BY Sunnivie Brydum October 17 2013 6:37 PM ET UPDATED: October 18 2013 9:48 PM ET Out MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts published a heartfelt op-ed with MSNBC on Thursday, explaining why he’s intending to fulfill his obligations as cohost of the 2013 Miss Universe pageant slated to begin in November in Moscow. And on Friday morning’s episode of Morning Joe , Roberts expanded on his reasoning for going to Russia, while making an effort to acknowledge the privilege he has to be able to attend as a media-savvy, openly gay man, who will undoubtedly travel with a security detail and most likely be safe from Russia’s oppressive anti-LGBT laws as a highly visible media personality. “[My husband, Patrick, and I] understand that we go on a different privilege than a lot of other people are that live in Russia right now,” said Roberts on Morning Joe. “We live here in the States under a different set of privileges. Right now marriage equality is still a big battle. ENDA continues to be a battle in Washington, D.C. We understand what the home turf is like. I want to go and educate myself on what Russia’s turf is like. I want to be able to carve out how I can cover and do stories for our network that way, and show first-hand what it’s like to be there. But I know that I’m going to be treated completely differently. So there is a bit of hypocrisy that goes along with that a tremendous amount of hypocrisy that goes along with that so I hope to shine a bright light on that.” In his op-ed at MSNBC, Roberts, who came out publicly in 2006 and says he’s “never regretted it,” acknowledges the virulently anti-LGBT climate in Russia, where President Vladimir Putin this summer signed a nationwide ban on “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships” visible to minors essentially resulting in the criminalization of any pro-LGBT speech or silent demonstration, including waving a rainbow flag. Shortly after Putin signed the ban on so-called homosexual propaganda, he also signed a law that prohibits gay and lesbian people from adopting Russian orphans, as well as any single people from nations that embrace marriage equality. The Russian parliament, known as the State Duma, is reportedly considering a bill that would declare homosexuality tantamount to child abuse and forcibly remove children of LGBT parents from their homes. Despite widespread calls for an international boycott of Russia and Russian-made products, Roberts wrote that when the opportunity to participate in the Miss Universe program arose, he “aggressively went after it.” “I am not going to boycott,” Roberts wrote.”Boycotting and vilifying from the outside is too easy. Rather, I choose to offer my support of the LGBT community in Russia by going to Moscow and hosting this event as a journalist, an anchor and a man who happens to be gay. Let people see I am no different than anyone else.” Roberts notes that all children Russian, American, or otherwise need hope. And he might be just the person to provide that example, Roberts asserted. “I am a happy, healthy, gainfully employed, educated and married man,” wrote Roberts. “And yes, I am gay.
War veterans, elderly people, pregnant women, women with underage children, people with disabilities, and the terminally ill also fall under the amnesty. In addition, the council suggests freeing people sentenced for taking part in demonstrations, as long as they did not seriously harm anyone or cause significant material damage. It also includes militants, including radicals in the North Caucasus, who have laid down their weapons — provided they are not serving time for acts of violence. People convicted of murder, abduction, torture, rape, human trafficking, and other violent crimes are excluded from the amnesty. So are repeat offenders deemed dangerous and individuals who have already been amnestied or pardoned in the past. According to human rights council member Kirill Kabanov, a quarter of all inmates held in Russian jails could be released if the proposal is adopted by parliament. This would make it the largest amnesty so far in post-Soviet Russia. Could high-profile inmates such as former oil executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky or Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina walk free? Particular attention has been paid to whether the amnesty will extend to inmates regarded by human rights groups as political prisoners. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, the members of the Pussy Riot punk collective sentenced to two years in prison for staging an anti-Kremlin performance in a Moscow cathedral, technically fall under the proposed amnesty. Both have young children. Fedotov says anticorruption campaigner and opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, who was handed a five-year suspended prison sentence this week on embezzlement charges, could also be eligible. Observers are divided over whether Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev could be released. Each was convicted twice for alleged fraud and tax evasion, suggesting they don’t fall under the amnesty. But, since their jail terms have run consecutively, neither can be considered recidivists.
The safe harbor provision allows Internet providers, search engines and other tech firms to escape liability when users post pirated content on their platforms, provided such content is promptly removed when providers get a takedown notice, or if they are otherwise warned by some kind of red flag that indicates infringing activity. This safe harbor provision is, generally speaking, something Internet providers and search engines dont want lawmakers to touch. While providers may complain that they are inundated by takedown requests Google says it receives more than a million each week to put the provision on the table risks ending up with something that saddles Internet sites with additional liability. In fact, when the green paper was unveiled, Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of the Internet Assn., a trade group formed in 2012 that includes Google, Facebook and Amazon among its members, said existing law works very well. In a statement to Variety, he said that the DMCA continues to fulfill its intended purpose of facilitating the growth and development of the Internet and the Web. In contrast, Hollywood and lobbying orgs representing other content creators complain that the safe harbor provision forces them into playing endless whacka-mole; even after enlisting their own monitoring services to find infringing content and send out takedown notices, they say piracy is still growing. While Beckerman warned that the green paper would be used by some interest groups as a call for new laws addressing online infringement, that prospect seems unlikely, not just because of the government shutdown, but because of skittishness among lawmakers to start anything like the unprecedented protest that sidelined the last major piece of antipiracy legislation, the Stop Online Piracy Act. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., has launched a series of hearings with an eye toward revising copyright laws, but that process could take years, and undoubtedly would be contentious when and if it comes to revisiting the DMCA. The authors of the green paper recognized this, and have proposed that rather than pursue legislation, the tech and content industries should come up with their own set of best practices for identifying takedown notices. Thats easier said than done, of course. Google and others have had individual conversations with the studios; they are in business with most of them. But when it comes to hashing out a broad voluntary agreement across industries, there are, tellingly, no serious discussions. Sherwin Siy, VP of legal affairs at the public interest group Public Knowledge, said via e-mail that best practices agreements can be a big help, as they can inform players what is and what isnt useful to the other side, and provide some guideposts for dealing with a complex situation. But there can be drawbacks, he noted, as when there are not methods for redress and appeal. The problem is that complaints of abuse or mistake get the runaround. Google has argued that it has been prompt in responding to takedown requests 57 million last year, with an average response time of less than six hours, the company said and that it has been proactive in removing ad services to sites that violate its copyright policy.
