I am a London-based Digital PR/Social Media/SEO Consultant, music producer/anorak, deep sea diver, avid cyclist, worldwide traveller and football-loving technology bod! This page functions as a kind of online scrapbook/resource featuring my favourite blog posts and news items as well as my own personal reviews and recommendations in the worlds of music, sport, travel and technology!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Another Round of Ben Bernanke

Another Round of Ben Bernanke: "

The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal lead, while the New York Times tops its business section, with news that Obama will announce the reappointment of Ben Bernanke to his second term as chairman of the Fed. The formal announcement, which is planned for this morning, will put an end to recent speculation over possible replacement of the 'quiet and often unprepossessing' banker. The move marks the president's attempt to maintain 'continuity' at a time when the nation seems, at long last, to be pulling out of the recession. While Bernanke's been in charge, the Fed has cut short-term interest rates to near zero, put forth nearly $2 trillion to support mortgage lending and lower long-term interest rates, created innovative lending programs, and performed stress tests of the nation's largest banks. Still, he's come under criticism for not preventing the financial downturn in the first place and for the rescue of big firms like American International Group (AIG). In remarks obtained by the Post, Obama—with Bernanke at his side in Martha's Vineyard—plans to say, 'Ben approached a financial system on the verge of collapse with calm and wisdom; with bold action and outside-the-box thinking that has helped put the brakes on our economic freefall.'

According to the Wall Street JournalApple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs is back at it just a few months following a liver-transplant surgery—'once again managing even the smallest details of his company's products.' He's focusing intently on a new touch-screen tablet device, the article says. Reportedly, some employees are a bit shook up at the new level of attention from the big boss. 'People have had to readjust' to Mr. Jobs being back, an unnamed source told the paper. Jobs, in an e-mail, said that 'much of your information is incorrect,' but didn't elaborate. While Apple keeps mum on upcoming products, many analysts expect that the new tablet will facilitate watching movies, playing games, Web surfing, and, potentially, reading electronic books and newspapers.

China is pushing hard to become the dominant player in green energy—especially in solar power—even within the United States, the New York Times reports. 'Chinese companies have already played a leading role in pushing down the price of solar panels by almost half over the last year,' the article says. An executive at China's biggest solar-panel manufacturer told the paper that 'to build market share in the US,' he's selling solar panels on the American market 'for less than the cost of the materials, assembly and shipping.' Despite tax credits offered to American clean-energy equipment manufacturers, these companies may still have a tough time competing with Chinese companies getting 'lavish government support' and cheap labor.

According to the Wall Street Journal, regulators are taking a close look at weekly meetings at Goldman Sachs (GS)—so-called 'trading huddles' in  which research analysts give tips to traders and then to big clients before everyone else. The Journal reported yesterday that analysts at Goldman 'sometimes shared with traders and key clients short-term trading tips that sometimes differed from the firm's long-term research.' Examiners at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority are planning to get more information on the get-togethers. Still, Goldman has not been accused of violating any securities laws in the way it distributes of the trading tips. 'We believe the disclosure we have now is entirely appropriate. Analysts are not allowed to express differing views without publishing that view,' a Goldman spokesman said.

In reference to a widely cited New York Post story revealing that Bernie Madoff has been dying of cancer in prison, the Washington Post reports the following statement from the Bureau of Prisons: 'While the NY Post story is full of inaccuracies, and we can't specifically address all of them, we can tell you that Bernie Madoff is not terminally ill, and has not been diagnosed with cancer.' The Washington Post's interpretation of this statement says that it allows for 'wiggle room,' in that the cancer may not be diagnosed yet and it's possible that Madoff could have cancer but not a terminal form. Still, the article says, 'of the three subjects mentioned so far in this story—Madoff, inmates and prison officials—two clearly suffer a credibility gap.'

And, finally: Officials from Wikipedia have announced that that 'within weeks,' the English-language version of the free online encyclopedia 'will begin imposing a layer of editorial review on articles about living people,' according to the New York Times. A new feature called 'flagged revisions' will require a volunteer editor for Wikipedia to 'sign off on any change made by the public before it can go live.' Until the change in an entry is approved, it will linger on Wikipedia's servers, and visitors will see the earlier version.  'The change,' the article says, 'is part of a growing realization on the part of Wikipedia's leaders that as the site grows more influential, they must transform its embrace-the-chaos culture into something more mature and dependable.'

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