AccorHotels scoops up Atton Hoteles

first_img Share TORONTO — AccorHotels’ acquisition streak continues with news the company plans to buy Chile’s Atton Hoteles.AccorHotels and Chilean group Algeciras have signed an agreement with the shareholders of Atton Hoteles in order to acquire the company.AccorHotels will acquire 100% of the management company that operates 11 Atton hotels (2,259 rooms) across Chile, Peru and Colombia. There’s also one hotel in Florida, the Brickell Miami, that is part of the deal.AccorHotels will acquire 20% of the property company that owns these assets. The remaining 80% being bought by Algeciras. Atton Hoteles was founded in Chile in 2000. The hotels cater to business travellers on the midscale and upscale segment. It has three hotels under development.In order to capitalize on Atton’s existing brand equity, most of these properties will be co-branded with AccorHotels brands, before being fully rebranded to Pullman, Novotel, MGallery & Mercure in the midterm.The acquisition further consolidates AccorHotels’ footprint in Latin America, where the group has built leadership for many years, with 335 hotels operating, and 166 under development, while strengthening its presence in fast growth markets such as Chile and Peru.More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish Steps“We are delighted to have come to this strategic agreement with Algeciras,” said Patrick Mendes, CEO of AccorHotels for South America. “With Atton’s portfolio, AccorHotels will strengthen its leadership position in Latin America and complement its offer to its customers and loyalty members with attractive key destinations”.The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed during the second half of 2018.Last month Accor announced it had acquired Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts in a blockbuster deal worth €482 million. Also last month AccorHotels has signed a strategic agreement with South Africa-based Mantis Group, acquiring 50% stake in their business.In March 2018 the company hit a major milestone, announcing that it is now operating in 100 countries around the world. Posted by Wednesday, May 16, 2018 Tags: Accorhotelscenter_img Travelweek Group AccorHotels scoops up Atton Hoteles << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Football fans buy out extra Air NZ services within minutes

first_imgAir New Zealand has sold out two flights within an hour of releasing them to football fans eager to watch the Warriors play in the NRL Grand Final in Sydney this weekend.The first flight between Auckland and Sydney sold out in sixty minutes, while the second released early this morning sold out within six minutes.Using the 747 to charter the service, group general manager Australiasia Bruce Parton said the carrier is keen to offer fans enough seating to arrive in Sydney, however no aircraft is available to add a third service. “Twitter and Facebook have been abuzz today with customers asking for help to get to Sydney – everyone is desperate to be able to be there for the match,” Mr Parton said. “Unfortunately we don’t have the aircraft to be able to offer a third charter, but our team has been frantically busy today re-jigging our schedules and aircraft to make as many seats as we can available to Sydney.”In addition to the two extra services, the carrier has also added an A320 service flying out on Saturday 1 October as well as up-gauging an A320 in place to the 777-200ER on flights between Auckland and Sydney on Friday 30 September and Tuesday 4 October. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

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Tourist arrivals in Goa went beyond five million mark in 2015

first_imgThe overall tourist arrivals in Goa increased by 30.54% and by 22% during the monsoons in 2015. No drop in the number of foreign tourist arrivals has been reported by the Department of Tourism, Government of Goa. While domestic tourist arrivals escalated by 34%, foreign tourist arrivals were up by 5.4%. Goa welcomed visitors from UK, Russia, UAE, USA, Portugal, South Africa and many others. A total of 52,97,902 tourists visited  Goa in 2015 which includes 47,56,422  domestic  tourists and  5,41,480 foreign tourists.The ETV regime introduced by the central government in December 2014 has also facilitated easy access of foreign tourists to Goa. Within a year (till December 31, 2015), a total of 49,626 ETVs were issued to foreign tourists.Dilip Parulekar, Minister for Tourism, said, “We have received a good response from foreign and domestic tourists in 2015 as in the past. Our new initiatives are showing substantial results and we are optimistic that the tourists will choose Goa as their destination for holidaying.”last_img read more

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Cruise Lines International Association CLIA will

first_imgCruise Lines International Association (CLIA) will present new ways for travel agents to enhance their clients’ cruise holidays at its dedicated Executive Partner Product and Destination showcase, to be held in conjunction with this year’s Cruise360 Australasia conference in Sydney.Bookings are now open for the 29 August 2019 event, which will allow agent members to find out more about the additional products and services that can be offered with a cruise holiday. It will be held on the same day as an exclusive ship inspection aboard Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess and precedes the main Cruise360 conference on 30 August 2019.“CLIA’s Executive Partners offer holiday experiences that combine perfectly with cruise bookings and can help agents increase the value and appeal of their cruise offering,” said CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz. “The Executive Partner Product and Destination showcase provides a forum for agents to learn more about what’s on offer while at the same time earning points towards their CLIA accreditation.”Executive Partners involved in this year’s showcase include Emirates, Rocky Mountaineer, Journey Beyond, Intrepid Travel Group, The Hotel Connection and Cruise Baltic.CLIA will award 20 accreditation points to members who attend all seminar presentations during the afternoon, but places are limited and agents are encouraged to register quickly. Attendance is open to registered Cruise360 conference delegates, without additional cost.To be held at the Hyatt Regency Sydney, this year’s Cruise360 conference will be the sixth staged in Australasia. Keynote speakers will include CLIA’s Global Chair and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd Vice President Adam Goldstein.Early booking rates for Cruise360 are available exclusively to CLIA members for a limited time. agentsCruise Lines International Association (CLIA)showcaselast_img read more

