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Archive for June 17th, 2008


June 17, 2008

Is McCain Like Bush? It Depends on the Issue

WASHINGTON — The Democrats like to say that electing Senator John McCain would usher in the third term of George W. Bush, and they do not mean it as a compliment. The Republicans counter that calling the senator “McBush” is political spin and that Mr. McCain is his own man.

A look at Mr. McCain’s 25-year record in the House and Senate, his 2008 campaign positions and his major speeches over the last three months indicates that on big-ticket issues — the economy, support for continuing the Iraq war, health care — his stances are indeed similar to Mr. Bush’s brand of conservatism. Mr. McCain’s positions are nearly identical to the president’s on abortion and the types of judges he says he would appoint to the courts.

On the environment, American diplomacy and nuclear proliferation, Mr. McCain has strikingly different views from Mr. Bush, and while he shares the president’s goals in Iraq, he was at times an outspoken critic of the way the war was managed.

The disparities between the two are murkier on other issues. On immigration, Mr. McCain started out with Mr. Bush — at odds with the Republican mainstream — by favoring a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants, then backed off and emphasized the border-security-first approach favored by a majority of his party.

When it comes to dealing with terrorism suspects, Mr. McCain has supported imposing tighter rules than favored by the administration on the use of harsh interrogation techniques, but has consistently been with the president on limiting the legal rights of Guantánamo detainees. In one indicator that his view of executive power is moving closer to that of Mr. Bush, his campaign has recently signaled that he believes it was constitutional for the president to authorize wiretaps without warrants to monitor Americans’ international phone calls and e-mail.

Mr. McCain has reversed himself on some issues — most notably, embracing the Bush tax cuts now after deriding them initially as fiscally risky and excessively skewed to the wealthy — and continues to adjust his positions on others. On Monday, he said he continued to oppose opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, leaving him at odds with the White House and most of his party, but said he favored giving states more flexibility to decide whether to explore for oil off their coasts.

On balance, the McCain campaign has sought to emphasize the differences between Mr. McCain and the unpopular Mr. Bush rather than the similarities.

“In the last 10 years, he’s been an independent voice for what he thinks is in his country’s best interest,” said Mark Salter, one of Mr. McCain’s closest advisers. “Sometimes it’s brought him into conflict with members of his party and with the president. The Democrats know that.”

Yet while it would be hard to categorize him as a doctrinaire Republican or conservative, Mr. McCain appears to have ceded some of his carefully cultivated reputation as a maverick.

In a CBS News poll two weeks ago, 43 percent of registered voters said they believed he would continue Mr. Bush’s policies, and 21 percent said he would be more conservative in his policies than Mr. Bush. Twenty-eight percent said he would be less conservative than Mr. Bush.

Presidencies are about more than policies, of course, and Mr. McCain would bring a different style, background and world view to the White House should he be elected in November.

Although he once held very different views, Mr. McCain’s biggest similarity to Mr. Bush now is on the economy. Not only does the senator now support making permanent the large Bush tax cuts he once opposed — the $1.35 trillion tax reduction of 2001 and the $320 billion tax cut of 2003 — but he has proposed four major new tax cuts of his own.

Democrats say that those four proposed cuts — a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent, immediate tax breaks for corporate investment, a repeal of the alternative minimum tax and doubling the value of exemptions for dependents to $7,000 from $3,500 — are more regressive than Mr. Bush’s tax cuts because they favor the rich more disproportionately than the president’s reductions did. Mr. McCain’s advisers said his plan would help stimulate job creation by reducing taxes on small businesses, especially those that pay taxes at the personal income tax rate, and would be part of a fiscal plan that would also emphasize reining in the growth of government spending far more than Mr. Bush did.

On health care, Mr. McCain has a market-oriented model similar to the one that Mr. Bush proposed to little effect in 2007. Like Mr. Bush, Mr. McCain would shift the emphasis from insurance provided by employers to insurance bought by individuals, and would offer a tax benefit for families to do so.

“In general, they’re much more similar than different,” said Drew Altman, the president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health research group. “In terms of their goals, they’re more focused on making the market more efficient than in expanding coverage.”

