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Sun, 20 May 2007 07:43:14 GMT

Fraud and delinquent communities

Fraud and delinquent communities
Last year I wrote about corporate delinquents.

Basically, I argued that unless we were talking about one individual with his or her hand in the till, most corporate fraud involved a delinquent community of people aiding and abetting, either helping themselves to the spoils or turning the other way.

Now this is backed up by an Institute for Fraud Prevention (IFP) report Control Overrides in Financial Statement Fraud which reveals that in most cases, fraudsters are not acting alone.

The study found that CEOs and CFOs were named as participants in the great majority of fraud allegations which, the authors say, is one reason why it's important to keep the Sarbanes-Oxley requirement that CEOs and CFOs certify reports to shareholders.

It also found that external auditors were participants in one out of five (21 per cent) cases of alleged financial statement fraud and that that at two-fifths of the firms where financial statement fraud allegedly took place, one or more directors was named as a participant in the fraudulent activities.

And the scary part? In most of the cases, the Securities and Exchange Commission sat on its hands and did nothing. According to the report, the SEC only acted in 44 per cent of cases.

The authors say this is a very good reason to ensure that class action securities fraud suits remain a vital mechanism for detecting and remedying financial statement fraud. They say any attempt to change that is misguided.

Posted by: leon      Read more     Source

May 17, 2007, 7:15 PM CT

Good decision-makers may be created

Good decision-makers may be created
People who do well on a series of decision-making tasks involving hypothetical situations tend to have more positive decision outcomes in their lives, as per a research studyby decision researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the RAND Corp. The results suggest that it may be possible to improve the quality of peoples lives by teaching them better decision-making skills. The study is being reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and will be presented May 25 at the Association for Psychological Sciences annual convention in Washington, D.C.

The paper marks an important step forward for decision science, because it shows that tasks developed to study decision-making errors in psychological labs can be used to gauge decision-making ability in real life. The study also shows that, eventhough decision-making competence is correlated with verbal and nonverbal intelligence, it is still a separate skill.

Intelligence doesnt explain everything. Our results suggest that people with good decision-making skills obtain better real-life outcomes, even after controlling for cognitive ability, socio-economic status and other factors, said Wndi Bruine de Bruin, a researcher in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon and the lead author of the study. That is good news, because decision-making skills may be taught.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

Wed, 16 May 2007 01:53:02 GMT

Top 10 Video Glasses!

Top 10 Video Glasses!
For your Eyes Only is not just the name of a James Bond movie but a song title too. Nonetheless, its an awe-inspiring technique of watching videos. Yes, I am talking about the video glasses that enrich you with the ultimate private video watching experience. I have compiled a list of 10 video glasses, which have really given new dimension to the concept of video viewing.

10. Digital Video Eyewear

Posted by: Naveen      Read more     Source

Wed, 16 May 2007 01:41:32 GMT

An Earthquake Effects More Than Buildings

An Earthquake Effects More Than Buildings
This is an impressive and hard and to some extent hitting print advertisement launched by CARE Austria to make people aware of the damage inflicted by earthquakes on the lives of people. The campaign evidently tries to underscore the fact that not only earthquakes damage buildings and landscapes but adding to people’s misery it also affects the average income of people. The advertisement is showing barren land with a crack caused by earthquake to depict a decline graph of average income of people.

The presentation of the advertisement is undeniably very remarkable that conveys its message in a very direct way. Another fascinating aspect of the presentation is its simplicity despite the fact that the basic idea has earlier been used many a times. The copy of the ad reads, ‘Average income. An earthquake effects more than buildings.’ The advertisement was deDemner, Merlicek & Bergmann, Vienna, Austria.

Via Ads of the World

Posted by: Balendu      Read more     Source

Wed, 16 May 2007 00:38:58 GMT

52-Year Restoration of Rare Deusenberg

52-Year Restoration of Rare Deusenberg
Yesterday I posted a blog about Nigel Matthew's invitation to judge at Rome's Unique Cars International Concours. Today I'm pleased to add another contribution from Nigel, one that he covered in his latest Vancouver Province article on the John Dart Deusenberg, and has granted me permission to quote.

Nigel tells us "John T. Dart grew up as a youngster peering through the windows of the Duesenberg factory and said that 'one day I will own a car like that.' " In 1951, by then a Canadian Pacific Airlines pilot, he purchased a neglected and weather-beaten Le Baron bodied Dual Cowl Phaeton Duesenberg for $1,000, the sole survivor of three delivered to Montreal in 1929. It took 52 years to restore the car to its former glory. When asked why, Dart replied, "because I kept running out of money." The completed vehicle remained somewhat of a secret until long-time confidante Harvey McEwen persuaded Dart to show the Steamworks Concours d'Elegance in Vancouver's Gastown. Television reporters interviewed Dart throughout the day and by evening the story had aired from coast to coast. This tale sadly came to a close on May 2nd when Captain John T. Dart passed away at the age of 94. Nigel adds, "it is ironic that, having spent so many years restoring J149, Dart drove the car less than 15 kilometres. I know that during countless evenings sitting behind the wheel, he had covered a few thousand in his mind."

Dart's school teacher was aviator Charles Lindbergh's mother. The car's original owner was the grandson of Sir William Van Horne, one of North America's most colorful railway pioneers. Van Horne had been general manager of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railroad until he was hired to take up the same position with the fledgling Canadian Pacific Railway on January 1st, 1882. He eventually became president and laid the groundwork for one of the world's great railway systems. Van Horne, Deusenberg, Lindbergh, John Dart.... memorable names linked by a rare and beautiful classic car.

Posted by: Philip Powell      Read more     Source

Wed, 16 May 2007 00:32:32 GMT

Paris Hilton Sentence May Get Reduced to Three Weeks

Paris Hilton Sentence May Get Reduced to Three Weeks
Some respite for troubled model Paris Hilton as she may have to serve less than 45 days in county jail. Hilton, who was sentenced last week to serve 45 days imprisonment, could spend three weeks or less behind bars provided she displays good behaviour in jail.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said:

Hilton, sentenced last week to do the time, could spend three weeks or less behind bars because of a state requirement that grants inmates time off for good behavior and because of overcrowding in the system.

Some women inmates, who showed good behaviour during their sentence, have been released after serving only 10 per cent of their total sentence. The other reason for such early release is the overcrowded jails. In a similar case last year actress Michelle Rodriguez, who was sentenced to 60 days in jail for drunken driving in Hawaii, was also releases as the jail was overcrowded.

26-year-old Hilton was awarded 45 days of imprisonment for drunken and reckless driving. Her term of imprisonment would begin on June 5. Though Hilton intends to appeal against her sentence and even her fans are also asking Californias governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant her pardon.

Source: Usatoday

Posted by: Fineblog      Read more     Source

Tue, 15 May 2007 23:27:59 GMT

Penthouse's airbrushed numbers

Penthouse's airbrushed numbers
Some stories are just too good to ignore.

The former owner of Penthouse magazine's publisher has agreed to settle civil accounting fraud charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission, accorSEC announcement.

The settlement is with Charles Samel, a former director and executive vice-president of Penthouse, and Jason Galanis, an ex-shareholder. In addition, Samel and Galanis were each ordered to pay civil penalties of $60,000 and have been barred for a period of five years from serving as officers or directors of public companies.

The case goes back to a January 2005 lawsuit where the SEC accused Penthouse International and Samel and Galanis of accounting fraud and financial reporting violations in connection with the company's financial statement for the first quarter of 2003. The SEC alleged that Penthouse improperly accounted for a $1 million payment it received from a company owned by Galanis in connection with an agreement to manage a Web site. It said the company's regulatory filing for the quarter bore the electronic signature of founder and former CEO Bob Guccione even though he didn't review it.

Of course, the magazine was heading into trouble at the time. Guccione, who was at his peak considered to be one of the riches people in the US, resigned in 2003 when the magazine ran into financial trouble. In 2003, General Media, the parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

So a bit of airbrushing of the numbers back then would not have gone astray.

Posted by: leon      Read more     Source

Tue, 15 May 2007 20:10:04 GMT

Barclays Slashing 1,100 People in UK

Barclays Slashing 1,100 People in UK
Barclays Bank is cutting 1,100 permanent employees, along with 400 contract workers and 200 temporary staff over the next three years at its offices in Poole, Dorset as part of an efficiency drive. It currently employs 2,500 people with 1,900 regular staff at the site, which handles back office functions such as payment processing and IT support.

Barclays which employs 123,000 people worldwide hoped to reduce costs by automating tasks.

Of late, bank is under consideration for taking over ABN Amro. However, the bank made it clear that proposed reduction of people is unrelated to the current takeover plans, which may yet receive a competing formal offer by a Royal Bank of Scotland-led consortium. If Barclays does succeed in taking over the Dutch bank, then the bank can slash 23,600 jobs from the combined operations around the world.

News of the planned job losses from Poole sparked concern among unions, leader of Poole Borough Council, Brian Leverett said

We are saddened to hear of job losses and will offer as much support as possible to staff. The losses will affect the town in some areas but we will be doing everything in our power to counter that

Via: bbc

Posted by: Rahulbhandari      Read more     Source

Tue, 15 May 2007 16:03:36 GMT

Best Business Books?

Best Business Books?
U.S. News & World Report recently had 14 bigshots from various walks of life give their ideas on the five best business books. Being a non-fiction junkie, I was interested in the titles they might choose, but I assumed I would hear the same names again and again. Interestingly, that wasn't the case. In fact, of the 70 combined choices from the heavyweights, only two books got more than one mention.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap.... And Others Don't by Jim Collins was listed by four different people, and Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors, a 1980 book from Michael Porter, was listed twice. (Interestingly, the two who chose Competitive Strategy also chose Good to Great.)

Otherwise, the selections were all over the board. Peter Drucker was mentioned multiple times, but no one book was mentioned more than once. Ayn Rand's biggies Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead were each mentioned once.

To me, the most interesting/eclectic list came from Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster, who included The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins and The Discourses by the second-century B.C. philosopher Epictetus in his list, along with a little Noam Chomsky for flavor.

I'm going to bookmark this list and try to get to some of these books, as I've only read a small handful, and have not read either of the two mentioned multiple times.

Even if you don't particularly like business books, I would suggest that part of successful personal finance is being successful at what you do for a living, and for most of us that means understanding business. Even if we don't own a company, understanding business from an ownership perspective opens up your eyes to how to do your job betterHere's the complete Best Business Books feature from U.S. News and World Report.

Posted by: Justin McHenry      Read more     Source

Tue, 15 May 2007 10:58:34 GMT

Kia Sales Slid Last April

Kia Sales Slid Last April
Upon reflection, last April was a lousy month for North American car sales pretty much across the board. Despite this, trusty Kia soldiered on and models such as the midsized Optima had its best sales month so far this year selling 4,538 units; up 20% over April, 2006.

That said, Kia sold 1,800 fewer cars this month than it did the during the same period last year (26,007 vs 27,807, respectively).

The Korean carmaker's executives remained optimistic saying, "The full vehicle line has received accolades that denote its confidence and integrity with consumers, and it is now on the verge of pushing through to the next level that will instill pride and passion among buyers."

We'll see if the market can bear Kia's accolades and integrity.

[Source: Kia]

Posted by: Gunnar Heinrich      Read more     Source

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