Archive for the ‘Economics’ Tag

The economic component of the Russia/Ukraine crisis   Leave a comment


BBC

Russia’s trade ties with Europe

Russia has close economic ties with the UK and the rest of the EU so any trade and financial sanctions are likely to hurt both sides. Find out more about which countries do the most business with Russia in the series of charts below.

The EU ranks as Russia’s number one trading partner, accounting for almost 41% of all trade.

Trade between the two economies has grown steadily and reached record levels in 2012.

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EU trade

EU exports to Russia are dominated by machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, medicines and agricultural products.

Imports to the EU from Russia are dominated by crude oil and gas. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), European countries import 84% of Russia’s oil exports, and about 76% of its natural gas.

Germany is the single biggest importer of Russian oil and gas, while the UK buys about 6% of Russia’s gas.

The US is also an important trading partner for Russia. In 2013, the value of its imports was $26.9bn, more than double the value of its exports. The US imports about 5% of Russian oil.

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The pipeline matrix

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Posted March 6, 2014 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Bombardier Inc: A Canadian Multinational   Leave a comment


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This is a great example how one man had an idea, and that idea exploded into a gigantic corporation that sees no bounds.

Bombardier Inc.  is a Canadian multinational aerospace and transportation company, founded by Joseph-Armand Bombardier as L’Auto-Neige Bombardier Limitée on January 29, 1942, at Valcourt in the Eastern Townships, Quebec. Over the years it has been a large manufacturer of regional aircraft, business jets, mass transportation equipment, recreational equipment and a financial services provider. Bombardier is a Fortune Global 500 conglomerate company. Its headquarters are in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Bombardier Inc. Corporate Headquarters are at 800 René-Lévesque Boulevard West, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3B 1Y8.

Joseph-Armand Bombardier was a mechanic who dreamed of building a vehicle that could “float on snow”. In 1937 he designed and produced his first snowmobile in his small repair shop in Valcourt, Quebec.

A Snow Floater

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Bombardier’s technological breakthrough in the design of bush vehicles came in the mid-1930s when he developed a drive system that revolutionized travel in snow and swampy conditions. In 1937 Bombardier sold 12 snowmobiles, named the B7 and, in 1942, created l’Auto-Neige Bombardier Limitée company.

The first snowmobiles were large, multipassenger vehicles designed to help people get around during the long winter months. Snowmobiles were used in rural Quebec to take children to school, carry freight, deliver mail, and as ambulances. His invention filled a very particular need in the region and soon business was booming. In 1941 Armand opened a new factory in Valcourt. Then a major setback hit the growing business: the Second World War was well underway and the Canadian government issued wartime rationing regulations. Bombardier customers had to prove that snowmobiles were essential to their livelihood in order to buy one. To keep his business going, Armand shifted his focus and developed vehicles for the military. After the war, Bombardier experienced another setback in his snowmobile business. In 1948, the Quebec government passed a law requiring all highways and local roads to be cleared of snow; the Bombardier company’s sales fell by nearly half in one year. Armand Bombardier therefore decided to diversify his business, first by producing tracked snowplows sized specifically for use on municipal sidewalks (replacing horse-drawn vehicles), then by making all-terrain vehicles for the mining, oil, and forestry industries.

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Bombardier wanted to develop a fast, lightweight snowmobile that could carry one or two people. In the early 1950s, Armand set aside his dream to focus on developing his company’s other tracked vehicles, but by the end of the decade, smaller, more efficient engines had been developed and were starting to come onto the market. Bombardier resumed his efforts to build a “miniature” snowmobile. He worked alongside his eldest son Germain, who shared his father’s mechanical talents. Armand and Germain developed several prototypes of the lightweight snowmobile and finally, the first Bombardier snowmobile went on sale in 1959.

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The Ski-Doo snowmobile was originally called the “Ski-Dog” because Bombardier meant it to be a practical vehicle to replace the dogsled for hunters and trappers. By an accident, a painter misinterpreted the name and painted “Ski-Doo” on the first prototype. The public soon discovered that speedy vehicles that could zoom over snow were a lot of fun. Suddenly a new winter sport was born, centred in Quebec. In the first year, Bombardier sold 225 Ski-Doos; four years later, 8,210 were sold. But Armand was reluctant to focus too much on the Ski-Doo and move resources away from his all-terrain vehicles. He vividly remembered his earlier business setbacks that forced him to diversify. Armand slowed down promotion of the Ski-Doo line to prevent it from dominating the other company products, while still allowing him to dominate the snowmobile industry. The snowmobiles produced were of exceptional quality and performance, earning a better reputation than the rival Polaris and Arctic Cat brand of motosleds. In 1975 Bombardier completed the purchase of the Moto-Ski company.

