When will people learn the value of an honest business? And why does it always seem to be the richest people who just keep wanting more, becoming so greedy that their business becomes tainted. The most recent case of greedy billionaire is investor Raj Rajaratnam, who happens to be named by Forbes as the 236th richest American. He is being charged in a $20 million insider trading case. Prosecutors say that this is the biggest trading scheme ever involving hedge funds. Rajaratnam is the founder of the Galleon hedge fund. The “alleged” scheme has been going on since 2006 and involves trades in major companies IBM, Hilton, and Google, just to name a few. People, be aware, if you feel it is wrong don’t do it! Keep your business decisions ethical and honest, otherwise you will not be able to feel good about yourself no matter where you are in life. The value of self respect is priceless, and always keep in mind that you have to live with every decision you make.
Popular fast food chain Burger King will soon be getting a fresh new make-over. Burger King Corp. says that they are done with the generic fast-food look and plan to turn to a more friendly and inviting environment, with the hopes that diners will chose to sit down rather than drive through. The look in itself will be much more ‘futuristic” and modern. Renovations are already under way in Miami, and every franchise owner is obligated under contract to eventually change their restaurant’s design to this new format. The renovations will set franchisees back between $300K-600K. But don’t get too excited, Burger King Corp. expects it to take years before every store is changed, so your local Burger King may not be one of the lucky ones! At least not very soon. The Restaurants that have already been remodeled have proven themselves with sales climbing up to 15%. Restaurants that were closed down and completely rebuilt say an even higher rise in sales at up to 30%! It will be interesting to see how this plays out with consumers across the nation. Burger King is such a familiar brand to so many Americans, it seems as though customers in other areas, except maybe, Miami could potentially be intimidated by the change. Prices will most likely go up with the atmosphere and with their goal being a comparison to restaurants like Panera and Chipotle, well, that’s a little bit of a different crowd. It’s definitely new and exciting, and so far, looks like a great business plan for the corporation. We will have to wait to see how it appeals to the public, or if McDonald’s will continue to reign supreme in the world of fast food.
With the loonie up, the dollar down, and Canada recovering from their recession, Canadian retailers are getting nervous. The Canadian economy is in recovery mode right now, they have to be very careful because the economy is very fragile while it’s being built back up. The quickly accelerating rate of the loonie is not necessarily the best thing for their economy right now, and is actually posing a serious risk. With about one third of the country’s economy being in exports, there is no competition as the loonie rises. Retailers have been looking forward to the holiday season in hopes that shoppers would help them back on their feet. But with the rising value of the loonie and with Canadians still being extremely careful with their money, many fear that shoppers will go south to do their damage. Canadians are more careful with their money than ever, bargain stores like Wal-Mart and Zellers are the ones thriving right now. With all of the U.S.’ retail blowout sales, Canadian retailers may be forced to lower their prices even though they really can’t afford it. They are, sort of, in a lose lose situation. They can lower their prices in order to keep shoppers and have a short term solution, but it will not help them at all in the long run. Or they can keep their prices as they are, and risk losing customers.
The news of a real estate deal completed today is already making national news! An undisclosed buyer has purchased a property within one of Hong Kong’s most exclusive buildings “Conduit Road 39″ for, get this, $57 million. People in New York don’t even pay that much! The property is a 5 bedroom duplex that is a little over 6,000 square feet. So, if you do the math, that is around $9,000 per square foot. What a different world from the U.S. right now. China’s booming market is really being reflected here, and prices for homes are skyrocketing. Although, there is concern that prices are getting too high. Um, yeah we might have to agree considering the price tag of this place! Hong Kong’s leader, Donald Tsang, will be making an address today in which the government will free up more land for development. If more land is opened up, it is most likely that property prices will be able to go down because right now the demand is just too high. This $57 million unit is not the only one in the building with an outrageous price, it just happens to be the highest. Other units in the building have sold for $51 million.
It was recently reported that apartment vacancies have hit their highest point in 23 years. The rate has soared to 7.8%, and it is expected to keep climbing during the fall and winter. This is causing apartment buildings to lower their rent, and even become more lenient in order to keep their tenants. Many landlords are even becoming more involved in the upkeep of each individual property going as far as cleaning and painting the apartments before tenants move in. The renters seem to be gaining the power. This is all a reflection of our current employment market. With the majority of apartment renters being in their 20s and early 30s, when something goes financially wrong, they are more likely to have the ability to stay with family or friends, which is not good for apartment leases. Most likely, when job losses stop, leasing will begin to rise again. While apartment vacancies rise, the recent $8,000 tax credit offered to first-time homebuyers has helped to show signs of stabilization in the housing sales market. It seems as though all good news comes with bad news these days, but soon enough, if we all hang in there, everything will balance out. Stabilization is in the future.
Recent drug wars have made Mexico an unsafe place to visit in the eyes of many tourists. For Californian’s, weekend trips to Mexico have turned into weekend trips to Vegas. The violence going on is undeniable, but Mexico is determined to keep and/or bring back the tourists. They will do whatever it takes because the country realizes that their $13 billion travel industry is crucial to their economy, in fact, Americans alone make up 80% of that figure. The major focus is Mexico’s “Baja California”. This region includes Tijuana, Rosarito, and Ensenada, which are easy driving distances from the States. Some plans to create a more comfortable environment for tourists include training a new task force, bilingual officers, and an extreme increase in police presence. Mexico will be making a huge step in the right direction if they pull this off. They know that they can really capitalize on tourism, and that is where they need to focus their energy. It brings an influx of money to the country, creating stability, and hope for economic recovery.
Love to hear news about successful Canadians, and this particular piece of news is huge. Willard Boyle, along with two other men, has earned himself the 2009 Nobel Prize in physics! Boyle, a born and raised Canadian, is the man behind the CCD (charge-coupled device). Not familiar? You might be surprised. The CCD is what transforms light into a larger number of digitized image points, or pixels, in a split second. The CCD makes digital photography possible. Today, CCD is used in almost all digital cameras and camcorders. It is even used in the Hubble Space Telescope. What this man created has been incredibly influential to our generation around the world. Remember the days where everyone had to use film? Now it is so simple to deal with photography. You can take a photo and have it uploaded onto your computer ready to send to the world in minutes. The days of using film cameras made this process much more difficult, with the added component of a scanner if you wanted the picture on your computer. So, when you whip out your digital camera today, know that we ultimately have a Canadian to thank for it!
Way to represent Canada Willard Boyle! Click here to read more
This December, American fast food giant McDonald’s plans to move within walking distance of France’s famous Louvre museum. Something here seems a bit off, mixing iconic art with fast food. Sure, McDonald’s might be iconic in it’s own right, but there is a huge difference. McDonald’s is probably one of the world’s most accessible products, while the Louvre is a place that many people can only dream of going. It seems as though putting the fast food chain next door would lessen the museum’s uniqueness because it’s surroundings would now be more familiar to it’s visitors. Many are arguing that the pairing would serve interest of both because the Louvre is the world’s most visited museum and France is McDonald’s top market outside of the US. Furthermore, another renowned venue, the Champs-Elysees Avenue inhabits a McDonald’s and it is the most profitable in the world. It’s always about the business and McDonald’s knows that better than almost anyone. If the area is famously popular, stick a Mcdonald’s there, and people will come. There are always opposing views, and this subject is certainly no exception. So many are opposing this new arrival, even louvrerepoutous.fr, a website that provides visitors information. They went on to post, “Rendezvous in December for a Mona Lisa Extra Value Menu”. The fast food chain would specifically reside at the Carrousel du Louvre, which is attached to the museum. There has been no official opening date released, but it certainly will mark the end of an era. Do you think that this is right, or does it even matter?
Check out more info on the move in HERE
Unfortunately it is undeniable. A recent Federal Reserve report on home mortgage data showed that blacks and Hispanic whites are increasingly more likely than non-Hispanic whites to be denied when applying to refinance. In fact, one in three borrowers who applied for a mortgage last year were denied. Lenders are keeping their standards incredibly tight because of the accelerating mortgage crisis. The denial rate for overall home loans was around 30% last year, which is a rise from previous years. But what does this rise actually mean for Black and Hispanic citizens? The rate is now twice as high as the rate for white borrowers. The report is a collection of more than 8,000 mortgage lenders around the nation under the HMDA. Most people have their opinions for why this happens the way it does. Of course the officials in the mortgage industry are saying that lenders are not discriminated by race but by the individuals track record. This may or may not be true, but this study would definitely challenge the statement. What do you think?
Yesterday, China proudly celebrated 60 years of communist rule. This was the largest celebration to date and they were not kidding around! The ceremony ran two and a half hours long and was choreographed to the tee. Hundreds of thousands of militants took part which created a pretty unique sight. President Hu Jintao was, of course, on hand carefully watching every step. He gave a short speech in which he said, “On this joyful and solemn occasion, all the peoples across the nation feel extremely proud for the progress and development of the motherland and have full confidence in the bright prospects for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”. The entire ceremony took place in the famed Tiananmen Square, which is now even more undeniable since the summer Olympics. This is a proud time for China as they have claimed the world’s third-largest economy. But there is no hiding the many problems that they are experiencing. For example, the growing gap between rich and poor, healthcare, extreme pollution, and out of control corruption, just to name a few. Every country has their obstacles, and you can only hope for the best. But last year was really a great year for China with the Olympics. They allowed the world to view China in a different light, and many have.