Friday, October 31, 2008
MEIFF Director of Programming Jon Fitzgerald (who was also the founder of the Slamdance Film Festival) put together a fabulous line-up of Hollywood films, Bollywood Films, and student films, which shared the venues with a smorgasbord of films from the Middle East. The festival was headquartered at the stunning Emirates Palace, a luxurious seven- star hotel in the heart of Abu Dhabi; additional screens at the nearby Marina Mall and the Abu Dhabi Mall were also enlisted for the eight days of non-stop film showings. Hollywood star power was in residence, with Actor Adrien Brody and Director Rian Johnson present for the Opening Night Film, “The Brothers Bloom.” Susan Sarandon participated in a “Spotlight on Women” panel about environmental and cultural issues facing women throughout the world, which were addressed in the film “The Shape of Water,” which Ms. Sarandon had narrated. Catherine Deneuve participated in a debate about humanitarian concerns in Lebanon; and Jane Fonda was there to receive the Cinema Verite Lifetime Achievement Award. Famous Egyptian actress Youssra served on the Feature Jury.
At MEIFF, Middle Eastern film was represented by films from the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Palestine, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Nashwa Al-Ruwaini, the Executive Director of MEIFF introduced many of the films and filmmakers. Of course the government of Abu Dhabi supported this effort, led by Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chair of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage.
I am probably not alone when I say that MEIFF took networking and hospitality to a whole different level, with some of the best parties ever hosted at a film festival. After the last screening of the evening, festival participants would gather in the gardens outside the Emirates Palace, overlooking the Arabian Gulf, for entertainment that was truly out of 1001 Arabian Nights. At the Bedouin Party, festivalgoers lounged on couches in Bedouin tents and smoked shisha (Arabic tobacco) with a water pipe (hookah); camel rides were offered to the daring, animal lovers could get up close and personal with a trained falcon, and a sensational belly dancer entertained the captivated audience. On Bollywood Night, we were treated to the ritualized, gracious dance of India; and after the screening of the documentary “Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love,” N’Dour himself, one of Africa’s most adored musicians, gave a concert, accompanied by his band. The Middle Eastern cuisine, the hospitality, and the graciousness of our hosts was truly incomparable.
It is amazing that oil was only discovered in the Emirates in the 1970s. They are now the world’s 10th largest producer of oil—and of course it has transformed their society. It was an eye-opening, mind-bending experience to witness this transformation, and to be part of the blossoming culture of film, art and architecture in the UAR.
Congress Extends Federal Tax Incentive
The Section 181 tax incentive has been extended through December 2009. This program which was first enacted in 2004 was extended and enhanced by being attached to the $700 billion financial markets rescue plan passed by Congress.
The new legislation improves upon the prior law by applying the tax incentive to the first $15 million of all motion picture productions in the USA. The prior legislation was flawed because this threshold amount included all costs, including difficult to predict residuals and participations. This quirk in the law made it risky to accept the incentive if your budget plus these extras might exceed $15 million.
The new provisions are retroactive to January 2008.Any source
Additional information at: http://www.eidc.com/about.php
Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF)
Mark will be serving on the short film jury at the upcoming MEIFF from October 10-19 in Abu Dhabi. The festival celebrates world cinema by presenting quality films from across the globe. Competition sections include world premiere screenings and highlight up-and-coming films making a splash on the festival scene. Gala screenings and the Festival of Festivals showcase new work by established filmmakers and films that have garnered prestigious awards.
Additional info: http://www.meiff.com/
Libel Tourism Bill Passed
The House of Representatives passed a bill that would prohibit U.S. courts from enforcing foreign libel judgments that undercut First Amendment rights. The law is designed to address the phenomenon known as “libel tourism,” or the exploitation of defamation laws in foreign countries that lack the broad protections of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment in the United States.
The bill was introduced as a result of a lawsuit involving New York author Rachel Ehrenfeld. She was sued in Britain by Khalid bin Mahfouz, a Saudi Arabian businessman, for her book “Funding Evil: How Terrorism Is Financed and How to Stop It.” Ehrenfeld lost the libel suit, and as a result the New York Legislature passed a law preventing state courts from recognizing foreign libel judgments. http://www.rcfp.org/newsitems/index.php?i=4878
The New York law was the first of its kind in the United States. "As our world becomes more and more interconnected, we need new laws to ensure that Americans’ First Amendment rights won’t be hindered by more restrictive, foreign mandates," Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee said. The bill will prohibit domestic courts from recognizing or enforcing foreign defamation judgments unless the domestic court finds that the foreign judgment comports with our First Amendment.
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has applauded Congressman Cohen’s legislation, and the bill has already received wide, bipartisan support in the House Judiciary Committee.Any source
The TIEA signed by the BVI and UK officials provides for exchange of information on request concerning tax matters under criminal or civil investigation. This is the third TIEA signed by the BVI, - after the agreements with the US (2002) and Australia.
Ralph O'Neal commented on the signing of the Agreement saying that “The conclusion of this TIEA demonstrates the commitment of both the BVI and the United Kingdom governments to international co-operation in transparency and exchange of information... The BVI will continue to foster and develop international best practice in all areas of financial regulation.”
Also, during the OTCC forum the British Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom have signed an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation with respect to income tax. The agreement will bring substantial benefits to the residents of both countries.
Both tax agreements will come into force as soon as both governments complete legislative procedures needed to give them effect.
Along with the BVI, the OTCC meeting is attended by goverment delegations from several other British offshore territories in the Caribbean region, and the UK is to sign tax agreements with some of them.
Article any source
Thursday, October 30, 2008
By Dr. Bill Chachkes-managing partner Football Reporters Online
You can be sure that at one of the next few owners meetings, the subject of expansion will come up again. There is just too much money to be made, and too many fans to attract not to consider expansion. Why some owners complain the expansion would “dilute” the product is beyond me. The NFL is About two things: Making money and entertaining it’s fans, in that order.
Let’s look back for a bit. That last time there was true expansion was 1995, when Carolina and Jacksonville came into the NFL to bring the total of teams to 30. I don’t count the Houston Texans because they were replacing a franchise that moved (the Oilers) to Tennessee and became the Titans, Just like the return of the Cleveland Browns in the early part of the new century replacing the original Browns after they moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens. So there is your brief history up to now.
Oddly enough, the second largest television market in America still does not have a team, Los Angeles. The Rams moved to St. Louis when it’s owner complained to the league and the commissioner that they could not make money in L.A. with an outdated stadium (the coliseum was built for the 1932 olympic games). The owners begrudgingly agreed to allow the move. So the question remains” will Pro Football ever return to L.A.? There have been whispers in recent years of different investment groups who claim to be interested, but nothing has ever come to fruition. A second stumbling block has been Raiders owner Al Davis claims of infringement on his territory. Last time I looked at a map, Oakland was about 500 miles north of Los Angeles. Sorry Mr. Davis, but when you moved back to Oakland, you lost the right to make that complaint.
Other Investment groups have stated that without a new stadium project in place or at least major upgrades to the current venue. With the tightening economic troubles, monetary support from the local government will be minimal if at all. So it turns into a case of “Who” will step forward to lead an investment group. California’s “Governator” has said that a “replacement” franchise is important for the continued growth of the Greater L.A. area. A new team could draw 2 Billion dollars of new income to the local economy. By contrast, the return of The Browns generated nearly 1 billion dollars to the local Ohio economy, and it continues to grow.
Balance that with the cost of buying into the NFL (Dan Snyder paid 800 million to the Cooke family for the Redskins, currently they are worth nearly 1.5 billion) and you have an instant formula for success.
The NFL however, never rushes into anything. As a business, they desire to expand two cities at a time. If California get’s it’s 4th team back in L.A., where will the other team go?? San Antonio? Salt Lake City? Las Vegas? Portland? With the sagging economy needing a fix, could any of those cities really support an NFL team? Well, Vegas could, and San Antonio might, but the others are doubtful. The fans sure want more teams, and so do the players and coaches, because it would mean more jobs. But with the end of the current CBA just on the horizon, expansion just might be on hold for the time being.
Després de la baixa de temperatures d’aquests dies, amb una mínima de 3,3ºC avui dijous i les precipitacions que han acumulat un total de 18 litres, sembla que pel cap de setmana, tindrem festival d’aigua i les temperatures es recuperaran.
Dimarts a la nit, ja vaig parlar de la possibilitat que ens afectés una bona tongada de precipitacions pel cap de setmana. I els models ho continuen indicant. Desprès de setmanes veient com les “llevantades” es quedaven lluny de casa nostra, tot sembla indicar que aquest cap de setmana podrem rebre una i de primera categoria.
L’origen, la borrasca que a hores d’ara afecta al nord peninsular, que durant demà s’anirà desplaçant cap al centre del país, per després vascular cap a la mediterrània occidental, on agafarà cos davant les costes murcianes desplaçant-se progressivament cap al nord, a la vegada que s’anirà reactivant. Aquest desplaçament, ens farà portar vents de llevant, carregats d’humitat donant lloc a un cap de setmana passat per aigua. Durant la tarda de dissabte i fins diumenge al migdia, les precipitacions podrien ser fortes. L'alteració marítima serà considerable amb un onatge entorn els 2 metres d'alçada.
No obstant, ja demà amb el desplaçament cap al sud de la baixa mencionada, farà girar els vents cap al sud, sud-est, que ja deixarien ruixats en punts del litoral i prelitoral, especialment de Tarragona i Barcelona, tot i que també són probables per les nostres contrades. Símbol inequívoc del nou canvi de temps, i és que les pluges a Tossa podrien ser importants i acumular quantitats entorn els 50 litres.
Com sempre, s’ha d’anar seguint....
Model GFS. Situació sinòptica esperada per la matinada de dissabte a diumenge, amb una baixa ben profunda enfront la costa catalana, aportant-nos vents de moderats a forts de llevant.
Oggi, a tutto questo si aggiunge per l'Italia un'altra grande novità: Street View.
Accedendo alla pagina di Google Maps noterete in altro a destra un nuovo tab: "Street View". Con un semplice clic potrete arricchire la vostra esperienza di navigazione di Google Maps effettuando un vero e proprio tour virtuale delle città, spostando liberamente il vostro omino giallo da un punto all'altro della mappa.
In cerca di una casa? niente di più semplice per risparmiare tempo prezioso e vedere direttamente sul vostro PC, come sul vostro telefonino, l'immobile e il quartiere in cui si trova.
Appuntamento per cena? ristorante giapponese, insegna verde, all'angolo con un tabaccaio. Ora basta che vi stampiate l'immagine del locale e non avrete più bisogno di simili descrizioni.
