Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Review of 2013.

2013 has been a hard year for many individuals around the world, with most countries seeing an increase in those living below the poverty line. This has been exasperated by prices for basic foods and services, increasing at a greater rate than salaries.
Business has been up and down, with a multitude of scandals around the world being reported during the year.
Some of the key moments in 2013 include;
6 Jan: NASA let asteroid-watchers know about the expected flyby of 99942 Apophis, the mighty rock named after an ancient Egyptian god of evil and darkness. While it wasn't a proximity warning for any time soon, the space agency does think there's a ‘tiny chance’ of Apophis crashing into the Earth in April 2036.
18 Jan: In the highly anticipated interview on the Oprah Winfrey Network, disgraced US cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win all seven of his Tour de France titles.
1 Feb: The New York Times says Chinese hackers have carried out sustained attacks on its computer systems, breaking in and stealing the passwords of high-profile reporters and other staff members.
14 Feb: American Airlines and US Airways agree $11bn merger. The combined company becomes America's largest airline with 1,500 aircraft, $39bn in revenues and 100,000 staff.
8 Mar: Pope Francis, the first non-European pontiff of the modern era, revealed himself to the world from a balcony at the Vatican. Jorge Bergoglio, who served as archbishop of Buenos Aires, took the name Francis shortly after being elected by cardinals in what was apparently the fifth round of voting on the second day of the conclave.
15 Mar: Microsoft shuts off its Windows Live Messenger chat service, transitioning its more than 100 million users to Skype
15 Apr: The joy and celebration of the Boston Marathon turned into pain and fear after two explosions ripped through the streets killing at least three and injuring over 100. The blasts happened as spectators cheered on runners finishing the race in a carnival atmosphere. They came just over four hours after the start of the race when many amateur runners would have been finishing.
17 Apr: The Queen of England joined hundreds of dignitaries and the family of Baroness Thatcher for the funeral of the former prime minister at St Paul's Cathedral. Baroness Thatcher, who was Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, died on April 8, aged 87 after suffering a stroke.
29 Apr: Kodak sells two of its businesses to UK pensioners in $2.8bn deal. The company, based in Rochester, New York, announced Monday that it will hand over control of its camera-film and document-imaging businesses to UK retirees in a deal to settle $2.8bn in obligations. Kodak invented the digital camera, which ultimately destroyed its business. After years of falling sales and missed opportunities the company declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy last January.
1 May: Amanda Berry, Georgina "Gina" DeJesus and Michele Knight were freed after a decade of captivity inside a Cleveland home, after Berry attracted the attention of a neighbour who helped her escape.
7 May: Hewlett-Packard faces $1bn lawsuit from shareholders over Autonomy deal. HP's chief executive Meg Whitman, her predecessor Léo Apotheker, the company's former chairman Ray Lane and Autonomy founder Mike Lynch are among eight defendants named in the class action suit, filed at California's San Francisco district court, which accuses those who oversaw the botched deal of conducting "cursory due diligence on a polluted and vastly overvalued asset".
15 May: Google Glass, a cross between a mobile computer and eyeglasses that can both record video and surf the Internet, is now available to a select few but is already among the year's most buzz-worthy new gadgets.
8 Jun: NSA source revealed that a 29-year-old computer technician for a U.S. defense contractor, Eric Snowden, leaked details of a top-secret American program that sifts through reams of data from telecommunications companies.
22 Jun: Microsoft announced that it will be adding 3-D printing support to Windows 8.1. The company believes 3-D printing one day, will be as normal and active as regular printing.
7 Jul: Andy Murray became the first British male to win the Wimbledon singles title in 77 years after a thrilling straight-sets victory over Novak Djokovic.
22 Jul: After much anticipation and media coverage - Prince William and Duchess Kate's first baby, a future monarch, was born today at 4:24 pm local time in London's private wing of St. Mary's Hospital. The announcement said the baby weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces, and William was present for the birth.
8 Aug: With sales stalling and its customer base shrinking, BlackBerry formally put itself up for sale, a signal the company that pioneered the smartphone market now sees its prospects as a stand-alone public company diminishing fast. (They later took the company ‘off  the market’).
2 Sep: British mobile phone group Vodafone pulled off one of the biggest deals in corporate history on Monday, selling its stake in America's biggest mobile phone business for $130bn (£84bn). More than £54bn of the proceeds will be returned to Vodafone's shareholders − with £22bn going to UK investors. Vodafone will also pour cash into its existing business to accelerate the rollout of superfast 4G broadband services across Europe.
8 Sep: The United States and Russia agree on an outline for the identification and seizure of Syrian chemical weapons and said Syria must turn over an accounting of its arsenal within a week. The agreement will be backed by a U.N. Security Council resolution that could allow for sanctions or other consequences if Syria fails to comply.
1 Oct: The U.S. government shut down at 12:01 a.m. ET after lawmakers in the House and the Senate could not agree on a spending bill to fund the government.
18 Oct: Payday lender Wonga has continued its global expansion with the purchase of German payment firm BillPay. The controversial online lender, which charges an annual interest rate on UK loans of more than 5,000%, said the deal "significantly accelerates our development into a broad-based, digital finance group". The German firm lets people pay for items bought online with a range of different payment methods, including instalment credit. Founded in 2009, it has around 2 million users and more than 3,500 online partners in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
8 Nov: Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the Philippines, killing thousands and leaving hundreds of thousands displaced. It was the strongest recorded cyclone ever to make landfall.
15 Nov: J.P. Morgan & Chase will pay a record $13 billion to resolve U.S. Justice Department probes into the bank’s sale of mortgage bonds that officials said helped feed the financial chaos of 2008.
18 Nov: Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan buys Burton's Biscuits, which employs more than 2,000 people in the UK, for about £350m. Burton’s had sales of more than £333m in 2012, down from £341m a year earlier. The Burton's management team is to keep a substantial minority stake in the business. The deal is Teachers' second British acquisition in less than three weeks, after it agreed to buy the Busy Bees nursery chain in late October. As with Busy Bees, Teachers' thinks it can help Burton's to expand outside Britain.
1 Dec: Nelson Mandela, who rose from militant antiapartheid activist to become the unifying president of a democratic South Africa and a global symbol of racial reconciliation, died at his Johannesburg home following a lengthy stay at a Pretoria hospital. He was 95.
Although many countries are predicting a turnaround in their fortune for 2014, there is concern that poverty will continue to increase around the globe and especially in, so called, first world countries.
Leadership will be one of the key drivers for ‘growth’ in 2014 and beyond – where stakeholders, that have a long term view, need to ensure they have ‘effective’ leadership in place to ensure sustainable growth, which should include embracing and clear, positive action in the areas of corporate governance and corporate social responsibility.
Have a great 2014.

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