Fifteen people killed in attack on Nigerian college

Friday, September 19, 2014

Officials said at least fifteen people were killed in an attack on a teachers training college in the Northern Nigerian city of Kano by a group of armed gunmen on Wednesday. Over 30 others were wounded.

News agencies have reported while there has been no claim of responsibility, suspicion will likely fall on the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. The group has previously targeted Western-style schools within the country, including past attacks on secondary schools.

According to official reports, police first approached the group in the area of the school, concerned about their unusual activity, and the attackers engaged police in a firefight. The attackers gained entry to the school and started throwing bombs.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan described the incident as a “dastardly attack”. He has already declared a state of emergency in three northern states, and is being criticized along with the country’s armed forces for failure to prevent extremist attacks.

A police spokesman said police killed two attackers at the scene.

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Four British energy suppliers face investigation into claims of misselling

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), the regulator of the electricity and gas markets in Great Britain, has launched an investigation into four of the largest British energy suppliers over suspicions that they not be complying with face-to-face and telephone sales regulations. The four organisations facing scrutiny could be fined up to 10% of their annual turnover if it is found that they are breaking sales regulations. Scottish Power, npower, Scottish and Southern Energy and EDF Energy are all to face questioning by the organisation.

Ofgem has urged customers of the four companies to alert the energy regulator, “if they are concerned about the sales approach any domestic suppliers have taken when selling energy contracts, either face-to-face or by telephone,” according to a statement. “As part of the investigation process Ofgem will examine any evidence of non-compliance and consider whether there are grounds for exercising enforcement powers.”

New regulations on sales tactics by energy suppliers were recently introduced, and, Ofgem has said, energy suppliers must be “proactive in preventing misselling to customers both face to face and over the phone. Also, if suppliers are selling contracts face to face they must provide customers with an estimate before any sales are concluded. In most circumstances customers should also receive a comparison of the supplier’s offer with their current deal.” Only one in five consumers consider energy suppliers to be trustworthy, and 61% of people feel intimidated by doorstep sales people from energy companies. According to the organisation Consumer Focus, “complaints have declined since new rules came into effect this year, but suppliers still seem to be flouting the rules. Some customers are still being given misleading quotes and information, which leave them worse off when they switch provider.”

The newspaper The Guardian has reported that “householders are reporting that sales agents working for the energy suppliers are giving them misleading information and quotes which leave them worse off when they switch supplier.” Consumer Focus has said that if energy companies continue to break the rules, they could be banned from doorstep-selling completely. The report goes on to say that “new figures from helpline Consumer Direct show that while the number of complaints has fallen since last year, about 200 cases of mis-selling are being reported each month.” However, Scottish Power said it insists on “the highest standards possible for all of our sales agents”, and npower told the Financial Times that it was “confident that the processes we have in place mean that we comply with our regulatory obligations”. EDF added that it was “fully compliant with all obligations regarding sales of energy contracts”.

According to the regulator, the obligations are serious and must be followed by energy supplies, or they will face “tougher sanctions than those available under more general consumer protection law.” Ofgem has published a guide advising consumers what they should do should an energy salesperson contact them in person of by telephone. Improper sales tactics are still common in the industry—in 2008 an Ofgem investigation found that 48% of gas customers and 42% of electricity customers were worse off after switching supplier on the doorstep. Npower was fined £1.8 million in 2008 by the organisation, and Ofgem insists that they are “committed to taking action” over improper sales activities by energy companies. “Suppliers have existing obligations to detect and prevent misselling and new licence conditions were brought in following our probe to further increase protection for customers,” said Andrew Wright, a Senior Partner of the regulator. “We expect all suppliers to comply with these tougher obligations but if our investigations find otherwise we will take strong action.”

What are your experiences with doorstep salespeople? If they persuaded you to change energy providers, were you worse off as a result?
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Head of energy at Consumer Focus, Audrey Gallacher, called the investigation “a welcome step … to address years of customers getting a bad deal on energy prices on their doorstep. While many doorstep sales people will do a good job, the pay and rewards system continues to encourage mis-selling, despite years of regulation and voluntary initiatives. If better advice for customers and enforcement of the tougher rules doesn’t end the flagrant abuse of this form of selling the big question will be whether it should be completely banned.” Christine McGourty, director of Energy UK, which represents the leading gas and electricity companies, said that “the companies involved will collaborate with the Ofgem investigation and are awaiting further details from the regulator. Any sales agent in breach of the code will be struck off the approved energy sales register.” Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith, has said he considers the situation “shocking”, saying that the investigation “will do nothing to improve consumer trust in energy suppliers. We’re pleased that Ofgem has promised tough measures against any firms guilty of mis-selling. We hope it uses this opportunity to tighten rules around telesales so they are in line with those for face to face sales.”

SNP Westminster Energy spokesperson Mike Weir MP, however, said that the investigation “does nothing to tackle the real problem of fuel prices which leave many Scots facing great difficulty in heating their homes … Rather than tinkering around the edges Ofgem should be looking at how to reduce prices for vulnerable households.” Gareth Kloet, Head of Utilities at, one of the UK’s biggest and most popular price comparison services, also welcomed the inquiry. “It is unacceptable for energy companies to mislead customers like this,” he said, adding that has previously “urged energy providers to either stop the practice of doorstep selling or make it very clear to households that better deals are available online. There is no reason why door-to-door salesmen can’t show people online deals and even help households switch to them.”

“Our research reveals customers could end up paying £167 more than they need to as door-to-door salesmen are unable to offer the discounts that are applied online. The changes that have been made to date are a welcome addition to safeguard customers; however this review has been much needed for a long time. Hopefully it will mark the end of customers being overcharged and missold,” Kloet continued. “Our message to energy consumers remains the same: they should shop around online to make sure they’re getting the best deal possible and turn these salesmen away.”

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Pay Little Or No Money Down For Bad Credit Auto Financing In 5 Steps

By Everett Maclachlan

You deserve a car. No, maybe “need” is a better word. These days, it is hard to get almost anything done without one. Sure, there are buses, bicycles, and trains for getting yourself around town – and these work for some people – but most of us need a car to get by.

The challenge of getting your own set of wheels through auto financing comes when you have a bad credit (FICO) score due to past bad decisions. Or, maybe you just had a run of bad luck such as the loss of a job or the inability to make your mortgage or car payments.

And, another potential roadblock in qualifying for financing a car is when you lack sufficient funds to offer as a down payment for your loan. You probably have been told by more than one lender: no down payment + bad credit = no car loan.

Fortunately, there exist bad credit auto lenders who specialize in working with bad credit individuals. In fact, some have built up their entire business around the concept that people with a poor credit rating still deserve a car.

If you would like to pay little or no money down for bad credit auto financing, here are 5 steps to doing so:

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1. Find a car to buy that is suitable to your situation:

You need to start your journey to getting approved for car financing by getting realistic about the type of car you can afford right now. As you can imagine, it will slant the odds of getting your loan approved in your favor if you choose to buy a lower-priced car that will require you to take out a much smaller loan. Look for something nice, but find the lowest-priced car you could be possibly happy with at this point in your life.

2. Get together whatever money you can manage for a down payment, if any:

You are no doubt short on funds, but any cash you can get together for a down payment will improve your odds even further. Even offering just a few hundred dollars as a sign of good faith can show your lender than you have every intention of sharing the risk of this vehicle loan with them.

3. Peruse your latest FICO report and fix any issues you find there:

Next, you will want to set your sights on apply for auto financing. In preparation for that, have one (or all three) of the major credit monitoring agencies pull your credit report. Then, peruse it carefully, line by line, while looking for any errors or mistakes. If you find any, write a formal letter of protest to the respective agency and get it fixed.

4. Build yourself a list of bad credit auto financing lenders:

Now it is time to get some particular lenders in mind so that you can apply for a loan. You will want to search for “bad credit auto financing lenders.” These are the ones who specialize in working with people in your situation.

5. Apply to at least 4-5 lenders before signing any contracts:

Make sure your list contains at least 4-5 names of good, reputable companies. Then, start applying. Make sure to ask for the same size (amount) of loan, as well as the same repayment terms (for example, 5 or 7 years) from each one. That way, you can easily compare quotes to see which is the best deal for you.

Take these 5 tips into account as you qualify for bad credit auto financing with little or no money down.

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Canberra’s Sophie Lavers crowned Miss World Australia

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sophie Lavers, a 24-year-old woman from Canberra, has been crowned Miss World Australia in Sydney. She defeated nineteen other finalists to take the prize and will represent Australia at the Miss World event in South Africa.

The entrants were judged based on several categories including best talent, healthy body image, sports and fitness and beauty with a purpose. An aspiring actress, she is completing an acting course and hopes to build a career in film and television. She is also a qualified fitness instructor and has worked as a Kings Cross waitress.

She has been described in the media as having an “amazing figure” and it has been rumoured that she has used this for modelling work. However, Lavers has said that her body has only been modelled for a good cause: “Some do think that, but I have only ever modelled for charity.”

She also doubts much will change for her, at least in the near future. “I’ll still get up and probably have peanut butter on toast for breakfast but after that I’m not sure what’s happening. I guess I won’t be going to work tomorrow.”

She explained that all the girls who entered were dedicated to making a difference. “I just think it’s like having little angels out there through the country helping in all different areas whether it’s with children, or blind people, or the homeless.” Lavers also complained that non-stop smiling for the event has left here mouth sore. “I’m not used to smiling for hours on end.”

