Israels richest rabbis become savvy businessmen

first_imgCozying up at Ifargan’s long table were lawmakers, one of Israel’s top lawyers, and two of Israel’s wealthiest businessmen: Menahem Gurevitch, chairman of a leading Israeli insurance company, and billionaire Nochi Dankner, head of Israel’s largest holding company and a close confidant of Ifargan for the last 14 years. The Israeli army’s chief rabbi and a top police commander were there, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his blessings in a recorded video message.Rabbis who make fortunes for themselves and encourage others to make money with their blessings draw the wrath of some fellow Jewish clerics.“It’s disappointing when religion descends to this,” said Rabbi Donniel Hartman, president of the Shalom Hartman institute, a modern Orthodox Jewish learning center in Jerusalem. “It’s not some channel of divine power for personal wealth accumulation. That’s small religion.”Most rabbis in Israel are not raking in millions. They are instead salaried government employees, assigned by Israel’s official rabbinate to perform religious rites for the Jewish public such as marriages and burials, or to enforce Jewish dietary laws in restaurants and hotels. Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements They are nowhere near the level of the high-flying spiritual gurus like the X-ray.Such gurus set up public office hours in their homes to receive Israelis on all rungs of the social ladder, as long as they come with cash. In exchange, adherents receive amulets and little pieces of paper containing the rabbi’s personalized blessing. The most successful rabbis have founded charitable institutions and small religious seminaries, which act as conduits for the incoming cash flow.Menachem Friedman, an expert on Orthodox Judaism and professor emeritus at Bar Ilan University, says religious Jewish businessmen since the 19th century have solicited rabbis’ blessings for cash to ensure their success _ though today the sums have reached unprecedented amounts.“If the market is dangerous and shaky, the millionaires who benefit from that market have less confidence. They need these rabbis to give them that security,” Friedman said.The country’s richest rabbinic dynasty is the Abuhatzeira family, scions of the revered Baba Sali who left Morocco for Israel in 1963, gaining a following among Israel’s large Moroccan and Middle Eastern Jewish immigrant population. The Baba Sali died in 1984, but his portrait _ a shriveled face wrapped in a white shawl _ still graces the walls of Israeli homes, businesses and falafel stands. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family An Israeli tax official, speaking anonymously because of the issue’s sensitivity, said in the past two years tax authorities have approached some 20 religious figures, requesting earnings reports. Some rabbis have been investigated for tax fraud. No convictions are known, but some have reportedly reached settlements with Israeli tax authorities.Reached for comment, advisers of some of the rabbis profiled by Forbes either would not comment on the income estimates, or said they were wrong but would not provide other figures. A spokesman for Rabbi Ifargan said his charitable institutions and received donations are above board.At the end of the feast, adherents followed Rabbi Ifargan up a hill to pray at the hulking stone pyramid that houses his father’s grave. Ifargan emerged from the tomb surrounded by paparazzi, bodyguards and a host of followers shouting out requests for the rabbi to pray for their health and for their children to find a good match.When an Associated Press reporter asked the rabbi the secret to his success, Ifargan stopped. The 46-year-old rabbi with a pointed jet-black beard and brimmed hat fixed his gaze for a few moments, cocked his head up toward the heavens and shrugged. His grandson, Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira, became the richest of them all, building himself a three-story villa said to include an events hall, deluxe guest rooms for important donors and an underground tunnel allowing him safe passage to his synagogue and office across the street, according to journalist Yossi Bar-Moha, who says he obtained the house plans from the Beersheba municipality.Bar-Moha published a series of exposes in Israeli dailies accusing the rabbi of cheating his followers into believing he had no money in the bank, and violently threatening some to pay up.The Israeli police’s national fraud squad opened an investigation in the late 1990s, discovering $125 million in his personal account. He reportedly reached a settlement with Israel’s tax authorities to pay a fraction of what he owed them.Last year, a desperate adherent whose donations to the rabbi hadn’t improved his lot stabbed Rabbi Abuhatzeira to death. His son, Rabbi Pinchas Abuhatzeira, inherited his wealth and his spot at the top of Israel’s affluent rabbinic aristocracy.“These rabbis are charlatans, swindlers and cheaters. They have no real knowledge. And people eat it up,” said reporter Bar-Moha, who heads Tel Aviv’s journalists’ association. Then his bodyguards whisked him into a black Mercedes-Benz, and they sped off.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressNETIVOT, Israel (AP) – One summer night, on the outskirts of a sleepy desert town, a who’s who of Israel’s elite gathered for an annual feast to honor a rabbi whose gaze is said to pierce the soul.He’s Rabbi Yaacov Israel Ifargan. But he is better known as, simply, the X-ray.Over the past few decades, he and dozens of other rabbis have carefully positioned themselves at the fulcrum of Israeli power and influence. They have attracted throngs of adherents _ most notably some of the country’s top business moguls, who pay top shekel for an audience with their rabbi to solicit blessings and discuss business matters. These magnates have helped fuel the rise of a rabbinic aristocracy whose members have channeled the donations they receive into multi-million-dollar empires. After gaining experience dishing out advice to Israeli tycoons, the rabbis have become shrewd businessmen themselves, managing hefty investments in stocks and real estate at home and abroad _ with much of their earnings allegedly kept far from the watchful eyes of Israeli tax collectors.Their chief critic calls them swindlers and frauds, and some fellow rabbis are critical of their practices.The Israeli edition of Forbes magazine published a first-of-its-kind ranking last month of Israel’s 13 richest rabbis. In the number one spot was 36-year-old Rabbi Pinchas Abuhatzeira from Beersheba, a blue-collar southern desert city, whose wealth is estimated at $335 million. The X-ray rabbi placed sixth, with an estimated net worth of $23 million.“Every single shekel brings about true peace,” announced the X-ray rabbi’s half brother, Rabbi Hayim Amram Ifargan, from the dais at the recent gathering, in a gentle nudge to the crowd of VIPs to continue their support.He, too, is a part of the Ifargan family franchise. His spiritual adherents call him “The MRI.” In the women’s section behind a laced divider sat “The Arbitrator” or “The CT,” Ifargan’s millionaire sister Bruria Zvuluni, a go-to spiritual counselor who claims to have mediated feuds between Israeli crime kingpins. Though she is not a rabbi, she made it to the bottom of Forbes’ list. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Patients with chronic pain give advice Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathslast_img read more

