Archive for the ‘profit’ Category

Somali pirates transform villages into boomtowns

November 19, 2008

Somalia’s increasingly brazen pirates are building sprawling stone houses, cruising in luxury cars, marrying beautiful women — even hiring caterers to prepare Western-style food for their hostages.

And in an impoverished country where every public institution has crumbled, they have become heroes in the steamy coastal dens they operate from because they are the only real business in town.

By MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN and ELIZABETH KENNEDY, Associated Press Writers

“The pirates depend on us, and we benefit from them,” said Sahra Sheik Dahir, a shop owner in Haradhere, the nearest village to where a hijacked Saudi Arabian supertanker carrying $100 million in crude was anchored Wednesday.

These boomtowns are all the more shocking in light of Somalia’s violence and poverty: Radical Islamists control most of the country’s south, meting out lashings and stonings for accused criminals. There has been no effective central government in nearly 20 years, plunging this arid African country into chaos.

Some of the eight suspected Somali pirates when they appeared ... 
Some of the eight suspected Somali pirates when they appeared before the Mombasa Chief Magistrate Catherine Mwangi , Wednesday, Nov.19 ,.2008 to be charged for piracy. The pirates were not immediately charged as their charged had not been prepared. The suspects were returned to the cells awaiting to be charged ..In an impoverished country where nearly every public institution has crumbled, pirates have transformed local economies in pirate dens like Haradhere and Eyl in northern Somalia, pumping money into areas where there had been little more than fishmongers and women selling magoes by the seashore for the past 20 years.(AP Photo)

Life expectancy is just 46 years; a quarter of children die before they reach 5.

But in northern coastal towns like Haradhere, Eyl and Bossaso, the pirate economy is thriving thanks to the money pouring in from pirate ransoms that have reached $30 million this year alone.

“There are more shops and business is booming because of the piracy,” said Sugule Dahir, who runs a clothing shop in Eyl. “Internet cafes and telephone shops have opened, and people are just happier than before.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081119/ap_on_re_af/af_pirate_
boomtown;_ylt=AhcD9m_1erjHfIxz1xm3H8Os0NUE

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Make-or-Break Holiday Season Looms Large for Retailers Amid Global Financial Crisis

October 9, 2008

By Ylan Q. Mui and Kendra Marr
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, October 9, 2008; Page A01

Each day of financial tumult is bringing more pressure to bear on the nation’s retailers — and time is growing short.
Yesterday, as the clock ticked ominously down to the critical holiday season, department stores and clothing retailers reported a sharp drop in sales while Target said its shoppers are delinquent in their store credit card payments. Port traffic, meanwhile, has been plummeting as retailers cut back on inventory.

“I don’t think anyone predicted a crisis of this magnitude that couldn’t be fixed quickly,” said Bob Carbonell, chief credit officer for Bernard Sands, a retail rating and credit services agency. “If the American housewife puts the money under the mattress, we’re in deep trouble.”

In a year that seems to be defying all economic expectations, retailers are struggling to plot a course through the make-or-break holiday season, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of their sales each year. Will they have access to credit? How much merchandise should they order? Will anyone buy it? The moves they make now could determine where they stand in January.

The past three months were expected to bring the deepest cuts in consumer spending since the 1991 recession. September’s dire economic news — from the collapse of Lehman Brothers to the freefall in the financial markets to the government’s $700 billion rescue plan — have spooked shoppers and eroded confidence. On the day that the House of Representatives rejected the rescue plan, mall traffic plunged 12 percent, according to research firm ShopperTrak.

Scott and Elaine Bourdeau feel the ripples. The couple, who live in Herndon, had planned to travel to Italy for their 10th anniversary but opted instead to save money with a short trip to the San Francisco Bay area. They’re postponing remodeling their bathroom and focusing on necessities — clothes for their two daughters.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/10/08
/AR2008100804024.html?hpid=topnews

What if China weighs up the risks to growth?

January 4, 2008

By Alan Wheatley
Reuters
January 4, 2008

China’s growth is strong, its currency is rising and a huge stash of foreign reserves insulates the economy from the sort of external payments crisis that rocked Asia a decade ago.

But that is not keeping economists from playing “what if?”

What if China’s export engine suddenly seized up? What if the resulting overcapacity exposed a new crop of bad bank loans? What if share and property prices plunged, sapping confidence and triggering capital flight that rattled banks and hit the yuan?

Unlikely, yes. Impossible, no.

Stephen Jennings, head of Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital, told Reuters in Moscow that China’s double-digit growth and soaring equities could drop so hard that it would ….

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http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/01/04/business/wheatleygrowth.php

Chinese Tech Boom: Impressive in All But Profits

January 2, 2008

By Ariana Eunjung Cha
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, December 28, 2007; Page A01

SHANGHAI — For entrepreneur Gary Wang, the next new thing in China is a place where the country’s growing middle class, or “couch potatoes,” can watch free videos to their hearts’ content. His company’s Web site, Tudou (Chinese for potato), has become insanely popular insanely fast — more than 15 million users as of this month — and Wang dreams of the day when the company will have an IPO.

Flush with $30 million in venture capital, Wang has hired 95 employees, engineered a slick Web site and leased thousands of computer servers across the country.

But there’s one thing the company hasn’t managed to do: make a profit.

Wang’s company is typical of China’s dot-com boom.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/27/AR2007122702263.html