"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Two more Rabobank staffers face US charges over interest rate fixing

DutchNews.nl, Friday 17 October 2014

The American authorities have charged two more former Rabobank workers for the role in the Libor interest rate manipulation scandal.

The new charges mean six former Rabobank staffers have now faced charges in connection with the case. The two latest suspects are British men who worked as derivatives traders for Rabobank in London. One was the head of the Liquidity & Finance division, the US justice department statement said.

Rabobank itself reached an out of court settlement with the American authorities last year, agreeing to pay a fine of €254m.

In total Rabobank paid €774m in out of court settlements for its role in the Libor scandal, which cost the bank's chief executive Piet Moorland and department head Sipko Schat their jobs.

Fourteen bank workers have faced disciplinary measures such as the loss of bonuses, and five have been sacked for their role in the scandal.

Ex-senior railways officials given suspended death penalty for bribery in Beijing

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-10-17

Zhang Shuguang stands trail, Sept. 10. (Photo/CNS)

A Beijing court sentenced a former senior railways official to death with a two years reprieve on charges of taking bribes on Friday.

The Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court also deprived Zhang Shuguang, former head of the railways ministry's transportation bureau and deputy chief engineer, of political rights for life and confiscated all his property.

His deputy Su Shunhu, was also given life imprisonment, deprived of political rights for life and had all his property confiscated.

Zhang has not said if he is planning an appeal after the morning hearing.

According to the court, Zhang took bribes worth more than 47 million yuan (US$7.7 million) from 14 companies between 2000 and 2011, when he served in a variety of positions in the ministry.

He helped companies with contracts relating to the sale of trains or parts, technical supply and the bidding of projects, the court said.

On Su's part, the court found he took bribes worth more than 24 million yuan (US$3.9 million) from three companies between 2003 and 2011.

The court made judgments while considering both defendants voluntarily made a confession on undiscovered bribery and showed sincere regret over their wrongdoing.

Zhang is the second high-ranking railways official charged with bribery in China after former railways minister Liu Zhijun was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for bribery and abuse of power in July.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Prosecutors seize assets of Ting Hsin's former chairman

Want China Times, CNA 2014-10-16

Luxury apartments in Taipei, Oct. 15. (File photo/CNA)

Prosecutors on Wednesday seized three luxury apartment units as well as other assets owned by Wei Ying-chung, who recently resigned as chairman of Ting Hsin International Group, the conglomerate at the center of Taiwan's latest food scare.

Wei's assets–stocks, bank accounts, apartments in the upscale 'Palace' complex in Taipei and other real estate–were seized to prevent him from getting rid of them, prosecutors said.

Wei is under investigation in Taipei, Changhua, Chiayi, Tainan and Kaohsiung amid a snowballing food safety scandal involving the Ting Hsin group, which is owned by Wei and his family.

Investigators were worried that the family would move their assets to China to avoid having them frozen in Taiwan, pending an investigation into irregularities at edible oil plants operated by Ting Hsin subsidiaries.

A top executive of Ting Hsin Oil & Fat and another two from Cheng I Food, two of the subsidiary companies, were detained by prosecutors Tuesday in connection with the recent food safety scandal.

The two companies are accused of using lard meant for use in animal feed in their edible oil products.

The incident–the third cooking oil-related scandal to hit the conglomerate within a year–has sparked widespread outrage among consumers in Taiwan, leading to a public boycott of the group's products and brands.

Wei Ying-chung in a police car on the way to a detention
center, Changhua, Oct. 17. (Photo/CNA)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cheers in France as economist Tirole wins Nobel

Yahoo – AFP, Hugues Honore, 13 Oct 2014

French economist Jean Tirole, seen here in June 2008, was awarded the Nobel
 Economics Prize "for his analysis of market power and regulation", according to the
Royal Academy of Sciences (AFP Photo/Eric Cabanis)

Stockholm (AFP) - Jean Tirole won the Nobel Economics Prize on Monday for research on reining in corporate giants, a second French award this season hailed as a slap in the face for "France bashers".

