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Pre-Planning for Retirement Days is a Must for Comfortable Living

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 05:25

Retirement timing is a major decision is everyone's life and should not be taken lightly. Before taking the plunge, one must take a careful look at finances and what they aim to do in future. That will give a clear idea about where one stands.

Depending on the savings and investments one might realize that working for one or two more years could make all the difference adding to the comfort of after retirement days with more financially sound grounds.

In the U. S, the number of baby boomers would be approximately 76 million and according to estimations around 10,000 baby boomers are nearing 65 each day which means they are walking right towards their retirement. So, it's more important for them to take the decision now.

There are some significant facts which people close to retirement age must focus on. The life expectancy age is increasing, which is a good thing but needs more savings to pull you through. According to reports, the baby boomers lack in their savings which pose financial challenge to the soon to be retired population.

According to reports from the National Academy of Social Insurance, about sixty five percent of beneficiaries rely on Social Security for a significant part of their retirement income. The problem arises where it is the sole source of income for the retired people. An IRI study confirmed that fifty nine percent of the baby boomers state, they expect their Social Security to be the key source of income for them after they retire.

General: GeneralRegion: United States

PSTA Gets Grant from Florida Department of Transportation to Partner with Uber for Free Rides

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 05:19

In a new kind of public and private partnership, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is soon going to offer a free ride to those residents with transportation-disadvantage and its partner being none other than Uber Technologies Inc.

On Friday, the transit agency was given a grant of $300,000 by the Florida Department of Transportation to partner with a transportation network company. The services will be available to those residents who have no access to personal transportation.

As a general tradition Uber riders need a smartphone app when they want to "hail" a ride. The customers in most cases store their personal credit card information in a secure account which makes the transactions cashless. But in this case PSTA will use a new technology called Uber Central that permits the users without access to a smartphone or a credit card to directly call PSTA which will then make an arrangement for a ride.

PSTA CEO Brad Miller said, "It's the only way you can use Uber without a smartphone or a credit card." For Uber, PSTA will be its very first customer in the U. S to use Uber Central technology.

Business: Business NewsCompanies: PSTARegion: United StatesPeople: Brad Miller

Weekly Rig Count from Baker Hughes Show U.S Rigs Add for a Second Consecutive Week

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 05:15

This week's rig count report from Baker Hughes shows the number of rigs drilling for oil and gas in the U. S. reached 414. That's a spike of six rigs compared to last week. It indicates some positive note from the oil and gas industry as price rises.

Compared to last week's 325, the number of oil rigs in the U. S was up three to 328 and for natural gas rigs, the numbers scaled to 85 with three added to previous week's 82. The number of miscellaneous rigs remained the same at one.

The number of offshore rigs was 21 and inland water rigs were 5, unchanged from last week. However, the number of rigs on land added six more 388 compared to 382 in the previous week.

According to Baker Hughes rig count reports, last week the count increased for the first-time since last year August which could signal a likely u-turn in the industry slowdown. The drop in equity prices also added to a drop in oil futures including Brent and West Texas Intermediate. Brent's front-month contracts dropped 2.8 percent or US$1.43 to US$50.52 per at 2:14 pm EDT. On Thursday, it touched US$52.86, its 2016 high of.

Even the WTI front-month was down 3.2 per cent or US$1.62 at US$48.94 per barrel.

Companies: Baker HughesBusiness: Energy SectorRegion: United States

Wendy’s Company says More Number of Restaurants Affected by Cybersecurity Issues

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 04:25

Cybersecurity issues are plaguing more and more companies and Wendy's Company is the recent victim.

On Thursday, the Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy's Company said recently it has discovered more number of locations which were affected by malicious malware. That totals the number of affected locations to more than three hundred restaurants. The Company has disabled the malware where it has been detected.

The fast food chain operator said that they have disabled the discovered malware in the locations where they were detected. The suspected fraudulent cyber activity was also discovered in some of the company's franchise- operated restaurants.

The company has been continuously investigating some unusual credit card activities at its restaurants. Reports from the investigations indicated that the payment cards which were rightfully used at Wendy's locations might have been used illegitimately at some other places.

Malware which were used by the cyber attackers is very sophisticated and that makes it particularly difficult to identify. In recent times the company detected the new alternatives of the malware and disabled it in its franchise restaurants. Wendy's is still working with experts and the federal law enforcement to detect and handle the situation.

On May 11, the company had reported that malware was detected on the point of sale (POS) system of lesser than three hundred of its Wendy's restaurants in North America which are franchised. According to recent reports, fifty other franchise restaurants are under suspicion of having experienced or found to have been under threat of cybersecurity issues.

Business: Company NewsCompanies: Wendy’sRegion: OhioTechnology: Internet

City Mayor Says Kansas City is Ready to go “Smart”

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 04:23

The seven finalists out of seventy eight applications for the desired $40-million federal transportation grant are Kansas City, Denver, Pittsburg, Columbus, Austin, Portland, San Francisco. On Thursday, the mayors of these cities made presentations to Foxx in Washington.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James also pitched for the reason why his city deserved the tens of millions of dollars in federal transportation funds "We've been there, done that". James publicized the success of the city's "smart" corridor in the newly created downtown streetcar route that also flaunts free Wi-Fi, several digital services and also interactive kiosks.

He said, "So we know what we're doing; it's not a gamble. Selecting us would be a big win for our team, it would be a big win for your team, but it would be a catalytic win for the people of Kansas City."

Later in June, the U. S. Department of Transportation will declare and reward the winner which will become the first "Smart City" in the country which will integrate technologies into the transport network including self-driving cars, smart sensors and other digital services.

Region: United StatesBusiness: Business NewsPeople: Sly James

Power Outage at Carowinds Lead to Riders Getting Stuck on Rides

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 04:20

Enjoying rides at amusement parks can be enjoyable but getting stuck due to power outage is a different story. On Thursday, intermittent power failures at Carowinds amusement park, located on the border between North and South Carolina caused people to get stuck on many of the rides in the evening.

A Carowinds spokesperson confirmed the power outages at the park but did not confirm the riders getting stuck. Later at night, at 9:45 p. m., the officials of the park confirmed that power interruption led to stoppages in the rides.

Riders of the Windseeker ride were stuck in the air and most were not too pleased with their experience.

The statement from the park officials read, "Around 8 pm this evening, there was a power failure at Carowinds. As a result, there was a partial power outage in the park. Several rides were stopped and safely evacuated. We are currently lowering WindSeeker to the ground. As always, the safety of our guests and associates is our highest priority."

Charlotte firefighters were on stand-by when the maintenance workers at the park lowered the rides "manually due to malfunction." The medic also said one unit was kept in the park as standby but there were no reported injuries.

General: GeneralRegion: California

Shares of Restoration Hardware Holding Inc Drop with Weak Quarterly Results and Full Year Guidance

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 04:18

Restoration Hardware Holdings Inc's shares dropped on Wednesday during the after-hours trading. The company based in Corte Madera, California, failed to meet expectations as it reported its quarterly results.

The home furnishings retailer also trimmed its profit forecasts for the year. The company reported a loss of $13.5 million or 33 cents a share in the fiscal first-quarter. Last year, the company had reported a profit for the same three month period.

The quarterly results could not keep in line with average analysts estimates of earnings of 5 cents per share.
The loss which was adjusted for one-time gains and costs was five cents a share.

Restoration Hardware forecasts its full-year earnings to be in the range of $1.60 to $1.80 a share. Earlier, the company had said the expected incomes were mostly going to be flat or slightly down compared to last fiscal year's adjusted income of $2.72 a share. The average analysts' estimates were $2.66 per share.

The retailer attributed the weaker results to the headwinds faced by the energy sector and the currency and a "general slowdown in the luxury consumer market."

Restoration Hardware expects its earnings per share for the ongoing quarter, which ends in August, to be in a range of 28 to 33 cents.

Companies: Restoration HardwareBusiness: Business NewsRegion: California

Environmental Protection Agency has a Clean-Up Plan for Portland Harbor

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 04:14

On Wednesday, after a long wait finally the federal government released its plans for cleaning up the soil in Lower Willamette River which has been contaminated with cancer-causing substances from years of industrialization.

The Environmental Protection Agency has a plan of dredging the river bed and entrapping the contaminated sediments below a layer which will confine it under. But that is just for some hundred acres of the total contaminated zone of the huge 2,200 acre Portland Harbor Superfund Site. In the 'hybrid' proposal, the other areas are left in Mother Nature's care to do the mending with some places to be cleaned with initiative from the cleaning crew.

The dredging will be done on 167 acres where soil will be removed from the river bed and from that some amount will be taken to a landfill. Some amount of soil will be stored in a special structure in the river which will contain it. However, officials signal that the final plan might require sending the entire dredged soil to landfills.

A stretch of sixty-four acres which includes 10,000 feet shoreline will be covered with a layer of plastic or some different material.

James Woolford, a federal superfund manager in EPA's Washington, D.C., office said the plan is a "balanced approach" to the cleanup efforts.

General: EnvironmentRegion: United States

Oppenheimer Holdings Inc Agrees to Pay $3 Million to Settle Charges of Inappropriate ETF Sales

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 04:09

Without admitting or denying any wrongdoing, Oppenheimer & Co agreed to pay almost $3 million as fines and restitution for settling federal charges that it sold risky exchange-traded funds incorrectly to elderly customers who are mostly averse to risks and also to other retail investors.

On Wednesday, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said New York City based Oppenheimer Holdings Inc unit will pay $2.25 million as fines and will compensate almost 150 customers with $716,832.

Oppenheimer said in a statement that the company was happy to settle the matter and "has for several years put in effective enhanced procedures and controls surrounding the sale of leveraged ETFs."

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) said starting from August 2009 till September 2013, Oppenheimer sold inverse and inverse-leveraged ETFs to clients which were inappropriate for their age, purpose of investment and finances. Those also were not properly supervised to make sure that these sales were not done.

FINRA said, Oppenheimer made about 30,740 non-traditional ETF transactions which totaled to $1.7 billion in retail brokerage accounts in the period stretching over four year period.

Companies: OppenheimerBusiness: Business NewsRegion: New York

Genentec, OSI Pharma Owe $67Million as False Claim Settlement for Lung Cancer Treatment Tarceva

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 04:05

South San Francisco based Genentech and OSI Pharmaceuticals based in Farmingdale, New York owe $67 million as a part of federal court settlement related to allegations over misleading claims which the companies made regarding a drug used for treating cancer.

OSI Pharmaceuticals, a part of Astellas Pharma and Genentech, a part of the Roche Group were taken to court after an ex-employee of Genentech alleged that the company gave misleading information to medical professionals as well as doctors.

However, nothing in the ruling reveals that the companies are officially accountable for the claims.

Tarceva, the drug under concern is approved for treating non-small-cell lung cancer and also advanced-stage of pancreatic cancer. A news release from the Department of Justice says, the complaint says the drug companies made doctors believe, the drug will work for the broad category of patient while in reality "there was little evidence to show that Tarceva was effective" for treating some patients who were suffering from non-small-cell lung cancer. The medicine worked only on a certain number of patients including those who did not smoke ever and people who carried a particular mutation in a protein which leads to the spread and growth of cancer cells.

According to the complaint, the companies did not report all the adverse effects that are connected to the use of this drug.

Companies: GenentechBusiness: Pharmaceutical SectorRegion: San Francisco

New Report says Millionaires will Control Fifty Two Percent of World’s Wealth by 2020

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 04:03

A new report released on Tuesday states that millionaires will have control greater than half of the total wealth in the world by 2020.

A Boston Consulting Group Global Wealth report showed, last year the number of millionaires grew six percent globally to 18.5 million. Though there was an increase in the number of millionaires but it marked an eleven percent slowdown from the growth noted in 2014.

The report says, at present, millionaires have a control over forty seven percent of the total global wealth and is estimated to control fifty two percent by 2020.

The richest among the millionaires will gain the most mostly in the United States. The report says that greater than $20 million in the United States will control twenty nine percent of the wealth in the country by 2020. That is an increase from the twenty four percent noted in 2015 and twenty percent marked in 2010.

For the first time since 2011, last year the growth of private wealth marked a slow down globally.

In the U.S and Canada, the amount of wealth grew two percent to $60 trillion which was the lowest among all regions. In Japan, it was four percent and the growth marked a greater leap compared to the previous year.

Business: EconomyBusiness NewsRegion: United States

Shares of VeriFone Systems Drop after Company Misses Expectations in Q2 and Gives a Downbeat Outlook

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 03:59

San Jose, California based VeriFone Systems saw its shares drop during the after hour trading to $21.98 or by 22.14percent on Tuesday following a weak guidance and a quarterly result that missed expectations.

After the market closed, the electronic payments company reported its quarterly earnings of 47 cents a share missing the analysts' expectation of 52 cents a share. The quarterly revenue was reported as $526 million even that figure failed to keep up with analysts' estimates of $530.1 million.

In a statement, Paul Galant, CEO of the company said "Q2 was a mixed quarter for Verifone as we grew our business, but experienced several difficult market dynamics."

Galant added that the company is conducting a "disciplined strategic review" right now to tackle the underperforming businesses and trim down the operating expenses in general.
He added, "We are aggressively executing mitigating actions including a headcount restructuring and a review of underperforming businesses."

Overall for the fiscal 2016, the company forecasts earnings of $1.85 a share. The analysts expect earnings of $2.23 a share. The downbeat guidance provided by the company also caused the shares to slip.

Companies: VeriFoneBusiness: BusinessCompany ResultsRegion: California

Maori leader Sir Graham Latimer dies at the age of 90

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 03:56

Sir Graham Latimer, a prominent Maori leader and former National vice president, has passed away at the age of 90 years. Sir Latimerrecently suffered from Parkinson's disease.

Sir Latimer worked to advance Maori rights and address historic grievances in the country and achieved great success during his leadership. He worked with the New Zealand Maori Council for nearly 40 years and most of the time worked as the institution's president. He was also one of the three members of the Waitangi Tribunal.

Sir Latimer also worked as chairman of the Crown Forest Rental Trust, and a member of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission as well as a spokesperson for NgatiWhatua. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1980. His daughter, Rayna Tuhimata said that he took the fight for the changes to the State-Owned Enterprises Act to the Privy Council and achieved huge success for the country. As a result, the act was amended to make land transferred from the Crown to state-owned enterprises that were available for Treaty claims.

Sir Latimer has five children and he is connected to more than 20 children altogether including those he fostered. Prime Minister John Key described Latimer as a great New Zealander and advocate of Maori rights and interests.

Region: New ZealandGeneral: GeneralPeople: Graham Latimer

Labour blames fewer police officials for increase in road accidents

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 04:12

The Labour has blamed few police officials on the roads due to funding cuts as a result for increase in the number of road accidents.

Eleven people died on the roads between Friday evening and Tuesday morning making it the highest Queen's Birthday weekend road toll since 1989. Napier MP Stuart Nash, Labour police spokesperson pointed out that the government has slashed road safety funding in the previous two years.

Nash said, "In the past two years there has been a cut in road safety funding. Between 2013 and 2015 the road toll has increased by 68, making us one of the only countries where road deaths are rising. Funding pressures from the Budget have forced police to remove 100 police officers from road patrols. That will lead to more deaths on the road. It's that simple."

The police had said in April that it had a funding shortfall of $26 million and Police Minister Judith Collins has said at that time that it would mean that there will be fewer police officials for road policing. Transport Minister Simon Bridges did not allow NZTA to provide more money stating that the current level of funding was sufficient. NZTA had said that it would expected to see a "more moderate achievement" of road policing outcomes in the face of lower funding.

Mr Nash also warned in April the shortfall would make the roads more dangerous. Data showed that the road toll dropped to 253 in 2013 then increasing to 294 in 2014 and 321 in 2015. So far, 152 people have lost their lives this year.

Police Minister Judith Collins responded by blaming other contributors, including driving in unsafe conditions and men using mobile phones while driving for the increase in accidents. He said that drivers should follow rules for safety on roads.

Region: New ZealandGeneral: GeneralPeople: Stuart Nash

Plutonium from Japan Arrived in South Carolina, Trucked to the Savannah River Site

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 04:09

In spite of objections from Governor Nikki Haley, a shipment of deadly plutonium which is used as an ingredient in nuclear weapons arrived in South Carolina. The shipment from Japan which was carried in trucks to the Savannah River Site (SRS) near Aiken for storage will make the world safer says the government officials. It will be in safe hands and will prevent radioactive material being available to terrorists and rogue states.

However, the move was not welcome by the anti nuclear activists. The arrival of the plutonium was confirmed by the National Nuclear Security Administration without giving too many specifics.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the shipment that arrived in South Carolina is part of an arrangement which will bring almost one ton of plutonium from the Pacific Rim, Europe and North America. There after the plutonium will be processed at SRS and finally sent to New Mexico, to a disposal site.

Officials said that the plutonium from Japan will be a part of the six metric tons which the government plans to send from SRS to Waste Isolation Pilot Plant close to Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Region: United StatesGeneral: GeneralPeople: Nikki Haley

Marwan Fawaz Nest’s New CEO has Selling Experience; Will Alphabet use His Skills to sell Nest Labs in Future?

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 04:06

Tony Fadell, who has a significant hand in developing hot selling products like the iPod and iPhone, stepped down as the CEO of Nest Labs, a division of Google's parent, Alphabet.

The problems with Fadell rose from the way how he managed Nest. There has been no new product added by the company which has created excitement in the market in recent times, since Google's purchase of Next in 2014 for $3.2 billion deal.

Nest released, Nest Cam last year which most analysts thought was a rebranded version of a Dropcam product. Dropcam is a camera startup which Nest acquired for $555 million.

Google announced in May that it plans to launch Google Home, its own Internet connected home device. It is going to be a competition for Amazon Echo for sure but many people wondered why it was under Google and not Nest.

Both the companies under Alphabet operate with certain amount of autonomy. Reportedly, as the inner story goes, Nest officials offered to help in developing Google Home and were refused.

Marwan Fawaz, Nest's the new CEO though does not have a history of developing products like Fadell has good selling experience at Motorola, where he oversaw the sale of its home-products division in 2013 to Arris Group for $2.35 billion. That makes some analysts wonder it Alphabet too plans to sell Nest Labs in the future.

Companies: LinkedInBusiness: Business NewsPeople: Marwan Fawaz

Complaint about Discrimination on the Rise from Airbnb Users

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 04:04

Airbnb says at its core is about belonging. But the slogan "belong anywhere" is facing trouble to hold itself high, as more and more users of the service are asking whether the company is doing enough to curb discrimination.

The home-sharing service that has become quite poplar around the world has been accused of shutting doors on the African Americans along with other minority groups. Reports of discrimination from hosts registered with Airbnb are growing. On Sunday, in a recent development Shadi Petosky, an American producer and writer Shadi Petosky, shared her experience of being denied accommodation be to her transgender identity. On Sunday, she tweeted that a Minneapolis woman denied her accommodation and Airbnb did nothing about it.

Whenever, Shadi Petosky books her accommodations through Airbnb, she did disclose her gender identity to her hosts to avoid later unpleasantness. She said, "You don't want there to be a scene when you arrive. It's safer to disclose."

Belonging is not only regarding the user of the services but also employees in the company. The San Francisco company has very few African Americans and Latinos working for it. Last week, Airbnb, the San Francisco, California based company vowed to address the issues of discrimination and unconscious bias. The company says these problems have "plagued societies for centuries."

Companies: AirbnbBusiness: Business NewsRegion: United States

Motorbike rider dies after crashing with car on Harris Stin Huntly

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 03:59

A motorbike rider, who was travelling north-bound on Harris St in Huntly, has died after crashing into a car driving to the other side.

The police officials arrived at the scene eon Harris St, west of the Waikato River at 3pm on Monday. The officials said that the car driver was not hurt in the accident. The police officials have blocked the roads on Harris St and Glen Murray Rd and have placed diversions.

Officer in charge of road police in Huntly, Neil Mansill confirmed that the motorist was wearing a helmet. The police did not announce additional details of the person and only said that the investigations were under way. Some locals believe that the motorist might have hit a bump in the road but police did not confirm the assessment.

The family of the motorcyclist had been informed and were at the scene but the official identification processes hadn't been completed. The family was seen hugging behind the cordon. It is believed that the man had family ties in the town but did not live in Huntly.

The police officials are investigating the causes of the crash and have urged all motorists to exercise patience on the roads. The police used a drone to take pictures of the crash scene.

General: GeneralRegion: New Zealand

One man arrested following reports of shooting in Napier

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 03:54

Police officials have arrested one man after reports emerged of a shooting incidence at a property located on McGrath Street in Napier.

The incidence occurred on one side of the McGrath Street where a man was seen with blood on his face and a bandage round his head. Officials confirmed that a man was shot and a firearm was present. Neighbours had noted yelling and a "big drama" coming from the house on Monday before the police arrived at the scene.

A neighbour had noticed a man arriving at the property on Monday holding a gun and around half an hour later, she heard a loud voice after which the police arrived at the scene. An ambulance was also called to the scene, according to a St John ambulance spokesman. Cordons had been lifted on the street after 4 pm but police officials remained on the scene.

A police official said, "A victim is receiving medical treatment in hospital and it is unknown at this stage how these injuries were sustained. Police are at the scene and the people involved are in custody."

Meanwhile, one man, believed to be the driver of a white 4WD, was arrested in the Napier South neighbourhood.

General: CrimeRegion: New Zealand

Air New Zealand’s New Flight to Vietnam Reaches Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 03:52

The inaugural flight of Air New Zealand to Vietnam touched Ho Chi Minh City from Auckland.

The Flight NZ269 departed from the Auckland International Airport at 12:45pm and arrived at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat International Airport on Saturday, at about 8pm.

The Boeing 767-300 aircraft will be a thrice weekly service on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Passengers on the inaugural flight included dignitaries like Hon. Steven Joyce, New Zealand's Minister of Economic Development and Vietnamese Ambassador to New Zealand HE Mr Viet Dung Nguyen. Cam Wallace, the Chief Sales and Commercial Officer of Air New Zealand were also on the flight and said, the new destination increases the count of the airlines international destinations to thirty.

When the flight arrived, the passengers were welcomed with a traditional performance of kapa haka.

Wallace said, "This new service is a further expansion of our presence in South East Asia and our strategic focus on the Pacific Rim. We're very excited to be able to offer our customers the first direct air link between New Zealand and Vietnam which will operate on a seasonal basis three times per week from now through until the end of October."

In last one year, approximately 16,000 travelers from New Zealand have travelled to Vietnam which is a twenty percent increase compared to the previous year.

The non-stop flight takes eleven hours to travel to Ho Chi Minh City.

Companies: Air New ZealandBusiness: Aviation SectorRegion: New Zealand

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