Category Archives: CRS-Customer Relationship Strategy

People in this Swedish town gather in a ‘Solar Egg’ sauna instead of having town halls

Thanks;Leanna Garfield

Published ; Jun. 21, 2017, 5:41 PM

The Solar Egg by Bigert & Bergström.Jean-Baptiste Béranger

On the western border of Kiruna, Sweden, the state-owned mining company, LKAB, has been extracting iron ore from the Kirunavaara mountains for over a decade. But the long-term mining has caused fissures that are creeping closer to the city center of Kiruna.
Now, LKAB — which also founded the Arctic town in 1900 — is funding Kiruna’s relocation nearly two miles east, so that it can continue mining in the mountains.
Moving an entire town is no easy task and requires lengthy discussions with officials, the mining company, and residents. Local architects from Bigert & Bergström have designed one place where those talks can take place: a golden, egg-shaped sauna. 
Completed in late April, the sauna is a place for locals and officials to unwind and discuss questions and concerns about Kiruna’s relocation, the firm told Business Insider.


Located in Kiruna, Sweden, the Solar Egg is a sauna that’s free for anyone to use.

Visitors can book time in the saun ~> https://instagram.com/p/BTI25TCB8px/

By Jean-Baptiste Béranger

Its exterior is made of reflective sheets of plexiglass that were painted gold.


By Jean-Baptiste Béranger

The interior walls are made of pine ….

… and the benches from aspen wood. In the center, there’s a wood-powered stove made from iron and stone. The temperature inside can range from 167 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit (75 to 85 degrees Celsius).


Jean-Baptiste Béranger

The space, which fits up to eight people, is meant to serve as a local meeting place to discuss Kiruna’s relocation plan. “The egg shape seeks to symbolize rebirth and new opportunities at the start of Kiruna’s urban transformation,” the architects said.

Jean-Baptiste Béranger

To avoid being swallowed by the mine, Kiruna will need to move nearly two miles east. The Stockholm-based firm White Architects will be in charge of moving the town, where approximately 23,000 people live. Below is a rendering of what the new city center may look like:


Producing 90% of all iron in Europe, Kiruna’s mine has become the world’s largest iron ore extraction site. LKAB is also the biggest energy consumer in Sweden.
 
“It’s a dystopian choice,” Krister Lindstedt, a partner at White Architects, told The Guardian. “Either the mine must stop digging, creating mass unemployment, or the city has to move – or else face certain destruction. It’s an existential predicament.”Jean-Baptiste Béranger/Source: The Guardian

Later this summer, the Solar Egg will move to Nikkaluokta, a Swedish town about 45 miles west of Kiruna.

The top 20 richest private universities have 70% of the total wealth in the sector

Thanks;Jillian Berman

Published: June 17, 2017 8:01 a.m. ET

The money in the private college sector is highly concentrated among the nation’s wealthiest schools

Small private colleges are increasingly in financial danger, while larger name brand private schools are doing just fine.
Roughly one-third of the small private schools rated by Moody’s Investor Service generated operating deficits in 2016, an increase from 20% three years ago. On the other hand, the share of large private universities that had an operating deficit last year dropped to 13% from 20% three years ago.

And the money in the private college sector is highly concentrated among the nation’s wealthiest schools. The top 20 richest private universities have 70% of the total wealth in the sector, according to Moody’s.
One big reason for the diverging fortunes: Slow growth in tuition revenue. Over the past few years, private colleges have been offering discounts on their tuition at record levels, a practice that’s financially riskier for small colleges that have fewer sources of revenue to rely on.
Ever since the financial crisis, students and families have become more discerning about the price and value of a college education. That’s made it more difficult for lesser-known private colleges to lure students and, in particular, students who will pay full price. Students and families are “much more sensitive to the return on the investment” of a college, said Pranav Sharma, a Moody’s analyst. “The market has become more competitive.”
That competitive and financial pressure has put a strain on some small schools. St. Joseph’s college, a 900-student school in Indiana, announced in April that it would close this year, amid “dwindling financial resources.” That announcement follows a spate of closures in 2016, including the high profile shut down of Burlington College, which was once headed by Jane Sanders, the wife of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

“We continue to see a rise in small college closures,” said Susan Fitzgerald, an associate managing director at Moody’s. Still, she added, “we’re not expecting wholesale closures across the sector.”

Larger private schools aren’t immune to challenges raising tuition revenue, particularly as the number of students graduating high school continues to shrink. But these schools are able to more easily compensate for any challenges bringing in tuition dollars because they have other sources of income.
And to a certain extent, good fortune begets good fortune. Schools with more resources are able to lure more students who are willing to pay full price, with new buildings and other impressive investments, helping to boost tuition revenue.
Name-brand private colleges are also more likely to have access to resources like investment income and patient care — the money colleges bring in from the hospital systems they operate — both categories that have grown by 33% over the past five years, according to Moody’s.
Larger private colleges are also more likely to receive philanthropic support, Moody’s notes. The top fundraising universities, which raise more than $100 million annually in gifts, typically account for about two-thirds of the money raised by all of the private colleges that Moody’s rates. The result: “The more people give gifts, the more people are inclined to give gifts,” Sharma said.

The 10 best computer science schools in Europe

Thanks;Sam Shead 

Published ;May 22, 2017, 4:23 PM 8,383


Technical University of Munich.

A computer science degree from a top university can help graduates land their dream job at companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook.
But which computer science courses are the best ones to try and to get onto if you want to impress employers?
Using the QS World University Rankings 2017, we took a look at the universities with the top computer science and information systems courses in Europe.
The guide is one of the most reputable sources that students turn to when deciding which universities to apply to, and employers are also likely to refer to it when deciding which candidates to hire.
It is based on academic reputation, employer reputation, and research impact. The full methodology can be read here. We looked at the overall scores, which are out of 100.
View As: One Page Slides

10. Politecnico di Milano — The Politecnico di Milano boasts 74 professors at its computer science and engineering department. The faculty achieved a QS score of 74.6 for its computer science and information systems courses.


9. Lomonosov Moscow State University — Founded in 1755 by Mikhail Lomonosov, this university is home to more than 40,000 students. The university’s computer science and information systems courses scored an impressive 74.7


8. Technical University of Munich — With its giant slides, it’ll barely feel like you’re a university student at Technical University Munich. The school achieved a score of 77.2 for its computer science and information systems courses.


7. UCL (University College London) — With strong links to cool new AI startups like DeepMind, UCL is home to one of the UK’s best computer science departments. The university scored 78.9 for its computer science and information systems courses.


6. Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) — This Swiss university specialises in physical sciences and engineering. Its computer science and information systems courses received a QS score of 80.7


The Rolex Learning Centre at the EPFL campus

5. The University of Edinburgh — Founded in 1582, the university is the 6th oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland’s ancient universities. The institution is close to billion dollar businesses like Skyscanner and FanDuel and its computer science and information systems courses scored 81.1 on the QS ranking system.


4. Imperial College London — Not quite up there with Oxbridge, but not far behind either. Imperial’s computer science and information systems courses were given a score of 83.7.


Imperial’s cyber security tuition is as good as you’d expect

3. ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology — Twenty-one Nobel Prizes have been awarded to students or professors at EHT and the university’s computer science and information systems courses scored an impressive 85.4.

ETH Zurich


2. University of Oxford — Founded in 1096, the ancient university is still at the forefront of technology, with startups like DeepMind (now owned by DeepMind) having strong links to the institution. Oxford received a score of 87.8.


1. University of Cambridge — The city of Cambridge is one of the UK’s biggest technology hubs thanks in large part to its university, which appears at the top of many global university rankings. The university’s computer science and information systems course received a QS ranking of 88.9


Lawyer for man dragged from United flight isn’t laughing at viral New Yorker cover

Thanks;Mark DeCambre

Published: May 11, 2017 7:13 p.m. ET

David Dao’s attorney says New Yorker magazine illustration minimizes his clients pain, but acknowledges that it’s ‘very clever’


This New Yorker cover playing on FBI Director James Comey’s firing and David Dao’s removal from a United Airlines flight has gone viral.