"One of the most influential economists of our time," the jury called Tirole, whose fellow countryman Patrick Modiano took the prize for literature last week.

"Most of all he has clarified how to understand and regulate industries with a few powerful firms," it said of the 61-year-old professor at Toulouse 1 Capitole University.

Taming huge corporations, and ensuring they don't reap huge profits at the expense of ordinary consumers, has emerged as a growing concern in recent years.

The global financial crisis -- triggered by a small number of giant players in the banking sector -- has further pushed the complex issue up the agenda for global policymakers.

"Banking is a very hard thing to regulate, and we economists have to do more work on this," Tirole told the Nobel Committee after learning he had won the prize, worth eight million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million, 878,000 euros).

Thumbing noses at 'French-bashing'

News of his win triggered delight in Paris -- as well as a note of vindication from the French prime minister, irked by a string of articles decrying the morose state of the nation.

"After Patrick Modiano, yet another Frenchman has come to the fore: Congratulations to Jean Tirole!" Manuel Valls tweeted after the announcement. "Talk about thumbing your nose at 'French-bashing'."

Modiano's win last week was already hailed as a boost for a country in the doldrums with a stagnating economy and deeply unpopular government.

President Francois Hollande said the prize puts the spotlight on "the quality of the research carried out in our nation."

Tirole's work, the Nobel jury said, has provided a framework for designing policies for a range of industries from banking to telecommunications.

His citation comes amid growing controversy over the market power of such companies as Amazon and Google.

"Drawing on these new insights, governments can better encourage powerful firms to become more productive and, at the same time, prevent them from harming competitors and customers," the jury said.

The concentration of corporate power has been a key concern for policymakers since the 1980s, when advanced countries moved progressively to allowing markets a freer role.

The trend has been strengthened across industries by technological advances and globalisation, which produced unprecedented wealth but also exacerbated inequality.

Dominate thy neighbour

Laureate of the 2014 Nobel Prize in
Economics, French economist Jean Tirole and
his wife Nathalie are seen at the Toulouse
School of Economics (TSE) on October 13, 
2014 in Toulouse (AFP Photo/Remy Gabalda)
A lot of Tirole's research has focused on motivation and salary, with regard to large companies and the rise in pay among the top tiers of leadership -- like Wall Street chief executives.

But his Nobel Prize came for his work on oligopoly and game theory -- or the study of how strategic interactions affect an outcome.

An oligopoly is a state of limited competition, a popular example being the cellular companies Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, which together control around 90 percent of the market. A monopoly, on the other hand, is the dominance of one seller in the market.

Tirole's research has also shown how some companies -- for example producers of widely-used but patented software -- are able to dominate not just their own industry, but also related ones further down the production chain.

One of his chief contributions is the notion that market dominance works differently in different industries, according to the Nobel jury.

His research suggests, for example, that it can sometimes make sense to allow firms to undercut each other by setting prices below production costs -- something traditionally disciplined under competition, or anti-trust, law.

"The best regulation or competition policy should therefore be carefully adapted to every industry's specific conditions."

American near-monopoly

The prize will be awarded at a ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of the death in 1896 of the prizes' creator, Swedish scientist and philanthropist Alfred Nobel.

Appropriately for an economist who has dedicated much of his career to the study of monopolies, Tirole's award reduces an American near-monopoly over the Nobel economics prize in recent years.

Over the past decade, 18 out 20 economics prize laureates have been from the United States, including one Israeli-American.

Last year, US scholars Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert Shiller won for their work on spotting trends in the asset markets.

The economics prize winds up this year's Nobel season, marked by the award Friday of the peace prize to 17-year-old Pakistani Malala Yousafzai and India's Kailash Satyarthi.

