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Archive for the ‘Financial news’ Category

 A bit of common sense indeed:

[...] The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Friday to prohibit any aid to Saudi Arabia as lawmakers accused the close ally of religious intolerance and bankrolling terrorist organizations. The prohibition, reflecting persistent tensions with the kingdom after the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001, was attached to a foreign aid funding bill for next year that has not yet been debated by the Senate. It also faces a veto threat from the White House because of an unrelated provision. [...]

Saudi Arabia propagates terrorism. We all know that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi,” said Rep. Shelley Berkley, a Nevada Democrat. She added that Saudi youths had entered Iraq to “wage jihad” against U.S. forces fighting there. Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born leader of the al Qaeda group that carried out the September 11 attacks, was expelled from the kingdom in 1991 for anti-government activities.

 [...] Lawmakers also complained that with Saudi Arabia’s vast wealth from oil revenues, U.S. taxpayers do not need to subsidize training Saudis. “With poor countries all over the globe begging us for help, why are we giving money to this oil-rich nation?” Berkley said.

House Bans Aid To Saudi Arabia :: Middle East News and Perspectives :: Hyscience

King Juan Carlos should be learning from this.

And of course, if later Bush vetoes this, he would make the error of his life.

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His return to Aranjuez, prison in which he was till March 1st, happens a day after the ETA’s announcement of the end to ceasefire. The terrorist band’s statement has not been alien to the measure applied to De Juana,who only a week ago was asking to be freed and go back to his house in a soft prison regime which had been granted to him last February.
But yesterday, after ETA’s statement was known, Interior Minister, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, assured that De Juana “in any case” was going to be given the soft prison-home regime, as has been speculated this last days.

ABC.es – De Juana Chaos ingresa en prisión al desaparecer “el riesgo para su vida”.

The Interior Minister has tols to leftist Radio Cadena SER, this Wednesday: “Circumstances have changed”. That is they have changed again. They changed when the State General Prosecutor asked his subordinates to take into account “the new situation” about ETA dialogue. And now they also change –but not 6 months ago, with the murder of Palate and Estacio–, because of the [supposed] pacts’ end. The minister Bermejo spoke in advance about this last change and Rubalcaba has confirmed it, sending De Juana back to prison. The T-4 terrorist attack [where both Palate and Estacio were killed] was no more than a “tragic accident” for the Government.

Libertad Digital: Rubalcaba justifica el regreso a prisión de De Juana: “Las circunstancias han cambiado”

The main problem is they are not underlining, not even telling us, what circumstances have changed now. That without considering that laws are not changed only by a change in circumstances. There are procedures to be met to change them. smile_angry

But for the Government and Socialist party, the culprits are not ETA terrorists -who are no more than poor communists a little bit confused- nor the Government -who has been kissing their asses repeatedly for the last year-. The culprit, of course, is the Popular Party, that is the only one who opposed to the ETA’s negotiation.

At the same time, Real Madrid has asked for special security measures. Something very clever specially considering what is the area in which it’s more probable to have a terrorist attack now.

Jesús Cacho in El Confidencial.com:

ETA has not surprised anyone. Who has again surprised till the shame has been Rodríguez Zapatero. According to his statement this morning [he is writing about yesterday’s statement by the President], ETA is again wrong, not him. Without any autocritic, without any kind of rectification or correction intent, his statement has all the ingredients of the so-called “Alicia way-of-thinking” [this is a line of thought which is referred to Alicia in Wonderland]: “Spanish society has shown that its pain does not weaken its strength” And??? Even more serious than anything, because it shows the precarious intellect of the President, is when he says “Basques future depends on themselves”, an statement which makes dissapear something so elemental as is, according Spanish Constitution’78, that the sovereignty of Spanish nation resides in the Spanish people as a whole and not in Basques, Galicians or people from Murcia considered isolated from the rest.

So it would be ALL Spanish people the ones who, as the holders of Spanish sovereignty, the ones who should say what they want to do with Spain, Basque Country included. It’s obvious that Zapatero has not given to the terrorist band everything the latter demanded, because if not, we would be speaking about Basque’s independence. But it is equally obvious that the independence was the final step of this negotiation, the target that the band wanted to acquire as they decided to attend all the calls that Zapatero’s aides gave them since the moment he was named President. And it is obvious that the band has not abandoned any of its objectives, has not renounced to violence, has continued demanding the revolutionary tax, defying the State of Law, rearming itself

Prevost: ZP The Hard: Chaos comes back to Madrid. smile_teeth

Batiburrillo:

As it’s normal it was a trap ceasefire, with an evident objective: rearming itself, to recover economical means and to form its integrants. The first one in pointing it out as PP ex-Interior Minister, now in European Parliament, Mayor Oreja. All the things have happened as he told since the first moment of the ceasefire: from the first one till the last. “With ETA there is no possible negotiation, this is another trap truce”, he said on several occasions. PSOE members called him names back then.

Aquiles, as ever writes a very good post about the end of the truce who really did not exist.

Pandemonio criticizes the leftist journalists (and bloggers) who do not know what to say about the truce’s end.

Outside Spain there have been bloggers who have written about the ETA’s truce’s end: EURSOC, Gateway Pundit and Outside the Beltway. The latter writes:

Interesting, as I had at one point thought that 9/11 and the 7/11 Madrid bombing might have taken the political viability out of political violence for ETA.

Well, in fact the political violence has never dissapeared: business obliged to give the revolutionary tax, the deads of the T4 terminal, the repeated attacks on PP, PSOE and Basque Nationalist Party members during past elections, all the weapons stolen from a French factory after kidnapping its owner’s family… I don’t think that’s taken the political viability out of political violence. The reason? in Zapateroland the violence gives you political strenght as a result from negotiation. Unfortunately

Victoria Prego h/t Disculpen las molestias.

Spanish people have never denied their Government its citizen support to confront murderers. And they can do it again. Another thing is the trust that Zapatero can give the citizens in this hour. He can always gain it.

For my part, it’s very difficult to support him as this stage: the term has been entirely a mess. Both international and national politics are not focused on important things, such as the next economical crisis, which could become a reality next autumn, specially caused by lower expectations related with the building market.

The trust is Zapatero is so low big at this stage that there are people considering that even the truce’s end is a result of the negotiation and that they are just preparing to stage the next step in the negotiation. Zapatero wants to win the next elections and a hard stand towards ETA now, can give him the votes he needs.

Portuguese blog O Insurgente also wrote about this.

Como se previa, de nada serviu a política de apaziguamento levada a cabo pelo governo de Zapatero. É também provável que a ETA tenha aproveitado este periodo para se reorganizar e reamar (recordam-se da armas apreendidas em França?).

“As was forseen, the appeasement policies of Zapatero were worth nothing. And it also proves that ETA has used this period for reporganising and rearming itself (do we remember the stolen weapons in France?).

There is something I should say though: I’ve been surprised because all of them called ETA terrorists by their name: TERRORISTS. Something which I must thank after reading international MSM which named them as separatists as the hardest name of all (CNN called them separatists and BBC independentists smile_cry Well, considering that Iraqi terrorists for this MSM are insurgents, I really think we can thank God for not reading they have written freedom fighters instead).

UPDATE: You should read what JM Guardia aka Barcepundit has written for Pajamas Media.

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If some weeks ago we saw that Google was urged to clean up YouTube’s Copyright Troubles, now the Association of American Publishers are also suing them:

“The publishing industry is united behind this lawsuit against Google and united in the fight to defend their rights,” AAP President and former Colorado Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder said in a statement. “While authors and publishers know how useful Google’s search engine can be and think the Print Library could be an excellent resource, the bottom line is that under its current plan, Google is seeking to make millions of dollars by freeloading on the talent and property of authors and publishers.”

This comes after Google removed 20.549 videos from YouTube (Spanish), after being sued by a Japanese holding who defends the rights of the authors, because of an infraction related with intelectual property (here in English from BBC, here from PC World and here from Tail Rank).

In Spain, SGAE (General Society for Authors and Editors) is planning to install a new tax on every hard disk (link in Spanish)-whether they are on computers or not- that you purchase just in case you are going to copy protected material in them. Tribunals have issued sentences against the old canon (link in Spanish)in which the hard disks and other high capacity devices were not included. SGAE won [not earned] €29 millions only in 2004 and it increased 30% in 2005. The percentage is decided on average estimations on what would the normal share of clients using those means to archive forbidden material. There are a lot of campaigns  and on line petitions against the canon in internet.

Básicamente lo que pasa es que Google después de haber sido obligada a retirar casi 30.000 vídeos de YouTube por la SGAE Japonesa, ahora ha sido demandada también por la Asociación americana de Editores, debido a su nuevo proyecto que intentaba subir a Internet los libros de diferentes universidades. Los editores quieren dinero a cambio de la millonada que se va a llevar Google.

En cuanto a España, como seguimos a vueltas con el canon de la SGAE, aquí teneis un vídeo de traca que he encontrado en Internet… smile_teeth

Aquí teneis el link del video.

UPDATE: Javier de la Cueva from Derecho de Internet points me another sentence which is more recent that the one I pointed to above, in fact, from Sept 26th, 2006. The Judge failed to recognise his rights to the consumer but later the Provincial Audience has revoked that, recognising againthose rights.

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Some months ago, I posted a summary of the AFINSA scandal. It was nothing more than a summary of what had happened. I did not have an opinion of the case, but I wanted to know what had happened.

Well, an affected from the case wrote a coment in which he copied he letter the affected people are going to send to EU. Just go here and read it (it’s in English). It is very interesting. So were there Government’s passivity and they acted because they have other problems to hide or just because it was necessary?

I have my own opinion, but I will prefer you all to comment on this. The volume of affected people and of money involved makes necessary this scandal does not fail into oblivion.

Hace unos meses escribí sobre el escándalo AFINSA. Un lector víctima del fraude que supusieron AFINSA y Fórum Filatélico escribió un comentario en el blog en el que reproducía la carta que los afectados habían mandado a Bruselas. En ella, los afectados hacen notar que ninguna de las dos empresas habían dejado de pagar sus obligaciones, pero que estas fueron inmediatamente suspendidas después de la intervención del Gobierno, la Agencia Tributaria y fuerzas policiales muy armadas.

También señalan que han acusado a las empresas por delitos muy graves tales como lavado de dinero, transferencia de dinero a paraísos fiscales, sellos falsos, mala administración, etc. pero que ninguno de estos delitos, aparentemente, fue detectado con anterioridad.

Asimismo, aluden a la campaña mediática que rodeó a la intervención: TV y medios afines al Gobierno estaban allí antes para informar sobre la intervención. Tanto los empleados como los clientes creyeron que se estaba buscando a etarras.

Señalan también la proximidad de la intervención con otros problemas “vergonzantes” para el Gobierno y los créditos a fondo perdido que han obtenido los socialistas para su campaña. También consideran que esta campaña ha beneficiado a los grandes bancos que no querían tanta competición por parte de otras inversiones mucho más lucrativas.

Critican a los administradores puestos por el Gobierno, que, mientras les dicen que las empresas están al borde de la quiebra, se han fijado unos salarios altísimos. También al Presidente del Gobierno español, Zapatero, de quien dicen que tiene sueños de grandeza y quién dijo a los afectados que tuvieran confianza. Y a Borrell y a Elena Salgado, que firmaron en el libro de honor. La actual ministra de Sanidad y Consumo, entonces Directora de Correos, escribió “para que los españoles ahorren más en sellos”.

Los afectados han intentado hablar con el Defensor del Pueblo europeo, pero su oficina les ha dicho que no atienden este tipo de problemas. Por eso, se dirigen a la Unión Europea como último recurso.

Así que ¿hubo pasividad del Gobierno y este actuó simplemente porque tenía otras cosas que tapar o bien porque no había más remedio? Yo tengo mi opinión, pero prefiero que digais las vuestras. Tanto el volumen de personas como de dinero implicado hace necesario que no caiga en el olvido.

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You remember that recently Google acquired YouTube. Well, now Google is urged to cleanup YouTube’s Copyright Troubles.

Google could make big money on advertising in the purchase of YouTube, but that potential won’t be realized unless the search engine giant cleans up the copyright violations on the online video site, an analyst firm says.

Right Voices has more.

You also remember that Google has made a special censored version of the search engine for Chinese users. Well, looks like that is making the giant firm lose market share:

When Google decided to offer a censored Chinese search engine it caused an outcry among the free-speech movement in the US who wondered what the company who had “Do no evil” as a motto was up to. Chinese internet users were equally puzzled, as they saw no reason to visit the censored Google, since they preferred the uncensored one. smile_wink [Chinese people are more intelligent that is clear…]

Two recent surveys indicated the US search engine has lost about one third of its market. While the domestic search engine Baidu was already a market leader in eyeballs, those were perceived less valuable than the group of relatively older, better educated and better-earning users of Google. The new research indicates that Google has been wiped away in its key markets in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

Como ya sabreis Google ha comprado YouTube. De lo que no se ha hablado mucho, sin embargo, es de los problemas de copyright que va a tener Google. YouTube aloja muchos videos piratas por los que algunas empresas ya habían iniciado acciones contra ella. Ahora, al convertirse en una parte del “imperio Google”, las van a dirigir contra ella.

Pero ese no es el único problema: Google había sacado una versión censurada de su motor de búsqueda y al parecer esa es la causa de una fuerte caída en su uso en China. Los usuarios chinos de Internet prefieren la versión no censuradá así que se han pasado en masa al motor de la competencia Baidu. El motor censurado ha sido echado del mercado en mercados principales como Shanghai, Pekín o Guangzhou y ha perdido más de la tercera parte de su cuota anterior.

Google se lo tiene muy merecido.

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From The Financial Times

The time European consumers spend online has, for the first time, overtaken the hours they devote to newspapers and magazines, a study revealed. [this is not rare: I mean, the level most newspapers and magazines -ugghhh- have here is totally disgusting. Most of them have large sections of “cotilleo“, that is, of gossiping about the personal life of famous stupid people. I am not going to write about television, because that is even more depressing…]

But the growth of new media is expanding total media consumption rather than simply cannibalising print and television.

Print consumption has re-mained static at three hours a week in the past two years, as time spent online has doubled from two to four hours. Viewers are also spending more time watching television, up from 10 hours to 12 a week. [I am sure that blogging has a little responsibility for this...]

The Jupiter Research survey of more than 5,000 people in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain shows that Europeans’ use of the internet is still behind the rates seen in the US. A similar study by Jupiter of US habits found that Americans now spend 14 hours a week online – as much time as they spend watching television – and just three hours reading print. [I can only say ;) ]

However, the rapid spread of fast broadband internet connections in Europe is likely to accelerate the trend. The average time spent online by broadband customers in Europe was seven hours a week, compared with two hours for those with dial-up connections.

Por primera vez, los consumidores europeos emplean más tiempo en internet que en leer periódicos y revistas (lo que no me extraña nada :P ). Esto, sin emabrgo, no significó que se disminuyera la lectura de periódicos o las horas dedicadas a la televisión, si no que, se incrementó las horas dedicadas al consumo de comunicación (seguro que los blogs han contribuido a esto…).

Sin embargo, el uso de intenet por parte de los europeos (sobre todo, email y búsquedas) está todavía lejos del nivel de USA. Pero la rápida expansión de conexiones de banda ancha en Europa puede acelerar esta tendencia.

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From Wired News:

Internet search leader Google is in talks to acquire the popular online video site YouTube for about $1.6 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Mountain View-based Google and San Mateo-based YouTube are still at a sensitive stage in the discussion, the newspaper reported on its website.

The blog TechCrunch had reported on rumors of the acquisition talks. Representatives from Google and YouTube did not immediately return calls to The Associated Press.

We will see what happens with censorship in YouTube, that has been somewhat normal nowadays. Also it has been a normal policy of Google.

By a comment in this blog, I was informed of a campaign -I had forgotten :( – of Amnesty International, about the role of Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! in China: Undermining Freedom of Expression in China.

While the use of information and communications technology to suppress dissent has been documented in many countries, it is the example of China that has generated the most public and political concern internationally.

In part this is because the apparatus of Internet repression is considered to be more advanced in China than in any other country, and in part because of the willingness of Internet hardware and software companies to cooperate with the Chinese government in their quest to develop a large and lucrative market.

The control the Chinese authorities maintain over their citizens’ right to freedom of expression and information is continuing and pervasive. This has put the spotlight on the contribution of Internet companies such as Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google to China’s efforts to maintain such control and restrict fundamental freedoms. In assisting the Chinese administration by complying with its censorship demands, these companies are seen to be facilitating or sanctioning the government’s efforts to control the free flow of information. They thereby contravene established international norms and values, and compromise their own stated principles.

International concern regarding the role of US companies in China’s Internet censorship policy has led the US House of Representatives Committee on International Relations to hold a joint hearing of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations and the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.

Among the parties that provided testimony, views were expressed that US Internet companies, including Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google, have colluded with the Chinese authorities, undermining their self-proclaimed corporate values, as well as the human right to freedom of expression and information. Although there are other Internet companies worthy of investigation for involvement and assistance in the Chinese government’s Internet censorship, as well as the suppression of dissent, the focus of this report is limited to Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google.

All three companies have, in one way or another, facilitated or colluded in the practice of censorship in China. Yahoo! has provided the Chineseauthorities with private and confidential information about its users.This included personal data that has been used to convict at least two journalists, considered by Amnesty International to be prisoners of conscience. Microsoft has admitted to shutting down a blog on the basis of a government request. Google has launched a censored version of its international search engine in China. All three companies have demonstrated a disregard for their own internally driven and proclaimed policies. They have made promises to themselves, their employees, their customers and their investors which they failed to uphold in the face of business opportunities and pressure from the Chinese government. This raises doubts about which statements made by these organisations can be trusted and which ones are public relations gestures.

Of the three companies, Google has come closest to acknowledging publicly that its practices are at odds with its principles, and to making a commitment to increase transparency by informing users in China when a web search has been filtered. Although there are many other transparency options that the company should consider, these are welcome first steps.While each of Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google may be considered to be complicit in the Chinese government’s denial of freedom of information, Yahoo!’s actions have, in particular, assisted the suppression of dissent with severe consequences for those affected. The company allowed its Chinese partner to pass evidence to the authorities that was subsequently used to convict individuals, at least two of whom received long prison sentences for peacefully exercising their legitimate right to freedom of expression.

Thus Yahoo! appears to have failed to honour its responsibility to ensure that its own operations and those of its partners are not complicit in human rights abuses. This is in breach of widely recognised international human rights principles for companies

El líder de las búsquedas en Internet, Google, va a adquirir el sitio de vídeos de YouTube, por aproximadamente 1.6 billones de dólares, según ha informado el Wall Street Journal, aunque las conversaciones están todavía en un momento sensible.

Veremos si esto incrementa o disminuya la censura que se respira en Youtube y en Google. Hay que señalar que Amnistía Internacional presentó un informe sobre cómo Google, Yahoo! y Microsoft habían cambiado sus políticas para complacer al Gobierno chino en sus demandas de límites a la libertad de expresión.

UPDATE: According to Financial Times, there are several suitors pursuing YouTube. Among others, FT points to Ruphert Murdoch, from News Corp (owner of Fox News, for example).

Warner is also interested in YouTube: Warner Music

has agreed to make its library of music videos available to YouTube, marking the first time that an established record company has agreed to distribute its content through the user-generated media company.

Under the agreement, YouTube users will have full access to videos from Warner artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Madonna. They will also be permitted incorporate material from those videos into the clips that they create and upload to YouTube. Warner and YouTube will share advertising revenue sold in connection with the video content.

No sólo Google quiere comprar YouTube: el periódico Financial Times apunta a Rupert Murdoch como otro de los intereados.

Por otra parte Warner Music va a empezar a distribuir los videos de sus artistas en YouTube, pudiendo los usuarios, no sólo verlos si no modificarlos y volverlos a colgar del sitio de descarga.

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