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Friday, June 15, 2012

Rock risk forces shaping Yosemite Valley

One of the most popular tourist destinations in the national park system That’s Falling boulders are the single biggest force shaping Yosemite Valley. Now swaths of some popular haunts are closing for good after geologists confirmed that unsuspecting tourists and employees are being lodged in harm's way.

On Thursday, will leave some of the valley's most popular lodging areas permanently uninhabitable that’s the National Park Service will announce that potential danger from the unstable 3,000-foot-tall Glacier Point, a granite promontory that for decades has provided a dramatic backdrop to park events.

There are no absolutely safe areas in Yosemite Valley," said Greg Stock, the park's first staff geologist and the primary author of a new study that assesses the potential risk to people from falling rocks in the steep-sided valley. The highest risk area is family friendly Curry Village, which was hit by a major rock fall several years ago.
Including the popular climbing wall El Capitan, where the danger posed by the rock falls is high but risk of injury is low because they aren't continuously occupied. A newly delineated "hazard zone" also outlines other areas.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Obama: Economy, not gay marriage, will decide vote

President Barack Obama says it is "hard to say" whether his new stance supporting same sex marriage will hurt his re-election. He says there's a major difference between himself and Republican challenger Mitt Romney on the issue, but says the economy will ultimately determine the outcome of the election.

Obama made his remarks during a discussion on ABC's "The View," a daytime talk show. That interview will air later Tuesday, but ABC broadcast an excerpt on "Good Morning America."
He said churches should have the right to make their own determinations about marriage. But he said that as a matter of civil law, all Americans should be treated equally.
Obama became the first sitting president to support same-sex marriage last week. Before, he had said his views had been evolving.

Among Democrats hungering for inspiration from the man who instilled hope four years ago, you hear talk of newfound respect for a candidate they supported, before this, only halfheartedly. The word "courage" comes up again and again.
"I'm really proud of him," said Margie DeLong, a retired nurse in northern Lake County who plans now to volunteer for the Obama campaign, as she did in 2008.
The Rev. Courtney Jenkins found something else to celebrate in her Mother's Day sermon at Euclid Avenue Congregational Church. Jenkins preaches to a mostly black congregation in Cleveland, where high turnout among African-Americans will be one make-or-break factor for Obama in Ohio. She knows there are those who theologically disagree with his position; she heard as much from one colleague last week. Still, that person told her, "This is the president I've been waiting on. One who will stand up and say: This is what I believe."
Said Jenkins: "I think that's really what voters were looking for. He preached change. We've been waiting on change."
For some Republicans here, the gay marriage comments only reinforced long-held suspicions of, and opposition to, Obama. But more than that, this statement feels like another in-their-face reminder that the country is headed off-track in ways that have nothing to do with job numbers and debt statistics.
"This is the Bible Belt, and we still believe what the Bible says," said Harty Wallingford, a civil engineer in Ohio's Appalachian region. "They can change the Bible in the city, but we won't change it here. We're not like California. They've just gone crazy there."
Will this renewed debate go so far as to be a decider in the state that itself could determine the election? Probably not. Will it dominate the discussion as the campaign goes on? Not likely. This is a place, like much of America, far more concerned about jobs and foreclosures, but also matters such as student loan costs, collective bargaining rights and fair elections laws.
But has gay marriage entered into the dialogue here on the ground? Absolutely. And what we find in those conversations is what we may already know as Americans: That while our families, our pocketbooks and our communities may drive our choices come Election Day, our hearts — whether motivated or alienated — play a part as well.
Just listen to some of the many people talking now all across this bellwether state.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Malawi devalues kwacha currency by 50% after IMF calls

Malawi's central bank has devalued its currency, the kwacha, by 50% and scrapped its peg to the US dollar, in a bid to improve relations with donors.
The International Monetary Fund has long urged Malawi to cut the value of its currency, saying this would boost exports and reduce demand for imports.
However, ex-President Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in April, said devaluation would lead to inflation.
New President Joyce Banda is trying to persuade donors to restore aid.
One dollar is now worth 250 kwacha, up from 168.

 Joyce Banda has reversed several of her predecessor's policies

"The devaluation of the kwacha and the liberalisation of the foreign exchange market are expected to continue the government's efforts to reach agreement with the IMF," said Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor Charles Chuka, adding that this would hopefully lead to more donors funding in the next few months.
Economists say they do not expect the move to immediately lead to higher prices, as many businesses were expecting the move and were already using the new exchange rate.
In recent years, Malawi has run short of foreign currency after donors cut aid and demand fell for its main export, tobacco.
This led to a lack of fuel in the country.
Last week, President Banda said she did not want Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, accused of war crimes, to attend a summit in July.
She says she feared the "economic implications" if Mr Bashir attended the African Union meeting in the country.
This was another about-turn on the position of her predecessor.
She has also fired Mutharika's widow, Callista, from her job as coordinator for safe motherhood.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Facebook IPO (initial public offering) price range

Facebook has set an IPO price range between $28 and $35. Furthermore, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will personally be selling 30.2 million shares of his company.
Facebook today once again updated its filing for an initial public offering (IPO) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This is the fifth time it has done so, and the biggest update is that Facebook has set a price range of $28 to $35 per share. 

Let's hope Mark Zuckerberg has deep pockets in his hoodie.
The Facebook CEO plans to sell 30.2 million shares of his stake in the social network when it publicly offers its stock later this month. If the company's IPO prices at the top of its $28 to $35 per-share range, Zuckerberg would pocket a "cool" $1.1 billion.
Given the sale of some 337.4 million shares, this means the company could raise between $5.04 billion as much as $6.30 billion for itself, and between $4.41 billion and $5.51 for its investors. The company estimates it will likely net $5.6 billion from the offering if it achieves a mid-point price of $31.50 per share.

However, most of that cash will go straight to Uncle Sam and California. Zuckerberg plans to partially exercise a major stock options grant, and will use almost all of the cash he raises from his IPO sale to pay off the taxes on that maneuver.
It's the day techies and investors have been waiting for: Facebook set a price range of $28 to $35 per share for its initial public offering. It also upped the maximum size of its offering to $13.6 billion, up from its previous $5 billion estimate.

Facebook currently has around 2.1 billion shares outstanding, so if its IPO prices at the top of the range, the company would be valued at just shy of $75 billion.
Many Facebook employees and executives, including Zuckerberg, hold unexercised stock options. The company itself is also holding some shares for future employee equity grants. If all of those shares were exercised, Facebook's outstanding share count would rise to around 2.8 billion, pushing its valuation closer to $98 billion. 

Facebook's target price range isn't binding, and could change several times before Facebook actually makes its debut. The company will set its final price the night before it begins trading. That's expected to happen sometime in mid-May, with May 18 the current target date.
Institutional investors who purchase shares directly from Facebook's underwriters, including lead banker Morgan Stanley, will buy in at the IPO price. Regular investors will get their shot the next day, when Facebook begins trading on the tech-heavy Nasdaq exchange under the ticker "FB." 

The target range set on Thursday could be lowballing. Facebook said in a filing last month that it internally valued its shares at $30.89 each, as of January 31 -- up from $29.73 a month earlier.
Facebook's user base is growing. The site had 901 million monthly active users as of March 31, up 33% compared to the same date last year. User growth is fastest in Brazil, India, and the United States, Facebook said.
Zuck's windfall: Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg plans to sell 30.2 million shares in the IPO offering. If Facebook prices at the top of its range, that will net Zuckerberg about $1 billion -- cue the Sean Parker "you know what's cool?" jokes.
But Zuckerberg won't be hanging on to his cash. The company said he will use the "substantial majority" of the windfall to cover the whopping tax bill he'll be hit with, thanks to his plan to exercise a large stock-options grant that will substantially increase his ownership stake in the company he founded.
In 2011, Facebook CEO Zuckerberg pulled in a $500,000 base salary. But he requested -- and will receive -- only $1 per year in salary starting January 1, 2013.
Zuckerberg, who remains the largest shareholder in the company he created, still takes home a hefty pay package. His total compensation in 2011 came to $1.48 million, according to Facebook's calculations.
Facebook, Inc. is offering 180,000,000 shares of its Class A common stock and the selling stockholders are offering 157,415,352 shares of Class A common stock. We will not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares by the selling stockholders. This is our initial public offering and no public market currently exists for our shares of Class A common stock. We anticipate that the initial public offering price will be between $28.00 and $35.00 per share.
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will personally sell 30.2 million shares for the IPO. Despite this, he will still control the majority of the company: 57.3 percent of voting shares after the IPO.
But even after the tax man takes his bite, Zuckerberg will be a paper billionaire. His remaining 504 million shares will make him worth $17.6 billion if Facebook hits the top of its IPO range -- enough to make him one of the 50 richest people on the planet, by Forbes' calculation. Bloomberg has already give him a spot in its Billionaires Index.
It will be the Facebook CEO's biggest payday by far, though he has collected plenty of cash over the years. Last year, he made $483,000 in salary, took home a $220,500 bonus, and received additional perks like private jet travel valued at $783,000.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Facebook reveals revenue, profit slide ahead of IPO

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc reported its first quarter-to-quarter revenue slide in at least two years, a sign that the social network's sizzling growth may be cooling as it prepares to go public in the biggest ever Internet IPO.
The company blamed the first-quarter decline, which surprised some on Wall Street, on seasonal advertising trends.
"It was a faster slowdown than we would have guessed," said Brian Wieser, an analyst with Pivotal Research Group.

"No matter how you slice it, for a company that is perceived as growing so rapidly, to slow so much on whatever basis - sequentially or annually - it will be somewhat concerning to investors if faced with a lofty valuation," Wieser said.
Facebook is preparing to raise at least $5 billion in an initial public offering that could value the world's largest social network at up to $100 billion.
"The biggest issue is the realization that Facebook is not going to have an easy time meeting high expectations of the public market," said Jeff Sica, chief investment officer of SICA Wealth Management, which manages more than $1 billion in client assets, real estate and private equity holdings. "It will affect how people look at the IPO."

Investors are still likely to sign up in droves for the IPO; however, growth concerns may make some investors less likely to keep the stock over the long term, he added. CONTINUE . . . . .

'Hookergate' Streses Sex Worker Plight

Secret Service Scandal Moves Advocates to Call for Legal US Prostitution
If prostitution hadn't been legal in Colombia, the United States would most likely be focusing on Brad and Angelina's wedding rather than the antics of President Obama's security detail.

Never mind the use of taxpayer dollars, the potential threat to national security, the embarrassment brought to the U.S. government. In one regard, at least, "Hookergate" was a good thing, at least to sex workers in the United States: It called attention to the plight of sex workers here, where prostitutions is illegal and practitioners have no rights.
"If it had happened here, the woman couldn't have gone to the police and said, 'These guys are trying to cheat me out of money.' Instead, she would have been hurt and cheated, and Mr. Agent Man would have gone home and patted himself on the back for having gotten one over on her," said Maggie McNeill, a former New Orleans call girl and the founder of The Honest Courtesan.  CONTINUE . . . . .

Sunday, April 22, 2012

“Gold Profit Formula” Easy Making Money from Gold

Making money from gold is guaranteed to make a success story out of any experience level with "Gold Profit Formula" from Absolute Wealth.
Making money from gold isn’t what it used to be, when slick-haired greasers opened their trench coats revealing necklaces, earrings, and watches to nervous customers in back alleys. 

Today’s article said that things have become much more sophisticated, regulated, and practical. So much so, that getting into the gold buying and selling business has turned into an extremely profitable experience.

Now that gold has reached such high prices, dealers are selling what they bought for double the price, and their customers are so satisfied they’re continuously coming back for more. CONTINUE. . . . .

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ex-World Bank managers back Nigerian

Okonjo-Iweala would bring the combination of her experience as finance and foreign minister of a large and complex African country with her wide experience of working at all levels of the Bank's hierarchy in different parts of the world.
A group of former World Bank officials on Wednesday endorsed Africa's candidate to lead the Bank, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

 In an open letter, 39 former managers and economists called on the Bank's executive board to make their decision on merit, when the board for the first time considers more than one candidate for the job.
Tunisia's central bank chief, Mustapha Nabli, a former head of the Bank's Middle East and North Africa region, also signed. His country has not endorsed a candidate.
Okonjo-Iweala "would bring the combination of her experience as finance and foreign minister of a large and complex African country with her wide experience of working at all levels of the Bank's hierarchy in different parts of the world, from agricultural economist to managing director."
While the other two candidates also have strong qualifications, "she would be the outstanding World Bank president the times call for."

The World Bank plans to select the successor to outgoing president Robert Zoellick by April 20, the start of its spring meetings with the IMF.
"We believe that Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala has outstanding qualifications across the full range of relevant criteria," they said.
Okonjo-Iweala, a former World Bank managing director, and Jose Antonio Ocampo, a former finance minister of Colombia, are competing with the US nominee Jim Yong Kim, a public health expert and president of Dartmouth College.
Under a tacit agreement, the US picks the World Bank president, always an American, and Europe puts a European at the helm of the International Monetary Fund, the Bank's sister institution.
Writing in their personal capacity ahead of the candidate interviews next week, the ex-Bank officials said "we care too much for the institution and for its historic development mission not to speak up."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Car Insurance Companies list

Knowing you have selected a good car insurance company is peace of mind you will want to have before you get in an accident, have your car stolen, or encounter any number of situations that involve you having to make a claim. You don't want to find out too late that your car insurance provider isn't up to par.

This list contains the top ten best auto insurance companies based on affordability, value of services, and responsiveness. Because, after all, what good is having a rock bottom rate if you don't get enough in return or can't get the help you need when you need it.

Don't agree with the list? Vote for an existing item you think should be ranked higher or if you are a logged in, add a new item for others to vote on or create your own version of this list.

Buying auto insurance is one of the most important decisions you can make.  Generally, consumers seek car insurance that is comprehensive and low-cost. But you have to make sure that the auto insurance is offered from a reliable company. A reliable company has several qualities including, exceptional customer service, deals with claims expeditiously, and has a good credit rating.  These are some steps you can take in choosing the right insurance company:

Some Popular Auto 
Insurance Companies:

GMAC Insurance    
Liberty Mutual        
State Farm               
The General            
The Hartford           
21st Centur

Today’s consumers have a wealth of information available to them which can help discern the merits of services and products.  The above insights will guide you in deciding the right insurance company to help meet your auto insurance needs. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

World stocks fall ahead of latest EU summit

The eurozone crisis will dominate an EU summit on Monday, with an emphasis on growth and "smart" budget discipline.
The EU has more than 23 million unemployed people and there are fears that wide-ranging budget cuts will harm enterprise and training.
Cuts need to be "smart" - well-targeted - to allow room for future growth, the European Commission says.
Most member states - and not the UK - are expected to sign up to a new budget treaty, or "fiscal compact".
The goal is much closer co-ordination of budget policy in the 17-nation eurozone.
Diplomatic wrangling continues over the influence of non-eurozone countries in the new institutional set-up.
The UK opted out, in a blaze of publicity last month, but did secure observer status in the discussions.
Poland is insisting that it and other countries preparing to join the euro should be fully involved in the eurozone negotiations.
World stock markets fell Monday as uncertainty about a tentative deal to resolve Greece's debt crisis weighed on investor sentiment ahead of a summit of European leaders.
The leaders gathering in Brussels hope to focus on how to stimulate economic growth and create jobs at a time when huge government spending cuts threaten to push many countries back into recession.
The latest data showed Spain was one step closer to recession, technically defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction — after its economy shrank in the last three months of 2011.
Experts say Europe's efforts to cut its high levels of debt will be for nothing if its economies remain uncompetitive. The leaders will also discuss a new treaty on tightening budget controls and setting up a permanent bailout fund.
But the meeting will be dominated by another topic that is not officially for discussion — Greece's debt problem.
The official summit agenda is growth and job creation, and it will be discussed in some detail. Unemployment will be perhaps the big issue in the French presidential election, and there are now more than five million people out of work in Spain - without reversing that trend the eurozone crisis isn't going to ease.
World stock markets fell Monday, with uncertainty about a tentative deal to resolve Greece's debt crisis weighing on investor sentiment ahead of a summit of European leaders.
Benchmark oil slipped to near $99 per barrel while the dollar rose against the euro but fell against the yen.
Stock markets opened lower in Europe, where leaders gathering in Brussels for a summit on taming the continent's financial crisis were met by a nationwide strike that hobbled trains and other public transportation.
Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.5 percent to 5,707.50 and Germany's DAX lost 0.6 percent to 6,470.18. France's CAC-40 shed 0.6 percent to 3,298.07. Wall Street was also headed for a lower open, with Dow Jones industrial futures falling 0.4 percent to 12,559 and S&P 500 futures down 0.5 percent to 1,305.50.  
Japan's Nikkei 225 index shed 0.5 percent to close at 8,793.05. South Korea's Kospi was 1.2 percent lower at 1,940.55 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.7 percent to 20,160.41. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.4 percent at 4,272.70.
European leaders were to meet later Monday in Brussels to discuss austerity and belt-tightening measures as well as a tentative deal reached Saturday between Greece and its private investors that could avert a disastrous Greek default on its debt.
Leaders will also try to finalise the text of the new fiscal treaty which all EU countries except Britain say they intend to sign. There are still some issues to be resolved - Poland worries about being shut out of future eurozone summits, and there's political pressure in Germany to make the budget rules and penalties in the treaty a little tougher.
World stock markets fell Monday as uncertainty about a tentative deal to resolve Greece's debt crisis weighed on investor sentiment ahead of a summit of European leaders.
Experts say Europe's efforts to cut its high levels of debt will be for nothing if its economies remain uncompetitive. The leaders will also discuss a new treaty on tightening budget controls and setting up a permanent bailout fund.
Richer countries like Germany, however, are losing patience with giving Athens loans, saying the Greek government is not implementing reforms and austerity cuts quickly enough.
Despite progress in Greece's debt talks with private creditors, the continued uncertainty over its finances pushed markets lower Monday.
A German official even proposed to have an EU official directly oversee Athens' government spending. The idea was quickly rejected, however, by both the European Commission and Greek leaders