Saturday, 2 March 2013
GROUPON fired Andrew Mason as chief executive officer on Thursday, ousting a co-founder who captured headlines with his quirky style but failed to reverse a crumbling share price or stop a gradual erosion of its main daily deals business.
The leader in Internet daily deals launched a search for a new leader to turn the company around, the same day its stock slid 24 percent after a dismal quarterly results report. In an unusually candid postfiring letter, Mason — known for his atypical sense of humour — confessed he was getting in the way of the company he co-founded just a few years ago, and had failed in his role as leader.
“After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family.
Just kidding - I was fired today. If you’re wondering why... you haven’t been paying attention,” Mason wrote in a memo addressed to the People of Groupon and made available to Reuters.
The company said in a statement that Mason was asked to step down.
Groupon declined to comment on CEO candidates.
THE risk that Britain is entering its third recession in four years grew on Friday with figures showing that manufacturing shrank unexpectedly last month and mortgage approvals for home buyers dropped in January.
Gross domestic product fell at the end of last year, bringing Britain within sight of another recession and the latest data suggested the central bank may need to do yet more to revive the economy.
The pound sank to its lowest level against the dollar in more than 2-1/2 years, while prices of British government bonds - which the Bank of England could resume buying - rose after the releases.
The Markit/CIPS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 47.9 from a downwardly revised 50.5 in January, confounding forecasts for a rise to 51.0. It was the first reading below the 50 line that separates growth from contraction since November.
A separate release showed that mortgage approvals fell unexpectedly despite the authorities’ efforts to boost lending.
“It’s a bit of a double whammy of disappointing news,” said Alan Clarke, economist at Scotiabank. “Not a good start (to the year) and really shouldn’t change anyone’s view that there’s precious little growth momentum in the UK and particularly not in manufacturing.” The numbers are the latest in a string of bad news for the Conservative-led coalition government and its Chancellor George Osborne.
Moody’s downgraded Britain’s triple-A rating last week, prompted by weak economic growth prospects.
In the last quarter of 2012, a plunge in factory output - which accounts for around a 10th of the economy - shaved 0.1 percentage point off economic growth, according to official data released earlier this week. Markit said factory output fell last month at the fastest pace since October.
Mortgage approvals fell to 54,719 in January from 55,632 in December, short of analysts’ forecasts for a rise to 56,500, the central bank said.
THE stock market turned mixed on Friday, erasing an early loss, after a report showed a rise in manufacturing.
US manufacturing expanded in February at the fastest pace since June 2011, helped by new orders and rising production.
The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index reached 54.2, up from January’s reading of 53.1. Any reading above 50 signals growth.
The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 24 points to 14,078 shortly after midday.
It was down as much as 117 points in early trading and was wavering between small gains and losses around midday.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up two points at 1,514. The Nasdaq composite rose one point to 3,161 The Dow nearly hit its record close of 14,164 on Thursday afternoon, before sliding back in late trading, leaving the index lower for the day.
The stock market has surged in recent weeks even in the face of $85 billion automatic across-the-board spending cuts that start kicking in Friday in the absence of a deal to avert them. The cuts are part of a 10-year, $1.5 trillion deficit reduction plan that was designed to be so unpalatable to both Democrats and Republicans that they would be forced to drum up a longer-term budget deal. President Barack Obama summoned the top congressional leadership to the White House for a meeting designed to give all sides a chance to stake out their positions, though there are no expectations of a breakthrough on Friday.
Any agreement between the White House and Congress on the spending cuts could drive the market up next week, regardless of whether investors consider it a good deal or not, said Stephen Carl, head equity trader at The Williams Capital Group in New York.
It’s the uncertainty that unsettles investors.
“The lack of clarity is the problem,” he said. “I think it will be a positive for the market just as long as there’s concrete news.” US consumers increased spending modestly in January but cut back on major purchases, the Commerce Department said on Friday. The report suggests that the expiration of tax cuts on January 1 may have made consumers more cautious.
Consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in January compared with December. The gain was driven by an increase in spending on services, partly reflecting higher heating bills. Spending on durable goods, such as cars and appliances, fell 0.8 percent.
Spending on nondurable goods, such as clothing, was essentially flat.
The government also reported that American incomes plunged in January at the fastest pace in two decades. American incomes fell 3.6 percent in January, the biggest drop since January 1993. That followed a solid 2.6 percent rise in December.
The Dow is up 7 percent this year and the S&P 500 index is up 6 percent.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, fell to 1.85 percent. That’s down from 1.88 percent late on Thursday.
Among other stocks making big moves: Gap jumped $1 to $33.92.
The clothing retailer said late Thursday that its quarterly profits jumped 61 percent, topping analysts’ estimates, helped by better sales at its Old Navy stores. Gap also raised its quarterly dividend to 15 cents.
Best Buy Co. rose 33 cents to $16.74 after the electronics retailer said that its fourth-quarter loss narrowed as better sales in the US helped offset weakness abroad, particularly China and Canada.
Groupon rose 35 cents to $4.88 following news that CEO Andrew Mason was fired. The online deals company’s stock plunged 24 percent Thursday after the company delivered a weak revenue forecast for the current quarter.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram appealed to people not to buy as much gold as a way to reduce hefty imports, speaking on television a day after his budget 2013/14 surprised traders by holding gold import duty unchanged at 6 percent.
But Chidambaram, who is trying to curb imports by the world's largest bullion buyer to curb a record current deficit, told CNBC television on Friday the duty not yet high enough to smuggling.
"I hope that people in India will take to heart my call and not as much gold requirements will," said Chidambaram.
Traders had expected an increase of the duty of 8 percent in the budget after a walk of 50 percent on 21 January of 4 percent was offset by falling global prices.
Chidambaram said on Friday the higher import duties had "brought down gold imports to some extent." But traders said buying actually picked up more than 2 percent after a fall in prices caused by a strong dollar.
"After the import duty prices went through 3,000 rupees and that encouraged buying," said Kumar Jain, vice-President of the Association of 12,000-member Mumbai jewelry stores.
Indians, centuries long obsessed with gold as a sign of wealth and investment, 860 tons of gold imported in 2012, from only 11 percent from a year earlier despite record high prices in the second half.
Increasing duty said too many risks encourage illegal imports of gold but Chidambaram that he didn't think taxes were high enough for that yet.
"There is a point at which more tasks require people to enjoy more smuggling will tempt. I don't think we have not yet reached that point, "he added.
Gold is second only to essential crude oil import in the BOM of Asia's thirdlargest economy, with coal and edible oils also expensive items.
Chidambaram said ways to tackle the current account deficit, which hit 5.4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in July to September fourth, were by stimulating domestic production to boost exports and.
WASHINGTON us consumer spending rose in January as Americans spent more on utilities, with savings offer a pillow after income the largest decline in 20 years.
The Commerce Department said Friday consumer spending increased 0.2 percent in January following a revised 0.1 percent rise the previous month. Expenditure had previously estimated 0.2 percent in December.
January the increase was economists expectations.
Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of u.s. economic activity and when adjusted for inflation, it gained 0.1 percent after a similar increase in December.
Although spending rose in January, it was supported by a rise in services, probably related to utilities consumption after a cold snap during the month.
Expenditure on goods fell, suggest some hit after the expiry of a 2 percent payroll tax reduction at the end of 2012. Tax rates for wealthy Americans also increased.
The effect is expected to be bigger in February the expenditure data and possibly to expand through the first half of the year as households adjust to smaller salary, which is strained by the rising gasoline prices are also.
"We expect a significant decrease in real consumer spending in the first half of the year," said Yelena Shulyatyeva, American economist at BNP Paribas, New York.
"We are looking for a very moderate Q1 reading, and that is the effect of the fiscal tightening. Which will significantly weigh in on first quarter GDP, which we expect 1.2 percent that.
GDP advanced at a rate of 0.1 percent in the last three months of 2012, with increased expenditure consumers in a healthy 2.1 percent annual pace.
Income tumbled 3.6 percent, the biggest drop since January 1993. As companies, concerned about higher taxes, rushed to pay dividends and bonuses for the new year was part of the decrease of the payback for a 2.6 percent increase in December.
Taking into account the higher taxes that went into effect at the beginning of the year, was the squeeze on households is even greater. The income available to households after inflation and taxes a 4 percent collapsed in January after upgrading from 2.7 per cent in December.
With the exception of the payment of the dividend and bonus boost, disposable income increased 0.3 percent in January.
With income drops sharply and increased expenditure, the savings rate-the percentage of income households are socking away-dropped to 2.4 percent, the lowest level since November 2007. The rate had increased to 6.4% in December.
Savings were the smallest since December 2007.
Inflation was largely contained, even though gasoline prices pushed higher. A price index for consumer spending was flat for a second straight month.
That the increase in the past 12 months left on 1.2 percent, the smallest since October 2009. It rose 1.4 percent in December.
So-called core prices, which strip out food and energy costs, edged up 0.1 percent after being flat the previous month. The year-on-year profit was 1.3 percent, the smallest since April 2011 and well under the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target.
