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April 26, 2009

Whooping Cough: "Sounds of Pertussis" Campaign Spokesperson Jennifer Lopez Kicks Off March of Dimes March For Babies In Miami


JENNIFER LOPEZ

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Photo: Jennifer Lopez, Honorary Chairperson of the March of Dimes March for Babies 2009, and spokesperson for the organization's new public service announcement (PSA) campaign on the need for adult pertussis immunization, supports walkers at the March for Babies walk in Miami on April 25. (Sanofi Pasteur)


The March of Dimes and sanofi pasteur have launched a U.S. national education campaign to raise awareness about pertussis and help parents learn how they can help protect themselves and reduce the risk of spreading pertussis to their babies, for whom this disease can be potentially deadly.

As part of the Sounds of Pertussis campaign, actress, singer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and mother Jennifer Lopez has kicked off the March of Dimes March for Babies 2009 season as honorary chairperson for this year's event. While in Miami she continued to advocate the campaign's goal to educate families about getting vaccinated with the adult pertussis booster, which can help to protect adults from getting pertussis and transmitting the disease to their babies.

Commonly known as "whooping cough," pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease characterized by severe coughing. Pertussis is particularly dangerous for babies who have not yet been fully vaccinated against the disease. Infants are more vulnerable to severe pertussis and face the possibility of serious complications, including death. Researchers looking at how infants have caught pertussis have found that in about half of the cases where a source could be identified, the disease was transmitted by a parent. Parents can help protect themselves from pertussis and reduce the risk of transmitting pertussis to their babies by getting a Tdap booster.

Sources: March of Dimes & Sanofi Pasteur

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Edited & Posted by Editor | 9:15 AM | Link to this Post

April 23, 2009

Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 - Leg 6 - Rio de Janeiro to Boston


The Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 is the 10th running of this ocean marathon. Starting from Alicante in Spain, on 4 October 2008, it is, for the first time, taking in Cochin, India, Singapore and Qingdao, China before finishing in St Petersburg, Russia for the first time in the history of the race. Spanning some 37,000 nautical miles, visiting 11 ports over nine months, the Volvo Ocean Race is a leading global ocean yacht race for professional racing crews.


VOLVO OCEAN RACE

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Photo: Battling for position, at the start of Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. The fleet heads out in light winds but a huge swell. (Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race)


VOLVO OCEAN RACE

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Photo: The start of Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. The fleet heads out in light winds. (Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race)


VOLVO OCEAN RACE

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Photo: Ericsson 3, skippered by Magnus Olsson (SWE) at the start of leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. (Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race)


VOLVO OCEAN RACE

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Photo: PUMA Ocean Racing, skippered by Ken Read (USA) at the start of leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. (Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race)


VOLVO OCEAN RACE

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Photo: Telefonica Blue, skippered by Bouwe Bekking (NED) at the start of leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. (Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race)


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April 21, 2009

Powwow: World's Largest Gathering of Native Americans


Hundreds of Thousands of People to Celebrate Music, Art and Culture.


POWWOW

ENLARGE

Photo: More than 3,000 Native American dancers dressed in colorful outfits adorned with feathers, bells, jingles and fringes enter the University of New Mexico University Arena (known as "The PIT") as part of the "Grand Entry" for the world's largest gathering of Native American and indigenous people at the 26th Annual Gathering of Nations held in Albuquerque, NM between April 23 and 25, 2009.


The world's largest gathering of Native American and indigenous people will take place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, between April 23 and 25, 2009 at The 26th Annual Gathering of Nations, the most prominent Native American powwow in the world. The event will be held at the University of New Mexico's University Arena (known locally as "The Pit") and will host more than 150,000 people and more than 500 tribes from throughout the United States and around the world celebrating their culture and traditions.

The Gathering of Nations' three-day event will include 36 different indigenous bands performing in an amphitheatre. The musical genres include country, reggae, rhythm and blues, hip-hop, rock 'n' roll, and more. In addition, more than 3,000 Native American singers and dancers will be entertaining a capacity crowd, and more than 600 Native American artisans, craftsmen and traders will be displaying and selling their work.

As part of the Gathering of Nations, a young Native American woman will be crowned Miss Indian World and represent all native and indigenous peoples as a cultural goodwill ambassador. Twenty-six Native American women representing their different tribes and traditions will compete for the title in the areas of tribal knowledge, dancing ability, and personality assessment.

The "Grand Entry" begins at noon on Friday, April 24 with more than 3,000 Native American dancers dressed in colorful outfits adorned with feathers, bells, jingles, and fringes enter the arena to the sounds of hundreds of drums beating simultaneously.

Source: Gathering of Nations

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April 5, 2009

New York Auto Show Features Latest Concept Cars, Electric Vehicles, Hybrids, Showroom-Ready Cars, Trucks and More


NY Auto Show


BMW

Photo: BMW X6M at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.


GMC-TERRAIN

Photo: GMC Terrain at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.


ACURA

Photo: Acura ZDX at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.


LAND ROVER

Photo: Land Rover LRT at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.


SCION

Photo: Scion iQ at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.


SUBARU

Photo: Subaru Outback at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.


VOLKSWAGEN

Photo: Volkswagen Golf named 2009 Car of the Year at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.


MITSUBISHI

Photo: Mitsubishi i-MiEV at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.


MAZDA

Photo: Mazda CX-7 at the 2009 New York International Auto Show.


HYUNDAI

Photo: Hyundai Nuvis at the 2009 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).


KIA MOTORS

Photo: Kia Motors Debuts All-New Stylish Forte Koup at 2009 NYIAS.


At this year's New York Auto Show, new cars and trucks include state-of-the-art safety innovations, impressive fuel efficiency developments, radical drive train technology advancements and cutting-edge design. They include showroom ready vehicles and concept cars that designers have spent months, sometimes years, perfecting. So if you're looking for a small car that makes a big impression, something fun, fast and frugal, or you want to get plugged into a hybrid or electric vehicle, there is no better place to research your next new car or truck than the 2009 New York International Automobile Show. The Show opens to the public on Friday, April 10th through April 19th at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.

"Many of this year's models have combined futuristic design with technologically advanced drive-trains to produce vehicles that are totally unique in the way they look and drive," said show president, Mark Schienberg. "Others use today's most fuel efficient engines in vehicle designs that don't conform to any vehicle style known today, creating new segments that will be the vehicles of tomorrow," Schienberg added.

Here's a look at some of this year's new cars and trucks:

Electrics & Hybrids

[Electric] MINI E: The all-electric MINI E's unique engine and transmission arrangement powers the MINI E seamlessly to 62 mph in 8.5 seconds. Based on the current MINI, the E is a two-seater as the space normally inhabited by rear passengers is reserved for a lithium-ion battery. The E's lithium-ion battery can be plugged into all standard power outlets and the E has a range of 156 miles under ideal driving conditions.

[Hybrid] LEXUS HS 250h: The 2010 Lexus HS 250h is the world's first dedicated luxury hybrid vehicle and the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the Lexus lineup. It will also be the first Lexus to utilize carbon-neutral Ecological Plastic materials in a new futuristic cockpit and interior design. Equipped with Lexus' first four-cylinder gas engine, the 2.4-liter powerplant is part of the latest Lexus Hybrid Drive System, which generates 187 total system horsepower.

[Electric] Fisker Karma: The Fisker Karma gets an average 100mpg, can go 0-60 in about 6 seconds and has a top speed of 125mph. Its Lithium-ion batteries will power the car for 50 miles after being fully charged from any 110 or 220v outlet. After 50 miles, a generator powered by a small gasoline engine provides the energy needed to turn the Karma's two electric motors.

[Hybrid] Ford Fusion Hybrid: The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid includes new aerodynamic enhancements and underbody shields to help boost Fusion's fuel economy to a class-leading 41 mpg rating in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The Fusion Hybrid also debuts Ford's SmartGauge with EcoGuide, a unique instrument cluster that helps coach drivers on how to optimize the fuel efficiency of their vehicles.


Honda Insight

Photo: Honda Insight


[Hybrid] Honda Insight: The all-new distinctively styled, five-passenger, five-door Honda Insight is powered by an Integrated Motor Assist(TM) (IMA(TM)) system comprised of a 1.3-liter i-VTEC(R) gasoline engine and a 10-kilowatt electric motor that together contribute to an city/highway fuel economy rating of 40/43 miles per gallon . The Insight features the Ecological Drive Assist System (Eco Assist(TM)), an innovation that can further enhance efficient vehicle operation while providing feedback related to individual driving styles. The all-new Insight has a suggested retail price (MSRP) of $19,800 for the LX model.


Chevrolet Volt

Photo: The Chevrolet Volt in the Battery Lab at the General Motors Tech Center in Warren, Michigan Wednesday, October 15, 2008. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)


[Electric] Chevrolet Volt: Chevy Volt is designed to move more than 75 percent of America's daily commuters without a single drop of gas. That means for someone who drives less than 40 miles a day, Chevy Volt will use zero gasoline and produce zero emissions. Unlike traditional electric cars, the Volt has an innovative propulsion system that takes you beyond the power of the battery. It will use a lithium-ion battery with a gasoline-powered, range-extending engine that drives a generator to provide electric power when you drive beyond the 40-mile battery range. Inside, the Volt offers the space, comfort, convenience and safety features that customers expect in a four-passenger sedan.

[Hybrid] Toyota Prius: The new generation Prius is bigger, more powerful yet more economical than the model it replaces making it the most fuel efficient and aerodynamic car available in the US. With a combined 50 mpg, the Prius is available with high-tech features that include a solar-powered ventilation system, remote a/c, Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent Parking Assist, and three driving modes including electric-only.

Concept Cars


Cadillac Converj

Photo: James Gasparotto of General Motors Design with the Cadillac Converj electric luxury coupe concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan Tuesday, January 13, 2009. The four-passenger vehicle will provide up to 40 miles of gas-and-emissions-free electric driving with extended-range capability of hundreds of miles. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)


Cadillac Converj: The Cadillac Converj was designed to give a glimpse at the potential of electric propulsion in a luxury vehicle. The well-appointed grand touring coupe features GM's electric propulsion technology -- called Voltec -- that can get up to 40 miles of gas- and emissions-free electric driving with extended-range capability of hundreds of miles. When the battery's energy is low, the Converj seamlessly switches to extended-range mode. During this secondary level of operation, electricity needed to power the vehicle is created on-board by a flex-fuel-powered engine.

Chrysler 200C EV: The all-new Chrysler 200C EV concept is capable of driving up to 40 miles on battery-only power, but a small gasoline engine and integrated electric generator that produces electricity extends its driving range to 400 miles. On the inside, the 200C EV's interior is free of switches and levers. All vehicle functions, settings and u-connect features are managed via a panoramic multimedia touch screen, a passenger-dedicated "techno-leaf" and a stowable tablet PC.

2009 Suzuki

Photo: 2009 Suzuki SX4 Sport


Suzuki SXForce: Reinforcing the link between the company's rich motorcycle heritage and versatile line of fun-to-drive automobiles, Suzuki introduces the SXForce, a sportbike-inspired concept car. The fully drivable, track-tested 250-horsepower, 2.0-liter, turbocharged SX4 Sport concept includes a fully tuned performance suspension system, F1-style outlet gills to help underhood air flow, tailored rear bodywork with carbon fiber diffuser, Carbontrix rear wing, Tein coilover suspension height and damper setup, and reinforced structure to further enhance rigidity for optimal handling.

Lincoln C concept: Designed with today's upscale, urban consumer in mind, the Lincoln C concept brings the luxury of a large Lincoln to a smaller, more efficient C-sized car. The C is powered by a 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine and an all-new dry, dual-clutch PowerShift six-speed transmission which helps it achieve 43 mpg on the highway, while offering up an impressive 180 horsepower.

Dodge Circuit EV: This brand new all-electric sports car concept from Dodge delivers high performance with zero gasoline consumption, zero tailpipe emissions and 150-200 mile driving range. Propelled by a completely electric drivetrain, the Dodge Circuit EV races from 0-60 mph in less than 5 seconds and has a top speed of more than 120 mph. The Circuit EV utilizes three powertrain components, including a 200 kW (268 horsepower) electric motor to drive the wheels, an advanced lithium-ion battery system to power the electric-drive motor, and a controller that manages energy flow.

Today's Newest Cars & Trucks


Buick

Photo: Jeff Nasca (l to r), Mike Pevovar, Richard Duff and Justin Thompson of General Motors Design with the 2010 Buick LaCrosse luxury sedan at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan Tuesday, January 13, 2009. The Buick LaCrosse will feature all wheel drive, a suite of advanced intelligent personal technologies and safety features, and a choice of two fuel-saving V-6 engines. LaCrosse production will begin this summer at the Fairfax Assembly facility in Kansas City, Kansas.


Buick LaCrosse: Redesigned from the ground up, the 2010 Buick LaCrosse features sculpted styling, premium interior materials with cool blue ambient lighting, and responsive performance. The LaCrosse also features all wheel drive and QuietTuning, and intelligent technologies that work to deliver a 360-degree field of vision behind the steering wheel including a head-up display in the windshield, and a Side Blind Zone alert system.

Cadillac SRX: The new SRX is a mid-size luxury crossover featuring a completely new design and more-efficient, high-technology engine choices. It is powered by a new 3.0L direct injected V-6 engine or a 2.8L turbocharged V-6. Direct injection enables a 25-percent reduction in hydrocarbon emissions. Performance and safety are enhanced by an available all-wheel-drive (AWD) system.

BMW 7 Series: The fifth generation BMW 7 Series is powered by a 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged 400hp V-8 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The new 7 has an array of innovative driver-assistance options such as Active Cruise Control with new stop-and-go capability; Lane Departure Warning, Active Blind Spot Detection, Head-up Display, High Beam Assistant and BMW Night Vision with new Pedestrian Detection.


Cadillac CTS

Photo: The dramatically-designed 2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon makes its European premiere at Paris, followed by production launch in spring of 2009.


Cadillac CTS Wagon: The all-new CTS Sport Wagon is intended to connect with the changing priorities of luxury consumers by delivering significant increases in functionality. The CTS is about the same size as the CTS sport sedan, although it nearly doubles its carrying capacity, with a generous cargo area of 25 cubic feet behind the rear seats.

Nissan Cube

Photo: Nissan Cube


Nissan Cube: The fashionable and functional new 1.8-liter Nissan cube provides the utility and dependability consumers expect in a small car including wide doors, large greenhouse with wraparound rear window, and a refrigerator-style rear door combined with a roomy five passenger interior.


Ford

Photo: 2010 Ford Taurus SHO at 2009 Chicago Show


Ford Taurus: Ford's new flagship, the 2010 Taurus, will start at $25,995 and features an impressive suite of technologies never before offered in the non-premium large car segment including Cross Traffic Alert, Collision Warning, MyKey(TM) parental programmability, EasyFuel(TM) capless refueling, SecuriCode(TM) Keyless Entry, Ford SYNC(R) and Voice-Activated Navigation with SIRIUS(R) Travel Link(TM). Other features new to Taurus include Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS(TM)), Rain-Sensing Wipers and Intelligent Access with Push Button Start.

Lincoln MKT: The all-new Lincoln MKT is a three-row tourer that delivers an impressive blend of fuel economy, performance, technology and spaciousness. The MKT includes many new technologies including available Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Warning with Brake Support, Active Park Assist, and Blind Spot monitoring.

Nissan 370Z: The newly redesigned Nissan 370Z is more refined, more powerful, and even better handling. Powered by a 332-horsepower 3.7-liter DOHC V6 engine with Variable Valve Event and Lift Control (VVEL), the new Z also features a new 7-speed automatic transmission, and a world's first synchronized downshift rev matching system for the 6-speed manual transmission.


Chevrolet

Photo: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro.


Chevrolet Camaro: The 2010 Camaro is a heritage-inspired sports car for the 21st century, combining muscle car looks and performance with advanced technology and surprising efficiency -- including 26-mpg estimated highway fuel economy. The rear-wheel-drive Camaro comes with either a V6 or V8 direct injection engine with Active Fuel Management to enable a satisfying balance of exhilarating performance and good fuel economy.

Infiniti G Convertible: The first-ever Infiniti G Convertible is powered by a 3.7-liter V6 325 horsepower engine and features a three-piece folding steel top and a special convertible-focused interior, which features a unique Bose(R) Open Air Sound System that dynamically changes equalization based on outside noise, vehicle speed, and top position.

Volvo XC60: The new XC60 is a crossover vehicle is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged engine and features a unique system called City Safety which can help the driver avoid low speed collisions when driving in slow moving, stop and go traffic. The laser-based technology continually monitors the area in front of the vehicle and can brake automatically to help avoid or mitigate a collision.


KIA SOUL

Photo: Kia Soul at the 2009 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).


KIA Soul: The fun all-new five-passenger Kia Soul which starts at $13,995 (including delivery) is available in four trims: Soul, Soul+, Soul! and Soul sport and features big-car standard and optional equipment such as keyless entry remote, solar glass, and power sunroof. It is powered by either a four-cylinder 1.6-liter or a 2.0-liter engine producing 122 and 142 horsepower respectively.

Audi Q5: The all-new Q5 SUV with its sporty proportions and muscular stance features a 3.2 V6 FSI direct injection engine, quattro(R) all wheel drive, and a six speed Tiptronic transmission, and achieves city fuel economy of 18 mpg with 23 mpg highway.

Dodge Challenger R/T Classic: The Dodge Challenger R/T Classic delivers a menacing look with its dual throwback A-line body-side R/T stripes, 'Challenger' fender badging in classic script, large 20-inch polished-chrome heritage wheels, classic egg-crate grille with heritage 'R/T' badge, body-color rear spoiler and chromed fuel-filler door. Performance comes from a 5.7-liter HEMI(R) V-8 engine under a long, raised performance hood with functional hood scoops to increase engine cooling.


Mercedez Benz

Photo: Mercedes-Benz E-Class: E 63 AMG with 386 kW/525 hp and AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission


Mercedes Benz E-Class and E-Coupe: With the new E-Class and E-Coupe, Mercedes-Benz combines safety, comfort and environmental compatibility with 20 new technical developments including innovations for safe driving such as Attention Assist and Automatic Emergency Braking, which is activated when there is acute danger of a collision. The new E-Class models are also the first automobiles in the world with headlamps that adapt to the traffic situation and respond automatically to avoid dazzling other drivers.

Audi A5 convertible: The new A5 Cabriolet is a four-seat open top Audi that has a classic fabric top -- which endows it with a striking silhouette -- which opens in 15 seconds. An acoustic top, neck-level heating and leather seats coated with a special layer to reduce solar heating are just some of the features of the sporty, elegant new A5 model.

Bentley Continental Supersports: The Continental Supersports is the fastest and most powerful Bentley ever. The extreme Bentley, a muscular two-seater that delivers supercar performance and a highly focused driving experience, is also the first Bentley capable of running on both gasoline and biofuel. With 621 bhp and new 'Quickshift' transmission that halves shift times, the Supersports sets new performance benchmarks for Bentley. It accelerates from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds onto a top speed of 204 mph.

