Correction — January 10, 2009 This article incorrectly states that Mr Madoff attended Hofstra University Law School. His education was actually with Hofstra College, which he graduated from in 1960. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

Top broker and Wall Street adviser Bernard L. Madoff, aged 70, was arrested and charged by the FBI on Thursday with a single count of securities fraud, also known as stock fraud and investment fraud. He allegedly told senior employees of his firm on Wednesday that his $50 billion business “is all just one big lie” and that it was “basically, a giant Ponzi scheme (since at least 2005).” Mr. Madoff faces up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5 million. FBI agent Theodore Cacioppi said Mr. Madoff’s investment advisory business had “deceived investors by operating a securities business in which he traded and lost investor money, and then paid certain investors purported returns on investment with the principal received from other, different investors, which resulted in investors’ losses of approximately $50 billion dollars.”

The former chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market is also the founder and primary owner of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, the closely-held market-making firm he launched in 1960. The firm is one of the top market maker firms on Wall Street. He founded his family firm with an initial investment of $5,000, after attending Hofstra University Law School. He saved the money earned from a job lifeguarding at Rockaway Beach in Queens and a part time job installing underground sprinkler systems.

A force in Wall Street trading for nearly 50 years, he has been active in the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), a self-regulatory organization for the U.S. securities industry. His firm was one of the five most active firms in the development of the NASDAQ, having been known for “paying for order flow,” in other word paying a broker to execute a customer’s order through Madoff. He argued that the payment to the broker did not alter the price that the customer received. He ran the investment advisory as a secretive business, however.

Dan Horwitz, counsel of Mr. Madoff, in an interview, said that “he is a longstanding leader in the financial-services industry with an unblemished record; he is a person of integrity; he intends to fight to get through this unfortunate event.” Mr. Madoff was released on his own recognizance on the same day of his arrest, after his 2 sons turned him in, and posting $10 million bail secured by his Manhattan apartment. Without entering any plea, the Court set the preliminary hearing for January 12.

Madoff’s hedge fund scheme may rank among the biggest fraud in history. When former energy trading giant Enron filed for bankruptcy in 2001, one of the largest at the time, it had $63.4 billion in assets. The scheme would dwarf past Ponzis, and it would further be nearly five times the telecommunication company WorldCom fraud and bankruptcy proceedings in 2002.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a separate civil suit on Thursday against Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities and its eponymous founder Mr. Madoff. It was docketed as “U.S. v. Madoff,” 08-MAG-02735, by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan). SEC, New York associate director of enforcement, Andrew M. Calamari, asked the judge to issue seizure orders on the firm and its assets, and appoint a receiver. The SEC pleads, among others, that “it was an ongoing $50 billion swindle; our complaint alleges a stunning fraud that appears to be of epic proportions.” It further accused the defendant of “paying returns to certain investors out of the principal received from other, different investors” for years. Madoff’s hedge fund business had previously claimed to have served between 11 and 25 clients and had $17.1 billion in assets under management. But virtually all of the assets were missing.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York Louis L. Stanton on Thursday appointed Lee Richards, a Manhattan lawyer, as the firm’s receiver. A hearing is set for Friday, for a ruling on the SEC’s petition to grant plenary powers to the receiver over the entire firm, and an absolute asset sequestration.

Doug Kass, president of hedge fund Seabreeze Partners Management said that “this is a major blow to confidence that is already shattered — anyone on the fence will probably try to take their money out.”

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Shona Bracken is running for the Communist Party in the Ontario provincial election in Toronto—Danforth. Wikinews interviewed her regarding her values, her experience, and her campaign.

Wikinews Shorts: September 29, 2010

Posted February 19th, 2019 by e76yKR

A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, September 29, 2010.

