How to Meet and Influence People You Don’t Know

One of the most important factors you probably aren’t considering in your job hunt is how important it is to influence what people you do not know think of you. What? You need to worry about people you don’t know? Absolutely—it’s probably the most overlooked job-search step you aren’t doing anything about.

Of course, there is a catch: your goal is to increase the number of people who know, like, and trust you. You should identify people who do not know you and make a concerted effort to change that.

Who should be your first targets? People who work for companies where you would like to work. Identify people who have the chance to influence hiring decisions at those organizations. First, list five to 10 companies where you don’t seem to have many contacts, and make it your mission to create lists of five to 10 people in each organization who are accessible enough to reach.

Luckily, social media tools make it very easy to hone in on exactly the right contacts. Once you have your companies listed, go directly to LinkedIn and see if the company has a page. If it does, you could hit the jackpot. LinkedIn will show you your immediate contacts who have ties to the company as well as the second-degree connections you may ask for introductions. Additionally, it will highlight how many employees that organization has on LinkedIn. Click through your second-degree contacts list to see who connects you to the people you want to meet, and choose your closest contacts and those you think are most likely to have a strong connection with your target audience. Then, proceed to ask your friend tomake an introduction.

Be clear about why you want to meet the person in question. Think about compelling reasons he or she should want to know you. How can you be a resource for him or her? What information do you have that can be helpful, or who do you know whom could be of interest to your target contact? Be sure to write a compelling reason for the introduction, and make sure it does not include the fact that you’re looking for a job at the organization.

While LinkedIn can provide a plethora of easy contacts, other social networks are especially useful when you don’t have a lot of great intermediaries to connect you with people you want to know. On LinkedIn, be sure to check out the Groups feature to connect with new people in your field of interest. Using Twitter, you can find people, follow them, and engage with them directly without any pressure. Use tools such as Listorious.com and WeFollow.com to identify people on Twitter.On Google+, use the “Find People” feature (in the Circles tab) or follow the “Communities” tab to identify individuals and groups to follow.

Once you find new people you’d like to meet, follow them and make a point to keep a close eye on their updates. On Twitter, retweet (forward information to your followers) from people you want to know better. If they write blogs or are active on different social media tools, be sure to find and connect there as well. Leave smart comments on their blogs, ask questions, and engage with them via the open networks, such as Google+ and Twitter. You’ll make it impossible for them to not notice you.

That said, be sure you don’t cross the line between interestednetworking contact and stalker. Be considerate and interested; do not tweet your contacts every hour, obsessively comment on their blog posts, or respond to their every Facebook post the minute they appear on the screen. If you authentically engage with people about the topics that interest them (which should also be your areas of expertise), it shouldn’t be difficult to forge an online, professional relationship that could lead to a phone conversation or in-person meeting.

Make a point to influence and connect with people who don’t know you—yet—and you may find it is the most important thing you do to land a job.

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By Miriam Salpeter of money.usnews.com

5 Clues It’s Time to Leave Your Toxic Job

It’s one thing to constantly complain about your work. It’s common enough to let off steam about your job by pointing out what’s wrong with it. But it’s another thing if all signs are pointing to the fact that you need to get out soon. Here are definite warning signs that you should start looking for another job today.

1. You’re being excluded. If you’re finding out about meetings you weren’t invited to after the fact, there may be a reason (and not a good one). Roberta Matuson, CEO of Matuson Consulting, says if “your company is cutting heads, while other organizations are growing,” it may be a sign to go. Those secret meetings might be about staff cuts, and you might be on the list.

But before you overreact, get to the bottom of the overlooked invite to the meeting. Maybe it was for key personnel in another department, or about a project you aren’t involved in. Put your ear to the ground to find out why you weren’t included before jumping to conclusions.

2. You suffer from Sunday night syndrome. If each week you experience a “feeling of dread, anxiety, depression, or stress on Sunday night as you think about starting the work week Monday morning,” says Ellen Mastros, business consultant, entrepreneur, and owner of New Work New Life, it may be time to consider a career change.

It’s normal to feel a little sadness as the weekend ends and as the prospect of working your 9-to-5 looms closer, but if it causes headaches or stomach aches, it may indicate you’re more stressed than necessary about your job. “No job is worth damaging your health and mental well-being,” says Mastros.

3. Your environment is toxic. There’s a difference between a place you don’t really enjoy working in and one that is bad for you.

