Asian markets were ending 2017 in a party mood on Friday after a year in which a concerted pick-up in global growth boosted corporate profits and commodity prices, while benign inflation kept central banks from taking away the punch bowl.
As the retail sector takes advantage of this festive season to make money, Lien Centre for Social Innovation’s executive director says social entrepreneurs need to learn how to hustle.
England’s debutant paceman Tom Curran ended Steve Smith’s epic unbeaten run at the Melbourne Cricket Ground by bowling the Australian captain for 76 early on day two of the fourth Ashes test on Wednesday.
The two officials were listed last Friday in a new United Nations Security Council resolution sanctioning North Korea.
Syrian rebels pinned down in a strategic area where the Israeli and Lebanese borders meet with Syria were handed an ultimatum by the Syrian army and its Iranian-backed militia allies to either surrender or face certain military defeat, rebels said on Tuesday.
Hey you – you with the nondescript black suitcase! Don’t let your luggage leave your home tagless. It could be making a one-way trip. Luggage tags set your property apart from the masses of indistinguishable bags that spin around on airport conveyor belts. And your bag is far more likely to get lost or picked up by the wrong passenger in its natural state.
Airlines actively encourage passengers to tag their bags before they arrive at the airport. For example, Alaska Airlines includes a print-it-yourself luggage tag on its website. “We recommend placing identification on the inside of the baggage, too,” the Southwest Airlines website notes.
When it comes to luggage tags, travelers have more options than ever these days. There are tags that can track your checked-in suitcases and tags that can make almost any personal statement you care to make. Diana Lambdin Meyer, a travel writer based in Kansas City, Missouri, opts for a personal approach. Her husband, Bruce, is a photographer, and she used an online site to have some of the images he captured in their travels made into luggage tags. “We had about 100 printed,” she says, “and gave them as Christmas gifts.”
But when it comes to ingenuity, Team DIY has an edge. Jeanne Datz Rice, a small-business owner from Honolulu, prefers thick, grosgrain ribbons, in bright orange, for her luggage. “I can find my luggage quite easily,” she says.
Laine Wightman, a manager for an engineering firm in Hernando Beach, Florida, uses neon duct tape, which she wraps around her nondescript black bags. “They look very trashy,” she admits. “But I can spot them easily in the midst of all the black bags.”
Richard Frisbie, a travel writer, takes a similarly drastic approach: He defaces his luggage so it will stand out. “I spray paint a random design on my bag so I can spot it across baggage claim areas, buses – anywhere,” says Frisbie, who is based in Saugerties, New York. By next summer, airlines worldwide are expected to adopt new radio-frequency identification technology, or RFID, to improve luggage handling and transfers under the International Air Transport Association’s Resolution 753.
This industry-wide agreement mandates that member airlines track baggage at key points in the journey, including passenger handover to the airline, loading onto the aircraft, delivery to the transfer area and return to the passenger. In other words, once it’s up and running, the most important tag may be the one your airline attaches to your checked luggage.- The Washington Post.
A nondescript office on the outskirts of Beijing, strewn with screwdrivers and partially assembled computer circuit boards, seems an unlikely candidate for a company at the forefront of what proponents say is nothing less than the upending the established global financial order – and what JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon has branded a scam.
Rows of computer cards and the rhythmic whirring of fans needed to stop them from overheating offer a glimpse into the billion-dollar hi-tech “mining” business behind bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency now trading at the equivalent of four ounces of gold.
Chinese authorities have labelled bitcoin a commodity rather than a currency – but unlike coal or copper – mining in the digital world is open to anyone with an internet connection and the suitable hardware. By solving the complex computational problems that underpin transactions, the computers generate rewards in the form of new bitcoin.
However, the jury is still out on the broader future of cryptocurrencies, with critics like Dimon on the one side versus ardent supporters like Chinese bitcoin miner Akria Cui on the other.
During the time the cryptocurrency rocketed from just US$10 ($14.7) in 2012 to more than US$7,800 on Friday, China has emerged as the undisputed leader in bitcoin mining, something that was originally conceived as a game among cryptography enthusiasts.
China is home to four of the five largest bitcoin mining operations, controlling roughly 70 per cent of the computational power, according to research by the Centre for Alternative Finance at the University of Cambridge.
However, bitcoin’s very nature of decentralisation and anonymous trading has attracted intense scrutiny from the ruling Chinese Communist Party that is used to controlling most aspects of society.
Beijing’s ban on domestic exchanges conducting transactions between renminbi and digital assets came into effect last month, and followed an earlier ban on all digital coin offerings, 90 per cent of which were fraudulent according to the People’s Bank of China.
Despite the crackdown, there is wiggle room for individuals to own bitcoin and for miners to continue their business. But the uncertainty is enough to prompt cryptocurrency supporters like Cui, 43, to take precautions and even prepare for the possibility of moving operations overseas.
“Many of us have already paid visit to Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Russia and the US, negotiating electricity prices with local authorities and buying sites for future use,” Cui told the South China Morning Post as he puffed on an e-cigarette in his office in Beijing.
“The business blueprint is bound to go overseas, even if there’s only a 1 per cent possibility that China’s crackdown against bitcoin would extend to mining.”
No one brags about it because it’s best to make a fortune in silence.
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The Post approached four mining companies for this article, but Cui was the only one willing to speak, though he declined to reveal the name of his company.
Three others declined interviews, citing fears over the regulatory uncertainty and scrutiny into the deals they strike with local power utilities. Bribery is common in the industry, especially in thermal power, which can “hide” its output before it is transferred onto the national power network.
“No one brags about it because it’s best to make a fortune in silence,” Cui said.
In remote parts of China, the cost of thermal power can be as low as 0.27 yuan per kilowatt hour, while hydropower varies from 0.15 yuan to 0.25 yuan per kilowatt hour depending on the season and the particular deal.
Still, the daily electricity cost to run 10,000 machines is more than 100,000 yuan ($22,142) and if the computers don’t generate enough bitcoin to cover the power bill, smaller players are forced to sell their machines and declare a “mining accident”.
A native of Beijing, Cui started mining bitcoin in 2013 after selling his broadband internet business to a listed firm for 30 million yuan. He initially invested 5 to 6 million yuan, and over the years has expanded to 100,000 mining machines, although he claims 90 per cent belong to friends and clients who entrust him with the maintenance.
“It’s very noisy to store them at your own place. Instead, clients can choose between delivery or keeping them at my factory for a fee and access remotely via pass codes,” he explained.
The former engineer also assembles the computers and sells them to third parties, a business that has a profit margin of 50 per cent due to the special connections needed to obtain high volumes of computer graphics cards from manufacturers who prefer gaming clients over bitcoin miners.
While declining to disclose profit margins on bitcoin mining itself, Cui said the opportunity cost for each machine – or what he could earn from them otherwise – is roughly 100 yuan per day, so that is why it is crucial to have a reliable source of electricity to avoid the financial loss from having thousands of machines down without power.
With regulatory uncertainty at home and a stable source of electricity so critical, China’s bitcoin miners are looking beyond the country’s borders.
“We are in discussion with partners in Los Angeles, and have also visited Russia and Vietnam for potential sites,” Cui said.
“If the regulators move to outlaw mining, it will only take us about three months to resume operations overseas. Money spent in buying land is a relatively small amount compared to the whole business,” he said.
Nevertheless, the staunch supporter of bitcoin is in favour of moves by regulators to shut down exchanges that trade in the cryptocurrency.
“It’s abnormal to have exchanges globally, as any centralised institution goes against the cryptocurrency’s very nature,” he said, noting that traders are increasingly dependent on the exchanges, whereas before they would exchange between themselves.
Cui is also worried about China’s growing influence over bitcoin, saying that it has contributed to the sharp price swings in recent years.
“It is important for bitcoin to [reduce its dependence on] China so it can become stronger, as was already proven in its latest price surge.”
– South China Morning Post
We all know the dreaded feeling of digging into a box of chocolates to find nothing but unwanted Cherry Ripes and empty wrappers.
But Cadbury may well have solved our woes once and for all by axing the loathed bar from its Roses boxed chocolates just in time for Christmas.
The Cherry Ripe, called Cherry Heaven in Roses boxes, has been replaced with Dark Mocha and Salted Caramel.
Dark Mocha was described on Roses Boxes as a “rich espresso flavoured fudge topped with Old Gold dark chocolate”.
Cadbury owner Mondelez International said the change was made in May.
“We regularly review the flavours available in a box of Roses to ensure we reflect the changing taste preferences of our consumers,” said James Kane, country head of Mondelez New Zealand.
“When we add new pieces we need to make way by removing something, and with Cherry Ripe still available in the full size bar and large box of Cadbury Favourites, we’re confident fans will still be able to enjoy the signature cherry and coconut hit.
“We promoted the new Dark Mocha and Salted Caramel pieces back in May and these are flavours that we know reflect the current taste preferences of consumers.”
Cherry Ripe caused a stir last year when a woman complained on social media of a disproportionate number of the Australian chocolates in her son’s Favourites Easter Egg.
Shelley Down, from Paraparaumu, posted an image of the offending package and questioned the company on their chocolate selection process.
“Was super excited to watch my son open his Favourites Easter Egg but had a bit of a WTF moment when we realised there were 7 Cherry Ripes and 1 Dairy Milk [sic],” she said.
“I know Cherry Ripes get a bit of a tough time and you still need to force them upon us but the ratio seems a bit drastic. Did you have a newbie working on the distribution line that day because surely this ain’t right?!”
The post attracted over 3700 reactions and 412 comments – including from a number of other people with the same issue, which one person referred to as the “curse of the Cherry Ripe”.
In response to her post on their Facebook page, Cadbury said the high number of Cherry Ripes in the Favourites Easter Egg was unintentional.
“Thanks for your feedback. Whilst the process of the pieces going into the packet is randomised, it is not intentional that you would get that much of one particular product.”
A spokeswoman for Cadbury told the Herald: “While variation in the numbers of Cadbury mini bars in each pack is possible due to the random selection process, it is very unusual to have a majority of one bar.
“We encourage any customers who have a concern to contact us directly and we will investigate the matter further.”
Northern Region Football Association (NRFA) has said there will be a top goal scorer in the Simama League this season.
In the 2016 season, NRFA failed to identify a golden boot winner since referees were not submitting reports in the second round of the season.
NRFA General Secretary Masiya Nyasulu told Malawi24 this week that something similar will not happen this season since they are relying on reports that referees are submitting.
He added that the league is not using statistics from team officials who usually cheat.
“Referees match report is the only solution that we are using to have a real top goal scorer this season, it is different with past seasons whereby teams gave goals to one player even though he did not score or sometimes not feature in the game,” he said.
“This time around there is no such cheating and the one to win a golden boot award will be the one who scored more goals than everyone,” said Nyasulu.
Nyasulu also told Malawi24 that they are working hard to make sure that the league should end on December 17th.
According to Nyasulu, the competition committee will soon resolve issues such as abandoned games.
He also expressed excitement with the competitiveness of the league as three teams are fighting for promotion.
“This time around you cannot predict which team is to win the league as all three top teams namely Karonga, Chilumba, and Bolero are fighting neck to neck with a small margin of points, that’s what we want because it helps the team to be strong once promoted into the elite league of Malawi,” he said.
The K4 million Simama Northern Region Football League has 16 teams and it kicked off on 22 April.
Hawaiian Airlines said Thursday that longtime CEO Mark Dunkerley will retire in March and be replaced by the airline’s chief commercial officer, Peter Ingram.
Ingram, 51, joined Hawaiian as chief financial officer in December 2005, six months after the airline emerged from bankruptcy reorganisation. Since 2011, he has overseen marketing and sales, network planning and other functions.
Among Ingram’s challenges will be new competition. Southwest Airlines, the biggest domestic carrier, plans to begin flying from the US mainland to Hawaii in late 2018 or early 2019, and it is considering adding flights between islands, a market dominated by Hawaiian.
Dunkerley, 54, joined Hawaiian in late 2002 and has been CEO since 2005 – among the longest-tenured CEOs in the airline industry. He had been an executive at British Airways and an aviation consultant before that.
When Dunkerley arrived, Hawaiian depended almost entirely on traffic from the US mainland and among Hawaii’s islands.
As CEO, he tried to grab a bigger share of Asian tourists to Hawaii by adding flights from new destinations in Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. International travel now accounts for about one-fourth of the airline’s revenue.
Like other airlines, Hawaiian has benefited recently from strong demand for travel and relatively lower fuel prices. After losing money as recently as 2011, Hawaiian’s net income has risen each of the last three years. It was US$235 million ($342m) in 2016, and analysts expect close to US$300m ($437m) this year, according to a FactSet survey.
Hawaiian’s stock price increased six-fold from the beginning of 2014 through 2016. But it has been one of the worst airline stocks this year, with shares falling 32 per cent so far in 2017.
Shares of Hawaiian Holdings Inc. had a banner day Thursday, however, leading a broad rally in airline stocks by jumping $1.77, or 4.8 per cent, to close at $38.85. That was before the news of Dunkerley’s retirement. They were up 5 cents more in late trading.