Category Archives: News
“WASHINGTON—Regulators are set to usher in a new era of tough banking oversight on Tuesday that drills to the core of Wall Street’s profitable markets and trading businesses, according to a draft of the rule reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The so-called Volcker rule will put in place new hurdles for banks that buy and sell securities on behalf of clients, known as market making, and will restrict compensation arrangements that encourage risky trading, according to the draft.
Five U.S. financial regulatory agencies are expected to approve the rule, which bans banks from making bets with their own money and limits their ability to invest in certain trading vehicles, such as hedge funds and private-equity vehicles.
The approval would bring to an end a 2½-year effort to complete the 2010 Dodd-Frank provision. The final language of the Volcker rule could change before Tuesday’s vote. Regulators have told firms that they don’t expect to strictly enforce the rule’s provisions until 2015.
The rule, which hasn’t been publicly released, will require banks to provide “demonstrable analysis of historical customer demand” for financial assets they buy and sell on behalf of clients. That essentially requires a firm to prove it has engaged in a certain type of trading previously. It is an effort to keep banks from attempting to disguise bets made for a profit—so-called proprietary trading, which would be banned—as permissible market-making activity.
Multiple new requirements in the recent copy of the rule reviewed by the Journal are designed to discourage traders from hunting for loopholes to engage in proprietary trading. It states that “compensation arrangements” for traders should be designed “not to reward or incentivize prohibited proprietary trading.”
Bank chief executives, meanwhile, will be required to “attest in writing…that the banking entity has in place processes to establish, maintain, enforce, review, test and modify the compliance program” set up for the Volcker rule.
The draft of the rule shows how regulators are trying to push Wall Street to curb risky trading activity that critics say puts customer deposits at risk….”
“A GROUNDBREAKING new Irish technology which could be the greatest breakthrough in agriculture since the plough is set to change the face of modern farming forever.
The technology – radio wave energised water – massively increases the output of vegetables and fruits by up to 30 per cent.
Not only are the plants much bigger but they are largely disease-resistant, meaning huge savings in expensive fertilisers and harmful pesticides.
Extensively tested in Ireland and several other countries, the inexpensive water treatment technology is now being rolled out across the world. The technology makes GM obsolete and also addresses the whole global warmingfear that there is too much carbon dioxide in the air, by simply converting excess CO2 into edible plant mass.
Developed by Professor Austin Darragh and Dr JJ Leahy of Limerick University’s Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science, the hardy eco-friendly technology uses nothing but the natural elements of sunlight, water, carbon dioxide in the air and the minerals in the soil.
The compact biscuit-tin-sized technology, which is called Vi-Aqua – meaning ‘life water’ – converts 24 volts of electricity into a radio signal, which charges up the water via an antennae. Once the device is attached to a hose….”
“Sharp discounts and earlier hours drew slightly more shoppers into U.S. stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, according to preliminary results from market researcher ShopperTrak LLC, but tight budgets may have weighed on growth.
Foot traffic climbed 2.8% on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the firm said, bumping sales up 2.3% to $12.3 billion over those two days. The jump was more pronounced on Thanksgiving after many chains lengthened their hours or opened their doors for the first time during the holiday.
Black Friday, meanwhile, lost out with traffic dropping 11%, while sales fell 13%, ShopperTrak said, as more customers got a jump on their shopping, in some cases at the expense of their turkey dinner.
ShopperTrak’s estimates provide a sense of how much consumers spent in stores and exclude online sales….”
“The People’s Bank of China said the country does not benefit any more from increases in its foreign-currency holdings, adding to signs policy makers will rein in dollar purchases that limit the yuan’s appreciation.
“It’s no longer in China’s favor to accumulate foreign-exchange reserves,” Yi Gang, a deputy governor at the central bank, said in a speech organized by China Economists 50 Forum at Tsinghua University yesterday. The monetary authority will “basically” end normal intervention in the currency market and broaden the yuan’s daily trading range, Governor Zhou Xiaochuanwrote in an article in a guidebook explaining reforms outlined last week following a Communist Party meeting. Neither Yi nor Zhou gave a timeframe for any changes.
