Khaama Press (KP) | Afghan News Agency » Business The largest news and information source in Afghanistan Sun, 30 Aug 2015 17:01:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 $220 million new Afghan parliament to be inaugurated in 5 months Sun, 12 Jul 2015 10:57:34 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Afghanistan New Parliament House

Officials in the Ministry of Urban Development Affairs said Sunday that the new Afghan Parliament building will be inaugurated within the next five months.

The new parliament building is currently being built by the government of India which is expected to cost around $220 million.

According to MUDA officials, the new building consists of four sections, including A,B,C and D.

The officials further added that Section-A is the main parliament hall where the lawmakers in the Lower House of the Parliament – Wolesi Jirga will hold parliamentary sessions.

Afghan Urban Development Affairs Minister Syed Sadat Mansoor Naderi visited the construction site along with the Indian ambassador in Afghanistan Mr. Amar Sinha to review the construction works.

Section-B is comprised of a four storey building which will include two halls for general sessions, separate dining halls for the Lower and Upper House of the Parliament.

Minister of Urban Development Affairs

A library will also be included Section-B of the new parliament building which will include a computer room.

The Section-C of the new parliament building is known as the entrance hall which will have a dome constructed of stainless steel and glass which will have five halls for parliamentary commissions in the second floor.

The new parliament building is being built in 40.6 hectares of land and is five times bigger than the current parliament building.

The new building also consists of 20 lifts, 15 stairs and toilets for men and women in 35 locations.

Marbles from Chesht-e-Sharif district have been used for the floor works of the new parliament building. A big administration building, a mosque that could house 400 prayers, a modern library, VIP guesthouse and 350 apartments for the lawmakers have also been considered in the new parliament building.

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Roshan among Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015 in “Social Good” Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:32:49 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Roshan AfghanistanFast Company, one of the leading business magazines in the world, recently released its annual Top 50 and Top 10 ranking of the Most Innovative Companies worldwide for various business and innovation categories in which Roshan Telecommunication Company from Afghanistan was ranked number 7 at the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in “Social Good”.

Fast Company recognized Roshan for its ethical business practices and work on social and economic development across Afghanistan.

The Top 10 Most Innovative Companies list usually includes very prominent international corporations, including tech giants such as Apple and Google. This is the first time that an Afghan company has been included in Fast Company’s ranking, bringing prestige and honor to Afghanistan and especially to the country’s telecom industry.

Karim Khoja CEO of Roshan says “Being named one of the world’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Social Good is a proud moment for us as a leading Afghan telecom company and for Afghanistan that our innovative work and social contributions has been recognized globally,”

Roshan started its operation in 2003 and its investment is now more than $600 million in telecom infrastructure in Afghanistan.

Roshan has more than 1,100 employees of whom 20 percent are women.

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Logistics Performance of Afghanistan Mon, 22 Dec 2014 18:45:16 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Dropping freedom

By: Abdul Rashid Faizi

Logistics is part of the value chain that plans, implements and controls the efficient flow of goods, services and information from the source to the consumer. Logistics sector is an important pillar of the economy; it is the engine of any economy. Logistics is having many positive effects on the economy. Studies show that there is positive correlation between growth of logistics and the wealth of nations. In addition, logistics investment and efficient logistics system causes economic growth. Transport and logistics also leads to higher incomes, employment gains, and lower poverty rates. Also researchers have found a positive association between logistics system and volume of bilateral trade.

One of the well developed and main accepted measures for the logistics performance of a country is the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index (LPI). The World Bank ranks the logistics performance of 160 countries to help them benchmark and identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics. The LPI is a weighted average of the country’s score on the following six dimensions: customs’ efficiency, quality of infrastructure, international shipments, logistics competences, track and tracing of consignments, and timeliness of shipments. The measure indicates the relative ease and efficiency with which products can be moved into and inside a country. In the last ranking (2014), Afghanistan was ranked at the 158th position, among 160 countries. This shows an extremely poor performance and a lot more needs to be done to improve the logistics performance of the country.

Given the locational advantage of Afghanistan and importance of logistics sector for economic growth; the government must consider this sector as key for growth of the economy. It is the vision of Afghanistan to be regional logistics hub and recently president Ghani has addressed to transform the country into regional corridor. However, in order to achieve this long term goal, there is a need for a sequence of strategies and their implementation. In order to improve the logistics performance the government and private sector needs to focus on investing and improving the following areas:

  1. Quality of Trade and Transport Infrastructure: This includes improvements in quality of roads, airports, railways, warehousing, and telecommunications and IT services. Infrastructure is known as the backbone or the ‘hardware’ of the logistics system. Transport infrastructure is critical for the physical movements and storage of shipments.
  2. Improving the Custom’s Efficiency: In logistics customs play a crucial facilitating role. Customs institutions are the government authorities to implement the policies related to import and export, collect customs duties and facilitate movement of people, goods and cargo into and out of the country.
  3. Improving Logistics Competences: Nowadays quality is an important base for the service sector. Considering this we could say that, one of the most important logistics business guarantors is the quality of the provided services.

Countries like the UAE-Dubai which have world class logistics sector, have achieved such visions mainly by huge investments in those area. Moreover, by tackling policies related to the above mentioned areas the country will be able to capitalize on the returns of the logistics sector. Otherwise, the claim made on the transformation of Afghanistan into regional logistics hub is like a vision impossible to achieve.

In conclusion, reliable logistics sector is important for economic growth and poverty reduction in our country. Unfortunately, Afghanistan is having the worst logistics sector in the world. The ability to establish a decent logistics sector depends on quality infrastructure, efficiency of logistics institutions, and quality of logistics services. Afghanistan could only achieve its logistics vision by improving the quality of mentioned areas of logistics sector.

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How to Use PayPal in Afghanistan Sat, 06 Dec 2014 07:51:43 +0000 Read the full article...]]> How to Use Paypal in Afghanistan

By: Assad Ullah Saffa

If you are working as an Affiliate marketer, Freelancer, Blogger, or somehow monetizing online, you probably need to use PayPal in order to get paid.

In Afghanistan most of people use Google Adsense in their websites for monetizing online, and the payment is via check or PayPal, but as we all see PayPal doesn’t support Afghanistan.

In the past 13 years Afghanistan had a remarkable growth in banking sectors, but still we have some banking guarantee problems. That is why PayPal is not supporting Afghanistan Banking System.

So in this case don’t worry if we live in a country which is not supported by PayPal we can still use it as a payment method to get paid.

In order to get paid by PayPal you need a third-party to transfer money from PayPal to your Bank Account or your Prepaid Card.

Here is the instruction of using a third-party (PayOneer) for withdrawing money from PayPal to our own Bank Account:

  1. If you don’t have a verified PayPal account, Sign up to PayPal and then chose United States or Canada as your residence country.
  2. Go to this third party website and Sign Up.
  3. Chose Afghanistan as your country and upload your National ID Card (Tazkera) or Passport.
  4. They will send you several emails, and you need to respond each one of them.
  5. It will take a while and they will send you a Master Card in Post Office.
  6. Verify your card and then they will give you a bank account from Bank Of America.
  7. Go to PayPal and click on Withdraw.
  8. Chose Withdraw to bank account.
  9. Use the banking information from your account.
  10. It will take from 3-7 days for your money transfer to happen.
  11. After that you can use your prepaid Master Card in Afghanistan International Bank (AIB) ATM’s or you can chose to get paid in your Local Bank Account.
  12. If you want to get paid directly in your bank account ask them to activate this service.

Sign up Now and earn 25$ in your card just after adding your first 100$

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First Afghan Web Directory Launched Mon, 01 Dec 2014 06:41:28 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Afghanistan Web Directory

A web designing company has launched the first business directory in Afghanistan, an initiative aimed to further facilitate contacts between the companies and individuals through the rich source of online information.

The directory – AFG. DIRECTORY has been launched with the support of Barg Sabz Web Designing Company.

According to the company officials, AFG.DIRECTORY is a professional business listing interface where it enables organizations and companies to upload one page information which includes company logo, company background, portfolio and contact details.

“AFG.DIRECTORY is a project of Barg Sabz Web Designing; it is a local directory which helps organisation and individuals to find the details of the companies or organisation they are are looking for,” Assadullah Mossni, one of the directors of Barg Sabz said.

Web Directory for Afghanistan - NEws

Mossini further added, “A team of around 10 people will be handling the Directory in a professional manner. We have marketing personnels who visit the local companies in person and asks them to register their business with us by making a reasonable annual payment.”

“Currently we start the project from Kabul and will gradually take it to provinces,” said Shujauddin Eysanyar, the sales manager of Barg Sabz Web Designing Company.

AFG.DIRECTORY is said to be the first online business listing portal with an intention to cover the country.

The launch of the online business directory comes as there have been a significant advancement in access to internet since 2002 with the launch of modern technologies such third generation (3G) mobile internet further facilitating better access to internet.

The directory link:

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AGO freezes assets of Mahmood Karzai and Haseen Fahim Tue, 25 Nov 2014 15:50:59 +0000 Read the full article...]]> mahmood karzaiThe assets of Mahmood Karzai and Haseen Fahim have been frozen by the Attorney General Office (AGO) over the the outstanding payment of loans from Kabul Bank which collapsed in 2010.

Basir Azizi, spokesman for the Atttorney General Office said Tuesday that the assets of Abdul Ghafar Dawi were also freezed following the verdict by the appellate court.

Mahmood Karzai has said that his assets were frozen based on the court order but he has paid all outstanding loans.

According to Attorney General Office, Haseen Fahim and Abdul Ghafar Dawi are prepared to return the outstanding loans.

In the meantime, Azizi said the acting finance minister Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal could face prosecution if former Central Bank chief and head of the New Kabul Bank did not appear in the court.

He said the two officials are currently outside of Afghanistan and were given bail by Zakhilwal.

Kabul Bank scandal case was reopened after President Ghani issued a decree to reopen the case of Kabul Bank scandal on the first week of his presidency.

Kabul Bank was one of Afghanistan’s largest private financial institutions founded in 2004 by Sherkhan Farnood, who was an international prominent poker player. Khalilullah Fruzi, the former chief executive of the bank, was another key staff.

Kabul Bank was seized by the government in 2010 after the exposure of a staggering $900 million fraud, which led the International Monetary Fund to temporarily halt its hundreds of millions of dollars of loans to the country.

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Digital World: Why is Printing Still So Important for Big Businesses? Mon, 27 Oct 2014 15:02:08 +0000 Read the full article...]]> digital printingSince social media and technology burst onto the scene, marketing firms have been debating whether or not printing is still relevant. While a lot of companies have moved their advertising campaign completely online, there is still very much a place for printing in big businesses. Digital printing has particularly made its mark on the business world due to its increased quality and cost cutting benefits.

The marketing benefits of digital printing

There are a number of reasons why digital printing is still better than online marketing. As mentioned by Forbes, printed copy tends to have a lot more credibility and tangibility. It is also more engaging. When reading content on websites, consumers often skim through the words, taking a maximum of 15 seconds to take in the information. When they have printed copy in front of them, they tend to spend a lot more time reading through the content.

It can often be difficult to target specific niches online too. Getting an ad printed out in a specialised publication can be a lot more effective at reaching your target audience. There is also the fact that printed copy provides more credibility. It is seen as more legitimate if it’s actually written on printed paper or a billboard, rather than just a pop up banner on a screen.

The importance of quality printing

Big businesses have a reputation to maintain. Therefore it is vital you choose a reliable, high quality printing service, such as Format b1 Landa S10 Nanographic Printing which is great for commercial printing and folding carton production. No matter what type of content you are printing, you need to ensure the colours, format and font are perfect. Digital printing has improved quality and many large organisations will now only work with printing companies that produce top quality results.

While there is a lot of focus on online marketing, offline communications are still really important for large companies. Events are a good way to network and advertise your business. However, before hosting an event you need to send out invitations. These need to be captivating, high quality and dramatic in order to grab the reader’s attention.

Which industries benefit the most?

While printed content is ideal for all types of businesses, there are some industries that particularly benefit. They include:

  • Fashion industry- sheets etc.
  • Home improvement/DIY
  • Automotive industry
  • Hospitality

These are just some of the reasons why printing is still massively important for big businesses. Using the latest digital printing techniques can help to save your business a lot of money, as well as help you to create the highest quality results. Image is everything in business and large company’s need to ensure they are using high quality printing services to give out the best impression.

Debbie Fletcher has contributed this article to Khaama Press. 

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Apple Inc unveils new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Tue, 09 Sep 2014 18:03:02 +0000 Read the full article...]]> iphone 6 and iphone 6 plusTwo new iPhone models were introduced by the world’s largest tech company – Apple Inc during an event in Cupertino, California on Tuesday evening.

Having fingerprint sensors and mobile wallet services for allowing smartphones to be used like contactless debit and credit cards.

The iPhone 6 come with a 4.7-inch screen and iPhone 6 Plus with a 5.5-inch display, having equal or better battery life than the iPhone 5S.

The new phones are also thinner – 6.9mm for the iPhone 6 and 7.1mm for the iPhone 6 Plus and comes with new “Retina HD” screens covered in ion-strengthen.

The camera of the new phones has also been improved by Apple Inc, fitting the new iPhones with an eight-megapixel camera using focusing technology often found in dSLR cameras, for fast and accurate photos.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said the new devices were “the biggest advancement in the history of iPhone.”

The company is also expected to introduce its first new product, a smartwatch later on Tuesday.

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Business environment worsening in Afghanistan, ACCI survey reveals Wed, 13 Aug 2014 11:27:30 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Afghanistan business environmentThe Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) has revealed that the business environment has worsened in Afghanistan during the last three months.

ACCI in its latest survey report released on Wednesday has said that the business climate in general has deteriorated during last three months, with considerable number of companies reported to be closed.

The report further added that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have suffered more from the volatile and unstable business condition which means they are more vulnerable to changes in business climate caused by politics, security and climate factors.

“At least 9.9 percent of the employees of the surveyed companies had lost their jobs in a most favorable season of the year, which is unprecedented in our surveys,” the report said.

The companies in general had a too optimistic outlook in March 2014 compared to their judgment on the real situation in July 2014 regarding the future order books, the survey said.

According to ACCI survey the most important factor for business development is considered to be security; it is followed by lack of market and demand, poor infrastructure, administrative burdens and lack of access to finance.

The overall business climate indicator in March 2014 for Kabul, Balkh, Kandahar and Nangarhar regions altogether valued (27) points and in July 2014 it decreased to (-0.02), the report said.

The Business Climate is an indicator for GDP growth tendencies. The indicator usually is leading; it indicates GDP changes in advance (on average a few months if no unexpected change in frame conditions occurs).

Th report also added that the regional business climate in July 2014 shows that Nangarhar (18.18) enjoys the best climate, followed by Kandahar (10, 34) and Herat (4.02). Balkh (-21.11) stands at the lowest point of the regional ranking followed by Kabul (-7.5).

The integrated business climate in Kabul, Balkh, Kandahar and Nangarhar show lower value compared to the last survey in March 2014, the report said, adding that, “This negative inclination might be caused by the electoral deadlocks and the ongoing political confusions.”

In the meantime, the surveyed companies are optimistic about their businesses in coming six months despite the current negative condition, ACCI said.

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From China to Singapore, a good girl in bad business Mon, 02 Jun 2014 18:12:29 +0000 Read the full article...]]> st-thumbMirwais Jalazai – Singapore

She calls herself Jia Wang; pimps and customers call her so.

“I serve the low and the medal class,” said the round-faced blonde with gray eyes. “If the guys have money, they can have me for a night or an hour.” Depending on the nature of the service, her rates range from $ 50 to $ 70 for an hour.

Though women of other nationalities, including Vietnam, Thailand and Sri Lankans, still lead the successful sex trade in Singapore, Wang said Chinese like her had pushed many of them out of business.

Jia which means (good) in Chinese language said a country woman named Wen Won, who worked as a prostitute in Geylang  and Orchard rood two  famous red light areas in Singapore, encouraged her to join the field.

On Orchard road, the success story of Singaporeans’ development, in a half dark café, In a pinky sexy short, with a half naked body Jia is completely covered by cigarettes smoke.

“My first customer paid me SGD 250 to accompany him overnight. He even took me on a night tour of Santosa.  The following customers were not as good as him. They treated me like a tool to satisfy their sexual desires and that made me feel terrible,” she said.

She said her last customer paid her  just to chat with her, saying that he wanted to gather information to write a book. “He gave me a book and advised me to quit the job. I couldn’t control myself and started crying,” she said.

“I told him that I’m ‘too dirty’ now and that my future is already gone,” she said.

Today is international sex workers’ day – a day to bring attention to the more than often exploitative conditions that those working in the industry have to face.

What’s the best way to protect sex workers and prevent sexual exploitation that is a question which is very hard to governments to answer it.

According to the international labor organization ( ILO) annually the income from forced labors reached the level of  $ 150 billion . And prostitution business has a oily  part in that income.

ILO says that $150 billion in profits by 21 million forced laborers around the world. You have many countries in the world, whose population and GDP do not even match these figures. We are talking about a vast nation of hidden people about whom we are not talking enough and about whom the time has come to take strong action.

Jia Wong is also a member of this huge family which is involved in prostitution business in that part of the world. She said she was misused by  others and now she is victim of that business and doesn’t know how to leave that field .

She said she began regretting her act and she was worried that she might be infected with HIV because she said before I start that business I had no  idea what is HIV and how dangerous is it for our life.

As a journalist when I first came to Singapore, I was a bit confused about prostitution. I thought it was illegal based on what little I knew about coming here.

We heard that Singapore has a strong government; I assumed it would be tightly controlled. However, after just a few weeks of living here and driving around at night, I soon learned the truth. Even the government is not care about how the young generation of this county is going to be in contact with HIV infected girls from poor south eastern Asian countries.

“The government of Singapore, a  country which means the country of lion knows that, they are lions they want to do business and attract more tourist to this country” she said.

There is dozens of prostitutes from several souths eastern countries in that read light district in Singapore this night, but nobody knows exactly how many chine’s women like  Jia  have been sold into sexual slavery.

Some girls like Jia are cheated by pimps and sold to traffickers. Others are abducted, raped and psychologically pummeled into submission.

As music blared from the loudspeakers in the dimly-lit cafe in Gylang area Jia’s cell phone rang.  Her response was short and straight,  (SHEDA SHEDA)“Yes, yes, I’m coming.”

 She stopped smoking cigarette and got up.  She had a customer to attend to, and a taxi was waiting in front of cafe.  I followed her outside, and before she left, one last question of mine was, did you want to leave your profession?

 The answer came, wrapped in loud laughter: “Never it is  my business now”.

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Afghanistan’s mobile phone sector boosts the economy Mon, 24 Feb 2014 13:32:27 +0000 Read the full article...]]>

UntitledBy Bradley Taylor

Since 2001 Afghanistan has made significant economical progress within its mobile phone sector. Its mobile phone sector has experienced exponential growth, as shown by the 12 million mobile phone users across Afghanistan. Approximately 60% of the population has a mobile phone connection and Afghanistan even has access to high-speed 3G connections. This new telecommunications network possesses great potential for rejuvenating Afghanistan’s economy and providing a wealth of technological luxuries for the Afghan public.

The existence of four private mobile companies and one state-owned company has resulted in private investments in Afghan telecommunications exceeding US$1.6 billion. This injection of wealth has helped Afghanistan boost its economy whilst simultaneously helping the country to develop a credible reputation within worldwide technological markets.

Untitled1The Government’s involvement in expanding the mobile phone sector has had a substantially beneficial impact on Afghanistan’s economy. The Government has executed a series of initiatives to expand network service delivery and support good governance. As a result private firms have been quick to adopt these advanced mobile phone technologies. In 2011, these initiatives resulted in the GSMA presenting the Afghan Minister of Communications and IT with the mobile industry’s prestigious annual Government Leadership award; recognizing the monumental achievements made by the government in promoting and expanding mobile communications. Thegovernment’s committed investmentwithin the mobile sector creates a myriad of lucrative opportunities for the Afghan economy. These include the creation of new jobs, increased foreign investment in Afghan companies and also an increased amount of government revenue.

Furthermore, the meteoric rise of Afghanistan’s mobile phone sector is beginning to facilitate a thriving mobile app market which in itself is beneficial for the Afghan economy. Mobile phone users can gain access to local, national and international news as well as discovering vast social network communities. There are even apps to help improve literacy and numeracy skills, as well as learning other languages. In turn, other Afghanbusinesses and industries can capitalize upon the vast advertising potential of these mobile phone apps, thereby facilitating a network within which both individuals and businesses can thrive.

Several leaders of industry have enthused about the growth of Afghanistan’s mobile phone market and its ability to improve the everyday amenities to which Afghans have access. JesKaliebe Petersen Director of Development for Paywast stated;

Untitled2 “We are excited to launch Paywast News, because it has the potential to have a direct impact on how modern Afghans get their information, and provides a steady stream of relevant updates and current affairs… There are currently more than 800,000 Android and iPhone devices in Afghanistan, and 3G consumption is growing quickly”.