“Whether your boss or colleagues are abusive, the hours are unreasonable, the politics are horrific, or the actual office is unhealthy, you subject yourself to enormous physical and emotional stress,” says Roy Cohen, career coach and author ofThe Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. “Your job is literally killing you. When you lose sleep or live in constant fear that something bad will happen, the impact on your health will be significant.”

Make efforts to rectify the toxic situation (ask for an office with a window for fresh air, try to work out differences with co-workers) before walking out of your job.

4. You haven’t been paid in weeks. Kathi Elster of K Squared Enterprises says if you haven’t gotten paid in weeks because your employer can’t afford to pay you, this is a red flag that should send you running for the hills. Your boss might try to sweet talk you into patiently waiting a few more weeks for payday, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get paid then, or ever, if the company is floundering. Time to hit the job boards.

5. You’ve done your best to rectify the situation. If “you have exhausted all efforts to make your work situation better, such as talking with your manager, self-examination and looking into other career options,” says Branding Consultant Meredith Liepelt, it may be time to move on. You should always work to fix what you can, but realize your limitations: You can only change yourself, and if you hate your job because of unreasonable bosses or an unhealthy workload, there is only so much you can try to do to correct the issue.

If you have tried everything to make the most of a bad work situation, cut yourself some slack. The role you’re in isn’t ideal for you, but you will find one that is a better fit for your talents.

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By Lindsay Olson of money.usnews.com

Why Are Investors In Like With Facebook Again?

Why Is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Smiling? Maybe because someone might be willing to pay $100 to send him a message.

Why Is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Smiling? Maybe because someone might be willing to pay $100 to send him a message.

If you’re a casual observer of the stock market, the last time you tuned in to what was happening with Facebook’s stock was probably last May.

In those days after the company’s long-anticipated initial public offering, its price was diving daily — exactly the opposite of what many had expected given the hype leading up to Facebook’s IPO.

The IPO itself was full of technical problems — many buyers weren’t sure if their orders went through. And then there were questions about whether Facebook could figure out how to make money in its fastest-growing segment — mobile.

What a difference several months make. Since the start of 2013, Facebook’s stock has jumped 19 percent, closing at $31.72 on Friday. It’s up nearly 81 percent since its rock-bottom low of $17.55 on Sept. 4.

FB ChartFB data by YCharts

“The trend is clear from the start of the year, with few days of declines in between; investors have found new love for the social giant,” says The Next Web. It didn’t hurt that a Merrill Lynch report predicted that in 2014 Facebook’s mobile revenue will top the money it makes from its desktop users.

There’s also speculation that Facebook will have something big to say at a press event next Tuesday. The company teased reporters with an invitation to “come and see what we’re building.”

Bloomberg said Facebook could use the event “to assuage user concerns about ad policy changes for its Instagram photo-sharing service.” Seeking Alpha has rounded up rumors about the event, which include the recurring idea that Facebook will launch its own smartphone.

Seeking Alpha contributor Timothy Phillips thinks Facebook is likely to tout an e-commerce strategy. It has “already quietly entered the e-commerce business through its proprietary gift service (through the acquisition of Karma), which I think can be a real game changing concept for how consumers purchase,” he wrote.

Facebook is looking at all kinds of ways to make money off its 1 billion users. For instance, the company could charge users to send messages to popular people on Facebook. Mashable discovered a test in which users could send CEO Mark Zuckerberg a message — “for a cool $100.”

“Keen Facebook observers will recognize this as a variant on the $1 pay-to-message plan that the social network has been experimenting with for months. The company indicated at the time that it would be experimenting with other prices, so it’s possible we’re starting to see the fruits of that.”

The Wall Street Journal‘s Digits blog points out that Facebook sees this as a way to reduce incoming spam for high-profile Facebook users: “For a normal user, $1 might seem like a lot to send a message to a friend, but for a fan to ensure that someone like Justin Bieber receives a message, it might not be that much.”

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By AVIE SCHNEIDER of npr.org

Cigarette Makers Frustrated As Product Approvals Stall

A clerk prices cigarettes at  Discount Smoke Shop in Ballwin, Mo. The Food and Drug Administration, which must approve all new tobacco products or any changes to existing brands, has not cleared any products since assuming that responsibility in 2009.

A clerk prices cigarettes at Discount Smoke Shop in Ballwin, Mo. The Food and Drug Administration, which must approve all new tobacco products or any changes to existing brands, has not cleared any products since assuming that responsibility in 2009.

It’s been only a few years since Congress granted the federal government the power to approve how tobacco products are made and sold in the U.S.

The Food and Drug Administration’s new Center for Tobacco Products, established under a 2009 law that gives the agency jurisdiction over tobacco, must review all new cigarettes or smokeless tobacco, as well as any changes to existing brands.

But the agency has yet to clear any products under the new system, and some cigarette makers are frustrated by the backlog of applications.

The FDA typically evaluates new drugs and other products with a “safe and effective” standard. But Lawrence Deyton, the Center for Tobacco Products’ director, says that standard “doesn’t work for tobacco products.”

FDA Would ‘Rather Get It Right Than Get It Fast’

It’s Deyton’s job to figure out how a public health agency will regulate a consumer product that has proved to be addictive and deadly. Because there’s no safe way to smoke, Deyton says, the FDA is using what’s called a “population health” standard to evaluate tobacco.

“I sort of think of it as a ceiling of harm,” Deyton says. “Things will get no worse, and any changes or new products that come on the market have to be appropriate for the protection of public health, or raise no different questions of public health.”

Tobacco companies have not yet asked the agency to approve any new products, but they have submitted more than 3,500 applications for changes to existing brands — changes the companies say are so minor, they don’t raise any of those “different questions.”

The FDA has not approved any of the applications, some pending for more than a year and a half.

Deyton says the applications are getting the appropriate scientific scrutiny and that he would “rather get it right than get it fast.”

Major cigarette makers declined to be interviewed by NPR for this story. But in a petition filed with the FDA, Lorillard, which manufactures the Newport and Kent brands, among others, calls the inaction a “de facto embargo” on new product introductions — one that hampers competition.

Deyton says that’s not the agency’s intention. “We’re absolutely not deliberately trying to slow products from getting to market,” he says. “What we’re doing is the scientific review that the law requires us to do.”

A ‘Tough Industry’ In Which To Grow

But Jack Russo, a tobacco industry analyst with the investment firm Edward Jones, says the new regulatory framework is likely to slow the pace at which products get to the shelves.

“It’s going to be tough really to get any new product through,” says Russo, who also notes that the apparent FDA logjam is frustrating for an industry looking to expand as more people quit smoking.

Getting any new product on the market might help a company “outperform the competition a little bit, in what is a very tough industry to grow,” Russo says. “So every little bit helps … but the FDA certainly isn’t making it easy on anybody.”

For their part, anti-smoking activists believe the FDA hurdle is long overdue.

Danny McGoldrick, vice president for research at the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, isn’t at all troubled by tobacco companies’ “not being able to get their products on the market as quickly as they would like.”

The industry’s history of innovation “shows us that it tends to make the products more addictive, more appealing and more harmful,” McGoldrick says. “And we don’t need any more of that.”

Some public health advocates would like to see the FDA crack down even harder on the tobacco industry, by banning menthol-flavored cigarettes and imposing tighter restrictions on advertising and marketing, for example.

The agency has tried to mandate harsh new warning labels for packaging, but cigarette makers have challenged them in court.

Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, thinks the FDA should reject allapplications for changes to tobacco products.

“If making these changes wasn’t … going to somehow positively affect sales, the companies wouldn’t be doing it,” Glantz says. “Because they’re in business to make money.”

Money that is ever harder to make, now that U.S. smoking rates have remained stagnant at about 20 percent of the population for almost 10 years.

The question is whether the FDA’s new role can further curtail tobacco use — the leading preventable cause of death in the country.

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By DEBBIE ELLIOTT of npr.org 

Businesses Sue Government Over Birth Control Mandate

The Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores has gone to court to block a provision of the administration's health law that requires employers' health plans to pay for contraceptives.

The Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores has gone to court to block a provision of the administration’s health law that requires employers’ health plans to pay for contraceptives.

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, few would have predicted that one of the most contentious provisions would have to do with contraception.

But today federal officials are grappling with more than 40 lawsuits claiming that the requirement for most health plans to provide contraceptive coverage to women violates their religious freedom.

And religious groups aren’t the only ones going to court.

Religious entities — houses of worship and groups that employ only members of a single faith — are exempt from the so-called contraceptive mandate that requires birth control be made available to women free of charge to them.

