Monday, November 21, 2011

Toni Vallen Also Loves Cocker Spaniels

Toni Vallen found these various pics from dog blogs

"China opens for Western companies?" Toni Vallen

It has been spoken about this for a long time, but not much has happened on the ground. It seems now, however, that the framework and legal regulation for western companies being listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange are in place. As soon as the market conditions are improving it could therefore be implemented quickly. What remains to be seen is how soon the current market situation improves!

As a foreigner you could not expect to be investing as China capital controls ban foreign investors from trading in China’s markets. This means that that the shares only can be traded by people living in China. For large companies that also are listed at one or more western stock exchanges a listing in China could be a very useful way of getting equity in the future as well as raising their profile in China.

For smaller companies it is probably a longer way to go. A number of Chinese companies have been listed at London Stock Exchange AIM market. But it is not likely that a stream of smaller western companies will go to China any time soon. Particularly for smaller companies with links to China it could be of interest with a listing there.

Toni Vallen.

Toni Vallen is the owner and director of Seton Services, a London based investor relations firm.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Is Your Public Relations Investment Paying Off?

Is Your Public Relations Investment Paying Off?
Five steps to help hit the PR bullseye.
 Related Resources
• Better Media Relations
• Guerrilla PR
• PR Coups & Capers
• PR Toolkit
• Your Future in PR

by Robert A. KellyBob Kelly

You'll never know in the end that your PR investment was worthwhile unless you set the right kind of goal at the beginning -- a goal against which progress can be measured, and a goal that flows directly from public relations strategies and tactics like those discussed below.

In my opinion, you must keep your eye on the end-game because the reason we do public relations in the first place is to change the behaviors of certain groups of people important to the success of our organization.

Another way of saying that? What we REALLY care about is modifying the behavior of those we wish to influence.
Ask yourself this question: do we employ public relations for the sheer pleasure of writing news releases, running special events, doing surveys or booking speeches? Some folks may actually think so, but I believe the answer to that question is no. We employ public relations so that, at the end of the day, somebody's behavior gets modified.

  • you may wish to influence people to begin thinking more positively about your organization, thus strengthening its reputation.

  • or encourage them to begin buying your soft drink brand by communicating its great taste and refreshing flavor.

  • it could be as simple as communicating a company's strengths to a target audience leading them to invest in the company's shares.

  • or even providing environmental activists with the facts about the company's full compliance with Federal regulations, in the hope they will bring their plant-site demonstrations to an end.  

But remember: until you have a solid indication that target behaviors have, in fact, changed in ways that meet your primary behavior modification goal, you DON'T know if your investment has paid off.

So, let's look at ways to increase one's comfort level about that public relations investment. Here are five steps, that can help you hit the public relations bullseye -- desired behavior modification -- on your next public relations venture.

Step 1   Accept the Fact That People Act on their Perception of the Facts 

Many behavioral experts agree that people really do act on THEIR perception of the facts, and that how they react to those facts actually does affect their behaviors. It follows that individual understanding of those facts must be continually informed if those behaviors are to help achieve the organization's goal and objectives.

A simple, but effective illustration of this dynamic at work, is the investor considering the purchase of company shares. With the facts available to him or her at the moment, he/she forms a perception of the company. Unsupported though they may be, should those facts cast doubt on the company's
future, it's safe to say that the investor's negative perception of the company will lead to a certain behavior, namely, no shares are purchased.

Public relations counsel, alerted to the negative perception about the company through continuous media monitoring, opinion sampling and thoughtleader contact, moves rapidly to communicate accurate sales and financial data to the investment community. In due course, this leads to perception and behavioral changes on the part of many investors -- namely, towards a decision to buy the company's shares.

Step 2   Create, Change or Reinforce Opinion 

Here, after assessing opinion among your target audiences through media monitoring, opinion sampling and thought-leader contact, you must decide whether you will create or change or reinforce public opinion within each target audience. Choosing the correct mode - 1) reinforcing existing opinion, 2) creating new opinion from scratch or 3) changing current and possibly long-held views -- is obviously central to your message preparation strategy and its copy approach. Each must be written to carefully reflect the timing of the action being taken.

Step 3   Reach, Persuade and Move-to-Action 

Now, you must reach, persuade and move-to-action those people whose behaviors will affect your organization. That includes, among others, a variety of stakeholders including customers, employees, prospects, retirees, media, legislators and regulators, and both financial and plant communities.