Related Article:

"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical)  8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version)

“… 5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Number five: There will be those who think it impossible to have a search for integrity and fairness in all things. In other words, Human Beings will not simply go with what they are told is the status quo. They will look at it and they will say, "Well, I think it could be better. I'm going to look around for something that has more integrity and fairness." Yes, there will be those who tell you, "Look, the institutions hold all the cards and you have to do it their way. If you want health insurance or you want loans from the banks for your home, you better do it their way." I have news for you. Even this is going to change.

"What are you going to do?" the Human asks. "They hold all the power!" In the past, there was nothing you could do. Now I'll tell you what the potentials are. You're going to pull out the puzzle and look past the walls of the maze. You're going to say, "Well, then I'll start my own institution." And some will. The new institutions, based on integrity, will sweep right past an old energy. In other words, there will be those who are young today who are going to start a new way of banking, a new way of health care, and a new way of insurance. And when you see these plans, you'll say, "Why didn't we think of that?"

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. …”

Saturday, October 11, 2014

HK protests swell again after talks with students canceled

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-10-11

Protesters returned to Admiralty on Friday night. (Photo
courtesy of Hong Kong Democracy Now)

The number of democracy protesters on the streets of Hong Kong surged after the special administrative region's government postponed talks with student protesters on Friday. Alex Chow of the Hong Kong Federation of Students has pledged to expand and extend the protests unless the government shows good faith, reports our Chinese-language sister paper China Times.

Over 100,000 protesters poured onto Harcourt Road in Admiralty, the location of the Hong Kong government office, on Friday night after the government scrapped talks with student protesters slated for 4pm that day, according to the Facebook page of Hong Kong Democracy Now. Many protesters also brought their tents, doubling the number of tents in Admiralty to around 90, in response to the calls of the student federation and another student activist group Scholarism. At least nine tents were also seen in neighboring Causeway Bay.

The government canceled the talks accusing the protesters of sabotaging the basis for negotiation and attempting to provoke another round of civil disobedience.

Chow said Hong Kong's citizens will not end their occupation "without achieving concrete results." He called Beijing's constraints on free elections in Hong Kong unacceptable and said the Chinese government should at the least reverse thir ruling that candidates for Hong Kong chief executive should receive the approval of more than 50% of members of the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

Hong Kong police official Kong Man-keung said police will not rule out taking "appropriate measures" against Occupy Central protesters to bring traffic back to normal. A number of well-known figures including retired judge Andrew Li and Chinese University of Hong Kong vice chancellor Joseph Sung said Hong Kong citizens are on the verge of running out of patience with the protesters.

A group of 30 mothers sought to persuade students taking part in the occupied area in Admiralty to return to class on Friday afternoon, while an alliance formed by eight Chinese and Hong Kong logistics firms said Oct. 15 would be "last tolerance day" and said they will deploy large vehicles to clear road barriers if the protesters remained on the streets by that date.

Carrie Lam, chief secretary of the administration, left Hong Kong on Saturday for a pan-Pearl River Delta forum and will return Sunday, while the embattled chief executive whose resignation has been demanded by the protesters, Leung Chun-ying, is expected to attend the forum on Sunday and return to Hong Kong on Monday.

The protests began on Sept. 28.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hong Kong protesters reopen channel for talks

Want China Times, CNA and Staff Reporter 2014-10-05

Are protesters in Hong Kong about to hang up their umbrellas? (Photo/CNS)

Leaders of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong decided late Saturday to reopen a channel for talks with government officials and to allow civil servants to resume work Monday so as not to give the government any excuse to end their occupation movement.

Benny Tai, a key leader of the Occupy Central demonstration, which demands universal suffrage for Hong Kong residents to elect their top leader in 2017, said the decision was made after discussions with three major associations that have helped organize the protest.

Alex Chow, a leader of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, urged pro-democracy protesters to stand up and face the threat from the government.

