A Majority of Germany’s Gold Returns Home

It was about three days ago when Germany’s central bank moved $13 billion worth of gold bars from New York to Frankfurt. This is part of Germany’s plant to return around half of the gold reserves it keeps abroad. This plan was started on 2013.

Germany’s gold route was from New York to Paris, and finally back at Germany. At this time, around 642 tons of gold have been successfully transferred back to Germany. The latest transfer that occurred had transferred about 330 tons of gold. All this was kept in the New York Federal Reserve, a deep subterranean vault which lies on the bedrock of Manhattan Island. Naturally, the bank will not say how it moves the gold.

The current transfer will be completed once the final 100 tons of gold is returned to Germany through Paris. Germany’s central bank has declared that it has been bringing home its gold to help build public “trust and confidence”.

Historically speaking, this is a big indicator of the climate and confidence of the German government. They once moved their gold reserves out of their home territory and into the New York vault out of fear that the Soviets would gain control of the gold. This fear was most flagrant during the Cold war. The central bank also used to keep gold in Paris as a protective measure that would enable them swiftly exchange international currency in states of emergency.

It was shortly after World War II that Germany was actively rebuilding its gold reserves. It was primarily the fear of Soviet invasion that had them keep their reserves abroad even after the price of the dollar was decoupled from the cost of gold.

In the years in which the gold was kept overseas, there were rumors and theories that run amok. It was said that Germany had lost the gold or wherever it was, it was compromised. This issue eventually made its mark upon mainstream politics and the German Federal Court of Auditors demanded for an inspection of foreign gold reserves in 2012.

In light of this, the central bank issued a statement that they were receiving annual updates from foreign central banks where the gold was being stored. It was the year after this that the central bank had announced that they would bring half of their gold reserves home to Frankfurt. In 2015, the Bundesbank released a 2,300-page list of gold bars–an attempt to soothe the publish and ease any other speculation that some of the gold may not even be there. The bank further promised increased transparency.

Germany will store its remaining reserves in London and New York–these are places where they could be swiftly exchanged for pounds or dollars in the event of economic emergency. The repatriation of its gold reserves will continue until half of its gold is stored–it is projected that this will occur by the end of 2017. The original projected completion was 2020.

Once complete, the Bundesbank will keep 1,236 tonnes in New York, 432 tons in London, and the rest in Frankfurt.

Meryl Streep’s 2017 Golden Globes Speech: “Disrespect invites disrespect”

Once more, Meryl Streep catches the attention of the world. In the 2017 Golden Globes Awards Ceremony held in Beverly Hills, California. Streep had won the Cecil B DeMille Award which is given to those with outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment. She made use of her acceptance speech to call out the President-Elect of the United States without having to name him for his impression of a disabled journalist that shocked all the world back in November 2015.

Her speech is as follows:

I love you all. You have to forgive me, I have lost my voice in screaming and lamentation this weekend and I have lost my mind sometime earlier this year so I have to read.

Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said, you and all of us in this room really belong to the most vilified segments of American society right now. Thing about it: Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.  But who are we and, you know, what is Hollywood, anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey, Viola was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Fall, R.I. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio, Amy Adams was born in Vicenza, Veneto, Italy and Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates?

And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ehtiopia, raised in Lon–no, in Ireland, I do believe, and she’s here nominated for playing a small-town girl from Virginia. Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people, is Canadian. And Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London and is here playing an Indian raised in Tasmania. So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners and if we kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.

They give me three seconds to say this, so. An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many, powerful performances this year that did exactly that, breathtaking, compassionate work. But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank hooks in my heart, not because it was good, it was–there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth.

It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege and power and the capacity to fight back. It, it kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.

Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. Ok, go on with that thing. Ok, this brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood foreign press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, ’cause we’re going to need them going forward and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.

One more thing. Once when I was standing around the set one day, whining about something, we were going to work through supper or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me: “Isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?” Yeah, it is. And we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight. As my, as my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once: “Take your broken heart, make it into art.”

Thank you, Foreign Press.
—-

Her words reached a chord with all those in attendance and gave the actress a standing ovation at the end of her speech.

