Thursday, February 28, 2013
|English: Main entrance to Lockheed Martin Center for Leadership Excellence (CLE) in Bethesda. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The settlement, which requires a judge's approval, was detailed by the plaintiffs in papers filed in U.S. District Court in New York on Tuesday.
The accord would resolve more than two years of litigation by shareholders who blamed alleged misstatements by Lockheed for a decline in its stock price.
Spokeswoman Jennifer Allen said in a statement Wednesday Lockheed agreed to the accord to "to avoid the expense and distraction of litigation."
Samuel Rudman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs at Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, declined comment.
The lawsuit was filed in July 2011 by the City of Pontiac General Employees' Retirement System, the public employees' pension fund for Pontiac, Michigan. It named as defendants Lockheed and company executives, including Chief Executive Robert Stevens.
The plaintiffs alleged that Lockheed overstated the financial projections for its information systems and global services division for 2009.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
chilwell retail park (Photo credit: victuallers2)
- chilwell retail park (Photo credit: victuallers2)
Property owners in Spain are under most pressure, AXA Real Estate, Europe's largest real estate fund manager, said in a report called "Retail will never be the same again".
It said online shopping in countries such as France and Britain has become a "substantive threat" to store profitability, which could leave some retailers unable to afford rents that landlords would then have to reduce.
Property investors had underestimated the impact of internet shopping and the economic downturn left them "unable to differentiate between the weakening of physical sales due to the shift online from those resulting from the current recessionary environment", the report said.
"Ninety percent of future growth in retail sales in the UK, France and Germany from 2012-2016, or 91.5 billion euros ($122.2 billion) of the 101.2 billion euros total, will be captured by online spend," said AXA, which manages 43 billion euros ($57.41 billion) of property assets.
Spain is likely to see sales per unit area fall by 5.7 percent by 2016, ahead of France, Italy and Germany at 5.5, 4.4 and 3.2 percent respectively, said AXA, using a calculation comparing the change in physical stores sales to the change in retail floor space.
Such declines would spur retailers to slash property costs to remain profitable, forcing rents to fall. Occupancy costs in Spain, for example could decline by as much as 18 percent over the period, while costs in France could drop by 17 percent.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
American economy back on track.
Most states now provide unemployment benefits to workers using prepaid debit cards. While some states are much worse than others, most states allow banks to load these cards with hidden junk fees, according to a recent study by the National Consumer Law Center. In California alone -- one of the better states -- unemployed workers lose $1.8 million every year on their state-issued prepaid debit cards. That's $1.8 million more in Bank of America's profit column, and $1.8 million less for families to cover necessities like rent, gasoline and food.
If you take a look at the way the following states allow unemployment benefits to be nickeled and dimed by megabank prepaid card programs you will see why it's time to change the system:
Alaska: JPMorgan Chase charges $5 every time cardholders talk to a teller, $1.50 to withdraw money from an ATM more than once week, and 35 cents just to call the automated customer service line. Chase even charges 40 cents to check the card balance from the bank's own ATM.Minnesota: U.S. Bank gets $3 every time someone calls the bank's customer service department, after one free call per month.
Iowa: Wells Fargo charges unemployment recipients 50 cents every time they check their balance, plus another 50 cents every time a transaction is denied for insufficient funds.
Maine: Chase charges 25 cents every time an unemployment benefits recipient uses his or her debit card to make a purchase at a store using a PIN.
Ohio: U.S. Bank's 750 in-network ATMs charge no fees, but 16 counties in that state don't have a single U.S. Bank ATM. Vinton and Clinton Counties, in the southern part of the state, have some of the highest jobless rates in Ohio, lingering at between 12.6% and 15%. Neither county has an ATM those unemployed people can use for free.
It gets worse. The Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) mandates that consumers must have the choice between a check, direct deposit or a prepaid debit card.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Pressure on OFCs has since eased a little because they have all accepted, to differing degrees, that they need to exchange more information with their clients’ home countries. But they remain beleaguered as an increasingly confident band of “tax justice” campaigners pushes for more concerted action on tax evasion and avoidance, money-laundering and the proceeds of corruption. Tax avoidance, the grey area between compliance and evasion, has shot up the political agenda. A recent cover of Private Eye, a British satirical magazine, caught the national mood, showing Santa Claus being booed for living offshore. Governments have been rushing out action plans. Britain has put tax compliance and corporate transparency at the top of its list of priorities for its presidency of the G8 this year. America’s media often suggest that Congress yank money back from tax havens to alleviate the nation’s fiscal woes.