Reaching these target groups means applying the most effective communications tools available to you. Among others, these will include such tactics as media relations and publicity-generating news conferences and press releases, newsletters and e-mails, high-profile speeches, charitable contributions, investor relations and informal opinion surveys.

Special events will be high on the action list: newsworthy events like trade shows, open houses, awards ceremonies, contests, VIP receptions, financial roadshows, and even media-attracting stunts. On the marketing side, you will want to target your sales-oriented communications to help build brand franchise, win consumer acceptance and gain competitive advantage.

Persuading these important groups of stakeholders to your way of thinking depends heavily on the message you prepare for each target audience. You must understand and identify what is really at issue at the moment; impart a sense of credibility to your comments; perform regular assessments of how opinion is currently running among that group, constantly adjusting your message; as well as highlighting those key issue points most likely to engage their attention and involvement; and finally, identify and build into your messages pre-tested, action-producing incentives for individuals to take the actions you desire.

Moving your target group to action, hopefully with a mix of activity such as the above, can be accelerated, even amplified by careful selection of the media to reach your target audience. This applies whether, among others, it's print or broadcast media, key podium presentations or a series of top level personal contacts, and they all must communicate clearly and directly to your target audiences.

Of equal importance to the success of your program will be the selection and perceived credibility of the actual spokespeople who will deliver your messages. They must have stature in their industries, and speak with authority, personal confidence and conviction if meaningful media coverage is to be achieved.

Step 4   Gain and Hold Understanding and Acceptance

By this time, your action program should begin to gain and hold the kind of public understanding and acceptance that leads to the desired shift in public behavior.

Signs that your messages are turning some opinion in your direction should appear. A chance comment in a business meeting, a popular columnist's observations, e-mails from interested parties or co-worker alerts that this political figure or that local celebrity made public references to your topic, should begin to build. Many of these indicators, each reflecting the state of individual perception, will gradually begin to reflect the modified behaviors you have in mind.

Step 5   Modify the Behavior, Achieve your Goal

When the changes in behaviors become truly apparent through media reports, thought-leader comment, employee and community chatter and other feedback, at the same time clearly meeting your original behavior modification goal, your public relations program can be deemed a success.

PR consultant Bob Kelly was director of PR for Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News
Shipbuilding; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

China-US Investment Relations

Bilateral investment discussions between the US and China can be a reality as the economic relationship and the trade between the two countries is intensifying, according to Elliot Feldman, leader of Baker Hostetler's International Trade practice.

BERNAMA - Vietnam To Boost Political, Investment Relations With Partners In Apec 2011

November 10, 2011 08:58 AM

Vietnam To Boost Political, Investment Relations With Partners In Apec 2011

By: Ramjit-->

HANOI, Nov 10 (Bernama) -- State President Truong Tan Sang, who will attend the 19th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting in Hawaii, said that the meeting will offer an opportunity for Vietnam to boost political, trade and investment relations with regional partners.

Vietnam's participation will also help to deepen ties between Vietnam and other APEC members through the exchange of information on the socio-economic situation, and on the guidelines and policies of the nation, according to Vietnam news agency (VNA) citing Sang as saying.

The president will attend the APEC meeting from Nov 10 to 13 at the invitation of U.S. President Barack Obama.

Vietnam' participation in this APEC meeting reflects the 11th Party Congress foreign policy of proactively promoting intensive and comprehensive international integration and continuing to play an important role in Asia-Pacific regional cooperation frameworks.

This will also be a chance for Vietnam to take advantage of suitable APEC programmes in an effort to stabilise the macro-economy, serve socio-economic development goals and renew the growth model.

This year, APEC themed "Strengthening regional economic connectivity and expanding trade", will focus on three areas of priority, namely regional economic connectivity and trade expansion; green growth and advancing regulatory cooperation and convergence.

At the Ministeral and Senior Official meetings Cooperation, the group will focus on the technical economy and human security discussion.

Established in 1989 and with 18 summits held, APEC is now the largest economic trade cooperation group in the Asia-Pacific region. It includes 21 member economies and accounts for 40 percent of the global population, 55 percent of GDP and 44 percent of world trade.

APEC is actively speeding up efforts to strengthen the efficiency of cooperation and improve its role in the world economic restructuring process, especially in the face of the emergence of other regional mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and G20.

Through joining APEC, Vietnam has gained better access to capital sources, modern technology and management experience through investment and trade activities with major economies like the US, Japan, China and Canada.


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Friday, November 4, 2011

Investor Relations – Opportunities For Micro And Mid Cap Companies Using Internet

by Toni Vallen

Getting publicity and attention have always been the challenge for micro and mid cap companies. The most common ways have been through arranged investor presentations and through the press. For the larger companies in this segment some analyst coverage has also been available.

The Internet has opened up a whole range of new possibilities for marketing the company to investors. Much of this is not utilized by the companies and their investor relations advisors. The most common way has been to add pages to the company’s website particularly related to financial, corporate governance and share price information. Even when it comes to using the company’s website, the opportunity has been around for years, there is still a large potential for improvement and benefits in communication with the investor community.

Apart from the most obvious, such as making sure the basics, such as financial reports, shareholder structure, share price developments, board and management info, are available, there is more information that can be made easily available for investors. Examples include financial ratios that are easily imported into an excel sheet. Others are: relevant company documents (non-confidential info) and links to all historic company documents that are filed. Although this info can be found elsewhere, it is about simplifying the investor access to the information and making their evaluations of the company easier.

Moving from a more passive IR, by using the company’s website, to a more active IR, the Internet offers a range of tools that are used today in Internet marketing. Investor Relations can be lifted to a whole new level by using modern Internet marketing tools. These tools include more traditional methods such as email campaigns and webcasts/webinars, but also using social media, internet advertisements and Search Engine Optimisation techniques to increase attention on the company.

Creating buzz about a company through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter opens up a potential for active online communication with potential and present investors. To be able to use these media channels effectively, one must add on monitoring capability to be able to survey and respond efficiently to the discussions about the company on these platforms.

Another important area of investor relations on the Internet is to make sure that information on the company is ranked high up on the search engine results when a potential investor is searching the Internet. Of great importance is that information published about the company on the Internet displays relevant keywords related to the company’s business.  In this way, for someone who searches for smaller growth companies in a specific industry, the company in question would be displayed among the top search results. 

As in the real world, where it is important that the company is seen in the press, it is important that on the internet, the company is seen on a number of websites. The company needs to do press releases that also appear on newspapers web editions as well as on specialised investor and industry information websites. These articles need to be optimised with respect to key words so that the search engines rank the articles high up on the search pages.

To be able to maximize the possibilities offered by the Internet, and to maximize the effect of IR for small companies, an IR company has to draw on expertise from a whole range of areas.  An IR company that can do that effectively can offer unique possibilities for small companies in getting attention from a wide investor audience in capital raising as well as in ensuring that the share price reflects available information about the company. 

Toni Vallen                                                                                                                

The author, Toni Vallen is managing director and owner of the Investor relations company Seton Services where she has advised micro and small cap companies on investor relations for more than 20 years.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Toni Vallen

Toni Vallen has been the Managing Director and President of the company since 1988.

Prior to starting Seton Services, Toni worked in Private Banking, primarily in Latin America.

She was Vice President for Manufacturers Hanover (International Private Banking Department), and also worked for Citicorp (Latin American Department, Private Banking) and the Mexican Government for one year, establishing a U.S. representative office for the Public Works Bank (Banobras).

She studied in Chicago, Illinois, at Northwestern University and in New York City, Fordham University (MBA).

Toni Vallen was brought up bilingual French-English, and also speaks fluent Spanish and Italian.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Toni Vallen : Cant wait to watch ‘Walking Dead’: In ‘What Lies Ahead,’ the kids aren’t all right

‘Walking Dead’: In ‘What Lies Ahead,’ the kids aren’t all right

Carol (Melissa McBride) reacts to some upsetting news about daughter Sophia on the season two premiere of “Walking Dead.” (AP Photo/AMC, Gene Page) (Gene Page - AP)

The Walking Dead” returned to AMC Sunday night and immediately resumed its decidedly ooky zombie-killing business.

During the 90-minute premiere of season two, an episode dubbed “What Lies Ahead,” we witnessed flesh-deprived, shuffling zombies getting knifed in the back of the neck, stabbed in the eyeball with screwdrivers and taking arrows straight through their heads. And that doesn’t even count the undead dude whose stomach got sliced open so Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon could verify that he’d recently ingested a woodchuck.