‘Bright’ idea lights its way to win NASA contest

Posted February 18th, 2019 by e76yKR

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

NASA Tech Briefs INSIDER newsletter 02/05/08 reports that the winner of the $20,000 first prize in the agency’s “Create the Future” contest is an invention called “Litroenergy”, the luminous output of micro particle “Litrospheres.” Their self-luminance reportedly endures for over 12 years. The spheres are inexpensive, making them useful in many ways. The emitted light is said to be equivalent to a 40 watt bulb, sufficient for reading.

The invention is reported to safely encapsulate a small quantity of electron-emitting tritium with light emitting phosphors inside a robust microscopic sphere. Mixed into paints, plastic films or adhesive tape the spheres can be applied to surfaces for under a dollar per square foot. The maker suggests they will find first use in safety applications such as exit signage and aircraft corridor marking.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through London earlier today, calling for a deal to be made at this week’s Copenhagen Climate Conference in Denmark. Similar such marches were held in Belfast, Dublin, and Glasgow.

According to the London Metropolitan Police, twenty thousand people attended the march. Organisers, however, claimed that about forty thousand people were present at the demonstrations. The march began at Grosvenor Square and continued all the way to the Parliament building on the Thames river.

The march contained members of groups such as Oxfam, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and the World Wildlife Fund. Protestors were asked to dress in blue, supposedly to symbolise a “wave” of people around the Parliament building.

The chief executive of Oxfam, Barbara Stocking, said in a statement that “the UK government must fight for a comprehensive, fair and binding deal at Copenhagen — that is our demand today and we expect it to be fulfilled.

“They must return home with a strong, effective climate deal both for our own sakes in the U.K. and for the millions of poor people already suffering from the effects of climate change around the world.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

An explosion has caused catastrophic damage to a ConAgra Foods plant on Jones Sausage Road in Garner, North Carolina in the United States. At least 300 people were at work in the plant at the time of the incident, 11:27 a.m. EDT (3:27 UTC) on June 9. Estimates indicate that up to 46 people were sent to area hospitals, and, as of 4:00 p.m. EDT, three people are still unaccounted for.

The plant was formerly owned by Raleigh, North Carolina based Goodmark Foods, but was purchased by ConAgra Foods seven years ago. The plant makes Slim Jim brand meat snacks, and at 50,000 square feet is one of ConAgra’s largest plants.

Eyewitnesses reported a loud explosion, and also reported the smell of ammonia. At least one of the building’s walls was blown outward, crushing a line of cars, and roof damage was visible in nearly all parts of the main building. Crews are working on containing a leak of anhydrous ammonia; it is unclear if the leak caused the explosion or was caused by the explosion. While area residents also reported smelling ammonia, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials on site have indicated that there is no general health risk to the local residents. Three firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation.

Injured employees were sent to several area hospitals, including WakeMed Raleigh Campus, WakeMed Cary, and Rex Hospital. Three patients are being treated at UNC Jaycees Burn Center in Chapel Hill for serious injuries. Uninjured employees were evacuated to the Garner Senior Center and several area churches donated the use of their vans to transport people home from the Senior Center.

The explosion caused several road closures in the area, including Interstate 40 Westbound and Jones Sausage Road.

Chili Finger Incident

Posted February 12th, 2019 by e76yKR

Friday, May 6, 2005

On Thursday the 22nd of March, 2005, Anna Ayala, a woman from Las Vegas, claimed to have found a human finger in her bowl of chili at a Wendy’s restaurant located at 1405 Monterey Highway, just south of downtown San Jose, California, owned by Fresno-based Jern Management.. The finger, which probably belonged to a woman as it had a long and manicured fingernail, did not belong to any of the restaurant employees. The food supplies were seized by officials to be traced back to its manufacturers, while the restaurant was permitted to open again later with chili prepared from fresh ingredients.

