Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Power struggle in boardroom

Movers and Shakers ...

“Stephen Burch quits at Virgin Media after power struggle in boardroom”

Stephen Burch, the chief executive of Virgin Media, resigned yesterday after a series of boardroom rows with Jim Mooney, the chairman, and Bill Huff, the key investor, left him with little choice but to leave the cable company after just 18 months.

It is understood that Mr Burch, who moved from the United States to take the job, felt unable to run the business because all strategic decisions were being taken by Mr Mooney, based in New York, and Mr Huff, who chairs the executive committee.

Mr Burch will receive a $7 million (£3.53 million) payoff in return for agreeing not to help any would-be bidders for Virgin Media over the next 12 months, as he departed immediately for what the company described as “family and personal reasons”.

Mr Burch, although nominally chief executive, was described by insiders as “third in the hierarchy, at best” at a company where “decisions that should be taken in the UK were being made in the United States”. In particular, Mr Burch was not thought to be a supporter of the bid by NTL for ITV – an act initiated by a phone call from Mr Mooney to the commercial broadcaster’s then chairman Sir Peter Burt.

It is the second time that a chief executive of the cable group has departed unexpectedly in the past three years. Simon Duffy, the previous incumbent, was moved suddenly into the titular role of executive deputy chairman in December 2005 to make way for Mr Burch after a similar falling-out.

The alliance between Mr Mooney and Mr Huff dates from the rescue of the near-bankrupt NTL by a group of hedge funds led by Mr Huff. He recruited Mr Mooney and has remained the power behind the throne ever since, even though he has cut his fund’s shareholding to 4.5 per cent. However, Mr Huff retains considerable power because he remains chairman of the executive committee. He is understood to ask for information daily from the company’s executives and he is still able to control who is hired and how money is spent.

The internal problems were one of the factors that prompted Carlyle Group, the venture capital firm, to make an approach at $33 a share, with the view of moving the management of the business to the UK after buying out Mr Huff and removing Mr Mooney. That move collapsed after Virgin Media decided to hire Goldman Sachs to conduct an auction of the company just as the global credit crisis made it impossible for venture capital groups to borrow the sums required.

Mr Burch’s departure comes just as it became clear that a sale may not happen until 2008. He will be replaced temporarily by Neil Berkett, the chief operating officer. Virgin Media shares eased 13 cents to $22.66 in lunchtime trading in New York.

Source: Dan Sabbagh, Times 22 August, 2007

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Making Time Together Count

“Are you feeling pressured to cram a lot of activity into limited time with your family or friends ...”

Make life easy for yourself. Taking time out for yourself is important. I’ve learned to make the time count, without forcing anything, or trying to do to much, be it a phone call, writing an email or even a text message. Making time together count it's all good especially for the people you care about

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Good will always shine through

“Focus ONLY on the good for yourself and others ...”

What you impress on your subconscious mind will create your reality. Good thoughts or bad thoughts. You have to choose. Remember "Thought Become Things!" ... To go from where you are to where you want to be, one has to start re-energizing one's thoughts ... and visualization is one of the best technique.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Creating a Prosperity Mindset

So how is a mindset created?

“What makes you have a mindset that has you expecting breathtaking success every time you attempt something?”

Well, a number of things come to mind.

You don't suffer from jealously about the success of others. George Lucas doesn't have to have a bomb so Steven Spielberg can have a hit movie. Madonna's new album doesn't have to tank so that Beyonce can have a hit. There is enough prosperity to go around. So it's important that you celebrate the success of others. Even if you perceive them to be your competition. In most cases, competition enlarges the available market.

Another important thing is to study people who have been successful in the area you are interested in. This does a few things ...
First and foremost - it builds your belief that a successful outcome is possible. If you're fighting cancer and you read Lance Armstrong's book - it gives your beliefs credibility.

Second, this just gives you overall positive programming. And when you're getting positive programming - it means you're not getting negative programming!

Finally, studying people who are successful in your area gives you the opportunity to model what they have done. You learn from their experience and can achieve your own sooner.

Another important factor in developing a success mindset is hanging around successful people. Jim Rohn or whoever suggested taking a millionaire to lunch had a very good idea.

It's been said that your income will be the average of your five closest friends. Not only do I believe that is true for your income, but I also think it holds true for your health, happiness, self-esteem and just about everything else. Including mindset.

When you hang around successful people, their belief, habits and actions start to rub off on you.
Of course you have to restrict the negative programming you receive from the data-sphere and counteract it with positive programming.

Give this all some thought. And give yourself a grade on what you're doing to develop a mindset of breathtaking success.

*Excerpted from Randy Gage's The Daily Awakening

Grow your prosperity consciousness and start living a life of true abundance. You are meant to be healthy, happy and prosperous. Once you recognize and accept this, it is simply a case of learning the principles that abundance is based on and applying them in your life. Get on the road to prosperity with Randy Gage's 30 day prosperity program The Midas Mentality. Get it today!

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Friday, August 10, 2007

FTSE plunge wipes out year's gains

Another wake-up call as the market continues to decline ... are we heading for a global recession ?

“Central banks moved to bolster financial markets again today but failed to stop another wave of selling around the world ...”

Billions more were wiped off the value of Britain's top companies after the FTSE 100 index plunged 232.9 points or 3.71% to close at a low of 6,038.3, while the FTSE 250 was 303.6 points lower at 10,908.5. Both indices are now below their levels at the beginning of 2007

For a time this afternoon it appeared that nerves were calming and their were signs of a slight recovery, but Wall Street triggered the panic again when it fell more than 200 points in early trading. On Thursday, the FTSE 100 index closed down 122.7 points.

As the shock of the US subprime mortgage lending crisis swept the world, European and Asian markets followed the near-3% slide on Wall Street overnight with large declines.

The European Central Bank pumped €61bn (£41bn) into the money market on top of the €5bn it provided yesterday. Overnight the US Federal Reserve added $24bn (£12bn) of liquidity, with the Bank of Japan spending $8.5bn and Australia's central bank A$5bn (£2.1bn). So far, the Bank of England has not followed suit.

The unprecedented intervention, which has seen the ECB spend as much in the past two days as it did in the days after the 9/11 terror attacks, followed the suspension of a number of asset-backed funds across the Continent. Most notable was France's largest bank, BNP Paribas, halting withdrawals on three funds which had dropped in value from more than $2bn to $1.59bn in the past fortnight.

Today's slide in the FTSE 100 left it below the level at which it started the year. The index ended 2006 on 6220.8 and analysts were warning it could now drop back through 6000 for the first time in nine months. In Asia, shares continued the rout with the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo losing more than 400 points, or 2.3% of its value, and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng index fell by 2.8%, or 640 points, before the markets were closed due to a typhoon warning.

Until recently, equity markets had enjoyed a strong rally. The FTSE 100 peaked at 6732.4 on 15 June, which meant it had gained 9.5% in the first half. The crisis was prompted by the meltdown in the US subprime mortgage market, where banks face huge defaults from bad-risk borrowers.


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Government 'must act on e-crime'

House of Lords reports ...

“Government 'must act on e-crime' The government must do more to protect internet users from the threat of e-crime ... ”

The Lords Science and Technology Committee said the internet was now "the playground of criminals" The report criticised the government's current "Wild West" approach of leaving internet security up to the individual as "inefficient and unrealistic".

A Home Office spokesperson said the government was examining the report and would respond shortly. "We are firm believers in the internet. It is a huge force for good. But it relies on the confidence of millions of users," said Lord Broers, chairman of the committee that published the Personal Internet Security report.

"You can't just rely on individuals to take responsibility for their own security. They will always be out-foxed by the bad guys."

'True picture'

Responsibility for protecting users also fell to "the IT industry and the software vendors, the banks and internet traders, and the internet service providers", he said.

But, speaking later on the BBC's Today programme, he conceded it was hard to contain the problems of the internet.

"Because of the way it's been set up, without a security level, so that people could talk to each other and have access to everybody else's data, it's become almost unrealistic at this stage, because criminals are moving-in in a big way," he said.

"And they're not the sad hacker in their back room - this is organised crime."

The House of Lords report acknowledged that there were no accurate statistics on e-crimes, but said that it was "not surprising" that public anxiety was growing.

The report cited a government survey that suggested more Britons feared internet crime than burglary.

The Get Safe Online study found 21% of respondents felt most at risk from net crime, while 16% worried most about being burgled.

Internet crimes can include malicious hackers taking control of a PC, or online phishing scams where bogus websites are used to try to trick people into handing over confidential information, such as bank details.

Commenting on the government survey, the House of Lords committee said: "This raises the question whether the government needs to do more to help establish a true picture of the scale of the problem, the risks to individuals and the cost to the economy. We believe the answer is yes."

The Lords' report recommended a number of measures to help boost the confidence of internet users.

"The state also needs to do more to protect the public, not only the government itself, but regulators like Ofcom, the police and the court system," said Lord Broers.

Specifically, the report called for a central system for reporting of e-crime.

In addition, it said there should be an increase in the resources available to the police and criminal justice system to catch and prosecute e-criminals.

David Emm, of security firm Kaspersky Lab, agreed that a central unit could help.

"A wider agency can only be of benefit, if only to gauge the size of the problem," he told the BBC News website. "You can't manage something if you don't know the scale of the problem."

But, he said, there had been a central law enforcement agency to tackle e-crime in the past.

The National High Tech Crime Unit was merged with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) in April 2006.

"I've had concerns since then that there wasn't as much of a focus on high-tech crime," he said.

Card abuse

The committee recognised that the responsibility for UK net users - around 63% of the population - did not rest solely with the government.

"You can't legislate for better internet security. But the government can put in place incentives for the private sector to up their game. And they can invest in better data protection and law enforcement," said Lord Broers.

The committee suggested that a kite-mark should be set up that would identify internet service providers that guaranteed a secure service.

In addition it said that government should encourage banks and other companies trading online to improve data security by establishing a law that would require them to notify a central authority when there was a breach.

This was important in cases, such as happened in March this year, when hackers stole the credit card details of 45 million TK Maxx customers.

"Potentially any one of these cards, belonging to innocent individuals, could be used online for illegal purposes in transactions relating to terrorism, or to purchase child abuse images," the committee said.

It also said that steps should be taken to establish legal liability for damage resulting from security flaws found in hardware or software.

Responding to the report, a Home Office spokesperson said: "The key to tackling online crime is prevention, which is why across government we are working closely with industry and law enforcement agencies to improve safety while also seeking to raise awareness to improve people's ability to protect themselves.

"We are in discussions with the police about effectively policing the internet and looking at what measures can be taken.

"We are grateful for the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee's contribution and work in investigating this important area and will look at the report carefully and respond to the committee shortly."

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Health for a better life

News: Times Online

“Choosing a salad over chips and doing that hour in the gym can have an impact on much more than your waistband”

Not so very long ago, the only people you’d hear discussing their “health” were sick people. A little more recently, health became a specialist interest, and mid-eighties dating agency forms listed “health and fitness” as a hobby alongside classical music or literature. Today city workers queue behind students in juicebars and anywhere in Britain you’ll struggle to be more than an hour from a Fitness First gym. Read more

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