Archive for the ‘Important Announcements’ Category

A History of the Brittle Cease Fire for Israel

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

After eight days of unrest, both Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas had finally agreed to call upon a cease-fire. The move was initiated by the Egypt’s new Islamist government and supported by the United States.

The conflict which had just been recently reignited by Israel’s “Operation Pillar of Defense,” resulting to numerous civilians casualties for both sides. Four years after the Gaza War back in the winter of 2008-2009. The ideal – rooted conflict can be traced way back in 1988 when the founding charter of Hamas declared for a Jihad – Holy War.

Hamas

Is an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawamah al- ‘Islamiyyah which can be literally translated as “Islamic Resistance Movement.” It is a militant fundamentalist Islamic organization who currently occupies the West Bank and Gaza. Originally, it is an alternative group of Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) which is founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin aimed in establishing a network of charities, schools and clinics in the region. But certain ideologies and circumstances had urged it to engage into several bloody conflicts with Israel.

A year after the declaration of Jihad, its founder was convicted by an Israel court for giving orders to its members to kidnap and kill two Israeli soldiers which gained him a 9 year sentence in jail. He died 7 years later from an airstrike by Israel. According to reports, the group has been targeting Israelis with suicide bombing which now tolled to 500 individuals since 1993.

The group is viewed differently depending on the audience. Israel, United States, UK, and other western countries treats it as a terrorist group. Meanwhile, Arab and Muslim nations has a different perspective regarding them. They considers them as a victim of Israeli aggression.

Israel

a formidable ally of the United States in the middle east, Israel had age-long conflicts with its neighbors. Many Muslim countries and groups had outrageously deny its existence and called for its destruction. Hamas is one of them. The military power of Israel proved to be more capable than their foes which gained them territories in the Six-Day War.

Over time, some had yielded their advocate but conflicts still ravages on. Gaza War is one of those. It is a result of an offensive measure of Israel against Hamas over the disputed Gaza Strip, a strip of coastal land on the Mediterranean sea. It resulted to more than a thousand Palestinian and 13 Israeli soldiers dead.

Present Conflict

The present conflict was temporarily halted after a truce between the two sides has been agreed upon which took effect 14:00 EDT on Tuesday. According to reports, It stopped a supposedly Israeli ground

invasion which may lead to further casualties aside from 162 Gazans and 5 Israelis dead from bombing and rocket fires. Unfortunately 37 of the present casualties are children.

Stephen Stevenson

Up for the Presidency: Xi Jinping

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

The Chinese Community Party already released the voting result of who will dictate the leadership of China in the next five years. The country’s vice president Xi Jinping was chosen to take the presidency after Hu Jintao steps down from the office this March according to Xinhua.

Aside from being the Vice President, Xi Jinping is also currently the top-ranked member of the Central Secretariat of the Communist Party of China, Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission, President of the Central Party School and the 6th ranked member of the CPC Politiburo Standing Committee. He was the son of the communist veteran Xi Zhongxun and had experienced his part of struggle during the cultural revolution. He is a man known to have a tough stance on corruption and a frank openness about political and market reform.

The selection, which takes place every 5 years, was just recently deliberated with a list composing of highly recognized Chinese officials. Also in the same report, the other candidates who belong to the list are North Korean-trained economist Zhan Dejiang, financial guru Wang Qishan, minister of the party’s organization department Li Yuanchao, Tianjin’s party boss Zhang Gaoli, and the conservative Liu Yunshan.

But it seems that only those in the government are celebrating the transition of power. In an another article, the locals, most especially the young and educated, are infuriated because not even a touch of democracy is present in the voting. Only those in power are given the chance to select and appoint the leader, robbing the people of their say to the faith of their government in the next five years.

The recently concluded US election, wherein President Barack Obama was given his second term, also salted the wound of the Chinese. Democracy was proudly displayed on the event, giving a fair ground to the American citizens to choose on who will going steer the wheel for the next couple of years. In the same article, the Chinese people are also weary from shouts of reforms coming from the former upcoming candidates thus deepening the disappointment.

The incoming President Xi Jinping has a lot of tough challenges ahead and his character will be really put to test. The most pressing concern will most probably the real reforms in the system that the Chinese people are deliberately seeking. But achieving it won’t be a walk in the park because unrooting the habits, serving as a blockade for its achievements, is a messy process. Relationship with relatives and friends may be lamented in the process before the problem will be finally rooted out.

Stephen Stevenson

What Ifs for the 2012 Election

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

As the two nominees still lay in deadlock on the on-going election, many are eagerly waiting for the results. According to the latest news, Obama is gaining advantage on winning the election but the key states results are yet to announced. Some polling states are still open and there may be some delays especially on the states where Sandy struck the most. For the meantime, I thinks better to contemplate on the “what ifs” of this election.

What if Romney wins?

An indeed a successful businessman, no one can doubt Mitt Romney’s capability as a businessman. He was donned with the business knowledge and skills from the prestigious Harvard University and has proven his worth in the corporate world through his Bain Capital.

But many are in doubt to whether he can put his business theories into reality. Moreover, certain individuals are also pessimistic in the application of his business theories into political arena. It seems that he has invested more effort in this campaign rather than in his experience on managing the state of Massachusetts, warding an impression of a less experienced political candidate than his competitor.

If in case he is elected, he have to deal with a congress, divided by difference in ideals unlike his business group, which may really give him a hard time. Also, being a less experience candidate may have its toll once he won the seat. Unlike Obama who already handled the rein in the past four years, Mitt Romney will start from the scratch in governing the most influential and most powerful country in the world. The health care programs of Obama will most probably terminated and the Bush cut tax for the wealthy may be made permanent according to some. He also must be prepared to face the issue about Iran’s nuclear material.

What if Obama wins?

Some of his supporters may have been waned off this past few years but most still have their faith on the first African-American president. Obama talks about the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan and building educational program. But the plans may be hindered by the budget. After winning the election, the health care plans will probably push through and so are the pressing concern over Iran’s nuclear materials. Similar to Romney’s case. He has plenty of issues to handle if he would regain that White House seat of his.

Conclusion


In my opinion, I think its better if Obama wins. The experience and agenda are really two important factors to this election. But I hope that it won’t hurt much if the new kid in the block will be given the chance to steer the wheel.

Stephen Stevenson

Understanding the Fundamentals | Producer Price Index

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Almost all products, before landing into our very own hands, goes through a lot of process. Along those processes, are changes in its price. The basic framework goes like this: semi-products are first gathered and transported to manufacture or producer, after which it will be assembled or putted on together by the laborers to come up with a finished product. The finished product will be displayed and sold on the market afterward.

PPI takes into account all of this through its weighted index of prices. It is done through a wholesale level and consists of three major sub-categories: initial, intermediate, and final.

PPI Commodity Index (Initial) – changes on the average price of commodities( for the previous month are displayed in here.

PPI Stage of Processing (intermediate) – the current prices of the goods that had gone through certain level of processing which will be passed on to the producer for the final output are reflected in here.

PPI Industry Index (final) – this is the source of the core PPI and reflects the price for the finished products.

The first two sub categories are followed due to its capability to reflect inflationary or deflationary pressures. Meanwhile, most investors follow the third because it reflects the prices of the goods which will be for sale to the consumers. But the apple of the eye for the investors are the core PPI which is published along with the main index. Core PPI is a byproduct of the finished goods index minus the energy and food components.

Though the monthly PPI cannot affect the market reaction, its annual data are under the watchful eyes of the analysts mainly because PPI gives a sneak-peek of the CPI (Consumer Price Index). It will later on validated after the latter is released. As we all know, CPI is the inflation indicator which is very important in fundamental analysis.

Stephen Stevenson

Giant’s Slow Recovery

Friday, October 19th, 2012

After a devastating seven-quarter beating which took place on the year of the dragon and rabbit, it seems that China is back in the ball game. Earlier this year, the Chinese economy is monitored by the world’s watchful eyes because of its economic slow down. The second largest economy, whose leadership transition will take next month, is slowly recuperating from its weakened economy.

Signs of recovery has materialized on its GDP as it expanded 7.4 in the third quarter compared to the previous year. “China’s economy is performing better than expected, and the bottoming will be clear in the fourth quarter,” a statement given by a chief China economist for JPMorgran Chase & Co. to Bloomberg last October 17. several monthly data also backed up the mustered strength as the industrial production in September leaped more than its expected increase and retail sales also took a step up at 14.2 percent which is the most significant positive movement since March. The fixed-asset investment, rural household not included, increased 20.5 percent for the first nine months.

But amidst the signs of recovery, several important factors are still in the deep. One of which is the foreign direct investments. As relayed by the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing, spending fell 6.8 percent as compared to the previous year. Furthermore, One of the probable reason given on a news report was inclined to the fact that foreign investors are concerned over the evident slowdown of the country’s economy.

Aside from its economic slowdown, China is also being putted on the spotlight because of its sovereignty talks about the disputed islands along the south china sea. Several countries are already been infuriated and diplomatic relationships are slowly disintegrating as the Chinese government still showing an aggressive stance on its claim.

Stephen Stevenson