sâmbătă, 28 februarie 2015

Boris Nemtov a fost asasinat

A leading Russian opposition politician, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, has been shot dead in Moscow, Russian officials say.
An unidentified attacker in a car shot Mr Nemtsov four times in the back as he crossed a bridge in view of the Kremlin, police say.
He died hours after appealing for support for a march on Sunday in Moscow against the war in Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the murder, the Kremlin says.
President Putin has assumed "personal control" of the investigation into the killing, said his spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
It "bears the hallmarks of a contract killing," said Mr Peskov.
US President Barack Obama condemned the "brutal murder" and called on the Russian government to conduct a "prompt, impartial and transparent investigation".
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described Mr Nemtsov as a "bridge between Ukraine and Russia".
"The murderers' shot has destroyed it. I think it is not by accident," he said in a statement published on his administration's Facebook page.
Boris Nemtsov in Moscow, 6 April 2009 Boris Nemtsov was one of Russia's leading economic reformers in the 1990s (file photo from 2009)
In a recent interview, Mr Nemtsov had said he feared Mr Putin would have him killed because of his opposition to the war in Ukraine.
Mr Nemtsov, 55, served as first deputy prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s.
He had earned a reputation as an economic reformer while governor of one of Russia's biggest cities, Nizhny Novgorod.
Falling out of favour with Yeltsin's successor, Mr Putin, he became an outspoken opposition politician.

vineri, 27 februarie 2015

O poveste frumoasa, din 1929...

Irving Kahn, the world's oldest investor, dies at 109

The investment veteran, who doubled his money by predicting the 1929 crash, was a disciple of Benjamin Graham. He spoke to the Telegraph last summer about how he picked winners

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Irving Kahn
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Irving Kahn 
4:41PM GMT 26 Feb 2015
Irving Kahn, feted as the world's oldest professional investor, has died aged 109.
Just six months ago he told the Telegraph, in one of his last interviews, how he doubled his money by side-stepping the 1929 Wall Street crash.
Co-founder and chairman of Kahn Brothers Group Inc, Mr Kahn was a disciple and colleague of Benjamin Graham, Columbia Business School professor and arguably the most influential investment expert of the 20th Century.
His death was announced today in a paid notice in the New York Times.
Mr Kahn continued to work three days a week, taking a short taxi ride from his flat in Manhattan to the offices of the Kahn Brothers.
His Wall Street career began before the crash of 1929 and over the intervening decades he saw the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Cold War and the recent financial crash, as well as numerous less-severe crises. Through them all he carried on investing.
He gave what was one of his last interviews on his life of investing to the Telegraph in August.
Telegraph Money asked him to look back over his long career and recount the key events that influenced his strategy as an investor.
"In my early days, the equities market was dominated by speculators looking for tips," Mr Kahn said. "The only serious investing was done by a few large institutions that stuck to bonds and shares in well-established companies."
In the feverish summer of 1929, speculation "had driven up prices to unreasonable levels", he said. So he decided that the way to make money was to "short-sell" a particular share, meaning he would profit from a fall, not a rise, in the price.
Irving Kahn in the Twenties
"One of my clearest memories is of my first trade, a short sale in a mining company, Magma Copper," he remembered. "I borrowed money from an in-law who was certain I would lose it but was still kind enough to lend it. He said only a fool would bet against the bull market." But by the time the Wall Street crash took hold in the autumn, Mr Kahn had nearly doubled his money. "This is a good example of how great enthusiasm in a company or industry is usually a sign of great risk," he said.
The effects of the Wall Street crash were very different from the aftermath of the recent financial crisis, Mr Kahn said. "The 1929 crash was preceded by a real estate bubble like the recent one, but there were also many differences. Many individuals were leveraged [investing with borrowed money] so portfolios were wiped out.
Desperate times: The Wall Street crash of 1929
"There were also no legal protections. We had no securities laws. While everyone knows the system was flawed before the recent crash, at least there were some protections in place. In the Twenties we had nothing. And when the Depression hit, there were bread lines and families homeless in Central Park with nowhere to go."
But after Mr Kahn's early success in the risky business of short-selling, his approach changed to one of finding solid companies that were undervalued by the stock market and then holding on to them. He also turned his back on borrowing money to invest (leverage). "I invested conservatively and tried to avoid leverage. Living a modest lifestyle didn't hurt, either," he said.
The catalyst for the change was his collaboration with Mr Graham, the inventor of "value investing".
Mr Kahn said: "In the Thirties Ben Graham and others developed security analysis and the concept of value investing, which has been the focus of my life ever since. Value investing was the blueprint for analytical investing, as opposed to speculation."
Graham was a lecturer at Columbia University in New York, where his pupils included Warren Buffett, and Mr Kahn was his teaching assistant. "They'd take the subway to Columbia together," said Tom Kahn, Irving Kahn's son, who also works for the family investment firm.
As a value investor Ben Graham believed in trying to calculate the true value of a company and then buying the shares only if the price was substantially lower.
Irving Kahn before he died
Irving Kahn said: "During the Great Depression, I could find stocks trading at tremendous discounts. I learnt from Ben Graham that one could study financial statements to find stocks that were a 'dollar selling for 50 cents'. He called this the 'margin of safety' and it's still the most important concept related to risk."
He continued to use the same approach. "During the recent crash and in other sell-offs, Tom and I looked for good companies selling at a discount, which do surface if you're patient. If the market is overpriced, an investor must be willing to wait."
He added: "There are always good companies that are overpriced. A disciplined investor avoids them. As Warren Buffett has correctly said, a good investor has the opposite temperament to that prevailing in the market. Throughout all the crashes, sticking to value investing helped me to preserve and grow my capital.
"Investors must remember that their first job is to preserve their capital. After they've dealt with that, they can approach the second job, seeking a return on that capital."
Mr Kahn opens New York Stock Exchange trading
What he said about the market last summer
Mr Kahn said he was finding few bargains after the S&P 500 index had hit repeated record highs.
"I try not to pontificate about the market, but I can say that my son and I find very few instances of value when we look at the market today. That is usually a sign of widespread speculation," he said.
"But no one knows when the tide will turn. Those who are leveraged, trade short-term and have bought at a high prices will be exposed to permanent loss of capital. I prefer to be slow and steady. I study companies and think about what they might return over, say, four or five years. If a stock goes down, I have time to weather the storm, maybe buy more at the lower price. If my arguments for the investment haven't changed, then I should like the stock even more when it goes down."
He explained how investment decisions are reached at Kahn Brothers. "Tom runs the firm and my grandson Andrew is one of our analysts. The three of us and our team enjoy debating the merits of companies. Sometimes we have different opinions, which makes it interesting.
"We basically look for value where others have missed it. Our ideas have to be different from the prevailing views of the market. When investors flee, we look for reasonable purchases that will be fruitful over many years. Our goal has always been to seek reasonable returns over a very long period of time. I don't know why anyone would look at a short time horizon. In my life, I invested over decades. Looking for short-term gains doesn't aid this process."
How to live a long and prosperous life
Mr Kahn said: "I would recommend that private investors tune out the prevailing views they hear on the radio, television and the internet. They are not helpful. People say 'buy low, sell high', but you cannot do this if you are following the herd.
"You must have the discipline and temperament to resist your impulses. Human beings have precisely the wrong instincts when it comes to the markets. If you recognise this, you can resist the urge to buy into a rally and sell into a decline. It's also helpful to remember the power of compounding. You don't need to stretch for returns to grow your capital over the course of your life."
Tom Kahn, at the time, added: "Wall Street is a tricky place – with the internet everyone knows everything. But my father has always been extremely analytical. He would come home with a bunch of annual reports and read them at the dinner table. But he would start at the back, where you tend to get the key financial information."
Asked then of the secret of his father's longevity, he said: "I think it's 75pc genetic. He didn't have a good diet; he used to prefer cheeseburgers to salad and ate lots of meat. And he smoked until he was about 50."
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luni, 23 februarie 2015

O sfera metalica, extraterestra, cu ADN... foarte interesant...

LONDRA (MEDIAFAX) - O sferă metalică microscopică, conţinând ADN, care ar fi putut aduce viaţa pe Terra, a fost descoperită de cercetătorii britanici în atmosfera înaltă a planetei noastre, informează slate.fr.
Descoperirea ar putea să bulverseze complet părerea pe care oamenii o au despre viaţa de pe Terra şi din Univers. Mai mulţi cercetători englezi au anunţat că au descoperit în atmosfera înaltă a Terrei o sferă de metal microscopică, conţinând materie organică, şi au afirmat că aceasta a fost trimisă pe Pământ de o civilizaţie extraterestră cu scopul de "a însămânţa" planeta noastră.
Misterioasa sferă microscopică din metal a fost fotografiată în momentul în care expulza o substanţă biologică. Potrivit savanţilor britanici, acea substanţă ar putea fi material genetic. Ea a fost descoperită de o echipă de cercetători de la Universitatea Sheffield şi de la Centrul de astrobiologie din cadrul Universităţii Buckingham.
Mai multe teorii au fost formulate pentru a explica existenţa acestei sfere. Cel mai des vehiculată, cunoscută sub numele de "teoria panspermiei", conferă sferei o origine extraterestră şi afirmă că acea "bulă" avea misiunea de a aduce pe Terra materiale genetice propice vieţii. Savanţi de renume mondial, precum astrofizicianul Carl Sagan şi Francis Crick, laureat al premiului Nobel pentru descoperirea structurii ADN-ului, sprijină de mulţi ani această teorie.
Profesorul Milton Wainwright, coordonatorul echipei care a descoperit misterioasa sferă metalică, o descrie pe aceasta prin următoarele cuvinte: "O bilă cu diametrul unui fir de păr uman, care are filamente la exterior şi material biologic în centrul ei".
"Am fost stupefiaţi când analiza cu raze X ne-a arătat că sfera este făcută în principal din titan, cu câteva urme de vanadiu", a adăugat cercetătorul britanic.
Savanţii au descoperit sfera după ce au trimis baloane meteorologice la o altitudine de 27 de kilometri, cu misiunea de a recolta microparticule provenind din spaţiu. Obiectivul studiului coordonat de profesorul Milton Wainwright constă tocmai în găsirea unor dovezi care să ateste ipoteza potrivit căreia organisme vii microscopice ajung în permanenţă pe Terra. Cercetătorul britanic spune că sfera descoperită a lăsat o urmă importantă, în urma impactului cu balonul: "Acest fapt dovedeşte că ea cobora pe Terra, venind din spaţiu. Un organism provenind de pe Terra nu s-ar fi deplasat cu o astfel de viteză în timp ce cădea din nou spre Pământ şi nu ar fi provocat un astfel de impact".
NASA a lansat la rândul ei un program de cercetări ştiinţifice comparabil, iar noua descoperire a avut loc la câteva luni după înfiinţarea de către cercetătorii britanici şi japonezi a Institutului de studii despre panspermie şi astroeconomie, al cărui obiectiv este de a dovedi că viaţa de pe Terra provine din cosmos.
Reprezentanţii acelui institut afirmă: "Instituţiile ştiinţifice au combătut aceste teorii, dar, acum, o serie de dovezi provenind din meteoriţi, bacterii din spaţiu şi observaţii recente au făcut ca rezistenţa lor în faţa teoriei panspermiei să devină mai puţin puternică. Să dovedeşti că Terra se află într-un schimb constant de materie cu Universul ar avea implicaţii nu doar pentru identitatea noastră, ci ne-ar aduce cunoştinţe despre virusurile extraterestre, iar acest lucru ar putea fi important pentru evoluţia şi supravieţuirea noastră".

duminică, 22 februarie 2015

Fuga din statul terorist Kosovo

Exodus from Kosovo: Why thousands have left the Balkans

Kosovo has lost an estimated 50,000 people in the past two months - most of them on buses bound eventually for Germany. What is going on in this tiny corner of the Balkans?

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Kosovans from the city of Pristina walk on a street in Belgrade. Once in Serbia, the Kosovans first take buses to Subotica, the nearest city to the Hungarian border, then take taxis to the border and walk into Hungary
Kosovans from the city of Pristina walk on a street in Belgrade. Once in Serbia, the Kosovans first take buses to Subotica, the nearest city to the Hungarian border, then take taxis to the border and walk into Hungary Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Harriet Alexander
By , Pristina
5:00PM GMT 21 Feb 2015
Nysret Ismaili surveys the small group of children playing on the flinty school football pitch, set in the plains below Kosovo's rolling hills, and knows he has a problem.
His school is in trouble. In the past two months, 36 of his pupils have left, taken by their parents out of the country in the biggest exodus of Kosovans since the war. Their small, tight-knit farming community in Lug, 15 miles north of Pristina, is shrinking; his staff face an uncertain future.

Nysret Ismaili (Harriet Alexander/The Telegraph)
"It's a catastrophe," said Mr Ismaili. The Kosovan ministry of education agrees – 5,200 pupils have left schools nationwide since December.
He opens the door on Nazmije Hiseni's rowdy class of six-year-olds, singing Balkan folk songs at the top of their lungs. She smiles weakly. Four of her 20 pupils have left, and she faces redundancy, as Mr Ismaili will be forced to merge two classes.
"This has never happened before," he said. "We are on the brink."
Since the end of November, an estimated 50,000 Kosovans have left this small Balkan nation of 1.8 million – mainly headed for Germany, where there has been a large diaspora since the 1970s.
The youngest country in Europe, Kosovo gained independence in 2008, following Tony Blair and Bill Clinton's decision to bomb Serbia into retreat in 1999. It is also the poorest, with annual GDP per capita at £2,500. Work is non-existent in many areas – unemployment averages 45 per cent, rising to 60 per cent among those aged under 24.
In a country whose most valuable export appears to be pop singer Rita Ora, the lure of the wealthy West is strong: asylum applications from Kosovans in Germany rose in January by 572 per cent, year on year.

Kosovo Albanians wave goodbye to family members on board as they board a bus to Serbia in Pristina (ARMEND NIMANI/AFP)
But precisely why this is happening now remains a mystery – the economic situation is nothing new.
Hashim Thaci, the influential foreign minister and deputy prime minister, said it was due to "false rumours" that Germany was about to loosen its asylum policy. People traffickers have apparently been selling the myth that Fortress Europe was preparing to open its doors.
Those fed up with the economic slog and the political impasse seized their moment – at the end of January the largest riots since independence broke out in Pristina, amid frustration at six months of wrangling between ruling parties.
Kosovan media reported nightly the story of the exodus, fuelling the theory that now was the time to go.

Serbian border police stop Kosovars trying to cross the border to Hungary, as they walk in a field near the town of Subotica, near the Serbian-Hungarian border (REUTERS/Marko Djurica)
And some suspect that the Serbian authorities who saw the convoys of buses leaving Kosovo were happy to turn a blind eye to the crumbling of a country whose independence they refuse to recognise – the mass desertion of Kosovo served their political purposes nicely. Plus, with thousands of people boarding buses to Belgrade and then on to the Hungarian border, business was booming for Serbian entrepreneurs – both legal and illegal.
"I've not seen anything like it since the war, since the Serbs kicked everyone out," said Venton Demiri, who for the past 30 years has coordinated traffic at Pristina's central bus station.
At his desk, with his cigarettes and coffee, beside the full-blast electric heater in his office, he watched as the people poured in to buy a ticket for the six hour trip to Belgrade. Buses were so full that the €15-tickets had to be bought a week in advance; up to 13 buses a night would leave. Most passengers, he said, were young men.
"It's sad for Kosovo. But there is no hope for people here. They're leaving because they are desperate."

Another bus prepares to leave Pristina (ARMEND NIMANI/AFP)
Outside a young family was boarding the 10.30pm bus – their children, aged two and three, wrapped up against the bitter cold. The father explained that he was earning €70 a month, and could not feed his family. They hoped to make it to Germany.
Such dreams are usually ill fated.
Germany, which is home to half of all Kosovans living abroad, rejects 99.7 per cent of their asylum applications. Kosovo is considered stable and secure enough for repatriation, which is usually a quick process.
On Wednesday, The Telegraph watched as a group of six young men were escorted by police onto their plane in Munich, and sent back to Pristina. On Thursday several more left via the same route. On Friday afternoon a further four were returned. And this week the Kosovan authorities hope to make a show of the returnees, bringing television crews to the airport to dissuade others considering the journey.
Germany has opened four new centres to process Kosovan asylum claims, and last week sent border guards to help Hungary – where 20,000 Kosovans are currently in detention.
Word does appear finally to have got out that the "open doors" story was a myth. The number of those leaving has slowed. More and more people are returning empty-handed, with tales of woe, having sold their cars and left their jobs for their failed adventures.

A Kosovo man carries his baby as he illegally crosses the Hungarian-Serbian border near the village of Asotthalom (Reuters)
On Saturday the front page of Koha Ditore, one of Kosovo's main daily newspapers, published an advert from the Austrian government which stated: "Smugglers are lying. There will be no asylum for economic reasons in Austria. For staying illegally in Austria, you may be punished by up to €7,500."
Johanna Mikl-Leitner, the Austrian interior minister, raised the issue of asylum seekers during his Friday visit to Pristina.
"We will have a charter plane every two weeks and if there is a need we will engage more planes," he said. "We are discussing turning these people back also via land routes."
But it has left a bitter taste.

The bare-footed man emerges from the freezing river carrying his baby (Reuters)
A little over two months ago Robert, a 28-year-old labourer set off from the town of Gjakova. On arrival at the Hungarian border, his Serbian taxi driver handed him over to the Hungarian police – a judge fined him €60, and let him go. Robert continued through Austria – where his asylum application was rejected after two weeks of deliberation. Released from a detention centre near Vienna and with €40 from the Austrian authorities, he continued on to the German city of Mannheim, paying €92 for the express train into Germany.
He moved on to France, meeting up with a brother who six months earlier had sought asylum in Mulhouse and is still awaiting a decision.
But Robert's own asylum claim was once again rejected, so he went to try his luck in the Swiss city of Basel. They took a fortnight to reject his application, gave him 110 Swiss francs, and told him to get out of Europe.
This time he listened, worn out by the process and having used up all his savings. He returned to Kosovo three weeks ago.
"But I'll try again," he said. "There is nothing here for me."
In Pristina, the mayor, Shpend Ahmeti, understands why people like Robert try to flee. One in four Kosovans live abroad, and 13 per cent of the country's GDP is from remittances.
"I don't blame them," he said. "I've never seen such dissatisfaction.
"Just yesterday a man with an economics degree came to me and said: 'If I don't get a job this month I am taking my family to Bulgaria.' What could I say?"

Kosovar children cry after they crossed illegally the Hungarian-Serbian border with their family, near the village of Asotthalom (REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)
But while he has sympathy for the emigrants, he has little time for the government – his own upstart movement, Vetevendosje ("self-determination"), is in opposition; the burly Harvard-educated economist is seen as one of their brightest rising stars.
"The government simply does not have an economic plan," he said. "People are not leaving because they don't have money in their pockets. They are leaving because they have no expectations of being able to make any money over the coming years."
He argues that Kosovo needs to create jobs and attract investment to make the country a worthwhile place to live – foreign direct investment shrank last year, despite a modestly-growing economy, and the country's largest export is scrap metal. It has one of the largest trade deficits in the world, with almost everything imported and no pre-1990s industry remaining.
"This really isn't rocket science. We need to start substituting our imports for home-grown produce; it's not OK for us to import garlic and onions from Egypt, while our land lies empty," he said.

Kosovo police in riot gear detain the Mayor of Pristina Shpend Ahmeti in the Kosovo capital during a January protest (Visar Kryeziu/AP)
Since being elected mayor last year, Mr Ahmeti said he had made efforts to improve the business climate in one of the most challenging countries in Europe – organised crime and corruption are rife. In a city whose skyline today is dominated by minarets and cranes towering over half-built skyscrapers, Mr Ahmeti ordered an immediate halt to illegal construction, angering many black market consortiums.
He said he had also handed over 80 files on organised crime – but that the government and judiciary had not yet acted on them. An assassination plot against him was uncovered in May – less than five months into his tenure.
"We don't have a functioning state," he said, undeterred. "Half of our people are abandoned.
"And part of the problem is that we compare ourselves to Palestine and say we're not too bad really – when we should be comparing ourselves to Slovenia, and aiming high. We are a young country in every sense, and we should be doing better."
Across Mother Teresa Square, the government takes a different view.

Pristina saw violent protests in January (ARMEND NIMANI/AFP)
Bekim Collaku's office windows are still smashed – a remnant from the violent January protests – but the minister for European integration sees their anger as the fault of the EU.
"This generation is extremely frustrated," he said. "Kosovo has a huge diaspora, yet just to get an appointment for a visa takes six months. People feel trapped."
Kosovo is the only country in the region not to have a visa waiver scheme within the Schengen area – even Moldovans can travel without a visa, which rankles in Pristina.
But surely the exodus is due to his government's economic and political policies, rather than the visa situation?
"It has been a worrying situation, but now the numbers leaving are falling," he said, adding that the 3,630 asylum applications in Germany last month were in reality a tiny figure. The EU's most recent statistics show that 20,000 Kosovans applied for asylum in EU nations in 2013 - accounting for five per cent of all applicants. Over the same period, some 50,000 Syrians and 40,000 Russians applied.
"Our post-war transition is almost complete. It has taken a little longer than many hoped, which has made people frustrated. But now we can concentrate on the future."

School caretaker Sadik Bulliqi (Harriet Alexander/The Telegraph)
Back in the village of Lug, Sadik Bulliqi, the 64-year-old school caretaker, is locking up for the night. One month ago two of his sons left – Sultan, 20, and 25-year-old Avdyl. They had been unemployed for a year after the local sunflower oil factory, Flori, relocated to Bulgaria.
"I didn't want them to go, but what could I say?" said Mr Bulliqi.
"There is nothing for them here. They were doing odd jobs, earning €10 a day. Better go to Germany and take your chances. I hope they will be able to stay."
The sons have telephoned their four siblings to say they are OK, and awaiting the result of their asylum claim. They will, however, almost certainly then be deported, something Mr Bulliqi greets with a resigned shrug..
"My wife and I are old and tired, and it is sad that they had to go.
"But what hope is there for them here?"