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Communications over the world wide doesnt depend on sytax or eloquence or rethoric or articulation but on the emotional context in which the message is being heard.
People can only hear you when they are moving toward you and they are not likely to when your wordss are pursuing them
Even the choices words lose their powe when they are used to overpower.
Attitudes are the real figures of speech '-Friedman

Friday, October 30, 2009

New York tops: Singapore and London as the leading global financial center


by Andrew Milkowsky

And finally, if there were any doubts:) New York tops: Singapore and London as the leading global financial center, many predicted "doom and gloom" but best are still ahead of us watch!...article gives very obvious reasons why is this the case: "Many hedge funds have left the British capital because of a... new top income-tax rate of 50 percent for higher earnings and regulations planned by the European Union that restrict the amount they can borrow. " imagined being taxed 50%!

By Alison Fitzgerald source :Bloomberg

New York has withstood the worst economic crisis in seven decades and remains the leading global financial center, followed by Singapore, which topped London as investors’ preferred place for doing business, according to Bloomberg Global Poll
.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents in the quarterly poll of investors, traders and analysts who subscribe to the Bloomberg terminal say New York will be the best place for financial services two years from now. Singapore is chosen by 17 percent of respondents and London is the pick of 16 percent. Shanghai has 11 percent, while Tokyo, once considered a global hub, gets the nod from only 1 percent.

“Despite the carnage of 2008, I still expect the ‘new new’ thing in financial services to be developed and nurtured here, and ultimately exported to the world,” says poll respondent Peter Rup, who manages more than $300 million at Artemis Wealth Advisors LLC and Orion Capital Management LLC in New York.

On a separate question, China, Brazil and India offer investors the best opportunities for making money, those surveyed say. The U.S., Europe and Japan are seen to have less potential.

The results about the best financial-services environment contrast with the anxiety just three years ago that New York was losing its competitive edge over London as a global financial capital. U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned at the time that excessive U.S. regulation was driving investment firms to the U.K.

U.S. Regulation

Both U.S. and U.K. lawmakers are working to rebuild a web of financial regulations and raise taxes after a credit crisis and recession destroyed trillions of dollars in household wealth and more than 10 million jobs. Investors say they expect the U.S. administration under President Barack Obama to be more restrained in reining in risk-taking than that of U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Americans will fight harder against politicians than those in Europe and stand a better chance of a compromise on regulation, taxes and populism,” says poll respondent Richard Nolan, a strategist at the London brokerage firm Newedge Group. “So New York and London will suffer but I believe that London will suffer more.”

Poll respondent Bennett Gross, managing director of wealth management at Pacific Income Advisors Inc. in Santa Monica, California, says the regulatory crackdown may even be a plus. Investors, he says, may be willing to accept more constraints in exchange for stability and liquidity, particularly in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

‘Disastrous Downside’

“Most wealthy clients would accept higher regulation because it means the peaks and valleys will be a little less severe,” Gross says. “I doubt I have a single client who would not give up some of the upside to have less of the disastrous downside of 2008.”

The quarterly Bloomberg Global Poll of investors and analysts in six continents was conducted Oct. 23-27. It is based on interviews with a random sample of 1,452 Bloomberg subscribers, representing decision makers in markets, finance and economics. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

The Bloomberg Global Poll is conducted by Selzer & Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based public-opinion research company.

The ascent of Singapore and the decline of London reflect the rise of specialized financial centers that cater to specific segments of the industry.

Hedge Funds

Many hedge funds have left the British capital because of a new top income-tax rate of 50 percent for higher earnings and regulations planned by the European Union that restrict the amount they can borrow.

One fund, Amplitude Capital LLP, recently moved its head office from London to Switzerland. Another, Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP, recently said its offshore unit was considering opening an office in Geneva.

Consulting firm Kinetic Partners LLP says it had helped 23 hedge-fund firms move to Switzerland from London in the past 18 months and is looking to relocate another 15 since the U.K. announced a higher tax rate in April.

“About 20 percent of the hedge-fund community could leave the U.K. in the next two or three years,” says London-based David Butler, a founder of Kinetic. “The feeling among the hedge-fund community is there is a better place to be.”

Singapore, Shanghai

Singapore and Shanghai are growing in popularity as firms look for ways to tap the wealth that has accumulated in China and the rest of Asia. Private wealth management in particular is growing in Singapore, which has no capital-gains tax.

“Everything in Singapore is so well organized. Everything is so efficient. Everything works,” says Gary Addison, a partner at the private-equity firm Actis Capital LLP, which has $2.9 billion under management. Addison worked in London then Tokyo before moving to Singapore two years ago.

The investment climate attracts firms seeking high returns. “I perceive Singapore to be a little more of the tawdry wild west, or I guess tawdry wild ‘east,’” says Gross, of Pacific Income.

Shanghai isn’t as well established as Singapore; 11 percent of those polled by Bloomberg see the city as the top financial center because of the huge growth potential in China. As credit remains tight in the U.S., China will try to unleash the excess savings of its citizens, says poll respondent Anthony Comorat, wealth-management director at Lydian Trust Co. in Palm Beach, Florida.

‘Optimal Environment’

China is “a country with no financial crisis and a budget surplus in a position to acquire and operate global businesses on an unprecedented scale,” Comorat says. “This creates an optimal environment for financial services that will not exist in the West in two years.”

Dubai, like China and Singapore, remains a popular regional financial center for investors who want to take advantage of the oil wealth in the Middle East. The sheikdom is the preferred locale of 5 percent of those polled.

“No one can compete with Dubai in terms of a place to live and work,” says Paul Reynolds, managing director and head of debt and equity advisory for the Middle East at NM Rothschild & Sons Ltd., in Dubai. “The Gulf generally is well-positioned in terms of its geography and liquidity, in terms of the provision of the services for business to flourish.”

The survey shows investors want to work in cities with established financial-services infrastructure, such as New York, Singapore and London. However, they see the best prospects for their investments in emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil.

Brazil, India

Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed say they are optimistic about the investment climate in Brazil; 67 percent say the same about India and 66 percent of China. The latter presents the best opportunities for investors over the next two years, according to 44 percent of those polled.

Only 41 percent are positive about the investment climate in the U.S. and 36 percent say the same about the European Union.

Investors are downbeat about Japan, with only 25 percent saying they are optimistic about its investment climate and 5 percent saying it offers the best opportunities.

“Tokyo’s tighter regulation in terms of financial rules and regulations are not providing as much flexibility as in Singapore or Shanghai,” said poll respondent Leonardy Maleke, market risk manager at PT Rabobank International in Jakarta.

