Finance news. My opinion.

October 25, 2014

Shooter dead after attack at high school near Seattle, police say

Filed under: finance, prices — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 6:47 am

MARYSVILLE, WASH.—Police in Washington state say a shooter is dead after an attack at a high school north of Seattle.

Marysville Police commander Robb Lamoureux said Friday the shooter was a student and could not say if anyone else was wounded.

Live video showed students being evacuated from Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, about 50 kilometres north of Seattle.

Arthur White, who lives across from the school, told The Daily Herald that a large number of police vehicles converged on the scene quickly late Friday morning low rates payday advance.

Ayn Dietrich, an FBI spokesperson in Seattle, said the agency had personnel on their way to the scene to help authorities with the investigation.

Source

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October 20, 2014

S&P Ignored by Investors Paying Finns to Borrow: Nordic Credit - Bloomberg

Filed under: legal, money — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 10:23 am

Investors are still paying Finland for the privilege of holding its two-year debt after Standard & Poor

Legally speaking, you are anyways entitled to one 100% free credit report every year.

October 13, 2014

McDonald’s invites food questions, including why its burgers don’t rot

Filed under: finance, uk — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 10:07 pm

NEW YORK • McDonald’s wants to explain why its burgers may not rot and that there are no worms in its beef.

The world’s biggest hamburger chain is confronting unappetizing questions as part of a U.S. campaign to beat back perceptions that it serves Frankenfood. The company has run similar campaigns in Canada and Australia and said Monday it’s bringing the effort to its flagship market.

The push comes as McDonald’s fights to boost its performance in the U.S., where sales slid 1.5 percent at established locations in the most recent quarter, following a 0.2 percent dip for last year. In addition to increased competition, McDonald’s is trying to keep up with changing tastes, with places such as Chipotle marketing their food as more wholesome alternatives.

To improve the image of its food, McDonald’s recently rolled out chicken wraps with sliced cucumbers and the option to substitute egg whites in breakfast sandwiches. It also plans to eventually let people swap out the french fries in value meals with options like salad or vegetables.

For its latest campaign, among the first issues McDonald’s addresses are widely circulated online images and videos that show its burgers staying in tact after several weeks or even years. On its webpage, McDonald’s says that’s likely because the food has dehydrated, and that food needs moisture to form mold.

The company’s responses to other questions such as “Does McDonald’s beef contain worms?” are more direct: “No. Gross! End of story.”

A video posted on the company’s home page also showed Grant Imahara, a former host of the TV show “Mythbusters,” touring a Cargill beef plant where McDonald’s patties are made.

“Are there lips and eyeballs in there, Jimmy?” Imhara asks a plant supervisor, who explains that the patties only have beef trimmings. Another guide says the patties do not contain lean finely textured beef, an ingredient widely referred to as “pink slime” that became the subject of controversy a few years ago. McDonald’s stopped using the ingredient about three years ago.

Ben Stringfellow, vice president of communications for McDonald’s USA, said in a phone interview that the campaign is a new way of engaging with customers more directly. He noted people are demanding for more information about products across the board, not just from McDonald’s.

“In many ways, it’s the way the world is going,” he said.

National TV ads will begin airing Monday letting people know about the push. McDonald’s says people can submit questions via social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. The company plans to respond to the most common questions with videos or other posts, as well as responding one-on-one to questions, Stringfellow said.

Laura Ries, a marketing consultant based in Atlanta, noted McDonald’s risks bringing up unappetizing thoughts some people may never have heard about.

“I didn’t know people thought there were worms in its beef, or that they didn’t use real chicken,” Ries said.

Still, she agreed that companies have to be more responsive to questions from customers, especially at a time when people can amplify their concerns and criticisms to bigger audiences on social media.

Source

September 22, 2014

Giuliani to help video game company fight Noriega

Filed under: house, mortgage — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 8:23 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is joining a video game company’s fight against disgraced Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who is suing Activision over his inclusion in the hit game “Call of Duty: Black Ops II.”

Giuliani says he does not want to see the imprisoned Noriega profit from his crimes, which include convictions for murder, drug trafficking and money laundering.

Activision Blizzard Inc. announced Monday that Giuliani and his firm will ask a Los Angeles judge to dismiss Noriega’s lawsuit, which claims his likeness was used without permission in the 2012 game, part of its popular “Call of Duty” video game franchise.

Noriega sued Activision in July, claiming the company depicted him as a “kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state.”

“What’s astonishing is that Manuel Noriega, a notorious dictator who is in prison for the heinous crimes he committed, is upset about being portrayed as a criminal and enemy of the state in the game Call of Duty,” Giuliani wrote in a statement. “Quite simply, it’s absurd.”

Activision contends that if Noriega’s lawsuit goes forward, it could impact how historical figures are depicted in video games, as well as television and movies. The company’s games have featured historical figures such as President John F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro, the company noted in a news release.

The lawsuit contends Noriega’s inclusion in the game increased the profits Activision earned from “Black Ops II low interest rate personal loans.” The game earned more than $1 billion in sales within 15 days after it was released in 2012.

In addition to leading New York City’s government for two terms — including during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — Giuliani is a former U.S. attorney and ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

Activision said in a release announcing Giuliani’s involvement in the case that the company plans to argue the game’s depiction of Noriega is covered by free speech provisions.

“Black Ops II” featured a storyline involving the waning years of the Cold War in the 1980s, with Noriega aiding the game’s key villain.

In real life, Noriega was toppled in 1989 by a U.S. invasion and served a 17-year drug trafficking sentence in the United States. He later was convicted in France of money laundering, and that country repatriated him to Panama in December 2011. Noriega, 80, is serving a 60-year sentence for murder, embezzlement and corruption.

He has had health issues in recent months and been treated for high blood pressure, flu and bronchitis. His family also has said he has a benign brain tumor and heart trouble.

Source

September 8, 2014

China

Filed under: management, news — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 5:59 am

China

August 23, 2014

Mexico creates special economic-crime force

Filed under: Uncategorized, online — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 12:15 am

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico launched a special 5,000-strong police force Friday to combat industrial, farm and business crime that has extended far throughout the country’s economy, strangling commerce in some regions.

Drug gangs have long penetrated some Mexican mining and agricultural sectors, but officials now reveal that everyone from fishermen to tourist resorts to banana growers have been hit by the wave of extortion, kidnapping and thefts by the gangs.

In some cases, like the western state of Michoacan, the cartels and gangs cut down trade so much that “even the barbershops weren’t serving customers. The whole social fabric broke down,” said National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido.

The new force known as the gendarmerie is made up of fresh recruits — average age 28 — who have never served on another police force. Trained by the Mexican army, the forces’ commanding officers got training from police forces from Colombia, Chile, Spain, France and the U.S.

It will act as a division of the federal police and will be sent to areas where there is an organized crime presence and there is no economic activity because production is being restricted by the criminals.

Most Mexicans had long been aware that parts of the country had such problems: Michoacan, where the Knights Templar cartel told farmers when to plant and took a cut on every product, and even ran the iron ore industry. Or the northern border state of Tamaulipas, where demands for businesses to pay protection money was common.

Mexico’s national statistics institute estimated that in 2012, the latest figures available, that crime cost the country about $16.5 billion, or 1.34 percent of GDP.

But the breadth of problems authorities have now acknowledged is staggering.

Luis Montoya Morelia, the head of federal police in Tamaulipas, said the hyper-violent Zetas cartel had threatened fishermen on the Gulf coast, forcing them to sell their catch to the cartel for just 7 cents per kilograms (3 cents per pound). The gang would then apparently take the fish to market and sell it for full price.

Rubido said cattle ranchers in southern Mexico were buying sorghum abroad because nobody would rent harvesting machines to sorghum growers in Tamaulipas, apparently fearing the cartels would burn or steal the equipment free credit report and score. This year, under police and military protection for every stage from harvest and packing to distribution, Tamaulipas was able to bring in a bumper crop.

Banana growers in the steamy southern Gulf state of Tabasco also have come under gang pressure. When the banana harvesting season comes around, extortion and kidnappings rise to some of the highest rates in Mexico, Rubido said.

And on the southern Pacific coast, gangs threaten the resorts of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, though Rubido did not offer specifics on the threat there.

Michoacan offers the most extreme example of the Mexican cartels’ Mafia-style control, especially with the region’s main crop, limes. “The planters, pickers, packing houses and distributors all had to pay a cut for the right to operate or ship to the criminals,” Rubido said.

It wasn’t immediately clear how such a small force would be used to attack such widespread problems. The task to date has largely fallen to soldiers and marines, whose tactics have spawned continuing complaints. But it doesn’t appear the new gendarme force would have enough officers to replace military units in a broad range of law enforcement roles.

“It is naive to think that just by creating a new force with people who haven’t been in the police before … things are going to change,” said Miguel Moguel, a researcher at Mexico’s Fundar think tank.

“We have been creating new police forces for decades, armored police, ‘incorruptible, super-trained police,’” with disappointing results, he noted.

This year, the government even took the unprecedented step of providing guns, uniforms and salaries for former vigilantes in Michoacan, recruiting about 2,000 of them into the newly created “Rural Force.” But critics say the force has little oversight and training.

Mexico hopes the gendarmerie will help break the cartels’ economic stranglehold, but Rubido said it won’t be easy. “Many times they have attacked with grenades,” he said of the cartels.

Source

August 14, 2014

Filed under: house, uk — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 9:59 pm

In his first public comments since the Toronto Police Services Board’s swift denial of his contract extension, Toronto police Chief Bill Blair admitted disappointment at not being granted a two-year extension of his current contract but offered no hints at his plans beyond its end next April.

