web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘trade’

Israeli Pharmaceutical Sales Certified in Europe

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

The European Parliament has approved a pharmaceutical trade agreement with Israel after two years of attempts by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign to block the partnership.

The Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA), simplifying sales of Israeli pharmaceuticals in the European Union, passed Tuesday by 379-230.

The measure recognizes Israeli pharmaceutical standards as equal to those of Europe.  It was approved by the European council in March 2010, but its implementation was thwarted by pro-Palestinian organizations who sought to foil Israel’s entry into the European market.

Ki-Moon Passes on Offer to Take Flying Leap With Baumgartner

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Sound barrier-breaking world record skydiver Felix Baumgartner was politely declined by an unlikely protégé on Tuesday, after offering to teach UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to sky dive.

Baumgartner and Ki-moon met during a photo opportunity, following Baumgartner’s 24 mile-above-the-Earth dive.  When Ki-moon spoke about Baumgartner’s achievement, the death-defying Austrian offered to teach him the tricks of the trade.

Ban did not take Baumgartner up on his offer, but called him “the most courageous person in the world”.

Syrian 400m Hurdler Disqualified after Failing Drug Test

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Syria’s Olympic 400m hurdler Ghfran Almouhamad has been disqualified from the Olympics after testing positive for methylhexaneamine, according to the BBC.

Almouhamad, 23, finished eighth in the second heat of the first round of the event on 5 August.

Although intended to be used as a nasal decongestant, methylhexaneamine has been marketed as a dietary supplement in combination with caffeine and other ingredients, under trade names such as Geranamine and Floradrene, to be used as a general purpose stimulant.

Almouhamad was just one of four women in the 10-member Syrian team.

It is the seventh positive case reported by the IOC since it started its testing program for the London games on 16 July. She is only the second athlete who competed in the Games who has been sanctioned for doping. The others were caught before competing.

American judoka Nick Delpopolo was expelled after testing positive for marijuana during competition, which he said he unintentionally consumed in something he ate.

Turkey’s Trade Deficit Reveals an Economy in Deep Trouble

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

I’ve been hammering away at Turkey’s credit bubble problem for the past eight months: consumer lending is still growing at a nearly 30% annual rate, after dipping into the teens earlier this year (I am annualizing the 3-month growth rate). But the trade data just released for June show a slowing domestic economy.

With the economy clearly slowing, where are all the loans going? The answer is indicated by the extremely high interest rates charged by Turkish banks:

At 18% interest, consumers have to borrow to pay the interest on previous loans. In other words Turkish banks are capitalizing interest, and booking profits on loans that would go sour if they stopped lending additional money to borrowers to pay the interest. The much-vaunted strength of Turkey’s banks (whose stock prices recovered smartly this year) appears to be an illusion. The economic outlook isn’t good.

From the Financial Times‘ Beyond Brics blog:

At first glance, newly released figures for Turkey’s foreign trade suggest the country’s economy is holding up well despite the travails of its neighbours in Europe.

But as ever the devil is in the detail and hidden away in the numbers are some more uncomfortable indications that darker days lie ahead for the Turkish economy.

Figures from TUIK, the statistics office, show a 30 per cent reduction in Turkey’s trade deficit, from $10.3bn in June 2011 to $7.2bn in June this year. Other figures from TIM, the Turkish exporters’ association, show exports for the 12 months to July reaching $142.6bn, a healthy 12.3 per cent up on the previous twelve months.

Taken together, the two sets of figures could suggest continued success for Turkey’s exporters, while Turkish consumers have reined in their love of expensive imported goods.

But dig a little deeper…

To begin with, according to TIM’s figures for July, Turkish exports for the month actually fell by 5.5 per cent over July 2011 while both TIM and TUIK show worrying falls in exports to Turkey’s core European markets.

According to TUIK, Turkey’s exports to the EU dropped from 48.2 per cent of the total in June 2011 to only 37.1 per cent this year. TIM’s data suggest a drop from 47.7 per cent in July last year to 40.3 per cent.

According to TIM, the bulk of the fall came in two keys sectors: automotive, which saw exports in July plunge 22.3 per cent; and ready-to-wear textiles, where exports in July fell by 12 per cent.

While the two organisations collate their figures in different ways the outlook is clear: as Europe continues to sneeze, Turkey will catch a cold.

The picture is more worrying when the effect of the weakening euro is taken into account, an effect which economy minister Zafer Caglayan estimates cost the country $550m in July alone.

So far so bad. But according to Ozgur Altug, chief economist at Istanbul’s BCG Partners, the real bad news is hidden not in weakening export figures but in the falling import figures – which helped contribute to fall in the trade deficit and to a reduction Turkey’s current account deficit from $77bn a year ago to $67bn by the end of May this year.

Altug points out that Turkey’s dependence on imported energy remains the chief culprit behind its current account deficit woes. “Despite falling oil prices, the 12 month rolling energy balance rose to $51.4bn by the end of June this year, compared with $47.8 at the end of 2011,” he says. “The government has been successful in rebalancing the economy but the structural problems such as the growing need for imported energy are still there”.

Altug warns that an improvement in the non-energy trade deficit is also illusory. He points to an 11 per cent drop in imports of intermediate goods over the first half of this year and a 16 per cent drop in consumer goods over the same period.

Both, he suggests, are a direct result of slower GDP growth, with the former suggesting a drop in imports of capital goods used to expand output, the latter indicting declining consumer confidence. The root problem, he suggests, is Turkey’s failure to capitalise on years of rapid economic expansion to increase the contribution of exports to the overall economy.

What a Fast Food Franchise Can Teach You About Managing Your Own Money

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

When I recently interviewed Michael E. Gerber, author of The E-Myth, on the Goldstein on Gelt show, we spoke about the techniques for running a business that can be applied to managing your own money. Interestingly enough, Gerber uses the famous McDonald’s fast food chain as a great example of optimum business management.

Gerber told me that, “Given the failure rate of most small businesses, he [Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's] must have realized a crucial fact: for McDonald’s to be a predictable success, the business would have to work, because the franchisee, if left to his own devices, most assuredly wouldn’t!…Once he understood this, Ray Kroc’s problem became his opportunity… Forced to create a business that worked in order to sell it, he also created a business that would work once it was sold, no matter who bought it… a foolproof, predictable business…. A systems-dependent business, not a people-dependent business.”

I believe that investors need to see their own portfolios as a franchise opportunity. It’s not that they will actually franchise their stocks and bonds. Rather, they must have a portfolio that is scalable, based on a dynamic asset allocation that can be quickly adjusted if their goals change or if the market situation varies. All of their investment decisions must be based on a set of rules that can be easily documented and explained to someone else. Financial plans and investment policy statements correspond to the manual that an entrepreneur would write about how to run every aspect of his business.

Additionally, you should follow the principle of, “Work on your investments, not in them.” Just as The E-Myth advocates business owners working on their businesses, not in them, investors should concentrate their efforts on the larger picture of the goal of the investment portfolio, and not become bogged down in the daily details of researching stocks and funds and making decisions on trading. Study after study has shown that when people manage their own accounts, they do more damage than good. So why do individual investors continue to be their own money managers? It’s because they think that they must oversee and trade their investments themselves. That mistake alone has cost people billions of dollars.

In summary, managing your own portfolio is like managing a small business. What other comparisons can you think of? Send me an email about other types of comparisons you have seen between running a business and running your portfolio.

Nadler Hails 20-Year U.S. Govt. Lease at One World Trade Center

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) of Lower Manhattan welcomed the announcement that the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has signed a 20-year lease for 277,000 sq. feet of office space at One World Trade Center.

The agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Durst Organization makes official that 55% of the building is now leased ahead of expected completion in 2013.

“With this lease, GSA and the Port Authority have assured a robust future for the new World Trade Center complex,” Nadler said. “Now more than half leased, One World Trade Center will soon tower above the city, dramatically signaling the resurgence of Lower Manhattan and New York City. 10 years following the devastation of 9/11, Downtown is soaring to new heights, both literally and economically.”

Free Stock Trades Can Make You Lose Money. Here’s Why.

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Have you ever found yourself buying a t-shirt that you would never normally be seen dead in, simply because when you walked into the store, you saw the sign, “Buy one, get one free”? And what about the window-cleaning gadget that you picked up from a street vendor for only $2 because he promised you that this was a bargain price and it would do wonders for your windows? Both of these purchases were totally useless, and you will probably consign them to the garbage next Pesach. But you still bought them. Why? Because they were either totally free or cost you next to nothing.

Similarly, when you are stock trading, have you ever been tempted to invest in a commission-free trade? These sound really great. You can choose your investment and if you put in a certain minimum, you don’t need to pay brokerage fees. Wonderful – you are saving money. But are you really?

Dan Ariely, a researcher specializing in behavioral finance, talks about “the power of free.” This is when people are tempted to be more reckless simply because the offer is free. Dan noted that when a New York nightclub offered free tattoos to its customers, even though the conditions were very far from optimal cleanliness, many of them actually took up the offer. In fact, his researchers discovered that 68% of those who received tattoos would not have bothered if they had not been free.

When you pay a fee for stock trading, you are less likely to be reckless because the thought of wasting these few extra dollars on something that may not work acts as a deterrent. But when you get a free trade, you may find yourself feeling similar exhilaration to a gambler in a casino. When the roulette wheel spins and he wins a little money, he takes it and throws it back into the game – promptly losing everything. Falsely, he thinks that as he won once, he can keep on winning. A free stock trade, in the eyes of many, has to be a good deal by virtue of the fact that it’s free, but that is not necessarily the case. While you may win some, you are just as likely to lose.

Secondly, you should always ask yourself the question of why something is free. Take a closer look at it. For example, if you are offered an ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) without needing to pay a commission, why is this? Perhaps it is because the ETF is in some niche segment that you would never normally consider and is far less lucrative than other types of ETFs. It is therefore extremely important to remember that even though such a trade is offered as a free deal, nothing has changed about the underlying investment.

The “power of free” is definitely an absorbing subject. If you want to avoid getting sucked into low-quality trades or landing up with a free jar of free lemon chutney when you purchase a hideous red plastic vase for half price at the supermarket, learn more by watching Dan Ariely on YouTube, where he discusses this subject at greater length.

The Case for Kosher Lab-Grown Meat

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

According to a recent report, real progress is being made to generate lab grown meat that tastes as good as the real thing without all the cruelty, ghastly side effects, expense and waste of the present worldwide meat industry.

Dr Mark Post, whose lab at the University of Maastricht is experimenting with literally growing meat in Petri dishes, has told the Guardian: “We could be seeing a future where huge quantities of high-quality meat are gown in vats, incorporating not only muscle fibers but layers of real fat and even synthetic bone. In 25 years real meat will come in a packet labeled, ‘An animal has suffered in the production of this product’ and it will carry a big eco tax. I think in 50-60 years it may be forbidden to grow meat from livestock.”

Post is cited in a Grist article as stating something which should be of interest to us Kashrut observers:

“An animal does need to be killed to kick off the in-vitro process, but in theory, a single specimen could provide the seed material for hundreds of tons of meat.”

So, providing that the original specimen was kosher, isn’t this something we Orthodox Jews should welcome?

No one can say it is not acceptable. After all the Gemara tells us that R. Hanina and R. Oshaia spent every Shabbat evening studying the Book of Creation and as a result they were able to create a third-grown calf (comments: or a three year old, or a fat one) and ate it (Sanhedrin 65b).

So, if you could conjure up a living being from a Kabbalistic source book, then why not from a lab? Not only that, but given the halacha, shechita itself would not be necessary, because, purely following the letter of the law, if you kill a cow properly and then out comes a calf, you don’t need any further shechita to make it kosher.

Yet you can bet there will be opposition. Whenever anything threatens the Kosher Meat trade the Rabbis and Dayanim who live by it automatically cry “foul” because they will lose a major source of income. That also explains why those few rabbis who became vegetarians, like the Kamenitzer Maggid, or supported vegetarianism in principle, like Rav Kook, were excoriated and virtually written out of Haredi history.

But the point can be made that, since the Gemara says that the best way to celebrate Shabbatot and Chagim is with meat and wine, it would, it seems, be an offense against tradition to be a teetotal vegetarian – even if no one could point to an actually halacha against either.

Unlike my brother David, I am not a complete vegetarian, but I welcome the possibility of scrapping the meat trade. Indeed, I hope that when Elijah comes to earth he will tell us that in the Third Temple there will only be vegetarian offerings. I find the current situation unacceptable. We spend more money raising one beef animal than would feed an Indian village for a month. Most processes are offensive: the ghastly way most animals bred for slaughter are treated, the awful sights and smells hidden from consumers, the amounts of chemicals fed into animals reared for human consumption, not to mention the dangers of our modern diets. I am not opposed to eating protein but I’d be delighted if there were some way of doing it without subjecting animals to human cruelty.

Mind you, this is not an attack on Shechita. I have seen virtually all officially sanctioned methods of slaughter and I am utterly convinced that of all of them, Shechita, when carried out correctly, is the least painful and disturbing. But as Temple Grandin has shown emphatically, so much of the awfulness of slaughter has to do with the lead up, the corralling, the forcing of animals towards the fate they can smell and hear, not to mention so much cruelty involved in the rearing, the transportation and the preparatory processes of meat production. If only we could have the tasty protein without all that.

Let us assume that all the unemployed Shochatim could be trained to work in other areas of the kosher trade. Why do I still envisage opposition? One reason is simply the reluctance to countenance anything new or to allow science or modern values to challenge ancient traditions. A new concept of religious correctness is that ‘Masorah,’ the way we have always done things, trumps innovation. But there is in fact another issue and it is the tension that exists between the letter of halacha and the spirit.

This is not of course a halachic responsum, but it is conceptual analysis of why in our tradition there is an imperative to consider the careful treatment of animals and why this new development could be very significant and certainly should be welcomed.

The Torah commands us to sacrifice and the cohanim to eat meat. But it is also full of laws concerning animals: not killing a cow and its calf on the same day, not taking a fledgling or egg in front of the mother, not ploughing an ox with an ass together, not muzzling an ox while it threshes.

The rabbis are divided in their rationalizations. Some of course refuse to accept the idea of explanations altogether and emphasize only the significance of an act of obedience to a higher power. Some do indeed say it shows Divine mercy to creatures as a sign of greater mercy towards humans, and others do actually argue that the purpose of showing mercy to animals is to imitate Divine qualities of caring. Neither do I need to rehearse the laws of cruelty to animals, Tzaar Baaley Chayim and the Noachide Laws of “Eiver Min HaChay,” not taking a limb from a living animal. And yet too often one hears these ideas dismissed as figments of non-Jewish moral relativism. “The Nazis were kind to animals” or “Englishmen prefer dogs and horses to humans.”

There is indeed a massive challenge to reconcile caring for animals with the meat trade. And this where Meta Halacha plays an important part. Humans do indeed come first. But that does not mean we should not be concerned with animal welfare. Yet somewhere along the march of history we have lost the thread. Just look at how the custom of Shlogging Kapporas causes such cruelty and no one seems to care.

Take these two narratives about Rebbi Yehudah Hanassi in Bava Metzia 85a
Why did he suffer in life? A calf was being taken to the slaughter. It broke away, hid his head under Rabbi’s skirts, and began to howl. “Go,” he said “because you were created for this.”’ Then they said (on High) “Since he has no pity, let us make him suffer.”’

And why did his suffering end? One day Rabbi’s maidservant was sweeping the house; [seeing] some young weasels lying there, she was about to kill them. He said to her “Let them be, for it is written “ He extends his mercy to all of his creation.” Then they said “‘Since he is compassionate, let us be compassionate to him.”

You could not have a more explicit expression of the significance of the issue. And if this new method can in fact (and it still has some ways to go) change the way we get our meat, then all I can say Yishar Co’ach and Tavoh aleyhem beracha.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/news-extra/the-case-for-kosher-lab-grown-meat/2012/07/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: