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‘Winter has come’ to Game of Thrones ice hotel in Lapland

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, 12 February 2019 10:09 AM


Games of Thrones inspired hotel in Lainio, Kittila, Finland | All About Lapland via Reuters

Game of Thrones fans now have the opportunity to get a feel for what sleeping in the Arctic cold is like surrounded by the army of the dead, dragons and dire wolves from the fictional kingdom of Westeros.

Some 200 kilometres above the Arctic Circle, the SnowVillage Lapland Hotel, in collaboration with HBO Nordic, has for a second year built an ice hotel from scratch based on HBO’s international hit series.

Twelve artists from Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Poland, Finland and the Ukraine have used 400,000 kilos of ice to make the structure.

Visitors can get married in Great Sept of Baelor, enjoy a three-course dinner at Frozen Winterfell, have a drink from an ice glass or meet the giant Mag the Mighty.

HBO will debut the final season of the series in April and it aims to start production on a prequel later in 2019. Series eight originally airs on HBO in the United States, and on Sky Atlantic in the UK.

The Emmy-winning medieval fantasy series is HBO’s biggest hit ever with some 30 million viewers in the United States and an army of devoted fans world-wide. — Reuters

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Twenty countries join global alliance to phase out coal by 2030

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 17 November 2017 10:39 PM

 

Since signing the Paris agreement in 2015, which aims to wean the world off fossil fuels, several countries have made national plans to phase out coal from their power supply mix before 2030, environment ministers said on Thursday.

The Powering Past Coal Alliance brings together many of these countries and others that will commit to phasing out coal, sharing technology to reduce emissions, such as carbon capture and storage, and encouraging the rest of the world to cut usage.

Coal is responsible for more than 40 percent of global emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

“Coal is literally choking out cities and our people. Around the world, we see close to a million deaths a year from air pollution created by burning coal. Not only is there a human cost, there is also a huge economic cost totaling billions of dollars a year,” Catherine Mckenna, Canadian environmental minister.

The alliance includes Angola, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, El Salvador, Fiji, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, The Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Portugal, and Switzerland.

“Actually, I tried to ban in my country by a new law two new authorization to try to find fossil energy, and specifically coal, and we will ban production of electricity by 2022. The production of coal, so of course, we are close to you and congratulations for this coalition,” said French environment minister Nicolas Hulot.

The US States of Washington and Oregon, as well as five Canadian provinces, have also signed up.

The alliance, which is not legally binding, aims to have at least 50 members by the next U.N. Climate Summit in 2018 to be held in Poland’s Katowice, one of Europe’s most polluted cities.

But some of the world’s biggest coal users, such as China, India, the United States, Germany and Russia, have not joined. — Reuters

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Nokia might sell its maps unit

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, 15 April 2015 04:14 PM

A view of Nokia head offices in Espoo April 14, 2015. REUTERS/MARKKU ULANDER/LEHTIKUVA

A view of Nokia head offices in Espoo April 14, 2015.
REUTERS/MARKKU ULANDER/LEHTIKUVA

(Reuters) – Finland’s Nokia on Wednesday confirmed it had started a strategic review of its map business, HERE, after announcing a takeover of network equipment rival Alcatel-Lucent.

“The Board of Directors of Nokia believes this isthe right moment to assess the position of HERE within theproposed new Nokia business,” the company said in a statement, adding that the review may or may not result in any deal.

A source told Reuters on Friday that Nokia had hired a financial adviser to explore a sale of the unit.

The unit is estimated to be worth 4.4 billion euros ($4.68 billion) to 6.9 billion euros ($7.34 billion), based on a sum-of-parts calculation, according to Inderes Equity Research.

(Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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HBO standalone product risks alienating cable, satellite cos

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 17 October 2014 04:19 PM

The logo for HBO,Home Box Office, the American premium cable television network, owned by Time Warner, is pictured during the HBO presentation at the Cable portion of the Television Critics Association Summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California August 1, 2012.
CREDIT: REUTERS/FRED PROUSER

(Reuters) – Time Warner Inc’s (TWX.N) decision to make its prized HBO channel available to people who don’t subscribe to Pay TV may delight such “cord cutters” but will likely crank up tensions with cable and satellite TV service providers.

By going over-the-top – media lingo for being able to watch TV with only a broadband connection – HBO has paved the way for a rocky period of negotiations with cable and satellite companies – with issues of pricing and distribution likely to loom large.

Indeed, CBS Corp (CBS.N) upped the ante when it announced on Thursday a digital product that provides content like “The Good Wife” without a cable subscription for $5.99 per month.

“Truth be told, there is no way to put a positive spin on this for the distributors,” said Craig Moffett, senior research analyst at MoffettNathanson.

Details about HBO’s standalone product, slated to launch next year, were scant. HBO Chief Executive Richard Plepler did not discuss price or potential partners on Wednesday when he revealed the news before Time Warner investors and analysts.

Still, the proposed online streaming service adds to a lengthening list of ways for consumers to circumvent pricey cable subscriptions, from Hulu to Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) and even a possible ESPN Internet channel. ESPN is owned by Walt Disney Co (DIS.N).

HBO is likely to face pressure from distributors to set the price for its new offering at a level that will not cannibalize existing subscriptions within the cable bundle. Barclays analysts speculated in a research report that the service was likely to cost $18 a month, which would be higher than the roughly $15 a month that cable systems typically charge for HBO.

Some cable executives, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they expect price and other issues to be points of tension in looming talks over how the service will work.

In setting the price, HBO will face a balancing act between growing its subscriptions and undercutting the cable companies, analysts said.

Both Time Warner and its distributors are expected to bring carrots and sticks to the negotiating table. HBO is targeting the 10 million broadband only households in the United States who do not have cable subscriptions.

Part of the reason Time Warner is launching a standalone product is to gain more leverage against the cable companies that it feels do not do enough to promote HBO as a premium channel. Some cable systems have as few as 14 percent of their subscribers taking HBO, while others have as much as 44 percent, according to Plepler.

“They want to have the threat,” said Thomas Lieu, portfolio manager with Westwood Group, which has a stake in Time Warner.

Cable companies unhappy at being undercut by the freestanding HBO Go could retaliate by cutting their promotion budgets for the premium channel, one cable industry source said.

Other “sticks” could include slowing down delivery of the freestanding HBO Go, reviving battles that cable operators such as Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) fought earlier this year with Netflix, which ended with the streaming service agreeing to pay the cable operator for faster transmission speeds.

Plepler invoked “The Sopranos” mob character Paulie Walnuts when he said that when these deals come up, “we will get our taste.”

But as HBO thrashes out new commercial arrangements with distributors, it will hardly have a monopoly on strong-arm tactics.

(Additional reporting by Lisa Richwine and Liana Baker; Editing by Christian Plumb and Eric Effron)

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