Contents

  • 1 Aftermath
  • 2 Investigation centers on Ayala
  • 3 Twists and turns
  • 4 Ayala arrested
  • 5 Ayala transferred to San Jose
  • 6 Finger’s owner identified
  • 7 Recently Edited headlines

Wikinews reporter David Vasquez drove his car up to the drive-thru menu and found that chili was still on the menu, at a price of US$1.19 for a small serving. He also witnessed workers unloading supplies from a semi-trailer truck in the restaurant’s parking lot, and carting them into the back door of the establishment.

Initially, county health officials said Ayala was fine and the finger had been cooked, which would have killed any bacteriae in the finger. However, on March 27, officials admitted they were not so sure anymore. Tests were done on the finger to determine this. Dr. Martin Fenstersheib, Santa Clara County’s health officer, said that even if the finger was still raw when Ayala bit into it, the risk was low that she would have become infected with anything. However, he advised that Ayala should undergo a series of precautionary follow-up tests.

Sales at Wendy’s went down because of the incident. Wendy’s International, Inc. (WEN) closed at US$39.43 on Thursday the 22nd, and as the stock exchange was closed for the Good Friday holiday, traders did not weigh in the stock until the next Monday.

By Tuesday the 5th of April, officials had still not succeeded in tracking down the owner of the finger. The fingerprint on the detached digit has been run through an FBI database as well as the local criminal database in Santa Clara County, but no matches were found. According to Rich Reneau, who was leading the investigation at the time, the fingerprint was marginal, and the likelihood of finding a match was slim.

Wendy’s stock did not go down significantly and was trading at US$39.37 that morning.

The next day, on Wednesday the 6th, Las Vegas police searched the home of Anna Ayala. About a dozen officers conducted the search at Ayala’s home at Maryland Parkway and Serene Street at about 4 p.m. local time (23:00 UTC), according to witnesses at the scene. Ayala and other residents were handcuffed and brought out of the house. Ayala said that her teenage daughter, Genesis Reyes, had torn shoulder ligaments as a result of the search. The Las Vegas Review-Journal ran a photo of Reyes wearing a sling in their Friday edition. In San Jose, police spokeswoman Gina Tepoorten confirmed to reporters that investigators had served the warrant in cooperation with Las Vegas police on Wednesday, but she refused to reveal specific details about the warrant. By that time, Wendy’s was offering a US$50,000 reward for information leading to the source of the finger.

Research by the Associated Press uncovered Ayala’s history of lawsuits. Ayala successfully won her suit for medical expenses against the national El Pollo Loco chicken-chain, a previous employer, after her daughter Genesis contracted salmonella poisoning, allegedly from eating at the restaurant. However, Ayala lost another suit against General Motors in 2000 claiming that a wheel fell off her car. She also started a sexual harassment suit against her former boss in 1998. A total of 13 lawsuits in California and Nevada had been filed. Ayala replied the focus should be on Wendy’s, and not her record of law suits. Nick Muyo, a spokesman for the San Jose Police department, said not to expect new information in the case for at least a week.

On Wednesday the 13th there was a potential new lead in the investigation. A spotted leopard had torn off part of a finger from an owner of exotic animals, Sandy Allman, in Pahrump, Nevada. The portion of Allman’s torn off finger was approximately the same size – 1 1/2-inches long. Pahrump is approximately 45 miles away from Las Vegas. Carol Asvestas, who owns an exotic animal sanctuary, told the San Jose Mercury News she witnessed the leopard tear off the finger. She reported the incident to a hotline run by Wendy’s offering the US$50,000 reward. Cindy Carroccio told the San Jose Mercury News that the finger was not reattached, and that the clinic “gave it back to her (Allman) in a little bag of ice.” On the same day the lead was announced, Ayala decided to drop her lawsuit against Wendy’s, due to emotional stress.

However, when Allman’s prints were sent to San Jose police, they didn’t match. Two days later, on Friday the 15th, Wendy’s doubled the reward to US$100,000. The company revealed that employees had passed polygraph tests. Wendy’s continues to claim that there is no evidence that the finger ever entered their supply chain, pointing to a lack of any accidents among the workers at their suppliers. Wendy’s tip line had received reports from across the United States, from “folks who either have lost a finger, or know somebody who lost a finger,” San Jose police Sgt. Nick Muyo told the Associated Press.