The New Yorker published a teaser cover of its issue due out May 22, and so far the illustration — depicting Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a police office forcibly removing former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey down an airplane aisle — has gone viral, scoring rave reviews on social media.

But there is at least one person who isn’t laughing.
The cover art draws a clear parallel between Comey’s stunning firing by Trump earlier this week and Dr. David Dao, who garnered worldwide attention after scenes of him being dragged from a United Airlines flight — captured on cellphone cameras last month — drew swift rebuke from the public and compelled the airline carrier’s parent United Continental Holdings Inc. UAL, -1.51% to reach a settlement with Dao for an undisclosed sum.

Dao’s attorney, Thomas Demetrio, partner at Chicago law firm Corboy & Demetrio, told MarketWatch that the cover art, although “very clever” minimizes his client’s pain and suffering. Dao lost his teeth and suffered a concussion related to his removal from the United flight, according to his attorney.
“It minimizes the Dao event so that’s collateral damage of a magazine trying to make an editorial point. They must feel that Comey’s exit was Dao-ish when in fact it wasn’t,” Demetrio said. “It was a whole different deal.”
http://www.marketwatch.com/video/united-airlines-passenger-violently-removed-from-flight/27C7D045-7F11-4EDD-84EE-FB21316768A1.html

Demetrio said many people have been fired. “They were not injured, and therein lies the distinction.”

Comey’s firing late Tuesday shocked many, particularly since the FBI director was leading an investigation into whether Trump’s advisers colluded with Russia to win the U.S. presidency in November, which led to a big rally in the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.11% and the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.22% and other global markets. That rally in markets over euphoria about Trump’s pro-business campaign promises has since tapered considerably as investors assess the effect Comey’s firing will have on the president’s ability to get new legislation put in place.

How to make money while you sleep

Thanks;Nancy Mann Jackson

Published: May 10, 2017 4:58 a.m. ET

Create passive income streams

Whether you’re trying to pay off debt, top off your emergency fund or invest more, a little extra monthly income can get you there faster.

But there are only so many hours in a day — and maybe adding another side hustle to your busy schedule just isn’t possible. Wouldn’t it be great if you could somehow earn more without working additional hours or hitting up your boss for another raise? That’s what happens when you create passive income streams.

Whether you’re trying to pay off debt, top off your emergency fund or invest more, a little extra monthly income can get you there faster.

But there are only so many hours in a day — and maybe adding another side hustle to your busy schedule just isn’t possible. Wouldn’t it be great if you could somehow earn more without working additional hours or hitting up your boss for another raise? That’s what happens when you create passive income streams.
“Passive income’s great because it increases your cash flow and allows you to save [more],” says financial adviser Craig J. Ferrantino, president of Craig James Financial Services, LLC in N.Y. “The initial effort in some cases is minimal, and you have the ability to collect money on those efforts over a period of time.”

Of course, investing in the stock market can provide earnings over time through market returns and the magic of compounding. But there are also ways to create steady streams of passive income that pay out at regular intervals.

These efforts don’t come without risk. But with careful planning and consideration, you can lower the risks — and initial costs — and increase the potential benefits.

Here are six paths to passive income that may be worth pursuing.

1. High-dividend stocks

When you purchase stock in a company that pays dividends to its shareholders, you’ll start earning a percentage of the company’s profits automatically. For example, if a company pays an annualized dividend of 50 cents per share and you own 500 shares, you’ll get an extra $250 in your pocket — for doing nothing more than being a shareholder. (Most companies pay dividends on a quarterly basis, so you’d earn about 13 cents per share each quarter.)

Certain industries, like public utilities, financial services and oil, tend to pay higher dividends than others, so do your homework with resources like Yahoo! YHOO, +1.31% Finance’s stocks screener or by talking to an adviser.

