China overtakes Germany as world’s biggest exporter

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chinese officials have said that their country’s exports surged last December to edge out Germany as the world’s biggest exporter.

The official Xinhua news agency reported today that figures from the General Administration for Customs showed that exports jumped 17.7% in December from a year earlier. Over the whole of 2009 total Chinese exports reached US$1.2 trillion, above Germany’s forecast $1.17 trillion.

Huang Guohua, a statistics official with the customs administration, said the December exports rebound was an important turning point for China’s export sector. He commented that the jump was an indication that exporters have emerged from their downslide.

“We can say that China’s export enterprises have completely emerged from their all-time low in exports,” he said.

However, although China overtook Germany in exports, China’s total foreign trade — both exports and imports — fell 13.9% last year.

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UK government announce police stop-and-search powers rethink

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The UK government is to give new guidelines to police officers on the use of “stop and search” powers after a government inquiry found a quarter of stop and searches by officers may have been illegal. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, said today she will introduce a “comprehensive package” of measures including revised guidance to the police on the use of stop and search powers. The new guidance would clarify what counts as “reasonable grounds for suspicion” under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

The reforms also include an attempt to push the police to make stop and search records public, and adding new “unconscious bias awareness training” to try to reduce the possibility of prejudice influencing decisions by police officers. The reform announcement follows a consultation launched last July into the future of stop and search powers by the government.

May says she is not going to introduce new legislation to change stop and search but has not ruled it out if statistics do not change: “I want to make myself absolutely clear: if the numbers do not come down, if stop and search does not become more targeted, if those stop-to-arrest ratios do not improve considerably, the government will return with primary legislation to make those things happen”.

May also told Parliament: “Nobody wins when stop and search is misapplied. It is a waste of police time. It is unfair, especially to young, black men. It is bad for public confidence in the police”.

Research into stop and search powers found only one in ten searches led to an arrest, and black people were about six times more likely to be the subject of a search than their white counterparts. Following the reforms, officers who misuse stop and search powers may be subject to disciplinary procedures or lose the ability to use stop and search powers.

The shadow home secretary, Labour’s Yvette Cooper, said more radical plans for reform had been abandoned due to “regressive attitudes in Number 10” and the home secretary had “backed down” on the needed reforms.

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401 K Employer Match For Substantial Retirement Savings

401K Employer Match For Substantial Retirement Savings

by

Smith George

What is 401K? 401K is a retirement savings plan set up through your employer to encourage saving substantial amount of funds for your retirement years. A fixed percentage of the pre-taxed income is contributed to this account from the monthly paycheck. These contributions are invested in mutual funds, stocks, and bonds etc that earn high returns over the years.

To encourage employees to take the best advantage of this opportunity and to save for their retirement years, many employers offer to match an employee s 401K contributions up to a certain percentage or limit. 401K employer match is the best way to retain potential resources. But to take full advantage of employer matching it is always important to ascertain the investment options in the 401K plan.

An employer chooses to contribute in either of the following ways. Dollar to dollar match for all employee contributions up to a certain percentage of the employee s salary (i.e. 100 % of contributions matched up to 6 %).

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Though the 401 K employer match may seem to be a very small percentage, but over the years gets accumulated as a substantial amount earning high returns. By the time you attain your retirement age, this amount grows into a respectable amount that allows you to retire without giving a second thought.

401K employer match is the organization s way of profit sharing as the company gives you additional compensation towards retirement. An employee contributes to the overall growth and development of the organization. Employer matching contributions is a way to reward employees for inputs to the company s profit.

401K employer match may also prove to be a motivational factor for an employee to work hard in order to earn higher employer contributions when he makes more contributions from his pre-tax pay check. It is not mandatory for an employer to match his employee s contributions, but the best set up 401K plans offer to match.

401K employer matching contributions is the best way to assess the quality of a 401K plan. A good quality 401K plan offers low cost market index funds that have very low expenses that allow your and 401K employer match work for your retirement.

Some employers have a required amount of time you need to be employed with them to receive the 401K employer match. Typically a common employer match is a 3% match which means that if you save 3% of your paycheck, the employers contribute the same amount of 3%. Many employees commit the mistake of saving just 1% of their paycheck, but the employer just matches that 1% and not 3%.

401 K plans are protected under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA .If an employer gets bankrupt or goes out of business, the 401K money of its employees is saved and protected from the creditors to settle any debts.

If you are not aware about your organization s 401 K employer match, then an employee must contact his Human resource department so that he does not miss out any more money for his future.

401k Employer match

|

What is 401k

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Leonard Skinner, namesake of rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, dies at age 77

Monday, September 20, 2010

Leonard Skinner, the namesake of rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died at the age of 77. Skinner was a gym teacher and basketball coach and taught members of the group. His death was announced by his son, also named Leonard Skinner, who also said that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Skinner died at the St. Catherine Laboure Manor nursing home in Riverside at 02.30 a.m. His son said that he had a bowl of ice cream shortly after midnight. He had been at the home for about a year.

The coach taught the members of the group in the 1960s and was reportedly hard on the students. He later said in a 2009 interview that “he was just following the rules”. He disputed the rumours that he was extra tough on them or that he kicked them out of school.

In later years he opened up his own bar and became friends with some members of the group and even introduced them at one of their concerts in Jacksonville.

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China offers Africa financial aid including $10 billion in loans

Sunday, November 8, 2009

China has offered Africa concessional loans worth US$10 (€6.5) billion as part of a host of new measures aimed at improving the economy of African nations. The announcement was made at the opening of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Leaders of nearly 50 African countries are attending the two-day conference.

China had already stated today at the 3rd Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs, held immediately before the FOCAC, that Chinese firms would be encouraged to invest in Africa, while both sides would work together to improve the tourism, telecommunications and finance industries. China also said that governments should work with businesses to ensure co-operation between China and Africa.

As well as the loans, made over three years, China will write off the debt of Africa’s poorest countries, build 100 African green energy facilities and systematically lower import duties on 95% of all African products exported to China. Another promise is a loan of one billion dollars aimed at small and medium sized businesses in Africa. There will also be efforts to promote each other’s culture and increased medical assistance to Africa. Medical assistance comes in the form of 500 million yuan (US$73.2 million) of goods for the 60 hospitals and malaria centers China has already built, as well as 3,000 doctors and nurses. Roads will also be improved.

China also plans to assist with satellite weather monitoring, to help combat desertification and work within the urban environment, all aimed at reducing global warming. The new energy facilities will focus on solar, biogas and small-scale hydroelectrical installations. Another new measure is a promise to aid African farmers to ensure the continent is fed, increasing the number of demonstrations of agricultural technology in Africa to 20 and sending 50 teams of agricultural technology experts to the continent. Training in agricultural technology will be provided to 2,000 people.

“The Chinese people cherish sincere friendship toward the African people, and China’s support to Africa’s development is concrete and real,” said co-chair Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as the FOCAC opened up, adding “Whatever change that may take place in the world, our friendship with African people will not change.” He described this friendship as ‘unbreakable’. Two years ago China pledged US$5 (€3.37) billion at the last FOCAC in Beijing and now, according to Jiabao, “China is ready to deepen practical cooperation in Africa.”

We want more investment from China

China has fulfilled its 2006 pledge, investing a total of US$7.8 (€5.26) billion in Africa last year alone. 49 African countries are represented at the FOCAC, which was created in 2000, although Jiabao noted that relations between China and Africa go back fifty years. China had already forgiven or reduced the debt for thirty nations at that FOCAC summit.

According to Chinese state-owned paper China Daily, trade between China and Africa increased by 45% last year, to give a total value of US$107 (€72.1) billion, a tenfold increase since 2001 and up from US$491 (€331) million in 2003. The Chinese have a 9.8% market share, the largest of any nation, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. China has paid for schools, hospitals, malaria clinics and Chinese scholarships for African students. 50 more schools are to be built and 1,500 people trained to staff them.

Since 2006 Chinese energy firms have committed to spend at least US$16 (€10.8) billion securing African oil and gas. China’s Sinopec Group, an oil giant, bought up Addax Petroleum Corporation from its Swiss owners that year, gaining control of oilfields in Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon. China promised earlier this year to spend US$9 (€6) billion on infrastructure in the Congo in exchange for mineral deposits for mining operations.

Jean Ping, leader of the African Union, said the told those at the conference that the money is coming at an opportune time, because African growth was “totally compromised” by the global financial crisis. Ping said one of the lessons learned is that the world is paying for “the irresponsible and lax behavior” of large financial companies whose philosophy was to make short-term profits.

We thank China particularly for backing efforts by our countries to achieve peace and stability in Africa’s zones of conflict

Not all Africans are happy with China’s increasing involvement in their continent. Trade practices are a concern for some, with a view that China exploits Africa for raw materials before selling back finished goods. Among these are Egyptian Trade and Industry Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid. Egypt is the richest nation in the Middle East and is discussing this perceived issue with China. Rachid told Bloomberg “What is a worry for me is if competition is unfair. That is where we are unhappy.” Jiabao described the trade as being based on “win-win programmes… and transparency.”

Others in Africa are delighted with the situation. “We want more investment from China,” Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete told the forum. Egypt’s own President Hosni Mubarak talked of “peace, security and growth,” and of “boosting cooperation between China and Africa.”

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Jiabao also used his speech to respond to criticisms that China worked with nations regardless of their human rights record, such as Sudan, whose President Omar al-Beahir is wanted on a warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. “Africa is fully capable of solving its own problems, in an African way,” he said, adding that “China has never attached any political strings […] to assistance to Africa.”

Beshir thanked China in a speech for diplomatic work in Sudan, including working to defuse the Darfur conflict, which the United Nations says has left 300,000 dead. “We express our deep appreciation for China’s efforts in backing the comprehensive peace agreement in Sudan and its peace efforts in Darfur,” he said, referring to a peace deal between the northern and southern parts of his country. “We thank China particularly for backing efforts by our countries to achieve peace and stability in Africa’s zones of conflict.” Jiabao said China was willing to work towards “the settlement of issues of peace and security,” in Africa.

A further criticism has been that China has brought in Chinese workers and used their own knowledge, instead of training locals. Jiabao’s speech indicated an intention to co-operate better in the fields of science and technology, as well as improve training for African students on technical courses.

“Why do some only criticise China?” asked Jiabao. “Is this a view representing African countries, or rather the view of Western countries?”

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Good Controversial Essay Topics That Will Help Rock Any College Essay

By James Dreesen

Controversial essay topics are issues that spark a heated debate, and provoke a confrontation concerning the subject of interest. With this type of topic, people have strong yet distinct opinions on the matter, which can lead to disputes and arguments. Controversial topics tend to be very polarized, and often have supporters that are very adamant about which side they support and why.

Good controversial essay topics are widely talked about issues and are of huge interest to people from all walks of life. There are several categories in which you can choose your topic from. Here are a few examples of these categories to help you narrow down what topic will best suit your needs.

If you are writing your essay about politics or government, then a good suggestion may be the pros and cons of repealing the 22nd amendment to the Constitution. This amendment states that the president of the USA cannot server for than two four-year terms. If you are supporting the repeal, you could use the argument that in a true democracy it should be up to the voters to decide if they want someone to serve more than 8 years in office and that by limiting the number of years they can serve is infringing on the right to vote of the American people. On the other side of the argument, you could say that 8 years in office is plenty of time for one person to accomplish their agenda and that 4 more years in office may lead to a dictatorial style of government.

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There is plenty of controversy around the use of standardized testing scores as a requirement for admissions to college. You could ask the question, Should the use of these scores be abolished? You could argue that major universities have made the use of test score optional, as these scores do not give an accurate assessment of the student. Another option is to suggest that schools make the standardized test optional, and focus more on the extra curricular activities and community service that the student participates in.

Controversial essay topics concerning cloning and stem cell research are always a hot topic, and can provoke a very strong opinion from people on both sides of the matter. So a good topic for an essay may be Should the government fund research for cloning and stem cell research? An essay on this subject would most likely be in the pro and con format and provide information about both sides of the argument. In support of the topic, you could say that what scientists are discovering in their research can help doctors repair damaged nerves and body parts that they are helpless to fix at this point in time. On the con side of things, this type of research is expensive, immoral, and eventually leads to gene manipulation of human embryos in order to make a more perfect child.

These are just a few suggestions on where to begin your controversial essay topics list. The topic you choose will depend on the audience in which you are writing your essay. Be prepared for any opposition you may receive from the topic of your essay. Make sure you have a strong argument to back you side of the topic; no matter what topic you chose to explore. Do not just say the topic is good or bad; you need to back this up with facts and statistics.

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Preliminary report sheds light on SAS landing gear incident

Friday, September 14, 2007

A preliminary report by the Danish civil aviation authority, SLV, has shed light on the events leading up to a Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) airliner experiencing a landing gear failure upon landing in Denmark, one of two similar crashes that have resulted in the grounding of more than 60 of the model in question across the world.

The aircraft, a Bombardier Q400 (alternatively known as a de Havilland Canada Dash 8), crashed due to a landing gear failure after a nut worked loose, due in turn to rusting on the threads of its bolt, according to the SLV’s aircraft accident investigation committee report on Scandinavian Airlines Flight 1209. The nut and bolt were vital to the locking mechanism for the starboard landing gear, and consequently the structure collapsed.

The SLV does not specifically address why this occurred, but according to SLV spokesman Thorbjoern Ancker the problem is a design flaw, and not a maintenance issue as previously suspected. In his own words, ‘All speculation that this was an error by SAS is now shown to be wrong… It’s a constructional weakness.’ He explained that Bombardier maintenance documents supplied with the aircraft did not require maintenance personnel to inspect the bolt in question, and that accordingly this had not been done.

Pending completion of landing gear inspections by SAS, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish authorities will make a decision regarding whether the air carrier’s Q400 fleet should remain grounded, or be permitted to resume operations.

A spokesman for Bombardier refused to comment on the findings when contacted by reporters, preferring instead to wait until the publication of the final report into the accident. He did, however, make one comment regarding speculation that SAS would be compensated if the accident was proven to be the responsibility of the supplier, saying, “That will be part of the discussions between Bombardier and airlines.”

Scandinavian Airlines have canceled 111 flights today as their Q400s are grounded per Air Transport Canada orders, while SAS have concealed 110 flights today and tomorrow while their aircraft are grounded.

Bombardier have circulated a document to all operators of the type, containing advice recommending a revised inspection program.

Shares in Bombardier fell 14 cents, or 2.2%, to CA$6.21 and most recent reports have them at $6.25. The company is therefore currently valued at $11 billion. Goodrich, who manufactured the equipment, fell 9 cents, or 0.1%, to US$65.11. SAS, who own Scandinavian Airlines, fell 2.25 kronor, or 1.9%, to 115.75 kronor. A continuing fall in SAS shares prices over the last six weeks has almost negated all gains this year.

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University of Chicago’s Mansueto Library suffers power outage

Monday, May 30, 2011

The University of Chicago’s Joe and Rika Mansueto Library was shut down by a power outage for a short time on Saturday, preventing library personnel from providing full services to its patrons.

The US$81 million library, which opened May 16, includes a 180-seat reading room under a 691-panel glass dome. Five stories underground, a system of five cranes retrieves books sorted into bins, carrying a maximum of about 3.5 million volumes. As of 3:50 p.m. CDT, the automated storage and retrieval system, along with staff computers at the circulation desk, were shut down, preventing patrons from retrieving materials stored underground.

The glass ceiling normally allows enough natural light to pass, but rain clouds in the area darkened the room. Patrons began to flip light switches in front of their seats, but to no avail, and a circulation clerk announced that there had been a power outage. Some patrons then moved to the adjacent Regenstein Library, which still had power. Power was still running along the corridor linking Mansueto and Regenstein Libraries, along with the nearby restrooms and Special Collections Research Center.

An electrician arrived at the building at around 3:50 p.m., and power had been restored by 5:45 p.m.

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How To Start A Third Party Verification Business

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Third-party verification companies offer an importantservice to employers. Verification companies complete extensive backgroundchecks on employment candidates to make sure that each candidate fits thecompanys requirements for the position. The more sensitive the jobexpectations, the more carefully the company needs to verify the potentialemployees background. Background checks typically include such elements asdriving history and a criminal background search, as well as credit and jobhistory and even fingerprinting.

Supplies Needed:

Business licenseComputerSecure internet access

Instructions:

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with your states regulationsfor third-party verification companies. Contact the state insurance regulationoffice for more information. All states must comply with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Actfor reviewing employee credit history. Individual states might also haveseparate rules regarding the types of verification that you can do for certainindustries. Overstepping these regulations can be a violation of individualprivacy and can result in a lawsuit against you and the employer.

Step 2: Purchase the verification software that you willneed to run your company. Verification software compiles data from a variety ofsources, including public records and credit history reports. Availableverification software includes Accio Dataand Personnel Automated ScreeningSoftware, or PASS. Expect to pay for the initial software around $1500 and then to pay for a monthly usage fee, anywhere from $200 to $500 or more.

Step 3: Focus your business on a specific area. In otherwords, advertise your services to certain types of employers: day careagencies, health care agencies, nursing homes, banks, and so forth. Byspecifying the industry, you can establish yourself as an expert inverification for these types of businesses and also narrow the searches thatyou have to do.

Step 4: Join a professional organization, such as the National Associationof Professional Background Screeners. Professional organizations can keepyou up to date with changes in software and legal requirements, and they canalso help you in creating a network of contacts for expanding your business.

Step 5: Advertise your business by marketing your serviceswithin your chosen industry. Offer to provide employers with a freedemonstration, or prepare a free seminar to show employers about the significanceof employee verification. Provide free workshops to employers as well as employeesto show them they type of information that verification companies can locateand the need for everyone to be familiar with what is in his or her records.

Tips and Warnings:

Be sure to have a secure internet line in order to completeyour research and verification. An insecure line can result in confidentialinformation being leaked a breach of individual privacy and a risk of alawsuit.

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Copywriter and marketing consultant, KristieLorette, is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and businesses create copyand marketing pieces that sizzle, motivate, and sell. She is also the author ofAction Marketing: A Step-by-step Guide toLaunch Your Business Marketing Plan. For more information, visit .