On Thursday the 21st of April, Anna Ayala was arrested at or near her home in Las Vegas on Thursday evening, in connection with the case, shortly after Wendy’s finished its own internal investigation. According to court documents, she has been charged with one count of attempted grand larceny related to the chili case, and one count of grand larceny in an unrelated real estate deal, and is being held without bail in Clark County, Nevada, pending extradition. A press conference by the San Jose Police and Wendy’s was held on Friday, April 22, at 13:00 PDT. The charge related to the case states the finger could not have been prepared at Wendy’s, where the chili is heated to 170 degrees for 3 hours. There is also an inconsistency in Ayala’s account of finding the finger and claiming it caused her to vomit compared with police saying there was no vomit at the scene. The incident has caused Wendy’s 2.5 million dollars worth of damages, which Ayala could be criminally responsible for. Until recently, the San Jose police had not accused Ayala of planting the finger herself.

The unrelated charge stems from an incident, also in San Jose, when Ayala allegedly received an $11,000 down payment on a mobile home she did not own.

Ayala was incarcerated at the Clark County Detention Center, awaiting a fugitive review hearing on Tuesday, April 26, 2005, at 7:30 a.m. local time. She was processed and given inmate ID 01964047. Her case number was 05F07229X. Ayala waived extradition at the hearing, and her attorney said they were ready to come to San Jose to defend against the charges.

On Friday, May 6, 2005, Ayala was transported to San Jose, California. Ayala was booked into the main Santa Clara County jail, and is awaiting arraignment. Ayala will likely be arraigned on Monday or Tuesday at the Santa Clara County Superior Court, according to Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney David Boyd.

On September 9, 2005, Ayala plead guilty to conspiring to file a false claim and attempted grand theft, and will be sentenced on November 2, 2005. She faces up to ten years in prison, and her husband faces up to 13 years behind bars.

Until the middle of May, the owner of the finger still had not been found.

But on May 13, 2005, police announced that they had identified the finger tip as belonging to an associate of Ayala’s husband [1]. The associate had lost his finger tip in an industrial accident at an asphalt company[2] in December, 2004. Police had received the information from an undisclosed caller to Wendy’s hot-line.

Photos related to this incident:

Tuesday, April 25, 2006File:Tu 16019.jpg

A senior Russian air force commander has claimed that new, upgraded Tu-160 bomber aircraft were unchallenged by US air defense systems when they penetrated a radar zone near the Canadian coast in US territory during an April training exercise, reports the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Commander of Russia’s long-range strategic bombers, Lieutenant General Igor Khvorov said that the bombers successfully carried out four mock Tu-95MS cruise missile launches, 200 mock bombings, and 53 mock sorties during the exercise. The RIA Novosti reported that the United States Air Force is currently investigating how the Tu-160’s escaped detection.

Lieutenant General Igor Khvorov said, “They were unable to detect the planes either with radars or visually.”

Khvorov denies any link of the tests to the current US-Iranian tension, saying, “Of course, our exercises did not have anything to do with the situation in Iran, but their organization indirectly echoed in that region.”

The Tupolev Tu-160 is a strategic bomber introduced in 1987. It resembles the North American B-1B Lancer, but is larger and faster, being powered by four NK-32 afterburning turbofans, the largest in any combat aircraft. It is not considered to be a stealth aircraft due to its exposed engine inlets and broad wing gloves.

According to Khvorov over the course of this year, two additional Tu-160s will be commissioned for the long-range strategic bomber fleet with the numerous upgrades, including the ability to launch cruise missiles, aviation bombs, and satellite communication.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A car bomb was on Monday rammed into a military base in Maidan Shahr in the centre of Afghanistan’s Maidan Wardak province. Dozens died in the attack, reportedly conducted by the Taliban.

