Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Samsung profit forecast up 80%; South Africa business confidence at 22-year low; Harvard debate team loses to New York prison inmates

1 Samsung profit forecast up 80% (BBC) Electronics giant Samsung has estimated its third quarter operating profit will be 7.3t won ($6.29bn) - up 79.8% from a year earlier. The numbers would mark the South Korean firm's first quarterly profit growth in two years. The company's full results will be released later this month.

Samsung has recently been facing stiff competition for its top-end smartphones made by its main rival, Apple, while its bottom-end smartphones have been struggling against Chinese smartphone makers such as Xiaomi.

Analysts have said the firm's positive third quarter guidance numbers probably reflect stronger smartphone earnings from a year earlier - particularly thanks to the launch of the firm's Galaxy Note 5 in August. Improved sales of televisions and semiconductors are also expected to have given a boost to the firm's profits, together with a weaker won which makes its products cheaper to buy overseas.

2 South Africa business confidence at 22-year low (Johannesburg Times) South Africa's business confidence index fell to its lowest in 22 years in September, a survey has shown, reflecting companies' worries about sub-par domestic and global economic growth.

The Business Confidence Index slid to 81.6 from 84.3 in August, reaching its weakest level since July 1993, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) said. "Apart from subdued domestic economic performance, global financial market nervousness as well as global economic uncertainty continued to prevail," SACCI said.

3 Harvard debate team loses to New York prison inmates (The Guardian) Months after winning a national title, Harvard’s debate team has fallen to a group of New York prison inmates. The showdown took place at the Eastern Correctional Facility in New York, a maximum-security prison where convicts can take courses taught by faculty from nearby Bard college, and where inmates have formed a popular debate club.

Last month they invited the Ivy League undergraduates and this year’s national debate champions over for a friendly competition.The Harvard debate team was crowned world champions in 2014. In the two years since they started a debate club, the prisoners have beaten teams from the US military academy at West Point and the University of Vermont. The competition with West Point, which is now an annual affair, has grown into a rivalry.

At Bard, those who helped teach the inmates were not particularly surprised by their success. “Students in the prison are held to the exact same standards, levels of rigor and expectation as students on Bard’s main campus,” said Max Kenner, executive director of the Bard prison initiative, which operates in six New York prisons.

Students on the Harvard team posted a comment on a team Facebook page. “There are few teams we are prouder of having lost a debate to than the phenomenally intelligent and articulate team we faced this weekend,” they wrote.

Against Harvard the inmates had to defend a position they opposed: they had to argue that public schools should be allowed to turn away students whose parents entered the US illegally. The inmates brought up arguments that the Harvard team had not considered. Three students from Harvard’s team responded, and a panel of neutral judges declared the inmates victorious.

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