“If you’re going after dividend income, the sweet spot is not the company that’s currently paying the highest yield, but the companies that are likely to generate growth in dividends in the coming months and years,” says Rob Brown, a Certified Financial Analyst and chief investment officer at United Capital. “Pay attention to what companies and industries are thriving now; they are most likely to raise the dividends they’re paying now in the future.”

You may also choose to reinvest your dividends, which allows you to buy more shares even without spending more money, so you can benefit more when the price rises.

One caveat: Remember that there are risks involved with investing in individual stocks—even ones with high-dividend yield—as the price of the stock can go up or down. You can lower your risk by investing in an index or other low-cost funds, which contains shares of many companies. One option is to look for dividend-paying ETFs, or exchange-traded funds, which are funds that trade like stocks. (Investing apps like Acorns and Betterment use such ETFs and reinvest dividends automatically.)  

2. Bonds

Purchasing bonds can be another good way to earn consistent passive income, though the amount you’ll receive depends on the fluctuating bond market. “Bondholders [usually] receive a check every six months for the interest earned in loaning the entity money, and, in turn, get their principal back at maturity,” Ferrantino explains.

There’s a wide variety of bonds to choose from, including U.S. Treasury bonds, municipal bonds and corporate bonds. Each has its own maturity date, minimum investment, interest rate and payout. For instance, Treasury notes mature in two to 10 years and pay interest semiannually at a fixed rate (currently about 1% to 2%, depending on term lengths, and it is exempt from state and local taxes), while corporate bonds pay taxable interest and can have maturities ranging from a few weeks to 100 years.

Before purchasing bonds, make sure you know what you’re getting into — and what you will get out of it.

Read: How to buy bonds

3. Rental properties

Acquiring and maintaining rental property can require a lot more investment and sweat equity than other types of passive income, both upfront and over the years (if the roof leaks or the boiler breaks down in a rental property, you’re on the hook for it). But rental properties can also provide lucrative, ongoing income for many years to come.

“Rental properties in a market you understand can be a fantastic passive investment,” says Jeffrey Zucker, a seasoned angel investor and property management entrepreneur in Chicago. “I look for large or fast-growing housing markets, where people are clamoring for affordable, nice places.”

Before purchasing a property, Zucker recommends comprehensive due diligence to ensure that you can cover your costs — which likely include insurance, taxes and maintenance — and turn a profit on top of that. You want to invest in a property that will draw continued interest from renters and increase in value.

He also recommends using an experienced property manager. “There are some great property management companies out there that can assist to make leasing out rental properties truly passive mailbox money,” Zucker says. “Having managed our own properties for a few years prior to partnering with a company, we learned the long hours and effort that go into maintaining properties and dealing with tenants — and how much better those who focus solely on this role are at the job.”

4. Rewards credit cards

This might seem like an odd addition — and this is not a strategy to pursue unless you are able to pay off your bill in full each month. However, if you can use credit responsibly and avoid racking up debt, rewards credit cards can provide easy income, thanks to perks like cash-back bonuses. For instance, use a cash-back card for all your household expenses — and pay it off at the end of the month — and you’ll earn money simply by making necessary purchases. (Ferrantino recommends a card like the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Visa, which gives you 5% cash back on gas purchases and another 3% for groceries and has a low annual fee. NerdWallet also has a ranking of the best cash-back cards, including several with no annual fee.)

“My rewards have paid for a variety of travel experiences, and I have friends that use their points to pay exclusively for a certain [budget] category, like gas or household bills. It’s nice for them to cross an expense off simply by doing all of their planned spending on the right card,” Zucker says. “Be careful though, as many of the best rewards cards have high interest rates for any carry-over debt.”

5. Peer-to-peer lending

Also known as “marketplace lending,” peer-to-peer lending is the practice of individuals lending money to others in place of a bank or other financial institution. In recent years, platforms like Prosper and Lending Club have made these crowdfunded loans more widely available to borrowers and opened the possibilities for investors.

“New, technology-driven intermediaries have been coming in and replacing banks to make small loans to businesses or individuals, and they offer many comparative advantages,” Brown says.

Remember, though, that while investing through a peer-to-peer marketplace can pay off—Prosper investors, for example, can earn about 5% to 9% annually—there are still risks involved and borrowers may default on their debts. One way to protect yourself, Brown says, is by requiring that borrowers’ credit quality is above a certain level, depending on your appetite for risk. You can also reduce risk by diversifying your investment across many different loans.

6. Renting unused space
The sharing economy is in full force, and if you have extra space in your home or spend a lot of time out of town, you can join in and earn some extra cash. Thousands of people are renting out their homes through Airbnb, and sites like Liquid Space and Breather offer opportunities to place your office or home up for rent during daytime hours. (Airbnb hosts renting a single room in a two-bedroom home cover, on average, a whopping 81% of their rent, according to one report.)

“Any unused space is an asset worth renting out if there is demand in your market,” Zucker says. “[Online marketplaces] offer consumers easy ways to make some extra money on rooms that would otherwise be doing nothing for them.”

5 Things to Know About the Global Coffee Pods Market

Thanks ; 
Published ; May 8th, 2017

Euromointor International discusses five key trends that are shaping global coffee pods, including the growing power of Nestlé and JAB Holdings and the importance of addressing sustainability concerns.

5 Things to Know About the Global Coffee Pods Market

 

 

 

*a coffee pod is a single serving of coffee packed in its own filter (much like a tea bag).

Three Reasons Why Japan Is Falling Behind in Mobile Commerce

Thanks; 
Published; April 22nd, 2017

Many see Japan as a technology leader in various industries and the country is continuing to develop innovative solutions in the digital space. However, if we look at adoption of technology on the consumer side, there is greater inconsistency than might be expected.

Euromonitor International’s 2016 Digital Consumer Index unveiled a remarkable gap between Japan’s advanced digital environment and the slow uptake of digital commerce, particularly with mobile-based purchases that are increasing rapidly in other Asian countries. Whilst mobile digital purchases registered strong 17% value growth in Japan in 2016, other Asian countries registered even stronger growth, at a minimum of 30%. The leader of mobile digital purchases, China, saw an 81% value increase in 2016. This analysis aims to explore major impediments that are keeping Japan from what should perhaps be phenomenal growth in mobile digital purchases.

mobile-purchases-asia-pacific

CHART 1 : MOBILE DIGITAL PURCHASES IN ASIA PACIFIC, TOTAL VALUE SALES, 2013-2021

1. DEMOGRAPHIC CHALLENGE: LOW PENETRATION OF SMARTPHONES AMONG SENIORS

Smartphones are the catalyst for digital disruption in countries. The leading digital commerce marketplaces have developed platforms optimised for mobile apps. However, in Japan, smartphones are not as ubiquitous as one would expect. In Japan, the population aged over 60 accounts for 34% of the total population, and is characterised by low smartphone penetration. Only 28% of respondents aged over 60+ owned personal smartphones, according to Euromonitor International’s 2016 Global Consumer Trends Survey. This is extremely low compared to other Asian countries. Against the backdrop of low smartphone penetration among seniors, there also is a strong presence of feature phones that offer fewer functions in exchange for ease of use. As a result, a sizeable portion of the Japanese population is unable to take advantage of digital innovation.

CHART 2 : POPULATION AND SMARTPHONE OWNERSHIP IN JAPAN, 2016

population-smartphone-owners-japan

2. LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE: HIGH SECURITY CONCERN AMONGST JAPANESE CONSUMERS

In addition to the relatively conservative nature of Japanese consumers, there also has been a lot of media coverage on cybersecurity from the early digital era, which has made consumers concerned. For example, Consumers Affairs Agencies regularly warns against cyber-crimes due to the growing prevalence of e-commerce. As a result, Japanese consumers are highly concerned about the potential risk in online activities. In fact, only 6% of Japanese online respondents answered that they were willing to share personal information online, which was the lowest in 20 responding countries, according to Euromonitor International’s 2016 Global Consumer Trends Survey.

This hesitation toward sharing information online is especially true with mobile users. Many Japanese consumers utilise long commuting time on trains for mobile activities, but still feel uncomfortable entering their credit card information aboard a busy commuting train, afraid that other riders may see their personal information on the screen. Additionally, many are reluctant to let mobile devices store payment information, and would rather use alternative payment options, such as cash on delivery. In general, Japanese consumers are typically risk-adverse, and remain cautious about making payments on websites. Despite the rise of card payments worldwide, Japanese consumers bucked the trend, opting to more often pay for purchases with cash compared to other developed countries. Within Asia, while 85% of mobile remote orders were paid online in South Korea, only 51% were paid in Japan.

CHART 3 : WILLINGNESS TO SHARE PERSONAL INFORMATION IN ASIA PACIFIC, 2016

willingness-to-share-personal-information-japan

3. COMPETITION: MATURITY OF EXISTING SHOPPING OPTIONS VERSUS MOBILE COMMERCE

Another reason why mobile digital purchases have struggled to gain wider acceptance in Japan is due to the many other shopping options that Japanese consumers already have. One example of competition for mobile proximity payments is maturity of contactless payments using a physical card. This is because in Japan, consumers prefer to use a physical card to touch an NFC-enabled terminal rather than a device. Therefore, many mobile proximity payment brands such as Suica and Edy also offer consumers physical cards along with the digital payment option. Contactless smart cards, registered a 26% value CAGR during 2011-2016, and in 2016 Japanese consumers held an average of three contactless smart cards per person; far higher than in other Asian countries. Without a compelling reason to switch from contactless smart cards to mobile proximity payments, most consumers are satisfied with using card-based tap-and-go payments in an in-person environment.

SUMMARY

The gap between the advancement of mobile-centric products and actual adoption of mobile commerce amongst consumers is something businesses in Japan need to address. Communication with the customer or data collection made via mobile devices can be valuable, but is currently ineffective due to this gap. Over the forecast period, mobile digital purchases in Japan will continue to face these demographic, lifestyle and competitive obstacles.

However, there are positive developments that can help drive mobile commerce. For example, 2019 will be the first year with production of feature phones planned to be discontinued. Following the increase of low-cost smartphone plans, a switch from feature phones to smartphones can be expected. Moreover, solutions are being introduced in response to the high security concerns among Japanese consumers. For example, the mobile-focused fashion marketplace called ZOZOTOWN, implemented a post-pay product in 2016. GMO post-pay allows ZOZOTOWN customers to make post-pay options by cash, at convenience stores, after safely receiving their products. This is important as in Japan, credit card payments are mostly paid in full each month. Therefore the introduction of post-pay service will lower the hurdle and expand mobile remote purchases for those consumers who can only spend a limited amount of money each month, such as students and housewives. The post-pay options will support expansion of remote purchases while also meeting the demand of the cash-driven society.

Recognising the gap between digital connectivity available and digital commerce uptake, digital innovators and promoters like Suica should make concerted efforts to address concerns among Japanese consumers while promoting mobile digital purchases like Mobile Suica. Although mobile digital purchases in Japan is expected to see a strong 11% value CAGR at constant 2016 prices over the next five years, growth could be even stronger with consumers’ greater acceptance. In fact, other Asian countries are expected to see more than 20% value CAGRs. If Japan wants to remain a digital leader, its wider society needs to be incentivised to adopt mobile technologies. At the moment, it isn’t empowered – or interested enough.

 

These are the 10 best and 10 worst U.S. stocks of 2017

Freeport-McMoRan’s stock has extended last year’s 95% increase.

Thanks;Philip van Doorn

Published: Jan 9, 2017 4:10 a.m. ET

The benchmark S&P 500 Index has produced a 1.7% return in this year’s first week of trading

Fully updated with market close information.

After the S&P 500 returned 12%, with dividends reinvested, in 2016, the benchmark index is up 1.7% this year.

All 11 sectors of the S&P 500 SPX, -0.09% are up so far in 2017, with health care the best performer, rising 2.9%. The weakest sector is utilities, which has eked out a gain of 0.5%.
And despite the pain for several large retailers suffering holiday-sales declines, the consumer-discretionary sector is up 2.3% on reports of the best overall holiday sales in years.
Here are the 10 S&P 500 stocks that have gained the most so far this year:
Company Ticker Industry Price increase – 2017 Total return – 2016

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. ALXN, -0.27% Biotechnology 17% -36%

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. FCX, -0.40% Precious Metals 13% 95%

Arconic Inc. ARNC, -0.82% Aluminum 11% N/A

Frontier Communications Corp. FTR, -1.87% Telecommunications 11% -20%

Mattel Inc. MAT, -0.07% Recreational Products 11% 6%

Illumina Inc. ILMN, -0.24% Biotechnology 11% -33%

TripAdvisor Inc. TRIP, -0.20% Consumer Services 9% -46%

NRG Energy Inc. NRG, -0.07% Electric Utilities 9% 6%

AmerisourceBergen Corp. ABC, +1.19% Medical Distributors 8% -23%

Total System Services Inc. TSS, +1.77% Data Processing Services 8% -1%

Source: FactSet

Here are the 10 S&P 500 stocks with the largest declines so far this year:

Company Ticker Industry Price decline – 2017 Total return – 2016
Xerox Corp. XRX, -0.14% Commercial Services -20% -15%

Kohl’s Corp. KSS, -0.72% Department Stores -16% 8%

Macy’s Inc. M, -0.26% Department Stores -14% 7%

L Brands Inc. LB, +0.67% Apparel/ Footwear Retal -7% -27%

Signet Jewelers Ltd. SIG, -1.44% Specialty Stores -6% -23%

Southwestern Energy Co. SWN, -3.02% Oil and Gas Production -5% 52%

Nordstrom Inc. JWN, +0.18% Apparel/ Footwear Retail -5% -1%

Tesoro Corp. TSO, -2.05% Oil Refining/ Marketing -4% -15%

Kroger Co. KR, -0.79% Food Retail -4% -16%

Urban Outfitters Inc. URBN, -1.86% Apparel/ Footwear Retail -4% 25%

Source: FactSet

Traveling abroad in the age of Trump

Thanks;Christopher Elliott

Published;6:03 p.m. EST January 1, 2017

(Photo: Evan Vucci, AP)

Some Americans may be nervous to travel abroad after President-elect Donald Trump takes office…but don’t be, says travel expert Christopher Elliott. Use these tips to feel safe while traveling abroad after January 20, 2017. 

How should Americans travel abroad in the age of Donald Trump? No matter how you voted in the last election, the answer is the same: carefully.

As the president-elect prepares to take office Jan. 20, travelers have expressed worries about how they’ll be perceived internationally after a lengthy campaign that tested the limits of civility.

“A potentially controversial president means you have to prepare,” says Colby Martin, an intelligence director for Pinkerton. “Americans traveling abroad need to have a comprehensive plan for staying safe.”
Reality check: Most international trips abroad will probably — hopefully — be uneventful, regardless who’s in the White House. That’s because our most popular destinations are Mexico and Canada, in that order. And they’re used to the ups and downs of our political system and accustomed to American visitors. Roughly the same number of Americans visit Canada as they do all of Europe. But wander outside the well-trodden areas, and things could get interesting, say experts.
“The likelihood of any impact on American travelers abroad” will depend on what policies the new administration enacts, says Scott Hume, the director of security operations for Global Rescue. He says you shouldn’t be surprised by people who ask you direct questions about American foreign policy and politics.
If your goal is to avoid those conversations, “Take care not to stand out as an American,” he says.
So how do you do that, exactly?
Taryn White, a writer and frequent traveler based in Washington, tries to maintain a cover. “You have to look the part,” she says. “This means no white sneakers, ‘I ? NY’ T-shirts, or sweat pants. It also means being considerate of local customs and dress.”
One simple trick: Pack black. Darker colors are versatile and ensure you don’t stand out. Beyond the wardrobe selection, it means downplaying American mannerisms like laughing out loud, smiling a lot or using hand gestures.
But others say now may also be the best time to identify yourself as an American. Kori Crow, a political consultant from Austin, Texas, and a world traveler, says that counterintuitively, the more fractious a country’s politics are, the better your experience could be.
“They’re more forgiving because they don’t usually equate elected leaders as a reflection of its citizens,” she says.
Crow says people understand that American visitors are not its ambassadors. “You’d be surprised at how many foreigners will over-compliment you just to try and make you feel more welcome,” she adds, mentioning a particularly warm welcome at Vietnam’s American War Crimes Museum.
All of the above is true. There are times when you’ll want to fade into the crowd, but ultimately you have to be true to yourself. And as the experts say, don’t leave anything to chance.
How do I know? Because I grew up in Europe during a time of controversial American leadership. Most people I met were smart enough to know that American citizens do not represent the American government, and they knew from personal experience that democracy is imperfect.
In fact, I think we should all travel more internationally during the next four years. Just to show the world that Americans are a far more varied lot than the politicians they see on TV or read about in the paper.
Three things you should do during the Trump years
Apply for a passport. Less than half of Americans have a passport. You’ll need one if you want to travel abroad. Go to https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html to start the process.Cost: $110 for adults, $80 for kids under 16. Does not include a $25 “execution” fee.
Learn another language. No matter where you go, knowing a few words in the native language will take you far. The next four years are a perfect time to pick up Spanish, French, German or Mandarin. Check out Duolingo (http://www.duolingo.com) for a crash course on your chosen language.
Build a bridge. Whether you strike up a friendship with someone who lives outside the U.S. or take a volunteer vacation outside the country, you can use your travel to show the world what Americans are really like. Check out organizations like GlobeAware (http://globeaware.org/) or tour operators such as REI (https://www.rei.com/), which offer extensive volunteer vacation programs.

This woman spent a year reading a book from every country in the world. What did she learn?

Thanks;Joe Myers, Formative Content

Published;Thursday 8 September 2016

In 2012, author Ann Morgan set herself a very ambitious target. She wanted to read a book from every country, in just one year.

Image: REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski

One-hundred and ninety-six books later, she’s written a book and done a TED Talk on her experience. She’s also created a series of interactive maps charting everything she read.
“It’s amazing the breadth of perspective you get,” she said.
‘An intensive course of global reading’
Looking at her bookshelves, Morgan was saddened to see they were dominated by British and North American authors. So, as she explains in her TED Talk, she prescribed herself ‘an intensive course of global reading’.
The challenge was enormous. Reading an average of about four books a week, while also working full-time, was just the first hurdle. Finding an English-translation from every country was also very tricky – just 4.5% of works published in the UK each year are translations.

https://youtu.be/Hh09xlzxRmE

The power of the internet

She posted an appeal online, and was staggered by the response. From all over the world, people began recommending – and indeed sending her – books. “It turns out, if you want to read the world, if you want to encounter it with an open mind, the world will help you,” she explains.
Towards the end of 2012, however, she got stuck. Having spent months trying to find an English translation of a work from São Tomé and Príncipe – the Portuguese-speaking African island nation – she was left with no choice but to commission a translation. She was doubtful whether anyone would be able to help with this.
But, within days of a Twitter and Facebook appeal, she had nine Portuguese-speaking volunteers all willing to devote their time and effort to translating a book for her. Six-weeks later, she had a collection of short stories to read.
She highlights the role that the internet played in making her goal a reality. “It’s testament to the extraordinary times we live in,” she said. “Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever before for a stranger to share a story, a worldview, a book with someone she may never meet.”
Mapping the world’s books
Morgan has created an interactive map, showing the book she read for every country. The map also includes a teaser on each one.
She hopes others will use the maps to chart their own experiences. For her, the experiment has broadened her understanding of the world. “Cumulatively, the stories I read that year made me more alive than ever before to the richness, diversity and complexity of our remarkable planet,” she said.