The u.s. Central Bank last year started with an open end band buy program and said it would like it to the saw a substantial improvement in the Outlook for the labour market.
It hopes that the purchase will drive down borrowing costs.
Weak growth and benign inflation could force the Fed to maintain it's very easy monetary policy stance.
BP Azerbaijan Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli the production (ACG) fields was from 7 percent in 2012, it said, a faster decline than that of the total Azeri production in a trend that has drawn criticism from president of the country.
But the British oil major export rose from the Shah-Deniz gas field, the largest in the country.
BP said in a news release on Friday that oil output on ACG 32.9 million tons in 2012, down from 35.4 million tonnes in 2011.
Oil production in the ACG oil fields, has the largest in Azerbaijan, voiced in the ex-Soviet Republic and asked President Ilham Aliyev to blame for BP of making "false promises".
Officials at BP and State energy company SOCAR say the geology of the country most important oil fields do not meet the original expectations dropped and they have cited maintenance and higher safety standards on BP after the Macondo oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as reasons behind the waterfall of the past 18 months.
A drop that began to expand in 2011, Azerbaijan's oil and condensate production sank 5.3 percent to 42.98 million tonnes in 2012 from 45.45 million in 2011.
BP said on Friday that it exported 282.9 million barrels of oil by the ACG in 2012, down from 291.5 million barrels in 2011. The output using the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline dropped to 246 million barrels last year from 257.3 million barrels in 2011.
In 2012, the ACG consortium led by BP about $ 725 million in operating expenses and $ 2.5 billion in capital spending.
BP plans in 2013, about 758 million in administrative expenditure while capital spending about unchanged should be.
In contrast, increased natural gas production from the Shah-Deniz gas field, also operated by BP, in 2012 to 7.73 billion cubic meters (bcm) of 6.67 bcm in 2011.
It also produced 2.0 million tonnes of condensate on Shah-Deniz, up from 1.8 million tonnes produced in 2011.
Azerbaijan the largest gas field, Shah-Deniz is being developed by the consortium partners BP, Statoil, Azerbaijani SOCAR, total and others. It is estimated at 1.2 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Shah-Deniz that I has been pumping gas since 2006, while gas from the second phase is expected to reach Europe with 2019, SOCAR said last month.
BP Shah-Deniz said I production was at present on plateau with manufacturing plants running at maximum capacity of 966 million standard cubic feet a day and about 55,000 barrels of condensate per day when the markets are available.
An average of 21.1 million standard cubic feet of gas Shah-Deniz is exported from the terminal daily in 2012.
In 2012 brought Shah-Deniz consortium 269 million dollars in operating expenses and $ 1.1 million in capital expenditures. Household expenditure expected to drop this year to $ 222 million but $ 2.7 billion capital expenditure will rise.
Total gas production in Azerbaijan increased 4.3 percent to 26.8 bcm last year from 25.7 bcm in 2011.
The former Soviet Republic ships its oil through Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk five main routes: neighboring Georgia, Batumi and Kulevi ports, Supsa and Turkey Ceyhan.
Azerbaijan sells gas to the domestic market and to Georgia and Turkey via the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline also Russia.
Professional development workshops host DOHA the academic Bridge program (ABP) recently for instructors of the Qatar Aeronautical College (QAC).
Three members of the English Faculty of Bob Marcacci, Wissam Pautler ABP and Magda Rostron shared pointers on how to write, improve.
Kim Tresohlavy, Member of the ABP computer faculty, pointed to some technologies and how they can be used in the classroom. Among the technologies highlighted were blogs, wikis, and survey software.
About 20 people from Qatar Aeronautical College attended the workshops.
DOHA the College of the North Atlantic-Qatar's (CNAQ) perhaps new refinery simulator software 3D virtual reality, but it is not a game. On the contrary, it is quite seriously change the face of oil and gas training in the Middle East.
The advanced technology of the virtual refinery simulator training is first of its kind in the GCC and provides a marked improvement in the jobsite safety, productivity and teamwork. This CNAQ gives the graduates a distinct advantage in training to enter the oil and gas from the employees.
"Together with our advanced ofthe scale version of a modern processing plant, this 3D virtual reality software model gives our students methodology in all aspects of a modern refinery, both Control Panel and field training operator. Operations may be performed in real time, thus enabling students to solve operational problems quickly and correctly, "said Jim bathgate, associate dean of industrial professions on CNAQ.
CNAQ has different process control simulators work in tandem with its oil and Gas Training Centre – also the first of its kind in the region. The facility is mainly to the technician preparatory program (TPP), designed to educate and train the employees on the level of technical vocation education and training (TVET) technician dedicated.
The simulator training for outside operators, console operators and supervisors is essential to providing realistic training for the entire operations team in a refinery. Emphasis is placed on the development of practical skills and competencies, problem-solving skills, technical communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team that deliver training at the highest possible level.
The college also uses the package of Student Performance analysis (SPA)-a comprehensive set of analysis and tools to evaluate students executed trade.
"Our approach, says Barney Hayden, lead process operations instructor at CNAQ," is to combine our operator training simulator with a virtual reality-based outdoor operator station. "
"As a result, all students to participate and learn in real time practice. This gives our students the freedom to practice repeatedly using a combination of events so that they can fit and quickly learn real operational problems. "
The instructor can use the software to see the progress of the student with every action and reaction, get an accurate indication of the student insight in practice.
DOHA students began their first day of back to the future programme recently by participating in the event ' wheels and heels '.
Organized by Rota, there were activities held in Aspire Park. After the preparatory phase, which lasted four days, organizers conducted a workshop for the students. It was about the foundations of a scientific research and how to prepare a questionnaire and analyze the results.
Participants were also given the chance to ask of the public in the City Center mall questions to encourage them to discuss social problems. The research themes were different and students had different ideas.
DOHA the Bright Future Pakistani International School (BFPIS) recently organized a week long annual sports gala in the Mesaimeer Sports Club.
Diamond Masuad al Naimi Qatar women's Sport Commission attended the function as chief guest. The event was filled with fun and excitement as it for the first time outside of the school campus was held. The formal oath-taking the participating athletes marked the opening of the sports day.
Grades 4-6 classes produced with multi coloured ribbons tied around their wrists, a nice rhythm in a massive exercise demo.
A roar of applause and cheers repeated during the games in the races, athletics and ball games.
Gold, silver and bronze trophies and certificates were awarded to the athletes who excelled.
BFPIS Principal Mussarat Irfan, in her speech, hoped that the event would help the potential athletes hone their talent to compete and to win contests in the future.
She speaks appreciation to the sport coordinators Naseem, Usman, Zohra, Vice Principals Ali Zulqarnain, W Imran and Asan Rehman and the whole family of the BFPIS for the success of the event.
DOHA youth company will raise Fund for cancer patients through Al Amal Charity Fashion Show in Aspire women Fitness Club Multipurpose Hall on 8 March.
The show will be organized in the framework of Al Amal cancer awareness campaign.
The event is designed to highlight the need for cancer patients in Qatar and collecting funds for the National Center for Cancer Care and Research, formerly known as Al Amal hospital.
The program was initiated by Fatma Ghanem, a young local fashion designer who decided to use her talent to help the community.
The Charity Fashion Show became part of cancer awareness campaign developed with the support of FN advertising, a boutique advertising agency.
The event will feature varied collection of Abayas, as a result of the 60 's themes "the soul of the 1960s".
While the main program of the show at 6 am starts, the doors are open from 5 pm guests to view artwork by local artists and designers.
All works of art and abayas can be bought on the auction, which will follow the catwalk. The funds collected during the event will be donated to charity from Qatar that it will turn over to the National Center for Cancer Care & research.
Acting Chief Executive Officer of the youth company Aya Abu Issa said, "one of our most important programs – you in action-aims to promote community involvement and raising awareness about important social issues and needs. We hope that Al Amal cancer public awareness campaign and Charity Fashion Show people know about the needs of patients with cancer in Qatar and will motivate them to support the case. "
The campaign will be supported by Qatar Charity, the Supreme Council of health; Women's fitness club and Commercial Bank.
"We are grateful for all companies and organizations that have showed their interest in Al Amal cancer public awareness campaign and supported the realization of the Charity Fashion Show," said Abu Issa.
Tickets for the show are available at Virgin Megastore.
DOHA QATAR Academy grade 10 students Rebecca Hitchman is no stranger to performing in front of an audience.
One of the more experienced musicians in the Orchestra of the high school who plays a variety of instruments like clarinet and piano, Rebecca carried out for a different set of the crowd at the school on Thursday.
Play Broadway as defying gravity from the musical Wicked and beauty and the beast out of the game by the same name, Rebecca shared her talent with the youngest students of the school-the children of the early education Centre (EEC).
EEC Assistant principal Margaret Dick came up with the idea to high school students invite to play in both the Centre learning pods.
"Musical appreciation is started before the children are born, and the longer we expose them to music, the more they learn to appreciate. Part of our role of the education of the child is to inform and to discover opportunities for children, "she said.
"They were able to explore in their hearts and minds this new experience. They were able to deal with scarves and ribbons to the music and some wanted to draw pictures while they listened. Some wanted to see how the music was produced. This was a rich learning experience for all children ".
But the setting other than its usual performance include, even Rebecca with Dick on the music of the role – by means of making or listening to it-plays in educating a child. "I've always listened to music. I go to concerts together with my family and watching live performances. So I know it is worth it if they (children) with young can begin, enjoy it, think about what music means and how can you people feel through music ".
The teachers and staff will not formal lessons about playing instruments on any time soon but according to Dick that the most important thing is that children's music as something that is going on in their life, as normal as the countless variety of activities that the Centre offers them under the creative curriculum experience.
"I believe the children learned that music is produced by a person and instrument. For most of them this is a new concept and I think this would be the first experience of that the children have had this. If we keep doing this with different musicians, then the children will experience a number of different instruments and different sounds they all make, "said Dick.
WASHINGTON-the US Government head over heels on Friday to broad cuts that threaten to hinder the economic recovery stumbled, after President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders not find an alternative budget plan.
Set up during an attack by deficit reduction fever in 2011, the automatic cuts can be stopped only by agreement between the Congress and the White House.
A deal proved elusive in talks at the White House on Friday, which means that government agencies start now will Hack a total of $ 85 billion from the budgets between Saturday and Oct. 1. Financial markets in New York shrugged off the impasse in Washington. Democrats predict the cuts, known as "sequestration," could quickly lead to delays in air traffic, furloughs for hundreds of thousands of federal employees and disruption to education.
While the International Monetary Fund warned that belt-tightening u.s. economic growth could slow by at least 0.5 percentage point this year that is not a huge barrier to an economy that is picking up steam.
Obama was resigned to shrinking public budgets. "Even with these cuts in place people all over this country will work hard to make sure we keep the recovery will be, but Washington certainly is not making it easy," he said after the meeting, democratic and Republican Congressional leaders.
In the heart of Washington's persistent fiscal crises is disagreement on how to slash the budget deficit and the national debt $ 16 trillion, bloated over the years by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Government stimulus for the ailing economy.
Obama wants the fiscal gap with spending cuts and tax hikes, but Republicans don't want to admit again on taxes after do in the negotiations on the "fiscal cliff" on the new year.
"The discussion on the revenue, in my eyes, is over. It's about taking on the spending issue, "said House of representatives speaker John Boehner on leaving the meeting.
The full brunt of the automatic cuts will be worn more than seven months.
Congress can stop them at any time if the two parties agree on how to do this.
But no matter how Obama and Congress resolve the battle for 2013, this round of automatic cuts is just one of a decade worth of annual cuts total $ 1.2 trillion in command of the sequestration law.
Given the lack of a deal, Obama is required to make an order to federal agencies to reduce their budgets by midnight.
Geneva Syria will fall apart if the Government and rebels continue to fight instead of looking for a negotiated peace, said United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday.
He said the situation in Syria was is deteriorating day by day after nearly two years of conflict in which 70,000 people died, but now there was a small chance for peace talks.
"This is a very small chance that we strongly support and encourage them to use. The opportunity can close quickly, "said ban at a press conference in Geneva.
Syrian Government showed a greater willingness to negotiate with the opposition by the end of a war that has led to nearly 1 million Syrians to flee their country.
Foreign Minister Walid al Moualem said on Monday the Government even with armed rebels would speak. On Thursday the Passport conditions increased for the Syrian citizens abroad, meeting a condition set by the opposition for talks.
Delivering an annual lecture in Geneva later on Friday, the UN Chief said: "I continue to call for the Syrian parties find their way to the negotiating table.
The horrors of the past months and years prove beyond doubt: the military solution in Syria leads to the dissolution of Syria. "" The Security Council must no longer as a silent witness to the slaughter. It should finally come together and set the parameters for the democratic transition that perhaps the last best hope for saving Syria, "he said.
Russia has blocked UN Security Council resolutions aimed at forcing an end to the conflict and urges that the output power of President Bashar al Assad may not be a condition for a negotiated solution.
On Thursday Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed the rebels carefully be extended to a suggestion by French leader Francois Hollande that dialogue on bringing in Syria parties that service as negotiators between Assad and opposition can do.
"I urge again the Security Council and regional leaders and the people of Syria to unite to address this issue," ban told reporters.
"In about two weeks time, we will be entering the third year of this crisis. How long () we have to see the people killed and displaced persons in this way? " He said he would be Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on an Alpine retreat in Switzerland meet on Saturday for private talks with senior aides. "There's not much political space ... I can give you no guarantee or a deadline or any future meetings, "he said.
For now, in