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first_img 0 Comments   Share   Stinson said he was hampered by a groin injury that he had surgery on the previous summer, however, and is confident he’ll be a different player for the Cardinals now that he’s healthy than he was last season in college.“I just played the whole season with it nagging and stuff like that, and it just started to get worse and worse,” he said .”I just fought through it and did what I could do for the team because they didn’t have another end that controlled the edge and stopped the runs. I just went ahead and did it for the team.” And, his role with the Cardinals may also be a little different, too.“In the defense at Alabama, I could pass rush, one-on-one pass rush, but when it comes to our defense and how our defense…pretty much our big emphasis was to stop the run,” Stinson said. “We had to make sure we played the blocks right, so that’s what I did; played the blocks right and then convert afterwards.“(There were) a lot of teams that didn’t really get to see my pass rushing ability.”Stinson started all 14 games of his junior campaign, when he tallied 8.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo The Arizona Cardinals added to their defensive line with their fifth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Cardinals took Alabama defensive end Ed Stinson with the No. 160 overall pick. Stinson, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 290 pounds, started 12 of the Crimson Tide’s 13 games as a senior, recording two tackles for loss and a sack. “This guy is a powerful player,” Cardinals GM Steve Keim said. “He’s explosive through his hips and he does a nice job chasing down the line of scrimmage laterally.” Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact – / 22last_img read more

