Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The following are the observed holidays for the year 2016

January  1, 2016
New Year's Day
January  2, 2016
January 18, 2016
Martin Luther King's Birthday
February 15, 2016
President's Day
March 25,2016  
Good Friday (Viernes Santo) 
May 30, 2016
Memorial Day
July  4, 2016
Independence Day
September 5, 2016
Labor Day
October 10, 2016
Columbus Day
November 11, 2016
Veterans Day
November 24, 2016
Thanksgiving Day
November 26, 2016
Friday after Thanksgiving
December 23, 2016
December 26, 2016
Christmas Day
December 30, 2016
New Year Evening



Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Is it the most wonderful time of the year? Or the most expensive? (BusinessWeek)

Is it the most wonderful time of the year? Or the most expensive? For U.S. stores of all sizes, the full months of November and December can account for as much as 30 percent of a retailer's annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation. This year is no different. NRF estimates that holiday sales will increase 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion, compared to last year's 4.1 percent growth. Another record predicted for this year? Customers will shop 'til they drop from the comfort of their mobile phones. The NRF predicts online sales will increase up to 8 percent to $105 billion this year.

Source: National Retail Federation, derived from Bureau of Labor Statistics data. NRF tallies retail industry sales from November and December - 61 days - to determine holiday sales.
Source: National Retail Federation, derived from Bureau of Labor Statistics data. NRF tallies retail industry sales from November and December - 61 days - to determine holiday sales.

Fewer people have expressed concern about the U.S. economy affecting their plans to fill their shopping carts this season. Only about 34 percent of people surveyed in NRF's report expressed concern. That marks a major reversal from 2009, when national holiday spending was just $503 billion as nearly two thirds of Americans felt the economy's pinch. 

Source: National Retail Federation, derived from Bureau of Labor Statistics data

Source: National Retail Federation, derived from Bureau of Labor Statistics data

Who gets the best gifts on your holiday list? NRF data show that most of your budget has always been spent on family members. On average this year, shoppers will spend $480.28 on gifts for their families. Friends have not been as lucky. For the past four years, shoppers have spent more money on candy and food to celebrate the holiday season than on gifts for their best buds.

Babysitters, the mailman and pets used to make out like bandits during the holiday season, but in 2011 these gift recipients lost out in favor of co-workers and decorations. Poor mailman: Delivering all these mail-order presents and getting so little in return!

Source: National Retail Federation, derived from Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Data for 'gifts for family' is not included in the chart above.

Source: National Retail Federation, derived from Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Data for 'gifts for family' is not included in the chart above.

With holiday sales expected to surpass $630 billion, let's look at what budgets U.S. shoppers have set. Data from WalletHub says it depends on where they live. Consider yourself lucky if you have an uncle in Palo Alto. In a city where the median household income is just over $120,000, and residents live a 15-minute car ride away from Apple headquarters, Palo Alto shoppers have an average holiday shopping budget of $2,886 per person. Shoppers in Texas cities like Sugar Land and Frisco are also spending the big bucks- both around $2,400 per person. Other cities might be full of scrooges. Chesapeake, Virginia and New Haven, Connecticut, for example, have above-average median household incomes, but their residents spend less than the $805.65 average when it comes to holiday shopping.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Join the Fun This Thursday! SFTA

The South Florida Technology Alliance is ready for the Season with our
Holiday Extravaganza!
Join us this Thursday as the tech community comes to celebrate.

WHEN: Thursday, December 10th, 2015, 6:00 PM
WHERE: Cendyn Building Atrium, 980 N Federal Hwy, Boca Raton, FL 33432
REGISTRATION: $25.00 by December 9th; $35.00 December 10th

Join us for a fun time of networking and music as we celebrate the season! The evening includes:
  • One free drink
  • Hor d'oeuvres, finger foods
  • Cash bar
  • Raffles
  • DJ with variety of music
  • And More!


Monday, December 7, 2015

El desafío de la violencia política contra la mujer: MiamiDadeCollege

 Image result for Miami Dade College


El desafío de la violencia política contra la mujer

Segundo Foro en español del Ciclo "La Mujer y su Emancipación"

ESCRITORAS INVITADAS:       Pilar Vélez: "El Expreso del Sol"
                                                   Patricia Poleo: "Fugitiva en Rosa".

        Vilma Petrash-Temas de Mujer (Tv)
                                                   Nina Fuentes-(AKA Nina Dotti) Canal de Protesta 
                                                   Christina Balinotti-La Mujer Holística (Ensayo)
                                                  Jenny Villasana-El Carrusel de los Sueños (Radio)
                                                   Fefi Toll-Directora Cada 15 Segundos.org

MODERADORA:                       María Elena Lavaud-Autora de
                                                  “Tatuaje de lágrimas” y “La Habana sin tacones”

FECHA Y HORA: Miércoles 8 De Diciembre, 6:00 Pm


Wolfson Campus Miami Dade College
Edif. 6; Planta Baja,  Sala 6100
300 NE, 2nd Av. Miami

ESTACIONAMIENTO GRATUITO: Garage de Wolfson Campus en la calle 5 NE, entre 1a y 2da Av.


Nota: Las autoras venderán y firmaran autógrafos de algunos de sus libros al concluir el evento

Juan A BlancoGil
Juan Antonio Blanco Gil (PhD)
Executive Director
Center for Latin American and Caribbean Initiatives
Miami Dade College / Wolfson Campus
300 NE 2nd Avenue, Room 1402, Miami, Florida, 33132-2297
Phone: 1-305-237-3944
Cell Phone: 1-305-975-3248

Friday, December 4, 2015

¿Ese comentario en línea es verdadero? Mira este video.

Si te pareces a mí, es posible que antes de empezar con las compras para las fiestas, hacer planes de vacaciones o incluso antes de contratar un plomero, te fijes en los comentarios publicados en internet. Leer las opiniones de otra gente puede ser muy útil para analizar tus decisiones — especialmente antes de sacar de tu bolsillo el dinero que te ganas con esfuerzo.

¿Pero sabías que alguna gente recibe un pago a cambio de decir cosas buenas sobre una compañía, producto o servicio? Eso significa que no siempre puedes saber con seguridad si alguien está dando una opinión veraz e imparcial. La ley dice que la gente que publica comentarios debe ser franca respecto de su conexión con una compañía — pero hay alguna gente que no lo es.
Es útil leer los comentarios, pero tómalos con pinzas. Para estar seguro de tener el panorama completo, esta temporada de fiestas compara comentarios de una variedad de sitios y fuentes confiables. Y para enterarte de otras recomendaciones útiles, échale un vistazo a este video:
online reviews and recommendations video

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Puerto Rico Is Running Out of Options (BusinessWeek)

Congress averts its eyes from the fiscal disaster. 

In San Juan on Nov. 5, protesting cuts in federal spending for the island’s Medicaid and Medicare programs.

Puerto Rico doesn’t look as if it’s on the verge of economic disaster. Tourists are still flocking to its beach resorts. Malls, anchored by department stores like Macy’s and JCPenney, are full of shoppers. At rush hour, roads are clogged with late-model luxury SUVs. But after years of borrowing to prop up the island’s stagnant economy, the government faces $720 million in debt payments in the next two months, and it may run out of cash as early as December.

Puerto Rico doesn’t look as if it’s on the verge of economic disaster. Tourists are still flocking to its beach resorts. Malls, anchored by department stores like Macy’s and JCPenney, are full of shoppers. At rush hour, roads are clogged with late-model luxury SUVs. But after years of borrowing to prop up the island’s stagnant economy, the government faces $720 million in debt payments in the next two months, and it may run out of cash as early as December.

Government officials say meeting those obligations may leave them short of the cash they need to cover payroll, retirement benefits, and Christmas bonuses. Governor Alejandro García Padilla has said he’ll consider cutting hours for public workers to keep essential functions running. García Padilla has already closed some schools, delayed tax rebates, and suspended payments to government suppliers.

The Obama administration has offered a way out. On Oct. 21 the Treasury Department put forward an assistance package that would sustain the island’s medical system by increasing reimbursement rates for Medicaid, the public-health program for the poor. It serves 46 percent of Puerto Ricans and is paid at rates 70 percent lower than in any U.S. state, according to the Puerto Rico Healthcare Crisis Coalition, a group of doctors, hospitals, and insurers. It would also offer some bankruptcy protections to help the government restructure more than $70 billion in debt—more than any state’s except New York and California. In return, Congress would gain more say over the island’s finances. “The situation in Puerto Rico is urgent,” says Brandi Hoffine, a White House spokeswoman.

