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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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FCC reports rise in Canadian farmland values

Category : Stocks, World News

REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN–(Marketwired – April 15, 2013) - A strong agricultural economy fuelled by low interest rates, growing world food demand and resulting higher commodity prices, continue to underpin a national increase in average farmland values. The average value of Canadian farmland increased by 10.0% during the second half of 2012, according to a new Farm Credit Canada (FCC) Farmland Values Report.

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Social enterprise franchise: a 10-question test

Category : Business

Franchising isn’t easy, especially in the social enterprise sector. So what do you need to have in place before you do it?

We all know what franchising is. We’re surrounded by successful examples from fast-food restaurants to coffee shops. They work because companies give the franchisees a template to work from to establish a high-quality successful business quickly.

Social franchising operates on exactly the same principle: a proven social change project is turned into a ‘franchise’ and then quickly replicated. The difference here is that rather than creating profits for shareholders the aim is to create benefits to society. Even better, it encourages innovation because of the large number of motivated people tackling the same issues – and in some cases the power of the shared brand influences policy far beyond that of an individual organisation.

At the International Centre for Social Franchising, we work to help the most successful social impact projects replicate, starting off with our 10-part ‘Ready to replicate?’ test. Ask yourself the questions, give marks out of 10, and add up your overall score:

1. Is the social impact proven and evaluated?

It’s critical to know that your project is creating good social value. If it’s not, your time and scarce funding could be better spent elsewhere. In the worst cases you could be replicating something that actually creates harm – something I have unfortunately seen happen. How much proof is enough really depends on your project. Ideally, this would involve independent evaluation, but at the very least you need great case studies, stories, surveys, measure key outputs and benchmark against other similar projects where possible.

2. Has a sustainable business model been developed and demonstrated?

Ask yourself where the money for the project is going to come from in the long term. For social enterprise this could be as simple as through-trading; but in the case of charities you can get diseconomies of scale when you replicate – meaning that each replication just adds more ongoing cost. Trussell Trust Foodbanks are a great example of a charity model that has replicated sustainably.Their franchisees are churches who can continually raise the modest grant funding required to run and also make a contribution to the centre, the franchisor just needs to raise relatively small amounts of funding.

3. Can your project succeed in another place without its main assets?

The most common non-replicable asset is an individual, usually the founder, working 80 hours a week. If on replication, others don’t have the same level of commitment the result is failure. It could also be something like a donated community kitchen on a local high street which keeps the restaurant costs down but is extremely unlikely to exist elsewhere.

4. Can your project flourish in other cultures and conditions?

The greater the difference in context, the greater the adaptation required and the more likely it is to present challenges. If you have a youth employment project in urban Accra and want to replicate in a rural area, it’s likely to need significant adaptation; while village-to-village replication is much less likely to fail.

5. Are there processes, systems, training and procedures developed for delivery and quality?

If you are woolly on your systems for the key elements of your programme, I guarantee your 10 replications will find 11 ways of doing things, causing you great stress and dramatically increasing the chance of failure.

6. Does everyone from staff to board, and external stakeholders support replication?

Replicating your organisation is a significant undertaking and having all the right people on board is vital, whether that’s internally with the chief executive or board, or externally with the local councils or the foundations you need to support your initial replication.

7. Are the legal arrangements in place?

No-one likes to get sued but it does happen, even to charities, so make sure you have good contracts in place – including financial audit and governance that make it less likely you’ll be sued in the first place.

8. Are your brand and values clear and unambiguous?

If you’re handing someone else your business, your intellectual property, your charity, and they don’t understand its values, or have different values to you, that’s where the biggest stress fractures occur. As research on marriage break-ups shows, if the values are incompatible from the outset, the relationship is doomed.

9. Does a significant market exist?

For charities, the need for services is likely to be huge, but many social enterprises struggle to scale because of insufficient market size.

10. Is there a supply of suitable franchisees willing and able to take on the franchise?

In the commercial sector this is pretty clear cut; individuals take on the franchise and make a significant personal financial investment. In the social sector your franchisee is more likely to be a community group, charity or church, and knowing that there are enough of these to scale is vital.

If you score between 75 and 100, you’re ready or almost ready to replicate. Less than that, and you need some additional strengthening.

Dan Berelowitz is chief executive of the International School for Social Franchising. Dan is one of the speakers at Oxford Jam – a three day event on social entrepreneurship running in parallel with the Skoll World Forum. His session ‘Social Franchising The Future: A How-To Guide’ takes place between 1pm and 2pm on Wednesday.