Hollywood Airbrush Tanning Academy Guides Former High School Teacher Katelyn Chandler to Launch Her Own Airbrush Tanning Business
“We just wanted to try something new,” Julia said. “But I’m just a passenger on the boat. I don’t know how to row.” Like many teams, Roar III was at the marina early to start building. “It takes a long time to build,” Aidan said. “It’s tiring.” Boats are required to be made out of cardboard and duct tape and can be any shape. The day also included food, music and a pre-race boat parade. According to folks at the marina, some of the boats will finish the entire 150-yard race from one ramp to another, while others sink within the first 4 feet. “It’s just a lot of fun to watch,” said Suzi Cutrone, a member of the Hollywood Marine Advisory Board. “It’s all about families and friends getting together, spending time outdoors and getting away from the video games.” With names like The Intimidator, Soon 2B Submarine, The Great White and Grey Ghost, teams got into the design aspect of the boats. “They always get really creative,” Cutrone said. Tsunami Slapper did, in fact, place for Most Creative Design. The Rowing Dead also won in that division. Most Team Spirit went to S.O.S., Breast Cancer Awareness and Watermelon. Watermelon and Soon 2B Submarine “won” Most Spectacular Sinking.
Hollywood, Big Tech on Collision Course Over Who Should Police the Internet
After a teaching career in high school, Katelyn was involved in helping her dad in his family business. However, she always had a burning desire to know more about spray tanning. Talking about her interest in airbrush tanning, Katelyn says, I wanted to learn how to airbrush tan because it is an excellent alternative to tanning beds. It gives you instant results without the wait or burn from a regular tanning bed. Now, with her own business up and running, Katelyn looks forward to offering quality spray tanning services to her clients in Baton Rogue and Opelousas, Louisiana. When asked about her business goal, she continues, My future goal in this business is to be a reputable spray tanning professional that gives natural, glowing tans and provides outstanding customer service. Airbrush tanning enthusiasts in Baton Rogue and Opelousas, Louisiana can find out more about “Southern Bronze” at http://www.facebook.com/southernbronzeairbrushtanning . To receive quality spray tans, call Katelyn at 318-272-0849. With the increasing mass awareness about the negative impacts of traditional tanning, airbrush tanning has grown in popularity since the last few years. Hollywood Airbrush Tanning Academy has done well to create a reliable platform where the future spray tanning experts are groomed to offer the best to their clients. The owner and founder of the academy Simone Emmons is a renowned spray tanning expert and a popular teacher. Like all students o the academy, Katelyn Chandler was highly impressed with the quality of training she received.
To ensure maximum system stability, the second central hub will provide fully automatic redundancy as a backup. Mecom s decision to select Hughes technology was based on a successful 20-year relationship between the two companies, during which Hughes Europe has provided mecom with a flexible and easy-to-integrate system. Ulrich Wiehsalla, managing director of mecom, said, Our very demanding customers expect from mecom not only a highly reliable, highly topical, and simultaneous supply of content, but they also pay particular attention to authenticity. They want to be certain that they receive the content issued, for example, by the German press agency (dpa) with a 100% guarantee. Especially in the area of security services, it is essential that mecom continues to function effectively, even in a crisis situation where public networks are not working. We have done this in the past and want to ensure we maintain this in the future. Providing a closed network for hundreds of receivers on a single central hub allows mecom to realise operational and maintenance benefits on a high-quality network at optimal cost. As part of the new agreement, Hughes will also provide comprehensive hardware support. This new contract with mecom is a testament to how Hughes technical innovation and exceptional customer service results in a high degree of customer loyalty, said Chris O’Dell, vice president of sales and marketing, Hughes Europe. Our teams worked closely together to create a high availability solution tailor-made to mecoms most demanding requirements in an environment where a few seconds delay in the transmission of messages may have significant economic implications. The Hughes HX System will support the transmission of satellite services through a new mecomTransmit Server . This new initiative was presented for the first time at the World Publishing Expo 2013 (IFRA Expo & Conference) in Berlin in early October, the world’s leading trade exhibition for news publishers.
