Congressional compromise more likely for Second Term

Obama’s first term was consistently hindered, by a deliberate strategy of obstruction from Congressional Republicans. Will a second term be any better?

As we consider the Presidential candidates, it is also important to consider the Legislative branch — Congress. Presidents have only executive and veto authority, and must rely on Congress & the Senate to actually write & pass laws. Continue reading

Nokia slashes prices in desperation

Shares in Nokia fell over 3 percent on Monday, after the company halved the price of its flagship Lumia 900 phone to try and lure customers away from competitors.

With increasing signs of desperation in Nokia’s stuggle against rivals Apple and Samsung, customers continue to flock to the popular Android & iOS smartphone operating systems. Nokia’s change to & and reliance on the new & little-used Windows Phone operating system may shape up as the strategic decision that breaks, rather than makes, the company. Continue reading

The Arab Spring’s spirit still burns in Libya

The Libyan elections were free and peaceful – and did not lead to Islamist victory

Libya vote: the turnout was robust and fewer than 2 per cent of polling stations were closed

Libya has gone off-script. This was supposed, by some, to be a simple story: naive liberals support Libyan revolution, Islamists hijack revolution. The end. Last year, the American Spectator warned that “it is becoming increasingly apparent that Islamism will be the dominant political force in the country”, with “ever more visible links to al-Qaeda”. John Bradley, writing in this country’s Spectator, wailed that “self-declared former al-Qaeda fighters and bands of tribal fanatics” had taken over Libya and “imposed sharia law on the once-secular country”.

So, how is that post-revolutionary Islamist wasteland shaping up today? Well, a coalition led by the Western-educated political scientist and former interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril appears to have won Libya’s first free elections in 60 years, sweeping aside its Islamist opponents. Even in their eastern stronghold of Darnah, the hardline Islamists were thumped. These elections garnered 62 per cent turnout. They were mostly peaceful, with fewer than 2 per cent of polling stations closed. According to one observer, they were “described as a big family wedding, with lots of loud celebration and tears of joy”. Even in those areas thought to be hostile to the revolution – such as Sirte, Colonel Gaddafi’s hometown – turnout was surprisingly robust. Continue reading

Madoff FBI Files Reveal How He Fooled His Own Employees

After several drinks at a Greek restaurant on Manhattan’s Third Avenue in the summer of 2006, two computer programmers at Bernard Madoff’s investment firm asked their supervisor whether the boss’s business was a scam.

Chief Financial Officer Frank DiPascali laughed off the question, telling George Perez and Jerome O’Hara that Madoff was honest. DiPascali would later tell the FBI he wondered why they took so long to ask. Continue reading

Syria: difficult problems for US policy

As slaughter continues in Syria, many people hope for a resolution or some kind of solution to emerge. Civilians are being shelled by artillery & fired upon by tanks, in what are indisputable war crimes.

In this environment, many question what US and NATO action should be taken. Senator John McCain is now criticizing President Obama’s lead on the issue. But does this actually recognize the situation — and realistically, what can be done? Continue reading

Spain next: Banks weakening, urgent action to save the Euro

With Greece experiencing political instability & embarking on a slow banking run, attention must be paid to other — more important — countries.

While the exit of Greece from the Euro may be of great importance to the Greeks, it won’t make much difference to the rest of Europe. However, what does become critical is preventing “follow on” — breaking the chain of dominoes, before failure ricochets across Europe.

Spain’s banking sector is in trouble, and with it likely next after Greece, action is needed now. The future of the Euro, may well play out in front of us over the next 2 months…
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Facebook IPO: could investors lose out?

With Facebook’s public IPO just days away, many investors are looking at the online social-networking giant. Much-hyped, hugely popular & with spectacular $100-billion plus valuations, the IPO seems a “ray of sunshine” amidst grey weather.

But is this promise oversold? Will investors achieve growth by holding Facebook shares for 2-5 years? Or, is this at least partly just a ‘pop’ so the smart money can get out?

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