Ekal Sansthan, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-inspired organisation that sets up one-teacher schools across the country with a focus on rural and tribal areas, will open 60 schools in Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh as part of its initiative to expand the network of such schools to all border areas. The district abuts China, and there have been reports of heightened Chinese activities across the international border close to it during the Doklam crisis in August.Thirty such schools have already come up, and the organisation will soon scale up the number to 60.“We are aiming at spreading these schools in vulnerable, border areas. We have also sought to spread our network in Punjab, Kashmir and near the Bangladesh border in Assam,” Manju Srivastava of Ekal Sansthan told The Hindu.She said the organisation is autonomous, but draws ideological inspiration from the RSS. The attempt to expand to border areas has three objectives. One, the idea is to connect border areas with the national “mainstream” through education. Second, the Ekal believes such an initiative will better organise border villages that are vulnerable. She added that imparting education and skills to children in border areas would better prepare them for a good life with opportunities for livelihood.Ms. Srivastava made a presentation on the initiatives of the Ekal Sansthan at a national workshop on school education organised by the Ministry of Human Resource Development earlier this week. There are 58,227 Ekal Vidyalayas in the country now, imparting education to 15,35,965 children. They are spread over 58,000 villages in 22 States.
Every now and again people achieve remarkable things in our sport, but very rarely do they receive recognition for their achievements. Over the past few weeks four people have gained their level 4 referee presenter status, Chris Harapa, Erene Devall, Scott Dews and Michael Rush. On the database of referee presenters there are only 100 people who have ever achieved this level and this award. Because of their remarkable achievement, we decided to take some time to focus on them and their involvement as Touch referees. Recently I asked each of them some questions about their involvement with Touch, what they love, what’s tough and what they see as the future of refereeing… CHRIS HARAPA: 1) When did you first start Touch refereeing and how long have you been refereeing? I first started refereeing about 1990 down at the Domain lunchtime competition in Sydney as a duty ref, before a friend suggested that I take it more seriously as I was a better ref than a player. I joined South Sydney Referees the following year and they helped me get my level 1. I had lots of help then because some of the best refs then officiated at Souths; Adam Foley, Gary Mournehis, Richard Lawry, Mark Sinclair (all level 6’s & still involved in the sport). I stopped refereeing 3 years ago due to nerve damage in my back and am currently a member of the NSW Referees Panel. 2) What makes refereeing difficult? The speed & intensity of the game as well as the different standards across the park. Referees also devote a lot of time and money to the sport and this makes it hard for them and their families. 3) What do you enjoy about refereeing? When I refereed it was the great camaraderie and friendships that will last a lifetime. Even now as a panel member, the buzz and excitement of a tournament and seeing everyone puts a smile on my face. Also the challenge of improving, attaining higher badge levels and getting better quality games. 4) When did you become interested in other aspects, such as referee presenting/coaching/observing? I had no choice in giving up refereeing because I was forced to give it away, but when the Director of Referees, Ian Matthew invited me to assist the panel for the first time, I jumped at the chance to stay involved and give something back. Presenting and coaching is all part of the job, and I love it. 5) What levels have you achieved in these areas? As a referee, I attained my Level 4 State badge. As a referees’ coach, I am now a level 3 and hope one day to get that L4 at a national tournament. As a presenter, L4 as you now know. I’m also a level 1 player coach. 6) What has been the highlight of your career? Any great memorable moments? Achieving my L4 state badge and getting that blue blazer. An unbelievable semi final game at the State Cup in 1996 between the two best Womens’ sides at the time, Easts v Cronulla which went down to 3 on 3 and helped me get my level 4 badge. Also, you can’t beat our Referees’ Grading Night when you see the smile on a referee’s face when they receive their blue blazer and you helped them get there! 7) Who has been a positive influence for you? All my fellow referees through the years, the NSW Referees Panel, Ian Matthew (Director), my daughter Leah who is an inspiration (I got her involved from the age of 9 and she still loves playing now at 20), my son and best mate Dan, and my wife Megan as she is the one that encourages me and helps me to stay in Touch. 