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Current Topic: Business

Burj Khalifa (f.k.a. Burj Dubai) Opens
Topic: Business 3:44 pm EST, Jan  4, 2010

While development still surged forward at the Burj Khalifa, it was made possible only by gigantic billion dollar bailouts from rich United Arab Emirates cousin Abu Dhabi. And on the day of its official completion, interested parties face further problems. All of the apartments are said to have been sold but its still a mystery who will eventually move in. There is also said to be little interest in new Dubai office space. Developers still say that their vision will come true.

But as the city celebrates, the building is mainly vacant and could leave officials red-faced on Monday. Even though many of the building's 200 stories are unfinished, organisers are celebrating the launch with an arsenal of fireworks.

Burj Khalifa (f.k.a. Burj Dubai) Opens

Geneon to Merge with Universal Pictures Japan
Topic: Business 5:59 pm EST, Nov 12, 2008

From Anime News Network
posted on 2008-11-12 04:38 EST

The advertising and marketing company Dentsu has announced on Wednesday that it will transfer the majority ownership in its Geneon Entertainment home video subsidiary to NBC Universal's Universal Pictures International Entertainmnent (UPIE). UPIE has agreed to merge Geneon Entertainment with its own Universal Pictures Japan (UPJ), which handles operations in the country. The transfer agreement was signed on November 7, and the actual transfer is scheduled to take place at the end of the month. The merger of UPJ and Geneon will take place in February of next year, and the resulting company will assume a new name. UPIE will own 80.1% of the new company, while Dentsu will retain 19.9%.

Currently, Geneon Entertainment has 3.6 billion yen (about US$37 million) in capital, which is 100% owned by Dentsu. Geneon Entertainment President and CEO Sumio Kiga oversaw 178 employees as of the end of October. Pioneer had originally established the company in March 1981 to produce videos in the Laserdisc format. Dentsu acquired the majority of the outstanding shares in Pioneer Entertainment and renamed the company as Geneon Entertainment in 2003. Geneon has already been distributing Universal Pictures' DVDs in Japan since March of this year.

Geneon to Merge with Universal Pictures Japan

Microsoft extends XP downgrade rights date by six months
Topic: Business 11:40 am EDT, Oct  6, 2008

Microsoft is sending some very confusing signals about Windows Vista — the latest of which it issued via a statement on October 3.

The Register reported on October 2 that Microsoft was going to extend again the date until which PC makers would be allowed to continue to offer Windows users “downgrade rights,” enabling them to switch from Vista to XP on new machines. The Reg said Microsoft had moved the downgrade cut-off date from January 31, 2009 to July 31, 2009.

Microsoft extends XP downgrade rights date by six months

Nakheel Tower
Topic: Business 11:29 am EDT, Oct  6, 2008

For those who've been following the race for the tallest building over the past few years, you're probably familiar with the Al Burj (a.k.a. "The Pinnacle" and "The Tower"), proposed back in 2003. At first, I thought this "Nakheel Tower" was not a new project, but simply the latest incarnation of the Al Burj. It's difficult to tell whether Nakheel has scrapped that project for a completely new one, because the specs and proposed locations have changed a few times. The design shown in the article does look significantly different from the (original designs), though, and it appears that Nakheel is still determined to surpass the Burj Dubai's (developed by Emaar) height, if at all possible. In September, the Burj Dubai became the tallest man-made structure ever built, and it should be completed sometime next year.

Meanwhile, Nashville's Signature Tower is still on hold.

EDIT: I found this news item about the Nakheel Tower on Nakheel's website, but I don't see anything about the Al Burj or whether this is the same project.

Nakheel Tower

Tesla Building Silicon Valley Plant
Topic: Business 11:51 am EDT, Sep 18, 2008

California-based electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla is building a $250 million plant in Silicon Valley south of San Francisco. The plant, which is set to open in time to have full production vehicles on public roads by late 2010, will build Tesla’s upcoming electric sedans (tentatively named “Model S”).

Tesla, which recently started production of a high-performance electric roadster, is hedging its bets on the Model S sedan. The automaker says it hopes to build 15,000 Model S sedans annually by the last quarter of 2011. The Model S will retail for around $60,000, according to Tesla CEO Ze’ev Drori in a recent interview on National Public Radio.

Tesla has received numerous tax breaks from the state of California and the United States Department of Energy has approved $150 million worth of loan guarantees, says Automotive News.

Tesla Building Silicon Valley Plant

Who's next after Lehman Brothers is fed to the wolves?
Topic: Business 4:40 pm EDT, Sep 16, 2008

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
September 16, 2008

Unlike mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, broker dealers are not crucial pillars of the US housing market. Lehman is an optimal candidate for ritual sacrifice. While the appearances of free market discipline have been upheld, the reality of the weekend events is a further lurch towards socialism, or state capitalism if you prefer. The Fed's lending window has been widened, allowing all forms of investment grade paper to be used as collateral in exchange for taxpayer credit.