“The aging population there, the large debt relative to economic output, a stock market that peaked in 1989, and stubborn bouts of deflation make it hard to characterize Tokyo as a better place for financial services,” Comorat says.



Thursday, October 29, 2009

INTEL invest in Education and Intel at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting 2009


Intel participated in two exciting “commitments to action” this week that were announced on stage by President Clinton. The first one is a
project to bring best-in-class information and communications technology (ICT) to improve the quality of education in 60 focus schools across Kenya. I have had the privilege of working personally on this project and was excited to see it becoming a reality. We are collaborating with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Cisco and Microsoft to provide the best we each have to offer in terms of teacher training programs, educational content and technology, all with the goal of helping children in Kenya develop the 21st century skills they need to succeed. The project is expected to benefit approximately 7,000 teachers and 39,000 students over the next three years, by providing them with 1:1 educational technology, digital science and math content, educational software, capacity building workshops, and project deployment support. All of the learning from this project will be captured in a new School Technology Innovation Center that Cisco, Intel and Microsoft will establish with the Kenyan Ministry of Education in Nairobi, where curriculum developers, teachers and students from across East Africa will be able to learn and experiment with the best known methods around educational technology. I can’t wait for this project to get rolling so we can get technology into the hands of all the smart, eager students I met on my trip to Kenya this past July!

CGI_1Goal.jpgThe second commitment we helped announce was the launch of the 1Goal campaign to advocate for Education For All. This exciting campaign, which is being led by Queen Rania of Jordan and the Global Campaign for Education in conjunction with 2010 FIFA World CupTM, aims to mobilize soccer fans around the world to sign up online (www.join1goal.org) to advocate for the 75 million children who are currently out of school in developing countries. According to statistics shared by Queen Rania on today’s panel, the cost of getting these kids in school is $11 billion, which is what Americans spend on pets every three months and Europeans spend on ice cream in one year. When you think of it that way, it’s even more alarming that we have not yet managed to solve this problem. The panel moderator, Nicholas Kristof, compared it to saving a child who is drowning - would we just keep walking by or would we stop to help? Intel is going to help spread the word about the campaign through our online marketing channels. We hope you all will sign up to show your support. And if you’re not persuaded by Intel, maybe you’ll be motivated by Bono and Jessica Alba who also helped launched the campaign today. I know we were pretty excited by it!

Soon the CGI Annual Meeting will be over, and we will all disperse back to our respective corners of the globe. But now the real work begins. I’m eager to get started on these two projects, and I hope you’ll join with us in doing whatever you can to improve the quality of education for kids around the world.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Smaller American banks are now at the centre of the credit storm


PARTNERS BANK of Naples, Florida, earned a dubious distinction on Friday October 23rd. It became the 100th American bank failure of the year. On the same day six other lenders—two more in Florida and banks in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Georgia—joined the rollcall of failure in the aftermath of the credit crisis.

More banks have failed in other years. The post-war record was set in 1989 when 534 banks went under. That was at the peak of the savings-and-loan (S&L) crisis, which erupted in the late 1980s and continued in the early 1990s. This year has seen more failures than any since 1992, but another 75 banks must go under to overhaul that year’s total.

Counting absolute numbers of failures, however, is not the best way to assess the extent of a financial crisis. The number of banks and thrifts has fallen dramatically since the S&L era, from some 16,000 lenders then to around 8,000 now. According to CreditSights, a research firm, when the current cycle is over, the rate of bank failures may be double what it was during the S&L crisis.

The total of failures also disguises the size of individual collapses. The demise of Washington Mutual, the biggest bank to fail in America so far in this crisis, means that banks accounting for more than 3% of the system’s total assets have fallen during the current cycle already, compared with 4.4% of assets over the entire S&L episode.

Yet passing the hundred mark symbolises how the financial crisis has shifted its focus from large banks to small ones. America’s big banks may face regulatory uncertainty but they take the shelter of government support. Most have diversified businesses so they can offset credit losses with buoyant earnings from investment banking. The recent slew of third-quarter results suggests that the number of non-performing loans is approaching a peak.

Small banks have no such comfort. They are too small to pose a threat to the entire system and thus too small to require saving. And they are heavily exposed to commercial property, an asset class that continues to go downhill fast. In the latest sign of distress, Capmark, one of America’s largest commercial-property lenders, filed for bankruptcy on Sunday.

These factors point to a sharp rise in bank failures. There are 416 institutions on the problem list of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). CreditSights estimates that more than 600 banks will fail if conditions stay as they are. If things get really sticky, more than 1,000 could go under (compared with over 1,800 in the S&L crisis).

Breaking Up A dramatic restructuring for ING. Which big European bank is next?


IF ICELAND is the place that has suffered most from the banking crisis, the Benelux countries can make a justifiable claim to second place. After the calamitous sale of ABN AMRO and the subsequent dismemberment of Fortis, ING, the biggest bank in the Netherlands, announced on Monday October 26th that it was splitting itself up. The bank will sell its insurance businesses, divest the American arm of its ING Direct online-banking unit and carve out some bits of its Dutch retail activities. By the time the restructuring is done, in 2013, the bank’s balance sheet will be 45% smaller than it was in September 2008.

That isn’t all. The bank also announced plans for a €7.5 billion ($11.2 billion) rights issue to help repay half the money that the Dutch government injected into ING in October last year. Investors reacted with dismay to the prospect of dilution and the uncertainty of the planned restructuring, sending the bank’s shares down sharply on Monday.

Other equity investors were spooked, too, as they digested the wider implications of the announcement. For shareholders in other banks that have received state aid, the biggest concerns surrounded the European Commission’s role in ING’s break-up. The Dutch bank has its own reasons to act. The rights issue can largely be explained by ING’s desire to start escaping government investment. The break-up is consistent with a “back to basics” plan announced in April by Jan Hommen, ING’s chief executive, that promised to simplify and shrink the institution. Splitting banking and insurance should rid ING of a conglomerate discount. Its shares have historically traded at a 30% discount to bank and insurance indice

Even so, the plan signals that the Commission’s competition watchdogs, with which ING worked closely to develop its restructuring proposal, are taking a heavily interventionist approach to banks that got state aid. The scale of the break-up went further than many expected. The Commission also levied an additional fee on ING for its participation in a risk-transfer scheme with the Dutch government, to be paid out of the proceeds from the rights issue. ING promised not to make any acquisitions that would slow down the repayment of government capital. And it also pledged not to take price-leading positions in retail and commercial banking. Markets are betting that institutions such as Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland in Britain, and KBC of Belgium, will be forced into punitive restructuring agreements: shares in all three slid sharply after the announcement.

