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Feb 17, 2012

NYT Global Update: German President Resigns in 'Favors' Scandal

The New York Times International Herald Tribune
February 17, 2012
Compiled 21:45 GMT

Global Update


German President Resigns in 'Favors' Scandal

Germany's president announced his resignation on Friday after prosecutors asked Parliament to strip him of his immunity from prosecution over suspected improper ties to businessmen.

Meeting in Pakistan Reveals Tensions Over Afghan Peace Talks

Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan's foreign minister, described as "preposterous" Afghan demands that her country deliver the insurgent leadership to the negotiating table.

Countries Seek Retaliation to Europe's Carbon Tax on Airlines

China, the United States and two dozen other countries are looking at measures to squeeze European airlines and other industries if the European Union tries to enforce the new law.

Video: TimesCast

The one-year anniversary of Bahrain's pro-democracy movement, and more.

Op-Ed Columnist

The Jeremy Lin Problem

The moral ethos of sport is in tension with the moral ethos of religion, and Jeremy Lin is living it.

At Work in Syria, Times Correspondent Dies

Anthony Shadid, a prize-winning journalist, was reporting inside Syria when he suffered a fatal asthma attack.

Anthony Shadid, Reporter in the Middle East, Dies at 43

Mr. Shadid, a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, spent most of his professional life covering the Middle East and was esteemed throughout his career for being an insightful analyst.

For Punishment of Elder's Misdeeds, Afghan Girl Pays the Price

The illegal and denounced practice of "baad," the giving of girls as payment for offenses committed by their relatives, is pervasive in parts of Afghanistan, according to human rights workers.

Europe's Central Bank Is Said to Ready Swap of Its Greek Bonds

The trade is intended to allow the European Central Bank to avoid having to share in losses absorbed by private investors, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Euro Hopes Help Wall Street Advance

The Dow Jones industrials and the S.&P. 500 both rose on optimism that European finance ministers would sign off on a bailout for Greece.

Bank Telecommunications Group Moves Closer to Expulsion of Iran

The network known by its acronym Swift said it was prepared to expel Iranian banks, in what could amount to a potentially crippling sanction of the Iranian banking system.

Early Praise in Inspection at Foxconn Brings Doubt

An inspector's comments praising conditions at Chinese plants of Apple's largest supplier are upbeat, but some call them premature and troubling.

Court Overturns Conviction of Ex-Goldman Programmer

A federal appeals court reversed the conviction late Thursday of Sergey Aleynikov, a former Goldman Sachs programmer found guilty of stealing proprietary code from the bank's high-frequency trading platform.
Pogue's Posts

Apple's Mountain Lion Makes the Mac More Like the iPad

The new operating system software for the Mac brings even more of the iPhone/iPad features to the Mac. The juiciest payoff here is the suite of Mac apps that now mimic what's on the iPhone/iPad.

Fans Offer Support to Troubled Rangers

Among the highlights of weekend matches, Rangers versus Kilmarnock is likely to become a pilgrimage for fans after the Glasgow team went into bankruptcy administration.

Sad Performance Could Mark End for Wenger

Arsène Wenger is in his 16th season with Arsenal, which produced another shockingly poor performance in losing, 4-0, to A.C. Milan in the Champions League.

Manchester Clubs Take Charge in Europa League

The Premier League leaders Manchester City and Manchester United got off to winning starts in the Europa League.

Abuse Cases Put Los Angeles Schools Under Fire

The spate of accusations has put an intense spotlight on the way the Los Angeles Unified School District monitors its employees and responds to reports of abuse.

Passions Flare as House Debates Birth Control Rule

A House hearing on an Obama administration policy requiring insurers to pay for birth control for religious institutions' employees was a scene of politics and soul-searching.

Religious Groups Equate Some Contraceptives With Abortion

Opponents of the rule mandating insurance coverage for birth control contend that some contraception methods amount to abortion, but experts say the drugs work prior to fertilization.
Op-Ed Contributor

The Odd Trans-Atlantic Couple

The fate of capitalism in the West is in the hands of two very different people: Barack Obama and Angela Merkel.
Op-Ed Contributor

France's What-If Campaign

Conventional wisdom about the outcome of the presidential election deserves close scrutiny.
Op-Ed Contributor

Do Not Humiliate the Greeks

We know what diktat toward Germany after World War I led to. Greece is on the verge of such a meltdown.

DealBook | DealB%K Afternoon Edition: Government Snares a Vocal Critic in Latest Insider Trading Charges

Friday, February 17, 2012
Government Snares a Vocal Critic in Latest Insider Trading Charges Federal authorities on Friday charged one of the most vocal and vehement critics of their campaign to root out insider trading on Wall Street, accusing John Kinnucan, an Oregon-based research analyst, of swapping corporate secrets with hedge funds for cash. The analyst, who gained notoriety last year for openly challenging the investigation, was arrested at his home on Thursday on allegations that he collected insider tips gleaned from executives at technology companies, including SanDisk. For the information, the government alleged, Mr. Kinnucan lavished his sources with gifts that included ski trips, fancy meals and cash.

Goldman Sachs P.R. Chief's Accidental Exit Interview A Dutch television program scored a surprisingly detailed 37-minute telephone interview with Lucas van Praag, who is retiring as Goldman's P.R. chief at the end of March.
Progress in Effort to Ban Insider Trading on Capitol Hill The House and Senate are working to reconcile differences in their versions of the STOCK Act, which is intended to prevent members of Congress and their staff from buying and selling securities based on confidential information.
TNT Express Rejects Bid by U.P.S. TNT Express has rejected a takeover bid from United Parcel Service that values the Dutch shipping company at $6.4 billion, but it says that talks are continuing.
Alibaba Poised to Take Subsidiary Private The Internet giant is looking to buy, its only publicly traded unit, at close to 13.50 Hong Kong dollars per share, roughly in line with its I.P.O. price.
Lehman and Its Creditors Seek to Subpoena Geithner The request for a subpoena comes as part of the estate's lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase, which asserts that the bank illegally took $8.6 billion in collateral from Lehman, precipitating that firm's demise.
Advent and Goldman to Buy TransUnion in $3 Billion Deal Advent International and GS Capital Partners will buy the consumer credit reporting company from Dearborn Partners and the Pritzker family, the prominent Chicago billionaires.
Billabong Shares Crest After TPG Bids $824 Million TPG offered to buy Billabong for about $824 million, but the Australian surfwear maker rebuffed the private equity firm, instead announcing a deal to sell a majority stake in its Nixon watch brand.
Encana Strikes $2.9 Billion Shale Deal With Mitsubishi Encana agreed to sell a 40 percent stake in its Cutbank Ridge holdings to Mitsubishi of Japan, bringing on a deep-pocketed investor to help defray development costs.
Court Overturns Conviction of Ex-Goldman Programmer
Court Overturns Conviction of Ex-Goldman Programmer A federal appeals court reversed the conviction late Thursday of Sergey Aleynikov, a former Goldman Sachs programmer found guilty of stealing proprietary code from the bank's high-frequency trading platform.
In the United States U.S. stock and bond markets are closed for Presidents Day.
DealBook E-Mails Are Off on Monday The morning and afternoon DealBook e-mails will return on Tuesday.
In Europe European Union finance ministers meet in Brussels.

MarketWatch | Weekly Roundup top 10 Feb 13 - 17


Weekly Roundup
FEBRUARY 17, 2012

MarketWatch top 10 Feb. 13 to Feb. 17

By MarketWatch

U.S. stocks closed higher for the week, but not before posting the biggest one day and drop of the new year over the last five days. The Dow (DJIA) and the S&P 500 (SPX) are now about twice as high as their levels during the depths of the financial crisis.

On the week, the Dow climbed 1.2%, and the S&P 500 ended 1.4% higher.

The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) , though pulling back on Friday, was the week's best performer, adding 1.7% over the last five sessions on kindling speculation of a return to the 3,000 level for the first time in more than a decade.

Follow MarketWatch this weekend, and get a jump on the coming week with our Week Ahead videos. — Greg Morcroft, assistant managing editor

 U.S. Week Ahead: Jobs Data, Nasdaq nears 3,000

 Europe Week Ahead; Greek crisis, earnings on agenda

 Asia Week Ahead: earnings on tap

Nasdaq nears 3,000 on wings of Apple, Microsoft

The Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP), 40 points away from 3,000 and the clear outperformer among the major indexes this year, risks signaling a fresh tech bubble. "If it hits 3,000, it would be one of those things where we might step back, assess the market some more," said Jim Russell, chief equity strategist and U.S. Bank Wealth Management. A rebound above 3,000 would be a first since Nov. 17, 2000, the ebb of the last major tech-stock boom. Read Market Extra on Nasdaq 3,000

Greece seen closer to bailout

European leaders expect euro-zone finance ministers to reach agreement Monday on a long-delayed second bailout for Greece, a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. Merkel, Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti discussed the situation in a conference call Friday and are "confident" that the ministers will "find a solution to outstanding issues," the spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said in a written statement.Renewed expectations for a deal helped lift European equities on Friday, while the euro traded at $1.3159, a gain of 0.3% from Thursday. Read more on European markets. Read MarketWatch coverage of latest developments in Greek crisis

Institutional must-owns are gaining traction

Where possible, the initial leaders in a bull market should be played for a larger gain than simply a short-term flip. At least when it comes to intermediate-term speculation. Among the names, Apple (AAPL)  , up about 11% since being noted here on Jan. 31 , is a hold. This on the basis of it having put in four months' worth of sideways basing action, viewed as healthy, and subsequently breaking out of the base on major volume, another healthy development. Read Kevin Marder's stock analysis, on MarketWatch

Price hikes catch up to U.S. food makers

U.S. brand-name food makers raised prices throughout 2011 and it's starting to catch up to them. On Friday, General Mills (GIS) blamed "weak volume performance across U.S. retail food categories in December and January" for cutting their fiscal May 2012 outlook to between $2.53 and $2.55 a share from $2.59 to $2.61. General Mills didn't single out any particular brand in its statement, but it means shoppers haven't been buying enough of its packaged foods. On Friday, H.J. Heinz also highlighted the mind-set of U.S. consumers. Read about what's driving performance at big food firms, on MarketWatch

Our prolonged employment gap

Everyone knows that the Great Recession has inflicted tremendous damage to the lives and fortunes of millions of Americans. But what you may not know is that most of the suffering is still to come. We're not even halfway done with this mess. The economy has been growing for 31 months now, and employment has risen by 3.2 million over the past two years, but there's still a long way to go before the economy is back to full employment of around 5.5%. Public and private forecasters agree that we'll probably have five, six or seven more years of elevated unemployment, wasted lives and squandered potential. Read Rex Nutting commentary on U.S. employment outlook, on MarketWatch

Jeremy Lin dishing out TV pain for Knicks fans

Only the New York Knicks could convert the good news surrounding Jeremy Lin into bad news for their fans.While fans — and the city — have been energized by the arrival of Lin and the Knicks' six-game win streak, the 23-year-old point guard's success could hurt because it may prolong a dispute that's seen many Knicks games yanked from televisions screens. Madison Square Garden Co.'s (MSG)  MSG channel hasn't been available to Time Warner Cable Inc.'s (TWC) subscribers since Dec. 31, as the two sides haggle over how much the cable provider should pay for the regional sports network. Read about local cable blackout of Knicks games, at MarketWatch

Retail sales in U.S. rise 0.4% in January, to 4-month high

U.S. retail sales rose in January by the most in four months as Americans increased spending at big-box stores, department chains and bars and restaurants.Consumer spending accounts for as much as 70% of U.S. growth, so an uptick in retail sales is encouraging, economists say. Retail sales are 5.8% higher compared with one year ago, and they've increased 6.3% in the past three months.Sales at retailers climbed a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in January, the Commerce Department reported, bouncing back from weak spending in December.Yet the increase still fell short of the MarketWatch forecast for a 1.0% gain, mainly because of lower automobile sales. Read about rising retail sales, on MarketWatch

Moody's puts big banks on review for downgrade

Moody's Investors Service triggered fresh worries for investors after placing 17 major global financial firms review for potential downgrades due to the euro-zone crisis and other issues, as well as putting more than 100 European financial institutions on review.The global capital markets "are confronting evolving challenges, such as more fragile funding conditions, wider credit spreads, increased regulatory burdens and more difficult operating conditions," Moody's said in a statement late Wednesday."These difficulties, together with inherent vulnerabilities such as confidence-sensitivity, interconnectedness, and opacity of risk, have diminished the longer term profitability and growth prospects of these firms," the ratings firm said. Read about Moody's wide-ranging cautionary note on banks, on MarketWatch

Give yourself a raise this year

Don't wait for your boss to come to his senses, give yourself a raise this year.Workers can spend, on average, about $3,000 a year on coffee and lunch, according to a recent survey by Accounting Principals, an accounting and finance placement firm based in Jacksonville, Fla. But saving and investing that chunk of change can increase your wealth."Don't think of it as $3,000, but rather what $3,000 per year would be in 20 or 30 years if invested at even low interest rates," says Burton Malkiel, an emeritus economics professor at Princeton University in New Jersey. Read Ruth Mantell's On The Job column, on MarketWatch

Kiss these 10 once-popular home features goodbye

Times are tough in the home-building industry, meaning the 500,000 or so new single-family homes expected to be built this year are going to include more practical and value-conscious features and fewer wish-list items. At the top of the list of least-likely features that builders will include in their 2012 homes: outdoor kitchens. See MarketWatch slide show on passé home amenities

Reuters - Daily Investors Update latest News: World Bank opens nomination process for top job


Wall Street edges higher ahead of Greece decision
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks rose slightly on Friday, but investors stayed cautious before an long holiday weekend when hopes are set for Greece's bailout plan to be approved. | Full Article

World Bank opens nomination process for top job
February 17, 2012 04:15 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The World Bank on Friday launched the nomination process to select a new president to succeed Robert Zoellick when he steps down in June, inviting names from any of its 187 member countries. | Full Article
Shell moves closer to Arctic drilling with spill response
February 17, 2012 03:51 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell's bid to drill in the Arctic this summer took another step forward on Friday when the U.S. Interior Department approved its oil spill response plan for the Chukchi Sea. | Full Article
Mitsui unit to pay $90 million over Gulf oil spill
February 17, 2012 04:04 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mitsui & Co Ltd's MOEX Offshore agreed with the U.S. Justice Department to pay at least $90 million to settle some of its liability in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the first government settlement involving the BP Plc Macondo well. | Full Article
Gasoline pushes inflation up in January
February 17, 2012 02:28 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Gasoline prices jumped in January, leading overall consumer prices higher and offering a reminder of the risks energy costs pose to the economic recovery. | Full Article

Megaupload indictment returned with charges added for Kim Dotcom and others: The Washington Post | Technology news Alert:

The Washington Post


The Justice Department on Friday said that more counts of copyright infringement and fraud have been added to its indictment of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and several of his associates.

The superseding indictment also cast light on how prosecutors say was being used. The file-sharing site claimed to have had more than 180 million registered users, but in fact, the document says that Megaupload’s internal databases show that the site had only 66.6 million as of Jan. 19, 2012.

Megaupload indictment returned with charges added for Kim Dotcom and others

Reuters - Technology Report: Apple's iPhone loses China market share

Reuters Election 2012 Daily round-up of the day's top news from the campaign trail, the White House and all the politics in between

Apple's iPhone loses China market share
HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) - Apple Inc's share of China's booming smartphone market slipped for a second straight quarter in October-December, as it lost ground to cheaper local brands and as some shoppers held off until after the iPhone 4S launch last month.
Briton jailed for "extensive" Facebook hack
LONDON (Reuters) - A British student, who hacked into Facebook's internal network risking "disastrous" consequences for the website, was jailed for eight months on Friday in what prosecutors described as the most serious case of its kind they had seen.
Venture capital sees big returns in big data
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - When Jason Goldberg set out to raise a new round of funding for his flash sales site, he dispensed with the usual PowerPoint presentations and instead gave potential investors a look at the crown jewels: the "dashboard" of real-time analytics that can instantly spot trends and enable the site to tweak its offerings on the fly.
Hackers target Putin's vote-monitoring system
NOVOSIBIRSK, Russia (Reuters) - Hackers have tried to crash a vast network of Web cameras which Vladimir Putin has ordered to allay fears of vote-rigging in the March presidential election, a deputy minister said on Friday.
Got white girl problems? Babe Walker does, too
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Have a "white girl problem" and don't know where to turn? Babe Walker, Twitter's snarky, self-obsessed socialite has produced the definitive guide on how to deal with life's trivial issues in a new novel out this month.
iPad maker Foxconn lifts China workers pay again
TAIPEI (Reuters) - Foxconn Technology Group, the top maker of Apple Inc's iPhones and iPads whose factories are under scrutiny over labor practices, has raised wages of its Chinese workers by 16-25 percent from this month, the third rise since 2010.
Critics seek to stall Senate cybersecurity bill
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican critics of a Senate cybersecurity bill want to slow down consideration of the measure, saying it could give government too much power over private-sector infrastructure companies.
China's Baidu looks to mobile search for growth
SHANGHAI/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - China's top search engine, Baidu Inc, plans to begin monetizing its mobile search traffic and social media platforms this year in an effort to boost growth outside its traditional PC domain, Baidu's chief executive said on Friday.
FTC warns app makers to protect kids' privacy
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Apple Inc, Google Inc and their vendors must do more to protect children using iPhones and other mobile devices to read or play games, U.S. trade regulators said, and warned they may punish software makers that secretly collect data on kids.
Kinnucan, ex-SanDisk exec charged in insider probe
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A research analyst who made waves by refusing to cooperate in the government's broad insider-trading probe was charged with illegally passing tips he gleaned from technology company insiders to hedge funds.