Moodys Sale of Bank of Cyprus UK is credit positive

first_imgRating Agency, Moody’s, has described the sale of Bank of Cyprus subsidiary, Bank of Cyprus UK, as credit positive, noting that the sale would place Bank of Cyprus in a better position to focus on reducing its domestic high stock of problematic loans.Bank of Cyprus announced last Tuesday it signed a binding agreement to sell Bank of Cyprus UK to Cyenergy Capital Limited, owned by a consortium of UK-based investors, a sale for a consideration of €117 million and a profit of €3 million. The sale is expected to increase Bank of Cyprus’ CET1 Capital by around 65 basis points to 12.65% as of March 2018, the agency said.“The sale of UK operations amid Brexit uncertainty will allow Bank of Cyprus’ management to focus on tackling its domestic operations significant asset quality issues. The increased capital strengthens the bank’s balance sheet and increases the chances of a possible sale of problem loans, which management is exploring,” Moody’s said in its bi-weekly Credit Outlook.Moody’s noted that Bank of Cyprus’ organic nonperforming exposures (NPEs) were down 45% to €8.35 billion as of March 2018 from a peak of €15.2 billion in March 2015, highlighting however that the bank’s NPEs to gross loans remains among the highest of Moody’s-rated banks and is a key credit challenge, while the stock of provisions against these troubled loans, at around 50%, is relatively low.Due to the UK loan book’s better quality, Moody’s estimates that the bank’s pro forma NPE/gross loan ratio as of March 2018 will increase to 49.6% from the 44.9% reported in first-quarter 2018.Nevertheless, the agency added, the bank maintains its target for the ratio’s decline to below 40% by year-end and below 25% over the next three years, excluding any possible accelerated risk-reduction transactions that the bank is currently exploring.The sale of the UK operations continues its deleveraging trend since 2012, although the bank`s size will remain significant relative to Cyprus` economy. The sale will reduce Bank of Cyprus` total assets by around €2 billion to €21.4 billion, around 110% of the country’s GDP, Moody’s said.CNAYou 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 ArePopularEverythingUndoSmart Tips DailySeniors With No Life Insurance May Get A $250,000 Policy If They Do ThisSmart Tips DailyUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img

Bills to update horse racing rules move out of House committee

first_img Categories: Lauwers News 25May Bills to update horse racing rules move out of House committee Rep. Lauwers lauds effort to modernize 21-year-old lawState Rep. Dan Lauwers today praised the House Committee on Agriculture for passing legislation to modernize the 21-year-old law that regulates Michigan’s horse racing industry.Rep. Lauwers, who chairs the committee, said the current horse racing law was created in 1995, when Michigan had nine horse racing tracks. Today, only two remain – Hazel Park, which operates as a thoroughbred track, and Northville Downs, which hosts live standardbred harness racing.“The legislation we approved today better reflects the needs of Michigan’s horse racing industry,” said Rep. Lauwers, R-Brockway Township. “I’m pleased we were able to come up with a solution that both the tracks and the horsemen’s associations are able to support.”Under the current law, the Standardbred Certified Horseman’s Organization (CHO) receives approximately 60 percent of the common purse money from the simulcast bets placed, and the Thoroughbred CHO receives approximately 40 percent. The allocations were set in 1995 because the state had significantly more standardbred tracks, so that industry was engaging in more simulcast betting. Now that only one type of each track remains, Rep. Lauwers said the arrangement doesn’t make sense.Senate Bills 504 and 505, introduced by Sen. David Robertson, R-Grand Blanc Township, will allow money to stay at the track where the bet is made.As passed by the House committee, the legislation also creates a seven-member Horse Racing Advisory Commission to establish procedures governing the operation and promotion of horse racing in Michigan, and make recommendations to the Legislature about how to maintain the long-term viability of the industry in Michigan. The Commission is intended to steer decisions that will strengthen and improve the vitality of the Michigan horse racing industry.“The equine industry is an important part of Michigan’s agricultural economy,” Rep. Lauwers said. “Horse racing employs more than 12,000 people and contributes nearly $1 billion to our state’s economy each year. It’s important we do what we can to ensure the industry’s survival.”The bills now head to the full House for consideration.#####last_img read more

Rep Maturen looking forward to interviewing military academy candidates

first_img Categories: Maturen News State Rep. Dave Maturen has again been named to a committee that assists U.S. Rep. Fred Upton in interviewing candidates seeking nominations to military service academies.“I have been honored to participate in the selection process for more than 20 years, and every year I continue to be thoroughly impressed by the talented young people from the greater Kalamazoo area who have an interest in serving their country,” said Rep. Maturen, R-Vicksburg. “I look forward to meeting with this year’s candidates.”Service academies are federal education institutions that prepare officers for the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Merchant Marines and the Coast Guard. Nominations for appointment may be given by the president of the United States, vice president of the United States, senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives.Candidates are evaluated in five areas: moral character, academic record, leadership potential, physical fitness and commitment to the military.Rep. Maturen – who previously served in the Army – will screen and interview candidates along with other committee members appointed by Congressman Upton. The committee will then provide Congressman Upton with a list of potential nominees.Interviews will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3.### 29Nov Rep. Maturen looking forward to interviewing military academy candidateslast_img read more

