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October 30, 2014

U.K. Housing Loses Momentum With Price Growth at 9-Month Low - Bloomberg

Filed under: legal, management — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 2:04 pm

U.K. house price growth slowed to a nine-month low October, adding to evidence that the market for residential property is cooling.

Annual price gains dropped to 9 percent from 9.4 percent in September in a second month of declines, Nationwide Building Society said today in a statement on its website. Still, prices rose 0.5 percent on the month after dropping 0.1 percent.

Mortgage approvals fell to a 14-month low in September, Bank of England data show, and Hometrack Ltd. said London has hit an

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October 28, 2014

Time Warner layoffs continue; HBO to cut 150

Filed under: news, small business — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 10:56 pm

LOS ANGELES • Premium channel HBO this week plans to lay off approximately 150 people, which is nearly 7 percent of the Time Warner Inc. unit’s workforce.

The cuts are part of a Time Warner initiative to reduce its headcount companywide in order to bolster its bottom line and free up dollars to invest in original programming.

HBO employees in New York and Los Angeles will be affected.

HBO is the smallest of Time Warner’s three divisions, and thus it had fewer job eliminations than the larger business units.

Companywide, Time Warner is expected to shed about 2,600 positions — or about 10 percent of its workforce — by the end of November.

Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN, TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network, already had announced that it would cut 1,475 positions. Turner has more than 13,000 employees worldwide.

Burbank, Calif.-based Warner Bros. is expected to trim approximately 1,000 positions as it prepares to slash its budget by $200 million. Warner Bros. has about 8,000 employees.

Warner Bros. is Hollywood’s largest film and television production studio. It is coming off a tough summer at the box office.

HBO Chief Executive Richard Plepler notified his staff of the looming layoffs in an email nearly two weeks ago. The job cuts are being made this week.

“We have a long history of tightly managing our overhead so that we’re able to maximize investment in the creation, distribution and marketing of content,” Plepler wrote in his Oct payday loans. 15 email to staff, which was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

“We also shift resources when necessary toward areas with the greatest potential to drive revenue growth and to enhance our brand,” Plepler said. “We reviewed 2015 budgets and staffing plans with this in mind and reduced cost and redundancy wherever possible to preserve our ability to invest in our future. This will unfortunately include the elimination of some positions.”

HBO, also on Oct. 15, generated global headlines when it said that next year it would begin offering a stand-alone streaming service — an effort to entice people who live in the more than 10 million homes in the U.S. that have high-speed Internet service but not a pay-TV subscription.

The HBO job cuts were first reported by Variety.

Time Warner’s cost-cutting comes five months after Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox made an unsolicited $80-billion bid to buy the company.

Murdoch has since withdrawn the offer, but his company said at the time that combining two of the world’s largest media conglomerates would benefit investors with improved efficiencies. 


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October 27, 2014

Hamilton pays tribute to soldier slain in Parliament Hill attack

Filed under: business, loans — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 8:12 am

The famed poem “In Flanders Fields” was printed, fittingly, on the inside of the funeral program. Its exterior featured a black-and-white photo of Corporal Nathan Frank Cirillo, dressed in full Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regalia.

There was no lineup of people waiting outside Markey-Dermody Funeral Home on King Street East during Sunday night’s visitation, largely due to the fact that late Saturday, the regiment announced that it would be private.

Hamilton police were on site nonetheless, to ensure it remained family only. Some directed traffic. Two officers on horseback flanked the entrance.

“It makes you so proud, but you never want to see it again,” said Lee Aghion, 52, who lives in a building across the street from the funeral home. He and a handful of neighbours watched from outside on Sunday evening, just as they did on Friday when Cirillo’s procession came through the city to the funeral home to mark the soldier’s death in Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s attack on Parliament Hill last week.

“It’s something I hope I don’t ever have to do again,” he said.

His voice cracked and he choked up, apologizing, calling himself a mushball.

Aghion wore a hockey jersey with a maple leaf on it. Behind him, the Canadian flag outside his apartment complex flew at half-staff.

It was at full height on Friday night when people started lining King Street near Kenilworth Avenue — a crowd that stretched for blocks, three to four deep. Aghion called the building’s maintenance man, who didn’t have a key for the flagpole’s lock box.

When people started commenting on it, Aghion jammed his tiny mailbox key in the lockbox and cranked it. He was surprised when it popped open.

He lowered the flag. Across the street, a police officer gave him the thumbs-up.

“It was small, but it meant something,” said Aghion’s neighbour, Dorothy Mitchell, who also watched the visitation from across the street.

Cirillo was her neighbour, she said.

His parents live a few short blocks from her home.

“Rosedale is tight,” said Shelley Goodwin, another neighbour stationed outside sipping a drink. “It helps to get together to talk about it. I can’t put my finger on why, but it helps somehow.”

Don Kennedy, a retired major from the Argylls, attended the visitation with his wife. He didn’t know Cirillo personally, but he knows he served in Afghanistan. He said it was terrible to think that the young reservist survived that — but was killed on home soil Wednesday, while acting as ceremonial guard at Ottawa’s National War Memorial.

Kennedy called Hamiltonians’ support of the Cirillo family outstanding.

“It’s a raw, raw time for them,” he said, acknowledging that the family hasn’t yet spoken about the tragedy. “They can see the outpouring of grief.”

It was palpable across town. City transit buses flashed the message “Lest we forget.” The downtown screen at the Copps Coliseum featured a colour image of Cirillo in uniform.

In Corktown Park, where Cirillo was known to walk his dogs regularly, Dan Page organized a candlelight vigil from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Page lives across from the park and said he met Cirillo there over a year ago. Cirillo was running his dog, Kyah, and started a conversation when he asked about the decal on Page’s truck: Citadel Canine. Page told Cirillo he trains and evaluates rescue and service dogs.

The two immediately made a dog playdate.

“Dan,” Cirillo said the first time he saw Page’s huge Malemute. “That’s a wolf!”

After that, Page said they met up regularly. He said the corporal was on site for last summer’s Paws in the Park — an SPCA fundraiser. And Cirillo always welcomed Page’s grandsons to play with Kyah.

Cirillo was friendly, but private too. Page said they never talked about family — mostly just about dogs, fishing and spending time in the outdoors.

Page said it’s hard to acknowledge they’ll never see him in the park again. He hoped the vigil would help Corktown residents say goodbye.

“This is our park and this was his park,” Page said. “He was a good guy and we’re going to miss him. Now everybody in Canada is going to miss him.”

A public visitation is scheduled to take place at the funeral home on Monday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.


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October 25, 2014

Doctor being tested for Ebola virus in New York

Filed under: legal, uk — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 5:04 pm

NEW YORK—A Doctors Without Borders physician who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa was being tested Thursday for the virus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said results could come late Thursday.

The doctor, who returned from Guinea more than a week ago and was monitoring his own health, was rushed by ambulance to Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola centre, after reporting he had a 103-degrees Fahrenheit (39.4-Celsius) fever and diarrhea, city officials said.

“We can safely say that it is a very brief period of time that patient has had symptoms,” the mayor said in a news conference. “Our understanding is that very few people were in direct contact with him.”

Ebola, which is spread through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids, has killed thousands of people in Africa. Only three people have been diagnosed in the U.S., and one has died: a Liberian man in Dallas.

De Blasio said the doctor was in good shape and has described in great detail where he was in the last few days and with whom he had contact. The mayor said no one else had been quarantined no checking account payday advance.

Health officials did not immediately confirm the name of the doctor, but Doctors Without Borders said he had followed its reporting procedures.

“As per the specific guidelines that Doctors Without Borders provides its staff on their return from Ebola assignments, the individual engaged in regular health monitoring and reported this development immediately,” it said in a statement.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center said the doctor was on its staff but had not been to work there since returning from Africa.

“He is a committed and responsible physician who always puts his patients first,” it said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with him, and we wish him all the best at this time.”

Health officials say the chances of the average New Yorker contracting Ebola are slim. Someone can’t be infected just by being near someone who’s sick with Ebola.


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October 24, 2014

U.S. girls

Filed under: Canada, loans — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 2:36 am

PARIS—The teenage sisters told their father they were staying home sick from their suburban Denver school. Instead, they took $2,000 and their passports and headed off for Syria with a 16-year-old friend. They made it as far as Germany before border guards detained them for questioning.

Related: IS militants luring Western women as wives

The fact that adolescent girls could make their way across the Atlantic might come as a surprise to many parents, but a patchwork of laws and rules governing international air travel in many cases makes it easy for teenagers to travel with nobody’s permission but their own.

Airlines have a range of rules governing minors’ travel: Many major carriers including United Airlines and Scandinavian airline SAS place no restrictions on children over 12, while others let even young minors travel as long as they are accompanied by someone over 16. Yet others, including American Airlines, require a parent to accompany travellers under the age of 15 to the gate, while those 15 and over face no restrictions.

Countries have a separate set of laws that is no less haphazard, from a Russian requirement for notarized parental permission to the U.S. system where adolescents with valid passports are free to come and go.

In Spain, both parents must fill out a permission form at a police station before a minor can travel alone. In Germany, where the American teens were stopped, border guards are required to verify that minors have parental permission to travel.

And in France, which is Europe’s single largest source of would-be jihadis, parental authorization had to be received by city hall — until January 2013.

That’s when a small administrative change took effect suspending the requirement for parental approval. The government said it would streamline unnecessary bureaucracy and officials remarked that few runaways went abroad, and even fewer stayed there.

Fast-forward 22 months, and nearly every week new reports emerge of French adolescents leaving for Syria. Teenagers from France can travel within the European Union with a valid ID; outside the EU, they need only a passport.

Under French law, parents can have their children flagged if they fear they will leave the country to join extremists. But for many of those who have left, their families had no warning.

Lawyer Agnes Dufetel-Cordier represents a teenage boy from Toulouse who left in January to join the Al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, before coming back to his family to face criminal charges. She said the teen — now 16 — gave no sign he was about to bolt for Syria, and his departure came as a shock to his parents. He was not stopped at the airport in Marseille, nor on arrival in Turkey or crossing into Syria.

“If you reverse the regulation that lets them travel without their parents’ permission, you will see right away that minors are no longer leaving,” Dufetel-Cordier said. “Today in France, in the case of most minors who go to Syria, the families have absolutely no idea ahead of time.”

At age 17, Sahra Ali Mehenni went so far as to ask her mother to get her a passport, saying she wanted her paperwork in order before she reached adulthood. When she left for Syria on March 11, departing from the Marseille airport just as the teen boy did, she took her burgundy-bound passport and nobody stopped her before she boarded the flight to Istanbul.

“If I go out and I run a red light, they’re going to get me right away,” said her father, Kamel. “But these minors are going to Istanbul — and if they’re going to Istanbul, it’s to go to Syria. They know it. You can’t say they don’t know it. And no one stops it.”

The same concerns apply in the United States, where parental permission is required to obtain a passport — but none is needed for travel.

The teens who flew to Germany were stopped because their parents, part of suburban Denver’s tight-knit East African community, reported them missing quickly, and American authorities contacted German authorities before they landed.


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October 22, 2014

Doug Ford promises to cut the land transfer tax

Filed under: management, small business — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 11:24 am

Despite repeated mistruths and promises to cut taxes his competitors call irresponsible, Doug Ford (open Doug Ford’s policard) was celebrated at a debate hosted by realtors on Tuesday.

Ford’s defining salvo Tuesday morning at the Toronto Congress Centre in Etobicoke in front of members of the Toronto Real Estate Board was pushing a platform promise to cut the land transfer tax, which he introduced earlier this month in his bid to replace his ailing brother as mayor.

“We will make sure that we eliminate, right off the hop, 15 per cent of the land transfer tax,” Ford said. “A lot of my friends here want to tax, tax, tax, spend, spend, spend. I don’t believe in taxing and spending. I believe in saving and putting money back into the peoples’ pocket of this great city.”

Ford has previously promised he would cut up to 60 per cent over four years.

Cutting the land transfer tax was a promise made by his brother Rob Ford (open Rob Ford’s policard) four years ago. But the Fords were not able to scrap the tax without the support of council. During last year’s budget process, city manager Joe Pennachetti said the tax has allowed the city to balance the budget for the past three years.

After the debate, Chow told reporters that Ford’s promise could cost an increase in property taxes by 10 to 15 per cent. She said that would be “unacceptable.”

During the debate, she defended her position to keep the tax despite loud booing from the crowd.

“I’m just being upfront,” she said payday loan. “It’s $300 million and every $25 million is a 1 per cent property tax increase. What you do if we are to reduce the $300 million in revenue, the city’s property tax will dramatically increase and we cannot allow that to happen.”

Tory, who also found support with the realtor crowd despite arguing to keep the tax, said the Ford’s did not deliver on the promise they made four years ago. He said the revenue is needed for big budget items like public transit.

“I don’t believe you can start doing away with taxes of any kind before you spell out where you’re going to get the money from to replace it,” Tory said during the debate. “When he was told he couldn’t four years ago, in fact, he and his administration didn’t and that’s because it wasn’t realistic then and it isn’t realistic now. I wish I could tell you what you wanted to hear.”

In 2013, the land transfer tax brought in $357 million. With the cuts Ford is proposing, he would need to make up $214 million in revenue. He has previously said that at least $90 million would come from outsourcing garbage in the east end and at least $50 million in other efficiencies. But that still leaves the city at least $50 million short.

Earlier in the campaign, a joint press release with TREB said Ford would be meeting with the board to discuss the tax.


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October 20, 2014

Germany, France to draw up investment plans

Filed under: Uncategorized, small business — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 8:52 pm

BERLIN (AP) — Germany and France agreed Monday to draw up proposals by the beginning of December to boost investment as they try to come up with a strategy that will help shore up the European economic recovery.

Though the decision to come up with an investment plan shows the two countries trying to work together closely, the divide between Berlin and Paris on economic matters is wide.

The German government has faced pressure from abroad to pump more money into the economy to help bolster both its and Europe’s recovery. However, it appears determined to stick to plans to halt new borrowing next year for the first time since 1969.

France, meanwhile, is under pressure to get its finances in order after admitting that its 2015 budget would break promises to bring its deficit below the European Union limit of 3 percent of its annual gross domestic product within two years.

“We are determined to do everything together to strengthen investment in our countries — we will do that in the framework of the different capacities we have to act,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said after he, and Germany’s economy minister met their French counterparts.

A plan to be drawn up over the coming weeks will likely include investment proposals for Germany and France, as well as possible joint projects and “common ideas for European projects,” French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said check cash advance.

The German ministers stressed the importance of stimulating private investment, rather than boosting government borrowing.

Ahead of his visit, Macron was quoted by a German newspaper as suggesting that Berlin should raise investment by 50 billion euros ($63.8 billion) over the next three years while Paris cuts spending by the same amount. Macron said Monday he “didn’t demand anything” but noted that “Germany has a greater capacity than us to make investments.”

The European Union executive will decide over the coming weeks whether to force member countries to revise their budgets. German weekly Der Spiegel reported Monday, without citing sources, that Germany could oppose such a move against France if Paris commits to a specific timetable for reforms.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin insisted that “there is no pact and we are not looking for a pact” on the budget issue, and that Paris doesn’t want any change to budget rules.


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October 19, 2014

Jeffrey Baldwin memorial unveiled in Greenwood Park

Filed under: marketing, news — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 5:20 am

Jeffrey Baldwin, dressed as Superman, was among his fellow children in spirit on Saturday, as hundreds gathered in Greenwood Park for the unveiling of a bronze statue and bench in the young abuse victim’s honour.

It was a scene quite unlike the sadness of his short life.

Twelve years ago, the 5-year-old Toronto boy died of starvation — he weighed only 21 pounds at his death — at the hands of his grandparents, Norman Kidman and Elva Bottineau. The pair were convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

“There’s so much support and compassion for Jeffrey,” said an emotional Todd Boyce, the Ottawa father who spearheaded online fundraising efforts that raised more than $36,000 for the memorial. “So much that he didn’t have in his life, but he has it now.”

Jeffrey had been placed in the care of his grandparents by the Catholic Children’s Aid Society. Both Kidman and Bottineau had separate convictions for assault on their own children, but the organization wasn’t aware of that until after Baldwin’s death.

Councillor Paula Fletcher (open Paula Fletcher’s policard), who represents the neighbourhood where Jeffrey lived, just a short distance from Greenwood Park, said the memorial will be part of the city’s public art collection.

“Whenever you’re skating, whenever you’re rollerblading, whenever you’re walking through, there’s a bench to sit on and just have a moment with Jeffrey in Greenwood Park,” she said.

Donors for Boyce’s memorial initiative came from within the local community and around the world — from as far as Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, Boyce said. “I think it’s a testament to the human spirit, really, that so many people, total strangers, were able to reach out and donate.”

In Saturday’s brisk autumn air, numerous children crowded around the sculpture and climbed atop the bench after the memorial was unveiled.

“I’m happy to see that Jeffrey’s going to be able to overlook the park for a very long time and see the children play,” said Boyce, his voice wavering.

Media reports after Jeffrey’s death struck a chord with Boyce, who has no direct connection to the young murder victim. Boyce said his 8-year-old son, Cole, shares Jeffrey’s birthday, Jan. 20.

“I can’t imagine my children suffering in any way close to what Jeffrey had to go through for so long,” Boyce said. “It just breaks my heart.”

Belynda Blyth, co-chair of Friends of Greenwood Park — a group that supported Boyce’s efforts to erect the memorial — said she carries “a weight” after living across the street from Jeffrey during part of his short life payday advance.

“I’m the kind of person that would’ve banged down that door and taken him away,” she said. “But I was completely unaware. I had no idea.”

While the artwork immortalizes Jeffrey, Boyce said it serves a dual purpose. “It’s also to remind people that child abuse does happen, and if they’re not vigilant reporting the signs of it, then this tragedy could repeat itself,” he explained.

The sculpture of Jeffrey, placed prominently in a main gathering point in the park, was designed by noted Canadian artist Ruth Abernethy.

She said the process of designing the sculpture, based on just a few photographs available of Jeffrey, took several months. It was then sent to a foundry to be encased in bronze on the bench.

“I wanted him to be eye level, to encounter the adults that pause for a moment. And then the kids standing on the bench can meet him at eye level as well,” Abernethy said. “One day they’ll be standing on the ground as adults, doing that face-to-face, recommitting to how hard it is to be a parent — and face-to-face with how much it matters. How much good parenting matters; there are no words.”

Jeffrey was, “for such a long time, made to feel unloved and worthless,” Boyce said. “That’s something no child should have to go through.”

The new bench and sculpture join an earlier memorial elsewhere in the park, which included a tree planted in Jeffrey’s honour. The original tree was broken, likely by vandals, last December, but a newer one stands in its place.

The statue’s design hit a roadblock earlier this year when DC initially refused to grant permission for usage of the Superman logo’s stylized S. Jeffrey Baldwin’s father, Richard Baldwin, told last year’s coroner’s inquest how his son was “so excited” to go as Superman for Halloween one year. DC later gave Boyce and Abernethy the green light to use the iconic crest.

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services has previously been criticized for not seeking standing at that 2013-2014 coroner’s inquest into Jeffrey’s death, despite the fact that it is ultimately responsible for investigating child abuse in Ontario.

The ministry recently redacted large sections of a document detailing how it planned to handle the fallout from that inquest, but the Star has appealed that decision to the Information and Privacy Commissioner.


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October 17, 2014

Rob Ford asked to leave polling station after illegal campaigning

Filed under: economics, management — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 2:24 pm

Rob Ford (open Rob Ford’s policard) was asked to leave an advance polling station outside his own ward on Thursday after apparently campaigning illegally on the voting site.

The Star was given an account of the incident by a witness who asked to remain anonymous. The city confirmed most of that account.

Ford could not immediately be reached for comment.

In an email, the witness said Ford, who is running for a council seat in Ward 2 Etobicoke North, was inside Driftwood Community Centre near Jane St. and Driftwood Ave. around 3:30 p.m. while the advance poll was taking place.

A photo appears to show Ford, wearing a pinstriped suit, inside the centre just outside the room where voting was taking place. A yellow sign marking the voting place can be seen behind him.

The witness said Ford had to be escorted from the building by city security, where he “continued persuading members of the public to vote” as he lingered in the parking lot outside.

City spokesperson Leisa Odlum confirmed Ford was at the community centre Thursday and was asked to leave, but said Ford left on his own and was not escorted from the polling station.

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“Staff at the voting location advised him that campaigning is not permitted anywhere within the designated voting place. Our understanding is that once he was advised of this, he left the voting location,” she said in an email payday loans lenders.

Odlum said Ford “was speaking with electors and having photos taken. Staff at the location advised him that it was not permitted anywhere within the designated voting location.”

Campaigning of any kind is not allowed at voting locations, as set out by Ontario’s Municipal Elections Act. It prohibits campaigning inside the building and also on the property where the building is located.

The Act says: “While an elector is in a voting place, no person shall attempt, directly or indirectly, to influence how the elector votes.”

It’s not clear why Ford was at the location Thursday.

Though also in the northwest end of the city, the Driftwood Community Centre is some distance from the Etobicoke ward where Ford is running to be councillor — separated by another ward.

Ford’s brother, Doug Ford (open Doug Ford’s policard), who replaced him in the race for mayor last month when Rob was diagnosed with a rare cancer, was campaigning downtown on Spadina Ave. on Thursday afternoon.

More: Advance poll turnout in Toronto sets a first-day record

Rob Ford, even in a hospital bed, surges in Ward 2 poll


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October 15, 2014

HBO unleashes streaming from cable contracts

Filed under: Uncategorized, money — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 11:28 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — No cable? No problem.

Viewers longing to watch “Game of Thrones”, “True Detective” and “Veep” will no longer have to pay big bucks for cable and satellite contracts. Next year HBO is cutting the cord and selling its popular streaming video service HBO Go as a stand-alone product, as more Americans choose to watch the Web, not the TV.

HBO CEO Richard Plepler said Wednesday that the move is aimed at targeting the 80 million homes in the U.S. that do not have HBO but may want access to its content — and especially the nation’s 10 million broadband-only homes.

“That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped,” Plepler said at parent Time Warner Inc.’s investor meeting in New York. “It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO.”

Will this lead to a wave of pay-TV cancellations? HBO’s move is a game changer in the industry, says Forrester analyst James McQuivey.

“HBO and ESPN are the two main reasons why people have cable and satellite TV,” he said. “The whole industry has eyed them for years nervous that one day they would decide to do exactly what they said they’ll do in 2015. We don’t know until we see pricing and packaging how rapidly this will force a change in the way pay TV operators work, but it will definitely force a change.”

Cable and satellite providers have long been against the unbundling of TV channel packages because they wouldn’t be able to charge as much for an a la carte menu of stations cheap pay day loans. Pepler said HBO plans to work with current partners as well as “explore models with new partners,” but did not give specifics.

Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video have rapidly grown in popularity. About 40 percent of online adults stream video on their television, according to Forrester, through services like Roku, Apple TV and others. And that doesn’t count the number of viewers who stream TV on their computer, phone or tablet.

HBO has been offering its streaming HBO Go service to HBO subscribers as well as some Internet subscribers who pay extra for the streaming service only. It has also offered a stand-alone service in Scandinavia for several years.

No details about pricing were given, but Forrester’s McQuivey expects the stand-alone HBO service could cost about $15 a month. That’s more than the lowest payment option for Netflix, which starts at $8.99, but high enough to discourage many cable TV subscribers from cancelling their service.

Time Warner shares rose $1.94, or nearly 3 percent, to $72.56 in midday trading.


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