jazz Performances On Apple Music Watch GRAMMY Rock Performances On Apple Music Kendrick LamarPhoto: Lester Cohen/Getty Images (L-R) Nick Sanborn (Sylvan Esso), K.Flay, Cardi B, Kevin Hart, Logic, KeshaPhotos: Performers Added To 2018 Person Of The Year Show Cardi BPhoto: Thaddaeus McAdams/ Dr. DrePhoto: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic Chris StapletonPhoto: Steve Granitz/Getty Images Prev Next Tina TurnerPhoto: Bill Marino/Sygma N.Y. AG: Entertainment Law Event Featured Speaker eric-schneiderman-ny-attorney-general-speak-entertainment-law-event GRAMMY Performances Available Via Apple Music Soprano Isabel LeonardPhoto: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images) 2018 GRAMMYs: 60 Nominee Facts Watch GRAMMY Pop Performances On Apple Music Cardi BPhoto: Thaddaeus McAdams/ Clive Davis Reflects On Pre-GRAMMY Gala Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban Watch GRAMMY Rap Performances On Apple Music Chris Stapleton, Sting Added To 60th GRAMMYs Miles DavisPhoto: Thierry Orban/Sygma/Getty Images Whitney Houston, 29th GRAMMY Awards GRAMMY Performances Available Via Apple Music Who Are The Latest Performers? | 60th GRAMMYs 2018 GRAMMYs: 60 Nominee Facts 60th GRAMMYs: Full Performer List Dave GrohlPhoto: John Shearer/ Chris Stapleton, Sting Added To 60th GRAMMYs RihannaPhoto: Steve Granitz/Getty Images Soprano Isabel LeonardPhoto: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images) 60th GRAMMYs: Who Are The First Performers? KhalidPhoto: Justin Lloyd/Newspix/Getty Images Nile RodgersPhoto: Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images Rihanna Among Performers Added To 60th GRAMMYs These 15 Artists Are First-Time GRAMMY Nominees See Full List Of 60th GRAMMYs 2018 Awards Winners Cardi BPhoto: Thaddaeus McAdams/ Clive Davis Reflects On Pre-GRAMMY Gala Kendrick LamarPhoto: Lester Cohen/Getty Images Who Are The Latest Performers? | 60th GRAMMYs Who Will Play With Lang Lang At GRAMMYs Salute? Who’s Performing At The 2018 GRAMMY After-Party? Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert, Madonna, and Queen Latifah perform at the 56th GRAMMY Awards 15 Records That Could Be Set | 60th GRAMMYs John Legend Cardi BPhoto: Thaddaeus McAdams/ (L-R) Nick Sanborn (Sylvan Esso), K.Flay, Cardi B, Kevin Hart, Logic, KeshaPhotos: ‘2018 GRAMMY Nominees’ Album: Buy Your Copy Who Is Presenting At The 60th GRAMMYs? 60th GRAMMYs: Full Performer List MusiCares Clive Davis Reflects On Pre-GRAMMY Gala John Legend Bruno Mars, Cardi B Added To 60th GRAMMYs Lineup Uber Partners With Best New Artist Nominees Dave GrohlPhoto: John Shearer/ ‘2018 GRAMMY Nominees’ Album: Buy Your Copy Find Out Where 60 GRAMMY Nominees Were Born Bruno Mars, Cardi B Added To 60th GRAMMYs Lineup Luis FonsiPhoto: Victor Chavez/ See Full List Of 60th GRAMMYs 2018 Awards Winners Cardi BPhoto: Thaddaeus McAdams/ Find Out Where 60 GRAMMY Nominees Were Born Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban Luis FonsiPhoto: Victor Chavez/ Watch GRAMMY Rap Performances On Apple Music John Legend Whitney Houston, 29th GRAMMY Awards Performers Added To 2018 Person Of The Year Show Clive Davis and Pharrell WilliamsPhoto: Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images KhalidPhoto: Justin Lloyd/Newspix/Getty Images Lady GagaPhoto: Lester Cohen/ Dr. DrePhoto: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic See Full List Of 60th GRAMMYs 2018 Awards Winners Whitney Houston, 29th GRAMMY Awards Who’s Performing At The 2018 GRAMMY After-Party? Watch GRAMMY Pop Performances On Apple Music GRAMMY Performances Available Via Apple Musiclast_img read more

