Thursday, October 31, 2013

Growing Popularity of Islamic Banks

Growing Popularity of Islamic Banks:

"Can religious faith, God and money ever be brought into a harmonious co-existence? Yes, they can, say the acolytes of Islamic banking. Islamic banks are becoming ever more popular in Turkey, even if not everyone is particularly enthusiastic about the development.
Islamic banks – so-called participation banks – are growing in popularity in Turkey. Statistics released by the Participation Banks Association of Turkey (TKBB) reveal that Islamic banking in Turkey has been growing at a rate of around 25 to 30 per cent a year since 2006. The number of branches in the country has grown from around 800 at the beginning of this year to more than 900 at the present time.
There are currently four banks operating in the market. Three of them are based in the Gulf and all have impressive sounding names: "Bank Asya", "Turkiye Finans", "Kuveyt Turk" und "Albaraka Turk"."

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Sensex hits new record high of 21,293.88, up 129.36 points - The Times of India

Sensex hits new record high of 21,293.88, up 129.36 points - The Times of India:

"The BSE benchmark sensex on Friday hit a new high of 21,293.88 by gaining over 129 points in opening trade on sustained foreign fund inflows in banking, auto, metal and realty sectors.

Rising for the fourth straight session, the sensex rose 129.36 points, or 0.61%, to trade at record high of 21,293.88 points, surpassing previous intra-day record high of 21,206.77 reached on January 10, 2008. It had rallied 594.24 points in the past three sessions.

Stock brokers said sentiments remained bullish on continued foreign funds inflow and the RBI easing liquidity situation by cutting marginal standing facility (MSF) to 8.75% in its monetary policy on Tuesday."

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11/2〜11/3 【POG2013-2014】出走予定

11/2 15:35 東京11R 1600芝(良) サラ系 2歳 オープン (国際) 牝 (指定) 馬齢 重賞
2 4 パシフィックギャル
牝2/54k/マンディ/手塚貴久/吉田 勝己

11/3 09:55 東京1R 1400ダ(良) サラ系 2歳 未勝利 牝 [指定] 馬齢
6 7 アスカクイン
牝2/54k/江田照男/本間忍/上野 武

11/3 10:05 京都1R 1400芝(良) サラ系 2歳 未勝利 牝 [指定] 馬齢
3 3 ガートルード
6 8 ベラフォレスタ
8 12 ブロンクスステップ
ゼンノロブロイ×ダンシングエディ(Moscow Ballet)

11/3 10:15 福島2R 2000芝(良) サラ系 2歳 未勝利 (混合) 馬齢
6 11 ミュゼタイフーン
ハーツクライ×ドーニングストーム(Storm Cat)
牡2/53k/杉原誠人/大江原哲/高橋 仁

11/3 11:05 京都3R 1600芝(良) サラ系 2歳 新馬 牝 [指定] 馬齢
4 7 ダニカ
Bernardini×ロイヤルバラード(Elusive Quality)
7 14 アドマイヤウイング
牝2/54k/川田将雅/松田博資/近藤 利一
8 18 ロザリンド

11/3 14:25 東京9R 1800芝(良) サラ系 2歳 500万円以下 (混合)(特指) 馬齢 特別
5 9 トーセンカフェ
牡2/55k/後藤浩輝/上原博之/島川 隆哉
5 10 アルバート
牡2/55k/戸崎圭太/堀宣行/林 正道

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Dubai debuts on global property investment hotspot list |

Dubai debuts on global property investment hotspot list |

"IP Global, a leading property investment company specialising in securing prime investment opportunities in emerging and developed markets around the world, has announced the release of its latest Property Barometer for third quarter 2013.
This quarter, the barometer showcases only what it calls ‘bright’ categories, therefore the best investment destinations at the current time. Dubai and Edinburgh make debut appearances in the third quarter investment ‘hot list’, alongside U.S. destinations including Chicago, New York, Boston and Seattle, and the Australian cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. German cities Munich and Berlin, which were favourites in the first quarter, have made a comeback and Tokyo makes its second appearance of the year."

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‘Dubai closer to becoming capital of Islamic economy’ |

‘Dubai closer to becoming capital of Islamic economy’ |

"Dubai’s selection as host of the 10th session of the World Islamic Economic Forum 2014 — one of the world’s largest gatherings to share knowledge, experience and expertise in Islamic economy — will take the emirate a step closer to its vision of becoming the world capital of the Islamic economy.
The announcement came during the opening day of the World Islamic Economic Forum 2013 in London, being attended by a high-level Dubai delegation headed by Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Chairman of the Executive Office of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Development of the Islamic Economy Sector, including top government and Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry officials.
Al Gergawi accredited this achievement to the vision of Shaikh Mohammad, who initiated the “Dubai: Capital of the Islamic Economy” initiative and laid clear guidelines to focus efforts on the various aspects of developing the Islamic economy, and whose ambitious strategy has started to bear fruit."

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Abu Dhabi Investment Authority set for big French property deal | The National

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority set for big French property deal | The National:

"Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) is in advanced negotiations to buy a €750 million (Dh3.75 billion) property portfolio from the Swiss bank UBS.

According to filings made with the French competition commission, the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, through its subsidiary Tamweelview European Holdings, is in talks with the UBS-owned Docks Lyonnais to sign what could be the biggest deal in French commercial real estate this year.

The portfolio includes the 24,000 square metre 19th century 6-8 Boulevard Haussmann office block in the 9th arrondissement of Paris currently let to the French bank BPI as its headquarters."