 One hundred thirty-five schools have closed or been consolidated

So far, Congress, which would have to approve the changes, hasn’t responded. A bill that New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer introduced in August to equalize Medicaid and Medicare rates has stalled. So has a bill by Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal that would allow Puerto Rico’s municipalities to file for bankruptcy protection. A bill introduced on Oct. 8 in the House by Puerto Rico’s nonvoting member, Democratic Representative Pedro Pierluisi, would guarantee some of the island’s debt, but it hasn’t attracted any co-sponsors. “We are fast approaching a catastrophe,” says Melba Acosta, president of the Government Development Bank, which oversees the island’s finances and debt. “We cannot wait any longer.”

Republicans say they won’t approve assistance to Puerto Rico unless its government provides audited financial statements giving a complete picture of its finances. Puerto Rico, a self-governing U.S. territory, missed a self-imposed Oct. 31 deadline for submitting statements from fiscal year 2014 and hasn’t yet prepared documents for the 2015 fiscal year, which ended June 30. Congress “is waiting for some good-faith effort from Puerto Ricans,” says Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, whose Energy and Natural Resources Committee oversees U.S. territories, says she’s still reviewing the administration’s proposals. “The one thing we all agreed on is that Puerto Rico is in a world of hurt right now,” she says. Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, who as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the island’s travails in September, says he’s receptive to the administration’s proposal to establish a control board to oversee the island’s finances. “We’re not moving very fast on that,” he says. “I’m not sure what we should do there.”

Democrats say hedge funds, which hold as much as a third of Puerto Rico’s debt, have discouraged action that would make it harder for them to get paid. “It has become increasingly clear that hedge funds, which have purchased a sizable part of Puerto Rico’s debt, are exacerbating the crisis,” says Representative Nydia Velázquez, a New York Democrat who introduced a bill on Nov. 4 that would increase disclosure requirements for hedge funds’ debt holdings.

Investors and hedge funds holding bonds from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or Prepa, agreed on Nov. 5 to a restructuring plan that would require them to take losses of up to 15 percent. “Blanket statements criticizing the role of bondholders aren’t just factually inaccurate, they are a clear example of damaging political rhetoric,” says Stephen Spencer, a managing director at Houlihan Lokey who is advising Prepa bondholders.

Puerto Rico’s economy has shrunk about 15 percent since 2006, when Congress ended tax breaks for manufacturers there. The unemployment rate stands at 11.4 percent, more than twice the national average. Forty-five percent of families live below the poverty line. Last year the island lost an average of 1,200 people each week to the mainland, the most since the U.S. Census Bureau began tracking departures a decade ago. “We’re on the verge of becoming a ghetto of old poor people,” says Elías Gutiérrez, an economics professor at the University of Puerto Rico.

Marielys Feliciano, a single mother of four who works in construction, sees no reason to stay. This summer, her neighborhood school outside the well-off city of Manatí was closed to cut costs. Now she has to wake up at 4 a.m. to get her children to another school and pays for a baby sitter to pick them up. When she called to ask about government assistance, she was told she’d be better off moving to the U.S. “I see the future here, and the doors are closing,” she says, folding her hands together. “I can’t limit my kids to a place where there’s no future.”

Monday, November 16, 2015

EDIT Newsletter-Economic Development and International Trade Unit (RER) Miami-Dade County

                                  TRADE MIAMI-DADE


Welcome to Trade Miami-Dade, the newsletter highlighting the activities of the International Trade Consortium (ITC) Board of Directors and the Economic Development and International Trade Unit (EDIT) of Miami-Dade County.  As the Chair of the ITC, I have the responsibility of engaging our local partners and making new commercial connections around the world.  The advantages of using Miami-Dade County and its superb international trade resources for moving product to and from anywhere in the world are formidable.  Our message is clear, Come Trade With Us, and together we can make Miami-Dade prosper.   We hope you enjoy Trade Miami-Dade, and that you will join us in promoting Miami-Dade as the Global Gateway.

ITC Chair Diaz Welcomes Irene Hirano Inouye, President, U.S. - Japan Council

From Left to Right: ITC Chair Jose "Pepe" Diaz and Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye, President, U.S.-Japan Council
 On October 28, ITC Chair Jose "Pepe" Diaz welcomed the President of the U.S. - Japan Council, Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye, to Miami for a networking event focused on helping to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Japan.  The U.S.-Japan Council is a Japanese American-led organization that promotes people-to-people relationships through its innovative programs in networking and leadership. Also attending the event were several members of the U.S. House of Representatives, City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, and Acting Consul General of Japing in Miami, Masahiro Ogino. Japan is South Florida's 33rd-largest trading partner, with total trade approaching $1 billion in 2014.

