Friday News and Notes

Is The End Near In Syria?
The end could be near for Syria’s Bashir al-Assad, but he is giving no clear signs that he is willing to do so of his own accord.

The Defense Department will be dispatching missiles and 400 troops to Turkey to serve with NATO forces. The move comes in response to reports that Syria was using Scud missiles against rebel forces.

Meanwhile, Russia was stepping back from comments made by is foreign minister that the end was near for Assad.

“We have never changed our position and will not change it,” said the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Aleksandr K. Lukashevich insisting that the only option was a political solution.

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner held last minute talks at the White House, but their discussions served to confirm the growing belief that going over the fiscal cliff is a likelihood.

The nearing of the fiscal cliff poses a threat to both individual taxpayers, as well as small businesses who file as individuals.

Survey Of Financial Experts Finds Progress For Euro Zone A new Brookings Institution survey of financial experts finds 45 percent of the respondents holding the belief that the Euro zone is “a significant way toward viable long-term structures” even if there is much to tackle ahead.

In particular, the survey reported, progress is seen in central banking (67%) and sovereign debt crisis support (55%), while less progress is seen in terms of forming a deeper political union (37%).

Although there is a consensus that things are getting better, according to Brookings, there “is fairly wide disparity among individual experts which is not surprising given the complexity and subjectivity of the analysis; assessments of overall progress range from 25% to 75%.”

Is The End Of Main Street Retailers Near?
This year marketers poured as much energy into promoting Black Friday as they did Cyber Monday, which could be a portent of things to come for physical retailers.

The reason, however, is a consequence of poor business strategy rather than the overwhelming competitive force of online shopping.

“[Retailers] are burdened with an inferior business model. I’ve described in a previous blog post about how creative destruction has happened in retail in recent decades, with independent retailers giving way to chain store retailers, who in turn gave way to big box retailers, who in turn are in the process of giving way to online retailers. Physical retailers are not inept; they’re cemented to a business model that is noncompetitive,” writes Jeff Jordan in Fortune magazine.


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