Heartwarming Video: Lab Chimps’ Jaws Drop Upon Seeing Sunlight For The First Time In Their Lives

Lab Chimps’ Jaws Drop Upon Seeing Sunlight For The First Time In Their Lives

Dina Spector | Mar. 9, 2013, 11:29 AM | 3,952 | 15

The Humane Society has posted this heartwarming video of lab chimpanzees stepping outside for the first time after decades of being cooped up in cages (via @pourmecoffee).

In January the US government said it would release all but 50 chimpanzees used for research. Most of these chimps, some who are more than 50 years old, have never seen sunlight.

The animals will get a new lease on life at a national sanctuary in Louisiana called Chimp Haven.

The sanctuary now has more than 100 chimps in their care, who are free to climb trees, run around and groom each other in a five-acre playground.

Watching the freed chimps step outside for the first time after a lifetime behind bars is a reminder of just how human-like these animals are. You can actually see their jaws drop.

Could Bed Bath & Beyond Be Buffett Bait? With strong profits and steady growth, Bed Bath & Beyond was a great retailing story in the 20th century. The moves it’s making could make it an even better story in the 21st.

SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2013

Could Bed Bath & Beyond Be Buffett Bait?

By ANDREW BARY | MORE ARTICLES BY AUTHOR

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With strong profits and steady growth, Bed Bath & Beyond was a great retailing story in the 20th century. The moves it’s making could make it an even better story in the 21st.

One of the country’s most successful retailers is on the bargain counter.

Bed Bath & Beyond has generated 16% annual growth in earnings per share over the past 10 years. But its shares, at $59, trade for less than 12 times projected profit for its fiscal year that ends in February 2014. The stock (ticker: BBBY) trades at a discount to other top retailers’, including Costco Wholesale (COST) and Target (TGT), neither of which has such a good profit history.

The shares could trade into the $70s in the next year, simply based on projected earnings gains and a higher price/earnings multiple. The insular company could attract interest from private-equity investors or even Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) if Bed Bath & Beyond’s co-founders, Leonard Feinstein, 75, and Warren Eisenberg, 82, decide to sell. However, there is no indication that the company is looking to sell.

A BUYER MIGHT PAY $85 a share—roughly 10 times this fiscal year’s projected earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (Ebitda)—consistent with prices paid for other quality companies, versus Bed Bath & Beyond’s current modest valuation of 6.5 times. The company’s $13 billion market value makes it large, but digestible. “This is a high-quality, cash-rich company that could see improving margins this year, particularly in the back half,” says Laura Champine, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity who carries a $74 price target on the stock. Bed Bath & Beyond has commanded an average of 15 times forward earnings in the past seven years.

The company, based in Union, N.J., operates 1,469 stores, including 1,004 Bed Bath & Beyonds, in all 50 states. The other 400-plus stores include World Market, which sells home furnishings, wine, and gourmet food; the fast-growing buybuy Baby chain, Christmas Tree Shops, and Harmon discount shops.

Bed Bath & Beyond has fallen from favor on Wall Street because of slowing comparable-store sales gains, mild profit disappointments, and concern that its weak Website makes it vulnerable toAmazon.com (AMZN) and other top Internet retailers. The company’s shares have slid 6% in the past year, even as virtually all stocks connected to the improving housing sector have surged.

Nonetheless, the company’s earnings in its just-concluded fiscal year ended in February likely rose a healthy 12%, to $4.56 a share, and are projected to increase 10% in its current fiscal year to $5.03.

Bed Bath & Beyond could be the most financially conservative big retailer in the U.S. It has no debt and it hasn’t carried a smidgen of debt for nearly all of the two decades since it went public in 1992. And it has $859 million—nearly $4 a share—in cash and marketable securities. The company has grown enormously, with revenue hitting an estimated $10.9 billion last year, versus $216 million in 1992 and it has accomplished this entirely with internally generated funds. Longtime investors have huge gains; the split-adjusted initial-offering price was $1 a share.

Management, led by CEO Steve Temares, plus co-Chairmen Feinstein and Eisenberg, run Bed Bath as if it were a private company. There are no investor days, limited financial disclosure, and no opportunity for questions on earnings conference calls. Want to know the sales breakdown among its chains? Bed Bath doesn’t disclose it. The retailer didn’t return Barron’s calls seeking comment. Read more of this post

Global in background and outlook, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent knows when to play the diplomat, and when to be the tough guy. Why his own secret formula works

SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2013

Cultural Ambassador

By DYAN MACHAN | MORE ARTICLES BY AUTHOR

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Global in background and outlook, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent knows when to play the diplomat, and when to be the tough guy. Why his own secret formula works.

The son of a Turkish diplomat, Coca-Cola Chief Executive Muhtar Kent knows his social etiquette. When served with live, “wiggly” animals at a formal dinner in a foreign country, he recognized he had no choice but to slurp them down. Kent, 60, relates the story over a plate of trout, incontrovertibly dead, in the plush dining room of Coca-Cola headquarters, overlooking Atlanta’s skyline. When representing a product that is served 1.8 billion times a day, and is sold in 207 countries, you behave as a good guest, he says.

A true citizen of the world, Kent has spent his life, and his career, adapting to others’ customs. “His genes are international,” says Dan Moskovitz, a Miami-based operations consultant, who has known Kent for 20 years.

Born in the U.S., Coke’s CEO spent his early childhood in Thailand, India, Iran, and Turkey, and could chatter in Turkish, Urdu, Thai, and Persian, although he has since lost his facility with all but Turkish. He attended an American boarding school in Turkey and British universities, and later added English, French, and Italian to his adult linguistic repertoire.

That cultural immersion alone made Kent well suited to run Coke (ticker: KO), which earns 74 cents of every dollar outside of North America. “He can step off an airplane in Malawi, and will know what to do, and know people there,” says Howard Buffett, a Coca-Cola director and son of Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) owns 400 million, or 8.9%, of Coke’s shares. Buffett sees similarities between Kent and his legendarily folksy father. “My dad can speak to 5-year-olds and the toughest New York analyst,” he says. “Muhtar Kent is the same way.”

AS CEO OF COKE since 2008, Kent does what is expected, and then some. But what the world expects of global brands like Coke, the world’s largest beverage company, with $48 billion of annual sales, has changed in the past five years. It isn’t enough for Coke to sell more than 500 beverage brands—the list also includes Powerade, Minute Maid, and Dasani water. The company also must tackle poverty and improve the quality of life wherever Coca-Cola can be found.

Kent is on board with the program. “We have distribution that can get to every corner of the world,” he says. “Why shouldn’t we use some of that capability to make communities get stronger? Communities get stronger, our business gets stronger.”

Instant, interactive communication has sparked the sea change, he adds. There is no going back to the days when consumer-product companies could merely dictate through advertisements what consumers ought to believe. “With social media, consumers talk to each other,” he says. “To the extent that they hold you in a positive light, you win. It’s a huge change.” Read more of this post

Why aren’t colleges and universities educating students for the modern economy? The president of an information-technology search and consulting firm explains

SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2013

Where the Jobs Are

By JOHN P. MCCREA | MORE ARTICLES BY AUTHOR

Why aren’t colleges and universities educating students for the modern economy? The president of an information-technology search and consulting firm explains.

I interviewed an interesting job candidate recently. He was interesting, well, like a car wreck. It’s always instructive to look at a disaster, especially if you want to avoid one.

I run an information-technology search and consulting firm in Reston, Va., called Achieve-it. The job candidate was a top-20 law school graduate—I’ll call him Mr. Overqualified, Esq.—who was applying for an entry-level information-technology job in the Washington, D.C., area. He was debt-ridden and desperate for work, but it wasn’t because he was unemployable. He arrived in our offices well dressed, had a professional manner, and actually arrived on time.

The ad he responded to asked only for a B.S. in a hard science and an aptitude with computers. So we were perplexed by his application, because not only did he have a J.D. from a top-20 law school, but he had already passed the state bar exam. He was more qualified to sue us than petition us for employment, especially for the job we had open. And that’s where the scary part comes in: Why would a guy with this pedigreed education apply for an entry-level job paying $20 an hour?

