Tag Archives: Eastern Europe

Germany still burying Eastern Front dead from WWII

By hnn

Germany will open its last big war cemetery in Russia on Saturday, marking the culmination of a huge effort to recover Wehrmacht soldiers killed on its Eastern Front in World War II.

By the end of this year, the German war graves commission will have found and reburied a total of 800,000 soldiers in Eastern Europe and Russia since 1992, when the former Eastern bloc countries began helping Germany retrieve the remains of missing soldiers following the end of the Cold War.

On Saturday, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière will hold a speech at the inauguration of the new war cemetery at the town of Dukhovschina, near the city of Smolensk in western Russia…..

Der Spiegel

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at History News Network – George Mason University

Video: Tire-carrying pedestrian gets a lucky bounce

By Jeffrey N. Ross

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Dash cam videos out of Russia and Eastern Europe always manage to crank the pucker factor up to surprising levels, but this might be one of the closest calls we’ve seen yet. As a man was casually crossing the street with a pair of tires in hand, a Lada Niva driver hit the brakes a little too late and a little too hard causing this spectacular incident.

Lots of luck was involved here, and it is impressive how calm the pedestrian remained during and after the incident (he might even be luckier than this pedestrian who narrowly avoided being hit by a car carrier earlier in the year). The whole ordeal seemed to be over just as fast as it happened, and you can check it out in the grainy video posted below.

Continue reading Tire-carrying pedestrian gets a lucky bounce

Tire-carrying pedestrian gets a lucky bounce originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Jul 2013 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

'Vampire cemetery' found in Poland

By hnn

Construction workers building a road near the town of Gliwice in southern Poland this month came across four skeletons buried in a bizarre way. Their skulls had been cut off and placed between the knees or hands of the dead. Later, a further 13 skeletons arranged in a similar way were found.

Adding to the mystery, nothing — no jewellery, remains of clothing or coins, not even a button — was found on the bodies.

Archaeologists now believe that the bodies date from the 15th or 16th centuries, when the fear of vampires was widespread in Eastern Europe. Lukasz Obtulowicz, an archaeologist from the monument protection office in the nearby city of Katowice, said there were clear indications that this was the site of a vampire burial, noting that stones had been placed on the skulls. “All this served to prevent the vampires from returning to life,” he said in a television interview….

Der Spiegel

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at History News Network – George Mason University

Lower Volume Hurts Philip Morris Results

By 24/7 Wall St.

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Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM) reported first-quarter results before markets opened this morning. The tobacco products firm posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.29 on revenue of $7.6 billion. In the same period a year ago the company reported EPS of $1.25 on $7.45 billion in revenues. Thomson Reuters had consensus estimates for EPS of $1.34 and revenue of $7.52 billion.

On a GAAP basis, EPS totaled $1.28. The company also said that currency exchange rates cut earnings by $0.07 a share.

Cigarette shipment volume fell 6.5% year-over-year globally and by 42.5% in the Philippines, where a new excise tax cut shipments by 10 billion units. European volume fell 10.1% and Asian shipments fell 10.4%. Only the Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa posted a gain, and that a small one of 1.4%. The company was able to make up some of the decrease by raising prices.

The company lowered its full fiscal year EPS guidance to a range of $5.55 to $5.65, compared with full-year 2012 EPS of $5.22. The forecast includes a $0.19 per share reduction due to currency exchange rates. The consensus estimate had called for full-year EPS of $5.73 on revenues of $32.37 billion.

The company’s CEO noted:

Our first quarter was relatively difficult, with our headline results marred by a number of known factors, including inventory movements, the 2012 leap year effect, currency and a slowly improving – but nevertheless substantial erosion in our – volume in the Philippines. Despite this apparent weakness, our pricing actions and market share momentum provide us with the confidence to reiterate our annual constant-currency adjusted diluted EPS growth rate target of 10-12%.

What makes tobacco companies so attractive to investors is their dividend, and Philip Morris pays a quarterly dividend of $0.85. The company repurchased 16.7 million shares of its own stock in the first quarter at a cost of $1.5 billion. Philip Morris plans to spend $18 billion on share repurchases in a three-year program that began in the third quarter of last year. So far the company has spent $4.35 billion on share buybacks.

The company’s shares closed down about 1% last night, at $94.04 and are inactive so far this morning. The stock‘s 52-week range is $81.10-$96.60. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $97.60 before today’s report.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Earnings, International Markets, Tobacco Tagged: PM

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From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/18/lower-volume-hurts-philip-morris-results/

Let's Make Kids Play Chess in School

By John Johnson Chess is such serious business in Eastern Europe that Armenia requires all kids starting at age 6 to play the game in school. The US should do the same, argues Alex Berezow at Pacific Standard . He likes the idea for all the reasons you’d imagine: The game sharpens young minds…

From: http://www.newser.com/story/166370/lets-make-kids-play-chess-in-school.html

Some Tips For Growing Kohlrabi

By Stephanie

Kohlrabi is an interesting vegetable to grow.  It looks like an above ground turnip with stems and leaves growing from it.  People who are unfamiliar with it are often unsure of what part to eat and what part to discard.

Kohlrabi is common in Europe, especially Eastern Europe, and in Asia.  It is not as common in North America.  No one is exactly sure where kohlrabi came from, but most scholars agree it is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage.  It was known from 1500 forward in Europe and spread all over the globe from there.  It reached America about 1800.  Kohlrabi is officially a member of the cole, or cabbage, family.  Often erroneously classified as a root vegetable, the part you eat is actually the swollen stem, not the root.

Kohlrabi are heavy feeders so compost should be worked into the soil ahead of planting.  Mix in three inches of compost and till the ground six inches deep, mixing the compost and soil.

Kohlrabi can be grown from either transplants or seeds.  Seeds should be planted when the soil is 50-65 degrees F.  Plant the seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in rows twelve to eighteen inches apart.  Thin the kohlrabi to 4 inches between plants.  You can use the thinned plants as tender greens or transplant them to another row of the garden.

Kohlrabi can be started indoor in flats by planting the seeds three to four weeks before it is warm enough to place them outside.  Plant transplants four inches apart on rows twelve to eighteen inches apart.

There are two varieties of kohlrabi, the apple green with a white interior and the purple with a white interior.  The purple variety is supposed to be a little sweeter than the green variety.  However, they can be inter-planted to create a splash of color in your garden.  Plant a group of green, then a group of purple, then repeat.  Or, you can mix the seeds and plant the different colors spaced together.

Kohlrabi need an average amount of water for vegetables and should be watered one inch of water once or twice a week, depending on the temperature and the drainage of your ground.  Keep them moist but not soaked.

Kohlrabi should be harvested when they are about two and a half inches in diameter, or about the diameter of a tennis ball.  This is about 60 to 65 days from first seeding.  Allowing the plant to grow any bigger also causes it to become woody and fibrous, which is not good to eat.  If harvested at the proper time, the plant is then prepared by cutting off all the stems from the swollen part.  The stems and leaves can be chopped up and used in salads or stir fries.  The swelling can be sliced and eaten raw, cooked and mashed up with potatoes or put in cole slaw.

If your kohlrabi get a little too big, say 4-5 inches in diameter, you will have to peel it to eat it.  You will also

From: http://www.weekendgardener.net/blog/2013/04/some-tips-for-growing-kohlrabi.htm

Perficient to Announce First Quarter 2013 Results and Host Conference Call on May 9

By Business Wirevia The Motley Fool

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Perficient to Announce First Quarter 2013 Results and Host Conference Call on May 9

ST. LOUIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Perficient, Inc. (NAS: PRFT) , a leading information technology consulting firm serving Global 2000 and other large enterprise customers throughout North America, announced today it will host a conference call on Thursday, May 9, at 10 a.m. Eastern, to discuss the Company’s first quarter 2013 results.

The Company’s news release with the results will be made available before the call.

Webcast and Conference Call Details

The call will be webcast by CCBN and can be accessed via Perficient’s website www.perficient.com under the Investor Relations section. The webcast also is being distributed over CCBN‘s Investor Distribution Network to both institutional and individual investors. Individual investors can listen to the call through CCBN‘s individual investor center at www.fulldisclosure.com or by visiting any of the investor sites in CCBN‘s Individual Investor Network. Institutional investors can access the call via CCBN‘s password-protected event management site, StreetEvents (www.streetevents.com).