US deputy attorney general Republican lawmakers launch move to impeach

first_imgDeputy US attorney general Rod Rosenstein announces grand jury indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers in special counsel Robert Mueller`s Russia investigation as he appears with Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Ed O’Callaghan during a news conference at the justice department in Washington, DC, US, 13 July 2018. Photo: ReutersA group of Republican lawmakers on Wednesday introduced articles of impeachment to remove deputy US attorney general Rod Rosenstein, escalating a fight over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.Representatives Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows, who belong to the conservative House Freedom Caucus, joined nine other House members in accusing Rosenstein of hiding investigative information from Congress, failure to comply with congressional subpoenas and other alleged misconduct.Rosenstein, the No. 2 official at the justice department, has become a frequent punching bag for supporters of President Donald Trump for appointing Mueller to investigate whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton. The president has denied such collusion took place.“The DOJ is keeping information from Congress,” Jordan said, referring to the Department of Justice. “Enough is enough. It’s time to hold Mr. Rosenstein accountable for blocking Congress’s constitutional oversight role.”A justice department official said the agency had no comment.Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said on Twitter the articles of impeachment “were filed in bad faith and show extraordinary lengths to which House Republicans will go to protect Trump.”The House is scheduled to leave on Thursday on a recess that extends until the first week of September.A House Republican aide said the two lawmakers were not attempting to force quick action on the articles of impeachment.Republicans in the House have been discussing possible impeachment action against Rosenstein for some time.Rosenstein was appointed by Trump, but the Republican president has repeatedly criticized him on Twitter for his oversight of the Russia probe, which he calls a witch hunt.For Rosenstein to be removed from office, a majority of the House must vote for the articles of impeachment and then the Senate must convict him on a two-thirds vote. Republicans control both chambers but have only a 51-49 edge in the Senate.last_img

Full Show Building Homes in the Flood Plain and Understanding Your DNA

first_imgOn Monday’s Houston Matters: A report from the Houston Chronicle says more and more new homes are being built in flood plains. The Chronicle says one in every five home construction projects given a permit are in these areas. We learn more from the reporters involved in the findings.Also this hour: With the rise of DNA testing services to determine one’s ancestry, a local expert helps us make sense of what listeners have found in their results. And we learn about a surprise some South Texas residents are finding in theirs.Also this hour: Veterinarian Dr. Lori Teller of the Meyerland Animal Clinic answers your questions. And we get an update on the Astros-Indians playoff series and the Texans-Cowboys game from sportswriter Jeff Balke.We offer a daily podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. This article is part of the Houston Matters podcast Share X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:center_img 00:00 /50:24 Listenlast_img read more