Rep Lucido completes 201516 term with perfect attendance

first_img22Dec Rep. Lucido completes 2015-16 term with perfect attendance Categories: Lucido News,News LANSING – Perfect attendance and perfect voting record.State Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, completed the 98th legislative session with a perfect record in committee and House floor votes in 2015-16.“The people of the 36th District do not vote for a representative to show up for 83 percent of the votes in the state House, they voted for me to be their representative 100 percent of the time – in the Capitol, in the committee meetings and in Macomb County,” said Rep. Lucido. “It’s a high expectation and I’ve got no problem making that goal.”The current session included 1,261 roll call votes on the House floor. In addition, Lucido was in attendance and actively participating with the Judiciary, Criminal Justice, Energy Policy, and Financial Services committees.“That’s where the legislation is built – during committee hearings,” said Rep. Lucido. “No matter where it was, I was expected and I wanted to be a part of it. So, first term – mission accomplished. Next up – second term with the same expectations.”###last_img read more

Afendoulis opposes auto insurance proposal urges legislative leaders to seek beneficial reform

first_img Categories: Afendoulis News 01Nov Afendoulis opposes auto insurance proposal, urges legislative leaders to seek beneficial reform State Representative Chris Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids Township) today announced his opposition to House Bill 5013, which seeks to amend Michigan’s Auto No-Fault system and is currently being debated by the Michigan House of Representatives. The bill would effectively dismantle the policy which has provided Michigan’s motorists with the best coverage in the nation for nearly 40 years.“Without question, this bill is a bad deal for my constituents. While drivers may temporarily pay a little less in premiums, they’ll receive far fewer benefits and take on far greater risks. I simply cannot support this bill as it stands today.”“It’s plain to me and many of my colleagues that this bill works only for the benefit of auto insurance companies and trial lawyers. It claims to offer rate reductions, but provides huge loopholes to protect the bottom lines of auto insurance companies.”Afendoulis added, “As someone who believes in free markets, I can’t support a bill where the government mandates prices and fee schedules between private parties. This bill shifts costs to taxpayers and Medicaid without lowering rates.”The bill also puts seniors at risk, Afendoulis said. “Senior citizens need to be aware that Medicare does not cover many of the benefits covered by Auto No Fault. The risk for seniors is that they will need to spend their own money for care they receive now under the current system.”“I am eager to consider reforms which would save drivers money – things like meaningful measures to root out fraud and abuse, transparency initiatives which would finally open the books on the $20 billion catastrophic claims fund, and changes to attendant care policies.” Afendoulis noted that several bills have been introduced which would address these concerns. The bills have been referred to the House Insurance Committee, but to date have not been given a hearing.Afendoulis says he is urging legislative leaders to take a second look before they pass legislation with such far-reaching negative implications.“Without question, auto insurance rates are too high. Without question, we need to make changes to the system. And without question, I believe this legislation is not the solution.”last_img read more

House approves Rep LaFaves bill to increase retirement funding for thousands of

first_img Categories: LaFave News,News 07Nov House approves Rep. LaFave’s bill to increase retirement funding for thousands of teachers The Michigan House today approved state Rep. Beau LaFave’s bill that will help more than 4,000 teachers and other school employees with their retirement savings.The bill would ensure that all Michigan public school employees who switched from a pension to a 401(k)-style plan are eligible for an improved savings option approved by the Legislature earlier this year.  LaFave’s bill would open up the enhanced option to school employees who originally chose to switch to a 401(k) plan in 2012, freezing their pension benefits.“I’m honored to fight for boosting the retirement savings of thousands of hard-working Michigan teachers,” LaFave, of Iron Mountain, said after his bill was approved by the House. “What we’re doing here is simply an issue of fairness. If public school employees are in the 401(k) plan, they should have the same savings options available to their state senators and representatives.”The switch allows the affected employees to receive an additional employer match of up to 3 percent of their compensation for their 401(k) savings plans. The extra match comes on top of an automatic employer contribution equal to 4 percent of compensation.It’s the same 401(k) plan available to state employees.The 4,000-plus school employees affected by this change were not included in employee retirement reforms signed into law in September.The bill advances to the Senate for consideration.#####The legislation is House Bill 5093.last_img read more

Rep Wakeman Republicans Leading the Way on sound public policy

first_img Categories: News,Wakeman News State Rep. Rodney Wakeman stood alongside his House Republican colleagues Tuesday and announced their action plan for the next two years.The plan, called “Leading the Way for an Even Better Michigan,” lays out the key priorities for Republican lawmakers in the 2019-20 legislative term, including training skilled workers, strengthening the state’s agricultural economy and helping Michigan families keep more of what they earn.“Increasing opportunity and growing Michigan’s economy starts with making critical investments in our infrastructure and in our workforce to build an even stronger Michigan,” said Wakeman, of Saginaw Township. “It’s about making sure our state’s economy continues to grow and that we are meeting the growing demand for skilled workers by providing adequate job training in our schools.”Wakeman noted the need for good public policy that ensures no part of our state is overlooked.“We need to support our farmers and strengthen our agricultural opportunities. We need to reduce taxes on Michigan families and encourage the hard work and ingenuity that made Michigan that state that put the world on wheels.” 21Feb Rep. Wakeman, Republicans ‘Leading the Way’ on sound public policylast_img read more

Rep Hall takes action to block devastating Green New Deal

first_img13Mar Rep. Hall takes action to block ‘devastating’ Green New Deal The House Energy Committee today approved a resolution introduced by state Rep. Matt Hall to oppose the Green New Deal introduced at the federal level.Hall’s House Resolution 41 calls for Michigan to oppose the so-called Green New Deal outlined in U.S.  House Resolution 109 and U.S.  Senate Resolution 59. It was approved by the House Energy Committee, 9-7 votes.“Attempts to label this mandate an ‘economic stimulus package’ only demonstrate how out of touch congressional leadership is with the industries that keep our nation’s economy strong,” Hall said. “This plan would be devastating to the automotive and manufacturing economies Michigan depends on. Not only will this Green New Deal cost taxpayers as much as $93 trillion, it would also cost many of them their jobs.”The plan outlined in the Green New Deal calls for taxpayer dollars to be spent on public works projects to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years. In addition to climate goals, the plan includes far-reaching social promises, such as providing a basic income for able-bodied adults unwilling to work.“We need smarter, evidence-based regulatory practices that protect and promote our way of life here in Michigan,” Hall said. “Not only is this proposal based solely on lofty and unachievable goals, it’s patently hostile to traditional American principles.”Hall’s resolution next advances to the House floor for consideration. Categories: Hall Newslast_img read more

Rep Markkanen announces Outstanding Educator Award recipients

first_img14May Rep. Markkanen announces Outstanding Educator Award recipients Categories: Markkanen News State Rep. Greg Markkanen announced today the 2018-2019 Outstanding Educator Award recipients.The award winners are Luke Theisen of Horizons Alternative High School, Laura Augustine of L’Anse Area Schools, and Heather French of Lake Linden-Hubbell Schools.Luke Theisen has been vital in the creation of Horizon’s “Student First Initiative,” a program that aims to strengthen the student body by decreasing stressful factors, promoting attendance and reducing discipline referrals. Theisen has taught English for the past 10 years.Heather French has gone above and beyond the call of a typical teacher. French has been known to help with assisting students with tough life events, helping out with scholarship applications, and even helping prepare students for prom. She teaches English in grades 7-9.Laura Augustine has been involved in the L’Anse community in multiple ways. Augustine has organized the annual Variety of Music Show, led students on numerous trips oversees, and organized the L’Anse Literacy Club. She has also been the choir director at L’Anse United Methodist Church for over 25 years. Augustine has received awards including Outstanding Education Employee from the Copper Country Association of School Boards and the Distinguished Educator Award. She has taught English and study skills for over 20 years.last_img read more