But those gory details weren’t the most upsetting elements in this installment of “The Walking Dead,” an episode that made it clear that no character is safe in this post-apocalyptic journey that is now taking our heroes away from Atlanta and toward Fort Benning.

Seriously, no character is safe. Not even the children.

Warning: “What Lies Ahead” spoilers lie ahead.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Toni Vallen is now reading jenni epperson » Blog Archive » iAM Different

Here are some inspiring Steve Job quotes:

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”

“We’ve gone through the operating system and looked at everything and asked how can we simplify this and make it more powerful at the same time.”

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

“I want to put a ding in the universe.”

“I was worth over $1,000,000 when I was 23, and over $10,000,000 when I was 24, and over $100,000,000 when I was 25, and it wasn’t that important because I never did it for the money.”

“The Japanese have hit the shores like dead fish. They’re just like dead fish washing up on the shores.”

“Unfortunately, people are not rebelling against Microsoft. They don’t know any better.”

“Bill Gates‘d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.”

“The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture into their products.”

“My job is to not be easy on people. My job is to make them better.”

“We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.”

“Click. Boom. Amazing!”

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

“Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?”

“A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.”

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

“Recruiting is hard. It’s just finding the needles in the haystack. You can’t know enough in a one-hour interview.
So, in the end, it’s ultimately based on your gut. How do I feel about this person? What are they like when they’re challenged? I ask everybody that: ‘Why are you here?’ The answers themselves are not what you’re looking for. It’s the meta-data.”

“We’ve had one of these before, when the dot-com bubble burst. What I told our company was that we were just going to invest our way through the downturn, that we weren’t going to lay off people, that we’d taken a tremendous amount of effort to get them into Apple in the first place – the last thing we were going to do is lay them off.”

“I mean, some people say, ‘Oh, God, if [Jobs] got run over by a bus, Apple would be in trouble.’ And, you know, I think it wouldn’t be a party, but there are really capable people at Apple.
My job is to make the whole executive team good enough to be successors, so that’s what I try to do.”

“It’s not about pop culture, and it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That’s what we get paid to do.
We just want to make great products. (I think he means “insanely great products!“)”

“So when a good idea comes, you know, part of my job is to move it around, just see what different people think, get people talking about it, argue with people about it, get ideas moving among that group of 100 people, get different people together to explore different aspects of it quietly, and, you know – just explore things.”

“When I hire somebody really senior, competence is the ante. They have to be really smart. But the real issue for me is, Are they going to fall in love with Apple? Because if they fall in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself.
They’ll want to do what’s best for Apple, not what’s best for them, what’s best for Steve, or anybody else. (this actually reiterates my oft-repeated mantra of “ubiquitous evangelism” in companies)”

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”

“Our DNA is as a consumer company – for that inpidual customer who’s voting thumbs up or thumbs down. That’s who we think about. And we think that our job is to take responsibility for the complete user experience. And if it’s not up to par, it’s our fault, plain and simply.”

“That happens more than you think, because this is not just engineering and science. There is art, too. Sometimes when you’re in the middle of one of these crises, you’re not sure you’re going to make it to the other end. But we’ve always made it, and so we have a certain degree of confidence, although sometimes you wonder.

I think the key thing is that we’re not all terrified at the same time. I mean, we do put our heart and soul into these things.”

“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life.

Life is brief, and then you die, you know?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Kristin Cavallari: 'Dancing With the Stars' boot kicks up fan ire -

Kristin Cavallari: 'Dancing With the Stars' boot kicks up fan ire

Kristin Cavallari kicked off, Chaz Bono stays on 'Dancing With the Stars'

Kristin Cavallari got the boot on "Dancing With the Stars" Tuesday night, but fans of the dance competition think that Chaz Bono was the one who deserved to go home.

On Monday, Cavallari nabbed a 24/30 score for her "Crazy In Love" samba with pro Mark Ballas while Bono earned a meager 18 points for his rumba set to his father Sonny Bono's "Laugh at Me." But Tuesday's results sparked the ire of the audience and boos from the crowd when Cavallari and her partner were voted out of the competition because of low audience votes. Perhaps a tweet from Cher, Bono's mom, promising that she'd be in the audience if her son made it to week four might have tipped the scales?

