Gene Therapy Shields Against Deadly Flu

Updated May 29, 2013, 6:53 p.m. ET

Gene Therapy Shields Against Deadly Flu


Researchers said Wednesday they have developed a gene-therapy technique that in animal studies provided broad protection against flu viruses linked to deadly human pandemics.

If verified in people, the approach could become an important tool in the effort to ward off viral infections such as H5N1 that originate in animals and aren’t affected by human vaccines.

Outbreaks of H5N1, a bird flu, have caused 374 deaths around the globe in the past decade, according to the World Health Organization, and provoked concern among public-health officials about the potential for far deadlier pandemics. Read more of this post

Intensive-Care Patients Need Treatment to Stop Deadly Bug

Intensive-Care Patients Need Treatment to Stop Deadly Bug

Disinfecting all intensive-care patients to remove potentially deadly bacteria can prevent infections better than testing for a superbug and targeting only those who carry it, researchers said.

Patients in hospital intensive-care units are particularly vulnerable, weakened so that normally harmless microbes can make them ill and sensitive to acquiring infections from others. Hospitals in the U.S. typically test for bacteria like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus when patients are admitted and isolate those who show signs of harboring it to stop the spread. Read more of this post

Disney gets into wearable tech with the MagicBand

Disney gets into wearable tech with the MagicBand

Matthew Panzarino

29 May 2013

Disney is introducing a new MagicBand device that ties into a new service that allows theme park visitors to make purchases and reserve experiences. Thomas Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Theme Parks and Resorts spoke about them at D11 today.

The new MagicBands will be enabled at Walt Disney World over the next few months after a roughly two-year pilot program, and those will be tied into the MyMagic+ service, which Disney has been working on for around six years. The bands are a colorful wrist device made of rubberized plastic that will allow visitors to the park to tap on check in points to enable various experiences. Read more of this post

“Twitter is the social soundtrack for TV”; Twitter CEO Costolo Says Investing ‘Heavily’ in TV

Twitter CEO Costolo Says Investing ‘Heavily’ in TV

Twitter Inc. Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo said he sees television companies as valuable partners for its microblogging service and is investing accordingly.

“Twitter is the social soundtrack for TV,” Costolo said today in an onstage interview at the D: All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

“We’ve decided to invest heavily in that,” said Costolo. “There’s a bunch of ways we can be complementary to broadcasters.”

Twitter is adding video content to bolster ad revenue in a bid to reach $1 billion in sales by 2014. Earlier this month, Twitter announced a partnership with the National Basketball Association to stream game highlights, as well as a deal with ESPN, a unit of Walt Disney Co., to show snippets from soccer matches, college football and other sports. Read more of this post

Oil and Gas Pose Challenge to Norway’s Tech Startups

May 29, 2013, 4:14 p.m. ET

Oil and Gas Pose Challenge to Norway’s Tech Startups


For those who follow Europe’s tech scene, naming startups from the Nordic/Baltic region wouldn’t be too hard.

There are any number from Sweden (music streaming site Spotify AB, payment service Klarna AB, games maker Mojang AB). Finland is host to Angry Birds maker Rovio. Even tiny Estonia has virtual fitting-room-provider But Norway? The browser company Opera Software OPERA.OS +0.23% ASA and…and, unless you are in the oil and gas business, chances are you are going to struggle. Read more of this post

Prosecutors begin raids as South Korea launches tax probe into powerful chaebols

May 29, 2013 3:25 pm

Prosecutors begin raids as South Korea launches tax probe

By Simon Mundy in Seoul

Prosecutors raided the home of one of South Korea’s most prominent businessmen on Wednesday, amid growing scrutiny of offshore financial arrangements made by the country’s corporate elite.

The search of the Seoul residence of Lee Jay-hyun, chairman of the conglomerate CJ Group, was part of an investigation into “allegations of tax evasion through overseas bank accounts”, the company said, while declining to comment further. Mr Lee was not available for comment.

Meanwhile, the authorities said they had launched a probe into 23 companies and individuals suspected of tax evasion through shell companies in tax havens. Read more of this post

Struggling Korean builders tell employees to show loyalty: buy apartments

Struggling Korean builders tell employees to show loyalty: buy apartments

5:35pm EDT

By Ju-min Park

GOYANG, South Korea (Reuters) – Five years after the global financial crisis, South Korean construction workers are feeling the pinch more than ever as they shoulder a mountain of debt from a real estate bust that has cast a long shadow on the country’s growth prospects. Facing the specter of bankruptcy, some construction firms persuaded their staff to take up loans to mop up unsold apartments. “There was pressure. There’s nowhere else in the world where there’s a parallel to these practices,” said a construction worker, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

“Loyalty and hierarchy is still strong in South Korea and especially in the construction companies which are run like the armed forces,” he said, adding that his employer Poonglim Industrial Co Ltd had asked him to buy two apartments, which meant he had to borrow 800 million won ($712,800). Read more of this post

There’s No Accounting for China’s Accounting; A deal between Beijing and Washington to share audit information still leaves U.S. investors exposed

May 29, 2013, 11:31 a.m. ET

There’s No Accounting for China’s Accounting

A deal between Beijing and Washington to share audit information still leaves U.S. investors exposed.


For a brief moment last week it looked like there had been a break in a serious regulatory dispute between the U.S. and China. On Friday, Washington and Beijing announced a deal for some information sharing between them concerning audits of U.S.-listed Chinese companies embroiled in accounting scandals. But there’s a whole lot less to this compromise than meets the eye, and those listings may still be in jeopardy.

Under Friday’s agreement, Chinese regulators will allow the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) to access audit documents from Chinese accounting firms for PCAOB’s investigations. Washington has bristled for a long time that whenever a U.S.-listed Chinese company implode in an accounting scandal, American authorities have little or no access to the auditing documents that would allow for a thorough investigation and perhaps sanctions. Read more of this post

Accelerators Start Revving Up Industries Well Beyond Tech

May 29, 2013, 3:40 p.m. ET

Accelerators Start Revving Up Industries Well Beyond Tech


Accelerators that provide seed funding and mentorship to technology startups produce some of the hottest companies in Silicon Valley. Now just about every industry is trying a “boot camp for business” model.

In Palo Alto, Local Food Lab Inc. started Food & Farm Startup Accelerator last year to boost chefs and farmers, more than engineers and MBAs. And in San Francisco, the nonprofit Code for America Accelerator, which started in July 2012, helps public-service providers score work with government agencies.

Meanwhile, the seed fund and accelerator Matter Ventures, which launched in December, enlists media entrepreneurs who want to make money while upholding the values of traditional journalism. Read more of this post

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens has gone an interest-rate cut too far for Mrs. Watanabe, as Japan’s households look closer to home for returns

Japanese Housewives Cooling on Aussie Uridashi

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens has gone an interest-rate cut too far for Mrs. Watanabe, as Japan’s households look closer to home for returns.

Aussie uridashi sales slumped 71 percent to A$1.8 billion ($1.7 billion) this year, even as A$9.4 billion in such debt matures in 2013, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The currency accounted for 10 percent of bonds offered to Japanese individuals this year, compared with 64 percent for yen-denominated offerings and a total of 28 percent since 2006. Japanese investors cut Aussie debt holdings by a record 1.7 trillion yen ($16.7 billion) in the five months through March, Ministry of Finance data show.

Japanese individual investors, a group often nicknamed Mrs. Watanabe because many are housewives, are piling into local assets as unprecedented Bank of Japan monetary easing drives the best equities gains in the developed world. Pacific Investment Management Co. said yesterday Stevens is likely to lower the RBA’s benchmark interest rate again after cutting it on May 7 to a record 2.75 percent. The yield premium benchmark Australian bonds offer over Japan’s touched a half-year low this month.

“What is becoming clear is that Japan is falling out of love with new buying of Australian dollar assets,” Martin Whetton, a Sydney-based interest-rate strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc., wrote in a May 25 e-mail. “If the RBA continues to cut rates, the investment is likely to remain light.” Read more of this post

Thailand cuts rates to undermine baht; what’s next – capital controls? Asia might find itself in the grip of a cycle where further cuts and controls are the only way to maintain competitiveness

Thailand cuts rates to undermine baht; what’s next – capital controls?

May 29, 2013 2:18pm by Jake Maxwell Watts

Thailand became the latest of several Asian countries to actively encourage the depreciation of its currency on Wednesday, continuing a trend that is likely to leave other regional economies with little choice but to follow.

Its central bank cut interest rates by 25 basis points from 2.75 per cent to 2.5 per cent a year, in an attempt to stem a rise in the baht, which hit a 16-year high last month. The Thai finance ministry is considering adding capital controls to the mix.

The rate cut is unlikely to do enough to resolve a long-standing dispute between the central bank’s governor, Prasarn Trairatvorakul, and Thailand’s finance minister Kittirat Na Ranong about whether a cut is the best way to discourage foreign capital inflows. Read more of this post

“Panic is building on panic”: Iron ore hit by Chinese steel doldrums amid widespread anxiety about the outlook for demand, and concerns about overcapacity in the industry

May 29, 2013 8:42 pm

Iron ore hit by Chinese steel doldrums

By Jack Farchy in London

Iron ore prices tumbled to a seven-month low on Wednesday as negativity spread through the Chinese steel industry.

Analysts said that both traders and steelmakers in China, which accounts for 60 per cent of global seaborne iron ore imports, had been selling down stocks amid widespread anxiety about the outlook for demand, and concerns about overcapacity in the industry.

“Panic is building on panic,” said Melinda Moore, bulk commodity strategist at Standard Bank in London. Read more of this post

Risk of Bank Failures Is Rising in Europe, E.C.B. Warns

May 29, 2013

Risk of Bank Failures Is Rising in Europe, E.C.B. Warns


FRANKFURT — The European Central Bank warned on Wednesday that the euro zone’s slumping economy and a surge in problem loans were raising the risk of a renewed banking crisis, even as overall stress in the region’s financial markets had receded.

In a sober assessment of the state of the zone’s financial system, the E.C.B. said that a prolonged recession had made it harder for many borrowers to repay their loans, burdening banks that had still not finished repairing the damage caused by the 2008 financial crisis. Read more of this post

China Failure to Grow With $1 Trillion Credit Seen as Li Warning

China Failure to Grow With $1 Trillion Credit Seen as Li Warning

By Bloomberg News  May 29, 2013

China’s economy is proving less responsive to credit, escalating pressure on Premier Li Keqiang to strengthen the role of private enterprise.

The government’s broadest measure of credit rose 58 percent to a record 6.16 trillion yuan ($1 trillion) in January-to-March, when gross domestic product gained 7.7 percent, compared with 8.1 percent a year earlier. Each $1 in credit firepower added the equivalent of 17 cents in GDP, down from 29 cents last year and 83 cents in 2007, when global money markets began to freeze, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The diminishing returns to lending heighten focus on the need for what the International Monetary Fund said yesterday are “decisive” policy changes in the world’s second-largest economy. Without a refocus away from state-approved projects, Li and President Xi Jinping risk overseeing both a further slowdown in growth and an increase in non-performing loans. Read more of this post

170,000 Living in Subdivided Flats in Hong Kong: Study

170,000 Living in Subdivided Flats in Hong Kong: Study

By Agence France-Presse on 2:45 pm May 28, 2013.
High rise buildings in Hong Kong on May 23. (AFP Photo/Philippe Lopez)

Hong Kong. More than 170,000 people in Hong Kong are living in cramped subdivided flats, a government-commissioned study has found, underlining the scale of the city’s housing crisis. Tens of thousands of low-income families and immigrants are forced to live in the tiny subdivided units, unable to afford sky-high rents in the crowded city of seven million. Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed leader Leung Chun-ying has promised to make tackling the housing problem a “top priority” by boosting the number of new homes for Hong Kong people. But the study showed the problem is even greater than previously thought, with an estimated 171,300 people living in 66,900 subdivided flats.

Read more of this post

Between cronyism and rebalancing in China

Between cronyism and rebalancing in China

Kate Mackenzie

| May 29 12:07 | 5 comments | Share

Chinese premier Li Keqiang on Monday:

China needs growth of about 7 percent to double per capita gross domestic product by 2020 from the level in 2010, Li said yesterday in Berlin after meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel during his first trip abroad as premier.

