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RARELY in corporate history has a giant come and gone so quickly. Anbang was founded in 2004 as a small Chinese car-insurance company. By the start of last year it ranked among the world's biggest insurers with some $300bn of assets, including stakes in hotels and financial firms across America, Europe and Asia. Given another ten years, boasted Wu Xiaohui, its swashbuckling founder, Anbang's scale would “exceed your imagination”. But then, just as vertiginous as its ascent, came its fall. Alarmed at its debt-fuelled expansion, regulators started blocking its overseas deals, reined in its insurance business and detained Mr Wu. On February 23rd its disgrace became complete: the Chinese government announced that it had taken over Anbang and would prosecute Mr Wu for economic crimes.The insurance regulator said it had intervened because illegal operations could have “seriously endangered” the company's solvency. It did not spell out the exact nature of Anbang's alleged...Continue reading
KYLIE JENNER, a model and reality TV star best known for being the, er, second most famous Kylie in the world, managed to cause a stir on Wall Street. With this idiosyncratic tweetsooo does anyone else not open Snapchat any more? Or is it just me...ugh this is so sadshe knocked back the share price of Snap, the parent company of the video- and picture-sharing app. Ms Jenner's influence in the target market is deemed to be huge; she has 24.5m Twitter followers, and her message has (at the time of writing) been retweeted 58,000 times and “liked” by 310,000. Snap's share price fell 6%, reducing the company's market value by $1.3bn. The decline was not just down to the influence of Ms Jenner, who recently gave birth to a daughter Stormi, named after the weather/porn star/grime artist. Investors were already worried about the impact of a recent app redesign. More than 1.2m people signed a...Continue reading
ON A clear day, sunset over Lake Zug is magnificent. Snow-dusted mountains cut through the orange glow above and are mirrored in the lake below. “Zug is our spiritual home,” says Jeremy Epstein, from Washington, DC, who has just taken 40 foreigners to tour the small Swiss town south of Zurich. They came not for sunsets, though, but to find out how Zug has become known as “crypto-valley”—meaning the home of many firms dealing in crypto-currencies and related activities.Switzerland's famous banking secrecy is falling to a global assault on money-laundering and tax evasion. But financial security remains in demand. The country should seek to become the “crypto-nation”, said the economy minister, Johann Schneider-Ammann, last month. Zug aims to be the capital of that nation.To that end, Switzerland is maintaining loose rules for crypto-businesses, even as other countries are tightening theirs. An industry is developing to store tangible crypto-assets, such as the hard...Continue reading
AMID the name-calling and bluster that mar many fights between economists are a few common tactics. Belligerents may attack the theory used to support a claim, or the data analysis used to quantify an effect. During the debate over President Donald Trump's tax bill, to take a recent example, economists bickered over which side had more credibly calculated the economic effect. They did not, for the most part, argue about whether it was morally acceptable to pass a regressive tax reform after years of wage stagnation and rising inequality. To do so would strike many economists as entirely un-economist-like. Yet economics has not always been so shy about moral philosophy. As well as “The Wealth of Nations”, Adam Smith wrote a “Theory of Moral Sentiments”. Great 20th-century economists like Paul Samuelson and Kenneth Arrow also took questions of values very seriously. Their successors would do well to take several pages from their books.Modern economists have attempted...Continue reading
Starting a business is tough and challenging on all fronts. Here's some wisdom that may ease your load as you navigate new terrain.
The American enterprise is living on borrowed time, but there's no reason to panic. Seize the opportunity to get ahead of the curve by embracing freelance workers.
Your habits empower you to achieve your goals just as easily as they can derail you.
Paying attention to both the investment and operational sides of the business will make it a success.
More Than a Motto February 23, 2018 Nothing we do will ever bring back the 17 bright lights of Parkland. Children, coaches, lifetimes of promise -- all lost, too soon. As parents, we've watched moms and dads in communities all across America experience an agony we can't fathom. We've cried ...
Facebook has been the advertising comfort zone for many businesses. It might be time to get out.
Build a strong foundation, set a clear path and don't allow clutter.
You don't have to know more than anybody else in the world, just more than the reporter and the audience.
Consumer communities built by Blockchain businesses can give novice consumers the resources they need. to connect to those already familiar with the product and concept
Jessica Abo sits down with producer Reuven Ashtar, who manages YouTube stars, to get tips for aspiring content creators.
The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve… —Matthew 20:28Jesus also said, “Yet I am among you as the One who serves” (Luke 22:27). Paul's idea of service was the same as our Lord's— “…ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5). We somehow have the idea that a person called to the ministry is called to be…
Today's category: MiscellaneousNun In A Cab A nun gets into a cab and the cab driver won't stop staring at her. She asks him why is he staring and he replies, "I have a question to ask you but I don't want to offend you." She answers, "My dear son, you cannot offend me. When you're as old as I am and have been a nun as long as I have, you get a chance and see and hear just about everything. I'm sure that there's nothing you could say or ask that I would find offensive." "Well, I've always had a fantasy to have a nun kiss me." She responds, "Well, let's see what we can do about that: 1) you have to be single and 2) you must be Catholic." The cab driver is very excited and says, "Yes, I am single and I'm Catholic too!" The nun says, "O.K., pull into the next alley." He does and the nun kisses him. But when they get back on the road, the cab driver starts crying his eyes out. "My dear child, why are you crying?" "Forgive me sister, but I have sinned. I lied, I must confess, I'm married and I'm Jewish." The nun says, "That's OK, my name is Kevin and I'm on my way to a Halloween Party."View hundreds more jokes online.Email this joke to a friend
Sons of Guns: Violence Grows in the Void of Faith and Family February 22, 2018 While Americans try to cope with the losses in Florida, they're saying goodbye to someone else: America's pastor, Billy Graham. Never has our nation so desperately needed to hear the message of hope and healing ...
BONDS, shares and Treasury bills are all very well, but in the end they are just pieces of paper. They are not assets you can hang on the wall or display to admiring neighbours. Many rich people like to invest their wealth in more tangible form; property, of course, but also collectibles such as art, fine wine and classic cars.Is that wise? Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh and Mike Staunton of the London Business School (LBS) have run the numbers for their annual analysis of the financial markets in the Credit Suisse global investment-returns yearbook. Some of these assets have done rather better than others (see chart). Fine wine delivered the best returns; surprising to cynics who might assume that, in the long run, the value of wine vanishes as it turns into vinegar. Really old wine often has historical resonance. A bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild from 1787 was sold for $156,450 in 1985 because it was thought to belong to Thomas Jefferson.Estimating the returns from these assets, after...Continue reading
OIL bears beware. On February 20thSuhail al-Mazrouei, OPEC's rotating president and energy minister of the United Arab Emirates, said the 14-member producers' group is working on a plan for a formal alliance with ten other petrostates, including Russia, aimed at propping up oil prices for the foreseeable future. If it comes to anything, it could be OPEC's most ambitious venture in decades.The result will not be, he insists, a “supergroup”. The notion of Saudi Arabia and Russia joining forces as the Traveling Wilburys of the oil world may be a bit jarring. It remains an idea in “draft” form. But whatever its chances, it attempts to shift a belief widely held by participants in oil markets: that non-American oil producers are helpless against the shale revolution.That belief has strengthened because of a renewed flood of American shale production in the latter part of 2017 after prices of West Texas Intermediate climbed above $50 a barrel. The International Energy Agency...Continue reading
TEN months ago the Trump administration took aim at steel and aluminium imports, giving itself a year to decide whether they threatened national security and, if so, what to do about it. On February 16th it concluded that America is indeed under threat. The president has until mid-April to choose whether to respond.The reports handed to Donald Trump by the Department of Commerce, which led the investigations, describe America as effectively under siege. Its steel industry might struggle to respond to a crisis similar to the second world war, they fret, as foreigners are filling a third of American demand for steel, even as 28% of national capacity lies idle. The share of primary aluminium (the kind smelted from ore, rather than recycled metal) that is imported is 91%, and 61% of local smelting capacity lies cold. Doubters can point out that the Department of Defence requires a tiny slice of American steel supply, and that America's largest supplier for both metals, Canada, is an ally (see...Continue reading
GOVERNORS of the Bank of Japan (BoJ) tend not to linger long in their post. Twenty-two people have headed the institution since 1914, compared with 16 at the Federal Reserve and 12 at the Bank of England. The last time a BoJ governor won a second term was 1961, when Japan's economy was growing by over 11% and inflation was over 5%. As Richard Werner, the author of “Princes of the Yen”, a history of the central bank's failures, points out, by tradition the job alternates every five years between a candidate backed by the finance ministry and a “true-born” BoJ insider.This tradition will be broken by the reappointment of Haruhiko Kuroda, who was nominated for a second term on February 16th. If he completes it, he will become the longest-serving governor in the BoJ's history.With luck that might be long enough for him to reach the central bank's elusive inflation target of 2%, a goal set five years ago which he had hoped to meet by 2015. Although the BoJ has...Continue reading
YOU spend 38 years at a mighty global bank, the last seven as chief executive. As boss you clean up a stinking mess, the legacy of ill-conceived acquisitions and shoddy practice. You shell out billions in fines and legal costs. You shed businesses and cut jobs by a quarter. You build a solid capital base. You maintain dividends. On your last day, you announce decent results, with revenue growing after five years of shrinkage and profits up nicely. The market's parting gift to you? The share price falls by 3%.Analysts had expected better from Stuart Gulliver's final report as boss of Britain's HSBC, the world's seventh-biggest bank by assets, on February 20th. They were surprised by charges for impaired loans to two companies, thought to be Carillion, a failed British contractor, and Steinhoff, a troubled South African retailer, and miffed that HSBC put off buying back more shares. That, the bank said, must wait until it has raised $5bn-7bn of “additional tier-1” capital...Continue reading
IN THE Russian business community Sergei Galitsky served as a rare example of a self-made billionaire who rose with relatively little state help and outside the natural-resources trade. He built his retail company, Magnit, from scratch into Russia's largest network; it has more than 16,000 stores. Rather than moving to Moscow, he kept his headquarters in his hometown of Krasnodar, where he also founded a football club. On February 16th he made a telling exit, announcing he would sell nearly all of his shares in Magnit—29.1%—to VTB, a state bank.That Mr Galitsky (pictured, above) decided to sell is the result of a tough business cycle and some strategic mistakes. More remarkable is that he found a buyer not on the domestic private markets, or from among foreign investors. Selling to a pubic-sector bank reflects the growing role of the state in the Russian economy. Russia's federal anti-monopoly service puts its share at 70%. Yet the retail sector had largely been insulated from the trend....Continue reading
WHEN Ken Frazier, chief executive of Merck, an American pharmaceutical giant, started his job in 2011, he had a hard decision to make. The firm had promising new drugs—such as Januvia, for diabetes, and Gardasil, a vaccine against cervical cancer. But the pharma industry was struggling with dismal returns on R&D and investors were questioning if companies were overspending on science. Some surrendered and started buying in drugs instead. But Mr Frazier opted to carry on backing his labs and promised publicly to spend on R&D for the long term, not for the stockmarket's immediate gratification.An opportunity to implement the pledge soon arrived. Merck's merger with another pharma firm, Schering-Plough, in 2009, had brought it an obscure new cancer drug. At first Merck's scientists were unimpressed and relegated the drug to a list of assets to be licensed out. There was widespread scepticism at the time about whether drugs that attacked cancer using the immune system would...Continue reading
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