another-1200-jobs-may-be-axed-at-struggling-lehman-brothers-415x2751The scandal around the so called investment guru Madoff is the second big case in this year as masses of people have lost their fortune. The first case was the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. Many people are lured to invest their money in financial market instruments that promise attractive yields. These instruments are, however, as opaque as black boxes.

Hedge funds as black holes

Hedge funds bet with complex structures of derivatives. Most of them lack the transparency. The common investors do not understand how they work. Institutional investors usually invest in funds of hedge funds. Their managers claim to be capable of picking the promising funds. Funds of funds absorb a cascade of fees that have to be subtracted from the yield.

There is a wide variety of investment styles among the hedge funds. It seems that the general lack of transparency of the hedge funds industry has made it possible that the Madoff Ponzi could remain undetected for such a long time. The Madoff scandal demonstrates also a failure of the SEC as well as of the involved audit firms.

Hedge funds should correlate with other asset classes, e.g. stocks or bonds, according to the theory. The fact is: Hedge funds have badly performed during the actual financial crisis. The global hedge-fund industry lost $64 billion of assets in November 2008 says Bloomberg.

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1. 10% market share for Google Chrome.

2. Google’s search engine will lose a significant amount of market share as Live Search’s position will consolidate.

3. Google’s Q&A service, used to implement Google help forums, will become a part of Google Apps.

4. GrandCentral will be publicly available in the US and the interface will integrate with Gmail.

5. Google will launch a mobile browser for feature phones and non-Android smart phones.

6. The popular Google Bookmarks service will improve the way you manage bookmarks, by adding hierarchical labels, sharing options and more intuitive visualizations.

7. Google will bring some of the Chrome features to other browsers.

8. Google Translate will be seamlessly integrated with many Google services and applications.

9. Google Reader will list popular posts shared by the community and you’ll be able to subscribe to OPML files dynamically (the changes will reflect in your subscription list).

10. Google Maps Live – Google’s service will showcase webcams that stream from all around the world, it will include a tab for Google Earth and the most recent custom maps, reviews and map edits from your contacts.

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Oil fell toward $37 a barrel on Wednesday, tracking global equity losses and ahead of U.S. data expected to show an increase in crude stocks.

Stock markets are again in a bearish trend after the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 1.2 percent Tuesday. Oil prices could continue to fall on the coat tails of equity markets and the trend suggests this might into the New Year.

Oil prices have fallen about 60 percent since the start of this year and more than 70 percent since their record peak above $147 in July as demand from the United States, China, Japan and other industrialized nations has fallen.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has already announced cuts of around 5 percent in global oil supplies and may call an emergency meeting before March if prices extend their near $110-per-barrel slide since summer, OPEC’s President Chakib Khelil said Tuesday.

Oil was buoyed Wednesday by a dip in the dollar, which edged down against the yen, pressured by light selling from Japanese exporters after dismal U.S. growth and housing data suggested a prolonged recession ahead.

Data for release later Wednesday was also expected to show distillate stocks rose 200,000 barrels last week, while gasoline was seen up 500,000 barrels, a Reuters poll showed.

The pace of global oil demand growth should increase next year as rising consumption in emerging markets outweighs declines in developed nations hard hit by the high fuel costs and mounting economic problems.
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The global automotive depression has finally reached all the way to the top — to Japan’s Toyota Motor Corporation, which on Monday said it now expects to lose money in its automotive operations. This will be the first such loss in 70 years.

Toyota, like its Japanese counterparts, has been staggered by the yen’s stunning appreciation against the U.S. dollar — which makes Japanese exports more expensive overseas — as well as plunging vehicle sales in North America and other major export markets.

For the fiscal year that ends March 31, Toyota still expects to eke out a modest profit of $555 million, which looks pretty good in comparison to the billions of dollars of losses incurred already this year by Detroit’s beleaguered automakers.

But the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer by sales volume and market value said it now expects to post a fiscal-year operating loss of nearly $1.7 billion, a dramatic turnaround from the $13.9 billion operating profit Toyota had forecast earlier this year and revised operating profit of $6.7 billion that it released in November. Media reports in Japan said it would be the first operating loss since just after the firm was founded in 1937.

Executives also said total revenues for the fiscal year now are expected to fall about 18 percent, to around $239 billion, revised downward from the earlier projection of $256 billion.
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Americans are giving up their dogs and cats to animal shelters in growing numbers as the emotional bonds between people and pets get tested by economic ones.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have a big job at hand and recently began a program called Help Out Pets Everywhere (HOPE) to provide food, medical care and temporary homes for pets belonging to families with financial difficulties. They received about eighteen applications in the first week, some of those people have never experienced hardship until now, and therefore, neither have their pets.

A man who turned his two dogs over in order to help pay for his mother’s cancer treatments, to the New York woman who euthanized her cat rather than keeping it alive with expensive medications, rising economic anxieties make it increasingly difficult for some pet owners to justify spending $1,000 a year or more on pet food, veterinary services and other costs.

The population growth at animal shelters shows how the weak economy is also shrinking the pool of potential adopters. And it coincides with a drop-off in government funding and charitable donations.

The effect has been cramped quarters for dogs and cats, a faster rate of shelters euthanizing animals and some shelters turning away people looking to surrender pets, according to interviews with several shelters and animal advocates. Of the estimated 6 million to 8 million dogs and cats sent to animal shelters every year, half are euthanized and the rest adopted, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

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Proper asset management and at least basic financial education are one of the biggest assets you can possess. It’s not so expensive or unattainable as most people imagine.

These below mentioned reasons are a paved path to financial hell:

1) No financial education. This is definitely the number one reason why we mess up our financial lives ­ because no one taught us how to manage it! Come to think of it: who teaches you how to manage your finances? The answer is a resounding “no one”. The conventional school we attend does not teach us, neither does business school nor our bosses.

2) Leaving your money management to others (and often, the wrong people!). Strangely enough, not many people are too concerned about their finances, thinking that others will take care of it for them. This explains why most of us “jump shelters” from our parents to our employers and maybe the government. We erroneously assume that a “responsible” boss or government would help take care of our finances.

In truth, your personal finances are your own responsibility. How can people expect “other people” to take care of them when they do not even want to take care of themselves? Also, perhaps the best government can provide the guidance and opportunities but it is still you to take care of your OWN finances.

3) Relying on incompetent advisors. Since many folks do not have the “know how” on managing their own finances, they turn in their own financial “steering wheel” to so-called “experts” such as financial planners, remisiers, and even… insurance salespeople!
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We know that there will always be swindlers in the world, particularly when money is at stake. What is surprising in the Madoff case is the magnitude and durability of the confidence game and the wealth and importance of many of the investors who went along for the ride, based largely on personal trust.

Madoff will go down in history along with Charles Ponzi, who gave his name to these pyramid schemes in the 1920’s. Ponzi may have been the first, but Madoff was the biggest. Look up Charles Ponzi in Wikipedia.

The US financial regulatory body will launch an in-house investigation into why it failed to detect Bernard Madoff’s massive alleged fraud, despite almost a decade of warning signs.

“The Securities and Exchange Commission, a once-proud agency with an impressive history as Wall Street’s top cop finds itself increasingly conducting autopsies of leading financial institutions after failing, in the first instance, to perform adequate biopsies.

The issue arises as to whether investors in such a fund should be insured in any way, not against losses resulting from market activity (those are business risks), but from losses through embezzlement, for example, if someone stealing the corpus of their fund, or if there is no fund.

Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Christopher Cox said the SEC “has learned that credible and specific allegations regarding Mr Madoff’s financial wrongdoing, going back to at least 1999, were repeatedly brought to the attention of SEC staff”.
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An audio book is a voice recording of written material. An audio book is often referred to as a book on tape, as a cassette tape was initially the format offered when the audio books first appeared on the market in the 1980’s.

Many retailers did not see the need for these audio books, but the books gained popularity quickly. Now there are many websites dedicated to providing free audio book downloads to everyone. There is really no limit to the genres available to you through free audio books downloads.

Audio fiction books, nonfiction, research, even cookbooks are now available. There are many different download formats available as well. You are now able to choose to download a free audio book in MP3 or iPod formats, enabling you to listen while walking, running, or other forms of exercise.

Books will always be part of our lives. It has been in existence for many centuries and it will continue to exist until the end of time. People have protected books from being burned. They went through great lengths to preserve it such as burying it deep into the ground so it will be passed on from generation to generation. So books will be a constant presence in our lives from the moment we were born up until we die.

Have you noticed that books have been evolving? There was a time when all we had are pages of a manuscript. Now, books are in all kinds of forms. We have the paperback books, the hardbound books, comics, magazines, e-books, Audio Books and others. No matter what form of book that we prefer, it will still be the same.
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