Although China has a formal target of 7.5 per cent growth for this year, and that was still kind-of-maybe assumed to be the ongoing target figure for the next few years, no-one was hugely surprised at the declaration of a 7 per cent target. Read more of this post

Copper Users Squeezed as Glut Clogs Warehouse Lines: Commodities

Copper Users Squeezed as Glut Clogs Warehouse Lines: Commodities

At a time when copper stockpiles are rising to the highest in a decade, manufacturers are paying the biggest premiums for the metal in as much as seven years as financing deals lock up supply and extend lines at warehouses.

While inventories tracked by the London Metal Exchange more than doubled in the past year and supplies exceed demand for the first time since 2009, getting copper is becoming more expensive and taking longer. Buyers in Shanghai pay $135 a metric ton more than LME futures, up from $55 last year, Metal Bulletin data show. Luvata Malaysia Bhd., a circuit-board parts maker, stopped buying from local LME stockpiles after waiting times rose to three months from three days at the start of 2012. Read more of this post

Bond Default ‘Could Occur This Year’ in China; The founder of a domestic ratings agency says fears are mounting and the government may not be able to save the day

05.29.2013 17:27

Bond Default ‘Could Occur This Year’

The founder of a domestic ratings agency says fears are mounting and the government may not be able to save the day

By staff reporter Yang Na

(Beijing) – Calling for attention to the hidden risk in the country’s bond market, a credit rating expert has warned investors that a real bond default could happen this year.

The warning came from Mao Zhenhua, founder of China Cheng Xin International Credit Rating Co. Ltd. (CCXI), a domestic ratings agency. Debt problems are a main trigger of financial turmoil, he said at the company’s annual conference on May 28. Read more of this post

Q&A: (Almost) all you need to know about China Development Bank (CDB)

Q&A: (Almost) all you need to know about China Development Bank

May 29, 2013 12:33pm by Simon Rabinovitch

China Development Bank is one of the world’s largest but least understood financial institutions. Riddled by debt 15 years ago, CDB has now comfortably surpassed the World Bank as the biggest international lender to developing countries. And that only begins to tell the story about CDB. Overseas development lending is a small part of its overall business, with most of its Rmb7.5tn ($1.2tn) in assets focused on catalysing China’s own growth. But CDB is an opaque institution. Chinese banks are difficult to penetrate under the best of circumstances. Unlike its major domestic peers, CDB is unlisted and hence provides even less disclosure.

Read more of this post

Shell under the skin, 10 years after crisis

Shell under the skin, 10 years after crisis

7:31pm EDT

By Andrew Callus

LONDON (Reuters) – A decade ago, Royal Dutch/Shell’s (RDSa.L: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz) boss was fighting to close the gap between the truth about his company’s oil and gas reserves and the much larger figure in its accounts.

He lost the fight, and his job. Scandal engulfed one of the world’s biggest companies, exposing years of neglect.

Fast forward to May 2013, and the surprise news that chief executive Peter Voser will retire next year caused barely a ripple. Shell has recovered shareholder confidence. But while the risks may all be in the open now, they remain big. Read more of this post

Mexico Housing Bust Bruises Investors, Buyers

May 29, 2013, 7:58 p.m. ET

Mexico Housing Bust Bruises Investors, Buyers


HUEHUETOCA, Mexico—Hardly anyone turns up nowadays at a HomexHOMEX.MX +6.87% sales center for low-income homes in this dusty town north of Mexico City. On a recent Saturday, a banner promising “well-being” flapped in the wind near a sign that read “a new life awaits you.” Even the lone saleswoman on duty, Carolayn León, says she no longer believes in her employer after several missed paychecks.

She isn’t the only one who has lost faith. Home buyers and investors are turning their backs on Mexico’s low-income housing darlings, bringing a government-fueled boom that lasted more than a decade to a screeching halt. Scores of new homes in far-flung communities sit empty, while banks have canceled credit lines to some of the country’s biggest housing companies. Read more of this post

Latin America Boom Starts to Fade; “If commodity prices fall to 2003 levels, all that support for Latin American growth could be removed,”

Updated May 29, 2013, 7:17 p.m. ET

Latin America Boom Starts to Fade

Slowdown in China, a Major Commodities Importer From the Region, Drags on Growth; Xi to Visit


A decadelong commodity boom in Latin America that lifted millions out of poverty is showing signs of fatigue, as fading demand in China hits consumers and corporate earnings from Bogotá to Brasilia. The latest evidence of a regional slowdown came Wednesday, when Brazil said its economy grew just 1.9% in the first quarter compared with the year-earlier period, far below estimates for 2.4% growth. Compared with the previous three months, Brazil’s GDP grew a modest 0.6%. Finance Minister Guido Mantega said he would lower his current forecast for 3.5% growth this year by an unspecified amount. “It’s evident that we won’t get an impulse from trade for some time to come and that the commodities boom has passed,” said Andre Perfeito, chief economist at Gradual Investimentos, a brokerage in São Paulo. Read more of this post

CHART OF THE DAY: What The Bond Market Sell-Off Looks Like On A 222-Year Chart

CHART OF THE DAY: What The Bond Market Sell-Off Looks Like On A 222-Year Chart

Matthew Boesler | May 29, 2013, 1:48 PM | 6,162 | 1

The big story in markets over the past few weeks has been the sell-off in the Treasury bond market and the accompanying rise in bond yields to their highest levels in over a year. Goldman strategists are out with a call declaring the sell-off “for real” this time after a number of false starts. The chart below, via Global Financial Data, shows the 10-year Treasury yields going back to 1791, as well as concurrent activity in the stock market. The chart isn’t granular enough to see the move over the past few weeks, but it does show the rise in interest rates since bottoming out about a year ago. 



“If Myanmar fails to build a compelling growth plan and implement it effectively, today’s goodwill and cautious optimism could evaporate all too rapidly”

May 29, 2013, 2:00 p.m. ET

McKinsey Warns Over Myanmar Investor Risk


A new report from global consulting firm McKinsey & Co. warns of “major risk of disappointment” for companies entering Myanmar despite the country’s recent reforms, particularly if the government fails to solve sectarian strife that again erupted in mob violence this week.

“The first thing the government is going to have to do is ensure a stable political situation,” said Heang Chhor, senior partner at McKinsey and one of the principal authors of the report, which is one of the first comprehensive looks at Myanmar’s economic potential, compiling half a year of independent research and interviews from the Southeast Asian country where data are notoriously hard to come by and often unreliable. Read more of this post

Searching for Blue Oceans: Mental Representation and the Discovery of New Strategies

Searching for Blue Oceans: Mental Representation and the Discovery of New Strategies

Felipe A. Csaszar University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Daniel Levinthal University of Pennsylvania – Management Department

May 20, 2013

Managers’ mental representations affect the perceived payoffs and alternatives that managers consider. Thus, mental representation must affect how managers search for profitable strategies and the quality of the strategies that they discover. Yet, the strategy literature has been mostly silent about how mental representation and search interact. The main objective of this paper is to understand under what conditions it is better to emphasize searching for the right policies rather than searching for the right mental representation, and vice versa. We show that the balance between these two types of search processes is contingent on the cognitive capacity of managers and on environmental factors (i.e., technological complexity, relative relevance of product attributes, and time horizon). To capture managers’ mental representation we develop a simulation of a popular management technique, Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS). We illustrate the usefulness of our enriched view of search by examining BOS in novel ways. In particular, we ask under what conditions BOS is more likely to be successful and how much risk firms incur by using BOS.

