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Swiss Life Holding
01 марта 2016, 12:06

Европейские индексы растут во вторник четвертую сессию подряд

Европейские фондовые индексы растут во вторник четвертую сессию подряд на фоне благоприятных корпоративных новостей.

17 августа 2015, 08:46

Европа: негативная статистика оказалась внушительнее известий из Греции

В пятницу, 14 августа, ключевые фондовые индексы Европы завершили торги преимущественно на отрицательной территории. С одной стороны, известия о том, что парламент Греции одобрил согласованные с международными кредиторами условия предоставления стране третьего пакета финансовой помощи объемом в 86 млрд евро, оказали некоторую поддержку рынкам. Стоит отметить, что "за" проголосовало 222 члена греческого парламента, а "против" лишь 64. С другой стороны, опубликованная макроэкономическая статистика пришлась не по душе участникам торгов.

14 августа 2015, 20:01

Swiss Life Holding отчиталась о полугодовых финансовых результатах

Крупнейшая в Швейцарии компания, специализирующаяся на страховании жизни, Swiss Life Holding отчиталась о полугодовых финансовых результатах. Так, чистая прибыль компании составила 490 млн франков ($505,3 млн), тогда как аналитики прогнозировали прибыль на уровне 474 млн франков. Так, доход от страховых взносов в Швейцарии вырос на 7% до 11 млрд швейцарских франков ($7,27 млрд), в то время как аналогичный показатель во Франции, втором по величине рынке для компании, увеличился в рассматриваемом периоде на 3%, а в Германии упал на 6%.

14 августа 2015, 11:40

Swiss Life Holding отчиталась о полугодовых финансовых результатах

Крупнейшая в Швейцарии компания, специализирующаяся на страховании жизни, Swiss Life Holding отчиталась о полугодовых финансовых результатах. Так, чистая прибыль компании составила 490 млн франков ($505,3 млн), тогда как аналитики прогнозировали прибыль на уровне 474 млн франков. Так, доход от страховых взносов в Швейцарии вырос на 7% до 11 млрд швейцарских франков ($7,27 млрд), в то время как аналогичный показатель во Франции, втором по величине рынке для компании, увеличился в рассматриваемом периоде на 3%, а в Германии упал на 6%.

07 сентября 2013, 17:46

Arizona death row inmate Debra Milke released to await retrial

Milke convicted of murdering her son over an $5,000 insurance payout but appeals court overturned conviction in MarchAn Arizona woman is getting her first taste of freedom in more than two decades, after an appeals court overturned her murder conviction, setting the stage for a retrial as prosecutors seek to put her back on death row.Debra Milke walked out of the Maricopa County sheriff's jail on Friday, after supporters posted her $250,000 bond.The ninth circuit court of appeals overturned her conviction in March, ruling that prosecutors should have disclosed information that cast doubt on the credibility of a now-retired detective who said Milke confessed to being involved in the killing of her four-year-old son, Christopher. The 49-year-old Milke has not been exonerated, but a judge allowed her to could go free while she prepares for a new trial in a case that made her one of Arizona's most reviled inmates.Milke was convicted in the death of her son who authorities believe was killed for a $5,000 insurance payout. Police said Milke dressed the boy in his favorite outfit in December 1989, telling him he was going to see Santa Claus at a mall before handing him over to two men who took the child into the desert and shot him. She had been imprisoned since 1990.A defense lawyer told the judge last week that Milke would live in a Phoenix-area home purchased by supporters.Prosecutors declined to comment on Milke's possible release and have not appealed the bond order.Milke, whose German mother married a US air force military policeman in Berlin in the early 1960s, has drawn strong support in Germany and Switzerland, neither of which has the death penalty. Max Krucker, former president of the Swiss community where Milke's mother now lives, said Renate Janka was "ecstatic" Friday about the possibility that her daughter would be released. She was planning to fly to Arizona as early as Saturday, Krucker said."She said, 'Now I can finally hold my daughter in my arms again,'" he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his home.For as long as Milke has been incarcerated, she and her mother have only met in situations where they were separated by glass. "They were never able to touch," Krucker said.A dozen years ago, Krucker was among the organizers of an effort in the Swiss town of Emmetten to support Milke, including by establishing a bank account that collected donations to aid in her defense. The account eventually netted about 200,000 Swiss francs, or about $213,000 today. It's now nearly drained, he said.Doubts about Milke's guilt and deep suspicion about the reliability of the detective's testimony helped motivate Swiss supporters to donate, as did opposition to the death penalty. Many also had concerns that Milke didn't have access to the best defense because she had too little money, he said.Now supporters are excited about the prospect of her release, Krucker said, but also worried how she will manage to pay the bond. Janka, who is suffering from cancer, was already forced to sell her home to help cover her daughter's legal bills, he said. Supporters also run a website that requests donations through both German and Swiss accounts.Milke's ex-husband, whose name is Arizona Milke, believes his former wife is guilty and that supporters are fooled by the postings on the website."It's fed by propagandized lies," he said Friday. "They write whatever they want and put it up there like it's true."Her chance at freedom comes six months after a federal appeals court overturned Milke's conviction, ruling that the prosecution should have disclosed information about the truthfulness of the now-retired detective who testified that Milke confessed.Milke was a 25-year-old insurance company clerk when her son was killed. She has maintained her innocence, saying she had nothing to do with the death. The two men convicted in the case both remain on death row. Neither Roger Scott nor former Milke roommate James Styers testified at Milke's trial. Scott confessed during a police interrogation and led detectives to the boy's body.Maricopa County prosecutors are still seeking the death penalty against Milke at her retrial, tentatively set for September 30, and her alleged confession is at the heart of the case against her.Police detective Armando Saldate Jr testified that she confessed to him in a closed interrogation room. But the confession was not recorded.At trial, Milke denied that she had confessed, but the jury believed the detective.Doubts about Saldate's honesty arose during Milke's appeals. The ninth circuit concluded in March that prosecutors' failure to turn over evidence related to Saldate's credibility deprived Milke's attorneys of the chance to question his truthfulness before jurors."No civilized system of justice should have to depend on such flimsy evidence, quite possibly tainted by dishonesty or overzealousness, to decide whether to take someone's life or liberty," chief judge Alex Kozinski wrote for the court.The court noted four cases in which judges threw out confessions or indictments because Saldate lied under oath and four instances in which cases were tossed out or confessions excluded because Saldate violated the suspect's constitutional rights.He was also suspended for accepting sexual favors from a female motorist he stopped and then lying about the encounter, the court said.Deputy County attorney Vince Imbordino argued last week during a bond hearing that the purported confession is still admissible, but Judge Rosa Mroz of Maricopa County superior court said the undisclosed material concerning Saldate "casts serious doubt" on its validity.Mroz, who also set Milke's bond, scheduled a September 23 hearing on the defense's request to prohibit the prosecution from using the confession during the retrial.Capital punishmentArizonaUnited StatesUS crimetheguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. 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11 июля 2013, 17:32

Aetna (AET) forms a partnership with Swiss Life Holding that will enable the U.S. health insurer to provide products and services to Swiss Life's multinational customers to meet the needs of their U.S. employees, particularly those who work abroad. Under the deal, Swiss Life will offer Aetna's group term life insurance coverage, short- and long-term disability coverage, and short-term international health coverage for business travelers. (PR)

Aetna (AET) forms a partnership with Swiss Life Holding that will enable the U.S. health insurer to provide products and services to Swiss Life's multinational customers to meet the needs of their U.S. employees, particularly those who work abroad. Under the deal, Swiss Life will offer Aetna's group term life insurance coverage, short- and long-term disability coverage, and short-term international health coverage for business travelers. (PR) Post your comment!

12 марта 2013, 19:41

Water Vs. Soda: Who Is Winning The Beverage Wars?

NEW YORK — It wasn't too long ago that America had a love affair with soda. Now, an old flame has the country's heart. As New York City grapples with the legality of a ban on the sale of large cups of soda and other sugary drinks at some businesses, one thing is clear: soda's run as the nation's beverage of choice has fizzled. In its place? A favorite for much of history: Plain old H2O. For more than two decades, soda was the No. 1 drink in the U.S. with per capita consumption peaking in 1998 at 54 gallons a year, according industry tracker Beverage Digest. Americans drank just 42 gallons a year of water at the time. But over the years, as soda increasingly came under fire for fueling the nation's rising obesity rates, water quietly rose to knock it off the top spot. Americans now drink an average of 44 gallons of soda a year, a 17 percent drop from the peak in 1998. Over the same time, the average amount of water people drink has increased 38 percent to about 58 gallons a year. Bottled water has led that growth, with consumption nearly doubling to 21 gallons a year. Stephen Ngo, a civil defense attorney, quit drinking soda a year ago when he started running triathlons, and wanted a healthier way to quench his thirst. Ngo, 34, has a Brita filter for tap water and also keeps his pantry stocked with cases of bottled water. "It might just be the placebo effect or marketing, but it tastes crisper," said Ngo, who lives in Miami. The trend reflects Americans' ever-changing tastes; it wasn't too far back in history that tap water was the top drink. But in the 1980s, carbonated soft drinks overtook tap as the most popular drink, with Coca-Cola and PepsiCo putting their marketing muscle behind their colas with celebrity endorsements from the likes of pop star Michael Jackson and comedian Bill Cosby. Americans kept drinking more of the carbonated, sugary drink for about a decade. Then, soda's magic started to fade: Everyone from doctors to health advocates to government officials were blaming soft drinks for making people fat. Consumption started declining after hitting a high in the late 1990s. At the same time, people started turning to bottled water as an alternative. Its popularity was helped by the emergence of single-serve bottles that were easy to carry around. Until then, bottled water had mainly been sold in "big jugs and coolers" for people who didn't trust their water supply, said John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest. The new soft drink-like packaging helped fast-track bottled water's growth past milk and beer. In fact, the amount of bottled water Americans drink has risen nearly every year for more than two decades, while the estimates of how much tap water people drink has fluctuated up and down during that time. When taken together, water finally overtook soda in 2008, according to Beverage Digest. (It's difficult to track how much tap water people drink and how much is used for other things like washing dishes, so experts estimate consumption.) Analysts expect water to hold onto to its top spot for years to come. But whether people will drink from the tap or a bottle is uncertain. Based on current trajectories, Michael Bellas, the CEO of the industry tracker Beverage Marketing Corp., predicts that bottled water alone could overtake soda within the next decade. That's not counting enhanced and flavored waters, which are growing quickly but remain a small part of the bottled water industry. Currently, people drink 21 gallons of bottled water a year. That compares with 37 gallons of other water, which includes tap, sparkling, flavored and enhanced waters such as Coca-Cola's vitaminwater. But there are numerous factors that could tilt the scales in favor of tap water. Because of concerns that plastic bottles create too much waste, experts say bottled water could be hit by a public backlash similar to the one that has whipsawed the soda industry with pushes for bans and taxes. New York City was preparing for a ban on cups of sugary drinks that are larger than 16 ounces starting on Tuesday. But on Monday – a day before the ban was to begin – a judge invalidated the regulation. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who originally proposed the ban, vowed to appeal the judge's ruling. Bottled water already is starting to face similar opposition. The town of Concord, Mass. earlier this year banned the sale of water bottles that are less than a liter. And the University of Vermont became the first public university to ban the sale of bottled water. Meanwhile, other cities are waging campaigns to promote tap water. New York City, which touts the high quality of its tap water, offers portable fountains at events around the city. "Good old marketing has convinced people that they should spend a lot of money on bottled water," says Salome Freud, chief of New York City's distribution water quality operations. Although companies such as Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. would rather have people buy bottled waters, they're even more invested in getting people to drink more soda again. That's because soda and other drinks that the companies make, such as sports drinks and juices, are more profitable than bottled water. With bottled water, people tend to buy whatever is cheapest. That's a habit that forces companies to keep prices relatively low, which eats into profits. It's why companies are investing so heavily in developing nations such as China and India, where the appetite for soda continues to grow. In the U.S., annual soda sales are more than five times as big as bottled water at $75.7 billion a year, according to Beverage Digest. In terms of volume, soda is only twice as big as bottled water. At Coca-Cola, the No. 1 soda maker, three-quarters of its volume in gallons comes from soft drinks, compared with 8 percent for its bottled waters including Dasani. PepsiCo, the No. 2 soda maker, gets 64 percent of its volume from soft drinks and only 7 percent from its Aquafina bottled water. It's why Coca-Cola, which holds 13 percent of the bottled water market compared with PepsiCo's 10 percent, doesn't seem to think bottled water will ever overtake soda. In an emailed statement, the Atlanta-based company noted that soft drinks remain a far larger category than bottled water and that it sees "upside" for sodas over the next several years. However, the company added that it saw "great potential" for bottled water. Like its competitors, Coca-Cola said it's focusing on growing its portfolio of bottled waters profitably by offering brands such as Smartwater and its flavored vitaminwater, which fetch higher prices. In the meantime, the chairman and former CEO of Nestle Waters North America, Kim Jeffery, is waiting for bottled water's moment in the spotlight. Nestle, the Swiss company that makes Poland Spring, Nestle Pure Life, Deer Park and other brands, has nearly half of the share of the bottled water market. At a beverage industry conference late last year, Jeffery noted that bottled water is "the elephant in the room." And given the growing warnings over drinking too many calories – including from juice, milk and other sugary drinks – Jeffery said he's confident that water will continue to grow in popularity. "For thousands of years, water was beverage of choice for human beings," he said. "Now we're reverting back to that." __ Follow Candice Choi at http://www.twitter.com/candicechoi