The administration has promised to find a compromise to address the complaints of nonprofit groups like Catholic hospitals and universities. As a result, the majority of lawsuits filed over the mandate are on hold, waiting for the administration to act, which is expected by the end of March.

But what about businesses like Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts chain with 500 stores in 41 states and more than 22,000 employees?

“Hobby Lobby has always been a tool for the Lord’s work,” founder and CEO David Green told reporters on a conference call last fall. “For me and my family, charity equals ministry, which equals the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Green said he has always run his company in accordance with his Christian faith. His stores aren’t open on Sunday, and the company contributes time and money to Christian organizations both in the U.S. and overseas.

But he said the contraceptive requirement directly challenges that faith. “Our family is now being forced to choose between following the laws of the land that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful and have supported our family and thousands of our employees and their families,” he said.

In the months ahead, Green faces a choice: Comply with the mandate or pay as much as $1.3 million a day in fines. That’s because courts — all the way up to the Supreme Court — denied him an injunction that would have delayed the requirement while his lawsuit works its way through the courts.

Hobby Lobby is one of four companies that have sued but haven’t been able to win a delay of the requirement. Ten other private lawsuits have been granted a temporary stay. But so far, only one of those cases, in Missouri, has resulted in a decision on the religious discrimination arguments.

And, Brigitte Amiri of the American Civil Liberties Union points out, “The court in that case held that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiff could not show that its religious liberty would be violated by the rule.”

In the end, Amiri says she’s “hopeful and optimistic” that backers of the contraceptive coverage requirement will prevail, at least in the case of the private companies that are suing. “Once you enter the public sphere, and particularly when you operate a for-profit company,” she says, “you can’t impose your religious beliefs on your employees.”

There is also plenty of court precedent, she says, to back that up.

“The courts have routinely held that employers who have a religious objection, for example, to paying their female and male employees equally … based on beliefs that the Bible says men should be head of household, they still have to comply with federal law that says you have to treat your male and female employees equally,” she says.

But Francis Manion, a senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, who is representing three of the for-profit companies suing over the mandate, says he thinks they have a good chance to prevail.

“What all of these entities are arguing is that the mandate is imposing a substantial burden on their religious exercise or beliefs,” Manion says. “And that the government cannot show a compelling interest in pursuing this mandate against these entities.”

In other words, he says, the government might have other options to ensure that women get no-cost contraception.

“For instance, we already have massive government programs that provide contraceptives for free,” he says, referring to the Title X family planning program, which has itself been controversial over the years.

Manion says one possibility would simply be to make that program universal, rather than limit it to people with low incomes. But that would likely raise the same fight that currently goes on over abortion — about whether people who object to something want their tax dollars used to pay for it.

One thing those on both sides of the debate agree on — this is all likely to wind up before the Supreme Court, probably next year.

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By JULIE ROVNER of npr.org

Jan 12

Why Are Investors In Like With Facebook Again?

Why Is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Smiling? Maybe because someone might be willing to pay $100 to send him a message. If you’re a casual observer of the stock market, the last time you tuned in to what was happening with Facebook’s stock was probably last May. In those days after the company’s long-anticipated initial public …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/why-are-investors-in-like-with-facebook-again/

Jan 12

Cigarette Makers Frustrated As Product Approvals Stall

A clerk prices cigarettes at Discount Smoke Shop in Ballwin, Mo. The Food and Drug Administration, which must approve all new tobacco products or any changes to existing brands, has not cleared any products since assuming that responsibility in 2009. It’s been only a few years since Congress granted the federal government the power to …

Continue reading »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/cigarette-makers-frustrated-as-product-approvals-stall/

Jan 12

Businesses Sue Government Over Birth Control Mandate

The Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores has gone to court to block a provision of the administration’s health law that requires employers’ health plans to pay for contraceptives. When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, few would have predicted that one of the most contentious provisions would have to do …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/businesses-sue-government-over-birth-control-mandate/

Jan 12

10 Market Insights

1. The four trading fears 95% of the trading errors you are likely to make will stem from your attitudes about being wrong, losing money, missing out, and leaving money on the table – the four trading fears 2. The proverbial empathy gap You may already have some awareness of much of what you need …

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Jan 12

The Appeal of Master Limited Partnerships to Investors

The master limited partnership’s (MLP) lineage dates back to 1981, when exploration and production outfit Apache Corp (NYSE: APA) consolidated 33 of its oil and gas operations into this structure. In the mid-1980s, the universe of publicly traded partnerships differed dramatically from the options available to today’s investors. With no limitations on what assets and …