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Rep Canfield applauds House GOP road plan introduces road bill

first_img Categories: Canfield News 15May Rep. Canfield applauds House GOP road plan; introduces road bill State Rep. Edward Canfield this week took part in the unveiling of a House Republican transportation plan that can fix Michigan’s roads and bridges by creating long-term and sustainable funding.Rep. Canfield, R-Sebewaing, is sponsoring a bill in the plan that focuses on using existing dollars and reprioritizing other funding to dedicate more than an additional $1 billion annually for transportation within four years.“Hard-working Michigan taxpayers have waited long enough for a solution,” Rep. Canfield said. “I applaud my Republican colleagues for coming up with a plan that reprioritizes existing dollars instead of taking more from constituents.”Key elements of the House transportation plan include:Dedicate General Fund dollars to fix roads by phasing in spending—beginning with the 2015-16 budget;Create tax fairness by generating $45 million annually for roads on electric-, hybrid- and diesel-powered vehicle registration and an additional $117 million yearly by eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit;Reprioritize restricted funds by thoroughly reviewing how taxpayer money is used, generating $185 million a year for roads and bridges; andEnsure quality work by securing warranties and competitive bids on infrastructure projects so hard-working Michiganders know their tax dollars are being spent wisely and efficiently.House Bill 4611, sponsored by Rep. Canfield, will change bidding requirements to allow Michigan Department of Transportation to borrow money from local road agencies. Under this bill, the contract of a local road agency’s construction project exceeding $100,000 in cost will be awarded by competitive bidding.“This bill ensures that tax dollars are being spent effectively,” Rep. Canfield said. “It is important that the roads are not only repaired, but repaired well.”HB 4611 has been referred to the newly created House Committee on Roads and Economic Development.center_img Canfield bill ensures quality work on roads  last_img read more

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Rep Lucido applauds governor for focus on Flint DPS in tonights address

first_img State Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, today made the following statement in response to Gov. Rick Snyder’s State of the State address:I am pleased with the governor’s decision to focus his address on the people of Flint and I would like to start off by saying that my heart goes out to those affected by this situation and it is for this reason I cannot sit idle on this issue.I agree with the governor that the focus must first be on providing the city of Flint with safe water as well as any attention necessary.However, solutions are only possible if the focus is in the right place. This means the finger-pointing and assumptions which may or may not be politically motivated must stop now. I was taught as a lawyer to not rush to judgment or cast any dispersion of guilt or wrongdoing until all arguments are made and all facts have been presented.This can also be applied to the Detroit Public Schools arena. This debt wasn’t created by the teachers or students who today are most affected. The problem was created long ago from agreements to pay for things like healthcare and pensions for teachers together with upkeep for infrastructure of buildings and other future costs. A shrinking population of taxpayers and depressed property tax values presented an opportunity for corrupt players who took advantage of the struggling educational system leaving the children and teachers to suffer.Pointing fingers and warrantless accusations will not bring safe water to the people of Flint nor will it put Detroit children back in the classroom. My mom always said “if you get them talking, you’ll get things done.” We’ve done the talking, now it’s time for action. Let’s all pause and take a look at what’s happened, gather information and facts and utilize them as tools to fix what’s broken, maintain what isn’t and continue to build a stronger and safer Michigan.”### Categories: Lucido News 20Jan Rep. Lucido applauds governor for focus on Flint, DPS in tonight’s addresslast_img read more

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Rep Bizon visits elementary classes for Reading Month

first_img Categories: Bizon News,Bizon Photos,Featured news,News 23Mar Rep. Bizon visits elementary classes for Reading Month Tags: March is Reading Month, REp. Bizon, St. Joseph ##### Rep. Dr. John Bizon stopped by St. Joseph’s Elementary School in Battle Creek last week to read for students in kindergarten through third grade.“March is reading month and I believe reading is extremely important to the education of our children,” said Rep. Bizon, R-Battle Creek. “Any time I can read to students in my district is certainly an honor.”‘March is Reading Month’ is an annual event designed to recognize the importance of reading in children’s future success and to encourage their social and intellectual development.  The events puts a renewed focus on reading and reinforces how important it is.  Early reading proficiency is shown to be a core element for successful educational pursuits in children.During the school visit, Rep. Bizon read the children’s book “What do you do with an idea?” by Kobi Yamada.For more information and ideas on how to celebrate March is Reading Month or to encourage children to read, visit the Michigan Department of Education’s online resources website at www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/Reading_Month_270348_7_272048_7.pdf.last_img read more

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Macomb County Chief Judge joins Rep Lucido for State of the State

first_img Categories: Lucido News,Lucido Photos,News,Photos 23Jan Macomb County Chief Judge joins Rep. Lucido for State of the State PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Peter Lucido, of Shelby Township, invited Macomb County Circuit Court Chief Judge James Biernat Jr. (left) as his guest during the 2018 State of the State today in the state Capitol. Judge Biernat, who is serving his second two-year term as chief judge in Macomb County, was appointed to the bench in 2011 by Gov. Rick Snyder.“It was my honor and privilege to have Judge Biernat join me for this address,” Lucido said. “He has dedicated himself to the law and protecting the citizens of Macomb County.”last_img

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Rep LaFave backs plan to protect Straits of Mackinac

first_imgState Rep. Beau LaFave today said he supports a plan to strengthen pipeline safety standards in the Straits of Mackinac, ensuring protection of the Great Lakes without interrupting vital utilities in the Upper Peninsula.Rep. LaFave, of Iron Mountain, said he recently cosponsored a legislative package that better protects the Straits from pollution caused by ship operators and utilities with underwater conduits.“Our plan makes the Straits a no-anchor zone, which should prevent a future environmental disaster involving pipes ruptured by anchors from occurring,” Rep. LaFave said. “Ship operators who transit the Straits should know there are pipelines and cables running beneath the water. This legislation is another safeguard to prevent future anchor strikes.”A recent report by a team led by Michigan Technological University estimated a worst-case scenario involving the underwater oil and gas pipelines in the Straits could lead to the release of 32,000 to 58,000 barrels of crude oil – about two million gallons – into the Great Lakes, affecting more than 400 miles of shoreline in Michigan, Wisconsin and Canada. Such damage to pipelines would put 47 wildlife species and 60,000 acres of unique habitat at risk.The “Straits of Mackinac Safety, Protection and Accountability” plan:Improves reporting from pipeline operators to the state of Michigan;Increases the safety and security of underwater utility lines and pipes that provide communities in northern Michigan with access to phone, cable, natural gas, oil and electricity;Provides additional signs and buoys alerting ships not to use anchors in the Straits;Establishes penalties for vessels that violate maritime laws and jeopardize the safety of our waterways; andProvides added accountability and increases penalties for those responsible for negligence or criminal damage to public utilities.“This is not just a case of protecting our Great Lakes from an environmental disaster that would have a devastating effect on our economy,” LaFave said. “Severing lines that supply the U.P. with power, gas, oil and cable would be an immeasurable hardship on families throughout our communities. These safeguards must be in place so our grandchildren and great-grandchildren can enjoy our natural resources.”The underwater oil and gas lines transport up to 540,000 barrels of light crude oil, light synthetic crude oil and natural gas liquids, which are refined into propane to heat houses and businesses, fuel vehicles and provide power to industries.Enbridge said Line 5 supplies 65 percent of propane demand in the Upper Peninsula and 55 percent of statewide propane use.The plan laid out in House Bills 6187, 6199, 6200 and 6201 is now under consideration in the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee.##### Anchor strike in April could have created pollution disaster Categories: LaFave News,Newscenter_img 24Jul Rep. LaFave backs plan to protect Straits of Mackinaclast_img read more

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Rep Wakeman schedules local office hours

first_img State Rep. Rodney Wakeman of Saginaw Township will host district office hours in the month of June to meet with local residents of the 94th District.“This has been a busy month in Lansing and around the district,” Rep. Wakeman said. “With the passage of a real, bipartisan solution for auto insurance reform and impending budget proceedings, there are many ways I am working hard for you in Lansing. I want to hear from you on the issues you care about most, and I hope you will take advantage of one of these opportunities.”Office hours are scheduled for the following times and locations:Friday, June 14 from 12 to 1 p.m. at the Tittabawassee Township Hall, 145 2nd in Freeland; andFriday, June 21 from 1 to 2 p.m. at Fleschner Memorial Library, 11935 Silver Creek Drive in Birch Run.No appointment is necessary. Residents unable to attend may contact Rep. Wakeman’s office by calling (517) 373-0837 or by email at RodneyWakeman@house.mi.gov. Categories: Wakeman News 06Jun Rep. Wakeman schedules local office hourslast_img read more

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Civil Disobedience Underway to Fight Detroit Water Shutoffs

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJuly 10, 2014; Al Jazeera AmericaOver the years, nonprofits have become terribly polite. They sometimes advocate strenuously, but tend not to take to the streets and engage in direct action. Sometimes, when the issues involve human rights that are repeatedly ignored by the authorities, some nonprofits come to think that civil disobedience might be necessary to dramatize their importance for the public and for the corporate or governmental authorities involved.That, apparently, is the case with the shutoffs of running water for half of the city’s water customers. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has taken modest steps in the past week in response to criticisms from a handful of nonprofits and from Congressman John Conyers, but hardly enough. Sending notices to commercial and industrial customers owing tens of thousands more than the typical delinquent residential bill of a couple of hundred dollars and creating a $1 million fund to assist residential customers when they owe a cumulative $41 million doesn’t do the trick.For some grassroots groups in the Motor City, watching low-income Detroiters lose access to running water is watching a violation of human rights and, in terms of nonprofit activism, a civil rights cause.Fifty activists protested last week in front of the offices of Homrich Wrecking, the company Detroit Water hired to turn off residential taps. Nine were arrested for temporarily blocking trucks from leaving the company’s parking lot. Among the arrested were a Catholic priest, a nun, and a pastor.If you have a sense of history, the actions of the protesters—from the Detroit Water Brigade, the grassroots group that played a large role in the protests leading up to this action, and the Detroit Water Warriors and the Call ’Em Out Coalition—feels like a replay from the Civil Rights era, with a largely African-American population deprived of the basic necessities of life and protesters taking to the civil disobedience to galvanize the attention of the public.Al Jazeera notes that a group from Windsor, Ontario brought 1,000 liters of water into Detroit to help people who have been deprived of this necessary basic service. An interactive map on the Detroit Water Brigade website identifies those residents in Detroit, Highland Park, and Hamtramck who haven’t had their water turned off and are willing to provide water to neighbors and a couple of central resource hubs offering water jugs and iodine tablets.What a nation! In Detroit, we have caring individuals and a few nonprofits—with assistance from Canada—providing water to Detroiters whose taps are dry. UNICEF reports that 768 million people in the world are dependent on unsafe drinking water sources; DoSomething.org says the number is more like 884 million. Now we can add the 150,000 Detroit water customers who have been classified as delinquent on their bills, including the 17,000 customers who have already had their water turned off this year.With the UN having already described the Detroit water crisis as a human rights issue, maybe the next step is international disaster relief organizations shipping potable water under UN auspices. No wonder some people are treating this as a civil rights issue.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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Ebola Scorecard Diagnoses and Deaths among Healthcare Workers

