Entrepreneur Adam Lee and his brother couldn’t get a bank loan. Then they learned that Georgia state officials had taken steps that might make it easier for their startup, Bohemian Guitars LLC, of Marietta, Ga., to raise the funds it needs.
The pair, who make and sell oilcan guitars priced at $250 and up, are among a small but growing number of entrepreneurs taking part in a sort of test run for new federal rules: Officials in nearly a dozen states, including Georgia, Alabama, Kansas and Wisconsin, have enacted or proposed new laws — or tweaked existing policies — to make it possible for resident entrepreneurs to secure financing from everyday local investors, also known as “equity crowdfunding,” according to the North American Securities Administrators Association.
Tribunal rules that Alastair Brett knowingly allowed high court to be misled over hacking of anonymous blogger's email account
A former legal manager of The Times has been suspended by a tribunal from practising as a solicitor for a period of six months over his involvement in a high court case relating to an anonymous police blogger, Nightjack, unmasked by the paper.
The chairman of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, Andrew Spooner, announced the sanction late on Thursday after the tribunal ruled that Alastair Brett knowingly allowed the high court to be misled over the hacking of Nightjack's email account.
Spooner said it was a "single occurrence, an unfortunate occurrence and in the context of his career a sad occurrence", but given the seriousness of the allegations made against Brett "a period of suspension was appropriate".
"The allegations are serious – a high court, a claimant were misled and possibly the outcome of a high court trial may have been affected by this case. We balance this against the good character, the fact that he has had a long and respected career," Spooner added.
Brett, 63, a lawyer with The Times and Sunday Times for 33 years, was referred to the tribunal by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
He was accused of breaching two elements of the solicitors' code of practice after the author of the blog, detective constable Richard Horton, tried to get an injunction preventing the paper from unmasking him.
Horton failed to get the injunction but it subsequently transpired that the reporter behind the story, the then 24-year-old Patrick Foster, had hacked into his email account and this was not then made known to The Times' barristers, Horton's counsel, or the presiding judge, Mr Justice Eady.
Delivering the tribunal's ruling, Spooner said: "We find that the respondent [Brett] knowingly allowed the court to be misled and failed to act with integrity, therefore allegations one and two are proven."
Spooner said he did not accept that Foster had partially dictated the response to Horton's lawyers in which an allegation that the journalist had a history of hacking was challenged.
He also found against Brett's defence that he had a duty of care to Foster. "His duty was to the court rather than a young reporter who had committed a potential criminal offence."
In mitigation, counsel for Brett, Sue Sleeman, told the tribunal that he took the allegations very seriously but that it was a single aberration at the end of a "very long and distinguished career".
Sleeman said he had already suffered as a consequence of the affair and had gone through "a very public and humiliating" experience at the Leveson inquiry.
She asked the tribunal to consider a reprimand, the lowest level of sanction available, but Spooner said this was not likely given the seriousness of the offence.
Taking the witness stand for the second time, Brett said that since he had left The Times in 2010 he had made very little money because most of his work was pro bono. A financial arrangement that he had made with the paper was about to run out and he had not filed earnings higher than £7,500 in the last two years.Lisa O'Carroll
Developer of tool to allows users to replace posts seeks to 'customise the internet' – in his case, by blocking BuzzfeedAmanda Holpuch
Instagram has invited reporters to a press event in Manhattan on Dec. 12, according to reports from CNET and TechCrunch. The invitations do not specify what the event will focus on, though a recent report from GigaOM suggests that it could be a messaging service.
Mark Shenton says he was accused of bringing the paper into disrepute after bosses found pictures of him on a gay website
Mark Shenton, the chief theatre critic of the Sunday Express, has claimed he was fired after executives discovered naked pictures of him on a gay website.
In the daily blog he writes for the Stage, the theatre industry magazine, Shenton said he had been accused of bringing the newspaper into disrepute, adding that the editor, Martin Townsend, had described the pictures as embarrassing.
Shenton, the paper's critic for more than 11 years, wrote: "The paper had been tipped off by a malicious third party that there were some private, personal (but entirely legal) images of me available on a gay website. I'd never seen or heard of the site myself so it was news to me."
Once shown the pictures, he recalled that they were taken by a former friend in San Francisco 22 years ago.
Shenton said there was "a certain irony" that the Sunday Express's proprietor, Richard Desmond, whose business interests once involved pornographic magazines and still include adult television channels, should be affronted by the pictures.
"It could be said that the only difference is that these are straight magazines and channels whereas mine was defined as a gay one," he wrote.
He also pointed out that, aside from a thumbnail picture of him without a shirt, all the naked pictures of him were only available if someone paid for access to the website.
"In other words, people would have to go looking for them," he said. "I would not pay the money myself."