China’s foreign-exchange reserves surged $166 billion in the third quarter to a record $3.66 trillion, more than triple those of any other country and bigger than the gross domestic product of Germany, Europe’s largest economy. The increase suggested money poured into the nation’s assets even as developing nations from Brazil to India saw an exit of capital because of concern the Federal Reserve will taper stimulus.
Yi, who is also head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, said in the speech that the yuan’s appreciation benefits more people in China than it hurts.
His comments are “consistent with the plans to increase therenminbi’s flexibility so they become less interventionist,”Sacha Tihanyi, senior currency strategist at Scotiabank in Hong Kong, said by phone today. The central bank may widen the yuan’s trading band in “the coming few months,” he added.
The yuan’s spot rate is allowed to diverge a maximum 1 percent on either side of a daily reference rate set by the People’s Bank of China. The trading range was doubled in April 2012, after being expanded from 0.3 percent in May 2007. The band could be widened to 2 percent, Hong Kong Apple Daily reported today, citing an interview with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s former chief executive Joseph Yam.
Capital inflows into China accelerated in October, official data suggest. Yuan positions at the nation’s financial institutions accumulated from foreign-exchange purchases, a gauge of capital flows, climbed 441.6 billion yuan ($72 billion), the most since January….”
“Data reveal that billions of American taxpayer dollars continue to fund questionable or openly corrupt contractors in Afghanistan. The findings underscore the inability of the American military to filter suspicious contractors from the thousands who work with the United States on a regular basis to build bases and transport supplies.
The New York Times reported that American investigators uncovered data surrounding the Zurmat Material Testing Laboratory, affiliated with the Zurmat Group, an Afghan company that “investigators say was paid to do work at an American-controlled facility in November 2012, despite having been blacklisted two months before by one part of the military for providing bomb-making materials to insurgents.”
This was brought to the attention of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel by the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction in a letter last week.
The New York Times wrote:
According to other documents and a review of internal Pentagon communications obtained by The Times, the United States Central Command, which oversees the war in Afghanistan, requested in 2012 that Zurmat and its subsidiaries, along with more than 40 other companies and individuals believed to have ties to insurgents, be “debarred” by the Army. This would formally ban them from doing work for any part of the United States government.
At the time, officials estimated that those contractors had collectively been awarded more than $150 million in work for the American-led coalition over a 10-year period.
Pentagon officials have reportedly refused to issue the bans, however, because they assert that they cannot present evidence against the companies and individuals since much of it qualifies as “classified intelligence.” Without being able to show the accused the necessary documents, debarment allegedly violates their right to due process…..”
Hidden taxes are everywhere to pay for God knows what….
“Franklin Lakes, New Jersey (My9NJ) -
The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare seems to be in the headlines every day because of all of the problems surrounding the launch. And while most realize the law is funded in part by the individual mandate and penalty tax, it is also being funded in ways that are not discussed as much in the media.
Luxury real estate broker Ron Aioso says there is a tax that is rarely discussed that also helps fund Obamacare. It is a tax on high-income taxpayers when they sell their homes.
Franklin Lakes, N.J. was listed on Forbes.com in 2010 as one of “America’s Most Expensive ZIP Codes”, with a median home price of $1.3M.
Aioso says homeowners in a neighborhood like this could really be impacted by the Obamacare tax.
“Where we are today in a luxury area, you look and you see this home behind me, somebody like this is really affected,” he said.
If you are single with an adjusted gross income of $200,000 or file jointly with an income of $250,000 or more, you may be impacted. Once you sell your home, any profits over the first $500,000 are already subject to a capital gains tax. And now those profits will have an additional 3.8% tax to fund Obamacare…..”
“On November 13, WikiLeaks released to the Internet what appears to be a portion of the secretly negotiated draft version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
Although the entire agreement reportedly runs over 1,000 pages and covers nearly every conceivable facet of commerce, the chapter leaked by the online whistleblower focuses on intellectual property rights (IPR). The publication of this section is widely considered a remarkable and timely coup, however, in light of the “decisive” meeting of the TPP chief negotiators that will take place from November 19-24 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In a press release announcing its publication of this key section of the TPP agreement, WikiLeaks described the Intellectual Property provisions as “the most controversial chapter of the TPP.” This chapter deserves that designation because of its substantial effect on so many aspects of American trade and industry, including, as WikiLeaks points out, what would be irreparable harm to “medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents.”
