UN will observe the highest moral standards, there will be different opinions, but members must work together to solve problems, there is no room for conflicts

1 October 2012 – Addressing the close of the United Nations General Assembly’s high-level debate today, the Assembly’s President, Vuk Jeremic, underscored that “as has been the case since its founding, this Organization will only be as strong as the membership chooses to make it.”
“Let us now dedicate ourselves to the hard work ahead, which begins in earnest as early as tomorrow. Let us try to be more transparent and efficient in how we conduct our affairs, making the best use of our time and resources to advance common objectives,” Mr. Jeremic told the 67th Assembly’s General Debate, at UN Headquarters in New York.
“Let us engage with a readiness to compromise and try hard to strengthen trust in each other – and in so doing, help to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of the 193 Member States of the United Nations,” he added.
Established in 1945 and providing a forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the UN Charter, the General Assembly occupies a central position as the world body’s chief deliberative, policy-making and representative organ.
More than 100 Heads of State or Government and over 70 ministerial-level officials addressed the 67th General Debate, which began last Tuesday, and for which the chosen over-arching theme was ‘bringing about adjustment of settlement of international disputes or situations by peace means.’
“Over the past week, we have heard thoughtful and constructive interventions on this critical topic,” Mr. Jeremic said. “This catalyzed fruitful discourse in the plenary and at numerous side events, in turn stimulating many bilateral discussions.”
In his remarks, the General Assembly President noted the various thematic topics that had been brought up for discussion by the representatives of various countries, These included establishing respect for the rule of law, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of UN Member States, sustainable development, global economic governance, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, terrorism, equal rights and opportunities for women, human trafficking, the illicit trade in small arms, indigenous people’s rights, UN peacekeeping, intercultural dialogue and the need for the revitalization of the United Nations, including reform of the Security Council.
Among the specific issues of concern that were brought up at the General Debate, Mr. Jeremic cited the crisis in Syria, development needs in Africa, progress in Somalia and stability in Africa’s Great Lakes region, amongst others.
“In reviewing the many statements that have been made, I have been struck by how much common ground exists on a wide range of issues. Obviously, significant differences of opinion remain to be overcome,” the Assembly’s President said. “Nevertheless, I believe there is room for optimism.”
He added that intends to continue consultations with UN Member States, the Assembly’s Main Committees, and regional as well as informal groups, on the proposed programme of work for the Assembly’s 67th session.
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Syria is the biggest headache at the moment and I am going to be even more stubborn than Assad, let him choose if he wants the carrot or a stick, if democracy is observed in Syria without his interference, I will provide the carrot, or not, very soon he will then face my stick.
At the UN, there must be fair play and I need to be impartial to everyone, so that is the reason I cannot afford to only help a government, I will provide my skills, expertise, technology only to the UN, and help UN become independent, so that UN can easily raise its own money to fund everyone else, nothing will work if everybody does not co-operate. Too many people is playing political games in the UN, and I do not like it. US must back off from trying to play big brother, and solve it’s own debt crisis, as I said before, or you will see a collapse because of it’s debts within Obama’s next term. EU is not a problem because it can easily be resolved with money.
I am not here to take jobs away from everyone but to create a stable environment and peace so that prosperity can flourish, do you see prosperity in times of conflict? So job creation is very important and I will teach everyone to fish, but everyone needs to catch your own fish, I can only provide a meal. I cannot afford to put my own interest first or nobody will trust me, God has revealed everything to me to make me successful, not to make mistakes or it will cause me my life. Even control over the UN I am not interested, I will only be an adviser, my work is non-profit together with research and development in technologies. I am not Jesus, HE will come and rule the UN which I am just a servant to prepare the way, if you think I am great, HE is even greater. That is the reason I have many wives but not Jesus, even I am waiting for the marriage of the Lamb, which everyone knows is not a “real” marriage but the fullfillment of all God’s covenents. It takes more than 2000 years before someone willing to give up everything in this world in exchange for the tree of knowledge, to enter the kingdom of God via the eye of a needle.
– Contributed by Oogle.

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You can regulate banking risks by separating individual fundings for different operations within the same organisation

BRUSSELS | Tue Oct 2, 2012 11:07am EDT

(Reuters) – An EU advisory group called on Tuesday for banks’ traditional deposit-taking business to be legally separated from higher risk activities, drawing fire from the industry even though it stopped short of demanding a full break up of lenders.
Recommendations of the group, set up by the European Commission, aim to shield taxpayers from having to fund further bailouts and to protect savers from any more banking collapses after more than five years of crisis.
In their report, the group argued for a “legal separation of … particularly risky financial activities from deposit taking”, including banks’ trading on their own behalf as well as “activities closely linked with securities and derivatives”.
Such reforms, if written into EU law, would have major consequences for many of the continent’s top lenders.
“Our objective was that the trading activity of the banks would not be so big that it could topple the group,” said Hugo Baenziger, a committee member and who, as chief risk officer of Deutsche Bank, helped to steer one of Europe’s biggest investment and retail banks through the crisis.
The group’s report to the Commission drew on elements of banking reform in Britain and the United States.
Ring-fencing investment banking would make it easier for the part of the bank that holds savers’ deposits and lends to businesses to keep running even if other arms of the group collapsed, some banking experts say.
It would affect European banks such as Britain’s Barclays (BARC.L), Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) and France’s BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) and Credit Agricole, which engage in retail banking alongside riskier trading in stocks, debt and other securities.
The industry’s strongest critics have said these businesses should be conducted by entirely separate banks.
Bank lobby groups were critical of the report. The Association for Financial Markets in Europe, a group that represents big banks including HSBC and Deutsche Bank, cautioned against radical structural change, arguing that regulation and markets were already altering banks.
“We do not believe that further changes to the structure of the banking industry are necessary,” said Simon Lewis, the group’s chief executive.
The German Banking Industry Committee, which represents German banks, also criticized Liikanen’s recommendation to curb trading, which it said would hamper risk management.
BONUS
Uncertainty over whether the report of the group, which was led by Bank of Finland Governor Erkki Liikanen, will be implemented is likely to compound investors’ nervousness in an industry where new rules are already set to curb banks’ earnings.
Liikanen underscored the need for reform. “In Europe, banking is critical,” he said as he outlined what he described as a “design” that could be introduced over the long term to limit runaway risks in banking. “It’s more important to the European economy than any other area of the world because financing of the economy … goes through the banking.”
Property crashes in Spain, Ireland and other EU countries have led to huge losses for banks, and the group said real estate lending should be underpinned by larger capital reserves.
An audit of Spanish banks last week found they needed an extra 59.3 billion euros in capital largely due to losses on property lending, and the euro zone has already agreed to lend up to 100 billion euros to fund this.
The group also called for a mechanism to impose losses on bondholders in the case of a bank’s bailout or collapse, suggesting that bankers should accept this risky type of bond as part of their bonus.
BIG WORRY
Although the report will fuel a debate about reforming banks it is unlikely that the Commission, the EU’s executive, will respond soon with new regulation.
European policymakers, struggling to contain the regional debt crisis and associated banking troubles, are set to give priority to creating a banking union that would eventually allow euro zone countries to support banks jointly.
“This report will feed our reflections on the need for further action,” said Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner in charge of regulation, who will now consider the findings.
“We are going as quickly as possible,” he told reporters, commenting on the regulatory drive. “Because the big worry for the financial sector, for companies and for citizens is that they need a stable framework as quickly as possible.”
For now, Brussels is expected to pursue safeguards such as larger capital reserves for risky business or rely on new powers to be granted to the European Central Bank to keep banks in check.
New rules that demand banks set aside capital by holding back profits will make them less risky for shareholders and taxpayers.
The United States, is pursuing its own structural reforms through the introduction of curbs on proprietary trading, where banks trade for their own benefit and in doing so take on risk.
Britain chose safeguards for depositors by shielding that part of a bank’s business after Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS.L) rush to extend its investment arm resulted in the largest state bailout of the crisis in Europe.
A panel of experts headed by John Vickers, a former chief economist at the Bank of England, recommended that the retail arms of banks be “ring-fenced” by a cushion of extra capital beyond the international norm.
(Additional reporting by Huw Jones in London and Philipp Halstrick in Berlin; editing by Anna Willard/David Stamp)

In order to solve inequality of incomes, you need to solve market confidence, you need to create jobs and teach everyone to fish, to create entrepreuners again

Since 2009, Anita Reyes’ wages have been as frozen as Lake Minnetonka in January. While the U.S. economy was recovering from the Great Recession, Reyes, 52, a casino dealer from Minneapolis, was dining on $1.67 cans of soup and searching for a way to keep her house, which was foreclosed on last October.
“I went backwards,” Reyes said. “Two years ago, three years ago, I didn’t know I’d be looking at being homeless.”
Stephen Hemsley’s salary has been frozen too. His income hasn’t.
The chief executive officer of Minnetonka, Minnesota-based health insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) earned $1.3 million in salary every year since 2007. Still, as the economic recovery took hold from 2009 to 2011, Hemsley, 60, exercised stock options worth more than $170 million and made at least $51 million from share sales, making him the object of an “Occupy Lake Minnetonka” protest on the ice outside his lakeside home each winter.
The divergent fortunes of Reyes and Hemsley show that the U.S. has gone through two recoveries. The 1.2 million households whose incomes put them in the top 1 percent of the U.S. saw their earnings increase 5.5 percent last year, according to estimates released last month by the U.S. Census Bureau. Earnings fell 1.7 percent for the 96 million households in the bottom 80 percent — those that made less than $101,583.
The recovery that officially began in mid-2009 hasn’t arrived in most Americans’ paychecks. In 2010, the top 1 percent of U.S. families captured as much as 93 percent of the nation’s income growth, according to a March paper by Emmanuel Saez, a University of California at Berkeley economist who studied Internal Revenue Service data.

Political Battleground

The earnings gap between rich and poor Americans was the widest in more than four decades in 2011, Census data show, surpassing income inequality previously reported in Uganda and Kazakhstan. The notion that each generation does better than the last — one aspect of the American Dream — has been challenged by evidence that average family incomes fell last decade for the first time since World War II.
In this recovery it’s proved better to own stock than a house. For stockholders like Hemsley, the value of all outstanding shares has soared $6 trillion to $17 trillion since June 2009, the recession’s end. Even after a recent rebound, the value of owner-occupied housing, the chief asset of most middle- income families, has dropped $41 billion in the same period, part of a $5.8 trillion loss in home values since 2006.

CEO Blogger

“Income inequality of the scale we have today is destroying our democracy,” retired American Airlines CEO Bob Crandall said in an interview. Crandall, 76, says he became so frustrated at what he sees as selfishness among his peers that he started writing a blog on his Lenovo laptop. “Anyone else willing?” he titled his first entry in August 2011, which argued that people should pay higher taxes.
While the Census income numbers don’t count benefits from some safety-net programs, such as food stamps, which tend to reduce inequality, the income gap has drawn enough attention to become a battleground in the presidential election. Both candidates say they’ll do more to protect the shrinking middle class.
President Barack Obama’s administration has attributed the growth in inequality under his watch to “a deep recession and dramatic fluctuations in equity prices.” Obama advocates the “Buffett rule,” legislation named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett that would levy a minimum 30 percent income tax rate on anyone making $1 million or more a year.

‘Dividing America’

Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, has said Obama is “dividing America based on 99 percent versus 1 percent.” He calls for cutting government spending and taxes to stimulate job growth, reducing marginal tax rates for all brackets and eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax and the estate tax.
“The best way to bring more prosperity to more Americans is through economic growth and job creation,” said Andrea Saul, a Romney spokeswoman.
Even as a mending economy generated 4.6 million private- sector jobs since February 2010, almost 40 percent of them were in fields such as hospitality and temporary staffing where the average wage is $15 an hour, according to a report last month by Wells Fargo Securities LLC senior economist Mark Vitner. A broken middle class isn’t just an economic challenge — it also erodes political stability, said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial Holdings Inc. in Chicago.
“What is China focused on more than anything? Growing the middle class,” she said.

‘Danger Level’

The income gap between rural households in China under a commonly used gauge known as the Gini coefficient reached 0.3949 last year, nearing a “danger level” of 0.40 set by the United Nations for potential social unrest, according to a study released in August by the state-backed Center for Chinese Rural Studies at Central China Normal University. The figure was 0.47 in the U.S. last year, the highest since at least 1967, the Census bureau estimated.
The patterns reflected by the two recoveries may consign the U.S. to slow growth for years, said Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who explored the income gap in his 2012 book, “The Price of Inequality.” Depressed earnings lead to lower consumption, which stems job growth and keeps the risk of recession high, he said.
“We’re all in the same boat,” Stiglitz said. “If our economy doesn’t go well, the 1 percent will suffer.”

Fewer Stockholders

So far, the boat has been leaving some in its wake. Fewer Americans own individual stocks than before the recession began, so many have missed the chance for income from the market’s rebound. About 11.7 percent of middle-income families owned stock in 2010, down from 14 percent in 2007, according to the Federal Reserve. Almost half of the wealthiest 10 percent of American families owned stock in 2007 and 2010, the Fed says.
At the same time, at least 176 companies lit a “sleeping time bomb” of stock-market wealth in 2009 by awarding “mega” grants of stock options to executives, said Paul Hodgson, chief research analyst at GMI Ratings, a New York corporate governance firm. A mega-grant confers 500,000 shares or more, according to GMI’s reports.
Seagate Technology Plc (STX) gave CEO Stephen Luczo options to buy 3.5 million shares of the computer disk drive maker in January 2009, when the price had plummeted to less than $4 from $20 about six months earlier. That same month, the company, which is run from Scotts Valley, California, and formally based in Dublin, said it would eliminate 2,950 jobs — or 6 percent of its workforce — and reduce salaries by as much as 25 percent.

Share Sales

The CEO’s salary was cut 25 percent — yet Luczo’s options could be exercised starting at $4.05, a price they exceeded within a week of the grant. The options began vesting in 2010 once “specified performance criteria” were met, according to corporate filings. This year, Seagate shares have had an average price of $27.13, and Luczo has sold more than $110 million worth, including some from the 2009 options grant, the disclosures say.
“Awarding stock option grants at record lows allows executives to profit handsomely from a market recovery with which they have nothing to do,” Hodgson said. “It divorces pay from performance even more spectacularly.”
Brian Ziel, a spokesman for Seagate, declined to comment.
The GMI report also cited Richard Fairbank, CEO of McLean, Virginia-based Capital One Financial Corp. (COF), who got options on 970,403 shares in January 2009. The company valued them at $4 million at the time; they would be worth more than $38 million now.

No Salary

Fairbank receives no cash bonus or salary and hasn’t yet exercised the options, said Capital One spokeswoman Julie Rakes. “Bottom line, Rich only gets paid if Capital One shareholders get paid,” she said.
Crandall, the former American Airlines CEO, said that while his blog isn’t a “burning success” — he’s heard from 50 readers — he feels compelled to write about income inequality, taxes and CEO pay. “I wake up every morning and read the newspapers and fly into a rage,” he said. Growing up in Rhode Island during the Great Depression and World War II, he felt a sense of collective effort that’s missing now, he said.
“The whole notion of responsibility kind of went away,” Crandall said. “If the boss is going to get a bonus, then everybody in the company ought to get a profit-sharing check.”

Caterpillar’s Contract

Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) made headlines this year for resisting wage demands at a plant in Joliet, Illinois, after reporting a record $1.7 billion in second-quarter profit. Machinist Kathy Keifer, 56, started there in 1994 after a friend in a geometry class at Joliet Junior College raved about the opportunities. She said she was trained in welding, machining and assembly, and by 2007, was making $25 an hour, enough to support a daughter as a single parent. After a career detour as a real estate agent, she said she returned in 2010 to a changed employer.
Joliet machinists, who make $14.74 to $25.88 an hour, in August accepted a six-year contract that provided no pay increase for those hired before May 2005. Workers hired later receive a one-time 3 percent pay raise or “market-based” increases, whichever is higher. Employees also got a $3,100 signing bonus.
Compensation for Caterpillar’s CEO, the 37-year company veteran Douglas Oberhelman, rose 60 percent to $16.9 million last year. Keifer said that over the next six years, the most she can expect is a 55-cent increase from $17.39 an hour.
“At $25, I was feeling pretty good, definitely middle class,” she said. “Now it’s like the bottom’s giving out.” As the strike depleted her savings, Keifer put off plans to buy a two-story frame house for $99,000 in Joliet.

Minimum Wage

“I don’t see what good it does our country if companies are hiring at minimum wage,” she said.
Caterpillar takes a “market-based approach” for all employees, and comparing a production worker’s pay to the CEO’s isn’t valid, said Rusty Dunn, a spokesman for the Peoria, Illinois-based company. The contract is fair and necessary to keep the company competitive globally, he said.
“It is not in anyone’s best interests to have the type of labor agreement suited to something you would see years ago,” he said.
Keifer’s postponed home purchase helps explain one factor limiting job growth: Americans don’t have the income to spend as much as they used to. Although U.S. consumer spending climbed to its highest level in four years in August, according to Gallup surveys, it still lags 2008 levels by more than 20 percent. Most of the spending came from higher-income households.

Borrowing Trouble

Easy credit in the last decade propped up consumer spending, masking long-term forces that had been pummeling workers — among them global competition, increased automation and falling educational attainment, said University of Chicago finance professor Raghuram Rajan. His 2010 book, “Fault Lines,” argued that the financial crisis was caused in part by excessive borrowing to make up for falling incomes.
“Now that people can’t borrow, they look at their paycheck and say, ‘What happened?”’ said Rajan, a former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund who was named top adviser to India’s Finance Ministry in August.
From 1979 to 2007, about $1.1 trillion in annual income shifted to the top 1 percent of Americans — more than the entire earnings of the bottom 40 percent, according to Alan Krueger, chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and an economics professor at Princeton University. If income were distributed as it was in 1979, there might be $440 billion in additional spending each year — a 5 percent boost to consumption, he said in January.

Cut Unemployment

Such a boost might lower the unemployment rate to 7 percent by the end of next year from her forecast of 7.8 percent, economist Swonk said. “It means a lot” because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy, she said.
About $350 billion more is lost because savers get low rates on deposits and low-risk government securities — an effect of the near-zero lending rates promoted by the Federal Reserve since 2008, said Todd Petzel, chief investment officer at Offit Capital Advisors LLC in New York. He calculated the amount by comparing current rates of less than 0.5 percent with the historic 3 percent yield on $14 trillion of U.S. debt.
The U.S. central bank’s Sept. 13 statement that it would hold interest rates near zero through at least mid-2015 while purchasing $40 billion of mortgage debt each month until the labor market improves significantly sent stocks to their highest since 2007. That doesn’t help everyday savers who are more comfortable with fixed-income investments, Petzel said.
“It’s going to be a headwind for the middle class for a long time,” he said.

Low Rates

Nibbling on buttered bread next to his walker at Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community in Tacoma, Washington, Ray Morrison, 91, said he got so fed up with low interest rates that he invested in annuities that turned out to be a scam. Now he’s less confident that Social Security and his pension from Boeing Co., where he was a machinist, will last.
“Right now, but who knows?” he said. “You step into a doctor’s office and you’ve got a flat pocketbook.”
“Health Care, Not Wealth Care,” read a banner that 20 protesters unfurled next to a temporary shack on frozen Lake Minnetonka in January. The group has hiked across the lake each winter since 2009 to get within shouting distance of Stephen Hemsley’s 7,800 square-foot home, which is assessed at $7.9 million. Their protest — aimed at Hemsley’s stock options — hasn’t drawn much attention. One neighbor told group members they should be more polite, organizer Joel Albers said.

Two-Tiered Society

“People should be furious,” said Albers, a pharmacist and health economist, citing a Census Bureau estimate that 80,000 children in his state had no health insurance in 2011. “It’s another example of a two-tiered society.”
Hemsley owed his options to grants made from 1999 to 2002, when he was president of UnitedHealth, which is the largest U.S. health insurer and serves 78 million people worldwide.
A 1974 graduate in accounting from Fordham University, Hemsley was chief financial officer of Arthur Andersen LLP before joining UnitedHealth in 1997. He still has the quiet, analytical manner of an accountant in contrast to his more outspoken predecessor William McGuire, said David Durenberger, a former U.S. senator from Minnesota and a senior health policy fellow at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. The former senator once ran into the CEO, with his family, on a Christmas Day flight. They were in coach, Durenberger said.
“Every other corporate type in America that makes anything over a couple million bucks a year thinks they’re worth a private jet,” he said.

Backdated Options

Hemsley replaced McGuire in 2006, after a scandal over backdated stock options. More than 100 companies including UnitedHealth had to restate results over the practice of picking grant dates in hindsight to make them more favorable to executives. McGuire agreed to return $600 million in cash and options. Hemsley — who wasn’t involved in any impropriety, the company says — agreed to raise the exercise price of options he’d received through 2002 to the highest share price of each year.
In 2009, he exercised options on almost 4.9 million shares dating to the 1999 grant. The exercise price was $8.72 and the market price was $28.94, yielding a gain of $98.6 million. In 2010 and 2011, his gains on exercised options totaled more than $70 million, according to corporate filings.

‘Impressive Performance’

Hemsley has retained a “significant portion” of the shares he acquired through options exercises and holds stock equal to 118 times his base salary, which “fosters a long-term outlook” and aligns his interests with shareholders’, said UnitedHealth spokesman Tyler Mason.
His gains reflect growth in UnitedHealth’s business since 1999 as well as Hemsley’s success in “leading the company to an impressive performance through difficult economic and political environments in 2010,” he said.
UnitedHealth has had “ongoing public discussion about the issues the protesters were voicing” at Lake Minnetonka and is “working to implement the many changes needed to improve access to health care,” Mason said. Hemsley declined to be interviewed.
Wage-earner Reyes, the youngest of eight siblings of Ojibwe native American descent, bought her 700-square-foot Craftsman house not far from Minnehaha Falls in 1995 for $52,900. “It’s only as big as a checkerboard square, but I like it,” she said.

Winged Heart

A cedar bush that fit in her palm when she planted it is 20 feet high now. At 52, and 5 feet tall, Reyes walks with a brisk swagger. She wears sleeveless shirts that show off a tattoo of a heart with wings on her right arm. After two decades of dealing blackjack, Mississippi stud and Ultimate Texas Hold ’em, she makes $14 to $17 an hour, mostly from tips. (One thing she said she’s learned: It’s better to work the low-stakes tables because rich people don’t tip as well.)
As her income from the Grand Casino Mille Lacs in Onamia, Minnesota, dropped in 2009, she sometimes camped overnight in her GMC Safari van in the casino’s parking lot to save on gas. She suspected salt in her canned-soup dinners was aggravating her diabetes. Last year, after her hours were cut, Reyes said she developed vertigo that made her so dizzy it was dangerous to drive. A doctor told her the diabetes wasn’t under control and she had to take time off work, she said. Reyes fell behind on her mortgage.
When the bank foreclosed, she said she started packing, even though her symptoms had improved and she’d found a job at a different casino.

Petition Drive

A friend connected her with Occupy activists. The group helped her negotiate with the bank, promoted a petition that accumulated more than 100,000 signatures on Change.org and got neighbors involved. Several put up “Stop Foreclosures” yard signs. Another reads, “We Are the 99%.” Two dozen neighbors and activists walked with Reyes to the bank in August to hand over the stack of petitions.
“We’re all one payment away from losing our house,” said neighbor Julie Johnson, sitting in Reyes’ cramped dining room.
The community also banded together for a different reason, to get the police to investigate a house where drug dealing was becoming common, Johnson said.
On a sunny August day in Wayzata 20 miles away, BMWs and other luxury cars prowled for parking on the main street as speedboats tied up on the lake. The CEO of Target Corp., heirs of the Dayton’s department store chain and McGuire, who’s bought several plots, all live around the lake.