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On February 18, 1964, J. Armand Bombardier died of cancer at age 56. He left behind a thriving business, but also one that had been focused on one person. Armand dominated his company, overseeing all areas of operation. He controlled the small research department, making all the drawings himself. By the time of his death sales of the company had reached C$20 million, which is the equivalent of C$160 million in 2004 dollars. The younger generation took over, led by Armand’s sons and sons-in-law. The young team reorganized and decentralized the company, adopting modern business tactics. The company adopted the latest technological innovation—the computer—to handle inventory, accounts, and billing. Distribution networks were improved and increased, and an incentive program was developed for sales staff.

In 1986, Bombardier acquired Canadair after the Canadian government-owned aircraft manufacturing company recorded the largest corporate loss in Canadian history. Shortly thereafter, de Havilland Canada, Short Brothers and Learjet operations were absorbed by the aerospace arm, which now accounts for over half of company revenue. Bombardier’s most popular aircraft currently include its Dash 8, CRJ100/200/440, and CRJ700/900/1000 lines of regional airliners. Bombardier also manufactures the CL-415 amphibious water-bomber, the Global Express and the Challenger business jet. Learjet continues to operate as a subsidiary of Bombardier, manufacturing jets under the Learjet marque. The slogan was changed in 2012 from “We Move People” to “Evolution of Mobility.”

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In 1970 Bombardier acquired the Viennese company Lohner-Rotax, a manufacturer of snowmobile engines and tramways, and became involved with rail business. This section started to gain importance in the mid-1990s in the renaissance of tramways or “light-rail transit.” Bombardier acquired the assets and designs of Budd Company, Pullman Company, and American Locomotive Company/Montreal Locomotive Works, the latter of which continued in the locomotive business until 1985. In the Canadian market, they also acquired Hawker Siddeley Canada’s Thunder Bay facilities and UTDC (formerly of Kingston).

In 2001 Bombardier acquired Adtranz (DaimlerChrysler Rail Systems), a manufacturer of trains which were widely used throughout Germany and Great Britain. Bombardier was one of the companies that took over British Rail’s Research and Development facilities after privatisation (the remainder largely being absorbed into AEA Technology and Alstom).

With the acquisition of Adtranz from DaimlerChrysler, Bombardier Transportation emerged as one of the largest manufacturers of railway rolling stock in the world.

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Bombardier Capital (BC) was the Bombardier division in charge of financial services. From 1973, when it was based in Colchester, Vermont, it offered financial services such as lending, leasing, and asset-management throughout the Americas. In 2001, BC restricted its loan activity to existing customers. The company, which began transitioning some services to Jacksonville, Florida in 1997, ceased taking on new consumer loans in 2001, focusing instead on loans to retailers and gradually downsizing. In November 2004, Bombardier’s credit evaluation was downgraded by Moody’s from “moderate credit risk” (Baa3) to “questionable credit quality” (Ba2), a below investment grade rating which impacted Bombardier Capital, although the company’s transportation division was unaffected. In 2005, Bombardier sold the Inventory Finance Division of BC to GE Commercial Finance.

Bombardier.svg
Type Public
Traded as TSX: BBD.A, BBD.B OTCQX: BDRBF S&P/TSX 60 component
Industry Aerospace / Defense Railways
Founded Valcourt, Quebec (29 January 1942)
Founder(s) Joseph-Armand Bombardier
Headquarters Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Area served Worldwide
Key people Laurent Beaudoin (Bombardier Inc. Chairman) Pierre Beaudoin (Bombardier Inc. CEO) Guy C. Hachey (Bombardier Aerospace CEO) Lutz Bertling (Bombardier Transportation President and COO)
Products Aircraft, trains, trams
Revenue Increase US$ 20.98 billion (2012)
Net income Increase US$ 1.98 billion (2012)
Total assets Increase US$ 32.43 billion (2012)
Employees 65,698 (2011)

Main source Wikipedia

Posted November 3, 2013 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Where is the Toilet Paper?   Leave a comment


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Venezuela seizes toilet paper factory to avoid shortage

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The Venezuelan government has taken over a toilet paper factory to avoid any scarcity of the product.

The National Guard has taken control of the plant, and officers will monitor production and distribution.

Earlier this year officials ordered millions of toilet rolls to be imported to counter a chronic shortage.

Last week President Nicolas Maduro created a special committee to tackle the problem, which the government blames on unscrupulous traders.

The government ordered the temporary occupation of the Manpa plant in the northern state of Aragua, state-run Radio AVN reported.

In a tweet on Thursday, Venezuela’s Vice President, Jorge Arreaza, said authorities would “not permit hoarding of essential commodities, or any faults in the production and distribution process.”

The Minister of Trade, Alexander Fleming, said the factory occupation complied with Venezuelan law.

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Posted September 21, 2013 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Merger will create the world’s largest airline   Leave a comment


 

 

American Airlines and US Airways confirm $11bn merger

 

American Airlines and US Airways have announced plans to merge, in a deal that would form the world’s biggest airline.

The move had been widely touted after the two boards were said to have met on Wednesday.

The merger will bring American Airlines closer in value to rival Delta Airlines, with an estimated market valuation of $11bn.

 

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The carrier will be run under the American Airlines brand, but the chief executive will be the current US Airways boss, Doug Parker.

“The combined airline will have the scale, breadth and capabilities to compete more effectively and profitably in the global marketplace,” he said in a statement.

“Our combined network will provide a significantly more attractive offering to customers, ensuring that we are always able to take them where they want to go.”

 

DCF 1.0

 

 

 

American Airlines fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
F J W Y Total
Airbus A319-100 0 11 TBA Intended to replace MD-80 First delivery in July of 2013
Airbus A321-200 Transcon 0 119 10 20 36 36 102 Replacing 767-200ER First delivery in 2014
Airbus A321-200 0 TBA Replacing 757-200 Domestic. First delivery in 2014
Airbus A320ne Family 0 130 TBA Intended to replace MD-80 and 757–200 Domestic First delivery in 2017
Boeing 737–800 199 108 TBA Replacing MD-80s.
Boeing 737 MAX 8 0 100 TBA Replacing MD-80s.
Boeing 757–200 Domestic 84 0 0 Old: 22 New: 24 0 166 Old: 188 New: 190 Intended to be replaced by: Airbus A319, A321, A320neo, Boeing 737–800, Boeing 737 MAX
Boeing 757–200 International 18 16 0 182
Boeing 767-200ER 12 0 10 30 0 128 168 To be replaced by A321 Transcon
Boeing 767-300ER 58 0 0 0 195 225 Half of fleet will be phased out beginning in 2015, other half will be refitted with a two-class seating
Boeing 777-200ER 47 5 16 37 0 194 247 All 777-200s to be converted to a two-class configuration with full flat beds in the new Business Class.
Boeing 777-300ER 3 12 8 52 30 220 310 To be delivered between December 2012 and 2013 First flight January 31, 2013
Boeing 787-8 0 20 TBA Replacing Boeing 767s
Boeing 787-9 0 22 TBA Replacing Boeing 767s
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 102 0 0 16 0 124 140 Intended to be replaced by: Airbus A319, A321, A320neo, Boeing 737–800
McDonnell Douglas MD-83 82 0 Largest operator of the MD-83 Intended to be replaced by: Airbus A319, A321, A320neo, Boeing 737–800
Total 604 528

 

 