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares Nixx Photography / Shutterstock.comOctober 8, 2014; Wall Street JournalTexas Health Presbyterian Hospital had one Ebola patient, only one, the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S., but at least two nurses who treated Thomas Eric Duncan have already been infected and are receiving treatment. It is all but certain that the hospital was poorly prepared to respond to an Ebola case; appropriate protective gear for healthcare workers was unavailable, confusing and contradictory protocols (or, in some cases, none at all) were in play, and hospital administrators argued against the protective steps, such as moving Duncan to isolation, that a Texas Presbyterian nurse supervisor demanded. As of this writing, the second nurse diagnosed with Ebola has been transferred to Emory University in Atlanta, not because of a different kind of care that might be delivered there, but because of concerns that nurses at Texas Health are sufficiently upset that there may be a walkout or other form of work slowdown in Dallas due to the terrible problems faced by healthcare staff at the hospital.While Texas Health appears to have been a particularly tragic example of pathetic preparedness—and NPQ hopes fervently for the survival of the two nurses and their return to full health—reporters have contrasted that one Dallas hospital’s performance against Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, which has treated thousands of Ebola patients in West Africa, where medical facilities and resources can hardly compare to anything in Dallas and other places in the U.S. However, television news reporters have typically said, apparently incorrectly, that only two Doctors without Borders personnel have been diagnosed with Ebola despite treating some 2,000 patients. Information recently made available suggests higher infection rates affecting the incredibly brave men and women who work for Doctors without Borders in West Africa and elsewhere in the world, usually in conflict zones where most people won’t dare to go.Doctors without Borders has around 3,000 staff, including about 250 expatriates, in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The Associated Press reported yesterday that 16 staff members of Doctors without Borders have been diagnosed with Ebola and nine have died. As tragic as those numbers are, the infection rates for MSF staff have been minimal compared to those at Texas Health, and who knows how many more of the nearly 80 staff who treated Duncan may yet be diagnosed. The procedures followed by Doctors without Borders in West Africa are different than the CDC’s, including requiring healthcare workers to work in a buddy system so that they can spot potential errors in donning and removing protective clothing.The World Health Organization reports that the West African Ebola epidemic has led to a total of 401 healthcare workers being diagnosed with Ebola. Of those, 232—doctors, nurses, and others—have died. Why is the track record of the U.S. hospital where someone was diagnosed with Ebola so much worse? As another newswire we have written, “Fighting Ebola—and the Nation’s Fragmented Health Care System,” suggests, part of the problem here is the fragmentation of the U.S. medical system, a panoply of uncoordinated actors choosing to follow or ignore various protocols and to sort through multiple sources of contradictory and confusing information.But the problem is more than fragmentation alone. Jean Ross, the co-president of National Nurses United and a 40-year professional nurse, made a comment on CNN about the Texas Health Presbyterian situation. She said that the “for-profit bottom-line mentality” in U.S. hospitals has had a disastrous effect on the response to Ebola here. Notably, she didn’t distinguish between nonprofit and for-profit hospitals.Texas Health Presbyterian is a nonprofit hospital with over $1 billion in assets. In 2012, in its last formal Form 990 posted on GuideStar, it showed $613 million in revenues, $554 million in total expenses, and a net gain of over $59 million. The Dallas hospital is part of a network of some 25 facilities due to a merger of Texas Health Presbyterian hospitals with the Harris Methodist Health System. The system isn’t short of resources. The Texas Health Presbyterian hospital in Plano, which serves North Dallas, showed a net gain of almost $82 million. The parent organization of this hospital network, Texas Health Resources, showed a net gain of more than $83 million on its own.According to Ross, the nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas are not unionized but spoke to NNU because of their concerns about the hospital’s inadequate preparedness and procedures. CNN senior health correspondent Dr. Elizabeth Cohen noted that the nurses’ decision to speak to NNU anonymously is understandable because hospital personnel are typically “terrified” about going public for fear that they will lose their jobs.Médecins sans Frontières has long been among the most respected international aid nonprofits in the world. Sorry to say, but nonprofit hospitals in the U.S., despite some exceptions, have not been winning plaudits for the quality of their health care, particularly for the poor, from the American public for some years now, as they have demonstrated all too often a for-profit mentality like Ross described that contradicts their nonprofit tax status. The reason for a powerful and vigorous union like National Nurses United, which stands in contrast to some other nurses organizations that have been distinctly less forthright in standing behind its nursing constituency, is all too clear. If hospitals and healthcare systems begin to listen to and believe their frontline health care workers, the nurses who are the linchpin to effective response and treatment to infectious outbreaks, the future Ebola scorecard of infections and deaths in the U.S. may not have to replicate the performance of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.—Rick Cohen ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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The Debate over Reforming Overtime Regulations