The training centre belongs to the National Directorate for Security; it was targeted with a captured Humvee military car packed with explosives, followed by two gunmen. Some estimated death tolls, provided anonymously by officials to journalists, exceeded 100. Sharif Hotak, of the Maidan Wardak provincial council, described witnessing 35 bodies in one hospital, with some casualties, both alive and dead, transported to Kabul. “The explosion was very powerful. The whole building has collapsed,” he said.

Hotak also alleged the central government are “hiding accurate casualty figures to prevent a further dip in morale of the Afghan forces”, whose US-built armoured vehicle was used to breach the compound’s defences. A source within the central Interior Ministry reportedly said “I have been told not to make the death toll figures public. It is frustrating to hide the facts[.]”

The Taliban have claimed responsibility. Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid claimed 190 were dead. Efforts are ongoing to negotiate a peaceful end to the conflict within the nation, in which the Taliban, once the governing force, seeks to retake control and reimpose their version of Sharia law. Reuters reported Monday’s attack the deadliest since an assault in Ghazni in August 2018, with officials reporting at the time 150 security forces, 95 civilians, and hundreds of Taliban killed.

Abdurrahman Mangal, spokesperson for the provincial governor, said the attack had killed twelve and injured twelve more.

The Taliban met on Monday with Zalmay Khalilzad, a US peace envoy, in Qatar. Last week a Kabul car bombing killed five and wounded 110, another attack ascribed to the Taliban. The civil war has been ongoing for seventeen years; the Taliban wants foreign forces to leave and the Afghan government shut out of peace talks.

Second weekend of protests begins in China

Posted February 11th, 2019 by e76yKR

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Defying government warnings against further demonstrations, as many as twenty-thousand Chinese protesters turned out for a second weekend of anti-Japan demonstrations in Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Tianjin.

In Shanghai, a crowd broke many windows at the Japanese consulate, according to Kyodo News. The crowd also busted up a Japanese restaurant and set its sign on fire. The protesters then attacked a convenience store, according to the Los Angeles Times.

At the Japanese consulate, the crowd chanted “jia ru, jia ru” asking the police to “join us”. The police did not arrest the protesters, and stood by watching as the demonstration proceeded. The police permitted the protesters to throw eggs and rocks. Although the police provided at one point a sign which read “March route this way,” state-controlled media denied that the protesters had been given permission for their demonstration.

Southwest of Shanghai, in the city of Hangzhou, an estimated ten thousand protesters demonstrated against Japan, repeating recent demands for a boycott of Japanese products.

“Chinese people are angry,” student protester Michael Teng told Associated Press. “We will play along with Japan and smile nicely at them, but they have to know they have a large, angry neighbor,” Teng said.

In Beijing, Tiananmen Square was largely quiet as security tightened in anticipation of tomorrow’s visit by Japan’s foreign minister, Nobutaka Machimura. Hundreds of police are guarding both Tiananmen Square and the Japanese embassy.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Friday seeking to reassure Japanese citizens and businesses operating in China.

“The Chinese government has attached great importance to the situation and has kept on urging the public to express their appeals in a calm, sane, law-abiding and orderly manner and to avoid extreme activities,” Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan said in a press release issued on Friday.

As the protests continued in China, Japan lodged a “strong protest” against China.

“We cannot but say that the security system in Shanghai is insufficient,” Machimura told reporters.

Despite the protests, Machimura announced that he is not cancelling plans to meet with China’s foreign minister Li Zhaoxing on Sunday to discuss Sino-Japanese relations.

“China has been increasing its regional economic and political influence,” Robert Broadfoot, managing director of Political & Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd. told Bloomberg from Hong Kong. “Japan doesn’t want to have its position in the region dictated by China. Japan is adopting a more assertive policy, and China is trying to block it,” Broadfoot said.

On Friday, the Japanese government warned its citizens in China to keep a low profile during the protests.