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Clyde K. Valle

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Clyde is a business graduate interested in writing about latest news in politics and business. He enjoys writing and is about to publish his first book. He’s a pet lover and likes to spend time with family. When the time allows he likes to go fishing waiting for the muse to come.

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Danica Patrick has scored her career best finish after entering Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

After six consecutive races in which Danica Patrick failed to crack the top 15 in the final rundown, she seemingly come out of nowhere to deliver a career-best sixth-place finish in Sunday night’s Oral-B USA 500.

Starting 27th on the 43-car grid, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver methodically marched her way forward, and thanks to some key adjustments from crew chief Tony Gibson, was in position to possibly earn her first Sprint Cup win – and with it a berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Lining up fourth and in the non-preferred outside line on the second of two attempts at a green-white-checkered finish, Danica Patrick lost two positions over the final two laps to come sixth – but it was still her best finish in 71 career Sprint Cup starts.

“It was a long night,” said Danica Patrick, whose best finish prior to Sunday was a seventh-place finish at Kansas Speedway in mid-May.

Danica Patrick has scored her career best finish after entering Sundays Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway photo

Danica Patrick has scored her career best finish after entering Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway

“Man, that race felt like it was 700 miles. Sometimes when you are running well they feel like that because you are hoping it stays there, keeps going well, and you keep improving and don’t lose it. There were definitely a couple of times late in the race when we fell back. In the middle of the race the car was very good. We took a little step back, and then it came back in the end. Tony Gibson just reset everything to where we were when we were running well.”

Fast pit work by Danica Patrick’s No. 10 crew moved her up to seventh after all the leaders hit pit road following a caution brought out when Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. tangled on Lap 324, setting up the first green-white checkered attempt.

“Obviously the pit stop at the end that was 11 seconds was so good,” Danica Patrick said.

“There were a couple of rough ones in the beginning but that one made up for it because it put us seventh on that restart, and we had a good line on the inside and didn’t get caught up on the outside.”

Danica Patrick climbed three spots when Kevin Harvick’s dominant No. 4 Chevrolet got sandwiched between Paul Menard and Joey Logano, hitting the wall and setting up what would be the last restart.

Despite slipping to sixth over the final two laps, Danica Patrick couldn’t have been more pleased with the outcome – and was already harboring high hopes for next weekend’s regular-season finale at Richmond International Raceway, a track she doesn’t consider a favorite.

“I am just so happy for the team,” said Danica Patrick, who recorded her third top-10 finish of the season after posting just one top-10 last year as a Sprint Cup Series rookie.

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Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL player, has failed to make the St Louis Rams’ final roster.

The Rams filed their roster before August 30 deadline and Michael Sam was not among the 53-strong squad.

The 24-year-old defensive end can still be picked up by another team ahead of the season-opening matches next week.

Michael Sam’s move to declare that he is gay in February was applauded by many, including President Barack Obama.

He was one of 22 players waived in the Rams’ final cut.

Michael Sam has failed to make the St Louis Rams final roster 640x474 photo

Michael Sam has failed to make the St Louis Rams’ final roster (photo Getty Images)

Michael Sam had been selected by the Rams on the final day of this year’s draft in May and he kissed his boyfriend as a national television audience looked on.

Head coach Jeff Fisher had said he was mainly focused on what the footballer could do on the field.

Jeff Fisher said on Saturday there would be no challenge for any team that picked up Sam.

“He’s not about drawing attention to himself. He kept his head down and worked and you can’t ask anything more out of any player for that matter,” Jeff Fisher said.

“The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I’ve always known. The journey continues,” Michael Sam tweeted after the Rams’ decision was announced.

Michael Sam featured in the 26-24 loss to the New Orleans Saints, saying afterwards: “You know, I can play in this league.”

Michael Sam played college football at the University of Missouri.

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The Market Basket supermarket chain has agreed to sell to a majority stake to former boss Arthur T. Demoulas, ending a months-long dispute.

In announcing his purchase, Arthur T. Demoulas told workers, who had gone on strike in July to protest against his firing: “You are simply the best.”

The 70-plus stores belonging to the chain are mostly located in the northeastern US.

It was estimated the company was losing $70 million a day during the strike.

On August 27, Arthur T. Demoulas announced that he had reached an agreement to purchase the 50.5% of the company he did not control from a rival faction controlled by his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, for $1.5 billion.

“Words cannot express how much I appreciate each and every one of you,” Arthur T. Demoulas said while addressing workers outside the company’s Massachusetts headquarters on August 28.

The company employs roughly 25,000 people in the area.

Market Basket has been sold to Arthur T. Demoulas for more than 1.5 billion 640x480 photo

Market Basket has been sold to Arthur T. Demoulas for more than $1.5 billion

The saga began in June, when Arthur T. Demoulas was ousted as CEO of the company by a rival faction of his family, which controlled 50.5% of the firm.

The dispute was said to have been over a series of investments Arthur T. Demoulas had authorized, which led to large losses and smaller payouts for Market Basket’s shareholders.

However, the dispute simmered for a month until the new management fired eight workers who had protested againstArthur T. Demoulas’s demise in July.

That is when a campaign led by Market Basket workers and customers to “Save Market Basket” began to gather steam.

Workers went on strike, truck drivers refused to deliver fresh produce and meat, and shoppers boycotted stores, leading to empty shelves and the near-collapse of the firm.

Efforts on social media also paid off, with an anonymously-run Facebook page to save the Market Basket gathering over 90,000 likes and the hashtag, #MarketBasket, trending often on Twitter.

This brought national and international attention to the plight of the workers, stunning many in the industry both because the workers were not unionized and because they were campaigning for an almost-unheard of thing: the reinstatement of their boss.

Although negotiations between Arthur T. Demoulas and his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, continued through July, tensions were further agitated when Market Basket’s new co-chief executives announced a job fair in early August to hire replacement workers.

Now, those workers are breathing a sigh of relief.

Many tweeted pictures of newly-stocked shelves at several stores where meat counters and fresh produce areas had been empty for the past few weeks.

The question now is whether the chain, which has been essentially not in operation for two months, can recover from the essential collapse of its operations.

Boycotting customers said they would return to shop at the store immediately, as Market Basket is known for its lower-than-average prices.

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Malaysia Airlines has announced it will cut 6,000 jobs as part of a radical restructuring plan after being hit by two disasters in 2014.

The reduction in staff numbers represents around 30% of its workforce of 20,000.

Malaysia Airlines will become completely state owned, and a new chief executive will eventually be put in place.

Investigators continue to hunt for flight MH370, the Kuala Lumpur to Beijing flight which went missing in March.

The MH17 air crash in eastern Ukraine is also under investigation. The plane was shot down on July 17, with the loss of all 298 people on board.

The recovery plan will cost about 6 billion Malaysian ringgit ($1.9 billion).

Khazanah Nasional, the state investment company that owns a 69% stake in Malaysia Airlines, will take 100% ownership.

Malaysia Airlines will cut 6000 jobs as part of a radical restructuring plan after being hit by two disasters in 2014 640x403 photo

Malaysia Airlines will cut 6,000 jobs as part of a radical restructuring plan after being hit by two disasters in 2014 (photo AP)

“The combination of measures announced today will enable our national airline to be revived,” said Khazanah’s managing director Azman Mokhtar.

“Success is by no means guaranteed – while it is imperative that MAS [Malaysia Airlines] as a critical enabler in national development is revived, public accountability for the use of the funds mean that it cannot be renewed at any cost,” he added.

Long-haul routes will be slashed, and the airline aims to return to profitability by 2018.

Malaysia Airlines warned on Thursday that it had seen a sharp decline in weekly bookings following the two air disasters.

However, the company has been in trouble over the past few years, and has lost billions of ringgit in that time.

Malaysia Airlines will be completely delisted from the Bursa Malaysia stock exchange by the end of 2014.

Relevant assets, operations and liabilities of Malaysia Airlines will be transferred to a new company by July 1, 2015.

The current chief executive, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, will continue to lead Malaysia Airlines until the new company is formed next year.

North Korea has decided to stop sending cheerleaders to South Korea for Asian Games 2014, which would have been the first such trip in almost 10 years.

Pyongyang had said a group would accompany athletes taking part in the 16th Asian Athletics Championships in September in the South Korean city of Incheon.

However, it changed its mind because South Korea had appeared to be “displeased”.

North Korea accused the South of quibbling over details, and of viewing the group as a political propaganda tool.

“The South side took issue with the scale of the cheerleading squad and the size of the flag of the DPRK [North Korea],” a statement carried by KCNA news agency said.

North Korea has decided to stop sending cheerleaders to South Korea for Asian Games 2014 640x440 photo

North Korea has decided to stop sending cheerleaders to South Korea for Asian Games 2014

The statement said the South “finally raised even the issue of expenses which the North side had never mentioned, bringing the talks to a rupture”.

South Korea said it was disappointed at the “unilateral” move and said it hoped Pyongyang would change its mind.

The squad of dozens of young women performing synchronized moves traditionally attracts attention in South Korea.

Cheerleaders last came in 2005 for the Asian Athletics Championships, also held in Incheon.

That contingent was made up of 101 cheerleaders, including – reports say – Ri Sol-ju who went on to marry North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.

Tension remains high between the two Koreas, which remain technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

Pyongyang is widely believed to be pursuing nuclear weapons’ development and has carried out three nuclear tests, most recently in 2013.

North Korea traditionally alternates threats and olive branches towards its southern neighbor.

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Four McDonald’s outlets in Moscow have been ordered by Russian courts to close for 90 days, citing breaches of sanitary rules.

The restaurants were initially told to close on August 21 after criticism from the Russian state food safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor.

McDonald’s had been hoping to re-open its branches as soon as possible.

The company said it will appeal the rulings and is examining the judgements given by the court.

“We do not agree with the court’s resolution and will appeal against this resolution in accordance with the procedure established by law,” McDonalds said in a statement.

Four McDonalds outlets in Moscow have been ordered by Russian courts to close for 90 days citing breaches of sanitary rules 640x410 photo

Four McDonald’s outlets in Moscow have been ordered by Russian courts to close for 90 days, citing breaches of sanitary rules

The company said it would do its best to continue its operations in Russia.

