Former NFL Players Sue Over Forced Painkiller Use

It is not a secret, the National Football League is not for the feint of heart. It is rough and it tough and it a sure fire way for a person to destroy their body. Yet for all of the knowledge, to some it’s just a part of the game they love. To the NFL, it’s an unavoidable aspect of making money. Though player safety has become a hot button issue the past year or so, those who played a decade or more ago are holding the NFL responsible for their deteriorating health conditions.

Eight former players —Richard Dent, Jim McMahon, Jeremy Newberry, Roy Green, J.D. Hill, Keith Van Horne, Ron Stone, and Ron Pritchard—are suing the NFL in a class-action lawsuit, claiming that they were supplied painkillers on a regular basis by their teams. They claim that they were practically force fed drugs which led to health conditions including diseased kidneys and addiction later on in their lives. The players argue that the NFL supplied the illegally prescribed drugs purely for monetary reasons, and didn’t allow players to properly heal and rest. In addition, they were lied to about the possible negative side affects from taking said drugs.

There are now 500 additional players who have signed onto the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. When reached for comment, an NFL representative stated that at this time the NFL has not had the opportunity to review the lawsuit. It will be the second class-action lawsuit against the NFL in as many years. The NFL settled another lawsuit over lies about the effects of concussions in August 2013. The NFL paid $765 million, though the figure is not nearly close enough to what they should have paid. It’s taken the NFL a long time to learn that their players are real people. They need to be held accountable for their actions and lawsuits such as these are a sure good way to do it.

 

NFL painkiller suit


Photo:  Courtesey of Fuison

Spielberg Producing Halo TV Show

It appears pretty much official that Steven Spielberg (known for directing classics such as Jaws and Jurassic Park) is set to produce a live-action TV series based off of the Halo franchise. The project is rumored to begin production in the fall of 2015 which will coincide nicely with the release of Halo 5. The TV show story will supposedly take off from the end of Halo 4, though details have not been widely released.

When the announcement was made, Spielberg spoke digitally saying “For me, the Halo universe is an amazing opportunity to be at that intersection where technology and myth-making meet to create something really groundbreaking.” Groundbreaking is just the way that Spielberg roles. Though not everything he touches turns into enormous success, his track record obviously leans way into the positive column. To some, Halo is the tent pole of microsoft’s Xbox franchise. And they expect big things from Spielberg to bring this story to life.

The show will only be available to those who subscribe to Xbox Live. Microsoft already offers free downloads and exclusive viewing content through their subscription service. Most likely they’re hoping to bolster their subscription numbers. To those who are already familiar with Master Chief and his multiple adventures, the show will be highly anticipated. Those who are not die hard fans should still look forward to its debut as well. Steven does not go into projects lightly and neither does Microsoft. We’re excited to see what these two giant forces will end up coming up with.

 

Disney Land Prices Rise Yet Again

Disney as we know is the happiest place on earth, at least for kids. It is also becoming one of the most expensive. Disney Land, Mickey’s west coast location, has raised its single day ticket price over the weekend. Up from $92, the park is now charging $96 for a single day ticket and $150 for a single day park hopper. Disney is a staple for family vacation destinations however, and the parks have been experiencing record levels of attendance despite the continued price hikes over the following years. Profits have been in the double digits every year since 2011, and after spending billions on park upgrades Disney is quickly making its money back.

Disney World in Orlando raised its prices to $99 last February, but it will be interesting to see the consumer reaction when the price breaches the triple digit line. More likely than not though, when that does eventually happen customers will be happy to pay it. Disney has reached an intangible position where the company can almost literally do whatever it wants. Their stock has doubled in price since 2011, totally justifying the 40% increase in Disney Land/California Adventure park hopper pass prices. Though no one wants to pay more to visit a theme park, it is just another sign that life is getting more expensive. Disney has grown into a trusted brand and will only raise the levels of expectation as it continues to raise its admission prices.

