Friday, January 29, 2010

Younger People Suffering Strokes

A recent study in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy shows that a considerable number of the middle-aged are having strokes today.Almost half the 7740 patients in the study,conducted at a St.Louis hospital,are under 65,and 25% of them were under 55.Many of their strokes were mild to moderate,and the victims consequently received no rehabilitation.The American Heart Association believes that many stroke patients generally,and younger patients in particular,are being neglected in this respect.
The risk of heart disease and stroke may be lessened by eating butternut squash.This fall and winter produce has a lot of fiber and potassium in it,with a cup of squash containing about three grams of fiber and more than 10% of the RDA of potassium.It is also high in folate,which data suggest is good for the heart.Campbell Soup makes a butternut squash soup for its V8 line.
Adequate daily intake of potassium for healthy adults 19 and older is 4700 mg a day.Increased potassium intake is associated with a lessened risk of stroke.Potassium may also help prevent kidney stones and osteoporosis.A medium-size banana has 422 mg of potassium,while a baked potato with skin has 926 mg.A half cup of raisins has 598 mg.
Always consult your doctor before taking nutritional supplements or making major dietary changes.Too much potassium can result in bodily harm for some individuals with certain conditions or taking some medications.The publisher is not responsible for readers making poor decisions regarding health,finance or any other matter.Professional advice is suggested before taking any significant steps in your life.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Paring Knife,Part 2:Yahoo Cuts Cell Phones

While Wal-Mart is cutting jobs and closing stores,Yahoo is responding to its situation by no longer serving lower end cell phones.Yahoo Mobile,its cell phone hub,has posted an apology to some pay-as-you-go phone owners.When these customers try to access Yahoo email or other services,they are met by the frustrating message.Yahoo Mobile says that if you own a higher end phone that got swept up in the change,you should let them know.Some AT&T customers with Motorola GoPhones are being impacted by the abrupt move.Windows Live Hotmail is still available to them.
GoPhone owners might consider complaining to the Federal Communications Commission about Yahoo's action.In the course of the financial crisis,many consumers are turning to the pay-as-you go model from the more expensive plans.Lack of access to their Yahoo account will hardly be helpful to them as they themselves navigate the difficulties of a damaged economy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

ICI Seeks Research Assistant

The Investment Company Institute,located in Washington,D.C.,is seeking a research assistant.An undergraduate degree in accounting/finance,business,economics or a related field is desired.Experience with Excel,Access,SAS or similar software is preferred.Attention to detail and accuracy,as well as good analytical skills are sought for work with investment companies' data bases such as maintenance,verification and responding to data requests,plus providing support to other projects.Send cover letter,resume and salary requirements to

The Paring Knife:Wal-Mart Cuts Jobs

Wal-Mart,the largest U.S. and world employer,is cutting 10,000 more jobs from its Sam's Club division.Last week it cut 1200 jobs from Sam's Club customer recruitment ranks,saying it will turn to more targeted methods.Earlier in the month,it closed 10 Sam's Club stores,laying off 1500.The new job cuts are as a result of contracting with Shopper Events to handle sampling activities in the stores,which are considered crucial to warehouse store marketing.The total number of jobs cut from Sam's Club is 12,700.
Sam's Club has been trailing its competitors,Costco and BJ's Wholesale Club.Its sales declined last quarter,while parent Wal-Mart's sales increased.Typically,its customers have ended up buying well in excess of their actual needs.It's a habit many of them may be abandoning in the frugal atmosphere that prevails today.Samples staff will have a much harder sell under current conditions.
Some of the laid-off workers may be hired by Shopper Events.Others have been offered positions at Wal-Mart locations.This could limit the effect of the layoffs on local communities.Just how much the effect will be limited remains unclear,however.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fish For The Eyes

Even one serving of fish a week can be highly beneficial for your eyes,according to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology.The research found that fish can reduce your risk of getting age-related macular degeneration,or AMD,by up to 30%.AMD is a grave threat to vision for people over 65.It damages the retina,a layer of cells in the back of the eye that are sensitive to light.Omega-3 fatty acids in fish are believed to have a protective effect on the eyes.
Exposure to the sun's UV rays has been linked to AMD,so wearing UV-rated sunglasses may also be beneficial in warding off the disease.The drugs Lucentis and Avastin have been used to treat some cases of AMD with remarkable results,reversing blindness.The Genentech division of Swiss firm Roche manufactures the medicine.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cybersecurity Scare At Lincoln Financial

Lincoln Financial Advisors,a subsidiary of Lincoln Financial Group,has informed its clients that a portfolio information system,containing clients' names,Social Security and financial account numbers was potentially vulnerable to unauthorized access.LFA added quickly that they have no evidence or reason to believe that the information has been acquired or misused by an unauthorized person.They are notifying clients out of an abundance of caution and to inform them of steps they are taking,LFA said in a letter.
The portfolio information system integrates accounting and performance of customer assets.It is not used to transfer funds or effect trades-only for reporting and analysis of accounts,LFA explained.There is no indication that the vulnerability of the system has compromised the security,confidentiality or integrity of the information.LFA has engaged outside forensic consultants,who conducted a comprehensive investigation of the vulnerability.LFA has taken specific actions to improve data security,as well as investigate other client information systems for other potential problems.LFA says it is continually strengthening its computer security policies and procedures across all of its IT platforms.
As a precautionary measure,LFA has engaged Kroll,Inc. to provide their ID TheftSmart service free for one year to LFA clients.This includes Continuous Credit Monitoring and Enhanced Identity Theft Consultation and Restoration.The matter shows the jittery atmosphere that is currently pervading the IT world in light of recent reports of high profile breaches of cybersecurity.Even a vulnerability is being treated with the utmost gravity,sought out and firmly dealt with immediately,regardless of cost.

Monday, January 18, 2010

DHS Seeks Buyers

The Department of Homeland Security has multiple openings for experienced Acquisition Professionals GS 13-15(via the Direct Hire Authority)throughout DHS HQ and the various DHS agencies.Key Requirements:
U.S. Citizenship
Ability to obtain a Secret security clearance
Drug testing may be required
Financial disclosure forms must be submitted annually

Saudi Prince Very Close

Prince Alwaleed bin Sultan,a leading investor in U.S. companies,has been expressing his thoughts about the state of the country he clearly feels deeply involved with.The prince,who will be 55 in March,said he's not sure the U.S. is on the right track.It is down,but not out.Mr.Obama needs more time.He has a tremendous amount on his plate:the deficit,the health care situation,as well as the financial crisis.There are so many issues under the table:Social Security,Medicare-they are time bombs.I'd like to get health care behind us and focus on job growth and the Middle East,Prince Alwaleed remarked.
President Obama has to prove he is as tough as former president George W. Bush was,the prince feels.The U.S. cannot be at all lenient on terrorists.Thank God their latest attempt was prevented.On the other hand,profiling is wrong.Remember Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh?Are all Oklahomans terrorists?the prince asked rhetorically.
Prince Alwaleed,a slight man with a full head of salt-and-pepper hair,owns 5.7% of NewsCorp,parent of Fox News and The Wall Street Journal.He considers it an alliance.It's a core,strategic investment that will never be sold,he insisted.It's a well-run empire by Rupert Murdoch and son James.Prince Alwaleed also owns stakes in Time Warner Communications and Citigroup.The owner of a stable of fine horses,the prince is more than an investor in the U.S.;his evident passion and knowledge confirms that he is also a close friend of America.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Crisis In Nuclear Medicine

In recent years,the quantity of medical isotopes has fallen short of demand.In 2008,the shortage of this radioactive material was 3%.Last year,the shortfall rose to 9%.An increasing number of patients need radiological diagnosis and treatment for conditions such as cancer and heart disease,yet only a limited number of facilities exist to meet the demand,and these are older reactors that may experience shutdowns at a moment's notice.Shortages of isotopes result in postponements and cancellation of procedures,as well as usage of more expensive and less effective ones.
The five main reactors for medical isotope production are in Canada,France,the Netherlands,Belgium and South Africa,yielding 95% of the world supply.About 12,000 curie units of radioactivity are produced weekly for medical use.Last year,Canada's National Research University reactor in Ontario experienced a prolonged shutdown.It was also offline in 2007 for a shorter period.The NRU reactor produces 33% of the world supply;so does the High Flux Reactor in the Netherlands.The Osiris reactor in France produces 7%,as does the BR2 in Belgium,while SAFARI-1 in South Africa yields 15%.Another 5% is produced by smaller reactors globally.There are plans to convert a research reactor in Missouri to medical use as well.
The strict nonproliferation regime,and the difficulty of providing adequate security for the isotopes,which could be used by terrorists to make dirty bombs,complicate the response to the growing need.In 2004,the U.S. secreted medical isotopes,among other nuclear materials,out of Iraq,for fear they would be used in a weapon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Real Estate Branding Part 2:Inside Realogy

Realogy is a vast conglomerate of real estate-related franchises,comprising Century 21,the TRG Title Resource Group,ERA,Sotheby's International Realty,Coldwell Banker,Coldwell Banker Commercial,Oncor International,Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate,NRT Residential Brokerage,Cartus and The Corcoran Group.Based in Parsipanny,New Jersey,Realogy has 14,500 offices in 93 countries,employing 268,000 sales asociates.About half of Realogy's franchises are Century 21 offices.
Realogy's business model is called the "Value Circle."This circle of franchises provides excellent cross-selling opportunities,Realogy says,while enabling customers to enjoy the convenience of a single-source solution for all their real estate needs:franchising,settlement,relocation,brokerage,mortgage.
Richard A. Smith is President and CEO of Realogy.Without question,it is a dominant force in the real estate markets today.At some point,Realogy may well be spun off back to public ownership again,as is the habit of private equity holders such as Apollo Management Group L.P.It could possibly be broken up into its constituent units at that time.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Real Estate Branding:Century 21

One of the first businessmen to perceive the power of branding and franchising,Arthur E. Bartlett,died in Coronado,California recently.Mr.Bartlett,76,co-founded Century 21,a real estate franchiser,with Marshall Fisher in 1971.Bartlett and Fisher encouraged local agents to come under the Century 21 brand,in order to build and participate in the prestige of a big name brand.Consumers have more confidence in the big brands,Mr.Bartlett observed.That applies as much to real estate as anything else.Franchising gives the small businessman a way to survive in our brand-conscious world.
Century 21 established itself by franchising to experienced agents,rather than recruiting novices.This gave it a considerable edge in the marketplace.The company was sold to TransWorld Corporation in 1978.Eventually,it was folded into Realogy,which is a multi-national,diversified real estate enterprise within a private equity portfolio.Realogy traded briefly on the NYSE,but was quickly acquired by Apollo Management Group,L.P.,a leading private equity firm.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dick Vermeil On Stress

Retired football coach Dick Vermeil,73,has been offering some advice to Type A personalities.The leave of absence of Florida coach Urban Meyer on account of stress-induced chest pains has highlighted the effects of stress in a very bold way,making Coach Vermeil's insights especially relevant:
1.Don't let your passion become your obsession.
2.You have to delegate.
3.You have to let others do what you do well.
4.Realize when you can get away,even if only for 25-30 minutes,to regroup.Many times,under pressure you're not making the right decisions.
5.You have to be yourself.If I'm offensive,they have to live with it.People appreciate you most if you're yourself.
6.I'd coach tomorrow if I were younger.It doesn't mean you can't be a good parent or grandparent.As I got older,I did a better job of balancing.You only have one chance,Dick Vermeil observed.
Coach Vermeil said he was glad Coach Meyer was taking a leave of absence,rather than resigning.Stress can be managed,the former coach of the Philadelphia Eagles,St.Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs explained.Mr.Vermeil has been married to Carolyn White since 1956.They are the parents of three and grandparents of eleven.Coach Vermeil was the first coach in the history of football to win both the Rose Bowl(1976)and Super Bowl(2000).He was portrayed in the 2006 film "Invincible" by Gary Kinnear.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Canada Approves Nortel Deal

The Canadian Ministry of Industry has signed off on Ciena Corporation's acquisition of Nortel's Metro Ethernet Networks business.Nortel is undergoing a major restructuring.The Toronto telecom firm has been shedding a number of businesses,selling assets to Hitachi,Avaya and GENBAND.Nortel's business spans more than 150 countries,bringing in 2008 revenue of more than 10 billion dollars U.S.It is currently in bankruptcy proceedings.Nortel shares are traded on the OTC pink sheets.
Ciena had already obtained U.S. approval of the deal.Ciena CEO Gary Smith said they have always believed that the transaction provided a substantial benefit to Canada and the Canadian marketplace.The deal could roughly double Ciena's revenue and workforce over time.The company,headquartered in Linthicum,Maryland,employs around 2100 workers and posted revenue of 176.3 million dollars in its last fiscal quarter.It specializes in fiber optic technologies,communications networking equipment,software,services,processing systems and products.Ciena is listed on the NASDAQ exchange.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ford As An Investment

Michael Ward,auto analyst with Soleil Securities,says 2010 should be a good year for Ford Motor Company.They positioned themselves to benefit from a higher revenue environment.Ford is in a good position to capitalize on the restructuring measures they put in place.They are giving up a very strong name in Volvo,but the sale will net about two billion dollars in proceeds,helping Ford focus on their "One Ford" strategy.
Over the next few years,Mr.Ward believes,Ford will focus on global products such as the Fiesta hatchback.Another global model Ford will be promoting is the Transit Connect,a compact van just now being introduced to the U.S.It had been marketed in 55 countries and saw success as a small business vehicle,and even as an ambulance.It has good fuel economy for a van,and comes in both 5-passenger and cargo versions.
Ford shares closed 2009 at 10 dollars even,just 37 cents off their high for the year,and well off their low of 1.50.They don't yield a dividend,and were down .13 for the week.In this morning's trading,Ford was up as high as 10.17.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Coke Aims For Responsibility

As part of its overall image makeover,Coca-Cola is positioning itself as an ally of parents in their commitment to their children's welfare.The company says that is why it aims to have a responsible and helpful presence in schools.Beginning in 2006,Coke points out,it helped institute national school beverage guidelines in the U.S. by voluntarily removing its full-calorie beverages from schools.Since then,their industry has reduced calories provided to U.S. schools by 58%,Coke claims.
Coca-Cola cites its more than 60-year partnership with Boys&Girls Clubs of America as evidence of its commitment to children.The relationship has produced programs such as Triple Play,which has encouraged more than 4,000,000 children to increase their level of physical activity and educated them about proper nutrition.The beverage maker also notes the My Coke Rewards for Schools Program,through which it has outfitted schools with the sports equipment and teaching materials they badly need,registering more than 5,000 schools to date.Coke maintains a website about its activities and motives at