Ma Street View rappresenta anche l'opportunità di scoprire e al contempo fare conoscere ad altri le bellezze che le notre città possono offrire. Ad oggi Street View copre le città di Milano, Roma, Firenze e la zona del lago di Como, ma presto se ne aggiungeranno molte altre.
Maggiori informazioni sul servizio sono disponibili su www.streetview.it.
Scritto da: Stefano Hesse, Head of Corporate Communications & Public Affairs, Southern EuropeAny source
There are benefits to allowing secrecy (at least from other investors) in stock trading, as well as costs.
Steve Waldman has another interesting article, "Share buybacks and uninformed investors". There are several points I'd like to comment on, but I don't have time (deadlines for the University of Arizona Free Personal Finance Site, with five hour personal finance course, set for release December 15th). I will, however, comment on one important one.
Steve summarizes the main focus of the post when he writes:
An easy way to think about all this is just in terms of information: Share buybacks of an overvalued firm create artificial, potentially price-insensitive demand that allows informed investors to exit without suffering adverse price movements from revealing their information. Dividend payouts serve as a shock to investor portfolios that forces informed investors to periodically reveal their information, diminishing their advantage over less informed investors. So uninformed, buy-and-hold investors are less likely to be taken advantage of if they invest in firms that issue frequent, substantial dividends and don't repurchase stock than if they invest in firms that don't pay substantial dividends but use stock buybacks to "return cash".
He makes a good point that a corporate share repurchase may provide some camouflage to informed investors, so that they can buy/sell more when the company's shares are underpriced/overpriced ,without tipping off others, who would jump in and bid up/down the price before they could milk it for very many shares (or as many).
There is, though, definitely a question of how big an effect this would be. The effect seems logical, and it may exist, but if it's tiny, then it's not a big deal. I don't know of any research on this, but it certainly may be out there. Also, the camouflaging from a share buyback is going to make no difference to the vast majority of uninformed /liquidity investors anyway. They have no idea what's going on either way, and won't spend the time to closely watch the market for a single stock. The money sits in the 401K, probably in a fund, or funds, of hundreds, or thousands, of stocks, and they periodically check the balance, that kind of thing. What the camouflage may help is to protect one expert and active investor's information from being used by other active expert investors, or specialists at the exchange.
But the issue that I'd like to bring up is whether we'd even want to eliminate all camouflaging – or hiding – of informed investor's trades, so that they benefit very little, if at all, from their information and understanding. I don't think that should be the goal, because then the informed and expert investors get little or no compensation for obtaining that expertise and then using it, spending the time and money to research the company and the real worth of its stock.
And this effort is very important. The more accurate the prices of firms are, the more accurately capital will be funneled to its highest and best use (for the most part – even with perfect accuracy of stock prices, there are still other market imperfections), so we want to make sure that this effort is adequately rewarded.
The situation is analogous to patents. Most patents lasts about 17 years. If we make patent lengths shorter it gives less reward, and thus incentive, for people to become expert, and then put in the work and/or money to innovate. But if we make patent lengths longer, then the ideas are less utilized. If the idea is free, then everyone who gets any marginal benefit from using it, will use it. But If you charge, say, $100,000 to use it, plus transaction, negotiation, and/or legal costs (and these can be really big), then anyone who has a marginal benefit of less than $100,000 will not utilize it, even if that marginal benefit was still big, like 80 to 90 thousand dollars.
Suppose there were 3,000 people or organizations like this, which had an average marginal benefit of $50,000 each. With the patent in force, they would not use the idea – a big waste, because the idea, the understanding, has zero marginal cost, but the marginal benefit is 3,000 x $50,000 = $150 million.
If the patent had instead expired, then the idea/understanding/invention could be placed on the internet and made easily available for free to anyone, anywhere in the world, so it would not be underutilized (or perhaps ridiculously underutilized). So, you can see a big problem that can often occur when relaying on the pure free market, instead of balancing the benefits of the market with the benefits of the government to find the most efficient mix or hybrid.
Could you imagine how much less medicine would advance if instead of the government sponsoring the mapping of the human genome, and then placing it for free on the internet to be used easily be any scientist orstudent in the world, it was owned be a company and kept secret, and could only be utilized by a small number of companies paying a high fee after long negotiations. It would be monopolized, and with the great difficulty of price discrimination, monopoly's maximize profits when they restrict supply, and usually when they restrict it greatly.
In fact, a private company, Celera, launched by mathematician Craig Venter, tried to do this, and it really showed the pros and cons of the market. Venter did come up with a faster and better method than the government project -- with the market you often have the benefit of many people and parties working on an idea in competition from many angles -- but then he tried to patent the genes, which would have caused them to be grossly underutilized by scientists. In 2000 however, President Clinton ruled that the genes could not be patented, and were to be made freely available to any scientist or student in the world over the internet. As a result, Celera's stock plummeted.
What's best here is for the government and the market to both be involved. The government pays private companies for their work (that is, it does some sub-contracting, like in a well run private business when -- and only when -- the control and coordination costs don't outweigh the benefits. This is an important lesson taught in MBA schools that the Republican party never learned.), for example paying Celera for it's improved gene finding process, but the government owns the gene information, and makes it available for free over the internet so that it is100% fully utilized, with virtually zero transactions costs.
