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November 9, 2014

China exports up 11.6 percent, imports 4.6 percent

Filed under: Uncategorized, news — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 7:28 am

BEIJING (AP) — China’s trade growth slowed in October but remained robust, with exports rising 11.6 percent compared to the same period the previous year.

The Customs Administration said Sunday that last month’s exports of $206.9 billion reflected a deceleration from September’s rate of 15.3 percent, which was the fastest growth rate in more than 1 ½ year.

October imports of $161.5 billion were up 4 best payday advance.6 percent from the previous year, a growth rate somewhat less than expected by some economists.

China’s communist leaders are hoping to nurture domestic consumption to fuel growth as an alternative to relying on exports to support employment.

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November 1, 2014

Virgin Galactic’s allure: space and celebrities

Filed under: economics, management — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 4:40 am

The explosion of a Virgin Galactic rocket ship during a test flight over California has almost certainly dashed founder Richard Branson’s goal of starting passenger flights next spring. Information about Virgin Galactic, its backers, and its goals:

OWNERS

Virgin Galactic is a joint venture between Branson’s Virgin Group Ltd. and Aabar Investments PJS, a state-backed investment firm in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates. Aabar said it paid about $280 million for a 32 percent stake in Virgin Galactic’s holding company in exchange for the chance to launch tourism and research flights from the Emirates.

BIG DREAMS

Branson and Virgin Galactic have repeatedly stated ambitious goals for the beginning of suborbital passenger flights, followed by delays in developing and testing the rocket ship. In 2008, Branson predicted that the maiden flight would come within 18 months. In interviews last month, Branson said the first space flight could happen before Christmas and that he and his son hoped to fly on the first passenger flight, perhaps in March. That goal, too, seems unlikely after Friday’s accident, which happened minutes after SpaceShipTwo separated from the plane that carried it high into the atmosphere. Galactic said late Friday the cause was unknown.

EXTENSIVE TESTING

The spacecraft was built by Scaled Composites, a firm founded by famous aerospace designer Burt Rutan. Virgin Galactic said Friday’s test flight marked the 55th time that SpaceShipTwo had flown on its own and that WhiteKnightTwo had flown 173 times. Company officials said the long development and testing period was all for safety. “Customers are eager to fly, but they know we’ll fly them when we feel ready,” the CEO, George Whitesides, said in September.

BIG BOOKINGS

Seats on Virgin Galactic cost $250,000 each. The company said this month that it has signed up about 700 passengers who have put down more than $80 million in deposits. Galactic hopes to eventually sell point-to-point flights similar to airlines — New York to Australia in 40 minutes, for example, Branson suggested.

STAR POWER

As Galactic’s chief salesman, the 64-year-old, shaggy-haired Branson is among the world’s most recognizable and flamboyant entrepreneurs. He owns a private island in the Caribbean, and his Virgin Group has holdings around the globe in airlines, entertainment, telecommunications and other industries. Galactic’s passenger list is dotted with celebrities, including actor Ashton Kutcher and singer Justin Bieber.

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October 30, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

October 28, 2014

Time Warner layoffs continue; HBO to cut 150

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The HBO job cuts were first reported by Variety.

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

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

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October 25, 2014

Doctor being tested for Ebola virus in New York

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

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

Mayor Bill de Blasio said results could come late Thursday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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October 24, 2014

U.S. girls

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

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

Related: IS militants luring Western women as wives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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October 22, 2014

Doug Ford promises to cut the land transfer tax

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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October 11, 2014

New once-a-day pill for Hep C wins FDA approval

Filed under: marketing, small business — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 3:16 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health officials have approved a daily pill that can cure the most common form of hepatitis C without the grueling pill-and-injection cocktail long used to treat the virus.

It was not immediately clear how much the drug from Gilead Sciences would cost. But the $1,000-per-pill price tag for the company’s previous hepatitis drug has recently drawn scorn from patient groups, insurers and politicians worldwide.

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday that it cleared the new combination pill, Harvoni, for patients with genotype 1 of hepatitis C, a form of the liver-destroying virus that accounts for roughly 70 percent of U.S. cases. For the first time these patients will not have to take a combination of antiviral pills and shots that causes flu-like side effects.

Gilead Sciences Inc. is based in Forest City, California.

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October 7, 2014

Accidental 911 pocket-dial leads police to meth lab

Filed under: news, small business — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 9:24 pm

Sometimes, good detective work and weeks of investigation are needed to nab suspected criminals. But other times all investigators need is 30 minutes to listen in on an accidental pocket dial to a 911 dispatch centre.

That’s the reason 55-year-old Donna Knope, 32-year-old Jason Knope and 41-year-old Thomas Stallings spent their weekend in a Florida jail on drug charges.

According to Volusia County deputies, one member of the Deltona, Fla., trio accidentally dialed 911 about 12:30 a.m. Saturday. When the dispatcher answered and tried to get details about the potential emergency, there was no response.

Instead, she overheard a discussion about drugs.

Deputies say the dispatcher kept the line open and fed details to investigators from the three who were unknowingly being recorded. At one point, the dispatcher reported hearing bubbling noises as if something was cooking.

Using cellphone locater data, deputies tracked the origin of the call to a shed behind a home in Deltona where Donna and Jason Knope lived.

When deputies arrived, the three were actively cooking a batch of methamphetamine, investigators say. Also found were many of the household items found in meth labs such as lighter fluid, coffee filters, a butane torch and batteries.

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October 1, 2014

Sydney Pads Costing More Than New York Spurs RBA Rethink - Bloomberg

Filed under: mortgage, online — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 9:04 am

To see why Australia

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