Tuesday, September 25, 2007

An update

I got to school late today, and am still recovering from BYA10. I had a blast. But, now for some interesting news stuffs.

Remember how I mentioned that God was being sued? Well, apparently, God responded to the suit.

I've seen reports about how people are sleeping less nowadays--well, that trend may actually be deadly. Please get your sleep.

Here's an article about how to approach (psychologically, I think) internships.

And you may have heard about it elsewhere--it's around the internet--but there's a company which wants to make laptops for children in underdeveloped countries. They're having some trouble starting up and so have introduced a sale. Buy two laptops for $400 and one of them will be sent to a child in an underdeveloped country. They're pretty cool laptops with some pretty cool features, though they're not very powerful.

Venezuela's federal bank has been having problems, too. No surprise, considering the situation over there, but Chavez has always denied a lot of the problems. So, to mention some of them, the bank ratings in Venezuela are lowering.

See, a major source of money in a lot of countries is foreign investment--when people in other countries invest in your business activities. If the business activities are fruitful and money is made, investors get paid. The payoff can either be a percentage return on the initial invested money or a cut of the earnings, depending on the structure--but that isn't important. The important part is that investors have an incentive to invest money in reliable places and companies and governments have incentive to offer investment opportunities so that they grow and make money as well. So companies can grow, countries can grow, and economies can grow in part to investing.

But how are you supposed to know whether an investment is a safe investment or not? Ratings agencies (such as Fitch Ratings, mentioned in the article) rate countries and businesses based on a great many number of factors and assign ratings, usually on a alphabet scale where an A is good and a D is bad. So when ratings in Venezuela drop, investors are less likely to invest money in the country. If less money is coming in, there's less growth due to foreign investment. That's not good for Venezuela.

Also, Venezuela's biggest coal producer is declaring a force majeure. Force majeure is included in contracts for when one side cannot fulfill his obligations due to "major force," which would be forces outside of their control--crises and other market factors and such. I think the party is typically expected to mitigate the situation if they can, but it's not a good thing. And, coal is important for the petroleum industry (which has not been so strong in recent years anyway). So this is yet another blow to an already hurting Venezuelan economy. Because of Venezuela's economic diversification, it's not as big a blow as it could be, but it's still not good at all.

The reason for the force majeure is a strike amongst transporters, so material can't be moved. The strike also isn't a good sign for the Venezuelan economy.

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