first_imgShare21TweetShare17Email38 SharesImage Credit: You are overtime, Mark HillaryJuly 13, 2015; National Council of NonprofitsThe new reforms proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor concerning overtime are meant to address issues for all employers—but nonprofits have to remember that they too are affected, and they ought to be prepared to weigh in or adjust. The new proposed DOL regulations expand overtime protections by doubling the minimum salary of white collar workers before they would be considered exempt from being paid time-and-a-half wages for working in excess of 40 hours, raising the minimum from $23,660 (or $455 a week) to $50,400 ($970 a week).This would be a significant modification of the regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. While mandating overtime wages for many workers, the statute gave the Secretary of Labor the authority to define what levels of compensation would be covered by the overtime requirement and what levels would be exempt. Exempt employees are generally performing executive, administrative, or professional duties, paid according to a predetermined salary rather than on an hourly basis, and paid more than the minimum amount specified in regulations. (States do have the ability to set the exemption salary level higher than the federal FLSA level.)It’s not hard to guess that the current exempt salary level is low, actually below the current federal poverty level for a family of four. When the current exempt compensation level was set, it was higher than the federal poverty rate. The Council of Nonprofits notes that since that time (2004), the established federal poverty income level has increased 25 percent, but the proposed Labor regulation on exempt salary levels would more than double the existing standard. Why choose $50,400? DOL explains that that is the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers, and “a percentile serves as a better proxy for distinguishing between overtime-eligible and exempt white collar workers as it is rooted in the relative distribution of earnings which are linked to the type of work undertaken by salaried workers.”(Another provision in the proposed DOL regulations raises the standard for “highly compensated employees,” but for the purpose of this newswire, we are focusing on the “low” threshold level, because many nonprofits are relatively low-wage employers, and the proposed regulation would move a significant part of their workforce into the overtime-eligible category.)The National Council is eager for nonprofits to weigh in on how the proposed change in overtime thresholds would affect them:“In reviewing the proposed regulations, the National Council of Nonprofits encourages all nonprofits to conduct a mission-based analysis of the proposed regulations. That means answering questions about how the proposed increase in the minimum salary levels would affect operations, resources, and staffing, as well as what impact the draft regulations would have on persons relying on the services and the mission of the nonprofit.”The question is a little like the debate in the nonprofit sector about efforts to raise the minimum wage or otherwise establish a living wage. The Council asks nonprofits to consider the following:“What effect—positive or negative—would the proposals have on your organization’s ability to advance its mission? Variables could include the need to raise more money, serve fewer people, or not being able to perform under government grants or contracts, among many others.“What effect—positive or negative—would the proposals have on the individuals and communities your organization serves? For example, would higher compensation, if realized, reduce the number of individuals seeking services from the organization, and thus cut the workload of the organization or enable you to pursue other mission objectives?”In addition, the Council suggests that nonprofits might be interested in asking DOL to delay or phase in the new regulations, or to “exempt [nonprofits with existing government grants and contracts] from the implementation of any new rules until the time that government pays the higher amounts for the higher salary rate.”The proposed regulations shouldn’t make nonprofits think that the sky is falling. Although nonprofit employers are not exempt from the FLSA per se, those with volume of sales or revenues below $500,000 annually would not be covered by the regulation, and, moreover, according to the DOL, “In determining coverage, only [nonprofits’] activities performed for a business purpose are considered and not charitable, religious, educational, or similar activities of organizations operated on a nonprofit basis where such activities are not in substantial competition with other businesses.” Given that some nonprofits such as hospitals and universities may “compete” with other businesses—and even small nonprofits such as those in the housing and community development arena, for example, might easily top that $500,000 revenue threshold—the interpretation of this may be subject to some debate.Nonprofits are concerned, as evidenced by some of the 937 comments we have seen posted already on the regulations, which we quote below.We seriously are opposed to the changes you are planning to make in the overtime pay structure. We run a summer camp for kids and the exemption would potentially put us out of business. Please don’t make the change or give us an exemption for Seasonal Amusement or Recreational Establishments.Due to the nature of our substance abuse prevention/education work in schools and the community, I will have to cut staff to meet this requirement. I will also have to pay all of my substance abuse treatment providers overtime as well. I will have to cut staff and services to the fastest growing area of the country. We have experienced a 70 percent increase in requests for treatment services and have a current wait time of three weeks to enter our treatment program. This change will double or triple the wait time for people with addiction in our area to enter affordable treatment. Will there be exceptions given to non-profits related to this requirement? Is the federal government willing to increase grant funds to programs like ours to meet the needs in our area so that all services can be provided in a timely manner and staff can be paid for overtime worked?As an employee of a 501(c)(3) for more than twenty-five years, I can see a slippery slope being embarked upon by raising this threshold. Not only could this put ministries, churches, and other non-profits out of business or jeopardize the jobs of many workers, but, even our small business owners (mom and pop businesses, which are the backbone of America.) will have their livelihood jeopardized.We are a small not-for-profit organization with five employees. This change is too drastic and will have immediate impact on how effective we are at serving our population. We currently pay our part-timers at least $20/hr. and salaried employee at least $35,000, very livable wages for this part of the country. I believe that change is necessary to the overtime and exemption rule, but a more measure and incremental change (tying to an index) would be more realistic and reasonable. With the rule changes as they stand, we will have to eliminate some positions and not be as effective in serving our population.Very simple. As a manager of a non-profit organization, this proposed rule would make it very clear in deciding whether it would be financially possible to find a way to stay in business. The answer is no.While I understand the intent of the proposed increase in wage testing, I have very serious concerns about the effects of the increase on non-profits. I am the Executive Director of an Agency on Aging in Nebraska. Area Agencies on Aging across the Nation have faced the challenge of the Older Americans Act funding decreasing while the population of seniors has increased. Due to budget limitations we currently have waiting lists for senior services to help elderly remain in their homes, and we have been limited in the services we can provide through Senior Centers. Any increase in funds that have to go to salaries will cause a decrease in funds available to assist the elderly, which will result in causing them additional hardships.As the Human Resource Director of a small non-profit agency, the increase of the salary level test will severely impact almost the entirety of our Case Management staff. We set our compensation based on recognized salary survey information in our area and the proposed increase of the salary test will severely hamper the roles of our case managers who meet the other administrative tests of independent judgment and must, out of necessity often spend more than 40 hours working either at home or on site. I strongly recommend against the salary level test being raised to such an extreme, and essentially will result in fewer services being effectively delivered to the population we serve, not to mention the deep financial impact that it will have on our agency to try to fund overtime at that level.Speaking on behalf of a not-for-profit agency, this proposed increase will result in the loss of at least two jobs. If we had excess capacity to raise minimum salaries, we would do that. Sadly, our Federal funding has declined, resulting in our downsizing staff. 10 years ago, we had 25 employees. Today, we have 10 employees. If this change goes into effect, we will lose at least 2 more employees. Please reconsider the drastic increase and the unintended consequences.As the executive director of a nonprofit organization, in which all of my six management level employees currently make between $24,000 and $32,000 per year, I have great concern over the current proposal to change the threshold for exempt employees from $23,660 to $50,440 per year. The budgetary consequences to my organization, as well as to the majority of nonprofits, would be catastrophic. While I am strongly in favor of providing a living wage to all employees, this extreme mandate would create a desperate situation for employers, especially nonprofits. I can see a scenario in which employee salaries would be reduced so that we could afford to pay them overtime, and then they’d be forced to work overtime just to meet their current standard of living. Another option would be to reduce salaries and hire additional minimum wage workers to complete all the work. Still another option would be to cut services we offer.I am the executive director of a mid-sized nonprofit organization. We employ from 25-30 workers and have a budget of approximately $1.4M. I have reviewed the proposed changes to the definition of exempt employees and am quite concerned. While I agree that the current earnings threshold for exempt workers is too low, the proposed change is too high, more than doubling the current threshold. There are several reasons I believe this increase is unreasonable and would be ineffective: 1) There are many professionals in roles that fit the criteria for exemption who make less than $50K. For example, in our organization we have several employees who would be impacted by this change. Their current salaries are in line with salaries for their positions in our sector. Their job descriptions and their actual duties place them squarely within the definition of “exempt” but this change would make them hourly employees. 2) This change will not necessarily improve earnings for these employees. Many organizations—certainly ours—cannot afford to pay overtime, so our employees who would lose their exempt status would not earn any additional income except under extreme circumstances. 3) Limiting professionals’ hours interferes with their ability to do their jobs. Professional positions requiring the management of many employees, volunteers, and key functions of an organizations sometimes require more than 40 hours a week to complete. Employees who are responsible, committed, and accountable (the kind of employees we want on our payroll) find it frustrating and defeating to not be able to complete their job responsibilities. 4) It will be seen/felt as an insult to many currently exempt employees who would lose their status. As noted before, these are professionals with a great deal of responsibility, and that is how they see themselves. Having to clock in and out and not being able to work the number of hours they feel are needed to complete their work would be crippling and insulting to some. It would feel like a demotion. I have experienced this at a previous employer when several of us exempt employees became nonexempt. You’d think people would celebrate it, but that is not at all how the change was experienced. I believe we would not only have more trouble attracting new staff to our leadership positions but would risk losing some of the great people we have now. Comments will remain open until September 4th. The debate is going to continue, but from a brief review of one third of the posted comments, there was not one positive comment from a nonprofit. We would love to know how NPQ Newswire readers feel about this proposed regulation.—Rick CohenShare21TweetShare17Email38 Shareslast_img read more