“I had hoped to be renewed and I wasn’t,” Blair said at a news conference held Thursday to announce he was accepting an apology from Doug Ford and dropping the threat of a defamation lawsuit against the councillor.

“I accept the decision and I thank them for their consideration,” he said.

In late July, the seven-member board rejected a request from Blair to have his contract extended. Board chair Alok Mukherjee said at the time that “it was not an easy decision.”

The police board is meeting Thursday afternoon for the first time since the contract extension was denied. Sources have said Michael Thompson, Councillor Mike Del Grande, Councillor Frances Nunziata and Mukherjee did not support his contract extension.

Blair said Thursday that he would not comment on suggestions by Mayor Rob Ford last week that Blair’s severance – reported to be over $367,000 plus benefits — was “a little bit too rich personal loans for bad credit.”

Those comments, Blair said, were “political rhetoric” said in the middle of a campaign.

“I’ll leave the politics to politicians,” he said, adding that the terms of his employment were confidential matter between him and the board.

Blair also declined to offer his thoughts on who should be his successor, but said there were “extraordinary police leaders within the Toronto police service,” as well as across the province and the country.

“I hope that appropriate consideration will be given to their skills, their abilities and what they can bring to this job,” he said.

Blair became chief of police on April 26, 2005, and has held the position much longer than many Toronto police chiefs. In 2009, the board unanimously approved a contract extension for a second term.

Asked whether he would consider entering politics at the end of his contract next year, Blair said, “I’m a cop.”

Source

August 13, 2014

Singapore

Filed under: marketing, prices — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 7:03 am

Singapore

August 10, 2014

Pride Parade held on Ugandan beach after court nullifies anti-gay law

Filed under: business, prices — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 12:47 am

ENTEBBE, Uganda—Scores of Ugandan homosexuals marched through sprawling botanical gardens in the lakeside town of Entebbe on Saturday, their first pride parade since a Ugandan court invalidated a controversial anti-gay law.

Many marchers wore masks, signalling they did not want to be publicly identified in a country where homosexuals and their supporters face severe discrimination.

Although organizers had expected more than 500 people to attend the event, fewer than 200 turned up, said gay activist Moses Kimbugwe, who noted that many were afraid of possible violence following a court’s decision earlier this month to jettison an anti-gay law that had wide support among Ugandans.

“We are here to walk for those who can’t walk, who are afraid to walk,” said Kimbugwe. “We are here to celebrate our rights.”

Uganda’s constitutional court ruled last week that the anti-gay law enacted only five months ago was illegal because it was passed during a parliamentary session that lacked a quorum. Some lawmakers have pledged to try to reintroduce the same legislation when parliament emerges from a recess later this month. They said they would try to pass the same law in parliament since it had been invalidated on technical grounds and not its substance.

On Saturday, activists held up placards saying they would not give up the fight for gay rights in this conservative East African country of 36 million people payday loans. Some waved rainbow flags as they danced and frolicked on a sandy beach on the shores of Lake Victoria, about 40 kilometres from the capital, Kampala.

This was the third annual gay pride event, organizers said. The first one, in 2012, turned violent after local police tried to break it up, said Ugandan lesbian activist Jacqueline Kasha. This time they had been given assurances by the police that they could go ahead with the march, she said.

“We are a group of people who have suffered enough,” she said. “We are Ugandans who have the right to gather in a public place … and we are going to have fun.”

Some among the marchers said they had initially planned to hold the event in Kampala but were warned by police that such a move would be provocative and possibly dangerous.

Homosexuals face threats including evictions by landlords and many have fled to neighbouring countries such as Kenya, where the anti-gay sentiment is less pervasive, according to Ugandan rights activists. Many homosexuals are victims of extortionist campaigns by people who threaten to reveal their homosexuality to the police, said Kasha, the lesbian leader.

Source

August 5, 2014

Bobby Tufts, 5-year-old mayor, loses re-election in Minnesota

Filed under: money, term — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 4:07 am

DORSET, MINN.—A 5-year-old boy’s run as mayor is over in a tiny tourist town in northern Minnesota.

Robert “Bobby” Tufts lost his bid for a third consecutive term as mayor of Dorset on Sunday. Sixteen-year-old Eric Mueller of Mendota Heights, Minn., won when his name was drawn from the ballot box during the annual Taste of Dorset festival.

Every year the town draws a name during its Taste of Dorset Festival, and the winner gets to be mayor. Anyone can vote as many times as they like — for $1 a vote — at any of the ballot boxes in stores around town.

Bobby was running for a second term, and as mayor he got to draw the winning name on Monday, so there was a good chance he could draw his own name payday loan lenders.

Instead, Eric Mueller’s name was drawn. Eric was prompted to run after eating five fried ice creams at one sitting. He’ll be a high school junior this fall.

Bobby was only 3 when he was first elected mayor in 2013. Dorset, about 150 miles northwest of Minneapolis, has no formal city government and a population ranging from nine to 28.

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