Aside from the muscularity of the Commission, there are two other trends that ING’s announcement highlights. The first is that the “bancassurance” model of combining banking and insurance in a single institution is now squarely out of fashion. To underline the point, Standard Life, an insurer, announced the sale of its banking arm to Barclays, on the same day. A focus by investors and regulators on the simplicity and size of institutions is one explanation. Another is the realisation that the diversification benefits afforded by having insurance and banking businesses can be more apparent than real. A more robust approach to consumer protection may also make it harder to cross-sell insurance products to banking customers.

ING’s break-up also reinforces a tendency among many retail institutions to focus more on their core markets. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, Spain’s Santander notable among them. But by the time ING’s restructuring is complete it will have gone back from being an aspiring global player to a European bank with a strong core in Belgium and the Netherlands. That retrenchment reflects structural pressures as well as the decisions of competition officials in Brussels. These are the need to have strong market shares to achieve cost savings in an environment of more subdued growth, the increased emphasis on deposits as a funding source and continuing uncertainty over the regulatory infrastructure for cross-border banks. ING is being forced down a road it may well have travelled anyway.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The debate : Global Climate Change and Global warming


By David Logan

The great debate, or at least side debate, during the dawn of the 21st century is if in fact global climate change is affected by man in a truly measurable degree. There is no disputing the fact that man is burning fossil fuels at a record rate, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in the process, but the total amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is still trace, 380 molecules out of one million, That is .00038%.

The anti-fossil fuel scientist created computer models that showed steady rises in temperature that proved correct throughout the 1990's but then reality altered course with the models in this new millennium. Temperatures have actually dipped back down, and in fact, measurements by NASA show that between 2007 and 2008 the ice caps have increased by 30%, and that was a conservative estimate.


The rapid change in climate is not anything new, at many times in Earth's past there have been periods of ice reaching the equator, and of almost no ice to be found on the surface.

What were the causes of these major climate changes? Massive volcanoes that dump massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? Many think not, in fact, three major factors seem to lead to radical climate shift.

One: The axial tilt of the Earth, influences how much sunlight strikes the north pole. More sunlight would of course create shorter winters therefor induce more melting of the polar ice cap.

Two: On occasion, quite often in the galactic scheme of time, Jupiter and Saturn change the eccentricity of the earth, meaning the ellipse is elongated or decreased, increasing or decreasing our distance from the Sun.

Three: The most important factor in our climate, is the output of our Sun, which by the way was increasing throughout the 1980's and the 1990's, thus increasing our overall temperature.


I am reminded of the articles about a great ice age coming, written in the 1970's. But the difference is that today Governments are getting behind this unproven science of man made climate change. So one has to ask themselves, who is pushing this agenda? Any more there are so many corporate sponsors that it is hard to truly know, but the leaders pushing the usual rhetoric are making a nice paycheck.

All the while we seem to be missing the true climate crisis that seems to be coming. In the last 20 years we have lost 70% of all life in the wild, including oceans. There are satellite photo's of stretches of ocean awash in the flood lights of fishing vessels sweeping the sea of life. There are photo's of entire swaths of jungle and forest gone, replaced by dark cinders that testify to the tactic of clearing trees with fires.

Our biggest concern should be that this is an ecosystem, counter reliant on species interacting, and that we are taking out huge parts of this closed loop. How long will we delve into an unproven pseudo science that is no longer backed by hard data, and ignore the real scientific problem we face today that does have scientific fact to back it up?

Monday, October 26, 2009

U2 GIG STREAMED LIVE ON YOUTUBE


U2 became the first stadium-packing stars to allow a full live show to be streamed for free on YouTube.

Millions of people around the world could watch the Irish band's show from the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California via the internet at the same time as thousands of fans who packed into the stadium.

The rockers revealed the tie-up with the video-sharing website last week.

U2 manager Paul McGuinness said: "The band has wanted to do something like this for a long time.

"As we're filming the Los Angeles show, it's the perfect opportunity to extend the party beyond the stadium. Fans often travel long distances to come to see U2 - this time U2 can go to them, globally."

The Rose Bowl show was U2's penultimate show this year on the 360 degrees Tour and sold out to the biggest crowd of more than 96,000 fans.

Wearing his trademark sunglasses, lead singer Bono said: "Thank you Los Angeles. Thanks to everyone watching on YouTube all over the world - seven continents."

The band performed classic U2 hits including I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For to rapturous applause.

Michele Flannery, YouTube's music manager, said: "YouTube is thrilled to be able to provide our global audience with a live streaming performance from one of the world's greatest bands.

"We are always looking for new ways to connect fans around the world with their favourite artists, and this is the perfect opportunity to do just that."


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Legendary market strategist Morgan Stanley buys into its former guru Barton Biggs - Crain's New York Business



by Andrew Milkowski

Bank's famed market strategist, who now runs his own hedge funds, gets $150 million from old employer to launch three new investment vehicles

By Hilary Potkewitz
Legendarymarket strategist Barton Bigs forecasts another 15% bounce for thestock market by the end of the year. (previously he called thetechnology bubble and recession that followed a full year before itburst. (International Herald ...Tribune, 10/3.../1998) Recently, Bigs The just received $150 million from his former employer as seed money to launch three new hedge funds.Barton M. Biggs former Morgan Stanley chief global strategist now runs Traxis

Partners, a multi-billion dollar hedge fund based in New York City.

Legendary market strategist Barton Biggs still has the touch to attract tens of millions of investment dollars: The former Morgan Stanley chief global strategist just received $150 million from his former employer as seed money to launch three new hedge funds.

At Mr. Biggs' hedge fund firm, Traxis Partners, the flagship Traxis Fund lost about 30% in 2008, while the average multi-strategy fund lost 24%, according to the Credit Suisse/Tremont Hedge Index. So far this year, Traxis is outperforming the average; the fund is up about 35% for the nine months through September, while the sector average is hovering at 21%.

The new funds, which launched over the past several weeks, are thinking and acting globally. Traxis Global Credit Opportunity Fund reportedly was seeded with $50 million that's now under the guidance of Amer Bisat, a Morgan Stanley alum and emerging markets debt specialist who is also a former manager at U.K. hedge fund Rubicon Partners. Traxis Multi-Asset Macro Fund is run by founding partner Cyril Moulle-Berteaux, yet another former Morgan Stanley player at the firm, while Mr. Biggs is managing the new Traxis Global Equity Macro Fund.

As with most hedge funds, Traxis uses the two-over-twenty rule for fees, meaning it charges a 2% management fee and takes a standard 20% performance fee on gains. To attract larger investors, Traxis is offering a 1.5% management fee for accounts over $5 million.