MAZDASPEED3: The MAZDASPEED3 sport compact pushes Mazda design further and its exciting driving performance perfectly represents Mazda's Zoom-Zoom spirit. Carrying forward the MZR 2.3 DISI Turbo engine, Mazda3 MPS builds on the popularity and recognition of the previous model. It evolves the driving experience to an entirely new level of quality and pleasure with its emotional design and exhilarating performance.


PORSCHE

Photo: Porsche 911 GT3 at the 2009 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).


Porsche 911 GT3: The lightweight 435-horsepower next generation 911 GT3 features a larger 3.8-liter boxer six-cylinder engine with an enhanced VarioCam system, larger yet lighter brakes, and new one-piece centerlock wheels, all of which boost performance over the previous model. Technical developments like innovative dynamic engine mounts, updated aerodynamics that increase downforce by over 100% and a special version of the Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system all help make this latest iteration the most dynamic 911 GT3 to date.

Ford Shelby GT500: The most-distinctive model of the new 2010 Mustang lineup, the 2010 Shelby GT500 is powered by a supercharged and intercooled 5.4-liter dual overhead cam V-8 engine that produces 540 horsepower and 510 foot-pounds of torque. The Mustangs aggressive new exterior design features new functional details, such as the hood extractor to remove heat from the engine and "Gurney Flap" spoiler to tune rear downforce.

Jaguar XFR and XKR: Jaguar's new XFR and XKR models deliver a superb balance of high performance, dynamic ability and refinement. Both models are powered by an all-new supercharged 5.0-liter 510bhp V8 with acceleration from 0-60mph in just 4.7 seconds and 4.6 seconds respectively.


VOLKSWAGEN

Photo: Volkswagen GTI at the 2009 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).


Volkswagen GTI: The new sixth-generation, performance-based Volkswagen GTI hatchback is powered by an advanced new TSI engine, available linked to either a 6-speed manual or DSG gearbox. With the new GTI, VW has increased the quality and comfort level to new heights. The GTI will be available in three- and five-door body styles. Visual details include a new front bumper, vertically stacked foglamps and an altered grille with classic GTI touches.

Source: New York International Auto Show

|GlobalGiants.com|


Our Opinion

"At the 2009 New York International Automobile Show, the U.S. Domestic Automakers are not obliged to answer questions concerning their respective financial condition, management changes, brand elimination, or restructuring policy. Doing so would be detrimental to their standing."

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Edited & Posted by Editor | 8:01 AM | Link to this Post

April 3, 2009

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Forum to focus on How Cities can Lead the Way to a Global Economic Recovery


U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to Headline UIC's Fifth Annual Richard J. Daley Urban Forum.

CHICAGO BIDDEN

Photo: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden with Mayor Richard M. Daley at the Chicago Global Cities Forum. (City of Chicago, Antonio Dickey) [Photo Added: May 1, 2009]

UIL Chicago

PHOTO: UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING COMPUTER SCIENCE FACILITY

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the Daley family will host the fifth annual Richard J. Daley Urban Forum, titled "Global Economic Recovery: Cities Lead the Way." U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will give the keynote address at this year's Forum, which will be held on Monday, April 27 beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the UIC campus.

The Forum will bring together municipal leaders from around the world, business leaders, public officials, policymakers, leading scholars and commentators for an intimate and interactive dialogue that examines the vital role cities will play in a successful recovery from today's global economic crisis.

Vice President Biden will be joined at the Forum by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and a rich host of panelists providing diverse perspectives about how cities are crucial to recovery, what kinds of obstacles exist and the kinds of imaginative steps cities are already taking.

"We are thrilled and honored to have Vice President Biden join us for this year's Forum," said Mayor Daley. "President Obama and Vice President Biden understand the great role cities play in driving the larger economy. By working collaboratively, sharing innovative ideas and unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit and imagination, cities can lead our nation to a healthy and much needed economic recovery."

The Forum will feature three panels: "Economic Recovery and Urban Reinvestment," addressing the impact of national stimulus plans and regional and local initiatives on urban areas as well as key obstacles to these recovery efforts; "Economic Revitalization: Education and Healthcare," exploring how cities--as the center of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship--can take the imaginative steps needed to climb out of today's world recession in a way that reaches far beyond urban areas; and a "Global Town Meeting" where mayors from more than 30 global cities will offer examples of innovative programs from their own cities in response to the global economic crisis. Panel formats are subject to change.

"The Forum has become a significant venue for the exchange of ideas and the exploration of strategies that address social and economic issues confronting urban communities in the United States and around the globe," said UIC Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares. "In 2008, for the first time in history, more than half of the world's people lived in urban areas. This global demographic change contributes to the urgency of the forum. Thus, UIC is proud to host this event."

Chicago

Photo: Chicago Skyscrapers seen from Navy Pier

The current economic crisis has imperiled both public and private finance and cost millions of citizens their jobs, homes and access to healthcare and education. While cities have been among the hardest hit economically, they also contribute the majority of the world's economic gross product and are responsible for most new job creation. Therefore, urban vitality is crucial to recovery.

Participants in this year's Forum include Marshall M. Bouton, President, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Victoria J. Chou, Dean, College of Education, University of Illinois at Chicago; Carol Coletta, President and Chief Executive Officer, CEOs for Cities; Richard M. Daley, Mayor, City of Chicago; Bruce Katz, Vice President, Brookings Institution; Michael H. Moskow, Former President, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Senior Fellow, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Norbert Riedel, Corporate Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Baxter International, Inc. and Bernard Shaw, principal anchor emeritus, CNN.

The Urban Forum, held at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd., is open to the public. The registration fee will be waived for all UIC faculty, staff and students, as well as students from other universities. Students attending the Forum must present a valid college ID on the day of the event.

Cities expected to be represented at this year's forum include: Algiers, Algeria; Bangkok, Thailand; Beijing, China; Belgrade, Serbia; Bogota, Colombia; Busan, Republic of Korea; Cartagena, Colombia; Casablanca, Morocco; Chicago, USA; Doha, Qatar; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Galway, Ireland; Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom; Hamburg, Germany; Helsinki, Finland; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Kyiv, Ukraine; Lahore, Pakistan; Manila, The Philippines; Moscow, Russia; Nairobi, Kenya; Paris, France; Petach Tikva, Israel; Prague, Czech Republic; Reykjavik, Iceland; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Shenyang, China; Soriano, Uruguay; Tripoli, Lebanon; Vilnius, Lithuania and Windsor, Canada. Participating cities are subject to change.

Chicago

Photo: Chicago Skyline

The 2009 Forum will be partially funded through sponsors including American Airlines, Ariel Investments, AT&T, Bank of America, Baxter, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Boeing, The Chicago Community Trust, Chicago White Sox, DLA Piper, Exelon, Gibsons, Grosvenor Capital Management L.P., Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, The MacArthur Foundation and the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Foundation.

Launched in 2005 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Richard J. Daley's first inauguration as Mayor of Chicago, the Richard J. Daley forum at UIC is an annual symposium for students, scholars, public officials, civic leaders, policymakers and commentators to discuss important issues and share insights into urban history and urban studies.

Richard J. Daley was first inaugurated as Mayor of Chicago on April 20, 1955. He served as Mayor for more than two decades, during which time he oversaw the rebirth of Chicago's downtown, construction of McCormick Place, development of O'Hare International Airport, and creation of UIC among other notable achievements.

Establishing UIC--originally known as the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle when it opened in 1965--was described by the late mayor as this greatest contribution to the life of the city. Circle Campus merged with the university's Medical Campus in 1982 to form UIC.

UIC is Chicago's largest university with more than 25,000 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state's major public medical center. The campus ranks among the nation's top 50 universities in federal research funding. UIC has more than 145,000 alumni, more than 110,000 of whom live in the Chicago metropolitan area.

A hallmark of UIC is the Great Cities Commitment, through which faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.

Source: The University of Illinois at Chicago

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Edited & Posted by Editor | 12:34 PM | Link to this Post

March 27, 2009

TAG Heuer Explores Luxury with The Aquaracer 500m Series and Offers a Glimpse Into The Future of Watchmaking with Its Monaco 24 Chronograph


TAGHEUER AQUARACER

Photo: TAG Heuer's Aquaracer 500M with blue dial and stainless steel bracelet.


Answering the call of diving enthusiasts who demand an exacting timepiece that is robust as well as refined, Swiss watch Brand TAG Heuer unveiled its new Aquaracer 500M series. Whether worn while swimming along the Great Barrier Reef or exploring the underwater caves of Turks & Caicos, these watches take serious sports-inspired functionality to a new extreme.

Water resistant to 500 meters, each model in the Aquaracer 500M collection is equipped with the definitive attributes of a high-performance diving watch, including a unidirectional turning bezel that ensures precise elapsed dive-time measurement. Highly luminescent markers on the hands and indexes, as well as an orange-tipped second hand, provide at-a-glance readability under water or in dim light. Additionally, the sapphire crystal and caseback are scratch-resistant and anti-reflection treated for optimum visibility.

To prevent damage to the watch and its movements, the Aquaracer 500M features an automatic helium valve that releases, upon decompression, any gases that infiltrate the watch during a deep dive. A fine-brushed, screw-in crown with double safety gaskets further protects the timepiece from water or dust penetration.


TAGHEUER MONACO

Photo: TAG Heuer's Monaco Twenty Four Concept Chronograph.


TAG Heuer also announced that it is continuing to push the boundaries of watchmaking with its Monaco Twenty Four Concept Chronograph, invoking the electrifying spirit of the world's most arduous sports car race. Introduced today at BASEL, Switzerland, this timepiece, in TAG Heuer's own words, features the same state-of-the-art engineering as the powerful GT cars that take to the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit.

The Monaco Twenty Four Concept Chronograph's race car-inspired functionality is found in every aspect of the piece's design, most notably in the energy manifold that houses the Calibre 36 movement. Comparable to a GT car's cockpit cage, this proprietary steel-tube structure safeguards the mechanism, ensuring that the watch can better withstand shock.

The movement gains additional protection from a shock-absorbing composite filter material. Used in the racing and aerospace industry, this material insulates the Calibre 36 movement by directing vibrations into the composite filter, which absorbs and dissipates their energy. According to TAG Heuer, unlike a conventional timepiece's Incabloc system, which protects the mechanism only from external shocks, TAG Heuer's Dynamic Absorber insulates the movement entirely and the Monaco Twenty Four Concept Chronograph is able to withstand an impact of 24,000 G, the equivalent of a 65-foot fall, compared with the industry standard of 2,000 - 5,000 G, or a three-foot fall. These additional safeguards ensure the Monaco and its components will remain unscathed whether the wearer is skydiving from 15,000 feet or attending a very enthusiastic business meeting, explains the watchmaker.

Source: TAG Heuer

|GlobalGiants.com|


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Edited & Posted by Editor | 7:05 AM | Link to this Post

March 18, 2009

Reputation Risk Management Is on the Rise in U.S. and European Corporations -- The Conference Board


But Many Companies Still Have a Long Way to Go in Protecting Their Reputations.


Company Reputation


According to a new report from The Conference Board (global business research and membership organization), a growing number of major global companies are investing substantial resources to manage their reputation risk and have increased their efforts to do so over the last three years.

"Safeguarding reputation is even more critical today because companies have developed successful ways to make reputation risk management part of their overall risk management," says Ellen Hexter, Director, Enterprise Risk Management at The Conference Board and co-author of the report with Sandy Bayer, President of Bayer Consulting. "In addition, different stakeholder groups are becoming more sophisticated in how they drive corporate reputations. Critics on the Internet can now transmit their opinions and complaints around the world with ease. Most importantly, consumers have high expectations that companies will not only produce quality products and services, but also will act ethically in their creation and distribution."

The report defines reputation as how a company is perceived by each of its stakeholder groups and reputation risk as the risk that an event will negatively influence stakeholder perceptions. Many reputation risks are the secondary result of other, more traditionally recognized risks. For example, if a manufacturer produces an unsafe product, it may lose customers and is likely to suffer financial costs due to a product recall, both of which impact reputation. Reputations may be damaged for any number of reasons, including that stakeholders perceive a company to be unethical.


Company Reputation


"Although reputation is the quintessential intangible asset, a strong corporate reputation yields concrete benefits - higher market value, stronger sales, and an increased ability to hire the best and the brightest," says Bayer.


The report is based on the findings of The Conference Board Reputation Risk Research Working Group and a survey of 148 risk management executives of major corporations. More than three quarters of the respondents to the survey said their companies are making a substantial effort to manage reputation risk (82 percent) and they have increased focus in this area over the last three years (81 percent).


Company Reputation


Other key findings of the study:

• Reputation risk should be managed throughout the organization. Although communication is of critical importance in responding to a risk event, a company's reputation should be considered during the preparation and execution of strategy and new projects, which hasn't been the case in most companies.

• Reputation risk is often not incorporated into risk management. Only 49 percent of executives surveyed said that the management of reputation risk was highly integrated with their Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) function or another risk oversight program.

• Assessing reputation risks is a top challenge. Fifty-nine percent indicated that assessing the perceptions and concerns of stakeholders was an extremely or very significant issue, making it the highest-ranked challenge.

• Media monitoring has become more sophisticated. Today, there are tools to assess whether coverage is positive, neutral or negative; the credibility of publications; the prominence of coverage, etc.

• Efforts are being made to quantify the value of reputation. A select group of companies is making progress in this area by working with specialist consulting firms to quantify the impact of reputation on share price.

• Social media are gaining influence, but most companies are ignoring them. Although consumers and investors are increasingly gathering information from blogs, online forums, and social networking sites, only 34 percent of the survey respondents said they extensively monitor such sites, and only 10 percent actively participated in them.


Company Reputation


The findings spurred the following recommendations from The Conference Board Research Working Group:

1) Actively involve boards of directors in reputation risk management.

2) Demonstrate to leaders and management teams in business units the impact of their actions on reputation.

3) Integrate reputation risk management with ERM or other risk management programs.

4) Quantify the value of reputation.

5) Use and nurture employees as corporate ambassadors.


"Boards of directors, senior management, and operating management should demonstrate an active commitment to strong reputation management," conclude the authors.


Source: The Conference Board

|GlobalGiants.com|


Quote

"Our reputation is more important than the last hundred million dollars."

-- Rupert Murdoch


Quote

"From the sublime to the ridiculous there is but one step."

-- Napoleon Bonaparte


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Edited & Posted by Editor | 12:59 AM | Link to this Post

March 5, 2009

WALL STREET REPORT: $5 BILLION IN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS BOUGHT WALL STREET FREEDOM FROM REGULATION, RESTRAINT


Steps to Financial Cataclysm Paved with Industry Dollars?

Wall Street

The financial sector invested more than $5 billion in political influence purchasing in Washington over the past decade, with as many as 3,000 lobbyists winning deregulation and other policy decisions that led directly to the current financial collapse, according to a 231-page report issued today by Essential Information and the Consumer Education Foundation.

The report, "Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America," shows that, from 1998-2008, Wall Street investment firms, commercial banks, hedge funds, real estate companies and insurance conglomerates made $1.725 billion in political contributions and spent another $3.4 billion on lobbyists, a financial juggernaut aimed at undercutting federal regulation. Nearly 3,000 officially registered federal lobbyists worked for the industry in 2007 alone. The report documents a dozen distinct deregulatory moves that, together, led to the financial meltdown. These include prohibitions on regulating financial derivatives; the repeal of regulatory barriers between commercial banks and investment banks; a voluntary regulation scheme for big investment banks; and federal refusal to act to stop predatory subprime lending.

"The report details, step-by-step, how Washington systematically sold out to Wall Street," says Harvey Rosenfield, president of the Consumer Education Foundation, a California-based non-profit organization. "Depression-era programs that would have prevented the financial meltdown that began last year were dismantled, and the warnings of those who foresaw disaster were drowned in an ocean of political money. Americans were betrayed, and we are paying a high price -- trillions of dollars -- for that betrayal."

"Congress and the Executive Branch," says Robert Weissman of Essential Information and the lead author of the report, "responded to the legal bribes from the financial sector, rolling back common-sense standards, barring honest regulators from issuing rules to address emerging problems and trashing enforcement efforts. The progressive erosion of regulatory restraining walls led to a flood of bad loans, and a tsunami of bad bets based on those bad loans. Now, there is wreckage across the financial landscape."

Washington DC

12 Key Policy Decisions Led to Cataclysm

The report concludes that financial deregulation led directly to the current economic meltdown. For the last three decades, government regulators, Congress and the executive branch, on a bipartisan basis, steadily eroded the regulatory system that restrained the financial sector from acting on its own worst tendencies. "Sold Out" details a dozen key steps to financial meltdown, revealing how industry pressure led to these deregulatory moves and their consequences:

1. 1. In 1999, Congress repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, which had prohibited the merger of commercial banking and investment banking.
2. Regulatory rules permitted off-balance sheet accounting -- tricks that enabled banks to hide their liabilities.
3. The Clinton administration blocked the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from regulating financial derivatives -- which became the basis for massive speculation.
4. Congress in 2000 prohibited regulation of financial derivatives when it passed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act.
5. The Securities and Exchange Commission in 2004 adopted a voluntary regulation scheme for investment banks that enabled them to incur much higher levels of debt.
6. Rules adopted by global regulators at the behest of the financial industry would enable commercial banks to determine their own capital reserve requirements, based on their internal "risk-assessment models."
7. Federal regulators refused to block widespread predatory lending practices earlier in this decade, failing to either issue appropriate regulations or even enforce existing ones.
8. Federal bank regulators claimed the power to supersede state consumer protection laws that could have diminished predatory lending and other abusive practices.
9. Federal rules prevent victims of abusive loans from suing firms that bought their loans from the banks that issued the original loan.
10. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac expanded beyond their traditional scope of business and entered the subprime market, ultimately costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.
11. The abandonment of antitrust and related regulatory principles enabled the creation of too-big-to-fail megabanks, which engaged in much riskier practices than smaller banks.
12. Beset by conflicts of interest, private credit rating companies incorrectly assessed the quality of mortgage-backed securities; a 2006 law handcuffed the SEC from properly regulating the firms.


Financial Sector Political Money and 3000 Lobbyists Dictated Washington Policy

During the period 1998-2008:

• Commercial banks spent more than $154 million on campaign contributions, while investing $363 million in officially registered lobbying:
• Accounting firms spent $68 million on campaign contributions and $115 million on lobbying;
• Insurance companies donated more than $218 million and spent more than $1.1 billion on lobbying;
• Securities firms invested more than $504 million in campaign contributions, and an additional $576 million in lobbying. Included in this total: private equity firms contributed $56 million to federal candidates and spent $33 million on lobbying; and hedge funds spent $32 million on campaign contributions (about half in the 2008 election cycle).

The betrayal was bipartisan: about 55 percent of the political donations went to Republicans and 45 percent to Democrats, primarily reflecting the balance of power over the decade. Democrats took just more than half of the financial sector's 2008 election cycle contributions, the report clarifies.

According to the report, the financial sector buttressed its political strength by placing Wall Street expatriates in top regulatory positions, including the post of Treasury Secretary held by two former Goldman Sachs chairs, Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson.

Financial firms employed a legion of lobbyists, maintaining nearly 3,000 separate lobbyists in 2007 alone, says the report.

These companies drew heavily from government in choosing their lobbyists. Surveying 20 leading financial firms, "Sold Out" finds 142 of the lobbyists they employed from 1998-2008 were previously high-ranking officials or employees in the Executive Branch or Congress.

Essential Information is a Washington, D.C. nonprofit that seeks to curb excessive corporate power. The Consumer Education Foundation is a California-based nonprofit that supports measures to prevent losses to consumers.

Source: Essential Information

|GlobalGiants.com|

Click HERE for a full PDF copy of "Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America".

Quote

"Information is the currency of democracy."

-- Thomas Jefferson

Quote

"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, Sep. 17, 1796

Quote

"The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy."

-- Woodrow Wilson

Quote

"In politics... never retreat, never retract... never admit a mistake."

-- Napoleon Bonaparte


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Edited & Posted by Editor | 5:56 AM | Link to this Post

February 27, 2009

Consumer Reports: Who Makes the Best Cars?


Automaker Report Cards: Honda Leads Again, Mercedes-Benz Improves, Chrysler Lags.


Honda


For the third consecutive year, Honda has earned class leader status for building the best all-around vehicles for American drivers, according to the Automaker Report Cards published in Consumer Reports' Annual Auto Issue. At the opposite end of the annual ranking is Chrysler, which fared even worse than last year. The company's poor performing products and sinking reliability results have kept all Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep badged vehicles off CR's Recommended list.

With an overall score of 78 out of 100 points, Honda was followed closely by Subaru (75), and Toyota (74) in the overall score. Subaru is also the only automaker with 100% of its tested vehicles Recommended, although it has a relatively small model lineup. Mazda (73), came in 4th, followed by Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Volkswagen, and BMW, all tied at 72.

While the top four overall scores belong to Japanese automakers, a Japanese nameplate is no guarantee that every car in a model range will be a reliable and good performer. For example, the Honda Element and Toyota Yaris scored too low in Consumer Reports' tests to be recommended. Conversely, despite overall scores of 63 and 57 respectively, that placed Ford and GM toward the bottom of the results, new models like the Ford Flex, F-150, Chevrolet Malibu, and Cadillac CTS have done well in CR's tests and rank near the top of their classes in its ratings.


Subaru


Toyota


Mazda


The overall score for each automaker is based on the average of its vehicles' overall scores in Consumer Reports' road tests and their average predicted-reliability ratings from Consumer Reports' Annual Auto Survey. Manufacturers received a report card only if five or more of its vehicles were tested.

Of the Asian automakers, Subaru, Nissan, Mazda, and Hyundai improved their overall scores. Nissan and Hyundai also improved their reliability rating. Of the four, Hyundai showed the most improvement, increasing its overall score from 66 to 70.

European automakers, traditionally great performers overall, have lagged in reliability but there have been notable improvements with several models from Audi, BMW, Saab, Volkswagen, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz showed the most significant improvement, moving up in the overall ranking (72) to tie with BMW and Volkswagen.

"All three Detroit automakers continued to be at the back of the class, although General Motors and Ford improved their overall scores. Chrysler disappointed the most -- it had the lowest overall test score and none of its vehicles are Recommended," says Consumer Reports.


Mercedez


Nissan


Volkswagon


There was some positive news for the struggling U.S. domestic automakers. The latest models from General Motors now rank among the best in testing, and models like the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook, Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Corvette, and Chevrolet Malibu all scored well. Some Ford models now rival their competition from Honda and Toyota in reliability, perhaps a promising sign for new models now coming out of the product pipeline. For Chrysler, the sole glimmer of hope in the model-year is the new Dodge Ram, which is now very competitive with the other full size trucks.

"While Japanese automakers continue to set the standard for the industry in terms of real-world performance and reliability, many domestic, European, and Korean manufacturers are narrowing the gap by building better and more reliable cars," said David Champion, senior director of automotive testing, Consumer Reports. "While some automakers are still dragged down by old product investments, we expect the race for the front of the class to become even more competitive which may lead to some excellent values for consumers in the near future."

In the end, the companies that make the best vehicles are those that excel in performance, interior craftsmanship, safety, comfort, and reliability. The best continue to set a higher and higher standard, a competition in which consumers are the ultimate winners.

Consumer Reports is one of the trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services, and according to it, its findings may not be used for commercial or promotional purposes.

Source: Consumer Reports

|GlobalGiants.com|


Quote

"Can advertising foist an inferior product on the consumer? Bitter experience has taught me that it cannot. On those rare occasions when I have advertised products which consumer tests have found inferior to other products in the same field, the results have been disastrous."

-- David Ogilvy


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Edited & Posted by Editor | 11:04 PM | Link to this Post

February 21, 2009

Media Seen as the Primary Cause of the Depth and Length of the Global Recession, According to New Research From Frost & Sullivan


Companies Must Ignore Fear, Make Smart Moves to Emerge Stronger.

Global Media

In a recent survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, 91% of CEOs blame the breadth and depth of the current economic situation on the media.

"The media's manipulation of statistics, negativity, exaggeration, and doomsday forecasts have driven fear and panic among consumers and businesses alike," says David Frigstad, Chairman of Frost & Sullivan.

Business Newspaper

According to Frost & Sullivan, "Economic statistics are often twisted and exaggerated. The fear of total economic collapse is perpetuated in the media to grab attention and sell more copies or attract more viewers or listeners. Because of this, consumers and business have frozen spending, canceled projects, sold investments, and laid off workers. This has caused a downward spiral in demand and pricing that has now caused about 20 trillion dollars of damage globally."

"As the media continues to perpetuate fear, uncertainty and doubt, there is a growing chance that it will result in a self-fulfilling prophecy," adds Frost & Sullivan Economist Sandeep Maheshwari.

"What clearly started out with financial mismanagement and fraud on Wall Street has now escalated into a major global recession exacerbated by the media," says Frost & Sullivan's research. "CEOs cite how the media has continued to drive fear through efforts to gain more readers, viewers, and listeners. The ironic turn is that the media is also being victimized by the current recession, with declining audiences and falling ad revenues."

Finance Newspaper

In the responses portion of the study, CEOs made several interesting comments:

• "Several newspapers have compared the overall job losses to the Great Depression without taking into account the huge increase in U.S. population since that time. These comparisons only generate more fear and are counter-productive."

• "Economists miss every turn in the economy. Why do we rely on their forecasts today when they are so unreliable? They move like a herd of antelope -- their current forecasts all fit nicely into a pack."

• "I recently read a headline that said Microsoft will lay off 5,000 workers. At the end of the piece it mentioned it would be over a three year period. Compared to the overall size of Microsoft, this is not newsworthy."

"We are now at a turning point. An unprecedented global stimulus plan and guaranteed programs are now in place. All of these trends could signal the turning point if we change our outlook. The media, economists, politicians, bankers, and business executives could collectively turn the economy around by working simultaneously to restore confidence back into the system -- in turn, calming the public. It's time for us to give up on the doom and gloom," concludes Frigstad.

|GlobalGiants.com|


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Edited & Posted by Editor | 11:18 AM | Link to this Post

February 10, 2009

Cole Haan Debuts Spring 2009 Ad Campaign Featuring Maria Sharapova


COLE HAAN

Cole Haan recently announced Maria Sharapova as a lead collaborator and the face of Cole Haan Sporting, a new collection for Spring 2009, rooted in sport and remixed with fashion. Today, February 10, 2009 in New York, Cole Haan unveils international tennis sensation Maria Sharapova as the face of its 2009 Spring advertising campaign.

Shot with simplicity in Malibu, California by lifestyle photographer Martyn Thompson, the campaign reflects the interplay of style and sport, passion and play, that Cole Haan says it shares with Sharapova.


COLE-HAAN

View Larger Picture

Photo: Cole Haan ad featuring Maria Sharapova.


"The campaign marks the first time Cole Haan has collaborated with a Nike athlete to serve as the face of a new collection," notes Cole Haan Chief Marketing Officer Michael Capiraso. "We are able to leverage her interest in fashion and sport, while connecting with our consumer in a new and unique way."

Mixing Media Initiatives:

• Digital media to play an important role in the campaign - rich media presence on top sites.
• Debuting in March issue of Vanity Fair.
• Print Campaign to appear in top Women's Core titles.

The Spring 2009 global launch of Cole Haan Sporting includes men's and women's footwear and accessories.

Cole Haan, headquartered in Yarmouth, Maine, USA, designs and distributes dress and casual footwear, apparel and accessories for men and women under the brand names Cole Haan and Bragano. Cole Haan is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NIKE, Inc. and operates more than 100 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada and Japan.

Source: Cole Haan

|GlobalGiants.Com|


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Edited & Posted by Editor | 5:23 AM | Link to this Post

January 23, 2009

Honda Ranks Highest among Manufacturer Web Sites in Satisfying New-Vehicle Shoppers -- J.D. Power


J.D. POWER


JD Power


Honda ranks highest among automotive manufacturer Web sites for usefulness in new-vehicle shopping, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study(SM) (MWES)--Wave 1 released today.

The semi-annual study measures the usefulness of automotive manufacturer Web sites during the new-vehicle shopping process. New-vehicle shoppers evaluate Web sites in four key areas: appearance, speed, navigation and information/content.

Honda ranks highest with an index score of 882 on a 1,000-point scale--marking a 14-point increase from the last wave of the study, which was released in June 2008. Following Honda in the rankings and rounding out the top five automotive Web sites are Porsche (867), Mitsubishi (866), Kia (865) and Acura (862).


JD Power


"Honda resolved some minor navigation issues on their Web site, which helped them improve upon their fourth-place ranking in the previous wave," said Scott Kane, senior manager of marketing/media research at J.D. Power and Associates. "Currently, the Honda Web site performs well in all measures and demonstrates particular strength in speed, navigation and demonstrating options, features and specifications."

The study finds that overall site usefulness for the industry as a whole has declined by nine points since June 2008, with 16 manufacturer Web sites demonstrating double-digit decreases. This marks the largest wave-over-wave decrease since the study's inception ten years ago. Overall, the largest declines occur within the "determine monthly payment" and "compare vehicles" attributes of the information/content measure.

"Because of changes in the economic environment, many of today's new-vehicle shoppers are in a much different --and more challenging--financial position than were shoppers in years past, and many auto manufacturers have not prepared their Web sites accordingly," said Kane. "For new-vehicle shoppers, having the ability to go online to easily compare vehicles from various manufacturers, figure out monthly payments and find the best deal possible has always been important. However, in these tough financial times, these kinds of considerations have an even greater impact on the shopping process."

In addition, as marketing budgets for automakers tighten, manufacturer Web sites are becoming less capable of meeting the increasing expectations of shoppers. For example, as some manufacturers have refreshed or redesigned their models, they have limited the variety of vehicle images on their Web sites, or have simplified their photo and video offerings.


Honda

Photo: 2010 Honda Insight EX


"Likely due to budget cuts, some sites that once had beautiful images in city and off-road settings from multiple angles showing off their vehicles' capabilities--things that resonated with consumers--have scaled back on the images offered," said Kane. "A hurdle that manufacturers are facing involves obtaining the high-quality content they need for their Web sites--such as images, video and animations--in a cost-effective way. Finding synergies within their organizations as they create content for various marketing needs--both online and offline--will be critical in continuing to meet new-vehicle shoppers' needs."

The study also finds that the more useful a manufacturer Web site is, the more traffic it is likely to drive to dealerships.

"While it may be tempting for manufacturers to scale back development and maintenance of their Web sites, improved Web site design can translate into a higher volume of sales and a positive return on investment," said Kane. "Now, more than ever, it is essential for manufacturers to be strategic about their marketing efforts to capture their share of the diminishing number of new-vehicle shoppers."

The 2009 Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study--Wave 1 is based on evaluations gathered in November 2008 from more than 11,400 new-vehicle shoppers who indicated they would be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 24 months.

Manufacturer Web Site Ranking
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)

• Honda ---------- 882
• Porsche ---------- 867
• Mitsubishi ---------- 866
• Kia ---------- 865
• Acura ---------- 862
• Lincoln ---------- 861
• BMW ---------- 859
• Lexus ---------- 859
• MINI ---------- 859
• Mazda ---------- 856
• Infiniti ---------- 853
• Mercury ---------- 852
• Jeep ---------- 851
• Ford ---------- 850
• Suzuki ---------- 848
• Cadillac ---------- 846
• Saturn ---------- 845
• Subaru ---------- 845
• Toyota ---------- 845
• Chrysler ---------- 841
• Dodge ---------- 840
• Industry Average ---------- 840
• HUMMER ---------- 837
• Mercedes-Benz ---------- 837
• Nissan ---------- 836
• Land Rover ---------- 835
• Saab ---------- 834
• Hyundai ---------- 833
• Volvo ---------- 833
• Volkswagen ---------- 829
• Buick ---------- 827
• Chevrolet ---------- 827
• GMC ---------- 821
• Jaguar ---------- 813
• Pontiac ---------- 801
• Audi ---------- 793
• smart ---------- 789
• Scion ---------- 773

Source: J.D. Power and Associates

|GlobalGiants.com|


Our Opinion

"Do not frustrate the earnest visitors to the localized Web site of your car brand by not noticeably providing there the addresses of your relevant dealers."

© GlobalGiants.Com



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Edited & Posted by Editor | 12:11 PM | Link to this Post

January 14, 2009

Detroit Auto Show 2009


Honda Insight

Photo: Detroit - American Honda Motor Co., Inc., introduces the production version of the all-new 2010 Honda Insight, a dedicated gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle, during its world debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (American Honda Motor Co., Joe Wilssens)


Jeep Patriot

Photo: Unveiled at the North American International Auto Show is the Jeep(R) Patriot EV.


CHRYSLER

Photo: Unveiled at the North American International Auto Show is the Chrysler 200C EV concept.


Saturn Hybrid

Photo: A caravan of 2009 Saturn Vue 2-Mode Hybrids departs from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan Monday, January 12, 2009 - bound for the upcoming presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. The caravan will make stops at Ohio State University, Penn State University and Howard University encouraging people to make positive changes to reduce the nation's energy consumption. Once in Washington, the hybrid vehicles will be used to provide courtesy transportation for inaugural events. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)


Chevrolet Equinox

Photo: General Motors North America President Troy Clarke introduces the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox - making its world debut - at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan Sunday, January 11, 2009. The Equinox compact crossover will deliver an estimated highway fuel economy of 30 mpg with its new 2.4L direct injection engine. It will go on sale in mid-2009. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)


Buick LaCrosse

Photo: The 2010 Buick LaCrosse luxury sedan makes its world debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan Sunday, January 11, 2009. The Buick LaCrosse will feature all wheel drive, a suite of advanced intelligent personal technologies and safety features, and a choice of two fuel-saving V-6 engines. LaCrosse production will begin this summer at the Fairfax Assembly facility in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)


Cadillac

Photo: The next generation 2010 Cadillac SRX makes its world debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan Sunday, January 11, 2009. The SRX mid-size luxury crossover is expected to deliver a 25-percent reduction in hydrocarbon emissions while providing fuel economy in the mid-20's. Production begins in the second quarter of 2009, with dealer availability shortly thereafter. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)


Chevrolet

Photo: General Motors employees, retirees, dealers and suppliers cheer the Chevrolet Beat concept during a media event at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan Sunday, January 11, 2009. Chevrolet announced production plans for a new vehicle - the Chevrolet Spark - a fuel-efficient mini-car based on the Beat concept that will arrive in dealer showrooms in 2011. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)


Mercedes

Photo: As part of the Mercedes-Benz New Year's Reception in Detroit, Daimler CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche presented the latest version of the successful E-Class in front of over 650 trade journalists from around the world.


Ford Fiesta

Photo: The Ford Fiesta at the North American International Auto Show. Before the Ford Fiesta's U.S. launch in 2010, consumers across the country will have an opportunity to drive, experience and learn all about Ford's newest global vehicle. Under a program coined 'Fiesta Movement', Ford will select up to 100 tech-savvy vehicle enthusiasts to drive a Fiesta and then relate their experiences through social media sites such as Facebook, FlickR and YouTube.


Ford Lincoln

Photo: The Lincoln C Concept was introduced at the North American International Auto Show 2009. It is powered by a sophisticated human machine interface (HMI) and forward-thinking in-car connectivity technologies.


Ford

Photo: Ford's Battery Electric Vehicle hits the streets of Detroit at the North American International Auto Show, giving media from around the world a chance to put it to the test.


|GlobalGiants.com|


Quote

"The financial woes of G.M. and Chrysler have made the Detroit show far more downbeat than in years past. Persistent questions about their financial situations have tested the patience of executives at both companies."

-- From the article "Wagoner Says G.M. Is Working on an Overhaul Tied to the Bailout" in The New York Times, January 12, 2009 (NYTimes.com)


Quote

"As to buying from Detroit, that is another question.

While I have occasionally looked at Detroit product when buying a new car, I have always found that they were not the equal of foreign products in many areas, from design to ergonomics to comfort to dependability to value. Which is why I have only owned Japanese cars since I purchased my 1st new car in 1979.

With the current financial circumstances that the Detroit carmakers are in, there is NO WAY that I would risk buying a Detroit product. Who knows if they will be in business next year?"

-- A Reader's Comment in response to the article "How to Get Detroit Selling Again" in The New York Times, January 12, 2009 (NYTimes.com)


Our Opinion

"A new automobile MUST BE sold with the Essential Guarantee of Continuing Service Facility and Continuing Spare Parts Availability.

Can a Detroit Auto Company provide that Essential Guarantee today?

NO, IT CANNOT."

© GlobalGiants.Com



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Edited & Posted by Editor | 5:49 AM | Link to this Post

December 30, 2008

Ninety Things to Watch in 2009 -- JWT's Annual List

JWT, one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, has released its list of 90 things to watch in 2009.


2009 New Year


"Our list points to the broader trends we're seeing, showing the ways in which these shifts will manifest in our everyday lives," says Ann Mack, director of trendspotting at JWT. Among these shifts, the recession will make the biggest impact, says Mack. "A lot of what to watch in 2009 relates to consumers' adaptation to the economic situation, from 'affordable nutrition' to 'more under one roof,'" notes Mack.


Economics 2009


JWT's list of 90 Things to Watch in 2009 (unranked and in alphabetical order):

1. 21st-Century Networking
2. Affordable Nutrition
3. Amy Poehler
4. Apatow-esque Humor
5. Bruno
6. Building a Beauty Arsenal
7. Buraka Som Sistema
8. Career Reinvention and Extension
9. Chat-Avoidance Services
10. The Cleveland Show
11. Cloud Computing
12. The Collective Consciousness
13. Creativity in the Informal Economy
14. Credit Card Dieting
15. Crowdfunding
16. The Decline of E-Mail
17. Distraction as Entertainment
18. DIY Repairs and Renovations
19. Doha
20. Dragonball
21. EarthRoamer
22. Electric Bikes
23. Elizabeth Banks
24. Emma Stone
25. The Energy Race
26. Environmental Exercise
27. Family-Friendly TV
28. Freebies
29. Gerard Butler
30. Girl Talk
31. Giving Circles
32. Gluten-Free
33. Good Old-Fashioned Cooking
34. Graphic Novels Hit Hyperdrive
35. The Green-Collar Class
36. hi5
37. Holographic Projection
38. Home as Castle
39. HomeAway
40. Homemade Beauty Treatments
41. How to Talk to Girls
42. Incognito luxury
43. Inconspicuous Travel
44. Innocent Cosmetics
45. Lady GaGa
46. Lala.com
47. Lance Armstrong
48. Lykke Li
49. Maria Pinto
50. Marketing with Aromas
51. Michelle Obama
52. Microfinancing's Second Wave
53. Mobile Phones Get Personal
54. More Under One Roof
55. NASA's Kepler Telescope
56. Netbooks
57. Noor
58. No "Paper" in Newspapers
59. Nutrition Replaces Dieting
60. Obama-speak
61. ODO7
62. Online TV Network Crackle
63. Online Video Ads
64. Outliers (as a term)
65. Palin's Grandson
66. Personalized Travel Guides
67. Pisco Sours
68. Presidential Sightseeing
69. Prince William Wedding Watch
70. Product Source Tags
71. Radical Transparency Meets Genomics
72. Readers + Social Media = Revenue?
73. Residential Market for Solar Power
74. Ricky Rubio
75. Russell Brand
76. Safe-keeping
77. The Small Movement
78. Smart Garages
79. South Africa
80. Stuart Karten
81. Sustainable Fishery
82. T. Boone Pickens
83. Telepresence
84. Touch Screens
85. Twitter Copycats
86. Virtual Reality Therapy
87. Virtual Socializing
88. Widgets
89. Wikileaks
90. Xbox Streaming


Headquartered in New York, JWT is a global network with more than 200 offices in over 85 countries employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals. JWT's parent company is WPP and its clients include Bayer, Cadbury, Diageo, DTC, Ford, HSBC, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg's, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft, Nestle, Nokia, Rolex, Schick, Shell, Unilever, and Vodafone.

Source: JWT


Our Opinion

U.S. Federal Government has done all it can currently do to sustain the ailing domestic (as well as global) economy.

It is a crime to put all the blame on the managements of the bankrupt or struggling American corporations and make them scapegoats.

The blame must be shared by all those who have been blind to (or unaware of) the Highest Law of Economics and have been advertently or inadvertently contributing towards the propagation of the easy-money excessive greed culture originating in the USA.

Such contributors include the Top American Business & Financial Newspapers & Magazines, Relevant Leading Advertising Agencies, and some Industry Specific Labor Unions.

© GlobalGiants.Com



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Edited & Posted by Editor | 12:18 PM | Link to this Post

December 18, 2008

2009 NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW


NAIAS

The North American International Auto Show will open its doors in less than 30 days and plans continue to build anticipation for this flagship event in the automotive industry. On Jan 11th global eyes will turn to Detroit as the press days open the show with 44 product unveilings.

"Detroit will soon be welcoming more than 6,000 national and international media to the 2009 NAIAS," said Joe Serra, co-chair for the 2009 NAIAS. "While the automotive industry is in the midst of an obvious time of adjustment, the interest in the future of cars has only increased. What better place to see the future of automotive than in Detroit."

The public and media will be treated to a number of world debuts of highly anticipated vehicles from exhibitors such as General Motors, Chrysler, Kia, Volkswagen, Audi, Honda and Toyota. As the environmental impact of vehicles increasingly moves to the forefront of buyers' minds, many of the debuts will include vehicles designed with a 'green' mindset including the 2010 Toyota Prius, and 2010 Honda Insight.

One of the largest media events in North America, the NAIAS is the only auto show in the United States to earn an annual distinguished sanction of the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles, the Paris-based alliance of automotive trade associations and manufacturers from around the world.


NAIAS

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Photo: Detroit, Mich.: At the 2008 North American International Auto Show, attendees enjoy all the sights and sounds of Public Days.


NAIAS 2009 EXHIBITOR PRESS CONFERENCE SCHEDULE
(THIS SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

Sunday, January 11, 2009
7:00 am Media Credential Office Opens / Oakland Concourse
8:30-8:55 am Johnson Controls / D2-15
9:00 am Show Floor Opens
9:10-9:30 am NAIAS 2009 Opening Ceremony / Michigan Hall Stage
9:30-10:00 am North American Car and Truck of the Year Awards
10:10-10:35 am General Motors
10:50-11:15 am Lexus / Riverview Ballroom
11:25-11:50 am Ford / Cobo Arena
12:00-12:25 pm Chrysler
12:35-1:00 pm BMW
1:10-1:35 pm Volkswagen
1:45-2:10 pm Bentley
2:20-2:45 pm Kia
2:55-3:20 pm Audi
3:30-3:55 pm MINI
4:05-4:30 pm Lamborghini
4:40-5:05 pm Subaru
5:15-5:40 pm Jaguar / Main Show Floor
5:50-6:15 pm Volvo / Main Show Floor

Monday, January 12, 2009
7:00 am Show Floor Opens
8:30-8:55 am Michelin Corporate
9:05-9:30 am Lincoln-Mercury / Cobo Arena
9:40-10:05 am Maserati
10:15-10:40 am General Motors
10:50-11:15 am BYD
11:30-11:55 am Toyota / Riverview Ballroom
12:10-12:35 pm Brilliance
12:45-1:00 pm Lamborghini Fashion Show / Lamborghini stand
1:10-1:35 pm General Motors
1:45-2:10 pm Fisker
2:20-2:45 pm Revenge Designs
2:55-3:20 pm Michelin Challenge Design / Michigan Hall
3:30-3:55 pm Alpine / O2-44

Tuesday, January 13, 2009
7:00 am Show Floor Opens
10:00-10:25 am DENSO / Michigan Hall Stage
10:35-11:00 am Johnson Controls / D2-15
11:10-11:35 am EyesOn Design Awards at the NAIAS / Michigan Hall Stage


Our Opinion

"At the Detroit 2009 North American International Auto Show, the first thing the press and the public would wish to know about an Automobile Manufacturer is its CURRENT REPUTATION."

© GlobalGiants.Com


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Edited & Posted by Editor | 11:31 AM | Link to this Post

November 23, 2008

Saint-Gobain Specialty Glass Adds Sparkle to NYC's TKTS Booth on Father Duffy Square


SAINT-GOBAIN

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Photo: The TKTS ticket booth, a mainstay for bargain-conscious theater fans since 1973, recently opened its upgraded structure made entirely of glass supplied by Saint-Gobain, the world's largest producer of building materials.


Headquartered in Paris, Saint-Gobain has more than 210,000 employees throughout the world, including 25,000 in the U.S. and Canada. In addition to its leadership in glass for architectural products, the company is the world's largest supplier of building materials and is a major manufacturer of high-performance materials and glass containers.

The new TKTS ticket booth on Father Duffy Square in New York City has finally opened its portholes after several years of design and construction. The new booth -- a striking glass structure in the heart of New York's theatre district -- was officially declared open by New York City Mayor Bloomberg at a gathering of celebrities and city officials on October 16th.

Huge pieces of ultra-clear Saint-Gobain Diamant Glass envelope and protect the futuristic white ticket pod. The glass steps above it are claret red in the shadow of the surrounding buildings but turn brighter as the midday sun reflects off the colored interlayer.

As Saint-Gobain itself describes, "At night, when the booth's light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are switched on, the whole structure glows like a 'magical ruby'. Transformed from its temporary scaffold and sheeting appearance into a gleaming all-glass sculpture by Perkins Eastman architects, the booth is rapidly becoming a landmark for locals and visitors alike. The booth is already attracting throngs of weary walkers -- happy to make the short climb up the 27 glass steps to absorb a unique view of New York."

The amphitheater will be able to accommodate more than one thousand visitors as they wait for tickets, eat their lunch or just sit and watch the hustle and bustle of the Times Square district. It will also likely serve as a space for many photo shoots, weddings and film sets.

The steps comprise three-layers of Saint-Gobain Diamant ultra-clear glass, laminated with a red interlayer and surface treated for slip-resistance. The one-and-a-half inch steps are designed for maximum durability.

The ultra-clear walls structurally support the steps, serving as a balustrade and protecting the administration pod inside.

All of the glass panels were developed and manufactured at Saint-Gobain's Eckelt Glas factory in Austria.

Source: Saint-Gobain

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Edited & Posted by Editor | 1:34 AM | Link to this Post

October 27, 2008

Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09


Volvo Ocean Race

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Photo: Telefonica Blue officially suspended racing having reached landfall near Gibraltar to undertake repairs to the steering gear they damaged soon after the race start in Alicante. (© Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race)


Volvo Ocean Race

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Photo: Telefonica Blue and Black training off Alicante. (© Maria Muina/Equipo Telefonica)


The Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 is the 10th running of this ocean marathon. Starting from Alicante in Spain, on 4 October 2008, it is, for the first time, taking in Cochin, India, Singapore and Qingdao, China before finishing in St Petersburg, Russia for the first time in the history of the race. Spanning some 37,000 nautical miles, visiting 11 ports over nine months, the Volvo Ocean Race is the world's premier ocean yacht race for professional racing crews.


Volvo Ocean Race

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Photo: PUMA Ocean Racing heads into the Gibraltar strait during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race. (© Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race)


Volvo Ocean Race

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(Photo © Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race)


Volvo Ocean Race

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Photo: Telefonica Blue sail testing off Alicante, prior to the in-port race. (© Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race)


Volvo Ocean Race

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Photo: Telefonica Blue breaks away from the start line in Alicante, Spain for leg 1 of The Volvo Ocean Race. Next is a 6,500nm battle to Cape Town, South Africa. (© Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race)


The Volvo Ocean Race is an extreme sport, where boats, equipment and crew push the limits at very high speeds, over very long distances and out of reach for any coast guard. Since Volvo bought the race in 1997, safety has been improved for each race.

