NCUA Board sues HSBC

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Nicholas BallasyThe NCUA board has filed a suit in federal court against HSBC Bank USA, claiming the bank violated state and federal law.The agency, suing in its capacity as liquidating agent for five failed corporate credit unions, alleged that the bank did not fulfill its duties as trustee for 37 residential mortgage-backed securities trusts.“As with the other trustees we have sued, HSBC failed to live up to its obligations under federal and state law, and we want the bank held accountable,” NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz said. “As our complaint states, instead of protecting the trusts and the certificate holders, HSBC sat by as the trusts wasted away. This failure caused significant harm to trust beneficiaries, including the corporate credit unions and ultimately consumer credit unions.” continue reading »last_img read more

PBC Helps Ex-Felons Vote While Amendment 4 is Finalized

first_imgAs Amendment 4, or the law permitting former felons to vote, is still being decided in Tallahassee, Palm Beach County officials announced on Thursday they are working with the current version of the bill to help restore those voting rights.“We do not want people to be deprived of the right to vote because they cannot afford to pay their court costs and fees,” says Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg.The law, as it stands, requires Florida’s nearly 1.4 million felons to complete their full prison sentences and pay associated costs and fees before having their voting rights restored.Critics have called it “a poll tax” that only serves to keep ex-felons from voicing their opinions.Palm Beach County officials cite recent rule changes that allow them to help ex-felons return to the voting booth. One of those changes entails a new process that was implemented in Palm Beach County courts two months ago and is effective for all future cases. It separates court fees from the sentencing docket, in essence putting the person on a payment plan so they may vote again immediately.Aronberg adds, “Our pathway is not to remove the fines and fees — they would still be obligated to pay the fines and fees. But the costs and fees would be separated from their sentence.”Each former felon would need to file an “agreed upon motion” with the public defender’s office in order to retroactively change their individual sentence docket.Miami-Dade County also separates court fees from the sentence docket.last_img read more


first_imgMany of the familiar faces (and some new ones!) gathered yesterday to mark the magical €1 million milestone reached by the amazing Shop LK voucher scheme.From small beginnings but with a big vision Shop LK, that started way back in 2004, the scheme has come so far in such a relatively short time – less than ten years.With a vision to promote local shopping Letterkenny Chamber devised Shop LK as a way to encourage people to shop local. In 2006 the first voucher was bought by Kathleen Dunworth from Ramelton and year on year sales of Shop LK vouchers have been soaring ever since. Whether they are bought as gifts, prizes, treats, or staff bonuses, Shop LK Vouchers have really caught the imagination of the general public and it has become one of the most successful local shopping schemes nationally.Shop LK is run by Letterkenny Chamber with all revenue being invested back into the brand through advertising and promotion. With sales increasing over the last two years by over 25% per year Shop LK has reached it’s first €1million sooner than expected and the Chamber and Shop LK participants are celebrating.To mark this important milestone Letterkenny Chamber had a celebration coffee morning for invited guests including the Mayor, Councillors and some of the many businesses that participate in the scheme.At the event John Watson, Chamber President said “ We are so proud of the success of Shop LK . It is a credit to those who came up with the idea in 2004 who had the vision to see that it would be a huge success. We have nurtured and developed the Shop LK concept and consider it to be our flagship brand that is well recognised in Letterkenny and the surrounding area. “This €1million has been spent right here in Letterkenny and it’s not just about the money. Each time a voucher is bought it reinforces the idea of local shopping, of supporting local businesses and protecting local jobs. This is one of the most successful initiatives of its kind, we led the way and we are now seeing the results.He continues “We also know that there is a multiplier effect as customers consistently spend more than the voucher value so we can assume at least double the value is spent in each transaction. So whether people got the vouchers as a gift, a bonus or just a treat they are showing their support for this local initiative.”Shop LK Vouchers, that are valid for a year, are bought all year round by individuals, groups and businesses whose staff have opted to have them instead of cash bonuses. The Shop LK initiative offers local consumers an opportunity to support their local town in a really tangible way.John continues “Shop LK is more than vouchers. It’s about promoting Letterkenny as a retail destination, the commercial hub of the county. Letterkenny provides something unique not found in neighbouring towns and cities – a Main Street with many independent traders, a local town feel with high street names, a clean well kept town, ample and reasonably priced parking close to the shopping areas and not least helpful and friendly staff who will go that extra mile to give customers exactly what they need. The “Shop LK – Love Shopping Letterkenny” brand helps to underpin all that is good about shopping in Letterkenny for local people and visitors alike.”Letterkenny Chamber makes no money from the sale or redemption of vouchers so every cent brought in through Shop LK is invested back into the promotion of the brand throughout the year. This year with financial assistance from Letterkenny Town Council Shop LK will embark on a promotional campaign to really put Letterkenny on the map. This year it is intended to get the message out to everyone in the North West and Northern Ireland that Letterkenny is the place to be for a wide variety of shops and choice all in one place all wrapped up in excellent service. Shop Vouchers are bought all year round and the €1million has been spent on a wide variety of goods and services, from an oil fill to a beauty treatment, from a gourmet meal to a quick sandwich, from weekly grocery shopping to the perfect gift. Over 90 outlets, from household names to local independent traders accept the vouchers reflecting the fantastic variety that is available in Letterkenny. Available in €5, €10 and €20 denominations they make the perfect gift for old and young alike, for families, for those moving house or getting married. The list of uses is endless.Toni Forrester of Letterkenny Chamber who has watched the initiative develop and mature over the last 3 years says “Reaching the €1m milestone is great news for Letterkenny Chamber, great news for the 90 Shop LK members that contribute so much to the scheme and great news for Letterkenny. It’s been great to be able to celebrate today with the people who make it happen, those who came up with the idea in the first place and those who have supported Shop LK all along.“We are also delighted to say that the person who bought the voucher that brought us to this grand total was young Letterkenny woman Elaine Callaghan who called in to the Chamber over Easter and is a regular customer. Elaine and everyone who has contributed to this fantastic achievement ensures that Shop LK will be around well in to the future and that the next million will not be long in coming round.”At the celebration the Chamber President thanked all the participating outlets, all of those who have worked on Shop LK over the years and very importantly the Chamber community employment staff that carry out all the work associated with the vouchers day and daily. It is these frontline staff in the Chamber that provide the resources throughout the year to make Shop LK such a success. Visit the Shop LK website www.shoplk.ieNotes:Shop LK – Love Shopping Letterkenny – local shopping initiative18th April @ 11am – Coffee & Cake to celebrate reaching the €1m milestone.Vouchers started to be sold in 2006€1m sold.First buyer, Kathleen Dunworth, Ramelton.€1m buyer, Elaine Callaghan, LetterkennyFACES OLD AND NEW GATHER TO CELEBRATE SHOP LK’S €1M SUCCESS was last modified: April 19th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:JOhn WatsonShop LKToni Forresterlast_img read more

Gruden a ‘Hollywood coach’ and Carr ‘nervous’: TV analyst dubious about Raiders’ bounce back

first_imgClick HERE if you’re having trouble viewing the gallery on your mobile device.A Raiders rebound at Denver on Sunday? Boomer Esiason sees two problems with that scenario: coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr.“You’ve got a Hollywood coach that’s doing commercials and everything, and also calling out his quarterback in the media for his poor performance against the Rams,” Esiason said on the CBS pregame show Sunday morning. “A couple of those interceptions were absolutely head-scratching …last_img

Why Should Government Fund Bad Science?

first_img(Visited 45 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Scientists are the least credible people to decide how money should be spent.Wastebook FriendsIn the wake of Senator Tom Coburn’s latest Wastebook of dubious scientific funding by the federal government, scientists are defending their misdeeds instead of blushing. Coburn (R-Oklahoma), a medical doctor, listed the top 100 wasteful projects that cost taxpayers $25 billion, including grants to study “voodoo dolls, gambling monkeys, zombies in love” and other subjects that seem to have no redeeming value or national interest (CNBC, Washington Times). Coburn’s site lists just a few of the studies and what they cost:Coast guard party patrols – $100,000Watching grass grow – $10,000State department tweets @ terrorists – $3 millionSwedish massages for rabbits – $387,000Paid vacations for bureaucrats gone wild – $20 millionMountain lions on a treadmill – $856,000Synchronized swimming for sea monkeys – $50,000Pentagon to destroy $16 billion in unused ammunition — $1 billionScientists hope monkey gambling unlocks secrets of free will –$171,000Rich and famous rent out their luxury pads tax free – $10 millionStudying “hangry” spouses stabbing voodoo dolls – $331,000Promoting U.S. culture around the globe with nose flutists – $90 millionAt Live Science, though, Stephanie Pappas defended these studies in the name of basic research—”studies that may not have immediate application and thus rarely get funding through private channels.” Many profound discoveries have, indeed, been made through basic research. Surely, though, not all basic research is created equal. The government cannot throw money at every conceivable study.National Geographic sides with Live Science against government intrusion into funding decisions. This article, “Should the Government Fund Only Science in the ‘National Interest’?” attacks another Republican congressman, Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who is pushing more oversight and accountability at the National Science Foundation (NSF), asking for “national interest” as a condition for funding science projects, even though he has only specifically “targeted several dozen specific grants out of 12,000 projects the NSF supports annually.” Like Pappas, reporter Eli Kintisch defends the status quo with the “basic science” argument. The NSF has a governing board that should decide how funds are spent, not politicians—particularly those with a “conservative political agenda.”Once again, though, the list of possible “basic research” projects vastly exceeds the money available. Who should decide? Who should pay?The answers might be simpler if institutional science’s method of knowledge generation guaranteed the production of accurate, useful information. But that assumption was again challenged by John Ioannidis, a Stanford University scientist, who published one of the most-cited papers of the millennium ten years ago, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.” Now he’s back, Nature News reported, with a new list of recommendations for improving the still-awful record of published papers found to be wrong after passing peer review. One biologist tweeted, “I’m totally with John Ioannidis when he says the scientific reward system needs to change.”Broken EngineIn Nature he performed a new study: “John P. A. Ioannidis and colleagues asked the most highly cited biomedical scientists to score their top-ten papers in six ways.” (See also Science Daily: “Most published medical research is false; Here’s how to improve.” It’s clear from his team’s findings that peer review and citation rates are not guaranteeing good science.There’s a long history of political control of science funding. The Paris Academy was directed by the king; they studied what he wanted them to study. In America, the government was initially much more controlling over science funding before the NSF was founded to direct scientific projects. Even so, “Tensions over the role of politics in science decisions have ‘been baked in from the start at NSF,’” one congressional staff member commented.It’s also true that “national interest” is a vague standard. It might be in the national interest to focus on a wide variety of basic research projects, for national prestige or to attract the best and brightest researchers around the world. Certainly, though, there can be no national interest for publishing studies that are false or ridiculous.One thing seems to be forgotten by all the writers and reporters: the taxpayer. Government does not generate wealth; people and businesses do. What government has it confiscates through taxes. The one who pays, therefore, should have a strong voice in how that money is spent—and it does, in the form of representatives like John Coburn and Lamar Smith who, speaking for their constituents, would like at least a little more accountability for a spendthrift agency like the NSF that decides to study zombies when the nation is suffering under a $17 trillion debt and faltering economy.It should not also be forgotten that any scientist is free to pursue any project with private funding. Many great discoveries were funded by private industry, foundations, or personal fortunes; look at what Elon Musk is accomplishing. If someone is not rich but has a good idea, crowdsourcing services like Kickstarter are available. Scientist, make your case: “I would like to raise funds to study synchronized swimming for sea monkeys.”Unfortunately, Wastebook 2014 may be the last. Senator Coburn retires after his present term. It is not clear if anyone will take up his mission of pointing out instances of government waste.The last word goes to John Ioannidis, who stated in 2012,I do not mention all of these caveats because I believe they are very likely to occur to the point that the negatives of these proposed practices will outweigh the positives…. However, at the end of the day, no matter what changes are made, scientific credibility may not improve unless the pursuit of truth remains our main goal in our work as scientists. This is a most noble mission that needs to be continuously reasserted.    —John Ioannidis, “Why Science Is Not Necessarily Self-Correcting,” Perspectives on Psychological Science (7 Nov 2012), as cited by Evolution News & Views.We asked once before if a scientist should be funded who wants to study the sounds emitted by animals when he steps on their feet. Wouldn’t that qualify as “basic research”? Doesn’t that fit within the category of “studies that may not have immediate application and thus rarely get funding through private channels”?We treat “Science” as some kind of infallible category of information-gathering, but like C.S. Lewis said, we should really look at any research endeavor as a matter of logical knowledge, not treating “scientific” knowledge as a separate thing. Science, moreover, is mediated by fallible, self-interested human beings. We humans can only overcome our selfish urges through accountability to others.last_img read more

No break for Huelgas, Mangrobang with their eyes set on Tokyo 2020

first_imgSEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief PH triathletes dominate SEA Games tilt in impressive showing UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses LATEST STORIES READ: PH bets also snatch gold, silver in women’s triathlonMangrobang, who is training in Portugal under coach Sergio Santos, is expected to fly back to her Rio Maiaor training camp.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutNikko Huelgas. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/SEA GAMES POOLHuelgas is training under his Australian coach Brett Sutton.Both of them, according to Triathlon Association of the Philippines, have already been identified by team experts to have the best physical and psychological attributes to qualify for the Olympics. LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games View comments Read Next Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ bosscenter_img WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Women’s triathlon gold medalist Kim Mangrobang. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/SEA GAMES POOLKUALA LUMPUR — No rest for newly crowned triathlon royalties Nikko Huelgas and Marion Kim Mangrobang.After ruling the Southeast Asian Games competitions, they are expected to resume their training in hopes of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program READ: Mangrobang can finally get good night’s sleep They will be entered in World Cup in Doha and another big tournament in Hong Kong by year end to gather as many world ranking points as possible.Mangrobang is now ranked 157th in the world, the highest for a Filipino, but is expected to rise further.“Our next big stop is the Asian Games,” said Trap secretary general Tom Carrasco.ADVERTISEMENT LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Gameslast_img read more

a month agoMan Utd midfielder Pereira desperate to repay Solskjaer support

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd midfielder Pereira desperate to repay Solskjaer supportby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira accepts the team is falling short of standards. The Belgium-born Brazil ­international has been at Old Trafford long enough to know Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in the midst of a crisis ahead of the game with Arsenal tomorrow. Pereira said: “The manager has shown a lot of faith in the young players – and I am very proud being one of them.“I want to carry on repaying that faith and hopefully nail down a spot in the team. ­ Manchester United is the ­biggest club in world. If we get a scoreline like we did at West Ham, the reaction to it is big – but that is normal.“People will talk about it and will always talk about this club. But we are Man United players and we have to deal with that pressure.“We have to pick ourselves up. We beat Rochdale and I am sure we will do the same against ­Arsenal.” last_img read more

8 days agoReal Madrid winger Lucas Vazquez remains on Arsenal radar

first_imgReal Madrid winger Lucas Vazquez remains on Arsenal radarby Paul Vegas8 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid winger Lucas Vazquez remains on Arsenal’s radar.El Desmarque says Arsenal are looking at is Real Madrid’s Vazquez, who the Gunners were linked with over the summer.Right winger Vazquez has been on the fringes of the Madrid team so far this season, the 28-year-old already has offers on the table from Arsenal, Roma and Bayer Leverkusen ahead of a possible January move.He has found himself behind Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo in the thoughts of Real manager Zinedine Zidane – although he has managed one goal in six La Liga appearances so far this season.He could be open to a move when the transfer window opens in the new year, although Arsenal would have to cough up around £13m. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Facebooks Zuckerberg apologizes for major breach of trust

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – Breaking five days of silence, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized for a “major breach of trust,” admitted mistakes and outlined steps to protect user data in light of a privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm.“I am really sorry that happened,” Zuckerberg said of the scandal involving data mining firm Cambridge Analytica. Facebook has a “responsibility” to protect its users’ data, he said in a Wednesday interview on CNN. If it fails, he said, “we don’t deserve to have the opportunity to serve people.”His mea culpa on cable television came a few hours after he acknowledged his company’s mistakes in a Facebook post , but without saying he was sorry.Zuckerberg and Facebook’s No. 2 executive, Sheryl Sandberg, had been quiet since news broke Friday that Cambridge may have used data improperly obtained from roughly 50 million Facebook users to try to sway elections. Cambridge’s clients included Donald Trump’s general-election campaign.Facebook shares have dropped some 8 per cent, lopping about $46 billion off the company’s market value, since the revelations were first published.In the CNN interview, Zuckerberg offered equivocal and carefully hedged answers to two other questions. He said, for instance, that he would be “happy” to testify before Congress, but only if it was “the right thing to do.” He went on to note that many other Facebook officials might be more appropriate witnesses depending on what Congress wanted to know.Similarly, the Facebook chief seemed at one point to favour regulation for Facebook and other internet giants — at least the “right” kind of rules, he said, such as ones that require online political ads to disclose who paid for them. In almost the next breath, however, Zuckerberg steered clear of endorsing a bill that would write such rules into federal law, and instead talked up Facebook’s own voluntary efforts on that front.Even before the scandal broke, Facebook has already taken the most important steps to prevent a recurrence, Zuckerberg said. For example, in 2014, it reduced access outside apps had to user data. However, some of the measures didn’t take effect until a year later, allowing Cambridge to access the data in the intervening months.Zuckerberg acknowledged that there is more to do.In his Facebook post, Zuckerberg said it will ban developers who don’t agree to an audit. An app’s developer will no longer have access to data from people who haven’t used that app in three months. Data will also be generally limited to user names, profile photos and email, unless the developer signs a contract with Facebook and gets user approval.In a separate post, Facebook said it will inform people whose data was misused by apps. Facebook first learned of this breach of privacy more than two years ago, but hadn’t mentioned it publicly until Friday.The company said it was “building a way” for people to know if their data was accessed by “This Is Your Digital Life,” the psychological-profiling quiz app that researcher Aleksandr Kogan created and paid about 270,000 people to take part in. Cambridge Analytica later obtained information from the app for about 50 million Facebook users, as the app also vacuumed up data on people’s friends — including those who never downloaded the app or gave explicit consent.Chris Wylie, a Cambridge co-founder who left in 2014, has said one of the firm’s goals was to influence people’s perceptions by injecting content, some misleading or false, all around them. It’s not clear whether Facebook would be able to tell users whether they had seen such content.Cambridge has shifted the blame to Kogan, which the firm described as a contractor. Kogan described himself as a scapegoat.Kogan, a psychology researcher at Cambridge University, told the BBC that both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have tried to place the blame on him, even though the firm ensured him that everything he did was legal.“One of the great mistakes I did here was I just didn’t ask enough questions,” he said. “I had never done a commercial project. I didn’t really have any reason to doubt their sincerity. That’s certainly something I strongly regret now.”He said the firm paid some $800,000 for the work, but it went to participants in the survey.“My motivation was to get a dataset I could do research on,” he said. “I have never profited from this in any way personally.”Authorities in Britain and the United States are investigating.David Carroll, a professor at Parsons School of Design in New York who sued Cambridge Analytica in the U.K., said he was not satisfied with Zuckerberg’s response, but acknowledged that “this is just the beginning.”He said it was “insane” that Facebook had yet to take legal action against Cambridge parent SCL Group over the inappropriate data use. Carroll himself sued Cambridge Friday to recover data on him that the firm had obtained.Sandy Parakilas, who worked in data protection for Facebook in 2011 and 2012, told a U.K. parliamentary committee Wednesday that the company was vigilant about its network security but lax when it came to protecting users’ data.He said personal data including email addresses and in some cases private messages was allowed to leave Facebook servers with no real controls on how the data was used after that.“The real challenge here is that Facebook was allowing developers to access the data of people who hadn’t explicitly authorized that,” he said, adding that the company had “lost sight” of what developers did with the data.___Danica Kirka and Gregory Katz reported from London. AP Technology Writer Mae Anderson in New York contributed to this story.last_img read more

Chowkidars only working for rich Priyanka Gandhi

first_imgNew Delhi: Taking a swipe at the BJP leaders in Uttar Pradesh, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday said these ‘chowkidars’ (watchmen) are only working for the rich and are not bothered about the poor.She attacked the Uttar Pradesh government while citing a media report on Twitter that claimed the dues of sugarcane farmers had crossed Rs 10,000 crore in the state. Congress President Rahul Gandhi also attacked the Uttar Pradesh government and BJP leaders for not clearing the dues of farmers, saying anyone insulting the farmers of the country cannot be a patriot. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”The failure is yours. Why are you punishing farmers for it. Our farmers give us life. Any atrocity on them is an atrocity on the nation. Those who insult our farmers can never be patriots,” Rahul Gandhi said in a Facebook post. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said on Twitter, “The families of sugarcane farmers toil day and night but the Uttar Pradesh government does not even take the responsibility of paying their dues.” “Rs 10,000 crore of farmers’ dues means everything, including their children’s education, food, health, and the next produce comes to a standstill. These chowkidars only work for the rich and do not care about the poor,” she claimed. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was recently appointed the Congress general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East.last_img read more