Dog-Friendly Sushi

“Bone Adventure,” a pet store, has had 10 percent sales growth so far this year thanks to strong demand for such services as $130 hand-strip grooming for wire-haired dogs, said manager Anna Geisler. Periodic “Sushi With Your Poochie” dinners, with an $18 admission fee, have featured hand-rolled dog-friendly maki sushi and “Tail-Waggin’ Mojitos.”
Down the street, Minnetonka Travel, which offers one-on-one vacation planning, boosted sales 20 percent last year — and 2012 is going well: Three local couples recently paid $100,000 apiece for 60-day European cruises, said travel consultant Jennifer Yokiel.
“Someday, right?” Yokiel said with a smile.
Reyes, who rejected an offer from the bank to lease the home she used to own for $600 a month, got an eviction notice in the mail last week. She jumps when a car door slams, she said, fearing it’s a sheriff.
To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Robison in Seattle at robison@bloomberg.net.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gary Putka at gputka@bloomberg.net
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Fundamentally speaking, most of the problems in this world is caused by an imperfect market, as long as you are able to identify it, you need solutions to solve everything, no use solving one part while the others cause havoc to the economy, so I am going to do just that, solve everything that will bring everything towards a perfect market, and now everyone knows of my plans, I have spent a lifetime to resolve everything, to bring perfection to markets, so in future there will not be any money problems again, to move to a higher standards of a perfect society.
– Contributed by Oogle.

Ecommerce and Payment to shine with Mobile, Internet and Credit Payments

KPCB Internet Trends 2012http://www.scribd.com/embeds/95259089/content?start_page=1&view_mode=list

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, California – Silicon Valley stars on Wednesday argued that the mobile-focused Internet startups will shine despite the dim stock market debut by leading social network Facebook.
Facebook, which ended the trading day almost $10 below its Nasdaq debut price of US$38 (S$47) a share, has sparked worry that technology startups are overprice in risky scenario reminiscent of the dot-com bubble burst some 12 years ago.
However, high-profile entrepreneurs and investors taking part in the prestigious annual All Things Digital conference in the Southern California town of Rancho Palos Verdes proved cautiously optimistic.
The leaders of career-oriented online social network LinkedIn, which has seen its stock price double since its initial public offering (IPO) a year ago, in particular stressed that the success of failure of a startup’s stock market debut means little to the viability of an enterprise.“A lot of people can remember what the weather was like on their wedding day, but I don’t think it has a lot of bearing on the success or health of the marriage,” LinkedIn chief executive Jeff Weiner said during an on-stage chat.
LinkedIn executive chairman Reid Hoffman, an early investor in Facebook who sold some of his stake in the company when it went public, said that he seldom checks his own firm’s stock price preferring to focus on building the business.
The fonder of social games powerhouse Zynga, which has seen its young stock price move in tune with Wall Street concerns about Facebook, was adamant that Internet companies today are different from those in the late 1990s.
“I think that the crop of companies that recently went public is awesome companies that have real revenues and profits; real products and services,” said founding Zynga chief executive Mark Pincus.
“I’m optimistic about those companies and not really trying to figure out whether the market values them right.”
Pincus also invested early in Facebook. His stake in the social networking giant reportedly amounted to about 5.3 million shares when it went public on May 18.
When asked about Facebook, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Mary Meeker noted that Facebook was hit with a “tsunami” when it went public on the Nasdaq exchange.
The renowned Silicon Valley venture capital firm bought into Facebook last year, spending millions of dollars on share claims sold by employees or early investor.
The number of transactions involving stock trading under the symbol “FB” on the opening day was about equal to the average daily total on the New York Stock Exchange, according to Meeker.
“I sympathize,” she said, “but it’s a great company that will work well over time.”
Meeker pointed out that Facebook’s stock, which slipped to $28.17 a share in aftermarket trading Wednesday, was still in the IPO price range of $28 to $35 proposed in early May.
She contended that the normal cycle for high-tech company stock is “hype – disappointment – realism – growth.”
Even more encouraging, she was convinced of the financial promise of the mobile Internet, currently considered the main weakness of Facebook.
“Monetization for the desktop (computer) took 10 to 15 years; I think (monetizing the mobile Internet) will go at least twice as fast,” Meeker said.
“We think that the mobile monetization level in the US could surpass desktop in one to three years.”
In New York, James Gorman, head of Morgan Stanley which handled the Facebook IPO, agreed the debut was “disappointing” and laid some of the blame on Nasdaq system trading problems which caused “confusion and bewilderment unprecedented, resulting in a difficult start.”
He called for Facebook to be judged by the value of the stock not now, but within a year.
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Everything related to ecommerce and payments will double each year, increasing 300% total for an average 3 years, fueling the global recovery, where companies like Visa, Paypal, Alibaba will face rapid growth, in an industry where more and more banks will automate all their processes to create shareholder value by increasing the use of specialised ATMs, self operated machines in many sectors like airlines, banking, computers & IT, even specialised vending machines.
Make me irritated I will buyout VISA and issue my own credit card! I will use VISA to borrow at less than 2% and charge 18% interest, creating enormous credit to anyone who can afford to pay the interest, use insurance to cover the risks, and set up the highest form of security where it is impossible to impersonate the owner, and creating a pool of connected customers that the world will envy. I can easily create processes to minimise default risks so that my best customers will get the highest amount of credit where it is even possible to buy a mansion or a ferrari with my branding, where there is no risk of credit card fraud. I will setup a system of “earned credit” where it is only possible to get only 6 mths your salary but will gradually increased based on credit bureau information with processes to make downpayment to create enormous credit where I do not depend on bank loans to finance my operations because I myself is a money making machine, nobody will come close and nobody can duplicate my capabilities. As long as there is a nuclear warhead remaining in this world, there will never be peace. US will collapse under Obama’s next term if it’s debt issue is not resolved. If I want, I can easily wipe away the entire US debt if they give up nuclear weapons. I know everything in this world and I am sent to provide the world a lifeline, play around with me and everyone in the world will suffer, and there will be money problems, food problems, diseases and disasters, because you have offended God.
– Contributed by Oogle.

Just abandon SMRT Thomson Line to build elsewhere

SMRT Drivers: We are frustrated over NTUC’s incompetency

It is the job of the unions to help the poor employees. But, in Singapore, our unions are turned on their head and they are remarkably unique – they side the employers and in this case, they have caved in to the demands of the corporation, leaving the local Singaporean drivers in despair. The drivers are left with only one option – seeking legal redress over the National Trade Union Congress’s (NTUC) inability to negotiate a favourable deal, loss of income and for the “lack of consideration made to a crucial aspect to the new terms of employment.”

On Friday 28th September, responding to a query from The Online Citizen, the NTUC announced that they have negotiated for the reinstatement of the five day workweek (without the pay adjustment) which will only come into effect in January 2013. Drivers can opt to revert back to the old scheme starting this month. One SMRT driver, however, has reacted negatively to this:

Quote:
SMRT also denied the driver’s annual increment, so a win situation for SMRT, all the things that the drivers did like writing to newspaper and labour minister [have been in vain]. ~ SMRT Driver.

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SMRT if were to go ahead with Thomson MRT line, S$18 billion will go down the drain with risks of insurance claims from damages drilling underground an area with lots of complications, where it is not possible to recover the investment ROI, that is the stupid reason why they are cutting costs by cutting salary first, which is a stupid move, just change the budget to build at a different location with a feasibility study with drones and gps for site survey in the air. I am sure it is not necessary to cut salary if SMRT makes the right moves. Most likely SMRT need to work with HDB for the planning of new towns together with SLA and URA.
– Contributed by Oogle.