US Airways fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers Notes
J F Y Total
Airbus A319-100 93 12 112 124 Largest operator worldwide of A320 family of aircraft (includes A319-A320-A321)
Airbus A320-200 72 12 138 150 Largest operator worldwide of A320 family of aircraft (includes A319-A320-A321)
Airbus A321-200 75 42 16 171 187 Replacing Boeing 737, Deliveries until 2016. Largest operator worldwide of A321 itself.
Airbus A330-200 7 8 20 238 258 All feature Envoy Suite.
Airbus A330-300 9 28 263 293 All feature Envoy Suite.
Airbus A350-800 18 36 234 270 Entry into service: 2017 First US airline to order A350
Airbus A350-900 4 36 294 330 Entry into service: 2017
Boeing 737-400 32 12 132 144 To be phased out and replaced by A321s. Retirement: 2012-2014. Piedmont Airlines, which merged with USAir, operated B737-400 aircraft as well.
Boeing 757-200 Domestic ETOPS 9 14 176 190 Retirement: 2016-2017
Boeing 757-200 International ETOPS 15 12 164 176 Retirement: 2018-2020. Features recliners with electronic controls and leg rests in Envoy.
Boeing 767-200ER 10 18 186 204 Retirement: 2017, to be replaced by the Airbus A330-200. Features angled lie-flat suites in Envoy. Former Piedmont Airlines aircraft that were obtained via the merger by USAir with this air carrier.
Embraer 190 18 11 88 99 Twenty-three (23) orders were subsequently cancelled due to new A321 deliveries.
Total 340 83

 

 

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World’s largest airlines

 

Rank Airline Fleet size
1 United States Delta Air Lines 722
2 United States United Airlines 702
3 Germany Lufthansa Group 696
4 United States Southwest Airlines 692
5 FranceNetherlands Air France-KLM 621
6 United States American Airlines 617
7 China China Southern Airlines 420
8 United KingdomSpain International Airlines Group 398
9 Canada Air Canada 362
10 United States US Airways 338

 

Posted February 14, 2013 by markosun in Uncategorized

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The Nation of Zimbabwe has just 217 dollars in the bank   Leave a comment


 

 

Robert Mugabe, the lifelong dictator of Zimbabwe, took his country from being a prosperous nation to a basket case during his 40 year rule.

 

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Zimbabwe Has Just $217 In The Bank, Finance Minister Says

There’s a lot you can buy with $200 if you’re one person. There’s not whole lot you can do with it if you’re one nation, however.

Zimbabwe has just $217 in the bank after paying civil servants last week, Agence France Presse reports. While the amount is a stunningly low balance for an entire nation, it was somewhat expected.

The African nation has been struggling to recover from hyperinflation that stretches back a decade. In the past few years, flagging diamond exports as well as salary hikes have compounded the nation’s financial woes, according to the Globe and Mail.

The country finds itself in particularly dire straits now as it appears to be short on funding for its upcoming national elections. Zimbabwe is aiming to double exports of diamonds this year but that likely won’t be enough to bail itself out.

“We will be approaching the international community [for financial assistance],” Finance Minister Tendai Biti told the AFP.

 

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The country couldn’t afford 2 tickets to a Jets game.

 

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Posted January 30, 2013 by markosun in Uncategorized

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The four business gangs that run the US   Leave a comment


Sydney Morning Herald

IF YOU’VE ever suspected politics is increasingly being run in the interests  of big business, I have news: Jeffrey Sachs, a highly respected economist from  Columbia University, agrees with you – at least in respect of the United  States.

In his book, The Price of Civilisation, he says the US economy is  caught in a feedback loop. ”Corporate wealth translates into political power  through campaign financing, corporate lobbying and the revolving door of jobs  between government and industry; and political power translates into further  wealth through tax cuts, deregulation and sweetheart contracts between  government and industry. Wealth begets power, and power begets wealth,” he  says.

Sachs says four key sectors of US business exemplify this feedback loop and  the takeover of political power in America by the ”corporatocracy”.

First is the well-known military-industrial complex. ”As [President]  Eisenhower famously warned in his farewell address in January 1961, the linkage  of the military and private industry created a political power so pervasive that  America has been condemned to militarisation, useless wars and fiscal waste on a  scale of many tens of trillions of dollars since then,” he says.

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Second is the Wall Street-Washington complex, which has steered the financial  system towards control by a few politically powerful Wall Street firms, notably  Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and a handful of other  financial firms.

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These days, almost every US Treasury secretary – Republican or Democrat – comes  from Wall Street and goes back there when his term ends. The close ties between  Wall Street and Washington ”paved the way for the 2008 financial crisis and the  mega-bailouts that followed, through reckless deregulation followed by an almost  complete lack of oversight by government”.

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Third is the Big Oil-transport-military complex, which has put the US on the  trajectory of heavy oil-imports dependence and a deepening military trap in the  Middle East, he says.

”Since the days of John D. Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Trust a century  ago, Big Oil has loomed large in American politics and foreign policy. Big Oil  teamed up with the automobile industry to steer America away from mass transit  and towards gas-guzzling vehicles driving on a nationally financed highway  system.”

Big Oil has consistently and successfully fought the intrusion of competition  from non-oil energy sources, including nuclear, wind and solar power.

It has been at the side of the Pentagon in making sure that America defends  the sea-lanes to the Persian Gulf, in effect ensuring a $US100 billion-plus  annual subsidy for a fuel that is otherwise dangerous for national security,  Sachs says.

”And Big Oil has played a notorious role in the fight to keep climate change  off the US agenda. Exxon-Mobil, Koch Industries and others in the sector have  underwritten a generation of anti-scientific propaganda to confuse the American  people.”

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Fourth is the healthcare industry, America’s largest industry, absorbing no  less than 17 per cent of US gross domestic product.

”The key to understanding this sector is to note that the government  partners with industry to reimburse costs with little systematic oversight and  control,” Sachs says. ”Pharmaceutical firms set sky-high prices protected by  patent rights; Medicare [for the aged] and Medicaid [for the poor] and private  insurers reimburse doctors and hospitals on a cost-plus basis; and the American  Medical Association restricts the supply of new doctors through the control of  placements at medical schools.

”The result of this pseudo-market system is sky-high costs, large profits  for the private healthcare sector, and no political will to reform.”

Now do you see why the industry put so much effort into persuading America’s  punters that Obamacare was rank socialism? They didn’t succeed in blocking it,  but the compromised program doesn’t do enough to stop the US being the last rich  country in the world without universal healthcare.

It’s worth noting that, despite its front-running cost, America’s healthcare  system doesn’t leave Americans with particularly good health – not as good as  ours, for instance. This conundrum is easily explained: America has the  highest-paid doctors.

Sachs says the main thing to remember about the corporatocracy is that it  looks after its own. ”There is absolutely no economic crisis in corporate  America.

”Consider the pulse of the corporate sector as opposed to the pulse of the  employees working in it: corporate profits in 2010 were at an all-time high,  chief executive salaries in 2010 rebounded strongly from the financial crisis,  Wall Street compensation in 2010 was at an all-time high, several Wall Street  firms paid civil penalties for financial abuses, but no senior banker faced any  criminal charges, and there were no adverse regulatory measures that would lead  to a loss of profits in finance, health care, military supplies and energy,” he  says.

The 30-year achievement of the corporatocracy has been the creation of America’s rich and super-rich classes, he says. And we can now see their tools  of trade.

”It began with globalisation, which pushed up capital income while pushing down wages. These changes were magnified by the tax cuts at the top, which left  more take-home pay and the ability to accumulate greater wealth through higher  net-of-tax returns to saving.”

Chief executives then helped themselves to their own slice of the corporate  sector ownership through outlandish awards of stock options by friendly and  often handpicked compensation committees, while the Securities and Exchange  Commission looked the other way. It’s not all that hard to do when both political parties are standing in line to do your bidding, Sachs concludes.

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Posted January 8, 2013 by markosun in Uncategorized

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List of countries by external debt   1 comment


 

This is a list of countries by external debt.

External debt  is that part of the total debt in a country that is owed to creditors outside the country. The debtors can be the government, corporations or private households…, the total public and private debt owed to nonresidents repayable in foreign currency, goods, or services, where the public debt is the money or credit owed by any level of government, from central to local, and the private debt the money or credit owed by private households or private corporations based in the country under consideration.

For informational purposes several non-sovereign entities are also included in this list. Note that this list is gross debt, not net debt.

Sources:
The World Factbook, United States Central Intelligence Agency, The World Bank.

Posted November 15, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Tons and tons of gold   Leave a comment


 

The United States Bullion Depository, often known as Fort Knox, is a fortified vault building located adjacent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, used to store a large portion of United States official gold reserves and occasionally other precious items belonging or entrusted to the federal government.

The United States Bullion Depository holds 4,578 metric tons (5046 tons) of gold bullion (147.2 million oz. troy). This is roughly 2.5% of all the gold ever refined throughout human history. Even so, the depository is second in the United States to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s underground vault in Manhattan, which holds 7,000 metric tons (7716 tons) of gold bullion (225.1 million oz. troy), some of it in trust for foreign nations, central banks and official international organizations.

