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His girlfriend’s house was surrounded by Federal agents in black SUV’s this afternoon, they told him to walk out and introduce himself. So he did, and he asked them, ‘If you’ve got a warrant, take me into custody. If you don’t, I’m going to Houston.’ And they did, so they arrested him.

Chairman of the troubled Stanford Financial Group, R. Allen Stanford surrendered to FBI agents in Virginia Thursday afternoon, his attorney said. Law enforcement officials said Stanford is in custody after surrendering in Stafford, Va. Authorities plan to unseal an indictment charging Stanford on Friday, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.

Stanford Financial Group has been under investigation by a grand jury in Houston. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges earlier this year accusing Stanford and his top executives of conducting an $8 billion fraud by advising clients to buy certificates of deposit from the Antigua-based Stanford International Bank.

The SEC’s lawsuit charged that the bank advertised its CDs in a brochure touting a conservative investment philosophy. But instead the bank’s portfolio was “misappropriated by Defendant Allen Stanford and used by him to acquire private equity investments and real estate,” the suit says.
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I’m not a professional tennis player. I’m not even a tennis player. The last time I touched a tennis racket was 5 years ago. But I did read about how a professional tennis player aims to hit as many balls to the opponent to make him miss, in order to win. An amateur , on the other hand, aims to try to catch as many balls as possible, aiming not to make any mistakes till his opponent eventually makes a mistake and causes himself to lose. That’s defensive playing.

I’m not a professional stock investor either. I admit neither I have the time nor the patience to go through every financial report, visit the companies I’m interested in buying and whatever else it takes to be really confident enough to put a huge chunk of my hard-earned money into the stock. So I have to invest defensively. I aim to minimise my losses while riding the general upward trend of the stock market, rather than maximising my gains on the individual hot stocks. It may limit my gains a little, but in the event of a crash, I hope to come out relatively intact. I basically expect a crash, even in the longest bull run ever. It’s like having a Plan B even though you hope you never have to use it, or buying insurance though you don’t really want to die or get a critical illness just to make the most of it.

So how do I play my defensive game ? I protect myself the following ways.

1. I stick with what I know. It’s easier to figure out that maybe the market has over-reacted when you are familiar with the industry. For example, I bought Bank Of America at $4 and Citigroup at $1. The prices were crashing as people anticipated a further crash and that didn’t happen. Today they are holding at $13 and $3.5 respectively. Do the exact opposite of what the average investor is doing. I bought Merck when it was being sued for one of its drugs , Vioxx. The price crashed as people anticipated huge lawsuit payouts, which never happened.

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You might not see how the past affects your ability to reach goals in the future. How can your past life affect what’s going to happen in years ahead? It is really quite important to understand that your past experiences affect you strongly in all you do.

Some of these past experiences may hinder you directly in working towards a goal and some might just be slight hurdles. In all cases these memories can affect you as to how well you do when heading towards a new goal.

Some of you go through life dragging an imaginary anchor around with you. It slows you down, it makes you unable to react to the changes in your life and it certainly weighs you down when trying to work towards new goals.

Releasing that weight would enable you to move quicker and succeed more easily. Perhaps that’s you holding on to past hurts, past incompletes, past resentments, anger or fear. Yet letting go of those anchors could be what you need so that you can fly into the future.

Have you allowed past failures to slow you down in achieving new successes? Have you remembered a friend telling you that you will never achieve anything? Do you remember the teacher at school who told you, you were an idiot and couldn’t do anything anyway?

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Make space for those goals in your life. That seems an obvious statement doesn’t it. But what if you want to study a course that will help you to further your career. Take a look at your life and see how much time do you actually have available.

Will a new goal fit into your life if you are already rushing every day to complete the tasks you have to do in terms of your commitments to work, your relationship with your partner, the time with your elderly parents, the hobby you have, the musical instrument you are trying to learn, the marathon you want to run for the first time and never mind keeping in touch with your friends?

Where in the busy schedule would a course fit? Not very likely. But you sign up for it anyway. Within the first month you find yourself not attending the evening classes and not handing in assignments. You just don’t have time.

You need to make way for that goal if you are serious about achieving it. University Business Schools know all about the falls off rate of students who sign up for MBA’s or Management Advancement Programs.

The drop out rate is something like 40% within the first term of the course and only about 70% or so finish. And yet at sign up time every student is informed as to how much time they will need to free up for this course.

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Achieving ones goals will depend on celebrating the successes you have on your journey. Nobody likes to continue working on something when there are only defeats. It’s the successes that spur us on to achieve greater heights.

It’s therefore really important when working towards a goal to keep track of your successes. The best way to do this is to write them down, or journal those in a file on your computer or even better write about them on a blog.

There is also great project management software available online that allows you to keep accurate track of what’s happening on your journey towards your goals. Many of these are free if you use the basic entry level option.

Keeping such an accurate track of your successes makes you appreciate your achievements. It allows you to pat yourself on the back and to encourage yourself to achieve even more. It also provides you with a history of your activities which will allow you to reflect in future years on the steps that you took to reach your goals.

Set up your journal to show the day and date and then compile a list of activities that you completed during the day. If your goal is to lose weight you might want to fill in the first block of your journal with the point that your scale showed you had lost some weight.

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You’ve written your goals down for the year. You’ve identified the little steps you want to take to achieve the goals and you feel positive that this time you will be able to attain your goals. It’s time that you finally you get around achieving those goals.

None of the above steps are going to ensure you have success in reaching your goals. They are great ones to work towards a goal, but there are many further processes that will need to be completed as well to ensure that you reach your dreams.

One critical process that will help you with achieving your aims is to evaluate and check your progress every day. The best time for this is in the evenings just before going to bed. Consider this preparation time spent to help you with the next day’s tasks.

This is the time when you acknowledge your successes, review your goals, focus on what you wish to happen in your future and make plans to accomplish them. Specifically you want to know what you will be doing the following day to work towards your goals.

If one of your main goals is to lose weight then you will reflect on how much exercise you managed to fit into your busy day, how well you stuck to that healthy eating plan you had set up for the day and how you felt about yourself all round.

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living-success-headerWhat has happened to those New Year’s resolutions you ask yourself very soon after you have set them down. It’s only a matter of weeks before those grand ideas have wafted away in the morning mist not to be seen again for another year.

When you made them they seemed so easy to adhere to. You were going to go to the gym three times a week. That was an easy goal to set. You were going to drink and smoke less, maybe even give up smoking. Seemed reasonable at the time.

Arriving at work on time every day was definitely possible until they started those road works of course and all traffic ground to a halt in the morning. After all that couldn’t be your fault then could it. Phoning your parents once a week was on that list, so was signing up for a new course to help your career along.

By February those New Year’s resolutions had evaporated and you felt guilty that they didn’t at least last until mid-year. It seemed that every year those goals set at the beginning of January have a shorter shelf-life.

What stops you from keeping those promises you make to yourself? What stops you from making those changes that could enrich your life? Why do you hang onto those old habits for dear life, never wanting to let go?

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indian_shares_zoom_180509Expectedly, after the resounding victory by the Congress Party in the general elections, markets skyrocketed as soon as the opening bell was sounded; eyeing a windfall in terms of government spending in a host of sectors to pump-prime the economy.

The sentiment was so strong in the trading community and the going was so good on the BSE Sensex that it reached the 17.24 per cent gain mark in no time, forcing the authorities to temporarily halt trading, when the circuit breaker* kicked in.

The same story repeated itself on the National Stock Exchange where the trading was also halted with the Nifty up by 17.33 per cent.

Within seconds of trading, the Bombay Stock Exchange’s benchmark Sensex vaulted 2,110.79 points, or 17.3 percent, to 14,284.21, triggering the historic shutdown Monday. Infrastructure, banking and real estate companies led gains. Trade was forced to close for the day, after the Congress Party’s definitive victory in national elections set the scene for long-delayed economic reforms

“The big question – is it a game changer? Can India get back to the high growth, high valuation of recent years? This event probably does open up meaningful possibilities, but there’s a lot to do, and there could be a lot in the way,” she said in a report.

Trading has never before been halted due to an upward swing in stock prices, according to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

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beckyquickwarrenbuffettA couple of days ago, I watched a short interview with the legendary investor Warren Buffett on an investment news channel. The interview was conducted shortly after the annual general meeting (AGM) of Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway. Buffet said many interesting things—as he always does—but the really educational part of the interview was the contrast between the world that Buffett inhabits and the world that his interviewer seemed to come from.

It was like listening to members of two different species talk. If a fly (which lives for perhaps a few hours) and a tortoise (who can survive for a hundred years or more) had a conversation, it would probably sound like Buffett and that interviewer.

At one point, the interviewer asked Buffett to comment on how his companies would cope with the downturn. Buffett replied that things were certainly down at the moment but he expected them to be OK in three to five years. I could see that the mere mention of a time scale like three to five years had derailed the interviewer’s thought process. Coming as she did from a world where three to five hours or at most three to five days is the standard unit of time, the idea of an investor talking in years seemed to have thrown a spanner in her works.

Next, she pulled out the day’s newspaper and drew the old man’s attention to a news item that US unemployment was up to 700,000. She wanted to know what he thought of the news. Buffett said that he was sure that five years from now, the employment situation would be much better than it was today. Again, this epic timescale put an end to that line of questioning.
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