Mr. McCain’s proposal, however, is more progressive in that it offers a refundable credit of $5,000 to families to buy their own insurance, whether or not they pay taxes — in effect, cash. Although experts have questioned whether the $5,000 tax credit would cover the cost of private insurance, they generally say that Mr. Bush’s plan, which offered a $15,000 tax deduction for families buying their own insurance, was more valuable to higher-income people.

On the Iraq war, Mr. McCain has been one of the president’s biggest defenders of its stated rationale: saving the world from Saddam Hussein. Yet he was also an early advocate of increasing troop levels at a time when Mr. Bush was resistant, and was withering, from 2004 on, about Donald H. Rumsfeld, then defense secretary, and what Mr. McCain called Mr. Rumsfeld’s “whack a mole” strategy of moving American troops from one violence-plagued part of Iraq to another.

Like Mr. Bush, Mr. McCain has steadfastly refused to set dates for withdrawals of troops and envisions a long-term American presence in the country. But last month, in the general election battleground state of Ohio, Mr. McCain did a semantic dance and said he expected that most American troops would be home from Iraq by 2013.

On abortion, Mr. McCain has long been opposed, and is in fact more explicit than the president in his opposition to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. Although Mr. Bush has spoken about changing American “hearts and minds” to build a “culture of life,” Mr. McCain has said directly, in South Carolina in 2007, that Roe v. Wade “should be overturned.”

On judges, Mr. McCain has strongly embraced the judicial philosophy of Mr. Bush and vowed to appoint conservative judges in the mold of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

On gay rights, Mr. McCain voted against a proposed constitutional amendment backed by Mr. Bush banning same-sex marriage, saying that it should be up to the states. Then in 2006, he made it clear how he thought his home state, Arizona, should decide: Mr. McCain appeared in a television commercial in support of a state amendment, which ultimately failed, to ban same-sex marriages.

Perhaps Mr. McCain’s biggest departure from the president is on climate change. Mr. McCain has called for mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions, unlike Mr. Bush, who says such limits would be bad for the economy. Mr. McCain also supports a “cap and trade” system in which power plants and other polluters could meet limits on heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide by either reducing emissions on their own or by buying credits from more efficient producers.

Mr. McCain, who has a mixed record on the environment in the Senate — he has missed votes on toughening fuel economy standards and has opposed tax breaks meant to encourage alternative energy — has nonetheless tried to highlight what he considers his stark environmental divide with Mr. Bush.

“There is a longstanding, significant, deep, strong difference on this issue between myself and the administration,” Mr. McCain said last month.

On diplomacy, Mr. McCain has regularly distanced himself from the go-it-alone unilateralism of the Bush administration.

“We cannot build an enduring peace based on freedom by ourselves, and we do not want to,” Mr. McCain said in a major foreign policy address in Los Angeles in late March. “We have to strengthen our global alliances as the core of a new compact.”

In the same vein, Mr. McCain has significantly broken with Mr. Bush on nuclear security policy. Unlike the president, he supports a legally binding accord between the United States and Russia on limiting nuclear weapons, the elimination of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, a strengthening of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, increased financing for the International Atomic Energy Agency and nuclear talks with China.

On Iran and North Korea, the two nations whose nuclear programs will present the next president with a tough set of options, Mr. McCain has allied himself with the Bush administration. He would refuse to engage in unconditional diplomacy with Iran and would continue to maintain contact with North Korea, primarily through multilateral talks. He has insisted, however, that the United States be able to verify effectively any agreement in which North Korea promises to abandon its nuclear weapons.

Courtesy: New York Times

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1. London: At rank 1, London reigns supreme among the top commercial cities of the world. London scores highest in the financial flow, knowledge creation and information flow. London is also ranked high in the business centre criteria.

It is ranked 3rd in terms of ease of doing business and 9th in legal and political framework. London did not fare as well in livability criteria (rank 24th), and economic stability (rank 20th). A strong economy and a vibrant financial market are its strengths.

2. New York: New York ranks second in the list of top global business centres. These global cities connect markets and commercial activity across the world.