Mr. Biggs is relentlessly bullish on the market these days, forecasting as recently as mid-October another 15% bounce for the stock market by the end of the year. But he probably became most famous in investment circles for his timely bearishness, anticipating the bursting of the tech bubble and the ensuing recession—about a year before it all popped.

Calls to Traxis were not immediately returned. Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

Urgently prepare the European unemployment benefit systems to face the unemployment explosion


Despite the conservative estimates made by the Member States and the European Commission, which a couple of months ago were still denying the existence of the crisis itself, Newropeans is now convinced that unemployment within the EU will reach historical levels in the course of the years 2009/2010. Over this period, one should expect almost a doubling of the number of unemployed, up to approx. 30 million people (versus 17 today), under the combined effect of bankruptcies, redundancy plans and the recruitment stop . the various revival plans currently announced that continue to ignore the systemic nature of the crisis will not have a significant impact on this trend.

Against this background, even before the complex implementation of the employment reconstruction process, and because of the possible duration of the most severe phase of the crisis (between two and three years), Newropeans asks all Member states to prepare as soon as possible, already at the beginning of 2009, an urgent reform of the unemployment benefit systems in order to face this two fold increase:

  • the increase in the number of unemployed
  • the increase in the average duration of unemployment.

Instead of focusing the provision of public funding to financial institutions, and awaiting the necessarily long term impact of large public investment plans revival measures, it is essential that Member States avoid an explosion of their unemployment benefit systems for lack of budget.. And it is also vital to avoid that in on year from now million of unemployed reach the end of their benefits, et because of a lack of dynamic labor market sink into absolute poverty.

Avoid at all costs the transformation of the economic crisis into a major social crisis

The existence of a social system based on solidarity in the European states is a major advantage which benefits our continent to face the crisis. Since they don’t benefit from an similar ‘social safety net’ Asian countries are now worrying about increasing riot risks and violent socio-political movements; whereas the United States, powerless, see a growing part of their middle class sink into poverty. Europe, by opposition, has the advantage of having learnt from the 30’s crisis and of having generalized the principle of social protection. For the next three years, this social protection will become the best protection of our society’s stability and of our democracies. The EU Member States therefore need to reinforce it. .

Brussels - More jobs will be lost in Europe before the economy recovers, the European Commission said Monday as it published forecasts pointing to a contraction in gross domestic product of 4 per cent in 2009.

"The situation has improved ... but the weak economy will continue to take its toll on jobs and public finances," said Joaquin Almunia,the European Union's economic and monetary affairs commissioner, as he presented updated forecasts for the current year.

The European Commission's latest forecasts point to marked improvements in the EU's largest economies in the second half of the year. But the overall GDP figure of -4 per cent is unchanged on its spring forecast because the start of the year was worse than expected.

The economy of Europe's locomotive, Germany, is now expected to grow by 0.7 per cent in the third quarter and by 0.1 per cent in the final three months of the year. This results in a revised overall forecast of -5.1 per cent, compared with previous forecasts of -5.4 per cent.

France, Italy and Britain are also seen posting positive growth rates in the second half of 2009, while Spain's recession is set to extend into the new year.

"The global economy is no longer in freefall" and recent economic figures are "encouraging", the commission said.

But while there are reasons to be "moderately optimistic", Almunia said EU governments need to "continue implementing the recovery measures announced for this year and 2010."

The EU's unemployment rate rose to a four-year high of 9.0 per cent over the summer, but officials in Brussels expect it to hit at least 9.4 per cent by the end of the year. (dpa)


Daniel Bedingfield 2009


Some semblance of boy bands has been around for decades. Even pre-Top 40 radio, gaggles of women (and men) flocked to Big Band halls, joining the mainly male entourage as they lit up the stage with choreographed sways, dazzling horn hits and wide smiles. And gospel music has seen its share of all-male outfits hit sweet spots across the nation as well. But ever since Plus One led a straight-up pop explosion almost 10 years ago, the Christian music scene has yet to see any all-out vocal teams take up the torch. Until now.

More pop, less rock, Yellow Cavalier is filling the void. With a dazzling debut EP, the tidy quartet is marketing themselves as not just an answer to the boy band drought, but rather an active response to a rich legacy of “ccm” pop/rock.

Citing One Republic, Daniel Bedingfield and dcTalk as major influences (you could add Maroon 5, The Killers and Family Force 5), the fab four draw from an array of mature musical tastes to venture beyond bubblegum pop. Sure, one or two of the fellas whine when crooning and the production is unashamedly slick, but skin-tight vocals, spectacular synthesizers, thumping bass and dance floor-pumping beats round out a highly accessible mix, grooming the Lynchburg, Va., natives for mass-market appeal. Most notably, “So Beautiful,” an ode to a woman’s enduring beauty, aligns striking acoustic elements to reminisce early Bebo Norman tracks.

On tour backed by a live band, the boys are spreading a message of surrender to God with upfront performances designed to breed face-to-face fan loyalty. Though hints of “boy band” abound, I suggest dropping the moniker and considering Yellow Cavalier a band. And a good one at that.

Friday, October 23, 2009

La Liga Nacional merece un premio mejor por Leandro Ginobili, Fox Sports International


Hace una par de semanas que comenzó la Liga Nacional de Basquetbol en la Argentina, tal vez la competencia basquetbolística más importante del continente, sacando obviamente la NBA, con una organización bien federal y el esfuerzo increíble de muchos dirigentes para llevar adelante a sus respectivos clubes.
Competencia que lleva ya 26 temporadas de juego y fue la responsable de dar vida a la generación dorada, que nos ha dado a los argentinos la posibilidad inédita -y tal vez irrepetible- de estar entre los cuatro mejores en los dos últimos mundiales y en el podio en los últimos dos Juegos Olímpicos.

Sin embargo, parece que en nuestro país todavía nadie se enteró. Uno intenta leer en los diarios nacionales algún comentario, estadísticas o por lo menos alguna apostilla referente a nuestra Liga y es difícil encontrarlo. Ni hablar en televisión: ni siquiera los canales de deportes en sus noticieros pasan imágenes de lo ocurrido en el fin de semana.

Y si hay suerte y se puede ver algún resumen en algún medio que se arriesgó a pasarlo es un compacto patético con una par de jugadas sin trascendencia, seguramente de partidos que se definieron en la última bola.

Uno no es necio y sabe de la importancia del futbol en nuestro país. Es claramente el deporte número uno, dos y tres del país, a lo que se suma la centralización que tiene, algo que es al revés del basquetbol, donde hay equipos en la Liga que representan a 9 provincias del país, sin contar que Boca jugará por un acuerdo varios juegos en Chaco, por lo que sumarían 10 las provincias involucradas.