Atty General Sessions to Review Police Reform Consent Decrees

first_imgShare5TweetShareEmail5 Shares“Black Lives Matter” by 5chw4r7zApril 3, 2017; GuardianDeclaring, “It is not the responsibility of the federal government to manage non-federal law enforcement agencies,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions yesterday filed a memo in a Baltimore court that revealed he had, on March 31st, ordered a nationwide review of the consent decrees between the U.S. Department of Justice and local police departments. According to the Guardian, “attorneys for the Justice Department asked the court for a 90-day pause so it could ‘review and assess’ the plan.”The affected consent decrees are meant to provide oversight on practices that exhibit racial disparities and other violations of civil rights, and are present in 19 jurisdictions, including Baltimore, Maryland; Cleveland, Ohio; Newark, New Jersey; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Ferguson, Missouri. (The future of Chicago’s is even more uncertain.) These decrees have stood as one of the more visible outcomes of the Black Lives Matter movement that has created a generation of young activists.Apparently, the AG’s review will comprise training initiatives, collaborative reform programs, and legal consent decrees, all of which are to be brought into alignment with Sessions’ own operating principles, one of which is, “The misdeeds of individual bad actors should not impugn or undermine the legitimate and honorable work that law enforcement officers and agencies perform in keeping American communities safe.”The ACLU is characterizing the move as “a blatant attempt by the Justice Department to abandon its obligations under federal civil rights law and the U.S. Constitution. […] There is no national census of police misconduct to support the DOJ’s notion that there are only a few bad actors in law enforcement. Indeed, DOJ’s own investigative reports over the past eight years document systemic unlawful policing practices of local law enforcement in cities across the country.”Sessions made his intentions to roll these back quite clear in his confirmation hearings in January, saying he would hand authority back to local police chiefs by weakening such agreements.—Ruth McCambridgeShare5TweetShareEmail5 Shareslast_img read more

The European Broadcasting Union EBU said it will

first_imgThe European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said it will stop streaming former Greek public service broadcaster ERT from tomorrow, amid reports that its temporary replacement Greek Public Television (EDT) will broadcast news services this week.In a statement, the European public service media alliance said that it will cease to stream ERT via its satellite capacity and the ERU website at 9am Central European Time on Wednesday August 21.“Since 12 June, when the Greek government abruptly stopped ERT from operating, the EBU has delivered 8.5 million live streams for a total of 4.4 million hours of cumulative viewing to 2.5 million unique visitors and consistently called for the restitution of public service media in Greece, which is vital for culture, democracy and for society itself,” said the EBU.It added that the EBU’s leadership had written to the Greek government offering support and expertise to help ERT’s planned full-time successor, New Hellenic Radio, Internet and Television (NERIT), to “fulfil its potential for independence and solid governance.”ERT responded to the EBU’s decision by saying that it will continue to stream its television and radio broadcasts via all other distribution and re-streaming points, including the websites ERTopen.com and ThePressProject.gr.The Greek government controversially shut down ERT in June in a bid to save money, causing the loss of 2,700 jobs. However, fired staff continue to occupy the broadcaster’s old offices and to make broadcasts.last_img read more

UPC Romania has launched a 200Mbps internet servic

first_imgUPC Romania has launched a 200Mbps internet service. Fiber Power 200Mbps will be available in nine cities – Bucharest , Bacau, Cluj- Napoca , Constanta , Galati , Iasi, Ploiesti , Timisoara and Sibiu – encompassing 60% of the company’s coverage zone. The move follows the launch of 120Mbps in 2011 and 150Mbps services a year later. UPC currently offers speeds of over 100Mbps over 90% of its national network.The Romanian launch follows Liberty Global sister company UPC Austria’s launch of a 250Mbps service. UPC Austria’s previous top internet service delivered up to 100Mbps.last_img read more

Cable operator Numericable is to absorb Valvision

first_imgCable operator Numericable is to absorb Valvision, a local cable operator with networks in Dole and Audincourt in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France.Numericable already supplies services on the Valvision network and the fusion of the two, which will see Valvision’s ownership transferred to Numericable, will be retroactively dated to January 1 2013.Numericable said the reorganization was in response to a need to simplify the company’s legal and accounting status and that the integration would deliver synergies to the group.last_img read more

Swiss digital security firm The Kudelski Group has

first_imgSwiss digital security firm The Kudelski Group has completed its acquisition of Oslo, Norway-based rival Conax. Conax provides content protection for digital TV services over broadcast, broadband and connected devices.Kudelski agreed to pay Conax’s previous owner Telenor Broadcast NOK1.509 billion (€180 million) for the conditional access unit last month.last_img

