News

'The Hobbit' Wins Box-Office Battle

The Wall Street Journal - 17 min 7 sec ago
Latest in Middle Earth saga bests ‘Museum,’ ‘Annie’ with $56.2 million over the weekend.
Categories: News

The Coolest Celebrity Winter Getaways

Forbes - 42 min 15 sec ago
Celebs have the privilege (and the bank accounts) to call some of the most beautiful properties on the planet "home" — but they also own vacation getaways that are just as jaw-dropping. When they need to get away from it all in the winter months, they don't want to downgrade; when it comes to cool escapes, celebs demand luxurious digs.
Categories: News

On the House: Homeowners' top five regrets

philly.com - 1 hour 39 min ago
Most Americans have at least one regret about their homes, or so suggests one of those reports that perpetually pop up in my in-basket.
Categories: News

Walgreen Prepares to Steer a Global Course

The Wall Street Journal - 1 hour 51 min ago
The Week Ahead: Walgreen, the largest U.S. drugstore chain, is going to find out if bigger means better, as it nears a shareholder vote on completing its planned merger with European counterpart Alliance Boots.
Categories: News

Only At Half Way Mark In Premier League TV Deal NBC Gets Ready To Face Challenge To Retain Rights

Forbes - 1 hour 52 min ago
The winning bid of $250M was over three times as much as Fox had paid previously but there are a number of reasons why another record high will be set when the new cycle of rights is decided. Last season NBC recorded substantially higher ratings over the numbers previously recorded by Fox and this season the trend has continued. Measured against other major sports in the US the Premier League ratings are still small potatoes but that?s another reason to expect an increase in rights fees ? there is substantial room for growth.
Categories: News

China stock connect scheme scorecard throws up surprises

Reuters - 1 hour 53 min ago
HONG KONG (Reuters) - A month after China opened up its equity markets in a landmark trading link with Hong Kong, demand has been subdued and the bulk of activity has come from short-term speculative investors.
Categories: News

Johnny Manziel's NFL Career Isn't Over but the Hype Is

Forbes - 2 hours 46 min ago
So much for Johnny Football.
Categories: News

Four Secrets to Scholarship Success

huffingtonpost.ca - 3 hours 5 min ago
For most post-secondary students, the holidays are a time to kick back and relax between semesters. But, it can also be a great time to invest a little time to get some financial assistance.

Each year, thousands of Canadian students earn scholarships that help them offset their education costs. Surprisingly, over $15 million of the $70 million available each year in scholarship dollars goes unclaimed, according to industry estimates.

Scholarships and bursaries are a great source of funding and there are programs available for students of all ages, stages and programs. It takes some time and effort to make an application stand out. But the time is well spent. Plan ahead, start early and you too could benefit from receiving one of the many scholarships available to Canadian students.

If you're planning on spending some time looking and applying for scholarships over the next few weeks, here are some tips for success:

1. Explore you options: Take advantage of online resources such as studentawards.com and scholarshipscanada.com that match you to available scholarships. Check your college or university's financial aid department for potential scholarships. If you are in high school, check to see what scholarships are available to graduating students.

2. Don't limit yourself: Not all scholarships are based on academic standing. Some scholarships reward civic engagement, leadership experience, your heritage, affiliations, or a particular skill.

3. Tap your network: You may find scholarships are offered by your employer, sports league or your bank. Ask your parents if their employers offer scholarships to children of employees.

4. Be conscientious: Proofread your application and ensure you followed all the instructions. There are often essays, questionnaires and school transcripts to submit so allot your time wisely. Ask friends and family to review your application.

With the cost of education rising every year, scholarships and bursaries are worth the effort -- especially since it's money that doesn't need to be repaid. Good luck in the hunt!

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Categories: News

Don't Throw Out the P3 Baby With the Bathwater

huffingtonpost.ca - 3 hours 6 min ago
Something as dull sounding as public-private partnerships (P3s) has suddenly grabbed headlines thanks to a recent report from Ontario's Auditor General. While some claim the report is evidence that we should abandon the use of P3s, the report is actually a constructive critique of how the Ontario government can improve the P3 process.

P3s are an increasingly common tool for governments in Canada, and around the world, to provide infrastructure such as roads and bridges. At their core, P3s are a way for governments to partner with the private sector to share the risks and rewards of providing public infrastructure. The government still owns the infrastructure and establishes the project's goals and desired outcomes while a consortium of private sector companies takes on the task of achieving them.

If the contract is properly structured and private sector partner fails to deliver, the government imposes financial penalties. The point of a P3 is to harness the innovative capacity, efficiency, and expertise of the private sector for achieving the government's ends.

But not all projects are well suited to the P3 model, so the challenge is to figure out which projects should move forward as a partnership. There are processes in place in Ontario and elsewhere to help governments make that call including a method for estimating the potential value-for-money of a project using the P3 model compared to conventional government-led delivery.

The Auditor General's assessment is that the Ontario government's value-for-money methodology artificially favours P3s. The recommendation is to improve the process for deciding when to use the P3 method, not to abandon the model altogether.

As the Auditor General points out, risk-sharing is critical to the government's rationale for going the P3 route. Risk-sharing occurs when the private partner takes on some project risks that would otherwise be borne by taxpayers. Delays and cost overruns are common risks in constructing public infrastructure. In a conventional government-led project, taxpayers pay these extra costs; in a P3, the private partner is on the hook. Being responsible for poor performance encourages the private partner to avoid delays and cost overruns.

Much ink has been spilt over the claim that the Auditor General's report shows P3s are "$8 billion more expensive" than government-led projects. But that's not what the report actually says. In fact, the $8 billion figure is the estimated cost difference between the two options before adjusting for the value of risks retained by taxpayers. Once risks are accounted for, research shows P3s can offer prospective savings that range from 0.8 per cent to 61.2 per cent relative to the cost of government-led projects.

Government-led projects would be cheaper (given the government's lower cost of borrowing) if they were risk free. But that is simply not the case. In fact, government-led projects have a long history of being over budget and delivered late with taxpayers ultimately bearing the extra costs.

P3s, on the other hand, have a strong record of delivering public infrastructure on time and on budget. In a recent analysis of 42 Canadian P3 projects from 2009 to 2013, an impressive 83 per cent finished on time or early. In a separate analysis of 19 Canadian P3 projects from 2004 to 2009, an even more impressive 89 per cent finished on time or early.

The international experience shows similar results. A UK study found P3s typically finished one per cent earlier than scheduled while government-led projects finished 17 per cent behind schedule. Cost overruns averaged virtually zero in P3s compared to 47 per cent in government-led projects. Moreover, an Australian study found P3s were delivered 3.4 per cent ahead of schedule while government-led projects were delivered 23.5 per cent behind schedule.

Still, the P3 model should only be used if it provides value-for-money to taxpayers. The value-for-money calculation involves estimating and comparing two hypothetical scenarios to see which would be better for taxpayers. The calculation is complex and government agencies don't always get it right. Ontario's Auditor General offers important criticisms and suggestions for improvement; hopefully this results in better decision making.

That said, we shouldn't throw out the P3 baby with the bathwater.

Hugh MacIntyre, Fraser Institute policy analyst, also contributed to this column.
Categories: News

Natural gas flaring in Eagle Ford Shale already surpasses 2012 levels of waste and pollution

Fox Business - 3 hours 20 min ago
Gas flaring in the most profitable shale field in the U.S. is on pace to surpass to 2013 levels of waste and pollution in South Texas, according to a newspaper analysis of state records published Sunday.
Categories: News

MBTA driver suspended after fight with passenger; man appears to spit on her, she swung at him

Fox Business - 3 hours 20 min ago
A Massachusetts bus driver has been suspended after fighting with a passenger.
Categories: News

NFL Playoff Scenarios For Week 16

Forbes - 3 hours 32 min ago
Who's in? Who needs help? Here's the playoff scenarios
Categories: News

U.S. gas prices fall to lowest since May 2009: Lundberg survey

Reuters - 3 hours 59 min ago
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States fell 25 cents in the past two weeks, tumbling to its lowest level in more than five-and-a-half years, according to the Lundberg survey released Sunday.
Categories: News

Box Office: 'Hobbit' Finale Soars To $355M Worldwide

Forbes - 4 hours 22 min ago
The overseas numbers are in, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has earned $105.5 million from 19,315 screens in 59 markets. That gives the Warner Bros. (Time Warner Inc.) release a whopping $265 million overseas thus far. When coupled with this weekend's $90m five-day debut, that gives the Peter Jackson Hobbit finale a massive $355m worldwide in just over a week of worldwide play. So yeah, it's a pretty big hit, and now frankly it's a question of whether or not it can reach $1b worldwide and/or if it can top Transformers: Age of Extinction as the year's top global blockbuster. But it's off to a good start.
Categories: News

7 Best Peak Performance Must-Dos For Business And Life

Forbes - 4 hours 28 min ago
“What did you do!” I yelled at my accounts manager. He was lying down tanning on the terracotta gravel roof of our building, oiled up with darkened Hawaiian Tropic, blasting ACDC out of a giant silver boombox. I was on the phone with the WWE about a televised national wrestling match. He’d arranged for us to promote it in our town for $100,000—without telling me. They were calling me to wire the money. I pushed back and the WWE put me on hold to get their angry president, and I heard a loud pay per view replay of Hulk Hogan getting pummelled. My emotions and heart rate felt like I was the one getting slammed.
Categories: News

5 Ways To Pound The Competition With Emotionally-Charged Leadership

Forbes - 4 hours 35 min ago
Nine years back I hired a sales leader with a face like a European James Bond who had a great pedigree, dressed Zegna impeccably and had lots of years scaling startups. He talked a good game, like Jay-Z at the mic. Everyone was hyped up, excited by him. But the
Categories: News

If you're a comedy writer, do you tackle the Sony hacking? Yes, but maybe carefully

Fox Business - 5 hours 21 min ago
How do you joke about the Sony hacking story? After all, it was an attempt at comedy that launched this whole sobering mess.
Categories: News

McDonald's Should Learn A Labor Lesson or Two From Chipotle And Starbucks

Forbes - 5 hours 29 min ago
  McDonald’s labor problems are going from bad to worse. After worker protests over a $15-base wage in recent months, McDonald’s now faces a complaint from the National Labor Relations Board regarding the way it responded to these protests. “The labor board’s complaint asserts that McDonald’s and numerous franchise operations in more than a dozen cities illegally retaliated and made threats against workers who had joined national protests pushing for a base wage of $15 an hour in the nation’s fast food restaurants,” writes New York Times’ Steven Greenhouse. The charges come at a time when McDonald’s is facing sagging sales, due to growing competition from Chipotle (NYSE:CMG), Panera Bread, El Polo Loco, Five Guys, Starbucks and the like. But there is a lesson or two McDonald’s can learn from its competitors, especially from Chipotle and Starbucks—two chains that have avoided similar problems, while maintaining high levels of service quality.
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