Ultimately, Afghan’s mobile phone sector has a vast potential to boost other sectors of the economy. Western companies such as PremierPatient Line currently provide telecommunications services to medical practices and the Afghan government have expressed similar plans to use their flourishing mobile phone sector to improve other industries within society. Despite years of war and adversity, the Afghan economy is showing signs of revival. The exponential growth of its mobile phone sector demonstrates great economic potential for the future. Hopefully, much like the mobile phone sector has thrived in recent years, so too will the rest of the Afghan economy.

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First mobile-based news application launched in Afghanistan Wed, 27 Nov 2013 06:14:32 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Mobile News Application launched in AfghanistanMobile phone users in Afghanistan can now have access to daily news and reports about Afghanistan and the world following the launch of a new initiative by leading mobile-based social network outlet and local news agencies.

The Android-based application for smartphones, jointly launched by Paywast, Khaam Press (KP) and Wadsam News, aims to provide access to daily political, economic and social affairs including sports news.

The launch of Paywast News application is yet another breakthrough in media and telecommunications sector in Afghanistan, which will provide quality  local content to modern consumers – who believe spending time on what is value is a luxury.

The application will help over 800,000 Afghans who have smartphones, to have access to news articles in Dari as well as English.

Founder and CEO of Khaama Press, Khushnood Nabizada said, “The launch of the application and service will help the owners of smartphones to have access to latest news from Afghanistan, region and the world. “

Nabizada further added that Paywast News is a cost effective application which consumes less bandwidth and automatically downloads the contents to applications, once the owners of the smartphones enter the internet coverage area.

He also added that direct access to websites for accessing the articles will consume more bandwidth and will take more time to load the content along with its graphics, but the Paywast News application, once installed to the smartphones, will automatically download only the contens the news.

“We are excited to launch Paywast News, because it has the potential to have a direct impact on how modern Afghans get their information, and provides a steady stream of relevant updates and current affairs,” Jes Kaliebe Petersen Director of Development for Paywast said.

Petersen also added, “Paywast News is one of many products and services we provide in Afghanistan – but our first smartphone app. There are currently more than 800,000 Android and iPhone devices in Afghanistan, and 3G consumption is growing quickly.

We identified a need in the market for a news app with local high quality content – and today, Paywast News is available in the iTunes and Google Play app stores.”

Applications can be downloaded from the following  links directly:



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Saif Ali Khan charged with assault on South African businessman Sat, 22 Dec 2012 06:33:09 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Saif Ali Khan charged with assaultIndian police have charged Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan for allegedly assaulting and breaking the nose of a South African businessman at a luxury hotel earlier this year, a report said Friday.

“Mumbai’s Colaba police station filed a chargesheet against Khan in a metropolitan magistrate court on Thursday,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Ravindra Shishwe told reporters here on Friday.

“The chargesheet has been filed with regard to a complaint registered against him for assaulting an NRI businessman on Feb 22,” he added.

Shishwe further informed that the charge-sheet has been filed with regard to complaint registered against Khan and two others by NRI businessman Iqbal Mir Sharma on February 22. Thus, the charge-sheet apart from naming Khan as accused included his two friends — Shakeel Ladak and Bilal Amrohi.

Khan and two friends were charged under section 325 of the Indian Penal Code for assault, Press Trust of India reported.

Khan, 42, was at the time of the alleged assault dining with friends and actress Kareena Kapoor, whom he married in October.

Saif was arrested on February 22 with Amrohi and Ladak for assaulting NRI businessman Iqbal Sharma. They were later released on bail. Khan however claimed one of his friends was assaulted which led to the fight.

Khan is one of Bollywood’s biggest actors and the Nawab (Muslim prince) of the former princely state of Pataudi.

His father was famous cricketing legend Mansur Ali Khan, better known as “Tiger Pataudi”.

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Concerns over growing gold exodus from Afghanistan Sun, 16 Dec 2012 07:53:05 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Gold exodus AfghanistanAccording to Afghan airport officils, hewed bars of gold are being flown out of Kabul with increasing regularity, confounding Afghan and U.S. officials who fear money launderers have found a new way to spirit funds from the country

Most of the gold is being carried on commercial flights destined for Dubai, United Arab Emirates, New York Times reported.

The amounts carried by single couriers are often heavy enough that passengers flying from Kabul to the Persian Gulf emirate would be well-advised to heed warnings about the danger of bags falling from overhead compartments.

One courier, for instance, carried nearly 60 pounds of gold bars, each about the size of an iPhone, aboard a flight in mid-October, according to an airport security report. The load was worth more than $1.5 million.

This comes as a U.S. watchdog agency said Tuesday that Afghan officials were resisting U.S. efforts to help track billions of dollars being flown out of Kabul airport every year, some likely linked to crime and drugs.

The U.S. and other nations have long expressed concern about the amount of cash being flown out of the country — an estimated $4.5 billion last year, according to the U.S. Congressional Research Service. Afghanistan has a cash-based economy and moving large bundles of cash is common, yet it raises the risk of money laundering and cash smuggling to finance terrorist, narcotics and other illicit activities.

In 2010, the United States launched a program to help Afghanistan control the problem, particularly through greater controls at Kabul International Airport, and President Hamid Karzai’s government pledged action within a year.

Hundreds of millions of dollars from the collapsed Kabul Bank were flown out of Afghanistan — some in airplane food trays — to more than two dozen other countries, a recent report on the collapse said. The demise of the bank, the nation’s largest financial institution, became a symbol of endemic corruption that plagues Afghanistan.

“The persistent delays in instituting basic anti-money laundering procedures by the Afghan government at Kabul International Airport are deeply troubling,” the report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said. “Although proper controls to monitor cash flows are important for any country to institute, they are particularly critical for a country fraught with corruption, narcotics trafficking and insurgent activity.”

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First Afghan business magazine published Fri, 20 Jul 2012 09:46:27 +0000 Read the full article...]]> An Afghan business magazine named ‘Silkroute’ officially inaugurated on Thursday.

Mamnoon Maqsoodi, the editor in chief for this magazine said, “The magazine ‘Silkroute’ comes to media market to provide public awareness and promote successful Afghan personalities.”

He further added this magazine contains useful instructions for local businessmen on how they can promote their business.

This magazine is sponsored by Faisal Amiri, an Afghan businessman who is involved in IT equipments sales and supplies.

The ‘Silkroute’ magazine is published in 3 languages, Dari, Pashtu and English.

Silk Route is a modern term referring to a historical network of interlinking trade route across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa. The land routes were supplemented by sea routes, which extended from the Red Sea to coastal India,China and Southeast Asia.

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Chinese teen sells kidney to buy iPhone, iPad Sun, 08 Apr 2012 04:11:22 +0000 Read the full article...]]> In the second case of its kind in China, a teenage boy sold his kidney to buy an Apple iPhone and iPad. A 17-year-old high school student from Anhui province, surnamed Wang sold his kidney to buy the expensive gadgets, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The source further added, at five people in southern China have been charged with intentional injury in the case of a Chinese teenager who sold a kidney so he could buy an iPhone and an iPad.

The five included a surgeon who removed a kidney from a 17-year-old boy in April last year. The boy, identified only by
his surname Wang, now suffers from renal deficiency, Xinhua quoted prosecutors in Chenzhou city, Hunan province, as saying on Friday.

The news agency said that the man who allegedly organized the plot was in need of money to pay off gambling debts. He supposedly received about $35,000 to get the kidney, out of which he paid about $3,000 to the student. The defendant also allegedly paid the medical staff for the operation, and for the rental of a medical facility.

It said about 1.5 million people in China need organ transplants, but that only about 10,000 transplants are performed each year, fueling the illegal trade in organs.

Wang was recruited from an online chatroom and is now suffering from kidney failure and is in deteriorating health, the Xinhua news agency said.

International human rights groups have long accused China of harvesting organs from executed prisoners for transplant without the consent of the prisoner or their family, charges the government has denied.

China banned the trading of human organs in 2007, Xinhua said. Several other suspects involved in the case are still
being investigated.

Apple products are hugely popular in China, but are priced beyond the reach of many Chinese. IPhones start at 3,988 yuan (£400), and iPads begin at 2,988 yuan – just under £190.

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In a first, NRG businessman buys flying car Mon, 09 May 2011 04:11:20 +0000 Read the full article...]]> INDIA/AHMEDABAD: In 2008, NRG businessman Subhash Shihora’s wife and six-month-old son were not allowed to board a flight from Delhi to Ahmedabad despite having a valid ticket because of a technical glitch. Shihora, a major stake-holder in the Rs 2 lakh crore Urok consultancy firm in the UK, was so angry he sued the airline for Rs 21 crore. He also wanted to ensure that it never happened again. And he found a way out — Shihora has become the first Indian to buy the world’s first commercial flying car called ‘Transition’ from a company in Massachusetts, US.

Shihora now wants the car to be parked at his farmhouse off SG Road in Ahmedabad. But he fears getting permission may not be easy. He will need clearances from not just aviation agencies, but security agencies as well and has already started talking to officials.

“I fly down to Ahmedabad at least six times a year and then fly to Mumbai and Rajkot. I had taken a test drive of the flying car. By pressing just one button, the car turns into an aircraft. I have started taking flying lessons to get the licence,” says Shihora. He booked the car in 2009 and will get delivery in 2012. Shihora, who moved to UK in 1998, booked it for Rs 1 crore and will pay another Rs 1 crore by the time it is delivered. “With all taxes and duties paid, the car will cost me around Rs 6 crore in Ahmedabad.”

The car, designed with foldable wings, successfully completed its first flight on March 5, 2009 and recently got clearance from the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration. The two-seater vehicle falls in the light aircraft category and requires a private pilot licence to fly it. The vehicle, which is big enough to fit into a home garage and runs on unleaded petrol, can travel up to 450 miles and can fly at 115 mph.

Colonel VK Nagar, an aviation industry expert, says, “Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India (AAI) may give permission under the micro light aircraft category. But a vehicle that can both be driven on roads and can be taken to the skies from anywhere may create issues with security agencies.”

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Obama’s $858 billion tax-cut plan heads to the House Thu, 16 Dec 2010 07:00:39 +0000 Read the full article...]]> (Reuters) – A deal that President Barack Obama struck with Republicans to extend tax cuts for nearly every working American and spur job growth moves to the U.S. House of Representatives for passage as early as Thursday.

Many of Obama’s fellow Democrats in that chamber strongly oppose the measure as favoring the wealthy, and are still angry with him for cutting the deal with Republicans without them.

“We have a situation where we have a proposal before us that gives 6,600 families in America $25 billion and holds the rest of the provisions in the bill, (such as) low-income tax cuts, hostage to that blackmail,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday, referring to a provision on the estate tax.

Still, most analysts believe the deal, which has already received overwhelming bipartisan approval in the Senate, will pass the House with substantial backing from Republicans and some Democrats.

The legislation would extend for two years income tax cuts enacted under Republican former President George W. Bush, with Democrats backing off their earlier fervent opposition to extending the cuts for the richest Americans. The Bush-era cuts are due to expire at the end of 2010 unless Congress acts.

The measure would also prevent a spike in taxes on capital gains and dividends, renew long-term unemployment insurance and provide new tax relief for students, working families and businesses.

House Democrats are becoming more resigned to passage of the $858 billion package. Experts predict the measures will probably boost economic growth but add to the $1.3 trillion budget deficit, which has unsettled the bond market.

Most of the 255 House Democrats may oppose the overall tax package, but it is expected to be approved with overwhelming support among the chamber’s 179 Republicans.


Obama on Wednesday called on the House to approve the bill “as soon as possible” to avoid tax increases across the board in January.

Many economists predict the tax package could add up to 1 percentage point to economic expansion next year, due partly to a one-year cut in the payroll tax and removal of uncertainty about taxes in general.

Obama’s current position on taxes contrasts sharply with his position earlier this year when he and his fellow Democrats fought against renewing tax reductions for the wealthiest Americans — those with household incomes above $250,000 — while supporting continued cuts for middle-class taxpayers.

At the time, they said that with budget deficits at record levels, the United States could not afford to give the tax breaks to the wealthiest.

But with Republicans drawing a line in the sand on the issue and scoring major victories in November 2 congressional elections — taking control of the House and making gains in the Senate — Obama acquiesced on tax cuts for upper-income Americans.

Democrats did win their desired extension of unemployment benefits, which were expiring for millions of people shut out of jobs in the lackluster economy.

Particularly irksome to Democrats is a provision raising the exemption threshold for the estate tax from $3.5 million in 2009 to $5 million, and cutting the estate tax rate from 45 percent to 35 percent.

Democrats will likely try to change the tax bill with an amendment on the estate tax, though Representative Earl Pomeroy, the Democrat sponsor of a steeper estate tax proposal, told Reuters it was “unclear” if such a vote would pass.

He said Democrats will try because “some things are worth fighting for.” He then noted: “I will say this. … People want to get home and you know sometimes, heading to the gate is a pretty powerful impetus to pass packages.”

(Reporting by Kim Dixon; editing by Todd Eastham)

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Afghan government approves gold mine deal Mon, 13 Dec 2010 11:35:24 +0000 Read the full article...]]> KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Despite the crackle of gunfire in the mountains of northern Afghanistan, the wealth of gold beneath will be mined under a multimillion-dollar contract that government officials approved on Monday.

The deal is the first mining project in Afghanistan backed by private investors in the West. Afghan and U.S. officials hope many more deals will follow to help jump-start the economy of this impoverished nation in its 10 year of war.

“This project is an important step forward for Afghanistan’s economic sovereignty,” U.S. deputy undersecretary of defense Paul A. Brinkley said in a statement on Monday. “It represents a turning point in the history of international investment into Afghanistan.”

Brinkley, who directs the defense department’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, said the gold mine deal is evidence that Western investors are showing confidence in Afghanistan’s economic future.

About 10 investors — most of them from the United States and Britain — are investing an estimated $50 million in the gold project in Dushi district of Baghlan province, about 84 miles (135 kilometers) northwest of Kabul, according to Wahidullah Shahrani, Afghanistan’s minister of mines. The only other gold mine in Afghanistan is in neighboring Takhar province.

Shahrani said he hoped that getting the deal approved by the Inter-Ministerial Council, which comprises the government’s top finance and economic officials, will send a strong signal to global mining companies that there are investment opportunities in Afghanistan, especially in the mining sector.

Geologists have known for decades about Afghanistan’s vast deposits of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and other prized minerals. In June, the U.S. Defense Department put a startling $1 trillion price tag on the reserves, but Shahrani called that a conservative estimate. He said he’s seen geological assessments and industry reports estimating the nation’s mineral wealth at $3 trillion or more.

For Afghanistan, a violent, landlocked country with virtually no exports, the minerals are a potential windfall, although formidable obstacles remain, including lack of investment, infrastructure and adequate security in most of the nation.

In late 2007, a $3 billion contract was awarded to China Metallurgical Group Corp. to mine copper at Aynak, 21 miles (35 kilometers) southeast of Kabul. The mine is thought to hold one of the world’s largest unexploited copper reserves. Mining the copper could produce 4,000 to 5,000 Afghan jobs in the next five years and hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the government treasury, Shahrani said.

Afghanistan’s gold deposits are more modest. Shahrani said that Soviet-era studies valued Afghanistan’s gold deposits at up to $25 billion. He said the estimate was conservative and added that new gold discoveries have been made. Afghanistan’s gold is found across the country, but the heaviest known deposits are in Badakhshan, Takhar, Bamiyan, Ghazni and Zabul.

“There is growing global demand for gold and right now the price of gold has reached the highest point in the history of mankind,” Shahrani said. “Investing in gold is very attractive.”

J.P. Morgan, an international financial services firm, promoted the project and attracted the investors.

Sadat Mansoor Naderi | Chairman of Afghan Gold Company

They invested in an Afghan company called Afghan Gold. The chairman of the company is Sadat Mansoor Naderi, who runs SMN Group (, one of the largest companies in Afghanistan. SMN, which employs about 3,000 people, owns the first private insurance company in Afghanistan, operates a small chain of supermarkets, builds roads, airports and bridges and distributes telecom cards and fuel.

Taliban insurgents have been slowly expanding their presence in Baghlan and neighboring provinces, but the mine is located a three- to four-hour drive from the scene of recent fighting, Naderi said. Initially, the mine will employ a few hundred workers, but the payroll will increase as more gold is extracted, he said.

“Within six months to a year maximum, we want to start production,” Naderi said.

Under the contract, 95 percent of the mine workers must be hired locally, said Richard Williams, the mining company’s chief executive officer, who is from Britain. Over time, the company is required to train locals for technical positions initially filled by outsiders, he said.

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History of International Trade Sat, 11 Dec 2010 11:06:52 +0000 Read the full article...]]> HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE

International Trade

Traditional Societies. Until the late 19th century, most people virtually everywhere were peasants who produced food and also knew how to fashion many tools and other necessities. What they could not make for themselves, they bought in neighboring towns in exchange for their (usually small) agricultural surplus and a few handicrafts. Long¬distance trading was rare, because output of all products was low and because transportation was expensive, slow, and dangerous. Whatever international trade did occur was usually monopolized by government-licensed private orga¬nizations like the British East India Company. Only goods with a high value in relation to their weight, like precious stones, metals, spices, special fabrics (particularly wool and silk cloth), furs, and wine, could be taken to faraway places and sold profitably. Grain, too, was sometimes traded abroad but, it would seem, in small quantities.
For centuries, trade was concentrated along the shores of the Mediterranean and Baltic seas and around the Asian caravan routes to which they were linked. The focal points of international exchange were the Italian cities of Venice, Genoa, and Florence, the German cities of Augsburg and Niirnberg, the towns of Flanders (in present-day Belgium), and the Hanseatic ports along the southern and eastern shores of the Baltic. Trade hardly touched the lives of ordinary people, however. Neither were their lives much altered by the discovery of the Americas and the circumnavi¬gation of Africa and South America. But those feats of courage and skill did divert trade from the inland seas of Europe to the Atlantic and Indian oceans.

The Industrial Revolution. In the 17th and 18th cen¬turies, technological innovations in Britain opened the way to higher productivity, first in agriculture, then in manufac¬turing. New machinery enabled larger units to manufacture cheap textiles and, a bit later, iron. These first steps toward mass-production led to the mass movement of goods from country to country, for they were accompanied by improve¬ments in transportation and communications. British in¬dustry was soon imitated in France and Belgium.

Despite the remarkable progress of the previous hundred years, international exchanges of goods and services at the beginning of the 19th century represented only about 3 percent of the value of world output. But then the indus¬trial revolution spread to such countries as Germany, the United States, and (a bit later) Japan. In the second half of the 19th century, new industries emerged to produce machine tools, electricity, and chemicals. These industries soon accounted for a substantial proportion of world trade. Railroads and steamships transported bulk loads over long distances; the telegraph facilitated the worldwide circulation of information. As a result of these developments, foreign trade so increased that by 1913 about one-third of everything produced in the world was exchanged over national borders.

The spread of industrialization boosted the demand for raw materials, initially cotton and timber, later metals and fuels. About half of these primary products originated in European countries; the other half came in part from plantations, mines, and similar enterprises established in the colonies to supply goods to Europe. Enclaves emerged in many colonial economies more closely connected with cus¬tomers abroad than with the societies in which they were physically located, societies where peasants continued to farm in the traditional manner. Some countries (not all former colonies) have yet to overcome this division.

Despite the importance of primary products in the inter¬national exchanges of the 19th century, trade was dominated by Europe. Before World War I, less than 25 percent of world trade was transacted among non-European countries, about 40 percent represented the trade of European coun¬tries with each other, and 35 percent, European trade with the rest of the world. Britain remained the chief trading nation, but its share in international exchange diminished, inevitably in view of the rapid development of continental Western Europe, North America, and Japan.

The Era of Free Trade. The foundations of free trade— the removal of restrictions on the movement of goods and services from country to country—were laid by the (mostly British) classical economists. In Britain, protection was very gradually discarded, starting in the 18th century, and by the early 1840′$ was mainly (though not exclusively) confined to tariffs on imported grains. In 1846 even agricultural protection was in principle abandoned.
Contrary to expectations, grain prices did not immediately fall because no countries were capable of exporting sub¬stantial amounts of grain to Britain. The 1850′s and 1860′s, in fact, were a period of sustained prosperity, and, rightly or wrongly, free trade was credited with the responsibility for it. Other liberalizing measures taken in Britain and elsewhere made the years between 1850 and 1880 the era of minimal barriers to trade.

By 1870, however, the development of ocean-going steam¬ships had exposed British agriculture to real competition. Europe (though not, at first, Britain) began turning away from free trade in the late 1870′s, after a prolonged eco¬nomic crisis. Simultaneously, a new and more volatile kind of nationalism forced governments to collect more revenue to pay for armaments. Nationalism also promoted fears in such powers as the United States and Germany that it would be difficult to industrialize if competition from Britain, the leader in this field, were not checked. This increased the popularity of the infant-industry argument for protection.

The 20 th Century. The movement toward protection continued to grow stronger after the beginning of the 20th century. Nonetheless, when World War I broke out, in 1914, protectionism had made relatively few advances, though the world economy was no longer so free from trade controls as it had been 50 years earlier. International trade was, however, still regulated by the gold standard, under which currencies had a fixed gold value and payments imbalances among nations were settled through the transfer of a limited supply of gold reserves. A country could not keep its goods competitive by simply devaluing its currency, nor could it indefinitely sustain a payments deficit. Instead, each trading country had to keep its goods competitive by keeping an edge in production costs.
The Depression. The gold standard was undermined during World War I and replaced during the 1920′s by the gold-exchange standard, under which international settle¬ments were made mainly in British pounds and U.S. dollars. This system, however, allowed the United States and Britain and any countries able to borrow recurrently from them to sustain recurrent payments deficits. Eventually this system collapsed, helping to bring about the Great Depression of the 1930′s. Many governments reacted to the Depression by subjecting foreign trade to new controls. One after another, they formally went off the gold standard, abolishing fixed exchange rates, and sought, by devaluing their currencies and by imposing tariffs and quotas, to improve the com¬petitiveness of their products while protecting them against international competition. This was to be achieved at the expense of other countries—the so-called “beggar-my-neighbor” policy. Since many countries could and did play the same game, the result was international disintegration and stagnating, even decreasing, world trade. Manufacturing output in most countries languished and so, consequently, did trade in primary products needed for industry.

The policy of national self-sufficiency was carried to an extreme in the Soviet Union and in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, which sought to achieve autarchy, or national economic independence. Foreign trade in the Soviet Union was taken over by the government and centrally planned. Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany projected a similar program of autarchy, but in those countries government control was less complete and curtailment of external trade less thorough.

The Postwar Years. The disruption of international ex¬change in the 1930′s, combined with the dislocation of World War II, was so great that the absolute volume of trade in the 1940′s may have been lower than it had been in 1913. Undoubtedly, it was not much higher. Mindful of the harm caused by stagnating trade, the Allied countries began planning to improve conditions during the hostilities. They agreed to establish the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to watch over the exchange of currencies. The plans for the liberalization of trade itself were implemented less smoothly. But in the 1940′s a General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) standardized the policies of almost all non-Communist countries. GATT was negotiated in the hope of eliminating as many obstacles to trade as possible, espe¬cially quotas and subsidies, by means of the so-called “most favored nation clause,” which ensures that any trade conces¬sion between countries is automatically extended to all members. Under the aegis of GATT, various cycles of trade negotiations have taken place: several in the 1950′s, the Dillon round in 1961, the Kennedy round in the 1960′s, and, in the late 1970′s, the Tokyo round. By the end of the Kennedy round, the industrial countries’ average tariff on manufactures was down to about 10 percent. The Tokyo round set itself the aim of reducing tariffs on manufactures by a further 40 percent.

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Insurance Sat, 11 Dec 2010 10:58:12 +0000 Read the full article...]]>

Home Insurance

A method of protecting against future financial loss. Through insurance, the risk of such loss is transferred to an insurance company or other insuring orga¬nization.

Combined Risks. Insurance purchasers substitute the cost of insurance for the possibility of much larger future losses. To illustrate, imagine that 200 people own antique automo¬biles, each worth $20,000. The owners realize that their cars could be stolen or destroyed in a fire or collision. Each there¬fore buys a policy that insures against such loss during the next 12 months. Through past experience, the company has found that an average of one out of every 200 antique cars it insures is stolen or destroyed each year. By charging each of the 200 owners $125, the company will accumulate a fund of 200 x $125, or $25,000. That amount will be enough to pay for the expected $20,000 loss. In addition, it will pay the company’s operating expenses, including sales commissions, salaries, rent, office expenses, taxes, and so forth and also fur¬nish a safety margin in case there is more than one loss. From the viewpoint of the policyowners, insurance removes the risk of financial loss of the types and amount covered by their policies.
Insurance companies are able to accept their policyholders’ risks because they insure many individuals and can rely upon the law of large numbers. They know that when a large number of individual risks are combined, the total amount of loss can be predicted with reasonable accuracy. Insurers do not predict which ones of the many risks they insure will have losses. Instead, they forecast the total amount of loss payments for the entire group. That amount plus the cost of operating the insurance business is divided among all of the policyholders.

Features of Insurable Risks. Not all risks can be in¬sured.  Risks like gambling or investments that can result in either loss or profit generally are not insurable. Only pure risks, those whose outcome can be only loss or no loss, can be insured. The costs of fire, illness, and lawsuits are exam¬ples. But while many pure risks are insurable, some are not. Insurable risks usually have four main features.

1) There must be many similar loss exposures. Without this feature, insurers would not be able to make reliable fore¬casts of total insured losses.
2) Losses must be definite, measurable, and important. A definite loss is one that is obvious; its happening is clear and unmistakable. If insured losses were vague and indefinite there would be endless disputes between insured persons and insurers. Losses are measurable when their dollar amount can easily be determined. In contrast, the purely sentimental value of personal trinkets or souvenirs is not easily measur¬able and not readily insurable. Insured losses also must be important. They must be large enough to be worth insuring.
3) Losses must be accidental. This feature requires insur¬able losses to be unintended and unexpected by the policy¬holder. Intentional loss, such as arson or other damage known to have been purposely caused by a property owner, cannot be insured. An example of an expected loss is normal property depreciation; because it is not accidental, it is not insurable.
4) Catastrophic loss must be extremely unlikely. This means that large numbers of the insured objects must not be subject to simultaneous loss. Unemployment compensation is a type of risk that can involve catastrophic loss and therefore cannot be covered by private insurers.
Insurance Pricing. Insurance companies must charge enough to cover their costs. But in two important respects in¬surance pricing differs from the pricing of other products. The first difference is that when an insurer sells a policy it has no way of knowing what its costs for the policy will be. It cannot simply add up the cost of the labor, materials, rent, advertising, and so forth that have gone into “making” the policy. Instead, it must estimate the policy’s ultimate cost, primarily on the basis of past claims submitted by policy¬holders. The second difference between insurance pricing and the pricing of other products is that in the case of in¬surance the cost to the seller depends in part upon who the buyer is. Because insurance costs vary from one policyholder to another, different people must be charged different prices for policies providing the same kinds and amounts of insur¬ance.

Premiums and Rates. The price of an insurance policy is called its premium. Premiums are based upon an insur¬ance rate per exposure unit. For example, the exposure unit in life insurance is the number of thousands of dollars of insurance. If the rate for a particular policy is $15 per thou¬sand and the policy provides $50,000 of coverage, the pre¬mium is $15 x 50, or $750 per year. Various exposure units are used in other kinds of insurance. They include: in fire insurance, $100 of coverage; in workers’ compensation in¬surance, $100 of payroll; and in auto insurance, the number of autos insured.

Class Rates. Most insurance rates are class rates. That is, insured risks are classified on the basis of several im¬portant characteristics and all that are in the same class are charged the same rate per exposure unit. In life insurance, for instance, policyholders are classified on the basis of their age and sex. The rates reflect insurance company records of the likelihood of living and dying at various ages. Class rates are used in auto insurance also, but in this case the rates take into account a greater number of characteristics, including the territory in which the rate applies and the age, sex, marital status, and motor vehicle accident and conviction record of all drivers in the policyholder’s household.

Insurance is furnished by private insuring organizations and by governmental agencies.
Private Insurance Organizations. There are several types of private insurers.
Stock Insurance Companies. A stock insurance company is a corporation that is engaged in the business of insurance. Like any other corporation, a stock insurer is owned by its stockholders. They elect a board of directors, which appoints the officers responsible for operating the company.
Most of the policies issued by stock companies are non-participating. That means that dividends are not payable to the policyholders. Some stock life insurance companies do issue participating policies. In such cases the policyholders usually receive annual dividends. The dividends are a partial return of the annual premiums, reflecting the difference be¬tween the premiums charged and the amount needed by the company to cover its costs.
Mutual Insurance Companies. Mutual companies have no stockholders; they are owned by their policyholders. A mu¬tual company’s excess earnings, if any, are returned to its policyholders. The return may be in the form of the divi¬dends paid on participating policies or, in the case of short-term policies like auto or home insurance, may be in the form of a reduction in the premiums charged for renewal policies.

Reciprocal Exchanges. This type of insuring organization is sometimes called an interinsurance exchange. It is an asso¬ciation whose members exchange insurance. In other words, the members insure one another. In contrast, both stock and mutual insurance companies, as entities, insure their policy¬holders; their policyholders do not directly insure each other. The administrative duties of a reciprocal exchange are handled by an attorney-in-fact under authority granted by the policyholders.

Lloyd’s of London. The most famous insurer, Lloyd’s is also one of the oldest. Its beginnings go back to late-iyth century London, where Edward Lloyd’s coffeehouse became known as a place where shipowners could find men interested in insuring ships and cargoes. The shipowners would go from table to table at the coffeehouse and other men, called underwriters, would agree to insure portions of their risks. Operations today are basically the same.
Lloyd’s is not an insurance company; it is an association of individuals who provide insurance. The approximately 15,000 members are organized into about 350 groups, called syndicates. Each syndicate is headed by an underwriter, who decides which risks or portions of risks the syndicate will in¬sure. The syndicates operate much like insurance companies, but the security of their policies rests on the financial strength of the individual members. If it became necessary, each syn¬dicate member would be personally responsible for insured losses down to his or her last penny. Much of the fame of Lloyd’s of London is attributable to the insuring of unusual risks such as pianists’ fingers and prizes for holes-in-one at golf tournaments. However, the great bulk of the business insured at Lloyd’s is conventional ocean marine and other property-casualty coverages.

Health Associations. In the United States, nonprofit organizations have been established under special state laws to handle advance payment of hospital and medical services.

The best known are Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. They usually are governed by boards of directors representing hospitals, the medical profession, and the general public. The plans offer service contracts for hospital or doctor care. Subscribers receive the specified hospital or medical service and the plan reimburses the hospital or doctor furnishing the

Crime insurance protects against loss of money or other property by dishonest acts. The auto and home insurance policies carried by families and individuals include this protection. In insuring business firms, a distinction is made between crimes com¬mitted by employees and those committed by other persons. Loss caused by the former is covered by fidelity bonds. Loss caused by people who are not employees of the insured organization is covered by policies that insure against specific types of crime.

Nonemployee Crime. Burglary and rob¬bery are the crimes most commonly in¬sured against. The distinction between the two perils is important, because a policy covering one may not cover the other.