14 февраля 2013, 17:00

The First Secret of Success Is Showing Up

Being in the right place at the right time can make or break careers and companies. A classic old film comedy, Being There, stars the late Peter Sellers as dimwitted Chance the Gardener, who tended the grounds for a wealthy elderly gentleman. After the gentleman dies and Chance dons his clothes, Chance is swept into high VIP circles by a series of accidents. His name is misheard as "Chauncey Gardiner," and his mumbled observations on gardens are taken as wise strategic metaphor. He is soon a major national advisor. And just because he is there, opportunities proliferate; he is chosen to head a significant company. The final scene shows him with one foot almost at a pond, umbrella held high, presumably about to walk on water. This is an argument for the proposition, also tongue-in-cheek, that 80 percent of success in life is just showing up. It's hard to catch the opportunities without being there. That's why showing up is the first key to successful leadership of change (of course, there are several more, as I indicated in a recent TEDx talk). For companies, being there means having a presence on the ground to deeply understand places that hold resources important for the future. Kodak might have been a different, much greater company now, dominating digital imaging the way it had dominated film-based photography, if the company had "been there" in Silicon Valley soaking up the sunshine of digital creativity, hiring a new Internet-savvy generation, and connecting with entrepreneurs inventing the future. Instead, the firm remained firmly in Rochester, New York, capital of an older technology era. In contrast, Reuters, an information-provider that was also threatened with Internet-caused obsolescence, reluctantly allowed a key staff member to move from London to California, where he showed up in the places that emerging talent hung out, including the Stanford student cafeteria. By being there, he was in preferred position to invest in many star start-ups (which could pick and choose their investors) and make friends with potential partners. He also brought in global executives to see it for themselves, which accelerated decisions about changes in the parent company. Two years later, connections solidified, he could return to London and make occasional return visits. Five years later, the CEO declared that Reuters had transformed into an Internet company. It's an apparent paradox: The declining significance of place is associated with the rising significance of place. Technology helps us connect with anyone anywhere nearly instantaneously, crowdsource ideas, and work on virtual teams without ever being in the same place. But being in the same place at the right time means being able to make serendipitous connections, and even to get mistaken for someone important. That's why executives trek up the snowy Swiss mountains to Davos, or why art dealers flock to Art Basel and Art Basel Miami. Furthermore, showing up and being there has an emotional appeal even when it lacks instrumental value. People pay a premium to attend live sports and entertainment that they could get free on TV or the Web. Showing up in a particular place is also critical to the new globalization, which increasingly means localization. Instead of inflicting one-size-fits-all standardized universal products on every market, companies realize the importance of adapting to local customs and tastes and learning from them. At Procter & Gamble Brazil, this is referred to as "tropicalizing" P&G products designed at Cincinnati headquarters. It is part of a new logic that has moved brand teams out of Cincinnati to many other locations. Some companies that seek to enter new international markets do the philanthropic equivalent of showing up. Even before establishing a commercial presence, they contribute to communities in ways that give them access to the people and their needs, not to mention goodwill with decision-makers. In addition to providing knowledge and relationships, showing up is a sign of caring. Coming in person is always more meaningful than doing a video or sending a note. When IBM's former CEO announced the company's ten-year innovation priorities by standing in Beijing, he signaled the importance IBM gave to China — even though most of those attending in person saw him on a screen anyway. How much on-the-ground presence is needed, and for what kinds of activities? This is still an open question, despite many technological wonders, such as the digital glove I saw years ago at the MIT Media Lab that transmitted a handshake or the wraparound 360-degree virtual tours on screens. That frontier will be explored by going to the places where people are inventing the tools. By all means, work remotely if you can. But never forget that chance plays a role in finding opportunities, just as it did for Chance the Gardener. It's important to be in the right place, preferably at the right time. And it's impossible to get started without first showing up.