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Dubai Airports warns GCC to invest in managing airspace or face worsening congestion | The National

Dubai Airports warns GCC to invest in managing airspace or face worsening congestion | The National:

"The GCC risks facing worsening air traffic congestion unless it can match the multibillion-dollar airport investments on the ground with a plan to manage the skies, Dubai Airports warns.

There was a need for a single air traffic management system to oversee both civil and defence aviation, said the company’s chief executive Paul Griffiths.

He was speaking after overseeing the opening this week of the passenger terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport, destined to eventually become the world’s largest airport with an annual passenger capacity of 160 million."

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Greek island on frontline of Europe's migration war

 Mark Lowen 

By Mark Lowen BBC News, Lesbos

The Greek coast guard boat races through the vast expanse of the Aegean, the water glinting in the morning sun.

Behind, in silhouette, are the lush mountains of Lesbos island - Greece's third largest, a place of extraordinary natural beauty - but now one of Europe's key immigration frontiers.

Since August 2012, when the Greek authorities increased controls on the land border with Turkey, the country's islands have borne the brunt of the inflow.

And Lesbos holds first spot. This year alone, 4,409 migrants attempted to enter the island from mainland Turkey - just six miles away.

Of those, 2,600 were arrested here, with the rest detained before making it out of Turkish waters. Smugglers squeeze desperate people into overcrowded dinghies for a small fortune.

Humanitarian disaster

Lt Antonios Sofiadelis from the Lesbos coastguard says they sometimes come across boats designed for 10 people, with 40 or 50 packed in.

Ferry leaving Lesbos for Athens

At noon, the daily ferry leaves for Piraeus, the port next to Athens, taking locals, tourists - and those migrants released with papers from Moria camp

"They destroy the raft when they see us and jump into the water, screaming. But we have to do our job."

Since the Lampedusa tragedy earlier this month, when 366 people lost their lives trying to reach the southern Italian island, illegal immigration has shot back on to the agenda of Europe's leaders.

An EU summit last week promised only a "task force" to report back - but southern European countries have long argued that substantial steps are needed to tackle a growing humanitarian disaster.

Until 2012, 90% of illegal immigrants entered Europe through Greece. The numbers have now dropped but the Greek government says it is still shouldering a huge burden in the midst of its worst financial crisis in living memory - and that the north must show solidarity.

Appalling conditions

"I ask for more support from EU member states," says Lt Sofiadelis, "because we defend Europe's borders too. We have to protect our country from criminal networks."

Until 2010, Lesbos had an immigrant detention centre in the town of Pagani.

It was criticised by human rights groups for its appalling conditions and subsequently closed.

Now another facility has been built in the town of Moria - officially called a "reception centre".

Those arrested are taken here to be registered and held.

Non-Syrians stay for around 25 days before being given papers ordering them to leave Greece within a month.

Syrians, due to their country's civil war, are released more quickly and allowed six months in Greece.

I tried to get into the camp to see the conditions and talk to inmates - but was refused access.

Inside are offices of NGOs and the UN Refugee Agency, the UNHCR.

Behind barbed wire are a dozen small containers housing about 70 refugees. They sit outside, their hands gripping the fence.

When some try to engage me in conversation, the police ask me to move away.

"This is a prison," one Afghan tells me.

'Escape from danger'

"I feel desperate and ashamed when the immigrants talk to us about the problems they face in my country - and I feel very angry," says Efi Latsoudi, the local co-ordinator of the group Doctors of the World.

The cemetery on the mountain overlooking Lesbos The cemetery on the mountain overlooking Lesbos contains the names of immigrants who have died seeking a better life

"Because I believe we can change something - and we don't."

What needs to change, I ask her?

"There must be a political decision that we have these arrivals here and we have to support them as humans, not as a problem or an illegal thing.

"Most of them are like us - they are simply escaping from danger and they must be helped."

Away from Moria, I am taken to another facility provided by locals and NGOs, housing an Afghan family, who arrived two months ago.

The mother - who does not wish to be identified - and her four young children live in a tiny room.

She breaks down as she tells me the story of her husband being arrested here and their treacherous journey from Jalalabad.

Numbers and codes

"We'd hoped we could find safety and that our children could go to school," she says.

"But instead we have nothing - the smugglers took all our money and we had a dangerous trip here - one of my children fell into the water on the way and I thought he'd die. I think it wasn't worth it to come here. Europe wasn't worth it."

Immigrants board the ferry leaving Lesvos for Athens

Perhaps the most perilous part of the journey made by these immigrants - arriving in Europe - is behind them

Perched on the mountain overlooking Lesbos, a corner of the cemetery is given to those who do not make it here.

A few have been identified - the name "Mohamed Amin" is written on one stone.

But most are simply given labels: "Afghan, 31/07/07", "Number 3, 5/1/13".

They were people, individuals before they tried to come to Europe. Now they are reduced to numbers and codes.

At noon, the daily ferry leaves for Piraeus, the port next to Athens, taking locals, tourists - and those migrants released with papers from Moria camp.

I meet a few young Syrians there. They are educated, speak good English and dress well - far from the stereotypical image of refugees.

"We paid 1,300 euros [£1,100; $1,800] each to the smugglers to take us here," says one.

"My family don't want to see me die in our war. So they told me to leave. I won't stay in Athens because of the economic situation - I want to go to another European city. I want only life."

As the ferry doors close, they climb aboard, carrying one bag each - and their dreams.

Perhaps the most perilous part of their journey - arriving in Europe - is behind them. But plenty more hardship awaits in Athens and beyond. And thousands more will follow in their wake.

Exterior of Moria camp An immigrant detention camp that has been built in Moria is officially called a "reception centre"

BBC News - Greek island on frontline of Europe's migration war

Any source

▶ Frontier markets - still time to buy? - YouTube

▶ Frontier markets - still time to buy? - YouTube:

"Frontier markets are up 15 per cent compared to a 2 per cent rise in emerging markets. Rob Minto, the FT's emerging markets assistant editor, looks at the factors driving the success of frontier markets and whether investors have missed the rally.


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Credit Suisse Exchanged $4.5 Billion Qatar Notes to CoCos - Bloomberg

Credit Suisse Exchanged $4.5 Billion Qatar Notes to CoCos - Bloomberg:

"Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, said it exchanged $4.5 billion of notes held by the Qatar Investment Authority into debt that qualifies as capital under stricter rules.
The Zurich-based bank and Qatari sovereign wealth fund swapped the Tier 1 capital notes for contingent-convertible bonds on Oct. 23 in a transaction approved by Swiss financial regulator Finma, Credit Suisse said in a report today.
The bank and Persian Gulf nation have boosted ties after the wealth fund participated in Credit Suisse’s capital increase during the 2008 financial crisis. The swap helps the Swiss lender meet demands from the regulator that it boost reserves of capital that can better absorb losses amid turmoil such as that following the meltdown of the U.S. housing market."

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National Bank of Abu Dhabi Plans Eight Banking Hubs for Growth - Bloomberg

National Bank of Abu Dhabi Plans Eight Banking Hubs for Growth - Bloomberg:

"National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest bank by assets, plans to set up eight global hubs and build five “international bank franchises” as part of its overseas expansion strategy.
The state-controlled lender will focus on Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Lagos, Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Paris and Washington DC to serve clients in five key industries, Chief Executive Officer Alex Thursby said at a news conference in Abu Dhabi today. NBAD plans to tap trade and investment flows across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, said Thursby, who joined in July from Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ)
The bank also plans to build “more than a one-branch presence” in five countries which will typically be those with large populations, have fast-growing economies and a rapidly expanding middle class, Thursby said. The lender is seeking to set up between 10 and 20 branches in these countries, with Egypt being the first and Malaysia likely the second, he said."

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アルテミスS オッズ異常&▲

情報が届いていない会員様がおりましたら必ず までお願いいたします


福島      磐梯山特別



東京      アルテミスS



京都      京洛S










【2010年】 381R
勝率26% 連対率46% 複勝率60%

【2011年】 431R
勝率33% 連対率52% 複勝率64%

勝率32% 連対率49% 複勝率61%


勝率30% 連対率48% 複勝率60%

▲馬です⇒  人気ブログランキングへ  3着


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Coisa pouca...

E ao Km. 198,617  do “caminho-de-ferro-do-tempo”,
na “Linha do Noroeste”, as nuvens chegam ao destino.
Na Estação, passam apressadas pelos torniquetes,
misturam-se de imediato na população e num instante,
expulsam o azul.
Depois, fazem chover.
A Linha do Noroeste com destino ao céu azul,
volta a estar desactivada.
....foto de Filipe Santiago .
Any source

Shock Report: Only Six People Enrolled In Obamacare Out Of 4.7 Million Visitors To

Calling it a colossal disaster to date is an understatement. The Obama administration needs to enroll at least 7 million Americans by March 1 of next year to allow the program to work as planned. That's 39,000 enrollees per day. In a shocking report tonight, CBS News reports that only six people nationwide enrolled in the program during the first 24 hours of's operation out of the 4.7 million Americans who visited the problem-plagued website. By the end of the second day of live operation, there were only 248 enrollments nationwide. Little-known porn websites have more successful launches in enrolling new members than Hell, Angie's List has averaged signing up over 4,000 new members a day since it began trading publicly. What a joke. Any source

Grogue pessoano vintage

Em 1143, através da bula“ Manifestis Probatum” diz o Papa ao Afonso:
-Se eu te desse um País , que farias tu com ele?
-Tentava que fosse de homens íntegros e honestos.
-Mas, Afonso, se eu te desse o tal País que diria tua mãe? (Ela conhece-me a fundo.)
-Que há muito parvo no mundo, e que eras parvo também.
-Então Afonso , não queres o País? Em breve irei morrer.
-Eu vou ao teu enterro, mas acho que é um erro pegar num País
que IX séculos depois, ainda tem gente desta no Poder.
-Mas Afonso , se este dar-te um País não fosse senão poesia?
-Já podias ter dito. Então, filho, nada feito. Fica o post sem efeito
e eu vou fundar para outra freguesia.
( Comunicado do observador meteorológico sr.Zé Paupério em
estado de consciência alcoólica).
....foto minha.
Any source

































人気ブログランキングへ 3着









 ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄





 ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄
⇒ 09月29日 中山9R 勝浦特別 
馬連・3連複 点1,000円指定 13,500円

⇒ 09月22日 中山11R オールカマー
3連複 点1,000円指定 58,400円




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31/10/2013: I am sorry, but Retail Sales did not get any better in September, again...

With some lag, time to update Irish Retail Sales stats to September data. Instead of going over the usual details of the dynamics, let's take a broader look at what is happening in the sector:

Starting with a chart:

As above clearly shows, both the Value and the Volume of core retail sales are going nowhere - the series are bouncing along the bottom, switching direction almost on month basis. This suggests that

  1. Consumers are not going to the shops anymore than they absolutely need to; and
  2. Consumers are running out of money to spend on things they need to purchase, while retailers are running out of margins to cut prices.
Of course, you would also notice in the above chart the absolutely bonkers behaviour of Consumer Confidence indicator. And you are right: as chart below clearly highlights, the Consumer Confidence has completely detached itself from Retail Sector realities:

Timing the start of the crisis to late the start of 2009 (if we take the start at mid-2008 things are even uglier for the Consumer Confidence), we have:

  • Consumer confidence rising along an upward trend;
  • Retail Sales in Volume and Value falling along declining trend;
  • Consumer confidence being more volatile than Volume and Value indicators for Retail Sales
This implies that Consumers are claiming that which they do not practice. Why? I have no idea. Patriotic duty to be optimistic? By Consumer Confidence recent readings, we should observe retail sales activity around late 2006-2007 levels. Ooops... Value of Retail Sales is now below where they were back at the start of the series in 2005. Volume of Retail Sales is now around late 2005.

The same applies to more smooth 3mo MA series:

There are no statistically or economically meaningful links between 3mo MA for Consumer Confidence and either Value or Volume of Retail Sales. Worse, year on year, the disconnect between the series has grown wider for both, with the widening being steeper for Value index. Again, this potentially indicates that margins in the retail sales have been wiped out and that this is not enough to get consumers spending again.

Which raises one serious question: local authorities are planning to jack up their rates in 2014. How will retail businesses afford these when they are trading in the above conditions?

As you know, I run my own index of Retail Sector Activity - RSAI - and updating this to September shows the flatlining of the trend for Retail Sector activity overall. All in, we are now in 75 months-long period of declining or flat retail sales:

You can turn the numbers upside down and compute them sideways. You can listen to the Government spokespersons telling us about improving consumer confidence until the Halloween pyres consume the last tractor tyre. You can believe that we are in a turnaround.

And I wish I could do so alongside you... but the above figures are not showing this. Perhaps we can add 'not yet' to that statement to keep some hope alive.
Any source

31 d'octubre de 2013 Final de mes radiant

Bona castanyada i pont de Tots Sants a tothom!!
Acabem el mes amb un dia radiant i cel serè, temperatures fresques i neu que pràcticament ha marxat de tot arreu. Les màximes avui s'han recuperat una mica tant pel que fa a les valls com a alta muntanya, han arribat fins els 18ºC al fons de les valls, als 14º o 15ºC  -1ºCa mitja muntanya i al voltant dels 6ºC a alta muntanya. Les mínimes han estat negatives a les valls amb valors entre -3,5ºC a Esterri d'Àneu fins a -1ºC, a mitja muntanya amb inversió tèrmica valors de 2ºC o 3ºC i a alta muntanya entre -6,5ºC i 0ºC o 1ºC.

Resum mensual de precipitació:

Esterri A 50,8mm
Planes de Son 49,6mm
Llagunes 24,4mm
Amitges 74,6mm
Farrera 22,4mm
Sort 38,2mm
Port Ainé 47,6mm
Quanca 51mm
Sant Joan de Toran (Val d'Aran) 100,2mmAny source

Another Law Professor Sides With Ogden In Disciplinary Case: Opinion About Competence Of Judge Is Protected Free Speech

Another law professor is siding with fellow attorney and blogger Paul Ogden in the efforts of the Indiana Attorney Disciplinary Commission to suspend him from the practice of law for criticizing a judge's handling of a probate case in a private e-mail. John Marshall Law School Professor Alberto Bernabe comments on Ogden's case at his Professional Responsibility Blog:
The commission apparently told the attorney he could forgo the possible disciplinary proceeding if he apologized for the comment but the attorney refused and decided to fight the charge instead. I applaud him for this decision because the commission is clearly acting unconstitutionally here. The attorney has the right to express his opinion about the judge and if that statement is what the commission is basing its position on, it does not have any valid basis for imposing sanctions. I hope the Indiana Supreme Court does the right thing here and sends the commission (and the judge) packing.
Ironically, apparently the commission has argued as an aggravating factor that the attorney "believes he is superior to the courts and the law.” Yet, it is the commission which apparently believes its power is superior to the attorney's first amendment protected right to express his opinion.
Hat tip to Ted Waggoner at Lawyers With Troubles. Previously, nationally-respected George Washington University Law School Professor Jonathan Turley expressed support for Ogden in a blog post here. Any source

Goldman Sachs and Work-Life Balance

Goldman Sachs announced this week that it had instituted ways to improve the work experience of analysts (in its BA program) and reduce the number of hours they work each week. It's the lore of investment banking to hear stories of analysts and MBA associates, too, who work long hours that stretch through the weekend and through holidays and vacation time.

Goldman acknowledges that it is missing out on some top talent, when recruits have selected other finance jobs or industries because of work-life-balance issues. Talented BA's and MBA's will express an interest in corporate finance, will have the aptitude and drive to work on deals and with important clients, but, as Goldman sees it, they back out and accept offers elsewhere. And they may whisper to Goldman and other major banks that it wasn't about the compensation.  Thus, they choose pathways that take them to the shorter hours and better lifestyles offered by hedge funds, smaller boutique firms, and the finance or strategy departments of non-financial companies.

Goldman, for its part, will discourage analysts from working weekends.

Big banks have tried to address these issues over the past 13-15 years, going back to the times when banks risked losing talent to dot-com opportunities. But the slope is slippery. They implement programs and try to change the culture. They make promises to recruits and junior bankers.

Yet in the trenches, old managerial habits surface, and analysts and MBA associates are pushed to extremes to help in deals, to do extensive modeling and research and to participate in elaborate client pitches. No matter how hard banks try to tweak and twist the work culture, mid-level bankers face unbearable pressures to win deal mandates, generate revenues, manage risks and comply with new regulation--without regard to firm rules about working weekends or until midnight. For some middle and senior bankers, there is a little bit of "because I did it, they ought to, too."

Often the messages of improving work experiences, coming from senior managers far removed from deals and clients, are lost in execution or not enforced fairly or properly. The deal, the pitch and the demands of the client becomes the modus operandi.

Still, because this is Goldman, the industry will watch how this unfurls. Goldman has said that, if necessary, it will hire more analysts to compensate for work not getting done during weekends.

The reports, at least what has come out, don't address work-life issues for MBA associates. Therefore, although the firm likely wants to improve work experiences for the older group, it wasn't ready to say they (the associates) can have all weekends off, too.

Tracy Williams

See also:

CFN:  Delicate Balance:  Long Hours and Personal Lives, 2010
CFN:  Is I-Banking Still Hot? 2011
CFN:  Summer-Internship Experiences, 2010

Any source

New ADM tax break bill proposed

By Jamey Dunn

Whether same sex marriage or public pension reform will pass during the last week of the Illinois General Assembly's fall veto session seems to be anybody’s guess at this point. But it appears that there may be a way to move forward on a tax break for Archers Daniels Midland. ADM announced plans to move its corporate headquarters from Decatur.

The company said it was considering Chicago as the new location and then came to the General Assembly looking for a tax credit. The initial public reaction from lawmakers was less than positive. However, statehouse observers have been saying for weeks that a deal would likely be worked out in the veto session. Lawmakers are scheduled to be back in session for three days next week. The first week of the fall session wrapped up a day early after little was accomplished.

Sen. Andy Manar, a Democrat from Bunker Hill, filed legislation today to give ADM the tax credit it sought to keep its headquarters in Illinois. Manar was critical of an earlier bill. “I’ve had countless conversations with constituents, local officials and community groups who are angered by ADM’s recent announcement of their intention to move their headquarters. I would have preferred to have seen ADM first engage state and local officials to find a way to maintain employment levels in Decatur,” he said in a written statement earlier this month. “Now, only eight days later, there is legislation moving in the House of Representatives to give ADM tens of millions to potentially stay in Illinois and move to Chicago. Not so fast. Illinois is facing tough times. Decatur is facing tougher times, with the highest unemployment rate in the state. I will oppose any bill, and I will urge my colleagues to join me in opposing any bill that results in net job loss in Decatur.”

Manar’s new legislation (Senate Amendment 2 to House Bill 2536) would require ADM to replace the 100 corporate jobs that would leave Decatur by moving 100 jobs to Decatur from other states. “Throughout this process, I have said that keeping ADM in Illinois was a priority but not at the expense of taxpayers and jobs,” Manar said today. “The bill I have introduced will allow ADM to continue their long and valued partnership with Illinois, while growing and creating much-needed jobs here.” The proposal would also create a task force with the goal of creating jobs through ADM's intermodal transportation facility in Decatur. Construction of the facility was funded in part through a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The bill was the product of collaboration between ADM executives, Manar and elected officials in Decatur. “We are grateful for Senator Manar’s support. We appreciate the constructive dialogue he’s led with ADM and local leaders around our shared desire to see Decatur grow and prosper,” said Victoria Podesta, ADM’s chief communications officer. “The outcome envisioned in the legislation, if realized, would be a win for Illinois, for Decatur and for ADM.”

Mitch Schaben, a spokesman for Manar, said the amount of the tax credit is still being negotiated. He said the goal is to have everything hashed out by the end of the veto session. But the proposal could still face an uphill climb. Some Democrats are less than thrilled that corporations continue to get tax breaks while education and human services suffer cuts. On the other side of the aisle, some Republicans have voiced opposition to the concept, saying that the state should reduce taxes for all businesses instead of handing out special breaks to larger, well-connected companies. Most recently, lawmakers voted in 2011 to give tax cuts to Sears and the CME Group, which owns the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade. Gov. Pat Quinn signed that legislation but has since said he would not consider any tax breaks that pass before lawmakers approve changes to public employee pensions. Any source

Novembro prevê-se que seja bastante seco!

O mês que amanhã se inicia prevê-se que seja bastante seco no Alentejo, pelo menos na primeira quinzena!
Com excepção de alguns chuviscos que podem ocorrer no próximo fim-de-semana não se prevêem quantidades significativas de precipitação para os próximos tempos, devido ao posicionamento do Anticiclone que vai servir de bloqueio à passagem das superfícies frontais que nos trazem chuva.
Além disto na próxima semana prevê-se ainda uma subida das temperaturas para a próxima semana!
Any source

Shareholders to SEC: Expose corporate "dark money" in politics

Wouldn't it be nice to know how much of your money is being spent to elect anti-worker politicians to office?

If you have any retirement savings, you probably own stock in a public corporation. And the CEOs of those corporations can spend your money however they wish on politics -- without telling you.

Since the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, corporations have been pouring millions of dollars into shadowy groups to influence elections. In the 2012 election, up to $400 million was funneled into these "dark money" groups -- that's 500 percent more than in the previous presidential election before Citizens United.

More often than not, that corporate money is being spent to elect anti-worker candidates to public office.

new SEC rule being considered would require publicly traded companies to disclose to shareholders the corporate funds spent on political campaigns.

Supporters of the new rule, led by Public Citizen, held an event in Washington yesterday where Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) urged the SEC to shine a light on the "dark money" spent by corporations:
We don't have to have legislation for the SEC to do the right thing. They have the power to do the right thing right now. There is no reason for saying a corporation wants to be able to spend shareholders' money and not tell shareholders how that money is being spent.
Advocates for transparency in corporate political spending are also supporting the Shareholder Protection Act, legislation introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) to force the SEC to enact a political disclosure rule. Menendez was also at yesterday's event and said the SEC does not need the legislation to write the new rule now.

