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Country Garden Holdings
24 октября, 17:08

ФИНАМ: Еженедельный обзор: В начале недели картина в секторе российских евробондов выглядит нейтральной

Еженедельный мониторинг рынка еврооблигаций Стабилизация на рынке базовых активов привела к небольшому росту в секторе суверенных российских евробондов на прошлой неделе — российская суверенная кривая потеряла в доходности около 5 б. п. Доходности "Россия-30" и "Россия-42" закончили неделю на отметках 2,5 и 4,8% соответственно, в то время как доходность "Россия-23" осталась на отметке 3,5%. Спред к 10-летним казначейским облигациям США был зафиксирован на уровне 174 б. п. Российский корпоративный сегмент еврооблигаций был в небольшом минусе. Лидерами снижения оказались бумаги нефтегазовых компаний и металлургов. Уровень кредитного риска на "Россию" CDS 5Y закончил неделю на отметке 226 б. п. В российском корпоративном сегменте отмечена смешанная динамика изменения стоимости страховки от дефолта. В начале этой недели картина в секторе российских евробондов выглядит нейтральной. Впрочем, на фоне локального ослабления напряжения, связанного с возможным подъемом ставок ФРС США, российские бумаги могут показать некоторый рост. Инвестиционные идеи (российские евробонды) 20 октября агентство Fitch подтвердило долгосрочный рейтинг дефолта эмитента в иностранной валюте "ГМК "Норильский никель" на уровне BBB-, изменив прогноз по нему на "стабильный" с "негативного". "Изменение прогноза отражает аналогичное действие по рейтингу Российской Федерации", - отмечается в сообщении агентства. Мы не раз отмечали высокое кредитное качество эмитента, в линейке евробондов которого мы выделяем выпуск с погашением в 2022 г., торгующийся с наибольшим спредом относительно суверенной кривой. Инвестиционные идеи (иностранные евробонды) В сегменте бумаг с относительно высоким рейтингом отметим долларовый выпуск китайской компании COUNTRY GARDEN HOLDINGS COMPANY LIMITED с погашением в 2020 г. Старший необеспеченный выпуск объемом 900 млн долл. размещен в феврале 2015 г. По бумаге предусмотрено два колл-опциона, доходность к первому из них (09.03.18 г. по цене 103,75 %) составляет 4,5 %. Кроме того, до 9 марта 2018 г. эмитент имеет право выкупить до 35 % выпуска бумаги по цене 107,5 % за счет средств, привлеченных в результате размещения акций. Отметим, что бумага характеризуется довольно высоким купоном (7,5 %). COUNTRY GARDEN HOLDINGS COMPANY LIMITED занимается строительством недвижимости (вилл, таунхаусов, квартир) в континентальном Китае. Кроме того, компания вовлечена в создание крупных объектов социального назначения — школ, гостиниц, больниц и тематических парков. Количество сотрудников — 80 тыс. Акции эмитента торгуются на фондовой бирже Гонконга с текущей рыночной капитализацией 11,5 млрд долл. В сегменте бумаг повышенной доходности обратим внимание на еврозаем американской компании SUNCOKE ENERGY PARTNERS LP с погашением в 2020 г. Старший необеспеченный евробонд размещен в августе 2015 г. По бумаге предусмотрено четыре колл-опциона, доходность к ближайшему из них (01.02.17 г. по цене 105,531 %) составляет 142,0 %. Для бумаги с композитным рейтингом single-B доходность SXCP 7 ⅜ 02/01/20 выглядит интересно. SUNCOKE ENERGY PARTNERS LP в течение 50 лет производит высококачественный кокс, используемый при производстве стали, а также осуществляет поставки угля (в том числе и на экспорт) металлургическим и электрогенерирующим компаниям. Терминалы компании располагают мощностями для переработки 40 млн т. угля в год и расположены главным образом в восточной части США. Акции эмитента котируются на фондовой бирже Нью-Йорка с рыночной капитализацией 774 млн долл.

02 апреля 2015, 19:00

New share deal propels developer to 5% surge

SHARES of Country Garden Holdings Co rose nearly 5 percent in Hong Kong yesterday after the property developer said it would sell HK$6.3 billion (US$813 million) worth of new shares to the life insurance

28 августа 2014, 13:56

Shares In Chinese Billionaire's Real Estate Developer Drop 5% On Rights Plan

Shares in Country Garden Holding, the Guangdong  real estate developer controlled by billionaire Yang Huiyan, fell by 5% in Hong Kong today after the company announced plans for a 1-for-15 rights issue that would raise about HK$3.15 billion, or $406 million, to repay debt and add to its working capital. The [...]

15 мая 2014, 10:08

Утренний брифинг от Saxo Bank: обзор рынков на 15 мая 2014 года

Форекс: Евро торгуется в узком диапазоне  Этим утром торги по евро относительно главных валют идут в ограниченном диапазоне. Между тем, инвесторы находятся в ожидании выхода предварительных данных по ВВП за первый квартал для стран Еврозоны; так, согласно прогнозам, они должны свидетельствовать об улучшении ситуации. Будет опубликован отчёт по инфляции потребительских цен в Еврозоне, который, скорее всего, должен подтвердить апрельский рост. В США запланирован ряд макрорелизов, в частности интерес представит информация по первичным заявкам на пособие по безработице и потребительским ценам. Кроме того, президент Федеральной резервной системы Джанет Йеллен выступит в Торговой палате с речью. В 5 часов утра по GMT евро несколько прибавил против американского доллара, торгуясь по цене 1,3718 доллара, и чуть опустился в сравнении с британским фунтом, составив 0,8178 фунта. Японская иена выросла на 0,1 процента как по отношению к доллару США, так и евро. Тем временем, данные за первый квартал 2014 год показали рост экономики Японии больше ожиданий. Австралийский доллар незначительно снизился относительно американского доллара. Европа: Рынок откроется в «минусе» Открытие германского фондового индекса DAX и французского CAC ожидается на 25-29 пунктов и 8-9 пунктов ниже соответственно. Индекс Британской фондовой биржи FTSE100 откроется понижением на 6-8 пунктов . Публикация объёма ВВП Еврозоны, Германии, Франции, Италии, Португалии и Греции; индекса потребительских цен Еврозоны; индекса цен производителей и цен на импорт Швейцарии; индекса ведущих экономических индикаторов Великобритании от CB запланирована на сегодня. Кроме того, выйдет отчёт Европейского центрального банка. Cie Financiere Richemont SA (CFR), Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP), Deutsche Post AG (DPW), Merck KGaA (MRK), Vivendi SA (VIV), Assicurazioni Generali SpA (G), KBC Groep NV (KBC), Bouygues SA (EN), National Grid (NG/), Land Securities Group (LAND), London Stock Exchange Group (LSE), Vedanta Resources (VED), Talktalk Telecom Group (TALK) и Thomas Cook Group (TCG) отчитаются по результатам своей деятельности. Препарат иммунотерапии онкологических заболеваний MPDL3280A компании Roche Holding AG (ROG) дал обнадёживающие результаты в лечении прогрессирующего рака мочевого пузыря на ранней стадии клинического испытания. Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) назначил Алистера Блэкмана (Alastair Blackman) из Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) своим новым управляющим директором и начальником отдела медиа-индустрии в сфере инвестиционного банкинга для стран Европы, Ближнего Востока и Африки. Assicurazioni Generali SpA (G) вступила в эксклюзивные переговоры с Grupo BTG Pactual SA в отношении возможной продажи швейцарского частного банка BSI Group. Deutsche Euroshop AG (DEQ) в отчёте за первый квартал 2014 года сообщил о росте доходов на 18 процентов и 12-процентном увеличении прибыли. Главный исполнительный директорAstraZeneca (AZN) Паскаль Сорио (Pascal Soriot) заявил, что компания проведёт переговоры с Pfizer относительно возможного поглощения, если сроки и условия изменённого предложения от последней будут достаточно выгодными. По словам AstraZeneca (AZN), экспериментальный препарат AZD9291 для лечения рака лёгких показал положительные результаты на ранней стадии испытаний, сократив опухоли у 51 процента пациентов. Сегодня на ежегодном совещании Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) предстоит столкнуться с серьёзными вопросами со стороны своих акционеров в отношении компенсации в 7,8 миллиона фунтов стерлингов, предоставленной главному исполнительному директору Антонио Орта-Осорио (Antonio Horta-Osorio), – передаёт Reuters. Азия: Рынки торгуются смешанно Этим утром азиатские рынки демонстрируют разнонаправленную динамику. В Японии Sony (6758 ) отступили в силу неожиданного прогноза чистых убытков на полный год. Акции банковского сектора Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (8316), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (8306) и Mizuho Financial Group (8411) пошли вниз из-за прогноза падения годовой чистой прибыли. Credit Saison (8253) потеряли в цене в связи с более слабой, чем ожидалось, годовой прибылью. Тем не менее, Pioneer (6773) подскочили на планах компании продать своё подразделение по производству аудиовизуальной продукции. В 5 часов утра по GMT индекс Токийской фондовой биржи Nikkei 225 торгуется на 0,8 процента ниже на отметке 14285,0 пункта. В Южной Корее Youlchon Chemical (008730), DuzonBIzon (012510) и Dong-A ST (170900) опустились, оказавшись в списке топ-отстающих среди компонентов индекса KOSPI. В Гонконге Tencent Holdings (700) выросли ввиду 60-процентного роста прибыли в первом квартале. Country Garden Holdings (2007), напротив, отступили на фоне регистрации прибыли вслед за 11-процентным ростом в течение двух предыдущих сессий, что в свою очередь было вызвано новостями о том, что правительство будет оказывать поддержку рынку недвижимости. В Китае бумаги сектора недвижимости Gemdale Corporation (600383), China Merchants Property Development (000024) и Poly Real Estate Group (600048 ) зафиксировали потери. США: Фьючерсы торгуются выше В 5 часов утра по GMT фьючерсы на S&P 500 торгуются на 0,1 пункта выше. Публикация индекса потребительских цен, числа первичных и повторных заявок на получение пособия по безработице, объёма промышленного и фабричного производств, индекса деловой активности в обрабатывающем секторе Нью-Йорка, обзора производственной активности от ФРБ Филадельфии, чистого и общего объёма покупок долгосрочных американских ценных бумаг иностранными инвесторами, индекса рынка жилья по данным Национальной ассоциации жилищно-строительных фирм (NAHB) и индекса использования производственных мощностей планируется на сегодня. Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), Applied Materials (AMAT), CA Inc. (CA), Nordstrom (JWN), Kohl's Corporation (KSS), Autodesk (ADSK), Alliant Techsystems (ATK) и J. C. Penney Company (JCP) объявят о своих результатах сегодня. В среду в рамках продлённой торговой сессии Cisco Systems (CSCO) выросли на 7,2 процента вследствие превзошедших ожидания экспертов результатов третьего квартала. Juniper Networks (JNPR) и Ciena Corporation (CIEN) продвинулись вперёд на 1,6 процента и 1,1 процента соответственно. Vipshop Holdings (VIPS) подскочили на 8,7 процента ввиду дохода и прибыли за первый квартал, а также прогноза дохода на второй квартал выше оценок аналитиков. VOXX International (VOXX), напротив, стремительно упали на 21,6 процента из-за более слабых, чем ожидалось, данных за четвёртый квартал. ExOne Company (XONE) снизились на 14,0 процентов по причине роста убытков в первом квартале в результате более слабого дохода. Jack in the Box (JACK) уменьшились на 2,8 процента в связи с отставанием прибыли второго квартала от ожиданий рынка. Американский фондовый индекс S&P 500 во время вчерашней торговой сессии опустился на 0,5 процента. Fossil Group (FOSL) подешевели на 10,3 процента после того, как прогноз компании по продажам и прибыли на второй квартал оказался ниже оценок рынка. International Business Machines (IBM) потеряли 1,8 процента несмотря на то, что главный исполнительный директор Джинни Рометти (Ginni Rometty) выразил полную уверенность в прогнозе компании для прибыли на 2015 год. Сокращение прогноза продаж транспортных средств привели к падению Deere (DE) на два процента. Whirlpool (WHR) отступили на 4,6 процента, продолжив снижения предыдущей сессии после урезания брокером рейтинга с «Buy» до «Neutral». Бумаги Macy's (M) закрылись почти без изменений. Между тем, компания сообщила о более высокой, чем ожидалось, прибыли в первом квартале, в то время как продажи вышли ниже ожиданий рынка. Кроме того, компания увеличила программу обратной покупки акций на 1,5 миллиарда долларов, повысила дивидендные выплаты и прогноз продаж и прибыли на 2014 год. Iron Mountain (IRM) пошли вверх на 7,2 процента благодаря подтверждению брокером рейтинга акций на уровне «Overweight». Цена на бумаги Western Digital (WDC) возросла на 3,3 процента вслед за повышением брокером рейтинга с «Equal-weight» до «Overweight» и целевой цены. Сводка последних новостей Японская экономика растёт быстрее, чем того ожидают С учётом сезонной корректировки ВВП Японии в первом квартале 2014 года увеличился на 1,5 процента, что выше рыночных ожиданий и пересмотренного показателя роста предыдущего месяца в 0,1 процента. Индекс активности в секторе услуг Японии идёт вверх «в ногу с ожиданиями» Индекс активности в секторе услуг Японии в марте поднялся на 2,4 процента, совпав с ожиданиями рынка, тогда как месяцем ранее с учётом пересмотра было отмечено понижение на 0,9 процента. Австралийские продажи новых транспортных средств сокращаются Годовой уровень объёма продаж новых транспортных средств в Австралии отступил на 1,9 процента в апреле по сравнению с пересмотренным показателем падения предшествующего месяца в 2,9 процента. Рост деловой активности в производственном секторе Новой Зеландии замедляет темпы Новозеландский индекс деловой активности в секторе обрабатывающей промышленности от государственной организации Business New Zealand, представляющей интересы деловых кругов, в апреле опустился до 55,2 с пересмотренного значения марта в 58,0, оставаясь при этом всё ещё выше отметки 50. Материал предоставлен Saxo Bank

07 мая 2014, 10:12

Утренний брифинг от Saxo Bank: обзор рынков на 7 мая 2014 года

Форекс: Евро торгуется с понижением  Этим утром относительно главных валют движение евро характеризуется снижением. Так, на аппетит инвесторов к риску негативное влияние оказали новости о ситуации вокруг Украины. Вдобавок, данные за апрель по деловой активности в непроизводственном секторе Китая констатировали замедление её темпов, что усилило опасения касательно спада второй по величине экономики мира. Сегодня внимание участников рынка будет обращено на производственные заказы Германии, которые, согласно ожиданиям, должны сказать о месячном росте в марте. В США президент Федеральной резервной системы Джанет Йеллен (Janet Yellen) выступит перед Объединённым экономическим комитетом. В 5 часов утра по GMT евро несколько потерял против американского доллара и британского фунта, торгуясь по цене 1,3926 доллара и 0,8202 фунта соответственно. Японская иена прибавила по 0,1 процента по отношению к доллару США и евро на фоне появления спроса на безопасные активы в связи критической ситуацией на Украине. Австралийский доллар опустился на 0,1 процента в сравнении с американским долларом. Тем временем, апрельские данные свидетельствовали о продолжающемся сокращении активности в строительном секторе Австралии. Европа: Рынок откроется в «минусе» Открытие германского фондового индекса DAX и французского CAC ожидается на 22-27 пунктов и 10-13 пунктов ниже соответственно. Индекс Британской фондовой биржи FTSE100 откроется понижением на 19-20 пунктов. Публикация индекса производственных заказов Германии; объёмов производства в промышленном и обрабатывающем секторах и торгового баланса Франции; уровня безработицы Швейцарии; числа регистраций новых автомобилей и баланса цен на жильё от RICS Великобритании запланирована на сегодня. Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI), Siemens AG (SIE), ING Groep NV (INGA), Societe Generale SA (GLE), Henkel & Company KGaA AG (HEN), Endesa SA (ELE), Credit Agricole SA (ACA), Swiss Re AG (SREN), Commerzbank AG (CBK), HeidelbergCement AG (HEI), HSBC Holdings (HSBA), Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT), Experian (EXPN), J Sainsbury (SBRY), Inmarsat (ISA) и GW Pharmaceuticals (GWP) отчитаются по результатам своей деятельности. Siemens AG (SIE) собирается купить подразделение Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR/) по производству газовых турбин и компрессоров за 950 миллионов евро. Siemens AG (SIE) заключила соглашение о создании совместного предприятия с Mitsubishi Heavy Industries для обеспечения оборудованием и материалами, а также оказания прочих услуг в области железорудной, сталелитейной и алюминиевой промышленности. Societe Generale SA (GLE) объявила о снижении чистой прибыли за первый квартал на 13 процентов. Как сообщила Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB ), дым, обнаруженный во вторник на НПЗ мощностью 156 400 баррелей в день в Мартинес штата Калифорния, никоим образом не отразился на деятельности предприятия. По словам HSBC Holdings (HSBA), находящаяся в её владении под косвенным контролем дочерняя компания HSBC Bank Australia Limited подписала соглашение с компанией Macquarie Bank Limited о продаже ей кредитно-карточного портфеля Woolworths в Австралии. BP (BP/) произвела перезапуск установки каталитического крекинга на НПЗ мощностью 405 тысяч баррелей в день в Уайтинге штата Индиана, – передаёт Reuters. Бизнес-секретарь Великобритании Винс Кейбл (Vince Cable) сообщил, что страна может из государственных интересов вмешаться в предложение Pfizer о поглощении компании AstraZeneca (AZN). Азия: Торги в «красном» Этим утром азиатские рынки торгуются на отрицательной территории, продолжая снижения ночной сессии на Уолл-стрит. В Японии SoftBank (9984) отступили после того, как Alibaba Group Holding, где компании принадлежит основная доля, подала заявку на первичное публичное размещение акций. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (8316), Nitto Boseki (3110) и Olympus (7733) зафиксировали потери. Asahi Group Holdings (2502), напротив, выросли ввиду превысившей оценки аналитиков операционной прибыли за первый квартал. В 5 часов утра по GMT индекс Токийской фондовой биржи Nikkei 225 торгуется на 2,4 процента ниже на отметке 14116,4 пункта. В Южной Корее KR Motors (000040), Pan Ocean (028670) и Bohae Brewery (000890) подешевели, оказавшись в списке топ-отстающих среди компонентов индекса KOSPI. В Гонконге Country Garden Holdings (2007), Evergrande Real Estate Group (3333) и Shimao Property Holdings (813) опустились в силу понижения брокером рейтинга с «Buy» до «Sell». В Китае рынки торгуются ниже после выхода слабых данных по деловой активности в сфере услуг страны и опасений вокруг внутреннего роста продаж жилья. China State Construction Engineering Corporation (601668 ) потеряли в цене на заявлении Центрального банка Китая об ужесточении контроля в сфере недвижимости. США: Фьючерсы торгуются ниже В 5 часов утра по GMT фьючерсы на S&P 500 торгуются на 1,4 пункта ниже. Публикация изменения объёма потребительского кредитования, показателя производительности без учёта сельскохозяйственного сектора, уровня себестоимости труда и числа запросов на ипотечное кредитование от МВА планируется на сегодня. Кроме того, глава ФРС Джанет Йеллен (Janet Yellen) выступит перед Объёдинённым экономическим комитетом. Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA), Mondelez International (MDLZ), Duke Energy (DUK), Allergan (AGN), Prudential Financial (PRU), Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTSH), Devon Energy (DVN)/и Tesla Motors (TSLA) объявят о своих результатах сегодня. Во вторник в рамках продлённой торговой сессии Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) выросли на один процент после того, как Alibaba Group Holding, где компания владеет 24-процентной долей, подала заявку на первичное публичное размещение акций. Оптимистичные показатели второго квартала обеспечили рост Walt Disney (DIS) на 0,6 процента. Electronic Arts (EA) подорожали на 15,9 процента вследствие существенного, более высоких, чем ожидалось, продаж и прибыли по итогам четвёртого квартала. Whole Foods Market (WFM), напротив, опустились на 13,9 процента в силу неудовлетворительных результатов второго квартала и понижения годового прогноза прибыли и дохода. Zulily (ZU) стремительно упали на 15,2 процента в связи с более крупным убытком по финансовому показателю non-GAAP. Американский фондовый индекс S&P 500 во время вчерашней регулярной торговой сессии снизился на 0,2 процента на фоне разочаровывающих отчётов по прибыли ряда корпораций. American International Group (AIG) отступили на 4,1 процента после сокращения операционной прибыли в первом квартале, вызванного увеличившимися судебными издержками. Discovery Communications (DISCA) подешевели на 3,9 процента по причине падения чистой прибыли в первом квартале несмотря на двухзначный рост дохода. TripAdvisor (TRIP) сократились на 3,9 процента перед выходом отчёта по прибыли после закрытия биржи. Netflix (NFLX) и Facebook (FB ) пошли вниз на 5,3 процента и 4,4 процента соответственно. Merck & Company (MRK) потеряли 2,6 процента на планах компании продать свой бизнес по производству препаратов народного потребления фирме Bayer AG за 14,2 миллиарда долларов. Best Buy (BBY) упали на 2,8 процента. Так, согласно информации, полученной от компании, коммерческий директор Джуд Бакли (Jude Buckley) покинул свой пост. Target Corporation (TGT) опустились на 3,7 процента после понижения брокером рейтинга с «Buy» до «Neutral». Цена на бумаги EOG Resources (EOG), Anadarko Petroleum (APC) и DIRECTV (DTV) возросла на 4,4 процента, 3,3 процента и 2,4 процента соответственно благодаря позитивным данным по скорректированной прибыли за первый квартал. Кроме того, Anadarko Petroleum повысила прогноз продаж на 2014 год. Сводка последних новостей Дж. Стейн: У ФРС есть потенциал для планомерного завершения программы QE Член совета управляющих ФРС Джереми Стейн (Jeremy Stein) считает, что ФРС способна завершить свою масштабную программу покупки активов, не вызывая при этом увеличения волатильности на рынках, ибо инвесторы «в большинстве своём ожидают» продолжения сокращения QE до конца года. Падение цен в розничных магазинах Великобритании замедляется Ежегодный индекс розничных цен Великобритании от Британского консорциума предприятий розничной торговли (BRC) в апреле опустился на 1,4 процента относительно падения предыдущего месяца в 1,7 процента. Японская экономика продолжит восстановление умеренными темпами Как показал протокол последнего заседания Банка Японии (BOJ), восстановление японской экономики продолжится умеренными темпами. Политики также указали на то, что повышение налога с продаж в апреле не оказало сильного влияния на потребительские расходы. Рост сектора услуг Китая сокращается В апреле китайский индекс деловой активности PMI в сфере услуг от HSBC/Markit опустился до 51,4 с 51,9 предшествующего месяца. Розничные продажи Австралии растут меньше прогнозов С учётом сезонной корректировки объём розничных продаж Австралии в марте продвинулся на 0,1 процента в месячном сопоставлении, что оказалось меньше рыночных ожиданий; при этом пересмотренный показатель роста февраля составил 0,3 процента. Активность в строительном секторе Австралии падает Австралийский скорректированный на сезонность индекс деловой активности в строительном секторе от Австралийской промышленной группы (AiG) в апреле опустился до 45,9, месяцем ранее показатель находился на отметке 46,2. Безработица в Новой Зеландии на прежнем уровне Уровень безработицы Новой Зеландии в первом квартале 2014 года остался на уровне четвёртого квартала – шесть процентов. Материал предоставлен Saxo Bank

02 апреля 2014, 11:44

Утренний брифинг от Saxo Bank: обзор рынков на 2 апреля 2014 года

Форекс: Евро торгуется с повышением  Этим утром евро торгуется с повышением относительно главных валют. Вчерашний выход ряда позитивных данных из Еврозоны стал причиной улучшения настроений по поводу экономического роста, что в свою очередь снизило спекуляции касательно возможного объявления Европейским центральным банком о дополнительных мерах стимулирования во время завтрашнего заседания. Ввиду малого числа макроэкономических показателей из Европы прежде всего под пристальный взгляд участников рынка попадёт информация по занятости от ADP и производственным заказам в США. Так, согласно ожиданиям трейдеров, отчёт должен показать ускорение темпов создания рабочих мест в марте. Кроме того, президент Федерального резервного банка Сент-Луиса Джеймс Буллард (James Bullard) выступит с речью. В 5 часов утра по GMT евро прибавил по 0,1 процента против американского доллара и британского фунта, торгуясь по цене 1,3805 доллара и 0,8302 фунта соответственно. Японская иена снизилась на 0,2 процента и 0,3 процента по сравнению с долларом США и евро соответственно. Европа: Рынок откроется в «плюсе» Открытие германского фондового индекса DAX и французского CAC ожидается на 32 пункта и 13 пунктов выше соответственно. Индекс Британской фондовой биржи FTSE100 откроется повышением на 4 пункта. Публикация объёма ВВП и индекса цен производителей Еврозоны; изменения уровня безработицы Испании; индекса деловой активности PMI в строительном секторе от Markit и индекса цен на жильё Великобритании запланирована на сегодня. Repower AG (REPI), NicOx SA (COX), TK Development A/S (TKDV), ECA SA (ECASA), AST Groupe SA (ASP), ASOS (ASC), Amiad Water Systems Limited (AFS), Cupid (CUP), Office2office (OFF) и Inditherm (IDM) отчитаются по результатам своей деятельности. Организация Объединенных рабочих автомобильной промышленности (UAW) попросила Национальное управление по вопросам трудовых отношений США отложить намеченное на 21 апреля 2014 г. слушание в отношении проигранного голосования по вступлению в профсоюз на заводе Volkswagen (VOW3) в Теннеси ввиду новых доказательств сговора между антипрофсоюзными группами и республиканскими политиками, – передаёт Reuters. Как объявила BlackBerry Limited (BBRY), она не собирается продлевать лицензионное соглашение с T-Mobile США – подразделением мобильной связи Deutsche Telekom (DTE) –по продаже продукции BlackBerry, срок которого истекает 25 апреля 2014 г. По данным Reuters, Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) от имени Fortress Investment Group LLC размещает 30 миллионов акций германской Gagfah SA (GFJ) по цене от 11,00 до 11,20 евро за акцию. Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) планирует перейти на более дешевое китайское оборудование в целях снижения расходов в её проблемном бизнесе по добыче сланцевого газа в США. BP (BP/) к середине 2015 года планирует свернуть производство на своём заводе Bulwer Island в Брисбене (Австралия), что приведёт к сокращению 350 рабочих мест. О каких-либо сложностях на руднике Collahuasi в Чили, принадлежащего Anglo American (AAL) и Glencore Xstrata (GLEN), после мощного землетрясения в стране не сообщалось, – передаёт Reuters. Главный исполнительный директор Anglo American (AAL) Марк Кутифани (Mark Cutifani) заявил, что компания может рассмотреть отделение охваченного забастовкой дочернего предприятия по добыче платины Amplats, если его показатели окажутся слабее остальных. Азия: Торги в «зелёном»  Этим утром азиатские рынки торгуются на положительной территории, отображая таким образом повышения на Уолл-стрит. В Японии акции компании Renesas Electronics (6723) прибавили в цене на новостях о том, что Apple ведёт переговоры по покупке доли в её подразделении по разработке чипов Renesas SP Drivers за 50 миллиардов японских иен. Бумаги автомобильного сектора Mitsubishi Motors (7211), Toyota Motor (7203) и Nissan Motor (7201) выросли ввиду позитивных мартовских данных по объёму продаж автомобилей. Kyushu Electric Power (9508), напротив, отступили в силу ведущихся переговоров компании с государственным Банком развития Японии о продаже привилегированных акций примерной стоимостью 100 миллиардов японских иен. В 5 часов утра по GMT индекс Токийской фондовой биржи Nikkei 225 торгуется на 1,8 процента выше на отметке 15052,9 пункта. В Гонконге акции сектора недвижимости Country Garden Holdings (2007), Poly Property Group(119), Vanke Property Overseas (1036) и Shimao Property Holdings (813) зафиксировали повышение. В Китае Daqin Railway Company Limited (601006) подскочили благодаря тому, что правительство страны может позволить рынку устанавливать цены на железнодорожные грузоперевозки. Jiangxi Copper Company(600362) поднялись вследствие роста цен на медь. В Южной Корее Kia Motors (000270) и Ssangyong Motor (003620) пошли вверх в результате значительного роста объёма продаж в марте. Тогда как Hyundai Motor (005380) сократились на два процента по причине падения объёма продаж в США. США: Фьючерсы торгуются выше В 6 часов утра по GMT фьючерсы на S&P 500 торгуются на 3,1 пункта выше. Публикация индекса производственных заказов, изменения числа занятых от ADP, числа запросов на ипотечное кредитование от Ассоциации ипотечных банков (МВА) и индекса текущих условий для ведения бизнеса в Нью-Йорке от Института управления снабжением (ISM) планируется на сегодня. Monsanto Company (MON), Acuity Brands (AYI), Texas Industries (TXI), UniFirst Corporation (UNF), Resources Connection (RECN) и OMNOVA Solutions (OMN) объявят о своих результатах сегодня. Во вторник в рамках продлённой торговой сессии Envivio (ENVI) стремительно поднялись на 22,7 процента ввиду планов компании запустить спортивные HD-каналы в прямом эфире через устройство Apple TV в Европе. MannKind Corporation (MNKD) выросли на 16,8 процента после того, как консультативная группа Управления США по пищевым продуктам и лекарственным веществам (FDA) рекомендовала одобрить экспериментальный препарат Afrezza. BRE Properties (BRE) продвинулись вперёд на 4,4 процента, тогда как Essex Property Trust (ESS) отступили на 0,9 процента в результате завершения слияния компаний и созданием объединённой фирмы с общей капитализацией примерно в 16,2 миллиарда долларов. Apollo Education Group (APOL) сократились на шесть процентов в силу более низкого, чем ожидалось, дохода во втором квартале. Blackstone Mortgage Trust (BXMT) подешевели на 2,5 процента в связи с началом продажи компанией своих восьми миллионов обыкновенных акций класса А. Во время вчерашней регулярной торговой сессии S&P 500 прибавил 0,7 процента, обновив тем самым свои максимумы, после того, как мартовские данные показали ускорение роста производственной активности страны второй месяц подряд. Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) подорожали на 12,7 процента вслед за утверждением FDA новой версии роботизированной хирургической системы «Да Винчи». Celgene Corporation (CELG) подскочили на пять процентов благодаря подписанию компанией соглашения о стратегическом сотрудничестве с Forma Therapeutics. Gilead Sciences (GILD) и Amgen (AMGN) пошли вверх на 3,9 процента и 2,2 процента соответственно. Цена на бумаги NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) возросла на 4,1 процента вследствие повышений брокера. Ford Motor (F) увеличились на 4,6 процента на сообщениях компании о росте объёма продаж транспортных средств за последний месяц. Акции технологических компаний Cisco Systems (CSCO), Google (GOOG) и Microsoft (MSFT) прибавили 3,1 процента, 1,8 процента и 1,1 процента соответственно. Frontier Communications (FTR) упали на 1,8 процента на фоне создания инвесторами нереализованной прибыли после четырёх повышательных сессий. Сводка последних новостей Продажи транспортных средств в США растут Мартовский общий объём продаж транспортных средств в США увеличился до 16,4 миллиона единиц в годовом исчислении с 15,3 миллиона в феврале. Oбъём денежной базы Японии увеличивается В марте объём денежной базы Японии на годовой основе расширился на 54,8 процента по сравнению с ростом предыдущего месяца в 55,7 процента. Число выданных разрешений на строительство в Австралии сокращается больше ожиданий С учётом сезонной корректировки на ежемесячной основе февральское число выданных разрешений на строительство в Австралии сократилось на пять процентов, опередив рыночные ожидания, тогда как пересмотренное значение роста предшествующего месяца равно 6,9 процента. Материал предоставлен Saxo Bank

13 марта 2014, 11:31

Утренний брифинг от Saxo Bank: обзор рынков на 13 марта 2014 года

Форекс: Евро торгуется с повышением   Этим утром евро торгуется с повышением относительно большинства своих главных валют-партнёров. Тем временем, прежде всего инвесторы обратят свои взоры на ежемесячный экономический отчёт ЕЦБ, который выйдет сегодня позже. В США внимания удостоятся данные по розничным продажам, которые в феврале могут показать отскок. Число первичных заявок на получение пособия по безработице и ежемесячный отчёт по бюджету также приковывает взгляды участников рынка. В 6 часов утра по GMT евро прибавил 0,2 процента против американского доллара, торгуясь по цене 1,3937 доллара, и несколько опустился в сравнении с британским фунтом, составив 0,8363 фунта. Австралийский доллар повысился на 0,6 процента против доллара США ввиду февральского роста числа занятых Австралии больше ожиданий. Японская иена прибавила 0,1 процента против американского доллара и упала на 0,2 процента против евро. Европа: Рынок откроется в «плюсе» Открытие германского фондового индекса DAX и французского CAC ожидается на 46-49 пунктов и 17-19 пунктов выше соответственно. Индекс Британской фондовой биржи FTSE100 откроется повышением на 16-17 пунктов. Публикация индекса потребительских цен Франции и Италии; объёма розничных продаж Испании; уровня безработицы Греции запланирована на сегодня. Кроме того, выйдет ежемесячный доклад Европейского центрального банка. Информации по ключевым индикаторам Великобритании не будет. Assicurazioni Generali SpA (G), Dassault Aviation SA (AM), Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA), Hugo Boss AG (BOSS), Dufry AG (DUFN), Groupe Eurotunnel SA (GET), Rhoen Klinikum AG (RHK), Autogrill SpA (AGL), Wm Morrison Supermarkets (MRW), SIG (SHI), F&C Asset Management (FCAM), Trinity Mirror (TNI) и TT electronics (TTG) отчитаются по результатам своей деятельности. Bouygues SA (EN) увеличила размер выплаты наличными на сделку с поглощением SFR – телекоммуникационного подразделения Vivendi SA (VIV) – более, чем на 11 миллиардов евро, – передаёт Bloomberg. Gas Natural SDG SA (GAS) подала заявку на участие в торгах по покупке доли колумбийского правительства в Isagén, равной 57,6 процента, – пишет «Portafolio». Инвестиционная группа Jacobs Holding AG сообщила о планах продать 16-процентную долю в Adecco SA (ADEN). Совет директоров Leighton Holdings поддержал скорректированное предложение своего основного акционера Hochtief AG (HOT) об увеличении доли в компании. Кроме того, по просьбе последнего были прерваны трудовые отношения с главными исполнительным и финансовым директорами. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) заявила, что две последние фазы клинического исследования препарата «Меполизумаб», предназначенного для лечения людей с тяжёлой формой астмы, показали его эффективность, и уже к концу этого года компания надеется получить одобрение регулирующих органов на мировом уровне. Азия: Торги в «зелёном» Этим утром азиатские рынки торгуются на положительной территории. В Японии Teijin Limited (3401) выросли на сообщениях компании о планах поставлять компоненты и материалы для новых самолётов Airbus Group NV. Japan Airlines (9201) прибавили в цене после повторного присвоения брокером рейтинга акций «Buy». Toyota Motor (7203) подорожали на объявлении о предоставлении японским работникам компании самой большой годовой прибавки к зарплате за 21 год. В 6 часов утра по GMT индекс Токийской фондовой биржи Nikkei 225 торгуется на 0,5 процента выше на отметке 14907,5 пункта. В Южной Корее NCSoft Corporation (036570) пошли вверх на объявлении компанией о планах запустить в июне онлайн-игры на территории США и Европы. В Гонконге Country Garden Holdings (2007) опустились в силу понижения брокером рейтинга с «Buy» до «Neutral». В Китае Agricultural Bank of China (601288) и Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (600000) подскочили вслед за сообщениями СМИ о том, что они могут стать первыми банками, которые начнут продавать привилегированные акции. Kweichow Moutai (600519) поднялись благодаря позитивной оценке брокера касательно прогноза компании. США: Фьючерсы торгуются выше В 6 часов утра по GMT фьючерсы на S&P 500 торгуются на 5,5 пункта выше. Публикация объёма розничных продаж, числа первичных заявок на получение пособия по безработице, объёма товарно-материальных запасов и индекса цен на экспорт планируется на сегодня. Кроме того, внимание инвесторов будет сосредоточено на ежемесячном отчёте по бюджету за февраль. Dollar General (DG), Ulta Salon Cosmetics and Fragrance (ULTA), Tahoe Resources (TAHO), American Homes 4 Rent (AMH), SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS), Bright Horizons Family Solutions (BFAM) и Gogo Inc. (GOGO) объявят о своих результатах сегодня. В среду в рамках продлённой торговой сессии Williams-Sonoma (WSM) выросли на 6,7 процента вследствие превзошедших ожидания рынка результатов четвёртого квартала и увеличения дивидендных выплат. Оптимистичная прибыль четвёртого квартала обеспечила рост magicJackVocalTec (CALL) на 19,6 процента. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD) подорожали на 10,2 процента ввиду повышения компанией прогноза прибыли на полный год. ModusLink Global Solutions (MLNK), MDU Resources Group (MDU) и Stifel Financial (SF), напротив, пошли вниз на 9,2 процента, 9,1 процента и восемь процентов соответственно. Во время вчерашней регулярной торговой сессии S&P 500 завершил свои торги без изменений, в то время как инвесторы продолжают следить за развитием ситуации на Украине. Newmont Mining Corporation (NEM) прибавили в цене на 2,7 процента после того, как цены на золото подскочили до шестимесячного максимума. CSX Corporation (CSX) выросли на 0,2 процента. Компания понизила прогноз прибыли на первый квартал, ссылаясь на суровые погодные условия, при этом сообщив об ожиданиях умеренных темпов роста годовой прибыли. Marathon Petroleum (MPC), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) и Graham Holdings (GHC) пошли вверх на 3,5 процента, 3,3 процента и 3,1 процента соответственно, заняв место лидеров в списке индекса S&P 500. Существенное падение чистой прибыли в феврале и неудовлетворительные данные по операционной прибыли привели к уменьшению Progressive Corporation (PGR) на 3,8 процента. Urban Outfitters (URBN) и PulteGroup (PHM) потеряли 1,7 процента и 1,3 процента соответственно в силу понижения брокером рейтинга акций компании. Сводка последних новостей Дж. Лью: Рынок труда США продолжает демонстрировать улучшения Министр финансов США Джейкоб Лью (Jacob J. Lew) в своём выступлении перед Бюджетным комитетом Сената заявил, что американский рынок труда продолжает идти по пути улучшения. Кроме того, он добавил, что от американской экономики ожидается ускорение восстановления и страна готова поддержать Украину в столь нестабильный период. Британский баланс цен на жильё идёт вниз По данным Королевского института сертифицированных оценщиков (RICS), февральский баланс цен на жильё в Великобритании сократился до 45,0, показав минимальное значение с августа 2013 года, при этом пересмотренный показатель прошлого месяца составил 52,0. Японские заказы на продукцию машиностроения разворачиваются в сторону повышения В январе основной японский показатель заказов на продукцию машиностроения в месячном исчислении поднялся на 13,4 процента, намного превысив ожидания рынка, тогда как в предыдущем месяце наблюдалось падение на 15,7 процента. Безработица Австралии остаётся на прежнем уровне В феврале скорректированный на сезонность уровень безработицы Австралии не наблюдал изменений относительно предшествующего месяца и оправдал рыночные ожидания, показав 6,0 процента. Инфляционные ожидания потребителей Австралии падают Австралийский индекс инфляционных ожиданий потребителей в марте отступил на 2,1 процента с 2,3 процента февраля. РБНЗ повышает основную процентную ставку Резервный банк Новой Зеландии (РБНЗ) повысил свою ключевую процентную ставку до 2,75 процента с 2,50 процента, подтвердив ожидания рынка. Банк Кореи оставляет ключевую процентную ставку Банк Кореи сохранил свою основную процентную ставку на уровне последних десяти месяцев – 2,5 процента. Материал предоставлен Saxo Bank

08 октября 2013, 14:01

Китай: выручка Country Garden за 9 месяцев превысила годовой прогноз

Девелопер Country Garden Holdings, находящийся под контролем самой богатой женщины Китая Ян Хуэйянь (Yang Huiyan), сообщил, что его выручка от продаж недвижимости за девять месяцев с окончанием 30 сентября превысила целевой уровень по данному показателю за весь 2013 год. Так, за первые 9 месяцев финансового года выручка Country Garden составила 64,7 млрд юаней ($10,6 млрд), в то время как компания ожидала годовую выручку в размере 62 млрд юаней. На фоне данных новостей акции Country Garden достигали максимального за последние пять лет значения на сегодняшних торгах в Гонконге.

16 сентября 2013, 12:16

Egyptian authorities recapture Islamist-held town

Morsi supporters had held Delga since his overthrow in July and unleashed a campaign of terror against Christian minorityEgyptian authorities have finally recaptured a town in central Egypt that had been under the control of hardline supporters of ex-president Mohamed Morsi for more than two months, locals have told the Guardian.Armed crowds in Delga, a remote town of 120,000 people in Egypt's Minya province, first scared away its meagre police force following Morsi's overthrow on 3 July. They then unleashed a campaign of terror on the town's Coptic Christian minority, who make up around a sixth of the local population.Two earlier attempts to retake Delga failed, but in the early hours of Monday morning police launched a third and decisive assault, and have now re-entered the town, residents said by telephone.Further assaults on up to 10 other towns in the region where Islamists have also weakened state control since July are also planned, Minya's governor, Salah Zeyada, said.The move on Delga may have come too late for much of the town's Christian community. Up to 100 Christian families have fled since July, with dozens of Coptic properties – including three of Delga's five churches – torched and looted. Some Muslims stood by their Christian neighbours, but many Coptics were forced to pay protection money, and were unwilling to roam the streets freely in case they were attacked."Nothing can stop anyone in Delga. It's a free-for-all," one local Christian activist, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, said before police re-entered the town. "Copts tend to stay in their homes without work and our lives are unbearable."The violence peaked on 14 August, the day soldiers and police slaughtered hundreds of pro-Morsi supporters at two protest camps in Cairo, where about 350 Muslims from Delga were among the thousands demonstrating.In retaliation, groups of armed men across the country attacked dozens of police stations and at least 42 churches.Egypt's Coptic Christians, who form about 10% of the country's 85 million population, have long been targets of sectarian attacks, said Minya's bishop, Anba Macarius. But the hatred heightened this summer after Copts were blamed for Morsi's overthrow by some of his backers – even though his removal had strong support from Muslims and Christians alike.During August's anti-Christian backlash, Minya province, 150 miles south of Cairo, was the worst affected."As soon as the crackdown in Cairo started, all the loudspeakers at the main mosques in Delga issued calls for jihad," said Samir Lamei Sakr, a prominent Christian lawyer who fled from the town later that day. "One of them was as follows: 'Your brethren are being killed at Nahda and Rabaa [the two Cairo camps]. Everyone with a weapon, come out to save them from their killers – the Christian infidels, the police, and the army.' It was a call made across the village."According to Christians in Delga, huge mobs carrying machetes and firearms then attacked dozens of Coptic properties, including the 1,600-year-old monastery of the Virgin Mary and St Abraam."Everything was looted," said a Delgan church worker who asked not to be named. "Even the electric wiring was ripped out. The pews were taken and the place was burned afterwards. Twenty icons were burned or stolen … The gates were also stolen so the place was open for 10 days and people could just barge in when they felt like it. So some idiots showed up and started to dig in the garden hoping to find treasure."Nearby, Sakr's home was among 60 Copt-owned properties targeted by the mobs. Escaping with his wife, two children and his mother, Sakr was hit by 13 shotgun pellets, while his mother survived a pellet that hit her below the eye. Sakr's cousin, Iskandar, who owned a barber shop, was not so fortunate.According to Sakr, a mob "broke through his shop, and beat and killed him inside his home. There is a video [seen by the Guardian] showing him being dragged from the first floor. His body was then attached to a tractor and driven around town. Some of his Muslim friends got hold of his body and buried it right away – but the attackers unearthed him again and kept dragging him around town."In Delga, as across much of Egypt, state officials have been criticised for failing to protect Christians. "On 14 August, when we were calling for help, no one answered. Not the police, not the army, not the fire service," said Bishop Macarius, sitting in a Christian compound in Minya this week. Nearby churches – within sight of the provincial police headquarters – still bore the marks of arson. On one of the compound walls, a sectarian slogan attacked Tawadros II, the Coptic pope: "Tawadros is a dog."The police said that on 14 August they had their hands full dealing with attacks on police property. "There are many reasons why there was not 100% protection for the Copts on the 14th," said General Osama Metwaly, the province's new police chief, appointed last week. "One reason is that the police were under attack themselves. Another is that the churches were in very densely populated areas and the police did not want to go in and create more damage."The situation has raised concerns that Egypt's government – already fighting Islamist militants in the eastern Sinai peninsular – could eventually face a smaller insurgency in central and southern Egypt. The areas were already known as strongholds for Islamist terrorists during the 1990s, and officials say there was a surge in smuggled weapons during Morsi's lax year in office.For their part, local Islamists deny responsibility for the sectarian attacks, claiming they were the work of criminals who used peaceful pro-Morsi protests as a smokescreen for vandalism. Officials and activists blame members of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and their hardline offshoot Gamaa Islamiya for inciting the violence – claims rejected by their representatives. Ali Delgawy, a Delgan member of Gamaa Islamiya's political wing, claimed his group "has a history of resolving conflicts between thugs and Copts, and of restoring property of Copts". ."A minority of the Christians blew matters out of proportion, going on the internet to denounce their Islamist brethren," added Mohamed el-Awamy, a former member of the regional parliament from Delga. "In fact, the Islamists told the thugs to stop attacking churches, saying it was forbidden."El-Awamy's argument was undermined by comments made by a Minya-based imam, who twice told the Guardian at a pro-Morsi protest in July that Morsi's downfall would prove "very bad in particular for the church in Upper Egypt, because everyone knows they have spearheaded this campaign against the Islamic project".Ahmed Salah, a local human rights lawyer whose clients include Islamists, argued that Islamist groups carried the "moral blame" for creating an environment in which sectarianism was so rampant. But he expressed caution about the imminent police crackdown in Minya province, arguing that officers were unlikely to have properly investigated who was involved, and risked arresting the wrong people."They have a retaliatory doctrine," Salah argued of the police, whose brutality was a major cause of Egypt's 2011 uprising, but who have become more popular after backing Morsi's overthrow. "Their doctrine is not to protect the people but to take revenge on those who attacked them and stole their weapons."Minya's governor Zeyada, a former police general, said that the police crackdown in Delga and other areas "will only arrest criminal elements without harming peaceful elements".But for Delga's 20,000 Christians, facing their twelfth consecutive week of sectarian oppression, such arguments were academic. "We want security to return to Delga so that we feel that we are people of value," said the church worker. "Right now we feel we are worthless." For many of his neighbours, any intervention is too late. "I have nothing," said Sakr, now staying with relatives in Cairo, "to go back to".Additional reporting by Marwa AwadEgyptMiddle East and North AfricaAfricaIslamReligionChristianityPatrick Kingsley theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. 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25 марта 2013, 21:03

Presidential Proclamation -- First State National Monument

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE FIRST STATE NATIONAL MONUMENT - - - - - - - BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION Sites within the State of Delaware encompass nationally significant objects related to the settlement of the Delaware region by the Swedes, Finns, Dutch, and English, the role that Delaware played in the establishment of the Nation, and the preservation of the cultural landscape of the Brandywine Valley. A national monument that includes certain property in New Castle, Dover, and the Brandywine Valley, Delaware (with contiguous acreage in the Township of Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania) will allow the National Park Service and its partners to protect and manage these objects of historic interest and interpret for the public the resources and values associated with them. In 1638, Peter Minuit led Swedish and Finnish colonists to present-day Wilmington, established New Sweden, and built Fort Christina. Holy Trinity (Old Swedes) Church nearby includes a burial ground used since the Swedes landed in this area in 1638. In 1651, Peter Stuyvesant led Dutch settlers from New Amsterdam in present-day New York to a site approximately 7 miles south of Fort Christina. There, in present-day New Castle, the Dutch built Fort Casimir and named the place "New Amstel." The Dutch fort at New Amstel occupied a better position than the Swedish Fort Christina for controlling commerce. Conflicts between the Swedish and Dutch colonists resulted in changing occupations of Fort Casimir, with the Dutch regaining control in 1655. In 1664, the English arrived in New Amstel, seized the city for the King of England, and renamed it "New Castle." The English also wrested control of all of New Netherland, incorporating it into the colony of New York under the Duke of York, brother of King Charles II. In 1681, King Charles II deeded Pennsylvania to William Penn. To protect the land around New Castle that he had previously granted to the Duke of York, the King set the boundary 12 miles from New Castle in an arc extending radially from a point subsequently marked by the cupola of the New Castle Court House built in 1732. To gain access to the Atlantic Ocean for his new Quaker Colony, however, William Penn persuaded the Duke of York to give him the three "Lower Counties of Pennsylvania" that eventually became Delaware. The "12-mile arc" that separated these lower counties from the rest of Pennsylvania, and eventually became the State boundary between Pennsylvania and Delaware, runs through the present-day Woodlawn property in the Brandywine Valley (Woodlawn). William Penn landed in New Castle in 1682, and took possession of the city. In 1704, Penn allowed the General Assembly of the Three Lower Counties to meet in New Castle separately from the Assembly in Philadelphia, portending the development of the State of Delaware. New Castle remained the colonial capital of Delaware until 1777, and the New Castle Court House served as the meeting place of the Delaware Assembly. During the 1700s, colonial Delaware actively participated in both the first and second Continental Congresses, and engaged in the debates over British actions and the question of independence. The Delaware Assembly met on June 15, 1776, in the New Castle Court House, where it voted to separate from England and from Pennsylvania, creating the "Delaware State." The Court House served as the capitol until 1777, when government functions moved to Dover as a precaution against attack from British warships in the Delaware River. The Court House and the New Castle Historic District, including the Green, the Sheriff's House, and numerous additional resources from the time of earliest settlement through the Federal era, are National Historic Landmarks. The Green has served as a center of activity since the Dutch laid it out as the Public Square. The Sheriff's House, abutting the Court House on the Green, is architecturally significant and is all that remains of the State's first prison system. The New Castle Court House later provided the setting for a dramatic chapter in the history of the Underground Railroad: the criminal trial, presided over by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, of prominent Quaker abolitionist Thomas Garrett and his colleague John Hunn for assisting runaway slaves escaping from Maryland to Pennsylvania. In the trial Garrett defiantly asserted that he would continue to assist runaway slaves, as he did working with Harriet Tubman and other heroes of the Underground Railroad. The Constitution of the United States was completed in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787, and then sent to the Congress of the Confederation for transmittal to the State legislatures. At the Golden Fleece Tavern on the Dover Green, a Delaware convention ratified the Constitution on December 7, 1787, earning Delaware the accolade of "the First State." Though the Tavern no longer exists, Dover Green is the central area of the Dover Green Historic District that signifies this event and many others, including the mustering of a Continental Regiment during the American Revolution and the reading of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The boundary arc establishing the three "Lower Counties of Pennsylvania" that became the State of Delaware runs, in part, through Woodlawn, northwest of Wilmington. Woodlawn is situated on land in the Brandywine Valley acquired by William Penn in 1682. Penn commissioned a survey of this land that marked the 12-mile boundary arc through his property with tree blazes, which were replaced in 1892 with stone markers, two of which still stand. In 1699, Penn sold 2,000 acres of this property to the Pennsylvania Land Company, which in turn sold the land predominantly to Quakers, who had begun settling the area before 1690. In time, the Brandywine and Delaware valleys were more densely settled with Quakers than any other rural area in the United States. At least eight structures from the 18th century are known to be located at Woodlawn. Because Woodlawn has been relatively undisturbed, it still exhibits colonial and Quaker settlement patterns that have vanished elsewhere. The preservation of Woodlawn is the result of the little-known but historically significant story of Quaker industrialist William Poole Bancroft's prescient planning efforts for the region. Beginning in 1906, Bancroft began to purchase property in the Brandywine Valley, 5 miles outside Wilmington city limits, to hold in reserve for the health and well-being of the public. Heir to the Bancroft textile mills on the Brandywine River, Bancroft eventually amassed over 1,300 acres, of which Woodlawn comprises approximately 1,100 acres that remain essentially the same as when he purchased them: farm fields and forest predominate, dotted with old farmsteads, bridges, and a few roads and trails. Bancroft provided this rural landscape as part of an altruistic planning effort that also included affordable housing in the City of Wilmington and a system of parks and parkways, on which Frederick Law Olmsted consulted, that linked the neighborhoods to the green spaces. Bancroft established the Woodlawn Trustees to preserve much of the rural landscape as public park land where city residents could enjoy recreation and bucolic surroundings. WHEREAS section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431) (the "Antiquities Act"), authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and to reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected; WHEREAS, for the purpose of establishing a national monument, the State of Delaware has donated to the United States certain lands and interests in lands in New Castle, Delaware (including the Sheriff's House in fee, and an easement for the protection of and access to the New Castle Court House and the Green); the City of Dover has donated to the United States an easement for the protection of and access to the Dover Green; and the Conservation Fund, with the support of the Mt. Cuba Center and the cooperation of the Rockford Woodlawn Fund has donated the Woodlawn property to the United States in fee; WHEREAS it is in the public interest to preserve and protect the objects of historic interest associated with the early settlement of Delaware, the role of Delaware as the first State to ratify the Constitution, and the establishment and conservation of Woodlawn; NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by section 2 of the Antiquities Act, hereby proclaim, set apart, and reserve as the First State National Monument (monument), the objects identified above and all lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States within the boundaries described on the accompanying maps, which are attached to and form a part of this proclamation, for the purpose of protecting those objects. These reserved Federal lands and interests in lands encompass approximately 1,108 acres, together with appurtenant easements for all necessary purposes, which is the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected. All Federal lands and interests in lands within the boundaries of the monument are hereby appropriated and withdrawn from all forms of entry, location, selection, sale, leasing, or other disposition under the public land laws, including withdrawal from location, entry, and patent under the mining laws, and from disposition under all laws relating to mineral and geothermal leasing. The establishment of the monument is subject to valid existing rights. Lands and interests in lands within the monument boundaries not owned or controlled by the United States shall be reserved as part of the monument upon acquisition of ownership or control by the United States. The Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) shall manage the monument through the National Park Service, pursuant to applicable legal authorities, consistent with the purposes and provisions of this proclamation. Further, to the extent authorized by law, the Secretary shall promulgate any additional regulations needed for the proper care and management of the monument. The Secretary shall prepare a management plan for the monument, with full public involvement, within 3 years of the date of this proclamation. The management plan shall ensure that the monument fulfills the following purposes for the benefit of present and future generations: (1) to preserve and protect the objects of historic interest identified above; (2) to interpret the story of early Swedish, Finnish, Dutch, and English settlement in the region, and Delaware's role in the establishment of the Nation, including as the first State to ratify the Constitution; and (3) to preserve Woodlawn consistent with William Poole Bancroft's vision of a rural landscape accessible to the public for their health and well-being. The management plan shall set forth, among other provisions, the desired relationship of the monument to other related resources, programs, and organizations in the region, including Old Swedes Church, Fort Christina, Stonum, Lombardy Hall, Brandywine Creek State Park, Hagley Museum and Library, Nemours Mansion and Gardens, Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Brandywine River Museum, Longwood Gardens, John Dickinson Plantation, and First State Heritage Park. The National Park Service shall consult with State and local agencies and other appropriate organizations in planning for interpretation and visitor services at the monument. The National Park Service is directed to use applicable authorities to seek to enter into agreements addressing common interests and promoting management efficiencies, including provision of visitor services, interpretation and education, and preservation of resources and values. Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to revoke any existing withdrawal, reservation, or appropriation; however, the monument shall be the dominant reservation. Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to appropriate, injure, destroy, or remove any feature of the monument and not to locate or settle upon any of the lands thereof. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh. BARACK OBAMA

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15 марта 2013, 19:25

Irish property tycoon Kevin McGeever arrested over kidnap claims

Multimillionaire who claimed he was held hostage for eight months has been arrested on suspicion of wasting police timeHe was the helicopter-flying, Porsche-driving former multimillionaire who mysteriously disappeared last spring after his partner reported him missing from his luxury mansion.However, the Irish property developer Kevin McGeever mysteriously reappeared barefoot on a rural road in January, his emaciated body and long, unkempt beard made him resemble the tycoon Howard Hughes. The word "Thief" was etched in ink on his forehead and when he was finally taken to a Garda station he asked for a bag of curry chips.The 68-year-old's story gripped Ireland, especially as he claimed to know nothing about his months in captivity or the identity of his kidnappers.However, his silence since a couple spotted him wandering disoriented in County Leitrim has resulted in his arrest. The Garda Síochána confirmed they were questioning McGeever on Friday on suspicion of wasting police time.He was detained under section 4 of Ireland's 1984 Criminal Justice Act, which allows the Garda to hold him for 24 hours. McGeever is being held in Gort Garda station in County Galway.Although McGeever has given no face-to-face media interviews since he was found on 29 January, his brother, Brendan, has told the Irish broadcaster RTE the businessman had been locked in a dark room, suffered death threats and physically abused by his captors.Detectives had been exploring the theory that McGeever's captors were one-time Provisional IRA members now aligned to armed republican dissidents.Security sources in the republic suspected McGeever might have been freed by the gang ,after members possibly panicked over the murder of police officer Adrian Donohoe near the Northern Irish border.Garda sources say McGeever's captors may have feared possible police raids targeting suspected sympathisers of criminal gangs and former republican paramilitaries in the days after Donohoe's death on 25 January.The Irish police officer was shot in the head by raiders in Jenkinstown in County Louth during a botched bank robbery days before McGeever was found on a road between Swanlinbar and Ballinamore.Garda had been investigating a highly experienced group of former paramilitaries with links to dissident republican groups as possible suspects behind McGeever's alleged armed abduction from the garden of his €3m home in Craughwell, County Galway.There is no suggestion that the relatively small criminal gang that murdered Donohoe had any connection to the McGeever kidnap.The entrepreneur has been reluctant to give a full statement to Garda detectives. All he has said is that three masked and armed men abducted him in his garden. Yet because he is not a suspect in relation to his ordeal, under Irish law he cannot be made to speak further to gardaí about the events of the past eight months.McGeever used to be known as a chatty, gregarious character who, despite his enormous wealth, mixed with locals at Rafferty's bar in the County Galway village. He was sometimes seen roaring through the Irish countryside in his luxury Porsche and Hummer cars, or crisscrossing the country in a Eurocopter.So far, however, he property tycoon has only relayed to Gardaí that his captors had demanded a ransom for his release and he was not sure if it had been paid.IrelandEuropeHenry McDonaldguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