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Jan 12

US and Russian Geopolitical Battle will Decide Fate of Czech Nuclear Power Plant

The upgrade of Temelin, a nuclear power station, has become the backdrop of a power struggle between the Unites States and Russia. Worryingly, a discussion on Czech energy policy is being silenced by the competition of foreign strategic interests. As Germany and other European states turn away from nuclear power, the Czech Republic is looking …

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Jan 12

Oil Industry Cycles Offer Good Investment Opportunities

Investing for me is about identifying long-term trends, and then investing in companies whose business I understand, that will benefit from those trends. For more than a decade, my own investment strategy has focused on two major trends: (1) I believe that as the massive demographic of Baby Boomers moves into post-retirement, a tremendous amount …

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Jan 12

Coal Loses Crown As King Of Power Generation

Georgia Power’s coal-fired steam-turbine electric generating Plant Bowen in Euharlee, Ga., seen in 2009. The utility is planning on shuttering 15 coal- and oil-fired generating units at its facilities. Just a few years ago, Georgia Power generated nearly three-fourths of its electricity with coal. Last year, for the first time, natural gas edged out coal, …

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Jan 12

Greek parliament passes new tax increases

Austerity measures have triggered mass protests in recent months The Greek parliament has approved a series of unpopular tax rises aimed at boosting revenue in line with Athens’ commitments to international creditors. The measures, approved overnight, introduce a new top tax rate of 42% for Greeks earning more than 42,000 euros (£34,700; $56,000) a year. …

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Jan 09

New Charging Algorithm can Extend Battery Life for Electric Vehicles

new charging algorithm could extend battery life for the first all-electric, battery-powered locomotive in the US. Batteries for Norfolk Southern Railway No. 999, just like automotive batteries, are rechargeable until they eventually die. A leading cause of damage and death in lead-acid batteries is sulfation, a degradation of the battery caused by frequent charging and …

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Jan 09

Can Hugo Chavez’s New Term of Government Start without Him?

______________________________________________ Venezuela’s Chavez To Miss His Inauguration by KRISHNADEV CALAMUR President Hugo Chavez is too ill to attend his inauguration this week, the Venezuelan government announced Tuesday. In a letter to the National Assembly, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said the president’s medical team said Chavez’s recovery should be extended beyond Thursday – the day he is …

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Jan 09

5 Biofuel Trends to Watch Out for in 2013

Despite a relatively down year with respect to investment and production capacity expansion, the biofuels industry grew modestly in 2012, continuing a shift from first generation facilities to next generation, advanced biorefineries. Although it was a year of challenges for corn starch ethanol production in particular, the industry proved its mettle against persistent drought across …

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Jan 09

Energy Stocks to Keep on your Watchlist During the Global Market Lull

In the midst of a global market lull, many companies are sitting on their hands, argues Mark Lackey of CHF Investor Relations. That’s why he’s scoping out smart management that’s keeping busy and making great progress—whether or not the markets are quick to notice. Learn who’s getting a running start in the uranium, oil and …

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Jan 09

Why 2013 Will End in a Severe Recession

We have been hearing a lot about escaping the fiscal cliff, but our problem isn’t solved. The fixes to date have been partial and temporary. There are many painful decisions ahead. Based on what I can see, the most likely outcome is that the US economy will enter a severe recession by the end of …

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Jan 09

The Transition Beyond Strategic Nuclear War

The world is now well advanced in transition to the age beyond strategic nuclear weapons. It may be, from the standpoint of military descriptors, a transition to the age of cyber weapons. Equally, it may be too early to say. But rarely in history are such great watersheds so visible, except in hindsight; watersheds which …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/the-transition-beyond-strategic-nuclear-war/

Jan 09

What Stands in the Way of Natural Gas Replacing Gasoline in the US?

The natural gas revolution has brought big changes to the U.S. energy scene. Natural gas prices, which used to move closely together with oil prices, have plunged in the last five years, as the following chart shows. One result has been the rapid displacement of coal by natural gas in electric power generation. According to …

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Jan 06

Blackstone Lists Several Events that could Surprise the Markets in 2013

Byron Wien, Vice Chairman at Blackstone Advisory Partners, one of the world’s largest investment firms, has 10 predictions that may surprise markets in 2013. Wien defines a “surprise” as an event which the average investor would only assign a one out of three chance of taking place but which he believes is “probable”, having a …

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Jan 06

Daily Natural Gas Update – 04.01.2013

In the last 6 weeks natural gas prices are down nearly $1 in the futures which would not be a big deal if we were talking about Crude oil but this actually represents greater than a 20% reduction in prices. To me this is great news because I think the deprecation represents a grand buying …

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Jan 06

Germany’s Housing Market Is Hot. Is It Overheating?