The Moscow restaurants affected are on Pushkin Square, Manezh Square, Prospect Mira and Varshavskoye Shosse.

Two regional McDonald’s outlets in Stavropol and Ekaterinburg also remain closed, following the allegations last week that the company had breached “numerous” sanitary laws.

“We will continue taking care of our employees and will do our best to continue the success of McDonald’s business in Russia,” McDonald’s said.

The court ruling comes amid a tense stand-off between Russia and the West over the situation in Ukraine.

The EU and US have imposed sanctions against Russia over its role in the conflict. Moscow has responded with a trade embargo against food imports from the West.

The safety watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, has so far ordered the temporary closure of a total of six McDonald’s restaurants in Russia and has introduced unscheduled spot checks in the fast food company’s outlets across the country.

Rospotrebnadzor has denied that its actions are politically motivated.

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New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra said today it plans to take a 20% stake in Chinese infant food manufacturer Beingmate.

Fonterra will also spend $555 million on expanding its milk powder making capacity in New Zealand.

Beingmate is one of China’s biggest milk processors.

The tie-up would help create a global supply chain aimed at China’s market using Fonterra’s milk manufacturing partners in Australia and Europe.

It would also help Fonterra increase its share of China’s large and lucrative infant diary food market.

China relies on New Zealand for almost all its imports of milk powder.

Fonterra plans to take a 20 percent stake in Chinese infant food manufacturer Beingmate 640x320 photo

Fonterra plans to take a 20 percent stake in Chinese infant food manufacturer Beingmate (photo Fonterra)

If successful, the new partnership between Beingmate and Fonterra would see the Chinese company set up a joint venture to buy a Fonterra plant in Australia.

It would also see Beingmate distribute Fonterra’s popular Anmum brand on the mainland.

Fonterra’s chief executive Theo Spierings said the partnership would be a “game changer” and that it would provide Fonterra with “a direct line into the infant formula market in China”.

He also said Fonterra would work with Beingmate “to evaluate mutual investments in dairy farms in China”.

“The partnership will create a fully integrated global supply chain from the farm gate direct to China’s consumers, using Fonterra’s milk pools and manufacturing sites in New Zealand, Australia, and Europe,” the company said.

Fonterra said the infant formula market in China was worth about $15.05 billion today and that it would be worth some $27.5bn by 2017.

“This growth is driven by increasing urbanization, higher disposable incomes, a preference for premium brands and relaxation of the one-child policy,” said Theo Spierings.

China puts a premium on imported dairy food products after a tainted milk formula scandal in 2008 killed six babies and made some 300,000 infants ill.

Following that, a food scare related to Fonterra products last year saw China ban all milk powder imports from New Zealand for a period of time.

Fonterra, which is a farmer-owned co-operative and the largest exporter of dairy products in the world, said it had found a bacterial strain in some of its products that can cause botulism.

Testing later found there had been no problem with the company’s diary products.

Fonterra was nevertheless fined $256,675 over the food scare, which led to a global product recall.

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The US home price growth slowed in June 2014, an S&P/Case Shiller survey has indicated, continuing a long-term deceleration in the housing market.

The S&P/Case Shiller Home Price index covering 20 US major cities saw an 8.1% year-on-year price increase in June, compared with a 9.4% rise in May.

The US home price growth slowed in June 2014 continuing a long term deceleration in the housing market photo

The US home price growth slowed in June 2014, continuing a long-term deceleration in the housing market

Prices in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Miami and Tampa are still about a third below their housing bubble peaks of almost a decade ago.

The deceleration pointed to a “more normal sector”, the company said.

“Home price gains continue to ease as they have since last fall [autumn],” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“For the first time since February 2008, all cities showed lower annual rates than the previous month,” David M. Blitzer said.

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Burger King has confirmed it is in takeover talks with Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons.

A merger would create the world’s third-largest fast-food combine, one with a stock market value of about $18 billion.

Burger King and Tim Hortons confirmed the talks on August 24 and said the new group would be headquartered in Canada, where corporate taxes are lower.

Burger King’s majority shareholder, 3G Capital, would stay in overall control.

Burger King has confirmed it is in takeover talks with Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons 640x425 photo

Burger King has confirmed it is in takeover talks with Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons (photo AFP)

New York and Rio de Janeiro-based investment company 3G Capital bought Burger King in 2010 for about $3.3 billion and floated the company in 2012, holding on to nearly 70% of the shares.

If a deal goes ahead, the remaining shares will be distributed between the current shareholders of Burger King and Tim Hortons.

According to reports, the companies will retain their separate brand identities but save costs by sharing corporate services.

Combined, Burger King and Tim Hortons would have an estimated revenue of $22 billion a year from around 18,000 restaurants in 100 countries.

Tim Hortons used to be owned by US fast-food chain Wendy’s, before being spun off as a separate company in 2006.

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Paralyzed swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen is walking for the first time with the help of bionic legs since an ATV accident in June.

The accident left Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, 41, paralyzed from the waist down.

