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Showing posts from September, 2014

Law enforcement breakdown Greek and American versions

A few weeks ago it was reported that:

A Greek individual called 911 to report a crime in progress; burgler were robing his house.  Apparently the police told this individual that they:  "Didn't have enough gasoline to make it to his house"  He was on his own.

When the state stops building/repairing roads, picking up garbage, paying pensions, providing clean water or providing basic policing services -- breakdown is among us.

Today the Canadian government told Canadian to no longer bring cash to the US.  Apparently, police officer regularly seize any cash as "proof that they individual was involved in drug trade".   Apparently, the police were given the authority to seize drug proceeds (their interpretation) and keep the cash (in the police force we presume).  That create great incentive for them to seize all cash and sundry... after all it helps their pensions!

Finally, as proof as to the size and importance of this:

Hundreds of state and local departments and …

Tesco income overstatment and the financial press

I don't know the details of Tesco's income overstatement -- the total looks large from here but not earth-shattering.  There are clear problem there but not really of my concern.  I know little about the company aside from the fact that I think my sister works there -- but in a non-retail division (maybe there are two Tesco's?) and that I used to shop there for groceries. Now this is a big company with annual profits in the STG 2 billion range (USD 3 billion with US$ 100 billion turnover) , so a STG 250 million error in net profit is a problem but its not about to kill the company (another story for its management).

This story is about analyst and financial reporters.  Last night flying back from Europe (on Air France -- man were we lucky that our flight was not cancelled) I was reading "Les Echos"  which is the French equivalent to the Financial Times.  There was a long winded article on the Tesco saga.  I was not very interested but one bit of information was …

Scotland & independence movements

Can it ever be the same?

The reality of the 55/45 vote overnight in Scotland is a cold shower for independence aspiration in Quebec and Catalonia (among many many others -- looking at you Wales).  The Scots got a very clear question -- do you want to be governed from London or Edinburgh?  The Scots said, no thanks -- better the devil you know!

However pandora's box is now open.  Once talks of divorce start its hard to stop -- my guess is that yesterday's vote solves nothing;  discussions will continue for a long long time, with the Scottish nationalist party finding a new excuse to restart the process. As an example:  "although the question was "clear" it didn't spell-out what was the alternative, what was the ideal of an independent Scotland".  It remains that 45% of Scotland's voting population said "we want things to be run out of Edinburgh", that's 1.5 million people, a not insignificant percentage of the population.

Already, the…

Ebola -- a public heath crisis

Several years ago, at the bookshop in Hong Kong I bought the Hot Zone.  To say that the book freaked me out would be an understatement.  It is a compelling look at the risk of contagion (and the movie with the similar name was scary enough) by one of the world's deadliest diseases.  Thankfully, Ebola is not airborne (yet anyway) apparently ebola is a very sloppy virus that has a tendency to mutate -- already there are two or three variants.

The CDC, Medecins sans frontier, and others have raised the alarm.  So far America (today) is the only country that has raised a hand -- with 3,000 personel.  Not Russia, not China and nor Europe.  How is it that America is always seen as the policemen or the doctor of the world.

If Europe and China were to look seriously at the security of the middle east (the oil zone) it may be of comfort that is America that is providing all the security in the straight of Hormuz, and yet 99% of the oil produced in the region goes to China or Europe -- who…

Enough already with Europe -- lets trash America instead!

So apparently France's prime minister (Manuel Valls) said that its economy was "screwed" if there was no recovery within the next 3-6 months.  personally, I think that he's now calling "higher powers" in the hope of a devine intervention... He wishes!

Out in in 'merica the situation is all rosy, at least if you look at the stock market which continues to define any logic.  There is no good news, aside from stock buy back -- that's it aside from a few companies that are doing well (looking at you Disney) but the real game has been the stock buy back. Why do better if you can just reduce the float!!!

The reality is that without wage growth in the middle class there can be no economic boom.  Moreover, the big spending now is in "education" as John Oliver pointed out the $1 trillion student debt has been mostly used to attend private (for profit) universities -- who according to Oliver spend nearly twice as much on advertising than they do on …