New York is ranked top in North America. It beats London in the legal and political framework dimension and economic stability and livability.

New York, however, ranks lower in financial flow and business center dimension.

3. Tokyo: Tokyo ranks third in the list of top ‘Worldwide Centers of Commerce.’

More and more Asian cities rapidly growing attracting big business and a place in the global business world.

Tokyo scores very well in the dimensions of financial flow, business centre, livability and knowledge creation and information flow where also it was ranked 3rd.

However, Tokyo scored considerably lower than London and New York in legal and political framework, economic stability and ease of doing business.

4. Singapore: Singapore ranks fourth in the list of top business centres. Two Asian cities top the list in terms of ease of doing business.

Singapore tops with an index value of 82.82 and in terms of business centres, Singapore is ranked at the third spot with an index value of 62.58.

All the cities have been rated on seven different parameters, including legal and political framework, economic stability, ease of doing business, financial flow, business centre, financial flow, knowledge creation and information flow and livability, MasterCard said.

5. Chicago: Chicago ranks fifth in the list of top business centres in the world.

In terms of knowledge creation and information flow, Chicago ranks among the top 10.

More universities, MBA programmes, research institutions and numbers of researchers drive this dimension of knowledge creation.

6.Hong Kong: Hong Kong ranks sixth in the list of top commercial centres. In terms of ease of doing business, Hong Kong is ranked second with an index value of 80.37.

Cities in Asia were not generally major centers of commerce in the second half of the 20th century, with the exception of Tokyo and subsequently Hong Kong and Singapore.

The very strong rise of Shanghai in the 2008 Index reflects the equally spectacular rise of China.

While Shanghai was likely the dominant Asian commercial centre before World War II, it faded for many decades until China’s economic reforms of the 1980s catapulted it back to global prominence, the report states.

7. Paris: Paris ranks seventh among top global business centres.

In Europe, it ranks at No. 2 after London.

With a score of 79.17, London tops the list in Europe also but there is a big gap between it and other cities, Paris has a score of 63.87 and Madrid has a score of 58.34.

8. Frankfurt: Frankfurt has slipped to No. 8 among the world’s top commercial centres. It stood in the seventh spot in 2007.

The city ranks at No. 3 among European cities.

9. Seoul: Seoul ranks ninth among the world’s top financial centres. The booming Chinese and Indian economies reflect the economic power to Asia.

The strong presence of Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa cities is further evidence of the growing influence of the region not just in manufacturing and services, but also in broadly based commercial strength, the study said.

10. Amsterdam: Amsterdam ranks tenth among the list of top commercial centres in the world. It ranks among the top ten in legal and political framework.

It also ranks high in the business centres criteria and economic stability.

Courtesy: Rediff.com

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Atleast, I am there, working in one of them among the top 30-Oracle, placed at 22.

So, here is the list:

The InfoTech 100

Which companies are logging the strongest growth, which industries are the hottest, and how the winners are faring in a treacherous economic climate

How do you pick the best-performing tech companies in the world? At BusinessWeek, we sort through the financial results of 30,500 publicly traded companies and rank the tech players on four criteria: shareholder return, return on equity, total revenues, and revenue growth. The companies leading the list are those with the lowest aggregate ranking.

Amazon.com and Apple took the top two spots this year. Still, the dominance of U.S. companies is in decline: The country has 33 companies among the IT 100 this year, down from 43 in 2007. When we first started compiling the list in 1998 to rank tech’s top performers, 75 of the winners were U.S. companies.

NOTE: A more complete explanation of methodology is below the table.

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Click column heading once to reorder from highest to lowest. Click twice to reorder from lowest to highest.

Revenues Rev. Growth Return on Equity Shareholder Return Profits
Rank
Company Name
Industry*
Country
Millions
Rank
Percent
Rank
Percent
Rank
Percent
Rank
Millions
1 AMAZON.COM NET U.S. 15,955.0 23 39 29 35 22 28 29 508
2 APPLE COMP U.S. 28,747.0 15 33 39 24 44 74 10 4348
3 RESEARCH IN MOTION COMM Canada 5,765.9 55 66 8 33 24 152 1 1241
4 NINTENDO SOFT Japan 14,876.5 25 73 5 21 60 55 17 2289
5 WESTERN DIGITAL COMP U.S. 7,448.0 47 44 25 36 19 64 12 866
6 AMÉRICA MÓVIL TELE Mexico 28,761.5 14 33 40 46 10 10 56 5408
7 CHINA MOBILE TELE China 45,863.1 9 21 61 23 48 90 9 11780
8 NOKIA COMM Finland 73,344.4 6 24 55 49 8 8 60 10350
9 ASUSTEK COMPUTER COMP Taiwan 17,343.8 20 57 11 16 76 38 21 672
10 HIGH TECH COMPUTER COMP Taiwan 3,232.5 70 45 23 59 5 111 6 782
11 GOOGLE NET U.S. 18,116.1 18 51 16 19 70 22 36 4509
12 MTN GROUP TELE S. Africa 10,208.4 35 42 28 22 53 41 20 1480
13 IBM COMP U.S. 101,259.0 4 9 95 38 17 20 38 10893
14 MOBILE TELESYSTEMS TELE Russia 8,252.4 44 29 47 38 16 26 31 2072
15 TELEFÓNICA TELE Spain 81,077.0 5 7 98 44 11 16 44 12793
16 VIMPELCOM TELE Russia 7,164.6 49 47 20 27 32 19 39 1463
17 HON HAI PRECISION IND. COMP Taiwan 40,876.4 11 45 22 23 50 -3 82 1853
18 AT&T TELE U.S. 120,703.0 1 58 9 11 95 4 68 12564
19 ACCENTURE SVCS U.S. 23,276.6 16 19 65 69 3 -3 83 1450
20 LG ELECTRONICS COMP Korea 56,834.8 8 15 81 15 81 151 2 1307
21 BHARTI AIRTEL COMM India 4,605.8 61 58 10 35 20 11 55 1016
22 ORACLE SOFT U.S. 21,020.0 17 24 57 24 43 11 52 5088
23 MICROSOFT SOFT U.S. 57,954.0 7 17 76 44 12 -3 84 16419
24 MAROC TELECOM TELE Morocco 3,495.6 65 22 59 46 9 49 18 1020
25 TURKCELL ILETISIM HIZMETLERI TELE Turkey 6,328.6 52 35 35 23 47 34 24 1350
26 LG DISPLAY COMM Korea 15,267.5 24 35 33 16 78 17 41 1430
27 NHN NET Korea 686.3 100 56 12 40 15 59 14 160
28 COSMOTE MOBILE TELECOM. TELE Greece 4,396.1 63 28 49 53 7 17 43 519
29 MILLICOM INTL. CELLULAR TELE Lux. 2,630.6 77 67 6 34 23 12 50 439
30 HEWLETT-PACKARD COMP U.S. 107,671.0 2 14 83 21 61 11 54 7850
31 COMPAL ELECTRONICS COMP Taiwan 11,838.4 32 44 24 12 94 18 40 271
32 SISTEMA TELE Russia 10,862.8 34 43 27 18 71 10 57 813
33 ORASCOM TELECOM TELE Egypt 4,545.8 62 35 32 36 18 5 66 755
34 SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS SEMI Korea 104,791.6 3 15 80 12 93 25 32 7894
35 CHINA UNITED TELECOMMUNICATIONS TELE China 13,594.1 30 25 54 10 98 64 13 762
36 MOBINIL TELE Egypt 1,471.9 92 29 48 104 2 36 22 327
37 CARSO GLOBAL TELECOM TELE Mexico 16,154.6 22 7 97 43 13 4 70 1156
38 KONINKLIJKE KPN TELE Neth. 17,900.1 19 4 99 59 6 -3 81 3810
39 CISCO SYSTEMS COMM U.S. 37,684.0 13 18 72 25 41 -4 86 8069
40 WISTRON COMP Taiwan 6,843.4 50 34 36 19 69 17 42 165
41 MOBILE TELECOMMUNICATIONS TELE Kuwait 6,038.0 54 39 30 20 64 13 49 1154
42 ACTIVISION SOFT U.S. 2,608.2 78 88 2 15 82 35 23 286
43 REDECARD SVCS Brazil 984.6 97 305 1 135 1 0 78 385
44 CYPRESS SEMICONDUCTOR SEMI U.S. 1,695.6 87 43 26 26 36 23 34 378
45 ZTE COMM China 4,705.6 59 51 15 10 99 34 25 169
46 LENOVO GROUP COMP Hong Kong 14,590.2 27 10 94 14 86 91 8 161
47 TELEMAR NORTE LESTE TELE Brazil 9,645.8 39 4 100 20 67 111 5 1478
48 CORNING COMM U.S. 6,170.0 53 18 70 27 34 13 47 2852
49 PRICELINE.COM NET U.S. 1,390.8 93 24 56 27 33 129 4 157
50 TAIWAN SEMICONDUCTOR MFG. SEMI Taiwan 9,826.4 37 19 66 25 39 2 73 3932
51 DIGI.COM TELE Malaysia 1,304.8 94 19 63 67 4 30 28 318
52 QUANTA COMPUTER COMP Taiwan 16,645.6 21 12 87 18 72 13 48 400
53 AU OPTRONICS COMP Taiwan 9,074.1 40 35 34 4 100 16 45 282
54 AMPHENOL SEMI U.S. 2,970.7 73 16 77 30 29 32 26 373
55 REDINGTON INDIA DIST India 2,265.7 83 33 38 16 77 141 3 25
56 NAVTEQ SVCS U.S. 917.9 98 48 18 17 74 110 7 176
57 SEAGATE TECHNOLOGY COMP U.S. 12,553.0 31 13 85 35 21 -13 94 1644
58 INTEL SEMI U.S. 39,155.0 12 11 91 17 73 6 65 6783
59 NVIDIA SEMI U.S. 4,097.9 64 34 37 30 28 -6 88 798
60 ADVANCED INFO SERVICE TELE Thailand 3,263.9 67 19 68 22 56 32 27 490
61 VMWARE SOFT U.S. 1,505.3 91 81 3 15 83 28 30 220
62 TRANSCEND INFORMATION SEMI Taiwan 810.5 99 55 13 29 31 7 61 75
63 SAP SOFT Germany 14,610.6 26 9 96 30 30 -7 89 2778
64 L-3 COMMUNICATIONS HLDGS. COMM U.S. 14,167.0 28 10 93 13 89 25 33 786
65 INDRA SISTEMAS SVCS Spain 3,113.8 71 54 14 21 58 -1 79 212
66 RELIANCE COMMUNICATIONS TELE India 4,707.6 58 11 89 24 45 21 37 1350
67 QUALCOMM COMM U.S. 9,678.0 38 18 71 22 54 0 77 3463
68 MEMC ELECTRONIC MATERIALS SEMI U.S. 1,982.8 86 21 60 33 25 15 46 650
69 BOUYGUES TELE France 42,538.8 10 12 88 20 66 -14 95 1977
70 DIGITAL CHINA HOLDINGS DIST China 3,259.9 68 28 50 11 97 56 15 27
71 ACER COMP Taiwan 11,426.4 33 16 78 14 87 11 51 316
72 HARRIS COMM U.S. 5,085.4 56 26 53 19 68 6 63 410
73 CHICONY ELECTRONICS COMP Taiwan 1,089.4 96 19 64 25 42 46 19 47
74 WIPRO SVCS India 4,634.6 60 30 44 25 40 -14 96 806
75 YAHOO! JAPAN NET Japan 2,330.8 81 23 58 25 38 11 53 557
76 POWERCHIP SEMICONDUCTOR SEMI Taiwan 2,855.0 74 79 4 22 57 -24 99 846
77 MANTECH INTERNATIONAL SVCS U.S. 1,578.9 88 37 31 13 92 56 16 74
78 EMC COMP U.S. 13,725.3 29 19 69 13 90 1 75 1622
79 NEUF CEGETEL TELE France 4,809.6 57 16 79 16 80 23 35 379
80 BOE TECHNOLOGY GROUP COMM China 1,511.5 90 27 51 15 84 67 11 93
81 TPV TECHNOLOGY COMP China 8,455.1 43 18 74 15 85 9 58 180
82 INVENTEC COMP Taiwan 7,958.3 45 29 46 16 75 -12 93 175
83 FOXCONN TECHNOLOGY COMP Taiwan 2,444.6 80 67 7 22 55 -27 100 197
84 SAIC SVCS U.S. 8,935.0 41 11 92 20 63 4 67 386
85 TOKYO ELECTRON SEMI Japan 7,578.5 46 26 52 20 65 -18 98 812
86 DELTA ELECTRONICS COMM Taiwan 3,257.3 69 30 45 23 51 -4 85 351
87 AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING SVCS U.S. 8,569.1 42 14 84 21 62 1 76 1130
88 ADVANCED SEMICONDUCTOR ENG. SEMI Taiwan 3,108.9 72 20 62 26 35 -2 80 539
89 ROGERS COMMUNICATIONS TELE Canada 9,915.1 36 15 82 14 88 7 62 624
90 UNITED INTERNET NET Germany 2,136.7 84 17 75 41 14 3 71 219
91 SATYAM COMPUTER SERVICES SVCS India 2,118.7 85 31 43 23 46 3 72 422
92 NAN YA PCB COMM Taiwan 1,156.8 95 48 19 25 37 -8 90 317
93 NANYA TECHNOLOGY SEMI Taiwan 2,312.8 82 49 17 23 52 -17 97 539
94 ADOBE SYSTEMS SOFT U.S. 3,398.9 66 32 42 21 59 -10 91 799
95 HCL TECHNOLOGIES SVCS India 1,517.4 89 33 41 32 26 -11 92 330
96 TD AMERITRADE HOLDING NET U.S. 2,793.0 76 11 90 31 27 6 64 787
97 NIKON SEMI Japan 7,319.1 48 13 86 16 79 9 59 488
98 NIDEC COMP Japan 6,601.4 51 18 73 13 91 4 69 366
99 COMMSCOPE COMM U.S. 2,500.4 79 46 21 11 96 2 74 148
100 INTUIT SOFT U.S. 2,851.6 75 19 67 23 49 -5 87 424

NOTES: *INDUSTRIES: Dist=Distributors, Comm=Communications equipment, Comp=Computers and peripherals, Net=Internet companies, Semi=Semiconductors, Soft=Software, Svcs=Services, Tele=Telecommunications †Total return is for less than one year

METHODOLOGY AND GLOSSARY: To compile the information for the Infotech 100, BusinessWeek began with financial data from Standard & Poor’s Compustat, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies that has computerized data on over 30,500 publicly traded corporations. We trimmed this universe to information-technology companies. To qualify, companies had to have revenues of at least $300 million.

We divided this collection of about 800 companies into eight industry categories, such as software and semiconductors. Companies whose stock price has dropped more than 75%, whose sales shrank, or where other developments raised questions about future performance were eliminated from contention. We also dropped some phone companies whose monopoly or near-monopoly power gives them an unfair advantage over competitors. The remaining group of companies was ranked on four criteria: return on equity, shareholder return and revenue growth (which were given equal weight), and total revenues (which were weighted). The rankings for each company were added together, and those with the lowest aggregate score topped the list. Then the top 100 companies were reranked as a group.

Revenues Latest available revenues for the most recent 12-month period for U.S. companies and the latest annual revenues for non- U.S. companies. Includes all sales and other operating revenues.

Revenue Growth Percentage change in revenues compared with the previous corresponding year-ago period, in native currency.

Return On Equity Net income available for shareholders divided by common equity, in native currency.

Total Return The total return to shareholders, including dividends for the 12 months ended April 30, 2008.

Profits Latest available profits for the last 12-month period for U.S. companies; the latest annual profits for non-U.S. companies. Net income from continuing operations before extraordinary items.

Note: Data compiled by Standard & Poor’s from sources such as statistical services, registration statements, and company reports that S&P believes to be reliable but are not guaranteed by S&P or BusinessWeek as to correctness or completeness. This material is not an offer to buy or sell any security.

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