Black American kids are cheaper

Did you know it is, in average, $8,000 cheaper to adopt a black baby than a white one? And that boys are cheaper by $2,000?

Discount babies

THE market is not politically correct. It often assigns lower values to humans (their wages) based on their race or sex, even after controlling for education and experience. It’s just as cruel to children. A few years ago I was disturbed to learn that it’s cheaper to adopt black American children than white. I recently had lunch with NYU Stern School economist Allan Collard-Wexler, who has estimated adoption price sensitivity. He found just how much adoption fees are sensitive to the race and gender of a baby. It’s about $8,000 cheaper to adopt a black baby than a white or Hispanic child and girls tend to cost about $2,000 more than boys.

What can explain the preference for non-black girls? The preference for girls is interesting because people tend to favour male biological children. The authors speculate this may be because girls are considered “safer” in terms of dysfunctional behaviour. The data also includes same-sex couples, which tend to favour girls (both male and female partners), even more than heterosexual couples. (Source: The Economist)

Ah, sensitive issues. Still interesting though.

Ho Yeow Sun called in to assist police

Some updates from Channel News Asia:

Over 18 people from City Harvest Church called up in probe so far

SINGAPORE : More than 18 people from City Harvest Church, including pop singer Ho Yeow Sun, have been called up so far to help police investigations into the alleged misuse of funds at the church.

Founder Kong Hee and 16 others were questioned on May 31.

MediaCorp understands that others have also been called in since then.

The police probe into the church concerns specific incidents that could involve the possible falsification of accounts and criminal breach of trust, involving millions of dollars and transactions that date back years. (Source: Channel News Asia)

Other notes from The Straits Times:

TNP said Ms Ho, 40, had flown in from the US on Monday, and was called in to assist police with their investigation into the finances of City Harvest Church. She was at the Police Cantonment Complex from about 10 am to 6.30pm and was questioned by officers from the Commercial Affairs Department. (Source: Straits Times)

When would this end, I wonder.

CHC ordinary members cannot attend AGMs

It appears that normal church members of City Harvest Church (CHC) are not allowed to be present in their general meetings despite being entitled to as CHC is registered as a society too. I’ve attached the relevant news article for your reading:

Ordinary members ‘have no right to attend general meetings’

According to City Harvest Church’s (CHC) constitution, which MediaCorp has obtained a copy of, ordinary church members have “no right to attend General Meetings”.

Only executive members – such as pastors, the board of directors and cell group leaders who have served at least three years – are entitled to do so.

Meanwhile, the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) said that while it encourages members to comply with the Code, it is a voluntary association and each member determines its own policy and action.

CHC is a member of NCCS.

NCCS does not oversee its members’ financial matters, said its general secretary Lim K Tham.

Whether members are able to attend AGMs depends on how their church is incorporated, he added.

Members of churches registered as societies are entitled to attend AGMs. City Harvest is registered as a society and a charity.

Some churches are, however, registered as companies limited by guarantee, and whether members are allowed to attend AGMs would rest on a document called a memorandum of association – which sets out the contract between the organisation and its members, said Mr Lim. (Read more coverage at Today Online)

New Creation Church discusses their business affiliations

Following the allegations against the managements of City Harvest Church, another mega church has voluntarily discussed their business affiliations. It appears they are quite business-oriented too.

New Creation Church talks about its affiliated companies

SINGAPORE: About a week after it emerged that 17 members of City Harvest Church had been called up for investigations into alleged misuse of funds, another mega church, New Creation Church, spent time during each of its four services on Sunday to talk about its five affiliated companies.

That year, New Creation, which has 17,000 followers, announced that its business arm Rock Productions had teamed up with mall developer CapitaMalls Asia to build an “integrated hub” in Buona Vista.

The $1-billion project – half of which the church has invested in – will house shops, a concert hall and a 5,000-seat theatre for services when ready in 2012.

Rock Productions also owns and manages the Rock Auditorium in Suntec City where services are held now and its adjoining Rock Gifts and Book Centre as well.

It also owns Marine Cove, a recreational and restaurant cluster at East Coast Park, which cost $10 million.

Meanwhile, a 10,000-strong congregation at City Harvest Church’s weekend services at Singapore Expo was told that senior pastor Kong Hee, 46, is taking a “needed rest”. (Source: ChannelNewsAsia)

In my opinion, it isn’t so much as to what businesses a church is associated with that their members want to know; rather, it’s why do they even need to get into these business affiliations. To grow money? Perhaps I’m shortsighted, but what justifiable reason is there for a church to get richer than it already is?

City Harvest Church funds allegedly misused

This case has gotten rather big this couple of days. Several people linked to City Harvest Church has been investigated for a possible misuse of church funds. There are even rumors that Senior Pastor Kong Hee and his singer wife Sun Ho are having troubles with their marriage due to issues relating to this issue.

Church people under investigation

THE police rounded up several people linked to City Harvest Church for alleged misuse of church funds. The 17 who are assisting the police with investigations include the megachurch’s founder, Senior Pastor Kong Hee, who was picked up on May 31.

The police also took away financial records and computers from the homes and offices of the people involved. They did not say what offences they were investigating.

A joint statement from the Commissioner of Charities and the Commercial Affairs Department said they were investigating “several individuals and companies, related or connected” to the church. The four-paragraph statement said the commissioner had received complaints about the misuse of church funds. It had looked into the matter and decided that the police should become involved.

Responding to queries, the commissioner said the financial transactions being investigated were not related to, nor initiated by, the church’s controversial $310 million stake in Suntec City, which was announced in March. (Source: Asia One)

City Harvest Church is Singapore’s largest and possibly most successful church.

What do you think would happen to the church?

Why does the poor pay more?

Saw this interesting bit from bakadesuyo. The point is that if you have cars, you can drive around and make price comparisons. Comparisons make consumers more aware of price differences, thereby increasing the price competition.

This research undertakes a carefully designed and detailed empirical study to gain insights into (1) the extent of price differentials between wealthy and poor neighborhoods; (2) what induces such differentials, especially the nature and intensity of competitive environments, including mass merchandisers like Wal‐Mart; and (3) their relative impacts. It finds a price differential of about 10%–15% for everyday items. Even after controlling for store size and competition, prices are found to be 2%–5% higher in poor areas. It also finds that it is not the poverty level per se but access to cars that acts as a key determinant of consumers’ price search patterns. (Source: bakadesuyo)

No more money

I opened my wallet to discover the notes compartment of my wallet filled with receipts. Only receipts and nothing more. I have this little application on my iPod that keeps track of my spending and I stared at it recounting the numerous I spent money in the name of — ahem — convenience. As a punishment I ate some lower price pasta at Pastamania.

How companies are stolen in Russia

Bill Browder, MBA ’89, founder and CEO, talks about Hermitage Capital Management’s investments in Russia and the fall out from the widespread corruption that still pervades Russia’s economy. Recorded Oct. 22, 2009

Hermitage CEO Browder: Don’t Invest in Russia Today

Thought-provoking. If you have an hour to spare, you should watch this video.

Bill Gates bounces back to being world #1 richest

Forbes 2009 billionaire list is out and Bill Gates regains title as the world’s richest man despite losing USD18 billion in the past 12 months. Gates is now worth USD40 billion. Well, the other fellows lost something like USD25 billion so Gates is top again. Warren Buffet’s (2nd richest) Berkshire Hathaway is down 45% since last March. For Carlos Slim Helu & family, net worth dropped to USD35 billion.

In Pictures: The 2009 Billionaire List

Software visionary regains title as the world’s richest man despite losing $18 billion in the past 12 months. Stepped down from day-to-day duties at Microsoft last summer to devote his talents and riches to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Organization’s assets were $30 billion in January; annual letter lauds endowment manager Michael Larson for limiting last year’s losses to 20%. Gates decided to increase donations in 2009 to $3.8 billion, up 15% from 2008. Dedicated to fighting hunger in developing countries, improving education in America’s high schools and developing vaccines against malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS. Appointed Microsoft Office veteran Jeffrey Raikes chief exec of Gates Foundation in September. Gates remains Microsoft chairman. Sells shares each quarter, redeploys proceeds via investment vehicle Cascade; more than half of fortune invested outside Microsoft. Stock down 45% in past 12 months. “Creative capitalist” wants companies to match profitmaking with doing good. (Source: Forbes)

Well, that is still a lot of money. I’m rank #239025921 in the world with $20 in my wallet right now.