This so-called newsletter's Joke Department reports interesting developments. There are generally two types of jokes coming in:
Pearly Gates/St Peter stuff, usually involving at least one of our favourite Billies (Gates, Clinton);
rather indecent jokes;
or even a combination of both.
Not surprising considering the first two jokes published here. There was also some common Internet humour, but I guess we all know that. Or don't you really know the famous IBM mouse balls memo, or "Why the Internet is like a ..." etc. etc.?
Okay, let's see if we can give the whole thing a different twist by publishing the following two jokes, "short and sweet, and not sexually explicit" as Ciaran Quinn from Paris, France aptly commented his contribution:
In the supermarket was a man pushing a cart which contained a screaming, bellowing baby. The gentleman kept repeating softly, "Don't get excited, John; don't scream, John; don't yell, John; keep calm, John."
A woman standing next to him said, "You certainly are to be commended for trying to soothe your son John."
The man looked at her and said, "Lady, I'm John."
Andrew from Germany ("where the hell's that?" he asked -- how am I to know; I live in a UFO circling Uranus) sent this one:
One white mouse to another white mouse: "I'm so proud. All my children have got jobs in research!"
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by I R Baboon
Five Globalstars not gone up.
Heap gusty winds!Try again today. Good weather say meteroel... meteroele... morotoe...
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Finally! The final launch for Motorola's Iridium system will take place on April 26 when five Iridium satellites will be placed into orbit on board a Delta II rocket at 4:14 p.m. PDT (0114 UTC, I guess.)
These satellites will complete the 66-satellite Iridium System -- the world's first global, digital, wireless communications network designed to serve handheld telephones and pagers anywhere on the surface of the earth. It is the fourteenth Iridium System launch in 11 months, and the last of nine scheduled Delta launches to take place at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Live satellite broadcast feed of the launch will begin at 3:45 p.m. PDT and end at 4:45 p.m., PDT. Satellite co-ordinates are as follows: Telstar 5 Transponder 12 Ku-Band. The satellite is located at 97 degrees West longitude.
Iridium fans: don't forget the exciting Iridium Launch Hotline which can be reached toll free in the U.S. at 888-9LAUNCH. Fans from other countries have to dial +1-202-452-8624 and pay for the call.
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by Marcello Berengo Gardin
Many things are happening under the Italian sun, lately. It seems that Italians will have two digital platform as Rai and Telecom Italia have signed a memorandum to join their forces to set up a new digital bouquet.
The new bouquet is going to be operated by Stream, a Telecom Italia owned company which currently broadcasts a bunch of digital channels on cable (right now they claim to have about 50,000 subscribers). Stream have already booked five transponders on the Eutelsat's Hot Bird satellites, and is using Irdeto for their cable transmissions. Set top box are to be provided by Italtel and leased to the subscribers.
Rai will act as a content provider in a new joint venture with Telecom called "NewCo." (70% Telecom, 30% Rai). Mr. Cecchi Gori will perhaps join the party: a couple of days ago he made an advertisement in some newspapers, claiming he was ready to launch 'Cecchi Gori Digital TV' with at least 10 thematic channels.
Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset will be on the other side of the fence, together with their French friends from Canal+ (Mediaset officially has a 10% stake in Telepiù).
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The U.S. and Argentinean governments have agreed upon the liberalisation of direct to home satellite services, reports El Cronista.
The agreement, which will allow U.S. satellite operators to offer services in Argentina, is expected to be signed in May. So far, the domestic operator Nahuelsat is the only one allowed to offer such services currently used by pay-TV provider TDH, the paper said.
Nahuelsat first opposed the agreement but changed its mind once General Electric of the USA became an equity shareholder. This paves the way for Sky Entertainment and TCI to offer DTH services on GE's PAS satellites as well as for DirecTV on Galaxy.
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The U.S. Federal Communications Commission was expected today to declare U.S. Intelsat signatory Comsat Corp. a "nondominant" telecommunications carrier in most of its markets, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The move would essentially deregulate a large portion of the satellite company's business but would fall short of Comsat's request to grant it nondominant status in all of its markets. The FCC found that Comsat doesn't wield market power in 130 countries where it offers telephone services, in 54 countries where it provides capacity for "occasional use" video and in all countries where it offers long-term video feeds. Those areas account for 85% of Comsat's revenues.
Comsat claims that its role as Intelsat signatory didn't really give it market advantages because many other forms of competition exist. Competitors such as PanAmSat Corp. and Loral Corp., have on the other hand complained that Comsat is a government-sanctioned monopoly.
The nondominant status would, in a nutshell, free Comsat from cumbersome regulations and allow the company to offer Intelsat satellite capacity at lower leasing rates as before.
The FCC is also expected to examine whether Comsat's customers -- such as AT&T Corp. and ABC News -- should have direct access to Intelsat satellites. Ninety-four countries around the world already allow direct access to those satellites, the Journal said.
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Loral Space & Communications announced a series of transactions which upon completion will have the effect of
increasing Loral's ownership in Globalstar Limited Partnership,
establishing a Globalstar service provider fund of US$210 million for reinvestment in the Globalstar project through the purchase of Globalstar gateways and user terminals and
adding the Soros funds as a significant equity investor in Globalstar.
As a result of the offering, Loral's direct and indirect ownership in Globalstar L.P. will increase from approximately 38% to approximately 42%. Soros' indirect ownership in Globalstar L.P. through this transaction would equal approximately 4%.
Loral has offered to buy, for its own account and for the benefit of the Soros funds, up to 4.2 million of partnership interests in Globalstar Limited Partnership from its original service provider partners for US$100 per partnership interest. This represents 30% of each partner's holdings. Partners accepting the Loral/Soros offer will be required to reinvest one-half of their proceeds, or up to US$210 million in the aggregate, into the Globalstar project by establishing an escrow account to be used solely for the purchase of Globalstar gateways and handsets.
Loral will fund the purchase of partnership interests through a public offering, which it expects to initiate shortly, of approximately US$500 million of the company's common stock, or approximately 16 million shares representing less than 5% of Loral's equity capitalisation. The company plans to use the balance of the offering proceeds to invest in its core businesses and to pursue satellite service opportunities.
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Primestar Inc., a direct broadcast satellite service provider in the USA, said it would acquire United Video Satellite Group Inc.'s Superstar/Netlink Group C-band business for US$480 million.
United Video is the largest distributor of C-band satellite programming packages in the United States, Primestar said in a press release.
Primestar will issue US$430 million in new convertible preferred securities and assume about $50 million in programming liabilities as part of the deal. The acquisition would bring Primestar 1.2 million satellite subscribers and marketing access to about 800,000 former subscribers. The transaction is expected to close by May 31.
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Jürgen Bartels draw my attention to the fact that weird things are going on over there in the U.S. of A. The top-rated television station in a major U.S. city broadcasts in Spanish, and not in what Northern Americans in one of mankind's grossest misconceptions still call "English" or, not much closer to the truth, "American English."
Miami's WLTV, owned by the Los Angeles-based Univision network, finished first in the February ratings "sweeps," beating out six "English-"language stations and one Spanish-language rival. Individual Spanish-language programmes have scored the highest ratings in their time slots in various cities, but this is the first time a station broadcasting in a language other than English in a major U.S. city finished with the highest round-the-clock average over a month-long period of TV viewing, according to an analysis by Nielsen Media Research.
"What's so remarkable about this accomplishment is that this is the first time ever, in any market, that a Spanish-language station has been number one from sign-on to sign-off," said Univision Vice President Anne Corley.
This so-called newsletter has in the past frequently pointed out that the Spanish-speaking part of the U.S. population for unknown reasons multiplies at a higher rate that the rest of U.S. citizens, so this is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Hispanics are soon expected to surpass African Americans as the U.S.' largest minority. Some 30 percent of Miami's 1.4 million television viewers are Hispanic. [That may have something to do with Cuban exiles, though.]
Of course, there are other reasons for Unavision's growing success: in recent years, the network has moved away from mainly imported programming and has begun producing original shows and creating stars.
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