WWE CEO Loses $350 Million Over Night

Vince McMahon, CEO of WWE, has recently experienced what one could imagine to be his worst nightmare. Forbes reported that in just 24 hours McMahon has lost approximately $350 million of his fortune. The loss comes in the form of dramatically devalued WWE stock, which plummeted $8.66 from $20.13 a share down to $11.27. Blame has been fingered towards two contributing factors. The first is the mediocre launch of WWE’s streaming network with only 700,000 subscribers. WWE management has already announced that they expect to lose between $45 million and $52 million this year. The second reason behind the stock drop is due to the less than stellar TV deal WWE made with NBC. While the $150 million deal is still within the reasonable ballpark for a type of deal such as this, investors had expected the closing figure to double the actual negotiated price.

Intrepid Capital Management was one investor that seemed to see this coming though. Once WWE’s largest outside investor owning a 10% stake in the company, the management group sold all its holdings this past January. There is the belief that WWE’s CEO has been too excited about the live streaming network and investors can sense the uncertainty bubbling under the company’s surface. The WWE has tried to put concerns about revenue to rest by arguing that their operating costs for the year are only about a third of the recent TV deal that they signed. Still many investors do not see the WWE clearing $90 million to $100 million in profit this year.

Don’t feel too bad for McMahon just yet however. At his peak he was worth approximately $1.6 billion, but even after losing over a quarter of a billion dollars he’s still worth about $750 million. Though he has lost his membership to the billionaire club, it is pride more than his bank account.  McMahon really has his work cut out though. It will be his job now to convince investors that their money is safe with the WWE. Professional wrestling has been a continuing source of entertainment through the decades and this is more likely than not just a speed bump, albeit a giant and alarming one.

 

Facebook’s New “Ask” Button

Though you might not have noticed it, Facebook has implemented a new button designated to get you to reveal more information. It’s called the “Ask” button and it can be found under your profile picture, on the left side of the screen where all of your personal information can be found. There are those of us who choose not to detail every aspect of our lives, but Facebook has given our friends the power to make us do it anyways.

Want to know if someones in a relationship status? Just hit the ask button. Want to know where someone works or where they were born? Hit it again. There is apparently no way to turn the feature off and there is no limit to how many times someone can request for you to provide private information. You can’t delete a request, but can only ignore it if you truly have no interest in responding. The only thing the button does grant the “victim” at least, is requiring the inquirer to disclose their reasoning behind their request.

To this new button all we have to say is “Touche Facebook.” It is cunning and even genius. Why should they go through all the work when they can get our best internet friends to do it for them. Most of the time people want to be asked about themselves and feel more secure telling an actual person rather than a website. All Facebook has to do is sit back and collect the data rolling in.

Nothing is private in our world anymore, and certainly not on the internet. The best way to keep things private is to keep them off the internet. You should automatically assume that if you share information with one person whether on Facebook or email, anyone else with an internet connection could reasonably access that information too.

 

Godzilla Terrorizes Box Office Sales

Everyone’s favorite terrifying monster has returned to the silver screen to wreak havoc in the world one more time. Through its opening weekend Godzilla grossed a whopping $93.2 million domestically. In addition, the Japanese remake made $103 million from 64 territories worldwide. That borders just shy of the $200 million mark in only its first three days in theaters. With these sales it is conjuring high expectations for the rest of the summer blockbusters to meet.

Success of the massive release is partially credited to fanboys and fangirls across the world who have been anticipating the films release since it was first announced. Imax was also a contributing factor, raking in approximately 15% of the total domestic sales with $14.1 million in sales. Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) has also been a selling point of the film. Already an incredibly successful actor, Breaking Bad has made Cranston an almost household name. This film seems to have eradicated the memory of the last Godzilla movie made with Matthew Broderick in 1998. Something we can all be thankful for.

In a time where Hollywood has seemed to be filled with either hits or misses, this is one film that executives can feel secure about making their money back. The sky’s the limit for how far this film can go. It will be interesting to see if it can pass the $1 billion milestone, though its opening weekend bodes well for its future. After all, Hollywood is all about making money first, and making movies second. Maybe Godzilla is just the monster needed to shake things up a bit.

Youtube to Acquire Twitch?

