05/28: Business events - Orlando Sentinel 05/28: Business events - Orlando Sentinel

Sunday, May 27, 2012

05/28: Business events - Orlando Sentinel

05/28: Business events - Orlando Sentinel

U.S. Green: "Sustainability Sells: Making Sustainability Work for Your Business" panel discussion, 6-8 p.m. May 31; IKEA Orlando, 4092 Eastgate Drive, Orlando. To register contact: Michelle Thatcher 407-310-1744 or go to: eventbrite.com/event/3290420737.

Winter Park: Winter Park Executive Women Speed Networking Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. June 4, Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 W. Lyman Ave., Winter Park. Cost: $20 for members; $25 nonmembers; Details: 407-644-8281 or winterpark.org.


UCF-Small Business Development Center, Social Media Marketing for Business Success, 6-8 p.m. May 30, $20; Business Plan Writing Made Easy, 6-9 p.m. May 31, $30-$50; Business Plan Writing Made Easy, 6-9 p.m. June 5, $30; Bookkeeping and Taxes, 6-9 p.m. June 6, $30; Goggle Workshop "Get Your Busienss on the Map," 9 a.m.-noon June 7, $30; Start Up Basics, 6-9 p.m. June 7, $30; Planning Your Website & e-Commerce Basics, 6-9 p.m. June 13, $30; Financing Basics, 6-9 p.m. June 14, $30; Marketing Basics, 6-9 p.m. June 19, $30; Quickbooks Overview, 6-9 p.m. June 20, $30; all classes at Orlando Fashion Square Mall. Details: 407-420-4850 or sbdcorlando.com.

SCORE Orlando, You, Your Business Idea, How SCORE Can Help, 6:30-9 p.m. May 29 or 9:30 a.m.-noon June 2, free; Starting Your New Business, 6:30-9 p.m. June 4 or 1-3:30 p.m. June 6, $50; Start Your Own Website, 9 a.m.-noon June 5, $50; all classes at Orlando Fashion Square Mall. Details: 407-420-4844 or scoreorlando.org.

Small Business Development Center at Seminole State College, Business Startup Basics. Where do I Start?, 9:30-11:30 a.m. June 6, free; Building the Ultimate Business Plan, 9 a.m.-noon June 18, $95 includes business plan software; all classes at Seminole Technology Business Incubation Center, 1445 Dolgner Place, Sanford. Details: 407-321-3495 or sbdc.seminolestate.edu/.

UCF's Finance & Accounting for Non-Financial Managers two-day workshop, June 19-20; UCF Executive Development Center, 36 W. Pine St., Orlando. The interactive workshop supplies essential finance and accounting terms, concepts, and applications. $500. Details: Tiffany Hughes at 407-235-3905.

Senior Education Foundation: Reverse Mortgage Seminar for homeowners 62 plus, 11 a.m., Fridays, Marks Street Senior Center, 99 E Marks St., Orlando, free, details, 407-694-8650.


Options! Free Employment Assistance for Eligible Adults, monthly meetings, screening and appointment, 407-622-6835, optionsfl.org.

Health care

Central Chapter of BioFlorida, From Startup to Exit: IP Strategies to Maximize Your Bottom Line, 5:30-7:30 June 6; Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute at Lake Nona, 6400 Sanger Road, Orlando; $15 for BioFlorida members, $15 bioOrlando/Metro Orlando EDC investors, $40 nonmembers. Registration: bioflorida.com.


Orlando Network Exchange, 11:30 a.m. Thursdays, Seasons 52, 463 E. Altamonte Dr., Altamonte Springs.

Central Florida Business Forum, Business to Business Referral Network, 7:30 to 9 a.m. Wednesdays, cfbf.net.

Restaurant Sales Vendor Professionals, bi-monthly meetings 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays, rsvp@cfl.rr.com or 407-403-4455 for dates and locations.

Connections Groups, Motivational Mondays Leads Group, 6-7:30 p.m. Mondays, Emiliano'z Mexican Restaurant, 1012 W. State Road 436, Altamonte Springs; free; 321-229-4413 or ts@connectionsgroups.com.

Chinese Dissident Monitoring Business Is Booming In China - Huffington Post

BEIJING — Every workday at 7:20 a.m., colleagues pick up Yao Lifa from his second-floor apartment and drive him to the elementary school where he taught for years.