CoStar Group Signs CBRE Ltd. to New National Agreement Covering the United Kingdom
to New National Agreement Covering the United Kingdom Text CoStar Group Signs CBRE Ltd. to New National Agreement Covering the United Kingdom WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CoStar Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:CSGP), the primary provider of websites for commercial real estate information, analytics and marketing services, today announced that CBRE Group, the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm, signed a new subscription agreement to make CoStar’s full line of information services available to its commercial real estate professionals in the United Kingdom through CoStar Suite(TM) . Under the new agreement, CBRE professionals across the UK will now have access to CoStar’s newly launched CoStar Suite, featuring CoStar Property Professional(R), CoStar COMPS Professional(R), CoStar Tenant(R) and CoStar’s innovative mobile app for the iPad, CoStarGo(R). CoStar also provides comprehensive commercial real estate information services to CBRE professionals throughout the US. CoStar successfully introduced its full suite of industry-leading information services in the UK earlier this year, providing subscribers with access to a comprehensive inventory of office, industrial and retail properties, the UK’s largest commercial property image library, and sophisticated software to research lease and sales availability, analyze trends and transactions, track market conditions and position properties in the marketplace. The new agreement expands a longstanding business relationship between CBRE and CoStar, and represents an upgrade for CBRE from its current subscription in the UK to the newly launched CoStar Suite. CBRE has subscribed to CoStar’s comprehensive information services in the United States for nearly two decades. “CBRE is one of our largest and longest-standing customers in the US and UK, and we’re delighted to continue to expand our relationship,” stated CoStar Founder and CEO Andrew C. Florance. “We look forward to helping CBRE realize the benefits of CoStar Suite.” About CoStar Group, Inc. CoStar Group (Nasdaq:CSGP) is the primary provider of websites for commercial real estate information, analytics and marketing services. Founded in 1987, CoStar conducts expansive, ongoing research to produce and maintain the largest and most comprehensive database of commercial real estate information.
United Kingdom : FIRST LumeJet S200 digital printer to be purchased by Altaimage
The LumeJet S200 is a unique new printer and we re looking forward to building a market for its amazing output . The LumeJet S200 reached at Altaimage s Canary Wharf premises at the end of July and has been functioning well from the start of August. After a short period of familiarization, as the photonic technology is a little different from Altaimage s other, more conventional ink or toner printers, and a successful soft launch to selected contacts from its client base; Altaimage is now self-assured to promote the LumeJet s ultra-high quality prints to a wider audience. King added, The print quality is fabulous, quite unlike anything we ve ever seen before. Fantastic photographs, eye-popping colours, sharp text and line art, on the same page at the same time . Any agency using iPads for client presentations should get the prints made on it. It s the hard-copy equivalent of a retina screen. Thomas Furse-Roberts of Boundary Space agrees, as he has become a big fan of Altaimage s new LumeJet S200 printer. He said, The fabulous print quality, fine lines, gorgeous graphics, edge-to-edge across double-page-spread A3 landscape, takes our pitch books to a new level and says more about what we do as architects and designers than anything we ve ever had before . King said, We ve made some stunning layflat books for wedding albums, great for once-in-a-lifetime occasions . The LumeJet S200 transforms an average image into a real work of art. A 360 degree panorama from your mobile phone is so clear it s more than good enough to frame and hang on the wall, he added, Everyone who sees the output wants the prints. We ve opened a bureau service for the trade and already have four printers signed up. Rob King is pleased to dismiss any rumor that silver halide (AgX) is dead.
Increased demand for the process development and prototype manufacturing services available from Delcam Professional Services has prompted the addition of a Mori Seiki NMV 5000 machine to the range of five-axis machining equipment within its Advanced Manufacturing Facility. This latest expansion of the equipment at the company s Birmingham headquarters extends the company s ability to undertake high-speed, high-precision five-axis machining of complex parts. The range of support from Delcam Professional Services is mainly intended to help any company whose own engineering resource is needed to maintain its existing operations. The services provided can vary from supplying extra design, programming and machining resources when the customer s own staff or equipment are overloaded, through to developing dedicated software to automate existing manufacturing methods or to establishing completely new turn-key processes for the manufacture of novel designs. Recent developments from Delcam Professional Services include a novel five-axis machining method, programmed with Delcam s PowerMILL CAM system, for the creation of “fir-tree profiles in components for turbo machinery, and the programming, with Delcam s unique adaptive machining technology , of a new hybrid machine from Hamuel Maschinenbau for the remanufacturing of high-value metal components, such as turbine blades. The novel method for the creation of “fir-tree profiles was developed in partnership with Iruba, a German provider of engineered solutions, and machine-tool manufacturer Hermle. It allows these complex shapes to be produced on milling machines, such as the Hermle C60 five-axis machining centre, rather than having to use specialist broaching equipment. The use of PowerMILL s trochoidal strategies to program the operation gives a number of benefits, in particular high material removal rates with lower, and more consistent, cutting forces. The Hamuel hybrid machine combines five technologies in one unit five-axis CNC milling, laser cladding, robot polishing, inspection and laser marking. Any of these processes can be combined, as required by the particular project. The equipment costs only a fraction of the price of a multi-machine repair cell, as well as saving on floor space.