09 марта 2013, 09:04

Dancing the World into Being

Published by Yes! Magazine on March 05, 2013 Naomi Klein speaks with writer, spoken-word artist, and indigenous academic Leanne Betasamosake Simpson about “extractivism,” why it’s important to talk about memories of the land, and what’s next for Idle No More. In December 2012, the Indigenous protests known as Idle No More exploded onto the Canadian political scene, with huge round dances taking place in shopping malls, busy intersections, and public spaces across North America, as well as solidarity actions as far away as New Zealand and Gaza. Though sparked by a series of legislative attacks on indigenous sovereignty and environmental protections by the Conservative government of Stephen Harper, the movement quickly became about much more: Canada’s ongoing colonial policies, a transformative vision of decolonization, and the possibilities for a genuine alliance between natives and non-natives, one capable of re-imagining nationhood. Throughout all this, Idle No More had no official leaders or spokespeople. But it did lift up the voices of a few artists and academics whose words and images spoke to the movement’s deep aspirations. One of those voices belonged to Leanne Simpson, a multi-talented Mississauga Nishnaabeg writer of poetry, essays, spoken-word pieces, short stories, academic papers, and anthologies. Simpson’s books, including Lighting the Eighth Fire: The Liberation, Protection and Resurgence of Indigenous Nations and Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence and a New Emergence, have influenced a new generation of native activists. At the height of the protests, her essay, Aambe! Maajaadaa! (What #IdleNoMore Means to Me) spread like wildfire on social media and became one of the movement’s central texts. In it she writes: “I support #idlenomore because I believe that we have to stand up anytime our nation’s land base is threatened—whether it is legislation, deforestation, mining prospecting, condo development, pipelines, tar sands or golf courses. I stand up anytime our nation’s land base in threatened because everything we have of meaning comes from the land—our political systems, our intellectual systems, our health care, food security, language and our spiritual sustenance and our moral fortitude.” On February 15, 2013, I sat down with Leanne Simpson in Toronto to talk about decolonization, ecocide, climate change, and how to turn an uprising into a “punctuated transformation.” On extractivism Naomi Klein: Let’s start with what has brought so much indigenous resistance to a head in recent months. With the tar sands expansion, and all the pipelines, and the Harper government’s race to dig up huge tracts of the north, does it feel like we’re in some kind of final colonial pillage? Or is this more of a continuation of what Canada has always been about? Leanne Simpson: Over the past 400 years, there has never been a time when indigenous peoples were not resisting colonialism. Idle No More is the latest—visible to the mainstream—resistance and it is part of an ongoing historical and contemporary push to protect our lands, our cultures, our nationhoods, and our languages. To me, it feels like there has been an intensification of colonial pillage, or that’s what the Harper government is preparing for—the hyper-extraction of natural resources on indigenous lands. But really, every single Canadian government has placed that kind of thinking at its core when it comes to indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples have lived through environmental collapse on local and regional levels since the beginning of colonialism—the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the extermination of the buffalo in Cree and Blackfoot territories and the extinction of salmon in Lake Ontario—these were unnecessary and devastating. At the same time, I know there are a lot of people within the indigenous community that are giving the economy, this system, 10 more years, 20 more years, that are saying “Yeah, we’re going to see the collapse of this in our lifetimes.” Our elders have been warning us about this for generations now—they saw the unsustainability of settler society immediately. Societies based on conquest cannot be sustained, so yes, I do think we’re getting closer to that breaking point for sure. We’re running out of time. We’re losing the opportunity to turn this thing around. We don’t have time for this massive slow transformation into something that’s sustainable and alternative. I do feel like I’m getting pushed up against the wall. Maybe my ancestors felt that 200 years ago or 400 years ago. But I don’t think it matters. I think that the impetus to act and to change and to transform, for me, exists whether or not this is the end of the world. If a river is threatened, it’s the end of the world for those fish. It’s been the end of the world for somebody all along. And I think the sadness and the trauma of that is reason enough for me to act. Naomi: Let’s talk about extraction because it strikes me that if there is one word that encapsulates the dominant economic vision, that is it. The Harper government sees its role as facilitating the extraction of natural wealth from the ground and into the market. They are not interested in added value. They’ve decimated the manufacturing sector because of the high dollar. They don’t care, because they look north and they see lots more pristine territory that they can rip up. And of course that’s why they’re so frantic about both the environmental movement and First Nations rights because those are the barriers to their economic vision. But extraction isn’t just about mining and drilling, it’s a mindset—it’s an approach to nature, to ideas, to people. What does it mean to you? Leanne: Extraction and assimilation go together. Colonialism and capitalism are based on extracting and assimilating. My land is seen as a resource. My relatives in the plant and animal worlds are seen as resources. My culture and knowledge is a resource. My body is a resource and my children are a resource because they are the potential to grow, maintain, and uphold the extraction-assimilation system. The act of extraction removes all of the relationships that give whatever is being extracted meaning. Extracting is taking. Actually, extracting is stealing—it is taking without consent, without thought, care or even knowledge of the impacts that extraction has on the other living things in that environment. That’s always been a part of colonialism and conquest. Colonialism has always extracted the indigenous—extraction of indigenous knowledge, indigenous women, indigenous peoples. Naomi: Children from parents. Leanne: Children from parents. Children from families. Children from the land. Children from our political system and our system of governance. Children—our most precious gift. In this kind of thinking, every part of our culture that is seemingly useful to the extractivist mindset gets extracted. The canoe, the kayak, any technology that we had that was useful was extracted and assimilated into the culture of the settlers without regard for the people and the knowledge that created it. When there was a push to bring traditional knowledge into environmental thinking after Our Common Future, [a report issued by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development] in the late 1980s, it was a very extractivist approach: “Let’s take whatever teachings you might have that would help us right out of your context, right away from your knowledge holders, right out of your language, and integrate them into this assimilatory mindset.” It’s the idea that traditional knowledge and indigenous peoples have some sort of secret of how to live on the land in an non-exploitive way that broader society needs to appropriate. But the extractivist mindset isn’t about having a conversation and having a dialogue and bringing in indigenous knowledge on the terms of indigenous peoples. It is very much about extracting whatever ideas scientists or environmentalists thought were good and assimilating it. Naomi: Like I’ll just take the idea of “the seventh generation” and… Leanne: …put it onto toilet paper and sell it to people. There’s an intellectual extraction, a cognitive extraction, as well as a physical one. The machine around promoting extractivism is huge in terms of TV, movies, and popular culture. Naomi: If extractivism is a mindset, a way of looking at the world, what is the alternative? Leanne: Responsibility. Because I think when people extract things, they’re taking and they’re running and they’re using it for just their own good. What’s missing is the responsibility. If you’re not developing relationships with the people, you’re not giving back, you’re not sticking around to see the impact of the extraction. You’re moving to someplace else. The alternative is deep reciprocity. It’s respect, it’s relationship, it’s responsibility, and it’s local. If you’re forced to stay in your 50-mile radius, then you very much are going to experience the impacts of extractivist behavior. The only way you can shield yourself from that is when you get your food from around the world or from someplace else. So the more distance and the more globalization then the more shielded I am from the negative impacts of extractivist behavior. On Idle No More Naomi: With Idle No More, there was this moment in December and January where there was the beginning of an attempt to articulate an alternative agenda for the country that was  rooted in a different relationship with nature. And I think of lot of people were drawn to it because it did seem to provide that possibility of a vision for the land that is not just digging holes and polluting rivers and laying pipelines. But I think that may have been lost a little when we starting hearing some chiefs casting it all as a fight over resources sharing: “OK, Harper wants to extract $650 billion worth of resources, and how are we going to have a fair share of that?” That’s a fair question given the enormous poverty and the fact that these resources are on indigenous lands. But it’s not questioning the underlying imperative of tearing up the land for wealth. Leanne: No, it’s not, and that is exactly what our traditional leaders, elders, and many grassroots people are saying as well. Part of the issue is about leadership. Indian Act chiefs and councils—while there are some very good people involved doing some good work—they are ultimately accountable to the Canadian government and not to our people. The Indian Act system is an imposed system—it is not our political system based on our values or ways of governing. Indigenous communities, particularly in places where there is significant pressure to develop natural resources, face tremendous imposed economic poverty. Billions of dollars of natural resources have been extracted from their territories, without their permission and without compensation. That’s the reality. We have not had the right to say no to development, because ultimately those communities are not seen as people, they are seen as resources. Rather than interacting with indigenous peoples through our treaties, successive federal governments chose to control us through the Indian Act, precisely so they can continue to build the Canadian economy on the exploitation of natural resources without regard for indigenous peoples or the environment. This is deliberate. This is also where the real fight will be, because these are the most pristine indigenous homelands. There are communities standing up and saying no to the idea of tearing up the land for wealth. What I think these communities want is our solidarity and a large network of mobilized people willing to stand with them when they say no. These same communities are also continually shamed in the mainstream media and by state governments and by Canadian society for being poor. Shaming the victim is part of that extractivist thinking. We need to understand why these communities are economically poor in the first place—and they are poor so that Canadians can enjoy the standard of living they do. I say “economically poor” because while these communities have less material wealth, they are rich in other ways—they have their homelands, their languages, their cultures, and relationships with each other that make their communities strong and resilient. I always get asked, “Why do your communities partner with these multinationals to exploit their land?” It is because it is presented as the only way out of crushing economic poverty. Industry and government are very invested in the “jobs versus the environment” discussion. These communities are under tremendous pressure from provincial governments, federal governments, and industry to partner in the destruction of natural resources. Industry and government have no problem with presenting large-scale environmental destruction by corporations as the only way out of poverty because it is in their best interest to do so. There is a huge need to clearly articulate alternative visions of how to build healthy, sustainable, local indigenous economies that benefit indigenous communities and respect our fundamental philosophies and values. The hyper-exploitation of natural resources is not the only approach. The first step to that is to stop seeing indigenous peoples and our homelands as free resources to be used at will however colonial society sees fit. If Canada is not interested in dismantling the system that forces poverty onto indigenous peoples, then I’m not sure Canadians, who directly benefit from indigenous poverty, get to judge the decisions indigenous peoples make, particularly when very few alternatives are present. Indigenous peoples do not have control over our homelands. We do not have the ability to say no to development on our homelands. At the same time, I think that partnering with large resource extraction industries for the destruction of our homelands does not bring about the kinds of changes and solutions our people are looking for, and putting people in the position of having to chose between feeding their kids and destroying their land is simply wrong. Ultimately we’re not talking about a getting a bigger piece of the pie—as Winona LaDuke says—we’re talking about a different pie. People within the Idle No More movement who are talking about indigenous nationhood are talking about a massive transformation, a massive decolonization. A resurgence of indigenous political thought that is very, very much land-based and very, very much tied to that intimate and close relationship to the land, which to me means a revitalization of sustainable local indigenous economies that benefit local people. So I think there’s a pretty broad agreement around that, but there are a lot of different views around strategy because we have tremendous poverty in our communities. On promoting life Naomi: One of the reasons I wanted to speak with you is that in your writing and speaking, I feel like you are articulating a clear alternative. In a speech you gave recently at the University of Victoria, you said: “Our systems are designed to promote more life” and you talked about achieving this through “resisting, renewing, and regeneration”—all themes in Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back. I want to explore the idea of life-promoting systems with you because it seems to me that they are the antithesis of the extractivist mindset, which is ultimately about exhausting and extinguishing life without renewing or replenishing. Leanne: I first started to think about that probably 20 years ago, and it was through some of Winona LaDuke’s work and through working with elders out on the land that I started to really think about this. Winona took a concept that’s very fundamental to Anishinaabeg society, called mino bimaadiziwin. It often gets translated as “the good life,” but the deeper kind of cultural, conceptual meaning is something that she really brought into my mind, and she translated it as “continuous rebirth.” So, the purpose of life then is this continuous rebirth, it’s to promote more life. In Anishinaabeg society, our economic systems, our education systems, our systems of governance, and our political systems were designed with that basic tenet at their core. I think that sort of fundamental teaching gives direction to individuals on how to interact with each other and family, how to interact with your children, how to interact with the land. And then as communities of people form, it gives direction on how those communities and how those nations should also interact. In terms of the economy, it meant a very, very localized economy where there was a tremendous amount of accountability and reciprocity. And so those kinds of things start with individuals and families and communities and then they sort of spiral outwards into how communities and how nations interact with each other. I also think it’s about the fertility of ideas and it’s the fertility of alternatives. One of the things birds do in our creation stories is they plant seeds and they bring forth new ideas and they grow those ideas. Seeds are the encapsulation of wisdom and potential and the birds carry those seeds around the earth and grew this earth. And I think we all have that responsibility to find those seeds, to plant those seeds, to give birth to these new ideas. Because people think up an idea but then don’t articulate it, or don’t tell anybody about it, and don’t build a community around it, and don’t do it. So in Anishinaabeg philosophy, if you have a dream, if you have a vision, you share that with your community, and then you have a responsibility for bringing that dream forth, or that vision forth into a reality. That’s the process of regeneration. That’s the process of bringing forth more life—getting the seed and planting and nurturing it. It can be a physical seed, it can be a child, or it can be an idea. But if you’re not continually engaged in that process then it doesn’t happen. Naomi: What has the principle of regeneration meant in your own life? Leanne: In my own life, I try to foster that with my own children and in my own family, because I have a lot of control over what happens in my own family and I don’t have a lot of control over what happens in the broader nation and broader society. But, enabling them, giving them opportunities to develop a meaningful relationship with our land, with the water, with the plants and animals. Giving them opportunities to develop meaningful relationships with elders and with people in our community so that they’re growing up in a very, very strong community with a number of different adults that they can go to when they have problems. One of the stories I tell in my book is of working with an elder who’s passed on now, Robin Greene from Shoal Lake in Winnipeg, in an environmental education program with First Nations youth. And we were talking about sustainable development, and I was explaining that term from the Western perspective to the students. And I asked him if there was a similar concept in Anishinaabeg philosophy that would be the same as sustainable development. And he thought for a very long time. And he said no. And I was sort of shocked at the “no” because I was expecting there to be something similar. And he said the concept is backwards. You don’t develop as much as Mother Earth can handle. For us it’s the opposite. You think about how much you can give up to promote more life. Every decision that you make is based on: Do you really need to be doing that? If I look at how my ancestors even 200 years ago, they didn’t spend a lot of time banking capital, they didn’t rely on material wealth for their well-being and economic stability. They put energy into meaningful and authentic relationships. So their food security and economic security was based on how good and how resilient their relationships were—their relationships with clans that lived nearby, with communities that lived nearby, so that in hard times they would rely on people, not the money they saved in the bank. I think that extended to how they found meaning in life. It was the quality of those relationships—not how much they had, not how much they consumed—that was the basis of their happiness. So I think that that’s very oppositional to colonial society and settler society and how we’re taught to live in that. Naomi: One system takes things out of their relationships; the other continuously builds relationships. Leanne: Right. Again, going back to my ancestors, they weren’t consumers. They were producers and they made everything. Everybody had to know how to make everything. Even if I look at my mom’s generation, which is not 200 years ago, she knew how to make and create the basic necessities that we needed. So even that generation, my grandmother’s generation, they knew how to make clothes, they knew how to make shelter, they knew how to make the same food that they would grow in their own gardens or harvest from the land in the summer through the winter to a much greater degree than my generation does. When you have really localized food systems and localized political systems, people have to be engaged in a higher level—not just consuming it, but producing it and making it. Then that self-sufficiency builds itself into the system. My ancestors tended to look very far into the future in terms of planning, look at that seven generations forward. So I think they foresaw that there were going to be some big problems. I think through those original treaties and our diplomatic traditions, that’s really what they were trying to reconcile. They were trying to protect large tracts of land where indigenous peoples could continue their way of life and continue our own economies and continue our own political systems, I think with the hope that the settler society would sort of modify their way into something that was more parallel or more congruent to indigenous societies. On loving the wounded Naomi: You often start your public presentations by describing what your territory used to look like. And it strikes me that what you are saying is very different from traditional green environmental discourse, which usually focuses on imminent ecological collapse, the collapse that will happen if we don’t do X and Y. But you are basically saying that the collapse has already happened. Leanne: I’m not sure focusing on imminent ecological collapse is motivating Canadians to change if you look at the spectrum of climate change denial across society. It is spawning a lot of apocalypse movies, but I think it is so overwhelming and traumatic to think about, that perhaps people shut down to cope. That’s why clearly articulated visions of alternatives are so important. In my own work, I started to talk about what the land used to look like because very few people remember. Very early on, where I’m from, on the north shore of Lake Ontario, you saw the collapse of the salmon population in Lake Ontario by 1840. They used to migrate all the way up to Stony Lake—it was a huge deal for our nation. And then the eel population crashing with the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Trent-Severn Waterway. So I think again, in a really local way, indigenous peoples have seen and lived through this environmental disaster where entire parts of their world collapsed really early on. But it cycles, and the collapses are getting bigger and bigger and bigger. It’s getting to the point where I describe what my land used to look like because no one knows. No one remembers what southern Ontario looked like 200 years ago, which to me is really scary. How do we envision our way out of this when we don’t even remember what this natural environment is supposed to look like? Naomi: I’ve spent the past two years living in British Columbia, where my family is, and I’ve been pretty involved in the fights against the tar sands pipelines. And of course the situation is so different there. There is still so much pristine wilderness, and people feel connected and protective of it. And I think for everyone, the fights against the pipelines have really been about falling more deeply in love with the land. It’s not an “anti” movement—it’s not about “I hate you.” It’s about “We love this place too much to let you desecrate it.” So it has a different feeling than any movement I’ve been a part of before. And of course the anti-pipeline movement on the West Coast is indigenous-led, and it’s also forged amazing coalitions of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. I wonder how much those fights have contributed to the emergence of Idle No More—the fact of having these incredible coalitions and First Nations saying no to Harper, working together… Leanne: But also because the Yinka Dene Alliance based their resistance on indigenous law. I remember feeling really proud when Yinka Dene Alliance did the train ride to the east. I was actually in Alberta at the time but we need to build on that because if you look in the financial sections of the papers for the last few years, there are these little indications that the pipelines are coming here too. And it’s becoming more so, with this refinery in Fredericton. So there needs to be a similar movement around pipelines as we’ve seen in British Columbia. But central Canada is behind. Naomi: I think a lot of it has to do with the state the land is in. Because in B.C., that was the outrage over the Northern Gateway routing—“You want to build a pipeline through that part of B.C.? Are you nuts?” It was almost a gift to movement-building because they weren’t talking about building it through urban areas, they were talking about building it through some of the most pristine wilderness in the province. But we have such a harder job here, because there needs to be a process not just of protecting the land, but as you were saying, of finding the land in order to protect it. Whereas in B.C., it’s just so damn pretty. Leanne: I think for me, it’s always been a struggle because I’ve always wanted to live in B.C. or the north, because the land is pristine. It’s easier emotionally for me. But I’ve chosen to live in my territory and I’ve chosen to be a witness of this. And I think that’s where, in the politics of indigenous women, and traditional indigenous politics, it is a politics based on love. That was the difference with Idle No More because there were so many women that were standing up. Because of colonialism, we were excluded for a long time from that Indian Act chief and council governing system. Women initially were not allowed to run for office, and it’s still a bastion of patriarchy. But that in some ways is a gift because all of our organizing around governance and politics and this continuous rebirth has been outside of that system and been based on that politics of love. So when I think of the land as my mother or if I think of it as a familial relationship, I don’t hate my mother because she’s sick, or because she’s been abused. I don’t stop visiting her because she’s been in an abusive relationship and she has scars and bruises. If anything, you need to intensify that relationship because it’s a relationship of nurturing and caring. And so I think in my own territory I try to have that intimate relationship, that relationship of love—even though I can see the damage—to try to see that there is still beauty there. There’s still a lot of beauty in Lake Ontario. It’s one of those threatened lakes and it’s dying and no one wants to eat the fish. But there is a lot of beauty still in that lake. There is a lot of love still in that lake. And I think that Mother Earth as my first mother. Mothers have a tremendous amount of resilience. They have a tremendous amount of healing power. But I think this idea that you abandon it when something has been damaged is something we can’t afford to do in Southern Ontario. Naomi: Exactly. But it’s such a different political project, right? Because the first stage is establishing that there’s something left to love. My husband talks about how growing up beside a lake you can’t swim in shapes your relationship with nature. You think nature is somewhere else. I think a lot of people don’t believe this part of the world is worth saving because they think it’s already destroyed, so you may as well abuse it some more. There aren’t enough people who are articulating what it means to build an authentic relationship with non-pristine nature. And it’s a different kind of environmental voice that can speak to the wounded, as opposed to just the perfect and pretty. Leanne: If you can’t swim in it, canoe across it. Find a way to connect to it. When the lake is too ruined to swim or to eat from it, then that’s where the healing ceremonies come in, because you can still do ceremonies with it. In Peterborough, I wrote a spoken word piece around salmon in which I imagined myself as being the first salmon back into Lake Ontario and coming back to our territory. The lift-locks were gone. And I learned the route that the salmon would have gone in our language. And so that was one of the ways I was trying to connect my community back to that story and back to that river system, through this performance. People did get more interested in the salmon. The kids did get more interested because they were part of the dance work. On climate change and transformation Naomi: In the book I’m currently writing I’m trying to understand why we are failing so spectacularly to deal with the climate crisis. And there are lots of reasons—ideological, material, and so on. But there are also powerful psychological and cultural reasons where we—and I’m talking in the “settler” we, I suppose—have been colonized by the logic of capitalism, and that has left us uniquely ill-equipped to deal with this particular crisis. Leanne: In order to make these changes, in order to make this punctuated transformation, it means lower standards of living, for that 1 percent and for the middle class. At the end of the day, that’s what it means. And I think in the absence of having a meaningful life outside of capital and outside of material wealth, that’s really scary. Naomi: Essentially, it’s saying: your life is going to end because consumerism is how we construct our identities in this culture. The role of consumption has changed in our lives just in the past 30 years. It’s so much more entwined in the creation of self. So when someone says, “To fight climate change you have to shop less,” it is heard as, “You have to be less.” The reaction is often one of pure panic. On the other hand, if you have a rich community life, if your relationships feed you, if you have a meaningful relationship with the natural world, then I think contraction isn’t as terrifying. But if your life is almost exclusively consumption, which I think is what it is for a great many people in this culture, then we need to understand the depth of the threat this crisis represents. That’s why the transformation that we have to make is so profound—we have to relearn how to derive happiness and satisfaction from other things than shopping, or we’re all screwed. Leanne: I see the transformation as: Your life isn’t going to be worse, it’s not going to be over. Your life is going to be better. The transition is going to be hard, but from my perspective, from our perspective, having a rich community life and deriving happiness out of authentic relationships with the land and people around you is wonderful. I think where Idle No More did pick up on it is with the round dances and with the expression of the joy. “Let’s make this fun.” It was women that brought that joy. Naomi: Another barrier to really facing up to the climate crisis has to do with another one of your strong themes, which is the importance of having a relationship to the land. Because climate change is playing out on the land, and in order to see those early signs, you have to be in some kind of communication with it. Because the changes are subtle—until they’re not. Leanne: I always take my kids to the sugar bush in March and we make maple syrup with them. And what’s happened over the last 20 years is every year our season is shorter. Last year was a near disaster because we had that week of summer weather in the middle of March. You need a very specific temperature range for making maple sugar. So it sort of dawned on me last year: I’m spending all of this time with my kids in the sugar bush and in 20 years, when it’s their term to run it, they’re going to have to move. Who knows? It’s not going to be in my territory anymore. That’s something that my generation, my family, is going to witness the death of. And that is tremendously sad and painful for us. It’s things like the sugar bush that are the stories, the teachings, that’s really our system of governance, where children learn about that. It’s another piece of the puzzle that we’re trying to put back together that’s about to go missing. It’s happening at an incredibly fast rate, it’s changing. Indigenous peoples have always been able to adapt, and we’ve had a resilience. But the speed of this—our stories and our culture and our oral tradition doesn’t keep up, can’t keep up. Naomi: One of the things that’s so difficult, when one immerses oneself in the climate science and comes to grips with just how little time we have left to turn things around, is that we know that real hard political work takes time. You can’t rush it. And a sense of urgency can even be dangerous, it can be used to say, “We don’t have time to deal with those complicated issues like colonialism and racism and inequality.” There is a history in the environmental movement of doing that, of using urgency to belittle all issues besides human survival. But on the other hand, we really are in this moment where small steps won’t do. We need a leap. Leanne: This is one of the ways the environmental movement has to change. Colonial thought brought us climate change. We need a new approach because the environmental movement has been fighting climate change for more than two decades and we’re not seeing the change we need. I think groups like Defenders of the Land and the Indigenous Environmental Network hold a lot of answers for the mainstream environmental movement because they are talking about large-scale transformation. If we are not, as peoples of the earth, willing to counter colonialism, we have no hope of surviving climate change. Individual choices aren’t going to get us out of this mess. We need a systemic change. Manulani Aluli Meyer was just in Peterborough—she’s a Hawaiian scholar and activist—and she was talking about punctuated transformation. A punctuated transformation [means] we don’t have time to do the whole steps and time shift, it’s got to be much quicker than that. That’s the hopefulness and inspiration for me that’s coming out of Idle No More. It was small groups of women around a kitchen table that got together and said, “We’re not going to sit here and plan this and analyze this, we’re going to do something.” And then three more women, and then two more women, and a whole bunch of people and then men got together and did it, and it wasn’t like there was a whole lot of planning and strategy and analyzing. It was people standing up and saying “Enough is enough, and I’m going to use my voice and I’m going to speak out and I’m going to see what happens.” And I think because it was still emergent and there were no single leaders and there was no institution or organization it became this very powerful thing. On next steps Naomi: What do you think the next phase will be? Leanne: I think within the movement, we’re in the next phase. There’s a lot of teaching that’s happening right now in our community and with public teach-ins, there’s a lot of that internal work, a lot of educating and planning happening right now. There is a lot of internal nation-building work. It’s difficult to say where the movement will go because it is so beautifully diverse. I see perhaps a second phase that is going to be on the land. It’s going to be local and it’s going to be people standing up and opposing these large-scale industrial development projects that threaten our existence as indigenous peoples—in the Ring of Fire [region in Northern Ontario], tar sands, fracking, mining, deforestation… But where they might have done that through policy or through the Environmental Assessment Act or through legal means in the past, now it may be through direct action. Time will tell. Naomi: I want to come back to what you said earlier about knowledge extraction. How do we balance the dangers of cultural appropriation with the fact that the dominant culture really does need to learn these lessons about reciprocity and interdependence? Some people say it’s a question of everybody finding their own inner indigenousness. Is that it, or is there a way of recognizing indigenous knowledge and leadership that avoids the hit-and-run approach? Leanne: I think Idle No More is an example because I think there is an opportunity for the environmental movement, for social-justice groups, and for mainstream Canadians to stand with us. There was a segment of Canadian society, once they had the information, that was willing to stand with us. And that was helpful and inspiring to me as well. So I think it’s a shift in mindset from seeing indigenous people as a resource to extract to seeing us as intelligent, articulate, relevant, living, breathing peoples and nations. I think that requires individuals and communities and people to develop fair and meaningful and authentic relationships with us. We have a lot of ideas about how to live gently within our territory in a way where we have separate jurisdictions and separate nations but over a shared territory. I think there’s a responsibility on the part of mainstream community and society to figure out a way of living more sustainably and extracting themselves from extractivist thinking. And taking on their own work and own responsibility to figure out how to live responsibly and be accountable to the next seven generations of people. To me, that’s a shift that Canadian society needs to take on, that’s their responsibility. Our responsibility is to continue to recover that knowledge, recover those practices, recover the stories and philosophies, and rebuild our nations from the inside out. If each group was doing their work in a responsible way then I think we wouldn’t be stuck in these boxes. There are lots of opportunities for Canadians, especially in urban areas, to develop relationships with indigenous people. Now more than ever, there are opportunities for Canadians to learn. Just in the last 10 years, there’s been an explosion of indigenous writing. That’s why me coming into the city today is important, because these are the kinds of conversations where you see ways out of the box, where you get those little glimmers, those threads that you follow and you nurture, and the more you nurture them, the bigger they grow. Naomi: Can you tell me a little bit about the name of your book, Dancing On Our Turtle’s Back, and what it means in this moment? Leanne: I’ve heard Elder Edna Manitowabi tell one of our creation stories about a muskrat and a turtle for years now. In this story, there’s been some sort of environmental crisis. Because within Anishinaabeg cosmology, this isn’t the First World, maybe this is the Fourth World that we’re on. And whenever there’s an imbalance and the imbalance isn’t addressed, then over time there’s a crisis. This time, there was a big flood that covered the entire world. Nanabush, one of our sacred beings, ends up trapped on a log with many of the other animals. They are floating in this vast sea of water with no land in sight. To me, that feels like where we are right now. I’m on a very crowded log, the world my ancestors knew and lived in is gone, and me and my community need to come up with a solution even though we are all feeling overwhelmed and irritated. It’s an intense situation and no one knows what to do, no one knows how to make a new world. So the animals end up taking turns diving down and searching for a pawful of dirt or earth to use to start to make a new world. The strong animals go first, and when they come up with nothing, the smaller animals take a turn. Finally, muskrat is successful and brings her pawfull of dirt up to the surface. Turtle volunteers to have the earth placed on her back. Nanibush prays and breaths life into that earth. All of the animals sing and dance on the turtle’s back in a circle, and as they do this, the turtle’s back grows. It grows and grows until it becomes the world we know. This is why Anishinaabeg call North America Mikinakong—the place of the turtle. When Edna tells this story, she says that we’re all that muskrat, and that we all have that responsibility to get off the log and dive down no matter how hard it is and search around for that dirt. And that to me was profound and transformative, because we can’t wait for somebody else to come up with the idea. The whole point, the way we’re going to make this better, is by everybody engaging in their own being, in their own gifts, and embody this movement, embody this transformation. And so that was a transformative story for me in my life and seemed to me very relevant in terms of climate change, in terms of indigenous resurgence, in terms of rebuilding the Anishinaabeg Nation. And so when people started round dancing all over the turtle’s back in December and January, it made me insanely happy. Watching the transformative nature of those acts, made me realize that it’s the embodiment, we have to embody the transformation. Naomi: What did it feel like to you when it was happening? Leanne: Love. On an emotional, a physical level, on a spiritual level. Yeah, it was love. It was an intimate, deep love. Like the love that I have for my children or the love that I have for the land. It was that kind of authentic, not romantic kind of fleeting love. It was a grounded love. Naomi: And it can even be felt in a shopping mall. Leanne: Even in a shopping mall. And how shocking is that? Published at: http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/dancing-the-world-into-being-a-conversation-with-idle-no-more-leanne-simpson