En la Primera División del futbol argentino, de los veinte equipos participantes, 17 están en una radio de 250 kilómetros de la ciudad autónoma de Buenos Aires (60 por ciento de la población argentina). Solamente Colón de Santa Fe, Godoy Cruz de Mendoza y Atlético Tucumán escapan a ese centralismo.

Si a todos estos factores sumamos el bombardeo permanente -y casi excluyente- que hacen los medios no solo de los goles de la fecha, situaciones de gol y polémicas (totalmente necesario), sino que también la expansión a informaciones como qué comió el 9 de Arsenal, dónde fue a dormir el 3 de River y si el 4 de Boca se peleó con la mujer.

A eso hay que anexar, además, y como si fuera poco, la prioridad que tienen las imágenes de partidos de la B Nacional, Primera B, C y D, Torneo Argentino A y B y el fútbol internacional, haya o no argentinos en él, sobre los demás deportes.

Habría que revisar también la necesidad de pasar las declaraciones de jugadores y técnicos que en un 90 por ciento de los casos no tienen nada de interesante y expresan siempre lo mismo, lo que le resta espacio, aunque sea poco, a deportes de los cuales nos acordamos y le exigimos resultados cada cuatro años en los Juegos Olímpicos.

Dentro de esos, lógicamente, está el basquetbol, deporte que nos ha dado las más grandes alegrías en la última década y que ha sido premiado en una señal de deportes nacional con un programa de una hora que va los jueves a la una de la madrugada.

Vuelvo a repetir que no soy necio, sé lo que significa el futbol en el país. Es más, también me gusta verlo. Pero ninguna sobredosis es buena y hace tiempo estamos sufriendo de ese mal, ahora potenciada por la intervención estatal en el deporte rey, cuestión que no parece errónea si se utilizara todo lo que genera el fútbol como negocio para intentar con esos recursos alimentar a las demás, disciplinas.

¿Ejemplos? Construir una cancha de remo digna, comprar elementos modernos para los deportes que lo necesitan (yachting y ciclismo, entre otros), traer a los mejores profesores de distintas disciplinas, subvencionar viajes a competencias internacionales, crear escuelas a nivel nacional para captar talentos desperdiciados actualmente dándoles las armas para que se desarrollen y miles de cuestiones más.

¿Estaremos pidiendo demasiado? ¿Seremos demasiado ilusos? O debemos dejar todo librado a que la madre naturaleza nos siga brindando talentos naturales con ganas de mendigar y golpear infinidad de puertas para tener la posibilidad de representar a nuestro país.

Envía tus comentarios a: miopinion@fox.com.
Leandro Javier Ginobili

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What happens to the TV after 2015


by Megan Langer

At the Intel Developer Forum this September Justin Rattner will hold a futuristic keynote discussing the world of visual technologies, like TV and computers, after they evolve to the point where they overlap, a concept known as the convergence. He predicts this will come to be, specifically with the television, as soon as 2015. In his talk, he’ll look at specifically what the TV experience will be like and how it will be delivered. You can imagine 15 billion consumer devices that will be capable of delivering TV content in that timeframe with 100’s of billions of hours of video. We’ll need much more sophisticated ways to organize content and provide it on demand. Rattner says Intel labs are working on evolving technology to support incredibly useful and personal information with unique social experiences to get what we want, when we want it and wherever we want.

Hear what Justin Rattner has to say in this quick video and be sure to come and join us the last day of IDF for the signature research keynote to share ideas on the future of TV in the world to come

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What 's so bad about Inflation

By David Blanchflower



In contrast to the tiny costs of inflation, the costs of unemployment are enormous

The MPC should not start raising rates. Credit: Getty Images

I'm recovered from the flu, but it turns out it was that dirty rotten swine thing, after all. There I was, four days in bed, feeling lousy. At least I was able to use my laptop, even if nobody wanted to come near me. I can't imagine why. The flu has helped, however, with the diet I have been on since I left the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England. Down 17 pounds and counting.

But to business. In his speech to the Tory conference, David Cameron discussed what he felt was the way out of the economic crisis. His three options were as follows, and I quote:

“Option one: we can just default on the debt. Not pay it. Other countries have done that in the past. But I don't think anyone in this country wants to go down that road.

“Option two: we could encourage inflation, which would wipe out the value of the debt, making it easier to pay off. But that's not just an economic disaster, it's a social disaster, too. It doesn't just wipe out debts, it wipes out people's hard-earned savings.

“So we have the third option - for me, the only option. We must pay down this deficit. The longer we leave it, the worse it will be for all of us."

So let's take a look at each of these. I like one; see if you can guess which.

Inflation's attractions

Option one. Cameron is telling the markets that he has even considered the possibility of defaulting on the debt. He is more economically naive than I thought. All he had to say, on this issue, was that such a possibility would be unthinkable in a century of Thursdays and then change the subject.

Option three. This is a non-starter, as I have said many times. Lesson number one in a deep recession is you don't cut public spending until you are into the boom phase. John Maynard Keynes taught us that. The consequence of cutting too soon is that you drive the economy into a depression, with the attendant threats of rapidly rising unemployment, social disorder, rising poverty, falling living standards and even soup kitchens. Such proposals could push the British economy into a spiral of decline that would be almost impossible to reverse for a generation. In a deep recession, the choice is "the government does it, or nobody does it". It is public spending versus no spending. You don't worry about paying off the debt when you are at war: you have other priorities. Win the war first. Nope, not that one.

So that brings us to option two. Thanks, Dave, this looks a pretty darn good idea to me, even if you disagree. Just reflate the debt away. Moderate inflation would lift people out of negative housing equity. A few years of inflation of roughly 5 per cent or so would be very attractive right now. Maintain the monetary stimulus and if necessary expand it further for the foreseeable future, and keep the fiscal stimulus going. Too much is better than too little. And, for goodness' sake, don't start paying back the public debt until we are well out of recession.

What would be so bad about a bit of inflation? Would it really be a social or an economic disaster? Actually, probably neither. Some possibility of inflation some time in the future isn't worth worrying about. As for Cameron's point about savings, savers always have the option of protecting themselves from inflation by investing in index-linked products, such as index-linked saving certificates from National Savings & Investments. In any case, if we had lots of inflation we would know what to do about it. The Bank of England would tighten monetary policy. The chances of runaway inflation right now are essentially nil.

