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Buffett Tells Coke CEO Study Failure, Avoid Complacency; “You want a restlessness, a feeling that somebody’s always after you, but you’re going to stay ahead.”

Buffett Tells Coke CEO Study Failure, Avoid Complacency

Warren Buffett, who controls the largest stake in Coca-Cola Co. (KO), knows how to steal a show.

The billionaire investor showed up at the soda maker’s annual meeting today to help sell the company’s message to shareholders in an on-stage interview with Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent. The surprise appearance drew a standing ovation as Buffett advised Kent to stay ahead of competitors by reviewing what made other businesses falter.

“I like to study failure,” Buffett, 82, said at the meeting held in the Cobb Galleria Center in Atlanta. “We want to see what has caused businesses to go bad, and the biggest thing that kills them is complacency. You want a restlessness, a feeling that somebody’s always after you, but you’re going to stay ahead.”

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), which Buffett has led for more than four decades, owns 400 million Coca-Cola shares after a share split last year, with a value of almost $17 billion. Berkshire, which owns See’s Candies and an equity stake in American Express Co. (AXP), favors companies that have loyal customers and can withstand competition, Buffett said. Read more of this post

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Few $1-Salary CEOs Make a Buck as Ellison Gets $96 Mln

Few $1-Salary CEOs Make a Buck as Ellison Gets $96 Mln

The chief executive officers of software developer Oracle Corp. (ORCL) and watchmaker Fossil Inc. (FOSL) both work for a salary of a dollar or less a year. The only difference: $96.2 million.

That’s how much Oracle founder Larry Ellison really earned in fiscal 2012 when you count options awards and other extras, more than any other CEO in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Fossil’s Kosta Kartsotis’ actual take-home pay: Zilch.

While CEOs with single-digit salaries are a rare breed, those who really work for nothing when other compensation such as bonuses is included are rarer still. These executives, sometimes big shareholders, only benefit if the stock rises or dividends are paid, an alignment of interests that appeals to some investors. Read more of this post

Risk of Miscalculation Over North Korea Has Grown, Dempsey Says; North Korea is “in a period of prolonged provocation rather than cyclical provocation,”

Risk of Miscalculation Over North Korea Has Grown, Dempsey Says

The risk of a miscalculation in the dispute over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs has increased, and China takes the tensions “very seriously,” the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said yesterday.

North Korea is “in a period of prolonged provocation rather than cyclical provocation,” Martin Dempsey told reporters yesterday after arriving in Beijing April 21 and meeting officials including President Xi Jinping.

Dempsey’s visit is part of a series of high-level contacts between the U.S. and China this month to discuss issues including cybersecurity and the North’s nuclear program. Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been high since February, when Kim Jong Un’s regime tested a nuclear device in defiance of the United Nations Security Council.

“The risk of miscalculation is higher and I think the risk of escalation is higher,” Dempsey said. “They are on a path that will certainly increase risk in the region.”

China is North Korea’s largest trading partner and Beijing regards the neighboring country as a strategic buffer with U.S.- backed South Korea. In a visit to China earlier this month, Secretary of State John Kerry said China needs to “put some teeth” into restraining Kim’s regime.

“I will leave here with the belief that the Chinese leadership is as concerned as we are,” Dempsey said. “We think there is still time for North Korea’s leaders to back away from provocations and we hope they take the opportunity to do so.” Read more of this post

Thai 7-Eleven King Turns Retail Dream to Stock Nightmare; Thailand Stock Exchange to Probe Siam Makro Trades

Thai 7-Eleven King Turns Retail Dream to Stock Nightmare

Billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont’s ambitions to create Southeast Asia’s largest retailer already wiped out $2.3 billion for CP All Pcl (CPALL) investors. Now, funding the industry’s most expensive bid may put more value at risk.

Dhanin’s CP All, which runs more than 6,800 7-Eleven stores in Thailand, slid 10 percent in Bangkok yesterday — the most in more than four years — after saying it will pay $6.6 billion for discount wholesaler Siam Makro Pcl. (MAKRO) The offer is 41 percent above Siam Makro’s average price in the prior 20 days, a record premium for a retail deal in emerging Asia, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. CP All’s bid also represents the highest multiple to net income, the data show.

While Dhanin plans to squeeze suppliers for better terms and export Siam Makro’s membership-warehouse model across Asia, the limited increase to profits isn’t enough to justify the price, said Credit Suisse Group AG. Although the Bangkok-based company says it has no plans to sell new stock to fund the deal, CP All’s share price will be weighed down by concerns that it will eventually have no other option, said UOB Kay Hian Securities (Thailand) Pcl.

