Lessons in the "Business" Category

The UK Airport Shop VAT Rip-Off!

Today, let’s talk about how airport shops in the UK are ripping off many of their customers. They do it by asking to see their customers boarding passes. After processing it they get it back. What they don’t tell the customer is why they actually do this.

The answer was revealed by The Independent newspaper. It is simply an elaborate ruse by airport shops to save on their tax bills while keeping prices high.

North Sea cod stocks bounce back

New data recently released has shown that cod stocks in the North Sea are now bouncing back from their historical lows due to overfishing in the 1980s and 90s. In 2006, stringent regulations were imposed by the industry to help cod stocks recover. Since then there has been a steady recovery. Today, they are approaching the level of maximum sustainability yield, which is the measurement widely accepted as the gold standard of responsible fishing.

The top ten places in the world to lose or make money in property over the last year

Today, let’s look at the top ten places in the world where you could have lost or made money in property over the last year. We need to take into account the 2008 world economic crisis together with the euro crisis. Both continue to hold many parts of the world to ransom. We are living in the worst economic downturn since the great depression of the 1930s with thousands losing their jobs. Property prices have thus been affected.

Category: Economic / Property / Property Prices

Interactive Whiteboards

Today we will talk about how education was taught in the past, how it is taught today and how it might be taught in the future. In particular we will look at an exciting new way of teaching subjects to students in classrooms using interactive whiteboards. Before we do, let’s quickly go over some of the old fashioned ways lessons were, and current ways lessons are, presented in the classroom.

To begin with in the past most schools taught their pupils using blackboards using mostly white and coloured chalk. In my day, it was like this! Books were also used. In some classes we had whiteboards using black or coloured marker pens.

During the last decade this evolved into overhead projectors, where teachers could write on a clear plastic sheet that projected and magnified the written matter onto the whiteboard. Teachers or students could present whatever they had prepared on the clear plastic for overhead use.

Category: Education / Learning / Whiteboards

Why doesn’t the USA have high speed rail?

Why doesn’t the USA have high speed trains? Good question! China has them, so does Japan. They are all over Europe. All run between 300-431kph (186-268mph). Yet in America the fastest train does a mere 241kph (150mph) and that is over a very short distance.

The average speed in the USA of a high speed train is an incredible 127kph (79mph)! The USA seems to have got left behind. The definition to Americans of high speed trains is the Acela Express that runs from New York to Washington DC. Why is this so? It is probably because Americans prefer to fly between cities, as it’s cheaper. The other reason is the motor car. Another reason is the lack of investment.

Considering the size of America these days it is cheaper and quicker to fly than to take the train between cities. However, if the price was right and the speed of the railways was increased all that could change. The latter though involves some considerable investment.

Category: USA / Railways / High Speed Trains

A degree in slavery

In today’s world is an internship simply a degree in slavery? That’s the question Britain’s Daily Mail discussed recently. It said it is the employment scandal of our age. Highly educated graduates working for nothing as interns in supposedly glamorous jobs.

The paper names the people who are exploiting them – Britains MPs, celebrities, publishers and even charities. Certainly, it is an interesting question whether or not an internship is a degree in slavery? The paper says the graduates of the cream of a generation are now skivvies. It mentions tales of bullying, humiliation and says abuse abounds.

It makes you ask why do people work for nothing, when at the end of the day they probably won’t get a job out of it. Certainly, employers are still taking full advantage of employing interns for free. Graduates though are desperate for experience and want something good to put on their CVs in order to secure possible future work.

Category: Education / Interns / Students

Russia begins to cut off gas to Belarus

Russia has begun to cut off gas supplies to its neighbour Belarus. On Monday it cut gas supplies by 15% amid claims Belarus owes ₤135m (US$200m) in unpaid bills. On Tuesday it cut the gas supply by another 15%. This follows Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s order on Monday to Russian gas monopoly Gazprom to cut supplies from Monday.

Russia has said the cuts will rise day by day to 85% if Belarus does not start paying off its debts, accrued when it failed to pay increased prices. This has raised fears in European countries in that deliveries to Europe might again be disrupted. Relations between Russia and Belarus have soured since they failed to agree on unified customs rules and Belarus gave refuge to ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Russia supplies a quarter of Europe’s gas needs. It uses Belarus, which borders European Union member Poland, as one of the key transit routes for oil and gas to the continent. Previous pricing disputes with Minsk led to oil supply cuts, with Poland, Lithuania and Germany being affected most. A similar standoff with Kiev halted Russian gas supplies across Ukraine for two weeks in January 2009. This left many Europeans without heating and fuel during a harsh winter.

Category: Energy / Belarus, Russia / Gas

A crisis of Greek proportions

There’s been trouble in Athens just recently. A Greek crisis of monstrous proportions that if not capped could bring down other economies in Europe. Greece, virtually bankrupt, has been brought to its knees in the last few weeks with turbulent unrest and civil strife in the Greek capital. There have been national strikes. Worse, demonstrations turned into riots with vigilantes’ attacking banks and other civil buildings, setting them on fire; horrendously killing three bank workers in the process.

The Greek Prime Minister was desperate to stave off bankruptcy for his country; his parliament forced to beg and accept financial help from the European Union. If not them it would have been the IMF but the EU hierarchy is against outside ‘foreign’ help unless absolutely necessary. Instead, it has come up with its own aid package.

The EU is lending Greece €110bn, a colossal amount of euros, in order to prevent Greece from going bankrupt. By doing this it is sending a stern message to the money market speculators to back off Greece and let it function properly.

Devastating oil slick hits US coastline

A massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico has now hit several US state coastlines. The slick has been caused by a leaking oil pipeline. It follows a huge explosion aboard the BP (British Petroleum) operated Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

The rig sank on April 22, two days after a huge explosion that killed 11 workers. US President Barack Obama has flown down to see for himself exactly how bad the spill is and to meet the boss of BP. The US President puts the blame firmly on the shoulders of BP who he says will be held personally responsible.

Choppy seas and strong winds have so far hampered the clean-up operation. BP has been severely criticised for under estimating the scale of the crisis. The sheer size of the oil spill threatens the very way of life for people all along the shorelines of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. The US state of Louisiana has been hit the hardest, which itself is still battling to recover after hurricane Katrina hit the area in 2005.

Beans Meanz a bit less from Heinz!

Baked beans lovers in Germany and Austria recently kicked up a bit of a fuss after it emerged that tins of the famous Heinz variety contained fewer beans than cans sold in Britain. European fans of the famous Heinz product have been angered after it emerged in an Austrian newspaper that the British variety are superior to its European counterpart. In fact, tins in Austria and Germany were found to have a less tasty sauce and a more watery taste than their British equivalent. Heinz that for decades has used the famous slogan ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’ has been under attack from fans following the Austrian Times comparative study.