United Kingdom : Delcam s software and services on show at Dubai Air Show
The new fault-tolerant solution will be rolled out over the next 12 months and will include two Hughes HX central hubs and broadband satellite terminals at 600 sites in the current mecom network. To ensure maximum system stability, the second central hub will provide fully automatic redundancy as a backup. Mecom s decision to select Hughes technology was based on a successful 20-year relationship between the two companies, during which Hughes Europe has provided mecom with a flexible and easy-to-integrate system. Ulrich Wiehsalla, managing director of mecom, said, Our very demanding customers expect from mecom not only a highly reliable, highly topical, and simultaneous supply of content, but they also pay particular attention to authenticity. They want to be certain that they receive the content issued, for example, by the German press agency (dpa) with a 100% guarantee. Especially in the area of security services, it is essential that mecom continues to function effectively, even in a crisis situation where public networks are not working. We have done this in the past and want to ensure we maintain this in the future. Providing a closed network for hundreds of receivers on a single central hub allows mecom to realise operational and maintenance benefits on a high-quality network at optimal cost. As part of the new agreement, Hughes will also provide comprehensive hardware support. This new contract with mecom is a testament to how Hughes technical innovation and exceptional customer service results in a high degree of customer loyalty, said Chris O’Dell, vice president of sales and marketing, Hughes Europe. Our teams worked closely together to create a high availability solution tailor-made to mecoms most demanding requirements in an environment where a few seconds delay in the transmission of messages may have significant economic implications. The Hughes HX System will support the transmission of satellite services through a new mecomTransmit Server . This new initiative was presented for the first time at the World Publishing Expo 2013 (IFRA Expo & Conference) in Berlin in early October, the world’s leading trade exhibition for news publishers. (c) 2013 Euclid Infotech Pvt.
Alcoholic Drinks in the United Kingdom: New Research Report Available at Fast Market Research
On-trade consumption continued to suffer as most consumers cut back on costs and focused on at- home entertainment due to it being cheaper. Off-trade volume consumption grew in many areas, largely as a result of price promotions, with value sales growth being somewhat… Euromonitor International’s Alcoholic Drinks in United Kingdom report offers a comprehensive guide to the size and shape of the market at a national level. It provides the latest retail sales data (2008-2012), allowing you to identify the sectors driving growth. It identifies the leading companies, the leading brands and offers strategic analysis of key factors influencing the market – be they legislative, distribution or pricing issues. Forecasts to 2017 illustrate how the market is set to change. Product coverage: Beer, Cider/Perry, RTDs/High-Strength Premixes, Spirits, Wine. Data coverage: market sizes (historic and forecasts), company shares, brand shares and distribution data. Reasons to Get This Report – Get a detailed picture of the Alcoholic Drinks market; – Pinpoint growth sectors and identify factors driving change; – Understand the competitive environment, the market’s major players and leading brands; – Use five-year forecasts to assess how the market is predicted to develop. About Fast Market Research Fast Market Research is an online aggregator and distributor of market research and business information. Representing the world’s top research publishers and analysts, we provide quick and easy access to the best competitive intelligence available. Our unbiased, expert staff will help you find the right research to fit your requirements and your budget.
Here are a few of the explicitly problematic parts: When Gold and her panda friend watch noodles float through the sky like clouds, those noodles are udon. Udon is Japanese food, not Chinese food. Later in the video, Gold and her friends dance around a barbecue. The dancers are made up to resemble geisha and theyre wearing kimonos; geisha and kimonos are Japanese, not Chinese. At one point, Gold and the panda play Monopoly, and the camera zooms in on Oriental Avenue. Oh, and theres a gong at the end. Screenshot from Chinese Food The fact that many Chinese restaurants in America serve foods from more than one Asian country will probably be used in a defense of the video, but thats a straw-man argument. Chinese Food is not racist because it depicts pan-Asian cuisine; its racist because it lazily traffics in racial stereotypes and paints over the distinctions between vastly different Asian cultures with the same its all Chinese to me! brush. Its difficult to tell whether Wilson understands that the song he wrote deals in harmful misinformation, but judging by his earnest responses to Rebecca Blacks success, its likely thats not the case. Chinese Food is another example of the kind of cultural tribute thats harmful even when it lacks malicious intent the reason many Americans still dont understand why, for example, the song What Made the Red Man Red from Peter Pan is racist, or why calling Washington D.C.s NFL team the Redskins is not okay. Theyre not explicitly hateful, of course, or even vicious, but they are ignorant and diminishing towards huge swathes of people, reinforcing ideas about them that are vastly overgeneralized and demeaning. A communication breakdown still exists in the space between the celebration of multiculturalism and the commitment of hate crimes, a space where people mean well and certainly dont consider themselves racist, but still obliviously inflict damage and then refuse to acknowledge its existence or impact. Yesterday, Gawkers Cord Jefferson wrote a thoughtful article that explained how racism exists not just in overtly hateful thoughts and comments, but in the framework of plausible deniability that builds up around racism and how insane that plausible deniability can make people feel. Like those terrible Asian schoolgirl jokes on Seth MacFarlanes new sitcom Dads, Chinese Food can attempt to hide behind the post-racial America argument, the one that says that its okay to exploit stereotypes because they cant do us any harm, not anymore but it will fail. Thats the real danger behind the myth of colorblindness, the myth of post-racial America: the potential for the racism embedded in this confectionery video to be denied and enjoyed anyway. The problem, particularly with a viral video like this one, is that everyone sees it, but not everyone sees the damage implicitly wrought by it.