Burglary means the taking of property by breaking into the place where it is kept. A safe burglary policy, for example, covers money or other property stolen by breaking into a locked safe. The policy requires that there be visible marks showing that the safe was forced open. A mercantile open stock burglary policy covers merchandise and equipment taken by burglars who break into or out of a locked building.
In contrast to burglary, robbery means taking property by violence or threat of vio¬lence. A business with robbery insurance is protected against crime loss if an employee or messenger is held up or killed. Some robbery policies also cover property taken by other criminal acts when an employee is aware of the act, such as if a person grabs some merchandise and runs out of a store with it.

Employee Crime. Burglary and robbery policies exclude losses caused by employees of the insured organization. Employee dis¬honesty losses are covered by contracts called fidelity bonds. The protection applies to the loss of money,-securities, merchan¬dise, or other property stolen by employees. It does not cover loss caused by any owner, partner, officer, or director. Fidelity bonds may be written to cover either employees listed by name, specified positions, such as cashier or accountant, or all employees without naming them or their positions. The last of these is called a blanket fidelity bond.

The risks of truck, train, plane, or ship transportation fall into either of two categories of insurance, inland marine or ocean marine. Neither of the terms is descriptive. Inland marine deals primarily with the risks of land transportation, while ocean marine may cover transportation on inland waters as well as on the high seas.
Inland Marine Insurance. Numerous loss exposures associated with motor, rail, and air transport are handled by inland marine insurance.

Property in Transit. Property being shipped from one place to another is subject to loss or damage from many sources. In¬surance can be either for a list of named perils such as fire, explosion, collision, flood, and so forth, or for all risks of loss that are not explicitly excluded. Policies may be written to cover single shipments or all shipments during a one-year period. Special transit policies have been designed for those who make frequent shipments by parcel post or by registered mail. Another special policy covers shipments by armored car.

Bailee Liability. Bailees are persons or organizations having temporary custody of property that belongs to others. Examples include truckers and other carriers, dry cleaners, and parking garages. Depending upon the circumstances, bailees are re¬sponsible for exercising certain degrees of care to protect the property in their control. A bailee who does not use the required care may be legally liable to the owners of prop¬erty that is damaged. Bailee liability insur¬ance covers that potential loss. Some bailee policies are designed to reimburse the property owners even if the bailee is not legally liable for the damage; such contracts are called bailees’ customers policies.
Fixed Transportation Property. This divi¬sion of inland marine insurance covers fixed property that is used to facilitate transpor¬tation, such as bridges, tunnels, and pipelines.

Floaters. Floaters are policies covering moveable property wherever the property is located. Building contractors, for instance, own earth-moving equipment, compressors, hoists, scaffolding, and other items that are moved from one job site to another and are subject to loss from many sources. A contractor’s equipment floater covers the property, both while at a particular location and while in transit. Other floaters have been designed to insure other kinds of property, ranging from photography equip¬ment to livestock, from wedding presents to oil drilling rigs.
Ocean Marine Insurance. Ocean marine policies furnish protection for four types of losses involving water transportation. The first is damage to the hull of the ship it¬self. Second, the cargo may be damaged. Cargo  insurance  usually  is  provided  by means of an open contract that auto¬matically covers all shipments in which the policyholder has insurable interest. Third, there may be loss of freight, meaning the payment for transporting the cargo. Usually the shipowner will not be entitled to this payment if the cargo is not delivered. The potential loss of freight therefore is customarily made a part of the hull insurance. The last of the losses covered by ocean marine insurance is the cost of legal liability claims. Liability insurance protects the shipowner from bodily injury and property damage liability claims resulting from collisions and other incidents.

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AIG to repay $21bn emergency loan Thu, 09 Dec 2010 05:35:35 +0000 Read the full article...]]> (BBC) – American International Group (AIG), the troubled giant US insurer, is to repay one of the emergency rescue loans it received during the financial crisis.

It will repay the remaining $21bn outstanding from a $91bn loan from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The move will pave the way for the US Treasury to sell a fifth of the insurer on the stock exchange early next year.

The Treasury currently owns 80% of AIG, although this will rise to some 92% before the planned share selloff.

AIG also plans to sell some new shares in the stock offering, which is expected to total $10bn-15bn.

The company’s share price fell 3.5% on the news to $42, as the new share issue would dilute the value of existing shares. But the share price remained above the $30 level at which the Treasury would make a profit on its investment.

“Today’s announcement is a milestone in the government’s long-stated efforts to exit our investments in private companies as soon as practical while protecting taxpayers,” said Treasury spokesman Tim Massad in a statement on the government department’s website.

“When all is said and done, we believe taxpayers will recover every dollar invested in AIG and stand a good chance of making a profit.”

The company received a total bail-out of about $182bn, some of which was controversially used to make good on payments owed by the insolvent insurer to major banks and financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs.

Source: BBC

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Oil prices reach post-crisis two-year high Sun, 05 Dec 2010 06:06:08 +0000 Read the full article...]]> BBC – The price of oil on both sides of the Atlantic has hit its highest level since the financial crisis.

In Europe, Brent crude futures rose to $91.58 per barrel, while in the US, West Texas Intermediate hit $89.35 – the highest levels since October 2008.

Despite the market rally, prices still remain 40% below their pre-crisis peak.

Among the factors driving prices higher are rising demand because of the global economic recovery and cold weather in Europe, as well as the weak US dollar.

Meanwhile, temperatures are also expected to fall in the eastern United States, according to the US National Weather Service.

Weak dollar

The rising price was only briefly dented in early trading, after the release of weaker than expected US jobs data for November.

However, the data – and comments from US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke – raised expectations of further monetary easing by the US central bank.

Any increase in the Fed’s “quantitative easing” – printing new dollars to buy up US government debt – is likely to depress the dollar’s value further, raising the price of oil in dollars.

Many banks have recently raised their forecasts for the oil price over the next two years, with Goldman Sachs now saying it will rise to $100 in 2011.

The current oil price is already significantly above the levels experienced prior to 2007.

During 2007-08, oil and most other commodities were subject to a speculative bubble that pushed the price of Brent crude up to $147.50 at its peak in July 2008.

This time the rising oil price is also being shadowed by price rises in only a handful of other commodities – notably grain and cotton.
Source: BBC

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Afghan Oil Deposits to Go on Bidding Tue, 30 Nov 2010 08:42:01 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Some of Afghan oil mines will be put out to tender by the end of the year, Ministry of Mines said on Saturday

The oil deposits in Sheberghan and Qashqari areas will soon be put out to tender which will increase government incomes to a great extent.

After the extraction work starts, a lot of job opportunities will be created for the local residents and the government will earn millions of dollars.

“Oil areas in Sheberghan will be on bidding for creation of thermal power plant with the generation capacity of 150 mega watt,” said Jawad Omar, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Mines.

Meanwhile, Afghan economists consider extraction of mines as a great step, but cite insecurity as the main obstacle to implement such projects successfully.

“If 1,500 soldiers are needed to provide security for a mine to be extracted, how come the investor will invest a mine with 1,500 soldiers. We can have good investment when only ten to hundred guards are required to provide security to a mine,” Sayed Masood, a Kabul university lecturer, told TOLOnews.

The Ministry of Mines said the surveys done by international organisations and the ministry show that there are rich gas deposits in the northern Balkh and Jawzjan provinces.

Source: tolo News

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India’s Ambani hosts party for ‘world’s priciest home’ Tue, 30 Nov 2010 04:21:21 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani has hosted a lavish house-warming for his new 27-storey residence, believed to be the world’s most expensive home.

About 80 people attended the party in Mumbai on Friday, reported the Times of India. One guest described the house as “the Taj Mahal of the 21st Century”.

Mr Ambani, said to be India’s richest man, moved into the house last month with his wife and three children.

Reports suggest the residence is worth more than $1bn (£630m).

The skyscraper in Mumbai (Bombay), which overlooks sprawling slums, is said to have a cinema, swimming pools and a helicopter pad, and is named “Antilia” after a mythical Atlantic island.

Local newspapers said the house would require 600 members of staff to maintain it, and according to the Times of India, the first electricity bill, for September, is costing Mr Ambani 7m rupees (£98,000).

The house has sparked some controversy, with anti-poverty campaigners underlining the contrast between the luxury of the house and the plight of those who live in Mumbai’s slums, which house about half of the city’s 18 million people.

‘Versailles rival’

Guests at the house-warming included Indian novelist Shobhaa De, Bollywood stars Preity Zinta and Aamir Khan, and billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla.

Ms De said the 174m (570ft) building was the “Taj Mahal of the 21st Century”.

She described “what has got to be the biggest, glitziest ballroom in India – the Palace of Versailles is a poor cousin”.

“There is a lot of marble, there is a lot of mother of pearl. There are areas and gardens and lotus pools and an absolutely beautiful Krishna temple. There is art, there’s sculpture, there is a huge bar, there is a swimming pool,” she said.

“The Taj Mahal was considered one of the wonders of the world, this is…I’m sure it’s going to be one of the wonders of modern India,” she told the BBC.

She said the house was built to the personal taste of Mr Ambani, and that people should not “grudge him his indulgencies”.

“He generates a great amount of employment for those very poor and contributes to the economy,” she added.

The house, which has a temple on the ground floor and a library on the top, was designed according to Vaastu principles, an Indian tradition similar to Chinese feng shui.

According to Forbes magazine, Mr Ambani, 53, has amassed a $27bn (£17bn) fortune.

He is chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, one of the largest conglomerates in the world, and also owns the Indian Premier League team, the Mumbai Indians.

Mr Ambani’s brother, Anil, held a “parallel party” at the 14-storey residence which houses the rest of the family.

Relations between the brothers became strained during a dispute over the division of the conglomerate left by their father, Dhirubhai, who died in 2002 without a will.

Source: BBC

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Plane from Karachi crashes with eight people on board Sun, 28 Nov 2010 10:47:33 +0000 Read the full article...]]> (BBC) – A plane carrying eight people has crashed shortly after taking off from Karachi airport in Pakistan, killing all those on board.

They say it was a Russian-made cargo plane heading to Sudan’s capital Khartoum and the crew was Russian.

The jet crashed into buildings that were under construction inside a naval base, close to Jinnah airport.

TV footage showed rescuers fighting a large fire. Reports say there were also casualties on the ground.

There were also reports of explosions.

‘Engine on fire’

“It (the plane) took off from Karachi at 0145 (2045 GMT) and after one-and-a-half minutes it crashed,” Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Pervez George told the AFP news agency.

“It was an IL-76 cargo plane. It was going to Khartoum. It had eight people on board,” he said.

Unconfirmed reports say that two construction workers on the ground also died in the crash.

The BBC’s Shoaib Hasan in Karachi reports that another worker – who was sleeping near the premises – told how he ran for his life when he heard the plane coming. The worker spoke while being treated for injuries in a local hospital.

If the plane had crashed just 500 metres (560 yards) away, it would have hit a much more densely populated area, our correspondent adds.

Rescuers later recovered several bodies from the crash site, reports say.

Witnesses say they saw that one of the plane’s engines was on fire, which suggests that the cause of the crash may have been a mechanical failure.

“The plane crashed 800m away from my house. We heard the bang and we rushed out,” Ayas Peer Mohammed, a retired brigadier who lives in the naval residential area, told the BBC.

“My son wasn’t asleep and he saw the cockpit on fire and the crash. I went to the crash site immediately. Right now the fire vehicles are there and they are trying to extinguish the fire. The plane was in more than two parts. It’s totally burnt, it’s a wreck, there were many small pieces on fire,” he said.

“The plane crashed in an open area very close to the last inhabited building. I think the pilot tried to crash there on purpose,” Ayas Peer Mohammed added.

Our correspondent says that the blaze – which was fuelled by thousands of gallons of petrol – is now under control.

The explosion caused by the crash was so powerful that local residents thought it was triggered by a bomb, Karachi police chief Fayyas Leghari was quoted by the AFP as saying.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known, and an investigation is now under way.

The plane was carrying relief aid to Sudan.

Earlier this month, a small passenger plane crashed soon after take-off from Karachi, killing all 21 people on board.

In July, Pakistan’s Airblue passenger plane crashed into hills overlooking the capital Islamabad, killing all 152 people on board.

Source: BBC

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Privatizations Gap Thu, 25 Nov 2010 04:49:56 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Like most things done badly in Afghanistan after the invasion in 2001, the US pushed privatizations of all sorts. There are dozens and dozens of private schools and hospitals in Kabul now. They compete with government institutions for rampant profits. Most of the owners of these greedy private businesses have no professional clue about the businesses they own and operate.  Here a case can be made that sometimes public institutions and services have a needful place in the system and they should not be driven out of business enabling the business Mafia to gain the upper hand and drive services out of reach of the poor and the lower middle class. In Kabul the vast majority is either very poor or very low middle class who cannot pay for basic services like education and health services unless provided by government.

Article was sent to by Ahmad Seyar Hashimi

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Afghan Flights to Europe Halted Wed, 24 Nov 2010 05:35:24 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Flights of Afghan aircrafts were barred on Tuesday because of improper aviation maxims and a lack of safety in flights

The Afghan Ministry of Transportation told reporters that only one aircraft of Safi Airlines which meets all the standards of European Union will start its flights to Europe as of Friday.

A top official in the transportation ministry said the European Union has only banned those Afghan planes that are registered in Afghanistan, but do not meet the Union standards.

Soon the ministry will start a review on all airline companies and certificates of the airlines coming short according to new regulations of European aviation laws will be seized, the ministry said.

“From Friday on, there will be new flights and the only change would be on the type of the aircrafts,” said Acting Minister for Transportation, Daud Ali Najafi. “For instance there was a small plane of Safi Airlines that was flying to Europe with an Afghan registration, but after this only the planes with European Union registration could fly to Europe.”

Ambassador of European Union, Vygaudas Usackas said the only factor behind a halt of Afghan flights to Europe is shortcoming in aviation safety.

He said the European Union is committed to resume Afghan Europe flights.

“It is something we cannot afford to compromise and it is not a political decision. It is a decision made on unanimous opinion of 27 members of the European Union who are responsible for aviation safety,” he said.

Source: Tolo News

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Afghan election officials suspended Wed, 24 Nov 2010 04:40:13 +0000 Read the full article...]]> (BBC) – Two of Afghanistan’s most senior election officials have been suspended, hours before results were finally due to be released from the September poll.

It is not clear why the attorney general acted against the spokesmen of the Independent Election Commission and Electoral Complaints Commission.

A judge is expected to receive files on Wednesday on Nur Mohammad Nur, of the IEC, and Ahmad Zia Rafat, of the ECC.

It is the latest setback to a vote that has been dogged by corruption.

The election authorities have already invalidated some 1.3m votes – almost a quarter of those cast – and at the weekend ruled out 19 candidates, who had been declared winners in preliminary results.

The disqualifications prompted rallies this week in Kabul and other cities at which people called for the commissions to be scrapped.

A number of candidates took part, complaining their votes had been stolen by well-connected rivals.

The UN-backed ECC has been investigating claims of widespread irregularities surrounding the poll for the 249 seats in the lower house of parliament.

Correspondents say there has meanwhile been a growing row between President Hamid Karzai and the electoral authorities.

Mr Karzai has claimed they create political instability, while he in turn has been accused of meddling.

Last year, Mr Karzai’s re-election was also overshadowed by fraud when the ECC threw out a third of the votes cast for him.

Turnout was around 40% in Afghanistan’s second parliamentary election since the US-led invasion of nine years ago.

Source: BBC

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International Firms to Extract Huge Afghan Iron Ore Tue, 23 Nov 2010 08:35:59 +0000 Read the full article...]]> The winning company for a bidding of Hajigak, a huge Iron ore in Central Afghanistan will be announced within 8 months, the Ministry of Mines and Industries said

Officials in the Ministry of Mines and Industries said representatives of some major Indian companies will soon arrive to Afghanistan to study and explore the country’s mine deposits.

“They are planning to conduct their studies and we hope that they will come to Kabul soon and study the specific mine deposits that exist in the country. The Ministry of Mines will fully cooperate with them in this field,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Mines and Industries, Jawad Omar, told TOLOnews reporter.

The tendering of Hajigak Iron mine that is one of the largest in the world had begun two months ago, and some international companies have already shown interest to take part in the bidding of this mine.

Although the Ministry of Mines and Industries did not mention the names of these companies, but said the companies are from different countries of the world.

“These firms will be shortlisted and the eligible ones will be chosen. They will be then urged to make their offers and proposals,” Mr Omar said.

According to the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Industries, the amount of Iron in Hajigak deposit is estimated at around 2 billion tonnes, and the mine has so far been introduced to investors in the United States, Britain and India.
Source: Tolo News

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Roy Lichtenstein painting fetches $42.6m at auction Fri, 12 Nov 2010 08:53:08 +0000 Read the full article...]]> (BBC) – A painting by Roy Lichtenstein has sold at auction for $42.6m (£26.4m) – a new record for the US ‘pop artist’.

The cartoon-style painting, sold to an anonymous telephone bidder at Christie’s in New York, features a woman on the phone with a speech bubble containing the title.

The sale of contemporary and post-war works fetched $272.8m (£169.1m) in all.

Yet an Andy Warhol piece expected to fetch up to $50m (£31m) went for less than half that amount.

Big Campbell’s Soup Can with Can Opener (Vegetable) was sold for $23.9m (£14.8m) at Wednesday’s auction.

On Tuesday, a Warhol canvas of a black-and-white Coke bottle sold for $35.4m (£21.9m) at rival New York auction house Sotheby’s.

The Lichtenstein sale smashed a previous record for the artist set in 2005, when his work In the Car fetched $16.2m (£10m).

In a statement, Christie’s said Ohhh…Alright… – painted in 1964 – “characterises Lichtenstein’s captivation and inspiration with techniques of commercial printing and reproduction.”

Other highlights of the sale included Jeff Koons’ sculpture Balloon Flower (Blue), which sold for $16.8m (£10.4m).

Records were also set by works from US sculptor Alexander Calder, Cuban artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Californian painter Mark Tansey.

Source: BBC

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Afghan Oil Firms Propose Fuel Deposit Extraction Thu, 11 Nov 2010 09:12:36 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Three Afghan companies presented their proposals to the Ministry of Mines for the extraction of oil deposits in northern Afghanistan

The Afghan Ministry of Mines said it will announce the winning company within a week.

According to the Ministry of Mines and Industries, four oil deposits with a capacity of around 6 million barrels have covered an area of about 72 cubic km underground in Angot area of the northern Sar-e-Pul province.

After the extraction work begins in these deposits, over 800 barrels of oil will be extracted annually and the government will earn US$2 million a year from these oil deposits, the Ministry added.

“The total capacity of these deposits is 6 million barrels and if the extraction begins, a maximum of 800 barrels of oil will be extracted daily,” Deputy Minister of Mines, Nasir Ahmad Durani, told reporters.

Officials in the Ministry of Mines said that the winning oil firm is required to finish the entire extraction and refining process inside Afghanistan to provide job opportunities for local residents.
Source: Tolo News

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GM seeks to raise $13bn from share offering Thu, 04 Nov 2010 05:15:41 +0000 Read the full article...]]> US car giant General Motors (GM) has released the details of a share offering it hopes will raise around $13bn (£8bn) as it looks to break free from government control.

It said it would sell 365 million shares at an estimated price range of between $26 and $29 a share, as well as 60 million preference shares at $50.

It also said it expected a net profit of $1.9bn-$2.1bn for the third quarter.

GM is currently a private company controlled by the US Treasury.

‘Profitable year’

The full details of GM’s financial results for July to September will be published on 10 November.

Ahead of the results, the carmaker said it expects revenue for the period to come in at $34bn.

“We are extremely pleased with the level of progress the company is making,” said Chris Liddell, GM’s chief financial officer.

“We will deliver a solid and profitable first year post-bankruptcy, and we are continuing to improve our balance sheet and, most importantly, the quality of our vehicles.”

Improving fortunes

The US government took control of GM in July last year as part of a rescue of the company that was forced into bankruptcy protection after sales plummeted during the global downturn.

The American taxpayer has pumped $50bn into the company to keep it from going under.

The share offering would value the company at more than $46bn – a similar value to rival carmaker Ford, analysts said.

But, according to experts, the share price would have to rise beyond $50 a share for the government to break even on its investment.

GM’s fortunes have improved in part due to large-scale restructuring, including the closure of factories and a drastic reduction in the number of dealerships, which has helped to reduce costs.

Sales of American cars are also picking up again. As a result, in May this year GM made a profit for the first time in three years.
Source: BBC

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Facebook uncovers user data sales Tue, 02 Nov 2010 11:10:47 +0000 Read the full article...]]> Facebook has taken action against developers it caught selling user names and contact lists.

The sales were uncovered as Facebook investigated a web browser bug that let user IDs be shared inadvertently.

The user details were sold to data brokers who used the information to target adverts more precisely.

The developers have been banned for six months from connecting to Facebook and must be audited to check they comply with the social network’s policies.

Facebook started investigating what was happening with user identifiers (UIDs) following media reports that the information and lists of contacts were being sold on to advertising firms.

In a blog post, Facebook said its investigation showed that the technical demands of some browsers meant that some user IDs were being leaked.

It also discovered that some developers that create applications for the social network were taking the user IDs of those who used their creations and selling them on.

Facebook said the investigation “determined that no private user data was sold and confirmed that transfer of these UIDs did not give access to any private data”.

Despite this, it said, it took the breach “seriously” and had imposed a six-month ban on the developers it caught out.

Facebook did not identify which developers were being punished and only said there were fewer than a dozen of them and none had any applications in the top 10 most popular used on the social network.

It named ad-targeting firm Rapleaf as one of the data brokers which had been buying UIDs. It said it had reached an agreement with the firm which would end Rapleaf’s involvement with any application on Facebook now and in the future.
Source: BBC

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AIG raises $37bn to repay bailout Tue, 02 Nov 2010 04:25:28 +0000 Read the full article...]]> (BBC) – AIG, the US insurer bailed out by the US government at the height of the credit crisis, has raised almost $37bn (£23bn) to repay its $100bn debt.

It raised $20.51 bn by floating AIA on the Hong Kong stock market.

British insurer Prudential was on the verge of buying AIA for $35.5bn earlier this year, but backed away after shareholder opposition.

AIA’s stock market value rose to $35.7bn last week, shortly after its shares were listed in Hong Kong.

AIG also announced it had sold American Life Insurance Co (Alico) to insurance company MetLife for $16.2bn.

Shareholder pressure

In March, Tidjane Thiam, the then recently-appointed chief executive of the Pru, said the company planned to buy AIA for $35.5bn, and raise $21bn through a rights issue to fund the deal.

The Pru wanted greater exposure to fast-growing economies, and AIA operates in 15 different markets in Asia.

However, after pressure from shareholders, the Pru then cut its offer price to $30.5bn, which was turned down by AIG.

The American insurer, rescued by the US government as it was deemed “too big to fail”, will repay part of the aid it received from the government during the financial crisis with the cash raised through the two deals.

It will use the $9bn in MetLife shares it received as part of the Alico deal to pay back more of the debt later.

‘Promise delivered’

In 2008, around the time Lehman Brothers collapsed, AIG teetered on the verge of disaster as its credit ratings were downgraded.

Instead of focusing on its key insurance and property businesses, AIG had dabbled in complicated derivatives and securities.

It was rescued by the government because it was linked to hundreds of financial institutions throughout the world, and might have brought down other companies with it if it had been allowed to collapse.

The US government rescued it with a bailout package enabling it to tap as much as $180bn in aid, in return for an 80% stake in the company.

The US Treasury plans to sell off this stake over time.

Robert Benmosche, chief executive of AIG, said: “We promised the American taxpayers we would repay them and the initial public offering of AIA last week and the completion of the Alico transaction move us closer to delivering on our promise.”

Source: BBC

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Oil price hits six-month high of $83.45 Tue, 02 Nov 2010 04:17:34 +0000 Read the full article...]]> (BBC) – The price of oil has hit a six-month high after encouraging manufacturing data in the US and China boosted confidence in the global recovery.

US light crude oil rose by $2 a barrel or 2.5%, to $83.45, while London Brent rose by $1.90 to $85.04 a barrel, before both slipped back slightly.

Figures showed that the US manufacturing sector accelerated faster than expected in October.

Earlier, figures showed Chinese manufacturing powering ahead.

China’s official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 54.7 in October from 53.8 in September, well above analysts’ expectations.

In the US, the equivalent manufacturing PMI also rose to a higher-than-expected 56.9, up from 54.4 in September.

Index figures above 50 suggest expansion of the sector.

The data also helped to push global stock markets higher.

‘Comfort zone’

Comments by Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Nuami also helped to boost the price of oil to its highest level since 3 May.

“I would say we are in a very comfortable zone that should continue for some time,” Mr al-Nuami said.

“Producers, consumers and companies are all very happy with this price.”

Analysts said that Mr al-Nuami’s words comforted oil traders as they “give assurance that the Saudis won’t do anything to prevent a further rise above $80, at least until prices exceed $90,” said Carsten Fritsch at Commerzbank.

Source: BBC

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MGM creditors ‘back bankruptcy deal with Spyglass’ Mon, 01 Nov 2010 05:08:43 +0000 Read the full article...]]> (BBC) – Creditors of Hollywood’s legendary MGM studio have voted in favour of a bankruptcy plan offered by US firm Spyglass Entertainment.

The rescue deal would put Spyglass at the helm of MGM, which is struggling under $4bn (£2.5bn) of debts.

The creditors rejected rival offers including from Canada’s Lionsgate, part-owned by billionaire Carl Icahn.

The months of financial deadlock meant several film projects were put on hold, including the latest 007 movie.

MGM has struggled due to several box office flops and a DVD sales slump.

The rescue plan provides for MGM’s secured lenders to exchange $4bn in debt for equity in the company upon its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The trimmed-down company would then be taken over by Spyglass.

In a statement, MGM, famous for its trademark roaring lion logo, said that its lenders had “overwhelmingly approved its proposed plan of reorganisation” by Spyglass.

The financial rescue of MGM is key to the production of several movie blockbusters.

In April, work on the 23rd film in the James Bond franchise was suspended due to uncertainty over MGM’s future.

The British production company behind the project said at the time that the film was on hold “indefinitely”.

 There was no immediate comment this weekend on when production might resume.

Spyglass’s most notable recent success was production of Clint Eastwood’s last film Invictus.

Source: BBC News

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US banking regulators in new foreclosures probe Tue, 26 Oct 2010 06:22:31 +0000 Read the full article...]]> (BBC) – US banking regulators will carry out their own investigation into whether lenders were wrong to repossess hundreds of thousands of homes.
The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, says regulators will look at whether mortgage companies cut corners on their own procedures when they moved to foreclose on people’s homes.
Attorneys General in all 50 US states are already looking into the issue.
Meanwhile, US existing home sales grew by 10% in September.
The National Association of Realtors said home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.53 million.
The annual rate has risen from July’s rate of 3.84 million, which was the lowest in 15 years.
Since September 2005, home sales have fallen by 37.5% from their peak annual rate of 7.25 million.
It is feared sales could fall further if potential lawsuits from former homeowners, who are claiming banks made errors in seizing their homes, make potential buyers cautious about purchasing foreclosed properties.
“You’re going to see uncertainty on the part of homebuyers,” said Quinn Eddins, director of research at Radar Logic, which tracks the housing market.
The repossession investigation centres on whether shoddy paperwork was used for the evictions.
Mr Bernanke says preliminary results of the regulators’ in-depth review are expected to be released next month.
It follows allegations that the companies often mishandled documents when people behind on their mortgages had their houses taken from them.
According to industry figures, more than 2.5 million US homes have been repossessed since December 2007.
A number of the US’s biggest lenders have halted repossessions amid fears that some evictions were rushed through without the paperwork being read by bank employees.
‘Significant variation’
Lenders including Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase have halted repossessions, although they have since restarted the process in certain states.
The Obama administration said last week it had found no sign so far of “systemic” home foreclosure troubles.
But the Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Shaun Donovan, said a four-month federal probe of big banks’ mortgage practices had discovered “significant variation” in compliance with government rules, and has promised to force changes as needed.
Source: BBC

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Privacy body to re-examine Google Tue, 26 Oct 2010 05:39:20 +0000 Read the full article...]]> (BBC) – Google’s Peter Barron: “We’re determined to learn the lessons from this mistake”

Britain’s privacy watchdog is to look again at what personal information internet giant Google gathered from private wi-fi networks.

The Information Commissioner’s Office had investigated a sample earlier this year after it was revealed that Google had collected personal data during its Street View project.

At the time, it said no “significant” personal details were collected.

But Google has since admitted that e-mails and passwords were copied.

On its official Google blog, senior vice president Alan Eustace wrote that the company was “mortified” to discover, after the initial investigation in May, that personal information had been collected.

Privacy watchdogs in numerous countries, including France, Germany and Canada, had also investigated the information.

“It’s clear from those [external] inspections that while most of the data is fragmentary, in some instances entire e-mails and URLs were captured, as well as passwords,” Mr Eustace wrote.

“We want to delete this data as soon as possible and I would like to apologise again for the fact that we collected it in the first place.

“We are mortified by what happened, but confident that… changes to our processes and structure will significantly improve our internal privacy and security practices for the benefit of all our users.”

A spokesman for the Information Commissioner’s Office said it had kept an eye on international investigations since its own one concluded in July.

That investigation said that the information “did not include meaningful personal details that could be linked to an identifiable person”.

Enforcement powers

However, Google’s admission of more detailed data has prompted further action by the ICO.

“We will be making enquires to see whether this information relates to the data inadvertently captured in the UK, before deciding on the necessary course of action, including a consideration of the need to use our enforcement powers,” a spokesman said.

Google’s director of privacy Alma Whitten said the company would work with the ICO to answer its “further questions and concerns”.

She added that the data “has never been used in any Google product and was never intended to be used by Google in any way”.

Information about the gathering of personal data came to light following a request by data protection authorities in Hamburg, Germany, for more information about the operation of Google’s Street View technology which adds images of locations to maps.

This revealed that Google had “accidentally” grabbed data from unsecured hotspots for years as its Street View cars captured images of street scenes. In total it is thought to have grabbed about 600 gigabytes of data.

It led to many data protection authorities pressing Google for access to the mass of data it grabbed to see whether laws on the protecting of personal information had been broken.

Google said it had since “strengthened” its internal privacy and security practices.

Alex Deane, director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said Google should launch an immediate investigation into how the breach happened.

“As if building up a database of photographs of millions of people’s private homes wasn’t enough, the news that Google has also harvested e-mail addresses and passwords is nothing short of outrageous,” said Mr Deane.

Source : BBC

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Known Taekwondo Player Fears Fighting his Afghan Rival Mon, 25 Oct 2010 09:18:46 +0000 Read the full article...]]> An Iranian martial art champion has expressed fear to fight his Afghan rival in London 2012 Taekwondo Championships

Maisam Baqeri, an Iranian national Taekwondo champion of 58 kg who will also participate in London 2012 Olympic games said Sayed Hassan Rezayi , an Afghan martial arts champion, is one of his top rivals.

Baqeri has said that it would be very hard to fight against champions from all over the world over the gold medal of London 2012 Olympics gold medal.

His comment comes as in the world 2009 taekwondo championships held in Denmark, the Iranian athlete received a gold medal and Sayed Hassan Rezayi gained a bronze one
Source: Tolo News

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