The European Commission has reportedly resumed its

first_imgThe European Commission has reportedly resumed its review of Liberty Global’s planned takeover of Dutch cable operator Ziggo, after temporarily putting a hold on proceedings earlier this month.At the beginning of August the EC said it had paused its review after “new facts” came to light and that it was awaiting additional information from Liberty Global.The commission now says it will decide whether to approve the deal by November 3. It had previously said it would rule on the deal by October 17.last_img read more

Fátima Barros Portuguese regulator ANACOMs presid

first_imgFátima BarrosPortuguese regulator ANACOM’s president Fátima Barros has taken over the presidency of BEREC, the international telecom regulators association that brings together 28 European regulators. Barros will be charged with leading BEREC’s ongoing work on the European Connected Continent proposals developed by former EC vice-president Neelie Kroes last year, including regulations covering international roaming tariffs, net neutrality and spectrum use.last_img

Middle East and North African streaming service I

first_imgMiddle East and North African streaming service, Icflix, has partnered with Humax to integrate the Icflix app directly into Humax Android set-top boxes for the Gulf region.Humax’s new H1 Android set-top box will be the first OTT set-top box in the MENA region to bring together customised local content such as Icflix, according to KW Shin, general manager of Humax Gulf FZE.Shin said the new pocket-sized box would overcome the need of multi decoders for different operators, “as we [are] working closely with all OTT operators and pay TV operators to integrate their VOD services on Humax Set Top Boxes.”Customers will also get a free one-month Icflix trial with the new set-top box.“The integration of the ICFLIX app on Humax’s Android set-top boxes will make it easier for customers to watch premium content on their television sets, giving them access to award-winning Hollywood movies alongside Jazwood and Bollywood content,” said Icflix’s head of business development, Mohammed Amine Lalami.The Humax H1 Set Top Box will become available to customers the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman, Lebanon, Palestine and Algeria, with other countries to follow.last_img read more

UK broadcaster Channel 4 has chosen Yospace to pro

first_imgUK broadcaster Channel 4 has chosen Yospace to provide technology for targeted video advertising across its online content.Channel 4 previously announced that it was moving away from traditional linear ad feeds across its digital properties to dynamically served, targeted ads. The broadcaster will replace its pre-scheduled blocks of inventory with targeted live video advertising, which will be available to buy programmatically by the end of the year.Yospace is provideing in-stream ad replacement with transitions to and from the advertising.  Insertions are performed server-side and veiwers are presented with ads that are customised according to their unique user profile, according to Yospace.The recent agreement with Yospace is part of the second phase of the All 4 launch – the broadcaster’s new online destination. All 4 initially introduced ad insertion for VOD, and will now use the Yospace solution to launch personalised ad insertion into the live stream.Yospace says that the latest data show that deployments of its technology has brought view-through rates for dynamic advertisement replacement up to 98.7% for broadcasters.“For Channel 4’s registered viewers, the All 4 experience is becoming even more personalised.  We have leading audience insight capabilities and a database of more than 12 million viewers who can access a bespoke set of content and related experiences.  This ethos is increasingly carried throughout our advertising, and the Yospace solution will enable us to deliver personalised ads to both individuals and specific groups seamlessly into the live stream,” said Jonathan Lewis, Head of Digital Innovation and Partnerships.“Our programmatic launch has also opened up a host of opportunities around what we do with our live feed generally – and we’re currently exploring what place dynamic ad serving could have on the big screen.”Yospace CEO, Tim Sewell said: “Our technology is already driving substantial advertising views for a growing number of broadcasters, and is ideally suited to Channel 4’s requirements.  We are delighted to be working with such an esteemed broadcaster who already leads the field in providing the most personalised viewer experience.  Our solution will enable it to leverage its extensive user database to really maximise revenues through personalised and seamless live ad insertion. A solution like this will only work if it’s reliable and stable enough to cope with major TV audiences, as potentially millions of viewers will tune in at the same time. Another fundamental requirement is flexibility.  Timings of the ad breaks in live programming are often fluid, so ad replacements have to be applied on-the-fly, in real-time, and with scale.”last_img read more