8) What do you see in the future for Touch refereeing in Australia? I can see a bright future ahead. Being associated with so many people that are happy to give up their time and energy as well as a genuine love for what they do, we will only get better in what we do. We are continually developing improving and delivering our courses on a regular basis as well as providing our senior and experienced referees a means to becoming coaches & presenters to help in the development of our junior, female & emerging referees. ERENE DEVALL: 1) When did you first start Touch refereeing and how long have you been refereeing? I started in Kiama, NSW playing in 1980 and started refereeing as a L1 in 1983 (a life time ago) 2) What makes refereeing difficult? Its not difficult it just has lots of challenges. 3) What do you enjoy about refereeing? The people you meet from all walks of life 4) When did you become interested in other aspects, such as referee presenting/coaching/observing? When I started going through the levels as a referee. I have always been someone that likes to give something back – quite a few people helped me along the way – now its my turn. I also get a buzz out of seeing the people you help achieve their goals too. 5) What levels have you achieved in these areas? L4 Referee (retired when I became pregnant with my first child) L4 Coach and now L4 Presenter 6) What has been the highlight of your career? Any great memorable moments? Coaching a great friend of mine through the system from L1 through to L6 referee and being present when he received his L6 at NTL. Too many highlights to mention one in particular – there have been so many. 7) Who has been a positive influence for you? My husband has been the one to support and encourage me to achieve as I have, however, on the Touch Scene there are four people that have had the greatest influence on my career – Greg West, Ian Matthew, Lou Tomkins and Steve Fisher – they are part of the reason I stay involved. 8) What do you see in the future for Touch refereeing in Australia? I would like to see refereeing promoted as a sport within a sport – you either hate it or love it, there is no middle ground. I think that it does take a special type of person to become a Touch Referee. Within my career, thankfully, the highs definitely outweigh the lows. SCOTT DEWS: 1) When did you first start Touch refereeing and how long have you been refereeing? I have been refereeing since the early 90’s, I became more involved & committed when I watched my wife playing rep Touch and realised I could ref at that level. I did my first tournament in ’94. 2) What makes refereeing difficult? During my time when I stopped playing and concentrated on refereeing full time, the park players in open grades basically ran the games, until I gained their respect. Now the only difficult ones are the long term players, who still need the older rules to recover (Mainly women). 3) What do you enjoy about refereeing? To me being able to be involved in high level Touch games e.g.; Mens open NTL, Mens 20’s World Cup) is all the motivation I need. 4) When did you become interested in other aspects, such as referee presenting/coaching/observing? We need a level 1 coaching qualification to gain our state level badges, it was something I enjoyed, passing on information and assistance to developing referees.(My career now is adult training). 5) What levels have you achieved in these areas? I gained my level 6 at NTL’s ’03 and from that and State of Origin I was invited to referee at the Youth World Cup in ’05. 6) What has been the highlight of your career? Any great memorable moments? Gaining the level 6 and then refereeing at the Youth World Cup in 2005. 7) Who has been a positive influence for you? Ian Mathew and his panel have most definitely influenced my career. Ken Golden from this panel more than others, as he was the one that made me realise, I was the only one who could control my career as a referee. 8) What do you see in the future for Touch refereeing in Australia? There is now a new system for referees to follow which will bring more female and younger referees into Touch, this can only make it stronger. MICHAEL RUSH: 1) When did you first start Touch refereeing and how long have you been refereeing? I’ve been refereeing since 1991. 2) What makes refereeing difficult? Players not knowing the key rules & the minority who think its open season on refs on the field. 3) What do you enjoy about refereeing? The constant challenge during the game. You’re more involved in the game than as a player – or maybe that was just a problem with my playing! 4) When did you become interested in other aspects, such as referee presenting/coaching/observing? As part of the refs team at a local venue, you find that after a while you have the opportunity to offer support to new refs. Getting injured and not being able to ref as much also played a key role for me later on. 5) What levels have you achieved in these areas? Level 4 Presenter, Level 3 Referee Coach. 6) What has been the highlight of your career? Any great memorable moments? The memorable moments are when one of the refs you know achieves a goal (a Badge, or a level of game); but also when you see someone new come through and start to show interest in refereeing. 7) Who has been a positive influence for you? One of our Refs Directors here, when I started refereeing, got me interested in sticking with refereeing and having a look at the coordinating and coaching side. More recently getting to work with some of the senior referee coaches. Also, the refs you organise courses and coaching for – a lot of really dedicated people. 8) What do you see in the future for Touch refereeing in Australia? Very positive things. The arm of the sport continues to develop in terms of technical support offered. Refereeing offers a great challenge. The Presenters and Coaching qualifications offer the opportunity to set and achieve goals during and after your on-field career. Once again Touch Football Australia would like to take the opportunity to thank these referees for their contribution to refereeing and the development of our current and future Touch referees at all levels of the sport. We would also like to congratulate them on their own personal achievements and wish them all the best in their future endeavors. By Rachel Moyle
The Walmart sweatsuit worn by Kristin Bauer on the first episode of True Blood’s fifth season is going under the hammer to help finance the documentary Out for Africa that Kristin and her husband Abri van Straten will shoot in Kenya this summer.Kristin Bauer’s SweatsuitThe actress has been asking fans for donations to help fund a new documentary that looks into the poaching and slaughter of Africa’s majestic animals. She has already raised $64,000, and is hoping the sale of the piece of True Blood’s wardrobe will raise even more.“This year my husband Abri van Straten and I are going to Kenya with a camera crew to see majestic Elephant families and Rhino in their natural habitat and to meet with the real heroes who work tirelessly for the African wildlife to shine a light on the crisis facing Elephants and Rhino due to rampant poaching for the ivory and horn trades to supply the growing Asian market,” she said.Upcoming items for auction are a Sookie modesty patch and bra signed by Anna Paquin and a one of a kind, Authority necklace from the True Blood Costume Department.The sweatsuit is up for auction on eBay until August 30 – you can access the auction here.To find out more about Kristin’s documentary project, click here.
The very first women’s NCAA basketball tournament was held in 1982, and Louisiana Tech took center stage. The Lady Techsters had already compiled a 109-9 record over the previous three seasons, winning the 1981 AIAW Championship (the precursor to the women’s tourney) with a perfect 34-0 record. Led by Wade Trophy winner1Given to the nation’s best women’s college player each season. Pam Kelly, the team put the finishing touches on another title in 1982 by defeating Cheyney and legendary coach C. Vivian Stringer in the final. It was the first of two NCAA championships Louisiana Tech would win in the 1980s and started a run of seven No. 1 seeds across nine NCAA tournaments.Louisiana Tech was the UConn of the women’s NCAA tourney’s early era. But aside from a few more strong seasons in the 1990s, it’s been downhill since. The Lady Techsters haven’t made the NCAA field since 2011 — at 14-14 this season, they aren’t likely to end that drought soon — and they haven’t had an All-American since Tamicha Jackson in 2000.Louisiana Tech isn’t alone among once-great programs whose talent pipelines have dried up. A number of teams that were the titans of the early NCAA tournament have struggled in recent decades. And in their place, a new ruling class of schools has emerged to become the defining programs of the modern age. In a championship as young as the women’s tournament, it’s been fascinating to watch the rise and fall of programs that, not very long ago, were in a very different place.To visualize the progress of women’s programs in the absence of game-level data, such as our Elo ratings, we can use NCAA Tournament seeds as a proxy for team strength over time. This doesn’t explicitly factor in how a team performs in the tournament itself, but it does measure the general quality of a team’s entire season — plus, higher seeds tend to win more in the tournament anyway2Both because they are better teams and because the women’s NCAA tournament gives higher seeds home games early in the bracket.. To measure this, we awarded “seed points” in proportion to a given seed number’s expected wins in the tournament, calibrated to a 100-point scale where the No. 1 seed gets 100 points, No. 2 gets 70 points, and so forth.3Using data since the women’s tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1994. 1Tennessee73.795.487.468.982.1 Which women’s programs have been most successful during the NCAA tournament era?Seed points* in NCAA tournaments held for women’s programs, by decade and overall since 1982 2UConn2.272.089.4100.068.4 3Stanford15.783.351.177.458.5 10Notre Dame0.010.935.993.435.4 7Texas76.429.835.035.142.6 5Georgia65.045.742.924.644.0 4Duke2.723.389.455.344.5 Some teams, such as Tennessee, have been relatively consistent throughout the NCAA era. Although the Lady Vols were at their best under coach Pat Summitt during the 1990s, ranking first among all programs in seed points per tournament, they were also the third-best program of the 2000s according to our metric, fourth-best of the 1980s and even fifth-best of the 2010s, though the past few years haven’t been as strong by Tennessee standards. (The Vols probably won’t be adding to their tally this season, either: Tennessee is currently 18-11 and ranks 63rd in the RPI ratings, making it a bubble team at best for this year’s bracket.)Maryland and North Carolina have also been relatively good throughout the history of the women’s tournament. But more striking on the list above is how many programs followed the Louisiana Tech path — dominating the early days of the tourney, only to drop off the face of the Earth later. In addition to the Lady Techsters, three other programs — Long Beach State, Southern Cal and Old Dominion — have seen the biggest drop-off in seed points per tournament between the tournament’s first two decades and its two most recent. 6Louisiana Tech92.6220.127.116.114.0 18Old Dominion57.242.517.10.028.5 14Baylor0.00.041.183.731.5 *Seed points award a score on a 100-point scale; a No. 1 seed gets 100 points, while the rest descend in proportion to the seed’s expected wins during the tournament.Source: NCAA Other stunning out-of-nowhere success stories include current No. 1 Baylor, which made its first NCAA tournament in 2001(!); defending champion Notre Dame, which didn’t win an NCAA tournament game until 1996; and Duke, which — despite the success of its men’s team — failed to make much noise on the women’s side until the late 1990s/early 2000s. With the exception of the Blue Devils (who at 14-14 are unlikely to make the tournament), all of these programs have continued to be great this season. In fact, many more of today’s top teams — such as Louisville, Mississippi State and South Carolina — all emerged from humble results during the 1980s and ‘90s.Most sports see early champions maintain some sort of strong presence into modern times, like the New York Yankees in baseball and Boston Celtics in basketball. So it’s surprising that this many of the most dominant teams of the early women’s tourney have vanished from the competitive landscape. It’s not impossible to imagine Louisiana Tech returning to its former glory someday, but for now the Lady Techsters’ success is a memory fading quickly into ancient history.Sara Ziegler contributed research. Seed Points Per Tournament, by decade 15Virginia40.858.419.34.931.0 11Penn St.31.048.732.319.633.4 13Purdue18.104.22.1687.531.5 19Iowa22.214.171.124.026.0 17LSU25.216.860.017.430.5 16Vanderbilt11.146.948.510.530.8 12Ohio St.46.115.536.233.832.1 School1980s1990s2000s2010sOverall 20NC State41.326.619.512.924.6 A more basic scoring system might assign 16 points to a No. 1 seed, 15 to a No. 2, etc., all the way down to 1 point for a 16 seed. But that would understate the power of a high seed: Instead of being only twice as valuable as, say, a 9 seed, a No. 1 seed wins about seven times as many games during the average tournament.Averaging those seed-based point totals over all the women’s tournaments held since 1982, here are the top overall programs of the entire NCAA tourney era. 9North Carolina25.438.362.520.237.7 At the other end of the spectrum, we have the programs that started slow and picked up steam into the present day. And as hard as it is to believe now, Connecticut wasn’t always the unstoppable force we see today. The Huskies didn’t make their first NCAA tournament appearance until 1989 and didn’t win a championship before 1995. Now it’s shocking news when UConn might not be a No. 1 seed, and it’s currently riding a streak of 11 straight Final Four berths. According to our metric, no team’s fortunes have improved more between the NCAA tourney’s early period in the 1980s and the current era than the Huskies’. 8Maryland43.520.838.650.437.7
Scotland’s Andrew Robertson has heaped praises on David Bates ahead of his international debut with the team.The Hamburg defender is set to win his first cap in the heart of the Scotland defence, thanks to a large number of withdrawals from the team.Robertson has been impressed by the former Rangers Football Club defender, saying:“You don’t quite know how it will go on your debut but I think David can stand up and be counted,” he said according to Dail Mail.“He’s been really good in training. I remember watching him at Rangers and he’s come on a lot since he made the move to Hamburg.”“It’s up to the manager if he starts or not but, if he does, the more experienced lads will help him out and be positive.”Scotland’s Robertson hopes for a positive result against Belgium Manuel R. Medina – September 7, 2019 Scotland was defeated at home 2-1 by Russia in yesterday’s 2020 European Championship qualifiers, and the team is almost out of the race for a spot at the Euros.“Yes, it will be an inexperienced 11 due to circumstances, but I have confidence in the lads.”“Callum Paterson’s been doing well in the Premier League with Cardiff City and Ryan Fraser has the most assists in that league (with Bournemouth). The Celtic boys are all coming into international duty on a high.”“It can be hard to bring your own individual form from a club into a new team at international level but that’s what we’re aiming to do. Hopefull,y we can get the right result.”Meanwhile, Robertson admits the withdrawals have impacted Scotland’s preparation for UEFA Nations League games against Albania and Israel.“Of course it’s been a bit disruptive but we always plan with different team set-ups, and people are 100 per cent concentrated on what they are doing. These things happen and people will need to step up.”“We have to think that people will react well in adversity. I’m sure that will happen in Albania.”
Popular on Variety Noah Schnapp of “Stranger Things” fame has joined the voice cast of “Wolves in the Walls,” an animated VR series based on Neil Gaiman’s children’s book by the same title. Schnapp will be voicing the brother of Lucy, the main character of “Wolves,” in the second chapter of the series, which is scheduled to premiere in April. “We believe that Noah Schnapp brings a special quality to the brother role,” said “Wolves” director Pete Billington. “As soon as he read his first line, we were smitten. We love him in ‘Stranger Things’ and can’t wait for audiences to hear his performance in ‘Wolves in the Walls.’” Fable, the immersive entertainment company behind “Wolves in the Walls,” shared the casting news exclusively with Variety ahead of Sundance. The company is also using the film festival to announce a new focus on what it calls virtual beings — characters that are powered by artificial intelligence and can respond to and interact with their audience. CREDIT: Courtesy of Fable ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Fable plans to premiere “Whispers in the Night” this coming summer, when the company is also going to hold a virtual beings conference in San Francisco. But even with that new focus on virtual beings, Fable plans to continue to work on “Wolves in the Walls,” which the company wants to release to consumers once it has finished all 3 parts, likely in 2020.This week, Saatchi, Billington and Shamash argued that virtual beings powered by artificial intelligence can ultimately make such VR stories more meaningful, even if they may exist on multiple screens. Most consumers would not watch VR movies for longer than a couple of minutes, said Saatchi.However, smart displays and phones might provide an opportunity to interact with virtual characters far more often, and for longer periods of time — which could ultimately lead to characters inviting viewers to join them in VR again. “I don’t think it cannibalizes VR at all,” he said.And some of that artificial intelligence-based interactivity may even find its way back into “Wolves in the Walls,” suggested Shamash: “‘Wolves’ will be this living, breathing thing.” CREDIT: Courtesy of Fable “We are changing the make-up of our team radically to add machine learning folks,” said Fable co-founder and executive producer Edward Saatchi.Fable’s first foray into this new area of interactive story-telling with virtual beings is called “Whispers in the Night,” which is a kind of spin-off of “Wolves in the Walls.” In the piece, viewers get to interact with Lucy, the main character of “Wolves in the Walls,” and even have conversations with her. “‘Whispers is a natural language processing project where you can talk to a character,” said Saatchi.Much like “Wolves in the Walls,” “Whispers in the Night” is also a VR experience, but Saatchi said that the company was working on quickly bringing the character to other mediums as well, including smart displays like Facebook’s Portal and Amazon’s Echo Show.Fable wants to tie those different types of screens together by making Lucy a character that is not only able to respond to her audience, but actually remember things. “With ‘Whispers,’ we are exploring this idea of memory,” said the piece’s creative director Jessica Shamash. “She doesn’t reset and forget everything,” added Billington. And by remembering things that people tell her, Lucy is going to personalize the experience for each and every viewer.
“Loan is way forward (infrastructure) development. Countries like US, China and Europe have taken loans for development of their infrastructure,” Prabhu said in an interview to Lok Sabha TV.Asked whether the government is going in for privatisation of railways in future, he explained: “We are taking debt for development of railways infrastructure, that means we are not doing privatisation. Besides there will be no burden of development on passenger fare as well as tax payers money.” Also Read – I-T issues 17-point checklist to trace unaccounted DeMO cashPrabhu expressed confidence that institutions like LIC (in India),pension funds and sovereign funds can provide debt and they will not insist on early repayment of loan. “The LIC, pension fund and sovereign wealth funds don’t insist on repayment of loans in short term, rather they want us to pay in over 30 years,” he added.On hitting the ground running, he quoted a famous saying, “Rome was not built in a day. There are few things which would be done this year like 3000 unmanned crossings will be removed and work will start immediately to improve cleanliness, safety, security and surveillance.” The Minister hinted that some initiative like train-sets, redesigning of coaches, doubling and tripling of rail lines, may take longer than expected to be implemented. On running of bullet trains in India, he said, “Our thrust would be on basic facilities first like sanitation, time bound arrival of trains which is going to be implemented in the stipulated time period. Those would be focus areas.” Also Read – Lanka launches ambitious tourism programme to woo Indian touristsOn private participation in railways, Prabhu said that there would be a system to regulate private sector players willing to invest in station development projects. On decentralisation of power to improve efficiency of railways, he said,”This will happen for the first time that more responsibility will be given to officers. It is not on Railway Minister or Railway Board which will do everything.” Earlier, in his Budget speech, Prabhu said: “We will monetise our assets rather than sell them”. On Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV), he said, “We have created new SPVs with the oil ministry, coal ministry… those will deliver. Rather than one entity, there will be multiple entities delivering.”
Kolkata: A two-month-old baby died after she was hit on her chest while getting fed by her mother on Monday at Ashoknagar in North 24-Parganas. According to sources, Sikha Ganguly, a housewife at Keosa village in Ashoknagar, used to support Trinamool. Her husband Rabi Ganguly lives outside Bengal. It has been alleged that her in-laws, who are BJP supporters, used to put pressure on her to support the saffron party. Her elder brother in-law Sushanta Ganguly is a local BJP leader, who allegedly tried to force her to fight in the last Panchayat elections for BJP. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata According to Sikha’s allegations, she was being tortured almost regularly as she refused to support BJP. On Saturday afternoon, when she was breastfeeding her two-month-old daughter, her in-laws allegedly attacked her. While Sikha was being beaten up, the baby accidentally fell from her hands and was grievously injured. Immediately, the infant was rushed to Habra Hospital where the attending doctor declared the baby brought dead. Despite Sikha’s allegation, local BJP leadership denied the political angle and called the incident a family dispute. After the death of the infant, a case has been lodged and Sushanta has been arrested. According to police, no political angle has been found yet. “It is suspected that there might have been some dispute within the family. If any other angle is there, it will be revealed during further probe,” said a senior official of Barasat Police District.
Dean Possenniskie, A+E Networks’ managing director for Europe, spoke to DTVE about growing audience reach, the importance of marketing and how to successfully extend existing channel brands.What are your strategic priorities?2012 has seen the strongest year ever of audience growth across our local channel portfolios. History in particular has grown more than 50% year-on-year in prime time audiences across key western European markets such as the UK, Germany and Italy. Continuing to reach our growing audiences in new ways will remain a priority for our local channels in 2013 and we will continue to invest in new interactive and social media products in 2013. Local commissioning is key to the local positioning and success of our channels. In 2012 we produced more local hours than ever before in Europe across History, Crime & Investigation Network and Bio, and plan to do even more in 2013. Crime and Investigation Network has proven a ratings success in recent launches in Spain, Holland and Poland – we aim to launch the channel into new markets across EMEA in 2013. We have exciting new channel brands in Lifetime and H2 that we are working to launch in Europe in 2013.Is the balance between free-to-air and pay TV revenues shifting?Across Europe we are seeing positive growth in our core pay TV business. Pay penetration is growing, Germany has been a highlight as both DTH and cable subscriber numbers grow, while we see very strong growth in CEE markets such as Poland. We manage a complimentary free-to-air content distribution business alongside our pay channels and are seeing greater demand than ever for our programming.Are you seeing much success from alternative revenue streams?We operate successful local advertising businesses across key markets such as the UK, Spain, Germany and Italy. 2012 has seen the creation of local advertising windows on both History and Crime & Investigation in Poland and has already emerged into a significant revenue stream. We have an active home entertainment distribution business in Europe with direct partnerships and licensing deals in place throughout the region.How are A+E Networks’ brand values communicated?We work hand-in-hand with the marketing, on-air, digital and programming teams from our joint ventures and licensing partners to ensure that locally produced trade and consumer materials appeal to local tastes and cultures, while adhering to the brand proposition. We firmly believe that nothing beats face-to-face communication, so representatives from our corporate office in New York travel frequently to meet with the local teams, and the local teams send reps to New York to meet with their US counterparts. We also hold a yearly conference with representatives from our channels around the world to talk about what’s new for the brands, share success stories and exchange ideas.What marketing efforts have you undertaken with local partners? It is critical for programming providers to utilise their brands and content to help drive value for the pay TV platform. Our expertise is connecting with consumers through compelling content, and by utilising this connection to help our partners sell their products and services, we derive mutually beneficial results for our businesses. We’ve done this successfully in a number of markets. In the UK, BSkyB utilised The Kennedys to help drive subscriptions to the pay environment by targeting viewers on the free-to-air platform. This show delivered History UK’s highest ever audience. A+E Networks UK partnered with Ziggo to announce the launch of Crime & Investigation in the market. Ziggo utilised the launch to drive awareness of the package and increase subscriptions. They promoted it internally through their call centres and staff trainings and externally through their retail stores and platform promotional inventory.What are the risks of developing spin-off versions of core channel brands?The biggest risk to developing a spin-off version of a core brand is for the new brand to be viewed as a ‘lite’ version of the original, and that you water down your core brand if the spin-off voice is not distinct. But it can work. As History has catapulted into one of the leading pay TV brands in the US, we saw some opportunities in the landscape that we could leverage. We transitioned our History International (HI) brand to H2 last year, and we built off the success of HI with an increased investment in original programmes that allow viewers to immerse themselves more deeply into topics they enjoy on History. The strategy worked from go. We did not see a drop in viewership from History. In fact the channel has continued its growth streak, while H2 has built upon the HI audience significantly and has climbed the charts. Both brands are stronger than ever.How are plans to launch Lifetime internationally developing? Our strategy is to launch Lifetime in all markets worldwide. We had our first international launch for the brand in Canada in August. We are in active discussions with partners worldwide to launch the channel and expect to make more announcements later this year.When does it make sense to localise programming?A channel brand such as History can present strong local stories, heritage and characters, which we have invested in more heavily than ever in 2012. It’s important that we have strong distribution in a market backed by a talented local team as we have done in markets such as the UK, Germany and Spain.