The world has 50-60 active tax havens, mostly clustered in the Caribbean, parts of the United States (such as Delaware), Europe, South-East Asia and the Indian and Pacific oceans. They serve as domicile for more than 2m paper companies, thousands of banks, funds and insurers and at least half of all registered ships above 100 tonnes. The amount of money booked in those havens is unknowable, and so is the proportion that is illicit. The data gaps are “daunting”, says Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti of the IMF. The Boston Consulting Group reckons that on paper roughly $8 trillion of private financial wealth out of a global total of $123 trillion sits offshore, but this excludes property, yachts and other fixed assets. James Henry, a former chief economist with McKinsey who advises the Tax Justice Network, a pressure group, believes the amount invested virtually tax-free offshore tops $21 trillion. His methodology is reasonably sophisticated but he admits his calculation is still “an exercise in night vision”.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
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Saturday, February 23, 2013
|Image via CrunchBase|
The Human Rights Foundation last week slammed Goldman Sachs for their ongoing relationship with the Russian government, saying the bulge bracket bank was basically aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise.
They argued for Goldman Sachs to cease accepting payments from Russia, payments that go towards helping the bank make Russia look good to potential investors and international rating agencies. Russian officials last month announced that they will pay the Wall Street firm $500,000 over the next three years to help the Putin regime lure foreign cash.
“By striking this deal with Vladimir Putin, Goldman Sachs is abetting one of the world’s most corrupt governments that’s been repeatedly cited by independent monitoring groups for ignoring human rights, property rights, and sound corporate governance practices. The Putin government shoots at students, tortures whistleblowers to death, and detains and expropriates its enemies—and Goldman is helping them attract investors. It’s mind-boggling,” the HRF president said.
Russia ranks 133 out of 176 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, alongside Iran and Kazakhstan and below Uganda and Nicaragua. International courts, human rights groups across the political spectrum, and investment analysts have decried the political and economic toll on Russia over recent high profile arrests and even, in some cases, deaths in Russian prisons.
Friday, February 22, 2013
|English: Emergency Alert System logo as published in the FCC's handbooks. Extracted and converted to SVG by me. Freely available in public domain as it is work of the FCC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Poor password security allowed hackers to broadcast a bogus warning on TV networks that the United States was under attack by zombies, broadcasters said, and one expert in the technology said the emergency channel they broke into remained vulnerable.
The attacks on Monday on a handful of stations prompted the government to order broadcasters to change passwords for the equipment that authorities use to instantly push out emergency broadcasts through what is known as the Emergency Alert System, or EAS.
The FCC would not comment on the attacks, but in an urgent advisory sent to television stations on Tuesday the agency said: "All EAS participants are required to take immediate action."
It instructed them to change passwords on equipment from all manufacturers that forces emergency broadcasts on to television networks, interrupting regular programming. It instructed them to make sure that gear was secured behind firewalls and to also inspect systems to ensure that hackers had not queued "unauthorized alerts" for future transmission.
The attacks came at a time when officials and outside security experts are warning the United States is at risk of a cyber attack that could cause major physical damage or even cost lives. President Barack Obama has told Congress that some hackers are looking for ways to attack the U.S. power grid, banks and air traffic control systems.
While the zombie hoax appeared to be somewhat innocuous, the fact that hackers could easily broadcast an emergency message showed that they might be able to wreak havoc with more alarming communications.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
|English: Seal of the United States Department of Homeland Security. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The order also called on the Department of Homeland Security to recommend ways to mitigate security attacks and, among other tasks, for the secretary of homeland security to direct the development of a cyber-security framework that includes a "set of standards, methodologies, procedures and processes that align policy, business, and technological approaches to address cyber risks." To the fullest extent possible, the framework will also "incorporate voluntary consensus standards and industry best practices," said the order.
"We know hackers steal people's identities and infiltrate private e-mails. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, our air traffic control systems," Obama said during his address. "We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy."
On Feb. 13, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) responded, saying in a statement that toward the agenda of creating a cyber-security framework, it has issued requests for information from the relevant parties.
