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Biography: IMackGroup provides mathematics edutainment and quantitative finance products and services.

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Enough Already!

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 29, 2014 0 Comments

I sent the video below to my siblings and a few friends. One of my younger brothers emailed the following comment. 

Thanks for the video. I reckon that this is how Ronald [our oldest brother] felt by the time mom had 5 girls in a row. ... ! ha ! ha ! See his reaction in the photo above!

Vietnam Sentences Bankers to Death in Fraud Trials

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 27, 2014 0 Comments


Vu Viet Hung, former director of the Central Highlands branch of Vietnam Development Bank, receives a death sentence for lending nearly a hundred million dollars to fake business contacts. Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre

A court in the Central Highlands on Thursday gave the death sentence to a Vietnam Development Bank (VDB) executive and several life sentences to others involved in a hundred-million-dollar scam.
The defendants had taken advantage of credit privileges given to exporters to fake documents and borrow more than VND2 trillion (US$94.88 million) from VBD’s Central Highlands branch for Dak Nong and the neighboring Dak Lak Province, as well as Nam A bank at its Hanoi branch, and the Ho Chi Minh City-based Orient Commercial Bank.
Vu Viet Hung, 57-year-old former director of the VDB branch, was punished on three charges - a death sentence for taking bribes in the form of a BMW car ...
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Jamaicans Thinking Outside the Box

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 27, 2014 0 Comments

ONLY IN JAMAICA would you find such ingenuity! 
Waiting in Line at the Tax Department in Jamaica.

Oil-Rich N. Dakota Records Highest Income Growth in the U.S.

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 25, 2014 0 Comments


North Dakota has recorded the highest personal income growth among all states for the sixth time in the last seven years.

Statistics released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis indicated that the state's personal income grew 7.6 percent in 2013. Utah ranked behind North Dakota with a 4 percent growth.

Please read more here and here.

Tina Turner & Mick Jagger in Concert

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 25, 2014 0 Comments

Trading Report: 97 Taxes Americans Pay Every Year

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 25, 2014 0 Comments


#1 Air Transportation Taxes (just look at how much you were charged the last time you flew)

#2 Biodiesel Fuel Taxes

#3 Building Permit Taxes

#4 Business Registration Fees

#5 Capital Gains Taxes

#6 Cigarette Taxes

#7 Court Fines (indirect taxes)

#8 Disposal Fees

#9 Dog License Taxes

#10 Drivers License Fees (another form of taxation)

#11 Employer Health Insurance Mandate Tax

#12 Employer Medicare Taxes

#13 Employer Social Security Taxes

#14 Environmental Fees

#15 Estate Taxes

#16 Excise Taxes On Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans

#17 Federal Corporate Taxes

#18 Federal Income Taxes

#19 Federal Unemployment Taxes

#20 Fishing License Taxes

#21 Flush Taxes (yes, this actually exists in some areas)

#22 Food And Beverage License Fees

#23 Franchise Business Taxes

#24 Garbage Taxes

#25 Gasoline Taxes

#26 Gift Taxes

#27 Gun Ownership Permits

#28 Hazardous Material Disposal Fees

#29 Highway Access Fees

#30 Hotel Taxes (these are becoming quite ...

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Financial Times: US Loses Edge as Employment Powerhouse

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 24, 2014 0 Comments

The labour force participation rate – the proportion of adults who are either working or looking for work – started to decline in the US in 2000 and has plunged since 2008 from 66 to 63 per cent. The equivalent of 7.4m people are no longer part of the labour force.

Please read more in the Financial Times.

George Michael's New Album: SYMPHONICA

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 23, 2014 0 Comments

Italian Nun Rocks it On "The Voice" Singing Competition

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 22, 2014 0 Comments

Sister Act 3? LOL!

Please read more here.

"America's Energy Boom" (video)

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 21, 2014 0 Comments

Reuters: JPMorgan Sells Commodities Unit to Mercuria Energy Group for $3.5 Billion

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 20, 2014 0 Comments


JPMorgan is selling its physical commodities business to Mercuria for $3.5 billion, the U.S. investment bank said on Wednesday, sweeping the fast-growing Swiss trading house into the top league of commodities traders.

The all-cash transaction for one of the most powerful oil andmetals desks on Wall Street is expected to close in the third quarter, JPMorgan said in a statement.

In documents circulated to potential buyers last year, JPMorgan had valued its physical commodity business at $3.3 billion, with an annual income of $750 million. JPMorgan paid nearly $2 billion to buy the largest part of the business from RBS in 2010.

JPMorgan decided to sell its multi-billion dollar physical commodities division last year due to rising regulatory and political pressure and so it could concentrate on the bank's core business of lending.

Please read more here and here.

Russian Lawmakers Ask Obama to Impose Sanctions on Them All

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 18, 2014 0 Comments

( The State Duma has passed a motion suggesting that the US and EU extend the freshly introduced sanctions to all Russian MPs rather than a limited group of officials, defying western pressure just hours before Russia and Crimea signed a federation treaty.

The motion was supported by a unanimous vote on Tuesday morning. It was prepared the day before by all four parliamentary parties after representatives of the United States and the European Union said they were slapping sanctions, such as visa bans and asset freezes, on a number of Russian officials who are seen as “key ideologists and architects” of the policy towards Ukraine.



Deputy Markelov also said in his Duma speech that Russian politicians cannot be intimidated by Western sanctions as previous examples of their application demonstrate that such measures are hardly effective. “They tried it before in Serbia, Belarus, Syria. But these nations have not ...

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Russia Today: Young Banker's Suicide Becomes Twelfth in 2014

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 18, 2014 0 Comments


A New York City investment banker is dead after allegedly jumping from his apartment building, continuing an alarming streak of suicides that has descended upon the financial world.

The latest death occurred on March 12, when 28-year-old Kenneth Bellando was found on the sidewalk outside his six-story Manhattan apartment building.

According to the Daily Mail, police investigators said the case was still under investigation, but that they do not suspect a third party to be involved and that Bellando – who had been working for Levy Capital since January – likely took his own life.

Before moving into his last position, the New York Post reported Bellando worked as an investment banker at JP Morgan Chase. His brother, John Bellando, also works at JP Morgan as an investment officer; the Post stated that multiple emails by John Bellando were presented as evidence during Senate hearings regarding the “London Whale” trading scandal.

Kenneth ...

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Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences: Pharrell's "Happy"

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 18, 2014 0 Comments

Lookout Pharrell, these young students rocked your song!

Now if only we can get our global political leaders to sing this song. IJS

Oil-Rich N. Dakota Desperately Needs Workers for Empty Jobs

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 17, 2014 0 Comments



BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota officials are sending a plea to people across the country: We need you.

The state's unprecedented oil bonanza has made it the economic darling of the nation — boasting a sturdy economy, a state government budget surplus, and its highest population ever, as swarms of people have migrated to North Dakota. But it hasn't been enough, officials say, citing some 25,000 more jobs than takers in all industries in the state.

Hoping to woo workers to fill those jobs, Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley and the North Dakota Economic Development Foundation on Monday unveiled a "Find the Good Life in North Dakota" campaign at the state Capitol in Bismarck.

"These are exciting times in our state," said Wrigley, who called the lack of an adequate workforce one of "the challenges of prosperity."

The $800,000 campaign is being paid for equally by tax-supported ...

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Wall Street Journal: Proposed Bank Tax

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 17, 2014 0 Comments

Wall Street is mobilizing to beat back an unexpected threat: a bank tax championed by a Republican lawmaker.

Bank of America Corp.Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs GroupInc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and other big banks are marshaling opposition on Capitol Hill to kill a proposal by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.) to tax the nation's largest financial firms, according to people familiar with the efforts. The companies are curtailing financing for GOP lawmakers and warning of an economic hit, these people say.

The proposal has galvanized Wall Street in a way largely unseen since the financial crisis. While banks have pushed back on postcrisis regulation, they rarely act as one, since the rules affect firms differently. This time, banks large and small are coordinating on the resistance.

"This is a fairly large effort," said one industry lobbyist. "Most of the offices we ...

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A Class Act for 104+ Years

by Iris Mack, PhD, EMBA on March 16, 2014 0 Comments

There should be a movie made about this elegant lady - Mrs. Gwen Wood.  This photo was taken of her only a few weeks ago - a few months shy of her 105th birthday in June.  

I met Mrs. Wood when I was a graduate student at Harvard. Over the years I've learned a lot from her. I used to jokingly tell her that she needs to bottle her longevity secrets and sell them to the rest of us mere mortals. 

So long my friend!

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