Other copyright and Internet freedom activists are responding in similar manner to the content of the WikiLeaks TPP revelation. A good number of commentators are pointing to the SOPA-like provisions contained in the IPR chapter now available to the public.
SOPA is an acronym for the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, legislation that has failed repeatedly to pass in Congress. The name of the bill, like so many other inappropriately named federal follies (Affordable Care Act?), has nothing to do with the real intent: granting government control over the content and traffic on the Internet.
In an article reporting on the leak of the IPR chapter, Internet freedom and fair copyright advocate TorrentFreak points out the SOPA similarities in the TPP intellectual property chapter:
Burcu Kilic, an intellectual property lawyer with Public Citizen, says that some of the proposals in the text evoke memories of the controversial SOPA legislation in the United States.
“The WikiLeaks text also features Hollywood and recording industry inspired proposals — think about the SOPA debacle — to limit Internet freedom and access to educational materials, to force Internet providers to act as copyright enforcers and to cut off people’s Internet access,” Kilic says.
Popular online tech magazine The Verge recognized the potential harm, as well:
Critics have wasted no time in attacking the treaty, with IP reform group Knowledge Ecology International calling it “bad for access to knowledge, bad for access to medicine, and profoundly bad for innovation.” Many of the criticisms focus on the treaty’s “enforcement” section, which includes language that critics say mirrors similar provisions from America’s controversial SOPA and ACTA bills. That includes provisions that would extend copyright to temporary copies of media, and others that place the burden of enforcement specifically on local ISPs, which critics say would further establish ISPs as a de facto copyright police. Other provisions would increase the software controls on consumer hardware. “The anti-circumvention provisions seem to cement the worst parts of the anti-phone-unlocking law that we saw this summer,” says Matt Wood, policy director at Free Press. “We can’t change the US law if we’re locked into these international agreements.”
The piece by The Verge references another failed legislative effort to seize control of the Internet, a bill that would abolish Internet freedom and intellectual property rights: the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). ACTA-like provisions appear in the leaked TPP chapter.
This section of the draft agreement launches another attack on U.S. sovereignty through the mandate that member nations enact regulations requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to privately enforce copyright protection laws.
These private companies — many of which are very small — would be forced to take upon themselves the responsibility of patrolling for and punishing any violation of the copyright laws by their subscribers.
Current U.S. law — specifically the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) — would be supplanted by TPP Article 16.3. This provision in the TPP draft document paves the way for a new copyright enforcement scheme that extends far beyond the limits currently imposed by DMCA. In fact, it contains mandates more expansive than even those contained in ACTA.
ACTA is widely regarded as a threat to Internet freedom, as well as to the legislative power of the Congress. If ACTA is a threat, then TPP is an all-out frontal assault.
Regardless of the flaws of the DMCA, it is U.S. law and should not be subject to de facto repeal by the work of a body of internationalists who are not accountable to citizens of the United States.
Apart from the issues of sovereignty, putting such pressure on service providers is a threat not only to the owners of these small businesses, but also to Internet freedom as well.
It is the good work of these ISPs that has created the Internet we know today. Were it not for the typically low-cost access these companies provide, the pool of readily accessible viewpoints, opinions, and news resources would be significantly shallower.
In a post-TPP world, ISPs would be forced to raise prices dramatically in order to cover the increase in their own overhead brought on by the requirement that they monitor and manage the websites they host.
Alternatively, there would undoubtedly be a large number of ISPs who would not only want to avoid the administrative burden of being forced into the role of Internet cop, but who would also rightly regard the risks of providing Internet access as outweighing the benefits.
A story published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation accurately describes the potential problems and predicts the future of the Internet should the United States agree to enter the TPP:
Private ISP enforcement of copyright poses a serious threat to free speech on the Internet, because it makes offering open platforms for user-generated content economically untenable. For example, on an ad-supported site, the costs of reviewing each post will generally exceed the pennies of revenue one might get from ads. Even obvious fair uses could become too risky to host, leading to an Internet with only cautious and conservative content.
As any news organization that maintains a Web presence knows, in the posting of news items, time is of the essence….”