Analysts and investors wishing to ask questions during the call’s Q&A session can access the call as follows:

Toll-Free: 877-280-4960
International: 857-244-7317
Passcode: 21861199

Investors are advised to dial into the call at least 10 minutes prior to the call to register.

About Perficient

Perficient is a leading information technology consulting firm serving Global 2000 and enterprise customers throughout North America. Perficient’s professionals serve clients from a network of offices across North America and three offshore locations, in Eastern Europe, India, and China. Perficient helps clients use Internet-based technologies to improve productivity and competitiveness, strengthen relationships with customers, suppliers and partners, and reduce information technology costs. Perficient, traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market(SM), is a member of the Russell 2000® index and the S&P SmallCap 600 index. Perficient is an award-winning “Premier Level” IBM business partner, a TeamTIBCO partner, a Microsoft National Systems Integrator and Gold Certified Partner, an EMC Select Services Team Partner, and an Oracle Platinum Partner. For more information, please visit www.perficient.com.

Safe Harbor Statement

Some of the statements contained in this

From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/11/perficient-to-announce-first-quarter-2013-results-/

Plutocrats Remain Suspect in Much of Post-Communist World

By Kasia Moreno, Contributor Within Central and Eastern Europe, how you feel about the very rich may depend on whether you are Polish, Czech or Bulgarian, according to a report from Forbes Insights and Societe Generale Private Banking, “Emerging Markets: Joining the Global Ranks of Wealth Creators—Africa, Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East.” The study looks at attitudes of the populations toward the rich in emerging markets and also compares them with attitudes in mature markets. …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

UniCredit and Accenture Team to Enhance and Manage the Bank's Invoice-Management Processes

By Business Wirevia The Motley Fool

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UniCredit and Accenture Team to Enhance and Manage the Bank’s Invoice-Management Processes

Companies create a new joint entity – Accenture Back Office and Administration Services S.p.A. – to support UnCredit’s accounts-receivable, accounts-payable and asset-management functions

MILAN–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Accenture (NYS: ACN) and UniCredit have signed an agreement under which Accenture will help optimize the bank’s invoice management operations, including all activities related to UniCredit’s accounts-receivable, accounts-payable, asset-management and expense-payments functions.

The service will be delivered through a jointly owned entity – named Accenture Back Office and Administration Services S.p.A. – that Accenture and UniCredit have formed to manage, streamline and enhance the bank’s invoice-management processes. These processes were previously managed by the bank’s global service company, UniCredit Business Integrated Solutions S.C.p.A.

The focus of the new entity is to help UniCredit optimize its invoice-management operations through greater process efficiencies, enabling the bank to meet the highest industry standards. Accenture will manage the joint entity, which combines the skilled professionals and processes from UniCredit’s existing invoice-management branch of business with Accenture’s finance and accounting, management consulting and IT capabilities.

The agreement is part of the bank’s broader “Newton” program announced in November 2011, which is designed to transform the bank’s operations for higher efficiencies. A key element of the Newton program is to combine UniCredit’s process expertise and technology assets with those of leading international companies to accelerate its operational transformation.

“This is an important step in our transformation journey and reflects the value we see in using our internal competencies in partnership with leading international companies to innovate and grow,” said Massimo Schiattarella, General Manager of UniCredit Business Integrated Solutions. “By forming this new company with Accenture, we intend to bring new levels of efficiency to our operations, leading-edge support to our internal finance functions, and faster invoice response times to our business partners and clients.”

Roberto Pagella, Managing Director of Accenture’s BPO services in Italy, Greece, Turkey and Eastern Europe, said, “This project represents a key initiative in our longstanding collaboration with UniCredit. Our leading capabilities in business process outsourcing, in finance and accounting and in technology align perfectly with UniCredit’s broader efficiency and innovation objectives and its approach to the new challenges in the market.”