As this newspaper has long feared, the world is now faced with both a tightening credit squeeze and a synchronised hard-landing across most of the world economy. The eurozone and Japan are almost certainly in recession already. Britain will follow soon. America is plummeting into a second downward leg as the fiscal stimulus package fades and the exports mini-boom stalls. China cut interest rates yesterday following a sharp fall in property prices over the summer. Superficially, one can blame Lehman and its ilk for the excesses that led to this crisis. However, the root cause lies in the actions of governments across the Western world. They held interest rates too low for much of the past two decades, and encouraged the debt burden to explode to unprecedented levels.

Having caused this crisis, it would now be remiss for governments to pursue a policy of strict debt liquidation in the name of capitalist purity. As the bankruptcies mount, the state will have an obligation to step in to preserve social stability. If that means the temporary nationalisation of large chunks of the Western economy, so be it. This is too grave a crisis for ideological preening and free market infantilism. May those calling for debt liquidation ''a l'outrance" be the first in line to lose their jobs.

Clearly America is busily bankrupting itself, having lived beyond its means on credit, low interest rates, the yen carry trade and most damagingly, exotic financial instruments for years to finance its profligate lifestyle and debt - just like the UK. Its excursion into the financial alchemy of derivatives has been its attempt to avoid the inevitable demise of the US as a global financial power and the hegemony of the dollar in global markets.

We are witnessing the death of the USA as the leading world economic power and the passing of the hegemony of the dollar, as we witnessed the death of communism in 1991. Temporarily the ship has no anchor and is drifting in a storm in a sea on uncertainty, seeking a safe haven. The ECB and the Euro provide a harbour of tranquility and stability in these turbulent times. Yes, the EU has problems but they are risible compared to the disaster that is America.

The readers' comments are just as entertaining.

Who's next after Lehman Brothers is fed to the wolves?

New Linens-N-Shit Opens in Macon, GA
Topic: Business 9:42 am EDT, Jul 29, 2008

MACON, GA—Linens-N-Shit, the nation's largest retailer of bedsheets, tablecloths, and a wide assortment of other shit, will open its new location Tuesday morning at the Macon Mall.

"We've got all sorts of shit," Barlow added. "Bath shit, kitchen shit, shit for the bedroom, seasonal shit, and all the other shit you could possibly imagine, plus linens."

"Look at all this great shit!" said Macon resident Joy Anderson, who claims she usually spends an average of $500 a month on linens and other shit. "Whenever we wanted to buy a ton of shit before, we had to go all the way out to the Galleria Mall in Centerville. But now we've got all the shit we need right here."

New Linens-N-Shit Opens in Macon, GA

'Finishing touches' delay world's tallest building
Topic: Business 9:52 am EDT, Jun 10, 2008

Construction of the world's tallest building, the Burj Dubai, has been delayed and will be completed only in September next year, the developer was quoted on Tuesday as saying. The tower, which is expected to reach a final height of 900 metres (2,953 feet), was due for completion in the bustling city state at the end of 2008.

"The luxury finishes that were decided on in 2004, when the tower was initially conceptualised, are now being replaced by upgraded finishes," developer Emaar said, according to the Gulf News. The Burj Dubai had already become the tallest man-made structure on the planet, when Emaar announced in April that it has surpassed the 629-metre (2,063-foot) KVLY-TV mast in the United States. Many building projects in Dubai, which is going through a construction frenzy, have been facing delays caused by shortage of building materials and skilled labour.

Signature Tower in Nashville has been delayed, as well. It appears they're still waiting to sell half of the residential apartments. The groundbreaking was supposed to happen last year, but it keeps getting rescheduled.

'Finishing touches' delay world's tallest building

GM's Volt
Topic: Business 5:30 pm EDT, Jun  4, 2008

The Volt, with an initial production run of 10,000, is expected to hit showrooms in 2010. After that, GM plans to build tens of thousands per year.

Good! Yes, I'm a "big vehicle" person, but I hope these electric models succeed. The sooner these become mainstream, the better. Maybe by time I'm ready to replace my truck, I can get an electric version, without sacrificing size, comfort, speed, or range.

GM's Volt

Michael Birch, Bebo founder: 'The Geek' plots his next move
Topic: Business 11:29 am EDT, Apr 28, 2008

Despite his initial career uncertainty, Birch says he always knew he wanted to work for himself rather than someone else.

"When I was a kid I really liked playing chess, which is pretty geeky; I just enjoyed it - thinking, exercising my mind. And I found computers to be like an eight-hour day chess game. It was the same sense of satisfaction of problem solving and thinking. I really got into it."

So many aspects of life can be compared to chess... or poker... or both.

Michael Birch, Bebo founder: 'The Geek' plots his next move

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