Shenton, 51, said that his sexuality has long been public knowledge. He joined the Sunday Express in April 2002 and also writes for a variety of other publications, including, occasionally, the Guardian. He is also chairman of the drama section of the Critics' Circle.
"The Sunday Express's Head of HR … believes that the existence of any such images could bring the company into disrepute. My sexuality is public knowledge and by revealing this information freely as I'm doing now, it is clear that I do not agree.
"The editor of the paper also stated, in front of the HR head, that the images were 'embarrassing'. Sorry to disagree with his world view, but I'm not embarrassed at all."
He concluded his blog by writing: "I will continue to write, tweet, broadcast and publish with my usual passion and integrity for other outlets."
Before taking up his Express role, he worked for the Press Association from 1990, initially as editor for arts and entertainment and subsequently as managing editor for arts and lifestyle, finance data and television listings.
Northern & Shell, Desmond's publishing company that owns the Sunday Express, declined to comment on the matter. However, it is known that it does dispute Shenton's version of events.
The House overwhelmingly passed legislation Thursday aimed at discouraging frivolous lawsuits by patent holders who hope to extract settlements from companies wary of litigation costs.
By a vote of 325-91, the House approved the Innovation Act from House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.), setting the stage for the Senate to act in the coming months. The bill would require patent holders who file lawsuits to disclose more information upfront on the patents involved and the nature of the alleged infringement. It would also give judges more discretion to limit discovery or award legal fees when a lawsuit fails to prove infringement.
Channel achieves first audience share increase in 23 years, with I'm a Celebrity launch show leading the ratings
The main ITV channel is set to increase its audience share for the first time since 1990, on the back of successful shows including Downton Abbey, Broadchurch and I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!
Figures published on Thursday show ITV is on course to be the only one of the five terrestrial channels to record an increase in audience share during 2013, with Channel 4's figures slumping the hardest after the ratings success of its London Paralympics coverage in the previous year.
The last time ITV's annual share of viewing grew, John Major was prime minister and the broadcaster dominated British television. At the time there still just four terrestrial channels and BSkyB's satellite service was in its infancy.
In 1990, ITV had a 44% audience share and Coronation Street was the most popular show on TV, with its highest rating episode attracting nearly 20 million viewers.
ITV, which now faces competition from hundreds of digital channels, also has the most-watched programme of 2013 to date, last month's I'm a Celebrity launch show, with a consolidated audience (including recorded viewing for the seven days after first transmission) of 13.5 million.
According to the Barb figures, ITV1 had an audience share of 16.5% (including timeshift service ITV1+1) for the year to 22 November, compared with 15.7% in 2012.
The broadcaster's ratings suffered during 2012 as viewers switched to the BBC's coverage of the London Olympics and Queen's diamond jubilee but bigger audiences for ITV's stable of reliable ratings bankers including I'm a Celebrity and Britain's Got Talent, plus new dramas such as Broadchurch and Mr Selfridge, are also credited with helping deliver the broadcaster's improved performance.
"We needed to bounce back and we have," said Peter Fincham, ITV director of television. "We've had a very good year ... That's due to a range of different things. We're coming good on drama, we've got good entertainment and more new entertainment shows that will return."
Fincham highlighted programmes including the Tom Daley diving show Splash!, soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale, and entertainment series including Catchphrase.
However, he said it would "be foolish to think 'stability at last'", as ITV still faces a "competitive and challenging world".
Industry analyst Tim Westcott said ITV's audience share had inevitably fallen since 1990 due to the explosion in digital television, cable and satellite channels and other competition from the likes of Netflix and YouTube.
Westcott added that the challenge now for mainstream broadcasters such as ITV, in the face of digital competition, is to "hold onto shows and big events that do well". He highlighted ITV's success in regenerating I'm A Celebrity each year.
ITV also appears to have been a beneficiary of BBC2 replacing original programming with repeats in its afternoon schedule as part of the corporation's ongoing cost-cutting measures. BBC2's audience share for the year to date is 5.7%, compared with 6.1% in 2012.
BBC1 slipped back slightly this year, from 21.3% to 21.1%, but remains the UK's most popular channel. The channel's recent Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode, The Day of the Doctor, is the third most watched show of the year, with 12.8 million viewers, after I'm a Celebrity and Britain's Got Talent. Channel 4 has suffered a decline in its audience share from 6.5% in 2012 to 5.8%, including Channel 4+1.
CBS News chairman Jeff Fager held meeting with “CBS This Morning” staffers Tuesday and took questions about the botched “60 Minutes” report, Politico’s Dylan Byers reports. Correspondent Lara Logan and her producer Max McClellan are on a leave of absence, following the results of an internal report on their discredited story. Logan was notably absent from Sunday’s “60 Minutes” open.
Fager said he did not know how long Logan and her producer would be on leave, and made no indication that they would be asked to resign in the wake of the now-retracted report, according to sources familiar with the meeting. Those sources said Fager defended Logan as a valuable member of the ’60 Minutes’ team even as he acknowledged the erroneous nature of the report. “He did not throw her under the bus,” one source said of Fager’s remarks about Logan.
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The FBI has captured one of its most-wanted white collar criminals thanks to a recent episode of CNBC’s “American Greed.”
David Kaup, who has been on the run since he confessed to defrauding more than 50 families of $11 million in mortgage refinance scams, was arrested last week in Las Vegas. Kaup was featured on the November 14 episode of “American Greed.”
“We got a tip from somebody that saw the show,” James Bowman, assistant U.S. attorney for California’s central district, told CNBC. “They let us know he was in Las Vegas and using a different name. Based on that, we were able to figure out where he was.”
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Atari Inc., the company that helped give birth to the modern-day videogame industry with the introduction of now-classic games such as Asteroids and Pong, received court approval of its plan to exit bankruptcy under the control of its French parent Atari S.A.
Judge James Peck of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan thanked the parties Thursday for their efficient handling of what he called “a difficult case” — the bankruptcy-exit strategy Atari proposed received unanimous support from its creditors — and stated simply, “so the plan is confirmed.”
US vice-president expresses 'profound disagreements', while Xi Jinping reportedly says journalists are treated according to law
Joe Biden pressed China publicly and privately on its treatment of US journalists who fear losing their visas, as he wrapped up his visit to Beijing on Thursday.
Speaking to American business people in the capital, the US vice-president spoke of "profound disagreements" with China over its treatment of US journalists.
"Innovation thrives where people breathe freely, speak freely, are able to challenge orthodoxy, where newspapers can report the truth without fear of consequences," he said.
Later on Thursday he flew to South Korea where he completes a week-long Asia tour that has been dominated by tensions over China's new air-defence identification zone over the East China sea.
While in Beijing, he met Bloomberg and New York Times journalists who have experienced unusual delays in renewals of their mandatory annual visas following the organisations running sensitive stories on the family wealth of leaders. Their websites have been blocked since the reports appeared and neither company has been given visas for new recruits.
Biden also raised the issue in his meetings with the president, Xi Jinping. According to the New York Times, Biden reported that Xi said China treated reporters according to the law.
China's foreign ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, said the media were treated in accordance with the country's laws and regulations. "Over the past few years, we have provided a very convenient environment for foreign journalists reporting in China," he told reporters."Everybody can see the progress we made."
The full foreign reporting staff of both media organisations are understood to have experienced delays. If accreditation is not issued to the journalists soon they will have to leave China from December as their visas expire.
Last year China refused to renew the credentials of the US citizen Melissa Chan, a correspondent for al-Jazeera English in what is thought to be the first such case since the late 90s – but other individuals have received new visas following delays.
Jill Abramson, executive editor of the Times, said in a statement: "Unfettered coverage of China is a crucial issue at a time when it is such an important and compelling story. We have made a major commitment to covering China and are eager that our staff can continue to work there normally."
A Bloomberg journalist travelling with David Cameron was excluded from a Beijing event this week, prompting the prime minister to complain directly to Xi.
Hong, the foreign ministry spokesman, said they had sought to ensure there were sufficient spaces for Chinese and British media.
Bloomberg denied a New York Times report saying it killed a sensitive story involving leaders' families through fearing its ability to report from China would be jeopardised.
In November, the American journalist Paul Mooney, who has reported from China for many years, was denied a visa to work for Reuters. The Chinese language websites of the news agency and of the Wall Street Journal have been blocked since last month.
Nolan Barkhouse, spokesman for the US embassy in Beijing, pressed home the message and raised concern about the treatment of academics, saying: "We are deeply concerned that foreign journalists in China face restrictions that impede their ability to do their jobs, including extended delays in processing their journalist visas, restrictions on access to 'sensitive' locations and individuals, pressure on their local staff, blocked websites, and reports of cyber-hacking of media organisations.".
"We call upon the Chinese authorities to respect media and academic freedoms. Chinese and foreign journalists and academics should be allowed to operate freely in China."
Perry Link, a sinologist at the University of California at Riverside, who has been denied visas to China since 1996, warned: "The whole US public suffers in its understanding of China because of the problem. Self censorship by academics – and hence a less than accurate impression of Chinese realities for the western public – will continue until the institution of using blacklists for this purpose is abolished."
Andrew Nathan, a historian at Columbia University, who has been unable to visit since he co-edited a book of leaked documents on the 1989 pro-democracy protests that began in Tiananmen Square, said he had been approached by many younger academics and students who wanted advice on whether a particular piece or kind of research would affect their visa access.
The social network has become an indispensible communications tool but to successfully engage your followers, you have to do more than just broadcast news
According to the latest @Twiplomacy study, Unicef is the most followed international organisation on Twitter, with some 2.3 million followers. The study says that it is also the second most effective, with its tweets being retweeted more than 100 times on average. So what is the recipe for success on Twitter?
Matthias Lüfkens, practice leader for Digital EMEA at Burson-Marsteller and the author of the study, says that the most successful organisations are those who put some thought into their Twitter strategy and use the platform for more than just broadcasting their news. "Twitter is about making connections and telling stories," he says. He gives the example of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), whose Twitter handle deliberately shuns the agency's acronym and goes with @Refugees instead. "They are telling stories about refugees and they encourage all field officers to tell the stories of the refugees they work with."
The International Fund for Agricultural Development agrees. Roxanna Samii, the manager for web, knowledge, social media and internal communication, says that Twitter is the perfect platform for them to talk about smallholder farmers and rural development issues, topics often overlooked by mainstream media. It's also allowed them to find a new audience: "We are still reaching our primary audience [policymakers], who are conversant with this type of media, but we're also reaching out to a new group of people, who do not know very much about these issues and who we'd never have reached with traditional media."
Twitter is now a primary news channel for a number of international organisations. Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation (@WHO) decided to go "Twitter first". "Twitter comes before the web and before press releases," says Gregory Hartl, the head of news and social media at WHO. "It's one of the most effective ways for us to reach our target audience, including journalists, academics and public health specialists." Unicef says it tries to synchronise breaking news across all social media platforms to reach people where they are.
Hartl says that he has also started trialling the use of Twitter alerts, a new feature that pushes a Tweet directly onto followers' phones as an SMS or a push notification. The service is available to a restricted number of organisations working in the field of emergencies and disaster relief. The WHO recently used it in the wake of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines to squash rumours that dead bodies spread diseases.
"We have seen these rumours appear in previous disasters so we thought we had to do something unusual to stop them," says Hartl. The news alert was widely picked up and Hartl said he has seen far less misinformation and incorrect reporting since.
Hartl says that his organisation is keen to use these alerts sparingly to ensure it's not crying wolf, but the WHO has used Twitter in other innovative ways. For World Toilet Day on 19 November, it asked followers to send pictures of their toilets. Its call got a great response; it retweeted many of the pictures and Hartl says it fostered an understanding of what not having a toilet meant.
This kind of engagement is exactly what gives a Twitter account its strength, but everyone in the sector acknowledges it is time-consuming. Samii says that she would like to have more time to field questions from followers and hold live Twitter chats because she knows it is valued by their community. One of Ifad's most successful Twitter innovations was a virtual interview with its president, Kanayo Nwanze, after the G8 summit with a group of journalists and their Twitter followers. "The interaction with our Twitter audience added a new dimension and they asked the best, hardest and least politically correct questions," says Samii.
Many organisations now have dedicated social media staff but Lüfkens says it is important to let – and encourage – all employees to engage in social media. "Organisations no longer have the monopoly on communication," he says. "Heads of communication are becoming like conductors at an orchestra." The key is to provide guidance to employees: he suggests a "tweet sheet" with the key messages for the week ahead. Ifad has produced guidance for its employees and Unicef has provided training.
In fact, many international organisations' heads tweet separately from their organisation. Helen Clark (@HelenClarkUNDP), the administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, is the most prolific head on Twitter, averaging around 12 tweets a day. Donald Kaberuka, the president of the African Development Bank, is one of the most conversational, with more than a third of his tweets being replies. These individual accounts complement the corporate ones well because they are more personal, says Lüfkens.
If there is a take-away lesson from the study, it is that there is no right or wrong way to use Twitter; everyone is still experimenting. Laila Takeh, the head of digital at Unicef UK, says that her organisation has refined the analytics it uses to measure the impact of its digital media actions, which in turn has deepened its understanding of various tools, such as the use of photos or videos in posts.
Twiplomacy highlights a raft of ideas – from live Twitter walls in conferences to branded URLs, Twitter designs and clever use of lists – but Lüfkens says that organisations should turn to their followers. "They're the ones who read your feed so they will give you tips and you can build on that."Emilie Filou
Snowden will be on the list, just further down, the Daily News reports:
Snowden, who did land further down on the list, is particular about his outlets, relying mainly on journalist Glenn Greenwald — formerly of the Guardian — to tell his stories, and would not participate. Instead, the network did a write-around with old interview clips for his part, much like they did with Gen. David Petraeus in 2012.
The report suggests Walters was fascinated by Snowden, thinking he’ll be named TIME’s person of the year.
ABC News SVP Jeffrey Schneider disputes the report, telling TVNewser that Walters and executive producer Bill Geddie have been the show’s EPs for 20 years, and it is within only their purview to pick the list.
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