Food-Bank Users Return What Needs Cooking as Bills Rise By Thomas Penny – 2013-10-16T13:31:16Z The number of users of food banks in the U.K. tripled in the past year, with some of them abandoning cooking because of increasing energy prices, an anti-poverty charity said. The Trussell Trust , which supports food banks that provide three days emergency supplies to people in need, said today 355,985 people had been helped between May and September this year, compared with 113,570 in the same period last year. It wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron requesting an inquiry. The level of food poverty in the U.K. is not acceptable. Its scandalous and it is causing deep distress to thousands of people, Trussell Trust Executive Chairman Chris Mould said in an e-mailed statement. The time has come for an official and in-depth inquiry into the causes of food poverty and the consequent rise in the usage of food banks. Food prices have risen by 12.6 percent more than inflation over the past six years, outstripping wages, and higher energy prices are likely to see more people forced to choose between eating and heating this winter, the charity said. Food-bank clients are giving back food items that need cooking because they cant afford to turn on the electricity, the trust said. There are twice as many food banks as last year, accounting for some of the increase in demand, the trust said, though well-established food banks are also reporting that theyre helping more people. Welfare Overhaul An overhaul of the welfare system has led more people to seek help, the trust said, with 117,442 people referred to food banks by agencies including the health service, social workers and police because of delays in welfare payments compared with 35,597 last year. Camerons spokesman, Jean-Christophe Gray, said the increase had been driven by the government axing restrictions on officials referring people to food banks and reflected a British tradition of charitable help for the poor. Use of the facilities increased 10 times under the Labour government that left office in 2010, he added. Its this government that has lifted the block on job centers being able to point people in the direction of the type of additional assistance that food banks provide, Gray told reporters in London . The U.K.
U.K. Food-Bank Users Return What Needs Cooking as Bills Rise
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Protestors express the same outside the Church of Scientology in France. Though recognized as a formal religion in the United States and elsewhere, the practice of Scientology has just been branded as a scam and a racket in France, despite cries of religious discrimination, reports the AFP via Yahoo! News on Oct. 16. There are approximately 45,000 Scientologists in France. The obtuse religion, founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, came under fire in the European country when five former members charged the organization with coercing them into spending thousands of dollars on required reading material, questionable services and Church merchandise. The Church was initially found guilty of commercial harassment, and on appeal the charge has stood. Church officials are not happy that their easily misunderstood religion has been declared fraudulent. Scientology is a worldwide religious movement practiced in 184 nations. Its bona fide rights of its members to practice their faith unimpeded by government interference have been acknowledged by the high courts of many nations, including unanimous decisions by the European Court of Human Rights, a statement from the French Church of Scientology after the verdict reads. The conviction carried a fine of 600,000 Euros ($820,000 dollars), in addition to the Church losing any foothold as it attempts to become a recognized religion in France.
France’s Retirement Reform: Too Little, Too Late?
By SARAH DiLORENZO 10/15/13 04:18 AM ET EDT reddit stumble A protester wears a placard which reads, “Private/public retirement at age 100, no thanks”, during a rally in Paris, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. A nationwide strike against the French government’s plan to plug a 20-billion-euro hole in the country’s pension system has elicited the equivalent of a Gallic shrug. (AP Photo/Michel Euler) | AP Get World Newsletters: Subscribe Follow: France , France Retirement Reform , France Retirement , France Pension Age , France Pension Age Reform , France Pension Reform , France Reform , World News PARIS — PARIS (AP) President Francois Hollande has managed to do what was once thought impossible: make changes to France’s cherished and generous retirement system with little resistance from unions. His secret? The changes are so small and put off so far into the future that economists say they aren’t worthy of the name “reform.” Labor unions were calling for protests across France on Tuesday. But the demonstrations are not expected to turn into the massive protests that brought cities to a standstill in 2010, when Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, raised the retirement age. Partially that is because Hollande, a Socialist, consulted with union leaders when drawing up the reform. Also, the changes, which the lower house of parliament votes on this week, will fix only a part of what needs changing, analysts say. “It’s the salami strategy,” said Elie Cohen, an economist at Sciences Po university. “We have a big problem, we don’t know how to fix it, so we cut it into pieces, like a nice sausage.” Hollande’s reform would lengthen the number of years people must work to receive a full pension, from 41 years today to 43 years by 2035; the first increases begin in 2020. Economists say there are three problems with the proposal: It takes effect after most baby boomers will have retired, meaning it doesn’t address the cost of paying for their pensions; it still isn’t asking people to work long enough, especially since life expectancy is rising; and it ignores the special deals that allow some workers to retire early and account for two-thirds of the retirement system’s 20 billion-euro ($27 billion) deficit. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, and others have raised concerns about how the pensions system will be paid for without further burdening French employers, which already pay the highest payroll taxes in the EU. The problem with the “salami strategy” is that the reforms are always behind the curve. Jacob Kirkegaard, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, says the reform might have worked if it had been done 20 years ago.
