Child poverty panel launched

The government held the first meeting on Monday of a panel to draw up measures to address child poverty that will be reflected in a state budget for fiscal 2016 starting in April next year.

“We will consult with experts in the field and map out an effective policy package,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko said at the meeting.

The launch of the panel followed a meeting on April 2 for a public-private initiative to break the cycle of child poverty. The meeting was also attended by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Quenching Taiwan’s thirst, rain fronts due this week: CWB

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Central Weather Bureau (中央氣象局) announced that Taiwan will be affected by frontal rain this week, just in time to quench thirsty reservoirs nationwide amid the most severe drought in recent years.

The western and northeastern areas of Taiwan will be most heavily affected by the frontal rain, but showers will rain down nationwide.

However, third-stage water rationing has yet to be lifted, despite the current weather forecast, said officials.

The Water Resources Agency (水利署) also said that it had begun rainmaking procedures at reservoirs across Taiwan yesterday, taking full advantage of the frontal rain.

Reservoirs included in the rainmaking process that began yesterday at 2 p.m. were Shihmen (石門), Baoshan No. 2. (寶二), Yung-Ho Shan (永和山), Mingde (明德), and Liyutang (鯉魚潭). Wusanto (烏山頭), Zengwen (曾文), and Nanhua (南化) were scheduled to begin the process at 5 p.m.

Two C130 planes were deployed by the Air Force yesterday at 1:30 p.m., targeting Liyutang and Shihmen’s reservoir watersheds to commence rainmaking procedures.

Ricky Wong program deal with ATV still being tuned
Ricky Wong program deal with ATV still being tuned

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cash-strapped Asia Television has been given an extra week to consider Ricky Wong Wai-kay’s idea of it airing HKTV shows.

ATV expressed interest in a collaboration just before a deadline of 5pm yesterday.

Wong’s offer was in the wake of an announcement that ATV’s free-to-air broadcasting license will not be renewed.

Internet-based Hong Kong Television Network would air 1,000 hours of its productions four hours daily until December 31 or when ATV folds.

They would split advertising revenue generated by broadcast HKTV content equally, with a guarantee of HK$5 million a month for ATV.

ATV executive director Ip Ka- po’s initial response was that the deal did not appeal enough, but “if Wong is interested in our platform there’s room for discussion,” he said yesterday after ATV’s board approved talks with HKTV.

Yet there was more to a deal than money, he said.

“We need to know if the content is fit to broadcast, we need to comply with standards of the [Communications Authority].”

Asked if that meant checking political content, Ip said his main concerns were whether viewers would want to watch HKTV shows and if the shows complied with the Broadcasting Ordinance.

Ip and Wong spoke by phone yesterday afternoon.

There is room for more talk, Ip said later, and he hopes to meet with Wong on content of HKTV shows, time slots and pricing.

He said later on a radio show that ATV would like a guaranteed HK$10 million a month.

Ip also said ATV would have no problem paying April wages and it was at work to ensure May wages are paid on time.

The Communications Authority announced last night it will withdraw ATV’s frequencies next April 1 following the Executive Council’s decision not to renew the license. That came after the broadcaster sought a rethink. JASMINE SIU


#expogate #calgaryexpo tweet racist picture/statue of 2 black men in chains



That is real. That is what Calgary Expo tweeted several hours ago. This the same group that kicked out the Honey Badgers because they participated in a civil discussion with feminists and had the Gamergate logo on their banner. This is what the group that wanted to create an environment of equality tweeted on their own accord.

I understand they are Canadian and may not have the same level of race issues as we have in the United States. However, I am sure that one could take this picture to the middle of India and they would find it racist.

Of course, the tweet has since been deleted. I do not know who tweets for the group. One would think they would have the business and social savvy to know that was not the best picture to tweet or inappropriately caption. One would think the negative press they have received would have kept them on their best behavior. One would be wrong because the tweet sat around for hours before anyone realized how terrible it made them look.

For all those who support the Calgary Expo, that is what you are supporting. And you wonder why people have such a terrible opinion of so-called “social justice warriors.”



Copyright lawsuit against Jay-Z over Big Pimpin’ goes to jury


Long-standing allegations of copyright infringement against Jay-Z will finally be heard by a jury, as the relative of a late Egyptian composer says the American hip hop mogul unlawfully sampled his uncle’s 1960s song.

Osama Ahmed Fahmy first filed a lawsuit against rapper Jay-Z and producer Timbaland in 2007, alleging that the pair illegally sampled the Egyptian song “Khosara, Khosara” in their 1999 hit, “Big Pimpin.’”

After years of litigation — involving complex issues related to statutes of limitations and sub-licensing agreements — a California judge ruled March 30 that a jury should decide whether the American artists had the right to sample the song.

“The copyright owner has the right to ensure that somebody else doesn’t use the work in a different medium or different form without the copyright owner’s consent,” explained Keith Wesley, a Los Angeles-based lawyer representing Fahmy.

Fahmy says he is the heir of Egyptian composer Baligh Hamdi, who wrote “Khosara, Khosara.” The song was performed by beloved Egyptian crooner Abdel Halim Hafez and featured in the 1960 film, Fata Ahlami (Dreams of Youth).

The opening bars of “Khosara, Khosara” are unmistakable on “Big Pimpin’” Whether the artists sampled the song is not up for contention; what is being debated is whether they had the legal right to use it in the first place.

The “Big Pimpin’” producers reportedly sub-licensed “Khosara, Khosara” from EMI Arabia, which acquired the rights to the song from Egyptian label Sout el-Phan.

But Fahmy contends that EMI Arabia did not have the right to sub-license the recording, making whatever agreement the label had with the “Big Pimpin’” producers void.

“We’re looking for fair compensation for use of ‘Khosara, Khosara’ in a very popular song over more than the past decade. Our claim for monetary compensation extends to both record sales, royalties and a portion of concern revenues,” said Wesley, adding that the exact figures are confidential.

The lawsuit — which names MTV, Paramount Pictures, Universal Music, and Warner Music as co-defendants, among others — also alleges that “Big Pimpin’” has “mutilated” the original song.

“Here it’s of great concern to the owners of “Khosara, Khosara”. . . it’s a new derivative work that includes some content that offends the sensibilities of many people,” Wesley said, about Jay-Z’s version.

In the song, he raps, “You know I thug em, (expletive) em, love em, leave em/Cause I don’t (expletive) need em,” while the music video shows the rapper dancing on a yacht alongside dozens of bikini-clad women.

George Dimitri Sawa, a musician and historian of Arabic music based in Toronto, said he remembers “Khosara, Khosara” from when he was a child growing up in Alexandria, Egypt.

“This song is from the 50s, when I was a child. It’s sad, (the lyrics say) that you, my neighbour, have left me. It’s a sad song,” he said.

Sawa told the Star that the music of Abdel Halim Hafez, who is one of Egypt’s most celebrated singers from that period, was loved by many, including former President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

“He sang songs that people could sing along (to) easily, and in that way, it was very well liked. He was fond of Nasser, and Nasser was fond of him,” Sawa said.

Contacted by the Star, David Steinberg, a lawyer representing the record company defendants, said he could not comment on the ongoing case.

“He had the chance to say, ‘I don’t want to allow sublicenses.’ The whole notion of whether he consented to them is frankly undisputed,” Steinberg said.

“Big Pimpin’” features on Jay-Z’s fifth album, Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal more than a decade later, the rapper was critical of the hit track, saying that while re-reading the lyrics to past songs can sometimes be profound, “Big Pimpin’” was the exception.

“It was like, I can’t believe I said that. And kept saying it. What kind of animal would say this sort of thing?” Jay-Z said.