Few Western countries are as conservative about home ownership as Germany, where less than half the country’s citizens own property. German banks have tough lending rules. Would-be buyers are usually asked to provide hefty down payments to secure mortgages, meaning few Germans even think about buying a home until they are settled and financially secure. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/germanys-housing-market-is-hot-is-it-overheating/

Jan 05

Diminishing Prospects For The Long-Term Unemployed

The latest figures show December was another month of steady, moderate job growth. But for many people still struggling with long-term unemployment, the situation hasn’t actually changed much at all. For Alecia Warthen, the last eight months have been painfully stagnant. She was the first person in her family to finish college, after growing up …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/diminishing-prospects-for-the-long-term-unemployed/

Jan 04

Are Wind Subsidies the Best Use of Taxpayers Cash?

The U.S. taxpayers are in better than $16 billion dollars now and just got hooked for another $12.1 billion more.  That’s $161,333 per for 75,000 jobs.  Admittedly, compared to some government subsidy deals this looks cheap. (Roll Eyes) Subsidizing wind energy surely should be at the end of the subsidy era.   The era is 20 years old …

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Jan 04

Do EVs Make Good Cents or Sense?

David Herron of Torque News stated in his article “60 kWh Tesla Model S rated at 208 mile electric driving range by EPA:” “The 85 kilowatt-hour Model S, $77,400 for 265 miles range, or $292/mile of range. The 60 kilowatt-hour Model S, $67,400 for 208 miles range, is $324/mile of range. The other electric cars …

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Jan 04

Iranian Gas and the Nabucco Pipeline Realities

The construction of the Nabucco pipeline from the Caspian region to Europe has been delayed.  Initially proposed in 2002, the construction of the pipeline was tentatively planned for 2009, which would have enabled it to deliver gas to the EU in 2011.  However, in May 2011 Reinhard Mitschek, the Nabucco Managing Director, commented “the timing …

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Jan 04

The Great Surgery of Iran’s economy

A memorable event took place in Iran’s economy in December of 2010. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced the launch of a project on subsidy reform (elimination of targeted subsidies), and called it a ‘great surgery’ on the weakened Iranian economy. In his TV speech, Ahmadinejad said that the elimination of subsidies in Iran will contribute …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/the-great-surgery-of-irans-economy/

Jan 04

Iran’s economy can thrive without reliance on oil revenues: president

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday that Iran’s economy can thrive without reliance on oil revenues, semi-official Fars news agency reported. Running the country without reliance on oil revenues is possible as long as cooperation and solidarity exist among Iranians, Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying. “The Iranian nation should move toward the summits of glory, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/irans-economy-can-thrive-without-reliance-on-oil-revenues-president/

Jan 04

Inside the West’s economic war with Iran

In his first week as U.S. president, Barack Obama told Iran’s leaders he would extend a hand if they would “unclench their fist” and persuade the West they weren’t trying to build a nuclear bomb. So far, they have not. In response, the United States and the European Union this year took a step they …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/inside-the-wests-economic-war-with-iran/

Jan 04

US and Iran May Collaborate on Afghanistan Issue

JTW Interview with Assoc. Prof. Selçuk Çolakoğlu, Director of USAK Center for Asia-Pacific Studies You recently attended a conference by the Delhi Police Group titled ‘Afghanistan: Good Neighbourly Relations’. Could you spell out some of the takeaways from the two-day meet? Conferences organised by the Delhi Policy Group are essentially ‘Track II’ meetings that bring …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/us-and-iran-may-collaborate-on-afghanistan-issue/

Jan 04

Basij Commander: Iran at Economic War with Enemy

Basij Commander: Iran at Economic War with Enemy Commander of Basij (volunteer) force Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi said enemies have waged an all-out economic war on the country, and stressed that the economy of resistance is the best way for Iran to win this war. “We are now in economic war with the enemy,” …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/basij-commander-iran-at-economic-war-with-enemy/