Mary Meeker’s 2013 Internet Trends

Mary Meeker’s 2013 Internet Trends: Mobile Makes Up 15% Of All Internet Traffic, With 1.5B Users Worldwide

RYAN LAWLER posted 40 mins ago

Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers partner Mary Meeker unveiled her annual Internet Trends report for 2013 today at the D11 Conference, showing robust growth in the number of broadband and mobile users. All that said, there’s still a huge opportunity for smartphone adoption and mobile ad spend. There were more than 2.4 billion Internet users worldwide by the end of 2012, up 8 percent from the previous year. But more astounding than that was the growth in mobile users. There are about 1.5 billion global subscribers, up from 1.1 billion a year before. That represents about 30 percent growth. There’s also been intense growth in the number of smartphones over the past year. According to Meeker, there were fewer than a billion smartphone subscribers, but that grew to 1.5 billion by 2012. But with more than 5 billion mobile phone subscribers in the world, smartphone adoption still has a lot of growth ahead. Mobile usage continued to grow, making up about 15 percent of all Internet traffic, compared with 10 percent a year before. But there’s still upside for mobile ad spend. Total Internet ad spend was $37 billion, while mobile ad spend was only about $4 billion. Meanwhile, people spent about 12 percent of their time on mobile devices, which accounted for just 3 percent of ad spend. That compares to the 26 percent of time spent on the Internet, accounting for 22 percent of ad spend.

How is Apple Maps doing since its roll-out nine months ago?

How is Apple Maps doing?

By JP Mangalindan, Writer May 29, 2013: 6:22 AM ET

The company’s mapping switch was widely decried. Have things gotten any better?

It’s been nine months since Apple rolled out a criticized update of Maps. “In general, they’ve made some improvements, but I think they’re still behind in terms of features, functionality, accuracy, and the overall state of mapping technology,” says Brian Blau, Research Director at Gartner. Credit: Apple

FORTUNE — Nine months after Apple rolled out a much-criticized update to its Maps app for iPhones and iPads, some people are still not pulling punches.

“As most of you probably heard, last December, we launched Google Maps on the iPhone,” said Daniel Graf, Director of Google Maps, at this year’s Google (GOOG) I/O conference. “It has been a tremendous success. The feedback has been very positive. People called it sleek, simple, beautiful, and — let’s not forget — accurate.” Read more of this post

Pushing smart beta further; Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global has commissioned MSCI feasibility studies on smart beta strategies for large portfolios

Pushing smart beta further

Posted By Sarah Rundell On 29/05/2013 @ 2:09 pm In ANALYSIS

The rise of smart beta has just got another boost thanks to a study commissioned by Norway’s ministry of finance for its Government Pension Fund Global. It asked index provider MSCI to look into the feasibility of running smart beta strategies for large portfolios. Very few institutions with the size of GPFG’s $400-billion equity portfolio have implemented smart beta strategies yet, mostly because of challenges around investability or liquidity. MSCI, which has around $40 billion benchmarked against its various risk premia, or smart beta, indicies, explored the feasibility of investing a hypothetical portfolio of $100 billion and found that large assets can successfully run on these indices without liquidity worries. Read more of this post

13-yr-old Guizhou girl in China handcuffed for spilling water on official

13-yr-old Guizhou girl handcuffed for spilling water on official

Staff Reporter  2013-05-29


The girl was handcuffed for allegedly spilling water inside a government car. (Internet photo)

A 13-year-old girl in a county of southwest China’s Guizhou province was handcuffed by the police and “paraded” in public for 20 minutes before being taken away, reports Boxun, a Chinese-language citizen journalism website. A county secretary and a police officer involved allegedly have been suspended pending investigation.

According to a netizen’s report, the girl had spilled some Coke or water on a vehicle that belonged to the government of Kele county. She was handcuffed by the police, who were following orders from the Kele party secretary, surnamed Yuan. The girl reportedly was forced to walk on the street handcuffed for 20 minutes. Read more of this post

China’s spurned mistresses can’t be relied on to bust graft

China’s spurned mistresses can’t be relied on to bust graft: paper

6:43am EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) – China must not rely on whistle-blowing mistresses to expose corrupt officials, China’s top newspaper said on Wednesday, after a string of such incidents has led to some people hailing the girlfriends as graft-busters.

President Xi Jinping has singled out corruption as a threat to the Communist Party’s survival, and the keeping of mistresses in lavish apartments, which breaks party rules, has come to represent to many people the excesses of power in China.

In a recent high-profile case, Liu Tienan, once the deputy chief of China’s top planning agency, was sacked after his mistress told a journalist that Liu had helped defraud banks of $200 million, state media reported. Read more of this post

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