5 Popular Japanese Festivals

In the recent years, tourism in Japan has spiked and for good reason. With the upsurge in the availability of even affordable places to stay and the lifting of the usual visa strictness, now would be a good time to visit the lovely eastern country. Japan is a country rich with history and culture than spans several centuries. Luckily, this history is often celebrated with festivals. It is an experience unlike any other in any part of the world. Locally, there are over 300,000 traditional festivals that go on in an annual basis.

Let’s break down five of those 300,000 that has the capability to enrapture visitors and wholly captivate the senses.

Kanda Festival

This is one of the three great Shinto festivals in Tokyo. This started as a celebration of Tokugawa Ieyasu’s victory at the battle of Sekigahara. The current form of the festival is to honor the spirit of the Kanda Shrine. This festival is held on the Saturday and Sunday closest to the 15th of May. This is arguably one of the easier festivals to attend as it held in the Kanda district of Tokyo. Portable shrines called Mikoshi are joined by over thousands of people and a lengthy parade that reaches Nihonbashi and Akihabara.

Aomori Nebuta Festival

This is a summer festival that occurs in Aomori in the Aomori Prefecture. Considered to be one of the largest festivals in the Tohoku region, this celebration happens from August 2 to August 7 of every year so there are several days to choose to visit. One of the more visually striking festivals, Aomori Nebula has several brightly lit floats of brave warrior-like figures which are carried around the city while the carriers chant and dance around.

Tanabata Festival

Tanabata is a quite beloved festival that happens at various days in between July and August in the city of Sendai in the Miyagi prefecture. One of the more romantic festivals, it surrounds the legend of two deities Orihime and Hikoboshi that can only meet once a year. The modern way of celebrating Tanabata involves people writing wishes, usually in some form of poetry, on small pieces of paper and hanging them on bamboo (Wish Trees). These trees are then set afloat on a river or burned after the festival.

Awa Odori (Awa Dance Festival)

On the 12th to the 15th of August, Awa Odori is held as part of the Obon Festival in Tokushima Prefecture in Shikoku, Japan. This is the largest dance festival in Japan that brings in over 1.3 million tourists every year. Think of an enormous block party wherein men, women, and children dance in the streets. Summer Kimonos are the attire of choice if you ever want to join the festivities.

Gion Festival

A one month long festival, this July festival has food fests, dance contests, and so many others. The highlights though are the grand processions that have giant floats called Yamaboko Junko. The floats are paraded on the 17th and the 24th of the month. Other than the fact that this is one of the more popular festivals in the year, the fact that it is held in the historic city of Kyoto means that there is so much more to see and experience.

Global Marketing

Global Marketing

Going global is something many businesses will consider at some point in their lifetime.  There are many different ways to do it, each with its own advantages and disadvantages that need to be considered.  Below are some ways that your company can market abroad.  Research each carefully.

The steps in order…

  • Analyze the global marketing environment
  • Decide whether to go international
  • Decide which markets to enter
  • Decide how to enter those markets

Exporting

  • Entering a foreign market by selling goods produced in the company’s home country
  • Little change in product lines, organization, investments, or mission
    • Types of Exporting: Indirect and Direct

Indirect Exporting – Involves working through independent international marketing intermediaries

Advantages:

  • Less investment
  • Less risk

Direct Exporting – The company must handle its own exports

Possible Approaches:

  • domestic export department
  • overseas sales branch
  • home based sales people abroad
  • Foreign based distributors OR foreign based agents

Advantage:  Greater potential return

Disadvantages: Greater investment & Greater risk

Joint Venturing

  •  Joining with a foreign company to produce or market products or services

Types of Joint Venturing:

  • Licensing
  • Contract Manufacturing
  • Management Contracting
  • Joint Ownership

Licensing

  • When a company enters into an agreement with a  licensee in the foreign market

Advantages:

  • Revenue without physical presence
  • Less risk because we are not using our resources
  • Helps licensee because he starts with our idea

Disadvantages:

  • Little control over the licensee
  • If the licensee has great success, we have forfeited these profits
  • When the contract ends, the licensee may now be a competitor

Contract Manufacturing

– when a company contracts with manufacturers in the foreign market to produce its product or provide its service

Advantages:

  • Quick start-up
  • Less risk
  • Later opportunity to form a partnership or buy out the manufacturer

Disadvantages:

  • Decreased control over manufacturing process
  • Loss of potential profits on manufacturing

Management Contracting

– when a domestic firm supplies the management know-how to a foreign company who supplies the capital

Advantages:

  • Yields income from the start
  • Low risk because of foreign funding

Disadvantages:

  • Loss of profits by not undertaking venture alone
  • Contract prevents separation for a period of time

Joint Ownership

  • when a company joins with investors in a foreign market to create a local business in which both parties share ownership and control

Advantages:

  • Easier to enter tough markets

Disadvantages:

  • Partners may disagree on certain business aspects such as investment and marketing

Direct Investment

  • Entering a foreign market by developing assembly or production facilities in that country

Advantages:

  • Lower costs
  • Creates jobs
  • Creates deep relationships to adapt to local market better
  • Full control over investment

Disadvantages:

  • Many risks

 

Top Cities to Visit in Canada

There are different countries in the world that have been blessed with the best. Some of these countries have a natural beauty that makes it even more welcoming to the people. Canada is one of those countries that have been considered to the most beautiful and organized country. There are different cities, but some of them are rated extremely high that they are a must visit for your trip. These countries have beautiful landscapes and scenic beauty that help the state administration to draw the attention of more visitors.

There are the most important and top cities of the Canada, which help the people to enjoy the most beautiful places in the country. The Canada is one of its kinds. It has been developing for many years, but it does not want to stop. A tourist or the visitor who is looking forward to the most beautiful and valued areas, they must concentrate on the top cities of the Canada that have to be visited anytime.

It is your responsibility to ensure that whether which are the top and true countries. Here is the lost describing the countries that have taken the mark.

Toronto

Toronto is a very beautiful and a must visit city. It is the largest city in the country, but it is not the capital. It is known to be the best, and the city of Toronto sometimes represent the Canada. It is just like the New-York of the United States of America. The city consist is the most beautiful and a skyscraper downtown. It attracts million of the tourists to come and visit the glitzy shopping in the area of Yorkville. The most important areas to be visited are the Bohemian districts lying in the Queen Street West. The CN Tower resides in this busiest city of Canada, and it is about 1815 feet taller. The people who look forward to going to Canada on visits or permanent basis have some decisions made related to the city.

Montreal

This city is the country’s second-largest city that has resided millions of people. Montreal is considered to be the home to France when away from France. The half of the population settled in the city speaks French because the culture has been developed according to it. It is a cultural hub for people with fewer international aromas and a most visited city by the tourists all around the world. The city is famous in arranging a hundred festivals a year making it more famous for the people across the globe.

Vancouver

The city of beauty and the formation of natural landscapes have given it more splendid look. The scenic endurance is spread all over the city making it a smooth and calm one. It is considered to be the best place on earth on which the people must live. It is officially named to be the best place to live. It gives experiences of a busy cultural life. The tourists can enjoy rich platters of the cultural and ethnically diverse food places as well as restaurants. The cosmopolitan population can be experienced at the place making it diverse in culture.

Quebec and Quebec City

Quebec City is the largest city in the country. It is also the official capital of Canada. It lies in the largest province that is known to be Quebec as well. It is based on the eastern coast of the country and has been a host to the tourists who want to visit the most beautiful and striking countryside places. It is considered to be the oldest developed city and where the French-speaking Château Frontenac is considered to be the dominant part of the skyline of the city. The Montreal is the part of the province, and it is home to the small, pleasing towns, moose as well as the ski resorts. People consider it to be the best city that has a different atmosphere in Canada than the rest of the cities. The tourists are usually attracted to the Christmas celebrations in the city and the province. It is one of the best sight-seeing city, and the tourists are attracted to experience the culture and life of people.

Ottawa

The city consisting of the clock tower is a small but the friendliest cities in the country. The Canada has various types of cities as the historical backgrounds are different for all the cities making it interesting to visit and get the knowledge. The city is equally developed as well as it is the size of the Toronto or Montreal. The people living there enjoy the life as it represents a charming and peaceful lifestyle. The bike friendly as well as the civilized system of the city makes interesting and unique in nature.

Halifax

The moderate climate, seafood and the marine heritage and culture of the area describe the overall experience of the city. It has an honor that the survivors of the Titanic were rescued over here. It is a historic city with all the basic facilities available.

Jasper, Alberta

This town can make a person switch off the cell phone and enjoy the visit. The city gives the tourists an opportunity of hiking, biking, canoeing, as well as skiing. The natural landscape plus the development of the place make it more shining that attracts the tourists to enjoy the local facilities.

10 Places to See before You Die

10 Places to See before You Die

Travel is an important component in our lives. It’s enriching, empowering, and not to mention humbling. It’s a wonderful thing to walk along the roads that people who shaped Empires once walked. Now, let’s breakdown the ten places that you need to see before you die.

Stonehenge in England
One of the mysteries of the old world. Archeologists have dated the standing rocks to have been made at early as 3000 BC. There are so many questions surrounding this amazing monument as the culture that was believed to create it left no known records. There is much debate regarding its significance but there is no doubt that it is something that needs to be seen in person.

Salar de Tunupa or Salar de Unye in Bolivia
Known to be the world’s largest salt flat ranging at 4,086 sq. miles, it was formed due to the transformations between numerous prehistoric lakes. The land is covered in several meters of salt crust that is extraordinarily flat.
Because of this, should it rain, the water is slowly absorbed into the salt-caked soil and can leave an even puddle that spans the entire flat. This makes the land appear as one giant mirror reflecting the sky. Tourists have expressed feeling like they’re in an eternal pool as there is no near end to the reflection.

Taj Mahal in India
One of the oldest architectural treasures of the world. It certainly is a sight to behold. A massive white marble mausoleum ordered to be made by Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor. It was constructed for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Quite romantic, don’t you think?
The marble dome that surmounts the tomb is truly a feast for the eyes and an incredible architectural wonder.

Angkor Wat in Cambodia
a definite addition to anyone’s bucket list should be the largest religious monument in the world: Angkor Wat. It was originally made as a Hindu temple to worship the god Vishnu. Now, it’s a Buddhist temple that has received most of the reconstruction efforts of Cambodia. Nearby cafes also serve a host of delicacies that’s really worth experiencing.

Venice in Italy
Practically everyone knows this city is famous for it’s rich history, serenades, and one-of-a kind transportation. Any art lover would understand why Venice is one of the most important tourist destinations in the world. If you time it right and visit this city in between the latter half of January and early part of February, you’ll be treated to the annual and incredible Carnival of Venice. Don your masks and prepare to party!

Trevi Fountain in Rome
Visiting the largest baroque fountain in the world should not be missed by any traveler’s bucket list. Not only is it an architectural wonder, it comes with a pretty sweet legend. While you’re at it, you’ll also be smack in the middle of one of the oldest cities in the world. There’ll be more to see around Roma but the Trevi Fountain certainly crowns the city.

Grand Canyon in USA
Located in the state of Arizona, the Grand Canyon serves as a testament to the powerful Colorado River. There’s more to do here than people realize. Other than basking in the majesty of nature’s work, guests can enjoy sky diving, hiking, and rafting. Helicopter tours are also quite popular in the area which will certainly afford a much better view than most.

Machu Pichu in Peru
Certainly not for the faint of heart, Machu Pichu stands at 7,970 ft above sea level. It is a citadel that was believed to be made for the Inca emperor Pachacuti. Now, it’s one of the most well-know sites in Peru. Voted into the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, it is something definitely worth seeing.

Christ the Redeemer in Brazil
Not as old as some of the other sites on this list, but Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro is a sight to behold regardless of your religious affiliations. Opened in 1931, it has since been a landmark famous around the world.

Chiang Mai in Thailand
One of the most culturally significant cities in Thailand, it is home to various temples and festivals. A festival that catches the imagination of many is called Loi Krathong. It’s held in celebrations of the Goddess of Water. Locals arrange flowers and candles upon floating banana-leaf containers and place them along the waterways of the city. At night, they launch countless of candle-lit sky lanterns.
Locals are also known to be quite friendly and helpful so any tourist would be made to feel at home.