December 16, 2016
India Minister updates Parliament on Universities in the Country
Photo: A Section of Parliament House, New Delhi. Image Credit: Ankur Gallery.
New Delhi, India - December 15, 2016 — India Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, today, in separate written statements, gave the following information to Rajya Sabha (upper house) about universities in the country.
• “As per All India Survey on Higher Education 2015-16, the number of universities in the country is 799, and out of them 386 Universities came into existence since 2001. The number of students and teachers in the institutions of higher education in the country during academic year 2015-16 are 3.46 Crore (one crore= ten million) and 15.19 Lakh (one lakh= one hundred thousand) respectively.”
• “The University Grants Commission (UGC),” the Minister explained, “is responsible for promotion and co-ordination of University Education, determination and maintenance of standards of teaching, examination, and research in Universities. To ensure adequate quality teaching faculties in Universities/Colleges, the UGC has notified rules and procedures containing Academic Performance Indicators (APIs). API scores are mandatory qualifying benchmarks for Career Advancement Scheme and for direct recruitment of teachers and other academic staff in Universities and Colleges.”
• The Minister gave the following information on Central Universities.
“Central Universities,” the Minister stated “are statutory autonomous bodies which are established under their respective Acts of Parliament. Subordinate legislation in respect of Central Universities includes Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations framed under the respective Acts by the Universities from time to time.”
“Along with the Act, the First Statutes of the Central Universities are passed by the Parliament. The Central Universities can amend, add or repeal any Statute with the approval of the Visitor. Ordinances and Regulations are also made by the Universities which should be consistent with the Act and Statutes of the university concerned,” the Minister explained.
The Minister said that at present there are 41 Central Universities in the country.
“In a meeting held with the Vice Chancellors of Central Universities,” the Minister elaborated, “the issues relating to improvement of quality of education, promoting research and innovation, faculty development, collaboration with the industry and research laboratories, effective use of technology in teaching learning process, and mandatory accreditation were discussed at length.”
The Minister elucidated that the University Grants Commission (UGC) has introduced the following schemes/regulations/guidelines/programmes for the improvement of quality and standards in the Central Universities:
- Mandatory accreditation of Universities with National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).
- Periodic updation of curriculum.
- Prescription of minimum qualification for appointment of teachers and other academic staff.
- Establishment of Internal Quality Assurance Cell.
- Introduction of Semester System.
- Introduction of choice-based credit system.
- Introduction of Faculty Recharge programme to augment research and teaching resources.
- Liberal financial support under the schemes of University with Potential for Excellence.
• Cashless Society - Digital Financial Literacy Campaign
Photo: The Union Minister for Human Resource Development of India, Mr. Prakash Javadekar, launching the Digital Financial Literacy Campaign, called Vittiya Saksharta Abhiyan - VISAKA, at a press conference, in New Delhi, on December 15, 2016. Image provided by the Press Information Bureau, Government of India.
Meanwhile, the Union Minister for Human Resource Development of India, Mr. Prakash Javadekar, today launched Digital Financial Literacy Campaign at a Press Conference in New Delhi. Mr. Javadekar said that about 25,00,000 students of higher educational institutions are expected to volunteer to be associated with the campaign.
Mentioning this campaign as biggest digital transformation of country after Independence, Minister said that Government officers, Bankers and administrators will be roped in to impart training to students. Students, in turn, will educate their family members and other families in their neighbourhood, motivating them to go in for digital payment.
December 13, 2016
Mastercard and Pine Labs Collaborate on Safe, Secure and Speedy Contactless Payments in India
Photo: Transport for London: Commuter paying with a MasterCard contactless card. Touching a reader using a MasterCard contactless card as a safe, simple and smart way to pay. Image provided by & copyright © MasterCard News.
New Delhi, India - Mastercard has announced its partnership with Pine Labs, the largest payment facilitator for electronic Point of Sale (PoS) solutions in India to roll out more than 26,000 contactless terminals across the key merchant stores in the country over the next 12 months.
Powered by Mastercard contactless technology, the merchants across Quick Service Restaurants (QSR), retail stores, cinemas and super markets will now be able to offer contactless terminals as an alternative method of payment to customers, allowing them greater ease and convenience of payments. The contactless payments solution will also help merchants build greater efficiency in managing their costs and time by way of reducing check-out time at the counters and costs related to handling of cash.
Cashless transactions are on the rise, driven by increasing availability of contactless cards and introduction of new forms of payment technology in the country.
“Mastercard’s contactless technology offers cardholders multi-level protection coupled with speed and convenience. Mastercard contactless payments are accepted at more than 3 million merchant locations in 77 countries worldwide. Our partnership with Pine Labs will help us build a safe and secure contactless payments ecosystem in the country. This is aligned with Mastercard’s vision of a world beyond cash and using technology to make payments safer, simpler and smarter for the consumers.” said Murali Nair, Senior Vice President, Market Development, South Asia, Mastercard.
Mastercard has been at the forefront of driving contactless payments globally. Contactless payments allow customers to make everyday purchases by simply tapping their contactless-enabled card or device on a contactless-enabled reader. Contactless acceptance is an excellent choice for any merchant, especially in environments where speed and convenience are valued and cash is currently the dominant payment method, such as fast food outlets, supermarkets, quick-service restaurants, convenience stores, and vending machines.
More than 60,000 Retailers across India depend on Pine Labs to securely and reliably manage their Payment Acceptance. Pine Labs payment solutions simplify acceptance of all kinds of payments at PoS terminals, be it Credit/Debit Cards, EMI, Reward Points, Gift Vouchers, or e-Wallet.
August 8, 2016
Mastercard Updates its Iconic Logo and Brand Identity
Photo: Attendees visit the MasterCard stand during the first day of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, Feb. 22, 2016. (Carlos Alonso/AP Images for MasterCard). Image provided by & copyright © Mastercard News.
Photo: New MasterCard Logo. Mastercard is introducing an evolution of its brand identity - simplified, modernized and optimized for an increasingly digital world. Image provided by & copyright © Mastercard News.
Purchase, NY — Mastercard, one of the world’s most recognizable brands, unveiled the evolution of its brand identity, including a modernized and simplified update to its iconic red and yellow logo and new look and feel for branded communications and experiences. It was announced today.
“MasterCard is one of those unique brands that is instantly recognizable around the world,” said Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer. “To thrive in this new digital world where business moves faster than ever, we want to modernize and elevate the brand in a design that is simple and elegant, yet unquestionably Mastercard.”
“We’ve been on a fantastic trajectory, with digital technology being an increasingly important part of our business,” Rajamannar added, “Now it’s time for our brand to embody the company we’ve become.”
Designing a brand mark to work seamlessly across all digital platforms, retail channels and connected-devices, while preserving its heritage was key to the overall effort, which also includes the most comprehensive brand design system ever introduced globally within Mastercard.
The evolved brand identity will be rolled out to all Mastercard products, communications, and experiences, starting with Masterpass later this month, and across Mastercard beginning in the fall.
April 8, 2016
New York Times International Luxury Conference explores Current Trends in the Luxury Industry
Photo: Signage at The New York Times International Luxury Conference on April 5, 2016 in Versailles, France. (Photo © Dominique Charriau/Getty Images for The New York Times International Luxury Conference).
Photo: President of The New York Times Company, Stephen Dunbar-Johnson, speaks on stage during the Welcome Remarks at The New York Times International Luxury Conference on April 5, 2016 in Versailles, France. (Photo © Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images for The New York Times International Luxury Conference).
