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    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    Reuters - L.A. man pleads innocent in Guns N' Roses piracy

    This article was sent to you from bombastic4000@yahoo.com, who uses Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:
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    L.A. man pleads innocent in Guns N' Roses piracy

    Tuesday, Oct 21, 2008 1:15PM UTC

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A man accused of placing songs on the Internet from an unreleased album by the rock band Guns N' Roses pleaded innocent on Monday in federal court.

    Kevin Cogill, 27, is charged with violating federal copyright law.

    Cogill pleaded innocent to the charge on Monday and no date has been set for the trial, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

    The FBI says that Cogill posted nine tracks from Guns N' Roses' upcoming album "Chinese Democracy" on a website called antiquiet.com (http://www.antiquiet.com).

    Cogill was arrested in August at his Los Angeles home and released on bail the same day. He faces three years in federal prison if convicted, and five years if the court finds he posted the songs for commercial gain.

    Guns N' Roses said in a statement at the time of the arrest that while it did not condone Coghill's actions, "our interest is in the original source" of the material. Mrozek declined to comment on whether there would be any additional arrests.

    One of the biggest bands to emerge from the American metal scene in the late 1980s, Guns N' Roses has not released an album of new material in more than 17 years. "Chinese Democracy" will reportedly come out later next month, but the project has been delayed multiple times over the years as singer Axl Rose shed all his original bandmates.

    (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Dean Goodman)

    Friday, October 17, 2008

    Reuters - Facebook eyes digital-music business: report

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    Facebook eyes digital-music business: report

    Friday, Oct 17, 2008 10:54AM UTC

    (Reuters) - Social networking site Facebook's founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg plans to enter the digital-music business in the wake of the launch of News Corp's MySpace Music last month, the New York Post said.

    Zuckerberg is talking to a number of song-streaming services and music community sites, including Rhapsody.com, iMeem.com, iLike.com and Lala.com about an outsourcing deal, the Post reported, citing sources familiar with the situation.

    Facebook executives have been busy meeting major record companies about the strategy, the paper said on its website.

    The Post quoted sources saying that unlike MySpace, which traded equity in its music venture in exchange for licenses to stream ad-supported songs, Facebook doesn't want to secure licenses to distribute music, or build a proprietary service from scratch.

    Sources further cautioned that nothing was imminent, and Facebook may ultimately walk away from the plan altogether, the paper reported.

    Facebook did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

    (Reporting by Shradhha Sharma in Bangalore, editing by Will Waterman)

    Wednesday, October 15, 2008

    Reuters - Nokia Siemens says shipping 4G-ready network gear

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    Nokia Siemens says shipping 4G-ready network gear

    Wednesday, Oct 15, 2008 4:43PM UTC

    HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) said on Wednesday it has started to deliver technology for emerging high-speed wireless networks.

    NSN said it was the first vendor to do so, and it would deliver fourth-generation-ready (4G) mobile network hardware to more than 10 major operators by end 2008. Rival Ericsson was not immediately available for comment.

    The gear can be upgraded into much faster Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology with just new software -- meaning lower costs for operators -- starting from latter half of 2009, promising a smoother transition than third generation, which required steep investments and took years to gain popularity.

    LTE promises to make everything from mobile video sharing to music downloads speedier, but it may not show a visible boost in sales for the network equipment industry any time soon, as the first networks are not expected for two years and many operators will wait longer until the technology matures.

    Canada's Nortel Networks Corp sees LTE as the most likely upgrade path for about 80 percent of the world's existing mobile phone providers, with others going for an alternative technology known as WiMax. Nokia Siemens said it expects to see commercial LTE network rollouts from 2010.

    (Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by David Cowell)

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    CNN - Whistleblower: Oil watchdog agency 'cult of corruption'

    Sent from bombastic4000@yahoo.com's mobile device from http://www.cnn.com.

    Whistleblower: Oil watchdog agency 'cult of corruption'


    Bobby Maxwell kept a close eye on the oil industry for more than 20 years as a government auditor. But he said the federal agency he worked for is now a "cult of corruption" -- a claim backed up by a recent government report.

    "I believe the management we were under was showing favoritism to the oil industry," Maxwell told CNN.

    Maxwell is referring to a tiny agency within the Department of the Interior called the Minerals Management Service, which manages the nation's natural gas, oil and other mineral resources on federal lands.

    A report, conducted by the Interior Department's inspector general and released earlier this month, found that employees at the agency received improper gifts from energy industry officials and engaged with them in illegal drug use and inappropriate sexual relations. It looked at activities at the agency from 2003 through 2006.

    Maxwell said the report doesn't surprise him. The agency, he said, is corrupt "top to bottom."

    "It sounds like they forgot they work for the government," he said. "It's disgusting. ... There's no excuse for that. Those people should not be working in those positions at all.

    "They crossed a lot of lines that should never have been crossed," he said. "They lost all objectivity."

    Maxwell was in charge of keeping track of the millions in royalty payments owed taxpayers by oil and gas companies who explored and found oil on U.S. government lands.

    He estimates he and his team were responsible for saving the government close to $500 million in royalties, either underpaid or somehow skipped by oil and gas companies, over the years.

    He received the Interior Department's highest award in 2003 for his work. But not long afterward, his job was killed.

    He believes it was retribution for his cracking down on Big Oil and blowing the whistle on what he believes was a "cult of corruption" within the agency. The Interior Department denies that, saying his job was reorganized as part of routine restructuring.

    Just before he lost his job, he said, one of his superiors in Washington ordered him not to investigate why Shell Oil had raised its oil transportation costs. Maxwell said it jumped from 90 cents to $3 a barrel without adequate explanation. The government paid Shell to transport oil from offshore platforms.

    When asked why a government worker would tell an auditor not to investigate, he said: "I believe it started from the top down," he said.

    Shell Oil told CNN it "pays the same rate any shipper does" and that it has "never engaged in fraudulent transactions or entered into sham contracts as Mr. Maxwell alleges."

    Maxwell, a registered independent, said the shift in attitude at the agency began about seven or eight years ago, about the time the Bush administration came into power. He said he was discouraged from aggressively auditing oil companies.

    "Laws and regulations were not applied, also not enforced," he said.

    The inspector general's 27-page summary says that nearly a third of the roughly 60 people in Maxwell's former office received gifts and gratuities from oil industry executives.

    Two received improper, if not illegal, gifts at least 135 times, the report says. It goes on to describe a wild atmosphere in which some staff members admitted using cocaine and marijuana.

    In addition, two female workers at the Minerals Management Service were known as the "MMS chicks" and both told investigators they had sex with oil industry officials they were supposed to be auditing.

    One e-mail from a pipeline company representative invited government workers to a tailgating party: "Have you and the girls meet at my place at 6 a.m. for bubble baths and final prep ... Just kidding."

    Inspector General Earl Devaney said in a letter to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne accompanying the report that it details "a textbook example of improperly receiving gifts from prohibited sources."

    Maxwell is now retired from the government and teaches at the University of Hawaii. He said it was just a matter of time until the agency's behavior was exposed. He feels vindicated now in the wake of the inspector general's report, but is still disgusted by what he was happening at the Minerals Management Service.

    "Their job is to protect United States taxpayers' interest. It's like they completely forgot that, like they just became part of the oil companies," he said.

    The Interior Department said it could not comment on Maxwell's specific allegations or removal, saying his former supervisor no longer works for the Interior Department either.

    Kempthorne said he was "outraged" by the disclosures in the inspector general's report and that the actions "of a few has cast a shadow on the entire agency."

    But the department said there is no evidence taxpayers lost money as a result of unethical behavior between government workers and the oil and gas industry.

    Maxwell doubts that.

    The former auditor said he'd love to put all the government royalty records under his magnifying glass.

    "I think the government should be transparent. We are for the people, by the people. This is the government. We're here to serve," he said.

    Maxwell has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the Kerr-McGee Corp., an energy company involved in oil and gas exploration. In it, he claims the company defrauded taxpayers out of millions in oil royalty payments.

    The company denies the accusation. If Maxwell wins, the government would recieve about $40 million in additonal revenue and Maxwell would be entitled to about a third of that.

    CNN - Whistleblower: Oil watchdog agency 'cult of corruption'

    Sent from bombastic4000@yahoo.com's mobile device from http://www.cnn.com.

    Whistleblower: Oil watchdog agency 'cult of corruption'


    Bobby Maxwell kept a close eye on the oil industry for more than 20 years as a government auditor. But he said the federal agency he worked for is now a "cult of corruption" -- a claim backed up by a recent government report.