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Black Activists Sign On to Support the Palestinian Struggle

first_imgShare12TweetShareEmail12 SharesAugust 18, 2015; SalonSome months ago, there was a contretemps in St. Louis about linking the protests in Ferguson after the shooting of Michael Brown to the controversies concerning Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. Newswire writer Marty Levine covered the story for NPQ, describing the issues that led to the cancellation of the program at the Missouri History Museum.That controversy, once limited to St. Louis, is now about to be eclipsed by a new development, a statement signed by some 1,000 black activists expressing “solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.” David Palumbo-Liu, a professor at Stanford University, writes that “lines of solidarity” have begun to develop between blacks and Palestinians due to the perception that both face “repressive and deadly violence.”Palumbo-Liu himself had written for Salon about the similarities between the conditions faced by blacks in the U.S. and Palestinians in the occupied territories, which he said included “dispossession from lands and homes; de facto forms of inequality; state violence; the constant interruption of daily life; and the ways the perpetrators of such violence are often immune from prosecution.”The statement that was just released begins as follows:On the anniversary of last summer’s Gaza massacre, in the 48th year of Israeli occupation, the 67th year of Palestinians’ ongoing Nakba (the Arabic word for Israel’s ethnic cleansing)—and in the fourth century of Black oppression in the present-day United States—we, the undersigned Black activists, artists, scholars, writers, and political prisoners offer this letter of reaffirmed solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and commitment to the liberation of Palestine’s land and people.Among the signatories of some prominence that we saw on the list were Shaka Zulu, the chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party, currently in prison serving a lengthy sentence for armed robbery; Patrice Cullors, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter; Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former radio broadcaster who was convicted of the killing of a Philadelphia police officer and sentenced to death; Bill Fletcher, Jr., the former president of TransAfrica Forum; Cornel West, who now teaches at Union Theological Seminary; rappers Jasiri X and Boots Riley; and longtime activist Angela Davis. Of the 1,000 signatories, 328 identified as students. Among the organizational signatories were Dream Defenders, the group that did extensive organizing in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death at the hands of George Zimmerman; Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment; the Organization for Black Struggle, another organization that has been active in organizing in Ferguson and throughout the St. Louis region; and the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership in Detroit.To this group of signatories, the linkage of Ferguson and other issues of black struggles against unnecessarily violent police power and other aspects of a justice system in need of serious repair with the plight of Palestinians is an important statement. While professing no connection of this effort to “anti-Jewish hatred or anti-Jewish prejudice,” West explained to Palumbo-Liu his rationale for the connection of Ferguson and Palestine:This has to do with a moral and spiritual and political critique of occupation. […] There is no doubt that Gaza is not just a “kind of” concentration camp, it is the hood on steroids. Now in the black community, located within the American empire, you do have forms of domination and subordination, forms of police surveillance and so forth, so that we are not making claims of identity, we are making claims of forms of domination that must be connected…. there is no doubt that for the Ferguson moment in America and the anti-occupation moment in the Israel-Palestinian struggle there is a very important connection to make and I think we should continue to make it.The letter has some specific recommendations: supporting the Boycott Divest Sanctions (BDS) movement against products from the occupied Palestinian territories, endorsing academic and cultural boycotts of Israel, and extending the right of return to the seven million or so Palestinian refugees living in various countries of the Middle East and elsewhere.In our noting of the signatories, it is obvious that the leaders of more established institutions connected to the black community are not on the list. The signatories comprise a much more left-leaning group of black leaders than the black leaders of more established civil rights organizations, the black political leaders in Congress and in state legislatures, and the black leaders and staff working in U.S foundations. Were they offered a chance to sign and declined? Or was this a letter that circulated among the newer, younger black organizers? (Yes, Davis and several other signatories are Boomers, but that doesn’t obviate the sense that this letter appealed to the Dream Defenders and other organizations that have leapt up the nonprofit rankings in the wake of the past few years’ of unarmed young black men dying in the streets of their neighborhoods.) Or might they have taken a pass because, even if these other leaders agree on the issue of Palestine, they see no upside for their civil rights activities from a linkage to the Palestinian cause?One wonders whether this alliance between black activists in the U.S. and Palestinian causes and campaigns around the world will be more than a one-time event—and toward what end.—Rick CohenShare12TweetShareEmail12 Shareslast_img read more