In contrast to the tiny costs of inflation, the costs of unemployment are enormous, not least because of the lost output involved. Unemployment is a stressful life event that makes people unhappy. It increases susceptibility to illness, mental stress and loss of self-esteem, leading to depression and reduced life expectancy. The unemployed appear to have a higher propensity to commit suicide. As unemployment rates increase, crime rates tend to rise, ­especially property crime.

Increases in the unemployment rate lower the happiness of everyone, not just the unemployed. The fear of becoming unemployed lowers a person's subjective well-being. Unemployment is especially harmful to the young, as it causes permanent scars rather than temporary blemishes. In normal times, a 1 percentage point increase in unemployment lowers people's well-being twice as much as a 1 percentage point increase in inflation. The so-called misery index is nearer to two than to one. Today, a 1 percentage point increase in inflation would raise, not lower, our well-being.

It also has to be said, the whole intellectual basis for an inflation target is dead: set a target, establish an independent central bank with a committee of economists whose sole purpose is to target inflation only and economic nirvana will be guaranteed. It didn't turn out that way for the Bank of England. Various members of the MPC are still burbling on about the importance of the inflation target. Sorry, but that whole idea is dead and buried. It failed. It didn't deliver the promised stability, far from it. It unloaded on us the worst financial shock in a hundred years. The Great Moderation was just luck.

Unemployment matters most

Now is the time to consider getting rid of the inflation target altogether, or at least changing it. The last thing we want is for the MPC to start raising rates or reversing quantitative easing any time soon. Now is the time to consider explicitly including unemployment in the MPC's mandate. Another option would be to switch to the all-items retail price index, which includes mortgage payments, and stands at -1.4 per cent compared with 1.1 per cent for the consumer price index, which the Bank of England has to target currently. Both would have the effect of keeping monetary policy loose for longer.

The legislation does allow for the government, if the national interest demands it, to give instructions to the Bank on interest rates for a limited period. These feel like "extreme circumstances" to me. Demand away, Alistair.

To repeat: unemployment matters more than inflation, in this world rather than in the made-up dreamworld most economists live in. Time to keep the man on the Clapham omnibus in a job. So, Dave, I vote for option two, please.

David Blanchflower is professor of economics at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, and at the University of Stirling

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Mother s Day Feliz Dia de La Madre


Ser madre es el sentimiento que mas enseña permanentemente a ser mejor persona, muchas cosas uno no hace o piensa dos veces porque ve los hijos , ellos por orden natural y divina estan primero,
Ser madre es dejar cualquier pensamiento egoista y poner siempre delante lo que instinctivamente es bueno para un hijo . es luchar con la verdad y la mentira, con los miedos y los fantasmas que a veces uno no se anima , pero es tan fuerte este sentimiento la voluntad de ser madre , que te hace fuerte ante cualquier adversidad,
Es saber esperar , los tiempos y a veces no siempre es reconocido ese esfuerzo y sacrificio silencioso que muchas madres hacemos por el bien de nuestros hijos , poniendonos a prueba y error , porque no existe un libro como ser una buena madre , pero si existe la observación , lo introspección, esa voz desde nuestro adentro , que ayuda a sacar las fuerzas que ni uno creeria que existian .
Es aceptarse a uno mismo, reconocer los errores , las limitaciones , pero que no signifiquen limitaciones para nuestros hijos .
Es aprender a que pensando en nuestros hijos estamos pensando mas y haciendo por nosotros , nada es sacrificio , nada es sufrimiento , porque todo ese amor divino vuelve en dosis magistrales cuando escuchamos ese don que tenemos todas las madres ,
Es querer lo mejor para ellos , pero ser la guia para que lo logren por si mismos , dandole esa confianza y el coraje de enfrentar la vida con valores , como cuando comienzan sus primeros pasos, no saben a donde van solo tambalean en sus pasos y felices , como ya si supieran el logro que estan haciendo y nosotros tratamos de darles esa direccion y seguridad para que no se caigan , aunque a veces es necesario que sientan ese golpecito de caer porque sino no aprenderian nunca lo que es caer y levantarse , solo nosotros podemos darle ese coraje , esa mirada complice que todo se puede , si se quiere , si se cree , especialmente
Por eso digo , que ser madre es creer que un milagro , tan hermoso como es el de tener un hijo , que nos nos pertenecen , tienen su vida propia , su luz propia y que nosotros solo podemos acompañarlos . esperarlos y que siempre por mas diferencias que haya siempre lo vamos a escuchar , siempre existira la palabra perdon porque nuestro amor es incondicional solo ellos valoran lo poco o mucho que podamos darles y lo atesoraran tomaran lo que les resulta como legado y aprenderan por si mismos a transitar la vida con lo mejor que pudimos darle , sabiendo que son amados con errores y virturdes , con logros y fracasos , son el milagro mas lindo y el desafio mas hermoso que uno puede tener en la vida ,
Feliz dia de la Madre , a todas aquellas madres de sangre y las que son de corazon , porque la verdadera Madre es la de corazon que no pide reconocimientos , ni compensaciones , solo sabe dar amor en todas sus formas .
Sinceramente una Madre mas que vive aprendiendo todo el tiempo


Being a Mother is the feeling which can teach permanentely to be a better person , many things that one doesn’t do or think twice because see the sons ,in a natural and divine order, they come first .

Being Mother is to leave behind any selfish thought and put ahead always instinctivly what is good for a son, is to fight with the truth and the lie , with the fears and ghosts that sometimes one cant deal with , but it is so strong this feeling the will of being a mother , become you stronger on any kind of adversity .

Is to know how to wait , the time and sometimes not always recognized that effort and a silence sacrifice that many mothers do, for the good will of our sons, testing the right and the wrong , because doesn’t exist a book for being a good mother , but there is the observation, the introspection , that inner voice that helps to get all the strenghs that one never would believe that exists.

It is to learn that if we think in our sons we are thinking more and making for us much more , nothing is a sacrifice, nothing is suffering, because all that divne love comes back in a magistral dosis , when we listen that gift that all we have inside.

It means to want the best for them , but being the guide, for making them success by themselves, giving that confidence and courage to face life with values, like when they start with the first steps , they don’t know where they go only rambles on their first steps and happy , like they would know their success they are reaching out , and we try to give them that direction and support for not falling down,although sometimes is necessary they feel that hit of falling because they would never know to fall and get up, only we could give them courage , that complice look that they can do everything if they want it and specially if they believe in

That is why I say , being mother is to believe that a miracle so beautiful like to have a son , that doesn’t belong to us , they have their own life , their own light that we only can share in company , waiting and that over any difference always we will listen to them , there will be always the word forgiveness , because our love is unconditional, only they will worth the little or much we could give them and they will treasure, taking as a legacy and learn by themselves to walk on their life, with the best we could give them, knowing they are loved with mistakes and virtues, with success and failures, they are the miracle and challenge most beautiful that one can have in life .

