Tanzania - Country Profile

The United Republic of Tanzania is located in Eastern Africa. It is bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the North, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the West and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the South. The country’s eastern border lies in the Indian Ocean which has a coastline of 1,424 km.

Map of Tanzania (click to enlarge)

Tanzania National Emblem (click to enlarge)

Tanzania Flag

Zanzibar is a part of the United Republic of Tanzania and consists of two main islands of Unguja and Pemba and a number of small islands. The Islands are located 40 km off the mainland coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean. The two main islands are 40 kilometers apart, separated by 700 meters deep Pemba Channel.

Area and Population
Tanzania has a total area is 945,087 sq.km including 61,000 sq. km of inland water. The total surface area of Zanzibar is 2,654 sq.km. Unguja, the larger of the two islands has an area of 1,666 sq.km, while Pemba has an area of 988 sq.km.

The 2012 Population and Housing Census (PHC) for the United Republic
of Tanzania was carried out on the 26 th August, 2012. This was the fifth Census after the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964. The 2012 Population and Housing Census results show that, Tanzania has a population of 44,928,923 of which 43,625,354 is on Tanzania Mainland and 1,303,569 is in Tanzania Zanzibar

Tanzania has a tropical type of climate and is divided into four main climatic zones notably: the hot humid coastal plain; the semi-arid zone of the central plateau; the high-moist lake regions; and the temperate highland areas. In the highlands, temperatures range between 10ºc and 20ºc during cold and hot seasons respectively. The rest of the country has temperatures usually not falling lower than 20ºc. The hottest period spreads between November and February (25ºc - 31ºc) whereas the coldest period is often between May and August (15ºc - 20ºc).

The climate of the islands of Zanzibar is tropical and humid. Average maximum temperature is about 30۫۫۫۫ºC recorded during the hot season November to March, while average minimum temperature is 21ºC, recorded during the cool season of June to October. Humidity rate is high ranging from 50’s to 80’s and slightly higher in Pemba than Unguja.

The Capital City
The official capital of Tanzania is Dodoma, which is located 309 km west of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam is the country’s commercial capital and is also the major seaport for the county’s serving its landlocked neighbors. Other big urban centres include Arusha, Moshi, Tanga, Mwanza, Morogoro, Mbeya, Iringa, Tabora, Kigoma, Shinyanga and Zanzibar.

Administrative Regions and Districts
The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania is composed of 30 administrative regions; 25 regions on the mainland and 5 in Zanzibar. Tanzania’s regions are Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Geita, Iringa, Kagera,Katavi, Kigoma, Kilimanjaro, Lindi, Manyara, Mara, Mbeya, Morogoro , Mtwara , Mwanza, Njombe, Pemba North, Pemba South, Pwani, Rukwa, Ruvuma, Shinyanga, Simiyu, Singida, Tabora, Tanga, Zanzibar Central/South, Zanzibar North and Zanzibar Urban/West.
Tanzania has been described as one of the most diverse countries in Africa and this is reflected in the fact that there are more than 120 local languages spoken in the country. Swahili is the national language that is widely spoken while English is the official language of education; administration and business.

Local people are native African 99% (of which 95% are Bantu consisting of more than 120 tribes) and the remaining 1% consisting of Asians, Europeans, and Arabs.
Most of the population belongs to Christianity and Muslim religions though there is a small number of Hindus and atheists.

Generally, Tanzania culture is a product of African, Arab, European and Indian influences. Traditional African values are being consciously adapted to modern life, although at a much slower pace among the Maasai.

Since independence, Tanzania has been ruled by 4 Presidents, namely; the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere (1961-1985), H.E. Al Haj Ali Hassan Mwinyi (1985 – 1995); H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa (1995 – 2005). The current President of the United Republic of Tanzania is H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (2005 to date).

The United Republic of Tanzania is a Democratic Republic. The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania guarantees political pluralism. Currently there are about eighteen (18) registered political parties. (http://www.nec.go.tz)

Since 1992, when the Multi-Party Political System was introduced in Tanzania, there have been three successful Presidential and Parliamentary elections. The first such election was conducted in 1995, followed by the 2000, and the 2005 elections.

Tanzania is a developing country and its economy depends heavily on agriculture. The sector accounts for more than 40% of GDP, provides 85% of the country’s exports and employs 80% of the total workforce. Apart from the agricultural sector, tourism, mining and small scale industries are increasingly contributing to the national economic growth.

The Tanzanian shilling (Tsh.) is divided into 100 cents. Notes are in denomination of 500, 1000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 shillings. Coins are in order of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 shillings. Money can be changed in banks, Bureau de Change and other accredited points such as hotels. Credit cards (Access, Master Card, Visa, American Express, Euro Card and Diners) are accepted by major hotels around the country. Travelers’ cheques in US dollars and Pound Sterling are recommended, although Euros are also accepted. Banking hours in major towns are from Monday to Friday (08.30 - 16.00 hrs), Saturday from 08.30 hrs - 13.30 hrs and are closed on Sundays. These may vary in smaller towns. ATM Machines are available in branches of major banks and accept most VISA cards.