But how does the United States stack up internationally? For that we turn to the BlackRock Investment Institute, the research arm of the giant money manager. It has created the “BlackRock Sovereign Risk Index” which aims to combine key aspects of creditworthiness of 48 countries around the world. It factors in plenty of things that have to do with the substance of different countries’ finances, such as their current debt and deficit levels, banking system strength, and exposure to debt denominated in foreign currencies. But it also adds an important layer that it calls “Willingness to Pay.” It measures the effectiveness and efficiency of governments to meet their obligations, and counts for 30 percent of the total index. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising after the last couple of weeks of government shutdown and debt ceiling chicanery in Washington, but by BlackRock’s reckoning, the United States is not among the top-tier credit risks by this ranking. Here’s a complete map: You can check the detailed analysis for each country in an interactive graphic here . By BlackRock’s reckoning, the world’s most creditworthy nations–those with both solid finances and solid political systems that ensure bonds will be repaid–are the likes of Norway, Singapore, and Switzerland. The United States, as the map shows, is in the second tier, more similar to South Korea and Austria and Malaysia in its creditworthiness. For anyone who follows the news, it is hard to disagree. Neil Irwin is a Washington Post columnist and the economics editor of Wonkblog.
Why Does Saudi Arabia Fear the United States?
October 16, 2013 | Comments (0) This segment is from Tuesday’s edition of “Digging for Value”, in which sector analysts Joel South and Taylor Muckerman discuss energy & materials news with host Alison Southwick. The twice-weekly show can be viewed on Tuesdays & Thursdays. It can also be found on Twitter, along with our extended coverage of the energy & materials sectors @TMFEnergy . Earlier this year, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal ended the guessing game as to whether or not OPEC’s leading oil producing state feared that United States oil production could harm Saudi Arabia’s economy. News flash…it can. To help assuage these fears, Saudi Aramco, the nation’s state run oil company, has put the energy industry on notice. It is planning “massive” spending to target multiple areas of growth within the country, and that should benefit equipment and service providers that have already seen action within the country. Given the company’s current $40 billion capital expenditure plan, even higher spending should be a boon for the likes of Halliburton (NYSE: HAL ) and Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB ) which have been involved in both on- and off-shore oil and natural gas drilling in Saudi Arabia. Stick with the oil and gas services industry for our Top Stock of 2013 The Motley Fool’s chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for this year. Find out which stock it is in the special free report: ” The Motley Fool’s Top Stock for 2013 .” Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company. Joel South owns shares of Schlumberger. Taylor Muckerman owns shares of Halliburton. The Motley Fool recommends Halliburton. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days .
United States debt crisis comes to an end
“Most importantly, this legislation ends a standoff that ground the work of Washington to a halt.” Harry Reid says this is not a time of finger-pointing and blame, but a time of reconciliation – and he has touched on the need for the Senate to work in a more bi-partisan way in the future. Hesays the ‘remarkable agreement’ will protect the long term health of the economy, avoid default, and set up a foundation for economic expansion. “What we’ve done is send a message to Americans, from every one of our 50 states, in addition to that to the citizens of every country in the world, that the United States lives up to its obligations.” Harry Reid has talked about new levels of co-operation between Republicans and Democrats in reaching the agreement. “I’m optimistic that the spirit of compromise (which) has taken root in the Senate over the last two days, will endure.” Hesays after sitting in very serious discussions over the last few days, he and Republican leader Mitch McConnell will do everything they can to change the atmosphere in the Senate. White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, has just spoken to media in Washington. He says Barack Obama has welcomed progress, saying it achieves what is necessary and removes the threat of default. “We haven’t seen legislation move through either house at this point, so we’re not issuing an official statement of administration policy. “He (Obama) looks forward to Congress acting so that he can sign legislation that will reopen the government, and remove this threat from our economy.” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says he will support the plan. “There’s a lot more we need to do to get our nation’s fiscal health in order. “Hopefully once we’ve gotten past the drama of the moment, we can get to work on it.” Republican Senator Jeff Denham says he has big concerns, but this has to be done. “We need to do everything we can to avoid this debt ceiling. “We understand, both Republicans and Democrats understand how bad this can be for our nation, as well as the world economy.” Another Republican Senator, Ted Cruz, says he won’t block the deal, but he is not happy. “The deal that has been cut provides no relief to the millions of Americans who are hurting because of Obamacare.” Earlier, investment expert Warren Buffet likened the situation to playing with an atomic bomb. “It’s really a political weapon of mass destruction. “There are certain things that shouldn’t be used. I know it’s been used in the past, but we used the atomic bomb back in 1945 (and) we decided we weren’t going to use something like that again.” Sky News reporter Dominic Waghorn says even though a deal is done, the question remains open over permanent damage to America’s reputation. “Has it been permanently damaged by this debacle? By political gridlock in Washington? “Whatever happens … will the world now look at America differently in terms of the way it views its ability to honour its debt?” Dominic Waghorn says one ratings agency has already put the country on watch for a possible downgrade because of the brinkmanship going on. Hannah Thomas-Peter, also of Sky News, says even though this is a temporary fix there have been huge gains on the stock market. “The conventional wisdom on Wall Street – the market expectation – has always been that America would not default on its obligations. “Warren Buffett, one of America’s most famous businessmen, said that it wasn’t possible America could be so idiotic as to allow that to happen, and that a default was unthinkable.