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Can Nonprofits Do More to End Budget Stalemates in the States

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesDecember 21, 2015; Pittsburgh Post-GazetteNPQ has long been following the budget standoff in Pennsylvania and Illinois, as some nonprofits have come to six months without a contract payment, which is simply unacceptable.In Pennsylvania, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:A sense of optimism that state officials could finally produce a budget had dissolved Saturday, when House Democrats and numerous Republicans joined forces to topple a pension bill that was part of an agreement among legislators and the administration. Senate Republicans said they would not raise taxes, as the budget supported by Mr. Wolf would require, without the reduction in the pension guaranteed to future state and school workers.The distance still to travel to find a solution to the almost six-month-long standoff was illustrated by the 149-52 vote, with all Democrats and more than half of the Republicans opposing the bill. The York Daily Herald captured how the proposal was seen from both sides of the aisle.Rep. John McGinnis (R-Blair) argued on the floor that the proposal would have actually increased the state’s pension debt and that the Legislature should instead look to completely end the defined-benefit, traditional pension. […] State Rep. Kevin Schreiber (D-York) said, it was “never negotiated” that Democrats were putting up votes. And the Republicans, with 119 members, had enough to pass it on their own.Unfortunately, this is more than just an academic debate between political scientists and economists over the best way to solve the issues on the table. The lack of a budget has real impact on real people.A coalition of 30 nonprofits led by the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership called on the governor and the general assembly to pass a full-year budget, not a stopgap.“A ‘stopgap’ or ‘rescue budget’ neither ends nor rescues, and is effectively no real budget at all,” the letter stated. “Pennsylvanians have waited six months—half the year—for a budget providing a clear direction from their elected leaders. In the meantime, citizens and organizations have been effectively paralyzed in their planning for the future while struggling each day to provide basic services to the communities they have been called to serve. As of today, your indecision has forced organizations to cut positions and services or limit their expansion of offerings for the people of the state.”The Morning Call recapped many of the real impacts of the impasse: hundreds of employees at nearly 300 organizations having their hours and paychecks reduced or eliminated, school districts borrowing millions of dollars, early childhood centers closed, shelters for victims of domestic violence shutting their doors to new arrivals, students lacking money for transportation and housing, and food banks without the funds to help those in need.Bertrand Russell once observed, “Real life is, to most men, a long second-best, a perpetual compromise between the ideal and the possible.” In Pennsylvania, Illinois (which also still does not have a state budget), and Washington, real life, that place between the ideological positions of left and right where we can find solutions to the problems faced by real people, remains beyond the grasp of our political leaders. What can and must nonprofits do differently to prevent these kind of destructive stalemates?—Martin LevineShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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New Federal Study on Climate Change Shows Starkest Findings to Date

first_imgShare18TweetShareEmail18 Shares“Coastal flooding in Washington DC,” Bruno Sanchez-Andrade NuñoNovember 23, 2018; New York Times and Washington PostA major scientific report issued by 13 federal agencies on Friday, November 23rd, “presents the starkest warnings to date of the consequences of climate change for the United States, predicting that if significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the damage will knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the American economy by century’s end,” write Coral Davenport and Kendra Pierre Lewis in the New York Times.Participating federal agencies are the following:Department of AgricultureDepartment of CommerceDepartment of DefenseDepartment of EnergyDepartment of Health and Human ServicesDepartment of the InteriorDepartment of StateDepartment of TransportationEnvironmental Protection AgencyNational Aeronautics and Space AdministrationNational Science FoundationThe Smithsonian InstitutionU.S. Agency for International DevelopmentThe report is mandated by Congress. This is the fourth such report; the first one came out in 2000, and the last one prior to this was in 2014.In a 1,656-page assessment, the report lays out the expected impact of climate change on health, the economy, and the environment. Among its findings, the study’s authors indicate that Midwest agricultural yields are likely to fall to 1980s levels. As Davenport and Lewis write, “Key crops, including corn, wheat, and soybeans, would see declining yields as temperatures rise during the growing season.”Brady Dennis and Chris Mooney of the Washington Post add that the report “finds that the continental United States already is 1.8°F warmer than it was 100 years ago, surrounded by seas that are on average nine inches higher and being wracked by far worse heat waves than the nation experienced only 50 years ago…by 2050, the country could see as much as 2.3 additional degrees of warming in the continental United States.” As one example of how temperatures are likely to be affected: Phoenix, which experienced about 80 days per year over 100°F around 2000, could expect between 120 and 150 such days by century’s end.The study forecasts droughts in the Southwest that will curb hydropower generation and limit water supplies. In Alaska, the study envisions that a loss of sea ice will cause coastal flooding and force communities to relocate. The study also reports the potential for saltwater contamination of drinking water in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Other impacts identified include increased deaths from heat waves and a greater propensity for disease to spread.As Brad Plummer and Henry Fountain, also writing in the New York Times, detail, there were also some other novel findings in the study. Three of these are the following:Recognition that some predicted impacts have already arrived: The 2014 federal study predicted coastal flooding. Now, both Miami, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina are experiencing a “record number of ‘nuisance flooding’ events during high tides.”A greater attention to interactive effects: For example, Superstorm Sandy’s flooding of subway and highway tunnels made electrical repairs more difficult. In California, droughts affect both the water supply and energy production, since hydroelectric power is a major energy source.A need to prepare for coastal flooding: The study authors warn that the “potential need for millions of people and billions of dollars of coastal infrastructure to be relocated in the future creates challenging legal, financial, and equity issues that have not yet been addressed.”The report comes just one month after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations, released a report that forecasts a “mass die-off” of the coral reef by 2040 and “a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires” resulting from continued climate change, among other things. The federal report reinforces these findings, although its focus is primarily on the US.The authors suggest three possible policy steps to mitigate climate change effects: putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., taxing carbon); government regulation of greenhouse gasses; and spending public money on energy research.For the moment, the White House has largely dismissed the report, claiming that the scientists’ findings were based on the “most extreme scenario” of global warming.  Philip Duffy, who is president of the Woods Hole Research Center, points out that there’s “a bizarre contrast between this report, which is being released by this administration, and this administration’s own policies.”—Steve DubbShare18TweetShareEmail18 Shareslast_img read more

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VSAT specialist Gilat Satcom and OTT platform prov

first_imgVSAT specialist Gilat Satcom and OTT platform provider Tvinci have launched a duplex satellite-based OTT TV solution.The solution uses Gilat Satcom’s satellite-based connectivity services and Tvinci’s pay OTT platform to deliver TV content to PCs, connected TVs, set-top boxes, tablets and smartphones to regions where broadband connectivity is low. The combined service uses satellite communication to deliver video to edge points such as education centres and internet cafes before being pushed to end-devices over-the-top.“Our mission was to bring connectivity to customers operating beyond the reach of traditional telecommunications,” said Dan Winter, CEO, Gilat Satcom. “Via the exciting combination of Tvinci’s cross-device technology and our extensive global satellite coverage, this ground-breaking project enables, for the first time, the delivery of OTT video to multiple regions in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, where broadband connectivity is currently less available.”last_img read more

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Modern Times Group is launching a prepaid DTH ser

first_imgModern Times Group is launching a pre-paid DTH service in Ukraine.UA.TV is being sold as a monthly prepaid service and is available alongside MTG’s premium DTH platform Viasat. It costs UAH39 (€3.70) per month.The new service offers a basic package of 58 channels to customers who purchase a satellite dish and receiver. The package includes Viasat’s TV1000 Russian Kino, Viasat Nature and Viasat Explorer channels, as well as third party channels including Discovery, children’s channel Detskiy and national free-to-air channels Pershy Natsionalny, 1+1, Ukraine, STB and ICTV.Jørgen Madsen, president and CEO of MTG, said: “The launch of UA.TV is the next step in the development of our pay TV business in Ukraine. The addition of a new, separate, pre-paid mass market entry level pay TV brand is intended to make our services available to even more of the 19 million TV households in the country, as the service is easily accessible to people who choose not to have one of our more comprehensive subscription services.”last_img read more

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UK cable operator Virgin Media has today rolled ou

first_imgUK cable operator Virgin Media has today rolled out its new online video service.The Virgin TV Anywhere service brings TV content to computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. From launch, users can stream up to 43 channels online, including a range of Sky Sports and Sky Movies channels. Up to 4,000 hours of TV is also available to watch on demand at any time and the service includes integrated access to catch-up TV services from BBC, ITV, 4oD and Demand 5.Virgin TV Anywhere is available to all Virgin TV customers at no extra cost. TiVo customers have access to additional functions, including remote record.Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media, said: “The world of digital entertainment is moving so fast, consumers are always looking for the next ‘big thing’ to take advantage of the features and connectivity built into today’s gadgets. Virgin TV Anywhere builds upon our fantastic TV service, blending in the best of TiVo and our expertise in broadband and mobile, to bring customers a compelling entertainment experience to enjoy whenever they want, wherever they are – all at no extra cost.”last_img read more

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Spending watchdog the National Audit Office NAO

first_imgSpending watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) has found that the BBC paid senior managers more than they were entitled to in severance pay, costing license fee payers “at least £1 million” (€1.17 million).The report, which was presented to the finance committee of the BBC’s governing body, the BBC Trust, criticised the public broadcaster for breaching its own policies on severance “too often and without good reason,” claiming that the BBC “exceeded contractual entitlements and put public trust at risk.”The NAO said that in 14 of 60 cases it reviewed, the BBC paid senior managers more salary in lieu of notice than they were contractually entitled to – including two cases where the BBC knew that departing executives had new jobs lined up.“The BBC Trust paid the former BBC director general, George Entwistle, £475,000 after announcing his resignation. This included three weeks’ salary worth £25,000 that was not part of his severance payment of £450,000,” said the NAO.Concluding that severance pay to BBC managers “provided poor value for money” the NAO recommended that the BBC should increase scrutiny of severance payments that differ from standard entitlements.In spite of this, the report did find that between August 2009 and December 2011, the BBC exceeded its target of cutting 20% of its senior managers and said that, overall, the estimated £188 million in savings the BBC made from senior manager redundancies exceed the £60 million cost of severance payments.last_img read more

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