For further details about Tanzania, please visit:


Tanzania named by FOX TV NEWS as one of top five of the WORLD’S MOST “STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL” COUNTRIES TO VISIT Tanzania has been listed on top five of the WORLD’S MOST “STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL” COUNTRIES TO VISIT. Tanzania packs a lot of game reserve into a land area that is only two-fifths larger than Texas, including the incomparable plains of the Serengeti — 6,000 square miles of savannah teeming with hordes of wildebeest, gazelles and zebras and their predators. Their annual search for new pasture and waters is the largest remaining unaltered animal migration in the world. Tanzania can also boast Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, whose forest slopes and savannah are a last refuge for many endangered species. The snowy peak of Africa’s highest mountain looms over a vast savannah as well as mountain forest on its higher slopes and an Alpine desert above them. The park is home to 140 species of mammals, many of them rare or endangered such as the African elephant, and a wide range of flora. Read Full article


The Singita Grumeti Reserves in TANZANIA (Best Hotel in the World 2011/12) offers an unparalleled eco-safari teeming with magnificent wildlife encounters on the western corridor of the Serengeti. This vast private concession comprises an exclusive trio of luxury lodges positioned ideally on the epic migratory route traversed annually by more than a million wildebeest. If it is solitude you seek then Singita Grumeti Reserves is the place to beThe area is home to large herds of game that provide world-class photo opportunities all year round. Each of the lodges offer a unique experience: Singita Sasakwa Lodge positioned on Sasakwa Hill, presents dramatic, elevated views across the endless plains, Sabora Tented Camp celebrates flat open space as far as the eye can see and Faru Faru Lodge is tucked away in a diverse habitat.Welcome to TANZANIA, the Land of KILIMANJARO MOUNTAIN & ZANZIBAR..


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LOG IN SIGN UP HELP 6.19.2014 @ 5:04PM 5,202 views Mwiba Lodge Luxury: Outstanding In Africa By Lifestyle Contributor Group FULL BIO > + FOLLOW This story appears in the June 30, 2014 issue of Forbes Life. By Forbes Life , Forbes Staff The last leg of your journey to Mwiba Lodge, a new tented camp in a luxurious league of its own, is a 40-minute flight that lifts you over Tanzania’s Serengeti Plain until the Great Rift Valley opens on to a sky-high plateau like something out of Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. The Northern Air charter plane from the international gateway city of Arusha lands on a grassy strip dramatically close to the plateau’s edge, where a waiting Land Cruiser whisks you off to the lodge. The local staff greets you, with warm hand towels and Champagne, on a platform in the middle of the bush. There seems to be, at first glance, no there there. Mwiba Lodge, it turns out, is all around you, scattered among the massive boulders and vegetation, connected by wooden walkways and perched on an escarpment overlooking a river gorge–all surrounded by a 125,000-acre private wildlife reserve. Mwiba has the cool, understated look of, say, an Aman Resort, but with only eight suites, it feels more like a secluded personal compound. That’s not surprising, given that the lodge–like the charter airline that brings you there–is owned by Texas-based billionaire Dan Friedkin, the chairman of Gulf States Toyota. His family trust, the Friedkin Conservation Fund (friedkinfund.org), is deeply involved in East African conservation and leases an astonishing 6 million acres of Tanzania’s wilderness with an eye toward protecting it. Mwiba itself, remote and private, was built to have a near-stealth presence in the landscape. Says Friedkin, “The design execution was a collaborative effort, but my wife, Debra, gets all the credit for the vision of the experience we wanted to offer our guests.” First up is a visit to your “tent.” Mwiba’s eight canvas-sided suites are all but invisible to one another, with proper doors, hardwood floors and decks cantilevered over a rushing river with chaises ready for post-safari snoozing. The canopied king-size beds have green air-conditioning systems that cool the bed areas. The living space has linen-covered sofas and copper lamps, while the bathrooms have soaking tubs, indoor and outdoor showers and antique fixtures. It’s not only sexy and theatrical, something most safari accommodations are decidedly not, but offers the height of luxury: complete peace and solitude. (If it feels like Aspen come to Africa, that may not be a coincidence–Friedkin recently became chairman of the board of Auberge Resorts, which owns Aspen’s newly renovated Hotel Jerome.) The showstopper at Mwiba is the main lodge. You enter a narrow space between boulders worthy of an Indiana Jones set, and that space then opens into an enormous, thatched-palm-roof great room with elegant sitting and dining areas and a view that goes on for miles across the high grasslands of the Serengeti. There’s a stone fireplace, a bar and a separate library, where more intimate dinners can be served. While the menu varies, ours was pointedly aimed at traditional Western palates, featuring dishes such as Caesar salad, an expertly prepared steak and a fig tart with a South African Cabernet. The nature of a private concession like Mwiba is that you have absolute freedom to go off-road, day or night, and encounter only wildlife, not a dozen other safari vehicles. One evening game drive began with cocktails to accompany the sunset, segueing to a full-moon night tour that yielded a dozen big-eyed bush babies in the trees, giraffes, a curious hyena, a chameleon and a fun if fruitless effort to track a leopard. And that’s just some local color. The lodge’s location, bordering the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, means that it commands a prime spot for viewing the Great Migration of a million and a half wildebeests and their entourage from December to March. “Mwiba is the wave of the future,” says Friedkin of this isolated aerie. “It’s a benchmark for future developments.” Contemplate that while dangling your legs in Mwiba’s gray slate infinity pool, sun?downer in hand, as elephants and zebra come to drink at the springs below. –Everett Potter Watch the video for a first look at ForbesLife.com, coming in September.















Sunday, February 19, 2017

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Friday, February 17, 2017

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Though you???d never know it from listening to the presidential candidates, the current U.S. economic expansion is the fourth-longest since the end of World War II. But a startlingly bad jobs report last week raised new concerns about the state of the economy, even as it probably delayed another interest rate hike. As it???s done for the last seven years since the end of the Great Recession, the economy has been sending mixed signals. Wages are rising and unemployment remains low, at 4.7%. But job growth sputtered in May and total economic output is expected to grow only about 2% this year, well below the 3.4% average from 1950 to 2007. ???We???ve come a long way from the bottom of 2009,??? said David Shulman, senior economist at the UCLA Anderson Forecast. ???But compared to the historical growth track, we???re so far below it that it???s staggering, and that???s the unease the public feels about the economy.??? Here???s a look at some of the key indications of economic health. The economy has been growing for 84 months, a stretch that is well above the 58-month average post-World War II expansion. But the pace of this recovery has been the slowest, with average annual growth of about 2.1%. That???s made the economic situation precarious, said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the conservative-leaning American Action Forum think tank and former director of the Congressional Budget Office. ???When you???re growing slowly and bad things happen, as they do, you get knocked toward zero too quickly,??? Holtz-Eakin said. A recession generally is defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction. So a weak quarter caused by unusually bad weather or global tumult starts raising recession fears.

That???s what happened in the first quarter of this year, when a steep drop in business investment triggered largely by low oil prices helped cause a disappointing annual growth rate of 0.8%. As a result, 2016 is the fifth in seven years that the U.S. has had at least one quarter in which the economy grew at an annual rate of less than 1%. But as has also happened in the past, the economy quickly rebounded. Consumer spending in April jumped the most in seven years and growth this quarter is expected to be about 2.5%. Bottom line: The recession risk will remain low for the next couple of years, economists said. ???The odds are high this is going to be rivaling the longest expansion we???ve ever enjoyed,??? said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody???s Analytics. A big reason Federal Reserve policymakers are considering another interest rate hike despite the slow growth is the fear that prices could start increasing too rapidly. Inflation has been tame throughout the recovery, most recently because of lower oil prices. But core inflation, which excludes the often-volatile prices of oil and food, has been creeping up toward the Fed???s annual target of 2%.

It hasn???t been at that level since 2012. Low prices are good for consumers, but low inflation also can reflect weak wage growth. So the Fed wants inflation in what it views as a sweet spot -- rising enough to help boost pay without going up so much that food and other goods become unaffordable. It takes a while for higher interest rates to affect the economy, so the Fed needs to act before prices rise too much if it wants to keep inflation in check. Inflation could be running at an annual rate of 3% next year, Shulman said. Because prices for oil and other commodities have been low, higher inflation would be triggered in large part by rising worker pay and compensation. Zandi also thinks inflation could soon exceed the Fed???s preferred level. But because there???s been so little inflation in recent years, that might not be so bad -- particularly if it reflects higher wage growth, he said. He anticipates the Fed will move slowly on interest rate hikes, even if inflation accelerates quickly. ???I think the Fed is happy to ??? let the economy run hot for a while,??? Zandi said. The unemployment rate has been cut by more than half since its recent peak of 10% in late 2009. But the labor market continues to have unsettling ups and downs. After solid job growth in recent years, the pace of hiring declined sharply this spring. On Friday, the Labor Department said the economy added just 38,000 net new jobs in May, the worst performance since 2010, although the figure was skewed somewhat by a Verizon strike that just ended. Still, the economy has added about 2.4 million net jobs in the 12 months that ended May 31 and more than 14 million since the labor market bottomed out about six years ago. ???The economy???s very close to full employment,??? Zandi said. But wages have been slow to rise. And economists said the labor market won???t be fully healed until workers see their paychecks growing substantially. There are signs that is starting to happen. Job growth has reduced the number of unemployed Americans and put pressure on employers to raise wages to lure and keep workers.

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If you have ever heard the term EDC or Every Day Carry and know what that means, there is almost without fail mention of a flashlight. Flashlights are one of those items that can be used for far more than you might expect and are sorely missed if you don’t have one at the right time. I started carrying a flashlight daily over 3 years ago and was surprised at how often I found myself using this simple but important device. Most of us grew up with some concept of a flashlight. The flashlight in my home growing up was stored in a central location, the kitchen cabinet. There was the single light in my house for a lot of years that was the go-to device anytime the power went out, a fuse blew or the pilot light on the stove needed to be lit again. That single flashlight was all we really had until I got a little older and rechargeable flashlights started coming out. In my teens I had my own flashlight for camping trips and playing in the woods behind my house. With my flashlight I thought I was so cool.

The flashlights of my childhood had the single screw in incandescent bulb and were usually powered by a couple of D-cell batteries. If your flashlight was really fancy you had a replacement bulb in the bottom cap under the spring. They weren’t bright at all in comparison to the models today, but in the dark we thought they were awesome. Then sometime around the early 80’s the Maglite started appearing. This was a revolution in flashlight design and capabilities and everyone wanted their own. The Maglite was very bright and cast a long beam, but it was so heavy though (you needed 4 D-cells) that it could also be used as a weapon or to hold up your car, that they weren’t really practical for more than sitting in that kitchen cabinet or being stored behind the seat in the truck. Now, flashlights have experienced a renaissance period of sorts since the advent of LED. Flashlights now are smaller, brighter, controlled with microprocessors and use a lot less energy. These new models are compact enough to easily be carried every day (hence EDC) and offer a lot of advantages for the prepper. What is a tactical flashlight?

A tactical flashlight has a different purpose of use than your normal kitchen cabinet model. Tactical flashlights are designed with different materials, usually aerospace grade aluminum. They are designed for high impact stress because they are usually mounted to a weapon like a shotgun or M4/AR15 platform and most are waterproof to varying degrees. Tactical flashlights have textured grips and anti-roll profiles and are usually small enough to easily fit in a pocket. If you are looking for a light for your home defense weapon of choice you will most likely be using a tactical light.
There are quite a few manufacturers of tactical flashlights now and the prices vary wildly. Later in this article we will give you a few recommendations on models.
Why should you carry a flashlight?

