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Sep 22, 2011

FBI arrests man over Sony hacking scam: The Australian IT News

HP appoints Whitman as CEO

HEWLETT-PACKARD'S board has named former eBay CEO Meg Whitman its chief executive, after Leo Apotheker was ousted.

FBI arrests man over Sony hacking scam

THE FBI has arrested a member of the LulzSec hacking group suspected over a cyberattack this year on Japanese giant Sony, officials said.

Sony hack probe nears completion

Japan Sony Playstation Credit Cards Warning
THE Privacy Commissioner is close to finalising his investigation into April's massive Sony PlayStation privacy breach.

ACCC loses case against Google

TAXPAYERS will foot Google's legal bill after the ACCC lost a case against the internet giant for allegedly misleading consumers.

Facebook overhauls user profiles

Facebook Zuckerberg
MUSIC companies are pinning fresh hopes on a small ribbon that Facebook has begun putting on user profiles called the "ticker".

EMC, Capgemini in cloud talks

EMC and Capgemini are in talks to form an alliance in Australia to tackle the burgeoning cloud computing market.

Assange disowns 'autobiograhy'

JULIAN Assange has become the subject of an "unauthorised autobiography", after  trying to stop the book from being published.

GATA | THE GATA DISPATCH: CFTC backs down on commodity trading rules

CFTC backs down on commodity trading rules

Submitted by cpowell on 04:03PM ET Thursday, September 22, 2011. Section: Daily Dispatches By Sarah N. Lynch, Christopher Doering, and Roberta Rampton
Thursday, September 22, 2011
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. futures regulator has yielded on several contentious parts of a plan to crack down on commodity speculation, marking a modest victory for banks and traders who have lobbied to limit increased market oversight.
A draft of the final rule by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, reviewed by Reuters late on Wednesday, maintains that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street overhaul law requires position limits -- caps on the number of contracts a single trader can hold -- to prevent excessive speculation in oil, grain, silver and other commodity markets.
But the CFTC modified areas of the plan that concerned big banks like Morgan Stanley and companies like Shell, including whether different arms of a single company must count separately managed positions as one, and whether swaps and futures positions can be offset.

While sticking to an unpopular plan to phase in limits over time as the agency gathers more data on the opaque $600 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market, the proposal shows regulators responding to concerns raised by the financial industry and Republicans.
U.S. regulators are also wrestling with how much leeway to give banks in hedging their own risk under the so-called Volcker rules, Reuters has reported.
"At least they're listening to the industry, because people were concerned that Chairman (Gary) Gensler wasn't," a derivatives lawyer told Reuters.
The final rule would still snag large passive index funds, which critics have blamed for causing a massive run-up in oil prices in 2008 by buying and holding futures contracts without regard to market fundamentals.
"They've completely shut the door on risk management exemptions" for dealers trading for large passive funds, said one lawyer briefed on the final draft.
It would also still have a major impact for the CME Group Inc and IntercontinentalExchange. The two largest futures exchanges in the United States have fretted that strict limits could drive trading overseas.
Surging food and oil prices this year renewed political pressure on the agency to crack down on speculators, blamed by some for high prices.
"The draft final rule on position limits, as currently written, is extremely weak," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, a staunch critic of the CFTC.
"At a time when the American people are experiencing extremely high oil and gas prices, this proposal will do little or nothing to lower prices and it will not eliminate, prevent or diminish excessive speculation as required by the Dodd-Frank Act," he said.
The 238-page draft, dated September 19, could still be subject to changes. The five-member commission and its staff have been divided on how to craft the rule. It is uncertain whether the CFTC will vote on the rule at its October 4 meeting as had been previously expected, according to one CFTC official.
"It remains a work in progress... and our commissioners haven't fully weighed in yet," said CFTC spokesman Steve Adamske, who declined to comment on the details late Wednesday night.
One key change in the final draft relaxes some proposed requirements for some large commodities players that have ownership stakes in entities that hedge, deal and speculate.
The CFTC had initially wanted to add or aggregate positions for entities that share common ownership, regardless of whether they share trading strategies and control.
The agency now would allow some players to avoid aggregating all the different positions in various trading accounts, provided those accounts are independently controlled and the companies impose vigorous firewalls between their trading desks. The CFTC said it may enhance market liquidity for bona fide hedgers and promote efficient price discovery.
"It would be good news if they are going to relax that, it didn't seem to have a lot of justification," Julie Winkler, a managing director of the CME, told Reuters on the sidelines of a commodities seminar in London.
The CFTC said index funds would not be exempt. They would have to aggregate for positions in accounts or pools with identical trading strategies, including passively managed index funds.
The CFTC's rule maintains its proposal to apply position limits to the "spot month" immediately, but phase in limits for non-spot months after collecting 12 months of swap data.
Traders have argued there is no evidence speculators inflate prices, and say curbs could make prices more volatile by removing liquidity and sending business to overseas markets. CFTC's own economists have not found a causal link between speculation and price volatility.
"These changes still don't address the overall question - how will this rule impact liquidity and price discovery in these markets?" asked Frank Lucas, chairman of the Agriculture Committee, which oversees the CFTC. "The CFTC simply doesn't have the data to answer that question, and it shouldn't move forward until it does," he said.
Another important change the industry has been seeking revolves around so-called "class limits."
Initially, the CFTC said it would apply the formula to exchange-traded futures, related over-the-counter swaps, and across both those classes combined -- meaning traders would not necessarily be able to offset a short position in the swaps market with a long position in futures, as many do.
Banks objected, saying that dealers hedge by relying on over-the-counter derivatives that mimic performance of exchange-traded futures. They had complained the CFTC plan would create a very distorted view.
The CFTC said it would relax the class limits so traders exceeding the futures limit can use opposing positions that fall underneath the swaps limit to reduce their overall net position. The CFTC added it will revisit the issue.
"While class limits can be an effective tool to address undue market power in a particular segment of the derivatives market, the commission has determined that such limits should not be imposed without additional data and analysis," the draft says.
The CFTC's plan applies to 28 commodities and for most markets would be based on a formula of 10 percent of the first 25,000 contracts of open interest, and 2.5 percent thereafter.
The CFTC is poised to expand the definition of who can claim exemptions from the limits as "bona fide hedgers" -- traders who use the market to protect themselves from price risk, as opposed to speculating on market moves.
The expanded definition responds to traders who said the original definition was so narrow that some genuine hedging activities would be interpreted as speculation.
The CFTC kept a provision requiring traders to comply with limits on a intraday basis despite concerns from firms such as Barclays over the difficulties of complying and sharing information on a real-time basis.

Global economy in danger zone: The Australian Business Briefing

Global economy in danger zone
110923 G20 Michael R Crittenden and Nathalie Boschat THE global economy is showing fresh signs of faltering as politicians struggle to find ways to respond.
Pressure on RBA to cut rates
Ric Battellino Sarah Turner THE markets appeared to win out yesterday when the dollar did not respond to the Reserve Bank's bullish outlook.
SABMiller lays out plan for Foster's
Graham Mackay Blair Speedy FOSTER'S will retain its Australian head office if shareholders accept SABMiller's $12.3 billion takeover offer.
HP appoints Whitman as CEO
Meg Whitman Ben Worthen HEWLETT-PACKARD'S board has named former eBay CEO Meg Whitman its chief executive, after Leo Apotheker was ousted.
Ramos-Horta hints at Woodside thaw
Jose Ramos-Horta Paul Garvey EAST Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta has hinted at thawing relations with Australian oil and gas company Woodside Petroleum.
ASX ready for Chi-X challenge
ASX Mitchell Bingemann THE ASX says the imminent launch of rival market operator Chi-X will actually be beneficial.
Nike soars on upbeat outlook
Nike Maxwell Murphy NIKE'S first-quarter earnings rose 15 per cent, beating markets expectations, and it declared itself a "growth company".
Financial Markets
Wall St slides 391 points
Wall St Brendan Conway INVESTORS have staged a global flight from risk that sent US stocks plummeting and the Australian dollar below US98 cents.
Gold slumps in market carnage
Oil price tumbles 6pc
Financial Markets Coverage
Mining & Energy
Gold slumps in market carnage
Gold Matt Day PRECIOUS metals across the board dived today as investors moved to raise cash to cover steep losses in other markets.
Oil price tumbles 6pc
Copper falls 7pc on growth fears
More Mining & Energy

Restless labor troops consider Rudd: The Australian Capital Circle

Capital Circle Newsletter

Restless labor troops consider Rudd
The destabilisation of Julia Gillard is on in earnest, but the PM isn't going anywhere just yet.

Julia Gillard is in Canberra. She has a day of work ahead and no public appearances scheduled at this stage.
Tony Abbott is in Sydney. He made his regular appearance on the Today show at 6.10am from Queenscliff, and then spoke to MMM Brisbane. He's due in Melbourne by lunch time to address the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce.
With Labor's Migration amendments facing defeat in the next parliamentary fortnight, destabilisation of Julia Gillard's leadership has begun in earnest. The Sydney Morning Herald reports claims by Coalition senator Nigel Scullion that Kevin Rudd is nine votes short of a return to the leadership. The Australian reports Labor powerbrokers are standing by Ms Gillard, at least for now.
A gleeful Mr Abbott seized on the reports this morning, declaring  "something is going on'' in the ALP, though "it's hard to work out exactly what". "It is a very skittish parliamentary Labor party right now," he said, adding that Senator Scullion stood by his claim that Mr Rudd was counting the numbers in caucus.
Environment Minister Tony Burke rubbished the claims on Sunrise this morning, describing them as "absolutely not true''. But he has to say that, doesn't he?
Guerilla campaign: ALP head office has prepared another attack ad, this time highlighting what it says is Tony Abbott's shifting position on the science of climate change.  You can watch it here.
Diary:  The legal and constitutional affairs committee will examine Australia's asylum seeker swap deal with Malaysia. The public accounts and audit committee will hold its biannual public hearing into the Australian Tax Office with Tax commissioner Michael D'Ascenzo. A senat
Peter Brent
Peter Brent
So much for the common touch
Australians aren’t happy with their federal political leaders. Both Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott languish in the approval/satisfaction ratings. …

Stoks & Markets In The News: U.S.Dollar Rally Impacting Commodities: Stoc Watch Weekly | Investopedia

Stock Watch Weekly

U.S.Dollar Rally Impacting Commodities
On Wednesday afternoon, the Federal Reserve announced it would shuffle $400 billion of its portfolio in an attempt at driving down long-term interest rates in order to invigorate the economy. The Fed cited slow economic growth and continuing weakness in overall labor market conditions. The markets didn't react positively to the statement and closed at their lows for the day... Read On >>
Related Reading: Five Gold Stocks To Watch

Tyco Goes Three-For-One
Neil Sedaka may have once thought that breaking up was hard to do, but Tyco (NYSE:TYC) apparently has no such problems. Though rumors had started to creep out a few days ago, Tyco announced Monday morning that it was undertaking a significant corporate reorganization that would effectively result in splitting up the company's three main businesses into independent publicly-traded entities... Read On >>

Related Reading: Royal Dutch Shell Downstream

Netflix And Creative Destruction
Few things are easier in business than sticking with what has always worked before. Unfortunately, that is often an open invitation to hungry new competitors to come in, eat your lunch, take your customers and leave you with the bill... Read On >>

Related Reading: Google Thinks Global, Buys More Local

Diamond Foods Polishes Growth

Snack and nut company Diamond Foods (Nasdaq:DMND) continued its successful earnings run with a strong fiscal fourth quarter and strong full-year results. The company provided guidance for its fiscal 2012, which should show further results from its acquisitions and expansion... Read On >>

THE FIX: What to watch for in tonight's GOP debate: The Washington Post | Politics Afternoon Edition

The Washington Post
Politics Afternoon Edition

  1. THE FIX: What to watch for in tonight's GOP debate

    The Republican presidential debate marathon continues tonight in Orlando, Florida where nine candidates will gather to talk politics for the third time in 15 days. 
  2. Boehner: No threat of government shutdown

    GOP leaders in the House were working feverishly Thursday afternoon to persuade conservatives in their own party to reverse their opposition to a short-term funding measure identical or nearly identical to one they rejected less than a day ago. 
  3. Obama makes jobs pitch on GOP leaders' turf

    President Obama and his rivals got personal Thursday in their fight over the administration’s $447 billion jobs bill, as the president called out the nation’s two most-powerful Republicans by name in an appearance on their home turf. 
  4. Fact Checker: The education of President Obama at the U.N.

    Every year, President Obama has gone before the United Nations and spoken on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Every year, his vision has gotten narrower and his language less sweeping.
  5. Federal Eye: No more $16 muffins at Justice Department

    The Obama administration is ordering a government-wide review of conference expenses after The Washington Post broke news of the Justice Department’s extravagant spending habits at 10 law enforcement conferences.

Kitco New York Market at Close

New York Market Close Sep 22/11 05:20 PM EDT

HP named Whitman CEO, Apotheker out: Reuters - Daily Investor Update


Market's 3 percent plunge suggests deepening worry
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks plunged on Thursday, extending a selloff to four days, as policymakers' failure to arrest global economic stagnation sent markets spiraling downward. | Full Article
Stocks, commodities dive on recession fears
September 22, 2011 04:33 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - World stocks fell to 13-month lows and commodities tumbled on Thursday as weak data from China crystallized investor fears of a global recession one day after a grim economic outlook from the Federal Reserve. | Full Article
HP named Whitman CEO, Apotheker out
September 22, 2011 04:31 PM ET
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co named former eBay Inc Chief Executive Meg Whitman as its new president and CEO, replacing unpopular leader Leo Apotheker at the helm of the largest U.S. technology company. | Full Article
Jobless claims fall but recession still feared
September 22, 2011 02:26 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans filed fewer new claims for jobless benefits last week but the decline was not enough to dispel worries the economy was dangerously close to falling into a new recession. | Full Article
Warnings mount on euro crisis, BRICS mull more aid
September 22, 2011 03:52 PM ET
WASHINGTON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - World leaders and finance chiefs demanded Europe act decisively to quell its debt crisis and big emerging economies said they would consider providing more money to help prevent the chaos from spreading. | Full Article

The Economist | Politics This Week: Highlights of news coverage from 17th - 23rd September 2011

Politics this week

» The Palestinians seemed set to bid for full statehood at the United Nations, to the consternation of Israel and its main backers, especially the United States, which was sure to veto the application in the Security Council. Several European governments sought to persuade the Palestinians to go instead to the UN General Assembly to bid for observer statehood on a par with the Vatican. See article
» Yemen's capital, Sana'a, witnessed three days of fighting between government forces and deserters calling for the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been recuperating in Saudi Arabia, where he fled after being wounded in an attack in June. That battle subsided, leaving at least 70 people dead, most of them anti-government protesters, but new clashes soon broke out in the city. See article
» Libyan forces opposed to Colonel Muammar Qaddafi tightened their squeeze on the last three towns under his control: Bani Walid, Sirte and Sebha. The African Union belatedly agreed to recognise the National Transitional Council as the country's ruling authority.
» Iran released on bail two American hikers serving eight-year jail sentences for spying. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were arrested in 2009 after crossing the border from Iraq. They say they strayed into Iran by accident but were convicted of espionage and illegal entry. Sarah Shourd, who was arrested with them, was freed last year.
» A year after a disputed election in Burundi, an unidentified group of gunmen wearing uniforms opened fire in a bar in the capital, Bujumbura, killing at least 30 people.

No let up in the slaughter
» In Mexico 35 bodies were dumped on a highway underpass in Veracruz. Many of the dead had been tortured. The state government said that all of the victims that have been identified so far had ties to organised crime. See article
» An appeals court in the United States lifted a ban on enforcing an $18 billion fine levied by an Ecuadorean court on Chevron for environmental damage allegedly caused by Texaco, which Chevron bought in 2001. The case, which Chevron claims is fraudulent, is still working its way through the Ecuadorean appeals process.
» Enrique Peña Nieto, until recently the governor of Mexico state, officially declared his candidacy for president inMexico's election next year. He has long been considered the front-runner. Earlier this month Ernesto Cordero resigned as finance minister to run. He is seen as a long shot.

A constant source of fun
» It was a rough week for Silvio Berlusconi. A series of leaked transcripts of wiretapped conversations appeared to show Italy's prime minister boasting about his sexual prowess and saying that he governed the country in his "spare time". And fresh allegations emerged that Mr Berlusconi had abused his power by using state resources to help his friends and allies. An unexpected downgrade of Italy's sovereign debt by Standard & Poor's added to the pressure. Mr Berlusconi denied any wrongdoing, and said that S&P was reacting to media reports rather than the facts. See article
Click Here!
» The Free Democrats, the junior partner in Angela Merkel's coalition government, were trounced in a state election in Berlin. Some in the party want to capitalise on growing Eurosceptic sentiment in Germany by voting against bail-out plans in parliament. See article
» A bomb exploded in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, killing three people. Blame was directed against the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), but it denied responsibility. See article
» Dominique Strauss-Kahn appeared on French television to express his "infinite" regret for the New York hotel encounter that led to his arrest on sexual-assault charges in May, but he continued to assert his innocence. The former head of the IMF ruled himself out of the running for the Socialist nomination to take on Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's presidential election. See article
» The publisher of an unauthorised autobiography on Julian Assange released the book, without his consent. Canongate Books said that Mr Assange had agreed to the work and sat for 50 hours of taped interviews discussing his life and work for WikiLeaks, before changing his mind and declaring: "All memoir is prostitution." Mr Assange is fighting extradition to Sweden to face questioning about allegations of sexual assault.

To the barricades!
» Barack Obama proposed raising taxes on the rich, as part of his blueprint to Congress to cut the deficit. Mr Obama said he would veto any budget-busting bill that puts the entire burden for reducing the deficit on "ordinary Americans". Republicans accused the president of engaging in the politics of class war and pandering to his base. The tax rises are unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled House. See article
» The House voted against a resolution to keep the government funded past September. Although the measure is likely to pass, it was a poke in the eye for the Republican leadership, underscoring the delicacy of budget negotiations.
» The "don't ask, don't tell" policy that banned gays from serving openly in America's armed forces came to an official end. The Pentagon has been accepting applications to join up from openly gay men and women for several weeks.

A blow to peace
» Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former president of Afghanistan and the chief negotiator in peace talks between the government and insurgents, was assassinated in Kabul by a man who detonated a bomb hidden in his turban. World leaders condemned the killing. President Hamid Karzai promptly returned home from the UN General Assembly meeting in New York. See article
» The Malaysian government promised to repeal the Internal Security Act, a draconian law that allows the authorities to detain people charged with a crime indefinitely and without trial. In Singapore former political prisoners urged their government to follow suit. See article
» America angered China by announcing that it will upgrade Taiwan's existing fleet of F-16 fighter jets, though it will not sell new F-16s. See article
» In Bangladesh police arrested more than 600 Islamists, after protests demanding the release of radical party leaders turned violent. More than 70 people, including 50 police officers, were injured.

NYT: Afternoon Business News: Financing Drought for European Banks Heightens Fears:


Wall Street Joins Global Stock Plunge After Fed Move

United States markets fell sharply following losses around the world after data from the euro zone reinforced a pessimistic assessment of the American economy by the Fed.

Whitman Expected to Be Named at H.P.

The former eBay chief is reportedly set to be announced as Hewlett-Packard's new leader, replacing Léo Apotheker, as the company moves to end confusion over its direction and a slump in its shares.

Plan for Former Saturn Plant Has Town Smiling

A General Motors plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., may get a second chance as part of a tentative new labor contract.

Facebook Introduces Timeline View and Media Partnerships

At the Facebook developer conference, Mark Zuckerberg touted a new visual view of the site called Timeline, and partnerships with media companies like Netflix and Spotify.

Europe to Redouble Efforts to Stimulate Growth in Greece

A European Union official acknowledged that the Greek people were on the verge of rejecting further austerity measures.

Financing Drought for European Banks Heightens Fears

This was supposed to be the month that European banks went back to debt markets to refill their coffers. Instead, debt issuance by banks has slowed to a trickle and short-term interbank lending is drying up.

THIS WEEK'S MOST POPULAR from The Wall Street Journal Online


from The Wall Street Journal Online

September 22, 2011 -- 4:30 p.m. EDT


The rich don't pay lower average tax rates.

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The U.S. Justice Department accused poker celebrities and other executives of a major poker website of defrauding players out of more than $300 million.

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The riots of Athens will become those of Milan, Madrid and Marseilles. Border checkpoints will return. Currencies will be resurrected, then devalued.

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Height loss is a natural part of aging. Losing too much height too rapidly, however, can signal a high risk for hip fractures, spinal fractures and even heart disease, particularly in men, several recent studies have found. - Video: Why Are You Shrinking?

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Economists, builders and mortgage analysts are predicting the weakened economy will depress home prices for years. - Vote: How are depressed prices affecting you?


The U.S. Justice Department accused poker celebrities and other executives of a major poker website of defrauding players out of more than $300 million.

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Netflix's move to separate its movie-streaming business and its DVD-by-mail service failed to soothe many customers' anger over the company's recent price hike. - Heard on the Street: Lessons for Hollywood - MarketWatch: Is Netflix Doomed? - Deal Journal: Netflix Doesn't Want to Be Next AOL - Interactive: Calling It Splits

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A vintage World War II fighter plane slammed into a crowd of onlookers at a Reno, Nev., air race Friday afternoon, killing at least three and injuring 54 other people. - Video: Attendees Describe the Crash - Photos: Air Race Crash Kills 3

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Heinz spent three years developing a replacement for the traditional rectangular ketchup packet. The new "Dip and Squeeze" ketchup, appearing later this year at Wendy's, can be squeezed out through one end or the lid can be peeled back for dipping.

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An alleged trading scheme at UBS went undetected for three years before it was finally discovered, triggering a $2 billion loss, U.K. authorities indicated as they charged trader Kweku Adoboli with fraud. - Rogue Trades Could Hurt Industry - U.K., Swiss Regulators to Jointly Probe UBS - Heard: UBS Rightly Puts ETFs in Spotlight - Adoboli's Arrest Stuns Family


Opinion: The Buffett Alternative Tax - 765 comments

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U.S. Alleges Poker Site Stacked Deck - 435 comments

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Georgia Prisoner Is Put to Death - 429 comments

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Opinion: Do-Nothing Democrats? - 360 comments

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Fed Launches New Stimulus - 282 comments