06 февраля 2013, 12:52

Big Food Employs Cyber Armies to Confront Critics

Wiki imageActivist Post As you read this article, Nestle is reading it too. Big food companies enjoy greater sales and popularity using social media. Nestle takes it even further with its state of the art Digital Acceleration Team (DAT). Tasked with "listening, engaging, transforming, inspiring," it actually looks more like a brightly lit intelligence base complete with a TV news studio-like room. If Nestle is the number one food company and 12th place in the Reputation Institute's most popular brands, why would it need a special department to oversee all Internet buzz - even real-time posted recipes? Nestle is worth $200 billion and has 6,000 brands to protect, many of which are number one in their market -- A little spare change goes a long way in damage control. And Nestle is still under fire from some ongoing PR nightmares. Reuters clarified last fall that Nestle follows cyber rules and also does not buy popularity or fake profiles through social media sites. It merely monitors and deploys people to respond to negative media. Within minutes, they respond to questions and criticisms all over the Net.In a developing story, however, Nestle was busted for overstepping those bounds when a court fined them around $30,000 (USD) compensation for infiltrating anti-globalization activist group Attac that had campaigned against them. This time they actually hired a third party Swiss group called Securitas AG to infiltrate Attac's meetings. A disappointed Nestle spokesman said, "that incitement to infiltration is against Nestlé's corporate business principles". google_ad_client = "pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 6/30/10 */ google_ad_slot = "8230781418"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; There is an ongoing Nestle boycott since 1977 for their aggressive marketing of their infant formulas, especially in underdeveloped nations where some babies reportedly died from an all formula diet. If you check out their formulas online, they now have a disclaimer that encourages breastfeeding unless necessary. They were heavily criticized in the documentary Bottle Life because they hold the largest market for environmentally unfriendly bottled water - and that the water is basically tap - but it can come from companies that drain impoverished towns abroad of their groundwater supplies. DAT director Peter Brabeck is careful to counter those criticisms in the Reuters report. Here's the trailer for Bottle Life: Nestle's DAT which uses software from Salesforce.com, Inc. also utilized by UPS, Dell, HP, American Red Cross, and Continental Airlines may have formed as a result of Greenpeace's backlash at Nestle's use of palm oil. All health arguments aside, some companies clear forests which kill endangered orangutans and displace residents. A Greenpeace video that went viral depicted a bored office worker "taking a break" with a Kit-Kat bar that actually contained a dead orangutan finger - he crunches down and spurts blood everywhere. Nestle promised not to use companies that harmed off-limits environments for their palm oil. A major social media backlash had ensued. Their initial response provoked more anger and was involved in a book about social media gaffes. Now, they've redoubled their efforts and doubled their social media expenditures. You can see the beginning of that backlash video in this report of Nestle's DAT: Another consumer bane: their products are rife with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) including their infant formulas which also contain synthetic vitamins. They spent $1.3 million against California's Proposition 37 to label GM foods. Has Nestle's DAT paid off in greater profits? Absolutely. Pete Blackshaw, former digital brand manager for Proctor & Gamble, understands the power of PR and social media. He says: "If there is a negative issue emerging, it turns red --when there are a high number of comments... it alerts you that you need to engage." They are quite proud of their new, organized technology as you can in the following video where they showcase it for the public: But are they "listening, engaging, transforming, inspiring" or are they deploying cyber soldiers and infiltrators for fire control after the damage is done? Would their resources not be better spent listening ahead of time and anticipating consumer needs instead of covering the fallout? Reuters also reported that other "companies, such as PepsiCo, Danone and Unilever, have exploited the opportunities to promote themselves online." It seems it is a growing trend for controversial companies, especially food companies, to combat negative comments from critics with professional cyber armies.Sources:http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/10/26/uk-nestle-online-water-idUKBRE89P07Q20121026http://digitaljournal.com/article/335721Read other articles from Activist Post Here var linkwithin_site_id = 557381; linkwithin_text='Related Articles:' Enter Your Email To Receive Our Newsletter Close var fnames = new Array();var ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';fnames[1]='FNAME';ftypes[1]='text';fnames[2]='LNAME';ftypes[2]='text';var err_style = ''; try{ err_style = mc_custom_error_style; } catch(e){ err_style = 'margin: 1em 0 0 0; padding: 1em 0.5em 0.5em 0.5em; background: FFEEEE none repeat scroll 0% 0%; font- weight: bold; float: left; z-index: 1; width: 80%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz- initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: FF0000;'; } var mce_jQuery = jQuery.noConflict(); mce_jQuery(document).ready( function($) { var options = { errorClass: 'mce_inline_error', errorElement: 'div', errorStyle: err_style, onkeyup: function(){}, onfocusout:function(){}, onblur:function(){} }; var mce_validator = mce_jQuery("#mc-embedded-subscribe-form").validate(options); options = { url: 'http://activistpost.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe/post-json? u=3ac8bebe085f73ea3503bbda3&id=b0c7fb76bd&c=?', type: 'GET', dataType: 'json', contentType: "application/json; charset=utf-8", beforeSubmit: function(){ mce_jQuery('#mce_tmp_error_msg').remove(); mce_jQuery('.datefield','#mc_embed_signup').each( function(){ var txt = 'filled'; var fields = new Array(); var i = 0; mce_jQuery(':text', this).each( function(){ fields[i] = this; i++; }); mce_jQuery(':hidden', this).each( function(){ if ( fields[0].value=='MM' && fields[1].value=='DD' && fields[2].value=='YYYY' ){ this.value = ''; } else if ( fields[0].value=='' && fields [1].value=='' && fields[2].value=='' ){ this.value = ''; } else { this.value = fields[0].value+'/'+fields[1].value+'/'+fields[2].value; } }); }); return mce_validator.form(); }, success: mce_success_cb }; mce_jQuery('#mc-embedded-subscribe-form').ajaxForm(options); }); function mce_success_cb(resp){ mce_jQuery('#mce-success-response').hide(); mce_jQuery('#mce-error-response').hide(); if (resp.result=="success"){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(resp.msg); mce_jQuery('#mc-embedded-subscribe-form').each(function(){ this.reset(); }); } else { var index = -1; var msg; try { var parts = resp.msg.split(' - ',2); if (parts[1]==undefined){ msg = resp.msg; } else { i = parseInt(parts[0]); if (i.toString() == parts[0]){ index = parts[0]; msg = parts[1]; } else { index = -1; msg = resp.msg; } } } catch(e){ index = -1; msg = resp.msg; } try{ if (index== -1){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } else { err_id = 'mce_tmp_error_msg'; html = ' '+msg+' '; var input_id = '#mc_embed_signup'; var f = mce_jQuery(input_id); if (ftypes[index]=='address'){ input_id = '#mce-'+fnames[index]+'-addr1'; f = mce_jQuery(input_id).parent().parent().get(0); } else if (ftypes[index]=='date'){ input_id = '#mce-'+fnames[index]+'-month'; f = mce_jQuery(input_id).parent().parent().get(0); } else { input_id = '#mce-'+fnames[index]; f = mce_jQuery().parent(input_id).get(0); } if (f){ mce_jQuery(f).append(html); mce_jQuery(input_id).focus(); } else { mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } } } catch(e){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } } } BE THE CHANGE! 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30 января 2013, 20:34

