Monday, September 01, 2014

Canadians expose foreign worker 'mess' in oilsands

Canadians expose foreign worker 'mess' in oilsands

IMF chief Christine Lagarde has been put under formal investigation

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, Internat...
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
IMF chief Christine Lagarde has been put under formal investigation by French magistrates for negligence in a political fraud affair dating from 2008 when she was finance minister.
Lagarde, who this week was questioned by magistrates in Paris for a fourth time under her existing status as a witness in the long-running saga, said she would contest the decision.
"I have asked my lawyer to use all recourse against this decision which I consider to be completely unfounded," she said on BFMTV. "I am returning to work in Washington this afternoon."
Under French law, magistrates place someone under formal investigation when they believe there are indications of wrongdoing, but that does not always lead to a trial.
Lagarde's lawyer, Yves Repiquet, told Reuters he would appeal the magistrates' decision and so the matter would not prevent Lagarde from doing her job at the head of the International Monetary Fund in the meantime.
"She is now on her way back to Washington and will, of course, brief the (IMF) Board as soon as possible," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said. "Until then, we have no further comment."
The inquiry relates to allegations tycoon Bernard Tapie, a supporter of conservative ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, was improperly awarded 403 million euros ($531 million) in an arbitration to settle a dispute with now defunct, state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais.
The inquiry has already embroiled several of Sarkozy's cabinet members and France Telecom CEO Stephane Richard, who was an aide to Lagarde when she was Sarkozy's finance minister.
In previous rounds of questioning, Lagarde has not recognized as her own the pre-printed signature to sign off on a document facilitating the payment, Repiquet told Reuters by telephone. However Richard has stated that Lagarde was fully briefed on the matter.
The offence of negligence by a person charged with public responsibility in France carries a maximum penalty of one year's imprisonment and a 15,000-euro fine.
Lagarde was a star in Sarkozy's cabinet and well-respected by peers, pushing through many of the high-profile initiatives in France's presidency of the G20 group of nations.
She has been managing director of the IMF since 2011 after her predecessor at the IMF, Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn, resigned over sexual assault charges that were later dropped.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Time Warner Cable Inc will pay $1.1 million to resolve a Federal Communications Commission investigation

Time Warner Cable Inc will pay $1.1 million to resolve a Federal Communications Commission investigation that last year found the cable and Internet provider did not properly report multiple network outages, the regulators said this week.
"TWC (Time Warner Cable) failed to file a substantial number of reports with respect to a series of reportable wireline and Voice over Internet Protocol network outages," the FCC said in a report revealing the settlement released on Monday. "TWC admits that its failure to timely file the required network outage reports violated the Commission's rules."
The FCC requires providers of fixed Internet connection or voice-over-Internet-Protocol calling to promptly report some network outages that last 30 minutes or longer, for instance those that potentially affect emergency response 911 facilities or those that impact enough consumers to collectively result in at least 900,000 minutes of disrupted Internet or phone use.
After the prompt initial notification of the outage, the providers then have to follow up in some cases with an initial report but always with a final report within 30 days of discovering the outage.
Prompt access to information about how national telecom networks are working is critical to prevent or prepare for disruptions that could pose threats to homeland security, public safety or the U.S. economic stability, the FCC says.
The agency's staff in September 2013 warned Time Warner Cable that it failed to file the final report on one outage, though it had filed a timely initial notification.
Investigating further, the FCC found that the company "had failed to file a substantial number of Initial Reports and/or Final Reports with respect to a series of reportable wireline and VoIP network outages for which TWC had timely filed the required Notifications," the regulators said in this week's order.
Time Warner Cable submitted all missing reports by November 8, 2013, the FCC said.
After Time Warner Cable admitted that it violated the requirements for network reporting, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau and the company agreed to settle with the monetary civil penalty and a three-year compliance plan to properly report all network outages in the future, the FCC said.

Health Canada pulling last of citronella-based bug sprays

Health Canada pulling last of citronella-based bug sprays

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fraudsters are targeting JPMorgan Chase & Co customers

JPMorgan Chase Tower (Dallas)
JPMorgan Chase Tower (Dallas) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fraudsters are targeting JPMorgan Chase & Co customers in an email "phishing" campaign that is unusual because it attempts to collect credentials for that bank and also infect PCs with a virus that steals passwords from other institutions.
The campaign, dubbed "Smash and Grab," was launched on Tuesday with a widely distributed email that urged recipients to click to view a secure message from JPMorgan, according to security researchers with corporate email provider Proofpoint Inc.
JPMorgan, the No. 1 U.S. bank by assets, confirmed that spammers had launched a phishing campaign targeting its customers.
"It looks like they sent it out to lots of people in hopes that some of them might be JPMorgan Chase customers,” said bank spokeswoman Trish Wexler.
She said the bank believes most of the spam was stopped by filters at large Internet providers, adding that the email looked realistic because the attackers apparently used a screen grab from an authentic email sent by the bank.
Users who click on a malicious link are asked to enter credentials for accessing accounts with JPMorgan. Even if they did not comply, the site attempts to automatically install the Dyre banking Trojan on their PCs, according to Proofpoint.
Dyre is a recently discovered piece of malware that seeks credentials from customers of Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc and the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, according to email security firm Phishme.

Proofpoint Vice President of Threat Research Mike Horn said it is unusual for spammers to infect PCs with malware while trying to persuade users to provide banking credentials because that increases the odds of detection.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Why science literacy matters: Bob McDonald

Why science literacy matters: Bob McDonald

CME Group delayed the start of trade on its electronic platform

CME Group delayed the start of trade on its electronic platform by four hours on Monday due to technical problems, the latest glitch to hit the world's largest futures market operator.
But traders in Asia said the delay would have only a limited impact, with volumes likely thin on Monday morning in the absence of major market-moving news over the weekend.
The start of trade in all contracts on the Globex Markets platform, apart from Bursa Malaysia derivatives, was halted because of an unspecified technical glitch, the top U.S. exchange operator said on its website.
Trade eventually began at 2200 EST, but a spokesman for CME in Singapore declined further comment.
Among contracts traded on CME include the benchmarks for U.S. crude and agricultural markets such as wheat, corn and soybeans. U.S. gold and silver futures are also traded on the system.
The delay marks another headache for CME, which shut electronic trade for leading agricultural contracts on April 8 in the worst-ever trading outage for those markets.
CME Executive Chairman Terrence Duffy has said that outage was triggered when sophisticated technology tripped over a trading halt in a single market.
CME, which owns the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade and the New York Mercantile Exchange, said in July that it would slash costs by reducing hiring and employee travel amid weak trading volumes that led to a 15 percent drop in second-quarter net profit.

All day and session orders, including so-called good-through-date orders with an Aug. 24 trade date would be canceled, CME said on Monday.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Windows phone and the U.S. Government

Microsoft's love-hate relationship with the U.S. government is turning a bit more amicable, at least when it comes to Windows Phone.
The U.S. governent is a big technology buyer. The 2014 federal IT budget weighs in at over $81 billion. For fiscal 2015, federal IT spending will to dip somewhat to $79 billion, according to the White House's budget (PDF).
Microsoft is hoping that Windows Phone 8.1's built-in capabilities will help the Redmond, Wash.-based software company's newest mobile operating system catch the eye of the U.S. government and its security-minded agencies, which are under pressure to adopt mobile-enabled work styles. Stymieing those efforts are concerns that smartphones are the IT equivalent of leaky faucets.
Rick Engle, Microsoft's principal Windows technology specialist, combats the notion that increased mobility means increased risk in a blog post detailing the measures his company has taken to help Windows Phone 8.1 safeguard data. Having collaborated with "Microsoft field personnel and customers in many verticals," the company baked enterprise-grade security into the OS, he said.
"The result is a security-enhanced OS and an architecture designed to help prevent malware attacks—and even prevent rooting and jail breaking," stated Engle.
Included with Windows Phone 8.1 smartphones is native virtual private networking (VPN) support. "Connections can be provisioned by an MDM [mobile device management] and provide Single-Sign-On (SSO) security-hardened access through certificate authentication, and also reconnect automatically, providing a flexible and reliable connection," informed Engle.
Other features include a built-in MDM client that hooks into an organization's MDM platform of choice. "Device enrollment has been dramatically simplified," reported Engle, "lowering support costs and helping ease enrollment in both a Bring Your Own Device and a Corporate Liable scenario."
Granular MDM policies enable "full control of onboard hardware capabilities such as camera, Bluetooth, GPS, and NFC," he added. The Assigned Access option provides a "tightly controlled, curated experience" while app whitelisting and blacklisting controls keep unapproved apps at bay. S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) support simplifies email encryption.
Windows Phone 8.1 is also a solution for weak or pilfered passwords. "One of the biggest breakthroughs is support for two-factor authentication," said Engle. "Certified devices include a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), an encrypted hardware container [that] can be used to store and help protect certificates, including PIN-protected certificates stored within a Virtual Smartcard container." - See more at: http://www.eweek.com/mobile/microsoft-hardens-windows-phone-for-government-duty.html#sthash.ba3OuKFn.dpuf

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

world's first OLED TV with 4K resolution

LG 77-Inch Curved OLED 4K TV
Ahead of next week's IFA trade show in Berlin, LG today announced pre-sales of what it calls the world's first OLED TV with 4K resolution.
Available in 65- and 77-inch screen sizes, the TV sets promise the very best in display technology, boasting a 3,840-by-2,160 curved screen projecting Ultra HD quality.
"LG 4K OLED TV is the pinnacle of technological achievement and a new paradigm that will change the dynamics of the next generation TV market," LG CEO Hyun-hwoi Ha said in a statement. "As the next evolutionary step in display technology, OLED will play a major role in reshaping our industry."
Aside from its brighter colors, deeper blacks, and more natural hues, the TVs also come with LG's multi-channel Ultra Surround sound system for a heightened sense of immersion.
The sets will run WebOS, the platform LG acquired from HP last year. It comes with a leaf-shaped stand, but can be wall-mounted.
"OLED TVs are expected to overtake LCD in sales within a few years and no company is better prepared for this than LG," Ha boasted, adding that OLED's benefits "are obvious."
With no deterioration in picture quality or issues like image blurring, distortion, or color leakage, curved OLED TVs are superior to their LCD counterparts, the company president said.
LG initially unveiled its 77-inch 4K OLED TV during last year's IFA (pictured), alongside a 55-inch curved OLED TV, and showed it off again at CES.
While there is no official word on how much the sets will cost, the Associated Press reported that the smaller TV will set you back 12 million won ($11,765).
But Ha promised that the 4K OLED TV represents "superb value" in terms of color reproduction, contrast ratio, detail, and viewing angles. "I feel confident when I say that 4K OLED is a bona fide game changer," Ha said.
LG is taking pre-orders this week for the 65- and 77-inch 4K OLED TVs, but only in Korea. Availability in North America and Europe will follow shortly.

Monday, August 25, 2014

FCC to accept comments through to Sept. 15

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...
Logo of the United States Federal Communications Commission, used on their website and some publications since the early 2000s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Friday said it would accept public comments on its proposed new "net neutrality" rules through Sept. 15, giving Americans extra time to weigh in on how they think Internet traffic should be regulated.
The FCC has received more than 1 million comments already on new rules for how Internet services providers should be allowed to manage web traffic on their networks.
The FCC had set a deadline of July 15 for the initial comments and then September 10 for replies to those initial comments. However, the surge in submissions overwhelmed the FCC's website and the agency had delayed the first deadline by three business days.

"To ensure that members of the public have as much time as was initially anticipated to reply to initial comments in these proceedings, the Bureau today is extending the reply comment deadline by three business days," the FCC said on Friday, delaying the final deadline for comments to September 15.