Trade ministers failed to reach a deal on the jewel of Obama’s trade agenda

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US Trade Mill michael froman

Trade ministers from a dozen Pacific Rim nations failed to reach a deal on a new trade agreement that would cover nearly 40% of the global economy, US Trade Representative Michael Froman said Friday.Froman, reading from a statement on behalf of all of the ministers, said the parties made significant progress and agreed to continue their discussions.The countries haven’t yet set a date for future talks. Froman said some issues were bilateral in nature, and some will involve groups.”I feel very gratified about the progress that’s been made, and I am confident that through our continued intensive engagement that we’ll be able to tackle the remaining issues successfully,” Froman said in response to a reporter’s question about whether he was disappointed about the lack of a deal.

How to tell if your down payment is more than you can afford

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family on porch

Building up savings can feel good.It’s nice to know you are working toward and getting closer to your financial goals, especially when the goal is the biggest financial decision of your life — buying a home.When you are figuring out how much home you can afford, it’s important to look at both the upfront and ongoing costs.This means calculating your potential monthly mortgage in addition to considering how large of a down payment to make.But once you’ve saved up enough for that down payment, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should rush to sign the papers.Consider the following reasons using all your savings for a down payment can get you into trouble.

India’s medical schools are plagued with fraud

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India medical

MUZAFFARNAGAR, India (Reuters) – Last December, Dilshad Chaudhry traveled with about 100 of his fellow villagers by bus to a local Indian medical-school hospital.They’d been told that foreign doctors were coming to tour the facility, and check-ups would be free.There was nothing wrong with Chaudhry; he was accompanying his brother, who had a back problem. But “every person was told to lie in a bed even if they’re not sick,” he said.The 20-year-old electrician said he never saw any foreign physicians that day, but the hospital’s Indian doctors kept checking that the phony patients were in bed. “They wanted to make sure no one escaped,” he said.That was the same month government inspectors visited the hospital, which is at Muzaffarnagar Medical College, 80 miles northeast of New Delhi. The inspectors checked, among other things, whether there were enough patients to provide students with adequate clinical experience. They determined there were.But a year earlier, inspectors had found that most of the college hospital’s outpatients “were fake and dummy and seems to be hired from nearby slum area,” according to the official report. “In pediatric ward all children were admitted … without any medical problem and were hired from nearby area!!!!!”

Finally Americans are starting to believe in the economy again

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Americans finally believe they’re going to get a raise. On Friday, we learned that consumer confidence is back to near its highest level of the year. But the really encouraging part of the report was the outlook for wages.Friday’s report showed that consumers expect their incomes will rise 2.2% over the next 12 months, the most since 2008.And while a rash of data has indicated that wage increases are either here or coming soon, belief from the American consumer that this will come to fruition is perhaps the most important part of the current economic puzzle. Nearly 70% of GDP comes from consumer spending, and while standard economic thinking would dictate that increases in wages — or, say, a decline in gas prices like we’ve seen in the last year — would boost spending, consumers aren’t economists. Consumers act as much on things like faith and confidence as they do on incremental changes in their paycheck. In a note to clients following Friday’s consumer confidence report, Paul Ashworth at Capital Economics wrote that, “Presumably improving labour market conditions outweighed the impact of higher energy prices and rising long-term interest rates.”

Why you should never cross your arms again

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crossed arms

Body language is older and more innate for us as humans than even language or facial expressions.That’s why people born blind can perform the same body language expressions as people who can see. They come pre-programmed with our brains.I’ve always been incredibly fascinated with body language and how it helps us achieve our goals in life.The power of body language is probably best described by Amy Cuddy’s famous quote: “Our nonverbals govern how other people think and feel about us.”If you are anything like me, then you’ve had a healthy obsession with body language for some time. In recent years, a few fascinating studies at Harvard, Princeton and other top universities shed new light on body language and how to use it at work.So whilst the power of language is extremely important to convey the right message. The power of body language however, might be the determining factor of how someone makes us feel.Here is an insight into some of the latest studies on how we can use body language to our advantage in every day life.

ISIS is reportedly using chlorine as a weapon

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Smoke rises after what activists said were clashes with Islamic State fighters in Soran Azaz, Aleppo countryside June 1, 2015. Picture taken June 1, 2015. REUTERS/Mahmoud Hebbo

PERTH (Reuters) – Islamic State militants have used chlorine as a weapon and are recruiting highly trained technicians in a serious bid to develop chemical weapons, Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop warned.In a speech to an international forum of nations that works to fight the spread of such weapons, Bishop said the rise of militant groups such as ISIS, also known as Daish, posed “one of the gravest security threats we face today.”“Apart from some crude and small scale endeavors, the conventional wisdom has been that the terrorist intention to acquire and weaponize chemical agents has been largely aspirational,” Bishop told a meeting of the Australia Group in Perth. The speech on Friday was posted online.“The use of chlorine by Daish, and its recruitment of highly technically trained professionals, including from the West, have revealed far more serious efforts in chemical weapons development,” she said.“Daish is likely to have amongst its tens of thousands of recruits the technical expertise necessary to further refine precursor materials and build chemical weapons,” Bishop said.

Expect monthly accident reports on Google’s self-driving cars

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Google driverless car

(Reuters) – Google Inc said it would give monthly updates of accidents involving its driverless cars.The report for May showed Google cars had been involved in 12 accidents since the company first began testing its self-driving cars in 2009, mostly involving rear-ending.Google said one of its vehicles was rear-ended at a stoplight in California on Thursday, bringing the total count to 13 accidents.”That could mean that the vehicles tend to stop more quickly than human drivers expect,” public interest group Consumer Watchdog said.A Google spokeswoman said the consumer watchdog conclusion was erroneous because most of the rear-end accidents occurred when the vehicle was stopped.Consumer Watchdog called for more details on the accidents, including statements from witnesses and other drivers.None of these accidents were caused by a fault with the car, Google said.Google’s self-driving-car program director, Chris Urmson, said in May that the cars have been involved in 11 accidents.

These 3 charts explain why Microsoft almost paid $55 billion for Salesforce when it has the same exact product

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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff

Over the past few weeks, there’s been a lot of talk about Salesforce potentially getting acquired by one of the giant software providers, i.e. Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and even Google.And on Friday, CNBC’s David Faber provided some more context by reporting talks have indeed taken place between Salesforce and Microsoft recently, although the talks appear to have fizzled due to a price discrepancy. Microsoft wanted to pay $55 billion, but Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff insisted on $70 billion, the report said.It’s not hard to see why Microsoft may have wanted to acquire Salesforce, despite owning a direct competitor in Microsoft Dynamics. Both Salesforce and Dynamics offer so-called CRM products, business software that helps track and plan better sales, marketing, and customer service activities.

Why Tesla’s batteries won’t work for rooftop solar

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In How Much Battery Storage Does a Solar PV System Need? I assumed that the rooftop PV system would generate just enough power to fill annual domestic demand and that the surplus power generated in summer would be stored for re-use in the winter in Tesla batteries. The result was an across-the board generation cost of around $35/kWh. Clearly the Tesla battery storage option isn’t economically viable, or at least not under the scenario I chose.As Phil Chapman and others pointed out in comments, however, this is not the only way a domestic solar PV system can generate enough year-round power to allow a household to go off-grid. Another is to overdesign the system so that it’s large enough to fill demand in winter when solar output is at a minimum and simply curtail the excess power generated in summer. How does this “no storage” option pan out?

The Soviet Union’s fall led to an alarming nuclear failure that informs today’s nuclear crisis

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Soviet R 12 nuclear ballistic_missile

The collapse of the Soviet Union created one of the biggest security challenges of recent decades: The task of securing fissile material left unguarded after the empire’s rapid collapse and transferring thousands of forward-deployed Soviet nuclear warheads to places where they would stay out of the wrong hands.The international community could count a number of successes in the effort to contain the former Soviet Union’s nuclear materials.The 1994 Budapest Memorandum transferred the Ukrainian, Belorussian, and Kazakh nuclear arsenals to Russia, while the contemporaneous “Megatons to Megawatts” program enabled the US to use material from disassembled Russian warheads in order to fuel American civilian reactors.