A new design of boat, the Volvo Open 70, was introduced for the 2005-06 event. It is faster and more dynamic than any boat previously sailed in the race. This state-of-the-art class of boat, with canting keel and a sail area as large as three tennis courts is being used again in this race, with some slight modifications.

Each Volvo Open 70 has two Volvo Penta engines onboard that are provided by Volvo. One is an engine that can propel the boat, the other creates electricity for all the equipment onboard: the navigation gear, the desalination device etc. The waste is stored onboard and is recycled in the ports.

All major sport events face similar environmental challenges. Therefore, a major United Nations conference on sport and the environment was held in Alicante in conjunction with the start of Volvo Ocean Race. The conference focused on how to make global sport events more sustainable.


Volvo Cars

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Photo: Volvo S40, Gekko Green

According to Volvo Car Corporation, in Volvo Cars' brand value pyramid, (1) Safety is followed by (2) Care for the Environment and (3) Modern Scandinavian Design, and all these three brand values are tied into Volvo Ocean Race as well.

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Edited & Posted by Editor | 10:44 AM | Link to this Post

October 18, 2008

New-Vehicle Buyers Turn to the Internet for Information as Buying Habits Shift to Smaller Vehicles: J.D. Power

Consumer-Generated Content Proves Beneficial for Consumers during the New-Vehicle Shopping Process.


Cars


New-vehicle buyers are using the Internet more than ever when researching vehicle information, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 New Autoshopper.com Study(SM) released yesterday. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

The study finds that 75 percent of new-vehicle buyers in 2008 are using the Internet during their shopping process, compared with 70 percent in 2007. This year marks the largest year-over-year increase in online shopping since 2001. The total amount of time shoppers spend online researching automotive information has also increased since 2007 -- up 12 percent to more than six and a half hours. Meanwhile, the number of Web sites being visited by new-vehicle shoppers has remained relatively flat since 2007, which suggests that consumers have become more engaged with the sites they currently visit.


Car Dealers


"The current economic environment, coupled with high fuel prices, has given rise to a shift in the vehicle buying habits of U.S. consumers," said Arianne Walker, director of marketing/media research at J.D. Power and Associates. "Shoppers who were once loyal to larger vehicle models are now finding themselves in the market for a compact or midsize car. For many, this is unknown territory, and these shoppers are turning to the Internet for information and education about the vehicles in their new consideration set. The resulting demand for information provides automotive marketers with valuable opportunities to reach out to shoppers via the Internet."

Automotive manufacturers can further engage shoppers through consumer-generated content on the Web. According to the study, nearly 70 percent of automotive Internet users (AIUs) utilize consumer-generated content while shopping for a new vehicle. In particular, vehicle ratings and reviews are the most popular form of consumer-generated content, with 63 percent of AIUs utilizing this resource. Additionally, 95 percent of AIUs who use consumer ratings and reviews say that the information is "helpful." Dealer ratings and reviews are also popular among new-vehicle shoppers, with 38 percent of AIUs utilizing the resource, and 87 percent of those find the information "helpful."


Automobiles


"The collaborative environment facilitated by Web 2.0 is changing the way shoppers research vehicles, driving many to seek the experiences and opinions of other shoppers and owners," said Walker. "The opinions of other consumers are so impactful that we are already seeing distinct purchasing patterns develop between those shoppers who use consumer ratings and reviews, and those who rely solely on expert ratings and reviews."

The study also finds that different types of automotive Web sites have specific benefits that satisfy the information and shopping needs of consumers. For example, shoppers view independent, third-party sites -- such as Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) -- as being most useful for researching vehicle pricing and for providing ratings, reviews and forums. Conversely, shoppers view manufacturer Web sites as most useful for their information on vehicle model options, features and specifications, while dealer sites are perceived as being most useful for inventory information.


Car Dealers


"The challenge for automotive manufacturers and dealers alike is discovering how best to get involved in online conversations taking place among consumers in order to shift sales to their advantage," said Walker. "Knowing the strengths of various types of sites and where shoppers are going for their information can enable manufacturers and dealers to manage their site content more strategically and focus on efficiently targeting consumers at each stage of the shopping process."

The study also finds that Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) is the most visited independent Web site, with 44 percent of automotive Internet users visiting the site. Additionally, Edmunds.com is the most useful independent Web site among automotive Internet users. Edmunds.com shoppers are 42 percent more likely than consumers using other independent, third-party sites to say that the reviews, forums and ratings are the most useful information on the site.

This J.D. Power Study is based on the self-reported shopping habits of 27,901 new-vehicle buyers.

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Edited & Posted by Editor | 1:37 PM | Link to this Post

October 7, 2008

Reader's Digest Conducts Global Presidential Poll


Presidential Poll

According to the results of a first-ever global presidential poll conducted by Reader's Digest magazine and published in the November issue (on newsstands October 21), Barack Obama is the world's preferred choice for president of the United States by far.

(Reader's Digest magazine is published in 21 languages and reaches 70 million readers worldwide. It is part of The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., a global multi-brand media and marketing company headquartered in Pleasantville, New York, USA.)

The poll, part of the cover story "How the World Sees Us" by Reader's Digest Washington Bureau Chief Carl Cannon, asked 17,000 people in 17 countries, including the United States, whom they would like to see in the White House, and to weigh in on the global issues they most care about. They were also asked to characterize how America is perceived abroad.

"For the first time, Reader's Digest used its unique international footprint to provide a tapestry of global perspectives on several of the most important issues of our time, leading with the election of the next American president," said Peggy Northrop, U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Reader's Digest.


Golden Gate Bridge


Regarding the question of which candidate they would vote for if they could, respondents voted overwhelmingly for Obama in every country polled, with the exception of the United States, where Republican John McCain was preferred over Democrat Obama by a narrow margin.

"It's Obama by a landslide -- except in the country in which he's actually running for president," said John Fredricks, Director of Polling for Reader's Digest. "What is most striking is the margin of his support."

In the Netherlands, Obama-mania surpassed 90 percent. In Germany, it was at 85 percent--numbers not usually seen in political polling. Similar results held true on all six continents that the magazine polled.

One of the questions was "When you think of the U.S. government, do you consider yourself pro-American, neutral or anti-American?" The poll also asked respondents to rank eight issues in importance: terrorism, the war in Iraq, the global economy, global poverty, human rights, the environment, international trade, and nuclear proliferation.


New York


Key Snapshots:

• Americans ranked the global economy as most important; terrorism, second; and the war in Iraq, third. Only the Russians were more concerned with terrorism than Americans.

• In seven nations (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Great Britain and Taiwan), the environment came out on top as a major concern.

• Respondents in Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Finland, Australia, and South Africa reported paying the most attention to the U.S. election. Respondents in Brazil, Poland, Russia, India, and Taiwan reported paying the least attention.

• While preference for the candidates is nearly equal in the U.S., support for Obama is significantly stronger in all other nations.

• In the U.S., McCain is seen as more qualified to address issues related to war and security, while Obama is the stronger candidate for humanitarian issues, such as poverty, the environment and human rights.

• Globally, the most important issues are the economy, poverty, and the environment.

• The election of Obama would be more likely to improve the image of the U.S.

• Most countries polled have a neutral opinion of the U.S. government. India is the most pro-American government (31%) while Spain, Netherlands, Indonesia and Canada have the highest percent (21%, 21%, 20%, 19%) of respondents who are anti-American government.

• The majority in India (73%), South Africa (65%), the Netherlands (55%) and France (52%) would be interested in moving to the U.S. while about 70% of respondents in Poland, Russia, Indonesia, and Australia expressed a lack of interest in moving to the U.S.

• South Africa is the only country where the election of McCain would have a slightly more positive impact on the image of the U.S.


Source: Reader's Digest


Quote

"Well, also, 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."

- Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus


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Edited & Posted by Editor | 7:32 AM | Link to this Post

October 6, 2008

Louis Vuitton Spring Summer 2009 Fashion Show at Closing of Paris Fashion Week


LOUIS VUITTON

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Photo: Paris, October 5, 2008 - Marc Jacobs and the models. (© Louis Vuitton / Bertrand Rindoff Petrov et Mazen Saggar)


LOUIS-VUITTON

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Photo: Paris, October 5, 2008 - Zoe Cassavetes, Sofia Coppola, Marc Jacobs, Lenny Kravitz. (© Louis Vuitton / Bertrand Rindoff Petrov et Mazen Saggar)


LOUIS VUITTON

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Photo: Paris, October 5, 2008 - Sebastien Tellier, Amandine de la Richardiere, Zoe Cassavetes, Sofia Coppola, Kerry Washington, Yves Carcelle, Cecile Cassel, Helene de Fougerolles, Dita Von Teese. (© Louis Vuitton / Bertrand Rindoff Petrov et Mazen Saggar)


LOUIS VUITTON

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Photo: Paris, October 5, 2008 - Amandine de la Richardiere, Zoe Cassavetes, Sofia Coppola, Bernard Arnault, Helene Arnault, Kerry Washington, Yves Carcelle, Cecile Cassel, Helene de Fougerolles, Dita Von Teese, Mario Testino, Peter Marino, model from the Spring Summer 2009 show. (© Louis Vuitton / Bertrand Rindoff Petrov et Mazen Saggar)


The house of Louis Vuitton, with Marc Jacobs as Artistic Director, closed fashion week in Paris October 5, 2008 with its Spring Summer 2009 collection in the historic "Cour Carree" of the Louvre.

Yves Carcelle, President of Louis Vuitton received the international press and many celebrities including Sofia Coppola, Lenny Kravitz, Kerry Washington, Zoe Cassavetes, Cecile Cassel, Sebastien Tellier, Eva Amurri, Helene de Fougerolles, and Dita von Teese.

Source: Louis Vuitton

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Edited & Posted by Editor | 4:28 AM | Link to this Post


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