PARIS (AP) — Vandals painted pro-Uighur graffiti on France’s Holocaust Memorial ahead of international commemorations of the Nazi slaughter of millions of Jews. The Israeli Embassy in France tweeted a photo of the graffiti scrawled on a wall etched with the names of tens of thousands of French victims of the Holocaust. The embassy expressed “horror and anger” at the vandalism “on such a symbolic day.” Paris police said the graffiti was discovered Wednesday morning, as ceremonies were being held or planned around the world to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The graffiti was not expressly anti-Semitic but apparently sought to call attention to China’s treatment of Muslim Uighurs.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Consolidation is coming to the American cable television industry, but what that portends for the future of Bethpage-based Cablevision Systems Corp. and their subsidiary, Newsday, is far from clear.Earlier this year Comcast, the largest cable company in the country, announced its intention to buy Time Warner Cable, the nation’s second-largest cable company, for $45 billion, in a deal that still requires federal approval. The announcement fueled speculation that the other big cable operators, including Cablevision, which is reportedly the fourth-largest in the business with its 3 million subscribers, could be up for grabs. And if another company gobbled up Cablevision, would it retain or unload Newsday, which it acquired in 2008 from the Tribune Company for $650 million? With the Dolan family’s backing, Long Island’s lone daily newspaper has survived the downslide of the digital age, but it’s hard to tell if that would continue under new ownership.Certainly, cable, not newspapers, is where all the acquisition action is these days.“We have the financial flexibility to chase a few more rabbits,” John Malone, the billionaire investor whose holding company, Liberty Media, is Charter Communication’s largest stockholder, told Bloomberg News, referring to Charter’s bid for Time Warner Cable that it lost to Comcast.Some industry analysts thought his comment meant that Cablevision was suddenly in the cross-hairs because Charter’s current chief executive, Thomas Rutledge, had once been a top dog at Cablevision until he resigned in December 2011 after not seeing eye to eye with Cablevision’s grand poobah, James Dolan. But, Malone had told Bloomberg in October that he didn’t see Cablevision as a merger target because it didn’t have room left to grow in the pay-TV households of Long Island.Wall Street analysts agree.“Relative to other operators, Cablevision suffers the worst of both worlds,” media analyst Craig Moffett wrote in a November report for Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., an investment research firm he then worked for. “Its starting penetration is already almost double its peers, making it harder to gain and easier to lose.”If anyone outside the Dolan family knew the ins and outs of Cablevision, it would be Rutledge, asserted some analysts willing to dismiss any bad blood lingering between him and Dolan. The Cablevision scion himself added to the speculation when he gave a rare interview to The Wall Street Journal last summer when he refused to say whether the Dolans would still own the company two decades from now.“You can’t rule out the possibility of a sale,” he admitted.But, a big development in the cable industry last week significantly changes the dynamic, analysts say. On April 28, Charter and Comcast agreed on a deal that would let Charter pick up some 3 million subscribers that Comcast wants to divest while swapping its subscribers in areas of the country Charter prefers not to serve. Assuming the merger passes muster with the U.S. Department of Justice as well as the Federal Communications Commission, Charter would become dominant in the Midwest and Comcast Time Warner Cable would become dominant on both Coasts.Just as importantly, Charter would become the second-largest cable company in the country behind Comcast, which would have 30 million subscribers, or about 30 percent of the cable industry. The prospect of one media entity wielding that much control doesn’t sit well with consumer advocates—or with U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who criticized the merger at recent Senate committee hearings, calling it “a disaster.”“We’ve been opposed to the Comcast Time Warner deal since it was announced,” said Harold Feld, senior vice president at Public Knowledge, a non-profit, pro-consumer group based in Washington, D.C. “Adding Charter into the mix has not made it any prettier from our perspective.”But the new deals suggest that Cablevision is off the table—for now.“Charter is not going to be in a position to make a big acquisition,” Feld told the Press. “Charter will need to take some time absorbing [Comcast’s subscribers] and restructuring before they could even think about acquiring somebody else.”Industry analyst Craig Moffett, now at his own firm, MoffettNathanson LLC, put it this way: “The question used to be whether Cablevision is for sale. The question now is who would be the buyer?” Moffett told the Press.“Comcast is restricted,” he said. “They’re selling subscribers to fit under the FCC’s ceiling. Time Warner Cable is out of the picture. Charter is divesting the last of its presence on the East Coast. I think at this point it would be hard to find a buyer.”The prospects for Charter buying Cablevision definitely “took a hit,” according to Lance Vitanza, managing director and partner at CRT Capital Group, based in Stamford, Conn.“If you thought a Cablevision deal was going to happen in the near term, now the timing is going to be pushed off,” he told the Press. “Charter is certainly not going to do another deal in the midst of doing this deal.”A Cablevision representative declined to comment.BATTLE OF THE BROADBANDWhat’s been driving the cable industry to consolidate is the desire to gain leverage over the networks, content producers and program providers in order to stifle rising prices for retransmission and carrying fees.It was a dispute over higher fees charged by the Fox Network that had led to Cablevision imposing a service blackout for two weeks in October 2010, which generated a class action lawsuit that is still winding its way through the federal justice system. In a similar scuffle last fall, Time Warner Cable blacked out the CBS network and its related channels, like Showtime, for almost a month in a dispute over how much it was paying for their programs and then had to concede defeat as the NFL football season began. As Time Warner Cable’s chairman and chief executive, Glenn Britt, told The New York Times, “We certainly didn’t get everything we wanted.”Dolan had told the Journal last August that Cablevision’s position in the New York metropolitan market “helps us have more leverage than our size would dictate,” when it comes to pushing back against content providers’ strong-arm tactics to raise programming prices. But, he added that “there could come a day” when his company decides to drop TV and shift to broadband as its main offering.“We are going to continue to do the right things for the shareholders,” he told the Journal.“Cablevision has generally had the problem that the Dolan family has often been at odds with other investors,” said Feld, of Public Knowledge. “They have a good, compact market but they have never been successful at finding a good way to expand.”An industry analyst based in the New York metropolitan area who spoke on background explained the skepticism prevailing on Wall Street regarding Cablevision’s James Dolan, who announced at the beginning of April that he was naming himself chief executive officer, his wife Kristin Dolan the new chief operating officer and Brian Sweeney the new president.“For years there’s been a positive and a negative in Cablevision stock,” the investment expert told the Press. “The positive is that somebody someday is going to consolidate Manhattan and Long Island. But not anymore. Not for a very long time.“The negative has always been called ‘The Jimmy Discount,’” the analyst continued. “People hate him. He’s not a great manager and he does stupid things. I think he bought Newsday with as much forethought as he bought Clearview Cinemas and the Whiz. I don’t think he ever gave a shit about journalism. But I think there are tax reasons why Newsday will hang on as part of Cablevision for a while to come.”Last July, when Newsday announced that publisher Fred Groser was going to retire at the year’s end, New York Post media columnist Keith J. Kelly reported that his pending departure sparked “renewed speculation that parent Cablevision is readying the Long Island paper for a sale…” As it turned out, Kelly was wrong, but the rumors persist, fueled in March when Gordon McLeod was named publisher—the third one in the six years since the $4.4-billion cable operator bought Newsday.Asked about the stubborn scuttlebutt that the Long Island tabloid is again on the auction block, Newsday deferred to Cablevision.“As a matter of long-standing policy, we do not comment on rumors or speculation in the media,” a Cablevision spokeswoman said.In its recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Cablevision reported that Newsday had suffered almost $150 million in operating losses over the last three years: $71.1 million in 2013, $47 million in 2012 and $31.7 million in 2011. According to Newsday’s most recent filing with the Alliance for Audited Media, the paper’s total average print circulation was approximately 255,000 on weekdays, about 251,000 on Saturdays and 313,000 on Sundays, representing a decline of a 6.4 percent, 5.3 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively, compared to a comparable period the year before.“You simply can’t take a cable company and a newspaper and expect them to play nicely together,” says Jaci Clement, the director of the nonprofit Fair Media Council, an LI media watchdog group. “The philosophies are different. The products are different. The cultures are different.”She said Cablevision’s ownership of Newsday has been a “lose-lose-lose situation” for the Island.“Newsday is treated like an addition, not as an integral part of the operation,” she said. “[It] has been diminished from being one of the best metro papers in the country… The public has no diversity in the news offered by Newsday and News12…. Cablevision financially supported a candidate that Newsday endorsed yet Newsday repeatedly failed to disclose Cablevision’s contributions. Journalistically, that’s so bad it’s off the charts.”But with Verizon FiOS a distant competitor—same goes for satellite TV—Cablevision is firmly in the driver’s seat and Long Islanders are just along for the ride.
“The first two games were pretty difficult (for us),” he said of the loss to Toulon, who scored tries through Bryan Habana and Delon Armitage and had 13 points from the boot of Leigh Halfpenny, and their opening reverse at Leicester. “But we’ve got four games still to go and the potential to pick up 20 points in that. “Obviously we’ve got to go away to Toulon and that’s going to be a pretty tough ask. “I suppose after the Tigers it makes it disappointing that we didn’t come out better than that. “But it’s a long season and we’ll just have to keep digging in and we’ve got to pick ourselves up.” Ulster captain Rory Best admitted the home side’s scrum had not functioned as well as had been hoped against a mighty Toulon eight. “Against a big pack like that we knew we had to move them around a bit and to do that you’ve got to get quick ball,” he said. “It’s something we’ve worked hard on and we needed returns on that but we couldn’t get the ball we wanted. “We got penalised a bit at scrum time, which we were a bit disappointed with. We felt we were better than the amount of penalties we conceded and we felt we should have had more (of a positive outcome) than that as we had the upper hand at times but we probably weren’t as neat and tidy as we’d been before.” The French side were impressive 23-13 winners at the Kingspan Stadium, putting themselves in a strong position to progress but leaving Ulster’s hopes of making the last eight appearing remote. Doak was trying to look on the bright side, however. Ulster coach Neil Doak refused to admit defeat in his side’s European campaign despite a second straight loss in Pool Three at the hands of champions Toulon. Toulon skipper Carl Hayman was clearly delighted with bagging the away win and the position it now puts his side in regarding their ultimate aim of winning the group. “There are not a lot of teams that come here and win, and for us to come here and get a victory, we’re really happy,” he said. “We knew it was going to be a tough battle and a very important part of the game. The scrum, rolling maul and breakdown is always a hotly contested part of the game – it was an area that we knew we’d have to come here and dominate. “It’s an area of our game that we try to work hard on every week – it’s the basics of rugby and we are happy to come away with the win. “The intercept from Delon (Armitage) was a real key turning point in the game that gave us breathing space. It was a crucial score at a crucial time against the wind. “We already had a good lead at half-time and we knew that we would always have to get a try in the second half. “I was really proud of the guys in defence. We talked over the last few days what we’d need to win here and we respect the Ulster team hugely for what they have done here in the previous years and their home record, so I’m really proud of the guys the way they stuck in.” Press Association
At the moment, Wisconsin sports may seem tumultuous. The starting point guard goes down with a season-ending injury, quickly followed by the starting quarterback.The same thing happened to my high school in 2007, when an outstanding athlete – one who carried the torch of Sturgeon Bay High School sports for that year – tore his ACL. Coincidentally, that man played the position of not only Joel Stave (quarterback), but also Josh Gasser (point guard).But this isn’t high school athletics; this is Division I Big Ten sports – a much grander scale. Rest assured while I cringe, but Sturgeon Bay was nowhere near as successful as Wisconsin.We have grown accustomed to success here at Wisconsin, and frankly, it’s not fair. The format of college athletics – recruit the best, a brief thank you and wave goodbye to them after four years or fewer – doesn’t promote success.The success mounted at Wisconsin, though, has been unparalleled. The football team has finished 10 consecutive seasons with a trip to a bowl game, tied for sixth-best in college football. The men’s basketball team has finished 14 consecutive years with a ticket to the most exciting dance there is, tied for fifth-best in college hoops. No other school has had both a bowl game and tournament appearance throughout each of the past 10 years. Wisconsin is the only one.The greatness of Russell Wilson for one season and Jordan Taylor for two prompts the highest of expectations following their departures. Being the next guy in line and accepting the torch from exiting legends, promising to carry it on to the next crop, can be wonderful. It is a gig that never falls short of criticism, though.And that’s why, at this point in the crossroads of two seasons, as each program decides between a pair of play-callers and ball controllers, I ask that we quit being so damn critical of student-athletes.How easy it is to just sit back, reclined in a La-Z-Boy or not, and scream Montee Ball isn’t doing his job or that the O-line at “O-line University” just isn’t as dominant as it used to be.Recently, it has even been easier to criticize Danny O’Brien for his shortcomings as a (backup) quarterback. As we’ve learned – and should have known all along – replacing Russell Wilson was impossible. O’Brien was a one-hit wonder attempting to follow up a rockin’ U2 concert. As much as we desperately hoped, it wasn’t going to happen.But does that mean we treat O’Brien as a has-been who has no future at Wisconsin? Just eight weeks ago, he was the starting quarterback of the team