If you haven’t heard of Twitch you will now. Google’s Youtube is interested in acquiring the video game streaming service. So interested in fact that they are offering $1 billion to make it happen. It makes perfect sense for these two streaming giants to come together under one roof. Both companies offer streaming services and the integration of Twitch should be fairly seamless. In addition, the deal will give absolute validity to Twitch, which has become the gaming worlds go to place for viewing highlights and streaming live video game play.

If the offer goes through, Twitch will be the fifth investment Google has made in the billion dollar range. Twitch says that it has roughly 45 million users on a monthly basis, giving reassurance to the large price tag being rumored. Qwilt, an online video and networking firm, reported that Twitch accounted for nearly 44% of all live-streaming traffic for the week of April 7 of this year. Advertisers have found that viewers don’t just spend a couple minutes on the site either. Users will spend hours watching live streaming gaming events taking place around the world.

The gaming community is a devout group of people who take their video games seriously. There are some who have cultivated rockstar like fan followings through their video game exploits. Youtube is no stranger to this. Sweden’s Felix Arvid Ulf Kjelberg, better known as PewDiePie, has 26 million followers who keep up with his gaming on a regular basis. Google knows this investment will pay off and Twitch’s founders will most likely agree to the humungous sale. The biggest problem for Google will be fighting those who claim that acquiring such a large viewing platform while already owning another violates anti-competitive legislature.

Voters Deny Minimum Wage Raise in Switzerland

It’s not just the U.S. that has been struggling to raise the minimum wage, the Swiss have seemed to hit a ceiling as well. Currently the Swiss minimum wage hovers at around $15 an hour. The proposal to raise the minimum wage lost with 76.3% of voters deciding against it. Reasons cited for the proposal’s failure echoed similarly to those who argued against a $10 minimum wage in the U.S. Small and medium sized businesses make up roughly two thirds of employment in Switzerland, and business owners reasoned that they would not be able to stay open with such a high cost of employment pay.

Switzerland’s Economy Minister, Johann Schneider-Ammann, stated “accepting the initiative would have led to job cuts in economically weak, rural areas.” Unfortunately it seems that those removed from urban epicenters are often the first demographic to feel the sting of a struggling economy. Nine out of ten full-time workers in Switzerland already make more than the proposed raise. Private companies argue that raising the minimum wage would force employers to lay off employees as well as have the remaining employees asking for a pay increase themselves.

Political views have also played into the failure of the recent proposal. Laurent Bernhard, a political sciences researcher at the University of Bern, reasoned “In German-speaking Switzerland, especially in the countryside, there’s a strong view that the state shouldn’t get involved too much.” There are many who reason that the majority of hard working individuals already make a salary that they can live on. Therefore why would there be the need for the law when the issue is pretty much already solved.

But for whatever reasons the proposal failed, the point remains the same. The cost of living is going up. At the same time the disparity between the wealthy and poor are moving further and farther apart. It is a pattern that has not only been noticed in the U.S. but countries in Europe as well. If raising the minimum wage is not the answer to closing the gap, then those who vote against such bills should come up with another reasonable solution.

 

FDA Lowers Recommended Lunesta Dosage

If you’re taking the popular sleeping aid Lunesta then you’ll want to keep reading. The Food and Drug Administration has recently cut back on its recommended dose for the favored drug. This is due to new studies indicating that taking Lunesta may make a person too groggy the next day to perform serious tasks such as driving. According to the latest FDA statement the drug leads to “severe next-morning psychomotor and memory impairment, impairment to driving skills, memory and coordination as long as 11 hours after the drug is taken.”

Until this point the recommended dose has been 2 milligrams, which has now been cut in half to just 1 milligram. Still the report noted that doctors could prescribe doses as high as 3 milligrams to patients needing a powerful sleeping aid. According to Lunesta’s own website there are as many as 31 million users of its sleep drug. Thats a lot of people to be accountable for. Sleep aids are already over used in the U.S. and most people fail to acknowledge sleep aids as serious drugs.

Its seems that people rarely heed the advice of warnings though. Drugs have been used and abused since we first figure out how to make them. While it is a good move for the FDA to lower the recommended dose it will most likely equate to nothing. Pharmaceutical companies spend millions on lobbyists to make sure that we all spend millions on their drugs. Though doctors can recommend taking lower doses to their patients, it is ultimately up to the consumer to be responsible for their own actions as well as their own sleep aid use.

Smart Lighter Helps You Quit Smoking

Are you a smoker who’s ready to finally kick the habit? Well theres now a new app for that. Labeled as Quitbit, the app on your phone syncs with a custom made lighter to track and limit your daily cigarette consumption. You simply input how many cigs you want to allow yourself to smoke that day and minimum time of how far apart you want each one to be. That’s all there is to it. If you try to use the lighter outside of the restrictions you have instructed it to follow it will not work. There is a built in digital screen that displays how long ago your last cigarette was, in addition to counting how many cigarettes you smoked that day. Of course you can cheat and use a normal lighter, but that defeats the purpose of investing in the lighter to begin with.

Quitbit’s founder, Ata Ghofrani, explained that the device is meant as a tool to help those who are truly determined to quit smoking. Smokers trying to quit may still want to implore nicotine gum and patches, and the lighter will be there when you absolutely have to given into the urge to light up. The lighter is still in its Kickstarter crowd funding phase and you still have time to back the project if you want. It will start at $69 or you can just give your support and receive yours when they are ready to ship. So support a start up and improve your health at the same time, because couldn’t you afford to breathe a little easier?

Photo: Quitbit/kickstarter

AT&T Reaches Agreement to Buy DirecTV for $48.5 billion Dollars

Earlier last week, we reported AT&T’s interest in acquiring DirecTV.  AT&T just reached an agreement to buy satellite provider DirecTV for $48.5 billion dollars. The purchase would enable AT&T to have access to DirecTV’s 20 Million satellite subscribers, and also filling the gap in the internet video space which AT&T is currently lacking. This purchase would also give AT&T a major video service option with DirecTV being one of the nation’s leaders. Even though AT&T does offer current customers U-Verse, its own version of a video service, it is in no way on the same level as DirecTV and its satellite options.

By making this move, AT&T would be able to offer its services on all video platforms. It will allow much greater and more improved video content for televisions and cable programming, streaming and mobile video content for phones which is now where the trend is heading towards, and also in the air on airplanes that use DirecTV as a supplier. This news comes a few months after we heard that Comcast offered $45 billion for Time Warner Cable, a move that would make Comcast the leading internet cable provider, which is currently in the waiting phase for regulatory approval.

The biggest advantage of this potential purchase will be the extra liquidity of funds on hand when it becomes time for the FCC Spectrum auction. According to the press release by AT&T “The transaction does not alter AT&T’s plans to meaningfully participate in the FCC’s planned spectrum auctions later this year and in 2015. AT&T intends to bid at least $9 billion in connection with the 2015 incentive auction provided there is sufficient spectrum available in the auction to provide AT&T a viable path to at least a 2×10 MHz nationwide spectrum footprint.”

There are three potential main winners and there also might be one loser in the end as well. The winners, AT&T for buying out more competition and expanding their network, Warren Buffet and his company Berkshire Hathaway who is the largest shareholder of DirecTV, and in the beginning the consumer who will get a lot more services from one organization which will make it more convenient for them. The loser can end up being the consumer as well, because with less competition the supply decreases and the prices can go up with only choices being paying it, or switching to barely no other competitors out there.

Pfizer offer of $117 Billion Rejected By AstraZeneca Again!

Pfizer who is currently trying to buy AstraZeneca got rejected again. Sort of like a teenage boy asking a girl out type of rejection. Pfizer who has been trying for some time now to buy the British pharmaceutical brand in an effort to better itself by having their headquarters in New York, and a tax base in London.

According to Reuters and New York Times, AstraZeneca Chairman Leif Johansson said “he had made clear in discussions with Pfizer that his board could only recommend a bid that was at least 10 percent above an offer of 53.50 pounds made by Pfizer on Friday, or 58.85 pounds.”