Judge Carrie Ann Inaba said Bono "looked really distracted ... not quite focused in the dance." Len Goodman said it was his best performance though he still had much work to do and Bruno Tonioli said he looked "a little bit lost" during the performance. Nonetheless, viewers kept the competition's first transgender contestant on for another week. Watch the dances below and judge for yourself.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dr. Foster's 30 Laws of Decision Making - Rich's posterous

October 24, 2010

Dr. Foster's 30 Laws of Decision Making

#1: Focus on the most important thing (Are you giving full weight to the most important issue?)
#2: Don't decide until you're ready (Why not give yourself more time?)
#3: Look for all the good things that can happen (What's the best outcome you can expect?)
#4: Choose it or lose it (What big decision are you not making now?)
#5: Base your decision on self-acceptance (Does your decision fit the real you?)
#6: Look ahead (How will your decision play out over time?)
#7: Turn big decisions into a series of little decisions (What small step can you take toward a decision?)
#8: You always havebetter options (What are better options beyond those you've checked out?)
#9: Get what you need to feel safe (What are you doing to take care of your safety needs?)
#10: Do what you really want (Are you sure you've let your heart's desire hold sway?)
#11: If it ain't simple, it ain't gonna work (Are you making things more complicated than they need to be?)
#12: Have a hopeful heart and a cautious head (Have you balanced hoping for the best with protecting yourself from the worst?)
#13: Tune in to what you're saying to yourself (Have you remembered to really listen to yuorself?)
#14: Never let a lower priority outweigh a higher priority (Are your priorities all out of whack?)
#15: No matter what, don't get trapped (Are you protecting yourself from getting stuck?) [For more examples of important traps, see 

#FFP05: Harry Browne's Freedom Principles.]
#16: Know your Achilles' heel (What are the top ten bad habits in making decisions?)
(1) Biting off more than you can chew
(2) Detail mania
(3) Fear
(4) Losing touch with you
(5) The green-eyed monster [envy]
(6) Keeping on keeping on [persistence with what can't work]
(7) Acting without thinking
(8) Dithering
(9) Taking the path of least resistance
(10) Not believing that things can be better than they are.
[Personally, I would add the following to the above list:
(11) Poor diet/unhealthy lifestyle
(12) Allowing your Self 1 to interfere with your decisions
(13) Living your life as a "passive passenger" -- obedience or "following the crowd" -- let others decide for you -- automatic acceptance or rejection of information
(14) Irresponsibility -- blaming others or factors outside yourself
(15) Dishonesty
(16) Coercion -- initiating force, threat of force, or fraud in order to impose your will upon others -- see Why You Must Recognize and Understand Coercion
(17) "Thinking" with your sexual organs rather than your brain -- see #TL05AA: The Breeding Motivation: What You Can Do About It
(18) Unrealistic expectations
(19) Not considering the hidden bad side of people -- see #TL15A: The Good and the Bad
(20) Unwillingness to make drastic changes
(21) Ignoring or neglecting absolute essentials
(22) Denial (of personal disadvantages)
(23) Procrastination and failure to follow through (lack of persistence)
(24) Failure to be a life-long learner and keep abreast of new developments
(25) Failure to distinguish between what you can and can't control
(26) Overconfidence.]
#17: Always take your own best advice (Would you tell your best friend to do this?)
#18: Appreciate the newness of each situation (Are you in danger of applying old learning to s new decision?)
#19: Make yourself proud (Which decision will give you self-respect?)
#20: Pay attention to the big, fat, obvious issues (What are you overlooking?)
#21: Never forget why you made your decision (Are you judging yourself with different criteria from what you first used?)
#22: Know what's real (What realities will affect your decision?)
#23: Get what you need to make your decision a success (Are you equipped to carry out this decision?)
#24: Find and follow an expert (Are you making sure you're relying on smart advisers?)
#25: Keep an open mind (Are you caught in attitudes that keep you from seeing what's best for you?)
#26: Take care of the basics (Will your decision address your basic needs?)
#27: Some things you "know" are wrong (Have you checked your facts?)
#28: You don't have to run from risk (Do you know what the risks are and how to protect yourself?)
#29: Following through makes decisions great (Will you do a great job carrying out your decisions?)
#30: Make decisions to make things wonderful (Will you get something that's wonderful?)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mayweather vs Ortiz: Aging star faces brash champ - CBS News


LAS VEGAS - His family disputes make interesting reality television. His legal issues could land him in jail. Worse yet for Floyd Mayweather Jr. is that he's getting older by the fight and Manny Pacquiao keeps stealing his spotlight.

One place he doesn't expect to have any problems, however, is in the ring Saturday night against Victor Ortiz.

"I believe in my skills. I believe in my talent," Mayweather said. "This fight will not go the distance."

Mayweather returns to the ring for the first time in 16 months in an intriguing matchup against a young slugger who vows to give him his first loss. He'll make millions to fight Ortiz on pay-per-view television, largely because he's found a way to sell himself as must-see TV on the HBO channel.

Oddsmakers don't figure he'll have trouble against Ortiz, and neither do most boxing observers. But Mayweather is 34 now and he hasn't fought in such a long time that the predictions may be little more than guesses.

Ortiz says he has nothing to lose and nothing to fear in the biggest fight of his life. But other fighters have said that, and Mayweather remains 41-0, a fighter who may not be great but has a record that makes him look close to it.

"I'm going to finish you off," Mayweather told Ortiz at Wednesday's final prefight news conference at the MGM Grand hotel.

Mayweather said he was already at the 147-pound weight limit for the welterweight title that Ortiz won by upsetting Andre Berto in his last fight, which is not surprising since Mayweather is never out of shape. But there are questions even inside his own camp about the length of his layoff and the advance of age that eventually claims every fighter.

TOni Vallen hopes she will be able to watch this awesome fight.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Brad Pitt suggests life with Jen was boring

Brad Pitt has opened up about his time with Jennifer Aniston, saying he was bored and trying to "pretend the marriage was something that it wasn't".

The actor, who now has six children with partner Angelina Jolie, said he had an epiphany in the 1990s, realising he wanted to play characters with an interesting life because he found his own life boring.

"I think my marriage [Jennifer Aniston] had something to do with it. Trying to pretend the marriage was something that it wasn't," the 47-year-old star said in an interview with Parade magazine, which goes on sale in the US this weekend.

Pitt said he spent most of the 90s trying to get away from the celebrity lifestyle but found he spent all his time sitting on a couch smoking marijuana, saying it made him feel "pathetic".

Pitt married Friends actor Aniston in 2000 and the pair divorced five years later amid rumours he was seeing his co-star in Mr & Mrs Smith, Jolie.

One month after the divorce paparazzi photographed Pitt with Jolie and her adopted son Maddox on a beach in Kenya.

Jolie confirmed she was pregnant with Pitt's child Shiloh in January 2006 and the couple went on to have twins, Vivienne and Knox two years later.

They also have three adopted children, Maddox, Zahara and Pax.

"Not cool, Brad" says Toni Vallen.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Miss Universe Awards to Beautiful Women From Around the World |

Top winners at the 60th Miss Universe pageant in San Paolo, Brazil were Miss Angola Leila Lopes, Miss Ukraine Olesia Stefanko and Miss Panama Sheldry Saez.

The 60th Miss Universe pageant, held in San Paulo, Brazil on September 12, 2011, was televised live on NBC. The annual pageant was an international event that gathered beautiful women from around the world to compete for the title of Miss Universe.

Miss Universe Top Titles

Miss Universe Angola Leila Lopes was crowned Miss Universe 2011. The first runner up, who takes the responsibilities in the event that something happens to the titleholder was Miss Ukraine Olesia Stefanko. The Best National Costume award went to Miss Panama Sheldry Saez, for her feathery creation. Miss Congeniality was Miss Montenegro Nikolina Lomar. The Most Photogenic Award went to Miss Sweden Ronnia Fornstedt.

Miss Universe in the top title of the pageant, which is currently run by NBC and Donald Trump, but there were also winners for Miss Congeniality, Most Photogenic and Best National Costume. Just being in the pageant is an accomplishment, as the contestants have to compete in local and national pageants to win the opportunity to represent their country at the global pageant.

The contest was enjoyed by millions. Toni Vallen particularly thought Ms Philippines had a good chance at the top spot.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Toni Vallen slideshow video on 911 Heroes

animoto_video.mp4 Watch on Posterous

A short video in memory of 911 victims and in celebration of heroes by Toni Vallen

"Game Time: Tackling the Past" Airs on Saturday

CINCINNATI, Sep 01, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) will premiere their latest movie in the Family Movie Night initiative, "Game Time: Tackling the Past," just in time for fall football season. This exciting sports drama showcases how a person's true value is measured and is sure to get families revved up in time for the 2011 season opener. The movie stars Beau Bridges, Ryan McPartlin, Catherine Hicks and Josh Braaten, and airs on Saturday, September 3, 2011 at 8/7c on NBC.

Pro football star Jake Walker (Ryan McPartlin, "Chuck") is just one season away from setting an all-time receiving record that will guarantee him a spot in the Hall of Fame. But when he gets news that his father, Frank, (Hollywood legend, Beau Bridges, "Brothers & Sisters," "The Fabulous Baker Boys" and upcoming "The Descendants") has suffered a serious heart attack, Jake leaves training camp and returns to Riverton, the small hometown he's avoided for nearly 15 years.

Past memories of glory and regret resurface as Jake is forced to reconnect with the family and community he abandoned in pursuit of his career; including his peace-keeping mom, played by Catherine Hicks ("7th Heaven" and "Ryan's Hope") and his brother, Dean (Josh Braaten, "Semi-Pro").

Already dealing with those emotions, a call from his agent delivers another crushing blow - Jake's contract is not being renewed. Stripped from the thing he cares about most, the real Jake begins to emerge from behind his armor to see that life is more than the accumulation of personal stats. But when he's offered a lucrative new contract with another team, Jake must decide whether to go back to the career he thought he loved, or stay in Riverton and embrace the people who have always been there for him. "Game Time: Tackling the Past" is a captivating sports drama with themes that the whole family can relate to and appreciate.

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AT&T to Bring 5,000 Call Center Jobs Back to U.S. Following T-Mobile Merger Close|AT&T

AT&T to Bring 5,000 Call Center Jobs Back to U.S. Following T-Mobile Merger Closing

Commits Merger Will Not Result in Job Losses for Existing U.S. Wireless Call Center Employees of T-Mobile and AT&T

Largest Return of Jobs by Any U.S. Company Since 2008

Dallas, Texas, August 31, 2011

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) today committed that after closing its proposed merger with T-Mobile USA, it will bring back 5,000 wireless call center jobs to the United States that today are outsourced to other countries. 

Today’s commitment results from AT&T developing detailed analysis focused specifically on identifying opportunities with the T-Mobile merger to bring good-paying wireless call center jobs back to the United States. 

In addition to bringing jobs back, AT&T committed that the merger will not result in any job losses for U.S.-based wireless call center employees of T-Mobile USA or AT&T, who are on the payroll when the merger closes.   

The 5,000 new wireless call center jobs at AT&T will offer among the nation’s most highly competitive wages and benefits. AT&T, which has not yet determined where in the U.S. the new jobs will be located, is the nation’s largest employer of full-time union employees and the only unionized major U.S. wireless carrier. 

“At a time when many Americans are struggling and our economy faces significant challenges, we’re pleased that the T-Mobile merger allows us to bring 5,000 jobs back to the United States and significantly increase our investment here,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO. “This merger and today’s commitment are good for our employees, our customers and our country.” 

Today’s announcement represents the largest commitment by an individual American company to bring jobs back to the U.S. since the economic crisis began in 2008. 

Also, AT&T has committed as part of the T-Mobile merger to increase its U.S. infrastructure investment by more than $8 billion. According to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute that was commissioned by the Communications Workers of America, AT&T’s increased investment is estimated to produce up to approximately 96,000 new U.S. jobs. 

AT&T said today’s jobs commitment does not change its previous guidance on the expected overall merger synergies. 

Beyond the jobs created, AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile USA provides a fast, efficient and certain solution to the impending exhaustion of wireless spectrum in many markets, which limits both companies’ ability to meet the ongoing explosive customer demand for mobile broadband. The uniquely complementary nature of AT&T and T-Mobile’s network assets will allow the combined company to add wireless network capacity – the functional equivalent of new spectrum – sooner than any other alternative. 

This additional wireless network capacity will enable AT&T to offer better service — fewer dropped and blocked calls, and faster data speeds. Plus, the economic scale, additional spectrum and other benefits resulting from the merger will enable AT&T to deliver high-speed 4G LTE mobile broadband service to 97 percent of the U.S. population, or 55 million more Americans than it would without the merger. Reaching 97 percent of the population with LTE will create a much more extensive and robust mobile broadband platform that will fuel growth and investment throughout the country. 

The benefits of the AT&T and T-Mobile merger have been recognized by numerous elected officials throughout the country, including 27 governors, more than 100 mayors, 11 state attorneys general, 79 Democratic Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and more than 150 chambers of commerce from 40 states, as well as a dozen labor unions and dozens of high-tech companies, such as Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Oracle. 

For more information on the AT&T and T-Mobile merger, including background information and factsheets, visit

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Carpathian Closes $20 Million Strategic Placement by Barrick Gold Corporation

TORONTO, ONTARIO, Aug 12 (MARKET WIRE) -- Carpathian Gold Inc. (TSX:CPN) (the "Corporation" or "Carpathian") is pleased to announce that it has closed its previously announced agreement (the "Agreement") with Barrick Gold Corporation ("Barrick") for a non brokered CDN$20 Million private placement to purchase 38,461,538 common shares (the "Private Placement" and the "Common Shares") of the Corporation at a price of $0.52 per share. The Common Shares will be subject to a four-month hold period. As previously announced on July 18, 2011, the proceeds from the Private Placement will be exclusively applied to the Corporation's ongoing exploration and development work on its wholly owned Rovina Valley Project ("RVP") situated in west-central Romania. Rovina Valley Project (RVP) Background RVP is comprised of three Au-Cu porphyry systems (Rovina, Colnic and Ciresata), which were discovered by the Corporation. From 2006 to 2008, 181 diamond drill holes totaling 71,375 m have been completed on the project prior to the present drilling program. In late 2008, PEG Mining Consultants Inc. ("PEG") completed a NI 43-101 resource estimate ("2008 Resource"). A detailed NI 43-101 compliant Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") was released on March 23, 2010. The PEA was completed by PEG, which led a consortium of specialists assembled for the study. The PEA, utilized conventional open-pit mining for the Colnic and Rovina deposits with the Ciresata deposit mined by bulk-underground methods. Ore processing will utilize industry-standard crush-grind and flotation process at a rate of 40,000 tonnes per day to produce a gold-rich saleable copper concentrate. This process does not require the use of cyanide. The study considered a 19 year mine-life over which a total of 6.22 million Au-eq ounces would be produced. At metal prices of US$1,250/oz gold and US$3.00/lb copper the study arrived at a pre-tax NPV of US $870 million based on a 10% discount rate. Further details of the study are presented in previous news releases of the corporation. According to the cautionary statement required by NI 43-101, it should be noted that this PEA is preliminary in nature as it includes inferred mineral resources that cannot be categorized as reserves at this time and as such there is no certainty that the preliminary assessment and economics will be realized. The full Study of the PEA is available on About Carpathian The Corporation is an exploration and development company whose primary business interest is developing near-term gold production on its 100% owned Riacho dos Machados Gold Project in Brazil, which is currently focusing on activities surrounding permitting and construction, along with progressing its exploration and development plans on its 100% owned Rovina Valley Au-Cu Project located in Romania. On a company wide basis, the Corporation currently hosts NI 43-101 resources of 4.0 million ounces of gold in the measured plus indicated categories and 4.5 million ounces of gold in the inferred category, as well as 759.1 million pounds of copper in the measured plus indicated category and 663.1 million pounds of copper in the inferred category. The Riacho dos Machados Gold Project is targeted to produce in the order of +/-100,000 ounces of gold per annum, with construction targeted by management to be initiated by mid 2011 with an anticipated goal for the commencement of production in late 2012 or early 2013. The Rovina Valley Project will enhance the Corporations growth profile as a mid-tier gold producer. Forward-Looking Statements: This press release includes certain statements that may be deemed "forward-looking statements". Forward-looking statements are frequently characterized by words such as "plan", "expect", "Project", "intend", "believe", "anticipate", "estimate", and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions "may" or "will" occur. All statements in this release, other than statements of historical facts, that address future exploration drilling, exploration activities and events or developments that the Corporation expects, are forward-looking statements. Although the Corporation believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those in forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include market prices, exploitation and exploration successes, continued availability of capital and financing, and general economic, market or business conditions. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated statements. The Corporation undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if circumstances or management's estimates or opinions should change. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The TSX does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release. Contacts: Carpathian Gold Inc. Mike O'Brien or Shobana Thaya Investor Relations +1(416) 368-7744 +1(416) 260-2243 (FAX) Paradox Investor Relations Montreal +1(514) 341-0408 or 1-866-460-0408 +1 (514) 341-1527 (FAX) Seton Services, UK Toni Vallen +44 207 224 8468 Copyright 2011, Market Wire, All rights reserved.