Archive for the ‘Financial’ Category

EU Agreed On Deeper 2014 – 2020 Budget Cuts

February 8, 2013 Leave a comment
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After 25 ½ hours of talks in Brussels, the 2014 – 2020 European Union Budget was agreed upon including deeper cut as pressed by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron to 960 billion euros down for 1.047 trillion euros less than the current budget.

“We simply could not ignore the extremely difficult economic realities across Europe,” EU President Herman Van Rompuy told reporters. “It’s perhaps nobody’s perfect budget, but there’s a lot of it for everybody. This budget is future- oriented, it is realistic and it is driven by pressing concerns.”  Read more for details.


U.S. House Voted For Increase of More Tech Visas

December 3, 2012 Leave a comment

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With unemployment up 7.9 percent in November and 1.4 million  unfilled tech jobs  through 2018  the U.S. House of Representative voted 245 to 139 to increase the number of permanent – residence visas for those graduating from U.S. universities with doctoral or master’s degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics  (STEMS).

Backed by prominent technolgy firms such as Microsoft which had 6,000 job openings in September this year, the passing of the bill would keep the needed technology talent in the U.S.

“We are creating unfilled jobs,” said Microsoft chief counsel Brad Smith, speaking at a forum on immigration policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. in September “We have a shortage.”

“We can only gain by asking as many people who are smart and who create opportunities far beyond just their own to be part of our society,” said Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican. “The benefit to our economy is undeniable.”

STEM jobs, including teaching positions, account for roughly 6 percent of the U.S. economy, according to Nicole Smith, a senior economist who studies the issue at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

“We know some of the best schools in the world in those areas are found in the United States… This is a chance for them to cut out the red tape” and help graduates stay, she said.

“In a global economy, we cannot afford to educate these foreign graduates in the U.S. and then send them back home to work for our competitors,” said Texas Republican Representative Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who had introduced the “STEM Jobs Act,” and  supporter of this high tech visa program to help retain U.S. trained workers to boost innovation and job creation.


Apple Jury: Samsung Infringement was Intentional

August 25, 2012 Leave a comment
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A video testimony from senior Samsung executives made it “absolutely” clear to the jury that the infringement was on purpose said the Jury Foreman  on the Apple vs Samsung case, Velvin Hogan, 67.  He said  Apple was very persuading that they needed to protect their innovation.

“We didn’t want to give carte blanche to a company, by any name, to infringe someone else’s intellectual property,” Hogan told Reuters a day after the verdict.    Yet, at the same time he explain the jury did not agree with the damages that Apple was asking for which was $2.5 billion to $2.75 billion.

“We wanted to make sure the message we sent was not just a slap on the wrist,” Hogan said. “We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable.”

Hogan an engineer, and a patent holder, explained that deliberations were done in less time than was expected including answering 600 questions as required because of the engineering and legal experiences of the jurors which helped with the complex issues. And  they had a  system and only  reviewed what was relevant. Once they determined which patents were valid they went through each product one by one .

“This is a huge victory for Apple,” Mark Lemley, a Stanford Law School professor, said in an e-mail. “The verdict is just large enough to be the largest surviving patent verdict in history.”

“Even more important is the injunction Judge Koh is likely to issue,” Lemley said after yesterday’s verdict. “The real question is whether this is enough to derail the momentum the Android ecosystem has gained in the marketplace.”

“All of us feel we were fair, that we can stand by our verdict and that we have a clear conscience in that we were totally not biased one way or another,” Hogan said.


Additional Reading:
Steve Jobs
I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words (In Their Own Words)
Letters to Steve: Inside the E-mail Inbox of Apple’s Steve Jobs

U.S. Tourism is Flourishing Despite the Global Economy

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“People may not appreciate that when a foreigner comes and visits Hawaii that actually counts as a U.S. export,” Bernanke said before Congress on July 17 in response to a question from Senator Daniel Akaka, Democrat from Hawaii. “Tourism has been something of a bright spot. Not just in Hawaii, but in a number of places around the country.”

Spending by tourists is providing  13 ½ million jobs for  Americans at a time when the unemployment rate is stuck above 8 percent.  Spending by overseas visitors climbed 8.1 percent to  $13.9 billion.  U.S. Commerce Department show this includes all expenses from airfares to hotels over twelve months ending May.

July 18th’s Fed’s Beige Book survey of regional economies noted tourism was strong in several districts and that hotel rates and revenue per room was “robust” in New York, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco and the locations relying less on discount to bring in tourist were seeing more visitors  such as southern California and Hawaii.

Leisure and hospitality employees 13.59 million which currently accounts for 10.2 percent of all payrolls in the U.S. up from 9.8 percent before the recession according to Labor Department data.

Marriott International is up about 23 percent this year, the Walt Disney Co. has advanced 28 percent and Gaylord Entertainment Co., which operates the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, has jumped 49 percent out performing  the broader stock market Standard & Poor’s 500 Index  up only 7 percent.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William C. Dudley said the city’s economy is “doing quite well” and has become less dependent on Wall Street. Tourism to New York has helped and has been “really quite a success story,” Dudley said in public remarks on May 30.

“Tourism has been an over-performer,” said Chris Lafakis, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “This is an industry that’s fully recovered from recession.”


Fodor’s Hawaii 2012 (Full-color Travel Guide)

Career Opportunities in Travel and Hospitality

How To Find A Job: When There Are No Jobs, 2012 Edition: A Necessary Job Search Book & Career Planning Guide For Surviving And Prospering In Today’s Hyper Competitive Job Market

Kindle Fire, Full Color 7″ Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi

Congress Budget Mandatory To Avoid Recession

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Speaking  to Congress before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs,  the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke  gave his Semi Annual Monetary Policy Report to Congress where he gave a picture of a weak U.S. economy which is moving very slow.

Bernanke was very adamant that    Congress needed  resolve the impasse  or the economy picture will worsen; into a recession.

The economy is growing modestly but has weakened, Bernanke said. Manufacturing has slowed. Consumers are spending less. And job growth has slumped to an average of 75,000 a month in the April-June quarter from 226,000 a month from January through March. The unemployment rate is stuck at 8.2 percent.

Most importantly he stated a number of times  that Congress needs to take action or the picture will become very dark.

Bernanke noted what the Congressional Budget Office has warned: A recession would occur, and 1.25 million fewer jobs would be created in 2013  without an agreement, tax increases and deep spending cuts would take effect at year’s end.

He said that if  unemployment remains high at 8%  the  Fed is prepared to take further action to try to help the economy.  He did not specify what action the Fed would take but  its been reported that the Feds are already meeting and voting on action possibilities including the purchase of mortgage instruments.

Expressing very clearly that  there is only so much the Feds can do and that his most urgent concern is what will happen if Congress does not take action and does not resolve its budget impasse before the years ends.

He minded congress that cuts in taxes on income, dividends and capital gains would expire. So would this year’sSocial Security tax cut and businesses tax reductions. Defense and domestic programs would be slashed. And emergency benefits for the long-term unemployed would run out.

All that “would greatly delay the recovery that we’re hoping to facilitate,” Bernanke said near the end of two hours of testimony.

Energy Dept. Loans Pending Approval Could Help With Jobs

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Solo Power Inc. and 1366 Techology Inc. are preparing to receive financing  from the same Energy Department  loan guarantee program which funded the bankrupt Solyndra LLC and Abound Solar Inc. Both companies qualified for the guarantees last year and are now  meeting milestones required to access the credit and to receive approvals according to executives at both companies.

Funding these project  would help relieve,  even though a small part,  some of  the of the economic pressure because of the great need for jobs and economic growth while at the same time supporting a sustainable conscious and responsible project.

This will be the first funding as early as the end of this year for supporting solar manufacturers since  Solyndra LLC  filed for bankcruptcy last year.  Half of the solar manufacturers that received the loan guarantees filed bankruptcies which caused Republicans in Congress to use opportunity to hold inquiries into the programs turn it  into a negative against President Obama’s sustainable efforts plus  raised questions about the White House influence in funding.

President Obama  is not powerful enough to control the global  marketplace.  The  failures of the U.S. solar projects are in a large part    due to the global market place and the normal odds of success that comes with research and development and any start-up.  Standard for a new company is  a 10% chance the  project will make it to the end of the  second year.

In addition, Asian  countries and predominately China  have demonstrated their competitiveness in  manufacturing including  solar products at prices the other countries including the U.S. and  Germany have been unable to  compete with.

“Those failures won’t prevent the government from honoring other guarantees”, said Damien LaVera, a spokesman for the Energy Department.“As long as they meet the terms and conditions of their agreement, including milestones, they can expect to receive funding as agreed,” LaVera said in an e-mail.

Designed to support innovation at companies developing new energy technologies the Energy Department program does not expect every applicant to  succeed  LaVera said. House Republicans proposed a bill yesterday that would bar the agency from issuing additional loan guarantees.

About 35 percent of the loans, loan guarantees and conditional commitments is for solar power generating project and lessthan 4% for solar manufacturing.  The balance of the  $35 billion for clean energy products are for supporting wind, geothermal, biofuel electric vehicles and other ventures.

Warnings in 2008, More Banks Under Libor Investigation

INFOGRAPHIC: The LIBOR Scandal Explained | Strategy and Competitive Intelligence |
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Barclays, the United Kingdom’s  no. 2  bank,  admitted  that at the request of traders at the bank and other banks,  that its employees regularly manipulated Libor between 2007 and 2009  Barclays agreed to pay $453 million to U.S. and U.K. regulators.

Morgan Stanley’s calculation that at least ten additional banks could be fined between $420 and $651 million by regulators.  Banks that have disclosed that they are being investigated include Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Credit Suisse, Citigroup, UBS and JPMorgan Chase.

Ten trillion loans worldwide use Libor as a benchmark for determining rates for loans. credit cards and mortgages in the United States. In addition the same labor rate is  used as a basis for trading  $350 trillion in derivatives worldwide.  The  manipulations would have affected  pension funds and local governments to name a few that would have purchased derivatives in an attempt to protect against interest rate changes.

It could be assumed that banks that are not  quickly settling with the regulators will pay a premium in fines.  Barclays may have received preferential treatment because they immediately responded and cooperated at the request by regulators and settled the fine expediently.   Other banks may end up paying 30% more  and higher fines after the UK Serious Fraud Office completes its investigation.

In May of 2008 , Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, New York Fed at that time,  raised the subject at a meeting of the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets. He also made suggestions to  Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England which included  to reduce the incentive of banks to misreport the interest rate.

The British Parliament has recently held hearings into the Barclays’ Libor scandal.   The U.S. Justice Department already disclosed in February that it is conducting a criminal investigation into alleged manipulation of Libor.  A class action suit is in the works for pensions in Ohio.  U.S. Congressional Hearings have not been set.