Thursday, January 23
McDonald's suffers first-ever losses
Neil Buckley, FT.com, January 23, 2003
McDonald's on Thursday announced its first quarterly loss since going public in 1965, and scrapped its double-digit earnings growth targets.
The world's largest hamburger chain said it was closing 719 underperforming restaurants, mainly in the US and Japan - more than previously expected - as it battles to reverse falling same-store sales.
A $810.2m one-off charge relating mainly to the store closures and the cost of withdrawing from three foreign markets pushed the company well into the red for the fourth quarter of 2002. ... (more)
Chutzpahgate: Is This the End of Sharon?
William Hughes, Counterpunch, January 10, 2003
Maybe, there is a God!
How else can you account for the fact that Ariel Sharon might lose the January 28th election? He might even go to jail, or at least pay a fine, if the state can prove its case against him for electoral hanky panky.
The Israeli Prime Minister is finally on the ropes. And, it's not for his invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and the carnage and death that left in its wake. He's under a fierce attack. And, it has nothing to do with his sordid part in the slaughter of 69 innocent civilians at the Arab village of Qibya in 1953. It's the tenth round of a slugfest and he is wearing out fast. And, it's not because the World Court has called him to account for his supporting role in the massacre at Sabra and Shatila, the sacking of Jenin, or for running his death squads in the West Bank and Gaza.
No! It's the local Israeli prosecutor, Elyakim Rubinstein, who is doing the pounding away at the old sheep farmer, Sharon. Rubinstein is going for his jugular. It's all because of an election fundraising brouhaha - a measly $1.5 million loan - supposedly transferred from a South African business man, to Israel, to pay off the campaign debts of Sharon. You see: Foreign campaign contributions are illegal in Israel.
Talk about being brought down by the absurd. And, of course, those troublemaking sons of Sharon; Omri and Gilad didn't help his cause either. Both of their names appear on the disputed bank account, according to published reports. Omri Sharon is also involved in an alleged vote buying scheme in last November's primary election. Well, the fruit never falls far from the tree, does it?
If Sharon needed an election loan, then why didn't he ask his Zionist cronies in America for it? They know how to manipulate those election financing laws and would have jumped at the opportunity to help out their favorite war hawk. They are masters at setting up Political Action Committees (PAC). They could have easily created a PAC just for him. They could have called it, "The Sheriff John Wayne Fund," to spotlight his tough guy, hang-them-high, Law-&-Order image.
Remember, too, how the relatives of Presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon kept on getting them in hot water? Seems like even the Israeli politicians aren't immune to that one. .... (more)