Monday, December 31, 2012

FedEx shipments are falling faster than GDP




Official portrait of Federal Reserve Chairman ...
Official portrait of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Christmas- time and FedEx shipments are falling faster than GDP according to economic forecaster Lakshman Acuthan, whom I had lunch with today at our favorite place. At least 5% faster than the latest economic statistics for the whole economy.
“FedEx shipments track well to GDP,” the CEO of ECRI Forecasting told me. This latest factoid adds weight to Acuthan’s judgement that we are already in a recession, one that, in fact probably began over the summer months. If he’s right, it means the GDP numbers, which are constantly updated and restated, must be negative, not showing growth of 1-2%.
Why does he say that? Because his statistical charts show industrial production, household income and manufacturing and trade sales peaked some time ago– leaving only employment to peak to fully confirm his judgement. A judgement by the way that does not appear to be the view of giant financial institutions like J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs.
“If you take out financials profit growth in the U.S. is negative,” says Acuthan. “If the world had not delivered $11 trillion in liquidity the past 4 years– $4 trillion of it in the U.S., we’d be in a depression,” the highly respected economic forecaster added for emphasis. By the way, he shocked me by insisting that “the entire G-7 nations are contracting economically– as well as all the BRICS but for China, which is flat,” he claims. “Japan is in QE 10, and has gotten nowhere. That’s why I’m worried about Fed chairman Bernanke being all in” on QE4.
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Sunday, December 30, 2012

high risk international merchant accounts


eComTechnology payment processing - High Risk Credit Card Processing .
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

U.S. judge gave final approval to BP Plc's settlement


English: Platform supply vessels battle the bl...
English: Platform supply vessels battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon. A Coast Guard MH-65C dolphin rescue helicopter and crew document the fire aboard the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, while searching for survivors. Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes and cutters responded to rescue the Deepwater Horizon's 126 person crew. Français : Les restes en feu de la plateforme Deepwater Horizon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Platform supply vessels battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon. A Coast Guard MH-65C dolphin rescue helicopter and crew document the fire aboard the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, while searching for survivors. Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes and cutters responded to rescue the Deepwater Horizon's 126 person crew. Français : Les restes en feu de la plateforme Deepwater Horizon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A U.S. judge gave final approval to BP Plc's settlement with individuals and businesses who lost money and property in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The order only addressed the settlement of economic and property damage claims, not a separate medical benefits settlement for cleanup workers and others who say the spill made them sick.
BP has estimated that it will pay $7.8 billion to settle more than 100,000 claims in the class action litigation.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier initially approved the deal in May, but held a "fairness hearing" in November to weigh objections from about 13,000 claimants challenging the settlement to resolve some of BP's liability for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
London-based BP's Macondo well spewed 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over a period of 87 days. The torrent fouled shorelines from Texas to Alabama and eclipsed the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in severity.
Lawyers for some affected parties had objected to the deal, reached in March between BP and lawyers representing plaintiffs ranging from restaurateurs, hoteliers, and oyster men who lost money from the spill. They argued that some claimants would be underpaid or unfairly excluded.
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Friday, December 28, 2012