 Law professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy wrote in the Los Angeles Times:
There is no rule at the SEC that requires public companies to tell their shareholders what they are up to in partisan elections.
If the law of the land allows corporations to spend unlimited money on politics, investors deserve to know when, why and how much.
As the Sunlight Foundation observes, the recent government shutdown was just one symptom of the dysfunction sewn by the dark money infecting DC -- all in the interests of right-wing fanatics and their corporate sponsors:
Not all that ails our democracy can be blamed on the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, but $1.2 billion in spending by outside groups—at least $300 million of that from undisclosed donors—doesn’t help create a working democracy.
Legislation such as the DISCLOSE Act is still the best chance at comprehensive disclosure of all dark money. But an SEC rule will result in greater accountability by companies that decide to spend money on politics, it will inform investors about how a company spends its profits, and it will help the public identify the messenger behind many of the political ads they see.
A new SEC rule wouldn't solve all of our problems. It probably won't even reduce corporate political spending all that much. But it would be a nice change from the secrecy that shrouds political spending. 
And it will give us a chance to hold CEOs accountable when they spend money on politicians who attack working people.
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Previsión fin de semana 1-4 de noviembre


Después de alguna ausencia por motivos laborales y de otra índole, retomamos las previsiones.

Hay que comentar que el tiempo otoñal ha sido el dominante estos días. Ha llovido algo, no gran cosa, ha asomado la nieve incluso en cotas inferiores a 1.800msnm y ha refrescado hasta el punto de helar con cierta alegría.

De hecho en Ampriu ya ses ha bajado a -3ºC y en Eriste se ha bajado de -1ºC. Esta pasada noche, con el viento en calma, ya hemos tenido inversión térmica, y parece que la noche que viene va por el mismo camino.

Dejando de lado los datos pasados, que también he llevado muy descontrolados estos días pasados, hay que comentar que los próximos días van a seguir siendo cambiantes. Seguimos con altas presiones al W, pero lo suficientemente lejos como para que con cada baja que circula por latitudes más altas nos descuelguen algún frente que no dejará lluvias, en general débiles, y un descenso posterior de temperaturas con algo de viento.

Esa tónica seguirá hasta mediados de la semana que viene cuando parece que las altas presiones se desplazarán hacia el Este propiciando más estabilidad y una circulación del jet más plana, cogiendo velocidad y presagiando, quizás, unas cuantas jornadas estables.

Tanto ECMWF como GFS aprecian estabilidad prologada a largo plazo, aunque esto siempre hay que cogerlo con pinzas.

El ensemble del GFS nos muestra esos frentecillos de los próximos días y la ausencia de precipitaciones que se aprecia a plazos medios y largos. Ah, y el descenso de temperatura tras el paso del primer frente.

Y si miramos el ensemble del GFS de presión en superficie vemos como, tras los próximos días más movidos, las fechas siguientes serían de dominio de las altas presiones. Tiempo estable.

Por el momento:

Viernes día 1: Soleado en general, con unas primeras horas del día bien frescas. Nubes altas que pro la tarde serían más abundantes pero no dejarían nada. Temperaturas un poco más altas. Vientos flojos.

Sábado día 2: Día más gris, en principio con poca precipitación, más frecuente cuanto más al norte. Temperaturas algo más altas, sobre todo las mínimas por la presencia de más nubes. Vientos flojos.

Domingo día 3: Mañana gris quedando más claro por la tarde. En principio precipitaciones débiles, más posibles al norte. Viento girando a norte flojo. Temperaturas un poco más bajas.

Lunes día 4: Menos nubes y más sol por mañana esperando un nuevo frente por la tarde que dejaría los cielos cubiertos y posibles precipitaciones, a la espera de afinar intensidad. Temperaturas con pocos cambios. Vientos flojos.

Seguiríamos con otro frente el martes y luego ya entraría el típico anticiclón de noviembre que pone de los nervios a los que quieren nieve desde mediados de mes.

Lo vamos siguiendo en: @meteobenas



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State Board of Education puts new face on school data

By Jamey Dunn

The Illinois State Board of Education released an updated version of its annual school date reports, which officials say will give parents a more holistic view of Illinois schools.

The board released its Illinois Report Cards for the state’s school districts today. ISBE used about $600,000 in federal funding from the Race to the Top program to redesign the report cards in an effort to make them more user-friendly. The new version of the report cards does not focus only on test scores, it also includes school conditions, school budget information and the college readiness of students. “In previous years, the school report card focused on student performance on state standardized tests. While this data is important, we all know that test scores alone do not provide a full picture of student learning or a school's climate and learning conditions,” said a video about the data on ISBE’s website.

The interactive report cards provide test scores as well as other information, including average class size, per-student spending and teacher retention rates. Parents can find information about courses and extracurricular activities offered and a link to a survey of students and teachers about their schools. The report cards also provide student demographic data. The information released today indicates that almost 50 percent of students in the state are classified as low-income, and 2 percent are homeless. Nearly half of all students are minorities, with a growing number of Hispanic students contributing to the robust minority student population.

“The data we’re releasing today provide a better picture of student and school growth than ever before,”  Christopher  Koch, the state superintendent, said in a written statement. “We’re no longer providing just a snapshot of student performance but offering something more akin to a video of ongoing progress toward ensuring that every public school student in Illinois is prepared to succeed in college and careers.”