Jan 04

Iran reviews privatization impact on its economy

Discussing different aspects of privatization process in Iran; Senior economic experts and officials gathered in Tehran to review the impact of the implementation of the policies outlined in the article 44 of the constitution, which focuses on privatizing Iran’s economy. Addressing the conference President Ahmadinejad said that starting the privatization process in the country was …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/iran-reviews-privatization-impact-on-its-economy/

Jan 04

The imagined Iranian threat in Latin America

Reading the text of a bill that was recently signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama would instill fear in the hearts of ordinary Americans. Apparently, barbarians coming from distant lands are at work. They are gathering at the U.S.-Mexico border, cutting fences and ready to wreak havoc on an otherwise serene American landscape. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/the-imagined-iranian-threat-in-latin-america/

Jan 04

Iran’s historic baazar (In pictures)

                    The azure that dominates Shia architecture, the Persian calligraphy and the Zoroastrian symbols adorning walls all testify to the beauty lying just below the surface of old Tehran, where the Grand Baazar provides more than just solace from the capital’s frenetic pace. The monuments, mosques …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/irans-historic-baazar-in-pictures/

Jan 04

Iran Eying Better Rank in Global Economy

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad underlined Tehran’s determination to promote its rank in global economy, saying that the country enjoys the capability to stand among the top 8 world economies in the next few years. “The economy of Iran has the capability to become the 7th or 8th largest world economy in 15 years,” Ahmadinejad said …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/iran-eying-better-rank-in-global-economy/

Jan 04

Mideast economic change may start in Iran

Two years after the Arab masses took to the streets, mayhem’s end is nowhere in sight. In Cairo, the Arab world’s heartbeat, Egypt’s first freely elected government relegated the economy to the back burner to pursue a politics of divisiveness. President Mohammed Morsi’s attempt in November to impose himself on the judiciary resulted in renewed …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/mideast-economic-change-may-start-in-iran/

Jan 04

Four investor predictions and a wild card for 2013

     It’s that time again when pundits and guru wannabes of all stripes say how they think 2013 will turn out for the economy and markets. Here are my four best predictions, along with one big wild card. 1. The U.S. economy will continue to grow, albeit slowly, in 2013. Now that we’ve avoided …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/four-investor-predictions-and-a-wild-card-for-2013/

Jan 03

Why the US Oil Market will go from Strength to Strength in 2013

In a continuation of our series on the state of the oil industry we look at some of the other ramifications of what we are labelling the Oil Renaissance in the US, and around the world for that matter.  This phrase was first proposed regarding the potential Nuclear turnaround here in the US, where companies …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/why-the-us-oil-market-will-go-from-strength-to-strength-in-2013/

Jan 03

China in Africa: Partners in the Year of the Snake

African exports to China have increased six-fold since 2000 alone, the bulk of it in oil, and this year, China surpassed the US and Europe as Africa’s largest trading partner. Starting from $11 billion in bilateral trade in 2000, Beijing racked up $160 billion dollars in trade with Africa by 2011, and for 2012 Chinese …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/china-in-africa-partners-in-the-year-of-the-snake/

Jan 03

Five Unlikely Energy Surprises for 2013

Many people trot out their predictions for the coming year right about now. I’m generally allergic to predictions and think rather in terms of probabilities. Naturally, the world we live in is far too complicated to yield anything approaching certainty concerning such matters as the future price and supply of energy, future economic conditions, and …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/five-unlikely-energy-surprises-for-2013/

Jan 03

Why Riyadh Cares about the “Fiscal Cliff”

Oil revenue made up more than 90 percent of the total revenues for Saudi Arabia despite a steady decline in production. With a choppy 2012 drawing to a close, the Saudi finance minister said the kingdom had run a multibillion-dollar budget surplus. Despite a tense economic year, the ailing Saudi king, for his part, said …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/why-riyadh-cares-about-the-fiscal-cliff/

Jan 03

Syria’s Oil Now a Target of Civil War

It was only a matter of time before Syria’s oil industry, sagging as it may be, became a target in the country’s civil war, a conflict that is rapidly devastating Syria’s infrastructure and economy. The latest casualty is now Syria’s modest oil industry, already suffering from lack of modernization. In two separate incidents in the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/syrias-oil-now-a-target-of-civil-war/

Jan 03

What Investors Should be Looking out for in 2013

The lesson from 2012: We can ignore the Mayans, ZH and many other preachers of doom and gloom. Everything ends and the world will also end someday. We can’t get caught up in bear talk all the time and not live a normal life. This dysfunctional central bank liquidity fuelled market will again enter crisis …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/what-investors-should-be-looking-out-for-in-2013/

Jan 03

How Accurate are Long-Term Government Oil Forecasts, Can we Trust them?

[I]f you’re still operating under the assumption that the earth’s petroleum–or at least the cheap stuff–is about to run out, you’re not going to thrive in the new oil era. Technology is making it possible to find, produce, and refine oil so efficiently that its supply, at least for practical purposes, is basically unlimited. –Businessweek, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/how-accurate-are-long-term-government-oil-forecasts-can-we-trust-them/

Jan 03

The Imperial Dream of the Muslim Brotherhood

The end will justify the means to unite the Islamic peoples into a world of virtue and prosperity to where the Muslim Brotherhood says that it will bring them.  Egypt is their launching platform.  The entire Islamic world is their objective. If they were running for office in the United States or any European country …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/the-imperial-dream-of-the-muslim-brotherhood/

Jan 03

U.S. Allies Ignore Washington’s Iran Sanctions

Since the U.S. began its “global war on terror” in late 2001 in the wake of al Qaeda’s U.S. attacks, two of its most stalwart Muslim allies have been Turkey and Pakistan. Since then Turkey has provided the Pentagon access to its massive aerial facility in Incirlik, a crucial component in both Iraq and Afghanistan, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/u-s-allies-ignore-washingtons-iran-sanctions/

Jan 03

Will Washington Now Hold Shell’s “Feet to the Fire?”

Environmental advocacy groups expressing concern over frontier oil developments in the Alaskan arctic started the New Year on news that Shell’s (NYSE:RDS.A) problems in the region continue. This week’s grounding of the drill ship Kulluk was evidence that working in the harsh arctic environment was “a monumentally bad idea,” said Greenpeace. The U.S.-based supermajor last year secured …

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Jan 03

Layoffs Have Slowed, Hiring Has Picked Up, But Jobless Claims Are Higher

There were 372,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up by 10,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says. What’s more, that previous week’s total was revised up from the previous estimate of 350,000. The relatively negative news about jobless claims means that two out of this morning’s three employment-related reporters were …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/layoffs-have-slowed-hiring-has-picked-up-but-jobless-claims-are-higher/

Jan 03

Was Boehner’s Fiscal Cliff End Run Past GOP The New Normal?

By letting the House take up the Senate’s fiscal cliff-dodging legislation that raises income tax rates on the wealthiest earners, Speaker John Boehner answered affirmatively a question that had been on many minds: Would he allow an up-or-down floor vote on a bill opposed by most fellow House Republicans? Until the New Year’s Day vote, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/was-boehners-fiscal-cliff-end-run-past-gop-the-new-normal/

Jan 03

Argentina presses claim to Falkland Islands, accusing UK of colonialism

London (CNN) — Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is once again calling on the UK to hand back the Falkland Islands — known in Argentina as Las Malvinas — accusing Britain of blatant colonialism. In an open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron, which was published in the British press, she says that Britain …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/argentina-presses-claim-to-falkland-islands-accusing-uk-of-colonialism/

Jan 01

Cleaning House: Will Obama Go After the Big Boys?

The ban on BP (NYSE:BP) is only the tip of the iceberg. In the wake of oil spills, deaths, murky war contracts, sharing of government secrets and other lapses in ethics, Obama’s 2012 house-cleaning project will continue into the New Year. Cleaning up the messes of the past decade of contractual chaos in the US …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/cleaning-house-will-obama-go-after-the-big-boys/

Jan 01

Energy and Foreign Policy Predictions for 2013

The year 2012 helped bring answers to a few of the questions that loomed large for foreign observers when the year began. We now know who will lead the United States for the next four years. We have confirmation that the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated branches across the Arab Middle East remain the dominant, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/energy-and-foreign-policy-predictions-for-2013/

Jan 01

Drinks, Diets And Meat: Hits Of 2012, Predictions For 2013

As the new year begins, we here at The Salt are looking back at the food topics that got you talking in 2012, and pondering which conversations will continue in 2013. (And, like many of you, we’re also firmly swearing off the holiday cookies.) So, instead, feast your eyes on this roundup of our top …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.mfanni.com/drinks-diets-and-meat-hits-of-2012-predictions-for-2013/

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