Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

Cutty Sark blaze treated as ‘suspicious’

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Cutty Sark blaze treated as ‘suspicious’

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Cutty Sark, one of the most famous historic sailing ships in the world, was seriously damaged by fire in the early hours of Monday morning, May 21, 2007. The 19th century ship, which is in dry dock in Greenwich, London, England, set a speed record during its working days, and has been a popular tourist attraction for many years.

The fire brigade was first called to the blaze on the tea clipper at 4:45 a.m. BST and reported that the flames had been extinguished by 7:00 a.m., but firefighters were still on the scene damping down at 8.30 a.m. The blaze was so intense that eight fire engines and 40 firefighters were sent to put out the fire. No injuries have been reported.

Cutty Sark Trust chief executive Richard Doughty said he was told the blaze was being treated as suspicious. “We’re losing history,” he lamented. “It’s unbelievable.” He went on: “When you lose the original fabric, you lose the touch of the craftsmen; you lose history itself. What is special about Cutty Sark is the timber, the iron frames, that went to the South China Sea. To think that is threatened in any way is unbelievable. It is an unimaginable shock.”

However, Doughty also confirmed that half of the ship’s planking, and all of the masts and rigging had been removed for renovations prior to the fire. The iron framework of the hull has been twisted and buckled.

The Chairman of Cutty Sark Enterprises, Chris Levitt, speaking later at the scene, said: “We had removed 50% of the planking, so 50% of the planking wasn’t on site and that’s safe and secure, and from where I stand there is not a huge amount of damage to the planking that was left on. There are pockets of charred planking and some have gone, but it doesn’t look as bad as first envisaged.”

Cutty Sark Trust curatorial consultant, Dr Eric Kentley was optimistic that the Ship is not completely devastated and can be saved. Speaking about the Cutty Sark, he said: “We will put her back together – but it’s going to take much much longer and a lot more money than we originally thought.”

The historic ship, one of London’s best known tourist attractions, has been in dry-dock in Greenwich since 1954. It is currently undergoing a £25 million renovation scheduled to last until 2009. It was feared that gas canisters used in the reconstruction work might explode in the blaze but the London Fire Brigade later confirmed that none were present, although concerns about the risk of explosion had caused some delay in tackling the fire. It is a Grade I listed monument and is on the Buildings At Risk Register in the UK.

Police believe the fire on board the ship may have begun in suspicious circumstances. They are studying CCTV footage which showed some movement around the ship in the early hours of the morning. They are appealing for witnesses who might have seen anyone near the ship or a silver car that was reported driving away from the scene.

The Cutty Sark was built in 1869 by Scott & Linton, Dumbarton in Scotland and completed by Dennys. It is the world’s last surviving tea clipper. Because the clippers were build of wood, but with a framework made of iron, they marked the transition from wood to iron. The windjammers that emerged some 30 years later were build completely of iron or steel.

The clippers were used in long-distance races between China and England, with large profits for the first ship back with the first tea of the year. The Cutty Sark sailed in the China trade between 1870 and 1877/78. She sailed in the Australian wool trade between 1883 and 1895, during which period she achieved the record breaking voyage under wind power between Australia and England via Cape Horn of 72 days in 1885.

The ship takes its name from a character in Burns‘ poem ‘Tam o’ Shanter.

Category:June 9, 2010

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Microsoft Silverlight released into first test phase

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Microsoft Silverlight released into first test phase
October 17th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Monday, April 30, 2007

Microsoft has finally released its long awaited “Silverlight” into Alpha Testing for the general public. “It’s the biggest challenge for Microsoft right now,” said Brent Thill, an analyst from Citigroup. This is the most direct threat to date, that Microsoft has posed to Adobe (makers of the popular Flash platform).

The creators of Silverlight have been promising a single plug-in which will work across all browsers and operating systems and will offer a rich video and interactive media experience which can be embedded within Web sites.

Microsoft has also promised to make some of the Silverlight technologies open source. This has been a popular decision among the computing industry, and has been a step away from the usual protection of their products.

While at MIX07, Microsoft also discussed its new package called Expression, which is set to be released in June, and will be an alternative to Adobe Creative Suite 3 (CS3).

Bull kills New Zealand man

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Bull kills New Zealand man
October 17th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Peter William Raeburn Hunter, a 61-year-old stock agent from Hastings, New Zealand, died early yesterday morning from a rampaging friesian bull. The bull first flung recently married Hunter in the air and then gored him at Stortford Lodge saleyards in Hastings.

Hunter had tried to escape into another yard but the bull rammed him against the yard rails. He then fell to the ground but the bull didn’t stop attacking him until another agent came to his aid and hit the animal on the nose with a stick.

Bruce Campbell, yards manager, said: “The agent was behind an alleyway gate which the bull lifted off its hinges. It was awful and has given us all a real shake-up.”

Hunter was then transported to Hawke’s Bay hospital but died before he got to the hospital.

The bull has now been shipped to Palmerston North on a truck to be slaughtered after the police declined the request to shoot the bull dead at the lodge. Acting Sergeant Andy Clinton said: “It calmed down and they had no problems loading it on the truck.”

It was the first death at the lodge in the 103 years that it has been operating.

Friesian bulls are not normally dangerous.

“Peter was very much a valued member of the local team,” Elders Livestock, managing director, Stuart Chapman said. “It’s a freak accident, an absolute tragedy.”

Looted, possibly contaminated body parts transplanted into USA, Canadian patients

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Looted, possibly contaminated body parts transplanted into USA, Canadian patients
October 15th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Monday, March 20, 2006

Fears of contaminated bone and skin grafts are being felt by unsuspecting patients following the revelation that funeral homes may have been looting corpses.

Janet Evans of Marion Ohio was told by her surgeon, “The bone grafts you got might have been contaminated”. She reacted with shock, “I was flabbergasted because I didn’t even know what he was talking about. I didn’t know I got a bone graft until I got this call. I just thought they put in screws and rods.”

The body of Alistair Cooke, the former host of “Masterpiece Theatre,” was supposedly looted along with more than 1,000 others, according to two law enforcement officials close to the case. The tissue taken was typically skin, bone and tendon, which was then sold for use in procedures such as dental implants and hip replacements. According to authorities, millions of dollars were made by selling the body parts to companies for use in operations done at hospitals and clinics in the United States and Canada.

A New Jersey company, Biomedical Tissue Services, has reportedly been taking body parts from funeral homes across Brooklyn, New York. According to ABC News, they set up rooms like a “surgical suite.” After they took the bones, they replaced them with PVC pipe. This was purportedly done by stealth, without approval of the deceased person or the next of kin. 1,077 bodies were involved, say prosecuters.

Investagators say a former dentist, Michael Mastromarino, is behind the operation. Biomedical was considered one of the “hottest procurement companies in the country,” raking in close to $5 million. Eventually, people became worried: “Can the donors be trusted?” A tissue processing company called LifeCell answered no, and issued a recall on all their tissue.

Cooke’s daughter, Susan Cooke Kittredge, said, “To know his bones were sold was one thing, but to see him standing truncated before me is another entirely.” Now thousands of people around the country are receiving letters warning that they should be tested for infectious diseases like HIV or hepatitis. On February 23, the Brooklyn District Attorney indicted Mastromarino and three others. They are charged with 122 felony counts, including forgery and bodysnatching.

Leave Heating Installation To The Professionals

October 11th, 2018 in Electricity Providers | No Comments

byAlma Abell

Anytime you are considering heating and air conditioning sources, it’s best to go through a professional. A professional, like Burgeson’s Heating and Air Conditioning Inc has been doing this job for years. They have the experience as the job is done day in and day out.

How to Choose a Heating Source?

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When you are up in the air trying to think of which type of heating source you should get, don’t get too overwhelmed. The professional who you would be calling to install it for you can come to your home, or ask you a few questions over the phone and be able to tell you which source would benefit your home the most. There are different options for different homes. Each home is different in size and shape, so it all depends on your home’s set-up and what you are trying to obtain.

Keep Costs Down

If a high energy bill is worrying you, you can try to talk to your professional and decide which option would be best to accomodate for the electricity bill. Thankfully, there are energy saving options available. Depending on how heating installation is done, you can actually cut your energy bill down quite a bit with that as well.

Keep Repairs Down

Not every person who installs a heater on their own will experience repairs, but it is essential to have this done by a professional. This is because since they are experienced with this, they know how to install it so there will be hardly any if any at all repairs in the future. Installation is everything when you first get your heater.

If you want to have an efficient heating source and a lower energy bill, leave the Heating Installation to the professionals. Everyone would like a lower cost energy bill and still be able to heat their whole home. Heating sources aren’t always cheap so contacting a professional prior to choosing the first option that comes to you is beneficial. Weigh out your options before choosing one; it can save you a lot of time, money and a lot of hassle.

Irish National Pensions Reserve Fund gains 2.4% in first quarter

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Irish National Pensions Reserve Fund gains 2.4% in first quarter
October 11th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Friday, April 22, 2005

Ireland’s National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) has posted a 2.4% return for the first quarter (9.6% annualized). On March 31, the funds value stood at €12.3bn, a rise of €290m (excluding state contributions) since December 31.

Donal Geaney, the fund’s chairman, told the press that growth in the past quarter had been driven by the Fund’s European equity investments.

Mr Geaney, former Élan CEO, has pursued a policy of diversification since February of this year, with the stated aim of placing a larger amount of the funds assets in companies with small market capitalizations and in property funds.

The fund was set up by the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act, 2000 to partially meet the expected rise in Irish pension costs from 2025 onwards.

Chicago Metra considers selling naming rights for train lines, stations

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Chicago Metra considers selling naming rights for train lines, stations
October 10th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chicago’s Metra is currently considering the possibility of selling the naming rights to its train stations, rail lines, and even bridges to generate more revenue. 

The regional rail system for Chicago and its surrounding suburbs has been experiencing revenue shortfalls, along with other public transportation agencies such as the Chicago Transit Authority and Pace. They all rely on sales taxes and fares to fund their services, but the recent recession has reduced sales tax revenues, and unemployment has caused ridership to fall. Compared to 86.8 million trips in 2008, Metra reported that only 82.3 million trips were provided in 2009. As spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said, “We’re looking at any opportunity to increase non-fare revenue.”

A law approved by former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich in 2008 granted free rides to all seniors regardless of income, adding to the decreasing fare revenues as well. State lawmakers are trying to restrict the free rides to low-income seniors; Metra has not yet commented on the issue, however. 

New designs put on the agency’s website last September has attracted more traffic, and Metra is considering selling advertising space online. In addition, advertising space could be sold on the outside of train cars as well. As for the naming rights to stations and routes, Metra plans to hire a consultant that would figure out the details of such a proposal. Spokesperson Meg Reihle did not know how much money Metra could gain from the sale or which organizations would be interested in buying. 

According to Ms. Reihle, public transit agencies in other cities have sold naming rights as well, such as the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority in Cleveland and Long Island Rail Road in Long Island. TECO Energy sponsors a rail line in Tampa’s Hillsborough Area Regional Transit for US$1 million over ten years. 

Throughout its 26-year history, Metra has named several of its locomotives and renamed two stations: Ogilvie Transportation Center, which was previously named North Western Station, and Millennium Terminal, which was previously called Randolph Street. No transactions were made in renaming those two stations, however. There is also a Station named after the candy maker Mars, but that station was named before Metra took it over, and the company doesn’t pay Metra for any naming rights. 

I think the business community recognizes that transit is positive for their advertising benefit

Execuive Director Phil Pagano sees the proposal as a way for businesses to advertise themselves. “I think the business community recognizes that transit is positive for their advertising benefit,” said Mr. Pagano at a board meeting. In addition to businesses, hospitals located near the train stations could purchase naming rights as well. However, Mr. Pagano has also stated that “the agency would be selective about the type of businesses it partners with.”

Metra has said that it will be sensitive to the wishes of the communities near the stops, and town names will not be removed from station names. Rather, both the municipality and the sponsoring organization would share the naming rights, such as in renaming Naperville Station to “Naperville Boeing Station”. “I’m not sure whether [the old name] is first or second, but definitely it’s going to have to be there,” said Mr. Pagano.

Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam

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Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam
October 10th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Sunday, February 13, 2005

New York –”Buy cheap Viagra through us – no prescription required!” Anyone with an active email account will recognize lines like this one. According to some reports, unsolicited advertisements (spam) for Viagra and similar drugs account for one in four spam messages.

BACKGROUND

Spamming remains one of the biggest problems facing email users today. While users and systems administrators have improved their defenses against unsolicited email, many spammers now insert random words or characters into their letters in order to bypass filters. The Wikipedia article Stopping email abuse provides an overview of the various strategies employed by companies, Internet users and systems administrators to deal with the issue.

Ever since pharmaceutical giant Pfizer promised to cure erectile dysfunction once and for all with its blue pills containing the drug sildenafil citrate, spammers have tried to tap into male anxiety by offering prescription-free sales of unapproved “generic” Viagra and clones such as Cialis soft tabs. Legislation like the U.S. CAN-SPAM act has done little to stem the tide of email advertising the products.

Now Pfizer has entered a pledge with Microsoft Corporation, the world’s largest software company, to address the problem. The joint effort will focus on lawsuits against spammers as well as the companies they advertise. “Pfizer is joining with Microsoft on these actions as part of our shared pledge to reduce the sale of these products and to fight the senders of unsolicited e-mail that overwhelms people’s inboxes,” said Jeff Kindler, executive vice president at Pfizer.

Microsoft has filed civil actions against spammers advertising the websites CanadianPharmacy and E-Pharmacy Direct. Pfizer has filed lawsuits against the two companies, and has taken actions against websites which use the word “Viagra” in their domain names. Sales of controlled drugs from Canadian pharmacies to the United States are illegal, but most drugs sold in Canada have nevertheless undergone testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is not the case for many of the Viagra clones sold by Internet companies and manufactured in countries like China and India. While it was not clear that CanadianPharmacy was actually shipping drugs from Canada, Pfizer’s general counsel, Beth Levine, claimed that the company filled orders using a call center in Montreal, reported the Toronto Star.

For Microsoft’s part, they allege that the joint effort with Pfizer is part of their “multi-pronged attack on the barrage of spam.” As the creator of the popular email program Outlook, Microsoft has been criticized in the past for the product’s spam filtering process. Recently, Microsoft added anti-spam measures to its popular Exchange server. Exchange 2003 now includes support for accessing so-called real-time block lists, or RTBLs. An RTBL is a list of the IP addresses maintained by a third party; the addresses on the list are those of mailservers thought to have sent spam recently. Exchange 2003 can query the list for each message it receives.