YOU KNOW THE ANSWER, of course: He has over $100,000 in student-loan debt. To hold it together for the moment, he was working as an Excel jock for a local firm and living with his parents. He was earning $8 an hour. When Mr. Overqualified stepped off the graduation stage at his law school, he might as well have been stepping off a cliff.

At least he was using his tech skills; he could have been earning the same amount slinging burgers at McDonald’s. Mr. Overqualified told us that yes, he regretted the time he wasted in law school; he wondered if he could ever pay off his student debt. Lawyering was once a reliable route to a big house, a nice car, and a productive life. Now Mr. Overqualified can’t even find the on ramp to the middle class. Read more of this post

Rigging the I.P.O. Game: What a decade-old dot-com I.P.O. case says about Wall Street today

March 9, 2013

Rigging the I.P.O. Game

By JOE NOCERA

ONCE upon a time, in a very different age, an Internet start-up called eToys went public. The date was May 20, 1999. The offering price had been set at $20, but investors in that frenzied era were so eager for eToys shares that the stock immediately shot up to $78. It ended its first day of trading at $77 a share.

The eToys initial public offering raised $164 million, a nice chunk of change for a two-year-old company. But it wasn’t even close to the $600 million-plus the company could have raised if the offering price had more realistically reflected the intense demand for eToys shares. The firm that underwrote the I.P.O. — and effectively set the $20 price — was Goldman Sachs.

After the Internet bubble burst — and eToys, starved for cash, went out of business — lawyers representing eToys’ creditors’ committee sued Goldman Sachs over that I.P.O. That lawsuit, believe it or not, is still going on. Indeed, it has taken on an importance that transcends the rise and fall of one small company during the first Internet craze. Read more of this post

Why fund names can’t always be trusted; ‘Absolute return’ funds that lose money, ‘smaller companies’ funds that hold FTSE 100 members, we look at the funds that don’t live up to their moniker.

Why fund names can’t always be trusted

‘Absolute return’ funds that lose money, ‘smaller companies’ funds that hold FTSE 100 members, we look at the funds that don’t live up to their moniker.

By Emma Wall

7:00AM GMT 09 Mar 2013

Fund managers have received a slap on the wrist for failing to achieve their investment goals. “Absolute return” funds aim to achieve positive returns in all market conditions – but the majority simply have not done what they claimed.

Angry investors accused the industry of misleading advertising, as funds such as BlackRock UK Absolute Alpha and GLG Alpha Select, which both sit in the Absolute Return sector, failed to deliver positive funds over the past three years.

In light of this poor performance, the Investment Management Association (IMA) has changed the sector’s name to “targeted absolute return” – a solution derided by critics.

Gina Miller, a co-founder of SCM Private, the fund manager, and a campaigner for transparency on charges, said the IMA had “taken 643 days to change one word”. She called the review an “absolute farce”. Read more of this post

Bridgewater May Be the Hottest Hedge Fund for Harvard Grads, but It’s Also the Weirdest

Bridgewater May Be the Hottest Hedge Fund for Harvard Grads, but It’s Also the Weirdest

by Daniel Gross Mar 7, 2013 4:45 AM EST

Bridgewater Associates is the $145 billion hedge fund elite college grads are clamoring to work for. Daniel Gross on the oddball firm’s special sauce.

In the Northeast, spring is in the air, and at Ivy League schools, kids are planning their postgraduate futures. But this year, many of the smart young finance things who used to flood to positions at name-brand banks in lower Manhattan are casting their sights elsewhere. It’s not a bank. It’s not in New York. And it’s not a century-old global institution with a patrician name.

It’s Bridgewater Associates. Based in Westport, Connecticut, and founded and led by a person who is equal parts investing savant and shaman, Bridgewater might best be described as an alternative alternative asset-management company. It’s the creation of Ray Dalio, who was memorably described in a great New Yorker profileby John Cassidy thusly: “He looked a bit like an aging member of a British progressive-rock group.” Big shots like Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone and Steven Cohen of SAC Capital may garner the headlines. But in recent years Dalio and Bridgewater have ridden new investment flows and superior performance to become America’s largest hedge fund, with about $145 billion in assets.

Bridgewater, which has 1,300 employees, isn’t for ex-jocks or day traders. Rather, it tends to attract—and look for—self-styled intellectuals and deep thinkers who like constructing arguments as much as they enjoy constructing portfolios. It’s “the thinking Yalie’s destination,” as one recent Yale graduate put it. Undergrads at Harvard report that the scandal-free firm is more desirable than Goldman Sachs, previously the ne plus ultra for young grads on the make. “Bridgewater is very popular because it is one of the few hedge funds that will accept people right out of college,” says a Harvard undergraduate who interviewed with the firm. “Also, the hours tend to be better. In investment banking you’re working 100 hours a week, and at hedge funds it is more like 70.” (This student may be overestimating the amount of time employees of both investment banks and hedge funds spend working). Read more of this post

How John Lewis found fashion and became never knowingly underdressed; Clothing boss Peter Ruis tells how the stores known for good sense and slippers became the fashionistas’ darling

How John Lewis found fashion and became never knowingly underdressed

Clothing boss Peter Ruis tells how the stores known for good sense and slippers became the fashionistas’ darling

Sarah Butler

The Observer, Sunday 10 March 2013

Peter Ruis

Peter Ruis in the John Lewis chain’s Peter Jones store, Sloane Square. Photograph: David Levene

Fashionistas queuing round the block, a sell-out designer collection and breathless reviews by the style press. Can this really be John Lewis? As 84,700 partners working at the department stores celebrate their 17% bonus this weekend, they can rest assured they are back in fashion in a big way. A 9% rise in clothing sales helped drive a bumper year for John Lewis as it increased its market share, mainly at Marks & Spencer’s expense. The chain accounted for 2.1% of the UK clothing market in 2012, according to retail analysts Verdict, 10% up on a year before.

Once associated with sensible knitwear and cosy slippers, the 40-store chain has polished up its fashion credentials through designer collaborations, classy own-label products and the addition of upmarket brands that had previously steered clear of the store.

As a result, fashion sales topped £1.1bn last year – up from about £700m in 2005. That’s still only about a quarter of what Marks & Spencer sells, but it indicates the kind of growth that rivals can only dream of in the economic downturn.

Under the guidance of buying and brand director Peter Ruis, who took charge of fashion in 2007, John Lewis has created a buzz by recognising that shoppers of all ages now want to look trendy – and that older customers no longer want gold buttons and elasticated waistbands. Read more of this post

Retiring workers are being “ripped off” by financial companies making huge profit margins on annuities, campaigners have warned

Pensioners being ‘ripped off’ by profit margins on annuities

Retiring workers are being “ripped off” by financial companies making huge profit margins on annuities, campaigners have warned.

Experts warn that the industry is concealing large profits. Photo: PA

By Richard Evans, and James Kirkup

9:47PM GMT 08 Mar 2013

A Telegraph investigation has raised concerns about the profits that insurance companies and other firms are making on annuities. Only one annuities provider, Standard Life, has disclosed its margins on annuities, revealing that it pockets almost 20p of every pound a customer pays for an annuity. Other firms refuse to reveal their margins, and experts warn that the industry is concealing large profits. Ros Altmann, a pensions campaigner, said: “These huge margins are outrageous.” Annuities rates have tumbled in recent years as the Bank of England’s quantitative easing programme pushes down returns on the government bonds that are the basis of annuity income. Financial experts say that people can significantly boost their retirement income by shopping around. Steve Webb, the pensions minister, said: “Annuities are increasingly important. More openness on rates should help consumers get a better deal.” Standard Life pays an income of £4,990 on a £100,000 annuity for a 65-year-old. The market leader, Aviva, pays £5,600.

A ‘Politically Explosive’ Secret: Italians Are More Than Twice As Wealthy As Germans

A ‘Politically Explosive’ Secret: Italians Are More Than Twice As Wealthy As Germans

Wolf RichterTestosterone Pit | Mar. 9, 2013, 7:17 AM | 6,192 | 29

In December 2006, the ECB established the HFSC network of survey specialists, statisticians, and economists from its own ranks, national central banks of the Eurozone, and statistical institutes. The acronym stood for Household Finance and Consumption Survey.