Happy Mother’s day , to all the Mothers by blood and the Mothers by Heart, because a true Mother is by heart who never ask recognization and compensations only knows how to give love in all ways .

Sincerely one more Mother who keeps on learning everytime.

Thank you to my adorable daughters Stephanie and Sabrina and my special nieces Luly and Johana, and of course to My Mother Olga with all my heart

Silvia


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

STERN AND THE NBA DON’T REST ON THEIR LAURELS Fox Sports International By Leandro Ginóbili


STERN AND THE NBA DON’T REST ON THEIR LAURELS

By Leandro Ginóbili

The NBA and David Stern are not precisely known for resting on their laurels and allowing themselves to be carried by favourable yet circumstantial winds. The global crisis has hit hard on the most powerful countries of the world, and its origin and epicentre were the United States of America.

And the consequences are already showing. The dollar is no longer the mightiest currency of the world, and it has not been the reference in quite a while. The U.S. no longer has the tallest building or the most powerful car makers on the planet. Their stock exchange is no longer the place where everybody wants to be at.

The Americans’ pride and arrogance did not allow them to anticipate the problem and be one step ahead in order to mitigate the consequences. The excessive greed of a few made many fall, believing that their country was immune to everything.

They were horribly wrong, and they are suffering the consequences, which could lead to the end of the world dominance for them. Barack Obama was the main character of another big failure – the fact that Chicago was not chosen to host the 2016 Olympic Games. Actually, it was the first city to be ruled out. Obama, the President of the most powerful nation on Earth, was the visible face of the unsuccessful olympic mission.

The reason of this introduction, certainly not very sports-related, is to make it clear that the NBA authorities do not intend to make the same mistakes the politicians of their country have made, and they are acting in accordance.

The best way of doing so is not to isolate themselves, it is to open their borders, something that they have actually been doing for the last fifteen years, when they allowed Canada to host two franchises. There have been rumours about things that haven’t come to be yet, such as annexing Mexico and its 106 million people as a part of the NBA world.

Now rumours speak of a new, much more ambitious, European expansion. Thus, the NBA would create a division with homes in cities such as Barcelona, Rome, Paris, London and Athens, amongst the most likely.

We are talking of involving the most important countries in Europe and, this way, turning the NBA into the biggest clubs competition on the planet, with real chances of continuing the expansion into the East, where lies the Holy Grail for any kind of activity – China.

Precisely the great David Stern has just announced, straight from Mao’s land, a cooperation agreement with the Chinese Basketball Association, which simply puts a formal coat on something that has been taking place for some time now – the landing of prestigious NBA coaches, pre-season games, recruit-camps in search of the new Yao Ming… and these are just a few examples.

Let us consider the power of multiplication that China has. For instance, the televised Houston games that feature Yao are seen by an amount of people that is slightly bigger than the whole U.S. population.

Recently, Argentinian Luis Scola, on a publicity tour throughout the great Asian country, wrote a few lines in his main sponsor’s blog. A few minutes later, there were more than 300,000 comments.

There are hundreds of examples, like the one we just mentioned, of what it means to set foot in the right way in a country of approximately 1,500 million people, a country that has an economic growth like no other.

Even Goliath was defeated by David because he underestimated the little man and thought of himself as almighty. However, with such essentially open and brilliant minds in it, the NBA will certainly keep being, for a long time, the acronym that represents the best basketball in the world.

Leandro Ginobili

Stern y la NBA no se duermen en los laureles por Leandro Ginobili, Fox Sports International


La NBA y David Stern no tienen como característica dormirse en los laureles y dejarse llevar por circunstanciales vientos de cola. La crisis global ha golpeado fuerte a los países más poderosos del planeta y tuvo origen y epicentro en los Estados Unidos de America.
Y ya está sintiendo sus consecuencias. El dólar hace rato dejó de ser la moneda más poderosa y de referencia del mundo, además ya no tienen el edificio más alto ni las automotrices más poderosas. Tampoco la bolsa de valores donde todos quieren estar.

El orgullo y la soberbia de los norteamericanos no los dejó anticipar el problema y estar un paso adelante para menguar las consecuencias. La excesiva avaricia de unos pocos hizo caer a muchos, pensando que su gran país era inmune a todo.

Se equivocaron y feo. Y están pagando las consecuencias que pueden desembocar en el fin de la hegemonía mundial de los presididos por Barack Obama, quien fue protagonista de otro gran fracaso: la no elección de Chicago (fue la primera descartada) como sede de los Juegos 2016. Era él, el presidente del país más poderoso del planeta, la cara visible de la fracasada misión olímpica.

Toda esta introducción, tan poco deportiva por cierto, sirve sólo para dejar en claro que las autoridades de la NBA no tienen en mente cometer los mismos errores de los políticos de su país y obran en consecuencia.

Y la mejor manera es no encerrarse en sí mismos y abrir sus fronteras, cuestión que están haciendo hace ya 15 años, cuando permitieron a Canadá ser sede de dos franquicias. Hubo rumores que finalmente no llegaron a concretarse aún, como anexar a México y sus 106 millones de personas como parte del mundo NBA.

Ahora los rumores hablan de una nueva expansión por Europa y mucho más ambiciosa, creando una división con sedes en ciudades como Barcelona, Roma, París, Londres y Atenas, entre las más potables.

Estamos hablando de involucrar a los países más importantes de Europa y de esta manera convertir definitivamente a la NBA en la competencia de clubes más importante del planeta, con claras perspectivas de seguir expandiéndose hacia oriente, donde se encuentra el Santo Grial para cualquier tipo de actividad: China

Justamente, el gran David Stern, directamente desde la tierra de Mao, acaba de anunciar un acuerdo de colaboración con la Asociación China de Baloncesto que no es otra cosa que vestir de formalidad algo que viene ocurriendo hace ya un tiempo, el desembarco de prestigiosos entrenadores NBA, juegos de pretemporada, campamentos de reclutamiento en búsqueda del nuevo Yao Ming, por citar algunos ejemplos.

Tengamos en cuenta el poder de multiplicación que tiene China. Por ejemplo, los juegos televisados de Houston con Yao son vistos por una cantidad de personas bastante superior a la población total de los Estados Unidos.

En estos días, el argentino Luis Scola, de gira publicitaria por el gran país asiático, escribió unas líneas en el blog de su principal sponsor y a los pocos minutos había más de 300 mil comentarios.

