Friday, May 31, 2013

B.C. rejects Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal

B.C. rejects Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal

Wal-Mart guilty of hazardous waste dumping

This is a selfmade image from the english wiki...
This is a selfmade image from the english wikipedia. The photographer has uploaded it as GFDL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Wal-Mart Stores Inc on Tuesday said it would pay nearly $81.63 million to the federal government as it pleaded guilty to charges that it improperly discarded hazardous waste such as bleach and fertilizer years ago.
The U.S. Department of Justice said that in cases filed by federal prosecutors in California, Wal-Mart pleaded guilty to six counts of violating the Clean Water Act by illegally handling and disposing of hazardous materials at U.S. stores.
The world's largest retailer also pleaded guilty in Kansas City, Missouri to violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by failing to properly handle pesticides that had been returned by customers, the Justice Department said in a statement.
Wal-Mart said its plea agreements with the U.S. Attorneys' Offices in the Northern and Central Districts of California, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri and an administrative resolution signed with the Environmental Protection Agency bring an end to compliance issues that took place years ago.
Wal-Mart previously agreed in 2010 to pay $27.6 million to the state of California to settle a related lawsuit and agreed in 2012 to pay more than $1.25 million to the state of Missouri.
The issues involve prior practices such as throwing out lawn products such as fertilizer and pesticides in the trash rather than through a certified hauler.

In one instance, according to an earlier court filing, investigators in April 2002 observed "piles of multicolored unknown fertilizer type substances and torn sacks of ammonium sulfate" at one of the company's stores in California, after learning a child had been playing on a pile of "yellowish colored powder" near the store's garden department.
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Liberty Reserve money-transfer shut down

English: liberty reserve logo
English: liberty reserve logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
U.S. law enforcement shut down online money-transfer service Liberty Reserve and arrested its two founders and three other employees on charges that they operated the service primarily to serve criminals' need to launder money, according to a statement issued May 28 by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
The five defendants, arrested May 24, in Spain, Costa Rica and Brooklyn, N.Y., are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of the operation of an unlicensed money-transmitting business, each which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Two remaining defendants are at large in Costa Rica, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York.
Liberty Reserve allegedly had at least 1 million customers worldwide and processed more than $6 billion in transfers. Approximately 55 million transactions were processed, transferring what were thought to be the proceeds of credit-card fraud, identity theft, investment fraud, computer hacking, child pornography and narcotics trafficking, according to the statement.
"As alleged, the only liberty that Liberty Reserve gave many of its users was the freedom to commit crimes—the coin of its realm was anonymity, and it became a popular hub for fraudsters, hackers and traffickers," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in the statement. "The global enforcement action we announce today is an important step toward reining in the 'Wild West' of illicit Internet banking."
Liberty Reserve did not check the identities of their customers, allowing them to have anonymity and required that users transfer money into the Liberty Reserve system through third party exchangers, further muddying the trail of any suspicious transactions. For that reason, the Treasury Department and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) classified Liberty Reserve on May 28 as a "primary money laundering concern" under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act.
The investigation into Liberty Reserve and the resulting shutdown of the service involved law enforcement agencies in 17 different countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

German brewers warn about fracking

A Kranz (wreath) of Kölsch beer.
A Kranz (wreath) of Kölsch beer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
German brewers have warned Chancellor Angela Merkel's government that any law allowing the controversial drilling technique known as fracking could damage the country's cherished beer industry.
The Brauer-Bund beer association is worried that fracking for shale gas, which involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure into the ground, could pollute water used for brewing and break a 500-year-old industry rule on water purity.
Germany, home to Munich's annual Oktoberfest - the world's biggest folk festival which attracts around 7 million visitors - has a proud tradition of brewing and beer drinking.
Under the "Reinheitsgebot", or German purity law, brewers have to produce beer using only malt, hops, yeast and water.
"The water has to be pure and more than half Germany's brewers have their own wells which are situated outside areas that could be protected under the government's current planned legislation on fracking," said a Brauer-Bund spokesman.
"You cannot be sure that the water won't be polluted by chemicals so we have urged the government to carry out more research before it goes ahead with a fracking law," he added.
Germany is Europe's biggest producer of beer and has the third-largest per-capita consumption after the Czech Republic and Austria.
It is home to more than 1,300 breweries which produce about 5,000 different beers, enough for a drinker to try a new beer for 13.5 years, according to the Brauer-Bund.

With pressure mounting from German industry to at least look into the option of tapping its shale gas reserves, Merkel's center-right coalition is working on a law setting out the conditions for exploration that would protect certain areas.
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Tesla pays off loan

In 2012, it was called a “loser” company by Mitt Romney, but now electric carmaker Tesla has paid off its loan to the U.S. Department of Energy, nine years early.
On Wednesday, Tesla wired $451.8 million dollars to the government to completely pay off the loan with interest.
“When you’re talking about cutting-edge clean energy technologies, not every investment will succeed - but today’s repayment is the latest indication that the Energy Department’s portfolio of more than 30 loans is delivering big results for the American economy while costing far less than anticipated,” U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement.
Tesla received the loan in 2009 when the outlook for the automotive industry — let alone a startup less than a decade old — was bleak and finding financing for an auto company was a challenge. Tesla used the money to reopen a manufacturing plant in Fremont, California.
And the risk has paid off. The Tesla Model S was named Consumer Report’s top-scoring car and, more importantly, the company recently announced its first profitable quarter.
While there are critics of the $34 billion loan program that allowed Tesla and other green energy companies to receive a boost during the recession, the DOE says it’s been wildly successful.
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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Microsoft Xbox One

Image representing Xbox as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
Microsoft's follow-up to its successful Xbox 360 console is officially called Xbox One.
Xbox head Don Mattrick took to the stage on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wash., May 21 "to unveil the ultimate, all-in-one home entertainment system." On display was a black, sharp-edged console, revamped controller and an upgraded Kinect sensor that constitute the new Xbox One. Anchoring the Xbox experience is a new, personalized home screen that unifies gaming, TV, music and movies for users.
As expected, the included Kinect motion sensor will play an integral role in operating the Xbox One., Xbox Senior Vice President Yusuf Mehdi demonstrated how the new Xbox detects a user and delivers a personalized home screen based on the person's identity, games and favorites. He showed how voice commands and new hand gestures, all of which were detected by the Kinect, made switching between modes "as fast as switching channels on your TV remote."
By uttering "Xbox, watch TV," the system switched instantly to the TV viewing mode. The instant switching capability extends to practically every activity, including switching between games, movies and music. A new Windows-like snap mode allows users to multitask. Mehdi showed off the new functionality by "snapping" Internet Explorer alongside movie playback of the Star Trek (2009) film.
Xbox One will also offer deep Skype integration. Not only will the feature enable widescreen HD video calls, the Xbox One will have the distinction of enabling group video calls from the living room, Mehdi said.
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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Apple has avoided billions in taxes

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
Even as Apple became the nation’s most profitable technology company, it avoided billions in taxes in the United States and around the world through a web of subsidiaries so complex it spanned continents and went beyond anything most experts had ever seen, Congressional investigators disclosed on Monday.      
 Timothy D. Cook, Apple's chief executive, is expected to come under sharp questioning at a Congressional hearing on Tuesday.                           
The investigation is expected to set up a potentially explosive confrontation between a bipartisan group of lawmakers and Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, at a public hearing on Tuesday.       
Congressional investigators found that some of Apple’s subsidiaries had no employees and were largely run by top officials from the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. But by officially locating them in places like Ireland, Apple was able to, in effect, make them stateless — exempt from taxes, record-keeping laws and the need for the subsidiaries to even file tax returns anywhere in the world.       
“Apple wasn’t satisfied with shifting its profits to a low-tax offshore tax haven,” said Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that is holding the public hearing Tuesday into Apple’s use of tax havens. “Apple successfully sought the holy grail of tax avoidance. It has created offshore entities holding tens of billions of dollars while claiming to be tax resident nowhere.”       
Thanks to what lawmakers called “gimmicks” and “schemes,” Apple was able to largely sidestep taxes on tens of billions of dollars it earned outside the United States in recent years. Last year, international operations accounted for 61 percent of Apple’s total revenue.       
Investigators have not accused Apple of breaking any laws and the company is hardly the only American multinational to face scrutiny for using complex corporate structures and tax havens to sidestep taxes. In recent months, revelations from European authorities about the tax avoidance strategies used by Google, Starbucks and Amazon have all stirred public anger and spurred several European governments, as well as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Paris-based research organization for the world’s richest countries, to discuss measures to close the loopholes.       
Still, the findings about Apple were remarkable both for the enormous amount of money involved and the audaciousness of the company’s assertion that its subsidiaries are beyond the reach of any taxing authority.       
“There is a technical term economists like to use for behavior like this,” said Edward Kleinbard, a law professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and a former staff director at the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. “Unbelievable chutzpah.”       
While Apple’s strategy is unusual in its scope and effectiveness, it underscores how riddled with loopholes the American corporate tax code has become, critics say. At the same time, it shows how difficult it will be for Washington to overhaul the tax system.
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Friday, May 24, 2013

drink-driving laws destroy the restaurant industry?

Could new drink-driving laws destroy the restaurant industry?
Under new proposals outlined by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, drivers returning from wining and dining could be pulled over. The board wants to impose harsher restrictions for anyone consuming alcohol and then driving, and so have suggested that blood alcohol content above 0.05 when driving becomes illegal.
Currently, the limit is 0.08. In drinking terms, this could mean that for some people, having a single glass of wine will set you over the limit — something that is beginning to panic restaurateurs.
Sarah Longwell, the managing director of the American Beverage Institute, said that the new legislation would have a “devastating impact” on the industry, and would take away “some of the magic, the ambiance of a night out.” Out of fear of being pulled over, it’s likely that social drinkers will forego the drink with dinner — not only impacting businesses and sales, but removing part of the fun of going out.
Restaurants, servers, suppliers and bartenders may take the hit — but as citizens look to enjoy a drink with their meal, it could mean that retail sales will go up as people stay at home and cook.
The new proposal is based on research which shows driving impairment begins with one drink, and after consuming any alcohol, the risk of being involved in a crash is “significantly greater.” However, when you take into account that 70 percent of drunk-driver incidents are caused by those with a blood alcohol level of 0.15 or higher — according to the American Beverage Institute — this blanket ban may not be the answer to lowering the annual 10,000 fatality rate caused by drink drivers.
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

U.S. authorities to settle with tax evaders in Switzerland

Switzerland is on the brink of a deal to settle a long-running dispute with U.S. authorities over Swiss banks accused of helping wealthy Americans evade billions of dollars of tax, the finance minister said on Saturday.
"We hope that we will shortly be at the finishing line," Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf told Swiss radio in an interview. "The banks won't get it for nothing."
Widmer-Schlumpf declined to say how high fines might be, but added: "It is clear that it will not be a pleasant solution."
Bank secrecy, which has helped Switzerland become the world's largest offshore center with $2 trillion in assets, has come under fire since the financial crisis, as cash-strapped governments seek to clamp down on tax evasion.
The Swiss government has been in protracted talks to end U.S. investigations into Swiss banks, including Credit Suisse and Julius Baer, in return for expected heavy fines and a transfer of client names.
Bern said last month it was considering a possible solution to the U.S. probes, but declined to give further details as negotiations were still continuing.
A source familiar with the talks has told Reuters the two sides had agreed an outline for a deal that would divide more than 300 Swiss banks according to the extent they had helped U.S. clients hide money, to determine how they are dealt with.
Under the outline deal, banks already under investigation would settle with individual deferred prosecution agreements, the source said. Credit Suisse has already made a 295 million Swiss franc ($303 million) provision towards a settlement.
A second group of banks which had U.S. clients but have not yet been targeted by investigators would have to agree to pay fines and hand over data on their customers, the source said.
The country's biggest bank UBS was forced in 2009 to pay a fine of $780 million and hand over the names of more than 4,000 clients, delivering the U.S. authorities information that allowed them to then pursue other Swiss banks.
Switzerland's oldest private bank, Wegelin & Co, said in January it was closing down after pleading guilty to helping Americans evade taxes, paying a fine of nearly $58 million.
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

European Commission raided the offices of Shell, BP

English: Platts logo
English: Platts logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Platts logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of the world's biggest oil companies may have a new mess on their hands.

