Boy, 6, writes book to save friend’s life

Boy, 6, writes book to save friend’s life

bookchocv

Saturday, Mar 02, 2013
The New Paper

They are the best of friends in primary school.

So when his chum needed help, Dylan Siegel jumped in.

At six, Dylan has produced a 16-page book called Chocolate Bar, a handwritten and illustrated story.

More than two months after putting his book on the market, he has managed to raise more than US$30,000 (S$37,150) from events, sales and donations made through Facebook and online.

The book uses the term chocolate bar as a synonym for awesome.

He came up with his book because his good friend Jonah Pournazarian, seven, suffers from a rare liver disorder with no known cure, the Daily Mail reported. Jonah often eats through a tube, sometimes corn starch or chicken soup with vegetables. Read more of this post

Buffett: Performance streak may end this year; “To date, we’ve never had a five-year period of underperformance, having managed 43 times to surpass the S&P over such a stretch”: Long-time Berkshire investors said they detected almost a sense of frustration in this year’s letter

Buffett: Performance streak may end this year

12:30am EST

By Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – Berkshire Hathaway may end a long streak of outperforming the S&P 500 this year, Chief Executive Warren Buffett warned shareholders on Friday, even as he said he was still eagerly hunting for acquisitions to grow the ice-cream-to-insurance conglomerate.

In his annual letter to investors, Buffett opened up with a caution that this year, for the first time, the growth in Berkshire’s book value per share may underperform the growth in the S&P 500 when measured over a five-year period.

“To date, we’ve never had a five-year period of underperformance, having managed 43 times to surpass the S&P over such a stretch,” he wrote. “But the S&P has now had gains in each of the last four years, outpacing us over that period. If the market continues to advance in 2013, our streak of five-year wins will end.”

Buffett said he expects the growth in Berkshire’s intrinsic business value will over time exceed the S&P’s returns by small margins. But at the same time, he said the firm would continue to underperform in a strong market like this year.

Long-time Berkshire investors said they detected almost a sense of frustration in this year’s letter. Read more of this post

Druckenmiller Sees Storm Worse Than ’08 as Seniors Steal

Druckenmiller Sees Storm Worse Than ’08 as Seniors Steal

Stan Druckenmiller, one of the best- performing hedge fund managers of the past three decades, has a warning for the youth of America: Don’t let your grandparents steal your money.

Druckenmiller, 59, said the mushrooming costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, with unfunded liabilities as high as $211 trillion, will bankrupt the nation’s youth and pose a much greater danger than the country’s $16 trillion of debt currently being debated in Congress.

“While everybody is focusing on the here and now, there’s a much, much bigger storm that’s about to hit,” Druckenmiller said in an hour-long interview with Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg Television’s Market Makers. “I am not against seniors. What I am against is current seniors stealing from future seniors.” Read more of this post

Smartphone sales in India may suffer from a higher tax on handsets costing more than $37

Chidambaram Eyes IPhone, Z10 to Plug Budget Gap: Corporate India

Smartphone sales in India may suffer from a higher tax on handsets costing more than $37 just as Apple Inc. (AAPL) steps up efforts to tap demand for data services in the world’s second-largest mobile-phone market.

Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram yesterday said he would raise the excise tax on high-end phones to 6 percent from 1 percent to help finance welfare programs for the country’s poor and fund the widest budget deficit among the largest emerging economies. Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), which sells the Galaxy range of smartphones, said the move “won’t have a positive impact” on the mobile-phone industry and will force customers to pay more.

India’s government, after attempting to squeeze wireless operators including Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) and Bharti Airtel Ltd. (BHARTI) with higher license fees and airwave tariffs, is now targeting handsets for revenue from an industry that has boomed since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opened the economy more than two decades ago. Chidambaram also increased tax on high earners, luxury cars and yachts. Read more of this post

Treasury Wine Estates Ltd. (TWE), Australia’s largest winemaker, plans to boost Chinese gift sales with trophy products similar to its $168,000 bottle of 2004 Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon

Treasury Wine Readies China Gifts Modeled on $168,000 Ampul

Treasury Wine Estates Ltd. (TWE), Australia’s largest winemaker, plans to boost Chinese gift sales with trophy products similar to its $168,000 bottle of 2004 Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon released last year. The Cabernet, contained in a glass ampul mounted inside a wooden cabinet, is “the sort of gifting that we really want to go out there” in Asia, David Dearie, chief executive officer, said in an interview yesterday. Treasury rose to a record today in Sydney trading. The company spent several hundred thousand dollars last year researching China’s wine-buyers, said Dearie. Treasury is using its findings to tailor products to Chinese consumers after success targeting Hispanic drinkers with Beringer’s Los Hermanos label in the U.S., he said. Read more of this post

Why some cells survive strokes while others don’t; “Medical science is often concerned with working out why cells die. We thought we’d look at why some seem to survive.”