It would collect “micro-level structural information” on household wealth. A massive bureaucratic undertaking. Surveys went out in 2010. Results are now ready. No one in Europe had ever done a survey on that scale before.

And no one might ever do it again. Because, in the era of bailouts and wealth-transfers, the results are so explosive that the Bundesbank is keeping its report secret—and word has leaked out why.

The surveys were conducted on a national basis, with each central bank publishing its own report. They would then be combined and summarized by the ECB into a cohesive picture of how wealthy—or how poor—people in various parts of the Eurozone were. A number of countries already published their reports, including Italy and Austria.

What the Austrian National Bank found was not pretty (20-page PDF). The considerable wealth in Austria was very unevenly distributed. The wealthiest 5% owned nearly half of the country’s wealth. Their median wealth was €1.7 million in diversified assets. The lower 50% owned only 4% of the country’s wealth. Of them, 83% rented their homes. Their median wealth was a measly €11,000 consisting usually of a car and a savings account. That’shalf of the people! And 10% had a net wealth of less than €1,000.

This unequal distribution of wealth created a huge gap between median income (half the people earned more, the other half less) of €76,000 and average income of €265,000 (pushed up by a small number of extremely wealthy households). And that’s why some countries don’t even publish average income values. Too much truth would hurt.

Germany’s data is likely to be similar—but the Bundesbank is treating its report like a secret. Because the results are, let’s say, awkward for two reasons.

The highly unequal distribution of wealth is one of them. The German government already went through wild gyrations late last year, and now again, over its Poverty Report that exposed some inconvenient facts that were then edited out—something that was leaked immediately, and it caused a ruckus [read…. Censored: Poverty Report in Germany].

Italy is the other issue. But it may be too hot for the Bundesbank to touch. Italy’s report (142-page PDF) finds that median household net wealth has increased 56% since 1991. And from 2008 to 2010, it increased by about 5% annually, despite the crisis!

But the wealth of German households stagnated during much of that time while they paid taxes out of their noses. And now they might learn that Italy’s median household wealth is €163,875—while Germany’s is closer to Austria’s, around €76,000. Less than half!

“Politically explosive,” sources at the Bundesbank whispered to the FAZ. Read more of this post

Online Emotions, in Hundreds of New Flavors; Line’s popularity was part of what motivated Lango and MessageMe to bring their own versions of sticker-type messaging to the United States

March 9, 2013

Online Emotions, in Hundreds of New Flavors

By JENNA WORTHAM

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TO say that I like to send text messages is like saying Garfield likes lasagna. It is my expressive medium. On Wednesday alone, I sent at least 100 — but I like to send more than just words. I’m a big fan of using emoji, the colorful symbol alphabet that contains nearly a thousand images of cute animals, food items and expressive smiley faces to convey what words cannot.

When a friend recently told me that she was sick, I replied with a cartoon row of steaming bowls of soup and a flexing bicep — my way of wishing her a speedy recovery. Read more of this post

The Price of Marriage in China: China’s economic surge — and vast wealth inequality — have bred a new type of matchmaker, referred to as a love hunter

March 9, 2013

The Price of Marriage in China

By BROOK LARMER

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In a Beijing shopping mall, the “love hunter” Yang Jing, right, and an assistant talked to a woman about joining the database of Diamond Love and Marriage, a matchmaking service.

FROM her stakeout near the entrance of an H & M store in Joy City, a Beijing shopping mall, Yang Jing seemed lost in thought, twirling a strand of her auburn-tinted hair, tapping her nails on an aquamarine iPhone 4S. But her eyes kept moving. They tracked the clusters of young women zigzagging from Zara to Calvin Klein Jeans. They lingered on a face, a gesture, and then moved on, darting across the atrium, searching.

“This is a good place to hunt,” she told me. “I always have good luck here.”

For Ms. Yang, Joy City is not so much a consumer mecca as an urban Serengeti that she prowls for potential wives for some of China’s richest bachelors. Ms. Yang, 28, is one of China’s premier love hunters, a new breed of matchmaker that has proliferated in the country’s economic boom. The company she works for, Diamond Love and Marriage, caters to China’s nouveaux riches: men, and occasionally women, willing to pay tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars to outsource the search for their ideal spouse.

In Joy City, Ms. Yang gave instructions to her eight-scout team, one of six squads the company was deploying in three cities for one Shanghai millionaire. This client had provided a list of requirements for his future wife, including her age (22 to 26), skin color (“white as porcelain”) and sexual history (yes, a virgin).

“These millionaires are very picky, you know?” Ms. Yang said. “Nobody can ever be perfect enough.” Still, the potential reward for Ms. Yang is huge: The love hunter who finds the client’s eventual choice will receive a bonus of more than $30,000, around five times the average annual salary in this line of work.

Suddenly, a signal came.

From across the atrium, a co-worker of Ms. Yang caught her eye and nodded at a woman in a blue dress, walking alone. Ms. Yang had shaken off her colleague’s suggestions several times that day, but this time she circled behind the woman in question.

“Perfect skin,” she whispered. “Elegant face.” When the woman walked into H & M, Ms. Yang intercepted her in the sweater aisle. “I’m so sorry to bother you,” she said with a honeyed smile. “I’m a love hunter. Are you looking for love?”

Three miles away, in a Beijing park near the Temple of Heaven, a woman named Yu Jia jostled for space under a grove of elms. A widowed 67-year-old pensioner, she was clearing a spot on the ground for a sign she had scrawled for her son. “Seeking Marriage,” read the wrinkled sheet of paper, which Ms. Yu held in place with a few fragments of brick and stone. “Male. Single. Born 1972. Height 172 cm. High school education. Job in Beijing.”

Ms. Yu is another kind of love hunter: a parent seeking a spouse for an adult child in the so-called marriage markets that have popped up in parks across the city. Long rows of graying men and women sat in front of signs listing their children’s qualifications. Hundreds of others trudged by, stopping occasionally to make an inquiry. Read more of this post

Chinese consumers account for 50% of all LV sales

Chinese consumers account for 50% of all LV sales

Staff Reporter

2013-03-10

More than half of all Louis Vuitton purchases in the world are made by Chinese people, according to the Hurun Report, a magazine best known for its rankings of wealthy individuals in China. According to Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Hurun Report and chairman of the Hurun Research Institute, the 33 billionaires on their new Hurun Luxury Tycoon Rich List owe much of their success to Chinese shoppers and their notorious overseas shopping sprees. “The Chinese luxury consumer is today the most important customer group in the world for luxury brands, especially now that the Chinese luxury consumer has started to travel around the world,” Hoogewerf said. Read more of this post

State-owned firms ignore Beijing order to exit property sector

State-owned firms ignore Beijing order to exit property sector

Staff Reporter

2013-03-10

A 2010 order issued by the Chinese government requiring state-owned companies to exit the property sector if it is not their core business has failed to prevent such companies from winning bids for prime-location land across the country, reports the Guangdong-based Southern Weekly newspaper.

According to recent reports, less than a quarter of the 78 state-owned enterprises asked to terminate their property business operations more three years ago have complied. Read more of this post

China to split rail ministry after scandals; China Plans Overhaul of Debt-Laden Railways; China Unveils Government Agency Shake-Up Proposal

China to split rail ministry after scandals
Posted: 10 March 2013 0930 hrs

BEIJING: China will split its scandal-plagued railways ministry in two and bring its administrative functions under the control of the transport ministry, state media said on Sunday.

The plan is to “dismantle” the ministry, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing a report on institutional reform to be submitted to the National People’s Congress parliament meeting in Beijing later.

The ministry’s commercial functions will be taken over by a new China Railway Corporation, it added.

The railway system has been one of China’s flagship development projects in recent years and the country now boasts the world’s largest high-speed network.

But the expansion — which has cost hundreds of billions of dollars — has seen widespread allegations of corruption and former railways minister Liu Zhijun, who was sacked in 2011, is awaiting trial on graft charges.

In July 2011 a high-speed crash in the eastern city of Wenzhou killed at least 40 people, sparking a torrent of public criticism that authorities compromised safety in their rush to expand the network. Read more of this post

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