Tomorrow we will be putting a proposal to the workforce and we are giving them the weekend to decide and expect a response on Monday,” an Ineos spokeswoman said. “We’ll review with stakeholders what the workforce says on Tuesday and whether it re-opens depends on their response,” she added. A company statement had earlier said Grangemouth was financially distressed and that the industrial action called by the Unite union had inflicted significant further damage. INFRASTRUCTURE The plant plays a key role in Scotland’s economy. “This is a hugely important matter…whether it continues as a major part of Scotland’s infrastructure. It’s a hugely important industrial complex,” Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister said in a BBC interview. Ineos said earlier this week it had begun winding down operations at Grangemouth, ahead of a planned strike by Unite union members over the treatment of a union representative. Unite called the strike off earlier on Wednesday. A source familiar with the situation said that it would take around three weeks to get the plant back to full operations, whenever a decision was made. Unite, in keeping with the bitter tone of the long-running dispute, accused Ineos of “economic vandalism”. “There is absolutely no reason for the site to remain shut – the company is holding Scotland to ransom,” said Unite regional secretary Pat Rafferty. The UK government said it had been working with the regional government to ensure minimal disruption to supply. “We have been working closely with the fuel industry and Scottish government to put robust alternative fuel supply routes in place,” Edward Davey, Energy Secretary said. Ineos, while readying the plant for shutdown, had been taking shipments of oil products, which it was distributing to customers, union sources said. FORTIES PIPELINE The refinery, owned jointly by Ineos and PetroChina, also supplies steam and power to BP’s Kinneil oil terminal, which processes North Sea crude that comes ashore via the Forties Pipeline System.
The two people had phoned in the same name based on the sketches, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said during the BBC’s “Crimewatch” program, which aired an appeal Monday night for information about a man police want to track down. The man was seen carrying a child matching McCann’s description on the night she vanished in 2007 around the resort town of Praia da Luz in Portugal. Police hope for new leads in McCann case New evidence in McCann case The man is described as white, between 20 and 40 years old, with short brown hair and a medium build. He was seen carrying a blond child, who might have been in pajamas and who was estimated to be 3 to 4 years old, around the time Madeleine disappeared, police had said. The sketches are based on descriptions from separate witnesses, investigators said. Since the program aired, British police said they have received more than 300 phoned tips and 170 e-mailed ones. “We will now take the time to follow up these lines of enquiry,” Redwood said. Police target 38 ‘people of interest’ in Madeleine McCann’s ’07 disappearance The latest revelation is critical in reconstructing what exactly happened more than six years ago on the night of May 3, 2007,when McCann disappeared from her family’s villa while her parents dined at a nearby restaurant. The girl was just days shy of her fourth birthday. Computer-generated sketch Computer-generated sketch Computer-generated sketch Neither her parents nor the detectives investigating her case have given up on one day finding the little girl from Leicestershire, England. “There may be an entirely innocent explanation of this man, but we need to establish who he is to assist with our inquiries,” Redwood said earlier. Additionally, investigators believe they have a better understanding of when Madeleine may have been abducted, Redwood added. “The timeline we have now established has given new significance to sightings and movements of people in and around Praia da Luz at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.” John Walsh: Madeleine McCann could be alive Police announced in July that they have identified 38 “people of interest” in connection with the case. Twelve of them are UK nationals who police say they think were in Portugal at the time the girl went missing.
UK’s Argos undercuts Tesco with 99.99 pound tablet
Markets open in 6 hrs 2 mins UK’s Argos undercuts Tesco with 99.99 pound tablet Reuters Mon, Oct 14, 2013 7:04 PM EDT 46.45 +0.06 LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Argos has entered the intensely competitive tablet computer market with a 99.99 pound ($160) own-brand product that is 16 percent cheaper than one launched by Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, last month. Argos, owned by Home Retail, said on Tuesday its MyTablet would be targeted at teenagers, taking on a market dominated by Apple, Samsung and Amazon. Tesco sold 35,000 Hudls in two days following its September 30 launch – the fastest-selling tablet launch ever seen at the retailer. Argos is keen to tap into this growing segment as part of its reinvention from a catalogue-led to digitally-led business. Home Retail has posted five straight years of profit decline and hopes the change of direction for Argos will result in a 15 percent rise in sales to 4.5 billion pounds by 2018. Like Tesco’s Hudl, which is priced at 119 pounds, Argos’ MyTablet has a seven-inch screen, runs Google’s Android operating system, comes with pre-loaded apps and is enabled for internet browsing, TV, music, video streaming and social networking. However, MyTablet only has 8 gigabytes of standard memory compared to 16 on the Hudl. It also has a lower resolution screen, an inferior battery life and is only available in two colours versus the Hudl’s four. Both devices will compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which retails for 99 pounds, Google’s Nexus 7, which costs 199 pounds and Apple’s iPad mini, which sells for 269 pounds. “Millions of people have bought tablets during the last year but there is still around 75 percent of the UK population without one,” said Argos managing director John Walden. Market research company EMarketer estimates there are 19.7 million tablet users in the UK, up 39 percent year-on-year. Both Argos and Tesco sell a range of branded tablets. Sebastian James, CEO of Dixons Retail, Europe’s second biggest electricals retailer, said last month that although there is a market in Britain for cheap, basic tablets, consumers were often left disappointed by purchases. “We get a lot back because people use them and they say ‘no, what I wanted was an iPad’ and they are not,” he told Reuters.
Change to UK Collective Redundancy Consultation Regime Now Confirmed
Background When a UK employer proposes to dismiss as redundant 20 or more employees, within a period of 90 days or less, it is required to collectively consult representatives of those affected, prior to implementing its proposal. Failure to do so can lead to the employer being required to pay up to 90 days pay to each affected employee (a Protective Award). This obligation arises out of the European Collective Redundancies Directive (the Directive). In implementing the Directive, the UK Government stipulated that the obligation would only be triggered if the proposed redundancies involved 20 or more employees who all worked at one establishment within the employers organization. UK employers have therefore relied on this for many years as a means of avoiding the obligation to collectively consult when redundancies are proposed across different locations or are otherwise proposed at different establishments. What Has Changed? The EAT has now held that the words at one establishment should be deleted from UK legislation. Why? Because the stated purpose of the Directive is to provide greater protection for workers facing a collective redundancy situation and, in the view of the EAT, without this deletion, UK legislation provides less protection than the Directive requires. What Does This Mean for UK Employers? Employers wishing to avoid liability for a Protective Award should now collectively consult when they are proposing to dismiss 20 or more employees as redundant, anywhere in their UK business, within a period of 90 days or less. Employers will no longer be able to slice and dice their UK business into different establishments in order lawfully to avoid the obligation to collectively consult about proposed redundancies. This marks a significant change to UK collective redundancy practice.
Russia finished on top of Group F with 22 points, one point ahead of second-place Portugal which beat 10-man Luxembourg 3-0 and will go into next month’s European playoffs for a berth in Brazil. The Russians last qualified for the World Cup in Japan and South Korea in 2002, but under coach Fabio Capello they quickly secured the group’s top spot and held it as Portugal once again came up short. “Russia was the best team. They were better than us,” Portugal coach Paulo Bento said. “We needed to demonstrate better quality if we wanted the top spot.” In Baku, Roman Shirokov gave Russia the lead in the 16th minute from a cutting pass from Alexander Samedov. Vagif Javadov headed in the equalizer in the 90th. Azerbaijan was reduced to 10 men in the 73rd when Maksim Medvedev was given a red card for a rough tackle. “I’m satisfied with this qualifying campaign,” Russia coach Fabio Capello said. “With such a strong opponent as Portugal in our group, we grabbed the top place.” Capello still had some concerns, saying it was the third time that Russia conceded a goal in the last minute. “We should look ahead and improve our game,” he said. Portugal also had to go through the playoffs to qualify for its last two major tournaments, the 2012 European Championship and 2010 World Cup. It was a semifinalist at Euro 2012. The Portuguese have been dogged by inconsistency. They have won just eight of their 16 qualifiers and friendly games since Euro 2012.
Yandex Movie Gambit Widens Gap to Baidu: Russia Overnight
The company is trading at 34.7 times earnings, 18 percent above Baidus multiple, the biggest gap in a month. The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index of the most-traded Russian companies in the U.S. rallied to an eight-month high in New York, led by VimpelCom Ltd (VIP) and OAO Gazprom. (OGZPY) RTS stock-index futures (VEA) gained in U.S. hours. Yandex, which gets most of its revenue from online advertising, bought the KinoPoisk movie-rating site on Oct. 15. The Russian company increased its share of the online search market to 62.2 percent last month, the highest since August 2011, while Google Inc.s portion was unchanged at 26 percent, according to LiveInternet.ru. Baidu has made five acquisitions over the past year to maintain its lead among China s Internet companies as Qihoo 360 Technology Co. gains ground. Yandex deserves a premium rating in my book because it has better earnings growth, Julian Rimmer, a trader with CF Global Trading UK Ltd. in London , said by e-mail yesterday. They are successfully monetizing different business lines. Baidu, Chinas second-largest Internet company by market value after Hong Kong-listed Tencent Holdings Ltd., paid $1.85 billion for app store 91 wireless in July and bought a stake in group-deal site Nuomi.com for $160 million in August.
Brazil to ask Russia for permission to question Edward Snowden
Snowden was awarded the Sam Adams Award, according to videos released by the organization WikiLeaks. The award ceremony was attended by three previous recipients. (AP Photo)The Associated Press In this image made from video released by WikiLeaks on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden smiles during a presentation ceremony for the Sam Adams Award in Moscow, Russia. Snowden was awarded the Sam Adams Award, according to videos released by the organization WikiLeaks. The award ceremony was attended by three previous recipients. Snowden, who is charged by a U.S. court with violating the Espionage Act for disclosing the classified NSA programs, has been granted asylum in Russia. (AP Photo)The Associated Press Next Slide Previous Slide BRASILIA, Brazil Brazil’s Federal Police and a Senate investigative panel said Tuesday they want to question National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden to learn more about the spying program that targeted Latin America’s biggest country. According to information leaked by Snowden, President Dilma Rousseff’s communications with aides were intercepted, the computer network of state-run oil company Petrobras was hacked and data on billions of emails and telephone calls flowing through Brazil were monitored by the NSA. “For our investigation, questioning Snowden is a top priority,” said Jose Alberto Freitas, the head of the intelligence sector of Brazil’s Federal Police, before a Senate committee investigating the NSA spy program. “He could provide technical details that will help our investigation advance.” Ricardo Ferraco, who heads the committee, said that on Thursday he will ask the Russian government for permission to speak to Snowden via a video conference. Snowden received asylum in Russia in August.