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German Company Merck to Buy Sigma Aldrich For $17 BILLION

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Josef Hermanns Life Sciences

One of St. Louis’s oldest and largest companies, Sigma Aldrich will soon be acquired by German company Merck for $17 Billion. In addition to purchasing the company. Merck will also about $140 per share in cash for all Sigma Aldrich shares. This is a 37% increase over Friday’s closing price for Sigma Aldrich. This was done in order to for the company to increase its North American presence and as well as growth opportunities in fast growing Asian markets. the sale is set to close mid 2015 pending approval and regulatory approval by Sigma Aldrich shareholders. The board of directors have already unanimously approved the deal.

The deal will establish Merck as a leading global competitor and leading player in a $130 Billion in the global life sciences industry. This is the largest acquisition in the company’s history. Since 2011, Merck focused mainly on making efficiency improvements to its worldwide operations as part of its “Fit for 18” campaign in an effort to prepare for the company’s 350-year anniversary in 2018.

Sigma Aldrich’s chemicals can be found in many common products including toothpaste and coffee creamer. and the company’s high technology materials are used for smartphones and TV screens. Their research unit accounts for 52% of its sales. 24% percent of Sigma Aldrich’s sales stem from their commercial unit which provides cell culture media, active pharmaceutical ingredients, and other products for LED and semiconductor manufacturing.

Sigma Aldrich CEO Rakesh Sachdev said the deal is a positive outcome for all shareholders due to the price premium. Employees will also benefit as they will now be a part of a larger, more global corporation.

Combined, the companies will have sales of more than $6 Billion with more than 300,000 products and 2 million customers.

(STLToday)

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Germany’s Best Scenic Routes

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Josef Hermanns suggests some of the best scenic routes in Germany. If you’re looking for some great scenic views through Germany, Josef Hermanns’s quick slide shows you some of the greatest scenic rides. This presentation will take you through beautiful fields, castles, and the inspiration behind some of our favorite stories!

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Bahamas Carnival is Set to Generate $27M Economic Stimulus

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bahamas carnival Despite the projected $4M deficit of the first year’s Bahamas Carnival, Paul Major, the Chairman of the Bahamas National Festival Commission estimates that the Bahamas Carnival’s sophomore year is set to bring in and estimated $27M.

The festival which is set to start May 7th and run through the week will be a celebration where natives and guests from around the world alike will be immersed in all things Bahamian. According to Prime Minister Perry G Christie, mentioned that the festival will be more than just another venue for Junkanoo to be featured. It will transform Junkanoo and Bahamian arts and culture into a profitable industry from which all Bahamians can benefit.Bahamas Carnival is an economically-based cultural initiative and will be the largest investment that any government has ever made in the cultural sector, for which in the prime minister’s view the Bahamian government ought to be commended.

Prime Minister Christie said that the government will have to spend about $9M to introduce the Bahamas  Carnival. According to Major, you don’t measure revenue based on what you spend. In addition to incoming revenue, the festival will also be set to bringing in major sponsorships.

The festival is definitely set to be a success both revenue wise and culturally.

(The Nassau Gaurdian)

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7 Things to Do In The Bahamas

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Looking for things to do in the Bahamas? Check out these 7 activities!

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Injury Prevention Training For Runners

Josef Hermanns

Running tips & Advice

Training for runners does not just mean more running. Running for distance is a rigorous and taxing sport that really put extreme stress on your body if you have not properly conditioned yourself. Competitor.com has recently posted a list of must do exercises for every runner to help protect from common injuries.

One of the most common and effective training methods to prevent running-related injuries is core stability training. In a 2012 study, researchers found that runners with better core stability were able to maintain better trunk control during runs, and had a more stable torso overall. A strong core keeps the spine and abdomen stable while facilitating breathing. The result: less wasted energy, better running form and less injury.

To reduce risk of injury, a runner needs to condition to attain optimal hip flexor flexibility, improve core strength and stability, and build gluteal strength and stability. The article details six exercise to improve your flexibility and stability. Take a look at the video links and the brief descriptions below.

Kneeling Quadricep Stretch

This is a great stretch that will work your hip and quad. You will want to hold this stretch for between 10-seconds and 2-minutes. Perform 6-12 reps for short durations, and 1-2 reps for longer durations.

Knee Hug to Reverse Lunge

Another great stretch for your hip and quad. Do 10 repetitions for each side directly before running workouts.

Single Leg Hip Extension

This exercise will unilaterally strengthen each of your hips as well as your lower abdominals. Perform 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps per side every other day for the best results.

The Turkish Get Up

This combo move works the whole core and glutes. it combines components of a hip hinge, lunge and side plank. Check out the video for the form.

Body Saw To Press Up

This is a very challenging core exercise that combines the traditional plank with some arm work and a push up. Perform a set of between 1 and 15 reps every other day.

Lateral Bag Drag

This exercise requires the use of sandbag, and provides prolonged engagement of your core muscles. Remember that this exercise is not about speed. Perform 2-3 reps very slowly, doing 3-5 sets every other day.