06 марта 2013, 11:58

Forbes составил рейтинг самых молодых миллиардеров мира

Журнал Forbes назвал самых молодых миллиардеров мира, возраст которых не превышает 40 лет, в рейтинге богачей, на 13 месте, оказался один россиянин – основатель компании «Связной» Максим Ноготков. В списке оказалось 29 человек, 11 из которых американцы. При этом 10 молодых богачей вышли из сектора высоких технологий, в том числе четверо из крупнейшей соцсети Facebook. Лидирует в рейтинге основатель соцсети Facebook Марк Цукерберг с состоянием 13,3 млрд долларов. В список вошел бывший сосед Цукерберга по комнате 28-летний Дастин Московиц (3,8 млрд долларов). В настоящее время он участвует в проекте Билла Гейтса и Уоррена Баффета Giving Pledge (ее участники обязуются отдать на благотворительность не менее половины своего состояния). Еще один бывший соратник Цукерберга, 30-летний Эдуардо Саверин с 2,2 млрд долларов вошел в список, получив 5% акций соцсети после длительной судебной битвы с Facebook. Чтобы не платить налоги, в 2011 году, незадолго до IPO Facebook, он отказался от гражданства США. В настоящее время гражданин Бразилии Саверин проживает в Сингапуре и занимается инвестициями в стартапы. 36-летний россиянин Максим Ноготков, являющийся основателем сотового ритейлера «Связной», который вырос в крупнейшую розничную сеть, специализирующуюся на продаже услуг сотовых операторов, мобильных телефонов, электроники, цифровой аудио- и фототехники, владеет состоянием в 1,3 млрд долларов. По данным Forbes, Ноготков в школе продавал компьютерные программы и сотовые телефоны, а затем бросил учебу, чтобы иметь больше времени на построение бизнеса. В рейтинг вошел 29-летний 12-й князь из рода Турн-и-Таксис Альберт фон Турн унд Таксис с состоянием в 1,5 млрд долларов.  Он владеет пивными заводами, мельницами, земельными угодьями и банками. Альберт стал миллиардером в 2001 году на день его 18-летия, получив в наследство огромное состояние и 30 000 гектаров земли. Он холостяк и автогонщик. Альберт считается одним из наиболее завидных женихов в Европе. Младший из четырех сыновей нефтегазового магната Дэна Дункана, основателя Enterprise Products Partners, Скотт Дункан попал в  рейтинг с 5,1 млрд долларов. В марте 2010 года Дэн Дункан скончался и оставил сыну частичный контроль над трубопроводной империей стоимостью 12,4 млрд долларов, которая владеет более чем 50 000 км газо- и нефтепроводов. В список также вошел 33-летний создатель популярного интернет-ресурса для скачивания бесплатной музыки Napster Шон Паркер. В  возрасте 24-лет он стал президентом сети Facebook. Состояние Паркера оценивается в 2,2 млрд долларов. В настоящее время он раскручивает свой новый стартап - видеочат Airtime, который он запустил в июне прошлого года. Создатель микроблогов Twitter, 36-летний Джек Дорси (1,1 млрд) рублей вошел в число миллиардеров в прошлом году благодаря успешному стартапу сервиса мобильных платежей Square. В рейтинг Forbes вошла дочь основателя девелопера Country Garden Holdings, которая является основным акционером холдинга и самой богатой женщиной Китая (5,5 млрд долларов). Ян Хуэйянь (31 год) получила акции от своего отца Еуна Куока Кеуна, который в 2007 году провел размещение акций на гонконгской бирже. Двое сыновей убитого премьер-министра Ливана Рафика Харири, Фахд и Айман Харири (по 1,35 млрд долларов) унаследовали акции конгломерата Saudi Oger, который занимается строительством, телекоммуникациями и недвижимостью. В список также вошли: наследница молочного концерна Lactalis, который присутствует в 148 странах мира и является третьим по величине производителем молочной продукции в мире и лидером по выпуску сыра в Европе, 32-летняя Мария Бенье Бевалот (1,5 млрд долларов), владелица издательской империи Bauer Media Group 35-летняя Ивонн Бауэр (2,4 млрд долларов), 36-летний японец Йошикацу Танака, основатель крупнейшей японской социальной сети Gree (1,8 млрд долларов), а также Алехандро Санто-Доминго Давила (36 лет) глава Santo Domingo Group, компании пивного магната Хулио Марио Сано Доминго Мумарехо, владеющий состоянием в 11,7 млрд долларов. Закладки:

04 марта 2013, 21:35

What causes sinkholes?

It's the stuff of nightmares: last week, the ground opened up and swallowed a Florida man as he lay sleeping in his home. But why do these sinkholes occur and how widespread are they?Last week, in a quiet residential suburb east of Tampa, Florida, the Earth opened up and swallowed a man. Jeff Bush, 37, was tucked up in bed late on Thursday evening when his entire bedroom floor simply gave way with a deafening crash that his brother, in the room next door, later described as "like a truck hitting the house".Jeremy Bush, 35, heard his brother's scream and rushed towards his bedroom. "Everything was gone," he told local television stations. "My brother's bed, my brother's dresser, my brother's TV. My brother was gone. All I could see was the top of his bed, so I jumped in and tried digging him out. I thought I could hear him screaming for me and hollering for me."As the house's floor threatened to collapse further into a gaping hole more than 9m across and 15m deep, a sheriff's deputy who had arrived on the scene with the emergency services eventually pulled Jeremy to safety. Jeff remained trapped. "I couldn't get him out," Jeremy said. "I tried so hard. I tried everything I could. No one could do anything."As Jeremy and four others, including a two-year-old child, were led away uninjured, rescue teams lowered a microphone and video camera into the hole, but it was soon apparent that Bush could not have survived. By Saturday, the search for his body had also been abandoned. "We just have not been able to locate Mr Bush, and so for that reason, the rescue effort is being discontinued," a local official, Mike Merrill, said. "At this point, it's really not possible to recover the body."When the ground begins opening up beneath our feet and plunging unsuspecting mortals into the abyss, some may be tempted to reach for the Bible and start predicting the End of Times (and a quick online search reveals that several of the wackier sort of website have not hesitated to do just that). But biblical as the story sounds, the sinkhole – as the phenomenon is called – that caused Jeff Bush's death was not an act of God but of geology.Natural sinkholes – as opposed to manmade tunnel or cave collapses – occur when acidic rainwater seeps down through surface soil and sediment, eventually reaching a soluble bedrock such as sandstone, chalk, salt or gypsum, or (most commonly) a carbonate rock such as limestone beneath. In a process that can last hundreds, sometimes thousands of years, the water gradually dissolves small parts of the rock, enlarging its natural fissures and joints and creating cavities beneath.As the process continues, the loose, unconsolidated soil and sand above is gradually washed into these cracks and voids. Depending on how thick and strong that top layer is (sand will not last long; clay can hold out for millennia), and how close to the surface the void beneath is, the land may be able to sustain its own weight – and that of whatever we build on top of it. But as the holes grow, there will come a day when the surface layer will simply give way."Once those caves start to collapse, the materials above will simply funnel in," says Dr Anthony Cooper, a principal geologist at the British Geological Survey, which maps the country for rock types susceptible to sinkholes and carries out surveys for developers, builders and individuals worried about the prospects of the land caving in beneath them. "It's just like an eggtimer, really. That's certainly what appears to have happened with this incident in Florida."In the language of geologists, the process that causes sinkholes is "the creation of a void which migrates towards the surface". In the language of the layman, when there's not enough solid stuff left underneath to support what is left of the loose stuff above, the whole lot collapses. The resulting depressions characterise what is known as a karst landscape, in which hundreds or even thousands of relatively small sinkholes form across an area that, seen from the air, can appear almost pock-marked.Since around 10% of the world's surface is made up of karst topographies, sinkholes are far from uncommon. The entire state of Florida, as the Bush family unfortunately learned, is classed as karst landscape, and sinkholes are so common that insurers are obliged by law to offer cover to home owners who ask for it (insurance was compulsory until 2007, when many home owners dropped it because of the rising cost). "If you look at a satellite image of the state, or even just a map," says Cooper, "you'll see it's peppered with little circular lakes and lots and lots of sinkholes. A great many of them are visible, but many more are covered in. It's typical karst topography."Elsewhere in the US, sinkholes are common in Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. In Britain, the BGS says the carboniferous limestone of the Mendip Hills, the north of the South Wales coalfield, the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, the northern Pennines and the edges of the Lake District all host well-developed karst landscapes. Karstic features are also common in the UK on the chalk of south-east England, on salt in the centre and north-east of the country, and particularly on the gypsum that underlies parts of eastern and north-eastern England, especially around Ripon and Darlington, and in the Vale of Eden."Gypsum is the most soluble of all," says Cooper. "If you were to place a block of gypsum the size of a transit van in a river, it would dissolve completely within about 18 months." Ripon in North Yorkshire, Cooper says, is very susceptible to sinkholes, the most famous – some 20m deep – dating back to 1834. In 1997, four garages collapsed into a huge sinkhole that only just missed the front of a neighbouring house.One of the more spectacular recent British sinkholes, a 7.5m-deep crater, opened up in 2010 beneath a patio in Grays, Essex. "It was like an earthquake. There was a rumbling and we both ran out to look and there just a couple of steps away there was this monstrous hole," the house owner, Ben Luck, said at the time. "It was there in a second. There wasn't a bit of dust, and there was no sign of the crazy paving – it had all disappeared in the hole." Structural engineers said the hole was caused after water penetrated chalk some 25m down, causing tonnes of soil above it to shift.Around the world, this process that produces sinkholes has created such striking natural features as the hills of Ireland's western coast, the caves of Slovenia and the pillars of Guilin in China. Where the underlying limestone layer is thick and rainfall heavy, vast underground caverns and subterranean rivers have produced sinkholes of dimensions that make what's happened in Florida or Essex look positively insignificant: the Xiaozhai tiankeng ("heavenly pit") in Chongqing, China, is 662m deep; the Dashiwei tiankeng in Guangxi 613m. Croatia has a 530m-deep hole, with vertical walls, called the Red Lake, while Papua New Guinea has the Minyé sinkhole (510m deep) and Mexico the Sótano del Barro (410m) and Sótano de las Golondrinas (372m deep).What finally triggers a collapse? The most common factor, Cooper says, is changing groundwater levels, or a sudden increase in surface water. During long periods of drought, groundwater levels will fall, meaning cavities that were once supported by the water they were filled with may become weaker (water pumping, for factories or farms, can have a similar effect). Conversely, a sudden heavy downfall can add dramatically to the weight of the surface layer of soil and clay, making it too heavy for the cave beneath to bear.Sometimes the trigger can be man-made. In chalky West Sussex in 1985, a burst water main caused an alarming rash of small 1m- to 4m-wide sinkholes to appear in Fontwell. "There  was also a man who emptied his swimming pool out on to his garden, and was soon confronted with a large sinkhole under his house," Cooper says. "And in Florida, automatic frost sensors have set off sprays fed from boreholes and intended to stop strawberry crops from freezing – but the result was more than 100 small sinkholes."So how can you detect a developing sinkhole – and can anything be done about it once you suspect the process may be under way? In Britain, Cooper says, the BGS maps the country to locate rock types that may be affected by sinkholes. It also keeps an up-to-date National Karst Database recording visible sinkholes, springs, soakaways and known building damage. Using all manner of modern technologies, "we cut an awful lot of data, from rock types to slope angles, covering materials and drainage, and basically zone the country into datasets that can be used by property developers, local councils, the construction industry, insurers and the like," he says.At the most basic level, people in a sinkhole-prone zone are best advised simply to "look around them, at the adjacent land and buildings". Telltale signs may include sagging trees or fence posts, doors or windows that no longer close properly, and rainwater collecting in unlikely places. Some developing sinkholes can be filled in; Anthony Randazzo, a former University of Florida professor who has spent his career studying sinkholes, now runs a profitable company that does just that, injecting grout to fill cracks that develop underground and shore up the foundations of buildings. "It's like a dentist filling a cavity," he says.But this is not always possible. The key is good drainage; you want to get water away from a vulnerable area. "Covering an opening up with concrete, or filling up a hole completely with solid concrete, may not necessarily help," warns Cooper. Sometimes, too, the hole may simply be too deep: 80m, perhaps, compared with the 12-15m height of a house. "On some occasions, we have had to point out to developers that a hole 20m deep and 30m wide is a lot bigger than a house," Cooper says. "That's a hell of a lot of concrete."Despite the frequency of sinkholes, linked fatalities are rare. Randazzo says he can recall only two other people besides Bush who have died because of them in the US during the past 40 years. Even then, he says, in both cases the people concerned had been drilling boreholes (and thus interfering with groundwater levels). "Usually, you have some time," Randazzo, who has lectured on sinkholes at Oxford University, told USA Today. "These catastrophic sinkholes give you some warning over the course of hours. This latest incident is very unusual, and very tragic."In the UK, Cooper says, no deaths attributable solely to naturally formed sinkholes (as opposed, say, to the collapse of disused mine chambers) have been recorded in recent times. But, he points out, since extremes of sinkhole-affecting weather – long periods of drought, for example, followed by spells of unusually heavy and persistent rain – are widely predicted to become more frequent as the Earth's climate changes, "we would certainly expect there to be more sinkholes in the future". It could be only a matter of time before Britain buries a Jeff Bush.Natural disasters and extreme weatherGeologyFloridaUnited StatesGeographyJon Henleyguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

28 февраля 2013, 20:49

This Rabbit Hutch Kills Fascists

    This Rabbit Hutch Kills Fascists Early this morning before heading off to work, I was dragging our mobile whelping box with 10 juvenile bunnies eight feet into new grass and was reminded of an exchange I had on Zero Hedge several days earlier.   Well, when it's the only thing you can afford - then of course you are going to buy it. Consumers WANT to make better choices...   This is such horseshit.  Stop kidding yourself.  Consumers only real choice is to consume MOAR or MOARER. Consumer's give up any real power to choose when they become consumers. Do my cattle, rabbits, and chickens get to choose what they want to eat?  No. The producers get to choose to feed you whatever is most profitable. Don't be a consumer, be a producer, if you really and truly do, "...WANT to make better choices."   http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-02-21/are-amercians-turning-their-bul...   Then, I thought about Warren Buffet’s recent acquisition of Heinz and the fact that Coca Cola, Wal-Mart, ADM (Supermarket to the World), Kraft Foods, John Deere, and Costco are also major holdings of Berkshire Hathaway.  I remembered how I felt when I discovered that our elected representatives have made it illegal for anyone other than the government to test for Mad Cow Disease in the United States.  I remembered reading Ron Paul’s letter regarding raw milk producers being raided.  One of the characteristics of a fascist nation came to mind: “Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.”     Then a funny idea occurred to me.  Woody Guthrie often performed with the phrase, “This Machine Kills Fascists,” inscribed on his guitar.   I considered that this machine, my mobile whelping box, also kills fascists in the exact same way, and so do my handmade rabbit hutch, mobile chicken house, garden, and fruit trees. Is raising some rabbits or chickens in your backyard or on your apartment’s rooftop really going to change the world?  I don’t know.  No single drop of water ever believes it is responsible for the flood.  I do know that it is incredibly satisfying to take action.  What is the saying?  Knowledge without action is insanity. Raising rabbits is easy, they breed like rabbits, and it is especially fun and rewarding if you have children.  Rabbits are probably the best animal to learn to butcher, and the meat is delicious and healthy.  Here are a couple of excellent resources if you want to be a raindrop:   Bass Equipment Company http://www.bassequipment.com/default.aspx   The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 40th Anniversary Edition Carla Emery, $    19.77  Especially if one does not live on a farm, it is a good thing to know the how, when, what, and where of providing for ourselves. http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2013-01-24/will-you-pay-kid-read-12...   Finally, here are some of our results to help motivate you. Rabbit cooked in cream, white wine, and rosemary with potato galettes.   Rabbit cooked in vinegar with whipped parsnips.   Roasted rabbit loin with home-grown haricots verts and wild rice.   The rabbit hutch built by me and the little horsemen.   What a fun way for kids to learn multiplication.

28 февраля 2013, 19:56

What Does It Take To Start A Hotel?

Money. Of course. Unfortunately, way too many hotels are 'started' by people who are completely unmindful of the fact that they could need anything more than that. Even more unfortunately, the ending is frequently a disappointing, if not unhappy, one in such cases. You posted this question - whoever you are - anonymously, so I'm going to make certain (hopefully accurate) assumptions about you, in an attempt (hopefully appropriate) to make it a little easier for me to answer your question intelligently. You have capital, or access to adequate (although not unlimited) capital, and financing won't be a problem. You have limited, if any, hotel experience. You're sensible when it comes to business, you're not expecting to get rich quickly, you're in it for the long haul, and your expectations about life are generally realistic. You're a respectable, decent person who desires to be part of a respectable venture in which you can take pride; not someone who's in it for the fast buck, who just wants to launch it next year, hoping to sell it off the following year for a quickie profit, and/or who'd just be trying to milk the last five dollars out of a $3.98 investment for however long it took to find some sucker to buy it. Since you're asking, how does one 'start' . . . you're probably contemplating new construction, not acquiring an existing hotel. (I have a suggestion. Please consider it carefully. If it's your first time, and you have no construction or real estate development experience, consider the acquisition route, at least starting out. New construction requires somewhat more of an investment, it'll take awhile before you get a payout [where, with an existing property, you're getting at least some cash flow the first night after you take possession], and there is more risk involved [e.g., unforeseen cost overruns]. You can always do new hotels later as you gain experience and confidence - as well as revenue streams from your existing properties.) Accordingly, I'm going to assume that you're someone I should advise conservatively. If my answer doesn't come even close to what you need, it'll be because a dialogue would be more appropriate and we need to have a talk. Please feel welcome to contact me. ------------------------------------------ Let's start with your location. Give it a rest for now about streets, thoroughfares, zoning, traffic counts, etc. First, we want to make sure you're in the right town. But before we do even that, let's make sure you have the right kind of hotel in mind. Go to Hampton Inn's website, and while you're there, open the sites for Holiday Inn Express and Marriott. Start a reservation online for the city in which you'd like to build your hotel. If you're contemplating building something more downscale and economical, with more spartan amenities (e.g., a Super 8 Motel) - my best advice is, don't. It is very difficult to get a good return on new construction with an economy property in most places. You can price your rooms at sixty five bucks a night, but your competitors at that price and amenity level will be people with older, more worn properties in which they didn't invest nearly as much, who can always undercut your price by about ten bucks. If you're contemplating something more upscale, with food and beverage service, unless you yourself have restaurant management experience and can market a restaurant location in that spot successfully from scratch, my best advice is - again - don't. I can get you a good restaurant manager who can keep your food and staffing costs down, but certain minimums will have to be spent anyway no matter what she does; and unless we have a way to get people into that restaurant on a daily basis (do not assume that all hotel guests will eat there), either by keeping our meeting and banquet facilities just that busy, or making your restaurant the favorite eating place of a sufficient mass of people in town; then that food and beverage operation is going to be a monster to feed in terms of operating overhead, and will run in the red and perhaps even cause your entire hotel to do so, by eating up all of your room profits and then some. Drury Inns no longer operates hotels that have restaurants, for precisely that reason: losses on the restaurant in their first hotel, a Holiday Inn, ate up the profits from their rooms. So, we're going to use hotels like Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Courtyard by Marriott and Fairfield by Marriott as our model. (At least, starting out. As you'll see, this may change. The important thing to remember is that we want to have a reason for any departure we make from that kind of hotel.)  If those hotels in the town you selected aren't offering their rooms for at least $110 per night 'Best Available Rate' (the Fairfield might rack slightly lower, but the Courtyard should rack a little higher), then why do you want to be in that town?  Seriously? You may have a subjective, emotional, or personal reason for wanting to be in such a market (e.g., it's your hometown, and you want to have a nice hotel there, your significant other lives there, it's where you want to retire, all the hotels you've seen there are crap and anyone with half a brain can do better, etc.). There's nothing wrong with that, and if you're willing to accept a lower return, that's okay - but go in understanding that that's the choice you're making. You could probably do better elsewhere. Why? Hampton, Holiday Inn Express, Fairfield, and Courtyard are very consistent franchises, with very strict operating standards. Even though he's no doubt used to something more posh and service-intensive, Donald Trump could rough it in one for a night or two if he had to. A welfare recipient could afford one for a night or two if he or she had to and saved ahead. We call this type of hotel a Class A mid-market property. This sort of property is 'everyman's good hotel.' For any deviation from that in the type of hotel you want to build, you'll want to have a reason for it that will justify the increased investment, and/or the increased risk. A room in a Hampton Inn comes pretty much one way, whether you get one in Marlborough, Massachusetts ($144 per night), or Branson, Missouri ($89 per night), you're going to get the same room, with the same furnishings and amenities. This goes for Courtyard, Holiday Inn Express, and Fairfield as well. There will be some, but not that much, difference in your construction costs. Your overhead may be a little higher but not that much (most of any difference will occur in prevailing wages and utilities). You have the same food on your complimentary breakfast. But you're getting $55 per night more for your rooms. Multiply that times, what, 15,000 rooms per year? (That works out to about 41 rooms per night, and you have absolutely no business building a new hotel in a place where you cannot rent 41 rooms per night.) $825,000 more revenue - adding, by one crude but popular and generally reliable metric, about $2,475,000 to the value of your hotel - just by putting your hotel in one town rather than another, even if doing so added $300,000 to your initial costs. --- Once you've picked a town, let's look at something else while we're doing our research. Close and re-open your browser, and this time, open websites for Homewood Suites, Residence Inn by Marriott, TownePlace Suites by Marriott, Staybridge Suites, and Candlewood Suites. Do the same thing: check your rates for one night. Then - since we're dealing with all-suite, extended stay properties - do it again, only check the rates for a two-week stay. If the one night rate at such properties is much higher than the nightly rate at the more conventional hotels (Hampton, Courtyard, Holiday Inn, etc.); and there's not much of a drop in the rate between a one-night rate and a two-week rate, an all-suite property might be the way to go. (All-suite properties require a higher investment, but will enjoy lower variable costs. They run on lower margins, but enjoy higher occupancy and reduced staffing needs. It's the deviation from Class A mid-market I'd most likely go with, in a town where all-suite properties show up as lacking.)  It's a basic law of business - if you give people what they want, they will give you money. So, whatever we go with - in terms of type of hotel, the brand, etc. - we want it to be whatever shows up as missing in that town. OTHER PROPERTY TYPE / MARKET TIER OPTIONS: Full service? Food and beverage, meeting and banquet? Remember my warnings about food: you're launching not one venture (a hotel) but two (with that restaurant), maybe three (if there's a lounge), and it acquires that many more degrees of complexity. Meetings and banquets? Make it four. A spa? One more. A resort location? The possibilities are endless. (Indoor water parks? Forget it - I have friends who are lawyers, but that doesn't mean I want to send their kids to Duke on the money I'd be constantly paying them to defend against liability claims.) If one, two, or even all of the above work for you, if you can organize it all and hold it all together, great. But complex things that work well usually start out as simple things that work well: this includes a hotel management organization. I'd love to build the Best Western 'Atrea' prototype (Best Western Hotel Development ) in several locations I have in mind and run them. That - with some modifications and design changes that I drew up myself, some operational, some cosmetic - is my dream hotel. But for now, my company doesn't have the kind of sales and marketing staff that could properly market it, support it, and keep those meeting and banquet spaces in acceptably constant use, at least not enough to justify the investment. In a few years down the road ... well, maybe. I'll have to keep working on it. Luxury? The same applies, even more. Whatever you build, wherever you build it, you can make it as posh as you like, you can include as many amenities and services of any kind at all as anyone could want, you could make it a veritable Fantasy Island, heaven on earth even ... but there's a catch: it has to make money. Otherwise, you - or whoever's subsidizing you and your operation - are spending more money than you're taking in and no one, not even the United States Government, can do that but for just so long. Upscale select service: A Hilton Garden Inn, a Hyatt Place; a Courtyard by Marriott if you could get one? I'd think twice. In most places, you're not going to get that much, if anything at all, more for your rooms than with a more modest Class A, but you must offer that cooked-to-order breakfast -- and have the kitchen, the kitchen staff, and the overhead that goes with that. Even if you could get an extra twenty bucks per night for your rooms, could you recover - and justify - the investment? Of course, if you rent 60% of your 158 rooms every night, and everyone in the hotel shows up and pays the ten bucks to eat the cooked-to-order breakfast, and it all comes together and works for you, great ... Boutique?  I like Hotel Indigo and aloft, but in each case, we're going with a much larger investment - ten million for an aloft, according to someone with whom I spoke at Starwood a few years back - and here again, we're getting into food and beverage, in the same way as we are with upscale select service. (And frankly, while I like their aloft, W Hotels and element products, I think Starwood's 12% royalties are insane and exorbitant ... ) As an added twist, you've got a lobby bar ... an added 'investment opportunity' and an ongoing overhead item and management challenge. If it works for you, great. If you have to keep a bartender on the payroll seven afternoons and evenings a week so just one or two guys can sit there and nurse their drinks and passing guests can see them half buzzed and hear them hitting on your bartender (assuming you can keep a bartender who doesn't steal you blind, because she won't be getting much in tips), not so ... A more modest, Class B mid-market property? Class B mid-market would include Days Inn, Quality Inn, Baymont Inn, Microtel by Wyndham, Sleep Inn, some Ramadas, some Howard Johnson's. Generally, with some exceptions (Microtel by Wyndham, Sleep Inn), you don't build these, you buy them. Except for Microtel and Sleep, they're 'conversion' brands: you buy and maybe renovate an existing hotel and operate it under that brand, and the standards are a bit more relaxed and flexible - too flexible, I feel, in the case of way too many owners. (Product consistency is a problem that we'll address later.) This might be an option for you - you really should consider going the acquisition route if you're a first time investor, although I would try to find a Class A property available at a good price. On the other hand, if a Class B can be acquired and renovated at a good price, be run profitably afterward, and has another twenty years or so of life left in it, something like that might be ideal for a first time owner. As for building a Class B hotel ... Microtels (Maximizing the Microtel by Wyndham prototype and Architecture & Design | Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham | Get Started! ) and Sleep Inns (Hotel Franchise Opportunity, Development, Motel Franchises For Sale ) have smaller rooms; a smaller, more efficient building footprint, and are designed to operate profitably at a lower rate, a rate more typical of what you'd find at a Days, Quality Inn, or Baymont. Indeed, when they were introduced in the 1980s, they were originally conceived as economy properties. But you can't get a return on new construction at the economy tier. Besides, the amenity levels generally found in them, the condition of the individual property that you're likely to find if you show up, and the expectations of the guests who'll show up, qualify Microtels and Sleep Inns as mid-market class B's; and in most places, you can even get that high a nightly rate if you ask. So, that's how we classify them, even though Smith Travel Research (http://www.strglobal.com/documen... ) still characterizes them as economy brands. Should you build a Sleep Inn or Microtel? If ... you're in a smaller market where the area Class A mid-market hotels are priced at around $129 or above, any and every lesser property in that market - including the nearby Days Inn and Quality Inns - is a run-down voodoo hellhole that rents for around fifty bucks a night, there are no options for a guest in between, and the market is small enough that adding a Class A property of your own would impact that market enough to cause the $129 rate at the others to drop significantly and perhaps not recover for a long time;... then, that's the only really good reason I can think of to go with a Microtel or a Sleep Inn. For example, if you want to build your new hotel in Danville, Virginia, or Southington, Connecticut, I'd consider making that one a Microtel. Even then, I'd take care to make sure that none of the competing Class A properties are aging, in a weak location, or owned by someone who cannot or will not keep up with needed, ongoing renovations; and are thus subject to downscaling. It can be very frustrating if the nearby Holiday Inn Express rebrands as a Baymont Inn the same year you open your new Sleep Inn up the street, and you're suddenly competing with them head to head on price. Sleep Inn actually has better product consistency than Comfort Inn and can fetch as good a rate in many markets. (Indeed, both Sleep Inns and Microtels have pretty good product consistency for a Class B property. That they're all-new construction might have something to do with it: even the oldest ones are twenty years old, not much more. Then again, it could be argued that for any hotel brand, good product consistency is good for a free bump up one market tier level. Since Sleeps and Microtels were originally conceived as economy properties, product consistency carried them into the Class B category. Prior to their acquisition by LaQuinta in 2005, good product consistency carried Baymont Inns from a Class B to a Class A mid-market product. Fairfield by Marriott, another late-1980s rollout that was originally conceived as an all new-build, economy brand, is now pretty much a Class A product by virtue of uncompromising product consistency. It also works the same way in reverse. Comfort Inn's product consistency is not so good, and as a consequence, it's open to question whether Comfort Inns should be characterized as a weak Class A or a strong Class B.)  Both Sleep Inn and Microtel use a prototype building that - if kept up in good condition, and not marketed as an 'economy' hotel - can fetch a rate of about eighty to eighty-five bucks a night in any market where it would be appropriate to build one at all. The downside: both have a history of being marketed as economy brands. The only reason I didn't include Durham, N. C. as a possible location for a Microtel is because there's now a Microtel only 13 miles away, in Research Triangle Park, that goes for $49.99 a night. So, persuading any visitor to Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Hotels that a Microtel as close to that one as Durham would be worth thirty dollars a night more, might be a bit of a challenge. Economy hotels: A Super 8 or an Econo Lodge? There's only one way to do that - economically and responsibly. (That might sound like two things, but the way they'd apply here, they're not - they're one and inseparable.)  As I noted, you don't build cheap hotels, you buy them. And even then, there's always going to be someone with cheaper rooms. There's a bottom in every barrel, but is that where you want to play?  If you want to buy an older property and go this route, you'd take care to get one in a decent location that has another twenty years' life left in it, where the surrounding neighborhood's not likely to deteriorate. Renovate, meticulously: keep things simple, stay on your housekeepers and maintenance people afterward to keep it in the pristine condition to which you renovated, watch it with what we call 'amenity creep' [adding amenities that don't directly result in increased revenue], and just generally be as anal as I am about hotel security without overdoing it and making the place feel like a correctional or military facility. You're not out to have the cheapest hotel in town -- nor do you want to unless you're content to rent to the local druggies, prostitutes, and other generally unhealthy and/or destructive types who don't mind sharing their surroundings with crackwhores and cockroaches. Instead, you're out to have the cheapest decent hotel in town. A hotel in that market position is something quite respectable, and something that every town needs. ----- Now, as you've perhaps anticipated, I'm going to suggest something that personally, I generally lack enthusiasm for -- you'll lose count of the number of times I've observed that hotel franchising has no future. However, hotel franchising does have a present, and we want to keep your venture as conservative and low-risk as possible. And hotel franchising has a history that bankers who'll be supplying your mortgage loan tend to strongly favor. So, for you, we want to plan on going with a national franchise. For now, anyway. Any franchise agreement you negotiate (they usually run for a twenty-year term) should provide for termination with no penalty at five-year intervals. (I'm developing my own brand, and nothing would please me more than to have someone with capital to help me launch it. But there's more of a risk element there than there would be with a national franchise. And it would take, according to my calculations, about a half dozen locations to reach the critical mass that would compensate for lack of a national franchise brand: until we bought or built them, we'd have to accept a lower return. If we'd worked together on several other projects in the past, and you were okay with how I work and were confident we could launch it successfully, I'd say, okay, let's do it. If you had deep pockets, an appreciation for the downside involved, and you were - even so - up for the adventure, I'd say, okay, let's do it. And I'd be eternally grateful to you, we'd probably be friends for life, and once we had our successful regional chain going, your portrait would hang in the foyer of my bigger corporate headquarters facility that we'd eventually need. But given the above assumptions that I've made about you, and the cornerstone of our own corporate values that we always do right by our client-owners no matter what; I'm advising you a little more conservatively ... And there is no way I'd advise a first-time investor to proceed with an independent, unfranchised property.)  Here again, while I have my preferences, we want to see what's missing in your market, and be the bearers of gifts who provide the particular gift of what the folks in that area have always wanted and never had before, so that your future customers will be happy to see us show up. FRANCHISE CONSIDERATIONS Best Western (Best Western Hotel Development ) My first choice would be Best Western. It performs well in most places, the fees are much lower (it's a membership organization, not a franchise, so there are no royalties), and it allows for more customization if - like me - much of the fun and reward that there would be for you in owning a hotel is the opportunity to make your hotel a vehicle of self-expression, a medium of your own art. In other words, you can decorate it however you want (within limits), and you can put your own name on it alongside Best Western's. But Best Western is not always an option. Any existing Best Western location will have an area of protection: this can be annoying when an older, dated property that barely meets their standards is 'in the way' in a market where you'd like to put something new and up to date. Also, a first time owner that intends to run the property themselves might want a little more by way of support. (Any support you have from any organization should be helpful, but do not rely upon it exclusively.)  So, be open-minded. Another brand might work better for you, or supply just what's needed in that particular market, where - say, in a town where there are already two or three Best Westerns, or even just one with about two hundred rooms - Best Western might not. Wyndham Hotel Group (Wyndham Hotel Group  ) If I were going with new development of a more conventionally franchised property, I'd first consider Wyndham Worldwide - selectively. Most of its acquired brands are on the decline, but for new construction, I'd consider the brands they put their own name on - Wingate by Wyndham, Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham, Microtel by Wyndham - and to which they have that level of commitment. Super 8 Motels, Days Inn, Howard Johnson's, and Travelodge all have new construction prototypes, but I wouldn't build anything new under those brands, except for maybe Days Inn [Architecture & Design | Days Inn | Get Started! ], and I'd really rather wait a year or two to see how serious they are about turning the Days Inn brand around. Also, with most of Wyndham's acquired brands - and with any 'cheap' brand - product consistency is a problem. Simply put, the guest never knows what he's checking in to. For a hotel owner with such a franchise, who makes the investment, and takes care to run a good hotel in which he can take pride and hope to draw good customers and get a good rate, it's infuriating that other hotels operated under the same brand by other franchised owners are older run-down properties, owned by people who don't operate in accordance with standards, don't keep them clean, and who just want to take the reservation referrals and pocket the money. Why shouldn't they? The franchise organization lets them get away with it. I'll believe Wyndham is serious about turning Days Inn and Super 8 around when they kick a whole bunch of Days Inns and Super 8's out of the system, or at least make them change over to Travelodges or Knights Inns. But they might not. The previous corporate owner of those brands never did. Choice Hotels doesn't do it with its crappy franchised properties. That's the trouble with Class B and economy brands. They don't want these owners to flunk the property inspections, they want them to stay in the system and keep paying fees and royalties. So, they keep cutting them passes, putting them on 'double-secret probation', and looking the other way on inspections. You end up trying to sell nice rooms at your own, well-kept Quality Inn for $79.99 per night to people whose last stay at a Quality Inn was at a worn, beat up, not very clean, older property that rents its rooms for closer to fifty dollars a night - and that's all your guests expect to be asked to pay. Good luck. Wyndham also own some of their hotels, they were a successful hotel operator before they bought out a major franchise organization, and their operations are reputable: they're not just in business to rake in franchise fees and royalties. (Wingate by Wyndham is their Class A brand. Hawthorn Suites is their all-suites brand, if you go that route.) LaQuinta Inns  (La Quinta Franchise Opportunities, La Quinta Franchise Information  ) My personal experience with LaQuinta is limited. But their product is impressive - generally. They still have some old, exterior-corridor, faux-Spanish-style properties from their early days that they're now in the process of getting rid of; and those cheap, old, Budgetel 'Image 3' prototypes from the '80's that came with their buyout of Baymont Inns a few years back have to, like, go already, too. (They bought Baymont from Marcus Corporation, its original owners, a few years back; rebranded Baymont's best locations as LaQuintas, then sold the leftovers, including the company name, to Cendant Corporation, making Baymont destined to become one of Wyndham's acquired Class B brands.) Many of their hotels are company owned and operated. That's a good sign, even though I'm not too impressed with what I've seen of the management of some of them. Once they finish getting rid of those older properties, they've got a consistently class product, and what appears to be a good organization and good national marketing. I'd readily consider this one - especially if I were looking to build a location in the Northeast, where their coverage isn't as good, and you can still pick your spots. LaQuinta only owns the LaQuinta brand. It has no separate all-suites brand. It is, however, owned by the Blackstone Group, an equity capital firm ... that also owns Hilton Worldwide. I smell an opportunity there. If Blackstone were to up one day and make LaQuinta another Hilton brand ... (This would give Hilton two Class A brands, LaQuinta and Hampton Inns. Why not? Hilton already has two full-service brands, Hilton and Doubletree ... ), they could save a lot of money on administrative, marketing, and support functions used by both chains, be able to sell a lot more Class A franchises in regions now saturated by Hampton Inns ... and the value of a LaQuinta franchise would go up considerably, once LaQuinta is included in the HHonors program and Hilton's central reservations system ... Choice Hotels International (http://www.choicehotelsfranchise... ) Choice Hotels - in its day, frequently the best choice for a small owner-operator desiring to buy or build a franchised hotel - is on the decline. But keep an open mind: there is no way a market like Morehead City, N. C., is going to be forever without a Comfort Inn or Comfort Suites. (I'd make it a Comfort Suites: it has better product consistency than Comfort Inn, and you can get a better rate out of it.) Choice brands are also oversold in many markets. There are so many Choice hotels in Winston-Salem, N. C., where I live, that if I were buying a Choice-franchised hotel there (or in many other, hotel markets), I'd demand it be unencumbered by franchise (meaning, if you're trying to sell it to me, that you get the hotel out of the franchise agreement, and you pay the five-to-six figure termination fees and liquidated damages demanded by Choice). Another problem you're going to have with a new Comfort Inn or Comfort Suites is some difficulty getting a good rate: those two 'good' brands are marketed together, on the same 800 number and on the same website, as Choice's 'cheap' brands, so when it comes to referrals from their central reservation system, any nearby Quality Inn or Econo Lodge that appears to be in decent shape can offer their $69.99 or lower rate, and eat your lunch. (Wyndham has the same problem: their 'good' Wingates, Microtels and Hawthorns are marketed together with their 'cheap' Days Inns, Super 8's, Travelodges and Knights Inns . . .)  Choice Hotels owns no hotels: they're simply a franchisor, a royalty-and-fee collector. Any good that they do (the national advertising, the central reservation system, their pretending to enforce brand standards), they do only because it keeps the royalties and fees coming in: if it didn't, they wouldn't bother. The only thing they've ever been really good at is consistent mediocrity - and even in that area, they're slipping. Comfort Suites, MainStay Suites and Cambria Suites are their all-suite brands, but Comfort Suites is the only one I'd touch with a ten-foot pole, if I messed with Choice at all. MainStay was never much of a success -- it has a good prototype but Choice never did get the hang of marketing or supporting extended stay. Cambria Suites - Choice's very badly done attempt at entry into upscale select service with cliche 'boutique' elements - has experienced major problems. Holiday Inn Express (http://www.ihgplc.com/index.asp?pageid=330 ) Holiday Inn Express is more high investment, and wants to see more experienced, and well-heeled, operators show up. It's difficult to find places where there isn't already a Holiday Inn nearby but here again, keep an open mind ... There was no way the Poconos was going to go forever with only that one Holiday Inn product in Lake Harmony, way out in the western end of the Pocono Mountains. Too bad, there was an opportunity there, but you missed it. A new Holiday Inn Express properties opened in Stroudsburg this year, at the end of the Pokies closer to New Jersey and New York. (I expect it to do quite well, even without me running it, or having had a chance to tell them to put it in Pocono Summit or Long Pond instead of Stroudsburg. I wish I'd gotten to do it ... ) Still, there are towns where a Holiday Inn product shows up as missing. Check out Gloucester Point, VA, a fast-growing Newport News/Hampton suburb. Or even better, Lexington Park, MD, where the nearby Hampton Inn racks at $159 per night most of the year. The Holiday Inn brand is owned and franchised by InterContinental Hotels, and Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites are their all-suite brands, if that's the way you decide to go. Hampton Inn (Hotel and Resort Development ) Most of the above applies even more to Hampton Inn. It's high investment, they want to see an experienced operator who doesn't mind writing checks on demand without questioning the 'expert' reasoning for the expenditure, and it's likewise not easy to find a place where there isn't already a Hampton Inn nearby. So, even though you have the Hilton organization backing that one, it seems to have plateaued. Hilton, LaQuinta, and InterContinental Hotels, which owns Holiday Inn, has one advantage over Choice and Wyndham as franchisers: they have no 'cheap' brands. So, it's easier for them to establish a high price point quickly, and get a good rate. Don't despair: you can catch up with them with a Wingate or a Comfort Suites, and over time attain a comparable rate, if you do your local marketing, and compete well, but it'll take some time and work. Besides, you want your rates a little on the low side when you first open, anyway, until you get your occupancy up. If you go all-suites, Homewood Suites and Home2Suites are Hilton's all-suite brands. So is Embassy Suites, but you're getting into upscale select service and major investment with that one ... Marriott / Courtyard by Marriott / Fairfield by Marriott (Real Estate Investment with Marriott Hotels  ) Forget it, you're not going to get a franchise for a Marriott brand for your first hotel - at least not if you intend to run it yourself. They like to see a very high level of experience and capital (if you don't already own three successful franchised properties, you don't meet their minimum qualifications), they place you and any other hotels you own under a great deal of scrutiny before they get involved with you at all (and even so I'm amazed at some of the companies, run by absolutely irresponsible lowlifes, accepted as 'Marriott developers'). And even then their scrutiny upon you doesn't end. You're almost guaranteed to make money, but you're in their game, and you're going to play it their way. If you want to invest ten to twelve million in Marriott's way of doing things, buy Marriott stock and save yourself the risk and personal accountability. If you want to make running a hotel, and doing things Marriott's way your life's work, get a job as a manager of a Marriott-branded hotel and save the ten to twelve million. One option you might have if you're determined to own a Courtyard or a TownePlace -- if it's your desire simply to own such a hotel as a passive investment -- is to partner with a Marriott developer, and execute a hotel management agreement with them (we'll talk later about those). Be advised, however, you will have little to no control over your investment. The management company will be very much in charge, and Marriott will have a very well-listened-to say in how every little thing is done. You, a representative from your management company, and a representative from Marriott will have a budget meeting every year at which, together, they'll explain to you what Marriott requires. You'll just get a report every quarter and, hopefully, a check. As you've perhaps guessed ... I like Marriott, and I don't. I'm a fan, and I have issues with them. I admire them at times, and I think they can be very silly at times. They're very good at most of what they do, and I give them credit. We're just different. My company will never be a Marriott developer: I'm more of a Best Western-compatible "let me put my own company's name on it, design and decorate it however I want, and be responsible and properly credited for the outcome" kind of guy. We'd drive each other nuts within six months. Marriott is very much a 'by the numbers' company. They're successful, they know it, and you're never going to convince them that maybe you have a better idea. Everything that happens in a Marriott-branded hotel, right down to how the desk clerk answers the phone ("We're having a great day at the Courtyard by Marriott Waterbury ... tra la la la la la ... ") is done in accordance with a 'recipe'. (Really. I read Bill Marriott's book [http://www.amazon.com/gp/product... ]). It's always seemed a bit odd to me that Marriott screens its developers so carefully supposedly on the basis of being absolutely the best at what they do without, up until being selected as a Marriott developer, any guidance from Marriott - then, tells them in minute detail how to do it. Their written policies and procedures probably take up sixteen or so bound volumes, maybe more. I, on the other hand, want people who can make decisions - at every level - and have those decisions be correct, or at least respectable. I don't believe in 'hire for personality and train for ability.' (Maybe it's my personality ... ) We don’t ‘dumb down’ our individual tasks almost to the level at which even a robot, a monkey, or a service animal can be trained to perform them; then hire the dumbest, most predictable and controllable (and presumably, loyal and reliable) box of rocks that breathes, has a pulse and can be trained to perform them, to perform them. You don’t see scripted customer greetings, or step-by-step task breakdowns to perform even the most menial tasks. If you need to complete the same twenty-item checklist on a daily basis in order to stay on top of your duties as a desk clerk, I'm not so sure I want you working on my front desk. We don't aspire to create ‘a system designed by geniuses for implementation by idiots.’ Rather, we find people likely to carry out any accountabilities we might likely assign them who might be content to perform those accountabilities, and do it well, for as long as we need them to do so – and who, in addition, bring to our party some capabilities and giftedness for bigger and better things a few years down the road. We need to be able to expand quickly, and we need to be able to grow our people as fast as we can grow the company. Our written policies and procedures might someday fill a single, three-inch Staples three ring binder. And while we'd really rather you didn't just pick it up and say 'hello,' we don't care how you answer the phone, so long as you're pleasant and represent the hotel in a positive way. Marriott's respectable. We both want the same things. We just have different approaches to pursuing them, that's all. Marriott all but invented all-suites/extended stay - in fact, they bought Residence Inn from the guy who did - and they also have TownePlace and Spring Hill. They do extended stay better than anyone, but common mortals like you and I are on our own with what's left. And finally ... sometimes, a little cynicism and negativity is a GOOD thing! Do not consider any other franchise organization. There are none that are appropriate for a first-time owner. This is particularly true for regional, new-build franchises that market their franchises to first-time owners (the only one, ever, to do that successfully was Super 8 Motels back in the '70s, and it had a unique business model and financing scheme back then that enabled them to get away with it.) ValuePlace's business model still needs more time to shake out: meanwhile, they expanded too fast and they're about to go through some bad weather. Red Roof Inn and Motel 6 are economy brands that are hard to get a return on if you build a new one using their prototype. Red Roof Inn is particularly bad: they deliver a very good mid-market product at a costly investment, but insist on claiming an economy hotel market position and charging an economy price, even in markets where they could easily command a higher rate. And Motel 6 is bad, bad - Satan's own motel chain. Bad business model. Bad problems - I mean, serious crime on occasion - at many of their hotels. The only good thing about Motel 6 is its potential value as a Cornell case study about the direct relationship between bad hotel sales and marketing and bad hotel security. They market their rooms the same way Wal-Mart markets a lot of its items: low price, low margin, but make it up on volume. Don't let anyone walk away. Jeffrey Dahmer could get a room there. Osama bin Laden could get a room there. Any local drug dealer or criminal can get a room at Motel 6, and quite a few do. Don't let Tom Bodett kid you: a room at the 'lowest price of any national chain' is not a good thing if you're checking into a voodoo hellhole where there's a good risk of something bad happening to you. Which brings us back to their bad business model: if you own a franchised Motel 6, and your competitor up the next exit is some raggedy Red Carpet Inn that's overdue for a date with a bulldozer, that rents its smelly, vermin-infested rooms for $34.95 per night, the 'lowest price of any national chain' that you're stuck with because it's advertised nationally on your behalf can be a pretty low number. The Blackstone Group bought it about a year ago, but I can pretty much promise you even without even asking them: unlike LaQuinta Inns, Motel 6 will not become a Hilton brand. Speaking of Red Carpet Inns ... Hospitality International brands (Red Carpet Inn, Scottish Inn, Master Hosts Inn, Passport Inn, and Downtowner Inn; BookRoomsNow: Home ) are completely inappropriate for new construction, and if you've ever seen one of their motels from the highway, you can guess why. They're the franchise of last resort for any roach motel operator who can't pass a 'real' franchise organization's property inspection, and each of their locations are the location of last resort in any given town for Hospitality International - they were able to sell a franchise to that owner only because no other local hotel owner would buy their franchise. There's no polite way to put it: nearly all of their properties are dumps. (There's a Scottish Inn in Mocksville, NC near where I live that's owned by some good folks, and kept up pretty nicely, but it's a cheap, old, poorly-designed motel that looks a lot rougher than it is. It's probably that Gujarati immigrant family's first property, they do the best they can - very well, actually - with what they have to work with, and I'll be happy to see them eventually move up to something better.) Nearly every reservation referral by their central reservations feed originates from an online travel agency - meaning, in part, that your $35.95-per-night rooms will, after the OTA's commission is paid, net you closer to $28.76 per night. Before franchise fees and royalties. Don't touch Carlson - Country Inn and Suites, Park Inns, or Radisson - with a ten foot pole. If Choice Hotels is an organization that's slipping, Carlson is one that's in freefall. I have a friend who owns a Country Inn and Suites in a badly oversold Asheville, NC, market: nearly every reservation he gets from their system originated from an online travel agency (we'll talk later about what that's worth). Carlson was once a strong organization, but its strength was in Carlson's nationwide chain of storefront travel agencies: book a trip at one at one of those storefront travel agencies, and guess which Radisson - er, hotel - they would book you into? But nobody uses storefront travel agencies any more, and apparently, Carlson never got control of a major online travel agency. They kicked out a bunch of Radissons a few years back for 'failing to meet brand standards' (What brand standards? The one in Cromwell, Connecticut, with which I was most familiar, was always a rat's nest, by contrast to what you'd expect of Radisson in better days, in better locations, and no one ever cared). It could be they were retrenching, as the press releases had us believe ... or it could be they were just throwing in the towel and no longer want the responsibility. It'll be interesting to see. But even if the Carlson drama has a happy ending and the sort of inspiring redemption story that would make a good movie (in that business drama genre so popular in Japan, perhaps), none of it will do you any good in time to do you any good if someone sold you a Country Inn and Suites (Development Opportunities ) franchise ... And if you go with an upstart regional brand like Cobblestone Inns or AmericInns - even though they market to first-time owners - you're trusting them with a heck of a lot, and you're the one who's going to lose if it doesn't work out. (In either case, you certainly don't want to be outside their established region . . .) --- Once you've selected your franchise, they will send out a brand representative and - with varying degrees of skill, dedication, and diligence; on the part of both the franchise organization and the brand rep - support you with much of the necessary expertise in getting the site developed and the building built. (You'll still need your own architect, and your own lawyer to deal with any zoning and regulatory issues). That's where you'll deal with issues such as traffic counts, site orientation, and market analysis. You should be in alignment with your brand rep on all of this before you submit the application and hand over the thirty-odd-thousand dollar application fee to the franchise organization. Receive with graciousness and gratitude any help they offer, but check behind them, and get your own professional advice from professionals - lawyers, bankers, accountants, contractors, etc. - that you know, to insure that what they're doing is in fact helpful. Always remember, it is the franchise organization, not you, who is paying the brand rep. Wherefore his treasure is, there will his heart be, also. (Some franchise organizations will even require a formal professionally-done market study. That's where all the consultants that someone noted in another answer come into the picture. But it shouldn't be required in most cases, although it might be advisable if you can afford it - or if your choice to build that kind of hotel in that location was a borderline call - and you want the extra insurance. And if a formal market study is required by the franchise organization, ask yourself why. If they're not confident that their brand or business model can succeed in your location, then why are you making a $7-8 million-dollar, twenty-year-long commitment to it, or betting your entire investment on the success of it?)  Financing your project is your own responsibility. The brand rep may refer you to someone, but you'll still have to go through the approval process, and they'll only want to wait so long for you to get your property up and running and paying the royalties and fees. You should have a few sources of your own lined up and have most of the wheels turning before you even apply for the franchise. (I've seen one major franchise organization sign up someone that they knew was going to have problems with his financing, that they knew was never going to get his hotel renovated in accordance with their standards anytime within the foreseeable future, simply so they could pocket his $30,000 application fee.)   Financing works much the same way as for any other commercial project: you'll get bridge financing - basically, a hard-money loan - to build it out (and it should allow for overruns or any nasty surprises that come up in the costs), and permanent financing close to the completion of the project. Your friendly banker will want to see a 80% loan-to-value ratio - even less if he doesn't feel completely confident in your franchise, or your credit history, or your ability to run the property. Mortgage lenders who do hotels have a very strong bias toward franchised properties - some franchise, any franchise, many of which are, nowadays, not worth having if you go by raw numbers as they occur this year. Having a franchise that charges 8% of your revenue in royalties and fees, whose reservation system refers to your hotel no more than 8% of your total rooms rented, is like having 14.7 pounds of air pressure in your tire. If you're paying out eight to twelve percent in fees and royalties, more than eight to twelve percent of your revenue should come from central reservations referrals - and Expedia, Travelocity, Booking.com,  or other online travel agencies don't count as central reservation system referrals in the in the math I use to calculate this. If you have a franchise, your franchise organization will be handling most of the referrals from online travel agencies, but those didn't originate with the franchise organization, and they can't fairly claim credit for 'getting' it for you. An independent property with a $1600-and-under property management system can still access OTA referrals (Booking.com & Expedia ), so you don't really have the franchise organization to thank for them. (And you will not get a property management system nearly that cheap with a major franchise organization - see Michael Forrest Jones's answer to Hotels: Do most hotels use a specific POS system at the front desk or a larger computer system? ) History has shown, however, that franchised properties are less likely to run into financial problems than independent properties, so it's going to be a few more years before mortgage lenders are ready to give up that bias toward some franchise being in place. Stay with a strong brand and you should be okay, as long as you have an option to terminate the franchise every five years. ---- There are some building contractors who do nothing but hotels. I'd go with one of those, unless you know someone who you're absolutely sure is good at getting things done on time and on budget. They have the experience to quote you a price per room, and have the final cost come in at something close to that price. As with any commercial project, you should also be clear on the cost of the 'extras': after all, there's more involved than just the building (The parking lot? The pool? Any landscaping that you want done? Did the bid include carpet, paint, and wallpaper?) Your brand rep will offer you support with acquiring the fixtures, furnishings, and equipment you'll need to fit out your building and make it work as a hotel. There will be some required purchases: some items, you will be required to procure from a specified vendor. For a lot of other things - furniture, linens and terry, office equipment, signage and fixtures - they will offer purchasing services. Some of the stuff will be available to you at a fair price - maybe (some overpriced items are required purchases, so you're stuck with them). Some of the stuff, you'll actually save money on. (Sometimes franchise organizations actually do intend, sincerely, to really help the franchisee, but ultimately it's always the franchise organization's interests that control, no matter which one you're dealing with.) Anything you buy has to meet the franchise organization's standards: if you buy from their purchasing service or approved vendor, it will; if you buy it elsewhere, they'll have to okay it. Me, I watch them ... I make a thirty-odd page shopping list, categorized by departments, like they taught us to do in the architectural estimating class I took back in college (The hotel you see here - New Salem Inn prototype - should cost about $5,600,000 per copy, not much more. Like a Microtel or a Sleep Inn, it was designed to compete successfully in that category if it had to, but to go after Class A customers wherever it could ... ). I cost out everything out of a three-inch thick American Hotel Register catalog (Hotel Supplies, Hotel Products, Amenities, Linens & Hotel Furniture & More .) But when it comes time to make the actual buy, I shop it around: you can save a lot of money off American Hotel Register's off-the-shelf, set-in-cement prices that way, and I have a built-in fudge factor on my projected costs. Classic, shining example? To stock an entire 62-room hotel with three turns of linens and terry from American Hotel Register at their regular list prices, you're going to spend about $60,000 (Yes, that's just for things like sheets, towels, and washcloths. Think that's bad? Plan on having to replace it all every year or two ... that stuff has a one-year life expectancy. That's how quickly it disappears, or gets a noticeable tear, fray, or stain that won't come out.) But there are any number of suppliers from whom you can order linens and terry that meets your franchise organization's specifications (material, thread count, etc.) for around half as much, sometimes less. No matter how precisely you can figure it, there will still be surprises. And you're only human: you will miss things. I showed a costs takeoff I had recently done to one hotel owner friend, and within a few minutes, he asked, what are you going to use for phones? I'd included phones in the rooms, but had forgotten the front desk console and main switchboard system: add twenty-five thousand dollars to the list to allow for that. Twenty-five thousand dollars is a lot of money. You might rationalize that it wouldn't be, to someone spending seven or eight million, but you still look and feel stupid explaining a mistake at that price to them as a boo-boo. And as for them, they didn't get in a position to spend several million by making - or even putting up with - twenty-five thousand dollar boo-boos. That's why I had my friend check it over. ---- Before we go further (at the further risk of my sounding paranoid about you), I need to insert yet another word of caution. (I don't mean to discourage you. If this is something you really want to do, your intentions are good, you take pride in what you do, and you are a decent human being who cares and is committed to doing it right, I want you to do it, and do it well, and succeed, and be appropriately rewarded. We need more people like yourself in this business. I just don't want to see you get into trouble, or lose a great deal of money, or be just another one of those owners whose sole contribution to the way things are done is further market overcrowding or destructive, nuisance competition.)  If you're considering a hotel as a passive real estate investment - like an apartment building, or strip mall - be warned, it isn't. (Lots and lots of 'real estate' investors think of them that way: that's why you see hotels advertised for sale on LoopNet with a 12%-or-under 'cap rate' as though that capitalization rate is even an appropriate metric for determining the value a hotel, never mind an impressive one. It's neither.) You don't just collect the rent, and pay maybe a single on-site superintendent or a maintenance guy, and contract any needed repairs, and make the mortgage payment, and your costs are covered. A hotel is a business. It must be respected and managed as one. You may also own a Boeing 737, but owning it doesn't qualify you to fly it as pilot-in-command. Likewise, your wife's best friend who's into entertaining, or decorating, can't necessarily run a hotel, nor can your ne'er-do-well nephew or brother-in-law who needs a job. A hotel must be managed with skill and intentionality by people who know what they're doing. Which brings us to management ... You'll need to work out an operating budget that you can live with without learning too many things by experience along the way - and there will still be surprises. I use one with a built-in 'fiscal cliff', actually several. It has six columns, each headed by an occupancy percentage figure. If my occupancy for a month - or even a few days - is 40% instead of 50%, automatic cuts in many areas kick in. If I know in advance, for whatever strange reason, that we won't rent any rooms next Thursday, I don't need a desk clerk on duty next Thursday: I'll be there and tend the front desk myself. A good manager is going to be on the front desk himself every day anyway if his occupancy is under 30%, and save the payroll cost. But if his occupancy is more than 40%, he's going to schedule a desk clerk: his time would be better spent doing some sales calls or a property improvement project.  If occupancy is over 65%, however, I splurge if I don't have past due bills or needs, and I can do so. Of course, I put aside some cash for a rainy day, but I also use some of the extra money to launch new marketing efforts or property upgrades. That makes your property more competitive and provides for a rainy day in itself, and you want to be in the habit of doing that. In budgeting, as with calculating costs; no two hotels run exactly alike, or have exactly the same needs. And again, you're only human: you'll miss things. So, you'll have to add things in later, and adjust your budget along the way. And when you first open, your revenue won't meet budget for a few months - or even be very predictable - so you'll have to be prepared to make judicious adjustments to it until it does.  You'll need to recruit and train a staff, and your staff will need to get used to working together as a team. You'll need a full crew of desk clerks - including two of those all essential night auditors (see Michael Forrest Jones's answer to What are different ways to learn hotel management? ) They'll all need to be trained. You'll need an experienced housekeeper. Check her out thoroughly, and make sure she has supervisory experience. If she's currently employed at another nearby hotel, check into the hotel where she now works for a night, run your fingers along the top of the picture frames checking for dust, open every drawer and cupboard in every piece of furniture in the room, and spend several minutes crawling around in the floor in your room looking under things. If she's slack about staying on top of what her people are doing, what you'll find in those places will tell on her ... She'll need one room attendant for every fourteen rooms in your property (for the first few months, you'll be able to make do with fewer). They'll all need to be trained (see Michael Forrest Jones's answer to Hotels: How do good hotels always feel so clean and fresh? ) You'll need a breakfast hostess, maybe two (just one will want a day off sooner or later; and since she starts work at 5am, she's the second most aggravating employee - after a night auditor - to get a substitute for if she calls in sick or just doesn't show up). They'll need to have it worked out how to set out the various food items, manage the breakfast, and clean up and put it away afterward. You'll need need a maintenance guy (Yes, even though the hotel is brand new, and if you built more than 70 or so rooms, you'll need more than one.) Any building needs day to day care and occasional repairs even if people don't break things, and even a new building - especially a brand new one that you just opened -  is going to have to be shaken down and have a lot of bugs to work out. Besides, who's going to cut the grass, or sweep the litter out of the parking lot, or empty the outside trash barrels?  Indeed, you might want to make him your very first employee: he should start work while the building contractors and subs are still there, and during the final weeks of construction, they can walk him around and show him how everything is put together. Plan on paying him about $12-16 per hour. You can, of course, get one for half as much, but that'll get you eight-bucks-an-hour worth of maintenance guy. Yours needs to be a jack-of-all-trades - plumbing, mechanical, electrical, carpentry, paint and wallpaper ... To put it another way: the repair on anything that he can't fix will have to be contracted, and contractors have a much higher per-hour labor cost on service calls. They can also take a few days to show up: not a good thing when you run a 24-7 business. (There is no reason a guy cannot work well as a room attendant: I've seen them do it. There is no reason a woman cannot be a maintenance worker or engineer: I've seen them do quite well at that. Historically, there has been very good equal opportunity for men and women in management roles: nearly half of all managers are women, and some of the best hotels I've seen are run by women. The CEO of Kimpton Hotels, one of the more impressive hotel companies I've seen, is a woman. So, please don't take it the wrong way that originally, I wrote this in a hurry and didn't take care to use gender-neutral job designations.) You'll spend several days prior to opening with all of the above, both individually and in groups, doing 'walk-throughs', like Mike Krzyzewski does on the court with the Blue Devils before boarding the bus for a big game, planning the plays that they will use against the team that they'll be playing that night. During your first few days of operation, you want them working together so smoothly that, to a guest, it looks like they've been working together for years. You'll need to have everything in place before the first guests arrive. Opening night is not the time to discover that you forgot to order toilet paper, or to put a couple of wastebaskets in each room. Guests will be getting a kick out of being among the first guests in a brand new hotel. (Part of the traditional opening ceremonies for a new hotel is having the mayor of your city or town show up and register as the first guest, if you're into tradition and can swing it.) And they may even be forgiving of opening-night kinks that need to be worked out, but you don't want to abuse the privilege - or even claim the privilege if you can avoid it. If you have no hotel management experience, get someone who does. (Plan on paying him or her about $35k, give or take, for a hotel of this type, plus incentives.) Your brand rep can help, but he or she can't do it all for you - at some point, the training wheels are going to have to come off and you're going to be on your own. Much of the 'training' you get from the franchise organization is how to work with their central reservations system and fill out their required forms, anyway. They will have materials for you and will work with you to get you trained in other areas, but you're not going to come through that training with the equivalent of a degree from Cornell. With some, it's more like a band-aid and a prayer. Choice Hotels has lots of materials on human resources management, for example; but if you don't already have some idea how to attract and retain good help, how to treat them and care for them properly, how to stay within the workplace safety and wage-and-hour laws in your state, and how to train and develop them, the material you get from Choice won't be sufficient to carry the day but for just so long before you're in trouble.  If you hire a manager ... Require specific, successful experience. Before I started my own company, I was the g.m. of four different hotels ... working for dipstick owners, doing dipstick things in the dipstick way they wanted them done because I needed the work and wanted to keep the job, and signing off on the dipstick results that I got for doing the dipstick things ... which were, invariably, such dipstick results that frankly, if I didn't know me, I wouldn't advise you to hire me!  (One of the reasons I formed my own company was so I could negotiate opportunities to do it right.)  So, finding people with specific, successful experience won't be easy, and will depend far too much on how much you're willing to compromise upon your definition of 'successful'. Still, any step in the right direction is a step in the right direction ... Check references - and then some. I check references on applicants - and scrutinize the reference as well as the applicant [see Michael Forrest Jones's answer to What are different ways to learn hotel management? ]. One fundamental flaw I've always noted in the 'science' of human resources management is, is any applicant going to give as a reference someone who's going to have anything bad to say about them? And if they're stupid enough, or blind enough to how others perceive them, to do that, do you want to hire them? But if they're not just that stupid, how can you make an informed, balanced, and accurate assessment of them? You are relying upon the stupidity or dishonesty of others in making critical business decisions for yourself.  I don't read 'testimonials' offered by someone trying to sell me some flaky deal on some flaky product, I don't accept letters of reference or recommendation on resumes or job applications (nor, even, the applicants who offer them) unless the recommendation is from someone I know (and even then I'm going to call them and question it), and I don't 'play fair' when it comes to reference checks: I'll ask anyone I deem likely to know. My job application for any front office accountability is eight pages of mostly essay-type questions (if it's for a management or business development accountability, there are another six to ten pages of those), and my interviews get even more up close and personal. I generally won''t touch a wannabe-hotel manager who doesn't have experience as a night auditor  [see Michael Forrest Jones's answer to What are different ways to learn hotel management? ], and I like to see sales and marketing ability. Do a background check on anyone you hire. (I'm a dead serious believer in running a background check on everyone you hire who has access to guestroom keys, period. I'm not waiting for Nan's Law to pass. In any hotel that I run, Nan's Law is law.  Mike's law!). ---- Or you can contract a hotel management company to take most of the responsibility. I'll be happy to travel out and look at it, if you're in this part of the U. S. (We'd need to discuss that privately.)  A typical hotel management agreement calls for a base fee of two percent of revenue for the first year, three percent the second, four percent the third, and levels off at five percent for each year of its twenty year term. incentive fees of up to to fifteen percent apply to any increase in revenue over that of the year before. a five percent fee that gets added to the total cost of any construction or later improvements, addition or renovations, in return for managing the project. you to provide all working capital and inventories. 'no-cut' provisions. The management company, by virtue of the HMA, acquires a leasehold interest in the hotel. Not all imaginable breaches under the agreement constitute a default that can justify termination of the agreement, although they must be cured to the extent possible. And even most events of default must be cured, but still do not constitute grounds for termination of the agreement unless one or more other factors are in place to indicate that the management company's operation of the hotel is failing (e.g., the hotel is not, as indicated by several metrics - rate penetration, occupancy penetration, etc. - competing successfully against or keeping up with comparable hotels in its market). I love 'em. I can ask an investor to bankroll a hotel, and he can own it: we don't have to worry about equity (although that can certainly be negotiated), or vesting, or any of the other stuff that goes with startups that can be hard for a guy without a lot of money of his own to invest to leverage. I'll help in every way I can. You own it. All I ask is the management contract -- and can we throw in an option for us to buy the hotel if you ever decide to sell it? Negotiate your HMA very carefully, no matter which management company you choose: the twenty-year term of a 'no-cut' agreement can be a long, long time - twenty years, to be exact - and there's a lot that a management company that views its contracts as a cash cow can get away with in the meanwhile. (One of the cornerstones of the company values we had in mind when we put my company together was, we're always going to do right by the client-owner no matter what. Be accountable, keep the client-owner informed, you have a lot of discretion under the agreement, but make sure he's okay with what you're doing. No overstaffing, no girlfriends on the payroll as 'sales secretaries' or 'reservations managers,' no letting your salaried g.m. use it as a jobs program for her relatives or 'professional colleagues,' no overloading the hotel with extra salaried management-level employees so we'll have bench strength waiting in the wings if we sign another hotel. No renovations or expenditures that won't really benefit the hotel, just so we can collect the five percent improvements management fee [see Hotels: When a hotel has an electronic "Do Not Disturb" system, what happens, and where, when a guest toggles the setting? ]. No comp rooms: every occupied room has a value, and if it's not paid for, the cost gets billed against something as an expense, which has to be justified on the reports. It's a no-cut agreement, but don't abuse the privilege. Don't be cheap and cheesy, or penny-wise and pound-foolish, but look for a cheaper solution that will work to any problem or expense.) ---- And finally, we get to the part that many people forget. Or just don't pay enough attention to if they remember it at all. Or depend entirely upon the franchise organization for even though doing that assures your property a mediocre - at best - performance. Or cynically settle for that mediocrity when it turns out that their franchise organization doesn't have it handled after all (at least not as well as the owner was led to believe when they sold her the franchise), and doesn't hand it to them on a plate.  Marketing. Like a developer I knew years ago said recently, no one spec-builds anything anymore. Before you even invest anything, you should have some idea who's going to show up and rent the rooms.  It's not an isolated, 28-room roadside mom-and-pop on an off-ramp: you can't just open the doors, sit behind the desk, and expect people to show up. Some will, if your franchise, or your location, isn't completely worthless. But if you leave your sales and marketing to work itself out on its own (or rely too much upon your franchise organization to do it all for you), then you'll just be getting your competitors' leftovers, and you'll never get a nightly rate for your rooms that's higher than maybe five to ten bucks more than what the nearest old, run-down hotel that's clearly a comedown from your own charges for its rooms. Once you have your hotel up and running - long before, even -  you need to have someone working on corporate and group bookings, negotiating contract rates, building a base of regular users. If I were there, I'd pull a few tricks out of my marketing bag, set up my Community Partner program (donate ten bucks to a designated charity - say, Habitat for Humanity - and we give you twenty bucks off your room rate for each night of your stay ... the local Habitat chapter will refer lots of rooms to us once the checks start rolling in ...). I'd structure the rates so anyone who stays three days or more gets an automatic discount - much the same way extended-stay properties do with slightly longer stays - and position the property to be the place to stay if you're staying several days. But sales and marketing is also where my biggest weakness lies: I can do it, but my experience in hotel sales and marketing is not altogether conventional. What I do works, but it's sloppy.  I usually send out for help if I can recruit a Director of Sales that doesn't drive me nuts. If you can't afford a full-time person in a dedicated business development accountability, however, don't despair (and certainly, don't give up and quit): I've seen desk clerks who had a gift for it: look for that gift when you interview and hire. The important thing is, keep someone working on it, and don't settle for anything less than the best imaginable positive results. Over time, I want my company to work out a range of techniques and things, all of which work, and most of which anyone can be trained to execute confidently: that way, if I sign more than three or four hotels, I don't have to be personally responsible for - or at least directly involved in - the successful marketing of each one. (Some techniques and methods will work better for some people than for others. Each has to be matched to the personality of the person attempting them. Anything done has to flow naturally from that person. It can't be role-played: it'll just go over as a gimmick or manipulation if a person from whom it does not flow naturally tries. I hated the Meryl Burbank character in The Truman Show  - everything about that conniving, controlling, manipulative, just generally fraudulent, and ultimately-out-for-herself character; not just when she was touting some sponsored product -  and I don't want anyone like her working in any of my hotels in any guest contact, never mind business development, accountability.) The more rooms you rent at rack rate, the lower your rack rate is going to be (see What is and why do hotels have a rack rate? ). When I see a hotel for sale, I hope to see that the broker provided an average daily rate (ADR) in addition to the hotel's occupancy percentage. Then, I go online to the hotel's website, and look up its Best Available Rate. The ADR should be about 86% of its BAR. If it's much more, say, up in the nineties, I know I'm looking at a hotel whose marketing is static, no one's really working on marketing the hotel and reaching new users. (Your ADR/BAR will be ninety-something percent anyway, just because of the number of people who come in wanting their AAA, AARP, and other entitlement discounts.)  There's an opportunity there, some upside potential. On the other hand, if it's much lower than 86%, I'm going to suspect either some chicanery on the part of the seller (he's renting out a bunch of rooms really cheap, to whoever, in an effort to manipulate his occupancy percentage), or that the hotel's marketing isn't being approached very intelligently. They're handing out discounts like candy, but not all customers need, or even want, a discount. Some have other needs, but no one's finding out what those needs are. Our job is to know. The people who are staying at the hotel are paying a rate which could get them a room at a much lesser property. Obviously, they don't place a higher value on what this hotel has to offer than they would place upon a room at that lesser property. Why not? And why are we not reaching people who'd not only better appreciate what we have to offer, but even be willing to pay more? Frequently, what I find to be happening in such cases is that any marketing that the hotel is working on amounts to going after more, more, more of what they already have;  and in order to get it, they're dropping the price. Nobody's looking for anything new. Nobody's trying to identify potential new users. Nobody's communicating what this hotel, with these features, in this location, can be to anyone who doesn't already know. They're just trying - sometimes, perhaps, a little too hard - to hang on to the old. Part of the job of business development - most of it, actually - is finding and identifying these potential new friends and customers. Once that's done, lots of people can 'sell' and 'market' to them: even a gifted hourly employee can do it. If your competitors find, and reach out to them, before you do; they'll sell and market to them. So, find these people, and keep them talking to you and your own people. Once your hotel achieves a critical mass of occupancy, say, 65% of your rooms are being rented pretty consistently, you can tap up your rack rate five to ten bucks. (60% for most good hotels is quite normal: if you can't find a way to hit that in a new hotel within a year, you overbuilt, you have too many rooms ... ) From then on, any discounts you have to give to secure new corporate and group business will be discounted from the new rack rate, meaning you can get a little more for that business. As you keep getting more new business (hopefully faster than the old regulars taper off and stop coming), you can tap your rate up again: it's an upward spiral. It also works the same way in reverse: if you have to lower your rate in order to compete, any new corporate or group business you get will have leverage to negotiate a deeper discount and lower rate for themselves. As they disappear faster than you're drawing new ones -- which they will if you're not constantly drawing in new ones -- you have to lower your rates again to keep the rooms filled: you're in a downward spiral and your property is in decline. (What's the life expectancy of a new corporate account in any hotel? About six months. If they continue to have the need to be in town that long -- and even if they feel no particular dissatisfaction with your hotel -- they're prone to look at other area hotels, just because they're tired of looking at the same wallpaper. Or because one of your competitors got in touch and offered them a lower rate, or something they wanted that they didn't think to ask you for. Or any number of reasons. You can't take them for granted: you've got to be present to their needs and make sure that they're cared for.)  Your hotel is either busy living or it's busy dying. Your business is either growing or it's shrinking. It's either making money or it's not: no one's income and expenses balance to the penny, unless the balance is zero. And everyday that it's in 'survival and maintenance', every day that it's coasting along waiting for you to figure out what you're going to do with it next, it's aging by another day and getting older and more worn. Age is the enemy of any hotel, product freshness is paramount in this business. 'Grand ladies,' as Conrad Hilton used to refer to his earlier properties, don't take well to age (especially showing their age), any more than real ladies do. The life expectancy of any new hotel is twenty years. After that, it can't compete with newer, fresher hotels unless its renovated at a cost approaching its replacement cost  (which isn't really worth doing unless it's in a really high-value location, near a major mall, hospital, or other serious demand generator). It downscales, it gets bumped down a market tier (from a mid-market Class A to a Class B hotel, and eventually, to a worn-out economy property.)  Nobody wants to check in to a hotel that 'looks old,' unless they can afford nothing better - and that'll affect your revenue. Old historic hotels are the exception, but the reason that we preserve them is that few hotels that are anything like them have been built in the last fifty years. So, consistent success in attracting and drawing in new corporate and group business - and keeping what you have -- is absolutely essential to the success of your hotel. Indeed, it's essential to the life of it. You absolutely cannot afford to neglect this. You can't even to wait to get started - if you build a new 72-room hotel, the very day the contractors hand over the keys, you've got 72 empty rooms, and your costs and overhead are already in place. You've got to start making it pay. Now. It's something you should have been working on for a couple of months already, as soon as you could safely commit to an opening date. (see Michael Forrest Jones's answer to What would be a good way to promote a small hotel? ) ---- Hopefully this answer comes close to what you need.  If not, we need to talk - whatever you do, your situation is going to be unique anyway, and not everything I've said here will apply to you in quite the same way. And if you're the kind of person I like to work with; then at this point, you'll come away with questions, not the impression that you now have final solutions. I'd apologize for the length, but all I can tell you is that it still needs work (I spent parts of 2-3 days, and finally sat up late into tonight having fun with it ...).

27 февраля 2013, 20:15

Doing more with less?

DEAN BAKER has a counterintuitive piece in The Guardian, arguing that we should be excited about population decline and falling ratio of workers to retirees:There is no reason why the prospect of a stagnant or declining workforce should concern the vast majority of people. Rather, from the standpoint of addressing global warming and other environmental problems, this is great news.Mr Baker freely acknowledges that demographic changes imply a higher proportion of worker income will be transferred to retirees under current benefit schemes. However, he counters by saying that future workers will not mind because their absolute standard of living will be so much higher, thanks to rising productivity. Mr Baker’s thesis sounds remarkably similar to the claim that the distributions of wealth and income are irrelevant so long as living standards continue to improve. That makes his conclusion all the more remarkable:Of course, there is a story of labor shortages in this picture—in the sense that it will be difficult to find workers for the lowest-paying and least productive jobs. With a stagnant or declining labor force, workers will have their choice of jobs. It is unlikely that they will want to work as custodians or dishwashers for $7.25 an hour. They will either take jobs that offer higher pay or these jobs will have to substantially increase their pay in order to compete.This means that the people who hire low-paid workers to clean their houses, serve their meals, or tend their lawns and gardens will likely have to pay higher wages. That prospect may sound like a disaster scenario for this small group of affluent people, but it sounds like great news for the tens of millions of people who hold these sorts of jobs. It should mean rapidly rising living standards for those who have been left behind over the last three decades.And that is the basic story of fears over stagnant or declining populations. The people who hire help—the very same who also dominate economic policy debates—are terrified over the prospect that they will have to pay workers more in the future. But the rest of us can sit back and enjoy watching them sweat as ordinary workers may finally start to see their share of the gains of the economic growth of the last three decades.One implication of Mr Baker’s argument is that low-skilled immigrants depress wages of native-born workers for the benefit of the rich. While that could be true, we should be sceptical of Mr Baker. The most relevant example of a developed country with a shrinking workforce is Japan. Unlike some other countries, Japan has been remarkably effective at substituting cheap labour with capital, rather than immigrants. Yet the distribution of income among Japanese households has not really changed in the past two decades. If anything, those at the top have done slightly better than those in the bottom 95%, according to a comprehensive study of high incomes by Chiaki Moriguchi and Emmanuel Saez: Perhaps Mr Baker was thinking of an older example: the Black Death, which killed about half the people in Europe. Many (including me until I looked it up) believe that the resulting shortage in agricultural labour led to soaring real wages for peasants and a redistribution of economic power away from landowners. Recent evidence, however, casts doubt on this hypothesis. While nominal peasant wages did indeed increase in the aftermath of the Black Death, real wages may have actually fallen for decades. That may have helped heavily indebted peasants, but everyone else had to endure punishing declines in their standard of living, not to mention the psychological trauma of surviving such a devastating plague.Mr Baker may be right that a shrinking population will be good for the environment and the long-term sustainability of human life, although such dire predictions have been wrong in the past. But the rest of his analysis should be taken with a large grain of salt.

27 февраля 2013, 19:30

The Story of Population Growth: Servants and Their Bosses

Dean BakerThe Guardian Unlimited, February 26, 2013 See article on original website The retirement of the baby boom cohorts means that the country’s labor force is likely to be growing far more slowly in the decades ahead than it had in prior decades. The United States is not alone in facing this situation. The rate of growth of the workforce has slowed or even turned negative in almost every wealthy country. Japan leads the way with a workforce that has been shrinking in size for more than a decade. Slower population growth is affecting the developing world as well. Latin America and much of Asia are seeing much slower population growth than in prior decades. In China, the one-child policy adopted in the late 1970s has virtually ended the growth in its labor force. According to many media pundits, this picture of stagnant or declining labor forces is cause for panic. After all, it means that countries will be seeing an increase in the ratio of retirees to workers. Countries around the world will be suffering from labor shortages. And, with even developing countries experiencing slower population growth, there will be nowhere to turn to make up the shortfall. The only part of this picture that should be scary is the failure of people involved in economic policy debates to have even a basic understanding of economics and arithmetic. There is no reason that the prospect of a stagnant or declining workforce should concern the vast majority of people. In fact from the standpoint of addressing global warming and other environmental problems this is great news. First a bit of arithmetic would be useful. People involved in economic policymaking tend to have problems with arithmetic, which is why they failed to recognize the housing and stock bubbles. Anyhow, some simple arithmetic can quickly show that the concerns about falling ratios of workers to retirees are ill-founded. In the United States the Social Security trustees project that the ratio of workers to retirees will fall from 2.8 in 2013 to 2.0 in 2035. It’s pretty simple to figure out the impact of this decline. Let’s assume that an average retiree consumes 85 percent as much as average worker. This means that our 2.8 workers must produce enough goods and services to support the equivalent of 3.65 workers. That would imply each worker gets to keep 76.7 percent (2.8/3.65) of what they produce with the rest taken away through taxes or other mechanisms to support pesky retirees. When the ratio of workers to retirees falls to 2.0 then each worker will get to keep 70.2 percent (2.0/2.85) of what they produce. This implies a drop in the share of output going to workers of 8 percent over the next 22 years. While that would depress living standards, we also will be seeing an increase in potential living standards from rising productivity growth. If productivity grows at the rate of 1.5 percent annually, roughly the rate it has been growing over the last two decades, then productivity in 2035 will be almost 40 percent higher than it is today. This means that the fall in the ratio of workers to retirees will take back less than a quarter of the potential gains from productivity growth. (It’s true that most workers have seen little benefit from productivity growth over the last three decades, but this points again to the importance of intra-generational distribution and not being distracted by demographic nonsense.) And this story puts the situation in the worst possible light. After 2035 productivity will continue to grow, but the ratio of workers to retirees will be little changed for the rest of the century. Why exactly are we supposed to be scared? The story is even more ridiculous for China where productivity per worker has been increasing by more than 5 percent annually. This translates into an increase in output per worker of more than 160 percent over two decades. We expect workers in China to be terrified if 10-15 percent of these gains are pulled away to support a larger population of retirees? Of course there is a story of labor shortages in this picture in the sense that it will be difficult to find workers for the lowest paying and least productive jobs. With a stagnant or declining labor force workers will have their choice of jobs. It is unlikely that they will want to work as custodians or dishwashers for $7.25 an hour. They will either take jobs that offer higher pay or these jobs will have to substantially increase their pay in order to compete. This means that the people who hire low-paid workers to clean their houses, serve their meals, or tend their lawns and gardens will likely have to pay higher wages. That prospect may sound like a disaster scenario for this small group of affluent people, but it sounds like great news for the tens of millions of people who hold these sorts of jobs. It should mean rapidly rising living standards for those who have been left behind over the last three decades. And that is the basic story of fears over stagnant or declining populations. The people who hire help, who also dominate economic policy debates, are terrified over the prospect that they will have to pay workers more in the future. The rest of us can sit back and enjoy watching them sweat as ordinary workers may finally start to see their share of the gains of the economic growth of the last three decades.

27 февраля 2013, 19:30

The Story of Population Growth: Servants and Their Bosses

Dean BakerThe Guardian Unlimited, February 26, 2013 See article on original website The retirement of the baby boom cohorts means that the country’s labor force is likely to be growing far more slowly in the decades ahead than it had in prior decades. The United States is not alone in facing this situation. The rate of growth of the workforce has slowed or even turned negative in almost every wealthy country. Japan leads the way with a workforce that has been shrinking in size for more than a decade. Slower population growth is affecting the developing world as well. Latin America and much of Asia are seeing much slower population growth than in prior decades. In China, the one-child policy adopted in the late 1970s has virtually ended the growth in its labor force. According to many media pundits, this picture of stagnant or declining labor forces is cause for panic. After all, it means that countries will be seeing an increase in the ratio of retirees to workers. Countries around the world will be suffering from labor shortages. And, with even developing countries experiencing slower population growth, there will be nowhere to turn to make up the shortfall. The only part of this picture that should be scary is the failure of people involved in economic policy debates to have even a basic understanding of economics and arithmetic. There is no reason that the prospect of a stagnant or declining workforce should concern the vast majority of people. In fact from the standpoint of addressing global warming and other environmental problems this is great news. First a bit of arithmetic would be useful. People involved in economic policymaking tend to have problems with arithmetic, which is why they failed to recognize the housing and stock bubbles. Anyhow, some simple arithmetic can quickly show that the concerns about falling ratios of workers to retirees are ill-founded. In the United States the Social Security trustees project that the ratio of workers to retirees will fall from 2.8 in 2013 to 2.0 in 2035. It’s pretty simple to figure out the impact of this decline. Let’s assume that an average retiree consumes 85 percent as much as average worker. This means that our 2.8 workers must produce enough goods and services to support the equivalent of 3.65 workers. That would imply each worker gets to keep 76.7 percent (2.8/3.65) of what they produce with the rest taken away through taxes or other mechanisms to support pesky retirees. When the ratio of workers to retirees falls to 2.0 then each worker will get to keep 70.2 percent (2.0/2.85) of what they produce. This implies a drop in the share of output going to workers of 8 percent over the next 22 years. While that would depress living standards, we also will be seeing an increase in potential living standards from rising productivity growth. If productivity grows at the rate of 1.5 percent annually, roughly the rate it has been growing over the last two decades, then productivity in 2035 will be almost 40 percent higher than it is today. This means that the fall in the ratio of workers to retirees will take back less than a quarter of the potential gains from productivity growth. (It’s true that most workers have seen little benefit from productivity growth over the last three decades, but this points again to the importance of intra-generational distribution and not being distracted by demographic nonsense.) And this story puts the situation in the worst possible light. After 2035 productivity will continue to grow, but the ratio of workers to retirees will be little changed for the rest of the century. Why exactly are we supposed to be scared? The story is even more ridiculous for China where productivity per worker has been increasing by more than 5 percent annually. This translates into an increase in output per worker of more than 160 percent over two decades. We expect workers in China to be terrified if 10-15 percent of these gains are pulled away to support a larger population of retirees? Of course there is a story of labor shortages in this picture in the sense that it will be difficult to find workers for the lowest paying and least productive jobs. With a stagnant or declining labor force workers will have their choice of jobs. It is unlikely that they will want to work as custodians or dishwashers for $7.25 an hour. They will either take jobs that offer higher pay or these jobs will have to substantially increase their pay in order to compete. This means that the people who hire low-paid workers to clean their houses, serve their meals, or tend their lawns and gardens will likely have to pay higher wages. That prospect may sound like a disaster scenario for this small group of affluent people, but it sounds like great news for the tens of millions of people who hold these sorts of jobs. It should mean rapidly rising living standards for those who have been left behind over the last three decades. And that is the basic story of fears over stagnant or declining populations. The people who hire help, who also dominate economic policy debates, are terrified over the prospect that they will have to pay workers more in the future. The rest of us can sit back and enjoy watching them sweat as ordinary workers may finally start to see their share of the gains of the economic growth of the last three decades.