“Janet Yellen says the economy has regained ground lost to the deepest recession since the 1930s. But she says unemployment remains too high at 7.3 percent and notes that the Fed is still trying to accelerate the economy’s recovery.
In testimony prepared for her confirmation hearing Thursday, Yellen said the economy is still performing far below its potential. And she pointed out that inflation is running below the Fed’s 2 percent target.
“For these reasons, the Federal Reserve is using its monetary policy tools to promote a more robust recovery,” Yellen said in her testimony. “I believe that supporting the recovery today is the surest path to returning to a more normal approach to monetary policy.”
She said unemployment is “still too high, reflecting a labor market and economy performing far short of their potential.”
Yellen offered no hints that she would deviate from the low-interest rate campaign of the outgoing chairman, Ben Bernake….”
“President Obama has been accused of crimes against humanity in a new complaint submitted to the International Criminal Court, based in the Hague.
Obama’s support for Egypt’s recently deposed Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated governing party forms the basis of the complaint filed against him by a group of Egyptian lawyers.
“Obama cooperated, incited, and assisted the armed elements of the Muslim Brotherhood in the commission of crimes against humanity in the period from 3/7/2013-8/18/2013, in the Arab Republic of Egypt,” according to the complaint, which was reported on by Egypt’s El Watan newspaper.
Deposed Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi is on trial in Cairo for alleged incitement to violence and murder. After a tense opening day in court this past Monday, the trial has been adjourned until January. Morsi was removed in a July 3 military coup.
To his credit, Morsi has pulled the classic move of not retaining defense counsel because he doesn’t recognize the legitimacy of the court — which is totally what we would do if we ever got tried in one of these things….”
“As the end of 2013 approaches, so does President Obama’s deadline for approving the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The TPP is a direct and deadly attack on sovereignty and representative government masquerading as a Pacific Rim trade pact.
Currently, there are 12 countries negotiating in secret to create this regional trade agreement that some have called NAFTA on steroids. The number of participants could rise to a baker’s dozen should China be welcomed on board by the United States (President Obama has signaled that he would recognize the Chinese communist government’s partnership in the bloc).
President Obama’s fascination with intertwining the economic welfare of the United States with China is perhaps one reason a recent commentator called the TPP “another disaster from a proven liar.”
Writing in an op-ed for the Washington Times, Judson Phillips lists several of the principal criticisms of the TPP:
Barack Obama is asking for fast track authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership. Consider that to be another version of “you have to pass this to see what is in it.” With fast track authority, there will be no hearings on this treaty. It will be negotiated then sent to the Senate for a simple up or down vote. The Senate will not be able to provide advice and consent because they cannot offer amendments under fast track.
Less than one fifth of the Trans Pacific Partnership deals with trade. The remainder of the treaty governs a myriad of things, including regulating the price of medicines. A few months ago, a mix of conservative and liberal groups stopped the “Stop Online Piracy Act” or SOPA. Most of the provisions of SOPA are included in the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Under the proposals of the TPP, American sovereignty would be eroded. American courts would be inferior to foreign trade courts and disputes between American citizens and foreign corporations would not be litigated in American courts but in these trade tribunals.
The TPP is guilty of each of those charges, and the evidence is overwhelming.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of all the roster of frightening things about the TPP is the secrecy surrounding the details of the agreement.
A few federal lawmakers have tried in vain to bring into the light the frightening compromises being made by our trade representatives at the TPP negotiations.
Zach Carter of the online Huffington Post reported that Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness, was stonewalled by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) when he attempted to see any of the draft documents related to the governance of the TPP.
In response to this rebuff, Wyden proposed a measure in the Senate that would force transparency on the process, and that was enough to convince the USTR to grant the senator a peek at the documents, though his staff was not permitted to peruse them.
Wyden spokeswoman Jennifer Hoelzer told the Huffington Post that such accommodations were “better than nothing” but not ideal in light of the well-known fact that on Capitol Hill the real work of drafting and evaluating legislation is performed by the representatives’ staff members who are often experts in particular areas of domestic and foreign policy.
“I would point out how insulting it is for them to argue that members of Congress are to personally go over to USTR to view the trade documents,” Hoelzer said. “An advisor at Halliburton or the MPAA is given a password that allows him or her to go on the USTR website and view the TPP agreement anytime he or she wants.”
It is instructive that a duly elected senator of the United States has to beg and plead and threaten legislation in order to see the TPP trade agreement negotiations, but corporate interests are given a password by the USTR that grants them full, unrestricted access to those same documents.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) issued a statement criticizing the Obama administration for the lack of oversight into an agreement with devastating potential:
After more than a decade of broken promises from NAFTA, CAFTA, and normalized trade relations with China, we can now add a credibility deficit to the trade deficits we’ve seen. The leaked documents surfacing today only underscore the secrecy surrounding TPP negotiations and confirm worst suspicions about the direction trade negotiations are heading. It’s telling that it is easier for the CEO of a major corporation to access information about the negotiations than the American people’s elected representatives.
The negotiations must involve more transparency and bring more voices to the table.
Apart from the secrecy, a few drafts of key provisions of the TPP have been leaked to the Internet. One thing all the leaks reveal is that large corporations would be allowed to assume powers that constitutionally belong to Congress and to the states.
Notably, in both statements announcing the hemispheric enlargement of the trade bloc, former U.S. Trade Representative Kirk places the approval of “domestic stakeholders” (read: large corporations) on a level with that of Congress. It is precisely this exalting of big business, as well as the as-yet-impenetrable wall of secrecy surrounding the drafting of the TPP treaty, that has troubled many of the people’s representatives in Congress.
Although the treaty negotiations are being kept under a thick veil of secrecy, a draft document leaked to the Internet discloses that as part of its membership in the TPP, the United States would agree to exempt foreign corporations from our laws and regulations, placing the resolution of any disputes as to the applicability of those matters to foreign business in the hands of an international arbitration tribunal overseen by the secretary-general of the United Nations.
The leaked information also confirms the fears of many who from the beginning have opposed the entry of the United States into this trade agreement. The alarms sounded by several groups on the Left and the Right warning of the wholesale damage that the TPP could cause to commerce, copyrights, and the Constitution now seem vindicated.
An organization actively protecting the sovereignty of the United States is Americans for Limited Government (ALG). In June 2012, ALG released a statement drawing attention to critical provisions of the leaked TPP agreement, as well as ably pointing out some of the most noxious aspects of the proposed agreement…”
“Just one in 10 American adults is opposed to auditing the shadowy Federal Reserve, with an overwhelming 74 percent supporting an audit of the controversial central bank, according to a new poll released by Rasmussen. While the banking cartel-run institution has hired lobbyistsand unleashed various gimmicks to improve its image and protect its cloak of secrecy from Congress and the public, it appears increasingly clear that the people see through the charade. Now, the question is whether lawmakers will side with the establishment to protect the Fed, or with the American public and their demands for transparency.
The survey results, which echo the findings of numerous other polls conducted on the issue in recent years, show that support for an audit of the Fed transcends party lines. While backing for transparency at the central bank was strongest among Republicans — 83 percent support an audit, versus 7 percent opposed — nearly two thirds of Democrats also want to know what is going at the Fed, compared to 14 percent who do not. Among Americans who do not identify with either major party, almost eight in 10 support an audit, with less than one in 10 against it.
According to Rasmussen Reports, which released the results on November 8, part of the reason that Americans still “overwhelmingly support” a public audit of the Fed might be “because a sizable number think the Fed chairman has too much power over the economy.” Neither current central bank boss Ben “Helicopter” Bernanke nor his likely replacement, Janet Yellen, was very popular with the public either. Among respondents who expressed an opinion and had heard of the central bankers — over a third did not recognize Yellen’s name — strong majorities held unfavorable views of them.
Overall, without even knowing what is going on behind closed doors at the central bank due to a lack of transparency, half of likely voters said they had a negative impression of the Fed — with more than 20 percent saying they viewed the institution “very” unfavorably. Among Republicans, an overwhelming seven in 10 respondents had a negative view. Just seven percent of adults surveyed had a “very favorable” impression of the central bank, and around one fourth said “somewhat favorable.” About 16 percent said they were unsure. Wealthier Americans were less likely than others to have a negative view, though even among higher earners, the Fed was hardly popular.
With just 10 percent of American adults opposed to auditing the shadowy but unimaginably powerful central bank, and a full three fourths in favor of opening up the books, there have been strong efforts in Congress to pass “Audit the Fed” legislation for years.Led in part by then-Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), the push to audit — and eventually abolish — the controversial institution has been gaining momentum quickly. From being virtually unknown among much of the public prior to the most recent economic crisis, trillions in lawless bailouts, the ongoing erosion of the dollar’s purchasing power, and increasing awareness have all contributed to the escalating political shift surrounding the Fed.
Of course, some members of Congress — for the most part responding to overwhelming public pressure — have been trying for years to find out what is going on behind the impenetrable veil of silence shrouding the U.S. central bank. However, the privately owned institution, which has a government-granted monopoly on America’s rapidly depreciating U.S. dollar, has fiendishly resisted transparency at every turn. Even Freedom of Information Act requests have been met with defiance, with the New York Fedpointing out in its refusal to hand over documents that it is privately owned by shareholders and not part of the government.
In response to the growing public outcry, the Fed actually resorted to hiring a lobbyist to protect its interests on Capitol Hill. More recently, it began waging what the New York Times described as a “public relations offensive.” When that failed to stem the escalating outrage, the central bank even asked for contractors to help it spy on critics — with one of the stated goals being to help tailor its “public relations” gimmicks, also known as propaganda, more effectively. In an apparent fit of desperation, the shadowy institution even began peddling propaganda to high-school students last year, in addition to pro-Fed comic books targeting young children.
Despite its best efforts, however, the House of Representatives has already voted overwhelmingly to audit the Fed in the past, obliterating normal partisan divides. Still, the secretive monetary cartel has managed to avoid serious scrutiny thus far. Thanks largely to certain establishment-minded senators — especially Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who fought hard to protect the Fed’s secrecy and ensure that only a watered-down audit would make it through — a real “audit the Fed” to investigate all of what the central bank is doing has remained elusive.
Even the neutered version of the audit that did pass, however, revealed more than $3 trillion in bailouts to foreign banks, major conflicts of interest, and much more. In just two and a half years, the Fed pumped more than $16 trillion — trillion with a t, more than the entire GDP of the United States — into bailouts for banks and mega-corporations. On both sides of the aisle, lawmakers claimed to be outraged about the heist, yet for some reason, Congress and the president have steadfastly refused to take real action. Of course, there have been a few efforts to rein in the Fed in recent years, but the institution continues to conjure trillions into existence with no accountability and no transparency. …”
The short-messaging service priced shares a dollar higher the range it set earlier this week, giving the company a market capitalization of $14.4 billion.
The deal is set to raise as much as $2.1 billion for the San Francisco-based company, which remains unprofitable but which has transformed public discussion on subjects from celebrities to public policy to pets.
The price of $26 is available primarily to large investors such as mutual funds and hedge funds, as well as some of the individual clients of the banks underwriting the deal, led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.GS +0.97% Other investors should be able to buy the stock Thursday when shares are expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange NYX +0.78% under the symbol TWTR.
The average one-day “pop,” or price rise, for U.S. listed IPOs this year is 17%, the highest since 2000. Six companies so far this year have doubled in price on their first day, Dealogic said.
The banks aimed to place the bulk of the shares with a relatively small number of long-term investors, they added. About three quarters of the shares were set to be placed with around 30 investors, the people said.
Retail investors, including customers of some online brokerages and brokerages affiliated with the investment banks on the deal, were slated to receive less than 20% of the offering, people familiar with the plan said. That total could change in the final pricing. Facebook placed a larger amount of its shares, 26%, through retail channels. TD Ameritrade HoldingCorp. AMTD +0.91% and Fidelity Investments both expected to receive Twitter shares from underwriters for some customers….”
“As Twitter embarks on its initial public offering roadshow, the company has issued another update to its S-1 today with a curveball. IBM has recently issued a letter to Twitter alleging that it infringes on “at least three U.S. patents” held by IBM, “inviting us to negotiate a business resolution of the allegations.” The disclosure comes at the same time that Twitter has also raised its IPO estimate to $23-25 per share, up from the previous $17-20 — a sign of Twitter’s confidence that despite details like the IBM note, it’s expecting a strong turnout when it lists.
The S-1 filing appears to indicate that although IBM is seeking a settlement over the alleged infringement, it looks like Twitter is ready to defend itself. “We believe we have meritorious defenses to IBM’s allegations, although there can be no assurance that we will be successful in defending against these allegations or reaching a business resolution that is satisfactory to us,” the company writes.
The specific patents in question are U.S. Patent No. 6,957,224: Efficient retrieval of uniform resource locators; U.S. Patent No. 7,072,849: Method for presenting advertising in an interactive service; and U.S. Patent No. 7,099,862: Programmatic discovery of common contacts.
The note appears in an update to the S-1 that offers extended caveats on how patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets are frequently the subject of litigation. Twitter admits that it’s not a strong player in this area.
“Many companies in these industries, including many of our competitors, have substantially larger patent and intellectual property portfolios than we do, which could make us a target for litigation as we may not be able to assert counterclaims against parties that sue us for patent, or other intellectual property infringement,” it writes, with a special flag for trolls: “In addition, various ‘non-practicing entities’ that own patents and other intellectual property rights often attempt to aggressively assert claims in order to extract value from technology companies.”
Although Twitter has shown itself up to now to be a very developer-friendly player in the patent space, it is salvos like IBM’s that may prove to test that resolve, especially as Twitter continues to evolve its service and move into new areas — a point it also makes, adding that right now it’s also potentially liable for claims against its partners and customers, too….”
“October was Iraq’s deadliest month since April, 2008. In those five and a half years, not only has there been no improvement in Iraq’s security situation, but things have gotten much worse. More than 1,000 people were killed in Iraq last month, the vast majority of them civilians. Another 1,600 were wounded, as car bombs, shootings, and other attacks continue to maim and murder.
As post-“liberation” Iraq spirals steadily downward, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was in Washington last week to plead for more assistance from the United States to help restore order to a society demolished by the 2003 US invasion. Al-Qaeda has made significant recent gains, Maliki told President Obama at their meeting last Friday, and Iraq needs more US military aid to combat its growing influence.
Obama pledged to work together with Iraq to address al-Qaeda’s growing presence, but what was not said was that before the US attack there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq. The appearance of al-Qaeda in Iraq coincided with the US attack. They claimed we had to fight terror in Iraq, but the US invasion resulted in the creation of terrorist networks where before there were none. What a disaster.
Maliki also told President Obama last week that the war in next-door Syria was spilling over into Iraq, with the anti-Assad fighters setting off bombs and destabilizing the country. Already more than 5,000 people have been killed throughout Iraq this year, and cross-border attacks from Syrian rebels into Iraq are increasing those numbers. Again, what was not said was that the US government had supported these anti-Assad fighters both in secret and in the open for the past two years.
Earlier in the week a group of Senators – all of whom had supported the 2003 US invasion of Iraq – sent a strongly-worded letter to Obama complaining that Maliki was far too close to the Iranian government next door. …”
“WASHINGTON (AP) — A report by a medical task force says Defense Department and CIA health professionals violated professional ethics standards by helping to develop interrogation and torture techniques and participating in force-feeding of terror suspects over the last decade.
While reports of torture following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 are not new, the report by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession said the U.S. should do a full investigation into how much military and intelligence physicians and psychologists participated in the interrogations, saying the record “remains fragmentary.”
The report, compiled by a 20-member task force, says that government agencies improperly used legal restrictions rather than ethical standards to determine the actions of health professionals. And it said heath workers must be held to higher ethical standards than interrogators, who can inflict stress to legal limits.
“A health professional has an obligation not to participate in acts that deliberately impose pain or suffering on a person,” said the report, which was also funded by the Open Society Foundations and is titled, Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror. It added that replacing ethical standards with legal ones “eviscerates the ethical standards.”
Billionaire and longtime liberal political donor George Soros funds Open Society Foundations.
The report said that medical professionals were used to advise interrogators on how to exploit detainee vulnerabilities, even as they were required to be present in order to protect detainees from severe harm. And the report said that even today reporting requirements for health professionals who witness abuse are unclear.
CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said the report “contains serious inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions,” adding that the CIA has no detainees in custody and that the interrogation program was ended by President Barack Obama in 2009. He said the CIA’s medical staff upholds “the highest standards of their profession in the work they perform,”
The ongoing debate ….”