Paralyzed swimmer Amy Van Dyken Rouen is walking for the first time with the help of bionic legs photo

Paralyzed swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen is walking for the first time with the help of bionic legs

The Olympic champion, who said she felt “1,000 times better” after being released from a Colorado rehabilitation hospital last week, documented her first time standing and walking with the aid of a walker and leg devices Thursday on her Instagram account.

“Standing up for the first time on my own in 2 1/2 months,” Amy Van Dyken-Rouen captioned on the photo.

Amy Van Dyken-Rouen was paralyzed from the T11-12 vertebrae down after being thrown from an ATV in Arizona on June 6, though she has since said that she’s felt movement below her belly button and hopes to regain feeling in her legs some day.

Bank of America has agreed pay a record settlement of $16.7 billion for misleading investors about the quality of loans it sold.

The loans were sold by Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch before Bank of America bought them in 2008, at the height of the financial crisis.

The associate attorney general said “no institution is either too big or too powerful to escape” punishment.

The settlement will cut the bank’s third-quarter profits by $5.3bn.

Bank of America will pay a total of $9.65 billion in cash and provide consumer relief worth about $7 billion, much of which will go towards homeowners struggling with their mortgages.

The cash component consists of a $5 billion civil penalty and $4.63 billion in compensation payments.

The case centered on Countrywide Financial, the biggest lender at the time of the crisis, and Merrill Lynch selling mortgage loans to investors but not explaining the full extent of the risk involved.

Bank of America has agreed pay a record settlement of 16.7 billion for misleading investors about the quality of loans it sold 640x426 photo

Bank of America has agreed pay a record settlement of $16.7 billion for misleading investors about the quality of loans it sold

Tony West, the associate attorney general, explained: “It’s kind of like going to your neighborhood grocery store to buy milk advertised as fresh, only to discover that store employees knew the milk you were buying had been left out on the loading dock, unrefrigerated, the entire day before, yet they never told you.

“And just like you might be in for an unpleasant surprise when you got home and poured yourself that glass of milk, investors – such as public pension funds and federally-insured financial institutions – were unpleasantly met with billions of dollars in losses when those securities investments soured.”

Brian Moynihan, Bank of America’s CEO, said: “We believe this settlement, which resolves significant remaining mortgage-related exposures, is in the best interests of our shareholders, and allows us to continue to focus on the future.”

On Wall Street, shares in Bank of America opened 1.5% higher on relief that a major cloud hanging over the firm had been removed.

Previously, the largest banking fine by US regulators was a $13 billion settlement reached with JPMorgan in 2013, for misleading investors during the housing crisis.

The Bank of America fine is the latest in a line of penalties imposed by the US on banks since the 2008 financial crisis.

In March 2014, Bank of America agreed to pay $9.5 billion to settle charges that it misled US mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over mortgage securities.

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More unscheduled checks on McDonald’s restaurants across Russia have been announced by the country’s consumer watchdog as part of a probe into food standards.

The move comes after watchdog Rospotrebnadzor temporarily shut four McDonald’s restaurants in Moscow.

The actions come amid rising tensions and sanctions between Russia and the West over the crisis in the Ukraine.

The regulator denied the checks were politically motivated. McDonald’s said “top quality” food was its priority.

The regulatory agency said: “There are complaints about the quality and safety of the products in fast food restaurant chain McDonald’s.”

McDonald’s is one of the symbols of America.

Russian parliament has also called for checks on other US fast-food brands, including Burger King and KFC.

McDonald’s said its main priority was to serve customers “top quality menu items”, and that it was studying a claim by the food standards watchdog “to define what should be done to re-open the [Moscow] restaurants as soon as possible”.

Russian state news agency Ria Novosti reported that the regulator was preparing to take McDonald’s to court over alleged breaches of health and safety regulations.

Russia’s first ever McDonalds opened in 1990 in Moscow’s Pushkin Square photo

Russia’s first ever McDonald’s opened in 1990 in Moscow’s Pushkin Square (photo McDonald’s)

McDonalds decline to comment on that report.

Unscheduled checks will be made in McDonald’s restaurants in the region of Sverdlovsk in west-central Russia, the Volga region of Tatarstan, the central Voronezh region, and the Moscow region.

“There has been a selection of microbiology tests, sanitary and chemical tests, and identification indicators,” the watchdog said.

McDonald’s said it was “open to any checks”.

A company spokeswoman for European operations said it was aware that the regulator was carrying out the checks, which would be likely to continue for a couple of months.

The spokeswoman added that McDonald’s serves millions of customers a day in Russia, and wanted minimal disruption for them.

According to Ria Novosti, checks have been ordered across Russia’s Central Federal District, and that inspections of McDonald’s in all of the country’s regions will take place.

The checks and restaurant closures come amid a background of diplomatic tensions and tit-for-tat sanctions between Russia and the West over the crisis in the Ukraine. The West has accused Russia of supporting pro-Russian militants.

Earlier this month, Russia imposed an embargo on food imports from the EU, US and some other Western countries, in response to sanctions over Ukraine.

On August 20, the regulator temporarily closed four Moscow restaurants as part of an ongoing investigation of McDonald’s.

The first ever McDonald’s in Pushkin Square, which opened in 1990, was one of the outlets that was shut. Restaurants on Manezh Square, Svobodny prospect 35b and Prospect Mira were also closed.

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Former Manx Grand Prix winner Stephen McIlvenna has been killed during qualifying for this year’s event in the Isle of Man, organizers have confirmed.

Stephen McIlvenna, 39, of Northern Ireland, crashed on the Mountain Mile section of the TT course on Tuesday.

Race organizers said he was an experienced competitor who had been racing in the event for nine years.

Stephen McIlvenna won the 2009 Junior MGP and went on to compete in the TT.

Former Manx Grand Prix winner Stephen McIlvenna has been killed during qualifying for this years event in the Isle of Man photo

Former Manx Grand Prix winner Stephen McIlvenna has been killed during qualifying for this year’s event in the Isle of Man (photo Manx Motorcycle Club)

A Manx Motor Cycle Club spokesman said it passed on its “deepest sympathy to Stephen’s family and friends”.

The coroner has been informed and an investigation into the circumstances of the accident is under way.

Northern Ireland’s Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín expressed her shock and sadness at Stephen McIlvenna’s death.

“Stephen was an experienced rider who clearly loved the sport of motorbike racing,” she said.

“He was a regular competitor on the Isle of Man and his death is a tragedy.”

Four McDonald’s restaurants in Moscow have been temporarily closed by Russia’s main consumer watchdog as part of an investigation into food standards.

Watchdog Rospotrebnadzor claimed the restaurants had breached “numerous” sanitary laws.

McDonald’s said it was looking at the complaints, adding its “top priority is to provide safe and quality products”.

The closures come amid rising tensions between Russia and the West over the crisis in the Ukraine.

Russian watchdog Rospotrebnadzor claimed McDonald’s restaurants had breached numerous sanitary laws photo

Russian watchdog Rospotrebnadzor claimed McDonald’s restaurants had breached numerous sanitary laws

Previously when diplomatic tensions are high, the regulator has controversially banned products including wine from Georgia, cheese from Ukraine and apples from Poland.

Earlier this month, Russia imposed a “full embargo” on food imports from the EU, US and some other Western countries, in response to sanctions over Ukraine.

Wednesday’s action by the regulator is part of an ongoing investigation into McDonald’s food standards in Russia.

In July the watchdog filed a lawsuit in Moscow urging the restaurant chain to withdraw certain products.

McDonald’s said that restaurants on Pushkin Square, Manezh Square and Prospect Mira in Moscow had been temporarily closed, and said it wanted to “re-open the restaurants as soon as possible”.

“We will continue taking care of our employees and will do our best to continue the success of McDonald’s business in Russia,” the company added.

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When businesses seek to boost profits and maintain growth, they often concentrate on increasing volume or lowering costs but neglect the role that pricing plays. However, the importance of price optimization shouldn’t be underestimated, and may be the most cost-effective way to increase business profits.

Price optimization requires understanding the true value of your product and that value is a reflection of what your customers are willing to pay. Simply put, if you overvalue your product, your sales will suffer and if you undervalue it, you’re throwing money away. Therefore, the trick is knowing the maximum price that your customers are willing to pay.

A good pricing strategy will help your business resist market-driven competitive pressures by generating extra worth out of your products and services. Understanding what most small businesses do wrong is the first step to successful price optimization.

pricing strategy dollar bills 350x232 photo

Here are 5 common mistakes that many SMEs make when it comes to pricing.

1. They base prices on costs instead of value.

The vast majority of businesses still determine prices by working out the total cost of a product and then adding on their profit margin. However, this reflects a misunderstanding of how value works in the equation. If the cost-based price is higher than the value perceived by the customer, sales will slow and profits suffer. Conversely, if your cost-based price is lower than customer-perceived value, you’re missing out on potential profit.

2. They don’t segment customer pricing.

Different customers will value your product in different ways. Some may be willing to pay more and others less, depending on what the product is uniquely worth to them. Your pricing plan should reflect this with different prices for different customer segments. Tailor your product for each distinct segment through repackaging, targeted marketing, different delivery options and other variables.

3. They add the same profit margin, regardless of product.

Segmenting your products and services follows the same principle as segmenting your customers. The price you assign to different products should reflect how a particular customer values a particular product. Understanding the intrinsic value rather than focusing on a fixed profit margin will help you make necessary pricing adjustments to maximize profitability.

4. They don’t know who their most profitable customers are.

It’s a rule of thumb for most businesses that 4/5th of profits are generated from 1/5th of customers. However, most small businesses aren’t good at identifying who that top 20% is and spend a disproportionate amount of time on lower-yielding customers. Find out who your most profitable customers are and invest more time in holding on to them.

5. They don’t raise prices when necessary.

Many businesses put off making necessary price increases because they worry about the impact on sales. However, you should condition your customers to expect such periodic price adjustments, especially if you are adding value by making improvements to service.

Compared to costs like marketing and advertising, investing in price optimization is a cheap and effective way to increase your profits and secure the long-term success of your small business finances.

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Microsoft’s ex-CEO Steve Ballmer has announced he is stepping down from the board with immediate effect.

In a public letter, Steve Ballmer said he had become “very busy” since he quit the top job and that it would be “impractical to continue”.

Steve Ballmer’s decision to leave follows his recent purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.

Steve Ballmer has announced he is stepping down from Microsoft board with immediate effect photo

Steve Ballmer has announced he is stepping down from Microsoft board with immediate effect (photo AP)

“I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of my time,” he wrote.

Steve Ballmer said his departure would be immediate due to a “hectic” autumn including both the start of the NBA basketball season and his teaching of a new class.

He left the chief executive role in February after more than 14 years at the helm, and has been involved in the company for more than three decades.

Steve Ballmer still holds more Microsoft shares than any other individual, and on Tuesday he pledged to hold onto them for the “foreseeable future”.

“I bleed Microsoft – have for 34 years and I always will,” Steve Ballmer wrote.

Russian food prices are rising in parts of the country and experts say the state embargo on imports of Western food appears to be making things worse.

Since the ban was imposed on August 7, imported pork used in processed meat in Moscow has gone up by 6%, Russian business daily Kommersant reports.

In St. Petersburg, food prices have risen 10%. That inflation occurred even before the impact of sanctions.

Russia’s ban on many Western foods is retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine.

The St. Petersburg government’s economic policy chief, Anatoly Kotov, said the pork price had risen by 23.5% and chicken by 25.8%.

Russian food prices are rising after the state embargo on imports from Western countries photo

Russian food prices are rising after the state embargo on imports from Western countries

On August 18, Russia’s PM Dmitry Medvedev said he did not expect the ban on food imports to lead to price rises or shortages in the shops. He also said he hoped the ban – introduced for a year – would not last too long.

Nina Oding, an economist at St. Petersburg’s Leontief Centre, criticized “clumsy efforts by the state somehow to regulate price formation”. She said such efforts had failed in Soviet times, when goods simply disappeared from the shelves, and in Russia in the 1990s.

“We’re heading for restricted choice, more monopolistic tendencies, prices will rise – and we’re already seeing the start of that process,” Nina Oding told Russian business website RBK.

In Russia’s far east – the Primorye region and island of Sakhalin – food prices have gone up more than in Russia’s big western cities since August 7, Kommersant reports.

A regional agriculture official, Nikolai Borisov, said cheese prices had gone up by 10% and meat by 15% on Sakhalin. They were outstripped by the cost of chicken thighs, which rose by 60%.

In Primorye the cost of apples from China has reportedly risen by a third, while some meats have risen by 26% and fish by 40%.

The Russian ban covers a wide range of foods imported from the West, though there are exemptions for some categories, notably alcoholic drinks, baby food, pet food, coffee and olive oil.

Lithuania and Poland, western neighbors of Russia, are particularly hit by the ban on imports of fresh fruit and vegetables.

EU and US sanctions are targeting top Russian officials and key economic sectors, such as energy and finance, as Western leaders accuse the Kremlin of destabilizing eastern Ukraine by supporting the pro-Russian separatists there.

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Serena Williams has won her first Cincinnati title beating Ana Ivanovic in Western & Southern final on August 17.

Serena Williams, 32, needed only 62 minutes to beat Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-1 on Sunday in the Western & Southern Open for a personal breakthrough.

She’d never even reached the finals in Cincinnati until last year, when she fell apart and lost to Victoria Azarenka on a third-set tiebreaker.

Serena Williams has won her first Cincinnati title beating Ana Ivanovic in Western Southern final  640x480 photo

Serena Williams has won her first Cincinnati title beating Ana Ivanovic in Western & Southern final

After getting broken in the first game, Serena Williams took control with her serve and took advantage of Ana Ivanovic’s sloppy play, improving to 5-0 in finals this year.

Ana Ivanovic was treated for a stomach ailment during her nearly 3-hour win over Maria Sharapova in the semifinals Saturday night. She didn’t have much left against Serena Williams, who dominated with her serve.

Serena Williams had 12 aces.

The only other event that Serena Williams has played six times without a title is Sydney. She finally got her win in Cincinnati with the help of a good matchup.

Serena Williams is 7-1 in her career against Ana Ivanovic, with the only loss coming at the Australian Open this year.

Despite the loss, Ana Ivanovic will move back into the top 10 in the WTA rankings with her strong showing in Cincinnati.

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Al Gore is suing Al Jazeera America over the sale of Current TV, a network he founded.

The former Democrat vice president and his partners agreed to sell Current TV to the Qatari-owned broadcaster last year.

Al Gore and other former shareholders in the company claim Al Jazeera America is trying to retain $65 million of the purchase money.

They have filed a lawsuit claiming the terms of the contract have not been honored.

Al Gore is suing Al Jazeera America over the sale of Current TV photo

Al Gore is suing Al Jazeera America over the sale of Current TV

Al Gore’s lawyer, David Boies, said in a statement: “Al Jazeera America wants to give itself a discount on the purchase price that was agreed to nearly two years ago.”

Al Jazeera bought Current TV in August 2013 from a group of shareholders including the channel’s former chief executive, Joel Hyatt. Other investors included Comcast, and the supermarket magnate, Ron Burkle, as well as Al Gore.

It is Joel Hyatt and Al Gore who are alleging fraud and breach of contract over the sale, lodging their suit at a Delaware court.

They say a portion of the sale price was placed by Al Jazeera into an account to be paid to them this year, but that the money has been withheld.

A summary of the case, released by Al Gore’s lawyer, stated that Al Jazeera America is “in express violation of the merger agreement”.

Current TV was originally designed as a progressive channel to counter conservative-leaning broadcasters such as Fox News.

Al Jazeera America has not commented on the lawsuit.

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Chiquita has rejected a $611 million takeover bid by Brazilian groups Cutrale and Safra, saying it was sticking to its plan to merge with European fruit seller Fyffes.

The banana company said the offer from Brazil was “inadequate” and that it would not hold talks with the groups “at this time”.

Fruit juice company Cutrale and investment bank Safra made a $611 million bid for US-based Chiquita on Monday.

In March, Chiquita and Irish fruit group Fyffes agreed to merge.

Monday’s offer from the Brazilian businesses sent Chiquita shares 31% higher, while Fyffes fell 15%.

Chiquita has rejected a 611 million takeover bid by Brazilian groups Cutrale and Safra 640x627 photo

Chiquita has rejected a $611 million takeover bid by Brazilian groups Cutrale and Safra

A Chiquita-Fyffes merger would create the world’s largest banana supplier, with $4.6 billion in annual revenues.

The deal would allow Chiquita to avoid higher US taxes by relocating its statutory headquarters to Ireland.

This so-called tax inversion has been considered by other US companies, and become highly controversial as it would mean lost government revenues.

Chiquita said on Thursday that the Brazil offer was “inadequate and not in the best interests of Chiquita shareholders”.

“Having made such a determination, Chiquita has determined not to furnish information to, and have discussions and negotiations with, the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group at this time.”

Cutrale and Safra said on Monday that their offer was “clearly more favorable to the Chiquita shareholders than the proposed merger with Fyffes”.

According to the UN, the global banana market is currently controlled by four firms, Chiquita, Dole Food Company, Fresh Del Monte and Fyffes.

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Coca-Cola has bought a 16.7% stake in Monster Beverage in a cash deal, as it looks for growth away from fizzy drinks.

In the $2.15 billion deal, Coca-Cola will transfer its worldwide energy business to Monster.

In exchange, Monster will transfer its non-energy business, which includes Peace Tea and Hansen’s Natural Sodas, to Coca-Cola.

The deal gives Monster access to Coca-Cola’s global distribution system.

For Coca-Cola, the partnership will give it the opportunity to increase its market share in the fast-growing energy drinks market.

Coca Cola has bought a 16.7 percent stake in Monster Beverage in a cash deal 640x470 photo

Coca-Cola has bought a 16.7 percent stake in Monster Beverage in a cash deal

Muhtar Kent, chairman at Coca-Cola, said in a statement: “The Coca-Cola Company continues to identify innovative approaches to partnerships that enable us to stay at the forefront of consumer trends in the beverage industry.”

He added that “investment in Monster is a capital efficient way to bolster our participation in the fast-growing and attractive global energy drinks category”.

Also in the same statement, Monster chairman Rodney C. Sacks said the deal gives the company “enhanced access to the Coca-Cola Company’s distribution system, the most powerful and extensive system in the world. At the same time, we become The Coca-Cola Company’s exclusive energy play”.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals, and both companies hope the transaction will close by early next year.

Monster shares surged 22% in after-hours trading on the news, while Coca-Cola shares rose 1.2%.

Coca-Cola is the world’s largest beverage company, with more than 500 brands to its name, including Diet Coke, Fanta and Minute Maid.

The deal comes as consumers in developed economies and more mature markets are turning health-conscious.

One effect of that is they are staying away from fizzy drinks and soda which have high sugar content and are widely known to cause weight gain and in some cases, lead to obesity.

Coca-Cola has been grappling with falling sales from products that used to be its core revenue driver.

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Ford has announced it is recalling 83,250 cars because a faulty part could cause them to lose power or roll away if they are parked, Associated Press reported.

The recall involves the 2012-2014 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX; the 2013-2014 Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT; and the 2013-2014 Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS.

Ford is recalling 83250 cars because a faulty part could cause them to lose power or roll away if theyre parked 640x423 photo

Ford is recalling 83,250 cars because a faulty part could cause them to lose power or roll away if they’re parked

The carmaker says that due to the improper installation of a clip in the axle, the halfshaft can disengage from the linkshaft. If that happens, power won’t be transmitted to the wheels, increasing the risk of a crash. Also, the vehicles could roll out of the “park” position if the emergency brake isn’t engaged.

The company says there have been no reports of injuries or accidents related to the defect.

Ford will notify owners and begin free repairs by the end of August.

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld Luis Suarez’s four-month ban, but the Uruguay striker can now train with new club Barcelona.

A full explanation of the ruling will not be published until a later date.

Luis Suarez’s lawyers argued world governing body FIFA’s decision to suspend him from all “football-related activity” for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup was excessive.

Luis Suarez, 27, will be available from El Clasico at Real Madrid on October 26.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld Luis Suarez’s four month ban but the Uruguay striker can now train with new club Barcelona photo

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld Luis Suarez’s four-month ban, but the Uruguay striker can now train with new club Barcelona

The Uruguay striker will continue to serve a nine-match international ban but, having previously been banned from all “football-related activity”, he can now train and attend matches.

“The sanctions imposed on the player by FIFA have been generally confirmed,” the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said in a statement.

CAS described the ban imposed by FIFA on Luis Suarez from taking part in any football activity as “excessive”.

The panel ruled banning Luis Suarez from training would have meant the ban would still have an impact on the player after the end of the suspension.

Luis Suarez’s legal team said the appeal was a success after they argued FIFA had “misapplied its own rules when considering the case and the sanction it imposed was disproportionate”.

Although the team confirmed the possibility of appealing the CAS decision to the Swiss Supreme Court, the grounds for appeal are “very restricted”.

Luis Suarez was a Liverpool player at the time of his clash with Giorgio Chiellini but has since left to join Barcelona in a $120 million deal.

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Kevin Ward’s father spoke publicly for the first time about the death of his son, and blamed Tony Stewart for striking and killing the 20-year-old sprint driver during a race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Saturday night.

Kevin Ward Jr. and Tony Stewart had contact during an Empire Super Sprints Series race in the upstate New York half-mile dirt track. Afterward, Kevin Ward got out of his car, ran onto the track and angrily gestured at Tony Stewart. Seconds later, Tony Stewart’s right-rear tire struck Kevin Ward Jr. and threw him an estimated 20 to 30 feet, fatally injuring him.

Kevin Ward Sr. placed the blame for his son’s death on Tony Stewart, who has not spoken publicly since the accident.

“The reason he [Kevin Ward Jr.] probably got out of that car is who put him into the wall. He was definitely put into the wall,” Kevin Ward Sr. told Syracuse.com.

“Tony Stewart was the best damn driver by far on the track that night. Why he had to go up as high as he did and hog my son, there’s no reason for it.

Tony Stewarts right rear tire struck Kevin Ward Jr. and threw him an estimated 20 to 30 feet fatally injuring him photo

Tony Stewart’s right-rear tire struck Kevin Ward Jr. and threw him an estimated 20 to 30 feet, fatally injuring him

“Apparently, Tony Stewart was the only one driving out there who didn’t see him,” Kevin Ward Sr. told the website, noting that several other drivers on track avoided his son.

” … The one person that knows what happened that night is possibly facing 10 years in prison. Is he going to say what he done?”

Sunday afternoon, Tony Stewart issued the following statement: “There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. It’s a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I’ve decided not to participate in today’s race at Watkins Glen. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy.”

The visitation for Kevin Ward Jr. was scheduled for August 13 from at Trainor Funeral Home in Boonville, N.Y.

The funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. on August 14 at South Lewis High School.

Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said he expects the investigation of the accident and Ward’s death to take at least two more weeks.

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Lenovo has reported a 23% jump in net profit for Q2 2014 as laptop sales outperformed industry average.

For the three months to June, net profit rose to $214 million. Revenue in the same quarter jumped 18% from the previous year to $10.4 billion.

Lenovo’s core business lies in personal computers and accounts for 49% of total revenue in the quarter to June.

Laptop sales rose 12% in that period, when the industry was in a downturn.

The world’s biggest maker of personal computers said the PC industry saw a 3.7% decline in laptop shipments for the three months to June, when compared to the same period last year.

The latest figures indicate Lenovo has maintained its status as market leader for PCs, with a higher global market share of nearly 20% when compared to last year.

Lenovo has reported a 23 percent jump in net profit for Q2 2014 as laptop sales outperformed industry average photo

Lenovo has reported a 23 percent jump in net profit for Q2 2014 as laptop sales outperformed industry average

In a statement which accompanied the earnings release, Lenovo Chairman Yang Yuanqing said: “This has been a quarter of milestones for Lenovo – record PC share, a number three ranking in worldwide tablets for the first time and an even stronger number four global smartphone position.”

Lenovo has been making moves to diversify away from the shrinking global PC market. Its “Mobile Device Business” includes smartphones and tablets.

For the first time ever, Lenovo said it had sold more smartphones than PCs, with a record volume of 15.8 million units. That is a 39% gain from the previous year.

Yang Yuanqing also said: “As the PC industry recovers, the smartphone market continues its shift from premium to mainstream, and our acquisitions of Motorola Mobility and IBM x86 proceed toward completion, we see even more opportunity to keep growing rapidly.

“Lenovo continues to outperform the market and meet our commitments to improve profitability in our core businesses, while building strong pillars for future growth across our entire portfolio.”

The company has been on an acquisition spree. Earlier this year it struck a deal to acquire IBM’s low-end server unit.

Lenovo is also in the process of acquiring Motorola’s handset business from Google.

Both deals are awaiting regulatory approval, which analysts say could come as early as the third quarter of this year.