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SAP to Become European Corporation to Speed Up Decisions; SAP will ask shareholders to approve a change of its legal status from an Aktiengesellschaft (AG) to a Societas Europaea, or SE

SAP to Become European Corporation to Speed Up Decisions

By Cornelius Rahn  Mar 22, 2013

SAP AG (SAP), the German business- management software maker, plans to turn itself into a European corporation to enable faster decision-making as it focuses on grabbing database customers from Oracle Corp. (ORCL)

SAP will ask shareholders to approve a change of its legal status from an Aktiengesellschaft to a Societas Europaea, or SE, at next year’s annual meeting, it said yesterday. One aim is to speed up decisions on the supervisory board, said a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

The SE structure, already adopted by companies including BASF SE (BAS)Allianz SE (ALV) and Puma SE (PUM), was created by the European Commission to simplify regulatory and legal requirements for companies with subsidiaries in more than one European country. Previously, multinationals had to follow each of the EU members’ own legal system where they had a subsidiary. Read more of this post

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AustralianSuper begins testing its new internal investment-management systems this month to manage its first money in house from zero to $40 billion in 4 years

Inhouse target: zero to $40 billion in 4 years

Posted By SIMON HOYLE On 22/03/2013 @ 3:16 pm In INVESTOR PROFILE

If everything continues on schedule, the $60-billion AustralianSuper will begin testing its new internal investment-management systems this month, with a view to managing its first money in house in the third quarter of 2013.

Within four years the fund expects to manage as much as $40 billion in house, funded primarily from cash flow, and to have built an investment management capability the equal of any in the world. Read more of this post

Cherry trees reach full bloom in Tokyo; The spectacle marks the second earliest blossoming in the capital on record; Japanese culture prizes the perfect but delicate blossom, whose transience – they only last a week – is a reminder of the fragility of life.

Cherry trees reach full bloom in Tokyo

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The spectacle marks the second earliest blossoming in the capital on record. -AFP 

Fri, Mar 22, 2013
AFP

TOKYO – Tokyo’s cherry trees were in stunning full bloom on Friday, Japan’s weather agency said, marking the second earliest blossoming in the capital on record. Read more of this post

How Franklin Roosevelt Secretly Ended the Gold Standard

How Franklin Roosevelt Secretly Ended the Gold Standard

On March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt became president for the first time, promising an “adequate but sound” currency. The next day, a Sunday, he closed the nation’s banks. “We are now off the gold standard,” he privately declared to a group of advisers. Goldbugs in the president’s circle immediately began prophesying doom. One of his aides, Lewis Douglas, proclaimed “the end of Western civilization.”

How Roosevelt took this fateful step has been the subject of debate among historians, many of whom believe that the president flailed his way through his first weeks in office, and only gradually came to the decision to take the country off gold that April. But the evidence suggests that Roosevelt intended to do so from Day One for very specific reasons, although he delayed letting the rest of the country in on his plans.

Minutes after FDR had made his unsettling private disclosure, a secretary told him that reporters were clamoring to know if the U.S. had left the gold standard. “Tell them to ask a banker,” Roosevelt said. He clearly did not yet wish to say the truth publicly. First, he needed depositors to return the gold they had withdrawn in panic in the weeks preceding his inauguration. Read more of this post

China’s Poison Air Is Becoming Its Leading Export

China’s Poison Air Is Becoming Its Leading Export

Sitting on a Tokyo runway last week, the captain announced that our flight would be delayed for reasons few of us could believe: sandstorms.

Chuckles filled the aircraft. The woman next to me quipped: “What, are we in Egypt?” As we all craned our necks to look out the windows, it really did feel as if we were taxiing in Cairo or Marrakesh, not the capital of a Group of Seven nation.

The sand is compliments of China’s boom. Thanks to deforestation and overgrazing, more and more of the Gobi Desert’s grit, along with industrial pollution, is being carried by prevailing winds to Japan. In recent weeks, people in Japan have been Googling “PM2.5,” or fine airborne particulates that cause disease and premature death in high concentrations. They also are loading up on air purifiers as China’s environmental crisis becomes Japan’s.

The geopolitics of pollution has the potential to turn toxic. If you thought Asia’s territorial disputes were a barrier to peace and cooperation, just wait until blackened skies dominate summit meetings. And they will, as nationalists in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan use pollution as a rallying point to gin up anti-China sentiment; business leaders in Hong Kong express anger about having trouble recruiting foreign talent; China lashes out at independent reports on health risks; and the world points fingers at the Communist Party as climate change accelerates. Read more of this post

IBM Works for Free to Build Relationships With African Cities; “We’re not just walking in and saying, ‘Throw us our money’”

IBM Works for Free to Build Relationships With African Cities

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), which makes most of its money from high-end technology contracts, is betting that some of its growth will come from customers who don’t pay anything — yet.

The company has developed an application to track the water system in Tshwane, South Africa, where more than half the population lives in slums that often aren’t connected to plumbing. IBM is letting the community use the app for free, after it sent a team of executives to evaluate the system as part of a corporate service project in October.

The benefit to IBM is it can use the city as a testing ground for the application, while gaining favor with the local government. It also may catch the attention of other cities with similar problems. Relationships are key to building the company’s business in Africa, where it now has offices in more than 20 countries, compared with just four in 2006.

“We’re not just walking in and saying, ‘Throw us our money,’” said Perry Hartswick, an architect of IBM’s Smarter Planet program, which tries to fix civic problems with tracking technology. “We’re walking in to say we’re here to be a part of Africa. That’s a very important part of the way we approach any new geography.” Read more of this post

Russian Gynecologist Becomes Billionaire in Cyprus Entity

Russian Gynecologist Becomes Billionaire in Cyprus Entity

Mark Kurtser, a 59-year-old Russian gynecologist, has become a billionaire after shares of his MD Medical Group Investment Plc, Russia’s largest private provider of women’s and children’s health care, surged 42 percent in five months.

Kurtser, MD Medical’s chairman, controls 68 percent of the operation through Cyprus-based investment entity MD Medical Holding. The company sold shares in a London initial public offering in October, raising $154 million for expansion. The billionaire collected another $135 million from the IPO.

“I did not imagine it when I was starting this business,” Kurtser, who is worth $1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, said in a telephone interview. “I am a doctor first.”

Kurtser founded the company as a private Moscow hospital in 2006. Today, MD Medical runs 13 medical centers in Russia and Ukraine, offering childbirth, gynecological and in vitro fertilization services. It generated 3.5 billion rubles ($117 million) in revenue in the 12 months ended June 30, 2012, up 48.6 percent in a year. The company’s net income doubled to 1.2 billion rubles in three years. Read more of this post

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