Monthly Archives: May 2012

World Economic Forum Shaping the Region’s Future through Connectivity Bangkok, Thailand 30 May – 1 June 2012

World Economic Forum Shaping the Region’s Future through Connectivity Bangkok, Thailand 30 May – 1 June 2012.The 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) together form an important strategic and economic region with a combined population of over 600 million, a nominal GDP exceeding US$ 1.8 trillion, and a growth rate for the region expected to exceed 5% in 2012 despite ongoing economic turmoil in the Eurozone and the United States. The ASEAN Economic Blueprint has established concrete targets to form a single market and production base by 2015.

To achieve this major milestone in three years, stronger linkages across Southeast Asia are urgently needed to ensure a competitive and connected region, as well as to reinforce ongoing integration efforts. The region’s connectivity imperative will therefore see a major acceleration in linking the region’s institutional and physical infrastructure, presenting unparalleled opportunities for investment and growth in areas such as the transportation network, energy, mobile health, tourism, financial services and agriculture.

At the same time, corporate and government decision-makers must ensure that the necessary risk response mechanisms are well developed to manage such risks as natural disasters, widening income inequality and resource scarcity. As demonstrated by unprecedented flooding across the region last year, vulnerability to climate change led to significant disruptions to the region’s production and supply chains and exacerbated socio-economic disparities.

Located at the heart of ASEAN and representing its second largest economy, Thailand is an ideal place to discuss how senior decision-makers can shape the region’s future opportunities while creating the models for improved risk management and sustainable and equitable growth. In this context, the 21st World Economic Forum on East Asia will be an exceptional opportunity not only for leaders from the ASEAN region, but also for those who see in the ASEAN countries a major evolving geopolitical and geo-economic pillar of the global economy.

How can the high economic growth economies of ASEAN help to rebalance both the global and the regional overall economic outlook?
How will governments and institutions develop the financial policies to manage inflation, capital outflows, commodity price volatility and balanced growth towards greater domestic and regional demand?
How will the region leverage its demographic dividend and technology base to develop the models to increase growth through innovation, improve talent mobility, entrepreneurship and skill building?
For more information, please e-mail: EastAsia@weforum.org

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Facebook settles lawsuit over “Sponsored Stories”

By Dan Levine

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc has agreed to settle a lawsuit that alleged the site’s “Sponsored Stories” feature publicized users’ “likes” without compensation or the ability to opt out, according to a court document filed on Tuesday.

The proposed class action lawsuit, filed in a San Jose, California federal court, could have included nearly one of every three Americans, with billions of dollars in damages, court documents say.

The terms of the settlement are not spelled out in court filings. A Facebook representative declined to comment on the settlement, as did an attorney for the plaintiffs.

Facebook shares sank on Monday and Tuesday — their second and third days of trading — to end at $31, more than 18 percent below the initial public offering price of $38. Reuters reported late Monday that the consumer Internet analyst at lead underwriter Morgan Stanley cut his revenue forecasts for Facebook in the days before the offering, information that may not have reached many investors before the stock was listed.

A “Sponsored Story” is an ad that appears on a member’s Facebook page, and generally consists of another friend’s name, profile picture and an assertion that the person “likes” the advertiser.

Five Facebook members sued the social networking site last year, alleging that the “Sponsored Stories” feature violates their right to publicity under California law. The lawsuit featured comments from Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, stating that a trusted referral is the “Holy Grail” of advertising.

In addition, the lawsuit cited comments from chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, saying that the value of a “Sponsored Story” advertisement is at least twice and up to three times the value of a standard Facebook.com ad without a friend endorsement.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh had rejected Facebook’s attempt last year to dismiss parts of the lawsuit. In her order, Koh said the plaintiffs had articulated a coherent theory of how they were economically injured by the use of their names, photographs and likenesses.

“California has long recognized a right to protect one’s name and likeness against appropriation by others for their advantage,” Koh wrote.

Facebook and the plaintiffs have executed a term sheet memorializing the settlement “in principle,” according to a Facebook court filing on Tuesday. In addition to money damages, companies often agree to modify their policies and procedures as part of class action settlements.

A hearing on class action certification had been scheduled to take place on Thursday.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Angel Fraley et al., individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated vs. Facebook Inc., 11-cv-1726.

(Additional reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Gary Hill, Bernard Orr

Cover of Newsweek: Obama ‘First Gay President’

On this week’s issue of Tina Brown’s Newsweek magazine, President Barack Obama is adorned with a rainbow halo, with the headline “The First Gay President,” an obvious play off commentary that former President Bill Clinton was “the first black presi …

World Congress reflections: Discrimination and the persecutory impulse

persecutory impulse emanates from both those with secular and theocratic world views – those who seek to be “free from religion” and those who seek to “enforce religion” (that is, from a shared sense of ecumenical and community values) in the …

Romney addreses gay marriage issue at Liberty Univ, saying ‘one man and one woman’

Mitt Romney delivered a commencement speech Saturday at Liberty University in which he focused largely on a message of faith, family, hard work and service, but he also addressed the emerging same-sex marriage issue by saying “marriage is a relationship between one man and one  …