This content is brought to you by Guardian Professional. To join the social enterprise network, click here.

Westerners might not get the top jobs any more, but our values prevail | Will Hutton

Category : Business

The west is no longer ascendant, but dynamism elsewhere in the world is spurred by what created our success

The first ever non-European pope takes over at the Vatican, while Italy’s economic ills and ungovernability foretell, it’s argued, the wider decline of the west. First-world Catholics enmeshed in scandal in Europe and the United States have turned to a devout Argentinian to clean up their mess.

Meanwhile, there are weekly signs of the west’s fall. It is not a western hi-tech company challenging Apple for global dominance of the smartphone market but South Korea’s Samsung with its new Galaxy, launched with great fanfare last week. This week, our government will reportedly announce in the budget that Qatar is coming to the rescue of poverty-stricken, austerity-ridden Britain with a £10bn fund for infrastructure. And everyone knows about the rise of China. The world is turning on its axis. It is now a commonplace that the west is in irredeemable decline.

Economically, the trends are well established. If they continue, by 2015 Europe’s share of world GDP will have fallen to 17% (and to 10% by 2040) from the 26% it commanded in 1980. The US’s dominance in defence is also being steadily eroded; its budget is stagnating while China’s is growing by double digits every year. Raw materials and oil flow to Asia rather than Europe.

Europe’s population ages and its work ethic, it is claimed, is undermined by our addiction to welfare. As our economies underperform, the most exclusive parts of London, Paris, Rome and Berlin are being bought up by the newly rich from Russia, Latin America and Asia. The richest man in the world is Carlos Slim from Mexico, while the Group of Seven leading industrialised countries is no longer the locus of world economic power. That has moved to the G20.

Even western democracy, one reliable export to the rest of the world, no longer seems so admirable. The US government is deadlocked over its budget so that after the arbitrary spending sequester on 1 March, parts of government will start to close down at the end of the month. Perhaps the benign dictatorship of the Chinese Communist party offers a better model for governance.

Yet look more closely and a more subtle, more encouraging story is at work – less the decline of the west than the steady spread of its values and practices. Jorge Mario Bergoglio is pope because he embodies – at least in Catholic eyes – the best of the western Catholic tradition. He may defend core values on marriage and sexuality, however irrelevant and unjustified they now seem in secular Europe and America, but is avowedly liberal on social issues and poverty. Catholic social policy, with its commitment to justice, fulfilling work and the necessity to enfranchise every human, is one of the better components of the religion’s tradition.

This social policy was an outgrowth of the church coming to terms, over the 19th century, with the Enlightenment. If it is so survive in the 21st century, it will have to come to terms with the Enlightenment’s view that sex is not immoral and sexual preferences should not be stigmatised. Pope Francis might also come to regret his alleged compromises with the Argentinian junta that may dog his papacy. But nonetheless he is the best the Roman Catholic church can offer in holding an impossible line – and might prove to be one of the last who tries to do so. Soon, there will be no part of the world, not even the Catholic church, not touched by Enlightenment virtues.

The same painful process has begun in the Arab world. The Arab Spring represented a series of societies insisting on a voice, the rule of law, representative government, freedom from arbitrary imprisonment and freedom of expression. Yes, the first beneficiaries have been religious fundamentalists and Islamist zealots, but that is only to be expected in the first phase of the process. Fundamentalism is a response to being under siege; it is because western Enlightenment values are so attractive that Arab societies, concerned to preserve their identity, reaffirm their “Arabness” via religion. The attraction of the Muslim Brotherhood is much more complicated than mere religious fundamentalism – they also have a partial Enlightenment commitment to justice.

Nor is China immune. Last week saw the Sina Weibo microblogging site full of anonymous mockery of President Xi’s monarchial, unopposed anointment to lead. Censorship is breaking down. The regime dares imprison fewer and fewer overt political prisoners. Meanwhile, the Communist party’s upper echelons anxiously debate how legitimacy is to be won in a one-party state, but even more anxiously question how China’s growth rate is to be maintained now it can no longer just copy western technology but must develop some of its own. Science, freedom of inquiry, peer review, openness to new ideas and honest statistics turn out not to be bourgeois western ideas but fundamental to innovation. They cannot be promoted in a one-party state.

Nor is it clear that the US is to be written off quite so quickly. The anti-Enlightenment American right has become locked in an anti-scientific, anti-sexual revolution and anti-justice ideology – and has lost the popular vote in five out of the last six presidential elections. Obama’s victory in 2012 could be read as the great republic reasserting its commitment to Enlightenment values. Part of the rapidly escalating American economic recovery is about cheap shale gas, but part is about the rediscovery of an Enlightenment commitment to research and development, now reaching record levels, and the innovation that goes with it. As the Tea Party right’s progress stalls, there is an emerging confidence that the US has not lost its way after all.

In Britain, a similar drama is playing itself out. David Cameron’s modernisation project was an attempt to make his party come to terms with Enlightenment truths – on climate change, the environment, same-sex marriage, open innovation and even social justice – but he has been beaten back into the same dark laager inhabited by American conservatives. A small state and a balanced budget are everything in this theology, along with an individualism is all that is needed for capitalist success and social harmony.

These are propositions that never did work. Successful capitalism is co-created by private and public initiative, a marriage between the market and the Enlightenment – its values and its publicly created institutions. Hence Britain and the US in their different historical contexts; thus South Korea today. It is this alchemy that drove the rise of the west and is now, in varying and incomplete guises, driving the dynamism in the rest of the world. We in the west should remember what drove our success. Rather than mourn our relative decline, let’s celebrate others getting as good, if not better, at what we used to practise and have allowed to atrophy. Then we must find ways to rediscover the alchemy ourselves.

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies Congratulates Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on His Re-Election

Category : Stocks

FSWC Says His Commitment to Deal with the Challenge of Iran Is in Line with Canadian Values

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Philip Green sells Topshop stake

Category : World News

Retail boss Sir Philip Green sells a 25% stake in his Topshop and Topman chain, in a deal that values the business at £2bn.

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Pension projections cut by FSA

Category : Business, World News

Predicted future pension plans are having their values reduced from 2014 by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to stop investors getting a “false impression”.

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Ikea apologises over removal of women from Saudi Arabia catalogue

Category : Business

Company says airbrushing women out of pictures showcasing company’s products goes against its values

Ikea, the global furniture company, has apologised for deleting images of women from the version of its catalogue circulating in Saudi Arabia.

The issue was highlighted on Monday by the free newspaper, Metro, which compared the Swedish and Saudi versions of the catalogue and showed that women had been airbrushed out of otherwise identical pictures showcasing the company’s products.

Ikea’s Saudi catalogue, which is also available online, looks the same as other editions of the publication, except for the absence of women.

One picture shows a family apparently getting ready for bed, with a young boy brushing his teeth in the bathroom. However, a pyjama-clad woman standing next to the boy is missing from the Saudi version. Another picture of five women dining has been removed in the Saudi edition.

Ikea released a statement expressing regret over the issue, saying: “We should have reacted and realised that excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalogue is in conflict with the Ikea Group values.”

Women appear only infrequently in Saudi advertising, mostly on Saudi-owned television channels that show women in long dresses, with scarves covering their hair and long sleeves. In imported magazines, censors black out many parts of a woman’s body including arms, legs and chest.

When Starbucks opened its coffee shops in Saudi Arabia, it removed the long-haired woman from its logo, keeping only her crown.

Sweden’s equality minister, Nyamko Sabuni, said Ikea was a private company that made its own decisions, but added that it also projected an image of Sweden around the world.

“For Ikea to remove an important part of Sweden’s image and an important part of its values in a country that more than any other needs to know about Ikea’s principles and values, that’s completely wrong,” Sabuni told the Associated Press.

Ikea Group, one of the many branches in the company’s complicated corporate structure, said it had produced the catalogue for a Saudi franchisee outside the group.

“We are now reviewing our routines to safeguard a correct content presentation from a values point-of-view in the different versions of the Ikea catalogue worldwide,” it said.

Runaway London house prices stall

Category : Business, World News

The pace of house price rises in London stalled in August, although property values in the capital have still risen by 5% over the year.

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Mosquito Consolidated Gold Mines Limited (MQCMF: OTC Link) | Mosquito Provides Update Regarding CuMo Project Resource/PEA

Category : World News

MOSQUITO CONSOLIDATED GOLD MINES LTD.< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

MSQ-TSX-VENTURE

Tel: 604-689-7902

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Free speech in the real world – Los Angeles Times

Category : Stocks


Kansas City Star
Free speech in the real world
Los Angeles Times
Mitt Romney was wrong (and, of course, politically motivated) when he insinuated that the US government had offered an “apology for America's values” by criticizing “Innocence of Muslims,” the now-infamous film that mocks the prophet Muhammad.
Multiple personalities of the Muslim rageSacramento Bee

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