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China’s Debt Surge Pressures Xi-Li to Avert Lost Decade

China’s Debt Surge Pressures Xi-Li to Avert Lost Decade

A Chinese lending spree of the magnitude that tipped Asian nations into crisis in the late 1990s and preceded Japan’s lost decades is putting pressure on top leaders to map out a strategy to tackle the threat.

Half of the economists in a Bloomberg News survey say non-performing local-government and corporate debt will probably have a “significant impact” on China’s credit and economic growth. The central government will deal with bad loans at local governments in the next 18 months by expanding the municipal-bond market and letting localities refinance with direct bond sales, respondents said. Read more of this post

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Caterpillar Board Sued Over ERA Mining Machinery Acquisition for failure to heed “red flags” that should have alerted them the company was overpaying for a Chinese mine-equipment maker

Caterpillar Board Sued Over ERA Mining Machinery Merger

Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) Chairman Douglas R. Oberhelman and 13 directors failed to heed “red flags” that should have alerted them the company was overpaying for a Chinese mine-equipment maker, a shareholder said in a lawsuit. New Jersey investor Michael D. Wolin accused Oberhelman, the directors and Chief Financial Officer Edward J. Rapp of breaching their fiduciary duties to the company in a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Chicago. Caterpillar, the world’s biggest maker of construction and mining machinery, took a $580 million writedown in January on its 2012 acquisition of Hong Kong-based ERA Mining Machinery Ltd. and its Zhengzhou Siwei Mechanical & Electrical Equipment Manufacturing Co. “The red flags clearly show that Siwei was being overvalued by Caterpillar senior management, including Rapp and Oberhelman,” Wolin said in the complaint. The board “blindly acceded” to the acquisition, he said. Among the factors Caterpillar executives should have considered were the Chinese company’s aging receivables and its need for “an immediate $50 million cash infusion” to continue operating before the deal was closed, Wolin said. Read more of this post

South Korea Newspaper Hankook Ilbo Media Group Owner Arrested for Embezzlement

South Korea Newspaper Owner Arrested for Embezzlement

By Agence France-Presse on 9:31 am August 6, 2013.
Seoul. Police have arrested the chairman of one of South Korea’s major newspapers on charges of embezzling millions of dollars, prosecutors said Tuesday. Chang Jae-Ku, owner of the Hankook Ilbo media group which includes several well-known dailies, magazines and a cable channel, was arrested on Monday night. Chang, 65, is accused of embezzling company funds worth 13 billion won ($11.6 million) for his personal use and causing the group a further financial loss of 30 billion won by offering business benefits to his creditors. The labour union of the Hankook Ilbo — the group’s flagship newspaper — had asked Seoul prosecutors to investigate Chang back in April. The management responded by firing the paper’s editor-in-chief, banning most unionised reporters from entering the newsroom and withholding their salaries. The group — the longtime organizer of the Miss Korea beauty pageant — has suffered financial troubles for years.

 

Don Graham: Here’s Why My Family Just Sold The Washington Post, A Paper We’ve Owned For 80 Years; Bezos Outbid A Half-Dozen and was deemed the “highest and best”

Don Graham: Here’s Why My Family Just Sold The Washington Post, A Paper We’ve Owned For 80 Years

ALYSON SHONTELL AUG. 5, 2013, 5:22 PM 2,648 1

Don Graham, former owner of The Washington Post, wrote a letter to the paper’s employees about his family’s tough decision to sell the news property they’ve owned for 80 years. Here it is, below:

All,

I have a most surprising announcement. Our company is making it public right now that we have sold The Washington Post to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. To be clear, the buyer is not Amazon, but a company owned by Jeff personally. The price is $250 million and what we are selling includes the weekly papers called for shorthand The Gazettes and Robinson Terminal… This leaves me with two questions: why are we selling and why to Jeff? The first question is much the harder. All the Grahams in this room have been proud to know since we were very little that we were part of the family that owned The Washington Post. We have loved the paper, what it stood for, and those who produced it. But the point of our ownership has always been that it was supposed to be good for the Post. As the newspaper business continued to bring up questions to which we have no answers, Katharine and I began to ask ourselves if our small public company was still the best home for the newspaper. Our revenues had declined seven years in a row. We had innovated and to my critical eye our innovations had been quite successful in audience and in quality, but they hadn’t made up for the revenue decline. Our answer had to be cost cuts and we knew there was a limit to that. We were certain the paper would survive under our ownership, but we wanted it to do more than that. We wanted it to succeed.

Don  Read more of this post

Accounting For Pensions, The Boston Globe Sold For Negative $40 Million, 20 Years After Selling For $1.1 Billion

Accounting For Pensions, The Boston Globe Sold For Negative $40 Million, 20 Years After Selling For $1.1 Billion

MATTHEW YGLESIAS, SLATE AUG. 5, 2013, 8:26 AM 1,306 4

Like everyone else I’ve seen the headlines remarking on the fact that a New York Times Company which bought The Boston Globe for over a billion dollars is selling it this weekend for just $70 million. But if you read the body text of those articles you’ll see that the paper actually sold for much less than $70 million. It in fact sold for a negative quantity of money. That’s because the terms under which John Henry is buying the paper stick the New York Times Company with the Globe‘s pension obligations, which are said to amount to around $110 million. Which is to say that the worth of the overall Globe enterprise is negative $40 million, not $70 million. That’s shocking. What’s even more shocking is that the Globe has been doing great journalism—winning Pulitzers, etc.—and even turning a modest profit. But that’s the difference between a growing industry (where Tumblr can sell for $1 billion with no profits or even meaningful revenue in sight) and a shrinking one.

Bezos In 2012: People Won’t Pay For News On The Web, Print Will Be Dead In 20 Years

Bezos In 2012: People Won’t Pay For News On The Web, Print Will Be Dead In 20 Years

GREGORY FERENSTEIN

posted 8 hours ago

Before Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million, he had some choice words for the ailing print news industry. In a wide-ranging interview with the German paper, Berliner-Zeitung, the newly-minted media mogul said at the time that no one would bother paying for news online and print would be dead in 20 years (translation from our awesome writer, Frederic Lardinois). “There is one thing I’m certain about: there won’t be printed newspapers in twenty years. Maybe as luxury items in some hotels that want to offer them as an extravagant service. Printed papers won’t be normal in twenty years.” said Bezos. That’s a pretty long timeline (think what happened in technology since 1993), but it does given an indication that Bezos may pressure his new newspaper to accelerate abandonment of their print version. Read more of this post

3D printing reaches tipping point; 3D printing was used in the Melbourne production of King Kong

3D printing reaches tipping point

August 1, 2013

Larissa Ham

Once cost-prohibitive, 3D printing is now affordable and becoming mainstream.

Kong-620x349

3D printing was used in the Melbourne production of King Kong. Photo: Photo by James Morgan/Global Creatures

He’s now a mammoth, six-metre-high gorilla pounding the boards at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre, but the latest version of King Kong had his features fine-tuned inside a small 3D printer. “There was a lot of debate about how he was going to look – not only his body but his face as well,” says Domenic Di Giorgio, head of digital design at The Creature Technology Company. “He had to convey so much emotion during the performance.” In the past, the West Melbourne business fashioned its maquettes – or small models – from clay, laboriously changing small details until it finally got the design right. However, thanks to the growing quality and affordability of 3D printers, designers are able to tinker with countless iterations of their creatures. Read more of this post

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