"The Framework will not dictate 'one-size-fits-all' solutions, but will instead enable innovation by providing guidance that is technology neutral and recognizes the different needs and challenges within and among critical infrastructure sectors," NIST said in its statement.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
|Image via CrunchBase|
One of the key findings of the new report is that by end of 2013, tablets will account for about 20 percent of Google's paid search clicks in the United States, which is more than three times the 6 percent in paid clicks Google Search received from tablet users back in January 2012.
The white paper, "Mobile Search Advertising Around the Globe: How Smartphones and Tablets Are Changing Paid Search," was produced by Marin as a snapshot into the online ad usage of its customers, which place more than $4 billion in online search ads using Marin's management platform each year.
Gagan Kanwar, director of research and partnerships for Marin and the author of the white paper, told eWEEK that the $5 billion tablet ad revenue estimate was reached by making projections based on Google's $40 billion in overall search ad revenue from 2012. Google's ad revenue typically increases by 20 percent each year, said Kanwar, which would mean that Google's search ad revenue is expected to be about $48 billion by the end of 2013.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Citigroup Inc (C.N) has begun axing 50 investment bankers across its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) division as a program of cutting 11,000 jobs hits the heart of the investment bank.
Citi announced the global cuts, equal to about 4 percent of the bank's workforce, in December as part of an effort to eliminate $1.1 billion in annual costs by 2014.
Back office areas like support and technology were singled out as those to be hardest hit, along with consumer banking in markets like Pakistan, Paraguay, Brazil and Hong Kong where Citi is scaling back its presence.
Three sources told Reuters that Citi has this week began laying off investment bankers in the division, with 50 positions to be eliminated imminently.
Of these, between 15-18 are at the managing director level, a source with knowledge of the plan told Reuters on Wednesday.
"The cuts began Monday and are currently going on across the region," said a separate source familiar with the matter.
"Most of the cuts are in Europe and there is an intense pressure to cut costs there. Senior bankers being asked to leave shows that."
Citi declined to comment on the size, timing or regions of the cuts, which followed swiftly after a 4,500-strong job cutting program in 2012.
"Last year's cuts were not harsh on the investment bank but this one is going straight to the division," said the source.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Erik Huggers, the head of Intel Media, joined Walt Mossberg onstage at AllThingsD's media conference to confirm that Intel will be introducing an Internet-based TV service and box this year.
Intel will be providing the hardware and services directly to consumers, and the box will come with a camera that can detect who is in front of the TV. Huggers declined to provide many details -- including the service's name and programming partners -- but he said the service will let users watch live TV, on demand, and other offerings.
"For the first time, we will deliver...a new consumer-electronics product that people will buy from Intel through a new brand," Huggers said.
He said the set-top box will be be powered by an Intel chip (obviously) and noted that Intel is working with the entire television industry to figure out how to distribute live television, "catch-up TV," on-demand, and other services via the Internet.
"Ultimately we think there's an all-in-one solution," Huggers said.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
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Saturday, February 16, 2013
Network complexity, growth of cloud services and bring your own device (BYOD) trends will help drive the U.S. market for SMB tech support to a 14.4 percent compound annual growth rate between 2012 and 2016, reaching nearly $25 billion by 2016, according to a new report from market research firm Parks Associates.
Major corporations like Comcast, which recently rolled out its tech-support product Signature Support, which is targeted at small businesses, and IBM, which expanded its Managed Vendor Support Services (MVSS) to support small businesses, are positioning themselves as providers of more advanced forms of tech support. Cable provider Cox Communications has plans to deploy a small- and midsize-business (SMB) version of its residential product Cox Tech Solutions this year.
"Many tech-support providers have offered SMBs a product that was, essentially, a consumer solution on steroids," Jim O'Neill, Parks Associates research analyst, said in a statement. "But as SMBs have become more dependent on 24/7 uptime, tech support providers are responding with more robust offerings. Ideally, these new products are delivered by companies that already have relationships with SMBs: service providers like ISPs, cable companies and telcos. Tech support is a great source of incremental revenue for them and also helps keep their services sticky."
The report noted SMB employees are also increasingly bringing their own devices into the workplace, and the introduction of this technology, particularly Google Android-based tablets and smartphones running a variety of apps, creates new challenges in network maintenance and heightens the risk of a data breach or piece of malware corrupting the company network.
- Parks Associates: SMB tech support market will achieve double-digit growth through 2016
- SMBs Are Looking to Cloud Service Providers for Bundled Cloud Services
Friday, February 15, 2013
|Image via CrunchBase|
An Egyptian court ordered the suspension of online video service YouTube for a month on Saturday for broadcasting a film insulting the Prophet Mohammad, state media reported.
The country's administrative court ordered the ministries of communication and investment to block YouTube, owned by Google, inside Egypt because it had carried the film "Innocence of Muslims," said state news agency MENA.
The 13-minute video, billed as a film trailer and made in the United States, provoked a torrent of anti-American unrest in Egypt, Libya and dozens of other Muslim countries in September.
The video depicts the Prophet as a fool and a sexual deviant. For most Muslims, any portrayal of the Prophet is considered blasphemous.
The court said it was ruling on a case brought about the film several months ago, without going into further detail.
Egypt's National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority said it would abide by the ruling as soon as it received a copy of the verdict.
Maha Abouelenein, a Google spokeswoman in Cairo, said the company had yet to receive any formal notification of the ruling.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
RBS, 82-percent owned by the taxpayer, has faced criticism over a deferred bonus of 780,000 pounds ($1.2 million) that Hester is set to receive in March. But Hampton told lawmakers on Monday that Hester's pay was modest by the industry's standards.
Hampton said Hester's pay was well below the average in world banking. "Relative to other people doing these jobs his pay has been modest," he told the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.
Hester, who receives a basic salary of 1.2 million pounds, chose to give up his bonus last year after a computer systems meltdown affected millions of customers. This year he was set to receive a share-based payment of 780,000 pounds deferred from three years ago.
Some lawmakers have said Hester should not accept the payment after RBS was fined $612 million by British and U.S. authorities last week for its role in a global interest rate-rigging scandal.
RBS has said it would slash bonuses for its investment bankers to help pay fines to U.S. authorities and ensure that taxpayers do not suffer as a result of the penalties.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The Times article, quoting unnamed sources "familiar with the company's explorations" said the watch would run on Apple's iOS mobile operating system platform. Earlier reports said the Bluetooth-enabled device would feature a 1.5-inch organic LED screen and be able to communicate with other Apple devices like the iPad or iPhone.
"Apple is already in the wearable space through its ecosystem partners that make accessories that connect to the iPhone. This makes Apple potentially the biggest player of the wearables market in a sort of invisible way," Sarah Rotman Epps, Forrester research analyst, told The Times. "Over the long term, wearable computing is inevitable for Apple; devices are diversifying, and the human body is a rich canvas for the computer. But I'm not sure how close we are to a new piece of Apple hardware that is worn on the body."
The smart watch market marks another place where Apple could breathe new life into old, mostly ignored concepts. Outside of James Bond fanatics and Casio calculator watch collectors, smart watches have held about as much consumer appeal as tablet computers once did—something that Apple irreversibly changed when it debuted the iPad.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed an internet gaming bill on Thursday but called on the legislature to make amendments which, if incorporated, would be signed into law.
That would allow casinos in Atlantic City to offer online gaming to the nine million residents of New Jersey and also create opportunities for European companies with expertise in running online gaming operations.
It also fuelled hopes that other American states could follow suit and liberalize their gambling laws, though Christie proposed that the New Jersey law, if passed, should be reviewed after 10 years to gauge its impact on problem gambling.
Monday, February 11, 2013
|Image via CrunchBase|
Oracle beefed up its networking services division Feb. 4 by acquiring Acme Packet Inc. for about $1.7 billion in cash.
Acme Packet's data center hardware products speed up voice, video and data delivery across networks. Specifically, the Bedford, Mass.-based company produces session border controllers (SBCs), multiservice security gateways (MSGs) and session routing proxies (SRPs).
Oracle is paying $29.25 per share, which is a 22 percent premium to Acme Packet's Feb. 1 close on the Nasdaq index.
"Users are increasingly connected and expect to communicate anytime and anywhere using their application, device, and network of choice. Oracle Communications along with Acme Packet can help service providers and enterprises meet these demanding requirements," Oracle said in a statement.
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