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Language Learning Startup Busuu Hits 30M Users And Launches New Kids iPad App

Language Learning Startup Busuu Hits 30M Users And Launches New Kids iPad App

MIKE BUTCHER

posted yesterday

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Just this week Rosetta Stone acquired Seattle-based online language-learning communityLivemocha for $8.5 million in cash. At exit Livemocha had a 16 million member online language-learning community. It had also raised $19 million over six years. But today Busuu, a competing language-learning community based out of London, announces that it has reached 30 million users and its launched a dedicated iPad app for kids to learn Spanish.

It now reaches into 200 countries, and could lay justifiable claim to being the largest language learning community in the world. They also say they are growing at 40,000 new users a day with growth mainly coming from emerging markets like Brazil, Russia and Turkey, where clearly learning a language can help you get on. Read more of this post

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China Is Finally Becoming A Lucrative Market For App Makers

China Is Finally Becoming A Lucrative Market For App Makers

KIM-MAI CUTLER

posted yesterday

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screen-shot-2013-04-05-at-4-19-00-pm Read more of this post

Billabong perilously close to a wipeout; In 25 years, the company has lost most of its street cred and its value has shrunk from billions to whatever is on offer

Billabong perilously close to a wipeout

April 6, 2013, Elizabeth Knight

In 25 years, the company has lost most of its street cred and its value has shrunk from billions to whatever is on offer, writes Elizabeth Knight.

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Twenty-five years ago, Billabong basked in street cred. Today, as one fashion industry insider quipped, the brand has become the barbecue short for the sausage sizzle. If the 45-year-old dads are wearing boardies with elasticised or Velcro adjustable waists to accommodate a middle-aged muffin top, their 15-year-old sons are not in the market.

On Friday, the future ownership of this Australian iconic brand hung in the balance. Two American corporate sharks have been circling the bleeding Billabong carcass for a couple of months and intense talks are continuing over the weekend.

The decision by the Billabong board and its largest shareholder and founder, Gordon Merchant, to hang out the for sale sign, is the ultimate recognition the company has lost its way. Five years ago Billabong was a $5 billion company and its stock traded for $14. The prices being offered by these financial syndicates today are less than 70¢ a share – the financial equivalent of the bin out the front of the store housing the end-of-season/couldn’t-sell stock that customers rifle through. At this price the whole company is worth closer to $300 million. It is the final ignominy for the company whose financial performance has been in such steep decline that it has lost the support of many of its major investors and has been playing a dangerous game of dodgeball with its bankers. Read more of this post

India tackles entrenched culture of tax dodging; “In a country of holier than thou’s, no one thinks that it’s a blatant lie” to cheat on your taxes”

India tackles entrenched culture of tax dodging

BY TIM SULLIVAN

AP, APR 6, 2013

NEW DELHI – In a country long defined by its poverty, it’s now easy to find India’s rich.

They’re at New Delhi’s Emporio mall, where herds of chauffeur-driven Jaguars and Audis disgorge shoppers heading to the high-end designer stores. They’re shopping for Lambor- ghinis in Mumbai. They’re putting elevators in their homes and showing off collections of jewel-encrusted watches, and they’re buying real estate in comfortable but unpretentious neighborhoods thought of as simply upper-middle class just a couple years ago, where apartments now regularly sell for millions of dollars.

They’re just about everywhere — unless it’s income tax time. Then, suddenly, they barely exist.

The reality is simple: “There are very few people who are paying taxes,” said Sonu Iyer, a taxation expert at Ernst & Young in New Delhi. And tax dodging is everywhere, he said: “It’s rampant — rampant.” Read more of this post

The New Bird Flu Could Be Way More Widespread Than Tests Are Showing; Even patients on their death beds are only “weakly positive”; New Bird Flu Seen Having Some Markers of Airborne Killer; “This virus really doesn’t look like a bird virus anymore; it looks like a mammalian virus.”

The New Bird Flu Could Be Way More Widespread Than Tests Are Showing

Jennifer Welsh | Apr. 5, 2013, 6:36 PM | 2,527 | 5

A new bird flu is infecting patients across China, currently 16 patients have tested positive for the virus and six have died. But some flu watchers are convinced that the test that doctors are using to detect the H9N7 virus are faulty — that they aren’t sensitive enough. Even patients on their death beds are only “weakly positive” Laurie Garrett, senior editor for the Council on Foreign Relations and flu-outbreak-follower notes on twitter: This could mean that the test is missing vital cases before they get to the seriously ill stage, so we won’t know who is infected until it gets really bad. It could also mean the virus is more widespread than tests are showing us. This is especially important for the 520 people that the WHO is monitoring for infection. These people were in close contact with people who died or became seriously ill. Reports yesterday said that one of these people showed flu-like symptoms but tests later confirmed to show negative results. If that test was faulty…. that person could still have the virus. And it would be a sign that the virus can spread between humans — a very dangerous omen. There are also reports that animals are falling ill with the disease, even birds falling out of the sky. These animals test negative for the virus, but if the tests are faulty, that could be a big problem.

New Bird Flu Seen Having Some Markers of Airborne Killer

The new bird influenza that’s killed six people in eastern China has some of the genetic hallmarks of an easily transmissible virus, according to the scientist who showed how H5N1 avian flu could become airborne.

The H7N9 strain, which is a new virus formed as a result of two others merging their genetic material, has features of viruses that are known to jump easily from birds to mammals, and a mutation that may help it attach to cells in the respiratory tract, said Ron Fouchier, a professor of molecular virology at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, in a telephone interview yesterday.

“That’s certainly not good news,” said Fouchier, who reviewed a gene sequencing of H7N9 published by Chinese health authorities. “This virus really doesn’t look like a bird virus anymore; it looks like a mammalian virus.” Read more of this post

Chronic pain common after strokes caused by clots

Chronic pain common after strokes caused by clots

Fri, Apr 5 2013

By Andrew M. Seaman

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – One in 10 people who have a stroke caused by a clot blocking blood to the brain go on to develop chronic pain, according to a new study.

Researchers found that just over 10 percent of about 16,000 study participants developed chronic pain after their strokes, and that was also linked to a greater risk of physical and mental decline.

While pain has been known to follow strokes, there has been confusion about how many people experience it and whether it causes other health problems. Read more of this post

Up close and personal with Subway’s co-founder Fred DeLuca

Saturday April 6, 2013

Up close and personal with Fred DeLuca

By Liz Lee
lizlee@thestar.com.my

Star Publication (M) Bhd

WHEN he started, he had only five sandwiches on the menu, all foot-long and served cold.

Today, he heads the world’s largest food chains, beating McDonald’s in 2011 and not showing signs of giving up that position.

Subway co-founder and president, Fred DeLuca’s story is the epitome of the proverb “slow and steady wins the race”.

Even though Subway is growing at a rapid-fire pace especially in Asia, DeLuca says the main focus is to look at building the business one store at a time.

“The foundation for success is to understand what customers want, and that is good food, service and cleanliness,” he adds.

At the Asian level, Subway’s business is also undergoing strong expansion with an ambitious target of 10,000 stores by 2020. These stores would generate US$3bil (RM9.26bil) sales.

Subway’s Asia business is now worth over US$500mil (RM1.54bil), with 1,600 stores operating in the region. It enjoys a 29% year-on-year revenue growth. Read more of this post

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