Cheddar Now on All US OTT Streaming Services Preps Primetime Programming Block

first_img Popular on Variety Cheddar’s linear streams also are available on Comcast’s X1 set-top boxes and on DirecTV’s internet-connected set-tops. It also sends out a live feed via Twitter and sells direct-to-consumer subscriptions (for $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year). All told, Cheddar reaches roughly 30 million homes through its deals, according to Steinberg.As part of Cheddar’s push to bring in more revenue with the expanded distribution footprint, the company will launch a block of primetime programming next month, Steinberg said. The weeknight lineup will include “reality-business programming” and a game show, he said. That will extend Cheddar Business’s original content wheel past its current live coverage from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. ET (after which the channel replays highlights from the day).Steinberg declined to provide details of its agreement with Sony for PS Vue or other distributors, but he said unlike other cable TV network startups, “We’ve never written a check for carriage.”The main revenue stream for Cheddar, which calls itself a purveyor of “post-cable networks,” is from advertising and branded content. Last year, the company generated $27 million in revenue (up from $11 million from 2017) and Steinberg is shooting to nearly double sales in 2019.“We are in these premium TV environments, next to CNN, CNBC and Fox News Channel,” he said. “It’s completely work-safe, high-value inventory delivered to young, affluent audiences.” Cheddar’s sponsors and advertisers have included Chase, Goldman Sachs, TradeStation and Fidelity, and Steinberg sees an opportunity to expand beyond the endemic financial-services category.To date, Cheddar has raised $54 million in funding from investors including Amazon, AT&T, Comcast Ventures, Raine Ventures, Liberty Global, Goldman Sachs, Altice USA, the New York Stock Exchange, Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.Steinberg is projecting the company to be profitable in the fourth quarter of 2019 “and stay profitable,” he said. “I’m obsessed with keeping the company frugal. You should see our offices.” The company has spent $10 million on acquisitions, including buying from Viacom last year, and currently has $30 million in the bank between cash and accounts receivable, according to Steinberg. ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Video-news startup Cheddar is launching its live-streaming news networks on Sony’s PlayStation Vue, making it the first content provider to span all over-the-top subscription services in the U.S.The company, founded in 2016, operates two networks — the newly rebranded Cheddar Business, positioned as a CNBC-style financial and business network for millennials, and Cheddar News, which it previously called Cheddar Big News. Cheddar’s linear programming is carried on Dish’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Hulu With Live TV, YouTube TV, FuboTV and Philo, and went live on PlayStation Vue on Wednesday (Jan. 23).“We made it our goal to be on every one of these services – which is the future of television,” said Jon Steinberg, founder and CEO of Cheddar. That said, going the OTT route is an easier path: Steinberg acknowledged that “it’s virtually impossible to get traditional channels launched” on traditional pay-TV platforms. Cheddar now has 180 employees, most of whom are based in New York. Cheddar Business broadcasts primarily from the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, covering business and tech news. Cheddar News covers general and headline news. On PlayStation Vue, Cheddar Business is available in the Access package, available to all subscribers. Cheddar News is available to all subscribers with the Elite and Ultra packages.Interest has surged among traditional media companies in next-generation streaming video plays: witness Viacom’s $340 million cash deal for Pluto TV, a free, ad-supported streaming service.Asked what Cheddar’s exit strategy is, Steinberg said, “I don’t think our exit is going to be someone writing a giant check for us.” He added, “I have no interest in merging with other digital companies.” On the other hand, it would make sense for Cheddar to be part of a local TV station group, or to combine with the news operations of a larger media company if those were to be spun out, Steinberg said.last_img read more

20 Years Later How SpongeBob SquarePants Still Feels Fresh

first_imgStay on target Here’s a Closer Look at the Nike Kyrie 5 SpongeBob PackNike Reveals Commemorative Kyrie 5 ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ Sneakers Twenty years ago today, a cartoon series debuted that would have effects far beyond its humble beginnings. It would almost single-handedly keep a network afloat, inspire a feature film and a Broadway musical, sell over $13 billion in merchandise, and spawn countless number of memes. And it started with one of the most ludicrous premises ever: what if a sponge worked at a fast food restaurant?How did SpongeBob SquarePants come to be, and what was behind its wild success? Let’s dive deep into the history of the cartoon and learn more.Photo Credit: NickelodeonThe Dawn of NickelodeonThe early days of cable programming had a lot of Wild West mentality. Networks were launched on shoestring budgets with made-up mandates, and Nickelodeon was no different. Seeing a void in programming exclusively targeted to kids, Warner Cable launched the channel in 1979 devoid of commercials as what’s called a “loss leader,” meaning that the benefit to gaining new subscribers was worth the cost of running the station. The majority of its initial programming came from Columbus, Ohio-based QUBE. Instead of commercials, the channel filled breaks with filmed footage of mime performances.By 1984, Nickelodeon was unsurprisingly losing $10 million a year.The company hired an advertising firm to rebrand the fledgling channel and began accepting whatever advertising they could sell. They also established a late-night block, Nick at Nite, showing retro shows from the 50s and 60s. A few years later, Nickelodeon was sold to Viacom (along with MTV and VH1).It took the new network some time to find its footing, but the first tipping point came in 1991 with the premieres of three original animated series — Doug, Rugrats, and The Ren & Stimpy Show. The three initial “Nicktoons” helped the channel develop its own identity and stake out a place in the market beyond re-runs and slime drops. But two of those three series fell off the air, leaving Rugrats to do the heavy lifting. Nick needed a new series that would grab the zeitgeist, and they found it in a very unusual place.Photo Credit: NickelodeonEnter the SpongeStephen Hillenburg wasn’t your average cartoon creator. Born in Oklahoma, he had a love for marine animals as a child and after graduating from Humboldt State University he worked at the Orange County Marine Institute in Dana Point as a biology instructor, teaching visitors about the complex and fascinating ecology of the sea. While there, he also used his artistic talents to create an educational comic book for the Institute called The Intertidal Zone. After a few years, he realized that his true passion was for art, and enrolled in Cal Arts’ prestigious animation program.After graduation, Hillenburg made a few experimental shorts before being hired as a director on Nickelodeon’s Rocko’s Modern Life. When that series went off the air, some of his co-workers started pressing him to put a pitch together for his own show. One of the characters from The Intertidal Zone, Bob the Sponge, would be the core. He put a presentation together complete with a underwater terrarium with character models in it and it impressed Nick executives enough for them to fund a pilot in 1997.They had two weeks to put it together, and Hillenburg and creative director Derek Drymon were panicked that it wouldn’t go over. But that first 11 minute clip was so solid that the Nick brass immediately watched it again and then decided to make SpongeBob SquarePants the network’s first original Saturday morning cartoon.The first episode aired after the Kids Choice Awards on May 1, 1999, and everybody knew they were watching something special. But could Nickelodeon break the broadcast networks’ stranglehold on Saturday morning programming?Yes, and it didn’t take long. Within a month of its premiere, SpongeBob SquarePants toppled Pokemon as the highest-ranked Saturday morning cartoon on television. Even more interesting, it helped push Nickelodeon’s demographic in an unexpected direction. Of each episode’s 2.2 million average viewers, 40 percent were over the age of 18. Hillenburg had wanted to make a series that was accessible to kids but also nodded to adults that might be watching, much like Ren & Stimpy but with a warmer heart.That cross-generational appeal would lead to some pretty unusual outings for the residents of Bikini Bottom, including airing late nights on MTV in the mid-2000s.Photo Credit: NickelodeonTrust the ProcessMany aspects of SpongeBob SquarePants‘s production were unusual for the time. Most animated series were created script-first — a writer would put down all the jokes and dialogue in text format, and then it would be sent off to storyboard artists. But Hillenburg wanted to look back at the early days of animation, where the initial creative force was visual, not verbal. After a basic premise was generated for each story, it would be taken over by storyboard directors who would map out the whole thing in rough drawings. After that, writers would riff off the storyboards to write dialogue.That let the show have breathing room to play with visual gags created by visual artists as well as dialogue by gifted comedy writers. It employed a wide variety of illustrative approaches, from painted Ren & Stimpy-esque gross-outs to surreal live-action, public domain footage and puppet sequences. That visual freedom was a major inspiration on the generation of animators that followed. That same freedom also extended to the voice actors, who folded in a good deal of improvisation when recording their lines. The sessions are always held as a group, more like an old radio serial than the modern one-at-a-time process. Unlike so many kids’ cartoons, which felt like they were focus grouped into oblivion, SpongeBob SquarePants felt loose, funky, and very personal.Hillenburg left the day-to-day of SpongeBob after the show’s third season, moving to an executive producer role, and most dedicated fans agree that it started to slip in quality after that. Nickelodeon wasn’t about to let them stop at 60 episodes, though, and a new crew has continued to produce new episodes into the show’s eleventh season, which is currently airing. Although there have been flashes of brilliance, SBSP has fallen prey to the same curse that strikes most long-running series, repeating plot lines and running out of originality.That didn’t slow the franchise down, though. SpongeBob and the rest of the Bikini Bottom dwellers still make bank for Nickelodeon across reruns, merchandise, and other odd tie-ins like a full-on Broadway musical. It’s easily the most successful franchise the network has ever created, and the character has become synonymous with the channel.center_img Staying PowerDespite losing some steam with creative turnover, those first three seasons of SpongeBob SquarePants still feel fresh and relevant over two decades later. There’s just something synergistic about the team Hillenburg put together on those early shows. One of the most vital elements has to do with the characters themselves. While most children’s cartoons feature kids as their main characters, SpongeBob and his undersea friends were all adults. Sure, the protagonist was naive and foolish, and his best friend wasn’t terribly smart, but they had to deal with grown-up problems like working an unrewarding job and navigating social spaces. Watching characters who were meant to be adults behave in surreal and hilarious manners gave those early SpongeBobs a unique feeling.The loss of that feeling in the middle seasons, as characters sort of “flattened out” and became parodies of themselves, is something that’s very common in animation (The Simpsons has been doing it for decades). Interestingly enough, when Hillenburg came back to the show in 2015 after a hiatus to make short films and work on other projects, he brought that spirit back with him, and some of the more recent seasons have been more true to the original vision.Finally, the staff assembled to work on the show was a unique one for Nickelodeon. In addition to veteran animators, SpongeBob brought in talent from many different mediums. Underground cartoonists Kaz and Sam Henderson both wrote and drew storyboards. Nickelodeon junior executive Merriwether Williams would make the jump to the creative side, becoming one of the show’s most dependable early episode writers. That diversity of perspective helped make the show feel different from anything else on the air.Of course, that difference wouldn’t last. SpongeBob‘s success inspired a tidal wave of imitators working the same ground. Shows like Coconut Fred’s Fruit Salad Island tried to capture the mix of antic surrealism and clear, recognizable characters and mostly failed. Other, less-derivative programs like Gumball showed you could learn from Nickelodeon’s hit while still having your own identity, and it’s hard to find a show on kids’ TV now that doesn’t have some element you could trace back to SpongeBob.Photo Credit: NickelodeonMillions of MemesIt’s fair to say that SpongeBob SquarePants is second only to The Simpsons in sheer volume of Internet memes created. Hell, the New York Times even wrote an article about it. The show’s lasting appeal on the Internet is pretty simple: the kids who grew up with SpongeBob are the same ones creating content in mass quantities today, and the visual language of the show is both familiar and strange.One of the earliest major SpongeBob memes involved a screenshot of Mr. Krabs from second-season episode “Patty Hype” surrounded by a spin-blurred background. That visual was first tweeted out in 2016 with the caption “When you just wake up from a nap and your parents already yelling at you,” and it swiftly became Twitter and Tumblr shorthand for being in a situation where things were spiraling out of control.But there are more SpongeBob memes than we could ever list here. Dozens and dozens of them, from “Chicken Spongebob” used for repeating inane statements back in ThIs AnNoYiNg FoNt, to “handsome Squidward” and even the “time cards” used by the narrator to depict the passage of hours. The contributions to meme vocabulary from SpongeBob are legion, and new ones are still being created.SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg passed away last year from complications relating to ALS. He left behind a show that not only let Nickelodeon recapture their dominance over the animation world, but also became a cultural touchstone for a whole generation. Not too bad for a marine biologist.More on Your Friends With SpongeBob Meme ToysStephen Hillenburg, ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ Creator, Dies at 57The Future Looks Bright for ‘Power Rangers: Beast Morphers’last_img read more

Legendary pianist captivates music lovers of Kolkata

first_imgThe Consulate General of Italy in Kolkata and the Italian Embassy Cultural Centre, New Delhi, in association with The Calcutta School of Music recently presented Recital Italiano – a piano recital by the legend Luciano Bellini, conductor and pianist – showcasing works by Italian composers. The performance was experienced by the classical music lovers of the city.Luciano Bellini performed his masterpieces like, G Verdi Romance sans paroles Valzer in Fa Mag; R Leoncavallo Canzonetta; G Puccini Piccolo Valzer; G Rossini Un rêve to name a few. The musical pieces played in the first part of Recital Italiano were his rare compositions which were done in the 19th century by Opera composers: Verdi, Rossini, Puccini and Leoncavallo. In the second part, he played the pieces composed in the 20th century, especially for the revival of instrumental music which had been neglected because of the supremacy of Opera.last_img read more