    "I believe the management we were under was showing favoritism to the oil industry," Maxwell told CNN.

    Maxwell is referring to a tiny agency within the Department of the Interior called the Minerals Management Service, which manages the nation's natural gas, oil and other mineral resources on federal lands.

    A report, conducted by the Interior Department's inspector general and released earlier this month, found that employees at the agency received improper gifts from energy industry officials and engaged with them in illegal drug use and inappropriate sexual relations. It looked at activities at the agency from 2003 through 2006.

    Maxwell said the report doesn't surprise him. The agency, he said, is corrupt "top to bottom."

    "It sounds like they forgot they work for the government," he said. "It's disgusting. ... There's no excuse for that. Those people should not be working in those positions at all.

    "They crossed a lot of lines that should never have been crossed," he said. "They lost all objectivity."

    Maxwell was in charge of keeping track of the millions in royalty payments owed taxpayers by oil and gas companies who explored and found oil on U.S. government lands.

    He estimates he and his team were responsible for saving the government close to $500 million in royalties, either underpaid or somehow skipped by oil and gas companies, over the years.

    He received the Interior Department's highest award in 2003 for his work. But not long afterward, his job was killed.

    He believes it was retribution for his cracking down on Big Oil and blowing the whistle on what he believes was a "cult of corruption" within the agency. The Interior Department denies that, saying his job was reorganized as part of routine restructuring.

    Just before he lost his job, he said, one of his superiors in Washington ordered him not to investigate why Shell Oil had raised its oil transportation costs. Maxwell said it jumped from 90 cents to $3 a barrel without adequate explanation. The government paid Shell to transport oil from offshore platforms.

    When asked why a government worker would tell an auditor not to investigate, he said: "I believe it started from the top down," he said.

    Shell Oil told CNN it "pays the same rate any shipper does" and that it has "never engaged in fraudulent transactions or entered into sham contracts as Mr. Maxwell alleges."

    Maxwell, a registered independent, said the shift in attitude at the agency began about seven or eight years ago, about the time the Bush administration came into power. He said he was discouraged from aggressively auditing oil companies.

    "Laws and regulations were not applied, also not enforced," he said.

    The inspector general's 27-page summary says that nearly a third of the roughly 60 people in Maxwell's former office received gifts and gratuities from oil industry executives.

    Two received improper, if not illegal, gifts at least 135 times, the report says. It goes on to describe a wild atmosphere in which some staff members admitted using cocaine and marijuana.

    In addition, two female workers at the Minerals Management Service were known as the "MMS chicks" and both told investigators they had sex with oil industry officials they were supposed to be auditing.

    One e-mail from a pipeline company representative invited government workers to a tailgating party: "Have you and the girls meet at my place at 6 a.m. for bubble baths and final prep ... Just kidding."

    Inspector General Earl Devaney said in a letter to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne accompanying the report that it details "a textbook example of improperly receiving gifts from prohibited sources."

    Maxwell is now retired from the government and teaches at the University of Hawaii. He said it was just a matter of time until the agency's behavior was exposed. He feels vindicated now in the wake of the inspector general's report, but is still disgusted by what he was happening at the Minerals Management Service.

    "Their job is to protect United States taxpayers' interest. It's like they completely forgot that, like they just became part of the oil companies," he said.

    The Interior Department said it could not comment on Maxwell's specific allegations or removal, saying his former supervisor no longer works for the Interior Department either.

    Kempthorne said he was "outraged" by the disclosures in the inspector general's report and that the actions "of a few has cast a shadow on the entire agency."

    But the department said there is no evidence taxpayers lost money as a result of unethical behavior between government workers and the oil and gas industry.

    Maxwell doubts that.

    The former auditor said he'd love to put all the government royalty records under his magnifying glass.

    "I think the government should be transparent. We are for the people, by the people. This is the government. We're here to serve," he said.

    Maxwell has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the Kerr-McGee Corp., an energy company involved in oil and gas exploration. In it, he claims the company defrauded taxpayers out of millions in oil royalty payments.

    The company denies the accusation. If Maxwell wins, the government would recieve about $40 million in additonal revenue and Maxwell would be entitled to about a third of that.

