Saturday, November 30, 2013

Canadian banks to identify U.S. Citizens

English: Canadian Bankers Association - Biling...
English: Canadian Bankers Association - Bilingual logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Canadian Bankers Association - Bilingual logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Starting next July, Canadian banks will be required to ask anyone opening a new account if they are now, or ever have been, an American "person."
It comes at the behest of the U.S. government and its efforts to “smoke out” tax dodgers.
The Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2010 and comes into force July 1, 2014.
The law forces all banks and other financial institutions outside the U.S. to search for customers who have certain "indicia." Those are markers that show the person may be a U.S. citizen or a former permanent resident who, under U.S. law, must file income tax returns to Uncle Sam no matter where they reside in the world.
The only other country with similar tax rules for expats is Eritrea.
When announcing the law, U.S. President Barack Obama said, “if financial institutions won’t cooperate with us, we will assume they are sheltering money in tax-havens and act accordingly.”
The threat is a withholding tax of 30 per cent levied on every transaction a non-compliant bank has coming from, or even passing through, the U.S.
“Bottom line is: there is absolutely no way that a large, modern financial institution like a Canadian bank or a large credit union could escape FATCA,” says Marion Wrobel, vice-president of policy and operations at the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA).
Wrobel says his organization has been fighting FATCA since it was announced, calling it the “extra-territorial” application of American law.
"The only reason the Americans can do it is because it is a large economy, financial markets are integrated globally," Wrobel adds, "and it is virtually impossible for a large institution like a Canadian bank, an insurance company, a securities dealer, a large credit union to avoid being caught up in a FATCA net."
Starting July 1, 2014, banks will be required to scour the records of all of their customers with more than $50,000 in an account.
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Friday, November 29, 2013

Telus takeover of Public Mobile gets Competition Bureau OK

Telus takeover of Public Mobile gets Competition Bureau OK

requiring banks to hold more capital

Global financial watchdogs should have more policy tools and powers over firms such as hedge funds to counter the risk of a devastating run on investment banks, the U.S. Federal Reserve's top regulator said on Friday.
Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo unveiled new details of the central bank's plans to require banks to hold more capital if they rely heavily on raising short-term cash from other banks, and also pushed regulators writing global rules to do more.
But oversight should not be limited to banks, he said, because risks that could bring them down can often hide in the so-called shadow banking system, a loosely defined set of lending activities outside banks.
"There is a need to supplement prudential bank regulation with a third set of policy options in the form of regulatory tools that can be applied on a market-wide basis," Tarullo said at a conference with other regulators.
Shadow banking remains largely unregulated despite being a key factor in the collapse of Lehman Brothers at the height of the crisis in 2008, which led to a raft of new regulations for bank capital and derivatives trading.
Tarullo detailed the Fed's planned rule - announced earlier this year - to make it less attractive for banks to raise cash in short-term wholesale funding markets, which have proven to be fickle if a panic hits the market.
Banks that rely on short-term funding from peers should be required to hold more capital on top of what is already mandated by the international Basel III pact, he said.
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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Google and Microsoft to block child abuse images

Web search giants Google and Microsoft said on Monday they will block online searches for child abuse images.
The world's two largest search engine operators, in a rare display of unity, said as many as 100,000 search terms will now fail to produce results and trigger warnings that child abuse imagery is illegal.
The child porn crackdown announced during a Internet safety summit in London came after Prime Minister David Cameron in July urged Internet firms to do more to stop access to illegal images in the wake of two high-profile child sex murders in Britain.
Cameron said Britain's newly-established National Crime Agency is joining forces with the United States' FBI in a task force to track down these pedophiles and arrest them.
He described the progress to block illegal content as "significant" but said more needed to be done to track down pedophiles using the so-called "dark web" of encrypted networks that lets people anonymously share images of child abuse.
"We were told that cleaning up searches couldn't be done and shouldn't be done. We're now being told by the industry that it can be done and will be done," Cameron said in a statement after the summit at his Downing Street offices, adding that Britain would hold an international summit next year to follow-up on the agreement reached on Monday.
Both Google and Microsoft have introduced new algorithms to prevent searches for child abuse imagery.
Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said these changes would be introduced in Britain initially and then rolled out to another 158 countries in the next six months.
Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said deploying technology improvements to identify and eliminate Internet content that portrays child sexual abuse was a team effort.
Both companies also agreed to use their technological expertise to help in identification of abuse images and give technical support to Britain's Internet Watch Foundation and the U.S.'s National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bitcoin surged over 27 percent to a new high