“CP All is going to have to do a cash call,” Alan Richardson, a Hong Kong-based fund manager who helps oversee about $110 billion for Samsung Asset Management Co., including Siam Makro shares, said in a phone interview. “The valuation doesn’t make sense. With this kind of emerging market, the potential is definitely there, but for a stock investor who looks on a time horizon of one to two years, it would be negative.” Read more of this post

Three Taipei hospital staff show symptoms after H7N9 bird flu contact; H7N9 outbreak in Taiwan could derail buoyant stock market

Three Taipei hospital staff show symptoms after H7N9 contact

CNA and Staff Reporter, 2013-04-25

Three hospital personnel have developed respiratory symptoms after coming into contact with Taiwan’s first confirmed case of H7N9 avian flu, the country’s Central Epidemic Command Center said Wednesday. All three had taken proper protective measures when providing medical care for the patient, a 53-year-old man who fell ill three days after returning from eastern China’s Jiangsu province, one of the H7N9-affected areas, the center said. A survey of the epidemic situation showed that 139 local people had come into contact with the man, a Taiwanese businessman based in Jiangsu’s Suzhou area, the center said. Three of them had close contact, 26 had contact more than seven days ago — putting them outside the infectious period — and 110 are hospital personnel, the center said. Four of the hospital staff have also passed the infectious period and have not developed symptoms, the center said. A further three of the hospital staff did not take proper protective measures when treating or caring for the patient, but none of them have so far shown any symptoms, the center said, adding that they will be strictly monitored until April 27. The epidemic control center said that all those who have had contact with the patient have been served notice urging them to monitor their own health. They will also be subject to close monitoring until their respective infectious periods expire, the center said, adding that public health officials will help people on the watch list get medical treatment should they develop flu-like symptoms such as fever or coughing. The quasi-official Straits Exchange Foundation said Wednesday it has posted information about the imported H7N9 case in Taiwan on its website and urged the Taiwanese trade association in Suzhou to help push Taiwanese residents in the region to step up epidemic prevention measures and provide them with news updates. China reported the world’s first confirmed H7N9 human infections March 31, and as of April 23, 108 cases had been confirmed there, with 22 deaths. Two of China’s largest cities — Shanghai and Beijing — as well as five Chinese provinces — Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Henan and Shandong — have reported confirmed infections. As of 8am Wednesday, Taiwan had reported 129 suspected H7N9 cases, 128 of which have been ruled out as H7N9 infections, said Chou Jih-haw, deputy director-general of the Centers for Disease Control under the Department of Health. The center said it had informed the World Health Organization and China of Taiwan’s first H7N9 case earlier in the day, Chou said. It was also the first H7N9 case outside China.

H7N9 outbreak in Taiwan could derail buoyant stock market

Staff Reporter, 2013-04-25

News of Taiwan’s first confirmed case of H7N9 avian influenza is expected to derail the country’s surging stock market, reports our Chinese-language sister paper China Times. Read more of this post

First suspected H7N9 bird flu case reported in Jiangxi Province

First suspected bird flu case reported in Jiangxi Province

Created: 2013-4-25 9:42:58

Author:Dong Zhen

AUTHORITY of east China’s Jiangxi Province today reported the first suspected case of H7N9 infection inside the province. The patient, a 69-year-old male, has been admitted into a hospital in Nanchang City. He was confirmed as a suspected case yesterday by the local disease control authority. A team of medical experts have rushed to the hospital for his treatment and medical analysis. A total of 14 persons who had had close contacts with the patient are now under medical observation and they have so far shown no flu symptoms, the provincial government said. The country’s state disease control authority is now checking a sample to confirm whether the man is infected with the virus.

 

Is there another factor other than cholesterol and triglycerides causing heart attacks? The trillions of bacteria and other microbes living in the human gut

Updated: Thursday April 25, 2013 MYT 8:14:07 AM

Is there another factor other than cholesterol and triglycerides causing heart attacks?

NEW YORK: Thousands of heart attack victims every year have none of the notorious risk factors before their crisis – not high cholesterol, not unhealthy triglycerides.

Now the search for the mystery culprits has turned up some surprising suspects: the trillions of bacteria and other microbes living in the human gut.

In a study released on Wednesday, scientists discovered that some of the bugs turn lecithin – a nutrient in egg yolks, liver, beef, pork and wheat germ – into an artery-clogging compound called TMAO. They also found that blood levels of TMAO predict heart attack, stroke or death, and do so “independent of other risk factors,” said Dr Stanley Hazen, chairman of cellular and molecular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, who led the study. Read more of this post

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