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.
Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of American start-up Theranos that promised to revolutionize blood testing, has agreed to settle charges that she raised over $700 million fraudulently.
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos deceived investors about the company’s technology.
The financial regulator also said the company had falsely claimed its products had been used by the US army in Afghanistan.
Elizabeth Holmes will lose control of the company and be fined $500,000.
An SEC official called the fallout an “important lesson for Silicon Valley”.
Jina Choi, director of the SEC’s San Francisco regional office, said: “Innovators who seek to revolutionize and disrupt an industry must tell investors the truth about what their technology can do today – not just what they hope it might do someday.”
The company was founded in 2003 when Elizabeth Holmes was only 19, and sought to develop an innovative blood testing device.
Theranos said its Edison device could test for conditions such as cancer and cholesterol with only a few drops of blood from a finger-prick, rather than taking vials from a vein.
In 2015, Forbes magazine estimated Elizabeth Holmes’ wealth at $4.5 billion.
However, in the same year reports in the Wall Street Journal suggested the devices were flawed and inaccurate.
By 2016 Forbes magazine had revised its estimates of Elizabeth Holmes’ fortune to “nothing”.
The charges were brought against the company and its former president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani as well as Elizabeth Holmes.
The SEC plans to bring a case against Sunny Balwani.
The agency alleged that Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani made a series of false and misleading statements in investor presentations, product demonstrations and interviews, saying: “Theranos, Holmes, and Balwani claimed that Theranos’ products were deployed by the US Department of Defence on the battlefield in Afghanistan and on medevac helicopters and that the company would generate more than $100m in revenue in 2014.
“In truth, Theranos’ technology was never deployed by the US Department of Defense and generated a little more than $100,000 in revenue from operations in 2014…
“In truth, according to the SEC’s complaint, Theranos’ proprietary analyzer could complete only a small number of tests, and the company conducted the vast majority of patient tests on modified and industry-standard commercial analyzers manufactured by others.”
President Donald Trump has ordered the blocking of a planned takeover of chipmaker Qualcomm by Singapore-based rival Broadcom on national security grounds.
The president’s order cited “credible evidence” that the proposed $140 billion deal “threatens to impair the national security of the US”.
There were concerns the takeover could have led to China pulling ahead in the development of 5G wireless technology.
The $140 billion deal would have been the biggest technology sector takeover on record.
According to analysts, a takeover of Qualcomm by Broadcom would have created the world’s third-largest maker of microchips, behind Intel and Samsung.
The chipmaking sector is in a race to develop chips for the latest 5G wireless technology and Qualcomm is considered to be a leader in this field, followed by Broadcom and China’s telecoms giant Huawei.
Qualcomm is highly regarded for its commitment to research and development (R&D), particularly in the field of 5G technology. Huawei is equally committed to R&D in the area.
Broadcom is better known for selling assets and growing through acquisitions, and deemed to be weaker on R&D.
Analysts also say a deal between Qualcomm and Broadcom could have given Huawei the chance to take over the top spot in years to come – a situation US politicians wanted to prevent given their ongoing security concerns around Chinese telecom firms doing business with US carriers.
Broadcom said it was reviewing the order and “strongly disagrees that its proposed acquisition of Qualcomm raises any national security concerns”.
The company had been pursuing San Diego-based Qualcomm for about four months.
Last week, however, Broadcom’s hostile takeover bid was put under investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), a multi-agency body led by the Treasury Department.
Broadcom had rejected approaches from its rival on the grounds that the offer undervalued the business, and also that any takeover would face antitrust hurdles.
Orestes Fintiklis, the majority owner of the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama City, has regained control of the building after a legal battle with its management – the Trump Organization.
Within hours of the verdict from a Panamanian court, the luxury hotel’s employees removed the Trump name from its main entrance.
The Cypriot businessman has been fighting to cancel the contract with the Trump Organization, which he blames for a fall in profits.
The Trump Organization said it had appealed against the decision.
Orestes Fintiklis hailed the court’s decision, saying: “Panama has made us proud.
“Today, this dispute has been settled by the judges and the authorities of this country.”
The standoff between Orestes Fintiklis and the management team at the hotel had lasted more than a week.
On March 5, police and a court official enforced the owner’s claim to the hotel as Trump Organization executives and security staff abandoned the building.
Hotel employees then pried the Trump logo from the entrance.
Tourists later gathered at the spot to have their pictures taken.
The legal battle began last month when Orestes Fintiklis said he intended to force the Trump Organization out before its management contract was up, and to rebrand the hotel.
According to lawsuits filed in the United States, Orestes Fintiklis said the number of guests at the hotel was falling.
For its part, the Trump Organization said Orestes Fintiklis was breaching his contractual commitments.
The Trump Organization said in a statement: “Trump Hotels remains fully confident that it will not only prevail, but recover all of its damages, costs and attorneys’ fees, including those… arising from today’s events.”
President Donald Trump has threatened to “apply a tax” on imports of cars from the European Union.
He said other countries had taken advantage of the US for years because of its “very stupid” trade deals.
The trade wrangle began on March 1 when President Trump vowed to impose hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
That brought a stiff response from trading partners and criticism from the IMF and WTO.
EU trade chiefs have reportedly been considering slapping 25% tariffs on around $3.5 billion of imports from the US, following President Trump’s proposal of a 25% tariff on imported steel and 10% on aluminum.
According to European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, they would target iconic US exports including Levi’s jeans, Harley-Davidson motorbikes and Bourbon whisky.
In a tweet on March 3, President said: “If the EU wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on US companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the US.
“They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!”
A second tweet decried the “$800 Billion Dollar Yearly Trade Deficit because of our ‘very stupid’ trade deals and policies”.
The president added: “Our jobs and wealth are being given to other countries that have taken advantage of us for years. They laugh at what fools our leaders have been. No more!”
The US is the largest export market for EU cars – making up 25% of the €192 billion ($237 billion) worth of motor vehicles the bloc exported in 2016.
In the same year, China was second largest market with 16%.
Germany is responsible for just over half of the EU’s car exports, so new US tariffs would hurt the car industry there. However, German auto makers also build hundreds of thousands of cars in the US every year – providing many US jobs that German officials say President Trump overlooks.
A number of Republicans have questioned the wisdom of the tariff proposal and have been urging President Trump to reconsider.
Senator Orrin Hatch said: “I’m very surprised, he’s had very bad advice from somebody down there. The people who are going to have to pay these tariffs are going to be the American citizens.”
Senator Ben Sasse also said: “Kooky 18th Century protectionism will jack up prices on American families – and will prompt retaliation.”
The US Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association have expressed deep concern, saying the benefits from the recent cuts in corporation tax “could all be for naught”.
However, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross stood firmly behind the plans, saying the president was “fed up with the continued over-capacity, he’s fed up with the subsidization of exports to us”.
The new tariffs chime with President Trump’s “America First” policy and the narrative that the US is getting a raw deal in its trade relations with other countries.
On March 2, President Trump tweeted that the US was “losing billions of dollars” and would find a trade war “easy to win”.
He is using a clause in international trade rules which allows for tariffs for national security reasons.
President Trump had already announced tariffs on solar panels and washing machines in January.
There are hundreds of payday loan lenders available on the internet, but how can you truly know that you’re using a lender that’s reputable and reliable? When looking for payday loans direct lenders, there are a few factors which you will need to take into consideration, including whether they have the appropriate regulations and whether they state any extra costs clearly and concisely. If you’re in a financial emergency and urgently need a loan, but are unsure about which lender to choose, we’ve made the selection process a little easier for you.
Are They Regulated By The FCA?
Undeniably, one of the most important parts about choosing a payday loan lender is whether or not they’re regulated by the FCA. Before borrowing a single penny from a lender, you may want to check to see if they are authorised by the FCA. Usually, this information can be found in the footer of the lender’s website. The information you may consider include the FCA authorisation number and the company registration information. If you’re unable to find this information, it’s highly likely that the business is not as trustworthy as it should be.
The APR Rate That They Charge
Once you’ve discovered that your desired lender is regulated by the necessary statutory bodies, you may then proceed to investigate into their extra charges, with APR being the priority. APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate, yet confuses many people searching for a loan lender as it usually needs to be paid in monthly instalments. When searching for a lender’s APR, remember that the stated APR value isn’t the definite one that you’ll have to pay. Instead, you should only pay a fraction of the percentage, although this depends on several factors such as how much you intend on borrowing and how long you require the loan for. It’s worth noting that the very best lenders will tell you the exact amount that you’ll have to pay long before you’re expected to.
Image source Wikimedia
Is Their Website Secure?
When dealing with an online payday loan lender, it can be difficult to discover how reliable they are when human contact is limited. Naturally, one of the most important things you should look out for in a payday loan lender is whether or not their website is secure, otherwise your personal and financial information may be put at risk. Luckily, you don’t have to be a technological expert to do this either, as simple things such as whether they have a ‘https’ URL as opposed to ‘http’ can determine whether or not they have a secure website. In addition to this, particularly on mobile, you may see a padlock symbol next to the site address, which can also be a sign that a website is secure. If a lender lacks security features, you may want to look elsewhere.
Do Your Research
Before being completely set on a single payday loan lender, you’ll want to compare the market as much as possible, looking out for all of the above criteria. More established businesses will often guarantee you stability, and often all potential hidden charges will be made clear to you before you decide to take out a payday loan. Furthermore, you should always conduct your research to find out whether the site is mentioned elsewhere online in reviews or testimonials, as this can provide you with advice from likeminded individuals who have used their services.
The civil rights lawsuit against the company alleges that Harvey Weinstein harassed and abused women employed by the studio for years, as well as making verbal threats to kill staff members.
It accuses senior executives at the company, including Harvey Weinstein’s brother Robert, of failing to prevent the mistreatment of staff despite being presented with evidence.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is seeking an unspecified sum to cover damages, plus penalties, for victims of alleged abuse.
A lawyer for Harvey Weinstein has said a “fair investigation” will show that many of the allegations are without merit, while the company’s board of directors has said many of the allegations relating to the board are “inaccurate”.
The allegations against Harvey Weinstein first surfaced in October 2017, when the New York Times published a story detailing decades of allegations of harassment against the mogul.
Since then, more than 50 women, among them some of the biggest names in Hollywood, have accused Harvey Weinstein of assault, harassment, abuse and rape.
In the wake of the allegations, Harvey Weinstein was sacked by the board of his company.
He has admitted that his behavior has “caused a lot of pain” but has described many of the allegations against him as “patently false”.
Harvey Weinstein is under investigation by UK and US police, but no criminal charges have been brought.
Raj Nair, the head of Ford’s US operations, has resigned following an internal investigation into inappropriate behavior.
Ford said its inquiry had concluded that some of Raj Nair’s conduct had been “inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct”.
The company did not specify why the investigation was started, nor what it uncovered.
Raj Nair said in a statement that he sincerely regrets certain behavior.
In a statement, Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett said: “We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration. Ford is deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values.”
Raj Nair had been President of Ford North America since July 1. He was previously head of global product development and chief technical officer.
He apologized, without elaborating on the reasons for his going.
He said: “I sincerely regret that there have been instances where I have not exhibited leadership behaviors consistent with the principles that the company and I have always espoused.”
Raj Nair added: “I continue to have the utmost faith in the people of Ford Motor Company and wish them continued success in the future.”
A company spokesman said Ford would not be commenting on the nature of Raj Nair’s departure.
In August, Ford agreed a multi-million-dollar settlement after an investigation into harassment at two factories in Chicago.
The inquiry was conducted by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which said female and African-American employees had been subjected to harassment and found the Ford retaliated against employees who complained about the harassment or discrimination.
Following the inquiry, Jim Hackett wrote in a letter to employees: “There is absolutely no room for harassment at Ford Motor Company…. We don’t want you here, and we will move you out for engaging in any behavior like this.”
Venezuela has launched the “Petro” cryptocurrency in an attempt to bypass tough economic sanctions imposed by the United States.
Petro is intended to bolster Venezuela’s crumbling economy, which has been suffering from hyperinflation and devaluation for years. Venezuela claims Petro is the world’s first sovereign cryptocurrency. Critics say the move is a desperate attempt by the government to raise cash at a time when the country lacks the ability to repay its $150 billion of foreign debt.
Opposition leaders said the sale constitutes an illegal issuing of debt, while the US Treasury Department warned it may violate sanctions imposed in 2017. The Venezuelan government says the currency aims to circumvent US sanctions on the economy. President Nicolas Maduro has said each tokens will be backed by a barrel of Venezuelan crude. Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil reserves. A total of 100 million Petros will be sold, with an initial value set at $60, based on the price of a barrel of Venezuelan crude in mid-January. On February 20, the official website published a guide to setting up a virtual wallet in which to hold the Petro, but did not provide a link for actually doing so. There was also no information on exchanges.
South Korean and North Korean athletes entered under the same flag during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
North Korea ice hockey player Chung Gum Hwang and South Korean bobsledder Won Yun-jong were joint flagbearers.
Olympic president Thomas Bach has declared: “We are stronger than all the forces that want to divide us.”
Russian athletes came in under the neutral Olympic flag during the ceremony.
Russia is banned from the Games, and the forthcoming Paralympics, as a consequence of the 2016 McLaren report which claimed more than 1,000 of its sportspeople benefitted from state-sponsored doping.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) invited 169 Russians who have met the anti-doping criteria to compete as independent athletes and their team will be known as the ‘Olympic Athletes from Russia’.
An estimated 35,000 spectators inside the Olympic Stadium were given seat warmers, wind shields, hats and gloves with temperatures as low as -6C during the two hour-long ceremony.
Senior political figures from North Korea and the United States – two of the countries at the center of the political row – were both present.
Kim Yo-jong, the influential sister of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, was sat one row behind VP Mike Pence in the VIP section.
South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in shook hands with Kim Yo-jong and said at the ceremony: “I would like to take this opportunity to convey greetings and a message of friendship from the people of Korea.
“The Seoul 1988 Summer Games paved the way for reconciliation between east and west – breaking down the wall of the Cold War. Thirty years after hosting the Summer Games, the Pyeongchang Olympics has commenced with a hope for peace from everyone around the world.
“It was with an ardent desire that the people of Korea aspired to host the Winter Games, the only divided nation in the world. It mirrors the Olympic spirit in its pursuit of peace.”
North Korea announced it was to send a delegation to Pyeongchang in January after it met its South counterparts in their first high-level talks in more than two years.
The North Korean team consists of 22 athletes who will compete in five sports, although their women’s ice hockey players will compete in a unified Korean team. They played together for the first time on February 4 in their only practice match, which they lost 3-1 to Sweden.
The ‘wow moments’ in the ceremony included the formation of the Olympic Rings made up of 1,218 drones – a Guinness World Record for drones used in a performance – and 100 skiers.
There was also ‘the vision of peace in the sky’ which was a constellation inside the arena, while ‘the balance of yin and yang’ saw Korean drummers perform in unison before forming the South Korea flag. And the center of the stadium was lit up in the eye-catching ‘link to the world’ segment.
It all culminated in the ceremony centerpiece, which was the traditional lighting of the Olympic flame. That saw the final torchbearer Yuna Kim, who won Olympic ice skating gold in 2010, at the top of a slope light the flame as 30 fire rings ascended towards the white moon-shaped porcelain cauldron.
Congress has voted to pass a two-year budget, meaning the US’s second shutdown in three weeks could end before the working day begins.
The Senate and the House have passed the measures, but still need to be signed off by President Donald Trump.
Federal funding for government services expired at midnight on February 8, after the Senate missed a voting deadline.
The 650-page plan proposes an increase in spending, by about $300 billion, on defense and domestic services.
Senators struggled with last-minute objections from Republican Rand Paul, meaning they did not vote in time. The shutdown came within three weeks of the last one, as lawmakers wrangle over the spending plan and other political demands on either side.
The House approved the bill by 240 votes to 186. The Senate had passed it by 71 to 28 three hours earlier.
Paul Ryan said the bill was “a great victory for our men and women in uniform” as the military would get more resources.
The House Speaker said: “Ultimately, neither side got everything it wanted in this agreement, but we reached a bipartisan compromise that puts the safety and wellbeing of the American people first.”
While the spending bill’s funding for the Pentagon delighted the national security wing of the party, fiscal conservatives were concerned about ramifications for the nation’s debt.
The 650-page spending plan was only unveiled on February 8, so the finer details are still unclear.
White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said the package would increase spending by “just shy” of $300 billion.
The bill contains $165 billion of additional defense spending and $131 billion in domestic spending, including funding for healthcare, infrastructure and tackling the US opioid crisis, reports Reuters news agency.
The proposal would raise the US debt ceiling until March 2019.
Frankfurt’s Dax and Paris’s CAC were down 2.2% and 2% respectively.
London’s FTSE 100 was down 150 points or 2% at 7,184.74 in mid morning trade.
On February 5, the FTSE 100 closed at its lowest level since April 2017.
The falls follow some good years for investors.
Last year, the Dow Jones was up 25% and London’s FTSE 100 rose 7.6%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended closed 5% lower and South Korea’s Kospi index gave up 2.6%. Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 lost 3.2%.
Japan’s Nikkei saw steeper falls overnight, with a loss of some 7% at one point.
Unlike elsewhere in the world, where interest rates are beginning to or are expected to start rising, Japan’s immediate economic outlook remains stagnant. The authorities there said there was little chance of interest rates being increased.
Traders returned to their desk in the aftermath of Friday’s rout to another bout of selling.
That left the Dow Jones Industrial Average index down 1,175 points, or 4.6% at the end of Monday’s session to 24,345.75.
The decline was the largest in percentage terms for the Dow since August 2011, when markets dropped in the aftermath of “Black Monday” – the day Standard & Poor’s downgraded its credit rating of the US.
The drop on the Dow Jones was closely followed by the wider S&P 500 stock index, down 4.1% and the technology-heavy NASDAQ, which lost 3.7%.
However, the White House reassures investors saying it was focused on “long-term economic fundamentals, which remain exceptionally strong”.
North Korea’s head of state Kim Yong-nam will go to PyeongChang this week for the Winter Olympics.
Kim Yong-nam, 90, is the most senior official to ever visit South Korea.
North Korea confirmed his attendance at the opening ceremony, set for February 9.
Both Koreas will march under one flag at the opening ceremony.
Although Kim Yong-nam’s attendance at the Winter Olympics signals a thaw in relations between the Koreas, experts say it is unlikely to have any impact on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
Kim Yong-nam will be in South Korea for a three-day visit and will lead a 22-member delegation.
He has seen the rule of all three North Korean leaders in his career.
Kim Yong-nam is the ceremonial head of state who receives credentials from foreign diplomats in Pyongyang. As such, he is usually responsible for sending condolences or congratulatory messages to foreign leaders.
He has been the president of North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament, the Supreme People’s Assembly, since 1998.
Unlike North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Kim Yong-nam has traveled abroad on official visits. In August 2017, he travelled to Iran to attend President Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration ceremony for his second term in office.
Kim Yong-nam also attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia in 2014.
He is said to be a loyal follower of the top leadership.
“As Kim is known to be acting and speaking under the country’s guidance, he makes no mistakes. That’s why he could keep his high-level post in a country where political purges are common,” South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted one North Korean defector as saying.
South Korea has said it will seek high-level talks with the North Korean delegation during the visit, Yonhap reported.
Kim Yong-nam’s attendance at the opening ceremony will also put him in the company of Vice President Mike Pence, at a point of high tension with Washington over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
On February 4, the Washington Post reported that Fred Warmbier, whose son Otto Warmbier was jailed by North Korea and died days after returning to the United States, would attend the opening ceremony as a guest of VP Mike Pence.
Fred Warmbier and his wife, Cindy, were guests of President Donald Trump at last week’s State of the Union address.
On February 5, North Korea proposed sending an art troupe to the Games by ferry, a move that would require an exemption from bilateral sanctions.
According to South Korea’s unification ministry, Pyongyang proposed that its delegation use the Mangyongbong 92, a ferry that usually operates between North Korea and Russia, for transportation and as accommodation for the group.
All North Korean ships have been banned from entering South Korean ports since 2010.
South Korean ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told a press conference: “We’re seeking to apply an exemption… to support a successful hosting of the Olympics.”
On February 4, the united Korean women’s ice hockey team played its first match, but lost the friendly against Sweden 1-3.
The outing was the first and only practice match for the newly minted Korean squad.
As well as the ice hockey players, North Korean athletes will compete in skiing and figure skating events. It is also sending hundreds of delegates, cheerleaders and performers.
North Korea currently faces growing international pressure and sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs after it conducted a series of missile tests designed to demonstrate its nuclear capability.
Its participation in the Olympics, which run from February 9 to 25, was an unexpected warming of ties.
Meanwhile, although South Korea and the US have agreed to delay the annual big joint military exercises which always enrage North Korea, they will still go ahead at the end of the Paralympics.
Scott Blackmun outlined six steps the sports body must take, including:
The entire interim board should be replaced in the next 12 months
USAG must co-operate with “an independent investigation” looking into whether the anyone knew of and ignored the abuse allegations against Dr. Larry Nassar
The board “must substantially discuss” plans for combating abuse.
In a statement on January 25, USAG said it “completely embraces the requirements outlined” in the letter and “appreciates the opportunity to work with the USOC to accomplish change”.
Michael Burns, the head men’s gymnastics coach at the University of Minnesota, became at least the fifth member to resign from USAG’s board on January 26.
He confirmed in an email he submitted his resignation letter on Janaury 24.
Both USAG and MSU deny there was a cover-up, but some victims have criticized both organizations for not doing enough to prevent the abuse.
Mark Hollis’ resignation from the university comes a day after the Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon quit amid increasing calls for her resignation over the case.
However, it was revealed on January 26 that Lou Anna Simon can opt to return to a faculty position and take a 12-month leave of absence to conduct research, during which time she would receive her $750,000 salary, according to her contract, which was provided to CNN by Michigan State spokesman Jason Cody.
Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, who testified at Larry Nassar’s sentencing, slammed USOC in a tweet on January 25.
On January 26, the US House Energy and Commerce Committee announced it would launch an investigation into abuse in organized sports following Larry Nassar’s case.
The committee sent letters to USOC, USAG, MSU, USA Swimming, and USA Taekwondo.
As the UK housing market surpasses £6tn for the first time, it’s the perfect moment to share in the opportunities that London’s prosperous housing market has to offer. With an unquestionable track-record as an area of great investment, those with an interest in property and the ability to enhance their current property portfolio would be wise to consider Mayfair given its standing in the prime property market and current price-decreases.
Homes in the district are currently sat at an average of 15% below their peak, three years ago, causing industry experts to suggest that there has not been a better moment to consider investment in the last three decades. Mayfair estate agents, Wetherell, commented that ‘over the past 35 years we have seen Mayfair flourish and we haven’t seen a better time for investors in residential property for many a year. Whilst the price of property is low, the volume remains high, and in an area as renowned as Mayfair, opportunities such as this don’t last long.’
In the past three decades, house prices in London have tripled, with an almost continuous pattern of growth enforcing a trend that many prospective home owners and investors were unconvinced would ever come to an end. However, amidst Brexit fuelled uncertainty, increases in stamp duty for second home owners and those investing in property over £1M, increased supply in housing given a significant effort to shift from commercial to residential property and changes in financial regulations which have discouraged large mortgage lending, a downfall in prices has occurred and is affecting properties In the top 5-10%, most significantly.
Image source Wikimedia
Mayfair has recently undergone a rebirth in a manner similar to that witnessed in neighbouring Knightsbridge. In compliance with the ‘Considerate Contractors Scheme,’ implemented by the City of Westminster, it has seen the addition of 410 homes over the course of the past decade, with some 160 apartments currently under construction. What sets Mayfair apart from other prime London locations? Arguably its ability to modernise, adapting to social and political changes as necessary. From the Second World War, where large properties were converted into offices for matters of preservation, to the 21st century, where its apartments appeal to its increasingly youthful, affluent and educated clientele.
Mayfair promises long-term investment potential with a rich history to back it up. It has seen a 72% rise in average price per square foot, compared with 65% across the rest of prime central London. Demonstrating stability in the buy to let market, gross yields have remained at a consistent rate of 3% since the economic downturn, with a noted increase in those seeking to rent. In addition, Mayfair property values have consistently topped every other asset class since 2004, aside from gold. This includes property throughout the rest of prime central London and the FTSE index.
With a make-up of over 5100 permanent residents of more than 42 nationalities, Mayfair maintains its position as an internationally renowned location for those seeking a high standard of living, access to good schooling, a rich cultural scene, short commute distances and great long-term investment opportunities. The coming of the Elizabeth Line in 2018 is only set to enhance the area’s desirability, driving further interest in the area. It’s a buyer’s market in Mayfair and now is the time to invest.
If not, hundreds of thousands of federal workers face the prospect of no work and shuttered offices at the start of the working week.
The last government shutdown was in 2013, and lasted for 16 days.
This is the first time a government shutdown has happened while one party, the Republicans, controls both Congress and the White House.
The January 19 vote was 50-49, falling far short of the 60 needed to advance the bill. With a 51-seat majority in the Senate, the Republicans did not have enough seats to pass the bill without some support from the Democrats.
They want funding for border security – including the border wall – and immigration reforms, as well as increased military spending.
The Democrats have demanded protection from deportation of more than 700,000 undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children.
The Republicans added a sweetener in the form of a six-year extension to a health insurance program for children in lower-income families. However, Democrats want this program extended permanently.
President Trump accused the Democrats of being “far more concerned with illegal immigrants than they are with our great military or safety at our dangerous southern border”.
However, the leading Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer, blamed the president, saying President Trump was under pressure from “hard-right forces within the administration”.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders warned: “The president will not negotiate on immigration reform until Democrats stop playing games and reopen the government.”
The US budget must be approved by October 1 – the start of the federal financial year.
However, Congress has often failed to meet this deadline and negotiations continue well into the new year, with the previous year’s funding to federal agencies extended on a temporary basis.
Because Congress failed to agree an extension that would have maintained government funding through to February 16, it means many federal agencies effectively closed for business as of 00:01 on January 20.
Most staff in the departments of housing, environment, education and commerce will be staying at home on January 22. Half of workers in the treasury, health, defense and transportation departments will also not be going to work.
Every business starts somewhere. Whether you’re just starting out, or have already jumped in, you need to know the essentials of setting up your business. You’re not going to use all of these essentials at once, but you’ll want to keep them all in the back of your head. The first step in success is making sure you have a plan for that success!
Step 1: What is your business going to look like?
When you’re starting a business, you need to consider what form it is going to take.
What’s your idea?
Before investing you time and money in your business, make sure that you have a good idea. What seems like a great idea to you might not appeal to everyone. Ask people around you for input on the idea, and accept their feedback.
So what are the steps to take in order to make sure your idea is strong?
Look at the current state of the business. You should be familiar with the area surrounding your business. Is there a demand for your product or service?
Look at your area. Who are your competitors going to be? Are you going to be fighting for customers? Make sure that you’re able to find customers, and target the ones you’re looking for.
What’s your plan?
Don’t get so excited by your great idea that you let this step fall to the side. If you don’t have a plan for your business, then you’ll find yourself scrambling to figure out what to do down the line.
Your great idea for the business was a good first step, but you need to sit down and plan out your future. When bringing in potential partners or investors, you’ll want to show them what you intend for the future of the business.
What’s your marketing plan?
So you know your plan for the future of the business, but how about your plan for reaching customers? As a new business, you have to make yourself known to your new base of customers. This will be a continuous process; you want everyone to know of your existence. Include some marketing ideas in your business plan, and make sure to give thought to how you’ll spread the word of your arrival.
Image source Max Pixel
What’s your name?
Here’s the fun one that you have probably already been mulling over: your business needs a name! The name is very first thing that customers will hear or see; it represents your business to the world. When brainstorming, be sure to consider how your business will be viewed based on the name. Does it fit the tone and feeling you intend for your business? You can source ideas from others for this step, you never know who might come up with the perfect idea!
When considering ideas, make sure that you don’t get too attached to any one name. Write down a list of potential ideas that you like. Once you’re narrowed these down to a handful, be sure to do your research. Search online for existing company names via a company formation site, and make sure it isn’t already registered to another company. You’ll need to be sure that it isn’t already trademarked, or you could run into all kinds of trouble in your future.
What’s your logo?
Just like the name, the business logo is representing you to your entire base of potential customers. Give some thought to the design and appearance you want. Just like the name, make sure that the logo matches the feeling you want customers to receive from your business.
When it comes to designing the logo, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty! If you’re an artist, or handy with online art editors, try your hand at creating your own! There are many DIY logo sites online that can help you design the face of your business. If you have friends or relatives that are artists, consider enlisting their services. Make sure that you don’t use an image you don’t own! Don’t pull random logos from the internet, as the copyright already belongs to someone else.
Other options include hiring graphic designers and artists, but expect to pay more for their artwork. Do your research, and be sure to select a well reputable artist. Often you’ll be able to view their portfolio, and make sure their art style is suitable for you.
Do you have an online presence?
In today’s age, almost all businesses will have a website or social media account. It’s important to consider what you want your business’ digital footprint to be, and how you plan to make it happen.
If you plan on having a website, make sure it’s well designed. You can build the site yourself, or hire a web designer. If a website isn’t for you, then consider social media. Use social media to your advantage when reaching new customers, as well as posting engaging content for your existing customers.
Step 2: How will your business run?
So far so good! You know what shape your business will take. Now you need to decide how your business will function.
How do you handle finances and banking?
Your business is going to be spending (and hopefully making!) money. You’ll need to plan out how that money is going to be handled. Some things to consider:
Set up a bank account for your business. Don’t trust yourself to keep all the figures straight within your personal account.
Be careful when financing your business. Starting the business alone will be expensive, even before the costs of keeping it running. Decide now if you plan to self-fund, raise money from people around you, or apply for a loan. Whichever idea you choose, be sure to include it in your business plan.
Where is your business?
Many startups begin running out of home. Consider if this is an option for you. If possible, it will drastically cut costs for you when starting your business.
Your business addresses will be important when it comes to shipping or receiving products.
If you cannot run from home, then you’ll need to obtain a location for your business. Some things to consider about locations:
How much is the location? Can you afford it? Decide if you should lease or purchase the building or location, and make sure it realistically fits within your budget.
Visit the location before designing anything. Property that looks great online or on paper might have issue that become apparent when you visit. Work with brokers or property managers to ensure that you find the right fit for your business.
Who are your employees?
When hiring employees, you’ll take on certain responsibilities as their employer. Consider how you will pay them, follow health and safety requirements, and acquire employer’s insurance.
Additionally, you’ll need to consider the kind of people you want working for you. Be sure to interview candidates before hiring them. You want to hire a team that is a good fit for you and your business.
Be sure to look into the different types of business insurance policies you might need.
How are delivering your product or service?
If your business involves shipping products, consider how you will be doing so. Think about how you will send your products. Will you charge? Offer different delivery options and speeds?
Do your research to find out the regulations when it comes to packaging and shipping. If you are selling a food or drink item, there are special regulations from the Food Standards Agency that you must follow.
How will you handle customer returns? As a business, you must offer a refund if a product is faulty, not as described or does not do what it is supposed to do. If customers return the product within 14 days they are entitled to a refund. Decide if you plan to extend this to 30 days or more.
If your product doesn’t need to be shipped, consider any other communications you might need: Stationary, letterheads, business cards, etc.
Step 3: How will you protect your business?
So now your business is up and running! You’re off to a great start, but don’t forget to check these most important items off your checklist. Company registration is essential for new businesses.
What is your legal structure?
You’ll need to decide what legal structure you plan to use to run your business. Research the different structures online, and see which one fits your business first. Chances are you already have a structure in mind, and just don’t know they name of it. Some of the most common structures are:
Private company limited by shares.
Private company limited by guarantee.
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP).
Do you need any additional permits?
When running your business, you need to do your research. Find out if there are any licenses or permits that you need to obtain in order to ship or trade your products. If you know any friends of family within similar business, use them as a resource.
Are you keeping information secure?
As a business, you will be collecting information from customers, employees, and even suppliers. You’re responsible for keeping that information secure.
If your business if creating ideas or any other content, you’ll want to protect them! Patents and copyright rights can help ensure that you don’t see another company using your intellectual property (IP).
Are you paying your taxes?
As with any business, you will need to register your business with the HMRC for taxes. Your legal structure will determine what taxes you pay, so pay special care when looking into structures. You may need to consult an accountant when it comes to running your business, and ensuring that you’re following all your financial responsibilities.
Use this checklist as a launching point, and hopefully have success in starting your new business!
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said recently that China’s debt had ballooned and was now equivalent to 234% of the total output. It said China needed to concentrate less on growth and instead help improve banks’ finances, among other efforts.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government says it has been taking steps to contain risky debt despite the impact that might have on economic growth – efforts the IMF said it recognized.
The government has promised to continue tackling local government debt, among other efforts, and on January 18 vowed to help state-owned enterprises “leverage and cut debt … and to repay their bonds on time this year”.
China’s strict anti-pollution measures, which were introduced across 28 cities in 2017, are also expected to hurt economic growth in the short term.
The measures have included shutting down or cutting back production at factories in heavy industry like cement and steel.
Households have also been asked to switch to natural gas and electricity from coal, in an effort to curb pollution.
However, this policy left millions without proper heating, and so was temporarily abandoned in December.
According to officials, Beijing’s air quality improved sharply in the winter of 2017. They also heralded their efforts as a “new reality” for China.
North Korea and South Korea will march together under a single “unified Korea” flag at next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
In rare talks at the truce village of Panmunjom, the two Koreas also agreed to field a joint women’s ice hockey team.
These are the first high-level talks between North Korea and South Korea in more than two years.
It marks a thaw in relations that began in the new year when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un offered to send a team to the games.
The games will take place between February 9 and 25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
If the plans are realized, a hundreds-strong North Korean delegation – including 230 cheerleaders, 140 orchestral musicians and 30 taekwondo athletes – could cross into South Korea via the land border to attend the Winter Olympics.
It will mean the opening of the cross border road for the first time in almost two years.
The two Koreas have also agreed to field a joint team for the sport of women’s ice hockey. It would be the first time athletes from both Koreas have competed together in the same team at an Olympic Games.
North Korea has also agreed to send a smaller, 150-member delegation to the Paralympics in March.
The agreement will have to be approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on January 20, because North Korea has missed registration deadlines or failed to qualify.
South Korea will also need to find ways to host the North Korean delegation without violating UN Security Council sanctions outlawing cash transfers to Pyongyang and blacklisting certain senior North Korean officials.
South Korea’s hockey coach and conservative newspapers have expressed concern about the prospect of a united hockey team, saying it could damage South Korea’s chances of winning a medal.
Tens of thousands of people are said to have signed online petitions urging South Korean President Moon Jae-in to scrap the plan.
However, the president told South Korean Olympic athletes on January 17 that North Korea’s participation in the Games would help improve inter-Korean relations.
President Moon Jae-in has said the Olympic agreement could pave the way for the nuclear issue to be addressed and lead to dialogue between North Korea and the US, according to Yonhap news agency in Seoul.
Meanwhile, the market for smartphones and other mobile devices is facing increasing competition from Chinese rivals.
As well as the jailing of its heir apparent Lee Jae-yong for bribery and corruption, Samsung’s reputation was also hit by the global recall of its flagship Note 7 smartphone in 2016, following the fiasco with its overheating and exploding batteries.
However, the problems with the handset did not cause major disruption to Samsung’s finances, helped by its chip business as well as customers seeming unfazed by the incident.
Samsung Electronics is regarded as the jewel in the crown of the Samsung Group conglomerate, which is made up of 60 interlinked companies and is one of South Korea’s massive family-run businesses known as chaebols.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: “I’ve been in constant contact with Serena and her team and know this is why she has pushed it and pushed it until the 11th hour to make her final decision.
“Serena transcends the sport in the way she approaches all aspects of her life. It was never going to be good enough for her to just compete.”
Serena Williams lost an exhibition contest against Jelena Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi on December 30, 2017, in her first match since giving birth in September.
It is the first time since 2011 that Serena Williams has missed the tournament.
On January 4, men’s world No 4 Kei Nishikori withdrew because of a wrist injury.
There are also doubts over the fitness of No 1 Rafael Nadal and Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka, who won the title in 2014.
Novak Djokovic, a six-time Australian Open champion, may also miss out with an elbow injury.
Whether you established your business this year and are just becoming aware of the huge challenges that come with running an enterprise, or you are a veteran that is all too experienced with the struggle of juggling growing your business and completing regular admin, every year presents owners with problems to overcome – and 2017 has been no different. Business consultancy experts, Sage, performed a recent survey with small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) and discovered the most common issues entrepreneurs have faced this year.
These issues are particularly challenging for SMBs where teams tend to be much smaller than those of larger enterprises, so employees need to be able to bring a diverse skillset alongside an ability to manage their work-life balance effectively to avoid burning out. Fortunately, living in the digital age that we do, 2017 has also been the year of innovative, cheaper and highly available technology that offers solutions to these common problems.
Image source Public Domain Pictures
Most owners are aware of the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest best practices for one’s respective industry, but when time is precious, it is easy to see why it quickly falls down the priority list. Yet, failing to stay informed has had negative impact on growth for even some of the world’s biggest businesses, so it is essential to integrate it into your long-term business model.
Sole traders can employee virtual assistants on short or long-term arrangements to provide them with regular reports, while teams can divide areas of responsibility among personnel and stay informed of the latest practices, trends and technologies by accessing free blogs, podcasts and industry magazines, then meeting for monthly deliberations.
From using social media AI to track user demographic information and create targeted marketing material, to implementing chatbots to handle 24/7 first-line customer support, machine learning is enabling SMBs to automate a whole range of traditionally time-consuming tasks.
Prioritizing SEO To Win Clients
Search engine optimization continues to become more complex each year as search engine providers seek to make their results more accurate. It is no longer sufficient to simply overload a website with keywords or internal links. Fortunately, there is an abundance of information online in the form of guides, website builders to help non-developers build professional, responsive web pages, and plug-ins to make it easier to detect which parts of a website need SEO to ensure customers can find your business online.
With more businesses establishing themselves online each year, search engines will only continue to adapt and alter their methods for ranking websites. So, as we enter 2018, it is important to prioritize staying updated on your industry’s best practices, both online and offline, and to implement technology automation wherever possible, allowing you and your teams more time to focus on establishing and growing your brand.