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Showing posts from December, 2014

A U.S. judge has cleared the way for consumers to sue Target Corp

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English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)A U.S. judge has cleared the way for consumers to sue Target Corp over the retailer's late 2013 data breach that they say compromised their personal financial information.
U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Thursday dismissed claims by plaintiffs in certain states but largely denied Target's request to toss the proposed class action lawsuit.
Magnuson rejected Target's argument that the consumers lacked standing to sue because they could not establish any injury.
"Plaintiffs' allegations plausibly allege that they suffered injuries that are 'fairly traceable' to Target's conduct," Magnuson wrote.
Neither a Target spokeswoman nor a lawyer for the plaintiffs responded to request for comment.
Target has said at least 40 million credit cards were compromised in the breach, which may have resulted in the theft of as many as 110 million people's personal…

Royal Bank of Canada has added HCE to their mobile app

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English: The Montreal head office of the Royal Bank of Canada is the Place Ville-Marie's largest tenant (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Royal Bank of Canada has added HCE to their mobile app, allowing customers with an NFC-enabled Android phone to pay for items in-store via mobile.
HCE allows clients to use any near field communication (NFC) enabled Android phone to pay at the point of sale with the RBC Mobile app anywhere in the world. RBS is the first North American financial institution to develop a solution of this kind, at the end of a year that has seen a serious boost to mobile payments.
The bank is testing the solution with a group of RBC employees, who will be able to pay using their RBC Interact Debit card. Visa and MasterCard will be added in due course, the company said.
“We are committed to providing our clients with the most innovative, convenient and secure solutions to pay how they want, when they want – HCE is a critical step,” said Linda Mantia, executive vice-president…

Amazon staff at German warehouses extended a strike

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Amazon staff at German warehouses extended a strike on Wednesday in a long-running dispute over better pay and conditions, but the online retailer promised it would be able to deliver Christmas orders on time.
Labour union Verdi launched a three-day strike on Monday at five of Amazon's nine distribution centers in Germany, adding a sixth warehouse from Tuesday, with more than 2,600 workers involved in the industrial action on Wednesday.
Verdi said in a statement that workers at four of those centers had decided to continue their strike until Saturday and employees at the Graben warehouse would strike until Dec. 24.
An Amazon spokeswoman said the company had not seen any delays so far and had actually extended the deadline for customers to get gifts in time for Dec. 24 by normal delivery until midday on Dec. 22 from midnight on Dec. 21.
"We keep our customer promises," she said.
Amazon said only a minority of staff had joined the strike, with around 19,000 working norma…

Leather Wallet Case line-up for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

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Designed for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the monochrome leather carriers come in casually elegant gray. We’ve not added another color – instead we’ve toned it down to create a striking desaturated wallet case line-up.
“We’re not adding a color to the line-up, we’re extracting it, choosing monochrome over color to create an astonishing looking desaturated cases.” Remy Nagelmaeker (Co-Founder/Designer) This is a natural extension to the overwhelming success of our iPhone 6 Wallet Case line-up, which attracted attention from the likes of Hypebeast, Cool Hunting, Forbes and more.

Leather Wallet Case for iPhone 6 – Gray
Leather Wallet Case 80° for iPhone 6 – Gray
Leather Wallet Case 80° for iPhone 6 Plus – Gray Designed to hold 2 to 3 of your essential cards without sacrificing its slender silhouette, these Leather Wallet Cases help eliminate bulky pockets. The leather card pocket, intricately stitched and marked by a slanted opening, provides convenient access to cards. Accessible ports and but…
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English: The Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (www.wamm.org) presents Victoria, the nation's first legal medical marijuana plant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The Conservative government has lost its latest attempt to prevent medical marijuana users from growing pot at home, with the Federal Court of Appeal upholding an injunction that exempted patients from a massive overhaul of the system. New rules were introduced earlier this year that prohibited home growing and instead shifted production to commercial operations, but a group of patients is challenging that regime in a case expected to be heard in the new year.
A Federal Court judge issued an injunction in the spring that allowed patients who were authorized to grow and possess marijuana under the old system to continue to do so until their case is resolved.
The government appealed, but the Appeal Court released a unanimous decision Monday upholding the injunction.
"It's very significant," Kirk Tousaw, a…
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The last year has thrown the money transfer market into a state of flux. Online companies are challenging the near-monopoly held by a few firms and banks, putting the consumer back in control of their money with a greater focus on transparency.
High street banks and companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram have dominated the money transfer market for years, while charging hefty fees.
The existing fee structure is a problem for those sending remittances to friends and family abroad, especially migrant workers.
According to a 2014 World Bank report, the average transfer fee is around 8 per cent. But in some remittance corridors in Africa, the fee is over 20 per cent.
“Forcing migrant workers to pay as much as $50 to send $200 is wrong, especially when they are sending salaries they have earned in the hope of supporting their families back home,”the World Bank said in a report.
“There is a social cause here,” agreed Rajesh Agrawal, founder and CEO of money transfer company Xendpay.
Ag…

global health is an investment in developing countries’

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It is easy to be discouraged about the state of international cooperation today, but global health remains an area in which the world has come together to do significant good. Over the last dozen years, international initiatives have delivered HIV/AIDS treatment to millions, expanded childhood immunization, and spurred a dramatic increase in global support for addressing other health challenges, from malaria to maternal health. International support for global health is an investment in developing countries’ future prosperity and the wellbeing of their people. It is an investment that the world’s richest countries can well afford. For example, the United States is the leading contributor of global health aid, which accounted for just 0.23% of US spending in 2013. The returns on that investment have been remarkable. Child mortality is plunging. Millions who would have otherwise perished from HIV/AIDS are still alive. Countries that were aid recipients are increasingly self-sufficient – …

Economic Cooperation and Development issued a report on inequality and economic growth.

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Last week, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development issued a report on inequality and economic growth. The OECD, based in Paris, is the official think tank for rich countries. Its analysis concluded that the income gap between the poor and the middle class contributes to declining economic growth. The United Kingdom and the United States lost 6 percentage points to 9 percentage points of gross domestic product growth over the last two decades because of rising inequality, the report suggested.
OECD economist Federico Cingano also argued that “[r]edistribution policies via taxes and transfers are a key tool to ensure the benefits of growth are more broadly distributed.” Despite such recommendations, survey data from around the world show people are suspicious of taxes as a tool for greater equality. There’s good reason for skepticism: Existing tax and transfer systems across much of the developing world, in particular, have failed to take a dent out of inequality. If g…

Brazilian prosecutors said on Monday they had formally charged four more people

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Brazilian prosecutors said on Monday they had formally charged four more people, including a former executive at state-run Petrobras (PETR4.SA)(PBR.N), in a widening probe into a kickback scheme that allegedly stole billions of dollars from the oil company.
The prosecutors said Nestor Cervero, the former head of Petrobras' distribution subsidiary, as well as lobbyist Fernando Soares and Julio Camargo of local contractor Toyo Setal funneled $40 million of kickbacks and accepted $13 million in bribes from Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries (010140.KS).
The bribes helped secure a contract on a $586 million drillship off the coast of Africa and a similar scheme was repeated in the Gulf of Mexico, the prosecutors said in a statement.
Toyo Setal and Samsung Heavy Industries were not immediately available for comment. The companies themselves are not charged with any crimes.
The team of prosecutors in Parana state vowed to expand their investigation last week after accusing 36 p…

Lehman Brothers seeking review of award to Barclays

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Shearson Lehman/American Express Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)The trustee handling the liquidation of the brokerage unit of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday seeking review of the business's cash assets awarded to Barclays Plc (BARC.L). Lehman, once Wall Street's fourth-largest investment bank, had $639 billion of assets when it filed for Chapter 11 protection in September 2008. The British bank won court approval to buy much of Lehman's brokerage business. Trustee James Giddens, who has been seeking to recoup money for the brokerage's creditors, said lower court rulings granting margin assets to Barclays breached bankruptcy rules. Barclays declined to comment. The bank's shares closed down 3 percent on the London Stock Exchange on Monday. A federal appeals court ruled in August that Barclays was entitled to about $6 billion of disputed assets.
These include $4 billion of margin assets held by third parties to supp…

Lloyds Bank to introduce cheque imaging services

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Parts of a cheque based on a UK example drawee, the financial institution where the cheque can be presented for payment payee date of issue amount of currency drawer, the person or entity making the cheque signature of drawer Machine readable routing and account information (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Lloyds Bank has announced a pilot project to introduce cheque imaging services for its customers, ahead of a wider launch in 2015.
The scheme will allow customers to deposit funds via cheque by taking a photo on their smartphone. The payment can be as much as £2,500, and the bank intends for funds paid in this way to be cleared the same day, TechWeekEurope reported.
The new service stems from tie-up between Lloyds and small business support and advice network Smarta to launch their Business Toolbox for SMEs. This latest offering is part of a push to encourage more small businesses to start using digital services.
The Business Toolbox also features accounting and receipt management, as well…
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Apache Corp (APA.N) said on Monday it would sell its stakes in two liquefied natural gas projects, Wheatstone LNG in Australia and Kitimat LNG in Canada, to Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd (WPL.AX) for $2.75 billion. Apache, under pressure from activist investor Jana Partners, said in July it planned to exit the two projects. The company is also evaluating a sale or spinoff of its international operations to focus on North American shale wells. Woodside Petroleum, Australia's top oil and gas producer, said in August it was looking at potential acquisitions as companies such as Shell and Apache offload assets, amid worries about high costs and future prices. Apache said it would sell its 13 percent stake in Wheatstone, majority-owned by Chevron Corp (CVX.N), and its 65 percent interest in the WA-49-L oil and gas block, located offshore western Australia. The company is also selling its 50 percent stake in the Kitimat LNG project, a joint venture with Chevron, and related oil …

U.S. manufacturing output recorded its largest increase

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U.S. manufacturing output recorded its largest increase in nine months in November as production expanded across the board, pointing to underlying strength in the economy. Factory production increased 1.1 percent last month after an upwardly revised 0.4 percent advance in October, the Federal Reserve said on Monday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast manufacturing output rising by only 0.5 percent in November after a previously reported 0.2 percent gain in October. Mining output slipped 0.1 percent last month, while utilities production jumped 5.1 percent as a cold snap boosted demand for utilities. The gain in manufacturing and utilities combined to lift overall industrial production by 1.3 percent in November, the largest gain since May 2010. October's industrial output was revised to show a 0.1 percent increase instead of the previously reported 0.1 percent dip. The amount of manufacturing capacity in use rose to 78.4 percent last month from 77.6 percent in October.
Ove…

PayPal is expanding its lending services

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English: Logo of PayPal. Español: Logotipo de PayPal. Русский: Логотип системы PayPal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)PayPal is expanding its lending services ahead of the company’s separation from eBay next year.
PayPal’s lending programme has already advanced more than $200 million of loans to individuals and small businesses. The FT reported that executives are planning to push the service as the company readies itself for next year’s spin off from parent company eBay.
The payment processor’s merchant lending service, which launched last September and has since made more than 35,000 loans at a maximum of $60,000, is modest compared to competing start-up lenders. The company has offered loans to consumers for some time, and announced plans to buy an existing loan portfolio from GE Capital for $1 billion earlier this year.
Unlike competing services, PayPal does not plan to make money from its lending service, but will use it as another way to lure merchants into using PayPal over rival pay…

Russia has revealed plans to launch a national payment card

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The Central Bank of Russia has revealed plans to launch a national payment card that will both rival Visa and Mastercard and create more choice for consumers, according to the country’s officials.
The card, which is the first of its kind in Russia, will use technical infrastructure provided by one of the country’s existing payment systems, with Sberbank’s Pro100 and Zolotaya Korona both being considered as partners. The latter, which means “Golden Crown”, was developed by the Centre of Financial Technologies Group, based in Russia. The chosen operator will clear payments made within Russia using the national card system, but the card will also be valid for payments abroad.
The move was welcomed by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as a way of giving Russian consumers more choice. However, it has also been interpreted as a reaction to financial sanctions imposed by the US over the Ukraine crisis, which led to Visa and Mastercard blocking card operations by Rossiya and SMP banks. B…

system that converts over 40 percent of incoming sunlight into electricity

Solar researchers working at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) claim to have produced a system that converts over 40 percent of incoming sunlight into electricity, thereby taking the title of highest solar efficiency for a photovoltaic system ever reported.
The researchers first achieved their record efficiency in indoor tests in a facility in Sydney, Australia, and then had these achievements duplicated and ratified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) using an outdoor test facility in the United States.
"This is the highest efficiency ever reported for sunlight conversion into electricity," said UNSW Professor Professor Martin Green, Director of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP).
The record was achieved using a combination of technologies, including heliostat mirror "power tower" concentrators from Australian company RayGen Resources and high-efficiency photovoltaic (PV) cells from Boeing subsidiary, Spectrolab, but the …

Billions of dollars have flowed to New York state coffers

Billions of dollars have flowed to New York state coffers thanks to headline-grabbing settlements with global banks announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Benjamin Lawsky, New York's first superintendent of financial services.
But little attention has been focused on Daniel Alter, the 49-year-old legal mastermind behind many of the deals.
Sources close to the settlements describe Alter, general counsel at New York's Department of Financial Services (DFS), as instrumental to crafting strategies that leverage the three-year-old agency's unique powers to extract large and sometimes painful penalties from major banks.
For example, Alter wrote the order threatening to revoke Standard Chartered's (STAN.L) license to operate in New York, which paved the way for a $340 million settlement he helped negotiate with the British bank over transactions linked to Iran, sources said. That 2012 deal put the young agency on the map.
Alter also played a key role negotiating a $2.24 billi…

Oil prices that reached a five-year low

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Oil prices that reached a five-year low on Friday are starting to take a bite out of profits at TD Bank and are raising concerns for the rest of the country's top lenders.
Canada's biggest banks earn up to 20 per cent of their revenues through providing investment and corporate banking services, with oil and gas companies an important part of that client base.

But oil prices have tumbled roughly 35 per cent to under $70 a barrel from their mid-summer highs due to a strong U.S. dollar, low demand and a glut of global supply, and now TD Bank says it will have to look beyond the oilpatch to make up its investment banking revenue.
"With the current activity going on in oil pricing, it certainly is impacting activity levels in the business," Bob Dorrance, the head of TD's wholesale banking division, told investors during a conference call earlier this week after the bank reported its fourth quarter results.
"Things have slowed down."
Scotiabank was the last …

McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) reported a steeper-than-expected fall

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McDonald'sCorp (MCD.N) reported a steeper-than-expected fall in global same-restaurant sales in November and said current-quarter results would be hurt by the after-effects of a supplier scandal in China and a stronger dollar.
McDonald's shares fell 3 percent premarket on Monday after the company also warned that weakening sales would "significantly pressure" margins in the quarter.
The world's largest restaurant chain has been battling competition from Wendy's Co (WEN.O) and Burger King Worldwide Inc (BKW.N) as well as from chains that use fresh ingredients such as Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (CMG.N) and Subway.
Worldwide sales at restaurants open at least 13 months fell 2.2 percent in November. Analysts on average had estimated a decline of 1.7 percent, according to Consensus Metrix.
The company said the supplier scandal in China would reduce its profit for the quarter ending Dec. 31 by 7-10 cents per share.
McDonald's is working to lure back diners in C…

Sudden swings in financial markets recently

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English: Clockwise from top-left: Federal Reserve, Bank of England, European Central Bank, Bank of Canada (Note: Uploaded for use on Wikinews) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Sudden swings in financial markets recently suggest they are becoming increasingly sensitive to unexpected events, the global organization of central banks said on Sunday, warning "more than a quantum of fragility" underlies the current bullish mood.
MSCI's all-country world stock index is hovering around multi-year highs after rebounding from sell-offs in August and October.
    The downturns were triggered by uncertainty over the global economic outlook and monetary policy, as well as geopolitical tensions, and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said the sharp and sudden dips pointed to frailty in the markets.
    "These abrupt market movements (in October) were even more pronounced than similar developments in August, when a sudden correction in global financial markets was quickly succe…

Bell unveiled its debut in the content streaming

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English: SVG version of the new Bell Canada logo as of 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Bell unveiled its debut in the content streaming race on Wednesday with CraveTV, which the media conglomerate says isn't meant to replace cable television, but rather add to it.
Starting Dec. 11, CraveTV will be available to anyone who's currently a TV customer of Eastlink, TELUS Optik TV, Bell Fibe TV, Bell Aliant FibreOP TV and Bell Satellite TV at launch, with Northwestel and others coming on board later.
The service will cost $4 per month, on top of your cable bill. The service will be available immediately to cable TV subscribers via set-top box, but the company says they plan on rolling out new ways to watch, including mobile apps, access via video game console, and through select so-called "smart TVs" that can access the internet directly.
16% of Canadians would consider ditching pay TV, poll suggests Executives at a launch event in Toronto were coy on the timing, but said the…