Monday, December 11, 2017

Social: RISE, with EU, helping Kids to "Find Their Voice"

For Official Release

December 11, 2017
“As children and young people, you have the power to change this country; but you also have rights and responsibilities. You need to know your rights and you need to get involved so we can make Jamaica a better place.”
So said motivational speaker and “Talk Up Youth” TV host Emprezz Mullings-Golding. Emprezz was addressing an audience of combined primary school youngsters at The launch of Phase 2 of the Finding My Voice National programme at the Calabar Infant Primary and All-Age School in downtown Kingston on Monday. The programme coincided with the observance of International Human Rights Day.
The European Union funded programme will see agents of RISE Life Management Services going into schools across the island – particularly in deep rural areas – bringing  sexual abuse prevention education as well as counselling to over 50,000 children over the course of 18 months.
In her typical rousing style, the guest speaker turned her guest session into equal parts “TV programme” motivational speech and civics quiz, telling the children that they were not too young to take an interest in the political system and in how laws affected them.  “You need to know, along with your parents, who your Member of Parliament is, as well as your local representative, so that you can use your voice to get thing going in your communities,” she said. She exhorted the children to be active and to “talk up” because by their actions today, the future of the country is being shaped.”
Representing the EU, Head of Delegation Malgorzata Vasiliewska spoke to her own background as a human rights activist in her native Poland, making reference to that country’s repressive past . She also urged the children to take an interest in their local affairs and to ensure that they spoke up if anyone, at any time tried to deprive them of their childhood, whether through sexual or other physical and emotional abuse. “You have the right to be protected and provided for, but just as importantly, you have the right to play, and to be children,” she said.
RISE Life Executive Director Sonita Abrahams said the agency was pleased to secure funding for the second Phase, aimed as it was at protecting children from sexual and emotional abuse through early education as well as to offer counselling and other forms of social support to those who have been abused.
The Child Development Agency (now the Child Development and Family Services Agency) reported, through Rochelle Dixon, that it was receiving some 1200 child abuse reports monthly, with some 60% of those being sexual abuse complaints. Ms Dixon urged the children to report incidences of abuse , whether to a parent, family member, teacher, social worker or friend, as their silence protects the abusers.
At the end of the proceedings, the agency and the EU head signed contract document signalling the official initiation of the project. The Finding Your Voice programme will also include initiatives to help empower and protect women, and will include a Guide to Rights handbook developed in a previous EU-funded project which was implemented jointly by RISE and the British Council.

Financial: Bitcoin Futures "Bright" Clouds of Doubt remain

-Guardian UK
Bitcoin has taken another step towards the financial mainstream, with the launch of its first derivative contracts in Chicago.
But the move has intensified concerns that cryptocurrencies should be tightly controlled, in case they prove to be an unsustainable speculative bubble that ends in tears.
The first Bitcoin futures contracts, which will be settled in early 2018, jumped by 25% in early trading overnight -- triggering two circuit-breakers designed to calm volatile markets.
Although the number of futures contracts traded was relatively small, today’s debut seems to be going relatively smoothly. These futures contracts can be used to bet against bitcoin, but
Here’s the latest pricing, via Reuters:
  • The one-month future is up 13% from the open at $17,450, around $1,000 higher than the “spot” bitcoin price - the price at which bitcoin is currently being bought and sold.
  • The two-month contract is trading at $18,880, while the three-month contract is changing hands at $19,040.

Music: Hold the Single, Now its an Album for Shaggy and Sting

Superstar Shaggy had announced the appearance of fellow megastar Sting at his upcoming 6th edition of the Shaggy and Friends Benefit concert with word of a single the two are collaborating on.

Now, according tot he Jamaica Observer, there's more in the works.

Shaggy and Sting are working on an album of reggae songs. Shaggy confirmed the project on Wednesday at the launch of Shaggy and Friends.

“We have something working on, but I can't say anything right now,” Shaggy told Jamaica Observer. “We recently did a song that I had written. His manager heard the song and he played it. Afterwards Sting walked in and began to sing the hook.”

In 1998, Sting came to Jamaica and lay tracks for Another Pyramid, a song he recorded with Sly and Robbie at Anchor Studio in St Andrew. It is part of the Grammy-winning album, Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, which also has songs by Lenny Kravitz, Shania Twain, Tina Turner, Boyz II Men and James Taylor.

The Police's 1978 album, Outlands d'Armour, contained reggae-inspired tracks such as So Lonely (which was inspired by Bob Marley and The Wailers' No Woman, No Cry), and Next to You.

Other reggae-influenced tracks from the group include Wrapped Around Your Finger(from their 1983 album Synchronicity), Every Little Thing She Does is Magic and De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da, both of which were Top 10 hits in the United Kingdom.

In 1981, Jamaican singer Sheila Hylton covered the group's 1979 reggae hit, Bed's Too Big Without You, which is from their album, Regatta de Blanc.

Hylton's version, which was released by Island Records, was produced by Harry “Harry J” Johnson and produced by Sly and Robbie. It reached number 35 on the UK chart.

In 1997, American independent company Ark 21 Records released the album Reggatta Mondatta: Reggae Tribute Album to The Police. The 12-track collection featured cover versions of songs by Sting and The Police including Jamaican in New York by Shinehead, Message in A Bottle by Maxi Priest, Can't Stand Losing Youfrom Steel Pulse, Roxanne by Aswad and Every Breath You Take by Betty Wright.

Theatre: Jamaican actress lands Off-Broadway role

Jamaican American theater actress Dianne Dixon landed a role in the debut off-Broadway musical show “Falling in Love With Mr. Dellamort,” at the Slipper Room in Manhattan starting Dec. 6. In the show, Dixon takes on a role vastly different from her off-stage personality, and the other parts she has done in mostly Caribbean-centric theater, she said.
“The character I play is nothing like me and is actually the opposite — she is supposed to be this over the top and sexy seductress and I’m very shy,” said Dixon.
The musical follows Mr. Dellamort, a man of mystery and three guests in his South Carolina inn who are also romantically interested in him. And Dixon’s character is one his suitors and maintains some mystique of her own.
In the play she portrays Mina Thompson, an older woman in her sixties who presents a younger persona.
“No one knows how old she really is,” said Dixon. “She keeps a youthful appearance to keep herself sexy, and tries to seduce the owner of a hotel and resort.”
Dixon said she was drawn to the script for its humor and the opportunity to play a different type of role. She said that people will enjoy the hilarity the show has to offer, as much as her and her castmates do.
“I think people will like the wittiness of the script and the comedic timing,” said Dixon. “The script is so funny that even at rehearsal, we are all cracking top and turning red. It’s quite entertaining and people will come away feeling tickled and caught up in the story.”
Breaking into theater was not always an easy feat for Dixon. She mostly did Caribbean stageplays, working her way up but found her day job often interfering with her chances to secure auditions and roles. But now the up-and-coming actress is continuing to rise, recently appearing in “Naisula” and “Hair’itage: The Play” earlier this year.
Now she closes off the year with her latest role in the funny and mysterious musical “Falling in Love with Mr. Dellamort,” showcasing her diverse acting style. She credits that to her publicists at Sure Thing Productions, for being her third eye and booking auditions for her as she works a day job.
“They were the driving force behind me getting auditions,” said Dixon. “They would send my pictures and clips to casting directors, and I would get asked to come in for auditions.”
Dixon said she wanted audiences to see the light-hearted musical and support the actors in theater.
“I would love for people to come out to see this, and also give our little theater people a chance to show what we’re all about,” she said. “It’s a beautiful story and it’s all about comedy and fun, and who doesn’t need a little laughter?”
“Falling in Love with Mr. Dellamort” at the Slipper Room [167 Orchard St. between Stanton and Rivington streets in Lower East Side, Manhattan. (212)]. Opening night Dec. 6. Dec. 13 and Dec. 20 at 7:30 pm. $20.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Music: Complex Content Chief Jumps to Def Jam

As Complex chief creative officer Noah Callahan-Bever tells it, he first met Eminem manager and incoming Def Jam chairman/CEO Paul Rosenberg in 1998 at NYC record store Fat Beats, a year before Eminem would shake up the hip-hop game with his major-label debut album, The Slim Shady LP.
"Paul came by and was playing a CD that had 'My Name Is' and 'Guilty Conscience' on it -- Max Glazer was the DJ there -- and I was hanging out drinking coffee with my friend who worked the register on a Saturday afternoon," the veteran journalist remembers. "All of a sudden I heard 'My Name Is' and I ran over to the DJ booth and said, 'What's going on here?' [Paul and I] got to talking and I ended up flying out to Burbank and spending a week with Em while he mixed The Slim Shady LP. I've known Paul ever since."
Twenty years later, the two will officially be working together: today, Def Jam announced that Callahan-Bever has been named executive vp of brand strategy and content, working with the label's senior executive team and reporting directly to Rosenberg beginning at the top of 2018, when the latter executive takes over from outgoing CEO Steve Bartels.
"I’ve worked with Noah for nearly 20 years in his various capacities with different companies as writer, editor and CCO,” Rosenberg said in a statement provided to Billboard. "Throughout that time, Noah has demonstrated an incredible ability to create, innovate and connect with audiences. I’m especially excited to have Noah and his skill set become a part of the future of Def Jam as we begin to reimagine the label’s platform, further develop the brand and realize our plan to connect with fans in previously unimagined ways."
Callahan-Bever got his start in journalism two decades ago as a 17-year-old senior editorial assistant at ego trip magazine, and went on to contribute to publications like VibeBlaze, MTV News and XXL before being named Editor-In-Chief of Mass Appeal in 2002 and then senior editor at Vibe in 2003. Since 2005, Callahan-Bever has been a staple at Complex, starting out as deputy editor before rising to Editor-In-Chief the following year and then, later, his current role as chief content officer.
While at Complex, Callahan-Bever led the publication through a series of changes, expanding its reach as it morphed into the multi-site Complex Media; was acquired in a 50-50 joint venture deal by Hearst and Verizon last April; launched multi-day convention ComplexCon in mid-2016; and shuttered its print magazine early this year. Most recently, he shepherded the company through a pivot to video, which has produced popular web series like The Blueprint -- hosted by Callahan-Bever himself -- and Everyday Struggle, the latter of which is among the shows Complex is bringing to Fuse TV as part of a deal announced in August.

Media: Apple Makes More Room for Amazon Prime

 Amazon today announced the Prime Video app is available on Apple TV 4K and previous generations of Apple TV in over 100 countries. Prime Video members now have even more ways to stream award-winning and critically-acclaimed titles including Amazon Original Movies, Prime Originals and Hollywood blockbusters and TV series and over 140 Channel subscriptions in the US and 95 in the UKGermany andAustria.

 Starting tomorrow, customers can enjoy Thursday Night Football live on Apple TV 4K and Apple TV. Amazon's library of 4K High Dynamic Range (HDR) titles are available on Apple TV 4K. Finding content on Prime Video is remarkably easy for Apple TV viewers with the Apple TV App, Siri Remote and universal search in select countries.

"There is nothing that excites us more than delighting our customers, and we are thrilled for them to stream Prime Video on Apple TV," said Mark Eamer, Vice President of Prime Video. "The app arrives just in time for the highly anticipated new season of The Grand Tour, which launches on December 8th, and Prime Video members streaming on the Apple TV 4K will have the exceptional viewing experience of 4K HDR."

Apple TV owners around the world now have access to Amazon Original Movies and Prime Originals such as The Grand TourThe Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Tick along with the upcoming premieres of Jean-Claude Van Johnson on December 15 and Phillip K. Dick's Electric Dreams on January 12. Prime Video offers a wide array of award-winning kids content including Tumble LeafIf You Give a Mouse a Cookie and The Snowy Day as well as popular licensed titles coming to the service every month.

About Prime Video
Amazon Video is a premium on-demand entertainment service that offers members the greatest choice in what to watch, and how to watch it. Prime Video offers thousands of movies and TV shows, including popular licensed content plus critically-acclaimed and award-winning Prime Originals from Amazon Studios like The Tick, the most-watched Prime Video series worldwide The Grand Tour from Jeremy ClarksonRichard Hammond and James May, and award-winning series like The Man in the High CastleTransparentMozart in the Jungle and more available for unlimited streaming as part of an Amazon Prime membership. Prime Video is also now available to members in more than 200 countries and territories around the globe at

Business: Healthcare Giants Start Merger Talks

Ascension and Providence St. Joseph Health, Two major hospital operators - and non-profits - are in talks about a possible merger that would create the largest U.S. hospital owner, as a series of major deals are poised to consolidate control of the health-care landscape into fewer hands.

The two are talking about combining, according to people familiar with the discussions.

A deal would create a new operation of unprecedented reach, with 191 hospitals in 27 states and annual revenue of $44.8 billion, based on the most recent fiscal year. 

That would dethrone the nation's largest pure hospital operator, HCA Healthcare.