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A third of all French restaurants serve dishes prepared largely or entirely elsewhere; Restaurateurs may be forced to draw up new, more honest menus

French restaurateurs may be forced to draw up new, more honest menus

Jul 6th 2013 | PARIS |From the print edition

GIVEN the state of France’s economy, its politicians ought to have bigger worries. But one of the hottest topics in parliament these days is how to force restaurants to reveal whether they make their boeuf bourguignon on the premises or rip open packets and warm up the contents.

On June 27th the lower house approved an amendment to a consumer-rights bill that will force restaurants to label the dishes they prepare from fresh ingredients in their own kitchens as “fait maison”, or “home-made”. This is tougher than the optional label the government proposed, but less stringent than the obligatory description of every dish on every menu as either home-made or based on industrial products, which some want. If the reform goes through, in 2014 the menus of every establishment, from little brasseries in the Dordogne to multi-starred restaurants in Paris, could be sporting truth-in-eating symbols instead of appetising but misleading tags such asfaçon grandmère—“just as grandma used to make it”. Read more of this post

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On the 16th anniversary of the devaluation of the baht (July 2, 1997), which preceded the Asian financial crisis, former steel tycoon Sawad Horrungruang talks about the lessons learned

16TH CRISIS ANNIVERSARY

Asian financial crisis and the lessons learned

Nophakhun Limsamarnphun
The Nation July 6, 2013 1:00 am

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Sawad: In hindsight, the biggest lesson was that if you borrowed in foreign currency, there would be multiple risk factors.

Ex-steel tycoon recalls downfall on 16th anniversary of baht devaluation

On the 16th anniversary of the devaluation of the baht (July 2, 1997), which preceded the Asian financial crisis, former steel tycoon Sawad Horrungruang said, “Back then, companies in my area of business [NTS, NSM and affiliated firms] owed as much as US$2.7 billion to foreign and Thai creditors. “The loans were denominated in foreign currencies, so the combined debt doubled overnight as soon as the baht was devalued, and then plunged from Bt25 to the dollar to more than Bt50 [debt jumped from between Bt140 billion and Bt150 billion]. “Back then, interest rates also jumped to more than 10 per cent and if you defaulted, the rate would shoot up to nearly 30 per cent. The massive foreign-exchange losses and high cost of funds meant that it was impossible for any decent business to survive. “In hindsight, the biggest lesson was that if you borrowed in foreign currency, there would be multiple risk factors. In this era of globalisation, whatever happens in the US, Europe or elsewhere is going to effect businesses in Thailand. Read more of this post

Three years ago, Andreas Vgenopoulos, a Greek lawyer-turned-tycoon, was riding high. His investment fund had just snapped up Olympic Air. Today, however, he has become a symbol of Greece’s travails

July 5, 2013, 7:22 p.m. ET

Tycoon’s Rise and Fall: A Modern Greek Drama

By DEBORAH BALL and ALKMAN GRANITSAS

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Andreas Vgenopoulos in 2009 as he discussed plans to save Olympic Air. The carrier has suffered along with the rest of Greece’s economy.

ATHENS—Three years ago, Andreas Vgenopoulos, a Greek lawyer-turned-tycoon, was riding high. His investment fund, which had €15 billion ($19.4 billion) to spend following one of the biggest private-equity fundraisings ever, had just snapped up Olympic Air. Mr. Vgenopoulos was hailed as a national hero for saving Greece’s long-suffering flag carrier—an event he celebrated with a grand soiree in an Athens airport hangar with Cirque du Soleil acrobats performing for the assembled guests. Read more of this post

A cruel, cruel summer for U.S. credit funds

A cruel, cruel summer for U.S. credit funds

7:36pm EDT

By Katya Wachtel and Sam Forgione

NEW YORK (Reuters) – It’s shaping up to be a brutal summer for bond investors as the bloodbath in the U.S. credit market shows no signs of letting up, even as nearly $80 billion has already been wiped from funds. The past six weeks have been humbling for well-known fund managers including Bill Gross of PIMCO, Jeffrey Gundlach of DoubleLine Capital and Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates – all victims of a violent sell-off in U.S. Treasuries, mortgage-backed securities or inflation-protected bonds.

On Friday, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note touched 2.73 percent, gaining more than a full percentage point since early May, as better-than-expected U.S. jobs data fanned speculation that the Federal Reserve could begin to scale back its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying stimulus this fall. Read more of this post

Unique Characteristics in Dental and Veterinary Distributor Markets Support Wide Economic Moats

Unique Characteristics in Dental and Veterinary Distributor Markets Support Wide Economic Moats

By Michael Waterhouse | 07-05-13 | 06:00 AM | Email Article

We have upgraded  Henry Schein (HSIC) and  Patterson Companies (PDCO) to wide-moat companies thanks to their strong competitive advantages in the dental and veterinary distribution markets. As critical intermediaries between a highly fragmented base of customers and suppliers that depend on their scale and customer services, Schein and Patterson possess competitive advantages that support a long time frame of attractive returns on capital, in our view. We also think the high out-of-pocket dental and vet markets will sustain consistent midsingle-digit growth over the long term. Both stocks are trading close to our fair value estimates of $99 and $39 for Schein and Patterson, respectively, and while valuations don’t currently suggest attractive entry points for either firm, we think investors should keep these names on their watch lists. Read more of this post

Plight of the sea turtles: Students coming back home helped build modern China. So why are they now faring so poorly in the labour market?

Plight of the sea turtles: Students coming back home helped build modern China. So why are they now faring so poorly in the labour market?

Jul 6th 2013 | SHANGHAI |From the print edition

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“I LEFT in 1980 with only three dollars in my pocket,” recalls Li Sanqi. He was one of the first allowed to study overseas after the dark days of the Cultural Revolution. Like most in that elite group, he excelled, rising to a coveted position at the University of Texas, while launching several technology firms. Now he is a senior executive at Huawei, a Chinese telecoms giant, enticed back by the chance to help build a world-class multinational.

Mr Li seems the perfect example of a sea turtle, or hai gui (in Mandarin, the phrase “return across the sea” sounds similar to that animal’s name), long applauded in China for bringing back advanced skills. In the past such folk reliably reaped handsome premiums in the local job market, but no longer. Sea turtles are not universally praised, the wage differential is shrinking and some are even unable to find jobs. Wags say they should now be called hai dai, or seaweed. This is a startling turn, given their past contributions. Read more of this post

Home Depot Uses Cloud to Tap ‘Do-It-For-Me’ Market

July 5, 2013, 5:09 PM ET

Home Depot Uses Cloud to Tap ‘Do-It-For-Me’ Market

Rachael King

Home Depot Inc. plans to expand a service that connects shoppers who need help installing purchases like tile or ceiling fans to local contractors. That service relies on communications infrastructure from Twilio Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. “The market is moving from do-it-yourself to do-it-for-me,” Anthony Rodio, vice president of Home Depot, told CIO Journal. About 42% of home improvement projects are now done by outside help, he said. For the first time since 2008, sales to professional contractors is growing faster than sales to consumers, said Frank Blake, Home Depot CEO on a conference call with investors on May 21. Read more of this post

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