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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to 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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CORRECTION FROM SOURCE/Minister Fantino Promotes Private Sector Partnerships at World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings

Category : Stocks

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Eurozone crisis live: Austerity agenda under fire as G20 meets

Category : Business

Olli Rehn hints that Europe’s fiscal cutbacks could be slowed, as the world’s top central bankers and finance chiefs gather in Washington

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Anything Technologies Media Inc. (EXMT: OTC Pink Current) | Anything Technologies Media Focuses On Major Medical Marijuana Opportunity for 2013

Category : Stocks, World News

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Anything Technologies Media Focuses On Major Medical Marijuana Opportunity for 2013

PR Newswire

FOLSOM, CA, April 17, 2013

US Medical Marijuana Sales could top $1.5B in 2013, Cannabis Revenues
Could Quadruple by 2018

FOLSOM, CA, April 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Anything Technologies Media, Inc.
(Pink Sheets: EXMT) today announced that the company is shifting its
focus to the exploding Medical Marijuana opportunity in 2013 and
beyond. The company will still continue to do manufacturing for a wide
variety of media and other products, but looks to devote most of its
efforts to the Marijuana Industry.


According to MMJ Business Daily retail medical cannabis sales in the
United States
could hit an estimated $1.3 billion-$1.5 billion in 2013,
growing 10-15% from last year as the industry recovers from widespread

The long-term future appears even brighter: The legalization of
marijuana for adult use in Colorado and Washington – coupled with the
emergence of several new markets and continued overall growth on the
medical side – could boost overall state-legal cannabis sales to $3
in 2014 and $6 billion by 2018.

ATM with its acquisition of R-Quest Hydroponics and joint venture with
Whole Earth Systems looks to acquire more companies that support the
Medical Marijuana industry. The company is currently negotiating to
acquire a fertilizer company to supply growers in the medical marijuana

Dozens of MMJ centers are on track to open in Arizona – generating tens
of millions of dollars in revenues this year – while states such as New
, Rhode Island and Vermont as well as Washington DC are moving
forward with their dispensary programs. The Colorado, Oregon and
Washington State markets also are expected to grow, and there could be
an MMJ revival in several California cities such as San Diego and San Francisco.

In 2014, the emergence of cannabis retail stores in Colorado and
Washington could generate roughly $1 billion in state-legal cannabis
sales during the first full year of operation. The markets will
eventually be much bigger, but it could take time for the recreational
marijuana industry in those two states to reach its near-term
potential, in part because officials might look to prevent rapid growth
(Colorado and Washington are still crafting regulations). Several other
states are expected to pass medical or recreational cannabis laws this
year, which will further fuel growth in 2014.

R-Quest Hydroponics, Inc., is a Hardware and Software Manufacturing
Company with its headquarters in Placerville, California.

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Unthinkable? The IMF copying Vatican hiring policy | Editorial

Category : Business

Mock the Vatican’s papal rigmarole if you must – but the IMF procedure is no more transparent or based on merit

It took the Roman Catholic church over 1,200 years but, in Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, it has a non-European head once more. The IMF on the other hand was created only in 1945, yet this globetrotting baby boomer institution has never once hired a non-continental boss. Of the 11 managing directors the fund has had to date, five have been French – including the current incumbent, Christine Lagarde. Of the rest, all but one have been drawn from northern Europe (the sole exception being Spain’s Rodrigo Rato, who, as economy minister during the bubble years, bears heavy responsibility for the mess that country is now in). Fund insiders in Washington evidently could learn a thing or two from the Vatican. Mock, if you must, the rigmarole that goes into choosing a new pope – the conclaves, the repeated voting, the concluding puffs of white smoke – but it is more prepossessing and far less predictable than observing handovers at the fund, which are no more transparent or open. Nor is the IMF selection procedure based on merit, but on a longstanding gentlemen’s agreement, which decrees that the IMF has to be run by a discarded European politician, while an American must head the World Bank. With Francis I, the Catholic church has decisively shifted its focus from Europe to the rest of the world. It thus has a lesson to teach the IMF: an international business should have a management to match. Still, at least in Washington they have fewer qualms about being run by a woman.

Third day of Obama’s budget outreach

Category : Business, World News

President Obama makes his third and final trip to Capitol Hill this week, in a rare outreach that aims to end the budget battles crippling Washington.

