Dollars

December 2011


Paying two bucks a share for Yahoo!. –

Sources tell Reuters the Internet giant’s board is expected to consider plan to sell most of its Asian assets. One investment manager tells Reuters the deal would put — two dollar share valuation on the rest of the company. In about it already has in cash on its books. Proposal calls for Yahoo! to effectively transfer most of its 40% last Alibaba. Back to the Chinese company and all of its stake in Yahoo! Japan sources that. NYSE Euronext and Deutsche reports officials will likely have to appealed directly to the European commission’s antitrust commissioner. To save their merger deal sources say that’s because they’re not making headway in convincing — EC’s antitrust case — If — nine billion dollar deal should go through that team had expressed concern that the combined exchange would monopolize European listed derivatives trading. The deal would create the world’s largest exchange the other option for the two exchanges is to — the so called college of 27 commissioners. The great lady is shelling — a lot of Green. Sources tell Reuters outgoing New York Times CEO Janet Robinson will receive an exit package worth more than fifteen million dollars. That package includes nearly eleven million dollars in pension benefits that — accrued over 28. Years of service. A regulatory filing indicated the times policy previously stipulated she is eligible for these benefits. Only if she had been with the company for thirty years. Shares of the New York Times are down 25% this year and about 80% over Robinson seven year tenure as CO. Thomson Reuters IFR markets these third quarter GDP coming down today. It looks for a final reading of one point 9%. Down from the previous 2% reading as it expects consumers spent less on services and previously thought that report comes out at 830. Other reports out today include weekly jobless claims and the Thomson Reuters University of Michigan final December consumer sentiment reading. I authorities lack of a deal on a payroll tax cut extension impacting sentiment which it thinks he’ll come in at 68. That’s roughly world was the last time that report comes out at 955. And that is your morning call this Thursday I’m Fred Katayama and this is Reuters Insider.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

EBAY ON A BUYING BINGE IN EUROPE. TAKING OVER  BILLSAFE.

Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:39am EST

(Reuters) – EBay Inc said on Thursday it bought BillSafe, a purchase and invoicing technology provider with clients in Germany, and will combine it with its PayPal online payments service, in a move to strengthen its e-commerce capabilities in Northern Europe.

BillSafe’s technology lets shoppers buy and receive an item and pay later once they get an invoice. It is the most common form of e-commerce payment in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland, eBay said.

EBay took a minority stake in BillSafe last year and now owns the entire company. The company did not disclose terms of the deal but said it would have no material impact on the financial forecast it gave in October.

The deal is eBay’s latest this year to build its business abroad. In April it bought a Turkish auction site for $235.3 million.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

SICKENING SPECTACLE THAT IS THE AFRICAN STATE OF THE CONGO

Mariam Twaibu Shirika

Mariam

Mariam Twaibu Shirika isn’t strong enough to work after the injuries she sustained when she was raped in her home 18 months ago. Now living in Goma in accommodation provided by Women for Women. Has three surviving children, three others died of illness in 1989.

My name is Miriam Shirika and I am weak. I am in the women’s group because of housing problems.

I was living with my mum, my children and my siblings in a tent where I also had a small stall.

On December 5, 2007, thugs broke into my house. They took everything that I had at that time. They broke in a second time on December 27th. They met nothing so they decided to rape.

There were four. They were in civilian clothing not in military clothing, and they were speaking Kinyrwandan, the language from Rwanda.

They tore everything with a knife, everything: all the clothes. They raped me before my brothers, my sister, my mother, my uncle and the children. So they intimidated them.

They did this act in their presence, they blocked my shoulders and they started to rape me in the presence of all.

The aim was to rape me and my children together. They stopped as I was struggling a lot. One of them locked my shoulder this side, another this side, another one took this leg, pulling it so one of them succeeded in raping me. My children were there and the children saw everything so I’m quite sure it affected them, my children.

The children were there, my mother was there, everybody was there. I was very ashamed because they were seeing me at every moment, my nakedness at every moment.

When I was raped I was mentally upset. I could be walking along the road, not concentrating. I couldn’t even see the car that was coming.

Then one day the [Women for Women] enrolment team was passing by. They met me and they saw that I had a problem and they took me as a special case.

I would go crazy but Women for Women are giving me morale and hope and they showed me how to live again and that’s why I’m trying to be strong for the sake of my children. And now I am getting a little bit better as we are getting the training about trauma.

Since that time I have stopped selling as I do not feel strong enough to do any activity.

I’m living in a house I rent for $3 a month. It’s in a very critical bad condition. When it rains I get wet. I am living like a bird, I don’t know whether I am going to eat or not.

I have a boy and two daughters. The first one is in high school, 6th form, but now he is not going to school. I can’t pay the school fees. He is now 24 years old.

The youngest daughter is in year five. She’ll be 13 in July.

The other daughter is now a street girl, she is not living with me now. She is 15 years old. I haven’t seen her for one month now. I don’t know what’s going on. I think she has met with some friends who are better off, who are from another class other than mine. And I even don’t have time to look for her because I have to struggle for the other one just to get something, just food.

When I moved I felt a little bit relieved. I couldn’t talk with [my children] about such an issue.

What can I tell them? I don’t know what to tell them. Even the relationship with my 15-year-old has worsened. I’m ashamed of myself, of what happened. I don’t feel responsible for those children.

Yafanshize

Yafanshize

Yafanshize Nihargwe was married at 17 and is now 22 years old. She and her husband were farmers in Massisi. She has been at Heal Africa in Goma since April 2004 with fistula, after being gang raped by soldiers while she was fleeing her home.

When I was eight months pregnant [my husband and I] ran away because of war.

One night we were in a field and we were visited by soldiers. Six soldiers took me and raped me, and then they took my husband. If he died or if he is alive, I don’t know.

And when they raped me, as I was eight months pregnant, the water began to break.

And then during the morning the ones who ran away far from where [the soldiers] were began to look for people who had died, and found that I was alive.

They took me up to the road and they brought me here to Goma. And [Heal Africa] begin to treat me.

There were so many patients at the hospital, so then they brought me here (to Heal Africa transit centre accommodation).

Now I have had five surgeries. I haven’t recovered yet and I am waiting for the sixth one.

The Interhamwe took my husband and I don’t know where he is. Sometimes when I think about my husband and how they took him, I think that he died.

My parents died while they were walking from the war. I have one brother and one sister left in Massisi. Five were killed during the war.

I used to pray and if God helps me to be well, to recover I will work only for God.

In a future life I cannot cultivate like before they raped me. Now if I am well I would go to the road with a machine and begin to sew for people.

If I recover I will get a place here in Goma, I can’t go back to Massisi. They say in Massisi the war continues, how could I go back?

Zamunda Sikujuwa

Zamunda

Zamunda Sikujuwa is 53 years old. Mai Mai rebels raped her and killed her husband and children in 2006. She blames her relatives for turning to the rebels and causing the attack.

I’m here for treatment for the way they broke my body.

I came from Kindu because I was left with nothing, not even my children. That’s what brought me here to Heal Africa.

Local soldiers and Mai Mai arrived in the village. After five days, seven people came and we had to give them money.

One night at 4am there was a big attack by soldiers. Then they took my husband.

The children were there and they brought the husband into the room, and they killed him. The children were killed at the same moment.

Then they entered the room and they put a gun into my private part.

People from across the road took me to a local hospital. A priest had me flown to Baucavu. I had surgery in Baucavu.

If I went back to Kindu [the soldiers] said they would cut up my body and eat my body so I have to stay in Goma. If I went back to Kindu I would die.

In the beginning was very difficult to walk.

I need to find somewhere to live.

I wake up every night thinking of my husband and my children. I wish sometimes soldiers would have killed me so I can’t live. I don’t have anywhere to go and no one to care for me.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

RICHES BEYOND YOUR WILDEST DREAMS IN SPAIN FOR THE TAKING

Millions of crisis-hit Spaniards are snatching up tickets for the world’s richest lottery draw on Thursday, which will shower winners with a record 2.5 billion euro ($3.25 billion) in prizes.

