Friday, November 13, 2009

The World needs a new paradigm, a balanced economic growth

"Let us seize the opportunity in the current crisis to correct imbalances by working together towards more balanced global and regional economic development," he said in his speech titled "Achieving Balanced Growth. What We Must Do."

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the world needed a new paradigm, namely balanced economic growth.

He made the statement here on Friday before around 500 business leaders at a CEO Summit held ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

He said it was important to maintain the Asian trade and investment open as well as between Asia and other parts of the world to overcome global imbalances.

"I am convinced businessmen who are represented here in this room would agree," he said.

The Indonesian head of state said to overcome imbalances in economic development surplus countries had to invest their resources in the most productive investment areas such as infrastructure, education and health to spread productivity.

"Countries suffering a deficit meanwhile have to save more and adopt structural changesn in an effort to reset the mode of unsustainable economic growth," he said.

President Yudhoyono also said the international community also needed to pay attention to countries calling for protection.

"We must face the fact that some countries are facing high unemployment," he said.
President Yudhoyono said the founders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum had been a step ahead in the area.

"Indonesia has always considered that APEC vision is not only an open region for liberalization and facilitation but also capacity development," he said.

President Yudhoyono said trade among APEC members was 40 percent of the total value of the world trade and following the implementation of free trade and investment the total value of the gross domestic product of its members had risen from 47 percent to 56 percent of the world`s GDP in the past 20 years.

"Furthermore, the value of 67 percent of trade among APEC members is even far bigger than that of the European Union," he said.

APEC which was established in 1989 in Canberra, Australia, now has 21 members.

Source: Antara

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Indonesia's currency 'Rupiah' strengthens against US dollar

The rupiah strengthened against the US dollar in the Jakarta interbank spot market here on Monday morning as investors hunted the local unit.

The Indonesian currency traded Rp9,405-Rp9,415 per US dollar, up 35 points from Rp9,440-Rp9,455 per US dollar at the market`s close at the end of last week.

The rupiah gained as foreign investors were active in the domestic market, according to Rully Nova, a foreign exchange analyst of PT Bank Himpunan Saudara Tbk.

However, foreign investors were still worried about the ongoing rivalry between the National Police and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) which was not showing signs of resolution, prolong, he said.

Foreign investors were closely following developments in a number of high-profile cases happening in Indonesia, especially the Bank Century bail out case, he said.

Problematic Bank Century has changed its name into Bank Mutiara after the government injected it with Rp6.7 trillion in fresh funds.

The market was still positive because basically Indonesia`s macro economic fundamentals were quite sound, and the country`s foreign exchange reserves had increased, he said.

Meanwhile, Krisna Dwi Setiawan, a domestic money market observer of PT Valbury Asia Securities, said the current position of the local currency was quite sound but it would be hard for the rupiah to reach the level of Rp9,200 per US dollar.

Source: | Antara |

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Indonesia economic growth will reach 6 percent in 2011

State Minister of National Development Planning/Head of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) Armida S Alisjahbana said in 2011 the government will step up economic growth to six percent.

She made the statement at a meeting between the media and Bappenas in Bogor Friday.He said that the acceleration in 2011 was made as the world economy may have been restored to normal, increasing exports and investments.

In the meantime, most economic obstacles may have been overcome in 2010, meeting the initial targets of the new government, so that in 2010 economic growth may at least reached 5.5 percent.

He said that under these circumstances, acceleration is possible, so that in 2014 economic growth is expected to reach at least seven percent.

He also said that the acceleration can be successful if no external shock had occurred, such as the price of oil increasing up to 160 US dollars per barrel, or a financial shock like what happened in 2008.

In the meantime, to stabilize the economy, Armida said she will focus on a synergy of national development, as well as intensifying synergy between the different regions and thereby boosting domestic connectivity.

She also said that in December 2009 she will hold a consultative meeting on national development planning for a national middle-term development plan.

Source: | Antara |

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Strategy for charitable giving

By Linda Stern* | Reuters |

Charitable giving tends to peak in the last two months of the year as donors are doubly inspired by the holiday spirit and the prospects of boosting their year-end tax-deductible spending. But they often diminish the power of those donations by not carefully targeting their gifts or by making them in a less tax-advantaged way.

That's not good, especially this year when charities really need the help.

Nonprofits are bracing for a grim season because job and stock market losses have hurt their donors. Major nonprofits are expecting donations to drop by 9 percent this year, after falling almost 6 percent last year, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Meanwhile the charities are being squeezed from both directions: They have more clients needing more help, so it becomes even more important that donors act smart about their giving.

"Many folks are trying to do more with less," says Lisa Philp, head of Philanthropic Services at JPMorgan's Private Bank in New York. "We spend a lot of time helping people doing triage and thinking through their gifts."

Here's how to do the right thing, in the right way.

-- Concentrate your gifts on fewer groups. Sending $20 here and $20 there dilutes the power of your gifts, and your influence on how they are used. And it guarantees that you'll be on many, many mailing lists going forward. Instead, take the time to think of the two or three causes most dear to your heart. Look at, or the Better Business Bureau ( to find groups that fit best. Write bigger checks there.

-- Think large and small. Big national charities do offer economies of scale. For example, the Better Business Bureau notes that Feeding America, a large national hunger-relief organization, says it can produce up to $30 in food for every $1 that gets donated, because of connections and economies not available to the public. On the other hand, you can maximize your impact and involvement by donating funds to a small, local group that is aimed at the cause you care about.

-- Aim for governance. Traditionally, donors have tried to give to charities that spend the least amount of money running themselves, giving out the highest percentage of cash in direct aid. But Philp says that smaller charities in particular can benefit most from gifts aimed at helping the charity build capacity. Making a grant specifically earmarked toward having the charity board attend classes on management or fundraising, for example, could give the charity a big boost. If you're going to invest in a big way like this in a small group, it's a good idea to ask the group for a business plan or a strategic plan for how it will spend your money, says Philp.

-- Give stocks and mutual fund shares. If you have a gain in a stock or other security, you can give it to a charity and maximize its value. You won't have to pay taxes on the gain (as you would if you sold the stock and donated the proceeds), and neither will the nonprofit charity. You'll get a tax deduction for the full value of the security.

There's another strategy that bears mentioning: This year, many mutual funds will log big capital gains that they will hand out to shareholders as taxable distributions. If you hand over shares of the fund to a charity, you may avoid being taxed on those gains. You would have to make the gift before the fund makes its annual distribution.

-- Retirees get a special deal, too. If you are over 70 and don't itemize deductions, you can transfer money directly from your IRA to the charity of your choice and you will not be taxed on the IRA withdrawal. This is a special tax break that expires after this year, so if you have a sizable IRA and were considering making a big gift in the future, this would be a good time to do that.

-- Car donors have to take an extra step. Giving away your clunker doesn't get you a deduction for the Kelly Blue Book value of your car unless you give it to an organization that uses it as a car. Other organizations may hire someone to sell the car for you, and you would only get a tax deduction for the amount of cash the charity actually pockets from its sale. So if you have a usable car that you would like to donate, give it to a group that will offer it to a needy family that needs a car or will use it directly in some other way.

(editing by Gunna Dickson)
Picture source: Reuters
* -- Linda Stern is a freelance writer. Any opinions in the column are hers. You can follow Linda Stern's financial notes on Twitter at --

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Europe witnesses its biggest market share drop

European shares sharply fell on Friday, with a key index recording its biggest monthly decline in eight months, as financial stocks lost heavily on mixed U.S. economic data a day after better-than-expected GDP numbers.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top shares provisionally closed down 2.3 percent at 974.45 points.

The index, which is up more than 51 percent from its lifetime low in early March, fell 2.3 percent in October. The index had gained in the previous three months.

"I think today a lot of people are settling up positions for the end of the month. A lot of people are using yesterday's gains as an opportunity to close out profits at a higher level," said Joshua Raymond, market strategist at City Index.

The market was knocked after U.S. consumer sentiment slipped this month, though business activity in the U.S. Midwest expanded in October to the highest level since September 2008.

Banks retreated from earlier gains and took the most points off the index. Banco Santander (SAN.MC), BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) were down 3.4 to 4.5 percent.

(Reporting by Joanne Frearson, editing by Atul Prakash for REUTERS
Picture source: Reuters

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World's Larget & Most Expensive Cruise Ship Launched

By JAN M. OLSEN, Associated Press Writer  Sun Nov 1, 2009

The world's largest cruise ship cleared a crucial obstacle Sunday, lowering its smokestacks to squeeze under a bridge in Denmark.

The Oasis of the Seas — which rises about 20 stories high — passed below the Great Belt Fixed Link with a slim margin as it left the Baltic Sea on its maiden voyage to Florida.

Bridge operators said that even after lowering its telescopic smokestacks the giant ship had less than a 2-foot (half-meter) gap.

Hundreds of people gathered on beaches at both ends of the bridge, waiting for hours to watch the brightly lit behemoth sail by shortly after midnight (2300GMT; 7 p.m. EDT).

"It was fantastic to see it glide under the bridge. Boy, it was big," said Kurt Hal, 56.

Company officials are banking that its novelty will help guarantee its success. Five times larger than the Titanic, the $1.5 billion ship has seven neighborhoods, an ice rink, a small golf course and a 750-seat outdoor amphitheater. It has 2,700 cabins and can accommodate 6,300 passengers and 2,100 crew members.

Accommodations include loft cabins, with floor-to-ceiling windows, and 1,600-square-foot (487-meter) luxury suites with balconies overlooking the sea or promenades.

The liner also has four swimming pools, volleyball and basketball courts, and a youth zone with theme parks and nurseries for children.

Oasis of the Sea, nearly 40 percent larger than the industry's next-biggest ship, was conceived years before the economic downturn caused desperate cruise lines to slash prices to fill vacant berths.

It was built by STX Finland for Royal Caribbean International and left the shipyard in Finland on Friday. Officials hadn't expected any problems in passing the Great Belt bridge, but traffic was stopped for about 15 minutes as a precaution when the ship approached, Danish navy spokesman Joergen Brand said.

Aboard the Oasis of the Seas, project manager Toivo Ilvonen of STX Finland confirmed that the ship had passed under the bridge without any incidents.

"Nothing fell off," he said.

The enormous ship features various "neighborhoods" — parks, squares and arenas with special themes. One of them will be a tropical environment, including palm trees and vines among the total 12,000 plants on board. They will be planted after the ship arrives in Fort Lauderdale.

In the stern, a 750-seat outdoor theater — modeled on an ancient Greek amphitheater — doubles as a swimming pool by day and an ocean front theater by night. The pool has a diving tower with spring boards and two 33-foot (10-meter) high-dive platforms. An indoor theater seats 1,300 guests.

One of the "neighborhoods," named Central Park, features a square with boutiques, restaurants and bars, including a bar that moves up and down three decks, allowing customers to get on and off at different levels.

Once home, the $1.5 billion floating extravaganza will have more, if less visible, obstacles to duck: a sagging U.S. economy, questions about the consumer appetite for luxury cruises and criticism that such sailing behemoths are damaging to the environment and diminish the experience of traveling.

It is due to make its U.S. debut on Nov. 20 at its home port, Port Everglades in Florida.

Pictures by: The Associated Press and Reuters

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Bandung to Plan its Own International Seaport

West Java province is planning to build its own international seaport in Muara Gembong, Bekasi district, a provincial businessman said.

"The new seaport is expected to accelerate the flow of goods and services between West Java and other parts of Indonesia and abroad," Agung Sutrisno, chairman of the West Java branch of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), said here on Thursday.

He said the decision to build a seaport for West Java was made because Tanjung Priok port in north Jakarta that was until now also serving West Java had become too remote and costly in terms of transportation expenses.

"The existence of illegal costs during the journey of our goods to Tanjung Priok has also added to the financial burden of businessmen in West Java," he said.

The new seaport would be built under the coordination of the West Java provincial administration and in cooperation with private investors.

"The project is estimated to cost Rp 4-5 trillion and will be finished in about 3 to 4 years from now," Agung added.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Malacca Straits still Save for More Future Vessel Traffic

A preliminary shipping study on the Straits of Malacca and Singapore has shown that the Straits had sufficient capacity to handle more vessel traffic to accommodate future maritime trade.

Commissioned by Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority (MPA), the study showed there was still substantial room for vessel traffic growth without affecting either efficiency or navigational safety.

The study, presented to the shipping industry here, assessed the capacity of the Straits based on 2007 data of actual ship reports and radar information from the MPA's Port Operations Control Centre.

In a statement, MPA's Group Director (Policy and Planning) Yee Cheok Hong said a clear and accurate picture of the carriage capacity of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, would allow the organisation to work with the littoral States as well as other interested stakeholders, to identify strategies to enhance capacity while maintaining navigational safety.

The Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) that runs along the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, between One Fathom Bank off Port Klang in the west and Horsburgh Lighthouse in the east, measures about 250 nautical miles (463 km).

The narrowest points in the TSS, along which international shipping travels through the Straits, lies just south of St John's Island within the Singapore Strait and measures 530 metres westbound, 1617 metres eastbound and 2150 metres overall in width.

The MPA said based on the efficiency and safety indicators, the current traffic level in the Singapore Strait could be increased by at least 75 per cent, if the existing processes and operations remain unchanged and there were no advances in technology.

Source: Bernama | October 29, 2009 15:16 PM |

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Germany will launch 'Sharia Banking' very soon

By Christoph Pauly | Businessweek |

There are four million Muslims living in Germany. They eat, drink and pray in accordance with the precepts of the Prophet Muhammad. But when it comes to monetary transactions, the principles of the Koran have played hardly any role in Germany. That is about to change.

Early next year, the first Islamic bank in Germany to offer products that are in compliance with Sharia law will open its doors. The bank, Kuveyt Türk Beteiligungsbank, will open a branch in the downtown area of Mannheim, a city in western Germany, and branches in other cities are also planned.

The regulators with Germany's Federal Financial Services Authority, known as BaFin, recently issued a limited license to the subsidiary of a Turkish-Kuwaiti bank. It is only permitted to collect funds that are transferred to accounts in Turkey that conform to Islamic rules.

In other countries, the banking industry initially catered to Muslims on an equally small scale. But less than 10 years after first entering the market, all major banks in Great Britain now have Islamic divisions, and there are also five Islamic banks in the country.

The Prophet Muhammad's Prohibition of Interest

Worldwide, assets worth well over $700 billion (€470 billion) are now being managed in accordance with Islamic principles. In Germany, on the other hand, virtually no banks have so far even addressed this market.

The underlying concept of the Islamic banking business is the Prophet Muhammad's prohibition of interest. Like Jesus in the New Testament, Muhammad took action against the usurers of his time, who exploited their contemporaries by charging them exorbitant interest, sometimes well over 100 percent. Muhammad summarily prohibited charging interest unless something was provided in return. Since the 1970s, Islamic banks have sought to satisfy this requirement by offering their customers financial services on the basis of interest-free transactions.

Instead of interest, customers are promised a share in the profits of the bank. However, commercial activities can also be financed in which the Islamic saver collects a surcharge at a level similar to conventional interest.

Instead of taking out a loan to build a new factory, for example, a company would offer its investors a share of its profits. The important aspect of all of these transactions conducted in the name of Allah is that they are in fact based on a real exchange of goods or services. "The connection to reality must be clear," says Michael Saleh Gassner, a financial expert with the Central Council of Muslims in Germany.

Since the financial crisis, the principles of Islamic investors have also attracted the interest of conservative Christian investors. After all, the underlying concept seems so pleasantly removed from the speculative greed of Western financial executives.

Besides, the stock indexes that contain companies selected according to Islamic principles have sometimes outperformed comparable indexes without the religious association. Sharia-compliant banking transactions are "in a position to assume a global leadership role," says Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, president of the world's most populous Islamic country, Indonesia.

No Investment in Gambling or Sex Trade

Investments that comply with the Koran still represent only 1 percent of the total market, but the market is growing is by 15 to 20 percent a year. Customers from the oil-rich Persian Gulf region, in particular, insist that their capital must be invested in accordance with religious criteria.

In addition to the prohibition of interest, it is also important to ensure that funds are not invested in gambling or the sex trade. Companies that are heavily in debt are excluded, because the large amount of interest they pay is seen as the work of the devil.

The Munich-based insurance giant Allianz (AZ) and Deutsche Bank (DB) have set up funds and certificates to satisfy Sharia-based criteria, but these products are only actively marketed in Islamic countries. "It is a business requirement in the Gulf region to offer products that conform to Sharia," says Hussein Hassan of Deutsche Bank in Dubai. The bank's Gulf region division is already responsible for 20 to 25 percent of profits.

There is no absolute certainty over which transactions conform to the principles of the Koran. Banks address the problem by appointing well-known Islamic scholars to so-called Sharia supervisory boards, which examine all bank products. In the Gulf region, there are about 10 religious scholars who provide consulting to almost every major Western bank and now have their own large staffs.

This leads to the creation of quasi-religious rating agencies, whose pronouncements have many a London investment banker shaking in his boots. Because different religious leaders interpret the Koran in every country, Deutsche Bank has appointed different Sharia supervisory boards for its businesses in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region.

Markets Paralyzed by a Fatwa

It is clear that clerics can paralyze entire markets with a fatwa, as Muhammad Taqi Usmani demonstrated in 2007. The renowned religious scholar from Pakistan decided that most modern versions of Islamic bonds, known as Sukuks, were not in compliance with Sharia. He imposed a ban, which affected a booming market in which governments, real estate developers and companies raised about $50 billion in capital in 2007 alone.

The business collapsed. The Dubai-based real estate developer Nakheel is currently fighting to survive. The company had borrowed $3.5 billion to build dozens of artificial islands off the Dubai coast for tenants like football star David Beckham. In December, it will become clear whether the largest Sukuk ever issued can be disbursed. Muslims worldwide hope that Dubai will intervene on behalf of the borrower.

This investment sector is at least showing initial signs of recovery. Deutsche Bank introduced two Sukuks, for the Kingdom of Bahrain and for the Islamic Development Bank, into the market this year. Within a few years, the German bank has become one of the major players in the Islamic banking business. Its investment bankers are considered to be particularly creative when it comes to complying with the interest prohibition, while nevertheless offering investors the greatest possible security.

"The products the investment bankers dream up are sometimes bizarre," says Volker Nienhaus, the president of the University of Marburg in western Germany, who has been studying the Islamic banking industry for 30 years. The circumvention of interest stimulates the fantasy of financial engineers, says Nienhaus. For example, an important part of the platinum trade on London's derivatives exchange is indirectly attributable to Sharia. Because platinum, unlike gold and silver, was not a means of payment in Muhammad's day, the precious metal is now used as collateral for short-term financial transactions.

With some creative finesse, a surprising number of Western financial products can be executed in accordance with Islamic law. "The key Sharia products could be offered in Germany," says Robert Elsen, an advisor in BaFin's international division. According to Elsen, there are "no insurmountable obstacles."

Inspired by the British Model

The German financial regulators plan to host a major international conference next week in Frankfurt am Main to address the issue in Germany. If only to attract more business to German markets, BaFin, inspired by the success of the British model, is now eager to approve more financial institutions that offer Islamic products.

Although the Islamic banks were originally established for wealthy Arabs from the Gulf region, British Muslims are now among their most devoted customers. There is also political support for the development of Islamic financial centers in Paris, Zurich and Geneva.

So far the boom has bypassed Germany, despite the results of new studies showing that no other country in Western Europe has such a large Muslim population. The official explanation is that the Turks living in Germany are not particularly interested. But German financial professionals also fear that they could lose more of their existing customers by introducing Sharia-compliant products than gain new customers.

That argument, says Zaid el-Mogadeddi of the Frankfurt-based Institute for Islamic Banking, is pretty arrogant. He cites surveys that conclude that 75 percent of all Muslims in Germany would like to avail of Islamic financial products. According to Mogadeddi, between 1995 and 2002 Turks lost many billions of euros with "Islamic" shares in companies that had been floated by swindlers, and they now have a strong interest in products from established banks.

Islam-compliant real estate financing arrangements are considered particularly promising. In these situations, banks and customers purchase real estate together, with the customer contributing a share corresponding to his equity. The bank pays rent for the rest, gradually acquiring the remaining shares. As a result, no interest accrues, but the property acquisition tax is charged twice.

Sharing the Risk

The same problem used to exist in the UK. Then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who was finance minister at the time, insightfully abolished the double tax burden. The Central Council for Muslims is now calling for similar measures to be taken in Germany.

A second stumbling block can also be removed with a bit of good will. Under Sharia law, Muslims who deposit money with a bank must also participate in the bank's risk. But what happens to the deposit insurance, which is set by the government? It comes into effect when a bank becomes insolvent. In fact, consumer advocates across the board have welcomed a recent increase in the deposit insurance limit to €50,000.

In Great Britain, a Muslim customer can expressly waive the insurance of his deposits in an individual agreement. The fact that the British government, in the course of the financial crisis, has nationalized entire banks is probably something like an Act of God under Islamic law. At any rate, there are no signs so far that a significant number of Sharia supporters have legally challenged the government's bailout of their bank.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

ASEAN to Establish ASEAN-G20 Contact Group

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plans to establish an ASEAN G20 Contact Group to coordinate the regional grouping`s position ahead of G20 summits.

The contact group will comprise the ASEAN chair, the ASEAN secretary general, and Indonesia, the only G20 member from ASEAN, ASEAN heads of state/government said in a joint statement issued at the 15th ASEAN Summit here on Saturday.

G20 which groups Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Britain, the United States and the European Union has convened three times since 2008 to seek a solution to the current global financial crisis and discuss regulations to avoid a recurrence of similar crises.

At its several meetings, G20 also had invited ASEAN as the representative of a regional grouping.

In the 57-point statement, the ASEAN leaders also agreed to assign the ASEAN chair and the ASEAN secretary general to attend every G20 meeting to deliver the regional grouping`s collective position and views as well as to promote its role at a global level.

The ASEAN leaders also asked their respective finance ministers to coordinate with one another in formulating ASEAN member states` collective views as part of efforts to create economic and financial stability either at regional or global level.

In their joint statement, the ASEAN leaders also expressed support for the continuity of the domestic stimulus package to ensure sustained recovery from the current global financial crisis.

In his opening address to the 15th ASEAN Summit on Friday, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva called for ASEAN`s greater role in G20 to represent the developing countries` interests.

ASEAN groups Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Installing a Shout or a Chat Box for a Blog

Do know that one of the most effective means to increase a blog traffic and keep existing visitors to spend more time on your blog is by installing a shout box or a chat box in your blog. A Shout or a chat box will allow your visitors communicate with you while you are online and allow them to find other visitors of your blog. If they the communication works, it means that you make your visitors ti spend some time on your blog. It is a fine strategy in showing to SEO that your blog has dedicated visitors.

How to install a shout box?

Yes. It's a free shout widget. Follow this instruction to install a shout box for your blog:

Open this URL:
Click "Create Shoutbox" button. Then a following form will come up.

Fill the form completely and hit "continue" button. Don't forget to check terms of service button before you proceed.

Follow all instructions step-by-step accordingly. It's very simple and easy. After finishing all the steps, still in, go to "Control Panel" tab. Click "Get Codes". A script containing code will appear. Copy the script.

Now, you need to login to your blogger. Click layout tab then choose Page Elements. Click "Add a Gadget" in accordance to which you want to put your shout box. Choose a gadget "HTML/Java Script". Then paste the codes or the script in the gadget. Click "Save".

Now you have a shout box that allow you and your visitors communicate each other.

For Bahasa Indonesia instruction, please click the link below:
Buat Shout Box | By Masdoyok
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A Great Momentum for Mobile Commerce

By Olga Kharif | Businessweek

Mobile commerce is gaining momentum as consumers get comfortable with ordering all sorts of products by cell phone and companies such as Papa John's watch sales climb.

It's never been easy making mobile-commerce predictions. Researchers who tried to forecast how much we would spend on goods and services via cell phone came up with all sorts of projections that were wide of the mark. Early in the decade, published reports cited forecasts that by 2006 more than one-quarter of U.S. cell-phone users would use the device to buy content and physical goods.

Turns out that by the end of the second quarter, only about 7% of U.S. consumers bought goods or conducted financial transactions via cell phone, according to a Nielsen Mobile survey of more than 90,000 people.

Yet, m-commerce may finally be hitting its stride. And some analysts who in recent years became more conservative in their forecasts are now having to make upward revisions. In January, consultant ABI Research projected North American sales of physical goods ordered via cell phone would reach $544 million this year, up from $346 million in 2008. Now, Mark Beccue, senior analyst at ABI, is considering updating his 2009 forecast to $800 million. "I thought hockey-stick growth was going to come in 2010, but it looks like it's already a hockey stick," Beccue says. "Next year, it will double again."

From Ringtones and Apps to Physical Items

Beccue and other industry watchers are becoming more bullish on m-commerce thanks to the experience of companies such as Papa John's International (PZZA). In mid-2008, the pizza chain began letting customers order food and drinks on a Web site tailored to a cell phone's small screen. By December, customers had used their cell phones to order $1 million in Papa John's products. Papa John's says mobile sales now are rising at an annual tenfold pace. "We continue to be amazed at the velocity of growth," says Jim Ensign, a Papa John's vice-president.

Consumers for years have been placing orders right from their cell phones for such downloadable items as ringtones and games sold directly from service providers including AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless, owned by Verizon Communications (VZ) and Vodafone (VOD). More recently, they've begun using mobile phones to purchase downloadable applications developed by third-party programmers for use on smartphones such as Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and Research In Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry.

And now, thanks to the growing popularity of smartphones with rich, detailed Web browsers and easy-to-use keyboards, consumers across the country are finally using wireless devices to buy physical items—not just pizzas and sodas, but also books and clothes and the sorts of things typically associated with in-store browsing or online shopping via personal computer. Retailers that make it easy for customers to place mobile orders and purchases stand to gain, assuming they can ensure the security of transactions and information. So do wireless carriers that make Web surfing part of their monthly service bundles—though they need to ensure networks can handle the extra traffic generated by m-commerce.

Retailers Catching On

Much recent m-commerce growth can be traced to eBay (EBAY) and (AMZN), which last year accounted for about 70% of all mobile sales of physical goods. In September, eBay said its iPhone application alone facilitated $380 million in sales this year. The tool lets cell-phone users search and bid on auction items, receive alerts when they are outbid, and to pay for goods via eBay's iPhone application. At Amazon, which doesn't release mobile sales figures, phone shopping "is becoming more popular all the time," says Howard Gefen, director of the Amazon Mobile Payments Service, which lets consumers pay for purchases via mobile.

Other retailers are getting the m-commerce religion, too. By the end of 2009, about half of established retailers may have mobile Web sites, up from less than 20% in 2008, Beccue estimates. "Really, it's us keeping pace with our customers," says Mike Dupuis, a vice-president for marketing at apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters (AEO), which launched its mobile Web site in September. "We believe this is a critical place for us to focus our attention."

Mobile content stores' sales are rising at double and triple digits as well. Apple's App Store, which began selling games, e-books, and productivity applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch more than a year ago, in September passed the milestone of 2 billion app downloads.

Smartphone Penetration Increasing

Retailers such as Pizza Hut and Starbucks (SBUX) are using apps to goose sales, too. In mid-September, Starbucks debuted an app that lets customers replenish and check their Starbucks card balances and pay by phone at 16 stores in Seattle and Silicon Valley. This and another new app, which allows fans to find the nearest open Starbucks and to browse its menu, were downloaded more than 500,000 times in their first week, says Starbucks Chief Information Officer Stephen Gillett. "We've seen a very, very high interest from customers," he says. The coffee chain is developing applications for Research In Motion's BlackBerry and Nokia (NOK) phones as well.

A big m-commerce driver is increased adoption of smartphones capable of Web browsing. In the second quarter, 28% of all handsets sold in the U.S. were smartphones, up from 19% a year earlier, according to consultant NPD Group. And more Americans will be able to gain access to the mobile Web soon. One-third of consumers without a Web-enabled phone plan to purchase such a device within the next year, according to a survey of 3,305 U.S. consumers conducted in March by comparison shopping site The site plans to release its own iPhone app by the first half of 2010.

Many consumers use their smartphones for shopping when they are nowhere near a PC or a physical store, such as during the work commute, while waiting in line for a cup of coffee, or while taking the dog for a walk. "It just allows them to do more during the busiest part of their day," says Laura Conrad, president of

Visa Rolling Out a Mobile App

Others are moving away from PCs. "A large portion of the customer base is totally replacing their online experience with mobile," says Ensign of Papa John's. "We think a lot of the times they were customers of Papa John's [before] but ordered from other restaurants, too. But now there's a new convenience with Papa John's, and we are getting a greater percentage of their purchases."

To succeed at m-commerce, retailers and carriers need to persuade consumers they can be comfortable giving sensitive information over mobile phones. "The biggest hurdle is privacy and security," says Paul Kultgen, a director at consultant Nielsen Mobile. "Consumers haven't embraced supplying their credit card." Many carriers let users charge purchases to phone bills. Payment providers such as eBay's PayPal and Amazon are trying to make mobile purchasing more convenient. On Oct. 5, Amazon introduced its Mobile Payments Service, which helps mobile app developers and mobile Web site owners let customers pay using shipping and credit-card information stored on Amazon.

Credit-card companies are working to make using cards via mobile device more convenient as well. Later this year, Visa (V) will release an app that stores a user's credit-card information on a mobile phone and, when a consumer goes to a retailer's mobile Web site to pay, "pre-populates" the payment field, says Tim Attinger, global head of product innovation at Visa.

Carriers Must Boost Capacity

M-commerce success will also hinge on reliability and affordability of wireless broadband. U.S. wireless carriers' networks are getting overloaded as users adopt bandwidth-thirsty devices like the iPhone. In an Oct. 9 note, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett notes that the iPhone is "morphing into a kind of predator parasite on the wireless network, sucking out the value and leaving networks gasping for air."

AT&T, the U.S. iPhone carrier, has taken steps to improve the reliability of its network. It and other service providers will need to ensure their equipment can continue to handle what's likely to be much greater demand as consumers make more transactions via mobile phone.

Kharif is a senior writer for in Portland
Source: Businessweek

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

If US Dollar Crashes ...

By Peter Coy | Businessweek

The financial crisis taught us that markets can drop further and faster than anyone expects. Housing prices, for example, fell for three straight years starting in 2006, even though the conventional wisdom right up until the bust began was that prices would not fall even a little bit.

Let's apply some of our hard-won knowledge to the dollar, which is also supposed to be resistant to a bust. After weakening gradually since 2002, the greenback rose during the financial crisis last year. It has fallen roughly 15% since March as investors moved to higher-yielding currencies. The conventional wisdom is that at these levels the dollar is cheap and, if anything, due for a rebound. "Currencies don't go much more than 20% from their long-term averages in real [inflation-adjusted] terms. We're there already," says Michael Dooley, an economist who is co-founder and research chief of Cabezon Capital Management, a San Francisco investment firm.

But it's worth at least thinking about the possibility of a dollar bust. The reason the housing bust had such devastating consequences was a failure of imagination: Lenders, regulators, credit raters, and others simply couldn't believe that house prices would ever fall the way they did, so they were blindsided.
Bank Blowups Possible

Let's imagine the dollar quickly dropped by a further 25% against each major world currency, roughly parallel to housing's unprecedented 30% decline. That would mean it would take $2 to buy a single euro. On the good side, U.S. manufacturers would find it easier to compete globally, and foreign tourism would boom in the U.S. On the bad side, inflation in the U.S. would zoom because of the rising cost of imported products. Americans would have even more trouble getting a loan as foreign buyers pull out of the debt market.

Abroad, the cheap dollar would make it harder for other nations to export to the U.S., hurting their growth. China could face social unrest. Trade wars could break out. And there could be blowups at overexposed banks whose risk managers were sure no such dollar bust could happen. As investor Warren Buffett once said: "You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out."

Federal regulators are monitoring banks for a wide variety of risks, including the threat of a dollar bust: "We're not looking quarter to quarter, we're looking hour to hour and minute to minute at what those risks are," says one regulator who requested anonymity.

From its spring peak, the dollar is down 11% against the Japanese yen, 16% against the euro, 21% against the Canadian dollar, and about 30% against the Brazilian and Australian currencies, which are benefiting from a commodity price spike. Against a broad market basket of all U.S. trading partners, and adjusted for inflation, the dollar has fallen 15% from its spring high.

Deficits Depress Dollar

Behind the dollar's weakness are near-zero short-term U.S. interest rates. As they once did with yen, investors are borrowing dollars cheaply, then selling them to buy currencies of countries whose stocks and bonds promise better returns. The Federal Reserve is keeping the federal funds rate at a rock-bottom zero to 0.25% to stimulate the U.S. economy and heal the banks, but a side result is the dollar has turned into the preferred fuel for an international speculative play that is weighing down the greenback.

Another force driving down the dollar: continued U.S. trade deficits, which the U.S. is paying for by borrowing from the rest of the world. Some economists and traders believe that eventually the U.S. will be forced to devalue its own currency to make its global debt more affordable. While the trade gap has narrowed to less than 3% of gross domestic product in the second quarter from 6% at its peak in 2006, it is still high by historical standards.

Now, some of the foreign central banks that have propped up the dollar seem to be getting cold feet. Instead of buying just dollars for their foreign-exchange reserves, they're diversifying into other currencies. The countries that reveal the composition of their reserve holdings put 63% of their new reserves into euros and yen in the second quarter, according to an analysis by Barclays Capital (BCS). Says Steven Englander, Barclays' chief U.S. currency strategist: "Their incentive is to try to do stealth diversification, not 'get me out of here at any price.' " (China, with more than $2 trillion worth of reserves, doesn't reveal what currencies in which it holds the funds.)

The Bearish Case

Obama Administration officials don't seem perturbed by the dollar's slide so far. A weaker dollar helps shrink the trade deficit by making American-made goods more competitive in world markets. Drew Greenblatt, owner of Marlin Steel Wire Products in Baltimore, which makes high-tech baskets for assembly lines, says he's winning orders from countries that are better known as exporters. Exults Greenblatt: "We are shipping ice to Eskimos."

This state of calm would vanish overnight, though, if the financial markets got a sense that the dollar's decline was starting to snowball out of control. At that point, the invisible "force field" protecting the dollar would fade away, says Martin D. Weiss, chairman of Weiss Group, a financial data and analysis firm in Jupiter, Fla. Says Weiss: "We would become more like ordinary mortals and more vulnerable to attacks on our currency."

The bearish case for the dollar is that the decline takes on a life of its own. Selling begets more selling. The world's central bankers and finance ministers intervene to prop up the currency, but speculators, having tasted victory, aren't scared off. Princeton University economist Paul R. Krugman once called this the Wile E. Coyote scenario, after the character in the Road Runner cartoons who runs off a cliff but doesn't start to fall until he looks down and sees there's nothing beneath his feet.

Speculation that the dollar is headed for a tumble can become self-fulfilling if traders rush for the exit. Ashraf Laidi, chief foreign exchange strategist at CMC Markets, a London currency and commodity brokerage, says "right now there is around a 30% to 40% chance we are going to see the dollar falling toward a crisis point."

Dollar bulls like to point out that the currency rallied strongly last year during the worst of the financial crisis. But Laidi says that was no show of support for the dollar or the U.S. economy. Rather, he says, investors retreated from all types of risk and put their money into the most liquid, short-term instruments they could find—which just happened to be U.S. Treasury bills, which are held in accounts all over the world. Agrees Barclays' Englander: "It wasn't a long-term bet that the U.S. economy would be the most dynamic in the world."

Inflation Could Emerge Quickly

Currency traders don't put much stock in the statements of support for a strong dollar by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and other Administration officials. They note that Treasury chiefs dating back to the Clinton Administration have said they support a strong dollar, yet the U.S. has not supported its currency through purchases since 1995.

If the dollar did tumble, import prices might rise faster than most economists now expect. New research by Columbia University economists Emi Nakamura and Jon Steinsson shows that the "pass-through" from a cheap currency to high import prices was underestimated because of poor data. In other words, inflation could emerge more quickly than is commonly believed. It would be disastrous for the economy if the Federal Reserve had to jack up interest rates to cool inflation or defend the currency while growth remained weak. A lower dollar makes Americans poorer by cutting the purchasing power of their currency. And there's no guarantee it would bolster U.S. industry, says David Malpass, president of New York research firm Encima Global. Malpass says the fall of the dollar in the late 1980s hurt rather than helped Detroit by giving Japan the buying power to strengthen its automakers. Says Mallpass: "We can make ourselves poor enough that we can't import very much and we'll have balanced trade. But how would that be good for the U.S.?"

In the short run, the biggest risk would be the failure of some firm that made a highly leveraged bet that was vulnerable to a falling dollar. A dollar plunge would affect not only currency trades but also interest-rate derivatives and credit default swaps. Five big banks accounted for 88% of the credit-risk exposure from derivatives in the entire U.S. banking system in the second quarter.

No one knows whether the dollar is headed for disaster. But assuming the best is perilous.

Source: | Businessweek |

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

What is a Blog?

By: BizStra

Blog, also called a weblog or web log is an internet web-based facility for publishing that allow a blogger to publish posts, receive comments, selling products or advertisement or get involve in online communication. A blogger is a person who maintains and runs a blog. A good blog provides its blogger with of course a post or article writing tool, and some widgets that allow a blogger to put things such as text, followers, search engine, script, and many more. All the facilities in a blog has been created automatically making it easier for a blogger running a blog, although he does not know anything about the internet world.

Not like a website that requires programming HTML or PHP to be able to show an interesting website. With a blog as it facilitated at your fingertips.

What is the difference between blogs and websites?

Basically they are the same. Just on the blog, everything has been made so easy that allow a person to write and type just like in MS Word. All programming on a blog has been created automatically and it is hidden by a blog template creator.

Is that the only ability of a blog?

No, it was only the ability or the basic functions of a blog. Depart from here, creative bloggers have started to create a blog as a principle for making money. How? It is by making a blog as a platform for advertising. We called this function as ‘monetize’ a blog. So, in addition to write a posting such as an article to put in his blog, a blogger is selling advertisements through their blogs so that they earn lot of money through their blogs.

How much of a blogger make money from monetize a blog?

More or less it depends on the efforts and creativity of a blogger. Some bloggers get USD50 a month, some get 300 dollars, some get 1000 dollars or 5000 dollars and some get even up to 500.000 dollars a year. Wow! Is it little or a lot? You know the answer.

So, I want to start a blog now and I want to create money through my blog. What should I do?

One has to have Google mail in order to create a blog using facility? Is it the only platform for creating a blog? No, there are a lot of other platforms that allow you to create a blog. For example, you can use But most of bloggers, they use as their platforms. Why? Perhaps it is easier and everything is there, and it's linked with Google!

Read my post on how to create a blog step-by-step.
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Apple versus Microsoft. who will win the competition?

By Peter Burrows | Businessweek

The entire personal computer industry is gearing up for Microsoft's (MSFT) Oct. 22 release of Windows 7, by most accounts the best version of its operating system in years. Yet Apple (AAPL), Microsoft's nearest competitor, is quietly planning to capitalize on the launch, too. "It presents a very good opportunity for us," says Philip W. Schiller, Apple's senior vice-president for marketing.

The Cupertino (Calif.) company sees Windows 7 as its best chance in years to win over longtime PC users. Millions of PC owners are expected to head to stores over the next year to replace their aging machines. The surge is expected to be unusually large because Microsoft's last operating system, Vista, was so poorly reviewed that many people simply stuck with machines running the eight-year-old Windows XP system.

In the coming weeks, Apple is expected to hit those computer buyers with advertising aimed at luring them to its Macs. It will likely make the case that Macs are less susceptible to viruses and are best suited to its popular iPods and iPhones. And look for it to poke fun at Microsoft for making XP owners go through an arduous process to upgrade to Windows 7—one that includes backing up all their files to an external drive, reformatting their PC, and then reinstalling all of their old programs, assuming they still have the CDs. "Any user that reads all those steps is probably going to freak out. If you have to go through all that, why not just buy a Mac?" says Schiller.

No question, Microsoft and partners such as Hewlett-Packard (HP), Dell (DELL), and Acer will benefit from the Windows 7 debut. PC makers will be rolling out a raft of eye-catching new models—from $300 netbooks to sleek desktop computers with touch-sensitive screens. Microsoft downplays the hassles of upgrading to the new operating system and says most people are going to buy new PCs anyway, which means they won't install the software themselves. "For the vast majority of people that get Windows 7, most will move to new hardware," says Parri Munsell, Microsoft's director for consumer product management.

PC makers are likely to benefit from their machines being much cheaper than Apple's, especially given the soft economy. The average price of a Windows PC is $537, compared with $1,434 for a Mac, says analyst Stephen Baker of researcher PC Data. "I just don't think you're going to have a huge influx of people who have perfectly good XP machines deciding they need to buy an all-new Mac," he says.

Schiller won't say if Apple is planning to cut prices, which would certainly attract a flock of new buyers. He points out that the company already has programs for helping PC users switch; people who pay $99 a year for its One to One training program can bring their PCs to an Apple Store and have all their files transferred.

Schiller says the success of Apple's operating system is indicative of the changing fortunes in the tech industry. While less than 20% of Windows users have moved to the three-year-old Vista, more than 70% of Mac users have upgraded to the Apple operating system introduced at about the same time. He has similar hopes for Apple's four-month-old Snow Leopard OS. Says Schiller: "I expect Snow Leopard will have an amazing upgrade rate, and Windows 7 won't."

That's Apple—calm, cool, and confident that the tech world is marching in its direction. "We've been through these transitions before, and no matter how you look at it—it's still Windows," says Schiller. "When all is said and done, the Mac picks up share a bit at a time."

Burrows is a senior writer for BusinessWeek, based in Silicon Valley.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Making a Rotating Banner for a Blog

When we have a lot of banners to be put on our blog, sometimes it creates a problem for us because a lot of banner will consume a lot of space of our blog. This will make our blogs seemed not comfortable for the readers. This happen especially when we want to put a lot of ads for example. This is a dilemma. On one hand we want a lot of ads appears on the blog, but on the other hand we want our blog looks neat. Therefore, one of many solutions for this is making a rotating banner. Our banners will automatically appear alternately in the same place.

To make it you only need to enter the following script in the gadget's HTML code:

<script type="text/javascript">
var imgs3 = new Array("URL of Image1","URL of Image2","URL of Image3");
var lnks3 = new Array("URL Link1","URL Link2","URL Link3");
var alt3 = new Array("titleimage1","titleimage2","titleimage3");
var currentAd3 = 0;
var imgCt3 = 3;
function cycle3() {
if (currentAd3 == imgCt3) {
currentAd3 = 0;
var banner3 = document.getElementById('adBanner3');
var link3 = document.getElementById('adLink3');
<a href="URL Link1" id="adLink3" target="_top">
<img src="URL of Image1" id="adBanner3" border="0" width="468" height="60"></a>

The above script is for 3 images. You can modify the script if you want to put more or less images. Don't forget to change URL link and URL image accordingly.

Example of rotating banners using 3 images size 125x125 pixels:

When you click the above rotating banners, it will bring you to a link that you defined in the above script. Three different images will bring you to three different links you define in the script. Now I think you already understand the benefit of the rotating banners, don't you?

For instruction in BAHASA, visit the following link:
Banner Rotasi 2 by Masdoyok
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Monday, October 12, 2009

Making a Text Area at a Blog

Text Area is a box containing the text. Usually for a script or information provided to be copied. Here is discussed how to make a brief text area.

To create a text area, you should use the following code. This code you type in the position of "edit HTML" in your city or a new post in your HTML widget.

<p align="center"><textarea name="code" rows="6" cols="20"> "Write your text or script here</textarea></p>

To make the entire contents of the text can be copied using the button "Highlight All", you have to replace the above code by using the following code:

<div><form name="copy"><div align="center"><input onclick="javascript:this.form.txt.focus();;" type="button" value="Highlight All"> </div><div align="center"></div><p align="center"><textarea style="WIDTH: 300px; HEIGHT: 144px" name="txt" rows="100" wrap="VIRTUAL" cols="55">Put your text or script here</textarea></p></div></form>

That's it! Try it!

Example text box:

Example of text box with "Highlight All" button:

For Bahasa Indonesia, visit this link:
Membuat Text Area by Masdoyok
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

America's Best Young Entrepreneurs 2009

By Nick Leiber | Businessweek

Who is more likely to start a business: A college student or a worker with a few decades of experience? Yep, you guessed it: the experienced worker.

It turns out it's boomers, not twentysomethings, who start the most businesses in the U.S. Over the past decade or so, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity belongs to the 55-64 age group. The 20-34 age bracket, by contrast, had the lowest rate. That's according to a recent report by Dane Stangler, a senior analyst with the Kauffman Foundation, based on data collected from 1996 to 2007. It echoes research by entrepreneur-turned-academic Vivek Wadhwa, who found that twice as many tech entrepreneurs create ventures in their 50s as do those in their early 20s.

So not only are these entrepreneurs navigating the toughest economy many of us have ever lived through, they're also vastly outnumbered by older, more experienced competitors, who usually have more contacts and capital. That's even more reason to continue to give young entrepreneurs the encouragement, respect, and awe that they've received since becoming cultural icons during the dot-com boom.

Stangler says he's not suggesting young people aren't entrepreneurial or won't be. "The cachet of large, established companies has taken a hit. Job tenure has been falling for a long time. Employment is not going to recover in the very near future. People across all age groups are going to take the future into their own hands."

Dorm Room Beginnings

Brian Ruby, 25, is just one entrepreneur who is following through on Stangler's prediction. He founded molecular imaging equipment maker Carbon Nanoprobes in 2003 in his Columbia University dorm room and has since raised about $4 million from institutional and private investors. After six years doing research, Carbon Nanoprobes is now transitioning to equipment sales, and Ruby expects about $1 million in revenue in 2010. The nine-person company based in Pike Malvern, Pa., sells its equipment to universities, semiconductor firms, and material sciences companies.

Husband-and-wife team Eric Koger, 25, and Susan Koger, 24, launched indie clothing e-tailer ModCloth in 2002, near the end of their freshman year at Carnegie Mellon University. They've managed to raise a little over $3 million from angels such as StubHub co-founder Jeff Fluhr and venture capital firms First Round Capital and Maples Investments. Eric says the 104-employee, Pittsburgh-based company is profitable, with around $1 million in monthly sales, and forecasts more than $15 million total in 2009.

Logan Green, 25, and John Zimmer, 25, started Zimride in 2007 to allow carpoolers to connect online. Its 35 clients are mostly colleges but include corporate customers such as Cigna and Wal-Mart. Universities pay about $10,000 per year to use the platform, although pricing varies. Zimmer says the Palo Alto (Calif.) firm, with six employees, expects revenue of $400,000 this year and is now profitable.

Record Numbers

These are just a few of our finalists defying the odds. To assemble the group, as in previous years, we asked BusinessWeek readers to nominate candidates aged 25 and under who were running their own companies that showed potential for growth. Given the severity of the recession, we were pleased to receive a record number of nominations this year—more than 600. After the call for nominations ended in mid-August, our staff sifted through the nominees looking for the most impressive.

Not surprisingly, the majority were Web-based businesses, where barriers to entry continue to fall. There were a smattering of more traditional companies, including an aircraft seller, a specialty mushroom grower, and a machinery lubricant vendor. Compared with last year, more women were nominated, more businesses were profitable, and more had secured equity capital.

You can flip through this slide show for profiles of each of the 25 finalists, then vote for the business you feel holds the most promise. We'll announce the top vote-getters on Nov. 9. Then check out our slide show on where last year's finalists are now. For more elements of the special report, including a feature on selling to universities and a video interview with a standout alum, visit the related items box at upper right side of this overview.

Leiber is Small Business editor for
Source: Businessweek Read More......

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bill Gates returns to Harvard University

"(I am)....the Harvard's most successful dropped out."
-- Bill Gates

Bill Gates whose full name is William Henry "Bill" Gates III born on October 28, 1955. He is an American business magnate, philanthropist, and chairman of Microsoft, the software company he founded with Paul Allen. He is ranked consistently one of the world's wealthiest people and the wealthiest overall as of 2009. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of CEO and chief software architect, and remains the largest individual shareholder with more than 8 percent of the common stock.He has also authored or co-authored several books.