 

 

Below the fortress-like structure lies the gold vault lined with granite walls and protected by a blast-proof door weighing 22 tons. No single person is entrusted with the entire combination to the vault. Several members of the Depository staff must dial separate combinations known only to them. Beyond the main vault door, smaller compartments provide further protection.  According to a Mosler Safe Company brochure:

“The most famous, if not the largest, vault door order came from the Federal government in 1935 for the newly-constructed gold depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Both the vault door and emergency door were 21-inches thick and made of the latest torch- and drill-resistant material. The main vault door weighed 20 tons and the vault casing was 25-inches thick.”

The facility is ringed with fences and is guarded by the United States Mint Police.  The Depository premises are within the site of Fort Knox, a United States Army post, allowing the Army to provide additional protection. The Depository is protected by layers of physical security, alarms, video cameras, armed guards, and the Army units based at Fort Knox, including Apache helicopter gunships of 8/229 Aviation based at Godman Army Airfield, the 16th Cavalry Regiment, the 19th Engineer Battalion, training battalions of the United States Army Armor School, and the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Infantry Division, totaling 30,000 soldiers, with associated tanks, armored personnel carriers, attack helicopters, and artillery.

There is an escape tunnel from the lower level of the vault to be used by someone accidentally locked in.

 

 

Gold holdings peaked during World War II at 20,205 metric tons (649.6 million oz. troy). Today, holdings are 4,578 metric tons (147.2 million oz. troy ) in 368,000 standard, 400 oz. troy (12.4 kg or 27.4 lb avoirdupois) gold bars. At May 15, 2011 rates of $1540 an ounce it is worth $228.1 billion, while the World War II total of 649.6 million oz. troy would be worth $909 billion. The depository also holds monetary gold coins. The 1933 Double Eagle was also a temporary resident after transfer from 7 World Trade Center in July 2001, until its sale in July 2002 for $7.59 million. Sometime in 2004, 10 additional allegedly stolen 1933 Double Eagles were transported to Fort Knox for safekeeping.

Not all the gold bars held in the depository are of exactly the same composition. The mint gold bars are nearly pure gold. Bars made from melted gold coins, however, called “coin bars”, are the same composition as the original coins, which is only 90% gold. Unlike many .999 fine gold bullion coins minted in modern times for holding-purposes today, the coin alloy for pre-1933 U.S. coins, which were intended for circulation, was a much tougher and wear-resistant .900 fine alloy (balance copper) used for all U.S. gold coins since 1837. (See crown gold for further gold coin alloy history).

All of the gold in the depository, if pure, could form a cube 19.7 feet (6 m) on a side—a volume of 216 m³. In comparison, all the gold ever refined in history (an estimated 165,000 tonnes) is about 40 times greater, so the facility alone holds about 2.5% of all gold ever refined.

The United States holds more gold bullion than any other country, with about 2.39 times that of the next leading country, Germany.

 

 

In popular culture

The bullion depository has become a symbol of an impregnable vault, leading to phrases such as “locked up tighter than Fort Knox” or “safer than Fort Knox”. Many businesses in the surrounding areas are references to the bullion depository.

Cinema

  • The 1937 RKO Lee Tracy film Behind the Headlines climaxes in a plan to steal gold bars en route from Washington, D.C. to Fort Knox.
  • The 1951 Bud Abbott & Lou Costello film Comin’ Round the Mountain has the two using a treasure map to find a stash of gold. When they finally reach the gold at the end of the film, they find themselves in the middle of Fort Knox and are immediately arrested.
  • The 1951 Warner Bros. short 14 Carrot Rabbit featuring Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam follows a similar routine, with Sam being led away by guards at the end. Bugs is also under suspicion, but slips away on a large boat.
  • The popular 1959 Ian Fleming-written James Bond novel Goldfinger, and the 1964 movie of the same name, are about a criminal plot called “Operation Grand Slam” to break in to the U.S. Bullion Depository. In the book, Auric Goldfinger’s plan is to steal the gold. In the movie, the audience is initially led to believe Goldfinger is going to steal the gold, but the real plot is to render the gold contained in the Depository radioactive and useless with a nuclear device, crippling the economy and driving up the price of the gold Goldfinger already has. The movie was set before the U.S. dollar ceased to be backed by gold in 1971.
  • The facility is referenced in the 1995 film Die Hard with a Vengeance as “for tourists” compared to the target of the film—the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which they claim holds “ten times what’s in Kentucky”.
  • In the 2000 film Battlefield Earth, a group of humans, enslaved by an alien race called the Psychlos, trick them into thinking they’re “mining” for gold by breaking into the Bullion Depository and delivering them the gold that’s stored there.

Goldfinger.  The aerobatic team led by a blonde named Pussy Galore flies over the vault.

Posted August 3, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Apple holding more cash than USA   Leave a comment


BBC

Apple now has more cash to spend than the United States government.

Latest figures from the US Treasury Department show that the country has an operating cash balance of $73.7bn (£45.3bn).

Apple’s most recent financial results put its reserves at $76.4bn.

The US House of Representatives is due to vote on a bill to raise the country’s debt ceiling, allowing it to borrow more money to cover spending commitments.

If it fails to extend the current limit of $14.3 trillion dollars, the federal government could find itself struggling to make payments, and risks the loss of its AAA credit rating.

The United States is currently spending around $200bn more than it collects in revenue every month.  Apple, on the other hand, is making money hand over fist, according to its financial results.

In the three months ending 25 June, net income was 125% higher than a year earlier at $7.31bn.

Spending spree

With more than $75bn either sitting in the bank or in easily accessible assets, there has been enormous speculation about what the company will do with the money.

“Apple keeps its cards close to its chest,” said Daniel Ashdown, an analyst at Juniper Research.  Industry watchers believe that it is building up a war chest to be used for strategic acquisitions of other businesses, and to secure technology patents.

Bookstore Barnes and Noble and the online movie site Netflix have both been tipped as possible targets, said Mr Ashdown.

The company may also have its eye on smaller firms that develop systems Apple might want to add to its devices, such as voice recognition.

Apple dipped into some of its reserves recently when it teamed-up with Microsoft to buy a batch of patents from defunct Canadian firm Nortel.  The bidding consortium shelled out $4.5bn for more than 6,000 patents.

Posted July 30, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Big Billionaires   1 comment


Number 17 on the list is co-owner of the Winnipeg Jets.

No.↓ Name↓ Net worth (USD)↓ Age↓ Born↓ Citizenship↓ Residence↓ Source(s) of wealth↓
1steady Slim, Carlos and family $74.0 billion increase 71 Mexico Mexico Mexico Telmex, América Móvil, Grupo Carso
2steady Gates, Bill $56.0 billion increase 55 United States United States United States Microsoft
3steady Buffett, Warren $50.0 billion increase 80 United States United States United States Berkshire Hathaway
4increase Arnault, Bernard $41.0 billion increase 62 France France France LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton
5increase Ellison, Lawrence $39.5 billion increase 66 United States United States United States Oracle Corporation
6decrease Mittal, Lakshmi $31.1 billion increase 60 India India United Kingdom Arcelor Mittal
7increase Ortega, Amancio $31.0 billion increase 74 Spain Spain Spain Inditex Group
8steady Batista, Eike $30.0 billion increase 53 Brazil Brazil Brazil EBX Group
9decrease Ambani, Mukesh $27.0 billion increase 53 Yemen India India Reliance Industries
10increase Walton, Christy $26.5 billion increase 55 United States United States United States Walmart
11increase Ka-shing, LiLi $26.0 billion increase 82 China Hong Kong Hong Kong Cheung Kong Holdings
12decrease Albrecht, Karl $25.5 billion increase 91 Germany Germany Germany Aldi Süd
13steady Persson, Stefan $24.5 billion increase 63 Sweden Sweden Sweden Hennes & Mauritz
14increase Lisin, Vladimir $24.0 billion increase 54 Russia Russia Russia Novolipetsk Steel
15increase Bettencourt, Liliane $23.5 billion increase 88 France France France L’Oréal
16increase Sheldon Adelson $23.3 billion increase 77 United States United States United States Las Vegas Sands
17increase David Thomson and family $23 billion increase 53 Canada Canada Canada Thomson Reuters
18increase Charles G. Koch $22 billion increase 75 United States United States United States Koch Industries
18increase David H. Koch $22 billion increase 70 United States United States United States Koch Industries
20decrease Jim Walton $21.3 billion increase 63 United States United States United States Walmart

Posted July 13, 2011 by markosun in Uncategorized

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