Chow said the Occupy Central movement is not intended to launch a revolution, but it wants the government to respond to its demands and investigate accusations against the police regarding the use of gang members during attacks on peaceful demonstrators.

"If the government carries out such an investigation, the Hong Kong Federation of Students is willing to hold talks with the government again," he stated.

Confrontations between protesters and police and the arrest of peaceful demonstrators had led to protest leaders cancelling planned talks on Hong Kong's political reform with the government last week.

Lester Shum, one of the student leaders, said the occupation movement has been launched to pursue democracy and he urged the Hong Kong government not to respond by firing tear gas at protestors.

Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying said on television Saturday night that the government and police have the responsibility and would use "every means" to restore public order to enable 3,000 government officials to get back to work and students to return to school Monday.

Police have shown tolerance and urged protesters to clear the streets as soon as possible since the mass demonstrations erupted Sept. 28, but their efforts to disperse them have only drawn more supporters to the streets.

As protesters continued their occupation in downtown streets, clashes erupted between the students and their opponents throughout Sunday morning.

Earlier on Sunday, Peter Mathieson, president and vice chancellor of the University of Hong Kong, issued a statement urging students and faculty members to quickly leave the protesting venues, citing concerns for their personal safety.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wonga writes off debts for 330,000 customers

Chief executive apologises to customers as payday lender writes off £220m of debts and interest costs

The Guardian, Rupert Neate and Lisa Bachelor, Thursday 2 October 2014

The offices of Wonga, the payday loan company, near Regent's Park in London.
Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

The controversial payday lender Wonga is writing off £220m of loans to 330,000 people, admitting that it should never have lent to them in the first place.

The company, which MPs have accused of “legal loan sharking”, said it would entirely wipe out the loans, and scrap interest and charges owed by a further 45,000 customers.

Wonga’s new chief executive, Andy Haste, said the company had been wrong to lend the money to people that could not afford to pay it back.

“We are taking action to address the failing of the past,” Haste said. “This business had been too focused on growth and cared more about the loan outcome than the customer outcome.

“We are clearly very sorry for what’s happened to our customers and are doing everything to put that right.”

He said Wonga had lacked experience credit professionals and “lent to people we should not have lent to”.

“The checks were not sophisticated enough and not strong enough,” he said.

Wonga’s action came after the City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), “raised concerns about our lending practices”, he added.

Wonga will write off the outstanding debts of 330,000 people who are more than 30 days in arrears, and let a further 45,000 people who are less than 30 days in arrears as of 2 October to pay back their loans without interest or charges. The customers affected will be notified by 10 October. Wonga estimated that the writeoffs will cost it about £35m as it has already taken provisions against many of the loans.

Haste, a respected City veteran who joined the company in the summer, said he would “not apportion blame” on Wonga’s founder Errol Damelin, who quit the firm in June.

John Mann, a Labour MP on the Treasury select committee, said Wonga should be called before parliament urgently to explain its “underhand tactics”, which he said disproportionately affected poor people.

“I welcome today’s latest step by the FCA to crack down on irresponsible payday lenders and this is a company that has taken advantage of people in dire financial circumstances,” he said.

“Sadly, it comes as no surprise to learn that Wonga knowingly lent money to people who will never be able to afford to repay a loan and it is morally right that they have been forced to write off these loans.

“I have written to the chairman of the Treasury select committee asking that he summons Wonga’s senior management to appear before the committee to explain their actions.”

The action has come about because Wonga was granting loans to borrowers without checking that they could afford to make the repayments. The company boasts on its website that it will pay the money into customers accounts within five minutes of the loan being approved.

It is understood that the checks the lender was making were so poor that many of its borrowers had no chance of ever repaying the loan because of the dire financial situation they were already in.

The FCA and Wonga are continuing to look at whether any other customers might be affected. It is understood that this could include former Wonga customers who managed to pay off their loans but should never have been lent to in the first place. If these customers were identified, it could lead to another huge bill for the company.