protest lodged by the Italian Challenger Luna Rossa

English: The original cup (additional base sec...
English: The original cup (additional base section now added) was donated for the winner of the first 'Round the Island' race of 1851. The winner, from the other side of the Atlantic, gave its name to the America's Cup. As of 2010, Britain are still to win this trophy, which was on display at the inaugural '1851 Cup' event, at Cowes, Isle of Wight. As in 1851, the US again triumphed in the 'Round the Island' race, although Team Origin (UK) won the overall series. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is believed that the International Jury for the 34th America's Cup has ruled on a protest lodged by the Italian Challenger Luna Rossa, against the America's Cup defender Oracle Team USA.
The information is that the US team have been found in breech of the Surveillance provisions of the Protocol.
In the incident complained of by the Italian Challenger, Oracle Team USA's spy boat was stopped some distance from Luna Rossa's AC72, and took photos from close range as Luna Rossa sailed towards them. Evidence produced by the Italians showed that the US team's spy boat was 105metres from the Italian catamaran - around half the distance permitted under the Protocol, unless permission had been given - which had not occurred in this case.
If correct, the implications of the finding could be quite serious, as this is one of the first in America's Cup history where an actual team member has been caught in the act of spying on another team - usually it has been third parties such as divers etc who have been seen or apprehended.
It is believed that International Jury has called for Submissions on the matter, and also a recall of the photographs taken.
The return of photographs will not erase the knowledge gained by the individuals and design teams, and a fundamental of sailing rules is that a team cannot gain in any way through a rules breech or 'professional foul'.
A further issue is whether the crew on the spy boat in Auckland, were acting under orders from the USA, or if they were acting of their own volition.
Claims by Emirates Team New Zealand that they had been subject to the same actions by Oracle Team USA, were  not expected to be considered as no protest had been lodged as a result.
The Italian protest was accompanied by photographs of the incident and distance calculations based on the camera lens used. These showed the OTUSA spy boat between the Italian Chase boat and its AC72, Luna Rossa.
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Libor interest rate investigation

English: UBS Investment Bank offices at 299 Pa...
English: UBS Investment Bank offices at 299 Park Ave (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At UBS alone, at least 45 people were involved in or aware of attempts to manipulate rates, according to U.K. authorities. All told, more than a dozen of the world's largest financial institutions are facing investigation.
In announcing Wednesday that UBS had agreed to pay $1.5 billion in connection with the controversy, U.S. officials revealed charges against two former senior UBS traders: Tom Alexander William Hayes, 33, of England, and Roger Darin, 41, of Switzerland. Contact information for attorneys of the two men, for whom the United States will seek extradition, was not immediately available.
A Department of Justice spokeswoman didn't rule out the possibility of additional cases against UBS employees, saying the investigation "is still very much ongoing."
Related: Explaining the Libor interest rate mess
UBS spokeswoman Karina Byrne said "more than three dozen" bank employees had been disciplined in connection with the scandal through firings, suspensions and reduced pay.
The Libor controversy first garnered widespread attention earlier this year.
Libor -- short for the London Interbank Offered Rate -- is a collection of rates generated for various currencies across 15 different time periods. The quotes are then used as benchmarks for roughly $10 trillion in loans and some $350 trillion in derivatives.
To set Libor rates, groups of banks are asked what interest rate they would have to pay to borrow money for a certain period of time in a certain currency.
The UBS investigation revealed that bank employees attempted on hundreds of occasions between 2001 and 2010 to influence rates to benefit their trading positions. Certain traders had their pay "directly connected to their success in trading financial products tied to Libor" and related interbank rates, the Justice Department says.
UBS employees also made artificially low Libor submissions around the time of the financial crisis to make the bank appear more creditworthy.
British bank Barclays paid roughly $450 million in June in a settlement with U.S. and U.K. regulators over similar Libor-related conduct. Additional penalties are expected, with firms including Citigroup (C, Fortune 500), Deutsche Bank (DB), JPMorgan (JPM, Fortune 500) and HSBC facing scrutiny.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Taylor Swift Crowned 2012's Most Charitable