This is no car pool. Yao is a prisoner, part of a China boom in outsourced police control.

By day, Yao is kept in a room, not allowed to work and watched by fit, young gym teachers and other school staff. At dinner time or later, he is sent back to the apartment that he shares with his wife and 3-year-old daughter. A surveillance camera monitors the building entrance, while police sit in a hut outside.

"At school, if I have to go to the bathroom, someone escorts me. Most of the time, I'm not allowed to speak with others or answer the phone," Yao said in a recent late-night Internet phone interview from his home in Qianjiang city. "When they bring me home, they sign me over to the next shift."

Like the blind activist Chen Guangcheng until his escape from house arrest last month, Yao belongs to an untold number of Chinese activists kept under tight control by authorities, even though in many cases they have broken no law.

Co-workers, neighbors, government office workers, unemployed young toughs and gang members are being used to monitor perceived troublemakers, according to rights groups and people under surveillance.

Yao has never faced criminal charges. His misdeed is decades of campaigning for democratic elections.

"They won't let me teach. They're afraid of course that I'll start talking about democracy to the students," said Yao, a 54-year-old former school administrator and science lab instructor with wavy black hair and possessed of a passionate, fiery manner.

While China has long been a police state, controls on these non-offenders mark a new expansion of police resources at a time the authoritarian leadership is consumed with keeping its hold over a fast-changing society.

"Social activists that no one has ever heard of have 10 people watching them," said Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher with Human Rights Watch. "The task is to identify and nip in the bud any destabilizing factors for the regime."

Mostly unknown outside their communities, the activists are a growing portion of what's called the "targeted population" – a group that also includes criminal suspects and anyone deemed a threat. They are singled out for overwhelming surveillance and by one rights group's count amount to an estimated one in every 1,000 Chinese – or well over a million.

Targeted are growing numbers of people, from typical political dissidents to labor organizers and, increasingly, ordinary Chinese who want Beijing to correct local wrongdoing. In method, this new policing represents a break from recent decades.

In Mao Zedong's radical communist heyday, colleagues, neighbors and family members snitched on suspected enemies of the revolution. Free-market reforms broke the totalitarian grip and gave people incentive to leave farms and state jobs for work in booming cities and industrial zones. Private lives and private wealth blossomed, creating less reason for snooping.

Money now fuels the extensive surveillance system. Budgeted spending for police, courts, prosecutors and other law enforcement has soared for much of the past decade, surpassing official outlays for the military for the second year in a row this year, to nearly 702 billion yuan, or $110 billion.

Allocated by Beijing to the provinces and on down, the money sometimes is called "stability preservation funds" for the overriding priority the government now puts on control. As long as trouble is quelled, Beijing doesn't seem to mind how this money is spent. It's proving a growth opportunity for cash-strapped local governments and small-time enforcers.

Along with the police, Yao counts the city education bureau as benefiting from the funds available for his surveillance. His minders are mainly drawn from the bureau, his Qianjiang Experimental Primary School and the ranks of physical education teachers throughout the city school system.

Anywhere from 14 to 50 people a day are on the local government payroll for his round-the-clock surveillance – what he calls the "Yao Lifa special squad." They get 50 yuan, $8, for a day shift and twice that for night work. Often, he said, hotel rooms, transport, meals and cigarettes are thrown in.

The sums add up in Qianjiang, a city of struggling factories and one million people set in the center of the country. Basic pay runs about 1,000 yuan, or $160, a month for an entry-level teacher and goes to three times that amount for a veteran, Yao said.

"This isn't bad for teachers," said Yao. "An English teacher probably wouldn't take it. They can earn extra money giving private tutoring. But gym teachers can't do the tutoring. Besides, their superiors have told them to do this. They can't not do it."

In the deep south farming county of Yun'an, more than a quarter of its 6,700 officials are on the "stability" payroll, the magazine Caijing reported last year. Township "stability" offices spent money on vans, motorcycles and computers, and also allocated reward money – 20,000 yuan or $3,100 in 2010 – for stopping any disgruntled local from going to Beijing to complain about conditions, the report said.

For blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, the shock troops of his persecution were his neighbors. After the daring escape from his rural village outside Linyi city that eventually took him to New York, Chen detailed the two years of brutal house arrest in a video, saying over 100 police and other officials were involved. He, his wife and mother were beaten and his young daughter searched and harassed.

Family planning officials bore him a particular grudge for exposing forced abortions and sterilization under the government's one-child policy. But it was local farmers who guarded his house and the entrances to the village and plundered the family farm for food. They received 100 yuan, or $16, a day, and though they had to kick back a tenth to the head of the surveillance squad, Chen said it is still a good deal.

"Those people, if they work other jobs, they only make 50 to 60 yuan a day. But doing this, they don't have to do anything, and they have three free meals a day and they are safe. Of course they love to do it," Chen said in the video. He said he was told 30 million yuan, $4.3 million, was spent on his captivity in 2008 and by last year that amount had doubled.

The Public Security Ministry, the national police agency, did not respond to requests for comment about the outsourcing policy. Authorities in Linyi and Qianjiang either did not answer queries or declined comment on Chen and Yao.

Cases like Chen and Yao "are the tip of the iceberg," said John Kamm, a veteran human rights lobbyist. Research by Kamm's Dui Hua Foundation found that since the mid-1980s Beijing has tasked police throughout China with controlling the "targeted population." An initial quota for police to target 2 in every 1,000 people proved unattainable, Kamm said. He said 1 in 1,000 is a more accurate estimate, or 1.3 million people.

Included are recently released convicts, parolees, suspects on bail and anyone police see as a threat – from activist lawyers to evangelical Christians. Overtly political cases are a small, expanding subset. But once marked, the status is hard to shake.

"Joining the 'targeted population' is the last stop on the road to oblivion for political prisoners," said Kamm.

Yao's forays into politics started 25 years ago when he sought to use a new electoral law to get himself elected to Qianjiang's legislature as an independent. After more than a decade of trying, Yao succeeded in 1998. He made a name for himself as an activist trying to change the Communist Party-dominated system. He championed the rights of farmers rebelling against high taxes and fees.

The party fought back. Yao and 31 teachers and others inspired by him to run for legislatures in 2003 all lost in an election he complained was rigged. Afterward, Yao's short-term detentions began. But he also at times slipped away to meet like-minded activists around the country.

Soon after returning from a trip to Shanghai and Beijing early last year, the controls tightened. Yao said school Vice Principal Wang Qian, police and others kidnapped him and drove him 500 kilometers (300 miles) to a hotel. He got free by throwing a note out the window while his captors slept. During another hotel captivity in July, he jumped from a second story window at 3 a.m., injuring his back and an arm in a failed escape.

By September, the "Yao Lifa special squad" settled into the current pattern – picking him up in the morning and sending him home at night.

"Usually there are eight people with me at school, and those eight people have a duty: to speak and lecture me without interruption," said Yao. "One goal is to keep me from resting. A second is to see my reaction. One person is tasked with taking notes."

Some nights, Yao said shady-looking men sleep in a car by his building's entrance, in addition to the police in a hut. He said he heard the school and education bureau were arguing over $48,000 for his surveillance.

"I have many acquaintances. Some of them work in police stations," Yao said. "They tell me 'Really we could use a Yao Lifa. If we had one, we could make more money.'"

Stocks close out week higher despite Spain's growing troubles - Denver Post

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks fell Friday but still managed a first positive week in four as investors fretted over troubles in Spain, where banks are under severe financial strain and government bond yields shot higher.

"European leaders need to address the situation quickly. The nature of contagion is it feeds on itself," said Alan Skrainka, chief investment officer at Cornerstone Wealth Management. "Traders by and large tend to square their positions before a big holiday weekend where there's potential for news flow, especially from Europe."

The Dow Jones industrial average Friday lost 74.92 points, or 0.6 percent, to 12,454.83, with the blue-chip index up 0.7 percent for the week.

Posting a 1.7 percent rise from the week-ago close, the S&P 500 index retreated 2.86 points, or 0.2 percent, Friday to 1,317.82. The Nasdaq composite fell 1.85 point to 2,837.53, leaving it 2.1 percent higher from the previous Friday's close.

The European-related uncertainty had investors once again flocking to the perceived safe havens of U.S. Treasury notes, the U.S. dollar and gold.

Yields on the benchmark 10-year note fell to 1.74 percent, while the dollar gained against currency rivals, including the euro. Gold futures for June delivery climbed $11.50, or 0.7 percent, to end at $1,568.80 an ounce.

Oil prices advanced, with the July contract rising 20 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $90.86 a barrel.

In Spain, bond yields jumped, rattled on reports that one of Spain's autonomous regions has asked for assistance from the government because it can't get debt financing from markets.

The yield on Spain's 10-year government bond jumped after media outlets reported the warning from the president of Catalonia, Artur Mas.

Troubled Spanish lender Bankia said Friday the government was ready to inject about $24 billion in financial support requested by Bankia in what would be the biggest bank rescue in Spain's history.

And Standard & Poor's on Friday cut its credit-worthiness ratings on five Spanish banks and revised its assessment of the country's economic risk, saying it believes Spain was headed to a double-dip recession.

Utah’s OneStop Business Registration Program Recently Enhanced: - Yahoo Finance


Utah was the first state to streamline business registration, putting the entire process online in 2003. This saves the average Utah business owner over 80 hours when registering a new business. Recently, Utah’s OneStop Business Registration Program (OSBR), osbr.utah.gov, has been significantly enhanced to further improve the user experience, allow for more business types to file online, and simplify the business registration process.

“Governor Gary R. Herbert has identified job creation as a top priority and Utah strives to be business friendly. Our comprehensive online offering supports existing Utah businesses and future growth,” said Francine Giani, Department of Commerce Executive Director. “The OneStop Business Registration Program streamlines the registration process for business owners. Ultimately, this fosters business development within the state, job expansion, and a flourishing Utah economy.”

The OneStop Business Registration system transformed a traditional three-week process by providing the service online, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. Exceptional inter-governmental collaboration between respective agencies, including the Utah State Tax Commission, Utah Department of Commerce, Utah Department of Workforce Services, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and 10 participating cities, allows business owners to register their business without filing additional paperwork and/or documentation.

Since inception, over 200,000 new businesses have been registered online. Now, over 60% of all businesses registered within the state are online. With over 2,600 new registrations on average each month, this results in monthly savings of approximately 208,000 hours for Utah businesses per year. In 2011, 27,000 businesses were registered online.

Users consistently recognize the service for its ease of use and convenience. “The OneStop Business Registration service was very easy to use. I received quick responses to any questions I had,” said one user. Another user echoed similar sentiment saying, “So much easier to get everything done at once. I’m a sole proprietor; I didn’t need anything fancy, didn’t have the time (or knowledge) to figure out the whole process on my own. Now I don’t have to worry that I may have missed something.”

Major OneStop Business Registration Enhancements Include:

  • User navigation and interface improvement
  • Improved glossary and frequently asked questions page
  • “Live Help”
  • Allows non-profits to register
  • Allows out of state and foreign registration
  • Enhanced receipt system
  • Ability to preview articles
  • Improved ownership (principals) section
  • Registration for additional tax types

An integral aspect of the business registration service offered by the State of Utah is Doing Business As (DBA) creation. In addition to the OneStop Business Registration updates, Doing Business As was also created to offer a simple online process for the sole proprietor or the exiting entity that is expanding and using an alias. The online Doing Business As application allows business owners to create the Doing Business As business entity within one to three days, from beginning to end. In general, about 15,000-17,000 Doing Business As entities are registered in Utah each year. The new online Doing Business As system simplifies small business creation in Utah while increasing accuracy.

“The online Doing Business As enhancement is government efficiency at its best and will serve the citizens of the state of Utah for many years,” said Kathy Berg, Director of Utah Division of Corporations and Uniform Commercial Code.

Accessible anytime, anywhere, users are able to seamlessly navigate on their mobile or tablet device. Internationally recognized and award-winning, Utah’s OneStop Business Registration and the newly created Doing Business As provide the most convenient, user-friendly business registration experiences.

To find out more information about Utah.gov, visit:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/utahGov

Facebook: http://www.utah.gov/facebook/

RSS feeds: http://www.utah.gov/connect/feeds.html

Utah blogs: http://www.utah.gov/blogs/.

About Utah.gov

Utah.gov is the entry point to over 1,000 online services and benefits over 2.7 million residents in the State of Utah. Utah.gov provides citizens and businesses with more convenient options for interacting with government. Through Utah.gov, citizens can find public meetings, renew their vehicle registration, buy a hunting and fishing license, register a business, find a transparent state budget, and much more. In 2010 alone, Utah.gov received an unprecedented 15 awards making it the nation’s most honored state website.

Utah.gov is the official Web portal for the State of Utah (http://www.utah.gov). It was ranked first in the nation in the Center for Digital Government’s 2009 Best of the Web competition. It is managed and operated without tax funds through a public-private partnership between the state and Utah Interactive, the Salt Lake City-based official eGovernment partner for the state of Utah. Utah Interactive is part of eGovernment firm NIC’s family of companies.

About NIC

NIC (NASDAQ: EGOV - News) is the nation's leading provider of government websites, online services, and secure payment processing solutions. The company's innovative eGovernment services help reduce costs and increase efficiencies for government agencies, citizens, and businesses across the country. The NIC family of companies provides eGovernment solutions for more than 3,000 federal, state, and local agencies across the United States. Additional information is available at http://www.egov.com.

Stocks fall on Europe worries; Facebook debuts - Yahoo Finance

It's going to take more than Facebook's initial public offering to push the stock market higher.

Facebook shares rose 23 cents above their $38 offering price. It seemed like everything else fell.

The Dow Jones industrial average has been in a slump over the past two weeks as traders saw an escalating risk that Greece could leave the euro, causing more disruptions in markets. Remember the go-go days of May 1, 2012? The Dow was up 8.7 percent for the year. After Friday, it's up just 1.2 percent.

On Friday the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 73.11 points, to close at 12,369.38. It fell 3.5 percent for the week. The Dow has now declined on 12 of the last 13 trading days.

Nine of the 10 industry groups in the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell. Financials dropped the most, 1.1 percent.

First, Facebook.

Trading for the year's most eagerly awaited initial public offering was delayed about 30 minutes because of a glitch at Nasdaq. Nasdaq said the problem was with sending messages about whether trades had been executed. It was almost two-and-a-half hours before it said its trade messages were working normally.

The glitch sent shares of Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., parent company of the Nasdaq market, down 4.4 percent.

Facebook shares were priced at $38 and initially traded as high as $45. They closed at $38.23.

Europe was the bigger worry for investors. The Fitch ratings agency dropped Greece to the lowest possible grade for a country not in default Thursday. Fitch said Greece's departure from the euro "would be probable" if elections next month do not reverse political trends in Greece, which have brought in politicians opposed to the terms of Europe's bailout.

Also, ratings agency Moody's downgraded 16 Spanish banks late Thursday, three days after downgrading Italy's, noting they are vulnerable to huge losses on government debt.

Representatives of the G-8 are meeting this weekend at Camp David, looking for assurances that leaders in Europe can contain damage if Greece leaves the euro.

"Despite all the attention on the Facebook IPO, I think there's still lots of underlying uncertainty surrounding this European debt situation," said Scott Wren, senior equity strategist for Wells Fargo Advisors in St. Louis. "This Greek situation isn't good. I think it's going to get worse before it gets better. Probably the same with Spain."

Borrowing costs for Italy rose slightly to 5.76 percent on Friday. The yield on Spain's 10-year bond fell slightly to 6.2 percent, a level that's still very high by historic standards.

European shares edged lower, following several days of big losses. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.1 percent, Germany's DAX lost 0.6 percent and France's CAC-40 fell 0.1 percent.

"The serious investors remain very concerned about the developments in Europe," said Jim Russell, regional investment director for US Bank Wealth Management in Cincinnati. "We think Facebook is a little bit of a sideshow. Great company. But maybe one that's valued on the high side of most people's tastes."

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 9.64 points to close at 1,295.22. The Nasdaq composite index fell 34.90 points, or 1.2 percent, to close at 2,778.79.

Hewlett-Packard fell 2.7 percent — the biggest decline among the Dow's 30 stocks — after it said it might eliminate up to 30,000 jobs because of dwindling demand for personal computers.

Gap fell 2.3 percent even though it issued higher guidance for the year.

There were bright spots. Salesforce.com jumped 8.8 percent after the maker of web-based business software reported better-than-expected earnings and raised its guidance for the year. Foot Locker rose 8.3 percent after its quarterly profit jumped 36 percent, sprinting past Wall Street predictions and setting a company record for quarterly earnings.

Yahoo rose 3.7 percent after Dow Jones' tech website AllThingsD.com reported that the web portal is close to a deal to sell a large part of its stake in China's Alibaba Group. Many investors view the Alibaba stake as Yahoo's most valuable asset.

Oil prices fell $1.08 to $91.48. Along with stocks, oil has dropped rapidly in recent days because slowing economies use less of it.

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