Monthly Archives: May 2015

F-15s Escort Air France Flight to New York

Photo courtesy of: Aero Icarus

Photo courtesy of: Aero Icarus

After an anonymous caller informed Maryland state police of a bomb threat on an Air France flight en route from Paris to New York, the US Air Force sent out two F-15 fighter jets to escort the plain to a safe landing at New York’s JFK airport.

The call was made in the United States to a state police barracks in Maryland a little bit after 6:30 am (10:30 GMT), according to police spokesman Greg Shipley. The FBI was then immediately contacted.

The flight was Air France 022. Two F-15 jets joined the plane for the last leg of the trip to JFK on Monday, where it landed safely. Later the plane was taken to a designated area at the airport and was thoroughly searched.

Media outlets in the US reported that the threat was considered non-credible.

Ares Selling Custom-Made Cars

Most cars – even top-of-the-line ones – can be purchased directly from the auto-dealer on the same day as viewing.  But that won’t give one the uniqueness that Ares Performance, headed by European auto marketer Dany Bahar offers.  The man who has run the International Sports Federation, was behind the creation of Red Bull Media House, and held key roles at Ferrari and Lotus among other leading automobile companies, is now giving people the opportunity to personally design their very own cars.

According to Bahar, in so doing, people are given the opportunity to “express their individuality through personalization.” He explained: “Individualization is becoming so big – you can do everything, shoes, shirts, watches, everything. The super rich who can buy a Bugatti for £1.5m, LaFerrari for £1m, the McLaren P1 for £850,000, they can afford this no problem.”

So how new is this concept?  Custom cars have in the past been designed to be one-of-a-kind, but not with the buyer in mind and certainly not by the buyer.  For example, last year’s Geneva Motor Show featured top 10 custom cars, including the Rolls Royce Wraith, the Nimrod 458 Italia Zero and the Mansonry Carbanado GT.

Bahar is now saying something different. Customers can make their car exactly as they want, as opposed to choosing one designed by the manufacturer.  Bahar pointed out that through his company, “[Buyers] can chose their own colour, leather, wood application from these [manufacturers] but then they realize that 399 or however many other cars are in the series, can have the same.”

What Ares does is let the client become “fully involved,” which Bahar believes is “something very exciting,” ultimately resulting in customer satisfaction and a successful business.  Indeed, Bahar puts that figure for the company at one that is “not dissimilar to luxury cars where the figure is 50pc.”

At the end of the day, it is not news that businesses which can offer a customized service to each of their clients will have a greater chance of hitting the high notes than those offering a “one size fits all” boiler plate solution.

Best US Cities to Start a Business

Shreveport Municipal Auditorium. Photo:  Billy Hathorn

Shreveport Municipal Auditorium. Photo: Billy Hathorn

There are a lot of factors to consider when embarking on the journey of starting a new business. One of the most important considerations, which can sometimes mean the difference between success and failure, is the city in which the business is launched.

WalletHub, a social network site for financial information, examined the 150 largest cities by population in the US for 13 categories. Some of those metrics included: survival rate for a business; cost of space; how hard/easy to get a business loan, and ten more. Those categories were then grouped into two major headings: Business Environment and Access to Resources. For example, rate of survival would be sorted under Business Environment, while getting a loan would be Access to Resources.

Each of the cities were then ranked according to the two major headings, and the following top ten cities emerged:


1.    Shreveport, LA
2.    Tulsa, OK
3.    Springfield, MO
4.    Chattanooga, TN
5.    Jackson, MS
6.    Sioux Falls, SD
7.    Memphis, TN
8.    Augusta, GA
9.    Greensboro, NC
10.    Columbus, GA

China Passes US in Oil Imports

Top Ten Oil Importers in 2013

Top Ten Oil Importers in 2013

After about ten years of changing energy flows from the US as the world’s biggest importer towards China taking the lead, April was the month China it finally happened.

According to Chinese customs data the Asian giant reached an historic high of overseas oil purchases of $7.4 million barrels a day. US imports in April were $7.2 million/day. China’s level of consumption represents about 1 in every 13 barrels of oil used globally.

It is noted that China will not consistently out-purchase the US until later in the year, but this milestone underlines how much the US shale oil revolution has truly reduced the country’s dependence on foreign oil supplies. Plus the change points to the fact that China continues to increase its demand for oil while simultaneously experiencing a slowing down in its economic expansion.

Managing partner at Blacklight Research, Colin Fenton, pointed out that part of the reason for the Chinese increase in oil purchases is stockpiling of oil.

“It’s begun,” Mr Fenton said. “China’s crude imports have been above trend in four of the past five months.”

Renters Paying Too Much as Recovery Passes Them By

For RentA worrisome percentage of renters are paying at least half of their income for housing and utilities, according to census data analyzed by Enterprise Community Partners. The non-profit company that helps finance affordable housing states that the number of such households has increased by 26 percent since 2007, rising to 11.25 million. This fact underscores the problem that despite the economic recovery of recent years, a large percentage of the country is not feeling the improvement.

The government considers it a financial burden if a family spends more than 30 percent of their income on housing and utilities. Angela Boyd, a vice-president at Enterprise Community Partners, explained the danger of such a rental burden.

“It means making really difficult trade-offs,” said Boyd. “There are daily financial dilemmas about making their rent or buying groceries.”

The situation underscores the unevenness of the recovery in which wages have not risen along with the cost of renting. In addition new construction has not kept up with the increasing demand from renters. The great recession forced many families out of their homes and into the rental market along with low-wage workers.

Over 30 percent of renters in California, Florida, New Jersey and New York spend over half their incomes on rent and utilities. In every other state in the country at least 20 percent of renters face the same burden, with the noted exceptions of Alaska, South Dakota and Wyoming.