Bitcoin surged over 27 percent to a new high of US$675 ahead of a U.S. government hearing on possible regulation of the digital currency.
While not an official seal of approval, the hearing is giving some legitimacy to a payment mechanism that has been associated with illegal activities even as it gains acceptance by the general public and investment community.
Witnesses at the Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing include officials from the Secret Service and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Justice Department's Criminal Division.
"The government is taking a very thoughtful and balanced approach to bitcoin and bitcoin regulation," said Barry Silbert, founder of the Bitcoin Investment Trust, launched in late September and valued at US$22.8 million on Friday. It holds around 53,000 Bitcoins.
Bitcoin traded as high as US$675 on Monday on Tokyo-based exchange Mt. Gox, the best-known operator of a bitcoin digital marketplace. That was a rise of 27.7 percent from Sunday's close. It last changed hands at US$672.
The digital currency, which trades 24 hours a day, every day, has risen around 404 percent in the last two months.
Association with drugs, money laundering, murder for hire and other illegal activities has not stymied interest in bitcoin, the digital currency not backed by any government or central bank and until recently a niche alternative currency touted by computer geeks and anti-government advocates.
The currency, whose supply is limited, is "mined" by solving math problems. Bitcoin transactions are tracked by a network of computers that validate transactions and prevent counterfeit.
In October, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation shut down Silk Road, an online marketplace used to buy and sell illegal drugs, and seized $3.6 million in bitcoins.
"Lawmakers are rightfully concerned about the illegal aspects of bitcoin but the fact that they're giving bitcoin the time of day helps cement its legitimacy," said Christopher Vecchio, currency analyst at DailyFX.
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Amazon to hire USPS for Sunday delivery

Online retail giant Amazon has struck a deal with the U.S. Postal Service that will bring packages to doorsteps and mailboxes on Sunday. Yes, Sunday.
It’s a historic deal, and not just because the post office will be delivering on Sundays for the first time. For one, a for-profit company is hiring out a government agency as a contractor, not the other way around.
It could also mark the beginning of a profitable future for the USPS, which suffers financial losses every year as competitors UPS and FedEx as well as online businesses take away market share.
Studies conducted for the USPS have projected a rather dismal future as mail volumes, especially profitable first-class items, decline. One 2009 study from the Boston Consulting Group forecast U.S. postal volumes to decrease from 177 billion pieces in 2009 to about 150 billion pieces in 2020 if business as usual continues.
Under the deal, USPS will deliver on Sundays in the Los Angeles and New York metro areas. Amazon and the USPS say they will roll out the service to a large portion of the U.S. population in 2014 including in Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix.
The deal isn’t just a potential boon for the USPS. The Sunday delivery service is only available to members of Amazon Prime, the company’s loyalty program that offers a free shipping service and guarantees two-day delivery to customers who pay an annual fee of $79.
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Monday, November 25, 2013

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

sentiment is improving about overall business conditions

A survey finds that sentiment is improving about overall business conditions, with the biggest jump occurring in feelings about the economy. Technology companies plan to hire new staff over the next 12 months but are concerned about a persistent shortage of tech talent, according to a survey by the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) and CompTIA, a nonprofit association for the IT industry. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of the 1,700-plus C-level executives surveyed say they intend to hire new staff over the next 12 months. Small companies (74 percent) and medium-size firms (72 percent) are the most optimistic on hiring. In addition to hiring plans, 59 percent of executives say they'll invest in new products or business lines over the next six months, with small (65 percent) and medium-size companies (62 percent) leading the way. About half of all companies expect to boost expenditures on marketing and advertising, as well as on technology. The survey indicated that there is improving sentiment about overall business conditions, with the biggest jump occurring in feelings about the overall economy. The sentiment scored a 56.4 on a 100-point scale, compared with 46.3 a year ago. And expectations are for more—albeit modest—improvement over the next six months. Concern about lower margins or downward pressure on pricing took a big jump—from 22 percent in the 2012 survey to 38 percent this year, placing it third on the list of concerns. Midsize (51 percent) and large companies (50 percent) are most concerned about margin and price issues. "Efforts to increase tech sector representation with the federal government, in particular for small and medium sized businesses, are central to TechVoice, our advocacy partnership between TECNA and CompTIA," Bob Moore, TECNA executive director, said in a statement. "Tax and regulatory barriers to tech entrepreneurs, advancing a skilled and career-ready 21st century workforce, and Internet governance are the major policy topics currently being addressed throughout TechVoice advocacy efforts." - See more at: http://www.eweek.com/small-business/tech-talent-pool-a-concern-as-businesses-look-to-hiring.html#sthash.uO8iKL2a.dpuf
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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Deutsche Telekom to launch secure internet service

English: Logo of Deutsche Telekom
English: Logo of Deutsche Telekom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Deutsche Telekom said it would launch a secure internet service next year for smaller companies that find it hard to pay for defenses against sophisticated forms of cyber crime.
The firm presented the plan at a cyber security conference at its Bonn headquarters as a diplomatic row rages between the United States and Europe over spying accusations.
Last month Deutsche Telekom urged German communications companies to cooperate in shielding local internet traffic from foreign intelligence services.
It said on Monday that, for a fixed monthly fee, small and medium-sized firms would be able to access the internet via Deutsche Telekom data centers, where content would transported via a secure data line known as a 'clean pipe'.
"Hackers will have no chance," Deutsche Telekom's management board member Reinhard Clemens said.
"Of course cyber crime needs an international approach but we can't wait until politicians come up with something. We need to come with solutions right now."
Addressing the conference, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak suggested hackers would more than keep pace with attempts to neutralize them.
"We ain't seen nothing yet," said former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak. "The offense is light years ahead of defense and that is likely to remain so."
The 'clean pipe' project, in which Deutsche Telekom partners with RSA - part of U.S. technology firm EMC - is in a test phase and scheduled to hit the market early next year.

Deutsche Telekom cited data presented to the conference as showing only 13 percent of German companies have not experienced a cyber attack, and about a third of more than 200 companies with more than 1,000 workers experienced several attacks a week.
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Friday, November 22, 2013

Chinese firms sue Baidu

Image representing Baidu as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
A group of Chinese Internet firms, including Tencent Holdings and Sohu.Com Inc, has joined a top U.S. film industry body in seeking 300 million yuan ($49.2 million) in damages from China's Baidu Inc and QVOD for copyright violation.
The Joint Action Against Online Video Piracy in China, which also includes Youku Tudou Inc, Dalian Wanda Group and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), said in a statement that Baidu and others had been using an automated process to obtain content from the other companies.
Baidu, the largest Internet search engine in China, said in a statement it was committed to fighting piracy.
A spokeswoman for Shenzhen-based software company QVOD said: "We are just a video player, we don't provide content." She declined to elaborate on the piracy allegations.
QVOD's mobile and desktop video player links to the web and allows users to stream videos.
China has long been known for its weak intellectual property protection and enforcement, leading to numerous disputes with the United States.
If successful, the case could hurt Baidu's business in the online video market, which was worth 3.25 billion yuan in advertising in the third quarter and is estimated to create 16.2 billion yuan in sales next year.
Baidu shelled out $370 million to acquire PPStream in May, to merge with its own iQiyi.com video site, and in September announced the launch of a line of Smart TV products.
"We can't continue to compete in the situation because law-abiding people can't survive in a place where robbers and thieves rampage," Charles Zhang, chief executive of Beijing-based Sohu.Com, told a news conference on Wednesday.

Zhang said that efforts to negotiate with Baidu had been unsuccessful, and Baidu refused to stop violating copyright until QVOD also agreed to stop pirating videos.
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Thursday, November 21, 2013

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The holidays may not be so merry

J.C. Penney Co. Ghost Sign
J.C. Penney Co. Ghost Sign (Photo credit: Larry Myhre)

The holidays may not be so merry and bright this year ... for retailers.

Sales growth during the fourth quarter is shaping up to be the weakest since 2008, according to predictions from Morgan Stanley.

Same-store sales, a key metric that measures sales at store locations open at least a year, are expected to grow a mere 1.6% from a year ago during the fourth quarter, Morgan Stanley estimates. Last year's holiday sales were up 3.5% from the fourth quarter of 2011.
The 1.6% figure excludes sales at troubled J.C. Penney (JCP, Fortune 500). That's because J.C. Penney is expected to offer deep discounts to try and get back on track after a disastrous drop in sales last year. As a result, J.C. Penney may not have that tough a time beating last year's low bar. And its results could skew the overall sales figures for the industry.
Why will sales be sluggish this year? The culprit appears to be weak consumer confidence. While Americans have more to spend thanks to a rising stock market, higher home values and low gas prices, they're not so willing to part with their cash.
"Concerns over future income linger and the government shenanigans have dampened confidence on the cusp of holiday shopping," Morgan Stanley analysts said.
In order to attract more customers, retailers are expected to roll out steep price reductions. In fact, Morgan Stanley expects the season to bring "the most intense promotional holiday environment since 2008."
The calendar isn't helping retailers either. Since there are six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas compared to last year, retailers may hit the "panic button" earlier than necessary to ensure sales growth.
While lower prices are good news for cost-conscious consumers, they will put pressure on what are already low profit margins for many retailers.
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

quant turned whistle blower

 "It's really a circus," says Haim Bodek, before he launches into an elaborate metaphor about Metallica ticket scalpers to describe how high-frequency trading (HFT) computers get their hooks into big pension fund investments (the "dumb money" in Wall Street parlance) before anybody else can.
Bodek, a so-called quant (or quantitative analyst) who has held key positions at Hull Trading, Goldman Sachs and UBS, is famous among traders for having broken the Street's omertà and complained to the Securities Exchange Commission in 2011 -- after his own HFT firm, Trading Machines, crashed and burned -- about the secret "order types" that allowed rival algorithms to jump the queue and push him out of business.
Bodek is the lead character in Scott Patterson's 2012 Dark Pools: High-Speed Traders, A.I. Bandits, and the Threat to the Global Financial System. And his scalper metaphor is the centerpiece of The Wall Street Code, Part 2 of Dutch director Marije Meerman's excellent video series for VPRO Backlight about the effects of HFT "bots" (artificially intelligent trading algorithms) on the electronic stock and options markets.
Her 50-minute video is now available on YouTube, and Bodek's metaphor begins at the 24-minute mark.
Imagine, he says, that the stock market is like a music venue that has booked his favorite heavy-metal band:
Bodek. From
Bodek. From "The Wall Street Code."
Metallica is playing at this concert hall. The ticket counter opens at 6 p.m., so I'm going to go and stand in line. After a while, other people come in after me, and I'm no longer at the end of the line.
There are these scalpers. They're in line with me also. I can see them, because they're all wearing the same T-shirt. They also have a very very close relationship with the exchange, uh, you know, with the venue.
What is that relationship? Maybe one of [the scalpers] brings a significant amount of volume to this. (What does that mean? He buys a lot of tickets. Of course he sells those tickets to other customers.) Another guy actually owns 10% of the venue. A third guy... he doesn't have a lot of volume. He's not big on this venue. But he's big on another venue, and he's got a board seat on this venue.
So there's a very very close relationship between these scalpers and this venue.
When the ticket counter opens, I'm going to equate that to the moment when a price can change in the stock market. And at 6 p.m. on the dot, this is what I'm going to witness: Every single one of these guys is literally going to teleport. In one picosecond, they are all ahead of me.
How did that happen? I ask some of the people, and they say, "Oh, they're really fast."
And I'm like "No. They teleport. That guy was behind me. How does he get ahead of me?"
"There really isn't any difference," Bodek concludes, "between an order type and being the guy who wears the T-shirt. You just put a little code on your order and you say 'hey, don't treat me badly, please.'"
There's no particular Apple (AAPL) angle here. But the company's options are the most heavily traded derivatives on Wall Street. If Haim Bodek couldn't beat the system, what chance do ordinary Apple investors have?
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Monday, November 18, 2013

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Merkel puts moratorium on fracking

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) agreed to retain a moratorium on fracking for gas and cut incentives for wind power in areas where it is abundant, if they form a new coalition government.
Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), emerged as the largest force from the September 22 election but they need a partner.
They are making progress in talks with the center-left SPD to form a government later this month and Friday's agreements on energy policy added to the momentum.
Leaders of the two sides told journalists in Berlin they had agreed to put a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for shale gas.
Ute Vogt, an SPD leader on environment issues in the talks, said that as a result fracking will not be possible in Germany before it is clear that the technology is safe.
"We've agreed to a moratorium," she told reporters.
Shale gas fracking has so far been banned in Germany and the stance of the potential new government reinforces prospects that unconventional gas exploration will not be pursued in the country. The next election is not due until 2017.
Fracking, which involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure thousands of metres below ground to release gas from shale, has created an energy boom in the United States.

But it is criticized by environmentalists, who warn of potential seismic effects and water pollution. Opinion is split on whether to embrace it as a path to cheaper energy.
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Saturday, November 16, 2013

vulnerabilities have been found in a D-Link router

English: Router D-Link Polski: Ruter
English: Router D-Link Polski: Ruter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A new spate of vulnerabilities have been found in a D-Link router, a security researcher said on Monday.
The D-Link 2760N, also known as the D-Link DSL-2760U-BN, are susceptible to several cross-site scripting (XSS) bugs through its Web interface, reported ThreatPost.

The researcher who discovered the bugs, Liad Mizrachi, said that he notified D-Link about the bugs in August, September, and October, but D-Link did not respond.

The report follows a more serious backdoor bug found in the following D-Link routers: DIR-100, DIR-120, DI-524UP, DI-604S, DI-604UP, DI-604+, DI-624S, and the TM-G5240. D-Link told ThreatPost in October that it is working on a patch to the backdoor bug.
Jacob Holcomb, a security researcher who uncovered widespread vulnerabilities in popular routers earlier this year, told CNET that he wasn't surprised by the backdoor bug, and wished that manufacturers would do more to fix security problems when found in embedded devices such as cameras and routers.
"Code written for these devices continues to provide inadequate security for today's digital society, and manufactures should be held accountable for the implementation of code that intentionally circumvents security," he said
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Friday, November 15, 2013

chief technology officer to testify on what happen with health care site

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a subpoena on Friday to compel Todd Park, the chief technology officer at the White House, to testify at a hearing next week about what went wrong with the Obamacare website.
The White House called the subpoena "unfortunate and unnecessary" and said that Park was busy fixing the website. The White House earlier had said he was willing to appear voluntarily in December.
"We had hoped the committee would work with us to find an alternative date to give Todd time to focus on the immediate task at hand: getting the website fixed," said Rick Weiss, a spokesman for the White House Office of Science and Technology.
"We are reviewing the subpoena and will respond as appropriate," Weiss said.
Darrell Issa, the California Republican who chairs the committee, told Park that he was the only administration witness at the November 13 hearing who was "unwilling to appear voluntarily" and noted that he had taken time out to give an interview to the New York Times in early October.
"Millions of Americans have lost their health insurance," Issa wrote in a letter to Park.

"They deserve your sworn testimony before their elected representatives about what went wrong - not simply the media outlets that White House officials have deemed an appropriate use of your time," he said.
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

fire at spy Canada center

The new billion-dollar “spy palace” in Ottawa’s east end suffered an unknown amount of damage after a fire began in a storage shed on the building’s roof.

Ottawa firefighters responded just before midnight Saturday to the high rise commercial building at 1929 Ogilvie Rd., which will soon house roughly 2,000 employees of the Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CSEC.

The building, which remains under construction, is expected to open next year right next to CSIS headquarters.

Fire officials believe the fire began in the storage shed, which holds about 95 litres of tar that is heated by an electrical heater.

The fire was under control in less than 30 minutes and nobody was hurt, officials added. The cost of the damage has not been reported and security officials have taken control of the scene.

Exact cost still unclear

The CBC’s Greg Weston received an exclusive tour of the new CSEC building last month. CSEC is a federal agency that spies mainly on foreigners by hacking into their computers, reading their emails and intercepting their phone calls.

CSEC officially estimates the complex will cost $880 million. But sources close to the project say it will be closer to $1.2 billion by the time all the associated costs are tallied.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New Jersey granted online gambling license

The state of New Jersey granted its first online gambling licenses to several big international gaming companies on Friday, dramatically speeding their re-entry to the lucrative U.S. market.
New Jersey joins Nevada and Delaware in permitting online poker and it is more populous than those states. New Jersey also will allow its residents to play electronic versions of other casino games.
Bills to legalize online gambling are pending in California, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts and more states are likely to follow, eventually letting residents of those states gamble against people in other regulated states.
New Jersey's action also is a landmark for the issue of suitability, in which regulators weigh the conduct of the online gaming companies before allowing them into an industry with historic corruption.
State gaming authorities gave "transactional waivers," which do not preclude additional regulatory scrutiny, to companies including the parent of PartyPoker, which dominated online cash card games in the United States for years.
PartyPoker pulled out of the U.S. market in 2006, when Congress strengthened federal gambling. It later paid $105 million in a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department and admitted violating wire fraud and other statutes before the 2006 law took effect.
Other recipients of waivers on Friday were 888 Holdings, and the online affiliate of Las Vegas' Caesars' Entertainment Corp.
Two controversial PartyPoker co-founders are divesting their stakes in order to get their company back into the United States.
New Jersey did not approve PokerStars, a company that kept going in the United States after Congress' 2006 law on internet gambling.
PokerStars spokesman Eric Hollreiser said the company's New Jersey application "remains under review" and that "we remain committed to working with them to complete the process." Both PokerStars and PartyPoker's parent, Bwin.party Digital Entertainment, had focused their licensing efforts on New Jersey.
"We're excited to see the launch of internet gaming in New Jersey," said American Gaming Association Chief Executive Geoff Freeman. "New Jersey will send a strong message to all states."
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Monday, November 11, 2013

FistData to purchase Perka

FirstData aims to catch up to Square and PayPal by growing its footprint in the mobile payments market, and the acquisition of Perka is its latest salvo. Perka CEO Alan Chung says the company's product developers and employees are staying on, and Perka will maintain its autonomous operations. Chung says the merger with First Data will enable Perka to achieve scale faster than it would have by itself. The Perka purchase is First Data's second buyout in October, following its acquisition of Clover several weeks ago. The earlier merger is intended to enlarge First Data's support for small businesses, especially around point of sale infrastructure. With the Clover deal, First Data customers using older credit card terminals have an opportunity to switch to upgraded models without
resorting to offerings from Square, PayPal, and others. The addition of Perka's subscription loyalty services enables First Data to start the build-out of its in-store payment solution. Since inception, Perka has rolled out a pair of loyalty subscription services. Perka's mobile apps let customers connect with their preferred local retailers and be recognized for their loyalty with a increasing level of incentives.
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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Delta and Jet Blue allowing gadget friendly flights

JetBlue Embraer 190
JetBlue Embraer 190 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last week, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration revised rules to allow gate-to-gate use of personal electronic devices by passengers. The change was expected to be a gradual one as airlines digest the new rules, complete a five-step process to prove their airplanes can handle the electronic emissions, and update safety manuals (and videos).
But, the day after the announcement, Delta and JetBlue were already allowing gadget-friendly flights. How did they get a leg up? Skift explains:
Both airlines were members of the Portable Electronic Devices Aviation Committee, which made recommendations to the FAA, leading to yesterday’s announcement about airlines getting the green light to test their aircraft for the usage of PEDs.
By yesterday afternoon, they had already filed their paperwork with the FAA and tested their aircraft, seemingly getting a leg up on their competitors in part because of their participation on the panel.
JetBlue says its Flight 2302 from New York’s JFK to Buffalo was the first commercial flight by a U.S. airline to implement the new rules which allow passengers to use their small electronic devices — smartphones, tablets, games — during all phases of flight.
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Saturday, November 09, 2013

Serious rail accidents in Canada since May 2013:

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Serious rail accidents in Canada since May 2013:
Oct. 19: Thirteen CN tanker cars — four laden with crude oil and nine carrying liquefied gas — came off the rails just after midnight in the hamlet of Gainford, about 80 km. west of Edmonton. A massive fire ensued.
Oct. 17: Residents in the northwest Alberta town of Sexsmith were forced from their homes after four CN rail cars carrying anhydrous ammonia left the rails. The cars remained upright and there were no leaks.
Oct. 7: Four empty tanker cars that had been used to carry jet fuel went off the track in Brampton, Ont. A CN employee suffered minor injuries and the derailment caused commuter delays for GO Train travellers.
Sept. 25: Seventeen CN rail cars, some carrying flammable petroleum, ethanol and chemicals, came off the tracks near the village of Landis, in western Saskatchewan, in the middle of the night. A nearby school was closed as hazardous material crews cleaned up spilled oil. No one was injured.
Sep. 11: Eight cars of a CP train carrying a diluting agent used in oil pipelines derailed at a southeast Calgary rail yard. There were no injuries and no leaks from the cars, which were left lying on their sides. More than 140 homes were evacuated briefly.
July 27: A CP locomotive and seven tanker cars carrying oil left the tracks in Lloydminster, which straddles the northern Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary. Some diesel spilled from the locomotive and was contained. RCMP said nothing spilled from the cars, no one was injured and no evacuations were necessary.
July 8: An ammonia leak from a train caused the evacuation of roughly one-quarter of the population of the small northern Ontario town of Gogoma. No one was injured.
July 6: A runaway train of 72 tank cars loaded with crude oil crashed and exploded in the centre of Lac-Mégantic, Que., killing 47 people and destroying half the downtown area. The train, owned by Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, was unmanned at the time.
June 27: Seven cars derailed as a bridge over the flood-swollen Bow River in Calgary collapsed when a CP train tried to cross it. Five cars carried petroleum products, one was filled with ethylene glycol and one was empty. No spills or injuries were reported but Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi demanded answers.
June 2: Eleven CP rail cars derailed on a trestle bridge near Wanup, east of Sudbury, Ont. There were no injuries, but the cars were carrying containers of consumer goods and about half of them entered a nearby river, prompting a drinking-water advisory.
May 21: Five cars on a CP train derailed near the village of Jansen in southeastern Saskatchewan and one of them spilled more than 91,000 litres of oil. There were no injuries.


Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/high+stakes+transporting+rail/9124923/story.html#ixzz2jnWUlkzb
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