AstraZeneca has rejected four different proposals so far made my Pfizer, all because the valuation was too low, and they believed that because the buyouts were driven only by potential costs savings and tax minimizations. The workers of AstraZeneca might then have been laid off, even though Pfizer made assurances that it would not be doing that. But we all know how things change and adjustments have to be made accordingly, is the nicest way of putting it.

This latest rejection of around $55 pounds per share has made some top investors and investment management firms very dissatisfied. With one top-10 investor telling Reuters “We do not think the Astra management have done a good job on behalf of shareholders.” Alastair Gunn, from Jupiter Fund management also has a negative view of this rejection saying that “We are disappointed the board of AstraZeneca has rejected Pfizer’s latest offer so categorically. They should have at least engaged in a constructive conversation with Pfizer.”

In regards to the offer, Ian Read one of the Chief Executives of Pfizer told the Wall Street Journal “They can either accept it or reject it,” “They have until the 26th of May.” So it is a waiting game, will AstraZeneca start talks because it will see that this is the best option for it? Or will Pfizer do something that it said it wouldn’t and again raise their offer to start the takeover talks and move forward in the buyout plans.

Teenage drama on a billion dollar scale, will the pretty girl see that there is no one better out there, or will the guy keep trying to impress her and fold to her demands? May 26th isn’t Valentine’s Day, but it could be the day of romance in the pharmaceutical industry.

 

 

Senator Feinstein : Taking Israel Claim at “Face Value”

Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California, has made recent remarks that she accepts Israel’s denial of spying on the U.S. at “face value.” The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee met with top Israeli Defense officials and was quoted as saying “He was very direct in saying this is totally false, and he assured me that such was not the case.” Sen. Feinstein did not go as far as to say that she endorsed the denial however. She said she will reserve her final judgement until she’s had a chance to review the truth behind the Newsweek article that brought Israel under fire to begin with.

Israeli National Security and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz believes that someone is “trying to maliciously and intentionally harm relations between Israel and the United States.” Though the claims were not likely made to act as a deliberate cleaver between the two nations, it is hard to deny that relations between the U.S. and Israel have been less than ideal. Israel has received less public support from the Obama administration than some of his predecessors, but this does not mean that the two countries are at ends with one another.

The U.S. should be careful to point fingers as to who is spying on who. The president of Brazil had recently canceled a diplomatic visit to Washington D.C. over allegations of U.S. spying on high-ranking Brazilian government officials. Germany had also accused the U.S. of spying on its government officials as well as other U.S. allies in the European Union. The spying sword is double sided. Whether the Israeli spying allegations are true or false, the U.S. can not wiretap the entire world and then cry foul when they find themselves victim of the same practices.

 

 

 

Photo:  feinstein.senate.gov

4 Foods to Help Burn Fat

Losing weight is hard work. The constant inner struggle between giving up and staying strong is very real. Fortunately, not all yummy food is bad for you. Here are some foods to eat if you need some extra help losing a little unwanted fat. You have to combine them with a variety of healthy foods and a workout regiment though. Don’t expect for them to do all the work for you. Here are 4 foods to help burn fat:

Greek Yogurt Skip the regular stuff, we’re going Greek tonight. Greek yogurt typically has twice the concentration of protein that regular yogurt has. For all you health nuts out there you already know that protein demands more energy be exerted in order to process it. In addition protein typically tends to hang out in the stomach longer than other food. This should help keep your hunger needs satisfied longer.

Cinnamon  While cinnamon is typically used as a flavor enhancer rather than consumed directly, it contains some important fat burning qualities. An active chemical in cinnamon helps regulate the level of sugar in blood. This in turn requires less insulin to be produced and therefore less has to be turned into fat.

Avocados Though they contain a higher than usual amount of fat, its all monounsaturated fat (the healthy kind). In addition they are high in fiber and protein. It sends a three punch T.K.O. to your fat cells. Besides the ability to promote fat burning, avocados are filled with a cornucopia of other nutrients important for the body’s digestion process.

Quiano Finally some grains made the list, though not the ones you’re use to. Quiano is an all star when it comes to burning fat. It is high in protein and fiber, two keep components needed to help shed away the pounds. It is also high in vitamin E, iron, and zinc. It is one grain that fills you up and keeps your stomach satisfied.

 

 

Photo via Peerfit

Japan First Country to Advertise on the Moon

So it appears that Japan is actually the first country to land on the moon. Okay so that’s not true, but they are about to become the first country to land advertising on it. The Japanese drink maker Otsuka has released plans to send a 2.2 pound titanium can to the moon as the first official form of truly universal advertising. The can will contain Pocari Sweat powder that turns into a tasty beverage when water is added. It will visit the moon in 2015 with Japan’s first voyage. In a press release, the company stated “Otsuka hopes that one day youths interested in space will live out their dreams, collect the DREAM CAPSULE and drink the POCARI SWEAT mixed with the water found on the moon.” While we don’t envy the person who ends up drinking the powdered concoction, it just goes to show that avoiding advertisements is becoming increasingly more difficult. Proven advertising tactics have included personalized ads based on data you have previously provided. Now not even the moon is safe. Will we one day look up into the night sky to see Coca-Cola telling us to enjoy their refreshment? Though you won’t be able to see the can from earth, the point is that its there. So when astronauts eventually return to the moon, they can at least think about buying a Pocari Sweat mix when they get home. Japan First Country to Advertise on Moon1       Photo: Courtesy of Business Wire

Millennials Becoming Stay-Home Nation

The recession that started in 2008 is still affecting people today. Though job growth has been on a steady upward climb and the stock market has as well, the hardship is still fresh in peoples minds. And it has affected the “mobile” population in America to stay still. Those who are under 35 have typically been seen as a fluid age group. Meaning that these are the people who are generally expected to move around the country and are willing to relocate for employment. Lately though this has not been the case.

The people in the under 35 age group are staying at home or at least close to it, even if it means forgoing employment. After witnessing the turmoil people went through in the last six years has made people more cautious and this has gone double for the millennials. The Labor Department reported that there were 4 million job openings last year, but refusal to relocate leaves many of these positions open.

Part of the worry is directed toward the notion the job markets will become segregated. While states like Texas are currently making an effort to hire truck drivers and oil-field workers, states in the North East are struggling to attract technology professionals. Potential employers blame the high expense of traveling and relocating and say they can not afford the flights and moving if their employers are not willing to foot the bill.

The millennials are seen as a more sheltered generation than the ones who preceded them. As a whole millennials do things later than the previous ones and now it looks like that has extended itself to physical limitation. Obviously not all millennials are this way, but there is a strong trend that is growing. Though there are some who argue that this due to a lack of confidence, most millennials who choose to stay at home argue it is strictly fiscal.

 

 

Photo: Photospin

Meats and Veggies join on Grill and in Boardroom!

Meats and vegetables do mix, both on a plate and in the boardroom. Hillshire, most known for their Hillshire Farm meats, Jimmy Dean sausages, our favorite Ball Park franks and Sara Lee desserts. The Pinnacle brand is more healthy option sort of producing Vlasic pickles, Wishbone Dressing and probably the most valuable commodity is their Birds Eye frozen vegetables.

The combination with Hillshire is expected to produce $140 million in annual savings from improving the supply chain and consolidating expenses. In a conference call with analysts Hillshire CEO Sean Connolly said “Meats go with vegetables, sandwiches go with pickles.” “We’ve often said we like products that are more than just meat.”

Mr. Connolly the CEO of Hillshire will retain the CEO position at the combined company, which will keep the Hillshire Brands name and remain based in Chicago. He said Pinnacle CEO Bob Gamgort will leave the company upon completion of the deal. The financials of the deal are that Pinnacle shareholders will receive $18 in cash and a half share in Hillshire for each Pinnacle share. The companies said the deal valued Pinnacle at $36.02 a share based on Hillshire’s average closing price before the announcement, representing an 18% premium over Pinnacle’s closing price Friday. Including Pinnacle’s outstanding debt, this puts the deal’s total value at about $6.6 billion. The deal still needs to be voted on and approved by Blackstone who owns 51% of Pinnacle, but they did say that they plan on approving the deal and it is expected to close by September.

What that means for us folks is that, by the time our favorite time of the year comes around, (NFL season) we will get most of our grilling meats and now some healthier sides from one main company. Will that matter to us? Hopefully not as long as the prices just stay low.

Volkswagen to Buy Out Scania for an Estimated $9.2 Billion

Volkswagen, one of Germany’s largest automobile manufacturers, looks to be set to acquire yet another auto company. They already own Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Porsche, but it seems that the five companies are not enough. VW posses two-thirds of Scania stock and have just recently received the support of shareholders, equating to an estimated 90.7 percent share ownership. The German automaker has been trying for the last decade to incorporate a heavy-trucks unit into their operations. With this latest security to their endeavor, VW is now offer $9.2 billion for the minority shares in the Swedish car company.

They have hired Andreas Renschler, former Daimler truck chief, to take over the new acquisition. He comes with valuable experience as he spent almost a decade at Daimler running trucking operations that expanded across the globe. “Renschler is definitely the best man for this challenge with his global industry experience and a neutral approach toward the brands,” said Roman Mathyssek, an analyst at Strategy Engineers GmbH. He has restructured projects in the U.S., Japan, and Brazil as well as creating new markets in countries like China and India. Trucking has become a vital aspect of local and global trade. VW’s bid for Scania is a smart move. They already proven time and again that they know how to successfully integrate companies. Let’s see if they can do as well as they have with some of their luxury brands.

 

 

 

Courtesy Photo

World Cup Security Gets U.S. Training

It happens once every four years and is considered by some to be the world’s most important athletic competition. We’re talking of course about the World Cup. Brazil has this years honor of hosting the World Cup, though there has been speculation as to whether or not they would be ready in time. Some projects have been canceled, such as the six story international media center attached to the main stadium. In addition, Brazil is known as a country ramped in crime and danger. But for this problem at least, it seems that Brazil is asking for some help.

After severe and violent protests during the World Cup warm up tournament last year, Brazil is looking for security training by the U.S. The protests rose up against the tremendous amounts of money the government is putting into the tournament while the majority of the country struggles financially. In response, police were forced to use non-fatal means of defense including tear gas and rubber bullets. Some find U.S. help in Brazil to be a tad surprising after President Dilma Rousseff canceled a state visit to D.C. after the U.S. was accused of spying on senior Brazilian officials.

William Murad, the country’s major events secretariat, has reported that the U.S will be providing 39 programs to aid in the training of crowd control, maritime security, and border control. Brazil is also receiving help from the U.K., Japan, Germany, and France in order to properly train their security forces. The country plans to deploy 150,000 military and police personnel across the 12 cities in which the tournament is set to be played. Hopefully the combination of better training and a large security force will allow everyone to enjoy a safe and memorable tournament.

 

 

 

Photo: Em evento-teste da Arena da Baixada, Atlético-PR X Corinthians se enfrentam. Crédito: Gustavo Oliveira/Atlético-PR

 

PA Courts Rule Car Searches Legal Without Warrant

If this country ever was “the land of the free” it is sinking slowly into the past. A recent ruling by the Pennsylvania court system will now allow police to search cars without the need for a search warrant. Typically Pennsylvania had been a state that had granted greater privacy to its citizens than the minimum requirements spelled out in the U.S. constitution. This new ruling will take the decision making out of the judicial systems hands and allow police to decide at the time whether a search is reasonable.

Dave Rudovsky, both a professor at Penn Law school and practicing civil rights lawyer, explained “Now if police officers have probable cause– a good faith belief that a crime has been committed, they can search your car without having to first obtain a warrant.” Basically this means that all the police have to do his have a “gut feeling” that something is off and they can legally demand to search your car. How this doesn’t violate the 4th Amendment is beyond us. You know, the one that protects us from unlawful search and seizure. Also known as police needing a reason to search rather than just because they can.

In the past Philadelphia Police have been accused of prolific stop and frisk policies, and many believe that the practice will now expand to automobiles. Though this is just one state out of fifty, it is a slippery slope that we hope will be over ruled. Our rights and privacy are slowly being stripped away in this country. Though the government operates under the ruse of what’s best for the people, all they really do is what is best to keep absolute control.