Wonga has also changed its lending criteria with immediate effect. It said that from now on there would be greater scrutiny of “loan to income ratio”.

It will also put a “30-day freeze” in place for people who have been in arrears before or have been rejected for a loan. Previously someone who had made late repayments but then paid off a loan could immediately apply for another one. A potential customer Wonga rejected could also immediately reapply. Now both sets of people will be barred from reapplying for 30 days.

Wonga said that the changes would mean “a material drop in the number of loans to new and existing customers”.

The firm will also be implementing new software that will determine how it lends. The creation of a “lending decision engine” will be overseen by a company appointed by the FCA.

One Wonga customer, Dan, who has a loan of just over £1,000 and is more than 45 days in arrears, welcomed the news. “Though no guidelines have yet to be published, I am hoping this deal struck puts me in the bracket of those who do not need to repay,” he said. “If so, it would be a very welcome gift.”

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New York Times faces new job cuts

The New York Times has announced fresh job cuts, mostly in its newsroom division, to save costs. The newspaper said it wanted to invest more heavily in its digital product portfolio.

Deutsche Welle, 1 Oct 2014

The New York Times confirmed Wednesday more job cuts would be required to lower costs against the background of shrinking advertizing revenue from its print business.

The newspaper said it would have to slash 100 newsroom positions and a smaller number of jobs from its editorial and business operations.

"We will also redesign the magazine, crate new journalistic features and adapt our journalism to a world where an increasing number of readers find us on mobile," NYT Executive Editor Dean Baquet said in a statement.

Deep restructuring ahead

He added the company would also invest heavily in audience development, its digital product portfolio and advertizing.

However, NYT Opinion, a mobile app dedicated to opinion content, would be shut down as it was not attracting enough subscribers.

The Times had earlier reported a hefty drop in profits in the second quarter, with its Q2 net earnings falling by half year-on-year to $9.2 million (7.3 million euros).

hg/cjc (Reuters, AFP)

Related Articles:

When Propaganda Fails, Humanity Awakens…The Fall of Mainstream Media

"Recalibration of Free Choice"–  Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth,  4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical)  8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version)

“…6 - The News

Number six. I'll be brief. Watch for your news to change. It has to. When the media realizes that Human Beings are changing their watching habits, they're going to start changing what they produce for you to watch. Eventually, there's going to be something called "The Good News Channel," and it will be very attractive indeed. For it will be real and offset the drama of what is today's attraction. This is what families at night, sitting around the table, will wish to watch. They'll have something where the whole picture of a situation is shown and not just the dramatic parts. You will hear about what's happening on the planet that no one is telling you now, and when that occurs [we have no clock, dear one], it's going to compete strongly with the drama. I keep telling you this. Human nature itself is starting to be in color instead of black and white. Watch for it. And that was number six ….”

Monday, September 29, 2014

Lloyds fires staff and axes bonuses for Libor rigging

Eight workers dismissed for manipulating benchmark interest rate, with cuts to overall bonus pool also expected

The Guardian, Jill Treanor, Monday 29 September 2014

Lloyds Banking Group fires staff for Libor rigging. Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/
Amer Ghazzal/Demotix/Corbis

Lloyds Banking Group has fired eight staff and withheld £3m of bonuses following “unacceptable” actions that led to the bailed out bank being fined for Libor rigging.

The bank also indicated its entire bonus pool could be cut to reflect the £226m of penalties it was forced to pay for manipulating the benchmark interest rate.

Lord Blackwell, the new chairman of the 24% taxpayer owned bank, said: “The board has been clear that it views the actions of those responsible for the misconduct … as being completely unacceptable.”

Lloyds was the seventh bank to be fined for rigging Libor but the first to be punished for depriving the Bank of England of fees it should have received for providing emergency financing during the financial crisis.