In any case, you can see the trade-off in extending or shortening the length of patents, and there's a similar trade-off with the secrecy/camouflaging of trades by expert and informed investors; the more secrecy you allow, the less you let others use someone's ideas/understanding/information (about a stock) for free, and so the more reward and incentive there is to perform the important function of pricing stocks accurately. But, there is also more of a problem with things like market manipulation and corporate corruption, plus, like with patents, your ideas/understanding/information get less widely used.
Suppose you understand that IBM is worth $110, but it's only currently priced at $100, and suppose you have complete secrecy for your trades, but you only have enough wealth that you buy enough shares to push IBM to 105. The stock is still mispriced by $5. But if everyone could use your ideas/understanding/information, there would be far more people buying IBM, and it's price would be pushed all the way to its correct level of $110. In other words, your ideas/understanding/information would be fully utilized, rather than substantially underutilized.
There is a trade-off, so you want to allow the amount of secrecy/camouflaging that optimizes the trade-off, an amount where any more would provide more additional costs of lower utilization of ideas/understanding/information, and of market manipulation, corporate corruption, etc., than benefit from increased incentive to learn about the true values of stocks. And with any less, you'd lose more in incentive than you'd gain in increased utilization and decreased market manipulation, corporate corruption, etc. In the jargon of economists, you want to find the optimal point where the marginal benefits just equal the marginal costs.Any source
Mapa de superficie previsto para las 12Z del 30/10/08. Isobaras en superficie (líneas negras), cobertura nubosa en % (áreas grises), precipitación acumulada en 6 horas (áreas en tonos verdes y azules), viento en superficie (flechas naranjas).
Mapa a 500 hPa previsto para las 12Z del 30/10/08. Altura Geopotencial (líneas blancas), temperatura a 5500 metros (áreas coloreadas), viento a 500 hPa (flechas marrones).
Mañana Viernes, la lluvia si que podría aparecer en Orihuela, por la tarde pero en general la lluvia sería muy débil. El viento ganará más intensidad ya que se podrían alcanzar rachas cercanas a los 50 Km/h. Las temperaturas bajarán ligeramente durante el día, subiendo de forma moderada durante la noche. Estas precipitaciones se mantendrán también durante la jornada del Sábado, Día de Todos los Santos, pero sin ser excesivamente significativas y alcanzando a lo sumo intensidad moderada. Se podría acumular una gran cantidad de precipitación, ya que las lluvias tendrán un carácter persistente.
Durante la jornada del Domingo se espera una mejoría del Tiempo, con el desplazamiento de la borrasca hacía el Norte. Los cielos estarán poco nubosos o despejados.Any source
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Domingo 26: 16,5ºC
Lunes 27: 15,8ºC
Martes 28: 14,3ºC
Miércoles 29: 10,1ºC
Hoy, Jueves 30: 6,0ºC
Como pueden ver, la evolución de las temperaturas mínimas es tremenda. La masa de Aire Frío Artica ha hecho lo que tenía que hacer. Mañana subirán las temperaturas ligeramente, aunque la mínima quedará de nuevo por debajo de los 10ºC.
En otras zonas del término municipal de Orihuela, evidentemente también se ha notado el frío. Es el caso de la pedanía de la Murada donde se ha registrado una mínima de 5,3ºC. El dato más frío de todo el término municipal se alcanzó en plena huerta, con unos impresionantes 3,8ºC.Any source
By Halim Wahab & Habhajan Singh
PLANS are underway to compel the High Court to refer to the Shariah Advisory Council (SAC) of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) when presiding over Islamic banking and finance-related cases, unlike presently, where High Court judges are neither required to consult the Shariah experts or heed their advise.
It is learnt that the central bank is reviewing the necessary laws to make this possible. This follows the recent controversy over Islamic financing under the Al-Bai' Bithaman Ajil (BBA) concept and the confusion over the role of the SAC in determining the compliance status of Islamic finance products.
To date, BNM has not responded to queries from this newspaper on the implications of the judgment to the Islamic banking industry or if plans for changes to the SAC's role and powers are underway.
On July 18, High Court judge Justice Datuk Abdul Wahab Patail ruled that the application of the BBA contracts in 13 cases he presided over were contrary to the Islamic Banking Act 1983 (IBA), as the sale element in the BBA was deemed "not a bona fide sale". The judgment, which came to light following The Malaysian Reserve report on Sept 8, brings into question the profit portion of the facilities, as it suggests that defaulters need not pay more than the original financing amount obtained, thereby depriving banks of the profit they would otherwise have booked.
Consequently, confusion abounds over how such "profits" would now have to be treated in the accounts and why the BBA contracts are deemed not Islamic when the SAC had considered the concept as Shariah compliant in the first place. Questions also arise as to whether it is appropriate for non-Shariah specialists to decide on the Shariah compliance status of Islamic banking concepts and products, thus bypassing the SAC over such matters.
According to BNM, the SAC is an independent advisory body established under section 16B of the Central Bank of Malaysia Act 1958 and shall be the authoritative body for the ascertainment of Shariah law in Islamic banking, finance and takaful business. It stated that the Act provides that the SAC can be referred to by the court in its proceedings relating to Shariah matters in Islamic banking and financial business disputes. The council, which comprises experts in the disciplines of Shariah, banking, finance, economics and law, are appointed by the Minister of Finance on the recommendation of the BNM, pursuant to section 16B(2) of the Act.
In essence, Justice Abdul Wahab's ruling stated that the BBA contracts considered in Arab Malaysian Finance Berhad v Taman Ihsan Jaya & Others (2008) were contrary to the Islamic Banking Act 1983 (IBA).
An initial inspection suggests that the judgment, if affirmed by Malaysia's Court of Appeal, or adopted by other High Court judges, can have major repercussions on the local Islamic financial sector. To begin with, Islamic banks are heavily reliant on BBA-related contracts. Bankers fear the judgment because this could mean that current BBA financing clients would only need to pay the facility amount and would escape from paying the profit portion, if they default. (By Halim Wahab & Habhajan Singh; The Malaysian Reserve, Oct 29, 2008, Page 1)Any source
A number of Shariah scholars who are involved in Islamic finance transactions have suggested that Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) should effect an amendment to regulations to make it mandatory for judges to refer to the central bank's Shariah Advisory Council (SAC) when dealing with Islamic finance matters.
At the moment, High Court judges are not mandated to refer to the SAC, the anchor outfit in deciding the Shariah-compliance of banking and takaful products offered by Islamic financial institutions in Malaysia.
This issues came to light following remarks by High Court judge Justice Datuk Abdul Wahab Patail in a written ruling dated July 18 in Arab Malaysian Finance Bhd v Taman Ihsan Jaya & Others (2008).
In one of the two recent BBA judgment-related seminars, Dr Ashraf Md Hashim, Shariah adviser at ZI Shariah Advisory Sdn Bhd, said the court reference to the SAC must be made compulsory in determining the Shariah compliance status of any Islamic banking and finance product.
He said this might require amendments to the Act and therefore would take time to materialise. He believed the SAC was the best option available as far as Malaysia is concerned, and as such felt that what is allowed by the council should be accepted as Shariah-complaint by the courts.
"Shariah is a science by itself. Those who are not trained in the discipline should refer any issue in question to the expert in the field. It is the practice of the court to refer issues to relevant experts such as physicians and scientists. It will be a consistent practice if reference is made to the Shariah specialist for Shariah-related issues," he added.
Dr Ashraf was speaking at a seminar entitled Whither BBA in Malaysia? — Analysis of Recent Decisions, organised by legal firm Zaid Ibrahim & Co. ZI Shariah is a unit of Zaid Ibrahim.
However, another speaker at the same forum took a different view. Responding to the suggestion, former High Court judge Datuk Faiza Thamby Chik said there was no need for High Court judges to refer to the SAC on such matters. He contended that it was the duty of judges to interpret the law and if the ruling had created unhappiness, then the solution is to train the judges.
International Syariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance executive director Dr Mohd Akram Laldin, who also spoke at the half-day seminar, said there was a need to strengthen the role of the SAC to avoid confusion in the industry. He agreed that the SAC should be made the sole reference point on matters regarding Islamic finance, adding that the Islamic banking industry should depart from "controversial" contracts to other alternatives. (By Hablim Wahab & Habhajan Singh; The Malaysian Reserve, Oct 29, 2008, Page 4)Any source
Issuers of sukuk should re-examine the make-up of their product to ensure that it does not suffer the same fate as conventional bonds, an Islamic banker told a conference yesterday.
Parties involved in structuring sukuk, the closest cousin of conventional bonds, should be mindful to ensure that it does not go the way conventional bonds have gone in the ongoing global financial crisis, said OCBC Bank Malaysia Bhd's head of Islamic finance Alhami Mohd Abdan. He was one of the speakers at the Second Global Islamic Finance Conference (GIFC) 2008 in Kuala Lumpur.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi officiated the two-day function which is organised by GlobalPro Consulting Sdn Bhd. In his presentation entitled 'Product development and implementation of Islamic finance', Alhami noted that the Western asset-backed securities (ABS) bubble-crashed primarily due to the questionable quality of the underlying assets, although the fundamental principles of securitisation are not without its merits. For the sukuk securitisation process, he said among the fundamental requirements for Shariah endorsement are that the nature of the assets securitised be tangible and economically viable.
New sukuk issues in 2007 reached a record high of about US$47 billion (RM168.28 billion) and the outstanding global sukuk market surpassed the US$100-billion mark, according to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM). Up until August this year, BNM governor Tan Sri Zeti Ahtar Aziz, in a speech earlier this month, said sukuk had held its ground with a total global issuance now exceeding US$14 billion, and is expected to exceed US$200 billion in 2010.
Dr Aznan Hasan, a Shariah scholar from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and a former member of the BNM Shariah Advisory Council, said that the demand for Shariah advisors is increasing, especially in auditing, product development and financial engineering. On the apparent divergence between Shariah views in Malaysia and the Middle East, he said that while efforts should continuously be made to narrow the gap in the divergence of opinion, "we should also approach these differences of opinion as a source of strength, rather than a source of weakness".
In his opening address, Ahmad Zahid praised BNM's role in ensuring the success of Islamic banking in Malaysia as the sector has continued to register significant growth since its introduction.
"Islamic finance has, thus far, remained positive, despite the current challenging global financial environment, thanks to rules that forbid the sort of risky business that is felling the mainstream institutions.
"The strength in Islamic finance is derived from Shariah principles, the key pillar of Islamic finance that has contributed towards its overall stability and resilience," he said.
Ahmad Zahid said Shariah injunctions require that financial transactions be accompanied by an underlying productive activity, thus giving rise to a close link between financial and productive flows. (By Habhajan Singh, The Malaysian Reserve, Oct 30, 2008, Page 8)Any source
Islamic bankers can expect a lively discussion on the recent High Court judgment on Al-Bai' Bithaman Ajil (BBA) at the Second Global Islamic Finance Conference (GIFC 2008) that begins today in Kuala Lumpur. Shariah and product development is one of the first sessions for the two-day forum.
In one session, Dr Aznan Hasan, an assistant professor at the International Islamic University Malaysia's (IIUM) Kulliyah of Law, will lead a discussion on ensuring Shariah-compliant Islamic financial instruments.
Recently, High Court judge Justice Datuk Abdul Wahab Patail ruled that since some BBA contracts in the cases heard were structurally faulty, defaulters need not pay more than the original financing amount that they received, depriving banks of the profit they would have otherwise booked from the transactions.
Bankers fear that this judgement could mean that current BBA financing clients would only need to pay the facility amount and escape from paying the profit portion. The forum will also look at sukuk and efforts in promoting its secondary market. It will also touch on Islamic venture capital and private equity.
Among the areas expected to be covered are the opportunities and limitations of Islamic private equity and venture capital investments and ways and means to meet the legal, regulatory and judicial requirements.
Participants will also discuss the limitations to the growth of Islamic private equity and venture capital Ahmad Sanusi Husain, CEO and chief consultant of event organiser GlobalPro Consulting Sdn Bhd, will lead the session on human resources, another area of interest for the Islamic finance sector, especially with the current exodus of talent to the Middle East and other jurisdictions also promoting the sector.
Azmi Mohd Ali, managing partner of legal firm Azmi & Associates, is scheduled to discuss issues related to Islamic venture capital and private equity, where he will touch on the scope for Islamic private equity in mergers and acquisitions. The session will also discuss the oportunities and limitations of Islamic private equity and venture capital investments and ways and means to meet the legal, regulatory and judicial requirements. It will also touch on limitations to growth of Islamic private equity and venture capital.
In another session, Takaful Ikhlas Sdn Bhd executive vice president and chief operating officer Wan Mohd Fadzlullah Wan Abdullah will present a paper on innovation and solutions in takaful. He will discuss the new growth and global market opportunities for takaful and assess recent developments in the global takaful landscape.
On the second day, GIFC 2008 will have a session on risk management and accounting led by Crescent Risk and Wealth Management Consultancy Sdn Bhd managing director Hassan Ahmad and Amanie Business Solutions Sdn Bhd principal consultant Dr Syed Musa Al Habshi.
In the first session, it will look at risk analysis for Islamic banking, concerns about risk and unique risks in Islamic financial services. Dealing with issues on accounting and auditing for Islamic financial institutions, the speakers will inspect the framework for the preparation and presentation of financial statements for Islamic financial institutions and standards locally and internationally.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid bin Hamidi will present the forum's keynote address entitled "Evolution and opportunities in Islamic finance". (By Habhajan Singh, The Malaysian Reserve, Oct 29, 2008, Page 8)Any source
Posted by Steve Kanefsky and Jerry Morrison, Google Mobile engineering
The document is based on the existing legislation in both countries, already providing for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. Now both governments will share information to eliminate harmful tax practices. The agreement reflects the commitment of the governments of Australia and BVI to implement OECD principles of transparency and effective information exchange, and international standards on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing. The Australian Government has welcomed the BVI admission as a full member to the International Organisation of Securities Commissions, where it joins more than 100 jurisdictions with recognised high standards of regulation and compliance.
According to the TIEA, Australia and the BVI have agreed not to apply prejudicial or restrictive measures based on harmful tax practices to residents or nationals. Australia will not refer to the BVI as a 'tax haven' on the governmental level, and instead it will list the jurisdiction in the Taxation Administration Regulations 1976 as an 'information exchange country'. As a result of the changed status of the BVI, its residents will receive access to reduced withholding tax rates on distribution of certain income they may receive from Australian managed investment trusts.
This is the fourth Tax Information Exchange Agreement for Australia as one of the leading countries implementing international co-operation on tax matters, and the second for the BVI.
Also, Australia and the BVI have signed an agreement for the allocation of taxation rights with respect to certain income of individuals, which will provide benefits to Australian and BVI residents. Both countries also agreed to enter into discussions to develop further co-operation in areas of mutual interest.
Ralph O'Neal in his comments welcomed Australia's recognition of the high regulatory standards set by the BVI, and the continuing engagement of the financial centre in the OECD’s Global Forum on Taxation.
Article any source
Temperatura estimada a las 21 horas: 14-13ºC
Temperatura estimada a las 22 horas: 12ºC
Temperatura estimada a las 23 horas: 11ºC
Viento flojo con alguna racha moderada de componente Norte-Noroeste (NNW). El viento hará que la sensación térmica sea menor.
No se esperan precipitaciones.
Estado del cielo:
Cielo poco nuboso o despejado.
Por tanto les aconsejo a todas aquellas personas que vayan a presenciar el partido, que se lleven ropa de abrigo y no tienen por qué llevarse el paraguas.
Disfruten del partido.
Para terminar, aquí les dejo con la webcam de Sierra Nevada, que ha recibido su primera gran nevada y que seguirá nevando allí los próximos días.
Por nuestra zona, por el sureste peninsular no ha nevado en ninguna sierra situada en las inmediaciones de Orihuela. Tan sólo cayó una "enfarinada" en la Sierra de Aitana (Alicante) en el día de ayer.Any source
Più di 300 developers da tutta Italia hanno partecipato alle diverse sessioni, che hanno affrontato alcuni temi di grande attualità, tra cui Android, Chrome, App Engine e Gears.
Per noi è stata una fantastica esperienza, un momento unico per interagire direttamente con la comunità degli sviluppatori italiani e raccogliere idee, opinioni e condividere un ottimo buffet! Siamo molto contenti del successo dell’evento, e vogliamo ringraziare calorosamente tutti quelli che hanno partecipato e che hanno contribuito con i loro commenti, feedback e suggerimenti. Si tratta di consigli preziosi per migliorare ancora le future edizioni.
- Està nevant en punts de la Catalunya Central amb una cota de neu de tant sols 600 metres.
- La baixa de les Balears, s'ha aprofundit de tal manera que tot sembla indicar que hi ha indicis d'un MEDICANE (Mediterranean Hurricane), si, si, una estructura d'huracà.
- Les temperatures estan caient cap a baix en molt punts, i no seria estranys veure neu a cotes de 400 - 500 metres.
S'ha d'anar seguint l'evolució de la baixa de les Balears que té una trajectòria cap al NE... Serà un dia llarg avui...Any source
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
October 27, 2008
By Slavica Milosevska for Football Reporters Online
The Kansas City Chiefs have concluded that RB Larry Johnson will not participate in foreknown future after being charged with non-aggravated assault for spiting his drink in a 24-year old woman's face at The Blonde, a Kansas City nightclub, on October 10th. The woman claims Johnson repeatedly threatened to kill her boyfriend and spit at her three times again while being escorted out. This is the fourth case where Johnson allegedly assaulted a woman. Johnson was already out the last two games for breaking team rules and was teetering a suspension from the NFL. If suspended, the Chiefs may refuse to pay $5.5 million in guaranteed bonuses.
A serious issue is Johnson's past “reported” abuse towards woman, and remember, “reported” could mean more situations not on the record. In 2003, a felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor domestic battery for waving a gun in his home while arguing with his ex-girlfriend were dropped because of an agreement to enroll in a domestic violence program. Then in 2005, there was an accusation of throwing a woman to the ground, but again the case was dropped because on three separate hearings, the victim did not to appear in court. Then while awaiting his December 3rd court appearance for pushing a woman's head to the floor on February 24th, facing a six month maximum sentence and a $500 fine, he is now charged with a simple municipal assault charge.
Johnson stated in a recent public apology, “This is the first time in my life I actually had to stand up, I mean actually woke up and kind of be disgusted with myself and disgusted as far as the way my life and my career is heading right now. In times of darkness, you’ve got to look for the light and that’s what I plan on doing, regardless of what suspensions and fines are being handed down. I will take them as sincerely as they give them out.”
One would question, did this man have a rough childhood? According to the two-time Pro Bowl player, family has been very supportive. Academics and athletics were emphasized, and he believes his parents and two younger siblings helped him excel to attain his goals. Johnson has said that his father, Larry Sr., a Penn State Football Coach, is his best friend and that they are very close. His mother, Christine, an educator, is extraordinarily pleasant. Since her son's legal problems, she has been on his defense saying that he is not angry, just misunderstood and occasionally guarded.
In 2005, with the inspiration of his upbringing, Johnson founded the LJ’s Legacy & Growth Youth Foundation to create positive thinking, behavior and attitudes for self image and be a positive role model like his parents. Christine is part of the Professional Football Players Mothers' Association (PFPMA). She is hosting their donation event “Tackling Hunger” in State College, Pennsylvania on November 21st. Since her son's legal problems, she has been his defense saying that he is not angry, just misunderstood and occasionally guarded.
Johnson is not being the role model his parents were to him. It seems as if he hates women, but Johnson had a nurturing, caring mother and his father was not abusive. Where did he learn all these outlandish behaviors come from...aside from the boozing at the club? His actions are very disturbing with the frequency in violence against women. One would think that kicking the shit out of guys all day playing pro football is enough to release whatever frustrations one may have. I just don't get it.
The Banking Crisis: Causes, Consequences & Solutions
5pm Wednesday 5th Nov. University of Southampton, UK.
If possible please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
This is the inaugural seminar of the Centre for Banking, Finance & Sustainable Development which was founded by Professor Richard Werner D. Phil. (Oxon), Chair of International Banking at the School of Management.
Veáse el Radar de Murcia a las 14:30 horas.
Veáse el Radar de Murcia a las 15:00 horas.
Como pueden ver, el núcleo ha llegado a alcanzar sorprendentemente los 60 Db. Veamos ahora que cantidades de precipitación se han recogido en los distintos observatorios meteorológicos del Sureste peninsular a causa de este núcleo de precipitación con escaso aparato eléctrico:
Pilar de la Horadada (Alicante): 23,2 mm
Torrevieja (Alicante): 7,0 mm
Almoradí (Alicante): 3,2 mm
Santomera (Murcia): 3,0 mm
Murcia (Murcia): 2,0 mm
Guardamar del Segura (Alicante): 2,0 mm
Aeropuerto El Altet (Alicante): 2,0 mm
Orihuela (Alicante): 1,8 mm
Catral (Alicante): 1,2 mm
Elche (Alicante): 1,1 mm
Alicante (Alicante): 0,5 mm
Como pueden ver, la tormenta fue más fuerte en zonas de costa, mientras que en zonas de prelitoral o interior apenas llevaba aparato eléctrico y la lluvia ha llegado a intensidad moderada como máximo. En Torrevieja (Alicante), el núcleo de precipitación con escaso aparato eléctrico ha dejado una impresionante sorpresa, se trata de una tremenda manga marina o tuba sobre el mar frente a las costa de dicha ciudad. Aquí les dejo con la tremenda fotografía:
È interessante conoscere come e perché i "punteggi di qualità" (quality score) sono utilizzati nelle aste degli annunci del motore di ricerca. In questo post cercheremo di descrivere il "perché" usiamo i punteggi di qualità; un secondo post tratterà il "come", comprese maggiori informazioni sulle offerte.