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Running Advice From Ultrarunner Scott Jurek

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Josef Hermanns

Scott Jurek

In a recent article on Competitor.com, Scott Jurek offered some advice to long distance runners and would be runners on how to prepare yourself to get through a race. Jurek is a seven-time Western States 100 winner who has completed races as short as 10 miles and those over 150 miles. He ran his first 50 mile race in 1994 and has since become speaker, consultant and author on the subject.

So a runner looking for advice could definitely do worse than picking Jurek’s brain. Here is some of what he had to say:

Break Your Race Up

One hundred miles is a long way to run. Not only is it physically daunting, but the mental aspect can be more than enough to have even the most experienced runners second guessing their abilities. Jurek suggests breaking the race up into smaller goals in order the make the big picture more mentally digestible. Challenge yourself to get from aid station to aid station or from one mile marker to the next. Focusing on smaller, more perceptible goals can make you better mental able to reach the big goal.

Have A Nutrition And Hydration Plan

Any runner knows that nutrition and hydration are important, but what might not be apparent is how your body will react to food and liquid in the midst of a hundred mile run. Jurek urges runners looking to do an ultramarathon to prepare a plan and practice it prior to the race. Can you handle solid food for the final 50 miles? When are liquid calories best? Knowing the answers to those question ahead of time simplifies your race tremendously.

Be Adaptable

A race is not just about what you are able to do physically. It is about the conditions, the terrain, and the environment. Being adaptable to contingencies that occur within a race may be the line between success and failure in a race. Have different goals in place that take into consideration things that may occur during your race and adjust based on the conditions on the ground.

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Ecuador Finalizes New Trade Deal With European Union

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Josef Hermanns

Quinto, Ecuador

Negotiators from Ecuador and the European Union have solidified a deal that will allow the Andean nation to join its neighbors Peru and Columbia in expanded trade opportunities in Europe.  The Eurasia Review reports that terms of the deal will go far beyond the EU Generalised Scheme of preferences, which allows developing nations to trade with the EU for little or no tariff.  This new deal has been designed to improve Ecuador’s access to the European market for its key exports including bananas, coffee, cut flowers, fruit, nuts and cocoa, while opening up the Ecuadorian market for EU exports such as alcoholic beverages and automotive technology.

Beyond merely opening up markets between the two sides, the negotiators hope that this deal will create a more stable environment for investment and an an increasingly diversified trade between the two nations.

‘I’m delighted we’ve been able to conclude this ambitious and comprehensive agreement with Ecuador,’ said EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht. ‘It will boost our bilateral trade and investment, and act as an important driver for development in Ecuador.

Ecuador is currently one of the fastest growing markets for European firms doing business in Latin America, which is why de Gucht emphasized the need to get the agreement “applied as quickly as possible.”

The agreement now only needs to be ratified internally by each party in order to take effect. The week long talks engendered a balanced and ambition deal that will expand Ecuador’s trade dealings with the EU without infringing upon the deals that body has with Columbia and Peru.

The EU has made a concerted effort to develop international trade in the Andean community since 2007 when it entered into talks with Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. The latter two discontinued talks early on, while former both saw their trade deals go into effect in 2013. The EU will seen over €500 million in saving from its deals with Colombia and Peru, and will only see more from this latest deal. However, experts agree that it is the stabilized environment that will deliver the greatest growth opportunities for all parties.

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Local Initiatives Boost International Trade

Josef Hermanns

The Madison County Commission

Madison County, Alabama has received special recognition for its international trade efforts from the National Association of Counties at their recent conference in New Orleans. As Al.com reports, both the Madison County Commission and its International Trade Development Center  (ITDC) have been profiled in the new report Strong Economies, Resilient Counties: The Role of Counties in Economic Development.

The report emphasizes collaboration as the key to unlocking county economic development opportunities and identifies the ITDC as being a prime example of an effective public-private partnership.  The organization’s efforts are aimed at promoting growth through international trade education, training, and partnerships. According to Dale Strong, Madison County Commission Chairman, the ITDC provides locally headquartered businesses “with increased exposure, training and opportunities to expand into foreign markets, which helps our local businesses grow.”

The study looked at the economic challenges to development in over 3,069 U.S. counties and examined the level of county involvement and their potential solutions. The resulting 35 case studies found a host of county-based economic initiatives that included everything from workforce training to infrastructure financing and disaster preparedness. Counties provided small business support, sponsored incubators and, in cases like that of Madison County, provided partnerships to increase diversification and boost visibility in global markets.

The National Association of Counties has prepared reports such as this to emphasis the role that local governments, and counties in particular, play a hand in economic development and how that can extend to international reach. This most recent report highlights successful county initiatives that can be replicated in similar locales, or even nationwide in some cases.

To read more about international trade development in Madison County or to learn more about the report, read the original article at Al.com.




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River Cam | Trinity College, Cambridge, UK

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River Cam | Trinity College, Cambridge, UK

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Victoria Falls in Zambia.Photograph by Walter Meayers Edwards, National Geographic Creative

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Victoria Falls in Zambia.Photograph by Walter Meayers Edwards, National Geographic Creative