Read more from the original source: Third day of Obama’s budget outreach

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Watergate sage flogged by lapdog media – Boston Herald

Category : Stocks

San Francisco Chronicle
Watergate sage flogged by lapdog media
Boston Herald
“One of the five men arrested early Saturday in the attempt to bug the Democratic National Committee headquarters is the salaried security coordinator for President Nixon's reelection committee.” — The Washington Post, June 19, 1972. By Bob Woodward
Federal spending cuts not expected to be overturnedDetroit Free Press
Business economists opposed automatic spending cuts, but support balanced Washington Post
White House retreats from doomsday spending cuts predictions, but keeps Fox News

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Chad says it killed Algeria hostage mastermind in Mali – Reuters

Category : Stocks

The Guardian
Chad says it killed Algeria hostage mastermind in Mali
By Madjiasra Nako. Sat Mar 2, 2013 9:00pm EST. N'DJAMENA (Reuters) – Chadian soldiers in Mali have killed Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the al Qaeda commander who masterminded a bloody hostage-taking at an Algerian gas plant in January, Chad's military
Islamist militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar 'killed in Mali'BBC News
Head of Chadian Army Claims Troops Kill BelmoktarABC News
Islamist leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar killed in Mali: ChadAFP
The Independent

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Anyone who doubts fiscal cliff impacted US economy is living in a fantasy-land | Heidi Moore

Category : Business

However you slice the data, the US economy struggled more than expected in Q4, led by a drop in defense spending

There are some, like Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider, who disagreed with my argument earlier about the responsibility of the fiscal cliff vacillation in Washington for the weak fourth-quarter performance of the US economy.

Joe, for instance, argues that the drop in business inventory was expected, and that businesses spent more money on software, which shows some measure of confidence despite the fiscal cliff. He calls worries about the fiscal cliff the result of the “Confidence Fairy”, which seems to bless certain economic outcomes with the alleged sparkledust of business confidence. But like Santa Claus, the Confidence Fairy is not real, according to Joe.

There are a couple of major problems with Joe’s argument that the fiscal cliff had no effect on GDP.

The first problem is that one of the biggest contributors to the drop in GDP was the huge drop in defense spending. There would have been no other reason for such a big drop except for the fiscal cliff. So, if nothing else, the fiscal cliff, by hurting defense spending, affected GDP by at least 1.3 percentage points. As RBC analysts wrote today:

“The slowing in overall GDP growth in Q4 largely resulted from a moderation in the pace of inventory building, weakness in net trade, and an outsized drop in the often volatile government defense component that may have reflected precautionary cuts ahead of the so-called fiscal cliff.”

Joe also maintains that business spending on equipment and software actually increased. This is true. That kind of spending jumped by 12.4% in the last three months of the year – “the third-biggest jump since the economic recovery started in the middle of 2009″, as the Wall Street Journal points out. Joe reasons businesses would not have spent that money unless they believed the economy would be good, so the fiscal cliff must have been a fake concern.

But that may be based on only a shallow reading of the numbers. I would say just the opposite: business spending is a false friend as far as measures of growth go. It does not predict confidence. Very often, it predicts that businesses do not trust consumer demand to rise, and that they plan to squeeze more out of existing workers.

Here’s how that works: Business spending started going up two years ago. The expectation was that businesses were investing in themselves to ramp up in response to greater demand for their products. That would eventually result in more hiring.

But business spending has not actually signalled greater demand or more hiring. Instead, it’s a sign that businesses are squeezing more work out of their workers. That means they have to update their machines or their software – often after years of putting it off. But it doesn’t trickle down to the rest of the economy – or at least, it hasn’t for nearly two years.

So I would respond to Joe by saying that business spending is not a sign of confidence – it’s a sign of the opposite, that businesses plan to continue squeezing more out of their workers without hiring more. Only when businesses really start to hire on a grand scale can we believe they believe that the economy is strong enough to support more demand for products from consumers. But business leaders have been complaining that the demand just isn’t there; that doesn’t appear to have changed, in their opinion.

Another way you can judge that the fiscal cliff definitely had an effect: Business investment in buildings fell by a significant amount – 1.1% in the fourth quarter alone. Any real estate investment requires a pretty good understanding of what tax rates will be. Since the fiscal cliff caused businesses to be completely unsure of what their tax rates would be, we can also attribute the drop in business investment in buildings to the fiscal cliff.

Lastly, Joe argues that the fiscal cliff was irrelevant because the drop in inventories was largely expected. That’s true about inventories, but it’s an issue of quantity. The inventory numbers were not expected to drop so low. In most economic numbers – as with company earnings – the major issue is not the drop; it’s the surprise of it. Was it expected? If so, it means that our understanding of the economy is on track. If not, it means there is a contradiction in our premises and there is a reason to dig deeper.

So it is with inventories. If inventories dropped by such a surprising amount, it doesn’t mean that retailers are selling more than expected; it means that they’re probably afraid to order more, because they’re worried about demand. What leads to this conclusion is that retail sales were not particularly good, except for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. People did most of their shopping early in the season and then didn’t keep spending.

You have to wonder why inventories dropped so much; you would need a shock of some sort to explain it. The fiscal cliff is one such shock; Hurricane Sandy could be another. But it’s very hard to argue that businesses were confident, based on that surprising plummet in inventories.

Joe also points to consumer spending as a signal that the fiscal cliff had little or not effect on the economy. This really doesn’t make a dent; consumers were largely unaware of the fiscal cliff and did not factor it into their thinking, according to numerous polls. The key to judging the effect of the fiscal cliff is to look at what businesses are thinking; they were the ones who were educated about the issues and who have any kind of control over the levers that move the economy.

Consumers showed evident fatigue about Washington’s reindeer games and just went about their business; their behavior is largely divorced from the fiscal cliff debate of last year. (Though it is likely that consumers will react to the increase in the payroll tax this year; it’s less money in their paychecks.)

Another issue that Joe brings up in support of his point against the fiscal cliff is another, separate measure: durable goods orders. These are big, heavy items, and when those orders rise, it’s generally a good sign for the economy. Orders jumped by 4.6% in December, which is significant.

But this number, too, is misleading. As the Wall Street Journal notes, the rise in durable goods was not because businesses were suddenly full of confidence. Instead, “the rise was fueled by stepped-up spending on aircraft and defense products, two volatile categories that can obscure the real picture.” In fact, if you take out transportation equipment, the Journal notes, durable goods order rose only 1.3%. That’s good news, but hardly a sign of business confidence going gangbusters.

The fiscal cliff certainly put a dent in the economic numbers, at least for the fourth quarter. It certainly did not help them. Confidence does not come in fairy form, but it does count, because human beings are not automatons. The biggest mistake economists make is to assume that all decisions are economically rational; we know that for a fact to be untrue, though. People make irrational decisions, and some of those people are CEOs. If they feel fear, they won’t spend money. In fact, that is the threat that CEOs have been making for years in response to Washington policy and regulation.

The fact is, that there are very few economists who would dismiss the effect of the fiscal cliff out of hand. The economy clearly received a shock in the fourth quarter. Polina Vlasenko, a research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research, noted that the fiscal cliff was one of the factors holding back the economy in the fourth quarter, enough to require a recovery:

“As the economy recovers from the effects of Sandy and the fiscal impasse in Washington, we expect to see a rebound in growth in the first quarter of 2013. This forecast is supported by the fact that consumer spending, the main driver of the US economy, continues to grow steadily.”

The Confidence Fairy does not exist. But what does exist is the very real effect of Washington policy changes on very real taxes and very real government spending. Washington was talking about extreme, tangible changes worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

Any CEO or business owner who would have ignored that and blithely continued to spend would have been an impractical business person. There is no sparkle dust that will distort that reality.

India rape case raises call for change to juvenile system – Los Angeles Times

Category : Stocks

India rape case raises call for change to juvenile system
Los Angeles Times
NEW DELHI — A hearing Monday will attempt to determine whether a sixth suspect in the brutal rape and killing of a 23-year-old student last month in New Delhi is a minor or should be tried as an adult. His case has sparked anger, outrage and calls for
India Rape Case Tests Fast-Track CourtsWall Street Journal
India Needs to 'Reset Its Moral Compass,' President SaysNew York Times
Hundreds of students march in Indian capital to demand strict laws to protect Washington Post
Times of Oman

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Thousands march for gun control in D.C. – San Francisco Chronicle

Category : Stocks

San Francisco Chronicle
Thousands march for gun control in D.C.
San Francisco Chronicle
Washington –. Thousands of people, many holding signs with names of gun violence victims and messages such as “Ban Assault Weapons Now,” joined a rally for gun control on Saturday, marching from the Capitol to the Washington Monument. Leading the
Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainmentNECN
Newtown on the minds of gun control marchers in WashingtonNew York Daily News
In Washington, thousands march for gun controlWSLS
Washington Post

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