About UniCredit

UniCredit is one of Europe‘s leading commercial banks with strong roots in 22 European countries. Our network, …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Priceline Can Fuel Upside By Making Further Inroads In Europe

By Trefis Team, Contributor

Quick Take OTAs are focusing on international markets – Europe & Asia-Pacific – as growth in the US online travel market slows down. The European online travel sales are expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.7% till 2016 as compared to 4.8% CAGR for the US online travel market. With a lower online penetration (compared to the US), a fragmented hotel market and low OTA penetration in Eastern Europe, European online travel market offers considerable growth opportunities for OTAs. Priceline’s Booking.com has been one of the primary drivers for OTA growth in Europe. Key European markets represent around 60% of Priceline’s total room nights booked while Booking.com only accounts for 6% of the European hotel market leaving great potential for further growth. Competition from locally based OTAs and other leading US based OTA‘s could limit Priceline’s growth potential in Europe. As growth in the US online travel market slows down, online travel agencies (OTAs) are turning towards growth opportunities in other promising markets such as Europe and Asia-Pacific. Having acquired Booking.com, Agoda and TravelJigsaw, Priceline has significantly expanded its international operations in Europe and Asia-Pacific. While Booking.com is one of the premium booking platform in Europe, Agoda is focused on expanding Priceline’s presence in the Asia-Pacific travel market. …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Should You Buy Marks & Spencer Today?

By Royston Wild, The Motley Fool

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LONDON — Shares in beleaguered British retailer Marks & Spencer Group have shot higher in recent days, fueled by speculation that the Qatari Investment Authority is concocting an 8 billion pound takeover bid for the shopping chain.

The company has become an enduring casualty of the troubled domestic retail environment, but I am backing the iconic shopping brand’s drive into emerging markets to reinvigorate its fortunes and offset enduring weakness in the U.K. and Western Europe.

International expansion to fuel future growth
The retailer’s January interims revealed that group sales trudged just 0.6% higher in the three months to the end of December, with U.K. revenue edging 0.3% higher during the period. British like-for-like sales dropped 1.8%, meanwhile, and the firm warned of further toughness in the retail environment at home.

To address this ongoing weakness, Marks & Spencer is aiming to boost its operations in countries with strong structural drivers across Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. For example, it is planning to hike the number of stores in India from 30 to 80 within the next three years, while in China it aims to boost the number of its stores in Hong Kong and Shanghai in the near term.

And the company plans to use a multichannel approach to geographical expansion, including the establishment of franchise stores with strong partners, which will harness both local knowledge and infrastructure to spark growth. Marks & Spencer is also looking to aggressively tap into online trade in these regions, and it launched its local website in China at the start of the year.

Looking good for earnings turnaround
According to broker forecasts, earnings per share are expected to dip 7% to 32 pence in the year ending March 2013 before reverting 7% higher during the following year to 35 pence. And an 8% rise to 37 pence is penciled in for 2015.

Despite the recent share-price ascent, the retailer still trades at a significant discount to the broader retailers sector’s forward earnings multiple of 18.7. Shares in Marks & Spencer currently change hands on a P/E of 12.1 for 2013, and this is anticipated to fall to 11.3 and 10.5, respectively, in 2014 and 2015.

Get used to great dividends
Marks & Spencer’s investment appeal is bolstered by a sound dividend policy. City analysts expect a shareholder payout of 17 pence per share for March 2013 — which would match the dividends of 2011 and 2012 — to rise to 17.8 pence in 2014 and 19 pence in 2015. These payments come with respective yields of 4.8% and 5.1%, besting the mean reading of 3.5% for the U.K.’s 100 largest companies. Further, investors can take comfort in dividend coverage close to the safety threshold of two times: 2014 and 2015 dividends are both covered about 1.9 times.

The canny guide for clever investors
If you already hold shares in Marks & Spencer Group, check out this newly updated …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

ForeverGreen's Products Sold in 37 New Countries During 2013

By Business Wirevia The Motley Fool

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ForeverGreen’s Products Sold in 37 New Countries During 2013

– Products Currently Sold in 54 Countries

OREM, Utah–(BUSINESS WIRE)– ForeverGreen Worldwide Corporation (OTCBB: FVRG), a leading provider of nutritional foods and other healthy products, today announced during 2012 the company was strongly active in 17 countries. During the soft launch of its new products in 2013, the company has increased this number to 54.

Ron Williams, CEO, stated, “A large driver of this new success is our new FG Xpress brand. We currently sell product to every continent and have gained strong traction in Brazil, India, Russia, Northern and Central Africa, Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Based on interest and requests we expect our product to be sold in over 100 countries within six months. This is a trend we see continuing. The launch of our new products allows us to ship, fairly easily, to nearly anywhere in the world. We are excited to continue to deliver the financial results to our shareholders, and look forward to the continued growth.”

ForeverGreen is encouraged with the future of the FG Xpress model featuring Power Strips and feels that its members and shareholders alike will feel the same. Power Strips are a patented fusion of energy and ancient herbs. Everyone needs energy, while many need relief. Power Strips are worn daily and feature a state-of-the-art, water-soluble adhesive technology with a proprietary blend of herbs, minerals, and ForeverGreen’s exclusive marine phytoplankton.

ForeverGreen Worldwide Corporation develops, manufactures and distributes an expansive line of all natural whole foods and products to North America, Australia, Europe, Asia and South America. Offerings include their new global offering, Power Strips. Additionally, they offer Azul and FrequenSea™ whole-food beverages with industry exclusive Marine Phytoplankton, Versativa line of hemp-based whole-food products, A.I.M. Transfer Factor immune support, 03World™ weight management products, Pulse-8 powdered L-arginine formula, TRUessence™ Essential Oils and Apothecary, 24Karat Chocolate®, and an entire catalog of meals, snacks, household cleaners and personal care products. www.forevergreen.org

ForeverGreen Worldwide Corporation
Craig Smith, 801-655-5500

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Utah


The article ForeverGreen’s Products Sold in 37 New Countries During 2013 originally appeared on Fool.com.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

The New York Times Announces New Berlin Bureau Chief and Europe Editor

By Business Wirevia The Motley Fool

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The New York Times Announces New Berlin Bureau Chief and Europe Editor

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The New York Times today announced that Alison Smale will become Berlin Bureau Chief and Dick Stevenson will become Europe Editor, based in Paris. Both will take up their positions later in the year.

Mr. Stevenson will be responsible for directing coverage of European news for all editions of The New York Times on all platforms, including the International New York Times, which the rebranded International Herald Tribune (IHT) will be called when it debuts later this year. He will report to foreign editor Joe Kahn as well as to assistant managing editor Larry Ingrassia.

Most recently Chief Washington Correspondent, Mr. Stevenson has been politics editor, Washington, DC deputy bureau chief, economics correspondent and a correspondent in Los Angeles and London. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the London School of Economics, Stevenson joined The Times in 1985.

Ms. Smale became executive editor of the IHT in 2009. She joined The Times in July 1998 as weekend foreign editor and served as deputy foreign editor before becoming managing editor of the IHT. She was previously the AP’s Vienna bureau chief for Eastern Europe and a correspondent in Moscow.

In making the announcement, Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times, said, “As we build one news gathering operation that will combine our journalistic strengths and help us to expand our global readership, we are lucky to have such a talented editor and manager direct our European news coverage. Dick’s deep understanding of politics and economics, and his embrace of digital journalism make him especially well-suited to the role.”

Jill Abramson continued, “For the past decade, Alison Smale has been the heart and soul of the IHT, a consummate journalist and passionate leader as executive editor for more than four years. Her deep knowledge of Germany will enable The Times, both the domestic edition and the International New York Times, to cover Germany and Europe‘s place in the world – one of the most important stories anywhere – with the unparalleled sophistication and insight that The Times and IHT have long provided to readers.”

The New York Times Company (NYS: NYT) , a leading global, multimedia news and information company with 2012 revenues of $2.0 billion, includes The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe, NYTimes.com, BostonGlobe.com, Boston.com and related properties. The Company’s core purpose is to enhance …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

CBRE Group, Inc. Acquires IMPACT-CORTI

By Business Wirevia The Motley Fool

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CBRE Group, Inc. Acquires IMPACT-CORTI

Acquisition of Property Management Specialist Expands CBRE’s Capabilities in Central Europe

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)– CBRE Group, Inc. (NYS: CBG) , a leading global commercial real estate services and investment firms, today announced the acquisition of IMPACT-CORTI a.s., a firm specialising in property management in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

With six million sq ft (557,000 sq m) under management across 140 assets and current annual revenue of approximately $10 million, IMPACT-CORTI is the leading property manager in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The company is particularly known for its expertise in the office sector but also has a portfolio of residential and industrial assets under management. In addition, IMPACT-CORTI provides project management, investment, and leasing and consultancy expertise to its institutional and private-investor clients, such as Deka, Axa REIM, Pramerica and Hampshire Investments. In the Czech capital of Prague, IMPACT-CORTI manages notable buildings including The GEMINI Business Center, LIGHTHOUSE Waterfront Towers and the Burzovni Palac, the home of the Prague Stock Exchange.

IMPACT-CORTI’s team of 160 professionals will join CBRE‘s well-established Property and Asset Management practice in Europe. In response to client demand, CBRE has particularly focused on the growth of these services in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), underlined by its acquisition of Euro Mall Center Management, a CEE shopping centre management specialist, in mid-2011.

Michael Strong, Executive Chairman of Europe, Middle East and Africa, CBRE, said:

“Providing expert and integrated transactional and real estate management capabilities is becoming increasingly important to our regional and global client base. The acquisition of IMPACT-CORTI complements our existing property management offer and will allow us to further extend this important service across the region to meet growing demand.”

Andreas Ridder, Chairman, Central and Eastern Europe, CBRE, added:

“IMPACT-CORTI is renowned in the Czech Republic for its expert property management and project management practices. By adding their expertise and reach to our own growing capabilities, we are increasing the scope of the services we can provide to clients across the region.”

Jürg Zwahlen, Chairman of the Board, IMPACT-CORTI, commented:

“By joining CBRE, we are creating a huge opportunity for both our clients and our colleagues. As part of one of the most integrated and respected commercial real estate advisory companies in the world, we will be able to better …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Cypriots rush to pull money from banks as EU takes aim at Russian deposits

Cypriots rushed to pull their money out of banks and ATMs before the tiny Mediterranean nation’s government could finalize a plan to seize depositors’ funds to satisfy austerity demands from euro zone leaders, sparking a run that prompted banks to be closed until at least Thursday.

The island nation’s leaders were huddling to come up with a way to soften the blow on average depositors, with one proposal targeting accounts with deposits above $130,000. The plan elicited an angry response from Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose nation’s oligarchs may have as much as $19 billion secretly deposited in Cyprus banks.

“Putin said that this decision, in case of its adoption, will be unfair, unprofessional and dangerous,” Russian news agencies quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

The Brussels-based euro zone agreed on Saturday to give Cyprus a $13 billion bailout, but demanded levies that would take between 6.75 and 9.9 percent of bank deposits.

Analysts believe the measure is designed to ensure that the bailout doesn’t go toward propping up Russia‘s billionaires – including Putin himself.

“It is clear that (Cyprus) is under tremendous pressure from the European Union,” Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov told Interfax.

The $19 billion figure comes from Moody’s, and would account for as much as half of all Cypriot deposits. Cyprus‘ bank deposits dwarf by 8-to-1 the gross domestic product of the nation of 1 million, indicating a dangerously oversized banking system stuffed with foreign cash. And Cypriot banks are invested heavily in Greek government bonds, which were restructured last year at the EU‘s demand, incurring big losses on bondholders.

News of the coming bank accounts seizure sent shockwaves rippling through Europe and beyond. Not only did it spook wealthy foreigners who have long parked money in the island nation’s banks, it was seen as possibly setting the stage for similar grabs in bigger nations within the troubled euro zone.

“If I were a saver, certainly in Spain or maybe Italy, I think I’d be looking askance at these measures and think this could yet happen to me,” Peter Dixon, global financial economist at Commerzbank, told Reuters.

The Cypriot Parliament put off a vote on the measure until Tuesday in order to blunt the pain for small savers. But without the EU bailout, Cyprus would be headed for default, according to experts. If depositors – especially the foreigners who have made Cyprus the Cayman Islands of Eastern Europe, pull their money from banks, action by the European Central Bank may be all that can stop regional contagion. The Cypriot central bank announced all banks will remain closed until Thursday while talks on the savings seizure continue.

Russian mining tycoon and owner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets Mikhail Prokhorov said euro zone leaders “had set a real financial mine under the idea of a single Europe.”

“And this is not because it touches Russian business, which can afford to lose $2 [billion] or $3 billion,” Prokhorov told the Kommersant business daily. “The European Union essentially opened a Pandora’s box.”

Some analysts say the move could send …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Bulgaria experiencing spate of self-immolations

Disgusted by corruption in his provincial hometown, a 36-year-old Bulgarian quietly doused himself in gasoline and set himself ablaze. This week, another man — the fourth in less than a month — carried out the same act of desperation in front of the presidential headquarters in the capital.

The dramatic self-immolations, three of which were fatal, bear a striking resemblance to events half a century ago in Eastern Europe when mostly young intellectuals rebelled against Soviet communist rule by setting themselves on fire, demanding freedom and democracy.

A quarter century after the fall of communism in Bulgaria, dreams of prosperity have turned sour in the Balkan country, which is the poorest in the European Union. One in five Bulgarians lives below the poverty line, unemployment is at record levels, incomes are half the European average and bribe-taking, sleaze and a woefully inadequate justice system are part of daily life.

Plamen Goranov, the 36-year-old man protesting against graft in his hometown of Varna, died after pouring gasoline and setting himself on fire in front of a public building on Feb. 20. The harrowing act was captured by security cameras while he stood alone. He became known as the “Bulgarian Jan Palach,” after the Czech student who set himself ablaze in 1969 to protest the Soviet occupation of then Czechoslovakia.

Despite appeals by Bulgaria‘s influential Orthodox Church against such desperate actions, two other Bulgarian protesters, one of them a father of five children, followed Goranov’s steps, publicly set themselves on fire.

On Wednesday, another man, Dimitar Dimitrov, did the same in front of the presidency in the capital, Sofia. Relatives of the 51-year-old blacksmith, who was in critical condition, said that he had been left without an income after losing his job two years ago.

Security guards at the entrance of the building said they saw him sitting for some time next to a nearby fountain when he suddenly pulled a bottle with gasoline, dousing it over his head and striking a match. They rushed to save him by extinguishing the fire, but he sustained burns over 25 percent of his body and respiratory problems from poisonous gases.

“When you are unable to control the simplest things in your life, like buying food for the family or paying utility bills while the monopolies demand more and more, it is only normal to feel betrayed, left behind helplessly,” columnist Mila Avramova wrote in the Trud newspaper. “Then you see …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Connected Automotive Infotainment System Shipments to Exceed 62 Million by 2018 as Feature Set Explo

By Business Wirevia The Motley Fool

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Connected Automotive Infotainment System Shipments to Exceed 62 Million by 2018 as Feature Set Explodes, According to ABI Research

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Shipments of connected automotive infotainment systems will grow from 9 million in 2013 to more than 62 million in 2018 with connected navigation, multimedia streaming, social media, and in-car Wi-Fi hotspots becoming key features.

ABI Research VP and practice director Dominique Bonte comments, “Open platforms continue their march forward. While both the GENIVI consortium (open source common automotive infotainment reference platform) and the Car Connectivity Consortium (MirrorLink screen replication technology) somewhat struggle to find momentum, the car industry is now turning its attention to HTML5 and Android with both Renault (R-Link) and Volvo (Sensus Connected Touch platform based on Parrot’s Asteroid Smart) embracing (heavily) modified versions of the Android operating system.”

In a similar vein, automotive applications and/or stores have become standard components of any connected automotive infotainment platform with the automotive industry finally realizing the ability to download aftermarket services and apps is a powerful way to keep systems up-to-date and relevant during the vehicle lifecycle.

On the connectivity side, 4G seems to finally have been accepted as the connectivity technology of the future, following GM’s announcement to adopt AT&T’s 4G technology to power next generation infotainment platforms offering navigation, in-car hotpots, and multimedia services. Clearly, carriers across the globe are keen to play a key role in the connected car and more generally the Internet of Everything revolution.

ABI Research’s new “Connected Car” Market Data provides detailed forecasts of connected automotive infotainment solutions including hardware shipments and service revenue for the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and Africa & the Middle East. It is part of the Automotive Infotainment (http://www.abiresearch.com/research/service/automotive-infotainment/) and Automotive Technologies Research Services (http://www.abiresearch.com/research/service/automotive-technologies/).

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 70+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.

ABI Research
Christine Gallen, +44.203.326.0142

KEYWORDS:   United Kingdom  Europe


The article Connected Automotive Infotainment System Shipments to Exceed 62 Million by 2018 as Feature Set Explodes, According to ABI Research originally …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Why This Railroad's a Great Bet for the Long Haul

By Isaac Pino, CPA, The Motley Fool

CSX Domestic Utility Coal

Filed under:

Railroad stocks traditionally perform on-par with the economy: Periods of robust economic growth deliver attractive returns for railroads, and vise versa. For decades, this market-matching performance coupled with poor industry economics explained Warren Buffett‘s tendency to ignore the railroad sector altogether.

In more recent years, however, Buffett’s experienced a change of heart, and it’s not due to nostalgia for the bygone era of railroads. He sees a dynamic and profitable future for all of the major players, which could result in market-beating performance across the industry. This trend has already taken root and looks poised to continue due to steady long-term U.S. economic growth, a need for low-cost long-haul transportation of goods, and a rail infrastructure that remains the envy of the rest of the world. 

For investors, the door remains wide open for investment in rail, and CSX , the largest East Coast operator, presents an attractive opportunity. To provide investors with further insight into CSX, we recently published an in-depth premium report that evaluates every aspect of the company from strategy to leadership to valuation. Today, you can get a sneak peak into this report and see just how CSX can use its valuable assets to deliver strong returns for shareholders in the years to come:

In May 2012, the International Energy Agency, a leading global alliance and research body, proclaimed the next few decades “the golden age of natural gas.” The IEA predicted this clean-burning commodity will replace coal as the second-largest energy source in the world. As this shift rapidly takes shape in the U.S., especially among utility companies, financial pundits have proclaimed the end of the coal era as a major roadblock for certain railroad companies. What the pundits are missing, however, are a few noteworthy trends.

Coal’s recent unpopularity in the U.S. might be temporary as natural gas prices rebound from their current rock-bottom levels. At the same time, coal is still a highly valued resource around the world, particularly in developing countries in Europe and Asia. These areas of the world have less immediately available natural gas resources, and thus any transition away from coal would take decades, not years, to play out. Let’s compare the two trends taking shape currently in the most important coal markets.

For CSX, America’s utility coal demand has steadily declined from its peak of 162 tons in 2006. During this time, many older, less efficient coal plants have been idled, and even the well-run plants have been forced to stockpile coal due to plunging natural gas prices.

In the meantime, the U.S. is emerging as a prime supplier of coal globally. As developed countries transition to cleaner fuels, the rapidly rising non-OECD countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa will drive the majority of growth in demand for coal.

World Coal Consumption by Region, 1980-2035

The long-term story of coal demand is quite different from the immediate repercussions of the U.S. decline. In the last five years, CSX‘s coal export loads have …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Supply Chain Review to Save Diageo 60 Million Pounds Annually

By Sam Robson, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

LONDON — Diageo   is set to reorganize its supply chain operations as “a consequence of [its] increasing presence in new faster growth markets,” which it hopes will lead to savings of 60 million pounds every year. 

The world’s biggest distiller is looking to reduce regional structures and focus on a country level, while responsibility for local operations will be transferred to 21 of the company’s key markets. Footprint changes and “cost reductions in respect of the regional supply organisation” will lead the savings.

The news follows Diageo’s changes to the reporting for geographic segments back in Nov. 2012, with results for the year ending June 30, 2013 set to break down into North America; Western Europe; Africa, Eastern Europe, and Turkey; Latin America and Caribbean; Asia-Pacific; and Corporate.

The review of Diageo’s supply and procurement operation, which is hoped to be completed within three years, will initially cost around 100 million pounds but will reap rewards in the long term.

A spokesman for the spirits group commented:

With the emerging markets getting bigger and acquiring companies with big local footprints, including their own supply basis, it makes sense to be operated where the demand side is.

Today’s announcement was met with a positive reaction by the market, with Diageo’s shares lifting 14 pence to reach 2,008 pence in early trade — increasing more than 2.5-fold in the last five years from a low of 733 pence in 2009. 

If you’re looking for another company that should soar in price, we’ve pinpointed our favorite growth share and produced a free report in which we evaluate its finances and risks and its growth prospects going forward. Click here to get your copy delivered to your inbox immediately.

The article Supply Chain Review to Save Diageo 60 Million Pounds Annually originally appeared on Fool.com.

Sam Robson owns shares of Diageo. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Diageo. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance