Top Headlines - part 74

FBI Shuts Down $14 Billion Internet Fraud Ring

FBI Shuts Down $14 Billion Internet Fraud Ring

WORLD

  • Online advertising scam impacted millions of hijacked computers
  • Malware redirected search queries from infected systems to sites featuring ads for their clients
  • Computers affected in 100 countries, including machines owned by NASA

The FBI has dismantled an internet fraud ring that illegally earned at least $14 billion from an online advertising scam that impacted millions of hijacked computers around the world, including some at NASA.

Six Estonian nationals have been arrested in Estonia and charged with five counts of wire and computer intrusion crimes relating to the fraud, which took place from 2007 to October 2011. A seventh suspect, a Russian national, is still at large.

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Will US States Collect Online Sales Tax?

Will US States Collect Online Sales Tax?

BUSINESS

  • Marketplace Fairness Act could mean billions of dollars in tax revenue
  • Small businesses afforded $500,000 exemption on yearly sales
  • Amazon falls in line with bill, eBay continues to oppose move

A bill allowing states to collect online sales tax is to be passed in 2012. The bill was introduced by several US Senators - including Michael Enzi, Lamar Alexander, and Illinois Democratic Senator Richard Durban - who hope to open the matter in a Senate committee hearing before the end of the year.

If passed, the bill, known as the Marketplace Fairness Act, would allow state governments to collect billions of dollars worth of tax revenue. To collect sales taxes from goods bought online, US states would need to sign a legal agreement to make tax codes conform across multiple states. States that do not sign the multi-state agreement could still oblige online sellers to collect sales tax.

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US Oil & Gas Drilling Shifts Focus To Gulf Of Mexico

US Oil & Gas Drilling Shifts Focus To Gulf Of Mexico

BUSINESS

  • Green light for 12 lease sales in Gulf of Mexico, 3 off coast of Alaska for later
  • Alaska drilling held off pending spill response preparedness
  • Obama administration leaves Atlantic and Pacific embargo in place

The Obama administration is to focus its oil and gas development efforts on the Gulf of Mexico from 2012, while delaying Arctic drilling to await reaction plans in case of spills.

The five-year plan, to run from 2012, provides for 15 possible lease sales over its duration, with 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and 3 off the Alaskan coast. Lease sales in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, above Alaska, are forecast toward the later stages of the plan until spill response has been fine-tuned.

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Could Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet Disrupt The Tablet Market?

Could Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet Disrupt The Tablet Market?

BUSINESS

  • Kindle Fire may have an 8% share of tablet market by end of year
  • Barnes & Noble releases Nook Tablet at similar price point to Kindle Fire
  • Apple suggests fragmentation could drive users to seek stability of iPad platform

The recent release of Amazon’s Kindle Fire could be about to shake up the tablet market in a big way. Amazon has now increased orders for its new device to 5 million units by the end of the year, according to Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. The company raised its initial order from 3.5 million to 4 million during the third quarter, and has had to do so again in the face of even greater than expected demand.

If it sells all 5 million units, Amazon would have an 8% share of the 2011 tablet market, based on recent Gartner estimates. These are impressive figures for a device that only begins shipping today, and have taken even Amazon itself by surprise.

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Canada Looks to China As Key Investor In Oil & Gas

Canada Looks to China As Key Investor In Oil & Gas

ECONOMY

  • Canada in talks with China about investment in Alberta’s oil sands, consumption of crude oil
  • TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline project uncertain given heavy US opposition
  • SNC Lavalin awarded $650 million contract to build oil sands treatment plant in Alberta

Despite a volatile global economy, Canada is looking to China to boost its forestry and oil sectors as both an investor and customer.

Currently, Joe Oliver, Canada’s Federal Natural Resources Minister, is at the tail-end of a trip to China proposing Chinese investment in the growing oil sands in Alberta as well as consumption of crude oil circulating through Enbridge’s future Northern Gateway Pipeline. This pipeline would transport crude oil to Kitimat, B.C., via Edmonton, and then to Asia by tanker.

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Airbus Faces $273 Million Bill For A350 Aircraft Delay

Airbus Faces $273 Million Bill For A350 Aircraft Delay

BUSINESS

  • Airbus boasts 25% reduction in fuel costs with A350 jet
  • A350 to enter service in early 2014, 6 months behind schedule
  • EADS reports $310 million third-quarter profits, shares up 20% in 2011

A six-month delay in the launch of Airbus’s A350XWB jet is leaving parent company EADS NV foot a $273-million bill in the third quarter of 2011. The new due date for the aircraft’s launch will be early in 2014.

The A350 is expected to cut fuel costs by 25% thanks to superior aerodynamics and lightweight carbon composite materials. The final phase of assembly of the aircraft is forecast in the first few months of 2012.

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Tobacco: Court Rules FDA Can’t Use Graphic Cigarette Labels

Tobacco: Court Rules FDA Can’t Use Graphic Cigarette Labels

BUSINESS

  • Judge bans 36 graphic labels planned to be used on cigarette packages starting next year
  • Tobacco is responsible for 443,000 deaths in the US each year
  • FDA to spend $600 million on a new anti-smoking aimed at 13-24 year olds

US District Judge Richard J. Leon ruled the Federal Drug Administration cannot use graphic warning labels on cigarette packages. The court will protect the status quo until the constitutionality of the graphic labels can be evaluated because tobacco companies have proven the new labels would cause them to "suffer irreparable harm."

The 36 different graphic labels included images of a pair of diseased lungs, a mouth with cancerous lesions and a child surrounded by smoke, and were scheduled to be included on cigarette packages starting next year.

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US Banking: Tax Officials Demand Information On Swiss Bank Clients

US Banking: Tax Officials Demand Information On Swiss Bank Clients

FINANCE

  • IRS seeking information from Credit Suisse on some US customers
  • Tens of thousands of Americans suspected of evading taxes via Swiss banks
  • Swiss banks working on compliance

The Internal Revenue Service in the US is formally requesting information from Credit Suisse and other Swiss banks on American customers suspected of tax evasion. The IRS suspects over the course of the past few years that billions of dollars in tax money have not been paid because it was transferred to Swiss bank accounts.

In a written statement, Credit Suisse said: "In connection with the IRS Treaty Request, the SFTA [Swiss Federal Tax Administration] has issued an order directing Credit Suisse AG to submit responsive account information to the SFTA."

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Canon Goes Toe-To-Toe With Cinematography Camera Giants

Canon Goes Toe-To-Toe With Cinematography Camera Giants

BUSINESS

  • Canon introduces its new C300 digital cinematography video camera to Hollywood
  • Retailing at $20,000 the C300 is due to hit market beginning January 2012
  • RED introduces its Scarlett high res video camera, contending to offer better quality at a lower price

Although Hollywood’s Red Carpet brings to mind visuals of cinema starlets donning the latest designer attire, a newcomer to the movie scene was recently introduced – namely Fujio Mitarai, Canon Inc.’s CEO, as he unveiled the new Canon C300 high res video camera.

For the last 40 years, Canon’s presence in Hollywood has been non-existent. Established in 1937, Canon has long been touted as a leader in professional still cameras. However, at a price tag of $20,000 Canon intends to join the ranks of such heavy hitting digital cinematography camera vendors as Sony, RED and Arri.

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Accel Dreams Big With $100 Million Big Data Fund

Accel Dreams Big With $100 Million Big Data Fund

BUSINESS

  • Accel to use $100 million investment to back data management startups
  • Big fund conference to be held in Silicon Valley in 2012
  • Accel uses media buzz to drum up awareness around big fund initiative

Venture and growth equity company Accel Partners is to invest $100 million into a big data initiative that will be used for startups throughout different countries where Accel is present, such as the US, India, China and the UK.

Accel’s previous enterprise software experience includes its investment in firms such as QlikTech and Cloudera.

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