The report cards come after the state placed more rigorous standards on student testing as part of adopting the Common Core curriculum. Under the new requirements, the percentage of students who received a passing grade or better on a statewide standardized test went from 81.2 in 2012 to 61.9 in 2013. “This year’s performance on state tests can’t be viewed in isolation but as part of an unprecedented amount of change and higher expectations that educators, families and policy makers have taken on to better prepare students for the world that awaits them after high school,” state board Chairman Gery J. Chico said in a prepared statement. “I know that it’s a lot of new expectations, and it’s difficult to see school scores decline, but we needed to give families a better indication earlier on of college and career readiness. Students are still learning, and hopefully, in new and more engaging ways under the Common Core Learning Standards, which emphasize that students not only master content but can demonstrate their understanding, along with critical thinking, problem-solving, writing and other important skills.” According to ISBE’s data, only 45.7 of the 2013 high school graduating class is prepared for college coursework based on their ACT scores.

While those stats seem jarring, ISBE is in the process of transition from one major education policy to another. New testing associated with the Common Core program is scheduled to begin by the end of the 2014-2015 school year. However, the state continues to wait for a waiver for No Child Left Behind standards from the federal government. Congress has yet to pass an update to the law, which has been roundly criticized in the years since its implementation for setting unrealistic standards that schools must meet to avoid being dubbed failures. President Barack Obama's administration has opted to grant waivers from the program requirements to states willing to make certain education reforms. According to the ISBE, the U.S. Department of Education is asking Illinois to implement new teacher evaluations that use student performance — measured by test scores — as a key component for evaluating teachers. Illinois law does not call for the new evaluations to be in place statewide until the 2016-2017 school year. Any source

Memo to myself

A few thoughts arising as I continue to plough through Bugnini:

Pope Paul Vl seems to have been split. In the same document, he can express a profound respect for tradition, and a desire not to risk changing what has been handed down, and a desire for change - and radical change at that.

I need to read more (in Bugnini and elsewhere) to understand him better.

The role of the observers from other ecclesial groups is somewhat ambiguous.  Bugnini wants to play it down (not least because of the criticism their presence attracted) but he does so with a studied ambiguity at times.

Again, that is a theme to which I will return as I read more.

The extraordinary way in which the forbidden was done, and the exceptional was quickly made the normal in this whole process: the current example is the Roman Canon and the new Eucharistic Prayers; thus the Holy Father on June 20, 1966, decided that:

'the present anaphora be left untouched; two or three other anaphoras  should be composed, or sought in existing texts, that could be used in certain defined seasons.' [My emphasis]

How did we get from that to what actually happened?  Again, to be pursued...Any source

Minting it: UK picks up Poland’s loose change | beyondbrics

Minting it: UK picks up Poland’s loose change | beyondbrics:

Poles complaining about the vast amounts of tiny change clogging their wallets and pockets will have to look abroad to vent – the National Bank of Poland announced on Thursday that three of the country’s smallest denomination coins will be made by the UK’s Royal Mint.

The Mint edged out competition from the Mint of Finland, the Royal Mint of Canada and Poland’s own Mennica Polska, a listed company that until now has supplied all the bank’s coins.

The Polish press reports that the Mennica plans to file a lawsuit alleging that the Royal Mint is price dumping to win the contract. Mennica’s bid was 61m zlotys, significantly less than its previous contract, but still well above the winning price.

The three-year contract worth 54m zlotys ($18m) came in significantly below the bank’s estimate of 107m zlotys – the savings are likely to end up bolstering the government’s budget."

'via Blog this'Any source

BBC Children in Need's record on pro-life issues

Top story:

BBC Children in Need's record on pro-life issues
BBC Children in Need is a charity of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to raise money for the support of children, including disabled children. Its main fundraising vehicle is an annual telethon held in November. The BBC Children in Need website reveals that in 2012 and 2013 it made grants to sexual health centres and projects supporting homosexual youth. In SPUC's experience, such centres and projects often support and/or facilitate legal abortion, abortifacient birth control and/or damaging forms of sex education. For example, BBC Children in Need gave £30,803 to the Terrence Higgins Trust, which has endorsed a right to choose abortion, promoted morning-after pills, produced pro-euthanasia advance directives ('living wills') and produced highly-explicit sex education material. [John Smeaton, 12 November 2011] BBC Children In Need has previously given grants to charities funding abortion and family planning services and using research methods that involve destructive embryos - see the entry in the 2006 edition of SPUC's Charities Bulletin.

Other stories:

Sexual ethics
  • New Zealand campaigners worried about sex education for five year-olds [Scoop, 31 October]
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Android per tutti e il nuovo Nexus 5

Giusto in tempo per Halloween, abbiamo due novità da annunciare a tutti gli appassionati Android. In primo luogo siamo felici di scartare KitKat, la più recente release della nostra piattaforma, in grado di offrire un'esperienza Android ancora più smart e coinvolgente e ad ancora più persone. In secondo luogo, siamo felici di annunciare oggi Nexus 5, un nuovo telefono Nexus sviluppato insieme ad LG.

La prima cosa che noterete di KitKat è che abbiamo reso l'esperienza d'uso ancora più coinvolgente: sia che stiate leggendo un libro, giocando ad un video game o guardando un film, la nuova modalità immersiva metterà il contenuto in evidenza nascondendo gli elementi di interfaccia non necessari. 

L'intelligenza di Google al servizio di Android
Dietro l'eleganza del design si nasconde l'efficienza. Prendete ad esempio l'applicazione Telefono, che per molte persone non è cambiata particolarmente dai tempi dei cellulari tradizionali. Ora abbiamo reso il sistema di chiamata ancora più semplice permettendovi di cercare tra i vostri contatti, luoghi nelle vicinanze e addirittura tra gli account associati alle app Google (ad esempio la vostra directory aziendale), direttamente dall'applicazione. Grazie alla nuova versione dell'app Hangout, tutti i vostri SMS e MMS saranno organizzati in un unico posto, insieme alle altre conversazioni e video chiamate. In questo modo non perderete mai di vista un messaggio, indipendentemente da come vi è stato inviato. Questo è solo un assaggio di KitKat, se volete saperne di più visitare il nostro sito.

Da sempre Google ha la missione di aiutare le persone ad accedere in modo immediato a tutte le informazioni reperibili; ora vogliamo trasferire lo stesso vantaggio ed efficienza anche su Android. Con il nuovo launcher Nexus 5, l'intelligenza Google è parte del telefono che portate con voi e vi consente di accedere alle informazioni in modo semplice e veloce. Con un semplice swipe sulla schermata home potrete accedere a Google Now. Con il comando "OK, Google"potrete attivare Google sfruttando la ricerca vocale, mandare un messaggio, ottenere indicazioni stradali o addirittura ascoltare una canzone. Nelle prossime settimane miglioreremo ulteriormente Now grazie a delle nuove schede che vi daranno accesso ad informazioni contestuali di vostro interesse come ad esempio aggiornamenti dai vostri siti o blog preferiti.

Raggiungere il prossimo miliardo di utenti
Costruire una piattaforma per rendere i telefoni cellulari accessibili a tutti è da sempre un obiettivo centrale per Android. Fino ad oggi alcuni telefoni Android di fascia più bassa non potevano avvantaggiarsi delle release più recenti della piattaforma per via di limiti di memoria. Con KitKat abbiamo ridotto sensibilmente lo spazio di memoria occupato da Android rimuovendo servizi in background non strettamente necessari e riducendo l'impiego di memoria da parte di alcuni applicativi sempre in uso. Lo abbiamo fatto per Android ma anche per tutti i servizi Google come Chrome e YouTube. La RAM (o memoria) è una delle componenti più costose del telefono e a partire da ora Android può operare agevolmente su dispositivi con 512MB di RAM che sono poi tra i più diffusi nel mondo, rendendo così tutte le migliorie di Android 4.4 accessibili al prossimo miliardo di proprietari di smartphone.

Nexus 5
La dolce tradizione che accompagna l'evoluzione di Android vede anche l'introduzione di un dispositivo nuovo in grado di mostrare le più recenti innovazioni della piattaforma. Per KitKat abbiamo lavorato insieme ad LG alla realizzazione di Nexus 5, il telefono Nexus più sottile e veloce mai realizzato. Il suo design è semplice e studiato per mettere in evidenza il display Full HD da 5 pollici. Nexus 5 può connettersi ad altissima velocità attraverso la rete 4G/LTE e grazie ad un sistema Wifi integrato ultra veloce. Le nuove lenti del Nexus 5, frutto di un'avanzata tecnologia, sono in grado di catturare ancora più luce rendendo gli scatti notturni ancora più brillanti e le azioni ancora più definite. Inoltre, la nuova modalità HDR+ scatta automaticamente una serie di foto in successione e le combina poi in modo da offrirvi il meglio da ogni scatto. Per saperne di più visitate il nostro sito.

A partire da oggi Nexus 5 è acquistabile in Italia in modalità sbloccata e senza contratto direttamente su Google Play (e così anche negli Stati Uniti, Regno Unito, Australia, Francia, Germania,  Spagna, Giappone, Corea e presto anche in India) ad un prezzo base di 349€. 

Nelle prossime settimane la piattaforma Android 4.4 KitKat integrata nel Nexus 5 sarà disponibile anche per i dispositivi Nexus 4, 7, 10 il Samsung Galaxy S4 e HTC One Google Play edition. 

Come vi sembra come sorpresa?

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Ukraine Vows to Curb Reserves Plunge as IMF Repeats Loan Demands - Bloomberg

Ukraine Vows to Curb Reserves Plunge as IMF Repeats Loan Demands - Bloomberg:

"Ukraine pledged to stem declines in its foreign reserves next year as the International Monetary Fund said it wouldn’t ease conditions for a new loan amid a third recession since 2008.
Borrowing will match or exceed the planned $7.1 billion of foreign-denominated debt repayments, Halyna Pakhachuk, head of the Finance Ministry’s department debt, said today at a Fitch Ratings conference in the capital, Kiev. If markets improve, Ukraine may sell $1 billion to $2 billion of Eurobonds in 2014 and may borrow as much as $1 billion from China, she said.
“It’s difficult for Ukraine to tap international markets now as yields exceed 10 percent, while we can borrow at no more than 9 percent,” Pakhachuk said. “That’s why we’re looking for other sources of financing.”"

'via Blog this'Any source

31/10/2013: IBF data on Mortgages Approvals: September 2013

Having just covered data on Residential Property Prices here (, time to also update the data from the IBF on Irish mortgages approvals.

Excluding mortgages top-ups, lending for house purchases improved in September, with total of 1,544 new mortgages approved, up 10.4% y/y. Cumulative 3mo issuance of mortgages is now up 11.5% on previous quarter and 13.4% up y/y.

Average mortgage approved, however, stood at EUR174,302 in September, down 4.78% y/y. 3mo average mortgage approved was down 0.12% on previous quarter and down 3.69% y/y.

Year-to-date (Q1-Q3) cumulative number of mortgages approved rose 7.5% y/y while average mortgage approved by value fell 2.49%.

As the result of the above, total value of mortgages approved stood at EUR269 million in September, up 5.08% y/y. Q1-Q3 volume of mortgages approved rose 5.12% y on same period 2012.

So overall, reasonable gains, but off extremely low levels.
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