Undeterred by a 21.5 per cent jobless rate and the prospect of recession, four out of every five Spaniards are expected to spend money on a ticket to a lottery known as “El Gordo”, or the “Fat One”.

Long queues snaked through the streets as people took a chance to dream of an escape from the economic crisis, each person buying an average of more than 60 euro worth of tickets.

In Madrid’s main artery, the Gran Via, many waited for tickets at a small kiosk.

“I am spending more than last year, 100 euros, and I am sharing the tickets with my friends and family,” said a 48-year-old office worker, Victoria.

“Some of them are having a very tough time financially and I want us to win,” she said.

A tradition that dates back nearly two centuries, “El Gordo” is an engrained Christmas ritual.

Family, friends and colleagues can play the same number and share the gains if they are lucky on December 22, when pupils from former Madrid orphanage San Ildefenso sing out the numbers on national television.

At Madrid’s Dona Manolita lottery ticket shop, which is famed for having sold the winning number several times, superstitious players are prepared to wait for hours for a ticket.

“And they say Spain is in a crisis,” a passer-by could be heard muttering as he struggled to get past the huge queue.

Spaniards’ attachment to “El Gordo” allows the national lottery to rake in a fortune each year, of which 70 per cent is shared out in prizes.

It makes the draw one of the world’s most generous, said Juan Antonio Gallardo, sales director of the national lottery.

The jackpot has grown to 400,000 euro from 300,000 euro last year.

With lottery ticket sales expected to amount to 3.6 billion euro, up from 2.7 billion euro last year, the total prize money to be shared out is expected to be 2.52 billion euro, the lottery says.

“The Christmas lottery is written into Spaniards’ DNA. No other lottery in the world sells so much,” Gallardo said.

Spaniards are paring back Christmas spending as they face a bleak economic outlook in 2012, with incoming conservative prime minister Mariano Rajoy promising 16.5 billion euro in budget cuts.

“I am spending much less than last year. I am looking for practical gifts,” said 52-year-old Maria Jose Perez, with a shopping bag stuffed with pyjamas and sports shoes for her 16-year-old daughter.

According to Spain’s federation of independent consumers and users, Spanish households will spend an average 560 euro on Christmas – 114 euro less than last year.

“Consumption is fragile, frugal and tired,” said a report by the Spanish business school ESADE, which predicted a 40 per cent decline in Christmas spending.

“But we will always keep some room for the little pleasures,” said the report’s author, Gerard Costa.

“And we won’t forget traditions like the lottery.”

Spain’s outgoing Socialist government had planned to sell a 30 per cent stake in the lucrative lottery to rake in up to 7.5 billion euro for the state’s depleted coffers.

But the government abandoned the sale in September, blaming plunging markets that would have slashed the sale price.

The national lottery posted a net profit of 2.99 billion euro in 2009, up 3.5 per cent from the year before despite an economic crisis.

Spain traces its fascination with the lottery back to the creation of the royal lottery in 1763, which used profits for social causes such as hospitals. The national lottery was approved in 1811 and held its first draw the following year.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

BILL GATES THE EXTRAORDINARY PERSON DESERVES A KNIGHTHOOD

Bill Gates today ruled out ever returning to the helm of Microsoft and dismissed harsh barbs by his former arch-rival Steve Jobs.

In an interview with Fairfax Media, Gates said Jobs was driven by the fact that “Microsoft machines outsold his machines by a lot”.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates … philanthropy is the focus on his life. Photo: Danielle Smith

This month Fortune reported rumours that Gates was considering a comeback to Microsoft, the company he founded in 1975 but stepped back from in 2006 to focus full-time on philanthropy.

But speaking in Sydney today, where he is on holiday with his family, Gates said he had made the transition to work full-time at his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “and that will be what I do the rest of my life”.

“I’m part-time involved with Microsoft, including even being in touch this week to give some of my advice but that’s not going to change – the foundation requires all of my energy and we feel we’re having a great impact.”

A possible comeback was loosely compared to Jobs, who took the reins at Apple in the late 90s after a decade in the wilderness and saved the company.

Steve Ballmer, who has been Microsoft’s CEO since taking over from Gates in 2000, is widely considered to have missed the significance of what Jobs dubbed the “post-PC era” and Microsoft is now an also-ran in smartphones, tablets and music players.

Gates, who plans to donate nearly all of his money to charity when he passes away, may be just as culpable as Ballmer for missing the new era in computing as he has been quoted questioning the viability of Apple devices like the iPod and iPad.

Gates on Jobs

Gates and Jobs were the founders of the personal computing revolution and although they have displayed great mutual respect, over the years the competitors frequently took potshots at one another.

Jobs recently said Gates was “unimaginative” and hadn’t invented anything.

Today, Gates said Jobs was “brilliant” and he enjoyed working with him on Mac software and also competing with him, but “because the Microsoft machines outsold his machines by a lot he was always kind of tough on Microsoft, but that’s fine, he was a brilliant person”.

‘Tough things’

“Our work at Microsoft was super successful for all good reasons but Steve made huge contributions and he actually in his last few years was a lot kinder than that but over the years he did say some tough things,” Gates said today.

Gates’ approach – to license his software to all computer makers – contrasted sharply with Jobs’s philosophy of controlling the entire user experience from top to tail.

Gates’ method saw Windows dominate the PC industry but the Jobs philosophy is proving powerful in the smartphone and tablet era.

Gates has previously said of Apple’s closed model: “The integrated approach works well when Steve is at the helm. But it doesn’t mean it will win many rounds in the future.”

‘Crappy’

Jobs said of Gates’s open model: “Of course his fragmented model worked, but it didn’t make really great products. It produced crappy products.”

Gates has previously described Jobs as “fundamentally odd” and while recognising his mesmerising effect on people, described him as “weirdly flawed as a human being”.

Jobs, who went on a journey of spiritual enlightenment in his younger years, said Gates would “be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger”.

But Jobs’s harshest barbs came during an interview with his biographer, Walter Isaacson.

“Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology,” Jobs told Isaacson. “He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas.”

Jobs has previously complained that Gates stole the idea of bringing a mouse-operated graphical user interface to Windows after seeing it on the original Macintosh.

‘No shame’

“They just ripped us off completely, because Gates has no shame,” Jobs said in the biography, to which Gates replied “if he believes that, he really has entered into one of his own reality distortion fields”.

Of Jobs’s technology prowess, Gates has said: “Don’t you understand that Steve doesn’t know anything about technology? He’s just a super salesman.”

But in an internal email that previously surfaced, Gates was more charitable: “Steve Jobs’ ability to focus in on a few things that count, get people who get user interface right, and market things as revolutionary are amazing things.”

When Jobs and Gates appeared on stage together in 2007 in a rare joint interview, Gates said: “I’d give a lot to have Steve’s taste.”

Gates on … bringing his family to Sydney

“They thought it would be fun to come down and see some of the neat places around Australia. Sydney is a great place and it’s summer here. Wish it was a tiny bit warmer, but it hasn’t been too bad”

… on Australia’s overseas aid 

“Australia is making good increases” but “The other rich countries on average are doing even more.

“I think it’s important to get out to Australians that this kind of generosity really makes a difference. Actually the most impactful dollars that Australia can spend are actually what goes to help the poorest.”

Sourced & published  by Henry Sapiecha

BILL GATES THE EXTRAORDINARY PERSON DESERVES A KNIGHTHOOD

Bill Gates today ruled out ever returning to the helm of Microsoft and dismissed harsh barbs by his former arch-rival Steve Jobs.

In an interview with Fairfax Media, Gates said Jobs was driven by the fact that “Microsoft machines outsold his machines by a lot”.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates … philanthropy is the focus on his life. Photo: Danielle Smith

This month Fortune reported rumours that Gates was considering a comeback to Microsoft, the company he founded in 1975 but stepped back from in 2006 to focus full-time on philanthropy.

But speaking in Sydney today, where he is on holiday with his family, Gates said he had made the transition to work full-time at his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “and that will be what I do the rest of my life”.

“I’m part-time involved with Microsoft, including even being in touch this week to give some of my advice but that’s not going to change – the foundation requires all of my energy and we feel we’re having a great impact.”

A possible comeback was loosely compared to Jobs, who took the reins at Apple in the late 90s after a decade in the wilderness and saved the company.

Steve Ballmer, who has been Microsoft’s CEO since taking over from Gates in 2000, is widely considered to have missed the significance of what Jobs dubbed the “post-PC era” and Microsoft is now an also-ran in smartphones, tablets and music players.

Gates, who plans to donate nearly all of his money to charity when he passes away, may be just as culpable as Ballmer for missing the new era in computing as he has been quoted questioning the viability of Apple devices like the iPod and iPad.

Gates on Jobs

Gates and Jobs were the founders of the personal computing revolution and although they have displayed great mutual respect, over the years the competitors frequently took potshots at one another.

Jobs recently said Gates was “unimaginative” and hadn’t invented anything.

Today, Gates said Jobs was “brilliant” and he enjoyed working with him on Mac software and also competing with him, but “because the Microsoft machines outsold his machines by a lot he was always kind of tough on Microsoft, but that’s fine, he was a brilliant person”.

‘Tough things’

“Our work at Microsoft was super successful for all good reasons but Steve made huge contributions and he actually in his last few years was a lot kinder than that but over the years he did say some tough things,” Gates said today.

Gates’ approach – to license his software to all computer makers – contrasted sharply with Jobs’s philosophy of controlling the entire user experience from top to tail.

Gates’ method saw Windows dominate the PC industry but the Jobs philosophy is proving powerful in the smartphone and tablet era.

Gates has previously said of Apple’s closed model: “The integrated approach works well when Steve is at the helm. But it doesn’t mean it will win many rounds in the future.”

‘Crappy’

Jobs said of Gates’s open model: “Of course his fragmented model worked, but it didn’t make really great products. It produced crappy products.”

Gates has previously described Jobs as “fundamentally odd” and while recognising his mesmerising effect on people, described him as “weirdly flawed as a human being”.

Jobs, who went on a journey of spiritual enlightenment in his younger years, said Gates would “be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger”.

But Jobs’s harshest barbs came during an interview with his biographer, Walter Isaacson.

“Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology,” Jobs told Isaacson. “He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas.”

Jobs has previously complained that Gates stole the idea of bringing a mouse-operated graphical user interface to Windows after seeing it on the original Macintosh.

‘No shame’

“They just ripped us off completely, because Gates has no shame,” Jobs said in the biography, to which Gates replied “if he believes that, he really has entered into one of his own reality distortion fields”.

Of Jobs’s technology prowess, Gates has said: “Don’t you understand that Steve doesn’t know anything about technology? He’s just a super salesman.”

But in an internal email that previously surfaced, Gates was more charitable: “Steve Jobs’ ability to focus in on a few things that count, get people who get user interface right, and market things as revolutionary are amazing things.”

When Jobs and Gates appeared on stage together in 2007 in a rare joint interview, Gates said: “I’d give a lot to have Steve’s taste.”

Gates on … bringing his family to Sydney

“They thought it would be fun to come down and see some of the neat places around Australia. Sydney is a great place and it’s summer here. Wish it was a tiny bit warmer, but it hasn’t been too bad”

… on Australia’s overseas aid 

“Australia is making good increases” but “The other rich countries on average are doing even more.

“I think it’s important to get out to Australians that this kind of generosity really makes a difference. Actually the most impactful dollars that Australia can spend are actually what goes to help the poorest.”

Sourced & published  by Henry Sapiecha

Kevin Bermeister [personal web] is sueing the giants of the IT world

Google, YouTube, Amazon, EMC, VMWare, Dropbox, NetApps, NEC and Caringo.

The Sydney entrepreneur who created Kazaa is a shareholder and chairman of a US company that is suing the biggest names on the internet, including Google and Amazon, for patent infringement in a case that experts say could run into the hundreds of millions.

Kevin Bermeister, born in South Africa but now living in a mansion near the water in Rose Bay, reached a $150 million settlement after being sued by the music industry over the Kazaa file sharing service in 2005. He has since turned his hand to developing technology to combat internet piracy.

Bermeister is a significant shareholder and non-executive chairman of PersonalWeb, which late last week filed separate cases in the United States District Court for the eastern district of Texas against Google, YouTube, Amazon, EMC, VMWare, Dropbox, NetApps, NEC and Caringo.

The cases allege the companies infringe eight PersonalWeb patents in their cloud computing products, “including content addressable storage and/or distributed search engine technologies”.

“PersonalWeb protects its proprietary business applications and operations through a portfolio of patents that it owns, and we are actively pursuing licensing and participation in the operation of businesses that use these patents,” said Michael Weiss, CEO of PersonalWeb, in a statement.

Peter Black, senior lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology, said that while he had not closely assessed the merits of the case, if successful the damages would be “substantial”.

Mark Summerfield, a senior associate at Watermark in Melbourne who is a patent law specialist, said going by similar cases the damages claims will be “at least in the hundreds of millions of dollars per defendant”.

However, Black worried that patents in the technology sector were “very general”, making infringement “almost inevitable” as new products are developed (e.g. the Samsung vs. Apple litigation).

“An increasingly common trend is to use patent litigation as a business model – companies use patent lawsuits (or the threat of patent lawsuits) as leverage to enter into license arrangements with competitors,” said Black.

Weiss could not be reached for comment today while Bermeister declined to comment as he is a witness in the case. Google and EMC both refused to comment as the case is before the courts.

PersonalWeb says it has used the patents to develop related technologies such as an online collaboration platform for students dubbed StudyBods.

The patents also form the basis of Global File Registry, a technology that Bermeister and his team have been pitching to ISPs and police agencies as a way of combatting online piracy and child pornography. The technology is able to recognise millions of known pirated content and child pornography files and when users search for such files on peer-to-peer services, is able to offer a paid, legal version of the content or , in the case of child pornography, a law enforcement message.

Before Kazaa and Global File Registry, Bermeister created the video games distributor Ozisoft in 1982 and in 1994 he established the now-defunct $70 million interactive Sega World theme park in Sydney. He was also a founding investor in Skype.

In the complaint against Google and YouTube, seen by this website, PersonalWeb alleges that the core services provided by the companies infringe its patents around identifying, processing, distributing and controlling access to data online.

Almost identical claims are made against the other web giants. PersonalWeb has produced a document, seen by this website, which claims each of the companies it targeted have in fact cited PersonalWeb’s patents in their own patents several times, but have not paid licensing fees.

“Google had prior knowledge of at least one of the patents-in-suit and the patented technology because they were cited in several of Google’s own patent applications,” the complaint against Google reads.

PersonalWeb is asking for a jury trial and ultimately, damages.

Summerfield said while he was not an expert on US patent law, the Texas court chosen by PersonalWeb was “most-renowned as the preferred venue for so-called patent trolls” – the term used to describe companies that buy patents in order to sue and obtain fees from alleged infringers rather than develop a product.

He questioned whether it was an attempt to extract fees out of “a stack of really big companies with deep pockets”. “After all, if you genuinely have an innovative new technology that is supposedly going to be clearly differentiated in the market, why would you need to sue only the biggest names in the business for doing what they are already doing,” said Summerfield.

PersonalWeb has gone to great pains to point out the products it has attempted to develop using the patents.

Summerfield said he was unable to comment on the merits of the case as that would involved hours of analysis. However, he said on the currently available evidence “it is very unclear whether PersonalWeb’s primary business model is as a developer of innovative online services and solutions, or as a patent-holding company seeking to derive income from patent licensing and/or enforcement”.

Separately, another Australian inventor, Ric Richardson, has been battling Microsoft in a different patent infringement case.

Uniloc, which owns Richardson’s patent around product activation, was awarded $US388 million by a US jury in 2008 after Microsoft was found to infringe the patent. On appeal, the infringement verdict was upheld, but the case has been sent back to the original court for a recalculation of the damages, still expected to be an extremely substantial amount.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha