Sunday, 13 October 2019

Typhoon Hagibis damages Japan

Japan is being hit hard by Typhoon Hagibis. 10,000s of troops and rescue workers on Sunday have been sent to save stranded residents and fight floods caused by the typhoon. This weather event is one of the worst to hit the country in recent history.

At least 30 people were killed in the typhoon that left different sections of towns under water. About 100,000 homes were left without power.

More than 20 rivers in central and northeastern Japan burst their banks and dozens more overflowed although their banks were still in tact. Rescue efforts were hindered by this.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

MasterCard and Visa quit Facebook's Libra Digital Currency Plan

Paypal was the first to exit Facebook's Libra currency association a week ago. Now MasterCard, Visa, Stripe, eBay, Mercado and Pago are quitting, too. This is a major disadvantage for Facebook's plans for a distributed, global cryptocurrency. The withdrawals leave Libra with no major USA payment processor.

Explanations given are that companies are supportive of projects that want to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world, but they want to focus on their own business. There are also doubts as to how well Libra can satisfy all required regulatory expectations.

The remaining Libra members are facing increasing pressure from governments and regulators, many of whom see the project as a threat to the existing financial system.

Chinese Measure Words

Measure words can be difficult in Mandarin Chinese because of the large amount of variations. Different objects could be discussed. Measure words exist in English, such as “piece of cake” or “stick of gum.” In Chinese, each noun requires a measure word. For example, you need to say “five (measure word) cats.”

Here are some common measure words in Mandarin Chinese:

个 gè

This is a generic measure word that you can use in place of measure words that you do not know. Examples for “个 gè” include: 三个人 sān gèrén (three people),  一个苹果  yīgè píngguǒ (one apple). 

间 jiān

This is a measure word that is used to describe any sort of room, from bedrooms to classrooms. For example: 一间客房 yī jiàn kèfáng (one guest room), 四间教室 sì jiān jiàoshì (four classrooms). 

棵 kē

“棵 kē” is used when when talking about plants or trees. You would say “三棵树 sān kē shù
” when talking about three trees. 

双 shuāng

When you are talking about pairs of things, the measure word “双 shuāng” is used. So four pairs of shoes would be “四双鞋 sì shuāng xié” and one pair of chopsticks is “一双筷子 yīshuāng kuàizi”. 

张 zhāng

To talk about pieces of paper, or anything flat, you will use “张”. This can be tricky because nouns such as paper, bed, and tickets all fall into this category. Examples include: 两张票 liǎng zhāng piào (two tickets), 一张床  yī zhāng chuáng (one bed), and 三张纸 sān zhāng zhǐ (three sheets of paper). 

支 zhī

This measure word is used to refer to twig-like objects or long objects such as pens and pencils. You would say “一支铅笔 yī zhī qiānbǐ” for “one pencil”.

只 zhī

Another common measure word that you will see describing animals or if you are talking about one of a pair is “只 zhī”. Note that this is pronounced “zhī” and not “zhǐ” like in other contexts. Examples include: 两只鸡 liǎng zhī jī (two chickens), 一只鞋 yī zhǐ xié (one shoe). These measuring words can begin to get extremely complicated. There are many different characters for various categories. Every Chinese noun needs a measure word. If you make a mistake, people probably could still understand what you are talking about.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Saudi Aramco is Expected to Create World’s Biggest IPO Next Week

Saudi Aramco is officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company. It is a Saudi Arabian national petroleum and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest companies in the world by revenue.

Saudi Aramco has the world's second largest proven crude oil reserves at more than 270 billion barrels. Saudi Aramco operates the world's largest single hydrocarbon network, the Master Gas System. Aramco has reported its net income at $111.1 billion in 2018 compared to $75.9 billion in 2017.

The Saudi Aramco board is expected to give final approvals to proceed with its large share sale next week. The company is preparing for the IPO. About 2% of Aramco may be sold. This could raise $40 billion.

ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and Canada

The ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) was founded in 1904. It is the global professional accounting body offering Chartered Certified Accountant qualification (ACCA). ACCA's headquarters are in London. The principal administrative office is in Glasgow. ACCA works in 52 countries.

A member who holds an ACCA designation, is considered to hold a Bachelors degree in Canada. ACCA and the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada) have a global mutual recognition agreement.

Interesting links:

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

USA and Mexico Border Wall May Pose Environmental Threat

The much needed wall between USA and Mexico is being built right now. Bulldozers and excavators are creating the space to build the new wall. The wall may come with great environmental costs. The wall is a $5 billion commitment by USA President Donald Trump to prevent illegal asylum seekers from getting into the USA.

Wildlife could be affected. Work on the border wall, fences and related infrastructure, such as roads, fragments habitat, erodes soil, changes fire regimes and alters hydrological processes by sometimes causing floods.

About 650 miles of the border wall already exist. Most of it has been built on federal land where the terrain provides no natural barrier. The complete wall would extend into lands that include important habitats for wildlife.

This wall would have no windows. It is made of non-combustible material such as concrete, cement block, brick, or fire rated drywall. Wall penetrations would be sealed with special materials.

The complete USA-Mexico Wall would be about 2,000 miles.

The Great Wall of China is the longest in the world. Thanks to modern measuring techniques, the total length has been finally revealed, as 21,196.18 kilometers (13,170.70 miles).

Could Stitch Fix Stock be Headed for More Growth?

Stitch Fix is an online personal styling service in the United States. Founded in 2011, Stitch Fix went public in 2017 on NASDAQ. Immediately after the IPO, Stitch Fix was valued at $1.6 billion. As of February 2018, the company was valued at $2 billion.

The company began by catering only to women, but it has expanded to men's clothing, plus sizes, maternity wear, and kids. As of May 2018, they had 5,800 employees including 3,000 stylists and 75 data scientists.

The company offers consumers access to their own personal stylists without having to go outside anywhere.

For a monthly fee, clients get curated pieces of clothing and accessories shipped to their door. They can pay for what they keep and return the rest to the company. Consumers like this type of service.

Stitch Fix ended the fiscal fourth quarter earlier this month with 3.2 million customers, up 18% compared to a year ago.

Stitch Fix has expanded in the e-commerce market into new clothing categories and recently launched a new service in which customers can purchase items on the website in addition to getting their scheduled box of clothing. The company is thinking of new ways to create shopping for customers. It is highly likely that this stock is heading for growth.