Lavers is now set to head to Johannesburg for the December 12 global competition. “I’ve got to get a month of outfits ready and get a talent and another speech and everything. Oh goodness.”

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Volunteers endure bed-rest study

Tuesday, March 22, 2005Volunteers began a 60 day bed-rest marathon on March 19 to study simulated weightlessness effects on women astronauts. The study, Women International Space Simulation for Exploration(WISE), is conducted at the MEDES Space Clinic in Toulouse, France.

The 12 women, selected from 1600 applicants hailing from France,Great Britain, Germany, Finland, The Netherlands, Poland and the Czech Republic began the study after a 20 day screening for baseline comparison data as the study progressed.

The women will conduct all activities from eating, bathing, and reading while lying in hospital beds tilted headfirst at a six degree angle. This particular position, called head-down tilt bed rest was determined from previous studies to remove the vertical load of gravity on the body, inducing changes similar to what astronauts in a genuine weightless environment experience [1].

Long term exposure to weightlessness creates a number of physiological and psychological problems in astronauts such as:

  • Reduced capacity for physical exertion
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Affects of confinement and isolation
  • Impaired circulatory function

A total of 24 women will participate in the study. A second group of 12 will join in September.

Three groups of eight women each will be studied over the course of the two campaigns of bed rest. One group will serve as a control, receiving no specific treatments, the second will exercise, while the third will receive nutritional supplements.

The study is designed to fill in gaps of knowledge on the differences between men and women during extended weightlessness. It also aims to develop countermeasures for reducing the debilitating effects of long spaceflights.

Participating agencies in the study include the European Space Agency, NASA, the French Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.


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Blue Security anti-spam community target of large-scale spam attack

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Beginning Monday morning, many BlueFrog and Blue Security users began receiving an email warning them that if they did not remove their email addresses from the Blue Security registry, they would begin to receive huge amounts of unsolicited email. As quickly as four hours after the initial warning message, some users began to receive an unprecedented amount of spam. Most of the messages were simply useless text. Users reported that Blue Security’s website was unavailable or extremely slow in responding.

Blue Security is an online community dedicated to fighting spam. As they became more popular, their member list increased substantially. The members’ email address is encrypted and added to a list of e-mail addresses that wish to stop receiving spam. Blue Security maintains the encrypted list, which uses an encrypted hash function. Spammers are encouraged to remove all addressed from their email list that are also in Blue Security’s Do Not Intrude Registry by using free compliance tools available at Blue Security’s web site.

According to Blue Security’s web site, “A major spammer had started spamming our members with discouraging messages in an attempt to demoralize our community. This spammer is using mailing lists he already owns that may contain addresses of some community members.” Reportedly, Blue Security has received complaints from users about spam allegedly sent from Blue Security promoting their anti-spam solution and web site.

Blue Security states they are “an anti-spam company determined to fight spam and as such never has and never will send unsolicited email.” There are also reports of non-users of BlueSecurity/BlueFrog receiving the warning emails, which now seems is also being sent to email addresses of people who have never added their email address to Blue Security’s Do Not Intrude Registry.

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Money Buildup Out Of Estate Investment

Money buildup out of estate investment


Christoper Cominsky

It truly is a beneficial habit to always to put aside cash in the bank to build up saving and for disaster use. Then again what will come about to your hard earned wealth after many years. The amount of cash to procure a service or good will cost further more. In effect your wealth has become lesser then your hard earned wealth can be wiped out much earlier. The interest you\’ll gain out of your saving ordinarily might be insufficient to catch up with the inflation rate. Saving more, the more you lost. By the time you retire, you\’ll be blessed if the bank account be able to last you until the time you breathe your last breath. For nearly everyone of us, we haven\’t any choice, we ought to make investments to our capital wisely to gather saving and overcome the rate of inflation. If you happen to be lucky to gather adequate saving, you may well wish to invest in estate.

Choosing the best property will be instrumental to ensure that our wealth shall be put in good use and growing instead of thinning. All kind of investment vehicle includes risk and property investment is no exemption. Choose a property in an area which has excellent rental occupation and good rental return. Choosing of such property might be a place which has lots of workplaces, high-quality educational institutions along with services inside the vicinity.

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A method to invest in property is to purchase a property with aim to sell it off within the near future to produce a pleasant profit. This method is helpful when price of property is moving up. Discover a property which is underpriced, after several month or years, the value of your property should have risen and it may be sold for gain. Nevertheless it is risky to speculate in property in such a manner. Ensure you own enough cash flow to tide over the bad time if you made a wrong decision. You could be required to hold the property and rent it out as an alternative.

Investing for a home for letting purpose is another type of property investment. This manner of investment decision can produce passive income and will be our goal. Lots of investors fancy this kind of investment. They like to keep properties for rental and hold them. The concern of such type of investment is that wealth accumulation is slower than acquiring and resell property. But this kind of investment is not as dangerous because the person doesn\’t have to fret if the value of the home drops after the purchase.

If the property is selected properly in a place with good rental demand, it will be good enough. The region must have good transport accessibility, nearby offices and amenities. Do confirm the rental transaction for comparable property in the area. If possible the property should give positive cash flow. If the home doesn\’t give positive cash-flow, you\’ll need sufficient cash flow from other sources to pay the mortgage. You may also take a look at other area to acquire a cheaper property or one that can generate better rental rate.

Be prepared to be hands on to keep the property that you rent out. Every one or two years, you have to look for tenant. If the property needs repair, you will be required to get service provider to perform the repair. If you are unavailable, it will be highly recommended to leave it with a trustworthy estate agent to look after the property while you are able to do what you are most excellent at – making more cash to acquire more property.

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Indian banks propose to use gold deposits as CRR/SLR

Monday, June 30, 2014

State Bank of India (SBI) and Bank of Baroda (BoB), two of the largest public sector banks of India, proposed on Saturday their gold deposits should be allowed to count toward their state-mandated cash reserve ratio (CRR) or statutory liquidity ratio (SLR).

Arundhati Bhattacharya, the chairperson of SBI, made the proposal at a Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council event held in Mumbai on Saturday. She said the need for gold deposits to become more liquid has increased because gold import is putting a strain on the country’s current account deficit. S. S. Mundra, Chairperson and managing director of BoB, agreed and said it would help bringing gold into the more productive sectors of the economy.

Bhattacharya added SBI has no longer any incentive to run its gold deposit scheme as it cannot fully deploy the assets, noting SBI is the party most involved with gold deposits in India. G. S. Sandhu, Union financial services secretary, also at the event, responded that the government is looking for ways to monetize the gold held by the public, as import of gold can strain the current account deficit and foreign exchange reserves.

Currently, the Reserve Bank of India has set the CRR at 4% and the SLR at 22.5%. SLR is the portion of deposits that must be invested in recognized safe securities and assets.

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Top 10 Online Casino Games

Gone are the days of leaving youre your home and driving down to play casino games . It is the time to get rid of hassle of dressing up and to play your favourite casino games from your own comfortable house. This has been possible because of the online casino games available for you at any time of your choice.Usually you have to download software only once and get started with the online games. Such software is available on most of the casino gaming websites. At times you will find certain websites offering you flash games which do not require download it is convenient to play downloadable games as you do not have to open a browser again and again. You can directly play them from your desktop.Here are the 10 popular online casino games:-1.BLACKJACKBlackjack is one of the most important card games. The objective of blackjack is to get a hand combination which should be close to 21, without going over. Cards from 2 to 10 are worth to their numerical values. Aces are valued at 1 or 11 and face cards are worth 10. The game requires time to actually let you learn the tricks of your hand busting versus the dealers hand.Blackjack is an easy game if you consider the rules and tricks. The skills learnt from it help you in other games as well.2.CRAPSCraps is a dice game which is very exciting and is one of the fastest moving table games. It provides the players with various options of gambling and betting. A craps table appears to be frightening though the game is easy. To get more winning odd you should continue with the basic bets because the complicated ones do not give the worth of your money.3.ROULETTEThe online casino games offer two kinds of roulette- American and European. The European roulette has more chances of winning as it has 1 field less than the American roulette. It is a game of numbers, where players choose to bet on single or series of numbers or different colours like black or red. The game advances with the croupier spinning the wheel and the winning number is decided by seeing the position where the ball stops.4.MINI BACCARTMini Baccarat has the same rules as the normal Baccarat. The difference only comes when the players do not have to change and be the bankers. It is a game of 6 or 7 players with 3 betting spots. To win the game you need to get as close to 9 as possible with the 3 cards given to you.5.ONLINE SLOTSOnline slots start with the players choosing the amount and number of lines to play. The spin button is pressed and the machine pays for different line up combination.6.ONLINE VIDEO POKERIt is based on the basics of poker and hence requires you to achieve poker hands. It is full of excitement and also a way to earn if you are good at it.7.PAI GOW POKERIt is also known as Double hand poker and is a kind of Chinese pai gow domino game. It uses 52 standard cards including joker.8.SICBOIt is another online dice game with 3 dice in use. It is about guessing the outcome of the roll of the dice. The outcome of the rolling is revealed only when all the bets are placed.9.KENOIt is just like Bingo. Players mark the numbers of their wish on the keno ticket and the players having the maximum number of numbers picked out later from the bubble get the money.10.ONLINE POKERPoker is a game of cards with both chance and skill being important for victory. The present favourite form of it is Texas Holdem. In it you have to achieve the best possible five card poker hand by using two pocket cards and five community cards.Time to join in on the online casino games action. Head over to today and get ready for state of the art online casino action.