tabbed for a third-consecutive Rose Bowl.Saturday he was cast from the sidelines – where he had spent six games as signal-caller – into the leader of an offense that amounted just seven points in the first half. And he was facing the best defense in the Big Ten, to boot.If you expect a 22-year-old student-athlete to rise to the occasion, without much backing from his offensive coordinator, then you’ve got some success-inflated expectations that no one can live up to.It would be different if O’Brien didn’t respect the media, didn’t care for his classes, didn’t act like he loves being a part of the Wisconsin campus and Wisconsin football. In any of those cases, his criticism would likely be warranted.But it’s not all about O’Brien. If Curt Phillips earns the nod as starting quarterback against Indiana Nov. 10, he will be under the same expectations Stave had as quarterback. That’s not fair. Philips hasn’t thrown a pass in a game since 2009. His one pass this season was called back after a penalty.Fans should be less critical of the 20-something year-olds placed in such pressure-filled positions. If they want to gripe, look to the 40-something year-old coaches who are paid millions to help these students as they try to live up to the athletes that came before them.Mike Gundy, head coach at Oklahoma State, said it best in 2007 when a local newspaper ran criticism of a player on his team.“Come after me,” Gundy screamed. “I’m a man, I’m 40!”While Gundy and many other coaches are not in the position to catch or throw passes, to make or break tackles, they are definitely in the position to take blame for basically anything that happens on the football field.When the revolving door changes in college athletics and the numbers and names on jerseys switch from year to year, expectations too should change, and criticism should be cast with a watchful eye.This will run true for the basketball team, and as the season begins, Badger fans should be most wary. Whoever claims the starting point guard position, be it George Marshall or Traevon Jackson, will undoubtedly have growing pains as they ease into the weight placed upon Gasser at the outset of the season.Expectations were high, but excitement was higher for the guard who had started since his freshman year. He was a familiar face with a reliable game that Badger fans were confident about.And now two relatively unfamiliar faces will take on the task of filling the point guard gap, in a way very similar to how O’Brien was asked to fill the gap left by Wilson.I can guarantee one thing: It won’t be easy. It probably won’t be easy to watch, either. My directions: Order each game with a side of objectivity, and definitely hold the criticism. Save future upside as dessert.For now, Wisconsin fans, lower your expectations for Marshall or Jackson, or Phillips or O’Brien. Then enjoy the excitement you experience when these student-athletes raise them for you.Sean is a junior studying journalism and communication arts. Do you think student-athletes are worthy of criticism? Let him know with an email ([email protected]) or with a tweet @sean_zak.
zoomIllustration of the new Havila Kystruten ships; Image Courtesy: Havyard Canadian manufacturer of energy storage systems Corvus Energy has signed a contract with Norwegian Electric Systems (NES) for the marine world’s largest battery package for hybrid-powered vessels.As informed, the technology will be installed onboard Havila Kystruten’s environmentally-friendly coastal vessels.“This is a big step for the cruising industry and we are extremely proud to receive this order… The Energy Storage System (ESS) is the world’s largest package ever delivered to a ship and will enable the vessels to enter fjords and ECAs on zero emission mode five years before the deadline,” Geir Bjørkeli, CEO of Corvus Energy, said.Corvus Energy will deliver an air-cooled ESS with Corvus’ patented single-cell thermal isolation which exceeds class requirements.“The Energy Storage System has a capacity per vessel of 6,100 kWh, which is double the capacity of any existing battery-operated vessel,” Roger Rosvold, Vice President Sales at Corvus Energy, explained. “The unused potential for using batteries on board cruise and passenger ferries is huge. Batteries reduce fuel consumption and maintenance costs, cut pollution and, with increasing environmental regulations and requirements that will incur costs for air emissions, provide a very compelling business case.”“As more and more shipowners wake up to this, we expect to see uptake accelerating across the board. The industry is just starting to understand the power of batteries,” Rosvold further said.The newbuilds are part of Havila’s contract with Norwegian Ministry of Transport for the construction of four environmentally-friendly vessels that will operate on the Bergen-Kirkenes coastal route.Two of the vessels will be built by Turkish shipbuilder Tersan and the remaining by Spanish Barreras. Featuring a length of 125 meters and a width of 20 meters, the ships will be able to accommodate 700 passengers.The vessels will have a hybrid gas-electric propulsion system with battery, where four gas-powered engines in each vessel run the generators. The system is also adapted to the next generation of technology, using hydrogen fuel cells.The equipment from Corvus Energy is scheduled for delivery in 2020 and the coastal route vessels will be in service from 2021.