High Level Algerian Delegation meet with Chairman 
Jean Monestime
The Honorable El Hadi Makboul, General Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, His Excellency Madjid Bouguerra, Algerian Ambassador to the United States in Washington D.C., met with Chairman
From Left to Right: His Excelency Ambassador Madjid Bouguerra, Chairman Jean Monestime and the Honorable El Hadi Makboul at the Stephen P. Clark Center
Jean Monestime at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center on October 26, 2015, marking the highest ranking Algerian officials to ever visit Miami-Dade County. Other Algerian officials  include: Mr. Ahmed Tibaoui, General Manager & CEO, World Trade Center, Algeria, Dr. Ismael Chikhoune, President & CEO, US-Algerian Business Council, based in Arlington, Virginia, Mr. Belkacem Abdessadok, Algerian Ministry of Commerce and Mr. Chakib Kouidri, Manager of Linkop Bureau d'Affaires, Algeria. The delegation informed Chairman Monestime, that the Algerian government would like to strengthen its bilateral ties with Miami-Dade County in light of the County's status as a Global Hub and Gateway of the Americas. The Chairman noted that "the U.S.-Algerian Trade & Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) signed July 2001, by both nations provides the platform to build a strong bilateral relations and the essential role of private investment, both domestic and foreign, in furthering growth, creating jobs, expanding international trade, improving technology, and enhancing economic development between both communities."

The delegation also met with representatives of Enterprise Florida and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. The Algerian delegation was in Miami to participate in the 19th Annual Americas Food & Beverage Show and Conference organized by World Trade Center Miami. Algeria was designated "Country of Honor'" at the Show.

Vice-Chair Audrey M. Edmonson Addresses OWIT International Fall 
2015 Board Meeting

Left to Right: Honorable Audrey M. Edmonson, Miami-Dade County Commissioner, and Vice-Chair of the ITC Board of Directors; Karen Bland, President of OWIT International; and Jennifer Diaz, OWIT International Board of Directors
The Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) - International, held Fall 2015 Board Meetings in Miami-Dade County from October 22 to 25.  Board members traveled from across the U.S. cities and Canada to participate in four days of meetings and networking events.  On Friday, October 23, OWIT members and members of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) - Miami, were honored to have the Honorable Audrey M. Edmonson, Commissioner of Miami-Dade County and Vice-Chair of the ITC Board of Directors, in attendance to proclaim that day as Organization of Women in International Trade Day. Meetings and discussions consisted of best trade practices, trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, along with business operational tutorials. Established in 1989, OWIT is a voluntary non-profit professional organization of women and men involved or interested in international trade and business. The organization continues its commitment in establishing educational programs, conventions and other activities to promote the employment worldwide of women and men in international trade.

EDIT Initiates collaboration at 13th Annual Supply Chain & Logistics Summit 2015

For the first time, the Annual Supply Chain & Logistics Summit hosted its U.S. conference in Miami on October 27 and 28, and EDIT promoted and exhibited at the show. The Summit focused on strategic planning and performance initiatives as leading supply chain experts share the latest issues influencing competitive supply chain strategies, supply chain risk management, technology breakthrough and supply chain innovation, logistics and distribution efficiency, demand-driven supply chain, supply chain talent management. While the show has previously been held in Texas, because of the collaborative efforts of EDIT, Enterprise Florida, the Beacon Council, Florida Customs & Freight Forwarders Assoc., PortMiami and Miami International Airport, the show's organizers, WTG Events, are considering permanently moving the Summit to Miami.

New South African Ambassador visits Miami-Dade 

From Left to Right: Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, Ambassador Mahlangu, Willam Talbert, III, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau; Carol Ann Taylor, Miami To Go
His Excellency Ambassador Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu, South Africa's newly-appointed Ambassador to the United States of America, visited Miami-Dade County,  October 26-28, 2015 Ambassador Mahlangu met with Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Commissioner Dennis Moss at the Mayor's Office on October 28. The Ambassador also met with Commissioner Audrey Edmonson and Mr. Bill Talbert at a private luncheon hosted in his honor by the Greater Miami Convention Bureau.  At these meetings, discussions focused on matters of mutual interests and ways to solidify the cordial and robust relations between Miami-Dade and South Africa.  Ambassador Mahlangu also addressed a cross-section of South Florida's economic development agencies and business executives at a business round table meeting organized by the South African Association of Business Communities, in collaboration with the Econo mic Development & International Trade Unit, Enterprise Florida and the Beacon Council. His Excellency also attended a private luncheon hosted by the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) in his honor.
From Left to right_ Commissioner Dennis Moss_ Ambassador Mahlangu_ and Mayor Carlos Gimenez
From Left to Right: Commissioner Dennis C. Moss; Ambassador Mahlangu; and Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez
A cross-section of business executives at the Business Rountable Meeting held at the Beacon Council


Pictured from L-R: Brinks Global Services Life Sciences Director Leandro Moreira, PortMiami Director Juan Kuryla, IATA Regional Vice President Peter Cerda, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Miami-Dade Aviation Department Director Emilio T. González and MDAD Chief of Staff Joseph F. Napoli.
The Geneva-based International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced on November 4, 2015 that it has designated Miami International Airport as the first pharmaceutical freight hub in the United States and only the second in the world.

Mr. Peter Cerda, IATA's president presented the prestigious Certification to Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who received the award on behalf of MIA's Director Dr. Emilio Gonzalez. MIA Pharma's freight hub Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) certification by IATA will now highlight the airport to the pharmaceutical industry as a trusted industry leader following best practices within the pharma logistics and transports procedures. The value of pharmaceutical imports and exports moving through MIA grew by 79 percent between 2010 and 2014, from about $1.8 billion in 2010 to nearly $3.3 billion in 2014, according to figures supplied by MIA. Not including airport in-transit pharma cargo. 


T Pictured Left to Right:  Tim Roberts, Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Ambassador Peter Heyward, Desmond Alufohai and Manny Gonzalez, Chief Economic Development & International Trade Unit.
Ambassador Peter Heyward, Chief of Congressional Liaison, Embassy of Australia, Washington D.C.., visited Miami.  He was accompanied by Mr. Tim Roberts, Congressional  Liaison Officer, Embassy of Australia. They met with the Honorable Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Miami-Dade County  Commissioner and Chairman, Board of Directors, International Trade Consortium at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center.  Ambassador Heyward indicated that he was in Miami to attend the Australian Art Exhibition at the Perez Art Museum. He noted that he would like to increase Australia's footprint in South Florida in light of the region's status as the "Gateway of the Americas." They discussed ways to foster closer economic and cultural ties and increase bilateral trade and business contacts between.  In 2014, Australia was the United States 25th ranked trade partner with total bilateral trade amounting to $37.34 billion.  Australia was South Florida's 53rd trade partner with trade volume of $24 million.

From Left to Right: Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez; Severine Gianese-Pittman, President of the French-American Chamber of Commerce and Philippe Letrilliart, Consul General of France in Miami 
On November 5th, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez addressed a group of 50 French local businessman and women at a lunch hosted by the Consulate of France in Miami and the French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACC) in the context of the 8th edition of "French Week". France is South Florida's 12th largest trading partner with a total trade of $2.65 billion in 2014. Mayor Gimenez mentioned that one of the direct results of his recent trip to France last June was the official visit of a delegation from the City of Marseille scheduled for June 2016.  The Mayor also mentioned that one of the results of this trip was the signing of a Sister Seaport Agreement between PortMiami and Marseille Fos Port Authority. Mayor Gimenez spoke about Miami-Dade County as a "global hub" for business/trade, technology and innovation and invited French companies to continue to work together to solidify business relationships between France and Miami-Dade.

A total of 26 appointments occurred between businesses from Martinique and their Miami-Dade counterparts during the business-to-business (B2B) matchmaking meetings organi
zed by the Economic Development and International Trade Unit. The business meetings were held at the Miami Free Zone on Novem
ber 12, 2015.  The Martinique delegation comprising of 8 companies, were in Miami as part of the "French Week" festivities. The delegation produced a
"Martinique Spice & Fashion Show" event at the Miami-Beach. Mr. Denis Herault, the mission coordinator, stated that "this is our 5th consecutive year of bringing a trade mission to Miami because of Miami's geographic position as the Gateway of the Americas. We want to capitalize on using Miami's global platform to establish our presence here so people can source for our products through a "collectif office" in Miami."  The companies from Martinique include: Aeroclub de Martinique, CGIT Consulting, Collectif Coop Export Martnique, Extreme Chic, Martinique Developpement, Mike Aviation, NASDY Caraibes SARL and RDGEO.