Taylor Swift Crowned 2012's Most Charitable

JBS withdraws lawsuit against Greenpeace


Greenpeace word mark Русский: Текстовый символ...
Greenpeace word mark Русский: Текстовый символ «Гринпис» (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
JBS SA, the world's largest meat company, said on Wednesday it has withdrawn a lawsuit against environmental activist group Greenpeace and renewed a promise not to purchase cattle from restricted areas in Brazil.
Greenpeace said it was in new discussions with the beef group after JBS published an independent audit of its cattle purchases in the Amazon region, seeming to end a six-month-old spat over cattle supplies.
In June, Greenpeace accused JBS of purchasing cattle raised on reserves for indigenous peoples. It said the company was breaking an accord Brazilian meat packers signed in 2009 that promised not to purchase cattle raised on illegally deforested lands, farms convicted of using slave labor or other restricted areas.
Greenpeace said two other big beef processors, Marfrig and Minerva, had no problems proving the proper origins of their cattle.
In response, JBS said it was suing Greenpeace for what it called false claims that would cause it to lose business.
In a statement on Wednesday, however, José Augusto de Carvalho Júnior, president of JBS for the Mercosur trade block, said JBS and Greenpeace had arrived at "a new stage" in joint efforts to remove deforestation from cattle supply chains.
JBS has agreed that by 2014 all of its cattle purchases in the Amazon biome will be checked with deforestation monitoring efforts.
Although Brazil has made great strides over the past decade in slowing the pace of deforestation and recently passed a new land use law meant to protect forests and encourage replanting, pressure for land from farmers and ranchers remains one of the main forces driving clearcutting.
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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Swiss bank agreed to pay $1.5 billion


ubs
ubs (Photo credit: twicepix)
ubs (Photo credit: twicepix)

Two former UBS traders face criminal charges as part of a sweeping case announced Wednesday in which the Swiss bank agreed to pay $1.5 billion after admitting to manipulating global benchmark interest rates.

The settlement follows an investigation by regulators and law enforcement officials around the world into the setting of the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, and related interest rates. U.S. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer called it "one of the most significant scandals ever to hit the global banking industry."
The payment settles government claims in the United States, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The bank has agreed to a non-prosecution deal with the U.S. Department of Justice covering all its subsidiaries except UBS Securities Japan, which pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
The investigation revealed extensive misconduct stretching from 2001 to 2010 involving at least 45 UBS staff, including senior managers, who sought to influence rates to benefit the bank's trading positions and make it look stronger during the financial crisis.
UBS also colluded with other firms, making corrupt payments to outside brokers worth £15,000 per quarter over a period of 18 months to reward their assistance in fixing rates.
The two UBS traders -- Tom Alexander William Hayes, 33, of England, and Roger Darin, 41, of Switzerland -- are currently abroad, and the U.S. will seek their extradition, Breuer said. Both have been charged with conspiracy, and Hayes has also been charged with wire fraud and a price-fixing violation.
Contact information for the two men's attorneys was not immediately available.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

former Porsche SE Chief Executive Wendelin Wiedeking charged


see filename for despcription - seen at PORSCH...
see filename for despcription - seen at PORSCHE MUSEUM in Stuttgart, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
see filename for despcription - seen at PORSCHE MUSEUM in Stuttgart, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
German prosecutors have charged former Porsche SE Chief Executive Wendelin Wiedeking and his former finance chief with market manipulation related to the purchase of Volkswagen shares.
The prosecutor's office in Stuttgart, where Porsche is based, said today that the executives made false public statements during the sportscar maker's botched 2008-09 takeover of VW.
The defendants' lawyers denied any wrongdoing by their clients.
Wiedeking, hailed as "the man who outfoxed the market" by Fortune Magazine in January 2009, and Holger Haerter could face a sentence of up to five years if they are found guilty of breaching securities trading laws, a criminal offence, prosecutors have said in the past.
Investors have said Porsche's former top management had been pursuing plans to take over much larger carmaker VW while making public statements to the contrary.
In March 2008, Porsche dismissed as "speculation" media reports it intended to take over VW, which builds more cars in a week than Porsche does in a year.
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

high risk check processing for Pharmacy


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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Walmart may be facing more fines


Wal-Mart, Playa del Carmen Q.R. (Originally
Wal-Mart, Playa del Carmen Q.R. (Originally "Most holidaymakers in Riviera Maya were Americans. They would have felt well at home with Wal Mart Supermarket.") (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Wal-Mart, Playa del Carmen Q.R. (Originally "Most holidaymakers in Riviera Maya were Americans. They would have felt well at home with Wal Mart Supermarket.") (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Wal-Mart Stores (WMT.N) may be facing sizable fines related to allegations of widespread bribery at its Mexican affiliate, after a second report from the New York Times provided more details about the scope of the alleged misconduct.
Experts said the latest report, published online late on Monday, is significant because it appears to show that the alleged bribes were a substantial part of its business methods, and more than routine payments to speed up approvals, which are allowed under U.S. law.
The newspaper said the world's largest retailer opened some 19 stores by using hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to get what local laws otherwise prohibited.
On Monday, Wal-Mart said the allegations in the Times report have been part of the investigation of potential FCPA violations the company began conducting more than a year ago. Wal-Mart declined to provide additional comment on Tuesday.
In April the newspaper reported that Wal-Mart had stifled an internal probe of bribery at its Mexican affiliate Walmex (WALMEXV.MX), but gave the impression that many of the bribes paid may have been used to facilitate approval processes already in motion.
"I think the Times story, if it is true, changes the perception of the Wal-Mart matter from being about facilitating payments to something larger than that," said Danforth Newcomb, an expert on the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act who defends such cases at the law firm Shearman & Sterling.
The latest story describes, for example, $765,000 in bribes that helped Walmex build a refrigerated distribution center in an environmentally fragile area where electricity was scarce and smaller developers were turned away. It also describes in detail how Walmex allegedly paid $52,000 to change a zoning map so it could open a store near the ancient pyramids in Teotihuacan.
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Android-running devices are behind China's booming

Google Android Cake Pops
Google Android Cake Pops (Photo credit: niner bakes)
Android-running devices are behind China's booming smartphone market, accounting for nearly two out of every three handsets sold, according to a Dec. 18 report from Informa Telecoms & Media.

A fast-growing middle class has made China the world's largest smartphone market, and the country is now the largest market for Android, with one-third of all Android devices worldwide going there. By contrast, the United States, Android's second-largest market, sees just an 11 percent share of all Android smartphones.
Informa estimates that 786 million smartphones were sold in 2012—an increase of 45 percent from 2011's global totals. In China, the smartphone market grew by 85 percent year-over-year, "driven by the explosive demand for Android phones," stated the report.
Apple's iOS and Microsoft's Windows Phone hold minority shares in China, at currently 5 percent and 1 percent, respectively. Informa expects Microsoft's share to double in 2013, thanks to Nokia's partnership with China Mobile, but for Apple to lose shares unless it creates a Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) variant of the iPhone.
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

International Telecommunications Union treaty

ICANN Logo
ICANN Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • The world’s major Internet companies, backed by U.S. policymakers, got much of what they wanted last week when many nations refused to sign a global telecommunications treaty that opponents feared could lead to greater government control over online content and communications.
    In rejecting even mild Internet language in the updated International Telecommunications Union treaty and persuading dozens of other countries to refuse their signatures, the U.S. made a powerful statement in support of the open Internet, U.S. officials and industry leaders said.
    But both technologists and politicians fear the Internet remains in imminent danger of new controls imposed by various countries, and some said the rift that only widened during the 12-day ITU conference in Dubai could wind up hastening the end of the Net as we know it.
    “If the international community can’t agree on what is actually quite a simple text on telecommunications, then there is a risk that the consensus that has mostly held today around Internet governance within (Web-address overseer) ICANN and the multi-stakeholder model just falls apart over time,” a European delegate told Reuters. “Some countries clearly think it is time to rethink that whole system, and the fights over that could prove irresolvable.”

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

HSBC to settle for 1.92 billion investigation


One HSBC Center
One HSBC Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HSBC has agreed to pay $1.92 billion to settle accusations that it laundered billions of dollars. But state and federal authorities decided not to indict the bank “over concerns that criminal charges could jeopardize one of the world’s largest banks and ultimately destabilize the global financial system,” Ben Protess and Jessica Silver-Greenberg report in DealBook.
“While the settlement with HSBC is a major victory for the government, the case raises questions about whether certain financial institutions, having grown so large and interconnected, are too big to indict,” DealBook writes. HSBC was accused of transferring money for nations like Iran and enabling Mexican drug cartels to move money illegally. “Behind the scenes, authorities debated for months the advantages and perils of a criminal indictment against HSBC.” Some prosecutors wanted the bank to plead guilty to violations of the federal Bank Secrecy Act, a law that requires financial institutions to report cash transactions of a certain size, officials with direct knowledge of the matter said. That option was seen as a compromise, whereas a “money-laundering indictment, or a guilty plea over such charges, would essentially be a death sentence for the bank.”
The deferred prosecution agreement that authorities ultimately reached with HSBC requires the bank to forfeit more than $1.2 billion and pay about $700 million in fines, according to the officials briefed on the matter. “As part of the deal, one of the officials briefed on the matter said, HSBC must also strengthen its internal controls and stay out of trouble for the next five years.” The chief executive, Stuart T. Gulliver, said in a statement, “We accept responsibility for our past mistakes.”
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

global investigation into the manipulation of interbank lending rates


Canary Wharf is a major business and financial...
Canary Wharf is a major business and financial centre and is home to some of the UK's tallest buildings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Canary Wharf is a major business and financial centre and is home to some of the UK's tallest buildings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and London police have made the first arrests as part of a global investigation into the manipulation of interbank lending rates, a scandal that has rocked the banking industry.
The SFO said on Tuesday three British men, aged 33, 41 and 47, were taken to a London police station for interviews in the early morning after three properties were searched.
An SFO spokesman said the interviews were continuing.
"The men are all British nationals currently living in the United Kingdom," the SFO said in a brief statement.
Prosecutors and regulators across Europe, the United States, Canada and Japan have been investigating how traders attempted to rig key benchmark lending rates such as Libor (the London interbank offered rate) after the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission initiated an industry-wide probe in October 2008.
Dozens of people have been fired by banks and are under investigation in the probe into benchmarks like Libor, which underpins around $550 trillion of loans and financial contracts.
Sources familiar with the investigation said in July regulators and prosecutors in the United States and Europe were closing in on individual traders and that arrests were expected shortly.
In the first settlement with UK and U.S. regulators, Barclays agreed in June to pay $450 million in fines and penalties to settle allegations by regulators and prosecutors that some of its employees tried to manipulate key interest rates from 2005 through 2009.
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Monday, December 17, 2012

Standard Chartered agreed to pay U.S. authorities


Standard Chartered Building
Standard Chartered Building (Photo credit: zeeble)
Standard Chartered Building (Photo credit: zeeble)

U.K. bank Standard Chartered agreed to pay $327 million to U.S. authorities Monday to settle charges it violated international sanctions on transactions with Iran, Burma, Libya and Sudan.

The U.S. Treasury Department said the bank's London and Dubai offices illegally stripped critical information from financial transaction records between 2001 and 2007. The bank took names of customers from these countries, and replaced them with special characters, so other banks were not able to see where the transactions were coming from or where they were going.
In a statement, Standard Chartered admitted it had handled $24 million of transactions on behalf of entities in Iran and a total of $109 million in the other nations against which the U.S. had imposed sanctions.
While not a household name in the United States, Standard Chartered is a major global bank. It is based in London, but has offices in the United States, subjecting it to U.S. banking laws and regulations.
Standard Chartered said it had since done a review to comply with sanctions. "In the more than five years since the events giving rise to today's settlements, the bank has completed a comprehensive review and upgrade of its compliance systems and procedures," it said.
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mobile phone processing


Mobile Processing for U.S. Bank Accounts

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

'Compelling evidence' that WCup friendlies fixed

'Compelling evidence' that WCup friendlies fixed

9 GW of grid-connected solar plants by 2017

English: Image
English: Image (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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How FCC Plans to Reverse Title II Action in December

How FCC Plans to Reverse Title II Action in December By:  Wayne Rash  |  November 21,2017 The FCC plans regarding net neutrality, set ...