Part of the penalty was £7.8m redress to Threadneedle Street for manipulating a separate interest rate – the repo rate – used to calculate the scale of the fees it paid for the Bank’s liquidity scheme to keep down the cost of obtaining money during the credit crisis.

While eight Lloyds staff have been dismissed and lost their bonuses, four more were cleared and allowed back to work.

It is unclear what has happened to the bonuses of 10 bankers who had already left, as Lloyds has no power to claw back the cash. The details of those 10 have been passed to the City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority.

Among those fired were three of the four unnamed individuals who may have been involved in depriving the central bank of emergency funding fees.

Blackwell appeared to indicate that further cuts could be made to bonuses, saying: “The remuneration committee is tasked with ensuring that the outcome of the disciplinary process and the significant reputational damage and financial cost to the group are fully and fairly reflected in the options considered in relation to other staff bonus payments.”

António Horta-Osório, the Lloyds boss who joined after the offences took place – between 2006 and 2009 – said he was determined the bank should have high levels of integrity.

“Having now taken disciplinary action against those individuals responsible for the totally unacceptable behaviour identified by the regulators’ investigations, the board and the group’s management team are committed to preventing this type of behaviour happening again,” he said.

When the bank was fined, regulators published a string of embarrassing emails and electronic chats, including one remark from a Lloyds employee who quipped when asked about reducing a Libor rate: “Every little helps … It’s like Tescos.” The trader replied: “Absolutely every little helps.”

The fine was imposed by the FCA as well the US department of justice and the US regulator, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, issued a furious response because of the steps taken by traders to reduce the fees that Lloyds, which also owns Bank of Scotland and Halifax, paid for emergency funding.

“Such manipulation is highly reprehensible, clearly unlawful and may amount to criminal conduct on the part of the individuals involved,” Carney said at the time. He also asked the Prudential Regulation Authority, the Bank’s regulation arm, to investigate.

The Serious Fraud Office is investigating a number of firms, including Lloyds, for rigging interest rates and has brought charges against 12 individuals.

Professor Mark Taylor, dean of Warwick Business School, said: “Many will see this as closing the stable door too late, but the fact is that the City has begun to clean up its act and wants to be seen to be doing so.

“We have already seen the setting of Libor passing from a cosy conversation between a few City traders to being professionally managed by NYSE Euronext based on actual market trades, and that has done a great deal to restore confidence and belief in the integrity of the world’s most important financial centre.”

This is the second issue for which Lloyds has taken high-profile action to claw back or withdraw bonuses from staff. In February 2012, it became the first bank to publicly hold back pay from senior staff – including its former boss Eric Daniels – for losses incurred from payment protection insurance misselling.

Lloyds has been fined £4.3m for delaying payouts for customers claiming they were missold PPI and last year was hit with a £28m fine for linking bonuses to sales to such an extent that staff were offered “a grand in your hand” and one employee even sold products to himself, his wife and a colleague to avoid demotion.

The Libor rigging incident, first exposed in 2012 when Barclays was fined £290m, hammered the reputation of the industry and further fines for manipulating the benchmark rate are expected before the end of the year.

Six banks are also facing fines for rigging the £3.5tn a day currency markets and facing pressure from the FCA to settle in eight weeks.

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'Umbrella Revolution' takes hold in Hong Kong

Yahoo – AFP, Annabel Symington, 29 Sep 2014

Tens of thousands of Hong Kong democracy protesters have paralysed parts of the
city, clashing with police in their campaign for free elections (AFP Photo/Alex Ogle)

Hong Kong (AFP) - Protesters armed with little more than parasols and determination have brought central Hong Kong to a standstill with their demands for full democracy, in a movement that has been dubbed the "umbrella revolution".

The umbrella is fast emerging as the symbol of the demonstrations that since Sunday have paralysed the Asian financial hub -- a quintessential image in a city known for its downpours.

The demonstrations that have brought thousands onto the streets turned violent Sunday evening as police used tear gas and pepper spray against the swelling crowds.

The protesters -- mostly university students and high school pupils who last week boycotted classes in an attempt to pressure Beijing -- were ill-equipped to deal with the sudden violent turn.

They wrapped their eyes in clingfilm or donned goggles, wore paper face masks and cowered behind umbrellas to try to protect themselves from the tear gas and pepper spray.

"The umbrella is probably the most striking symbol of this Hong Kong protest. Our demonstrations used to be so peaceful, even pepper spray was very out of the ordinary," said Claudia Mo, a pro-democracy lawmaker.

"Now that pepper spray has become so common, we’re having to use umbrellas against it."

"The police have very high-quality shields -- we just have our umbrellas."

The phrase "umbrella revolution" was trending on social media Monday, and was also seen scrawled on a banner flung across a pile of upturned barricades and discarded umbrellas than blocked the entrance to a metro station.

Festival atmosphere

After the tear gas had blown away in the early hours of Monday, a festival atmosphere descended on the streets.

In the busy shopping district of Causeway Bay, more than a thousand demonstrators began chanting soft rock songs by the 1980s Hong Kong band "Beyond" after a resident in a tower block started playing the song over loudspeakers.

Protesters defied government calls to go home after chaotic scenes saw riot police
 fire tear gas in running battles with angry crowds in one of the biggest ever challenges
to Beijing's rule of the semi-autonomous city (AFP Photo/Xaume Olleros)

The band's melancholy ballad "Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies" has often been sung by the city's various protest movements who embrace the chorus lyrics: "Still free and independent/Forever singing my own song out loud".

"Everybody knows the lyrics. I'm in my 40s but look at these kids, they know it too," said one man at the protest who gave his surname as Bun.

By Monday morning calm had largely returned to the city's streets, although the usual throng of smartly-dressed commuters was replaced by a sea of dishevelled protesters who had spent the night camped on the streets -- under umbrellas.

Demonstrators sorted rubbish from the previous day into piles for recycling and distributed food and water amongst themselves.

The scenes were reminiscent of the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement where demonstrators set up generator-powered mobile phone recharging stations, a volunteer-run food tent and even a library.

"The cops, they are the ones who did violent things, attacking people without weapons. It really stimulates our emotions, so as normal people we know we need to do something," said bank worker Maple Leung, 27, who was out Monday distributing food and water to protesters.

The chaos has taken the city by surprise. The Chinese flag atop the Admiralty Centre near the government headquarters was raised upside down Monday morning. As a team climbed onto the roof to correct the mistake, the crowd of demonstrators booed.

Protesters have vowed to remain on the streets until Beijing meets their demands for unfettered elections.

"I'm staying until the end, until we get what we want to get, which is true democracy," said 18-year-old high school student Michael Wan.

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Tory minister Brooks Newmark resigns from government

BBC News, 27 September 2014

Mr Newmark appealed for the privacy of his family to be "respected at this time"

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Tory MP for Braintree Brooks Newmark has resigned as minister for civil society following Sunday Mirror allegations he shared sexually explicit images of himself with an undercover reporter over social media.

He said in a statement he remained "a loyal supporter of this government".

His resignation comes on the eve of the Conservative party conference.

It was announced hours after fellow Tory MP Mark Reckless said he was quitting the party to join UKIP.

It is alleged the reporter was posing as a young female activist.

A Downing Street spokesman said Prime Minister David Cameron had accepted Mr Newmark's resignation as a minister.

UKIP defection

Mr Newmark, 56, said: "I have decided to resign as minister for civil society having been notified of a story to be published in a Sunday newspaper.

"I would like to appeal for the privacy of my family to be respected at this time.

"I remain a loyal supporter of this Government as its long term economic plan continues to deliver for the British people."

Mr Newmark, who has been the MP for Braintree since 2005, became minister for civil society in July.

No 10 said later that Rob Wilson, Conservative MP for Reading East, had been appointed as Mr Newmark's replacement as minister for civil society.

Mark Reckless earlier told the UKIP conference he had resigned as an MP, triggering a by-election in Rochester and Strood.

He will seek re-election in his constituency for UKIP.

'Unfaithful' Bishop of Arundel and Brighton resigns

BBC News, 27 September 2014

Bishop Kieran Conry said he had been "unfaithful" to his promises as
a Catholic priest

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The Catholic Bishop of Arundel and Brighton has resigned, saying he has brought "shame" on the diocese.

The Rt Rev Kieran Conry, whose diocese covers Sussex and Surrey, said he had been "unfaithful" to his promises as a Catholic priest.

He said his actions "were not illegal and did not involve minors".

He apologised to those "hurt by my actions and then to all of those inside and outside the diocese who will be shocked, hurt and saddened".

He said his resignation would take immediate effect, and he would now take time to consider his future.

Bishop Kieran's statement did not specify in what way he had been "unfaithful" to his promises but it will be read in all Catholic churches over the weekend.

His statement ended: "I am sorry for the shame that I have brought on the diocese and the Church and I ask for your prayers and forgiveness."

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said: "This is a sad and painful moment.

"It makes clear that we are always a Church of sinners called to repentance and conversion and in need of God's mercy.

"All involved in this situation are much in my prayers today."

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BNP Paribas chairman resigns: company

Yahoo – AFP, 27 Sep 2014

French bank BNP Paribas Managing Director Baudoin Prot gives a press
conference in Paris on February 19, 2009 (AFP/Eric Piermont)

The chairman of BNP Paribas has resigned, some three months after the French bank was hit by a record $8.9 billion fine for violating US sanctions, the bank said.

Baudoin Prot, 63, who has headed the bank since 2011, was stepping down as of December 1 "for personal reasons," the bank said in a statement following a meeting of the board late on Friday.

Prot will be replaced by Jean Lemierre, 64, one of his close advisors and a key figure in negotiating BNP Paribas's settlement with US authorities.

Prot's resignation, which was first reported by a source close to the matter on Tuesday, comes almost three months after the giant French bank pleaded guilty to US criminal charges of violating sanctions on Iran, Sudan and other countries.

Prior to becoming chairman, Prot served as chief executive of BNP Paribas from 2003-2011, the period in which many of the violations of US sanctions law took place.

US officials said BNP Paribas deliberately hid thousands of transactions with Iran, Sudan, Myanmar and Cuba, countries that were sanctioned for terrorism and human rights violations.

The bank agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiring to violate sanctions, making it the first bank found guilty in a sanctions case.

Prot was not personally questioned by US authorities during the probe, but the difficulty of the settlement negotiations took its toll on the chairman, according to people familiar with the bank.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Big four accountants under fire in Holland for poor audit work

DutchNews.nl, Thursday 25 September 2014

Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem has pledged to get tough on the big four accountancy firms after a damning report from the financial services regulator.

The AFM said on Thursday that all four firms - KPMG, Deloitte, PwC and EY - have done little to improve the quality of their annual report audits since the last inspection in 2010.

The problems are structural and require 'fundamental reforms and a cultural shift,' the AFM said.

In a reaction, Dijsselbloem said 'the checks which accountants are required to carry out by law should be above reproach... It is unacceptable that the quality is not up to standard.'


In an effort to force the firms to improve, the AFM is planning a series of reforms. Accountancy groups will be required by law to have a supervisory board. Senior officials will have to be vetted by the AFM and the supervision of semi-public bodies such as hospitals and housing corporations will be stepped up.

According to the NRC, KPMG is the worst performer of the big four in the Netherlands. Of the 10 audits which the AFM looked at, seven were branded 'insufficient' - which means the books were signed off without the accountant being certain they were accurate.

Four out of 10 PwC and Deloitte audits failed to make the grade as did three carried out by EY.
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