Photo: Eric Liedtke, Executive Board Member, Global Brands, Adidas Group, speaks during the Strategic Sustainability conference at The New York Times International Luxury Conference on April 5, 2016 in Versailles, France. (Photo © Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images for The New York Times International Luxury Conference).
Photo: Dasha Zhukova, Founder of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, attends the “Stepping into the Culture Gap” conference at The New York Times International Luxury Conference on April 5, 2016 in Versailles, France. (Photo © Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images for The New York Times International Luxury Conference).
Photo: Director of Dance at The Paris Opera, Benjamin Millepied, attends The New York Times International Luxury Conference on April 6, 2016 in Versailles, France. (Photo © Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images for The New York Times International Luxury Conference).
Photo: Matt Jacobson, Head of Market Development, Facebook and Instagram, attends The New York Times International Luxury Conference on April 6, 2016 in Versailles, France. (Photo © Dominique Charriau/Getty Images for the The New York Times International Luxury Conference).
Innovators and leaders from across the luxury industry and beyond joined New York Times fashion director Vanessa Friedman and NYT journalists at The New York Times International Luxury Conference in Versailles, France on April 5-6, 2016.
Entitled “Luxury Beyond Product”, the fifteenth edition of this invitation-only event explored the dramatic ways the luxury industry is changing in its quest for the hearts and minds of consumers around the world.
November 10, 2015
MasterCard Launches New Program that can Turn any Consumer Gadget, Accessory or Wearable into a Payment Device
Photo: MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence Asia Pacific Region 2014. Image provided by & Copyright © MasterCard News.
Photos: Commerce for Every Device: Car Key Fob, Ring, Wristband. Images provided by & Copyright © MasterCard News.
Photo: MasterCard partners with designer Adam Selman to design the next generation of payment wearables. In this picture, the payment-enabled dress and accessories are being modeled by Kelly Rohrbach on October 25, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Image provided by & Copyright © MasterCard News.
MasterCard is introducing a new program that will bring MasterCard payments to a wide array of consumer products across the automotive, fashion, technology, wearables, and yet to be imagined categories.
• The program gives consumers the freedom to shop using the device or thing that is most convenient to them, with the highest level of security available.
The program will launch with the support of several eminent partners across multiple verticals to fit every lifestyle need. Designer to the stars Adam Selman, automaker General Motors, wearable technology innovator Nymi, smart jewelry company Ringly, and Bluetooth locator TrackR are among the prominent consumer brands enabling their products through the program.
Exclusive designs from Adam Selman and prototypes from GM (car key fob), Nymi (wristband) and Ringly (ring), were on display at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas last month.
The Internet of Things (IoT) - the hyper-connected world where every device from the phone to the washing machine will be connected to the Internet - is transforming the way consumers interact and transact. According to Cisco, there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020. MasterCard is establishing the program as the foundation to enable payments for IoT.
“As more and more ‘things’ become connected, consumers will have endless possibilities when it comes to how they pay, and will need all of their devices to work seamlessly together,” said Ed McLaughlin, Chief Emerging Payments Officer at MasterCard. “This program eliminates the boundaries of how we pay by delivering a secure digital payment experience to virtually anything - rings, fitness and smart bands, car key fobs, apparel, and whatever comes along next.”
The launch of the program puts in place a standard for expanding secure contactless and embedded payment options globally. Products will begin rolling out in 2016 in the U.S., with plans to expand to other markets.
November 30, 2011
MasterCard and Western Union Partner to Fuel Growth of Electronic Payments
Photos: MasterCard and the Western Union Company enter an agreement to offer consumers more choice and access to safe and convenient global financial services. Ajay Banga, President and Chief Executive Officer of MasterCard, left and Hikmet Ersek, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western Union meet at Western Union’s headquarters in New York City, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011. (Feature Photo Service).
• MasterCard and The Western Union Company today announced a global agreement that will make electronic payments, including prepaid cards and money transfers, more efficient and convenient for consumers around the world.
Today, an estimated 2.5 billion adults worldwide are financially underserved, and within the United States, more than a quarter of the adult population is excluded from the financial mainstream. Prepaid cards and money transfers are helping build bridges to provide consumers with reliable, convenient and affordable forms of financial services.
MasterCard and Western Union have been working together to provide prepaid card services for the past year. The expanded global relationship makes MasterCard the preferred brand for Western Union-sponsored prepaid programs around the world and makes Western Union the preferred money transfer service for MasterCard. Consumers will have access to a global network to transfer and load funds onto prepaid cards. Western Union and MasterCard prepaid cardholders will be able to reload their prepaid cards at MasterCard rePower locations as well as at participating Western Union(R) Agent locations.
Western Union and MasterCard are simplifying the transfer of money for consumers by making their electronic payment networks interoperable. Consumers using Western Union for money transfer services will be able to arrange for a money transfer to go directly to an eligible MasterCard. Senders will be able to pay for money transfers using a card or account backed by the MasterCard brand and move funds through a participating Western Union Agent location.
Hikmet Ersek, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western Union said, “This agreement sets the stage to globalize prepaid services. We’re opening up more options for consumers around the world by combining Western Union’s global network of money movement solutions with MasterCard’s world class global electronic payments network.”
“The primary focus of our global partnership is to enable greater financial inclusion for consumers and provide additional electronic payment options that create efficiencies in their daily lives,” said MasterCard President and Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga. “We look forward to all of the benefits that our partnership will bring to consumers around the world.”
MasterCard is a global payments and technology company. While The Western Union Company is a leader in global payment services.
August 6, 2011
Standard & Poor's lowers long-term sovereign credit rating on the United States of America
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said today that it lowered its long-term sovereign credit rating on the United States of America to ‘AA+’ from ‘AAA’. Standard & Poor’s also said that the outlook on the long-term rating is negative. At the same time, Standard & Poor’s affirmed its ‘A-1+’ short-term rating on the U.S. In addition, Standard & Poor’s removed both ratings from CreditWatch, where they were placed on July 14, 2011, with negative implications.
“We lowered our long-term rating on the U.S. because we believe that the prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy debate indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues is less likely than we previously assumed and will remain a contentious and fitful process. We also believe that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration agreed to this week falls short of the amount that we believe is necessary to stabilize the general government debt burden by the middle of the decade,” Standard & Poor’s said in a statement.
“The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy.”
“Our opinion is that elected officials remain wary of tackling the structural issues required to effectively address the rising U.S. public debt burden in a manner consistent with a ‘AAA’ rating and with ‘AAA’ rated sovereign peers (Canada, France, Germany, and the U.K.).”
“The outlook on the long-term rating is negative. We could lower the long-term rating to ‘AA’ within the next two years,” the statement noted.
“As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is, to use it as sparingly as possible; avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts, which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen, which we ourselves ought to bear.”
— GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address, September 17, 1796.
July 20, 2011
A meeting of the High-level Segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), with focus on education, took place in Geneva.
Photo: Participants at the ECOSOC High-Level Segment. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferre.
Photo: Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly, delivers his statement during the meeting of senior United Nations officials with local Pupils in the context of the 2011 ECOSOC High-Level Segment. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferre.
Photo: A member of delegation of Qatar at the ECOSOC High-Level Segment. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferre.
Photo: Nafisa Shah, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, addresses the ECOSOC High-Level Segment. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferre.
Photo: Esther Duflo, Professor or Poverty Alleviation and Development, Massachussetts Institute of Technology, during the ECOSOC High-Level Segment. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferre.
Photo: Otaviano Canuto dos Santos Fihlo, Vice-President, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, World Bank, during the ECOSOC High-Level Segment. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferre.
ECOSOC was established under the United Nations Charter as the principal organ to coordinate economic, social, and related work of the 14 UN specialized agencies, functional commissions and five regional commissions. The Council also receives reports from 11 UN funds and programmes.
• The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to Member States and the United Nations system.
ECOSOC is responsible for:
• Promoting higher standards of living, full employment, and economic and social progress;
• Identifying solutions to international economic, social and health problems;
• Facilitating international cultural and educational cooperation; and
• Encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
It has the power to make or initiate studies and reports on these issues. It also has the power to assist the preparations and organization of major international conferences in the economic and social and related fields and to facilitate a coordinated follow-up to these conferences. With its broad mandate the Council’s purview extends to over 70 per cent of the human and financial resources of the entire UN system.
Mobius Says Another Financial Crisis ‘Around The Corner’
May 30, 2011 — Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Asset Management’s emerging markets group, said another financial crisis is inevitable because the causes of the previous one haven’t been resolved.
“There is definitely going to be another financial crisis around the corner because we haven’t solved any of the things that caused the previous crisis,” Mobius said at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo today in response to a question about price swings. “Are the derivatives regulated? No. Are you still getting growth in derivatives? Yes.”
The total value of derivatives in the world exceeds total global gross domestic product by a factor of 10, said Mobius, who oversees more than $50 billion. With that volume of bets in different directions, volatility and equity market crises will occur, he said.
The global financial crisis three years ago was caused in part by the proliferation of derivative products tied to U.S. home loans that ceased performing, triggering hundreds of billions of dollars in write-downs and leading to the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September 2008.
The freezing of global credit markets caused governments from Washington to Beijing to London to pump more than $3 trillion into the financial system to shore up the global economy.
June 16, 2011
IBM Executives Ring The Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange
Photo: June 16, 2011 — IBM Chairman and CEO Samuel Palmisano (center) and IBM executives ring The Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange in celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary. To commemorate its centennial, more than 300,000 IBM employees around the globe are volunteering over 2.5 million hours of service in their local communities, helping with civic challenges and societal needs in the 170 countries the company does business. Earlier, IBM Chairman Palmisano underscored how IBM’s history of innovative thinking has impacted the world and society, telling IBMers that the power of their ideas will continue to drive progress. (Feature Photo Service for IBM)
November 16, 2010
GM Chevrolet Volt is Motor Trend 2011 Car of the Year
Photo: The Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range capabilities drives through Times Square in New York as part of the Volt Unplugged Tour Sunday, November 7, 2010. (Photo by Emile Wamsteker for Chevrolet).
GM Chevrolet Volt was today named the 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine, one of the world's premier automotive authorities.
"Chevrolet is truly honored to receive one of the world's most coveted automotive awards," said Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman for Global Product Operations. "The Volt team has worked under extraordinary circumstances to produce this breakthrough vehicle."
Photo: A newly installed Chevrolet Volt charging station on the front steps of the GM Global Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan Tuesday, October 12, 2010. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors).
Photo: The Chevrolet Volt Customer Advisory Board members pose with the Volt at the General Motors Milford Proving Ground were they had the opportunity to drive the electric vehicle with extended range capabilities on a closed course Tuesday, September 28, 2010 in Milford, Michigan. Chevrolet selected 15 advanced technology enthusiasts and electric vehicle advocates as the first consumers to experience the Volt every day under real-world conditions during a three-month vehicle and charging evaluation program starting in late October. Advisory board members pictured include (l to r): Eric Rotbard, Brian Wynne, Colin Summers, Lyle Dennis, Robert Becker, Chelsea Sexton, Kris Trexler, Tom Kuhn and Mark Swain. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for Chevrolet).
As the world's first electric vehicle with extended range capability, the Chevrolet Volt has a total driving range of about 350 miles. For the first 25 to 50 miles, the Volt drives gas- and tailpipe-emissions-free using electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt's battery runs low, a gas powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range more than 300 miles on a full tank.
"We expected a science experiment, but this is a moon shot," Motor Trend editors wrote for the January 2011 issue. "The Volt delivers on the promise of the vehicle concept as originally outlined by GM, combining the smooth, silent, efficient, low-emissions capability of an electric motor with the range and flexibility of an internal combustion engine. It is a fully functional, no-compromise compact automobile that offers consumers real benefits in terms of lower running costs."
The full report from Motor Trend would appear in the January 2011 issue of the magazine.
"Timely publicity of this Motor Trend 2011 Car of the Year award would sharply augment investor confidence in GM."
© GlobalGiants.Com. All Rights Reserved.
October 28, 2010
Growing Global Imbalances Threaten a Sustainable Recovery, says Deloitte Research
Failure to adjust to new realities will only perpetuate uncertainty and volatility, the report warns.
In the fourth quarter issue of the Global Economic Outlook, Deloitte Research economists examine the current economic environment and, in particular, the varied pace of growth and global imbalances impacting nine of the world's major markets: the United States, Eurozone, China, India, Japan, United Kingdom, Russia, Brazil, and Australia.
"The global economy is imbalanced," says Ira Kalish, Director of Global Economics, Deloitte Research, part of Deloitte Services LP in the United States. "The money is flowing out of developed countries that have been supporting unusually low interest rates for some time into higher interest rate emerging countries. At the same time, rapid growth in emerging markets is creating new inflationary pressures. Many governments are intervening in their currency markets to improve export competitiveness, further exacerbating inflation.
"Additionally, countries that have traditionally relied on exports -- China, Japan, Germany -- and need to move toward domestic-led growth continue to depend heavily on exports. Meanwhile, countries that have relied heavily on consumer spending (the U.S. and UK), and need to export more face competitive devaluations in their target export markets. Even though the adjustments needed to address these new realities will involve short-term pain, the failure to do so will only delay the day of reckoning."
Highlights of the Q4 issue include:
• The United States is currently experiencing an epidemic of thrift as banks, non-financial corporations, and households hoard cash. Expanding the money supply and sparking inflation can result in stronger spending. While embracing higher inflation is a high risk strategy, it's also the path of least resistance out of the post-credit crisis liquidity trap that is currently inhibiting growth.
• The economic imbalances in the Eurozone continue. Strong export-driven growth in Germany and France is spilling over to the domestic sector, but fringe countries are still struggling as a result of financial market stress. The imminent move toward tighter regulation and stricter controls will be painful in the short run, but is ultimately likely to help the Eurozone to become a truly integrated economic region.
• The Chinese economy appears headed for a soft landing, as opposed to a full blown deceleration, which is good news -- both for China's trade partners and China. Yet, China's shifting demographics -- starting in 2011, the number of dependents (mainly retirees) will rise faster than the number of workers, reversing the trend of the past two decades when the ratio of dependents to workers has been declining -- is likely to lead to slower future growth.
• The outlook on the Indian economy is generally positive. A good harvest season is expected to help feed the substantial appetite for consumption in the domestic sector. But policymakers will have to address the appreciating rupee and rising inflation.
• The Japanese economy remains weak due to stagnant consumer spending and decelerating business investment amidst a small surge in imports. Moreover, the current political turmoil in the country is not conducive to economic success. Reviving consumer and business confidence will be keys to Japan's success.
• In the United Kingdom a surprisingly strong recovery will likely be followed by a slowdown in growth. As the United Kingdom rebalances the economy toward industrial production, exports and capital spending, consumers and government will likely play less of a role as drivers of growth.
• Policy-makers in Russia are facing significant disparities. They must balance concerns about growth and currency values with worries about potential inflation. They must also weigh the desire to invest in new infrastructure with aspirations to limit government debt. Longer term, the possibility of joining the World Trade Organization could help Russia diversify away from an excessive dependence on commodities.
• Brazil's economy is rapidly growing. Cooling down the economy may not be an easy task. The country's next president will have to safeguard against hyper-inflation and a rising currency.
• In Australia, the growth that was punted by government funding and healthy export volumes may not carry forward to future quarters. A slowdown in global economic conditions hint at some deceleration ahead.
An Official World Stock Markets Watchdog that, without any interference, identifies and monitors those stocks, stock exchanges, and stock indexes, whose activities produce worldwide repercussions.
It would help the governments and the regulators in formulating their relevant policies and in preventing another financial catastrophe."
© GlobalGiants.Com. All Rights Reserved.
Additional Comment: The United Nations along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose one of the functions is to secure global financial stability, ought to take the initiative towards the establishment of such an official watchdog.
October 23, 2010
Overthrow Traditional Admissions Culture, says College Enrollment Expert
• New Book Offers Colleges a Way to Succeed in Today's Difficult Recruiting Environment.
• Higher education marketer Brian Niles has published a sobering look at the challenges faced by enrollment officers and a set of solutions rooted in the overthrow of traditional admissions culture.
Success in today's changing world of student admissions means thinking and acting differently than ever before. It means overthrowing the "dead culture" that persists in most admissions offices, says TargetX CEO Brian Niles.
Feeling strongly about the need for dramatic change, he has written a book that offers a roadmap for revolutionizing higher education recruiting and marketing.
In "Overthrowing Dead Culture: A Vision to Change the World of College Recruiting," the former admissions director tells the story of how combining business basics with innovation can lead to success -- and help the college admissions culture break from the past.
Brian Niles, a leading U.S. authority on interactive recruiting in higher education, decided it was time to write the book once he realized that schools were continuing to market themselves to students and families the same way they have for decades, despite the sea change that has taken place in college admissions communications.
A popular speaker in higher education, Niles was a college recruiter and marketer before starting his own company in 1998. "At TargetX, we have spent the last 12 years helping colleges think and act differently," he says, "and this book is the natural outgrowth of that effort."
The book includes a collection of practical exercises at the end of each chapter designed to help admissions offices think about who they are, what makes them distinctive and how they can use the latest tools and techniques to attract, admit and retain best-fit students.
According to the book, a NACAC (National Association for College Admissions Counseling) study demonstrates that recent demographic and economic trends have created a buyer's market for students in lieu of the seller's market that colleges have enjoyed for decades.
"But it's not just economics. In a major way, technology and communications have bypassed the way that colleges have reached out to potential students," explains the book. "In the days when glossy marketing packages arrived in their parents' mailboxes, it was colleges that called the shots; it was admissions offices that dictated how schools and students would communicate; and it was admissions offices that led students and families around by the nose, directing how applications would be handled, how finances would be covered, and how marketing campaigns would be delivered. But the Internet changed all that. As websites proliferated and technology went mobile in the form of cell phones and laptop computers with WiFi access, gradually it was the students who started setting the terms."
"Consider Digital Equipment Corp., the industry leader in mid-range computers in the early 1990s," the book points out. "The company isn't around today for one good reason--it didn't foresee the ascent of the personal computer. 'There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home,' said Ken Olson, president, chairman, and founder of Digital in 1977."
• "There's a price to pay when you resist change," the book warns. "And it's a big one for college leaders who preside over archaic admissions cultures that don't connect with twenty-first century students and families." "Make no mistake, these are the lean times, not only for American families but for colleges and universities, too. Public universities have their own financial problems. The amount of public funding such schools receive from their respective states is in decline."
"Hundreds of universities across the U.S. have put building projects on hold, closed classes, fired staff, frozen salaries and scaled back benefits," the book quotes a source. "Harvard, for example, eliminated 275 jobs this year in addition to halting construction in Allston. Yale reduced staff salaries and other non-personnel costs by 12.5 percent and froze several hundred job vacancies. Princeton, which chose to skip a transfer of funds from its endowment to its operating budget last spring, convinced 145 staff members to take early retirement as part of a two-year, $170 million (13 percent) budget cut and is now facing further staff reductions. Stanford has laid off 412 staff members, and 60 more people will lose their jobs by the end of the year."
• The book informs that due to the huge endowment losses suffered by colleges and universities, and the subsequent decline in donations from alumni, who were also adversely impacted by the global recession, schools were forced to do the unthinkable -- issue bonds to raise much-needed cash.
"Harvard was first, floating $1.5 billion in taxable bonds last December, joined early this year by Princeton and Stanford, which each issued $1 billion in bonds," the book quotes 'Institutional Investor'. "By the time most students had gone home for summer break, Brown University, the University of Chicago, Cornell University, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University and Vanderbilt University had followed suit, issuing anywhere from $100 million to $500 million in bonds."
• According to the book, there is no doubt that colleges are caught between two eras. Behind them are decades of traditions and tenets that have historically served colleges well in their search for new students to share the unique experience that each campus offers. In front of them is the second decade of the twenty-first century, which poses challenges in the form of a troubled economy and new modes of communication that schools have failed -- or are at least reluctant -- to master.
• In conclusion, the book "Overthrowing Dead Culture" is relevant to colleges and universities facing a new age of admissions. It tells that institutions are using an outdated model that no longer works in recruiting today's prospective student and that the colleges must overthrow their own dead culture in order to thrive in a new economy and meet the needs of a new generation of students and parents.
September 12, 2010
Investment and Enterprise Responsibility Review: UNCTAD report calls for upgraded corporate social responsibility practices to protect public interest
• World Investment Forum of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has just concluded in Xiamen, China.
• Welcoming more than 1,800 participants, including 460 senior officials from 120 countries, the UNCTAD Secretary General, Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi officially opened the Forum, pointing to the distinctive status of the World Investment Forum 2010 as the key international event of the investment community involving global leaders, senior policy-makers, corporate executives, investors, investment promotion agencies, and investment experts from all over the world.
Transnational corporations (TNCs) play an ever more important role in sustainable development as conduits of capital, technology, and management know-how. Increasingly, TNCs are being called upon to address broader Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. At the same time large globally active investment institutions are becoming increasingly aware of the potential impact of a range of non-financial issues (e.g. climate change, human rights, corporate governance practices) on an investment proposition.
The World Investment Forum (WIF) is the global forum on investment and development issues organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Held biennially, the forum aims to strengthen international cooperation in the interest of promoting international investment and its contribution to economic growth and development.
WIF 2010 brings together all investment stake-holders, including governments, businesses, international organizations, investment promotion agencies (IPAs), civil society, and international investment experts and practitioners from across the world.
Organized by UNCTAD in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce of China, WIF 2010 is supported by a range of international partners and sponsors, including the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies, the International Chamber of Commerce, the United Nations Global Compact and the Principles for Responsible Investment.
• There, UNCTAD presented its "Investment and Enterprise Responsibility Review".
This Review, the first of its kind, finds that the world's largest Transnational Corporations (TNCs) and private investment institutions frequently publish information on their social and environmental polices, but that there is wide variation in how such firms and institutions adopt, implement, and report on such matters, undermining the comparability and usefulness of the information.
The study recommends that corporate reporting and investor responsibility standards be upgraded to ensure the public interest is being served.
This review of the current state of practices in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) among the world's 100 largest TNCs and Responsible Investment (RI) among the 100 largest institutional investors reveals a number of important insights:
1. Private policy at a large enough scale can have an impact similar to, or greater than, public policy. As a result, CSR has emerged as an important area of soft law self-regulation (or 'soft-regulation'). CSR can present policy makers with new options and tools for addressing key development challenges.
2. Most large TNCs now recognise the importance of CSR yet the standard of communication varies widely. There is a role for policy makers to enhance the quality of communications. Various policy options exist such as supporting the harmonization of CSR reporting, and mandating such standardized reporting through stock exchange listing requirements.
3. Responsible investment practices (efforts by investors to incorporate ESG issues into investment decisions and to engage with investee companies to encourage ESG practices) have become common features of the world's 100 largest pension funds. Regulators can work to strengthen the mechanisms through which institutional shareholders are able to influence the ESG practices of the companies in which they invest, while also encouraging investors to formally articulate their stance on ESG issues in public reports.
4. At least basic climate change related information is now reported by most large TNCs. However significant inconsistencies and inadequacies among company reports undermine the comparability and usefulness of this information. Unless reporting is produced in a consistent and comparable manner, it is difficult for policy makers, investors and other stakeholders to use it to make informed decisions. Policy makers could promote an internationally harmonized approach to the way companies explain, calculate and define climate change related emissions.
5. A number of voluntary initiatives are taking a leading role in designing and facilitating CSR and responsible investment instruments, encouraging improved corporate communication on ESG issues and creating important benchmarks, based on universally agreed principles. Policy makers can become involved in these initiatives with the aims of promoting sustainable development goals and identifying useful tools to complement government rules.
• Meanwhile, World Economic Forum has released its Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011. Switzerland tops the overall rankings. The United States falls two places to fourth position, overtaken by Sweden (2nd) and Singapore (3rd).
Photo: Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of the Board, Nestle, Switzerland; Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum; Global Agenda Council on Water Security, speaks during the session 'Rebuilding Water Management' in the Congress Centre of the Annual Meeting 2010 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 30, 2010 (© World Economic Forum/Remy Steinegger.
Photo: Yvan Allaire, Chair of the Board of Directors, Institute for Governance of Public and Private Organizations (IGOPP), Canada; Global Agenda Council on the Role of Business, speaks during the session 'Rethinking Values in the Post-Crisis World' at the Annual Meeting 2010 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 27, 2010 (© World Economic Forum/Remy Steinegger).
Photo: Queen Rania Al Abdullah, H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum; Global Agenda Council on Education Systems captured during the session 'Rebuilding Education for the 21st Century' at the congress centre at the Annual Meeting 2010 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 30, 2010. (© World Economic Forum/ Michael Wuertenberg).
According to the WEF report, in addition to the macro-economic imbalances that have been building up over time, there has been a weakening of the United States' public and private institutions, as well as lingering concerns about the state of its financial markets. The Nordic countries continue to be well positioned in the ranking, with Sweden, Finland (7th) and Denmark (9th) among the top 10, and with Norway at 14th. Sweden overtakes the US and Singapore this year to be placed 2nd overall. The United Kingdom, after falling in the rankings over recent years, moves back up by one place to 12th position.
The People's Republic of China (27th) continues to lead the way among large developing economies, improving by two more places this year, and solidifying its place among the top 30. Among the three other BRIC economies, Brazil (58th), India (51st) and Russia (63rd) remain stable. Several Asian economies perform strongly, with Japan (6th) and Hong Kong SAR (11th) also in the top 20. In Latin America, Chile (30th) is the highest ranked country, followed by Panama (53rd) Costa Rica (56th) and Brazil.
Several countries from the Middle East and North Africa region occupy the upper half of the rankings, led by Qatar (17th), Saudi Arabia (21st), Israel (24th), United Arab Emirates (25th), Tunisia (32nd), Kuwait (35th) and Bahrain (37th), with most Gulf States continuing their upward trend of recent years. In sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa (54th) and Mauritius (55th) feature in the top half of the rankings, followed by second-tier best regional performers Namibia (74th), Botswana (76th) and Rwanda (80th).
• The World Economic Forum, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
• While the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is a permanent intergovernmental body. It is the principal organ of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with trade, investment, and development issues. UNCTAD has 193 member States and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
August 26, 2010
Private Investment in Infrastructure
• How can governments meet ballooning infrastructure investment needs while still cutting costs following the economic crisis? A major part of the solution lies in increasing private sector investment to meet the funding gap, finds a World Economic Forum report released today in Geneva, Switzerland.
Photo: Eric Schmidt, Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Executive Officer, Google, USA; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2010 talks during the session 'Technology for Society' at the Annual Meeting 2010 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 29, 2010 in the Congress Centre. (© World Economic Forum. Photo by Andy Mettler.)
Photo: Ellen Kullman, Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, DuPont, USA, speaks during the session 'Rethinking How to Feed the World' in the Congress Centre at the Annual Meeting 2010 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 29, 2010. (© World Economic Forum. Photo by Remy Steinegger.)
Photo: Mark Mactas, President and Chief Operating Officer, Towers Watson, USA is captured during the session 'Rethinking Compensation Models' at the congress centre of the Annual Meeting 2010 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 27, 2010. (© World Economic Forum. Photo by Michael Wuertenberg.)
• Of the estimated US$ 3 trillion needed per annum to meet global infrastructure investment needs, only US$ 1 trillion currently comes from private sources. A third of total funding needs is in developing countries, where private infrastructure finance is less developed.
The report, Paving the Way: Maximizing the Value of Private Finance in Infrastructure, provides a common reference point for what considerations are important to private capital providers and how the public sector can develop its capacity to address them.
Written through active consultation with representatives from both the public and private sectors, the report provides a framework for policy-makers as they seek to create environments favorable to investment, develop meaningful scale for private investment markets, and prepare for the future evolution of these markets. Case studies highlight what approaches have and have not worked across different countries.
Photo: Levin Zhu, President and Chief Executive Officer, China International Capital Corporation, People's Republic of China captured during the session 'Wanted: Capital' at the congress centre at the Annual Meeting 2010 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 29, 2010. (© World Economic Forum. Photo by Michael Wuertenberg.)
Photo: Patricia A. Woertz, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), USA; Co-Chair of the Governors Meeting for Consumer Industries 2010; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2010, speaks during the session 'Rethinking How to Feed the World' in the Congress Centre at the Annual Meeting 2010 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 29, 2010. (© World Economic Forum. Photo by Remy Steinegger.)
Photo: Anand G. Mahindra, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, India, captured during the session 'Will India Meet Global Expectations?' at the Congress Centre at the Annual Meeting 2010 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 28, 2010. (© World Economic Forum. Photo by Sebastian Derungs.)
• Tony Poulter, Global Consulting Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: "Getting infrastructure investment in place quickly while also delivering value poses a challenge not only to government but to developers, investors and funders. In the current environment this challenge is bigger and more important than ever before. This report from the World Economic Forum shows that the way forward needs to involve new thinking by all parties - but that positive steps can be taken."
The market trends and key factors associated with successfully involving private finance highlighted in the report include:
• Countries that have been successful in tapping private finance markets have:
- created political, legal and economic environments conducive to investment,
- established ongoing programmes of opportunities,
- instituted contractual and regulatory frameworks to address any issues effectively and fairly,
- provided forums for stakeholders to share experiences, and
- involved the public at all stages.
• The costs and terms of commercial debt have changed significantly as a result of the economic crisis; reinvigorating the capital markets as a source of finance for infrastructure is difficult but of critical importance in the long term.
• There will be a move to more specialized infrastructure funds to provide investors with a better alignment of risk to reward. Investors will also place greater value on fund managers with experience in ongoing infrastructure asset management.
• Retail finance participation in infrastructure funds is likely to grow, but it requires a clear articulation of the value proposition and related challenges.
• Not all pension funds are the same and, while some are undoubtedly major investors in infrastructure, there are many that still regard infrastructure to be too specialized an alternative investment.
• While the heightened government financial support of infrastructure through the current financial crisis is expected to diminish, it appears likely that more countries will set up state infrastructure banks.
• Budgetary issues and increasingly constrained opportunities in the developed world may help steer more investment dollars to emerging economies (particularly BRIC countries) that have increasingly stable political, legal and economic regimes.
• Private investors care more about whether an investment is based on established practices than if it is green field. Getting private financing remains a challenge when the project is novel, untested or in a new market, but there have been successful examples of investment in more challenging projects in different markets.
Photo: Orit Gadiesh, Chairman, Bain & Company, USA; Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum captured during the session 'The Gender Agenda: Putting Parity into Practice' at the Annual Meeting 2010 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 30, 2010 in the Congress Centre. (© World Economic Forum. Photo by Sebastian Derungs.)
Photo: Melinda French Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2010, speaks during the 'Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Pledge' in the Congress Centre of the Annual Meeting 2010 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 29, 2010 . (© World Economic Forum. Photo by Sebastian Derungs.)
Photo: Doris Leuthard, (L) President of the Swiss Confederation and Federal Councillor of Economic Affairs shakes hands with the President of France Nicolas Sarkozy (R), at the congress centre prior to the 'Opening Plenary of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2010' of the Annual Meeting 2010 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 27, 2010. (© World Economic Forum. Photo by Michael Wuertenberg.)
The report is the result of a year-long collaboration between the World Economic Forum, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Industry Partners of the World Economic Forum. Guidance was provided by an Expert Committee of 24 leading practitioners from the private and public sectors and academics.
The Report Expert Committee:
• Cressida Hogg, Managing Partner, Infrastructure, 3i Group.
• Robbert Coomans, Advisor to the Board, APG Investments.
• Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Abraaj Investment Management.
• Michael Till, Partner and Co-Head, Infrastructure, Actis.
• Hela Cheikhrouhou, Division Manager, Infrastructure Finance, African Development Bank.
• Rajat M. Nag, Managing Director General, Asian Development Bank.
• Graeme Bevans, Vice-President and Head of Infrastructure, CPP Investment Board.
• Stephen Vineburg, Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure, CVC Capital Partners.
• Hazem Shawki, Managing Partner, EFG-Hermes Private Equity.
• Lennart Blecher, Senior Partner, EQT Partners.
• Pierre Coindreau, Principal Advisor, European PPP Expertise Centre.
• Bayo Ogunlesi, Chairman and Managing Partner, Global Infrastructure Partners.
• Chris Lee, Founder and Managing Partner, Highstar Capital.
• Luis Miranda, President and Chief Executive Officer, IDFC Private Equity.
• Rashad Kaldany, Vice-President, Asia, Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa, International Finance Corporation.
• Marc Lipschultz, Global Head Energy and Infrastructure, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
• Sadek Wahba, Global Head, Morgan Stanley Infrastructure.
• Samara Barend, Former Executive Director, New York State Commission on State Asset Maximization.
• Stephen Dowd, Senior Vice-President, Infrastructure, Ontario Teachers Plan Pension Board.
• Richard Abadie, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
• Tony Poulter, Global Consulting Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
• Nick Pitts-Tucker, Former General Manager, Co-Head of Corporate Banking Group and Structured Finance Department, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Ltd.
• Ryan Orr, Executive Director, Collaboratory for Research on Global Projects, Stanford University.
• Robert Dove, Managing Director, Infrastructure, The Carlyle Group.
• Polly Trottenberg, Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, US Department of Transportation.
• The Report - Paving the Way: Maximizing the Value of Private Finance. GET IT HERE.
June 30, 2010
G-8 Summit Concludes in Muskoka, Canada
Photo: G-8 leaders gather around the table at the working session at the G-8 Summit in Huntsville, Ontario. (Photo © DFAIT Canada.)
Photo: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomes Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council to the Muskoka G-8 Summit at the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario. (Photo © DFAIT Canada.)
Photo: An aide talks to United States President Barack Obama at the leaders' working session at the G-8 Summit in Huntsville, Ontario. (Photo © DFAIT Canada.)
Photo: G-8 leaders walk down a path to pose for a leaders' group photo at the G-8 Summit in Huntsville, Ontario.
From the left:
• President of the European Commission: Jose Manuel Barroso,
• President of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Italy: Silvio Berlusconi,
• President of the United States of America: Barack Obama,
• Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany: Dr. Angela Merkel,
• President of the European Council: Herman Van Rompuy,
• President of the French Republic: Nicolas Sarkozy,
• President of the Russian Federation: Dmitry Medvedev,
• Prime Minister of the United Kingdom: David Cameron,
• Prime Minister of Japan: Naoto Kan,
• Prime Minister of Canada: Stephen Harper.
(Photo © DFAIT Canada.)
Photo: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomes United States President Barack Obama to the Muskoka G-8 Summit at the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario. (Photo © DFAIT Canada.)
Photo: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama share a laugh as G-8 leaders pose for the leaders' group photo at the G-8 Summit in Huntsville, Ontario. (Photo © DFAIT Canada.)
• Canada hosted this year's G-8 summit on June 25-26 in Canada's Muskoka region.
The Group of Eight (G-8) brings together the world's major advanced economies--Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The G-8 plays a leading role in international affairs. In partnership with the global community, it has helped establish concrete responses and gather significant resources to address critical global challenges in such areas as health, education and peace and security.
• G8 Summit 2010 Accountability Report: GET IT HERE
Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Government of Canada.
June 17, 2010
Global Peace Index 2010
• World Less Peaceful in 2010.
• Violence Impacting Global Economy $7 Trillion Annually.
• New Zealand tops rankings for second consecutive year.
• 4-year trends show Middle East and Africa with most gains in peacefulness.
• South Asia sees sharpest fall in peace.
• Military spending as a % of GDP reaches its lowest point in 4 years.
The world became less peaceful for the second consecutive year, according to the just published fourth annual Global Peace Index (GPI). As the global economy continues to falter, this year's data shows an intensification of conflicts and growing instability linked to the downturn that began in 2008, with several countries seeing sharp increases in homicides, violent demonstrations and fear of crime.
The increase in violence is depriving the global economy of assets when they are needed most. A 25 percent reduction in global violence would free up $1.8 trillion USD annually -- enough to pay off Greece's debt, fund the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and meet the EU's 20-20-20 climate and energy targets.
The only study to quantify global peacefulness, the GPI is produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). This year it has expanded to rank 149 independent states. Composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators, it combines internal and external factors ranging from military expenditure to relations with neighboring countries and levels of violent crime.
• Global Peace Index (GPI) 2010: Rankings for 149 Countries
"The research carried out by the IEP based on 4 years of GPI data provides a quantifiable demonstration that improving peace can transform the global economy and unleash the wealth needed to tackle debt, fund economic expansion and create a more sustainable environment," said Steve Killelea, founder of the GPI.
Top-ranked New Zealand was one of only three countries in the top ten to improve in peacefulness in the 2010 Index. Iceland moved into the #2 spot as the country's economy stabilised after falling to #4 in last year's ranking, the improvement demonstrating the resilience of peaceful nations.
Despite the global slide, the Middle East & North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa have made the most gains since the research began in 2007. Reasons for the improvement vary, but include more political stability and a drop in military expenditure in the Middle East & North Africa and less access to weapons, a decrease in conflicts and better relations with neighboring countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Conversely, South Asia saw the greatest decrease in peacefulness, as a result of increased involvement in internal conflicts. The main countries experiencing decreases in peacefulness were India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
The US improved its 2010 score but slipped three spots down the index due to the addition of new countries and the re-rating of the number of heavy weapons.
Western Europe continues to be the most peaceful region, with the majority of the countries ranking in the top 20. All five Scandinavian nations rank in the top ten; however, Denmark dropped five spots to #7.
Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan were the least peaceful countries for the second consecutive year. Syria, Georgia, the Philippines, Russia and Cyprus were this year's biggest fallers.
• The GPI was founded by Killelea, an Australian international technology entrepreneur and philanthropist. It forms part of the Institute for Economics and Peace, a global think tank dedicated to the research and education of the relationship between economics, business and peace. An international panel of experts in the study of peace advises on the identification and weighting of indicators in the GPI, which is compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Source: Institute for Economics and Peace
"These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."
-- Proverbs of Solomon 6:16-19.
"There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going:
A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any;
A greyhound; A he-goat also;
And a king, against whom there is no rising up."
-- Proverbs of Solomon 30:29-31.
[A lion marches on and does not alter his pace or quit his path when other animals come in his way. A greyhound (fastest hunting dog) remains ready for his course and performs it with swiftness. A he-goat walks in front of the flock, as one careful about it, and attentive to its safety. And a king goes gracefully when he reigns in the hearts of his people, and commands a unanimous, victorious army (visible or invisible), whom none dare oppose.]
May 19, 2010
International Trade: The Global Enabling Trade Report 2010
• Singapore and Hong Kong are the most open economies to international trade in 2010.
• Vietnam gains 18 positions among 125 countries in The Global Enabling Trade Report 2010.
• Turkey, India and Russia drop in the rankings.
Photo: Victorial Harbour, Hong Kong.
East Asian economies - Singapore and Hong Kong SAR - continue to occupy the top two positions in the Enabling Trade Index ranking, followed by Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland, according to The Global Enabling Trade Report 2010, released today by the World Economic Forum in Geneva.
New Zealand moves by five ranks to 5th place. Norway, Canada, Luxembourg and the Netherlands complete the top-10 list. Iceland enters the ranking for the first time at 11th position, and Finland drops out of the top 10 to 12th place.
Among the large economies, Germany is the best performer at 13th, ahead of the United States, which drops by three places to 19th. China (48th) and Brazil (87th) remain stable, while Turkey (62nd), India (84th) and Russia (114th) drop in the ranking.
The results mirror the resilience against the threat of protectionism during the economic crisis. International agreements such the WTO framework and pledges by the G20 have contributed to limiting the effect of protectionist pressures on trade barriers. Despite fears of rising protectionism, the report confirms that a large majority of countries did not raise trade barriers.
"Just as trade was a key force spreading the growth slowdown internationally, so can trade be an important driver in diffusing the benefits of recovery across the globe. When individual countries enable trade, they provide benefits not only to themselves but also to other nations with which they trade. Improved market access, more efficient customs, and better infrastructure and business environments offer enhanced opportunities for both importers and exporters. Thus, granting Aid for Trade to help nations implement such measures reflects enlightened self-interest, because it enhances welfare in recipient countries and their trading partners," said Robert Z. Lawrence, Albert L. Williams Professor of Trade and Investment at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, USA. Professor Lawrence is also academic adviser and co-editor of the report.
• Published for the third year in a row and covering 125 economies worldwide, the report presents a resource for dialogue and provides a yardstick of the extent to which economies have in place the necessary attributes for enabling trade and where improvements are most needed.
Source: The World Economic Forum, Geneva, Switzerland.
May 10, 2010
"We will do anything to defend the Euro"
• If Europe wants a monetary union, it must promote an economic union.
• Europe cannot afford its social model without economic growth and increased competitiveness.
Photo: Participants captured at the World Economic Forum on Europe held in Brussels, Belgium, May 10, 2010. © World Economic Forum. Photo by Youssef Meftah.
Photo: Annette Court (Member of the group Executive Committee and Chief Executive Officer, Europe General Insurance Zurich Financial Services, Switzerland) captured at the World Economic Forum on Europe held in Brussels, Belgium, May 10, 2010. © World Economic Forum. Photo by Youssef Meftah.
Photo: José Manuel Barroso (President, European Commission, Brussels) captured at the World Economic Forum on Europe held in Brussels, Belgium, May 10, 2010. © World Economic Forum. Photo by Youssef Meftah.
• The World Economic Forum on Europe opened today (May 10, 2010) in Brussels, Belgium. Over 400 leaders from business, government, academia and civil society from over 40 countries are participating. The meeting is being held from 10 to 11 May under the theme Renewed Leadership, New Vision.
In less than 48 hours, Europe took "a historic decision" to provide an unprecedented rescue package in an effort to combat the debt crisis that has swept across Europe and threatened markets globally.
"We have stated that we will do anything to defend the euro. We completed an agreement to respond in a coordinated, fast and effective manner to any difficulties in Member States. Any attempt to weaken the stability of the euro will fail," said José Manuel Barroso, President, European Commission, Brussels, at the opening plenary of the World Economic Forum on Europe.
Photo: Francine Lacqua (Anchor and Business Reporter, Bloomberg TV, United Kingdom) captured at the World Economic Forum on Europe held in Brussels, Belgium, May 10, 2010. © World Economic Forum. Photo by Youssef Meftah.
After a meeting in Brussels lasting more than 11 hours, the Economic and Finance Council, comprising the EU's economic and finance ministers, reached an agreement in the early hours of Monday morning on a loan package of more than 720 billion euros over three years to defend the euro and to cover the needs of European Member States that, according to Barroso, are "living beyond their means". Stock markets, which fell to near three-month lows last week over rising concerns about debt contagion from Greece, rallied on Monday in response to the substantial emergency loan package from the EU and the International Monetary Fund.
Referring to the bailout package as a "consolidation pact" for the eurozone, Barroso pledged to broaden surveillance of the EU's economic imbalances, reinforce competitiveness and push for a permanent mechanism to deal with economic crises. "If there is one lesson we have learned from this crisis, it is this: if you want a monetary union, you need to promote an economic union. This means reinforced economic governance and respect of all obligations Member States have under the Stability and Growth Pact."
Photo: Chander P. Gurnani (Chief Executive Officer, Mahindra Satyam, India) captured at the World Economic Forum on Europe held in Brussels, Belgium, May 10, 2010. © World Economic Forum. Photo by Youssef Meftah.
Photo: Jeffrey Joerres (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Manpower Inc., USA) captured at the World Economic Forum on Europe held in Brussels, Belgium, May 10, 2010. © World Economic Forum. Photo by Youssef Meftah.
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, praised European leaders for their "great act of European solidarity" and noted that this historical moment represents a "critical juncture" for the future of Europe.
Source: World Economic Forum
March 15, 2010
Global Institutional Profiles Project: Thomson Reuters Launches Academic Reputation Survey
Thomson Reuters today announced it has launched the highly anticipated Academic Reputation Survey, which will help inform the Times Higher Education's influential World University Rankings.
The survey reflects a new approach to data gathering and analytics to provide a one-of-a-kind resource to the global scholarly community.
A unique feature of the Thomson Reuters Academic Reputation Survey is an opportunity for disciplinary focus: academics will highlight what they believe to be the strongest universities in their specific fields, both in teaching and research.
With the ability to select from hundreds of disciplines and over 6,000 academic institutions, scholars will have great latitude in pinpointing their reputation assessment.
"Researcher engagement is critical to ensuring that this new initiative delivers what the industry has long been asking for -- a more accurate representation of the institutional landscape, from the source," said Jonathan Adams, director of research evaluation at Thomson Reuters. "The survey results, combined with clear methodology, will provide the community with a thorough, accurate, and multi-faceted data source to support institutional assessment, comparisons and rankings."
Participants of the survey have been carefully selected from Thomson Reuters internal databases and supplemented by a third-party source for balanced coverage of disciplines and geographic regions.
The survey will represent thousands of researchers, university administrators, and students worldwide. And their responses will provide the most reliable and accurate representation of academic viewpoints used in the World University Rankings' seven year history, says Thomson Reuters.
The Academic Reputation Survey is part of the Thomson Reuters Global Institutional Profiles Project. The initiative will create data-driven profiles of globally significant research institutions -- combining reputation feedback, scholarly outputs, citation patterns, funding levels, and faculty characteristics across disciplines in one comprehensive database.
• The data can be packaged and analyzed to different specifications, giving organizations custom information for evaluating and benchmarking their performance and supporting efforts to secure research funding.
• Get the Report: New Outlooks on Institutional Profiles
Source: Thomson Reuters
World University Rankings 2009: TOP 200 WORLD UNIVERSITIES
"Soon, any Academic Institution with Higher Global Ranking would be an Automatic Candidate for Grants, Funds, and Investment."
© GlobalGiants.Com. All Rights Reserved.
December 17, 2009
Mergers and Acquisitions -- Strategic Deals and 'Mergers of Productivity' to Drive M&A in 2010: PricewaterhouseCoopers
There have been signs of life in the deal market during the second half of 2009, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity is expected to pick up in 2010, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers' (PwC) Transaction Services practice.
While credit markets are easing for some participants, financing will remain the dominant challenge to M&A activity next year, increasing the pressure on middle market deals. Strategic buyers with strong balance sheets and robust cash reserves will be well-positioned for strategic M&A opportunities. As these strategic buyers take advantage of their ability to maneuver in the face of a challenging deal environment, PwC predicts they will pursue deals with a focus on synergies - including enhancing productivity, providing cost-savings and adding revenue volume to their businesses.
"Those who have built their balance sheets for a rainy day might come out of last year's storm to find the rainbow, and at the end of it, nicely-valued acquisition targets that provide opportunities for revenue growth and enhanced productivity," said Bob Filek, Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers Transaction Services. "As a result, M&A activity in 2010 will be driven by strategic buyers who have access to capital and the strategic vision to capitalize on some of the best values we have seen in recent times."
"Companies have taken aggressive actions on costs; the low hanging fruit is gone, and to drive further efficiency they will look to combine with similar players to drive scale and enhance productivity. The 'merger of productivity' will be a driving force in 2010 as companies look to drive revenue growth and enhance margins," continued Filek.
Through the first eleven months of 2009, there were 6,772 deals worth a total of $614 billion, compared with 8,890 transactions worth a total of $1 trillion during the same period last year, according to financial data provider Thomson Reuters.
The credit freeze has impacted transactions across the board, including private equity (PE) and middle market transactions.
"There is still in excess of $1 trillion of capital committed to alternative investment funds sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the appropriate opportunities. The diversified private equity players have been bulking up their debt, hedge and distressed funds to take advantage of opportunities in distressed, reflecting their ability to evolve and successfully navigate choppy waters," said Greg Peterson, Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers Transaction Services.
Regarding private equity exits, "we expect to see more IPOs coming to market in 2010 from private equity as the markets continue to firm up," noted Peterson. More the half of the IPOs completed during 2009 were by financial sponsor-backed (primarily private equity) companies, a trend expected to continue through the remainder of 2009 and 2010.
Sectors that continue to present opportunities include:
• Consumer Products:
As retailers continue to pressure margins and growth through private label strategies, consumer product companies are accelerating trade spend at the expense of margins. Watch for high-profile combinations as branded companies look to gain scale and negotiating leverage with retailers, while enhancing their scale to drive productivity. A focus on high-growth categories and emerging markets will also be in vogue in 2010.
The headline transactions of the past year - transformative deals - will continue as the battle over the data center and end-to-end services continues to drive the larger players. The large, mature players will also continue to absorb smaller companies who provide intellectual property that can be leveraged - at an array of multiples - as some will be seen as desirable by multiple players and others are made attractive by a higher bar to access in the public markets. At the other end of the scale, there is more consolidation to come amongst weaker players, especially in semiconductors.
The opening of the capital markets window (both debt and equity) will pave the way for increased M&A activity in 2010. The seller/buyer expectation gap is slowly narrowing. Large-cap exploration and production companies and Master Limited Partnerships have strengthened their balance sheets considerably and are ready to fuel growth again via the M&A route. PwC expects natural gas to continue to be a particular bright spot for acquisitions.
• Financial Services:
As the FDIC continues to take actions with troubled banking institutions, watch for consolidation among the regional banks at the hands of the FDIC to be a key theme of 2010. One key question is if private equity will take more seats at the banking deal table. PwC expects the asset management sector will also continue to be popular in this space.
With the U.S. automotive industry remade, it will be time for the suppliers to resize and adjust their business models to the new paradigm. Watch for a realignment of product portfolios and manufacturing footprints as tier-one suppliers adjust to the new reality. Low-cost country sourcing will be a continued theme, while Asian acquirers may start to acquire more U.S.-based assets.
Once healthcare reform has run its course, look for the industry to ratchet up M&A activity. Consolidation will accelerate in the services, managed care and pharma sectors, driven by the need to reduce costs and increase productivity. Watch for seasoned leaders to embark on new ventures to shake up the business-as-usual model. The pharmaceuticals sector will continue pursue smaller acquisition targets, and explore areas less dependent on government, such as consumer product applications, animal health, vaccines, and biologics.
• Entertainment and Media:
Despite a sluggish economy, the Entertainment and Media sector still managed to pull off several high-profile entertainment deals in the second half of 2009. Look for strategic buyers to focus their efforts on content- and distribution-oriented acquisitions, both domestically and internationally, in response to favorable pricing in the market, as well as continuing to explore new media opportunities.
Other factors influencing M&A activity in 2010 may include the following scenarios:
• Private equity's ability to exit through Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) or acquisitions:
The IPO market has been re-established as a viable exit vehicle for private equity investments. IPO activity in Q4 of 2009 is expected to be the strongest quarter since 2007, with PE-backed deals contributing the majority of the volume in this deal channel. Assuming the equity markets do not experience a significant correction, PwC expects IPO activity to continue to increase in 2010.
• The "Wild Card":
How much would an economic double-dip rain on the M&A party? "We see continued weakness in key fundamental indicators, not the least of which is consumer demand," said Filek. "However, while we may see some challenges and market disappointments in 2010, the underlying fundamentals will outweigh the short-term stress, and companies will stay committed to their strategic vision and complete a lot of transactions in 2010."
Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers Transaction Services