Self Defense – Flashlights can easily assist you in a self-defense situation. For starters, most modern tactical flashlights are very bright. By bright I mean it hurts your brain to look at them – bright. If someone is threatening you, just flash the light in their eyes and blind them temporarily while you make your get away or maneuver into position. Also, a lot of tactical flashlights have bezel edges. These are supposed to assist you in breaking a window, but I wouldn’t try that with my flashlight. What they would be good at though is cracking a skull. If you blind an attacker and then smash him on the head with your flashlight that will definitely get their attention and will break the skin at a minimum. Identify threats – It’s a light. If you are ever walking in the dark and need to shine a light on a dark or murky area, your trusty flashlight is perfect for that. Lights can easily light up dark corners even in the back seat before you approach your car so you know what is around. With the brightness of modern tactical flashlights you can do this from a pretty good distance too. Help in emergency situations – In an emergency, the power can go out. Having your flashlight on you will mean that you instantly have light. I have been sitting in the house before and the power went out. I just reached down to my side and grabbed my flashlight and Voila! Remember the shooting in the movie theater in Aurora? If someone would have been able to blind the shooter with a flashlight, they might have saved a life or bought a couple of seconds’ time to use to get out of the theater. When you lose the remote – Seriously, you will be amazed at the number of times you will reach for your flashlight that you never thought of. Even my family now instinctively says “Dad, let me see your flashlight” when they need to find something. That and looking down throats to make sure someone does not have a raging case of strep throat. Flashlight tag… millions of potential uses.



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You would never guess by looking at it that the eerily quiet, nondescript beige-and-red brick office complex in the bucolic Seattle suburb of Issaquah, at the foot of a small mountain range called the Issaquah Alps, would be the nerve center of one of America’s corporate behemoths. The security guard doesn’t just wave you through; she takes time to chat with you. The reception desk has a plate of cookies, and the receptionists encourage you to take one. There is no bustle, only a sense of calm, which is especially striking, since this is the sort of week that would typically engender corporate jitters. It’s the week when Costco Wholesale, the world’s third-­largest retailer, with $116 billion in sales in fiscal 2016, is hosting a triple-header: its monthly budget meetings, with managers flying in from all over the world; its board of directors’ meeting; and, at week’s end, its annual stockholders’ meeting. As the tribes gathered, Costco faced some headwinds. In a sector known for thin profit margins, there was always the threat of intensifying competition, especially from e-commerce retailers like Amazon. There was the challenge of attracting millennials. There were weakening sales at Costco’s overseas stores due in part to currency fluctuations. There was the pending transition from a Costco-branded American Express credit card to a Visa card, which would turn out to be a logistical nightmare. But none of these issues seemed to faze Costco’s leaders. They know that their big-box stores make the company appear to be a tortoise in a hare’s digital world. Still, they’re confident they will win the race. Costco always has. But there was one thing they have been mulling for a long time. And it has nothing to do with economics, at least not directly. It has to do with identity. Costco acts more like a cheerful cult than a hard-driving business. Its executives are proud of the fact that the company promotes almost exclusively from within. Even CEO Craig Jelinek, 62, plainspoken and without affectation, once collected shopping carts at a Costco predecessor, and 98% of the company’s store managers have risen through the ranks. Its top executives have been working together for 30 years, more or less, which makes them family as much as colleagues. It also means there are a lot of gray heads now at those budget meetings. And therein lies the concern. At that month’s meetings, there were warm and wistful send-offs for six of those gray heads, all senior vice presidents, now retiring. And even though they would be replaced by younger Costco lifers, the succession raises a question: As the company approaches its 35th anniversary, will the replacements keep Costco as Costco?

At Costco that isn’t just a question. It is the question. Lots of companies brag about their culture. But few are as proud of it or as dependent upon it as Costco is. Morgan Stanley retail analyst Simeon Gutman calls it a “super-culture,” which he describes as, “If we continue to serve and delight our customers, they’ll want to keep coming back. Costco is a retailing colossus. Its worldwide sales trail only those of Walmart, which has 11,528 stores to Costco’s 715, and Amazon, which just climbed into second place. Costco is the world’s largest seller of choice and prime beef, organic foods, rotisserie chicken, and wine (!), and it moves more nuts than Planters. Its private label, Kirkland Signature, which sells everything from packaged goods and beverages to apparel, generates more revenues than the Coca-Cola Co. But Costco, big as it is, prides itself on not being your typical multibillion-dollar company. That is where the culture comes in. Executives frequently answer their own phones. (“I may get a call from a cashier,” admits CEO Jelinek, “who says, ‘I’m not getting enough hours.’?”) Its offices are open door. And it takes a journalist forever to arrange a visit, not because the company is secretive, but because it doesn’t feel the need to have a public relations department to make arrangements. “People will bang down a door to come to work for Costco,” says Craig Wilson, vice president of quality assurance and food safety, and an 18-year Costco veteran. And once there, just about no one leaves. The company’s retention rate for employees who have been there a year is 94%. “You couldn’t throw enough money at me to make me leave this company,” says Paul Latham, VP of membership, marketing, and Costco Services, with 37 years under his belt. “I love it.” And if nobody leaves, almost nobody gets fired either. When the recession hit and most companies were laying off employees, Costco’s brain trust didn’t let anyone go. “It wasn’t even something that we thought about,” Jelinek says. Instead, the company actually raised wages.



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Walgreens, once simply the corner drug store, has big plans. Five years from now “the company will be very different,” says Tim Theriault, Walgreen’s chief information, innovation, and improvement officer. Yet it will retain its “core values,” he says. In an era in which the healthcare industry as a whole is undergoing a radical transformation, Walgreens itself is attempting a self-imposed sea change. The company, which operates more than 8,200 stores across the United States, is evolving into a global, well-connected organization of physical, virtual, and mobile-enabled retail outlets and clinics offering an array of pharmacy, health, and beauty products—and, increasingly, of services. Information technology is playing a central role in this transformation, supporting, for instance, supply chain efficiencies, mobile transactions, and the storage of customer data in the cloud. All this as the healthcare industry comes to grips with new terms, new players, and new ways of doing business and providing service.

To judge from his job title, Theriault knows his way around big plans. He joined Walgreens in 2009 from financial services giant Northern Trust Corp., and oversees the drugstore chains’ innovative solutions division, which is responsible for developing new revenue streams, cutting costs, and building out its health and retail IT infrastructure. Certainly, Walgreens does not shy away from ambitious projects. First, there’s the company’s planned merger with Alliance Boots, a pharmaceutical distributor that includes a European chain of pharmacy and beauty stores, for about $15 billion. Then there’s the company’s online EHR (electronic healthcare record) initiative, known as the Walgreens Cloud EHR, which Theriault describes as “the largest roll-out of its kind.” The Walgreens Cloud EHR, which employs the Oracle Healthcare Data Repository, a framework for integrating and managing healthcare data, handles customer information from all of its stores, accessed by Walgreens pharmacists and, potentially, its healthcare partners in accordance with HIPAA regulations. In October the company announced what it calls a first-of-its-kind partnership with the US Department of Veterans Affairs to offer veterans access to flu shots and other Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended vaccines. Not only will veterans be able to get their shots at any Walgreens store, any time during pharmacy hours, but Walgreens’ pharmacists also will leverage the eHealth exchange through the Walgreens cloud “to securely share immunization records with the VA and help ensure complete patient medical records,” according to a statement from the company. “Walgreens has led the healthcare industry” in its services-oriented evolution, Theriault says. And it’s looking to expand on that by offering the capability to conduct lab tests in stores. It’s right now trialing in-store lab-test technology developed by its partner, Theranos, “in one of our major markets,” Theriault says. As might be expected, this transformation hasn’t been without disruption. Early on Theriault identified the need for standardized point-of-sale (POS) technology across all its stores. The effort to replace its POS and payments systems took 14 months, from 2011 to 2012, but it enabled the company to introduce corporate-wide its Balance Rewards project, a customer loyalty program that today boasts 82 million active members who earn redeemable points from certain purchases but also from health-related efforts such as immunizations and blood-pressure tests. The POS overhaul also allowed Walgreens to support Apple’s new online payment system almost from day one. And it positions the company to employ highly secure chip-and-PIN technology expected to be available next year, Theriault says.

As if those technology-enabled evolutionary steps aren’t ambitious and transformative enough, Walgreens is looking to improve “its whole operating model, from end to end,” Theriault says. That includes modifying its supply chain, including a significant outsourcing deal with AmerisourceBergen, to get products into stores more frequently and more efficiently. It also includes making store employees more effective by empowering them with information and insight into customers, and by automating and eliminating activities that aren’t customer facing, “allowing them to have more time with customers,” Theriault says. As for the emerging mobile retail environment, already customers can receive timely updates about their prescriptions on their cell phones. And Walgreens is testing in-store technology to recognize and communicate with customers over their mobile phones, for example offering them coupons based on buying history. It’s part of the company’s wide-ranging omnichannel strategy, according to Theriault, to create a “completely seamless experience” across all customer communication points: mobile, online, telephone call center, in-store, and so on.



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Today’s article is a lightly updated revision of one that appeared on November 3, when an earlier “pre-election” version of the same ad was running. The hints about individual stocks are the same in the ad today, as is much of the rest of the language, though back then it was an urgent “pre-election” push and now Ray Blanco is pushing this as something that requires action by April 15 (to get on board before these companies report their quarterly results). I’m a little bit of a fuddy daddy when it comes to marijuana stocks — not because I’m necessarily against legalization or recreational use by adults, but because I don’t like being in the middle of wild stock bubbles where there’s no rational justification for valuations. With that buzzkill out of the way — what is the secret “$50 marijuana stock blueprint” that Ray Blanco is selling as a way to get subscribers to his Technology Profits Confidential newsletter? Let’s dig in and see what they say. Here’s a bit of intro from Blanco:The “$50 Blueprint” part is a taste of absurdity, that’s based on his “Real Life Example” of how you could have turned $50 into $2.7 million using a few pot stocks — that’s one of the ridiculous penny stock chains you see touted every now and again, where $50 turns into $1,300 in a few months because you ride one explosive marijuana stock, then turning that $1,300 into $40,0000 on another pot stock that jumped by 3,000%, then put that $40,000 into one final stock that jumped by 7,000% in a few days and presto! It turns into $2.7 million in a little less than two years.

He does make a point of saying, “Although it’s improbable you’d ever ride a profit wave just like this, it’s NOT impossible…” but that doesn’t really mean anything. It’s also “not impossible” that you’ll win the billion-dollar Powerball lottery, but it’s awfully close to impossible. And with that, he’s already planted the idea of ridiculous riches in your head… so, as the ad copywriter wants, you’re drooling a little bit and primed to get out your The real driver of all of this chatter about marijuana is the notion that marijuana production, retailing and consumption will create a much larger marijuana industry, and that the growth of this industry will allow some companies to flourish. Since legalization started out small and risky, the companies are pretty much all tiny — and a great many of them are private… but there are also hundreds of publicly traded stocks that have some connection to marijuana… almost all of them are penny stocks that trade over the counter, including those that change their corporate focus anything there’s a new hot stock market sector… though there are a few larger ones, mostly biotech companies that have been around for a while and are trying to develop drugs that are derived from or somehow related to cannabis (which, as I’ll reiterate, means legalization doesn’t mean much for them — they’re generally using marijuana as a raw material source for drugs that are in clinical trials, not trying to sell marijuana itself). And yes, the legal marijuana business is becoming larger — five states had recreational marijuana votes on the ballot, and it won everywhere but in Arizona, so Massachusetts, California, Nevada and Maine now are legalizing recreational possession and use to at least some degree, and probably adding to the tipping point that forces a real change in federal law and more easing from other states in the future… if only because California tends to lead the nation and swing a big stick thanks to their gigantic population (medical marijuana was first legalized in California, 20 years ago now).

Those wins for recreational marijuana were not a surprise, nor were the wins for medical marijuana in Florida, North Dakota, Montana and Arkansas (now more than half of the states have medical marijuana laws, speaking of tipping points), and President Trump has not been particularly anti-marijuana, so there’s no indication just yet that the federal government will be much more aggressive (marijuana possession and distribution is still illegal under federal law, and marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug according to the DEA, making it officially one of the most dangerous narcotics they control). So that’s the big claim from Technology Profits Confidential (and others): Marijuana legalization will keep expanding to new states, and riches will flow. Though it’s clear even from the ads that they know there’s not yet really any fundamental basis for making guesses about the size of these markets or the potential profitability of any of the companies… the pitch was largely that the votes would drive investor interest and create huge spikes in some of these stocks and give you a chance to get rich, much like the pot stocks spiked for the last wave of state legalization votes.



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One of the side effects of the rise in popularity of smartphones is a decline in compact camera sales.

In the first nine months of 2014 global camera shipments from Japanese manufacturers dropped by a third. The biggest drop saw fixed-lens cameras – compacts – fall 38.1% year on year. The larger DSLR shipments fell 23.7%, while in volume terms sales of compact system cameras rose by 10.5%. This doesn’t mean people have stopped taking photos - many are just using smartphones instead. In Petapixel’s list of the top individual cameras owned on Flickr, the iPhone takes the top three places in 2013 and 2014, although Canon is still the most popular brand in use. Is there still a place for compact cameras? We’ll look at the advantages of using a smartphone against a compact camera to find out. Why choose a smartphone? Convenience There are several advantages to using a smartphone above a compact camera, and the first is convenience. “You cannot beat the convenience of mobile phone, always with you, a great playback display unit in its own right and always connected to share your images,” says Ian Savage, training and development manager of Jessops Academy. Unless you are a professional photographer, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be leaving the house armed with a compact camera every day, whereas your smartphone is with you all the time, making it very easy just to whip it out and take a picture.
Sharing The majority of modern smartphones can easily connect to the internet, whether you have a phone contract that includes data or you use a BT Wi-fi hotspot. Once connected you can share photographs from your phone within seconds, via text message, by attaching them to an email or by posting them to Facebook. Sharing from a digital camera is slightly trickier, as you have to carry a cable or card reader around with you and have access to a computer. Another solution is to invest in an Eye-Fi cards that can upload photographs online. One alternative is to invest in a camera with wi-fi - so called Smart Cameras made by manufacturers such as Canon, Panasonic and Samsung that enable you to upload photos to photo storing websites or social media and connect to a dedicated smartphone app to access extra features. Features vary from manufacturer to manufacturer – but share options aren’t as exhaustive as those offered by a smartphone, which can include WhatsApp, multiple email accounts, Instagram, Vine, SMS, Facebook/Messenger, Skype and cloud storage solutions like BT Cloud. Playback Over the last few years, the trend has been for bigger smartphones with five- and six-inch screens – sometimes double the size to the two and three inches screens found on compact camera. These screens often - in the case of high-end smartphones – have a higher resolution as well. This makes it easier to compose pictures and see fine detail, and ensures the playback experience with family and friends is more pleasant.

Image editing There are hundreds if not thousands of smartphone apps dedicated to photography, they let you tweak exposure and add frames (Snapseed), add filters (Instagram) remove colour (Cloud Splash FX) even create slow motion movies (SloPro). This makes it easier than ever to get your creative juices flowing and experiment with your photographs, within your phone. And many of them are free. For more serious photographs an app can’t offer the control of dedicated photo-editing software like Photoshop, but with so many apps available there’s far more choice than using built-in editing features found in digital cameras. The convenience of camera phones also makes it easier to edit and share photographs on-the-go, instead of waiting until you get home. Lens versatility For most photographers being able to control the zoom is an invaluable tool for composition and a way to capture a remote subject. “The key advantage for a compact camera is the true optical zoom lens capability. Some cameras reach staggering magnification factors perfect for bringing the unreachable closer without digital enhancement” says Jessops’s Ian Savage. Almost all compact cameras have a minimum 3x optical zoom, but so called ‘travel compacts or superzooms’ can go as high as 30x, offering the photographer a huge amount of creative control. The majority of camera phones have-fixed focus lenses. In order to get close to the action you have physically move; crop the picture or zoom digitally which simply enlarges the pixels so they look can look blurred. Some recent high-end smartphones now include optiocal zooms. Compact cameras are also better at shooting close-ups - many have Macro modes that can shoot from 1cm away, a smartphone with a decent camera can focus from 10cm.



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Urjit Patel, the RBI Governor in a first ever elaborate interview to CNBC-TV 18, spoke about demonetisation, growth, rates and US Trade policy. In a spirited defence of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 that happened in November 8, 2016, he said that it was well managed and that remonetisation has been very quick. The Governor said that quick and faster remonetisation was part of the plan. It may be recalled that of 86% of India???s currency in circulation was scrapped. With a large number of ATMs running dry, there seemed no end to people???s difficulties for sometime. Despite government???s claims of remonetisation being complete, latest data (till 20 January, 2017) shows that currency with public is still 40% less than what it was a year ago .

An even more important question that was being asked was how successful has demonetisation been in achieving its stated objective? On that, a defensive Governor said that quick and faster remonetisation was part of the plan and has been achieved. However, he said, ???we are open to constructive criticism???. On asking as to when was demonetisation planned, he said that currency printing plans were set in motion much before. ???There are tens of thousands of bank branches and 4,000 currency chests. We need to be careful and try that this is a number which is not a mere estimate but a verified number both physically and in the accounting sense,??? Patel added when asked about the estimated amount of old currency notes that have come back. On macro economic indicators Governor Patel said that the best way to support durable growth is to keep the inflation low. And India???s 7.5 per cent GDP growth target should not be ridiculed. India???s growth will bounce back after a sharp slowdown triggered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi???s clampdown on cash, said central bank Governor Urjit Patel.

???Almost everyone agrees that the impact is going to be a sharp ???V,??? that we would have a downgrade of growth for a short period of time,??? Patel kept the benchmark repurchase rate unchanged at 6.25 percent for a second straight meeting this month and changed the policy stance to ???neutral??? from ???accommodative,??? the first change since 2015. While consumer-price gains slowed, core inflation ??? which strips out volatile food and fuel costs ??? has been sticky and imperils the 4 percent mid-point of India???s inflation target range, Patel said. ???So, given how the inflation outlook changes, if at all, over the next few readings in terms of the data that comes about and our projections based on that for the next fiscal year,??? a neutral stance gives the Reserve Bank of India more flexibility to cut, raise or hold rates as compared with an accommodative stance, he said.

Patel also expressed concern about a potential shift to trade protectionism under U.S. President Donald Trump but said financial markets have priced in most of the expected interest-rate increases from the Federal Reserve. He said financial crisis was a possibility under the new US President, DonaldTrump. And likely that nobody would be spared of financial volaitility from the United States. However, India???s sound macroeconomic fundamentals ??? smaller budget deficit, flexible inflation targeting, high foreign-currency reserves and a modest current-account deficit ??? put the country in a good place to weather volatility, he said. ???We are at an important juncture and the possibility of negative consequences for countries around the world is a possibility,??? Patel said. ???Asia may come in for special treatment because almost two-thirds of the U.S. trade deficit in goods is with respect to Asia. We just have to see how things evolve in terms of tangible policy changes which the U.S. government so far seems to be fairly determined to carry through.??? India must stick with its open trade regime, he said. Patel also said that the rupee is ???broadly where it should be.??? The currency has gained 1.2 percent in 2017 to 67.11 a dollar as of 9:28 a.m. in Mumbai, after falling to a record last year. Concerns for India stem from a hardening of global commodity prices and ???lack of a consistent policy enunciation from major economies is the main source of volatility,??? Patel said. The RBI predicts gross value added ??? a key input of gross domestic product ??? to grow 7.4 percent in the fiscal year starting April 1 from 6.9 percent the previous year.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

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A couple of years ago, Walmart, which once built its entire branding around a big yellow smiley face, was creating more than its share of frowns. Shoppers were fed up. They complained of dirty bathrooms, empty shelves, endless checkout lines and impossible-to-find employees. Only 16 percent of stores were meeting the company’s customer service goals. The dissatisfaction showed up where it counts. Sales at stores open at least a year fell for five straight quarters; the company’s revenue fell for the first time in Walmart’s 45-year run as a public company in 2015 (currency fluctuations were a big factor, too). To fix it, executives came up with what, for Walmart, counted as a revolutionary idea. This is, after all, a company famous for squeezing pennies so successfully that labor groups accuse it of depressing wages across the American economy. As an efficient, multinational selling machine, the company had a reputation for treating employee pay as a cost to be minimized. Continue reading the main story But in early 2015, Walmart announced it would actually pay its workers more. That set in motion the biggest test imaginable of a basic argument that has consumed ivory-tower economists, union-hall organizers and corporate executives for years on end: What if paying workers more, training them better and offering better opportunities for advancement can actually make a company more profitable, rather than less? It is an idea that flies in the face of the prevailing ethos on Wall Street and in many executive suites the last few decades. But there is sound economic theory behind the idea. “Efficiency wages” is the term that economists — who excel at giving complex names to obvious ideas — use for the notion that employers who pay workers more than the going rate will get more loyal, harder-working, more productive employees in return.

Walmart’s experiment holds some surprising lessons for the American economy as a whole. Productivity gains have been slow for years; could fatter paychecks reverse that? Demand for goods and services has remained stubbornly low ever since the 2008 economic crisis. If companies paid people more, would it bring out more shoppers — benefiting workers and shareholders alike? Deep in a warren of windowless offices here, executives in early 2015 sketched out a plan to spend more money on increased wages and training, and offer more predictable scheduling. They refer to this plan as “the investments.” The results are promising. By early 2016, the proportion of stores hitting their targeted customer-service ratings had rebounded to 75 percent. Sales are rising again. That said, the immediate impact on earnings and the company’s stock price have been less rosy. The question for Walmart is ultimately whether that short-run hit makes the company a stronger competitor in the long run. Will the investments turn out to be the beginning of a change in how Walmart and other giant companies think about their workers, or just a one-off experiment to be reversed when the next recession rolls around? The future health of the United States economy, and the well-being of its workers, may well depend on the answer.

On the morning of Feb. 19, 2015, Walmart’s 1.2 million employees across the United States gathered — many in front of their stores’ vast walls of televisions for sale — to watch a video feed by their chief executive. Doug McMillon, wearing a sweater and sitting in the office once occupied by the company founder Sam Walton, more or less acknowledged that Walmart had made a mistake. It had gone too far in trying to cut payroll costs to the bone. “Sometimes we don’t get it all right,” Mr. McMillon said in the video. “Sometimes we make policy changes or other decisions and they don’t result in what we thought they were going to. And when we don’t get it right, we adjust.” What most store employees probably didn’t know was that Mr. McMillon and his executive team, who had been promoted into their jobs a year earlier, were under extraordinary pressure from investors. They needed to reverse a slide in business and fight off threats in all directions — dollar discounters on the low end, Amazon online, direct competitors like Target and countless rivals specializing in one slice of Walmart’s business, from grocery chains to home-improvement warehouses.

People were shopping more — at Walmart’s rivals. The company offers its millions of shoppers a simple way to make their dissatisfaction known. On the back of sales receipts is a message, “Tell us about your visit today,” along with instructions to log on to a website and answer questions about the store: Was it clean? Were they able to get what they came for quickly? Were employees friendly? In early 2015, the answers that poured into Walmart’s global headquarters were, in a word, awful. The people paid to analyze the company tended to agree, too. A report by analysts at Wolfe Research in 2014 included photographs from a visit to Walmart of a sad-looking display of nearly empty bins of oranges and lemons and disorganized shelves of crackers. “Walmart U.S.’s relentless focus on costs does seem to have taken some toll on in-store conditions and stock levels,” they wrote. The analysts wryly added: “If an item is not on the shelf, you cannot sell it.”



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History is full of tales of daring entrepreneurs who launched small-scale businesses that grew and evolved over time through their owner’s industriousness and creativity. But few enterprises reflect their creator’s inventive spirit, perseverance and willingness to learn from past mistakes as much as R.H. Macy & Co., founded by Rowland Hussey Macy. This retail magnate’s life story speaks to the intriguing roots of the modern-day department store as well as the changing character of American retail commerce, advertising and marketing, and staffing. When Macy started out few could have guessed that he would mastermind what would eventually become one of the largest retail operations in the world.
It all Began With Dry Goods

Born in 1822, R.H. Macy, the son of a Nantucket-based shopkeeper, left home at 15 to set sail on the whaling ship Emily Morgan. After four years at sea, he returned to Massachusetts and worked in his father’s shop before opening his own needle-and-thread store in Boston in 1844. This shop failed as did another dry goods store he opened two years later.

Macy then worked for a time in his brother-in-law’s Boston shop, followed by a stint in California searching for gold during the 1849 gold rush. After that effort proved disappointing, he came back to Massachusetts and, in 1851, opened yet another dry goods store in downtown Haverhill in partnership with his brother. Though they experienced modest success, Macy left Haverhill for New York City in 1858 to open his own fancy dry goods store—R.H. Macy & Co.—on the corner of 14th Street and 6th Avenue, a low-rent district north of the city’s other dry good stores.

On the first day of operation, the store pulled in $11.06 and sales continued to grow at a robust pace with gross returns for the ensuing year totaling around $85,000. Over time, Macy expanded his operation to occupy 11 adjacent buildings selling many different categories of merchandise and effectively launched what came to be known as a department store.

The store’s original trademark emblem was a rooster, but Macy replaced it with a red star, inspired by the tattoo he got on his forearm during his whaling days—a visual nod to the star that guided him when he was at sea.
Macy’s Groundbreaking Inventiveness

R. H. Macy’s success resulted in large part from his innovative sales and advertising practices that virtually transformed the retail industry and prompted customers to flock to the store for unrivalled shopping experiences. Among his revolutionary firsts: buying and selling merchandise with cash only; instituting a one-price system, which eliminated the common practice of bargaining in favor of selling a specific item to every customer at the same price; stating the exact price of products in boldly titled newspaper ads; offering money-back guarantees; and introducing new and creative products like the tea bag, the Idaho baked potato and colored bath towels, as well as made-to-measure clothes for men and women, produced in an on-site factory.

In addition, Macy’s store was the first to possess a New York City liquor license and in 1862, the first to feature a Santa Claus during the Christmas season. In 1864, the store began installing illuminated window displays to attract the attention of those passing by, giving rise to the notion of ‘window shopping.’ In 1866, Macy made business history by promoting Margaret Getchell, a woman known for extraordinary marketing insights and ideas, to store superintendent—an executive position. Her guiding mantra: Be everywhere, do everything, and never forget to astonish the customer.”

An 1878 New York Times article captured the special appeal of the store: the "universality of the stock, almost every article of dress and household furniture being for sale there, and at the most reasonable prices."
Macy’s Ongoing Legacy and Company Milestones

R.H. Macy died in 1877 and, in 1895, the company ownership passed from his family to Isidor and Nathan Straus, brothers who, with their father, had leased the basement of the store in 1874 and established a famous china department there. The Straus family continued to build on R. H. Macy’s legacy of ‘firsts’ throughout the early years of the 20th century.