The European Commission raided the offices of Shell, BP and Norway's Statoil this week as part of an investigation into suspected attempts to manipulate global oil prices spanning more than a decade.
None of the companies have been accused of wrongdoing, but the controversy has brought back memories of the Libor rate-rigging scandal that rocked the financial world last year.
UBS (UBS), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Barclays (BCS) have already reached settlements with regulators in the U.S. and U.K. over Libor-rigging, paying over $2.5 billion in fines after admitting to attempts to manipulate interest rates to appear more credit-worthy and to benefit trading positions. Roughly a dozen other global banks remain under scrutiny over rate-rigging, and three people have been arrested so far.
Reams of email and instant-message transcripts disclosed in the settlements so far reveal how the banks' scheme worked, and experts have since warned that influential pricing data from publishers serving the oil market could be similarly vulnerable to manipulation.
A review ordered by the British government last year in the wake of the Libor revelations cited "clear" parallels between the work of the oil-price-reporting agencies and Libor.
Libor-setting is overseen by the British Bankers Association, an industry trade group, though U.K. law was changed last month to allow financial regulators to supervise the process.
Oil-price benchmarks are set by independent "price-reporting agencies," the most influential of which is Platts, a division of McGraw-Hill (MHFI). Platts' data is used help set prices for billions of dollars' worth of physical oil and derivatives contracts.
As the Libor scandal gathered force last year, Platts and its fellow price-reporting agencies, Argus and ICIS, issued a joint statement emphasizing what they called the "fundamental differences" between their "reliable and robust" methods and those used in calculating Libor. Some observers, however, say the processes are similarly vulnerable.
There are also concerns about the fact that reporting to Platts is done by traders voluntarily. In a report issued in October, the International Organization of Securities Commissions -- an association of regulators -- said the ability "to selectively report data on a voluntary basis creates an opportunity for manipulating the commodity market data" submitted to Platts and its competitors.
Responding to questions from IOSCO last year, French oil giant Total said the price-reporting agencies, or PRAs, sometimes "do not assure an accurate representation of the market and consequently deform the real price levels paid at every level of the price chain, including by the consumer." But Total called Platts and its competitors "generally... conscientious and professional."
"While there is the risk of market actors voluntarily submitting false data to the PRA assessment process, most PRAs have effective processes to verify submissions and generally avoid this problem," Total said.
Platts describes its methods as "structured" and "highly transparent," saying the submissions it collects must reflect verifiable transactions or executable bids and offers. The agency vets submitters and restricts them from altering their bids and offers beyond defined increments to mitigate against sudden price swings.
Platts declined to comment in detail on the European Commission investigation, saying only that investigators visited its office in London on Tuesday and that it is "cooperating fully" with the probe.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

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Monday, May 20, 2013

billion dollar profits from student loans


Federal Reserve Bank of NY, 33 Liberty Street
Federal Reserve Bank of NY, 33 Liberty Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Obama administration is forecast to turn a record $51 billion profit this year from student loan borrowers, a sum greater than the earnings of the nation's most profitable companies and roughly equal to the combined net income of the four largest U.S. banks by assets.
Figures made public Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office show that the nonpartisan agency increased its 2013 fiscal year profit forecast for the Department of Education by 43 percent to $50.6 billion from its February estimate of $35.5 billion.
Exxon Mobil Corp., the nation's most profitable company, reported $44.9 billion in net income last year. Apple Inc. recorded a $41.7 billion profit in its 2012 fiscal year, which ended in September, while Chevron Corp. reported $26.2 billion in earnings last year. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo reported a combined $51.9 billion in profit last year.
The estimated increase in the Education Department's earnings from student borrowers and their families may cause a political firestorm in Washington, where members of Congress and Obama administration officials thus far have appeared content to allow students to line government coffers.
The Education Department has generated nearly $120 billion in profit off student borrowers over the last five fiscal years, budget documents show, thanks to record relative interest rates on loans as well as the agency's aggressive efforts to collect defaulted debt. A spokesman from the Education Department did not respond to a request for comment. A Congressional Budget Office spokesman could not be reached for comment after normal business hours.
The new profit prediction comes as Washington policymakers increasingly focus on soaring student debt levels and the record relative interest rates that borrowers pay as a potential impediment to economic growth. Regulators and officials at agencies that include the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Reserve Bank of New York have all warned that student borrowing may dampen consumption, depress the economy, limit credit creation or pose a threat to financial stability.
At $1.1 trillion, student debt eclipses all other forms of household debt, except for home mortgages. It's also the only kind of consumer debt that has increased since the onset of the financial crisis, according to the New York Fed. Officials in Washington are worried that overly indebted student borrowers are unable to save enough to purchase a home, take out loans for new cars, start a business or save enough for their retirement.
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Sunday, May 19, 2013

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Free WiFi for FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup 2014 logo.
FIFA World Cup 2014 logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When Brazil was selected to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup, many Brazilians hoped the event would jump-start many needed infrastructure improvements - especially things like airport capacity and traffic congestion. While in most cases any upgrades in those areas have fallen short of expectations, the World Cup may still provide at least one tangible improvement to residents of São Paulo, the country’s biggest city.
With next year’s World Cup in mind, the city mayor’s office published a list this week of 120 public spaces, including parks, squares, and public transit stations, where it plans to install free WiFi access.
According to Prodam, the IT and telecoms company run by the city of São Paulo, the hotspots would cover 6.7 million square meters (more than 4,000 square miles) and would allow 24,200 simultaneous users. The WiFi will have to be available 24 hours a day, with a minimum speed of 512 kbps per user for downloads and uploads. Moreover, the connection must be sufficient to ensure access to streaming video and VoIP telephone services. Companies will now have to bid for the contracts to implement the service.
If things proceed according to schedule, the city government hopes to conclude bidding for the project by July, and intends to start the WiFi installation by October. The mayor’s office plans to spend R$45 million ($22 million) over the initial 36-month contract.
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Friday, May 17, 2013

Gibraltar is inside the EU but outside the EU Customs Area

There has been much discussion on forums and social media about the possibilities of using Temporary Importation License as a tax efficient way of owning a vessel.

Gibraltar is inside the EU but outside the EU Customs Area
Temporary Admission (or Temporary Importation) is a mechanism that enables non European Union (EU) resident yacht owners to bring their vessels into European waters for a limited time and under certain conditions without having to pay VAT on their yachts.
The mechanism has been designed to allow visiting vessels to cruise in EU waters unmolested for an extended period without becoming obliged to be VAT-paid under EU regulations.
However, an EU national can establish residence outside the EU VAT Zone (e.g. Gibraltar) and therefore avail themselves of the Temporary Importation laws.
Anecdoctal evidence and contributors to forums such as cruisingworld would suggest that a short trip across the water to Morocco for a night could be sufficient evidence of exiting the VAT zone (although many also note that it is good to get marina berth receipts or fuel receipts to evidence as simply floating into international waters is not sufficient!).

Temporary Importation License for yachts in the EU

Criteria for Temporary Admission

  • The yacht must be owned by a natural person (i.e. an individual) or a legal person (i.e. a company) who is established (i.e. resident) outside the VAT territory of the EU.
  • The yacht must be used privately, i.e. no charter

Time Allowed for Temporary Admission

The yacht can only be used within the EU for a maximum of 18 months after its first arrival. Under certain conditions this time frame can be extended to a maximum of 24 months.

Restricted Actions under Temporary Admission

The sale of a yacht whilst lying within the EU under Temporary Admission would breach the conditions of the relief.
The key stages of an example non-EU structure are as follows:
  • Incorporation of a yacht owning company in a location outside the EU VAT zone such as Gibraltar or the BVI.
  • This company contracts for the build or purchase of the yacht which will be registered in the name of the company at the owner’s preferred offshore port of registry, (for example the Gibraltar, Cayman Islands, BVI).
  • The yacht is delivered to the company outside the VAT Territory of the EU.
  • The yacht will enter the EU and begin its Temporary Admission period.

Where can you find the legal texts?

The legal provisions on temporary importation are found in: • Articles 137 to 144 of the Customs Code (Council Regulation (EEC) N° 2913/92 of 12 October 1992 establishing the Community Customs) • Articles 553 to 562 of the implementing provisions of the Customs Code. (Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93 of 2 July 1993)
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Small Business Optimism

A gauge of confidence for small businesses rose in April to its highest in six months, a sign of resilience in an economy beset by Washington's austerity drive.
The National Federation of Independent Business said on Tuesday its Small Business Optimism Index rose 2.6 points to 92.1, the highest reading since October.
About half the gain was because businesses expect better business conditions over the next six months. Firms also were more optimistic about creating jobs and about sales.
Economic growth is being crimped this year by tax hikes enacted in January and federal budget cuts that started in March. Congress and President Barack Obama agreed to the measures in a bid to tame the federal budget deficit.

Offsetting some of austerity's bite, the U.S. Federal Reserve has kept interest rates exceptionally low, while falling gasoline prices have recently helped household finances.
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Asia continues to outpace the rest of the world

English: Fraz Wahlah receiving the Internation...
English: Fraz Wahlah receiving the International Asia Pacific Information & Communications Technology Award (APICTA), known as technology Oscar, in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Fraz Wahlah won the technology Oscar for the first time for Pakistan in the eHealth Category. Each year World's leading economies contest for APICTA including Australia, Malaysia, China, Korea, Thailand, Pakistan, Brunei , Taiwan, Singapore, etc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Asia continues to outpace the rest of the world in growth of healthcare spending.  With growing incomes, populations, and average age, the region's demand for healthcare services is huge, and so is the opportunity for medical suppliers and providers.  India has made expansion of primary care a policy priority and its spending is expected to rise by an average of 16.1% a year in US-dollar terms over the forecast period. China aims to create a system that provides "safe, effective, convenient and affordable" healthcare to rural and urban residents by 2020; its healthcare spending is expected to reach US$831.6 bn by 2016. Indonesia and the Philippines are also likely to see double-digit annual growth as they expand their health insurance systems, while Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore and South Korea will be around the 8% mark.  
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Dell buys Enstratius Software

Dell is building on its cloud computing strategy and larger enterprise IT solutions portfolio with the acquisition of Enstratius, whose software enables businesses to manage applications across a variety of private, public and hybrid clouds.
The Enstratius deal, announced May 6, complements a number of other acquisitions Dell has made over the past couple of years—including Gale Technologies and Quest Software—to build up its software and cloud computing capabilities. With Enstratius, Dell gains the ability to offer customers tools that will enable them to choose from a wide field of public and cloud providers, including Dell and competitors.
No financial details about the deal were announced. Dell officials said they intended to keep the employees from Enstratius, which was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Minneapolis. They also said Dell would invest in additional engineering and sales help to keep the business growing. A year ago, Enstratius changed its name from enStratus.
The deal comes at a time when businesses increasingly are embracing cloud computing, both with private clouds within their own firewall, public clouds or a combination of the two. A challenge is trying to manage all those environments with disparate tools, according to Dell officials. Dell is looking to ease those management issues.
"As enterprises increase their use of public, private and hybrid clouds, the need for controls, security, governance and automation becomes more critical," Tom Kendra, vice president and general manager for systems management at Dell Software, said in a statement. "Dell, together with Enstratius, is uniquely positioned to deliver differentiated, complete cloud-management solutions to enterprise customers, large and small, empowering them with the efficiency and flexibility in the allocation and use of resources."
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Sunday, May 12, 2013

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Hotmail moves Outlook.com.

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase
Last summer, Microsoft signaled that Hotmail's days were numbered when it previewed Outlook.com.

On July 31, 2012, the software maker unveiled a webmail service that adhered to the streamlined look and feel that has come to define the company's software and cloud-based services suite, including Windows 8 and Office 365. Sporting an uncluttered interface and social media integration, Outlook.com was positioned as an upgraded, next-generation version of Hotmail.

The transition is complete, according to Microsoft. Outlook.com Group Program Manager Dick Craddock announced the milestone in a May 2 company blog post.

"Today, we're excited to announce that we've completed upgrading all Hotmail customers to Outlook.com," Craddock wrote.


Moving data from the long-lived webmail service was a massive technical undertaking as well.
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Friday, May 10, 2013

Tesla a success?

English: Tesla Model S Prototype at the 2009 F...
English: Tesla Model S Prototype at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There can be no doubt that, at this point, Tesla is a success.  However, it still represents a failure for the federal government’s “green energy” loan program.  Simply put, the purpose of the DOE loans was to save the earth, and Tesla used them to produce toys to amuse the rich.
Now, there is nothing wrong with producing toys for the rich.  In fact, all technologically advanced consumer products started out as toys for the rich.  This was true for TVs, microwaves, personal computers and cell phones, and it was also true for the automobile itself.
The first modern automobile, Karl Benz’s “Motorwagen”, went on sale in 1886.  From then until the introduction of the Ford Model T in 1908, cars were just toys for the rich.
As it happens, the Tesla Model S is a fantastic toy for the rich, and the rich seem to love it.
In the first quarter of 2013, the $100,000 Tesla sold more units (4,750) than the $40,000 Chevy Volt (4,421) and the $30,000 Nissan Leaf (3,695).  It also out-sold every other $100,000 sedan in the U.S. market.  The Mercedes S Class came the closest, at 3,077 units.
Unlike Henrik Fisker, Elon Musk seems to understand that a toy for the rich has to be both really cool and sort of useful.  The Tesla Model S is both.
A rich guy will sit down in the driver’s seat of a Model S, look at the vivid, 17-inch touch-screen display, and say to himself, “Wow.  This is really cool.”  Then, when he learns that the car’s 265-mile range is plenty for any conceivable day of city driving, and that the Tesla will beat a $2.6 million, 1,200 horsepower Bugatti Veyron across an intersection, he starts writing the check.
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