Why some cells survive strokes while others don’t

Mar 2nd 2013 |From the print edition

WHEN dealing with a stroke—a loss of blood supply to the brain—time is of the essence. If the cause is a blocked artery, blood flow can often be restored using clot-busting drugs. If those drugs are swallowed too late, however, they can do more harm than good. In one of nature’s crueller ironies, the metabolic changes that take place in cells after about three hours without oxygen or glucose mean that restoring blood flow becomes damaging in itself. This is called a “reperfusion” injury. Doctors have long searched for ways to extend the period during which clot-busting pills might help. They have tried drugs and even artificially induced hypothermia to help the brain protect itself from the consequences of oxygen and sugar deprivation. Now, in a paper inNature Medicine, a group of researchers led by Alastair Buchan, a neurologist at the University of Oxford, describe a new idea. Dr Buchan’s team began with an old medical mystery. It has been known since the 1920s that some nerve cells, or neurons, are more susceptible to stroke damage than others. In particular, a group of neurons called CA3 cells that live in the hippocampus—a seahorse-shaped chunk of brain tissue involved in forming memories—are much hardier than another sort called CA1 cells, even though the two types are neighbours. “Medical science is often concerned with working out why cells die,” says Dr Buchan. “We thought we’d look at why some seem to survive.” The researchers compared versions of both types of cells taken from rats, looking for differences in their chemistry after they had been subjected to an artificial stroke. One conspicuous difference involved a protein called hamartin, which was present in larger amounts in the hardy CA3 cells than in the fragile CA1 cells.  Read more of this post

Wage Recession Hits 5 Years; Worse Than Jobs Drought

Wage Recession Hits 5 Years; Worse Than Jobs Drought

By JED GRAHAM , INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY
Posted 02/28/2013 08:05 AM ET

IBD Wages

As bad as the current job recovery has been — and it’s by far the weakest since World War II — the recovery in wages has been far worse.

Five years after the recession began in December 2007, total wages in the economy have yet to fully recover in real terms, Commerce Department data show. In other words, the wage recession continues. Read more of this post

Warren Buffett may be souring on stocks; The Oracle of Omaha still likes the market — but he’s hardly pounding the table

Warren Buffett may be souring on stocks

By Stephen Gandel, senior editor March 1, 2013: 4:03 PM ET

The Oracle of Omaha still likes the market — but he’s hardly pounding the table.

chart-stocks-gdp2

FORTUNE — In his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) shareholders, released Friday afternoon, Buffett says he still believes U.S. stocks will “do well.” He notes that he made his first stock purchase during the bleakest part of World War II, so even if things look not so great right now, you should end up doing fine as well. But compare that to last year’s letter. Buffett devoted three and a half pages – over 1,900 words – to a detailed explanation of why he thought stocks were a much better investment than say gold or bonds. (See Warren Buffett: Why stocks beat gold and bonds.) He also said he was bullish on U.S. housing. This time around he devotes four paragraphs to the case for stocks. And even in that small space, Buffett says that investors should expect periodic setbacks, and he includes two statistics that could signal one may be coming up sooner rather than later. Buffett points out that the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose “a staggering” 17,320% in the 20th century — despite “four costly wars, a Great Depression and numerous recessions.” Here’s the problem: During nearly the same period, Buffett says GDP per capita rose much less about 500%. Buffett has used this comparison of the economy to stock market valuations before. He featured the metric in a story he wrote for Fortune back in 2001. (See Warren Buffett on the stock market) By that time, stocks had already fallen a bit from their dot-com infused highs. But they still weren’t a buy, Buffett said at the time. Despite their fall, stocks collectively were trading at a value of 133% of the gross national product of the U.S. (Buffett used GNP because it goes back 80 years, but for recent history using GDP works just fine.)

So where are stocks trading today? You guessed it. 133% of GDP. The metric hit a high of 190% back in 1999. So we are a little ways from panic territory, but that doesn’t mean the market is a safe place to be right now. Far from it. Back in 2001, Buffett said investors who buy when the relationship of stock values to the economy falls in the 70% to 80% range should do well. That means stocks would have to plummet 43% before we are back in Buffett buy territory. Even so, Buffett doesn’t appear to be worried. In his own portfolio, Buffett in the past year has added to his stakes in Wal-Mart (WMT) and Wells Fargo (WFC), two companies that are likely to go up only if the economy and the rest of the market does as well. It’s hard to tell if that’s because Buffett believes stocks are cheap, or just because he believes the other investing options are worse. “The risks of being out of the [stock market] game are huge compared to the risks of being in it,” writes Buffett in the letter. “Every tomorrow has been uncertain.”

It’s a Dog’s Life for Singapore’s Pampered Pets; “A lot of people wouldn’t bat an eyelid on spending several thousand dollars on a dog. The litmus test is whether the dog stays with them for the rest of its life or not,”

It’s a Dog’s Life for Singapore’s Pampered Pets
March 01, 2013

The guests lean over the side of the boat to catch the morning breeze as their catamaran eases off from a jetty in Singapore. A typical cruise, except for the fact that the passengers are dogs. “Actually, this is their third cruise,” said Andy Pe, 43, the doting owner of two Black Labrador Retrievers, a Yellow Labrador, a Golden Retriever and two mongrels. “They enjoy the sea breeze and water so much.” From boat cruises and spas to their own obituary section in the leading newspaper, pets are pampered in a big way in Singapore, a city-state with one of Asia’s highest standards of living. Read more of this post

The Tyranny of the Queen Bee: Women who reached positions of power were supposed to be mentors to those who followed, writes Peggy Drexler—but something is amiss in the professional sisterhood

March 1, 2013, 3:17 p.m. ET

The Tyranny of the Queen Bee

Women who reached positions of power were supposed to be mentors to those who followed—but something is amiss in the professional sisterhood.

By PEGGY DREXLER Read more of this post

In Sweden, TV Tax Comes to Smartphones

March 1, 2013, 3:12 p.m. ET

In Sweden, TV Tax Comes to Smartphones

By GUSTAV SANDSTROM

Sweden’s public broadcaster, feeling pressure as streaming heavyweights like NetflixNFLX +0.69% and HBO gain ground with their newly-founded Nordic services, is taking the nation’s television license fees to a new level by asking smartphone and tablet users to pay up.

License fees have been in place for years as state-backed broadcasters look to fund commercial-free programming, including the BBC. In Sweden’s case, anyone owning a television is forced to pay a SEK173 ($27) tab per month for Sveriges Television, Sveriges Radio and educational broadcasting known as Utbildningsradion. That fee hardly looks like a bargain compared with the SEK79 ($12) monthly fee that Netflix Inc. and Time Warner Inc.’s TWX +0.85% HBO each charge subscribers in Sweden. Read more of this post

Dear Apple, Amazon, Google: Here’s Why Chinese Consumers Hate Your Ecosystems; Be formless, shapeless, like water. (And be flexible towards your ecosystem users)

Dear Apple, Amazon, Google: Here’s Why Chinese Consumers Hate Your Ecosystems

Mar 1, 2013 at 14:10 PM by Steven Millward, in AsiaMobileOpinion

Chinese consumers love your gadgets – that’s great news. But the bad news for Apple, Amazon, Google, and many more companies is that Chinese netizens hate your ecosystems. They really don’t want to be trapped in your walled garden. In an age of platforms and extended web services, that’s a huge monetization problem for tech companies entering the world’s biggest market.

Android, without the Google bits

This aversion to tech ecosystems in China is seen most starkly with Google’s mobile OS, Android. An estimated 189 million smartphones were sold in China in 2012, and as many as 86 percent of those were Android devices. But that huge user-base hasn’t translated into popularity for Google’s other apps and services. Read more of this post

How State-owned Shipper Sailed into Stormy Seas; Analysts blame a shortsighted strategy, a bad bet on a financial derivative and poor management for COSCO Holdings’ woes

03.01.2013 12:23

How State-owned Shipper Sailed into Stormy Seas

Analysts blame a shortsighted strategy, a bad bet on a financial derivative and poor management for COSCO Holdings’ woes

By staff reporters Liu Ran and Wu Jing

(Beijing) – One of the country’s most prominent liner shipping operators, China COSCO Holdings Co. Ltd., is struggling to avoid being kicked out of the Shanghai Stock Exchange five years after its debut. It lost 6.5 billion yuan in the first three quarters of 2012 after a 10.4 billion yuan loss the previous year. Analysts expect it to post a loss of under 10 billion yuan for all of 2012. If it is in the red again in 2013, it will be forced to temporarily suspend trading until a profit can be turned. If losses continue for a fourth straight year, it will be delisted. However, the chances it can turn the tide this year seem to be long. Analysts say management is more incompetent than it cares to admit. Problems have arisen because of strategic miscalculations and bungled investments with hedging tools. Read more of this post

Chinese companies are struggling to translate their economic might into a worldwide reputation, according to a study released by Fortune magazine

Chinese firms still short of ‘global admiration’: Poll

Updated: 2013-03-02 02:42

By HE WEI ( China Daily)

Chinese companies are struggling to translate their economic might into a worldwide reputation,

according to a study released by Fortune magazine. Not a single Chinese company was ranked in the top 50 in its annual

“World’s Most Admired Companies List” for 2013, widely considered among the most definitive report cards on global corporate reputation.

Read more of this post

Heavy tax to dampen speculation; China’s cabinet ordered on Friday that a 20 percent individual income tax be levied on capital gains by home sellers

Heavy tax to dampen speculation

Updated: 2013-03-02 02:45

By Hu Yuanyuan ( China Daily)

20% levy on capital gains by sellers to rein in housing prices

In one of its sternest measures to hold back the rise of housing prices in major cities, the State Council, or China’s cabinet, on Friday ordered that

a 20 percent individual income tax be levied on capital gains by home sellers. This is the latest regulation following

the cabinet’s meeting on Feb 20 about the urban residential housing market. Currently, only a 1 percent individual income tax

is levied on the sale price, much lower than the 20 percent tax on the difference between the sale and purchase prices.

“The measure will definitely lead to a sharp drop in property transactions and change people’s expectations,”

said Ji Gang, a senior director in the investment department of real estate service provider Savills Property Services (Beijing) Co.

Read more of this post

Buffett: $24 Billion Gain ‘Subpar’; Berkshire Boss Says He Is Donning His ‘Safari Outfit’ as He Continues the Hunt for Big Acquisitions

Updated March 1, 2013, 6:58 p.m. ET

Buffett: $24 Billion Gain ‘Subpar’

Berkshire Boss Says He Is Donning His ‘Safari Outfit’ as He Continues the Hunt for Big Acquisitions

By ANUPREETA DAS And ERIK HOLM

Warren Buffett bemoaned Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s BRKB -0.11% failure to land a major acquisition during 2012 to use its swelling cash hoard, and in his annual letter to shareholders called his company’s performance “subpar” despite a $24 billion increase in its net worth. The value of the Omaha, Neb., company rose 14% in 2012, Berkshire said Friday, compared with a 16% total return in the Standard & Poor 500-stock index, including dividends. But Berkshire’s ballooning size means that keeping up with the market continues to get tougher, as Mr. Buffett has long warned it would.

“When the partnership I ran took control of Berkshire in 1965, I could never have dreamed that a year in which we had a gain of $24.1 billion would be subpar,” Mr. Buffett, Berkshire’s chairman and chief executive, said. “But subpar it was.” The lagging performance is just the company’s ninth in the 48 years that Mr. Buffett has steered the company, but the third in four years. If the stock market continues to advance in 2013, it could jeopardize his streak of beating the S&P on a rolling five-year basis, as Mr. Buffett said Berkshire’s relative performance is stronger when the market is down or flat.

Not landing a large deal in 2012 was another disappointment, Mr. Buffett said: “I pursued a couple of elephants, but came up empty-handed.” Two years ago, he said he was on the prowl for big deals as a way to boost returns on Berkshire’s billions of dollars in cash. At the time, Mr. Buffett said, “Our elephant gun has been reloaded, and my trigger finger is itchy.” Read more of this post

You can influence your return on luck

Saturday March 2, 2013

You can influence your return on luck

By ROSHAN THIRAN

Luck and success: Datuk Seri Idris Jala during a conversation said he had six key points to leadership success and his final point was about having good luck.

THESE past few weeks, with the Chinese New Year celebrations in full swing, many friends wished me “luck” many times. Everyone was hoping for a great year with lots of luck. Most believe that luck happens by chance. Luck, we believe is something you cannot plan for or obtain by design. Luck is fated, or is written in the stars. Or is it?

I remember a conversation I had with Datuk Seri Idris Jala many years ago when he explained the secret to his success as a leader. He had six key points to leadership success and his final point was about having good luck. He did not term it “luck” but called it “divine intervention.” He believed that you could control about 40% of things you were working on. The remaining 60% were things beyond your control where you had little influence. However, Idris believed that if you were a good human being, operating with ethics and spending time in solitude and reflection, you could “influence” the divine to be on your side and bring yourself good “luck.” Read more of this post

World Bank calls Malaysia a regional leader in corporate governance, but there’s more to be done

Saturday March 2, 2013

World Bank calls Malaysia a regional leader in corporate governance, but there’s more to be done

By ERROL OH

malaysia-assessment-averages-chart-b03

IT’S like a report card you can proudly bring home to show mum and dad. On Tuesday, the World Bank released the findings of its assessment of corporate governance in Malaysia, and the numbers indicate that we have done well. Read more of this post

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