Quando un utente digita una query (ricerca) in un motore di ricerca, in genere vengono restituiti sia risultati naturali che pubblicità. Google e gli altri principali motori di ricerca utilizzano un'asta di annunci per determinare quali annunci pubblicare e quanto devono pagare gli inserzionisti.
Nelle aste, gli inserzionisti inseriscono offerte che riflettono quanto sono disposti a pagare per un clic sul proprio annuncio; questo importo viene chiamato costo per clic (CPC) massimo. Gli annunci vengono poi ordinati in base al prodotto dell'importo dell'offerta moltiplicato per la stima del punteggio di qualità dell'annuncio. La gente spesso ci chiede spesso il motivo per cui la qualità degli annunci viene inserita nella formula: l'offerta per clic non è sufficiente? Perché gli inserzionisti non possono acquistare direttamente le prime posizioni per gli annunci? Per conoscere il motivo per cui entrambe le componenti sono importanti, prendiamo in considerazione un semplice esempio.
Supponiamo che due inserzionisti stiano facendo un'offerta per la parola chiave "aereo a reazione". L’inserzionista Mario vende effettivamente aerei a reazione, mentre Paolo vende modellini di aerei a reazione. Poiché gli aerei a reazione sono molto costosi, Mario è disposto a pagare una cifra elevata per clic. Tuttavia, non sono molte le persone che possono permettersi di acquistare aerei a reazione, pertanto Mario non riceverà molti clic. Paolo, al contrario, è disposto a pagare molto meno per clic, però riceverà molti più clic.
Quale annuncio deve essere pubblicato in prima posizione nella sezione "Collegamenti sponsorizzati" della pagina dei risultati di ricerca?
Ciò che conta in questa decisione non è semplicemente l'importo offerto da un inserzionista per un singolo clic, ovvero il CPC massimo che l'inserzionista è disposto a pagare, ma piuttosto il valore complessivo stimato della pubblicazione di tale annuncio: il valore per clic moltiplicato per il numero di clic che l'annuncio probabilmente riceverà.
Il numero di clic che l'annuncio probabilmente riceverà dipende dalla percentuale di clic storica, anch'essa una componente importante del punteggio di qualità dell'annuncio. Pertanto, l'offerta per clic moltiplicata per il punteggio di qualità offre una stima del valore complessivo richiesto per pubblicare un annuncio nel corso del tempo. L'annuncio di Mario potrebbe avere un valore più elevato per singolo clic, ma, se nel tempo l'annuncio di Paolo riceve più clic, quest'ultimo annuncio potrebbe facilmente avere un valore totale maggiore. In tal caso, l'annuncio di Paolo verrebbe pubblicato nella posizione di maggiore rilievo.
Il punteggio di qualità fornisce ai motori di ricerca un modo per allineare gli obiettivi degli acquirenti, dei venditori e di chi visualizza gli annunci. L'obiettivo del motore di ricerca è quello di vendere impressioni dell'annuncio, ma gli inserzionisti vogliono pagare per i clic. La soluzione per gli inserzionisti è quella di fare offerte in base al costo per clic, mentre il motore di ricerca stima il valore totale dell'annuncio nel corso del tempo: offerta per clic moltiplicata per il numero atteso di clic.
Si tratta di un modo trasparente per allineare gli obiettivi, ma sussiste un problema: dato che l'inserzionista paga solo in base ai clic, può anche cercare di ottenere il maggior numero di impressioni in modo che il maggior numero possibile di utenti possa visualizzare l'annuncio. Mario potrebbe voler acquistare le parole chiave "astronave" anche se vende solo aerei a reazione. Perché no? Pagherà solo se qualcuno farà clic sull'annuncio.
È a questo punto che sorge un nuovo problema, sempre correlato alla qualità: un annuncio che riceve pochissimi clic non dovrebbe essere affatto pubblicato. Per gli utenti rappresenta solo una distrazione. La questione di infastidire gli utenti potrebbe interessare relativamente gli inserzionisti, mentre per il motore di ricerca è una problematica di fondamentale importanza. Se il motore di ricerca pubblica una gran quantità di annunci non pertinenti, gli utenti molto probabilmente smetteranno di prestare attenzione agli annunci o di fare clic su di essi. Potrebbero sviluppare quella che nel settore viene definita come "cecità verso gli annunci". Una maggior pertinenza della pubblicità porta a una migliore fruizione del servizio da parte dell'utente.
In definitiva, perché sono importanti i punteggi di qualità? Risposta: migliorano l'asta perché permettono agli inserzionisti di acquistare clic, ai publisher di vendere impressioni e agli utenti di visualizzare annunci pertinenti.
Scritto da: Google AdWords Team