January 26, 2013
World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013
Photo: The Logo of the World Economic Forum is seen at the congress centre at the Annual Meeting 2013 in Davos, Switzerland, January 22, 2013. (Photo © Remy Steinegger/World Economic Forum).
Photo: Aerial view of the alpine city Davos, Switzerland, where the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013 is taking place January 23 - 27, 2013. (Photo © Andy Mettler/World Economic Forum).
Photo: Ulrike M. Malmendier, Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, and Professor of Finance, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, USA, gives a speech during the session ‘From Tribalism to Globalism: The Evolution of Human Cooperation’ at the Annual Meeting 2013 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 25, 2013. (Photo © Mirko Ries/World Economic Forum).
The 43rd World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is taking place from 23 to 27 January under the theme Resilient Dynamism. More than 2,500 participants from over 100 countries are taking part in the Meeting. Participants include nearly 50 heads of state or government and more than 1,500 business leaders from the Forum’s 1,000 Member companies, as well as Social Entrepreneurs, Global Shapers, Young Global Leaders and representatives from civil society, media, academia and the arts.
Speaking at the Annual Meeting, Shimon Peres, President of Israel, said the world is becoming ungovernable. “Governments have found themselves unemployed because the economy has become global while governments remain national,” he said.
Peres described his view that global companies are replacing the role of governments. “Forty global companies have more fortune than all the governments in the world,” he pointed out.
The co-chairs of Annual Meeting 2013 are: Frederico Curado, President and Chief Executive Officer, EMBRAER, Brazil; Muhtar A. Kent, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, The Coca-Cola Company, USA; Huguette Labelle, Chair, Transparency International, Germany; Global Agenda Council on Responsible Mineral Resources Management; Andrew N. Liveris, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Dow Chemical Company, USA; Atsutoshi Nishida, Chairman of the Board, Toshiba Corporation, Japan; and Axel A. Weber, Chairman of the Board of Directors, UBS, Switzerland.
“Which is the best government? That which teaches us to govern ourselves.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Posted by Editors at 4:02 AM
November 15, 2012
IBM Announces 2013 Smarter Cities Challenge Grants Winners
Photo: In Palisades, NY, Stanley Litow (left), IBM’s VP of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs, names recipients of Smarter Cities Challenge grants at the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Summit. (left to right) Winning mayors include: Mayor Miro Weinberger, Burlington, Vermont; Mayor Jose Fortunati of Porto Alegre, Brazil, The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor Alderman Gavin Robinson, Belfast, UK; Mayor Madeline Rogero, Knoxville, Tennessee; and Mayor Dwight Jones, Richmond, Virginia. IBM’s largest philanthropic initiative, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-city, US$50 million competitive grant program that assigns teams of IBM experts to winning cities to analyze key issues. (Source: IBM).
Photo: Cities are Reaching their Limit Infographic (Credit: IBM)
Photo: Representatives from IBM and Singapore Economic Development celebrate the opening of the IBM Supply Chain Analytics Center of Competency. (Credit: IBM)
• IBM today named 31 cities globally as recipients of IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge grants for 2013.
Launched in 2011, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-city, US$50 million competitive grant program. The program assigns a team of six top IBM experts to each winning city to study a key issue identified by the city’s leadership.
IBM teams work with city officials to analyze data, soliciting the input of dozens of local agencies and advocacy groups. IBM then provides detailed recommendations for how the city can efficiently and effectively address the issue.
The grant recipients are being announced at an invitation-only summit bringing mayors and city leaders together with experts and urban policy leaders. Mayors in attendance include those from among cities that were previously awarded Smarter Cities Challenge grants, as well as those whose cities are today being named 2013 winners.
IBM said that at the summit, mayors will share successful strategies on topics ranging from transportation and economic development, to sustainability and citizen participation. They will review innovative solutions to the major challenges facing cities today, such as identifying financing, refining operating strategies, improving productivity, driving organizational change, and using data and technology effectively.
Following are the 31 cities that have won IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants for 2013:
• Belfast, United Kingdom
• Buffalo, USA
• Burlington, USA
• Cape Town, South Africa
• Chennai, India
• Christchurch, New Zealand
• Copenhagen, Denmark
• Date, Japan
• Faro, Portugal
• Foshan, China
• Fresno, USA
• Gurgaon, India
• Jeju, Korea
• Khon Kaen, Thailand
• Knoxville, USA
• Kyoto, Japan
• Lagos, Nigeria
• Lodz, Poland
• Makati City, Philippines
• Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
• Pingtung County, Taiwan
• Porto Alegre, Brazil
• Quebec City, Canada
• Reno, USA
• Richmond, USA
• Stavanger, Norway
• Trujillo, Peru
• Tucson, USA
• Valparaiso, Chile
• Vitoria, Brazil
• Waterloo, Canada
According to IBM, in year-one and two of the Smarter Cities Challenge, IBM completed work in more than 60 cities globally, deploying nearly 400 of its most talented experts who delivered concrete and measurable results to winning cities.
Smarter Cities Challenge is a variant of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps, a pro bono consulting program that assists governments with projects that intersect business, technology, and society. Since its launch in 2008, Corporate Service Corps has sent more than 2,000 of IBM’s top talent based in 50 countries on more than 200 team assignments in 30 countries. While Corporate Service Corps focuses on the developing world, IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge addresses urban concerns in both industrialized and developing countries, IBM elucidated.
Posted by Editors at 12:43 PM
September 16, 2012
IBM Helps Cities Worldwide Measure Public Social Sentiment on Critical Issues
Photo: Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (THSRC) is using IBM software to manage maintenance and logistics for the revolutionary high-speed rail network that runs along the west coast of Taiwan. The express trains are capable of traveling at up to 186 miles per hour (300 km/hr) meaning travel between Taipei City and Kaohsiung City is only roughly 90 minutes as opposed to the 4.5 hours by conventional rail. (Photo © IBM).
At the IBM Smarter Cities Forum in New Delhi, India, IBM has unveiled a new social sentiment capability based on sophisticated analytics technologies to help cities around the world better measure and understand public opinions on key city issues and services such as public transportation or education.
The company also unveiled findings from the latest IBM Social Sentiment Index on traffic, which looked at public sentiment across India’s largest cities - Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai.
Analysis of available social media showed that the worst congestion is primarily caused by accidents and bad weather (three out of four times) when looking at the three cities together.
“Combining the knowledge that population will rapidly increase in Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai in the coming years, with sentiment on commuters’ preferred mode of transportation, could help these cities more accurately plan for needed investments in transportation infrastructure and its potential impact,” IBM said. “City officials could also gauge where public awareness campaigns need to be administered to shift commuters to different modes of transport in order to alleviate growing traffic congestion.”
Photo: India is experiencing unprecedented growth. In the next 20 years, 30 Indians will move every minute from rural India to the cities. To accommodate this massive urban migration, India will need about 500 new cities in the next 20 years. An IBM analysis of social media sentiment around transportation in India’s three largest cities - Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi - illustrates how cities can use public opinion to help set priorities for urban planning and prepare for future growth. (Photo © IBM).
According to IBM, the top three factors impacting traffic congestion that citizens in each city talked about most online were diverse. Delhites chattered about public transportation, weather and the stress of commuting, while Bangaloreans show more concern for their overall driving experience, construction and parking issues, and Mumbaikars are talking about private transportation, accidents and pollution more often.
By applying analytics capabilities to the area of social media sentiment, organizations are able to better understand public opinions, and city officials can gain additional insights in order to draw logical conclusions about where they should focus their attentions and resources, IBM explained.
Posted by Editors at 7:30 AM
September 7, 2012
World Economic Forum releases The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013
• Competitiveness gap widening among European countries
• US remains world’s innovation powerhouse despite decline in overall ranking
• People’s Republic of China most competitive among large emerging markets; India, Russia fall
Photo: Aerial view of the congress center of Davos, Switzerland, where the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012 took place January 25 - 29, 2012 (© World Economic Forum/Andy Mettler).
Switzerland, for the fourth consecutive year, tops the overall rankings in The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, released by the World Economic Forum.
Singapore remains in second position and Finland in third position, overtaking Sweden (4th). These and other Northern and Western European countries dominate the top 10 with the Netherlands (5th), Germany (6th) and United Kingdom (8th). The United States (7th), Hong Kong (9th) and Japan (10th) complete the ranking of the top 10 most competitive economies.
The large emerging market economies (BRICS) display different performances. Despite a slight decline in the rankings of three places, the People’s Republic of China (29th) continues to lead the group. Of the others, only Brazil (48th) moves up this year, with South Africa (52nd), India (59th) and Russia (67th) experiencing small declines in rankings.
Despite growing its overall competitiveness score, the United States continues its decline for the fourth year in a row, falling two more places to seventh position. According to the report, in addition to the burgeoning macroeconomic vulnerabilities, some aspects of the country’s institutional environment continue to raise concern among business leaders, particularly the low public trust in politicians and a perceived lack of government efficiency. On a more positive note, the country still remains a global innovation powerhouse and its markets work efficiently, the report says.
The report indicates that Switzerland and countries in Northern Europe have been consolidating their strong competitiveness positions since the financial and economic downturn in 2008. On the other hand, countries in Southern Europe, i.e. Portugal (49th), Spain (36th), Italy (42nd) and particularly Greece (96th) continue to suffer from competitiveness weaknesses in terms of macroeconomic imbalances, poor access to financing, rigid labour markets and an innovation deficit.
Behind Singapore, several Asian economies are performing strongly, with Hong Kong SAR (9th), Japan (10th), Taiwan, China (13th) and the Republic of Korea (19th) all in the top 20.
In the Middle East and North Africa, Qatar (11th) leads the region while Saudi Arabia remains among the top 20 (18th). The United Arab Emirates (24th) improves its performance while Kuwait (37th) slightly declines. Morocco (70th) and Jordan (63rd) improve slightly. In sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa (52nd) and Mauritius (54th) feature in the top half of the rankings.
In Latin America, Chile (33rd) retains the lead and a number of countries see their competitiveness improve, such as Panama (40th), Brazil (48th), Mexico (53rd) and Peru (61st).
“Persisting divides in competitiveness across regions and within regions, particularly in Europe, are at the origin of the turbulence we are experiencing today, and this is jeopardizing our future prosperity.” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum. “We urge governments to act decisively by adopting long-term measures to enhance competitiveness and return the world to a sustainable growth path.”
Posted by Editors at 12:24 PM
June 13, 2012
Partnerships between American and Indian Institutions of Higher Education
Photos: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers remarks at the U.S.-India Higher Education Summit at the George C. Marshall Center in Washington, D.C. on June 12, 2012 (State Department Photos).
In a milestone in the educational partnership between India and the United States, the U.S. Department of State today announced the eight institutional partnership projects below for the first “Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Awards”. The goal of the initiative is to further strengthen, through faculty exchanges, joint research, and other collaboration, partnerships between American and Indian institutions of higher education in priority fields, including food security, climate change, sustainable energy, and public health. Each project will receive an award that can be utilized over the three-year grant period.
• Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Project Title: Capitalizing on the Demographic Dividend: Enhancing Talent Development Capacity for India and the U.S. in the 21st Century
Partner Institution: Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
• University of Montana
Project Title: Impacts of Climate Change and Changes in Socio-Economic Structure on Traditional Agriculture and the Development of Sustainable Communities among Indigenous Populations
Partner Institution: Bangalore University
• Cornell University
Project Title: Implementing Reformed Curriculum in Emerging areas of Agriculture and Food Security in Two State Agricultural Universities of India
Partner Institutions: University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad; and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology, Meerut
• University of Michigan
Project Title: The Joint Development of a Master’s Degree in Education for Health Professions Faculty in the United States and India
Partner Institution: Maharashtra University of the Health Sciences
• Mahatma Gandhi University
Project Title: An Interdisciplinary and Community Oriented Approach toward Sustainable Development
Partner Institutions: Brown University, Duke University and Plymouth State University
• Banaras Hindu University
Project Title: Paradigm Shift in Energy Scenario for the 21st Century toward Renewable Energy Sources required for both India and the U.S.
Partner Institution: University of Pittsburgh
• Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
Project Title: International Program for Sustainable Infrastructure Development
Partner Institution: Virginia Tech University
• Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
Project Title: Resource Building for Ecosystem and Human Health Risk Assessment with Special reference to Microbial Contamination
Partner Institution: Drexel University
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama announced the Obama-Singh Initiative in November 2009 as an affirmation of their commitment to building an enhanced India-U.S. partnership in education.
To implement this initiative, the Governments of India and the United States established a bi-national Obama-Singh Initiative joint working group (JWG). The JWG provides the final approval for all grants awarded through the Obama-Singh Initiative.
• The “Proposal Submission Instructions” and the “Open Competition” for the next round of the Obama-Singh Initiative grants will be announced in July 2012 by University Grants Commission (UGC), Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi 110002, India.
• UPDATE - 1
University Grants Commission (UGC), India, has invited applications for Post Doctoral Fellowships for Indian Scholars in United States for 2012 under Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative 2012.
Objective: The objective of the Fellowships is to provide the Indian scholars an opportunity to have international collaborative research opportunities and training in advanced techniques and technologies in emerging fields, thereby furthering their research capacity and ability to contribute to higher education with global perspective and forging long-term relationships with distinguished experts in these fields in USA. These fellowships would be called Post Doctoral Fellowships for the year 2012 to be awarded by University Grants Commission, India.
Number of Fellowships: 300
Important Date: The application must be submitted in the ‘online mode’ latest by July 11, 2012.
• [According to a communication from SECRETARY, UGC, the last date to apply has been extended to 18th August, 2012.]
• The applicant should be a permanent teacher in a university/institution recognized by UGC under 2(f) and 12B of UGC Act.
• The applicant should possess at least 60% marks or equivalent in the post-graduate degree.
• The applicant should possess a PhD degree in respective academic discipline (Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Science, Engineering, Technology, Agricultural Sciences) or MD/MS/PhD in Medical Sciences.
• UPDATE - 2
Aiming to improve the quality of education across all colleges and universities, India will soon come up with a regulation that will inform students about their academic rights and entitlements.
• According to the University Grants Commission, or UGC - the apex regulatory body for universities in India - it is working on a Students’ Entitlement Regulation. The regulation will apply to public and private universities alike.
The regulation will specify the academic rights of students, such as the minimum number of lectures to be held, access to quality laboratories, the presence of adequate books and reference material in university libraries, and sporting and accommodation facilities, among other areas.
The UGC also plans to create a portal where students can post shortcomings of their campuses and provide a real picture of different campuses in terms of academic matters.
According to the UGC chair, Professor Ved Prakash, students must have complete knowledge about their rights relating to learning, the living environment, physical activities, entertainment and sports facilities. “Once the regulation comes into effect, a student can complain if any specific right or entitlement is being violated,” Professor Prakash said.
• UPDATE - 3
US-India Institutional Partnership Grants
The United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) has announced an open competition for the support of projects through the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative (OSI). OSI aims to strengthen collaboration and build partnerships between American and Indian institutions of higher education.
• Accredited US post-secondary educational institutions meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 U.S.C. 501©(3) may submit proposals to support the program’s goals of encouraging mutual understanding, facilitating educational reform, fostering economic development, and engaging civil society through academic cooperation with Indian post secondary educational institutions.
Submission Deadline: November 1, 2012.
Exchange activities may include but are not limited to curriculum design, research collaboration, team teaching, focused series of exchanges, seminars, among other activities. Activities should be designed to develop expertise, advance scholarship and teaching, and promote reliable, long-term communication between partner institutions.
• Proposals in the following fields are eligible: Energy; Sustainable Development; Climate Change; Environmental Studies; Education and Educational Reform; Public Health; and Community Development and Innovation.
• UPDATE - 4
English language weekly magazine INDIA TODAY has ranked India’s top 50 universities, out of a total 160 surveyed.
Posted by Editors at 6:34 AM
December 20, 2011
Smarter Cities Exploration Center — Created by IBM and the University of Guadalajara, Mexico
Photo: IBM Chairman and CEO, Samuel J. Palmisano, addresses Chile’s most forward-thinking leaders - governors, mayors, urban experts from academia and community leaders - at the Smarter Cities forum in Santiago, Chile, November 23, 2010. Palmisano underscored the passion and momentum that exists across cities in Chile in support of urban transformation. (Graham Carlow/Feature Photo Service)
Photo: In New York City, Michael Bloomberg, Mayor, City of New York, spoke to 700 leaders from world government, business, academia and science at IBM’s THINK Forum held at Lincoln Center, Tuesday, September 20, 2011. As part of IBM’s 100-year anniversary, the forum examined the implications of leadership on organizations and societies and the deep structural changes required to drive progress. (Feature Photo Service)
Photo: Global Parking Survey — To better understand consumer attitudes around the daily struggles that drivers face in finding a parking spot and traffic congestion, IBM conducted the 2011 global parking survey. The IBM Parking Index looks at issues such as longest amount of time spent looking for a parking spot, inability to find parking, arguments with fellow motorists over parking and more to rank parking difficulty in 20 international cities. From left to right, cities are plotted from the most difficult parking issues (New Delhi) to the least difficult (Chicago). (Feature Photo Service)
Photo: Global Commuter Pain Survey — Drivers in Mexico City have the most painful commute of the 20 cities in IBM’s 2011 Global Commuter Pain survey. Studying the emotional toll associated with driving, the annual survey reveals that, overall, commuters have gotten a lot more stressed out and angry in the past year. On the positive side, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles have less painful commutes when compared to most other cities. And Montreal has the least painful of all. (Foto IBM/Dennis Champlain)
In order to respond intelligently to the needs of their growing populations, city infrastructures that deliver vital services such as transportation, healthcare, education, public safety, energy and water, must rely on a wealth of new information and technologies.
IBM today announced that it has created a Smarter Cities Exploration Center in collaboration with the University of Guadalajara, Mexico.
The Center will design solutions to tackle infrastructure challenges faced by Guadalajara and other cities around the world.
Guadalajara is Mexico’s second largest city and the University of Guadalajara is an educational community with more than two hundred years of history.
According to IBM, the center has already started the development of a transportation pilot that could reduce commuting time in the city by 15%, representing approximately US$ 90 million in savings per year by enabling citizens to use their time more productively and decrease carbon emissions.
The company and the University will share knowledge through the exchange of intellectual property among doctoral students and researchers. The use of IBM’s data analytics, supercomputing and cloud computing capabilities would drive the development of new pilots and solutions, IBM said.
• Meanwhile, Meredith Hannon, IBM’s spokesperson at its headquarters in Armonk, New York, has explained to the GlobalGiants.Com Publisher that IBM does business with and works on a number of efforts with universities and diverse other academic institutions all around the globe. But the establishment of this Smarter Cities Exploration Center in Mexico is its first such collaboration with any university in the world.
Posted by Editors at 10:44 AM
December 15, 2011
G20 Postal Services Report
A review of the performance of universal postal service providers (USPs) in the world’s G20 group of nations, published today by Oxford Strategic Consulting (OSC), has found that the United States Postal Service (USPS) achieved the best overall ranking among operators.
The benchmark examines performance over three years against three key metrics - access to vital services, resource efficiency, and performance and public trust. Universal providers are seeing strong competition from private companies and a continual slide in mail volumes, with the move towards digital communications. Volumes have fallen in many countries - as much as 17% in the US since 2006.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) came top due to its high operating efficiency and public faith in its performance. The government agency handles over five times more letters per full-time delivery employee than Germany’s privatized provider, Deutsche Post (5th).
Report author William Scott-Jackson, director of Oxford Strategic Consulting, and Associate Research Fellow, SKOPE, University of Oxford, said: “People tend to think the internet has made the postman redundant but postal services still provide the backbone for e-commerce deliveries.”
For many remote customers, especially in emerging markets, the post office is the only viable means of receiving or sending goods.
Japan Post (2nd) and Korea Post (4th) performed well on all counts, while Australia Post (3rd) was strong on both efficiency and access. The UK’s cost-cutting Royal Mail (6th) edged out France’s La Poste (7th) with double the efficiency in letter delivery.
Italy’s Poste Italiane (11th) saw declines in performance and efficiency, causing it to fall behind Russia Post (10th) - which improved its performance faster than any developed country operator. India’s India Post made slight improvement while Turkey’s PTT was the most improved.
Posted by Editors at 11:39 AM
November 4, 2011
G20 Summit Concludes in Cannes, France
Photo: President Barack Obama (USA) and President Nicolas Sarkozy (France) during G20 Summit in Cannes, France. Credits: France Diplomatie / F. de la Mure / MAEE.
Photo: President Nicolas Sarkozy (France), Chancellor Angela Merkel (Germany), and President Barack Obama (USA) during G20 Summit in Cannes, France. Credits: France Diplomatie / F. de la Mure / MAEE.
Photo: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Canada), Prime Minister Julia Gillard (Australia), and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (India) during a working session at the G20 Summit in Cannes, France, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. Credits: France Diplomatie / F. de la Mure / MAEE.
Photo: President Hu Jintao (China) and President Nicolas Sarkozy (France) during a working session at the G20 Summit in Cannes, France, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. Credits: France Diplomatie / F. de la Mure / MAEE.
“We, the Leaders of the G20, met in Cannes on 3-4 November 2011. Since our last meeting, global recovery has weakened, particularly in advanced countries, leaving unemployment at unacceptable levels. In this context, tensions in the financial markets have increased due mostly to sovereign risks in Europe; there are also clear signs of a slowing in growth in the emerging markets. Commodity price swings have put growth at risk. Global imbalances persist,” said the final communique of the G20 Leaders Summit.
“Today, we reaffirm our commitment to work together and we have taken decisions to reinvigorate economic growth, create jobs, ensure financial stability, promote social inclusion and make globalization serve the needs of the people…”
The G20 has become the number one forum for economic policy coordination. Since the end of 2008, it has met on a regular basis: in London in April 2009, Pittsburgh in September 2009, Toronto in June 2010 and in Seoul in November 2010. It met for the sixth time on 3 and 4 November 2011 in Cannes, France.
The main emerging and developed economies, the G20 countries, account for 85 percent of global output and two thirds of the world’s population. Its members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. Spain is a permanent guest. This year, the French Presidency has invited the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Singapore and the African Union Presidency.
To carry out its work, the G20 draws on the expertise of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the United Nations (UN), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Financial Stability Board (FSB).
A Suggestion for the Financial Stability Board (FSB):
Posted by Editors at 12:14 PM
September 1, 2011
Brand USA — What is its Current Value?
In the ‘Nations Brand Index’ of ‘Brand Finance plc’, the value of ‘Brand USA’ has dropped 10% since April 2011 to $11.4 Trillion. In that index, ‘Brand USA’ is being downgraded to AA- , as “its brand strength falls to a 10 year low.”
According to Brand Finance plc., new data shows there is a significant decline in ‘Brand USA’s’ value. Brand Finance plc is an independent global business focused on advising strongly branded organisations on how to maximise value through effective management of their brands and intangible assets. Brand Finance plc is headquartered in London and has a network of international offices in Amsterdam, Athens, Bangalore, Barcelona, Cape Town, Colombo, Dubai, Geneva, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lisbon, Madrid, Moscow, New York, Paris, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Singapore, Toronto and Zagreb.
‘Nation Brand’ values are produced through a detailed analysis of economic data, perceptual market research data and infrastructure measures producing a combined score out of 100. For ‘Brand USA’ decreases are apparent across all inputs. Infrastructure scores dropped from 77 to 76 points, economic measures fell from 74 to 64 points and the brand equity measure slipped from 71 to 61.
Photo: MacBook Pro
• As the world’s biggest economy, ‘Brand USA’ is still significantly more valuable than the next nearest nation. However, there has been a drop in brand strength caused by inflation, cost of capital, reduced capital, higher unemployment and declining image abroad.
“If ‘Brand USA’ had been given the AA- rating in the Brand Finance ‘Nations Brand Index’ published in May 2011, it would have fallen below Canada, Australia and South Korea in brand strength,” says Brand Finance.
Photo: 2011 Chevrolet Aveo.
David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance plc, comments:
“‘Brand USA’ is under enormous pressure as a decade of crises in business and foreign policy have been joined by serious economic problems. Low consumer spending, a static property market and the sovereign debt credit downgrade have all taken their toll on the value of ‘Brand USA’. At the same time other developed and emerging nation brands are performing better and growing in value. The economic crisis and double dip recession will accelerate these differences, with further shifts likely in the near future.”
Ollie Schmitz, Director of Nation Brand Valuation, Brand Finance plc adds:
“Prior to the recession, ‘Brand USA’ communicated strong and desirable values in everything from popular culture and entertainment to food and retailing brands. However, as a result of the current economic situation the brand strength has now dropped to its lowest score since tracking began in 2000. Once the global benchmark, emerging markets across the globe will now look to other nations to take the lead signalling exceptionally testing times for the ‘Brand USA’ in the future.”
• The full ‘Nation League Table 2011’ and methodology is available upon request from Brand Finance plc.
Posted by Editors at 6:24 AM
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.
Posted by Editors at 8:10 AM
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.
Posted by Editors at 12:06 PM
July 19, 2011
Sonia Gandhi Greets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in New Delhi
Photo: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is greeted by All India Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi, India, on July 19, 2011. (State Department Photo).
Posted by Editors at 1:03 PM
May 21, 2011
Military Bands of China and USA Take Friendship Tour to UN HQ
Photo: Senior Colonel Yu Hai conducts the Military Band of the People’s Liberation Army of China during a joint concert with the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” at UN Headquarters. The concert is part of the ensembles’ three-city tour based on friendship and cooperation through music, and will conclude on May 21 at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. May 20, 2011. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras.
Photo: A close-up of performers of the Military Band of the People’s Liberation Army of China during their first-ever joint concert with the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” at UN Headquarters. The concert is part of the ensembles’ three-city tour based on friendship and cooperation through music, and will conclude on May 21 at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. May 20, 2011. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras.
Photo: A close-up of performers of the Military Band of the People’s Liberation Army of China and the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” during their first-ever joint concert at UN Headquarters. The concert is part of the ensembles’ three-city tour based on friendship and cooperation through music, and will conclude on May 21 at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. May 20, 2011. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras.
Photo: Colonel Thomas Rotondi, Jr. (left), Leader and Commander of the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own”, and Senior Colonel Yu Hai, Chief of the Military Band of the People’s Liberation Army of China, thank the audience after their first-ever joint concert at UN Headquarters. The concert is part of the ensembles’ three-city tour based on friendship and cooperation through music, and will conclude on May 21 at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. May 20, 2011. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras.
Posted by Editors at 4:11 AM
May 4, 2011
Balanced Cities Perform Best
The finance and business centers of the future may not be the traditional capitals of global dominance, according to a new report released today by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, a member firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited) and the Partnership for New York City (a non-profit organization working to maintain New York City’s position as the global center of commerce, culture and innovation).
The fourth edition of Cities of Opportunity shows that “well-rounded cities with balanced economies and strong quality of life have resilience during downturns and they attract skilled people”.
New York leads the 2011 study, which analyzes and ranks how 26 global centers of finance, business and culture perform across 10 key indicators. But it is followed closely in the top five by Toronto, San Francisco, Stockholm and Sydney — cities more notable for quality of life and balance than global business dominance.
While these cities cannot match the size or economic clout of longstanding commercial hubs like London, New York, Paris or Tokyo, their performance highlights a changing global dynamic. “Modern cities are less dependent on geography and historic connections and more reliant on holistic approaches to attracting and keeping creative minds and cutting-edge businesses,” informs the report.
New York, despite finishing first, hardly dominates. It leads because of balanced performance across the indicators.
The study analyzes 26 cities and ranks them as follows: • New York • Toronto • San Francisco • Stockholm • Sydney • London • Chicago • Paris • Singapore • Hong Kong • Houston • Los Angeles • Berlin • Tokyo • Madrid • Seoul • Beijing • Abu Dhabi • Shanghai • Mexico City • Moscow • Santiago • Istanbul • Sao Paulo • Johannesburg • Mumbai.
The Cities of Opportunity key indicators and top three cities in each are:
• Intellectual capital and innovation — Stockholm, Toronto, New York/San Francisco (tied for 3rd)
• Technology readiness — New York, Seoul, Stockholm
• Transportation and infrastructure — Paris, Chicago, New York
• Demographics and livability — Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto
• Economic clout — London, Paris, New York
• Cost — Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago
• Lifestyle assets — New York, Paris, London
• Health, safety and security — Stockholm, Toronto, Chicago
• Ease of doing business — Hong Kong, Singapore, New York
• Sustainability — Berlin, Sydney, Stockholm
“Changes in communications, education and knowledge-sharing, transportation and urban migration are transforming world dynamics,” said Bob Moritz , US Chairman and Senior Partner of PwC. “Cities that want to thrive need to adapt to these changes. Size is no longer a leading predictor of influence. The success of cities such as Toronto, San Francisco, Stockholm and Sydney sends a clear signal that holistic balance makes a real difference.”
“For more than a year, researchers at the Partnership and PwC exhaustively compiled and analyzed data from more than 400 different global sources,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for NYC. “We are pleasantly surprised to see how the totals broke in favor of NYC, but with the clear competition rising from smaller, more livable cities.”
The complete report is available at: www.pwc.com/cities.
Posted by Editors at 4:21 AM
April 23, 2011
Conversations on Diplomacy
Photo: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger film, “Conversations on Diplomacy, Moderated by Charlie Rose,” at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on April 20, 2011. (State Department Photo.)
“There are few ironclad rules of diplomacy but to one there is no exception. When an official reports that talks were useful, it can safely be concluded that nothing was accomplished.”
— John Kenneth Galbraith.
Posted by Editors at 6:52 AM
April 12, 2011
UN Peacekeeping Operations: Top Five Troop-Contributing Countries
Photo: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (third from right) meets with the representatives of the top five countries contributing troops to UN peacekeeping operations.
• Hardeep Singh Puri, Permanent Representative of India to the UN;
• Abulkalam Abdul Momen, Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the UN;
• U. Joy Ogwu, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN;
• Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN; and
• Maged A. Abdelaziz, Permanent Mission of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the UN.
April 11, 2011. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras.
Posted by Editors at 7:48 AM
April 11, 2011
U.S. Postal Service: Open for Business in All Circumstances
Photo: U.S. Postal Service Poster
U.S. Postal Service has released a poster declaring that even if the Federal Government Shuts Down, USPS Will Still Be Open for Business as Usual.
The United States Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
Photo: JAZZ Appreciation Stamp recently issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
Photo: U.S. Postal Service Delivers a Greener America - One Stamp at a Time: 16 Easy Ways to Help the Environment.
A self-supporting government enterprise, it reaches every address in the USA — 150 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes.
According to U.S. Postal Service, it has annual revenue of more than $67 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world’s mail.
Posted by Editors at 3:50 AM
March 2, 2011
Libyan Crisis: UN Secretary-General meets with U.S. President
Photo: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) meets with Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, inside the White House Oval Office, Washington D.C., where they discussed the ongoing crisis in Libya. February 28, 2011. Washington DC, United States. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.
Posted by Editors at 4:15 AM
February 19, 2011
U.S.A. Vetoes Draft Resolution Condemning Israeli Settlement Activity
Photo: A view of the Security Council as Susan E. Rice (third from left), Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the UN, on behalf of her Government, vetoes a draft resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity. The other 14 Members of the Council voted in favour of the resolution. February 18, 2011. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras.
Photo: A wide view of the Security Council as 14 Members vote in favour of a draft resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity. The draft resolution was vetoed by the United States. February 18, 2011. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras.
Photo: A wide view of the Security Council as Susan E. Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the UN, vetoes a draft resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity. The other 14 Members of the Council voted in favour of the resolution. February 18, 2011. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/John McIlwaine.
Posted by Editors at 6:38 AM
February 18, 2011
Contenders for UN Security Council Permanent Seats
Photo: Joseph Deiss (centre), President of the sixty-fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly, meets with high-level representatives of the G4 nations, the group seeking permanent seats on the Security Council.
• Takeaki Matsumoto, Japanese State Secretary for Foreign Affairs.
• V. L. B. Crivano Machado, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs of Brazil.
• S. M. Krishna, Minister for Foreign Affairs of India.
• Guido Westerwelle, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany.
February 11, 2011. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.
• The current council is composed of five permanent members with veto power - the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain, the victors of World War II - and 10 members elected for two-year terms.
“Well, also,” says he elsewhere, “was it written by Theologians: a King rules by divine right. He carries in him an authority from God, or man will never give it him. Can I choose my own King? I can choose my own King Popinjay, and play what farce or tragedy I may with him: but he who is to be my Ruler, whose will is to be higher than my will, was chosen for me in Heaven.”
— Sartor Resartus By Thomas Carlyle.
Posted by Editors at 12:21 AM