January 2007 Archives

January 12, 2007

Vietnam business association starts in California …

Vietnam business association starts in California
The Vietnam Business Association yesterday made debut in the U.S. to promote trade and business links between the two countries on the occasion of Vietnam becoming a full member of the World Trade Organization. The association, which is located in Irvine, California, will serve as a bridge in facilitating trade, investment and business opportunities.
Saigon Times Daily – No. 2860 Friday, January 12, 2007

Filed under Vietnam by

Northrop gets $200M deal for B-2 support The U.S. …

Northrop gets $200M deal for B-2 support
The U.S. Air Force has given Northrop Grumman Corp. a one-year, $200 million contract to implement a more efficient maintenance process for the nation’s B-2 stealth bomber fleet.
Northrop is the prime contractor for the B-2, which was brought into the USAF in 1993. Los Angeles’ Northrop (NYSE: NOC) is the nation’s third-largest defense contractor and largest shipbuilder.
Los Angeles Business Journal

Filed under Aerospace and Aviation, Defense and Military by

MySpace Launches French Site MySpace, a popular so…

MySpace Launches French Site
MySpace, a popular social network among young adults launched a French version of its site (fr.myspace.com) today. Myspace has already launched versions in the United Kingdom and Italy, and is currently beta testing in Germany. Myspace is based in Los Angeles. In 2005, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. bought Intermix Media Inc., which held MySpace.com for $580 million USD.
Los Angeles Business from bizjournals:

Filed under France, Internet by

South Korea Investigates Qualcomm South Korea’s an…

South Korea Investigates Qualcomm
South Korea’s antitrust regulator said Thursday it has launched a full-scale investigation into alleged unfair market practices by wireless technology company Qualcomm Inc. The Fair Trade Commission early last month formed a task force to push forward a probe into allegations that the company used its dominant position in wireless technology to seek excessive royalties, said Shin Yeong-ho, an FTC official.

Filed under South Korea, Telecommunications by

January 16, 2007

Hollywood asks YouTube: Friend or foe?

As YouTube, with the backing of Google, becomes a powerful force in the media world, Hollywood studios and other entertainment companies are trying to figure out if it is a friend or foe. After all, YouTube distributes unauthorized clips of the movies that the studios spend an average of $96 million to make. But it can also help them build a tremendous buzz, and that is driving Hollywood to try to work with it instead of against it.”

Filed under Entertainment Industry by

Most of California citrus crop lost to freeze

Three nights of freezing temperatures have cost California up to three-quarters of its billion-dollar citrus crop, according to an industry estimate given Monday as forecasters warned the cold weather could batter groves through midweek.”

Filed under Agriculture and Food by

Canada Prime Minister invites Schwarzenegger to Canada for trade talks

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has formally invited California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to visit Canada. Harper and Schwarzenegger met in December at the airport in Mexico, where they were both attending the inauguration of President Felipe Calderon. The governor told Harper he wanted to come to Canada on a trade mission and the prime minister “encouraged him to come,” said Genevieve Desjardins, spokeswoman for the prime minister.
The Vancouver Sun

Filed under Canada, Foreign Relations, Governor Schwarzenegger by

Korean investments increasing in Los Angeles Real Estate

A growing number of Koreans are scooping up real estate in the United States and elsewhere after the overseas investment cap in their country was lifted. Koreans are expected to invest nearly $2 billion in U.S. residential property in 2007, up from $1.27 billion in 2005 when such investments were mostly limited to large Korean corporations, said Brian Shaffer of the International Real Estate Trade Organization. Worldwide, Koreans could spend at least $4 billion on overseas homes in 2007 as a result of the changes made in May that allow an individual to make as much as $1 million in foreign investments, analysts said. Many of the purchases are being prompted by the strength of South Korean currency – the won, pronounced like “one” in English – against other currencies, analysts said.

Filed under Real Estate and Housing, South Korea by

January 19, 2007

California Gets Low Grade for Economic Development Potential

The Corporation for Enterprise Development has given California a grade of “C” for economic development potential. The state is among the top 10 in long-term employment growth, and Californians generally enjoy high pay. but the state has the nation’s second-lowest homeownership rates and one of the widest margins of income inequality, according to the CFED’s 20th Development Report Card for the States. Also, the state’s public education system — in the bottom five of the 50 states in funding per student and proficiency test scores, and No. 48 for high school graduation rates — hurts the development capacity score. Connecticut and Delaware were straight-A states, while five states — Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah and Wisconsin – made the honor roll with all “A’s” and “B’s.”. West Virginia received the worst grades- flunking all three catego.

Filed under California Economy by

January 21, 2007

Governor calls for creating database that already exists

The Orange County Register has reported that Governor Schwarzenegger completely ignored the existence of a private sector database on school performance when he made the call in his state-of-the-State address for a public sector database that does exactly the same thing. Since we have not been able to learn anything about the State’s information technology plans (if any) for international business development, this report gave us pause. The state of California has an almost unbelievably bad track record in information technology projects, and some absolutely huge failures. Even though some of the same staff members were involved in some of those failures, we remained hopeful that they would consider doing things differently.

Filed under California Government, Governor Schwarzenegger, Information Technology by

January 22, 2007

Governor’s Chief of Staff, other aides get huge bonus for political work

From the Los Angeles Times:

Four senior aides to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger were paid nearly a quarter-million dollars in bonuses for political work they performed during the governor’s race – money that came from insurers, oil companies, real estate developers and other private interests that contributed to the governor’s campaign. Chief of staff Susan Kennedy received a $100,000 bonus as a reward for the time she devoted to Schwarzenegger’s reelection bid, the governor’s office said Friday. With that bonus, Kennedy has collected $323,500 in campaign and taxpayer money in her year as Schwarzenegger’s top aide.

Now that big Corporations are greasing the palms of people in our Government, small business and everyday citizens no longer stand much of a chance to influence the policies of this administration. Maybe the Governor should give them another bonus for doing their normal administrative duties- or better yet, dock their pay for all the things they ignored while they were playing politics. Like for example, responding to letters written to them by ordinary citizens.

Filed under California Government, California Politics, Governor Schwarzenegger by

January 23, 2007

California economists are somewhat gloomy

“Ask local economists to look into a crystal ball for next year’s forecast, and they’ll agree clouds are gathering on the horizon, as the boom in the real estate market and new housing construction seems to be reaching an end. “You feel it in the air,” said Christopher Thornberg, a partner of Beacon Economics, an economic forecasting firm, and former economist for the UCLA Anderson Forecast. “Things are starting to slow, and it boils down to real estate.” Others see reason for hope: “there will still be growth, especially in international trade, tourism, technology and professional business services, such as law, accounting and computer systems design”, said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.”

Filed under California Economy by

January 25, 2007

Mortgage Default Rate Soaring

“The number of Californians defaulting on their mortgage loans is rising rapidly, according to figures released Tuesday, providing striking evidence that more people are at risk of losing their homes.”

Filed under Real Estate and Housing by

January 27, 2007

Mayfield raises $200M China fund

“Mayfield Fund said Friday it closed a $200 million fund dedicated to investing in China. Menlo Park-based Mayfield said the new fund, GSR Ventures II, was formed in partnership with GSR Ventures, a Menlo Park-based China focused fund. The dedicated fund follows a two year affiliation between Mayfield and GSR, during which the firms made 11 direct investments in China.”

Filed under China, Venture Capital by

Easton Moving its Jobs to China

“Easton Sports is transferring all 250 of its manufacturing jobs to China but will keep its headquarters in Van Nuys.
Easton has been located in the San Fernando Valley for more than 17 years and makes baseball bats, helmets for the National Football League, hockey products and bicycle helmets. ‘Over the years we have seen many of our longtime competitors move to Asia, and many other new competitors surface,’ said Ken Waltrip, the company’s vice president of manufacturing. ‘We are sad to see this day come, and would like to express deep gratitude to our many dedicated employees.’”

Filed under California Economy, China by

January 30, 2007

Pearls Before Swine: More on the South America Junket

More on the State Government’s South America Junket from the San Diego Reader. This is really a shame, and goes a long way towards explaining why our government is hostile to small business international interests. Why wouldn’t they be- when the big Corporations wine and dine them like this:

“Paid for by an outfit called the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy, the trip began two days after the November 7 election and wound up November 22, with nights along the way spent in at least five luxury hotels, including the Copacabana Palace in Rio and the Alvear Palace in Buenos Aires. In addition to Saldaña, the high-flying delegation included Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, D-Los Angeles; Susan Kennedy, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chief of staff; a variety of members of both houses of the legislature from both parties; and high-powered lobbyists from Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, Sempra Energy, Comcast, and Chevron, all backers of the foundation bankrolling the trip”

Filed under California Politics, Opinion by

Apple pays $700,000 for bloggers’ legal fees

Apple Computer has been ordered by the Santa Clara County court to pay $700,000 to bloggers it charged with violating California’s trade secrets law. The company had claimed that bloggers weren’t real journalists and thus were not entitled to First Amendment rights. An Appeals Court strongly sided with the journalists and the court has now ordered Apple to pay for all costs associated with their defense, including an 2.2 times multiplier assessed as a penalty.

Filed under Legal and Criminal Issues by

California Dept of Justice caught hiding no-bid contracts

“The California Department of Justice concealed tens of millions of dollars worth of contracts with lobbyists, consultants, legal firms _ even couriers and parking garages _ in violation of its own confidentiality rules, an Associated Press investigation has found. An internal agency review.. found information on scores of contracts, many of them no-bid contracts, was erroneously labeled ‘confidential’ and omitted from computerized state records, shielding the agreements from public view”

Filed under California Government, Legal and Criminal Issues by

Chevron donates $10M to U.S, Institute of Peace

San Ramon-based Chevron Corporation announced that it gave $10 million to help build a permanent headquarters for the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. The Institute was created by Congress in 1984 to study and promote the peaceful resolution of international conflict. Its new headquarters will be at the northwest corner of the National Mall.

Filed under Energy Industry, Philanthropy by

California to Sell $4 Billion Tobacco Debt

“California next month will sell as much as $4.5 billion of debt backed by the state’s share of the 1998 legal settlement with cigarette makers in what would be the biggest offering of municipal bonds so far this year.”

Filed under California Government by

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