Category Archive 'Current events'

Hmm…one example of the risks of investing in emerging markets

Current events, ETFs

News broke earlier today that , including CANTV (VTN), whose trading was halted on the New York Stock Exchange (though not before dropping 15%), and Electricidad de Caracas owned by US-based AES Corporation (AES).

Regular readers of this site probably remember that I own a few ETFs and find them a convenient way to get exposure to foreign markets. In fact, ILF is an ETF specializing in Latin America, and I’m curious to see how the news about Venezuela will affect it tomorrow, if it will at all.

The truth is that I’ve stayed away from investing in Latin America, largely due to my husband’s influence and opinion about the region. He grew up in the and has plenty of experiences to share about how things work in many Latin countries. That doesn’t mean that Latin America’s a place to avoid — in fact, it’s very possible that because of our lack of objectivity, we’re missing out on good investment opportunities.

Still, news like today’s is a good example of the risks of investing in emerging markets, regardless of region. When investing in them, it’s easy to focus on the high double-digit growth rates and forget about underlying risks. Even though I don’t have any direct exposure to Latin America in my investments, I’ll still be watching how things develop in Venezuela with great interest.

Holy cow: musical scores of Mozart’s complete works now available for free online!

Current events, Tips for saving money

To commemorate the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth, the has created an online database of 24,000 of his works (in sheet music form), all available for download, for free. Obviously, it’s for personal use only, etc. and all the standard legalese applies.

The site and database, called the , is searchable in German and English, by KV, type of work, key of music, and editor. Here’s an .

Seriously, don’t you love it when the Internet facilitates sort of thing? The site’s been experiencing unbelievable traffic, so if you can’t connect immediately, try a bit later. I wasn’t able to access their servers at all until this afternoon. But, once I did, it took me no time at all to find the — a.k.a. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star/The Alphabet Song, for example. Pretty simple search interface, and quick results. The sheet music is in JPEG format, so you have to save the images first before printing them (at least as far as I can tell). But it’s really a small inconvenience to pay given the incredible access they’re offering!

That Oprah’s one smart cookie

Business & entrepreneurship, Current events

Breaking news is that and one week to do it. That cause could be one person or several organizations (relatives are excluded), and she’s handed out a DVD recorder so audience members can film their act to be aired on a future show.

So, philanthropy is great, but doing so at the same time as getting real-world, market-proven, compelling material guaranteeing future revenue (kind of like how American Idol works) is brilliant. Geez, it’s sure to result in an impressive ROI.

Guess that’s why she’s the queen of talk shows! So, if you had this opportunity, what would you do?

Donating all October earnings to Grameen Bank

Current events, Personal finance

I’m really embarassed to say that I didn’t find out that until today.

Somehow, I noticed all the announcements for the other Nobel prizes during the last week or so but managed to miss out on the biggest one. I’ve been a big fan of Mr. Yunus and Grameen ever since I first read his book a few years ago.

To celebrate the Nobel, all of this site’s earnings in October will go to Grameen. So far, it looks like my October earnings will only be comprised of Adsense, as the other affiliate programs I’ve participated in the past are currently inactive, but the whatever comes in from whichever affiliate will be contributed online via Grameen Foundation USA.

As of this writing, my earnings stand at $49.04. I’m not expecting to break any records this month, but I’m sure wherever my earnings land, they’ll go much further in Grameen’s hands!

Are you boycotting Bank of America?

Current events, Personal finance

It seems there’s a grassroots movement going on this week to boycott Bank of America. So far, according to Clark Howard’s website, some $18M worth of accounts there have been withdrawn. , for those who don’t know, is a consumer advocate, and has taken up the call asking BofA customers to back a fellow customer named Matthew Shinnick of San Francisco who earlier this week had a nightmare of an experience at Bank of America with no recourse of action.

Shinnick was arrested, put in jail, and paid $14K out-of-pocket due to the incident because BofA called the police when he tried to verify and cash a check he’d received for $2,000 for a pair of bikes he’d listed on Craigslist. It turned out that the account at BofA was real, but the check was fake. Before signing the check, Shinnick had asked BofA to verify that the funds were available, which they did, but as soon as he signed the back of the check, he unwittingly become not a victim but the second party to the crime. Shinnick has been trying to get BofA to cover the $14K in expenses he paid, but a 2004 Supreme Court case shields institutions from liability when reporting a suspected crime, and legally, BofA has done no wrong.

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