Friday, October 16, 2009

DTN News: Financial News TODAY October 16, 2009 ~ U.S. Charges Billionaire Rajaratnam With Record Insider Trading

DTN News: Financial News TODAY October 16, 2009 ~ U.S. Charges Billionaire Rajaratnam With Record Insider Trading
*Source: DTN News / Reuters (NSI News Source Info) NEW YORK, US - October 16, 2009: Billionaire hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam and five executives from some of the most prestigious U.S. companies were charged on Friday with the largest hedge fund insider-trading scheme ever. (Image: Galleon hedge fund partner Raj Rajaratnam (C) is escorted by FBI agents after being taken into custody in New York, October 16, 2009.) Investigators said they used court-approved telephone wire taps for the first time in a Wall Street insider trading case, sending shivers through the hedge fund industry which has traditionally picked up and shared trading tips to make big profits. At the center of the case are executives from hedge funds Galleon and New Castle, which was a unit of Bear Stearns Asset Management, and executives from major American companies such as IBM, top consulting firm McKinsey & Co and chip giant Intel Corp. "This is not a garden-variety insider trading case," Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for Manhattan, said at a news conference. He said the scheme made more than $20 million in illegal profits over several years. One of the criminal complaints accuses Rajaratnam, 52, considered the richest Sri Lankan in the world, of conspiring with Intel employee Rajiv Goel and Anil Kumar, a director of powerful management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. The alleged offenses took place over three years starting in January 2006. Galleon had as much as $7 billion under management, the complaint said. Intel Capital is the investment arm of Intel. A second criminal complaint accused three other people -- Danielle Chiesi, Mark Kurland and Robert Moffat -- of insider trading crimes and earning millions of dollars in illegal profits. "It shows that we are targeting white-collar insider trading rings with the same powerful investigative techniques that have worked so successfully against the mob and drug cartels," Bharara said. All six were charged with securities fraud and conspiracy in two criminal complaints filed in U.S. District Court in New York. They are under arrest and they were also charged in a separate civil complaint by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC said the accused traded on insider information from 10 companies. SCHEME TARGETED TOP COMPANY STOCKS The companies included Hilton Hotels Corp, Google Inc, IBM, Advanced Micro Devices Inc and several other companies. The prosecutor also fired a warning shot for the rest of Wall Street. "Today, tomorrow, next week, the week after, privileged Wall Street insiders who are considering breaking the law will have to ask themselves one important question: Is law enforcement listening?" he said. Securities fraud charges carry possible maximum prison sentences of up to 20 years.
Whitney Tilson, founder and managing partner of T2 Partners LLC and the Tilson Mutual Funds said: "I'm not surprised that among 8,000 hedge funds there will always be a few rogues behaving badly. It's quite stunning somebody who is already a billionaire could be so foolish." She said that for the "few dishonest hedge funds, it hopefully it will serve as a big wake up call." "Galleon was shocked to learn today that Raj Rajaratnam was arrested this morning at his apartment," Galleon Group LP said in a statement. "We had no knowledge of the investigation before it was made public and we intend to cooperate fully with the relevant authorities. Galleon continues to operate and is highly liquid." Rajaratnam, born into a family of well-to-do Tamils in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, is one of the largest investors on the Colombo Stock Exchange. Last month, he pledged $1 million to help pay for the rehabilitation of former soldiers of the separatist "Tamil Tigers," which fought 25 years to create a separate state for Sri Lanka's minority Tamils but were defeated in May. But on Friday, he was handcuffed and walked in front of TV cameras as federal agents arrested him. An Intel spokesman said Goel, 51, an employee of its treasury department, was placed on administrative leave on Friday morning. He said Intel was not aware of the case until Friday and has not been contacted by authorities. Kumar, also 51, was on a leave of absence, a McKinsey spokeswoman said. She said the firm "was looking into the matter urgently." Chiesi, 43, worked for New Castle, an equity hedge fund group of Bear Stearns Asset Management before Bear Stearns crumbled in March 2008, according to the complaint. Kurland, 60, was a senior managing director of BSAM, the same unit that ran two funds that suffered fatal mortgage market losses in 2007. Moffat, 53, was group executive of IBM's systems and technology group and a 31-year veteran of the company. Moffat was accused of passing insider information about an IBM deal with Advanced Micro Devices Inc. An IBM spokesman declined to comment. The Galleon case also dealt another black eye for credit rating firm Moody's Corp Moody's Investors Service, one of the major rating agencies that have been strongly criticized for their role in the global credit crisis. An analyst at Moody's who was involved with evaluating Hilton passed on insider information that Hilton would be acquired by Blackstone Group and that Hilton would likely announce the acquisition before July 4, 2007, according to one complaint. A Moody's spokesman said the firm would provide investigators with assistance in its investigation of the matter. (Reporting by Grant McCool and Joseph Giannone; Additional reporting by Edith Honan, Walden Siew and Ritsuko Ando in New York, Clare Baldwin in San Francisco, and Bryson Hull in Colombo, Sri Lanka; Editing by Phil Berlowitz, John Wallace and Bernard Orr)
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DTN News: France Buys 6 UAVs From Canada, Ponders Another

DTN News: France Buys 6 UAVs From Canada, Ponders Another *Source: DTN News / Defense News
(NSI News Source Info) PARIS, France - October 16, 2009: France is in talks to buy a fourth SIDM interim medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV from EADS and has bought six tactical SDTI drones second-hand from Canada, the Defense Ministry said Oct. 15. "We are in the process of buying a fourth SIDM," Defense Ministry spokesman Laurent Teisseire said. The French Air Force has three of the SIDMs (Système Intérimaire des Drones MALE) built by EADS and earlier this year damaged one of the aircraft while flying in Afghanistan. The Air Force calls the SIDM Harfang, or Snow Owl. The damaged unit is currently at Mont de Marsan in central France and is expected to return to operation in 2010, a procurement official said. The fourth SIDM, which has been used for training, is also expected to be deployed next year. A purchase of six SDTI (Système de Drone Tactique Intérimaire) from Canada has been completed, Teisseire said. "They are already on the ground." Officials from the Direction Générale pour l'Armement (DGA) procurement office are inspecting the six Sperwer tactical UAVs to determine their operational condition, Adm. Christophe Prazuck said. The French Army operates four Sperwer UAVs and one launcher in Afghanistan, he said. Safran group's Sagem delivered 18 Sperwer aircraft and four launch systems in 2004, a company spokesman said. The DGA ordered an extra three Sperwer aircraft in June. Asked if France was in talks to buy Reaper UAVs from the U.S.-based General Atomics, Teisseire said: "All options are being studied for acquisition of medium-altitude, long-endurance UAVs beyond 2015." A French executive, meanwhile, said, "As far as we know, General Atomics has not been in contact with the DGA since early this year." The French services are gathering information from operating the existing UAV fleet and will capitalize on the lessons learned, Teisseire said. For the MALE segment, Thales and Dassault Aviation have teamed with Indra to offer the SDM, based on the Heron TP from Israel Aircraft Industries, while EADS has completed a risk reduction study on the Talarion, a jet-powered UAV. France's share of development for Talarion would be 450 million euros ($672 million) and recurring costs would be 90 million to 100 million euros, based on three air vehicles, the payload and ground station, French newsletter AeroDefense News quoted EADS senior vice president Nicolas Chamussy as saying. The figure could be lower depending on the participation of France, Germany and Spain, the three countries that commissioned the risk reduction study.

DTN News: Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc Says "Israel Ties Are Strong"

DTN News: Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc Says "Israel Ties Are Strong"
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ANKARA, Turkey - October 16, 2009: Turkish State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said Friday that his country's ties with Israel have always been strong and will surely remain that way in the future, according to Anotolia news agency.
Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, World Bank President Robert Zoellick, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn (L-R) talk prior to attending the Opening Plenary of the 2009 IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings at the Istanbul Congress Center October 6, 2009. Reform of the world's financial architecture took centre. stage at the semiannual meetings of the International Monetary. Fund and World Bank, and a meeting of Group of Seven finance. officials.
"Any stance of Turkey against Israel is out of the question," Arinc was quoted as saying. Arinc is responsible for the state-run broadcaster TRT on which a controversial series depicting Israeli soldiers as child murderers is aired. The drama "Ayrilik" includes images of Israeli soldiers shooting a smiling young girl in the chest, steamrolling a tank through a crowded street and lining up a firing squad to shoot at a group of Palestinians.
"If Israel has reacted against the TV series, we will talk to them on the matter," he said. "The TV series does not have any political target." Arinc also said that the Turkish government will not stop the broadcast of the show despite the growing diplomatic tension with Israel surrounding the broadcast. *
TV Incitement? 2:04 A Turkish TV series portrays Israelis as child-killers. CNN's Paula Hancocks reports on the furious Israeli response. Source: CNN Added October 15, 2009 more CNN video
"We do not think of [canceling the series]," the Turkish deputy premier said. "The Turkish government does not intervene in a TV drama. Moreover, Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTUK) controls TV broadcasts." The Foreign Ministry earlier on Thursday rebuked the acting Turkish Ambassador to Israel, Ceylan Ozen, over the show.
Naor Gilon, the Foreign Ministry's deputy director for Western Europe, on Thursday said that Israel places great importance on its relations with Turkey, but that it cannot stand by while such images denigrating Israel and the IDF are depicted.
"This kind of incitement is likely to lead to physical harm being done to Jews and Israelis who arrive in Turkey as tourists," Gilon told the Turkish envoy. Gilon added that such a program, which uses stereotypes to instill hatred, must concern anyone who seeks coexistence between people of different nations and faiths.
He said that Israel views the program with utmost gravity, especially in light of the fact that the soldiers they depict as bloodthirsty killers in real life were the ones to aid Turkey after an earthquake there in 1999.
Earlier Thursday, the show's producer said that his show does not portray the IDF as a whole, but only a certain group of soldiers who had murdered Palestinians. Speaking in an interview with Israel Radio, the producer added that he and his colleagues loved Israel and were convinced that Israelis do not support acts of slaughter perpetrated against Palestinians.
The show, called Ayrilik, features a love story that develops between the lead characters during Israel's offensive against Hamas in Gaza. But a partial episode available on YouTube depicts multiple images of the IDF brutalizing the Palestinian population by shooting children in the chest and kicking elderly people on the ground, among other things.
On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that, "Broadcasting this series is incitement of the most severe kind, and it is done under government sponsorship." Lieberman added: "Such a drama series, which doesn't even have the slightest link to reality and which presents Israeli soldiers as murderers of innocent children, isn't worthy of being broadcast even by enemy states and certainly not in a state which has full diplomatic relations with Israel."

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY October 16, 2009 ~ Suicide Bomber Kills 12 In Pakistan's Peshawar

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY October 16, 2009 ~ Suicide Bomber Kills 12 In Pakistan's Peshawar
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) PESHAWAR, Pakistan - October 16, 2009: Pakistani forces attacked a Taliban stronghold with aircraft and artillery on Friday, as a suicide bomber killed 12 people in the city of Peshawar in the latest in a wave of militant attacks. The government says a ground offensive against the Pakistani Taliban in their South Waziristan lair is imminent and the army has been stepping up its air and artillery attacks in recent days to soften up the militants' defenses. The militants have launched a string of brazen attacks in the past 11 days, striking at the United Nations, the army headquarters, police and the general public, killing about 150 people, apparently trying to stave off the army assault. Friday's blast was outside an office of the police's Central Investigation Agency in the capital of North West Frontier Province, a staging post for U.S. supplies into neighboring Afghanistan. "I was on the spot within minutes and helped remove bodies. They were really in bad shape," said resident Mohammad Rizwan. Police said a woman appeared to have been involved in the attack, while provincial Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain said the bomber drove up to the police office. "His leg has been found. It is not clear if it is of a man or a woman," Hussain told reporters, adding three policemen were among the dead. A hospital official said 12 people had been killed. A nearby mosque was damaged and about a dozen people were wounded. Television showed anxious policemen wheeling bloodied colleagues into hospital. The government says the militant attacks have only reinforced its determination to defeat its enemies. Nuclear-armed Pakistan is under U.S. pressure to crack down on Islamist militancy as President Barack Obama considers a boost in troop numbers fighting in neighboring Afghanistan. Aircraft and artillery struck militant positions in their strongholds of Ladha, Makeen and in the mountainous Shahoor region of South Waziristan overnight, hours after killing 27 militants in the region in various strikes. "We could see thick smoke and flames leaping into the sky from caves in the mountains after the bombing by jet fighters," said a resident near Shahoor who declined to be identified. Security officials said they had no information about casualties in the latest attacks. Pakistani officials gather at the spot of a suicide bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan on Friday, Oct. 16, 2009. A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb at a mosque next to a police station in the northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar on Friday, killing more than 10 people in the latest bloodshed in an unrelenting wave of terror that has hit the country. "SOME FLEEING" An army official in the region said some Taliban were trying to leave the area in disguise ahead of the offensive.
"They are now trying to run but we have tightened controls around their areas and are checking every person leaving," said the military official in Wana, the main town in South Waziristan, where the army has a base. About 28,000 troops are in place to take on an estimated 10,000 hard-core Taliban, army officials have said. Pakistan's stock market slipped as the violence escalated at the beginning of the week, but the main index was 1.1 percent higher at 0800 GMT. Investors would be reassured by an offensive on South Waziristan as a sign the government was getting to grips with the militants, dealers say. Pakistani Taliban fighters made advances toward Islamabad early this year, raising fears about the stability of the U.S. ally. But significant military gains in the Swat valley, from where militants have largely been driven out in recent months, have reassured the U.S. and Western allies about Pakistan's commitment to the fight. In a sign of U.S. continuing support, President Barack Obama signed on Wednesday a $7.5 billion aid bill for Pakistan over the next five years. But Pakistan's military has complained about the bill because the legislation ties some funds to fighting militants and is seen by critics as violating sovereignty.
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DTN News: Turkey TV Series Further Strains Israel Relations

DTN News: Turkey TV Series Further Strains Israel Relations
* Israel protests to Turkish diplomat
* Dispute follows Turkey's banning Israel from air drill
* TV drama was "state-sponsored incitement", Israel says
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) JERUSALEM, Israel - October 16, 2009: A Turkish television drama series which depicts an Israeli soldier shooting dead a Palestinian baby, strained already tense relations on Thursday between Israel and Turkey, a strategic Muslim ally.
In this Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008 file photo, Turkish naval ships are seen in the Mediterranean Sea off the shore of the Israeli city of Haifa during a joint U.S. , Israeli and Turkish military exercise. Turkey has canceled an annual joint air force drill that was to have taken place this week because it opposed Israeli participation, the Israeli military said Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009, in the latest sign of deteriorating relations between the two countries.
Previously close ties between the Jewish state and Turkey, a secular state with a Muslim population, have deteriorated since Israel's offensive in the Palestinian Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Islamist group Hamas.
Turkey has at the same time strengthened its relations with neighbouring Syria, where much of Hamas' leadership is based.Israel summoned a Turkish diplomat to protest at what it called "state-sponsored incitement" by state-owned TRT television's "Separation" series, in which actors playing Israeli soldiers and Palestinians fight street battles in Jerusalem."
The series, which has no connection to reality whatsoever, is not even suitable for an enemy country and certainly not for a country that has full diplomatic relations with Israel," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement.
The scene, broadcast on Israel's Channel Two television on Wednesday, showed a Palestinian father holding a baby above his head and an Israeli soldier deliberately shooting the infant.
Israel's three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip in December and January killed 1,417 Palestinians, including 926 civilians, a a Palestinian rights group says. Israel has said 709 Palestinian combatants were killed along with 295 civilians and 162 people whose status it was unable to clarify.
Ten Israeli soldiers and three civilians were killed during the campaign, which Israel launched with the declared aim of ending cross-border rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.
During a meeting with the Turkish embassy charge d'affairs, a Foreign Ministry official said Israel "cannot stand by when such blatant incitement is being broadcast against Israel and (Israeli) soldiers," a statement issued by the ministry said.
The official also said the portrayal of Israeli soldiers as "a master race eager to murder children" could endanger Israeli and Jewish tourists who visit Turkey.
Turkish officials in Ankara and Tel Aviv were not immediately available for comment.The show's producer, Selcuk Cobanoglu, told Reuters, "If the Israeli government is disturbed with this, it means they are disturbed with the reality when we go there and eyewitness what is happening there."
Turkey barred Israel from participating in a NATO war exercise this week and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said the move was a result of public concerns over the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.
The drill was postponed indefinitely after other nations, including the United States and Italy, refused to take part without Israel's air force.In January Erdogan, who heads the Islamist-rooted AK Party, stormed out on Israeli President Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in protest over the offensive.
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