Justice Department Official To Step Down

WASHINGTON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. Justice Department's criminal division, who has shouldered much of the blame for bringing few cases related to the financial crisis, but who also led the unit to record settlements, will step down on March 1. "As I wrote to the President, and want to tell you, serving as the head of this remarkable Division has been the greatest privilege of my professional life," Lanny Breuer said in a memo to criminal division employees dated Tuesday. Breuer, 54, who previously worked as a defense lawyer and in the Clinton White House, has led the division since 2009. He was criticized for the department's failure to bring major prosecutions against companies and individuals who played a role in the 2007-2009 financial crisis. Under Breuer, the department decided in August not to bring criminal charges against Goldman Sachs after Congress had spent more than a year looking at the investment band and had asked for a criminal inquiry. But Breuer also steered the division to enter into several record-breaking settlements involving financial and environmental crimes. For example, BP Plc agreed in November to pay $4 billion in criminal fines and penalties, the largest in history, on charges related to the 2010 Gulf oil spill. And London-based bank HSBC Holdings plc also agreed in December to pay a total of $1.9 billion, including the forfeiture of $1.25 billion, the largest to date, to resolve charges that it failed to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program and let itself be used by major Mexican drug cartels. The division has also played a role in investigating banks that allegedly manipulated benchmark interest rates, including the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor. In December, a Japanese unit of UBS pleaded guilty and the Swiss bank agreed to pay a total of $1.5 billion in fines to regulators in the United States, the UK and Switzerland to resolve related charges. Barclays previously entered into a related, non-prosecution agreement and agreed to pay around $450 million in penalties.

01 ноября 2012, 00:08

North Mali prepares for war as refugees dream of liberation from al-Qaida

Displaced Malians fear for the future as divisions deepen and more citizens pick up arms to defend their homelandUntil violence erupted in northern Mali, the Hotel Via Via had been on the verge of expansion, scooping up tourists and business travellers who not long ago congregated in Mopti – a bustling gateway between the north and south, surrounded by the water of the Niger and Bani rivers. Since al-Qaida-linked groups seized control of large swaths of the north of the country, leaving Mopti on the frontline between the government-controlled south and the Islamist-controlled north, outside visitors have vanished, and so have the expansion plans. Instead, the hotel's half-built wings provide a discreet location for the Ganda Koya, a militia whose name means "son of the nation" in the local Sonrai language.As dusk settled over the hotel, a group of the militia scuttled between the building and a makeshift camp across the road where many rent cheap accommodation. One of them, Fatou Sissiko – a pretty, 18-year-old girl wearing a low-cut sleeveless vest and African print skirt – held a friend's baby girl on her arm as she talked quietly and reluctantly about the atrocities she witnessed in her home town, Gao, after it was taken over by the Islamist group the Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao) in March."I left Gao because I want to fight to liberate the city," she said. "I hated living under the Mujao. They are dangerous people, they don't fear death. They killed many innocent people, I saw it with my own eyes. They destroyed my school. Our parents send us money so that we can stay in Mopti and learn to fight – they support what we are doing."Sissiko is one of thousands of young people who have grown frustrated at the failure of the Mali government – which was toppled by a coup on 22 March and has been replaced by a widely despised interim regime – to protect its citizens in the north.Despite a United Nations security council resolution earlier this month opening the door to military intervention to end al-Qaida's hold over the northern region, residents have continued to flee.An estimated 35,000 internally displaced people, of whom 10,000 are living in official camps, have arrived in the Mopti region alone since the government lost control of northern Mali, one security source told the Guardian.Many, like Sissiko, have joined militias, prompting fears that the ranks of independent trained and armed northerners could create further problems for the country.Military action – which an official source insists is being pursued alongside the possibility of negotiations – is likely to begin in the new year. But civilian authorities in Mopti are already gearing up for war in the north, and are preparing emergency plans to merge the police, gendarmerie, national guard and emergency services."Militia members are in their thousands, and their numbers are multiplying," said the source. "I fear the impact of their existence on the country – they are regional and ethnocentric organisations that can only further divide Mali."If people want to liberate the north they should integrate into the national forces, otherwise it risks creating a whole new problem when this war is over."Despite reports that the ranks of the Islamist groups – Mujao in Gao, Ansar Dine in Kidal, and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in Timbuktu – are filled by insurgents from neighbouring Algeria and Mauritania, people from those towns say that their numbers have been bolstered by Malians who have joined the groups as a means of survival.In a refugee camp next door to the Via Via, a slender man wearing overalls sits slumped against the wall on a low bench. The makeshift camp is another abandoned hotel, this one built as cheap overnight accommodation for the drivers who once accompanied their affluent employers on visits to Mopti. The long, single-storey buildings are crowded with scores of half-dressed children, women pounding food for the evening meal, and tents bearing the Swiss Red Cross logo.Oumar Cissé, 42, was a motorbike mechanic in Douanza – a town in the Mopti region currently controlled by the Mujao – when Islamists, including people he grew up with, began terrorising the local people."Ordinary people I have known all my life, who I used to sit down and drink tea with, joined the Islamists and killed their own neighbours," said Cissé. "I cannot join them – I just want to live a normal life and educate my children. I fled here with my two wives and 11 children."Cissé, a Bella – the ethnic name used for black Tuaregs – said conditions in the camp were almost unbearable. He is one of the minority of internally displaced people living in official government accommodation, which he said was heavily overcrowded."Now my sisters, who are teachers, have also joined us [in Mopti] because the Mujao have closed all the schools in Douanza – they don't believe in western education. During the rainy season we were 15 people sleeping in one room. We had to take it in turns to stand up at night."The refugees said they welcomed plans for a military intervention to reclaim the north, currently being drawn up in the capital city, Bamako, by the Mali government, the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union, with other international support from the European Union and the US."I am a simple man, I don't know about the details of who should do what; all I know is that I want to go home and return to my normal life, and if we do not have outside help this is not going to happen," said Cissé.A security source, who asked not to be named, said that there were concerns that Mopti – only 30 miles (50km) from the region where al-Qaida-linked groups have held power since March – would be destabilised by the absence of the armed forces, which have a major base in the city. There are also fears that Islamist sleeper cells in Mopti and other southern cities have the capability to launch terrorist attacks.MaliAfricaal-QaidaGlobal terrorismAfua Hirschguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

26 октября 2012, 22:39

Tearful trader Kweku Adoboli tells trial: 'UBS was my family'

Former trader breaks down several times on first day in witness box on charges that he gambled away £1.5bn of bank's moneyKweku Adoboli repeatedly broken down in tears on Friday as the former UBS "rogue trader" defended himself against charges that he gambled away £1.5bn of his Swiss bank's money.Adoboli, 32, burst into tears several times as he told the court in his first day of testimony that he was so wedded to his job that he put in 16-hour days, sometimes slept under his desk, and skipped his grandmother's funeral because he couldn't bear to drag himself away from his trading platform as he battled to reverse multimillion-pound losses."UBS was my family and every single thing I did, every single bit of effort I put into that organisation, was for the benefit of the bank. That is everything I lived for," he said as he dabbed his eyes with a paper handkerchief in the witness box of court three at Southwark crown court. "To find yourself in Wandsworth prison for nine months because all you did was worked so hard for this bank."At one point, he became so distraught that Judge Brian Keith interrupted proceedings to tell Adoboli that he shouldn't be embarrassed about becoming overrun by his emotions, and that it gave the jury a chance to "see the man behind the name".Adoboli spent his childhood in Israel and Syria, where his father, a United Nations diplomat, was posted, before being sent to a Quaker boarding school in Yorkshire.He described his rapid ascent up the ranks after joining UBS as a graduate trainee straight from Nottingham University. The only other job he had before joining the bank was as a waiter.The court heard that when the financial crisis began to take hold in 2007 it was just Adoboli, then aged 27, and John Hughes, 24, in charge of a $50bn (£31bn) portfolio of assets on the bank's exchange traded funds desk in London."Our book was massive. A tiny mistake led to huge losses. We were these two kids trying to make it work," he said. "There was a total of 30 months in trading [experience] between the two of us and we were in charge of a $50bn book. We were just losing so much money – it was mental."Prosecutors claim Adoboli began fraudulently trading in 2008 in order to hide the huge losses that were stacking up. The unauthorised trades remained hidden for years in so-called umbrella accounts set up to store the funds.The unauthorised, or "dummy", trades eventually cost the bank £1.4bn – the biggest-ever rogue trading losses in British history – and wiped £3bn off its share price. Adoboli, who denies two charges of fraud and two of false accounting, said the trades were "not fraudulent – it [was] finding a way to do your job".He said lots of traders were afraid that UBS may have been about to follow other big banks by collapsing, and said everyone at the bank was asking themselves: "What can we do to help this organisation survive this incredible crisis?"Every moment of every day [I] spent thinking, 'How do I make this book work?' Nothing else was important enough to overcome that."He told the court that in order to try to claw back the losses, he was getting up at 4am to catch up on developments in the markets overnight, before cycling to work at 6am and often staying there until well past midnight."The hours were immense," he said. "You were at your desk all the time."My grandmother died and I was unable to go to her funeral. It was just John [Hughes] on the desk, it was impossible to leave."My life became work," he added as he broke down in tears for the fourth time.Adoboli, in a dark suit and maroon tie, said he carried out the unauthorised trades for "the book, and the bank", and not out of personal greed, as alleged by the prosecution.Hughes, who gave evidence earlier in the trial, had described Adoboli as "gung-ho" and "quite a maverick". "He did not really care about the book as a whole. He cared about being a profitable trader," Hughes had said.The court had previously heard that Adoboli walked out of the bank saying he was going to a doctor's appointment and an hour later sent a "bombshell" email detailing the losses from his personal account."I am deeply sorry to have left this mess for everyone and have put my bank and my colleagues at risk," he wrote in the email.The trial continues.Kweku AdoboliCrimeUBSBankingRupert Neateguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

20 октября 2012, 01:55

Photography: is it art?

From the earliest days of photography, practitioners took their inspiration from paintings. But as a new exhibition at London's National Gallery shows, the link went both waysFor 180-years, people have been asking the question: is photography art? At an early meeting of the Photographic Society of London, established in 1853, one of the members complained that the new technique was "too literal to compete with works of art" because it was unable to "elevate the imagination". This conception of photography as a mechanical recording medium never fully died away. Even by the 1960s and 70s, art photography – the idea that photographs could capture more than just surface appearances – was, in the words of the photographer Jeff Wall, a "photo ghetto" of niche galleries, aficionados and publications.But over the past few decades the question has been heard with ever decreasing frequency. When Andreas Gursky's photograph of a grey river Rhine under an equally colourless sky sold for a world record price of £2.7 million last year, the debate was effectively over. As if to give its own patrician signal of approval, the National Gallery is now holding its first major exhibition of photography, Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present.The show is not a survey but rather examines how photography's earliest practitioners looked to paintings when they were first exploring their technology's potential, and how their modern descendants are looking both to those photographic old masters and in turn to the old master paintings.What paintings offered was a catalogue of transferable subjects, from portraits to nudes, still lifes to landscapes, that photographers could mimic and adapt. Because of the lengthy exposures necessary for early cameras, moving subjects were impossible to capture. The earliest known photograph of a person was taken inadvertently by Louis Daguerre – with Henry Fox Talbot one of photography's two great pioneers – when he set up his camera high above the Boulevard de Temple in Paris in 1838. His 10-minute exposure time meant that passing traffic and pedestrians moved too fast to register on the plate, but a boulevardier stood still long enough for both him and the bootblack who buffed his shoes to be captured for ever.When Daguerre turned his camera on people rather than places the results were revelatory. Elizabeth Barrett Browning was so struck by Daguerreotypes that she rhapsodised over "the very shadow of the person lying there fixed forever". The fidelity of features captured meant that she "would rather have such a memorial of one I dearly loved, than the noblest Artist's work ever produced" not "in respect (or disrespect) of Art, but for Love's sake". If, however, her photographer followed the advice of Eugène Disdéri, who wrote in 1863 that: "It is in the works of the great masters that we must study the simple, yet grand, method of composing a portrait," she could satisfy love with both physiognomy and art.What some pioneering photographers recognised straight away was that photographs, like paintings, are artificially constructed portrayals: they too had to be carefully composed, lit and produced. Julia Margaret Cameron made this explicit in her re-envisagings of renaissance pictures. Her Light and Love of 1865, for example, shows a woman in a Marian headcovering bending over her infant who is sleeping on a bed of straw. It is part of a line of nativity scenes that is as long as Christian art, and was hailed by one critic as the photographic equivalent of "the method of drawing employed by the great Italian masters". I Wait, 1872, shows a child with angel's wings resting its chin on folded arms and wearing the bored expression that brings to mind the underwhelmed cherubs in Raphael's Sistine Madonna. Such photographs were not direct quotations from paintings, but they raised in the viewer's mind a string of associations that gave photography a historical hinterland.If Cameron and contemporaries such as Oscar Rejlander and Roger Fenton (who took numerous photographs of still-life compositions of fruit and flowers as well as his better known pictures of the Crimean war) were keen that their photographs should reflect their own knowledge of art, the links went both ways. In 1873, Leonida Caldesi published a book of her photographs of 320 paintings in the National Gallery, and her intended audience was not just the public but artists themselves, for whom the photographs were both more accurate and more affordable than engraved reproductions. By 1856, thanks to Fenton's photographs, artists could study classical statues in their own studios.It was perhaps in depicting the nude – such as Fenton's bestselling photograph of the discus thrower Discobolus – that photography could repay its debt to art. Hiring a life model was expensive, and engravings were a poor substitute. Delacroix was one artist who "experienced a feeling of revulsion, almost disgust, for their incorrectness, their mannerisms, and their lack of naturalness". He praised instead the painterly aid provided by académies (books of nude photographs) since they showed him reality: "these photographs of the nude men – this human body, this admirable poem, from which I am learning to read". He even helped the photographer Eugène Durieu pose and light his models. And in 19th-century Britain and France, when pornography was illegal, photographs of the nude were in demand from customers who had no artistic interests.When it came to landscape photography the new medium appeared just as the impressionists were beginning to work in the open air. Some commentators saw photography's real challenge to painting as lying in its ability to capture what the photographer and journalist William Stillman called in 1872 "the affidavits of nature to the facts on which art is based" – the random "natural combinations of scenery, exquisite gradation, and effects of sun and shade". Another practitioner, Lyndon Smith, went further, declaring landscape photography the answer to the "effete and exploded 'High Art', and 'Classic' systems of Sir Joshua Reynolds" and "the cold, heartless, infidel works of pagan Greece and Rome".Being new was a laborious business, however. Eadweard Muybridge, the British-born photographer who first captured animals in motion and as a result ended the old painterly convention of showing horses running with all four legs off the ground, was primarily a landscape photographer. His pictures of the Yosemite wilderness, for example, involved carrying weighty cameras, boxes of glass negatives, as well as tents and chemicals for a makeshift darkroom, up mountains and through forests. Monet's painting expeditions by contrast required only paint and canvas.If early photographers had no option but to negotiate their own engagement with painting their modern descendants can call on nearly two centuries of photographic history. It is a point the exhibition makes by combining old and new. So when a contemporary photographer such as Richard Billingham photographs an empty expanse of sea and sky in Rothko washes of slate blues and greys (Storm at Sea) he is referring to a heritage that encompasses both the monochrome tonality of Gustave Le Gray's atmospheric photographic seascapes of the 1850s and a painting such as Steamer on Lake Geneva, Evening Effect, 1863, by the Swiss artist François Bocion.The point is made across the different media. A brittle portrait of a suburban couple from Martin Parr's 1991 album Signs of the Times, for example, is contrasted with Gainsborough's Mr and Mrs Andrews of 1750. Both are images of possession and entitlement, the latter displaying landowners at ease amid their fields and woods, comfortable with both themselves and their station, the former a couple posing stiffly in their sitting room.Meanwhile a 19th-century flower painting by Henri Fantin-Latour is the starting point for Ori Gersht's fragmented blooms, Blow Up. Gersht froze his flowers with liquid nitrogen before exploding them with a small charge and photographing the petals turned to flying shards. Among the nudes, Richard Learoyd's Man with Octopus Tattoo, 2011, is placed next to the gallery's 1819-39 painting of Angelica Saved by Ruggiero by that connoisseur of bodily curves, Ingres. The appeal of flesh and its sinuosity is timeless.The curators of the National Gallery exhibition have avoided using many of contemporary photography's biggest names (there is no Andreas Gursky and no Cindy Sherman for example), and nor do they include photorealist painters such as Gerhard Richter or Andy Warhol. Their choices are largely less celebrated figures as if to show how deep is the seam of photographers still working with the long visual past. When in 1844-6 Fox Talbot published his thoughts about photography he gave the book (the first publication to contain photographic illustrations) the title The Pencil of Nature. This exhibition lays out what photography's founding father could never know: how the camera has also always been the pencil of art.PhotographyMichael Prodgerguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

18 октября 2012, 22:35

Nick Griffin posts address of B&B case gay couple online

BNP leader uses Twitter to say 'A British Justice team will come ... & give you a bit of drama ... Say No to heterophobia!'Police in Cambridgeshire have said they are investigating complaints made after the leader of the far-right British National party, Nick Griffin, posted the address of a gay couple on the internet and appeared to urge his supporters to demonstrate outside their home.Michael Black, 64, and John Morgan, 59, a couple from Brampton, Cambridgeshire, had found out earlier on Thursday that they had won their highly-publicised civil case against a Christian bed and breakfast owner who had told them they could not stay in one of her double rooms due to her religious convictions.Black, a writer and exams consultant, had told the Guardian he and his partner were delighted by the ruling from Reading crown court, which found that Susanne Wilkinson, owner of the Swiss Bed and Breakfast in Cookham, Berkshire, had been directly discriminatory in her treatment of the couple. She was ordered to pay £3,600 in damages, which Black and Morgan – who have been living together for six years and in a relationship for nine – said they would donate to charity.But within hours of celebrations at what was seen as a significant vindication of equality legislation, gay rights activists were outraged by several messages on Twitter by Griffin, chairman of the BNP and an MEP, in which he made public Black and Morgan's address and claimed a "British Justice team" would come and protest the ruling at their home.The first messages read: "If anyone can give us address of the 2 bullying 'gay' activists who've won case v Christian B&B owners, we'll hold demo … for rights of all home owners, gays included, to rent or not rent rooms to whomsoever they wish."Two hours later, Griffin posted the following tweet: "A British Justice team will come up to [their Huntington address] & give you [Black and Morgan] a … bit of drama by way of reminding you that an English couple's home is their castle. Say No to heterophobia!"The comments sparked anger. LGBT Labour, the party's campaign for gay rights, urged people to report Griffin for allegedly breaching the Communications Act 2003, under which it is an offence to post menacing messages on the internet. Others said they had reported his comments to the Metropolitan police's internet hate crime unit.A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire police said it was looking into "a number of complaints" it had received about the tweets. Officers had been in contact with the men and would visit them on Thursday night, she said. A spokesman for Stonewall, the gay rights campaign group, said: "This is beyond words unbelievably shocking. It is a real example of the hatred still out there towards gay people. We assume the couple concerned will make immediate contact with the police to guarantee their safety."Griffin then wrote: "Why don't left & gay activists confront Muslims instead of picking on meek & forgiving Christians? Bullies are always cowards!"Twitter users trying to access Griffin's account were subsequently told it had been suspended.Black and Morgan, a computer consultant, had spoken of how their treatment at the Cookham B&B in March 2010 had made them feel "like second-class citizens". But Black said he hoped their victory would serve as proof that discrimination against any minority was no longer permissible. "We're doing this to try and make sure that all B&B owners realise what the law is and think twice before discriminating against gay people, black people, Christians, Muslims, Irish, any other group."Asked how he had reacted to being refused access to the B&B, Black said: "It felt as if we were being treated like second-class citizens. I was shocked that it had happened. If it had happened 30 or 40 years ago it would have been far less surprising because discrimination was much more overt and common then. But for it to happen nowadays was a shock. I think the great public support we received as a result of it shows that we were right to be shocked – that it's only a minority, a small minority, who feel that gay men and women are sinners and that they can't allow us to sleep under their roof."In the ruling, Recorder Claire Moulder said that, although the court recognised the sincerity of Wilkinson's religious beliefs, the owner had treated Black and Morgan "less favourably than she would treat unmarried heterosexual couples in the same circumstances" and had therefore broken equality law.Wilkinson – whose legal defence was paid for by the Christian Institute, a national charity – said she was giving "serious consideration" to an appeal against the ruling."Naturally, my husband and I are disappointed to have lost the case and to have been ordered to pay £3,600 in damages for injury to feelings. We have the option to appeal, and we will give that serious consideration. We believe a person should be free to act upon their sincere beliefs about marriage under their own roof without living in fear of the law. Equality laws have gone too far when they start to intrude into a family home."Lawyers for Wilkinson argued that she was entitled to refuse double rooms not only to gay couples but also to couples who were not married or in a civil partnership. Black and Morgan are not in a civil partnership.Wilkinson and her husband say they have received two years of abuse for the decision, which enraged gay rights campaigners but gave succour to some Christians' claims of persecution.In her statement, Wilkinson said: "People's beliefs about marriage are coming under increasing attack, and I am concerned about people's freedom to speak and act upon these beliefs. I am a Christian, not just on a Sunday in church, but in every area of my life – as Jesus expects from his followers."That's all I was trying to do and I think it's quite wrong to punish me for that, especially after enduring over two years of vile abuse and threats. We find this a strange justice in a society that aspires to be increasingly tolerant."Nick GriffinBNPGay rightsGay and lesbian travelEqualityTwitterInternetLizzy Daviesguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds