Tag Archives: dress designer awards

Ethical Clothing – Progress or Greenwash?

Ethical clothing is hot news right now. Wherever you look in the fashion industry that’s what the buzz is about. So have the manufacturers and retailers finally bowed to consumer pressure and cleaned up their act?

The problem in answering that question is there is no agreed definition on what ethical clothing actually is. Some people concentrate on fair trade issues. How were the workers treated? How much were they paid? Others are more concerned with the materials used and concentrate on sourcing organic, recycled and animal free products. Still others add in transport issues and focus on the environmental costs of shipping fabric and finished articles around the world. It is rare to get a single retail outlet that addresses all these issues for even a minority of their stock.

For sure the major retail chains have cottoned on to the ethical clothing issue and are falling over themselves in an attempt to seem greener than green. Top Shop has teamed up with People Tree (which supports local community manufacturing in majority world countries) and M&S have bought up 30% of the global Fairtrade cotton supply. Primark, once labelled the least ethical place to buy clothes in Britain – achieving a mere 2.5 out of 20 on the ethical index – has joined up with the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and vowed to change its way.

The ETI sounds a great idea but in reality it is simply a means by which a company can give itself a cheap green image. In order to join the ETI a retailer must agree to adopt a base code. The code is great. It covers all the things you would expect – good working conditions, a fair wage etc. The flaw, and it’s a huge one, is that the retailer doesn’t have to agree to abide by that code – only to work towards it. How many companies have joined up simply to look green?

In December 2006 anti-poverty campaigners from War on Want reported the appalling conditions and pay of Bangladeshi workers supplying Primark and Tesco (both ETI members).

In 2006 Labour Behind the Label conducted a major interrogation of the biggest fashion brands and retailers in the high street. They simply asked “What are you doing to ensure that the workers making your clothes get paid a living wage?” The majority of the responses they got back were “a combination of procrastination, stalling, and fairly transparent excuses. Only a few companies admitted that there was a problem, and even fewer that they had a responsibility to fix it.”

A follow up study in 2007 found that very little had changed.

“There isn’t a single high street company where we could say we believe you could buy their products knowing that they haven’t been made in sweat shop conditions.” Said Sam Maher, a spokesperson for campaign group Labour behind the Label.

But it is not all bad news. There are a growing number of alternatives available. Stores that are truly dedicated to providing well-made, stylish, organic and fairly-traded clothes. Most of these are only found online and until we, as consumers, give them our support that’s where they’ll stay. Let’s get shopping!



Source by Pamela Maunsell

The Turbulent and Exciting History of Gucci

In 2010, Gucci is one of the top luxury fashion brands in the world. The official name of the company is “The House of Gucci” since it is one of the famous Italian fashion houses. However, Gucci is actually owned by a french conglomerate called Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR). The founder of the brand was Guccio Gucci who founded the brand in Florence, Italy in 1921. The brand is most famous for Italian fashion and leather products. One thing that sets Gucci aside from other brands is that is the top selling Italian brand in the world.

The story of the brand is an interesting and turbulent one since its humble beginnings in 1921. Guccio Gucci in 1921, it wasn’t until 1938 that Gucci expanded out of Florence and opened a new boutique in Rome. When Gucci died in 1953, he left his fashion empire to his 4 sons. His son Aldo was central to the brands expansion into the world market since he opened the first Gucci boutique in New York. Further expansion, into Hong Kong and Tokyo occurred in the 1960s where Gucci was creating their own trends via celebrities like Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, etc.

However, during this time the family was in constant in-fighting. Reports at the time suggested the family fought during board meetings about inheritance, stock holdings, and how to operate the company.

The company hit a terrible rough patch in the 1970s and leading into the 1980s. At that time the brothers Rodolfo and Aldo controlled the company with equal shares. This occurred once again, due to complicated family fights. The company launched their accessories and perfume division and began to wholesale aggressively in order to expand that division. Aldo had developed that division and his intention was to focus on it in order to weaken the control of his brother Rodolfo. The perfume division was priced cheaper than other products and aggressive wholesaling made it available for sale in over 1000 stores. The result was the brand image was severely tarnished. The public now viewed Gucci as a cheap airport brand and not an exclusive luxury brand. Furthermore at the same time, widespread Gucci knock-offs started to appear on the market further weakening the brands image.

In 1983, the company was suffering financially and in brand image. Paolo Gucci (son of Aldo) proposed the idea of launching a cheap version of Gucci called Gucci Plus, the idea was not well accepted by the family. During a Gucci boardroom meeting about this issue Paolo was knocked out by an answering machine to the the face, by one of his brothers. For revenge, he reported his father to the United States authorities for tax evasion. His father was convicted of tax evasion and sent to prison after his son testified against him in court. These stories generated more interest in the Gucci family, then the brand’s advertising could possibly achieve at the time.

Rodolfo died in 1983. This resulted in changes in the power structure of the company (family). His son Maurizio Gucci inherited his 50% share of the Gucci company. Aldo’s son Paolo along with Maurizio teamed together to take control of the Board of Directors. Shortly after, the rest of the family left the company. This led Mauricio to seek help and ideas from outside the company in order to strengthen the brand and the company and operate peacefully.

Gucci Shoes became one of the companies strong points. Gucci found following the disasters of the 1970s and 1980s that a return to its roots as an elite Italian fashion house was a must. They realized that it was impossible to be both a mass production brand and a luxury brand. The leather goods like Gucci shoes had given the company its name in the 1920s and 1930s and they felt they needed to focus their efforts on fashion innovations in those areas. Furthermore, in 1997 Gucci took over Severin-Montres and rebranded it under the Gucci name. The watchmaker was one of the most respected in Europe at the time and contributed to Guccis goals of maintaining their prestige and elite image amongst fashion conscious and wealthy consumers.



Source by Koray Yilmaz

Carrier Pigeons Helped Create the World’s Most Famous Banking Fortune

Whether in business, warfare or affairs of the heart knowledge, the more the better, is often the most crucial element in determining event outcomes. The ability to know what the competition for a business deal is strategizing is potentially game changing. A General upon learning details of a rivals battle plan gains immense advantages in plotting counter-strategy. Knowledge is often not quantifiable, but it is invaluable.

One of the most famous and consequential uses of real time knowledge occurred in Europe in 1815. Early in the 19th century information obtainable through communication channels about distant events was painstakingly slow to arrive. Roads were rough, unfinished, really little more than cart paths. There was no wire transmission or speedy organized courier services for delivering messages over vast distances. Word of the outcome of a battle, treaty or an important political affair could takes weeks or months to arrive where the result was most keenly anticipated.

The Battle of Waterloo is possibly the most famous military engagement in history. The battle site, the tiny, remote Belgian village of Waterloo, is synonymous today with one’s “final act”. Waterloo became Napoleon Bonaparte’s denouement. His inglorious defeat by the British forces, commanded by the Duke of Wellington, expedited his exile to the tiny island of Elba and the decline of France as a military power for almost a century.

Prussian, Austrian and Russian armies had allied to fight with the British against Napoleon. All of these great armies, moving across vast swaths of Europe terrain needed extensive provisioning, arming and logistic support to maintain troops as they girded for the great battle. This was an incredibly expensive enterprise. Massive funding was required to support the campaign.

The Rothschild banking family was already famous across most of Europe for providing a secure funding source for national governments. The Rothschild’s had established five branches of their enterprise. The largest, most important were based in Paris and London. The final Napoleonic war was largely funded by Nathan Rothschild of the family’s London branch. This house had provided large sums to both the British and the French. The Rothschild’s were famously indifferent to rulers and governments. Nathan Rothschild once famously remarked, “The man who controls the British money supply controls the British, and I control the British money supply”. His goal was to profit no matter whom was in power or won a war.

Nathan Rothschild knew that early knowledge of the winner at Waterloo, details of the battle, the severity of the loser’s defeat would be invaluable in financially manipulating markets to profit from the result. The family had invested heavily over the decades in field agents that forwarded tips and messages, fast packet ships and trained carrier pigeons to speedily deliver notes.

The arrival of the carrier pigeons in London with specific battle results from Waterloo provided Rothschild the information he needed to begin to plant rumors. Initially he spread the word that the British had lost. Investors began to adjust their bond and security positions in reaction to this negative news. Rothschild took opposite positions, and then, he strategically released the actual truthful news that Wellington had vanquished Napoleon. This enabled the family to profit on both sides of the trades. It is estimated that the Rothschild family extrapolated an increase in wealth of 20 times their pre-war capital.

The foresight to train a winged air force of carrier pigeons proved fortuitous and extremely profitable for the banking house of Rothschild. The edge they enjoyed in receiving real-time information, and spectacularly profiting from the knowledge, became legendary and only increased the perception that they were a family of financial Merlin’s. Their power and wealth has multiplied exponentially in the past 200 years and has been maintained to this very day.

In modern business and finance, the ability to glean information about competitor’s plans, information that will affect asset valuations and marketing strategies is invaluable. Governments spend billions of dollars trying to steal state and commercial secrets. Private investigators are used every day to scope out the fidelity and affairs of married spouses. Information is power.

Entrepreneurs can learn an important lesson from this chronicle about the Rothschild’s use of carrier pigeons. If your project has true commercial value it must be protected. You must assume that there are people working at the same time on a similar opportunity. Time is not your friend.

Whether you can uncover a competitor’s plan or an adversary learns your project’s details, the first owner of knowledge stands to maximize profit. Placing second in this process is a sure path to losing the crucial first to market product advantage. The Rothschild’s earned amazing riches from simply learning the outcome of a battle before competitors. In order for entrepreneur’s to successfully profit from their efforts they must harvest every bit of relevant and available knowledge as quickly as possible.

Knowledge is invaluable, but it must be secured and utilized with diligence and due haste.



Source by Geoff Ficke

5 Basketball Tips For Better Ball-Handling

If you watch much basketball, it becomes quite apparent that there are very few great ball-handlers that can consistently break the defense down off the dribble. When you see a player that actually has this ability, it’s so devastating to the opposing team that it can literally change the game. Imagine being able to create off the dribble anytime you wanted. Well there’s good news for you. This isn’t something players are born with, but rather, something players can improve through hard work and dedication. The five tips below will help any player improve these special skills.

#1. Do around-the-body drills to improve ball-control and quickness with the ball. Move the ball in a circle around your head, around your waist, around both legs, around your right leg, around your left leg, and in a figure 8 motion around and through both legs. Make sure to do these drills in both directions. Start out slow, and once you can do at least ten in a row, work on doing the drill as fast as possible. One way to see if you are getting any faster is to put these drills into timings. See how many times you can move the ball around your waist in 30 seconds. When I first started doing this drill in 2nd grade, I couldn’t do very many. But through dedication, and the use of the timer on my mom’s microwave, I eventually got to the point where I could do at least 70 around my waist in 30 seconds. With some serious dedication, you can do the same thing!

#2. When working on dribbling, make sure to pound the basketball as hard as possible. You have got to challenge your hands and fingers to get stronger and quicker with the ball. Now, this doesn’t mean you hit at the basketball like a fly swatter. Make sure to absorb the basketball with the pads of your hands and fingers, but don’t hit at it with your palm. If you mess up, don’t worry about it. In fact, if you never mess up, you definitely aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. Weak ball-handlers are flimsy and weak with the dribble while good ball-handlers are strong with the dribble. Pound the ball!

#3. When working on change of direction drills, such as stationary crossovers and between the legs dribbles, make sure to have rhythm with your movements. A stiff player with robotic movements will never be consistently effective off the dribble. The players that are the best off the dribble have rhythm and can lean their body in one direction or the other in a smooth manner. It is important that while working on both stationary and moving drills, you rock your body to the rhythm of the dribble. Be smooth and athletic while still pounding the ball.

#4. Incorporate 2-ball dribbling drills into your basketball training regimen. Work on dribbling the balls at the same time as well as in an alternating fashion. Make sure that you pound the balls as hard as possible! Challenge yourself by crossing the balls over in front of you, between your legs, and behind your back. Make sure you can do at least ten repetitions in a row of a specific drill before you work on speed. Also work on these drills while moving. If you can dribble two balls well, in full speed, game-like situations, then dribbling only one ball will be easy. It’ll feel like it’s a part of your body!

#5. It’s important that your ball-handling skills transfer over into game situations. One drill that can help this transition and improve your ability to dribble under pressure is called the Side-Rider drill. In this drill, start on the baseline with a defensive player at your side. The defender’s goal is to literally push you to the sideline. This means that the defender is going to foul you while you are dribbling. On offense, your goal is to dribble in a straight line at full speed to the opposite end of the court and score. The defender is going to be at your side, pushing and fouling you, so it’s important that you stay low and strong with the dribble while protecting the ball. Make sure to execute this drill with both hands. Once you can handle this pressure, have the defender try and steal the ball as well. If the defender steals the ball, bring the ball back to the spot the ball was knocked away or stolen, and continue the drill.

Implementing these five tips will put you well on your way to maximizing your potential as a ball-handler.



Source by Jon Hildebrandt

Slavic Folklore: Lesnik – Leshy

Lesnik (Leshy) is a Slavic forest spirit similar to Greek satyrs. He is loud, friendly towards shepherds, and depicted as either a humanoid with horns and hoofs or as an old man.

Slavic peoples of the pre-Christian era were closely connected with the nature. The belief that the nature is inhabited by spirits and demons was so strong that traces of those beliefs are still present nowdays. All scientists dealing with Slavic mythology agree that the forest had an important role in Slavic folklore (as elsewhere).

Similar to Germanic beliefs, groves were extremely important in Slavic folklore, as they were believed to be inhabited by spirits, demons, and ancestral souls. Many Slavic peoples still practice planting a tree next to a grave. This habit has roots in the belief that ancestral souls live within the tree.

One of the best known Slavic forest spirits is Lesnik (South Slavs) or Leshy (East and West Slavs). The term stems from the old Slavic word les (forest).

Southern Slavic Koleda processesions included masked people called Lesnici (plural form of Lesnik). There were usually two of them, and they would wear sheep skins with fleece facing outwards. They wore masks depicting a horned animal. These people's role in the procession was to make noise. They were also to make sexual insinuations towards Snashka (Snashka is a man dressed as a woman during the Koleda procession).

Eastern Slavic Leshy loves loud laughter, singing, and yelling. He has a humanoid shape, with a pointed head, but no beard or mustache. He can take the shape of a naked old man or a horned and hoofed animal. He is the master of all forest animals and friendly towards shepherds. His wife is called Lehachika, Lesoviha, or Leshiha.

Obviously, Lesnik – Leshy is similar to Greek satyr and has almost identical attributes. Lesnik is found in almost all Slavic folklores, is generally believed to inhabit forests, and is often depicted with goat hooves and horns. In Western Slavic tradition, Lesnik is depicted as an animal dressed in white fur, who often takes women to his cottage covered in fur. He often forces them to dance kolo around him.

Elsewhere, Leshy is depicted as a peasant wearing sheep skin. Despite humanoid, he has goat horns, ears, and legs. His skin is covered with thick fleece, and he yells upon approaching. He is fond of kidnapping women. Leshy loves shepherds and takes care of the livestock. Sometimes, he can take human form, but he does not have eyebrows and eyelashes. Occidentally, he is depressed as one-eyed.



Source by Maja Djordjevic

Spain-Chile Relationship – A SWOT Analysis

Chile has been historically isolated as a result of its geographical and economic characteristics, with roughly 98% of all its imports arriving via ports. However, in the past 30 years the country has undergone a massive change, finding itself now in the vanguard of the Free Market movement – being a world leader in the signing of Free Trade Accords – and shedding its former protectionist economic policies.

As a result Chile has been at the forefront with respect to many Latin American countries when it comes to globalization and accessing worldwide markets. This in turn, has led to Chile sustaining economic growth similar to other emerging economies.

As part of this opening of the country to foreign markets the Chilean government recently redistributed political power on a regional basis with the incorporation of two new regions, the Arica-Parinacota and Los Ríos. The idea behind the creation of these two new regions was to foment revenues in tourism, mining, agriculture and communications, while at the same time aiming to empower the regions and decentralize power from the capital. The new regions were approved Mar. 15, 2007 by President Michelle Bachelet.

The government’s policies have translated in strong economic growth, with the GDP in 2007 coming in at 5.2% versus 4% in 2006. On the downside, the country is feeling effects from the current global economic malaise, with unemployment hitting 7.2% in 2007. Strong economic growth has also led to a sharp rise in inflation, up from 2.6% in 2006 to 7.8% in 2007 on the back of higher petroleum prices and the ripple effect on food prices, coupled with adverse weather conditions.

It should be noted that Spain’s economy is also going through a rough batch, with unemployment hitting 9.6% for the first quarter of 2008 – the highest it’s been in three years – the third consecutive quarter of rising unemployment. This sharp increase in unemployment has even stoked concerns the Spanish government may run-out of funds to pay unemployment benefits in September.

Still – and despite the domestic nature of current Spanish press with respect to the collapse of its construction sector and rising unemployment – the general perception of Chile in Spain is one of a Latin American country that has undergone a rigorous economic policy that has led to its being considered as an emerging country with a relatively low country risk.

In a roundabout way Chile could benefit from a struggling Spanish economy – which has been built on EU subsidies and a booming construction sector – as many Spanish companies feel they must diversify and look outside their borders for growth. Of particular interest are Spanish construction companies which have been heavily diversifying in Spain into the energy sector. Spanish companies are particularly interested in projects in Latin America, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Asia.

In Spanish business circles it is commented that Chile’s economic stability – in sharp contrast to that experienced in other Latin American countries – has made the country attractive for investment. While mining remains a sector of interest, Spanish companies are also attracted to the banking, telecommunication and electricity sectors.

Despite the strong rise in Chile’s inflation, Spanish analysts see continued economic stability in that country, with sustained economic growth, albeit at lower rates than in previous years given the current global economic downturn.

In general, it is viewed, however, that growth will most likely come from Chile’s continued emphasis on exports and a drive to entice foreign investment. To further encourage foreign investments Chile must continue to ensure not only the liberalization of its markets and financial transparency, but seek to optimize its Free Trade agreements.

That said, it is often mentioned in Spain that the downside of Chile’s economic growth is that wealth is not being equally divided among the Chilean population. More concretely, the difference between Chile’s wealthy and its poor is becoming increasingly pronounced. In this age of corporate responsibility, and with its growing importance in the Spanish corporate world, such discrepancies in wealth distribution could come into play with respect to future investments, either in positive or negative light.

With respect to Trade, Chile exports more than it imports, with energy representing around 63% of Chile’s exports in 2006, while it only imported around 25% in the same period.

Those figures are misleading, however as Chile has limited domestic energy resources, with the country importing the majority of its energy needs. Chile has shown a reliance on natural gas exports, in particular those coming from Argentina. Since 2004 – when Argentina began restricting its natural gas exports – Chile has been revising its energy policy.

Outside of energy, Chile also exports significant agricultural goods (fruits and horticultures), representing around 20% of all exports in 2006, while it only imported 7% in this category for the same year. In 2006, manufacturing goods represented around 10% of all of Chile’s exports, while it imported close to 60% in the same category of goods.

Or in other terms, Chile’s export structure is basically divided equally between industrial (45%) and mining (45%) and the remaining 10% in agricultural goods.

Within the industrial products, the largest export items are cellulose, methanol and chemical products. Of increasing importance in the last decade are forest products, salmon and wine.

It should be mentioned that while Chile is attempting to diversify away from its dependence upon the semi-manufacturing of copper – a product that represented 60% of the country’s exports in the 1970s – to 35% in 2004, this product is still overly represented in the country’s export basket and the Trade Balance as a result of global demands and rising market prices for this commodity.

Copper exports in 2007 represented roughly 45% of the total exports on a Trade Balance basis.

Chile exported $1.3 billion to Spain in 2007, down slightly from almost $1.4 billion in 2006. By comparison, Chile exported $8.4 billion in 2007 to the United States, slightly down from $8.9 billion in 2006. With respect to imports, Chile received $845 million in goods from Spain in 2007, up from $708 million in 2006. With respect to the U.S., $7.3 billion of North American goods were imported in 2007, up sharply from the $5.6 billion Chile imported in 2006.

PRESS ANALYSIS

Despite Chile’s positive economic story, that news isn’t hitting Spain – in fact, news coverage of Chile in Spain is close to non-existent. As an example, when several Spanish businessmen were asked to mention a current article that they had read about Chile they couldn’t name one. Almost invariably the response had something to do with the Dictator Pinochet or the current president, Michelle Bachelet, who is seen as a something as a novelty, in line with Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner.

Other recent news items related to Chile include: reports a Nazi “Doctor of Death,” could be hiding in Chile; the closing of an investigation in the death of popular actor and singer 35 years after his death; Chile and Hawaii are both trying to get a contract for a giant telescope; A Chilean gang was busted with objects stolen from Europe; Ongoing news coverage of Peru’s ex-president Fujimori who is being held in a Chilean prison; and the widespread access of internet in Chile.

There was widespread coverage of the EU-Latin America Summit in Chile, but again the coverage was geared for Spain’s domestic audience, with the primary news being whether or not Venezuela’s Chavez had apologized to Spain’s King Juan Carlos I – or vice versa – after the Royal told the President to “shut up” at a summit last year in Chile.

When Chile is covered in the press, it is almost always in terms related to Spanish businesses that are operating in that country. Specifically, there are repeated stories related to various Spanish energy and telecommunications companies, but in general they lack depth and are not in and of themselves the types of articles that would entice investors.

There have also been recent articles about threats to Spanish companies.

Specifically, there has been negative press regarding the US businessman Douglas Tompkins (owner of Patagonia and North Face) who it is reported is buying up land in Chile. Reports in Spain claim Tompkins is trying to buy enough land to create a wildlife preserve in the south of the country – and which would run from the Andes to the sea, effectively cutting the country in two. There are concerns this could affect Spanish company Endesa which has plans to build hydroelectric dams near the project. In typical Spanish fashion of looking for extremely bizarre details, the ABC newspaper reported speculation is rife in the Chilean region that Tompkins could be planning on exporting water or even building a new promised land for some Jewish sect.

There are occasionally articles related to tourism, but these are most often related to trade publications. In general, the perception is that there are more articles on the Caribbean, Mexico and Peru than those published on Chile. One person interviewed for this report, said they were shocked that a family member was thinking of going to Chile for holidays instead of some place more “exotic.”

There is next to no coverage of Chilean imports, although there is a moderate knowledge of the quality of that country’s wines – but this is covered in select media aimed an even more select reader, which is perhaps not surprising given Spain’s own personal, and abundant, history with wine.

This lack of knowledge is also backed up by a 2006 survey by the Spanish state agency CIS that noted that of those individuals polled on their viewing news habits, only 7.8% of the respondents said they watched “A Lot” of news related to Latin America, and 49% “Quite A Bit.” The most popular items in Spain are related to news about the European Union, followed by those about the North Africa. News items regarding Latin America were the fourth most popular items (EU, North of Africa, US, and Latin America, in that order). In general, Spaniards identify more with European countries, and North Africa, although there are some indications of change. In a late 2007 CIS survey, 31% of those Spaniards polled thought that Spain should develop programs in Latin America to foment economic growth.

However, just the previous year the CIS noted that in terms of international politics, 56% of the respondents thought European Integration was extremely important, with only 8.6% showing concern about relations with Latin America.

It is interesting to note that this shift has also been accompanied with a rise in Latin American immigrants in Spain, accompanied with rising unemployment.

Amazingly, despite 85% of those polled saying they had never travelled to a Latin American country the vast majority believed the principal problem in Latin America was a lack of democracy, weak economies and corruption. Of those who had travelled to Latin America, the vast majority visited Mexico (24.5%), while only 5.7% went to Chile.

With respect to the perception of which Latin American politicians are implementing measures to further their economies, there has been recently a dramatic shift in favor of Chile. In a CIS report released May 29, 2008 (administered in Nov. 2007), on a scale of 1 to 10, Spaniards rated Chile’s Bachelet as being the most effective Latin American leader with a 4.93 ranking. The next most highly ranked Latin American leader was Brazil’s Lula with a 4.61 out of 10 ranking. Bolivia’s Morales had received a 3.42 rating, while Cuba’s Fidel Castro got a 1.82 out of 10.

While this recent survey is not exactly measuring the same criteria, it is interesting to note that of those polled in a 2006 CIS survey, 19% of them gave Brazil’s Lula high marks, followed by Bolivia’s Morales (16%). Only 6.6% of those Spaniards polled in that survey valued the job done by Chile’s Bachelet, which in relative terms was only slightly higher than the 3.7% who amazingly thought that Cuba’s Fidel Castro was doing a good job.

Despite the improvement in the perception of Chile’s government, it remains clear that country’s message is not reaching the Spanish public, but then this is a public where 35% of the population has never heard of the Latin American Summits.

SWOT ANALYSIS

Strength

  • As a result of its having the jump on other Latin American countries with respect to liberalizing its markets there is a generalized perception that in Chile there is an elevated sophistication and professionalism when dealing with Chilean businessman.
  • The Chilean telecommunications and software sectors are viewed as being consolidated and highly respected.
  • Tourism is a definite strength with not only majestic views, but also the added benefit that it’s viewed as safe to travel to remote locations, unlike in several other Latin American countries. After all, what good is a vacation if you can’t come home to develop the photos.
  • As mentioned repeatedly in this report, Chile’s economy is seen as a definite bonus, with the government fully seeking to follow a Free Market model, and entice foreign investors.
  • A willingness – and business code – to allow foreign investors buy or create businesses in Chile without any type of restriction of discrimination toward foreigners.
  • A favorable tax regime, which avoids double taxation with Spain. Direct tax on Companies/Societies is 17% on profits; Indirect tax of VAT 19%.
  • Patent protection: Chile subscribes to strict patent protocol, including that of the Paris accord and recognizes those patents that were issued in other countries. Patents should be registered also in Chile to receive full protection.
  • Common language – Spanish – and in many respects a common culture and religion. This is not to be downplayed as Spaniards are notorious for there horrible grasp of foreign languages. o The current strength of the Euro also makes investments in Latin America attractive.

Weakness

  • As mentioned previously, one area that will increasingly draw criticism from stakeholders and activists is in the area of distribution of wealth. In Chile the lines between those who have and those who don’t have are increasing.
  • Chile’s energy network/grid has shown signs in the past (1999) of needing further investments to avoid shortfalls in production and supply.
  • Chile’s energy portfolio is certainly a weak point, which while the country does have some renewable energy sources – most notably in the area of hydroelectricity – there is a deficit with respect to gas and oil, the result lending to supply shortages.
  • While Chile is “an open market” there is actually tight control on the distribution channels – roughly 80% of retail distribution is handled by 20% of the distributors, which would suggest that this area needs to be liberalized.
  • With respect to the above point, when introducing some consumer products distributors will demand additional support for publicity and promotions, for which the foreign companies will have to be willing to provide.
  • Given the tight control on the retail supply chain and distribution at times it is viewed that certain participants hold too much power when it is time to negotiate business terms.
  • While taxation is generally lower – except for alcoholic beverages (27%), there are also some barriers for the importation for motor vehicles and parts.
  • There have been some reports tighter controls on press freedom. In Spain there was coverage recently of a Committee to Protect Journalist report (May 23) that Chilean photographer Víctor Salas suffered a serious eye injury on Wednesday when he was struck by a police officer as he was covering a protest outside parliament in the southwestern city of Valparaíso. Salas works for the Spanish state news agency EFE.
  • While Chile’s economy is a positive, it is also showing some signs of growth slowing down, and unemployment and inflation both rising.
  • For the most part Chile has avoided political financial scandals, although that has recently changed – and which oddly seems to be the product of a stuffy government process inherited from Dictator Pinochet. o Indeed, Pinochet remains a weakness in terms of branding and marketing, perhaps not helped by the ongoing leaks, trials and reports. On the other hand, Spain has something to offer in this area as it also seems to have recovered from a similar situation under Franco.
  • Some Spanish businessmen said they cannot understand why there isn’t a full agreement between Chile and Mercosur, rather than just being an Associate Member.

Opportunities

  • Given the current makeup of Chile’s energy sector – its dependence upon gas and oil, etc – this should provide the country an opportunity to invest in renewable energies, such as in solar and wind-power, areas in which Spain has several leading companies. Iberdrola, Acciona, Endesa, Gamesa, ACS amongst others are more than qualified to bring their technology and know-how to Chile.
  • Chile is also diversifying into the LNG market, an area where Spanish companies are world leaders.
  • Chile can be a platform to enter other countries given its vast Free Trade agreements. Specifically, foreign investors can take advantage of a Law signed Nov 23, 2002 that seeks to foment foreign investors to use Chile as base to enter other Latin American and global countries. Spanish companies and investors are especially suited to take advantage of such legislation given the cultural similarities and common language in the region.
  • Chile offers growth and investment possibilities in the construction sector, especially in the area of building second homes.
  • Chile continues to offer important investment possibilities in the area of tourism.
  • Chile offers a stable and dynamic market that is supported by a professional manner of doing business.
  • One sector that is currently undergoing spectacular growth, and which Spanish companies can bring their know-how and investments, is in the area of “green” projects, related to sustainable growth, corporate responsibility and environmental protection.
  • The Chilean market is extremely competitive in terms of the relationship between price and product, which means that there is room when negotiating for value-added services or products when seeking positioning in the market and client-customer loyalty – something that Spanish companies can provide.
  • The Spanish government has made it a priority to invest in science and technology, meaning there could be clear opportunities to do business in Chile given that government’s economic policies that also seek to foment investments in this sector.

Threats

  • There are continued supply concerns with respect to not only electricity, but also in the area of agricultural products.
  • Chile must resolve its outstanding border disputes with Peru and Bolivia.
  • There does exist the threat of the influence from populist Latin American governments in Chile’s politics, most notably from Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.
  • Given Chile’s geography there does exist the constant threat of earthquakes.
  • Environmental concerns:
  1. Significant threats to Chile’s freshwater and marine habitats are caused by the ever growing aquaculture industry – primarily salmon farming.
  2. The establishment of non-native tree plantations is considered by many to be the greatest threat to Chile’s native forests.
  3. The primary environmental threats to Chile are air pollution from vehicle and. industrial emissions, water pollution from untreated industrial sewage.

COUNTRY PERCEPTIONS

With respect to what most positively affects a country’s perception in Spain it must first be stated that Spain is very nationalistic. There is a love-hate relationship – some would say envy – with various countries based on historical incidents.

In addition, Spaniards love rankings and continually are publishing articles to show that they are in the vanguard. This at times is extreme, to the point where there have been articles comparing how many cigarette butts, or trees – or worse – can be found on the streets of various European capitals.

More specifically, Spaniards might admit that certain products from the U.S. are top-quality, but they won’t let that sway them from still dredging up the Spanish-American War of 1898 and complaining of the loss of territories. Americans are consistently portrayed as being naïve and religious fanatics, while at the same time being hypocrites. It is a common game in Spain among American ex-pats to look for the “strange or bizarre American news story” that Spanish media routinely publish.

In the same way, there has been extensive news coverage this year to celebrate the 1808 war again France – which while it freed Spain from the French was also the beginning of its decline in influence in Latin America. A weakened Spain subsequently found itself facing Wars of Independence in Venezuela and Argentina.

All to say, that Spain – and Spaniards – have a long memory, and some would argue an inferiority complex.

Spaniards, besides being nationalistic, are also idealists. Countries with the most positive image perceptions in Spain have a strong record in Human Rights and Democratic ideals, fortified by solid economic models. In this respect of equal importance are countries that can contribute in the areas of Culture and Art, and High Technology. Spaniards are big spenders who love the latest high-tech gadget, and in that vein luxury goods.

With this in mind, it is interesting that according to a recent study by BBC, only 31% of Spaniards consider it a positive factor that China is an economic powerhouse. Indeed, according to that study out of all European countries it is Spain that holds the distinction of having the most negative image of China.

On the backdrop of the above information, the typical Spaniard tends to associate his spending by what is popular and trendy, rather than as being related to a specific country.

By Robert Steven Duncan



Source by Robert Steven Duncan

The Best Chili Recipe For Fat Loss and Muscle Building

Drop Pounds Without Dropping Your Favorite Foods

Whenever I go on a fat loss diet plan to drop a few extra pounds I never give up my favorite foods. A good Lifestyle Fitness Solution will help you incorporate the foods you love into your daily eating plan. In some instances they just may need a little bit of tweaking to readjust the macronutrient ratio. Macronutrients are Fats, Proteins, and Carbohydrates and in order to create an effective fat burning meal it's good to have a balance of each. I eat in an iso-caloric fashion. I get 33% of my calories from carbohydrates, 33% from protein, and 33% from fat. This is very close to the Zone which is a 40/30/30 ratio but I cut the carb ratio slowly and bring balance to the force.

Do You Love Love Chili?

This brings me to chili. I love chili so much I can eat it several days a week. I'll consistently drop 2 pounds of fat off my body every week and I'll do it by eating chili for lunch almost everyday. Now I do not suggest chili for lunch everyday as I like to promote a lot of variety but since this only takes 5 minutes to prepare I do make this every week.

My Chili Recipe

This particular recipe is incredibly high in fiber, and I have replaced some of the fat you would find with traditional chili with milled flax seed giving you a high dose of Omega-3's. The idea is to keep the fat in there but lower the fat content using lean ground turkey and adding some back fat calories back with milled flax seeds. The high fiber and balance of fat, proteins, and carbohydrates creates a meal with very slow digestion. This is critical to keeping a steady flow of fuel going into your bloodstream allowing you steady blood sugar levels keeping you in a good mood and your stomach full (not always an easy thing to do while losing weight!)

Let's get to the recipe – This only takes 5 minutes to prepare!

1.25 pounds lean ground turkey 6 tbs milled flax 1 jar reduced sugar Ragu spaghetti sauce 1 can pinto beans (low sodium – or get dry organic beans and soak them) 1 can black beans (low sodium – or get dry organic beans and soak them) 1 packet of chili seasoning 1 chopped jalepeno or green pepper (optional) Fresh chopped cilantro – optional garnish

Brown the ground beef in a deep saucepan. Drain the extra fat and return to pan. Add the sauce, seasoning, beans, and flax. Now simmer on low heat for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

This recipe makes 6 servings.

The calorie makeup per serving is as follows:

Calories 343
Fat 9.5g
Carbs 39g
Fiber 13g
Protein 30g

That's it, that's all it takes to make a simple dieters chili. It's possible to make almost any recipe so that it fits along with your fat loss plans. In most cases it's just a matter of tweaking those macronutrients either up or down. In some cases you may have to figure out how to drop the amount of carbohydrates and increase the amount of protein. In this recipe we actually had to add fat so we added the milled flax seed for a healthy dose of omega 3's. Pick out your favorite foods and start experimenting with creating your own fat loss recipes.



Source by Rick Porter

Waterproofing to Protect Shoes – Especially Your New Boat Shoes!

If you just spent a bunch of money on new Sperry topsiders, you might as well spend a couple more bucks to make sure you get the most out of them. Waterproofing your boat shoes is hands down the most important thing you can to do to increase their life.

Why Waterproof?

Most shoes are made out of porous materials, like leather, for instance. Porous materials have microscopic holes that tend to absorb moisture. Moisture can drastically decrease the longevity of your shoes. How? You might ask. After porous materials have absorbed water, it is very difficult for them to get rid of it. Problems arise with temperature changes and sunlight. Changes in temperature and sunlight will cause the water contained within the pores of the shoes to expand and contract. This leads to cracks in the materials along stress lines. Trust me, you don’t want your shoes looking like the leather interior of a tattered 80’s sports car.

How to Protect Your Shoes

I suggest purchasing a waterproofing spray and applying it to your shoes IMMEDIATELY after you buy them. Yes, that means before you ever stick your feet inside of them. I know, I know. The sales people at Finish Line have tried to sell you this stuff before. But guess what? It actually works.

Water repellents work by essentially clogging the pores of materials that your shoes are made out of. Of course, when water can not find its way into the pores of your shoes, there is no way for the pores of your shoes to expand and contract. That means your new Sperry topsiders will be more resilient and will last far longer than they would having not been waterproofed.

Where to buy waterproofer?

Online, online, ONLINE! Why? Because it’s less expensive.

Buy a couple of cans to make sure you always have extra around the house in case of an impulsive boat shoe purchase.

How to Waterproof Shoes

Simple. Start buy pulling your shoes our of their box. I usually make sure mine aren’t laced, although it is not a huge deal. Next, find a well ventilated area. Lay down some newspaper/tarp/notebooks/whatever to make sure you don’t stain the area around where you are spraying. Hold the can of waterproofing spray 8-12 inches away from the shoes and spray away! Be generous, but make sure you aren’t soaking the shoe. In fact, plan on at least 2 coats. Make sure you let your shoes completely dry between coats; it should take around 10 or 15 minutes.

The entire waterproofing process should only take about 40 minutes and cost you less than $5. That’s a pretty small investment knowing you can increase the life your Sperry Topsiders by up to a few months, and sometimes even longer!



Source by Lucas Larson

About New Era Cool Base Performance Technology

New Era is the official cap of Major League Baseball and one of the leading athletic cap manufacturers in the world. Since 1920, New Era has been one of the worlds premier hat companies, producing a superior quality product that has transcended through 90+ years of an ever changing fashion, cultural and athletic environment.

New Eras’ ability to produce and market a superior quality baseball cap has earned itself the title, “The Official On-Field Cap of Major League Baseball.” Did you know all of your favorite major league baseball players wear New Era 5950 caps on the field during the game?

New Eras’ On-Field Collection caps feature New Eras’ Cool Base Performance Technology to provide you with the best performance headwear, while providing the ultimate quality and comfort, in the most extreme conditions.

New Eras’ Cool Base Performance Technology boasts three main factors:

1) revolutionary wicking

2) superior drying

3) shrink resistant

What makes New Era caps featuring the Cool Base Performance Technology different than other New Era 59Fifty caps?

The main difference is the material. The On-Field Collection caps featuring the Cool Base Performance Technology are made out of 100% polyester, while most other New Era caps are made of 100% wool or a 70/30 wool/cotton blend.

Polyester is a synthetic material used to make a number of different clothing garments, mostly made from a cotton/polyester blend. Here’s a few advantages of using polyester:

1) polyester dries quickly

2) polyester retains its’ shape better

3) polyester is more resistant to mold and mildew damage

For major league baseball players and other athletes, it’s easy to understand why New Era makes their On-Field Collection caps out of polyester. Polyester New Era caps featuring the Cool Base Performance Technology are ideal for MLB players and other athletes because of the extreme conditions they play in. Polyester helps:

* the hats dry quickly in hot conditions, where the cap is likely to be drenched in sweat, or, in rainy, cold conditions.

* the hats not shrink. New Era caps are mostly fitted, so when exposed to sweat or water, wool or cotton caps will shrink.

* the hats retain shape through games, practice, being thrown in lockers and stuffed in the bottom of athletic bags.

* the caps retain color better.

When making polyester clothing articles like New Era caps, you need to take very thin threads of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that are woven or knitted to provide maximum flexibility.

Combining thin polyester fibers with the quality of stitching that New Era provides, you will notice that New Era caps made with the Cool Base Performance Technology, have a smooth and silky feel.



Source by Michael Sbicca

Is Competition a Destructive Force in Society?

Everything comes with positive and negative sides, especially if we talk about competition. On one hand, it brings plenty of hopes and advantages, while on the negative approach, it conveys ruinous jealously and gaucherie. Most people believe that competition makes their life more challenging and tricky.

One of my classmates at schooling level was often confused that why other students race with him in academics. He was an above-average student, who used to attain good marks and attention of teachers with the help of his brilliancy and knowledge, but he never was the topper in the class. I firmly believed that he was the most intelligent student of the class. Even after this, he never managed to get overgenerous marks, as he never believed in competition, in competitiveness with other students. This approach never let him achieve what he wanted, because he never competed with anyone, as he believed that he would get whatever is in his mind, with the help of his knowledge and experience. Although, he succeeded initially in his career, but later on, his entrants, at his workplace, were blessed (or let us call it 'cursed') with competitive mindset, who were ready to take over his profile. They competed with him, which my friend never liked. So he started moving to new organizations and this is the sole reason behind the instability in his life. However, I still believe that he is going to get a great life ahead, but he needs to originate his competitive creativity from his deep inside.

Why People Think Competition is Destructive

When I spoke to my friend about his non-competitive approach, he told me, "I hate jealously, where a person is ready to cut the throat of others just for the sake of his betterment."

Well, jealously is the only bad thing about competition. Otherwise, it is something, which has evolved the human race, from trees to mars. Without competition, the society would not have progressed to this height.

Why Competition is the Necessity

I strongly believe that – for a better environment and lifestyle, competition is necessary in the society. There are eight billion people on the planet. Without competitiveness with others, you can not achieve what you want, as there are thousands of other people, who also desire to achieve the same. You can capture the scene of competition at schools, workplaces, markets, economy, and businesses, and even in your family. In the following snippets of the article, I have described some of the positive impacts of competition on our society – you can not keep away from these affirmative factors.

End of monopoly – It is a consumer-driven market, where monopoly is the greatest nuisance. When there is only one market player, there occurs dominance, in which, the seller sets (hikes) the price of its poor-quality goods and services. If there will be other players, as well, in the market, there will be a healthy competition, which will pull down the outstanding high prices. It will be beneficial for the society to have access to low-priced (and good-quality) goods and services.

Innovation – Due to antagonism, manufacturers will enforcely prepare innovative products in order to earn their unique identity in the market. For instance, it was the competition (between US and Russia), which piloted the human space exploration program in the decade of 1960s. Additionally, competition also encourages political leaders to work in their constituencies.

Growth and Development – Competition promotes the growth and development of the nation and society. When hiring for a sustainable economy, finance minister lays the foundation of growth and development programs for the nation. This plan is made to take over the economy of some other the nation.



Source by Shaillendra Verma