After 33 years, Bill Gates backs to his almamater, the Harvard University, not as a student but as a successful businessman with a title "Doctor" Bill Gates. "I have been waiting for more than 30 years to say this, that I always told you that I come back and get my degree" said Dr. Gates in his introductory part of his speech. Watch the following video for the complete speech.




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Friday, October 9, 2009

Slowdown hits global shipping industry

Keeping the maritime industry shipshape
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

President Obama won the Noble prize award

Reactions to Obama's Peace Prize

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How to Put Youtube Video on Your Blogspot

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World's Best Companies 2009

By: E. Deprez of Businessweek

Any athlete will tell you that the time to train is in dismal weather, not on perfect, sun-drenched days. If you want to excel at the best of times, it seems, you need to be prepared for the worst.

Companies are little different. So as the economic outlook brightens, those that have worked hard to survive the tough times of the past year are best prepared to seize new opportunities. It is these enterprises that have risen to the top of the World's Best Companies/Global Top 40 list, compiled for BusinessWeek by management consulting firm A.T. Kearney.

What are some traits of the World's Best Companies? A commitment to innovation, diversified portfolios, aggressive expansion, strong leadership, and a clear vision for the future. "In an environment of continuous disruptive change, companies that have rigorous strategic planning initiatives that allow them to see over the horizon…are far more likely to win than those that make it up as they go along," says Paul Laudicina, chairman of A.T. Kearney.

To create the list, A.T. Kearney examined the 2,500 largest publicly listed companies in the world. Kearney's team singled out those with a minimum of $10 billion in sales in 2008, at least 25% of which came from outside the company's home region. It then ranked the companies on their sales growth and value creation—the rise of market capitalization after subtracting any increase in capital—over the past five years. This year, the list expanded to 40 companies from the 25 Kearney ranked in the past.

Thriving Industries

The top 40 come from 18 countries and industries ranging from chemicals and contracting to software and shipbuilding. But three groups stand out. There are six technology and telecommunications enterprises that have tapped into continuing demand for mobile-phone service and new digital hardware and services. The eight heavy-industry and engineering outfits performed well as infrastructure spending started to bounce back. Finally, companies in sectors tied to the commodities boom of recent years have in many cases continued to prosper, though their ranks have been thinned considerably.

Japanese electronics maker Nintendo (7974.T) claims the No. 1 spot this year. Its sales have risen 36% annually over the past five years, while its value growth averaged 38%. Despite the hard times of the past year, Nintendo's continued emphasis on innovation has helped the company develop must-haves such as the DS handheld game machine and the Wii console, which outsold rival offerings from Sony (SNE) and Microsoft (MSFT).

Nintendo's strategy is emblematic of the tech companies on the list. Like Nintendo, American technology giants Google (GOOG) (No. 2), Apple (AAPL) (No. 3), and (AMZN) (No. 17) have continued to invest heavily in innovation, commanding large market share with new products even as consumer spending and confidence have declined sharply. Telecom companies MTN (No. 7) and América Móvil (AMX) (No. 18) have profited handsomely by expanding into developing markets in Africa and Latin America.

Though they seem to lie at the other end of the business spectrum, engineering companies have enjoyed a similarly strong run. Initial dents following the recession-driven building bust have been patched up by government-financed infrastructure projects worldwide. Komatsu (6301.T) (No. 25) has consolidated its focus on construction and mining equipment. Doosan Heavy Industries (No. 4) has diversified by adding desalination plants to its business of building power stations for utilities. Similarly, Hyundai Heavy Industries (No. 5) has branched out beyond shipbuilding into construction machinery and solar power.

Fewer Commodities Companies

Commodities plays have fared less well. In 2008 three-fifths of the World's Best Companies were in energy and metals due to high commodities prices. This year, only a quarter are. Last year's leader, steel giant ArcelorMittal (MT), and four Russian energy, metals, and mining companies have vanished from the list. That said, 11 commodities companies remain. Australia's BHP Billiton (BHP), for example, the world's largest diversified miner, brought in more than $63 billion in revenue in 2008 and gained six spots, to No. 10, this year.

It's not all about industry. Charismatic chiefs—sometimes bordering on autocratic—can also be key to earning a place on the Global Top 40. Apple, for instance, has long prospered under the steady hand of Steve Jobs. With Jobs now back in the driver's seat after taking a leave of absence due to illness this year, expect Apple to continue to thrive. At Spanish textile and retail giant Inditex (No. 9), the owner of Zara stores, founder Amancio Ortega Gaona continues to implement his vision of fast fashion.

In Mexico, billionaire Carlos Slim has made América Móvil into the world's fourth largest cellular carrier, with more than 190 million subscribers. Klaus-Michael Kuehne has headed Kuehne + Nagel (KNIN.VX) (No. 23) for four decades and built it into a leader in global logistics services, helping preserve profits through targeted cost cuts as trade volumes plummeted over the past year. "Driven by an idea, [these leaders] have taken time building their companies…with the patience required to see their efforts come to fruition," says Norbert Jorek, partner at A.T. Kearney and principle author of the study.

From Exxon to World Fuel

Size, meanwhile, doesn't matter as much as some might think. Only four companies with market caps of greater than $100 billion made the top 40: BHP Billiton, French utility GDF Suez (GSZ.PA) (No. 6), Spanish phone carrier Telefónica (TEF) (No. 32), and oil giant ExxonMobil (XOM) (No. 38). Indeed, some of the most successful enterprises are relatively small. Miami-based World Fuel Services (INT), which markets marine, aviation, and land fuel products in 23 countries, is the smallest on the list with a market cap of $1.1 billion, but comes in at No. 13. German construction company Bilfinger Berger (GBFG.DE) (No. 33) had a market cap of $1.7 billion but has won impressive contracts such as the world's longest rail tunnel, a 30-mile-plus link under the Alps straddling the French-Italian border.

In the developing world, South Africa put in a strong showing with three companies in the Global Top 40. MTN, one of the pioneers in bringing mobile service to emerging markets, has proven that poor countries can be lucrative markets. Nigeria is its largest with some 28 million subscribers, and the company continues to expand in the Middle East. "Driven by a large entrepreneurial spirit, MTN had the will and appetite to take on that risk and the ability to turn risk into success," says Dobek Pater, partner at Africa Analysis, a consulting firm for tech companies in developing markets. And conglomerate Bidvest Group (No. 37) has placed an emphasis on food service but also has holdings in logistics and retailing. Both are examples of emerging-market companies poised to become global players: Bidvest has made acquisitions around the world, including in Australia and Central Europe, and MTN is currently in talks with India's Bharti Airtel (BRTI.BO) over a $24 billion merger.

This year's ranking of the World's Best Companies shows that even when stock markets are down, smart companies can be on the way up. A.T. Kearney Chairman Laudicina sees two important factors that are most likely to drive global economic performance in coming years: leveraging technology and innovation to enhance productivity, and demographic shifts such as graying populations. "Those companies who understand them best—and I think you see many of them on this list," will prosper, he says. "Those that don't are likely to be outside the bakery window looking in."

Deprez is a reporter for BusinessWeek. Read More......

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Evolution of Asia

Source: Businessweek

Asia appears to be recovering from the global recession faster than the West. But the financial imbalances that triggered the worst economic crisis in memory could still put the brakes on the world's fastest-growing economies. So warns economist and Morgan Stanley Asia chairman Stephen Roach in his new book, The Next Asia, a collection of his essays and analysis from the past several years that foreshadowed the meltdown. The following is an exclusive excerpt from the book's introduction.

As the most dynamic and rapidly growing region in the world over the past decade, developing Asia has attained a new level of prosperity. From China to India, the region's per capita income has more than doubled since the wrenching Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Since 1990, over 400 million fewer Asians are living in poverty on incomes of less than $2 per day. On the surface, the region has much to celebrate on the long and arduous road to economic development. Many believe the Asia Century is now at hand.

Such celebration may be premature. As 2008 came to an end, every economy in the region had either slowed sharply or tumbled into outright recession. Far from having the autonomous capacity to decouple from weakness elsewhere in the world, export-led developing Asia had become even more tightly tethered to foreign markets than was the case a decade earlier. The export share of panregional gross domestic product (GDP) hit a record 47% in 2007, fully 10 percentage points higher than the portion in the late 1990s. With approximately 50% of those exports earmarked for the rich countries of the developed world, a rare and sharp synchronous downturn in the U.S., Europe and Japan undermined an increasingly important source of Asia's seemingly invincible growth dynamic. Far from celebrating a newfound resilience, the region was reeling from a severe external shock. Like it or not, Asia's newfound ascendancy remains precarious.

Ironically, this very outcome was predicted by China's Premier, Wen Jiabao. In a statement following the conclusion of the National People's Congress in March 2007, Premier Wen acknowledged that the Chinese economy looked extremely strong on the surface, especially in terms of GDP and employment growth. Yet, beneath the surface, he cautioned, such strength was far more questionable. In the case of China, he warned of an economy that was increasingly "unbalanced, unstable, uncoordinated and unsustainable." Little did he realize at the time how those "four uns," as they were later to become known, would pose an immediate and tough challenge to China's growth imperatives. Nor did he or other Asian leaders appreciate the broader implications of those insights for the region as a whole.

In warning of the precarious state of the Chinese economy, Wen was expressing concerns about the nation's very risky macro bet. With nearly 80% of its GDP going to exports and fixed investment, China had become overly reliant on cross-border trade and on the investments required to support the logistics and capacity of its increasingly powerful export machine. Not only has China slowed dramatically — with export growth turning sharply negative in late 2008 and industrial output growth slipping into the low single digits — but the rest of an increasingly China-centric Asian economy has been quick to follow.

China's export dependency went far beyond the unbalanced structure of its real economy. Its financial and currency policies were also aimed at deriving maximum support from external demand. A closed capital account and an undervalued renminbi (RMB) were icing on the cake for China's powerful strain of export-led growth. Moreover, to the extent that its currency-management objectives required ongoing recycling of a massive reservoir of foreign-exchange reserves into U.S. dollar – based assets, such capital inflows helped keep longer-term U.S. interest rates at exceptionally low levels. In effect, China's implicit interest-rate subsidy ended up becoming an important prop to bubble-prone U.S. asset markets and, ultimately, for the asset-dependent American consumer.

The linkage between Asian growth and the American consumer bears special mention. The U.S. consumer is still the dominant consumer in the global economy. Although America accounts for only about 4.5% of the world's population, its consumers spent about $10 trillion in 2008. By contrast, although China and India collectively account for nearly 40% of the world's population, their combined consumption was only about $2.5 trillion in 2008. During the boom, China and the rest of Asia reaped enormous benefits from a mercantilist growth model that was tied increasingly to the voracious appetite of the American consumer. Unfortunately, Asia did not do a good job in hedging that bet. The U.S. could now be in the early stages of a multiyear consumption retrenchment, making the problems of an unbalanced, export-dependent Asian economy even more acute.

But that's not the only challenge that Asia faces. Significantly, Wen's warning was not just about the imbalances of an economic and financial structure that had become overly reliant on exports. By raising concerns over instability, he was also cautioning of the perils of overreliance on energy, industrial materials and base metals. In an era of booming global growth, the threat of the so-called commodity supercycle and its ever higher price structure was a crushing burden on resource-intensive developing nations. The Premier urged China to focus more on what he called a "scientific development" strategy that would be based on improved efficiencies of resource consumption. Similarly, by warning of a lack of coordination, Wen was highlighting the fragmentation of the Chinese system — not just its banks and companies but also a system of governance that was still heavily dominated by power blocs at the provincial and local level. And his concerns over sustainability were specifically aimed at pollution and environmental degradation — unmistakably negative externalities of China's fixation on open-ended, manufacturing-led economic growth. To the extent that the Chinese experience is a microcosm of the broader Asian development model, Wen's "four uns" are very much a blueprint of what it will take to realize the aspirations of the Asian Century. Just as the financial crisis of the late 1990s was a wake-up call for the region to put its financial house in order, the global crisis and recession of 2008-09 is a strong signal for Asia to refocus the basic structure of its economic-development model.

From a macroeconomic point of view, better balance is Asia's most urgent priority. Central to that rebalancing will be the long-awaited emergence of the Asian consumer. For a region steeped in a culture of saving, this will not be an easy transformation. Here again, China undoubtedly holds the key. Its legendary excesses of precautionary savings are traceable to two major developments: massive layoffs associated with over 15 years of state-owned enterprise (SOE) reforms and the lack of an institutionalized social safety net. With SOE reforms likely to be ongoing — albeit probably at a slower pace in the years ahead — China needs more aggressive initiatives in the areas of social security, pensions, medical care and unemployment insurance.

Heightened efforts in the area of resource efficiency are also an urgent priority. A shift from manufacturing-led export growth to more of a services-based consumption model will relieve some of the inherent biases of energy- and resource-intensive growth. But Asia must do more in the way of investing in alternative energy technologies, retrofitting existing production platforms and moving to lighter construction and production techniques. Air and water pollution have become endemic to Asia's hypergrowth. That's especially true in China, home to seven of the 10 most polluted cities in the world and whose level of organic water pollutants is, by far, the worst in the world — more than three times the emissions rate of the No. 2 polluter, the U.S. Asia has attempted to explain away its poor track record, arguing that when scaled by its enormous population, its pollution problem still falls well short of developed countries'. Asian leaders have also argued that since economic development, itself, is a resource-burning and pollution-intensive endeavor, the delayed onset of the region's economic takeoff casts it unfairly as the villain in an era of global warming. Although both of these claims have considerable merit, a damaged planet engenders little sympathy for the Asian excuse. On an absolute basis, Asia now makes the largest contribution to total growth in global pollutants — a trend that must be arrested, regardless of the size of its population or the state of its economic development.

The Next Asia will also have to come to grips with its inherent lack of coordination by exerting greater control over its fragmented economies, markets and political systems. China's four largest banks, for example, still have over 50,000 branches between them — branches that in many cases function autonomously with respect to deposit-gathering and lending policies. Such a fragmented banking system has long been a major complication for China's central bank and its execution of a coherent monetary policy. Asia's rural-urban dichotomy also creates a natural fragmentation to its social and economic fabric — underscoring ever widening income and educational disparities that remain a major source of instability in the region. Widespread corruption further complicates the macro implementation of Asia's development imperatives. The more the region matures and makes further progress on the road to economic development, the greater the need for improved macro coordination.

Wen's "four uns" largely offer inward-looking prescriptions. But the Next Asia has much to gain from its external linkages — especially by focusing more on the benefits of cross-border economic integration. Perhaps the greatest opportunity in that regard could come from closer ties between the two greatest powers in the region: Japan and China. Despite a long and difficult history between them, these two nations are natural complements in many key respects. Japan, with its declining population and high-cost workforce, has much to gain from Chinese outsourcing and efficiency solutions. China, with its need for new technologies and pollution abatement, has just as much to gain from Japan's leadership position in both areas. And the rest of an increasingly integrated Asian economy would be well positioned to realize the benefits of supply-chain externalities that could be important by-products of greater integration between China and Japan.

Change and growth have been the mantra for Asia for the past quarter-century. But the endgame of sustained economic development and rising prosperity continues to be a moving target. Developing Asia has enjoyed spectacular success in the decade after the wrenching financial crisis of the late 1990s. But, as they say in the investment business, a track record of success is no guarantee of future performance. The current global recession is an important wake-up call for Asia — a not-so-subtle hint to find a new recipe for its growth model. The Next Asia that emerges from this transition will need to be all about a shift in focus from the quantity to the quality of the growth experience. Although the quality of economic growth is something of an amorphous construct, its attributes are undoubtedly steeped in better balance, stability, coordination, sustainability and integration. This is the essence of a critical transformation that could well usher in more of a pro-consumption, lighter and greener Asian economy than is the case today. The Next Asia will need to measure its success increasingly on those counts.

Change is never easy — especially on a scale that the Next Asia requires. But change has been at the core of all the Asian miracles of the post – World War II era. Once again, circumstances require this dynamic region to look inside itself and reinvent the model that will take it to the next phase of its remarkable journey. I remain confident that Asia will be able to pull it off. At the same time, I don't underestimate the risks that the Next Asia will face as it once again moves out of its comfort zone. That's something we all have in common in looking to the postcrisis era. Read More......
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