Como éste hay cientos de ejemplos de lo que significa entrar con el pie derecho en un país de aproximadamente 1.500 millones de personas, que crece económicamente como ningún otro.

Hasta Goliath cayó derrotado por el diminuto David por subestimarlo y creerse todopoderoso. Pero con mentes tan brillantes y fundamentalmente abiertas, seguramente la NBA seguirá siendo la sigla que represente a lo mejor del básquetbol mundial por mucho tiempo más.

Leandro Ginobili

Monday, October 12, 2009

Big Merger Deals Signal Restored Confidence


By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN
The corner office is getting a bit more bullish about the economy.

While investors have been bidding up shares in the stock market for months, many chief executives and boards had privately remained skittish about their own businesses — until recently.

In a signal that confidence — and perhaps a bit of executive swagger — may be returning to the business world, two large mergers were announced on Monday, adding to a flurry of deals in the last month. First, Abbott Laboratories, the drug maker, agreed to acquire a unit of Solvay of Belgium for $6.6 billion, and then Xerox agreed to buy Affiliated Computer Services, an outsourcer, for $6.4 billion.

Neither merger compares in size to the double-digit billion-dollar deals that took place just two years ago at the height of the buyout boom.

But taken in the context of what has been a merger drought — in the wake of the financial crisis, deal-making is still off by more than 50 percent from last year — the transactions suggest that the most senior ranks of corporate America may now have a more optimistic outlook on the economy than some people thought.

“Will you see us move with a lot of acquisitions over this next year? You betcha,” John Chambers, the chief executive of Cisco Systems, said in a recent meeting. “Especially if it plays out economically the way that I think.”

For nearly two years, mergers plunged along with the markets as executives grappled with trying to understand how best to survive. At this time in 2007, $1.28 trillion in takeovers in the United States had been announced; so far this year, only $491.8 billion have been announced, according to Thomson Reuters.

And with stock prices fluctuating sharply after falling for many months until the spring, buyers were anxious about overpaying and sellers were nervous about shortchanging themselves. But as the markets have rebounded and leveled off, companies are more confident about their prospects, so they are dipping their toes into the deal waters. The takeovers, in turn, helped lift the stock market on Monday, which had stalled recently.

“The psychology has changed. This is sign that things have stabilized,” said Boon Sim, Credit Suisse’s head of mergers and acquisitions for the Americas, who suggested that deals were a lagging indicator to the stock market. “I don’t think the floodgates are opening up,” he continued, “but C.E.O.’s are now beginning to say, ‘If I don’t buy it now, it’s only going to get more expensive in the next 12 or 18 months.’ ”

What Wall Street hasn’t seen, of course, is the return of the biggest buyers in recent years — the private equity firms that propelled much of the merger mania during the debt-fueled bubble.

And that may be good news. The big deals announced recently are strategic deals, in which one company buys another to make it an integral part of its business, and they do not require the buyer to take on mounds of new borrowing to pay for the acquisition.

In contrast, many of the takeovers for the last five years were based on little more than financial engineering, with lax lenders providing low-interest debt to help private equity firms buy companies that they often planned to resell quickly in hopes of pocketing a fast profit. That has left many companies struggling to make interest payments, making it harder for them to invest in new products or more efficient manufacturing methods.

A number of those takeovers are already underwater and some have turned sour. Just one example: Simmons, the mattress maker, was bought by the private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners, or THL, in 2003, largely with borrowed money. Last week, THL said that Simmons — whose immense debt burden from the takeover was hampering its prospects — would be put into bankruptcy proceedings and sold. But the sale price for Simmons is so low that bond investors will lose around $500 million.

At Xerox, Ursula M. Burns, the company’s chief executive, said that she pursued the deal for Affiliated Computer Services only because she finally felt more comfortable with the performance of her own business. “We’re confident that our base business will rebound when the economy does — and in Q2 saw the right trends in this direction,” she said. “So, all factors played to our favor. At the end of the day, in tough times, strong companies look to invest in their future.”

While the recent mergers may represent a positive sign for the economy, Alexander Roos, a partner at the Boston Consulting Group, is less inclined to believe that we are about to see a burst of activity. In a study to be published on Tuesday, he said, his analysis of a sample of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index shows that about 20 percent are “predators,” ready to take on the risks of a deal, while another 20 percent are “prey.”

“We expect a window of opportunity offering attractive takeover prospects to open soon,” Mr. Roos said. “We have already seen some of our smarter clients making preparations in recent months.”

The greatest concentration of deal-making appears to be in the health care and technology sectors. Warner Chilcott made a $3.1 billion deal for Procter & Gamble’s drug business last month, for example, and Dell bought Perot Systems, a technology services company, for $3.9 billion. But deals are also being made in other sectors, like food; Kraft’s $16.7 billion unsolicited bid for Cadbury, which was rejected but remains a possibility, is the largest outstanding offer to date.

“If you’re healthy, it’s a great time to acquire inexpensively,” adds Ted Rouse, a Ahead of Bain & Company’s global mergers and acquisitions practice. “But it’s an awful time for two weak companies to merge.”

While the return of corporate mergers may be a good sign for the economy, a bigger question may be whether it is such a good thing for companies. Most deals sound great at the time, but in the end, not all of them work out as well as planned.

Mr. Rouse said, “Before the recession, Bain’s research on M.&A. showed that approximately 55 percent of acquisitions failed to deliver expected shareholder returns after one year — worse than flipping a coin. The odds only get worse as the size of the acquisition increases and the target is further from the acquirer’s core business.”

Let’s hope the odds are better this time around.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize


Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize


OSLO, Norway - President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in a stunning decision designed to encourage his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.

Nobel observers were shocked by the unexpected choice so early in the Obama presidency, which began less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama woke up to the news a little before 6 a.m. EDT. The White House had no immediate comment on the announcement, which took the administration by surprise.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee decided not to inform Obama before the announcement because it didn't want to wake him up, committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said.

"Waking up a president in the middle of the night, this isn't really something you do," Jagland said.

The Nobel Committee lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama's calls for peace and cooperation but recognized initiatives that have yet to bear fruit: reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change.

World's attention'
"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," Jagland said.

Obama's election and foreign policy moves caused a dramatic improvement in the image of the U.S. around the world. A 25-nation poll of 27,000 people released in July by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found double-digit boosts to the percentage of people viewing the U.S. favorably in countries around the world. That indicator had plunged across the world under President George W. Bush.

Still, the U.S. remains at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Congress has yet to pass a law reducing carbon emissions and there has been little significant reduction in global nuclear stockpiles since Obama took office.

President Obama is only the third sitting president ever to be awarded the honor. NBC’s chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd reports.

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