Sky TV tries to shrug off a huge drop in subscribers

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Pay-TV operator Sky Network Television expects subscriber numbers to decline further this financial year, causing earnings next year to miss analysts’ expectations.

The company forecast it would have 830,000 subscribers at the end of its financial year on June 30.

Subscriber numbers dropped 1.5 percent last financial year to 851,561.

It expects to lose 45,000 core residential pay-TV subscribers this year and gain about 25,000 subscribers for its online services such as Neon and FanPass. Read more »

Dompost Editorial on Pharmac

The Dompost editorial considers Pharmac:

The Government is right to give Pharmac a funding boost. The state drug-buyer has been squeezed in recent years. It faces new cost pressures, including those coming from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Most importantly, it is starting to grapple with a flood of exciting but costly new drugs, notably for cancer.

So it needs more money and it will get an extra $39 million a year. Some of that seems destined to go on a promising drug that treats advanced melanoma, whose sufferers have previously had no publicly-funded drugs available to them.

Over the past year, they ran a powerful campaign arguing for such a medicine, after Pharmac judged one drug, Keytruda, a “low priority” for funding. They will understandably be delighted at the news.

All feeling people will be pleased for them too. But New Zealanders should also be wary about exactly how this decision was made. Was it made purely on the evidence, and by comparing the drug’s costs and merits with all the others competing for Pharmac funding – or was it a capitulation to public pressure?

We should fervently hope it was the former. The new melanoma drugs are undoubtedly promising, but there have been concerns over a lack of evidence of their long-term effectiveness.

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Hillary Clinton muscles up

This election in the US is going to be an awesome and spectacular donneybrook.

Hillary Clinton hasn’t really yet been attacked by Donald Trump so she is getting in some licks first.

Hillary Clinton dismissed Donald Trump’s now-vanquished GOP rivals as ill-prepared to take on the bullying real estate mogul. Clinton said she won’t make the same mistake.

“Oh, absolutely. But I’m not running against him,” Clinton told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in a live interview Wednesday from her Chappaqua, New York, home, when asked whether she knows how to run against him. “I’m running my own campaign. I’m running to become president, to really deal with the economy, get it working again, take on all the barriers that stand in the way of people getting ahead. I have a very clear mission in this campaign.”    Read more »

Mental Health Break

“World Class” education or the system is failing?

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Have you ever noticed that when the media and the teacher unions are attacking charter schools they always describe New Zealand schools as world-class? Our teachers are the best in the world they tell us, there is no need for charter schools. Our Maori and Pacific students are doing just fine they tell us; they are not falling through the cracks.
When a story is not about charter schools then all of a sudden the cracks are allowed to show. Have you noticed that they always claim that the education system is failing when they are attacking the Government?
To prove my point here are some quotes.

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Map of the Day

Andrew Little e-mails the wife of a man he called a Sociopath on One News

Andrew Little called my husband a sociopath on One News in 2014 but continues to send me chatty e-mails. If he and his Labour volunteers are too incompetent to notice that I use them for Blog posts, then I guess I will have to keep on using them. Unfortunately they are so yawn inducing that I am struggling to make fun of them.

Take this latest one for example. Andrew is trying to take credit for a National Party announcement. To make it even worse he is using a blatantly transparent method of manipulation. In speeches a common way of trying to get an audience on side is to use inclusive language such as ‘us,’ ‘our‘ and ‘we.‘ According to Andrew Little, Labour and I pressured National into giving Pharmac extra funding.

 

We won, Juana!

What a great day for our movement. I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together.

Late last night, the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill passed its first stage in Parliament. If it passes all stages, no child in New Zealand will have to grow up in a rental home that makes them sick.

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What TV3 calls “hard line” beneficiary reforms, we call “long overdue”

Newshub are all aghast at the beneficiary reforms, which most hard working Kiwi taxpayers will be cheering for.

Newshub can reveal the full extent of the Government’s crackdown on beneficiaries.

Since hard-line welfare reforms in 2013, 165,177 sanctions have been placed on beneficiary payments.

The majority were for failing to attend an appointment, but also included failing a drugs test and refusing a job.

The penalties range from a 25 percent reduction in benefit to a full cancellation for 13 weeks.

Today there was a steady stream of foot traffic into Newtown’s WINZ office in Wellington, hoping to avoid penalties for breaking the benefit rules.    Read more »

Labour to join Donald Trump in opposing free trade

Who would ever have thought that the Labour party would be on the same side as Donald Trump.

Well, they are, in announcing they will be going against their own history to vote against the TPP free trade agreement that will give access to millions of new customers to our exporters.

Labour has confirmed that it will vote against the TPP legislation the Government will introduce into Parliament next week.

Finance spokesperson, Grant Robertson, confirmed this to POLITIK last night.

However, the party may vote for some parts of the legislation when the original Omnibus Bill has to be split into parts during the Parliamentary process.

Nevertheless, the symbolism of the party voting against a trade agreement is huge.    Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Marie Curie - portrait of the French scientist, pioneer in the fields of radiation, radioactivity and ... French physicists Paul Langevin.

Marie Curie – portrait of the French scientist, pioneer in the fields of radiation, radioactivity and … French physicists Paul Langevin.

The Secret Passions of Marie Curie

Madame Curie, the discoverer of radium and of polonium, was a woman of passion. The popular view of her life is a tale of almost elemental force of character.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie, the famous female scientist whose death was caused by her own radioactive endeavors, was involved in a highly publicized affair after her husband, Pierre Curie, died in a carriage accident in 1906. One of Pierre’s former students, Paul Langevin had been sharing a “love nest” with the mother of two. The affair was busted when Paul’s wife hired a man to investigate the happenings of her husband, breaking into their Parisian apartment and stealing letters that were then leaked to the press.

The French newspapers contrived various accusations regarding Marie, calling her a home-wrecker and a “seductive Jew, even though she wasn’t Jewish.” Paul came to her defense, as well as Albert Einstein. Although Einstein was trying to stick up for Marie, his comment was quite rude, saying Curie “has a sparkling intelligence, but despite her passionate nature, she is not attractive enough to represent a threat to anyone.” Although Einstein wasn’t anything to drool over, either, somehow, he was notorious for reeling in lots of ladies.

In November 1911, Curie was weeks away from being awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. She received her first Nobel in 1903 for Physics, and the new award meant that she was the first person ever to receive two Prizes. She remains the only person to be recognized in two different sciences. Though her extraordinary work as a scientist should have been all anyone cared about, it seemed that many were preoccupied with her personal life.

Pierre Curie died in 1906, leaving Marie as a widow. A few years later, she became romantically involved with physicist Paul Langevin, who had been a doctoral student of Pierre’s. Though Langevin was separated from his wife, they were still technically married. The relationship caused troubles in the Langevin home, but that was nothing compared to what was about to spill over into the public eye.

Curie, Langevin, and about 20 other scientists were invited to an elite, invitation-only conference in Brussels in the fall of 1911. During this time, love letters between Curie and Langevin had been given to members of the media by Langevin’s wife, who portrayed Curie as an evil homewrecker.

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