    Reuters - Samsung re-enters U.S. laptop market

    This article was sent to you from bombastic4000@yahoo.com, who uses Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:
    http://mobile.reuters.com

    Samsung re-enters U.S. laptop market

    Tuesday, Oct 14, 2008 12:43PM UTC

    By Eric Auchard

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Diversified electronics maker Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said it is re-entering the U.S. computer market with a range of branded products that build on its component supply strengths.

    The Korean-based company will introduce on Tuesday new ultralight notebooks designed to appeal to potential buyers of Apple Inc's ground-breaking MacBook Air and smaller "netbook" models from the likes of Asustek Computer.

    Breaking into the crowded U.S. market involves taking share from more established players. The Korean electronics maker sees other Asian brand-name players as vulnerable, especially Toshiba Corp, Sony Corp and Lenovo.

    Samsung is also coming out with models aimed at business professionals and the market for bulkier laptops known as "desktop replacements," a Samsung executive said.

    Like Apple's Air, Samsung's X-Series premium lightweight notebooks come with options for either a hard drive or solid state memory. But Samsung's X360 is priced at $2,499 and carries 128 gigabytes of flash memory, twice the 64 gigabytes that comes with the Apple Air selling for $2,598.

    "These products really go after Apple and Sony. This is the MacBook Air killer," Bret Berg, the senior product manager for Samsung's U.S. computer division, said in an interview.

    The X360 weighs 2.8 pounds and has an ultra-thin, tapered wedge design with a magnesium allow chassis, an aluminum top and a "pebble"-style keyboard.

    Samsung's hard-drive version, the X460, starts at $1,899 for a 160-gigabyte hard drive, twice the capacity of Apple's existing MacBook Air model that is priced at $1,799 for an 80-gigabyte drive. The X460 weighs just under 4.2 pounds.

    NETBOOK

    Its premium netbook, the NC10, in white or metallic-blue colored cases, starts at $499 with a 10.2-inch display and 160 gigabyte hard drive. Netbooks are a smaller class of PCs that are lower priced than notebooks and can sell for $300 or less.

    Samsung is positioning its product between lower cost EEE PCs from Asustek and the smallest full-scale notebooks. Samsung's model bears a resemblance to an 11-inch notebook Sony sold earlier this decade that was popular with mobile business professionals but cost upward of $2,000 at that time.

    One cost advantage is that many of the components inside Samsung machines are made by its semiconductor and other finished product businesses. This includes Samsung's SuperBrite light-emitting diode, backlit liquid crystal displays.

    It estimates that 80 percent of the value of its PCs are from Samsung components -- everything but the microprocessor and graphics chips. As the world's biggest maker of memory chips, storage is Samsung's biggest weapon.

    The reentry into the U.S. highly competitive computer market will also be aided by Samsung's strong established ties with business resellers, distributors and consumer retailers through sales of everything from TVs to monitors to phones.

    In the first quarter of 2009, Samsung plans to rev up its sales distribution strategy, including corporate distributors such as CDW or Newegg and consumer retailers such as Best Buy, and regional U.S. store chains Fry's Electronics or The Wiz.

    Samsung's announcement, which has been in the works for more than a month, coincides with Apple's announcement later on Tuesday of upgraded notebook models. Analysts predict Apple may introduce a new line of notebooks for under $1,000.

    Tuesday, October 7, 2008

    Reuters - Oil rises on possible OPEC output cut

    This article was sent to you from bombastic400@yahoo.com, who uses Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:
    http://mobile.reuters.com

    Oil rises on possible OPEC output cut

    Tuesday, Oct 07, 2008 8:14PM UTC

    by Rebekah Kebede

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rose over $2 on Tuesday as signs OPEC was considering a supply cut outweighed concerns about the global financial crisis.

    U.S. crude settled at $90.06 a barrel, up $2.25, after hitting an eight-month low on Monday as part of a four-day decline.

    London Brent settled at $84.66 a barrel, up 98 cents.

    "It seems the (OPEC) price hawks are lobbying for a production cut to support prices ... that may have sparked the late session spurt of buying to take us positive on the day," said Tom Knight, a trader at Truman Arnold in Texarkana, Texas.

    Oil has plummeted from a record high of $147.27 a barrel in July as high fuel prices and the growing financial crisis slow oil demand in the United States, the world's top consumer, and other industrial nations.

    The spread of the credit crisis has intensified gloom about the global economic outlook and weakened prospects for oil demand and prices, and has led some investors to sell off commodities for safer havens.

    Oil's recent price drop has caused worry for some members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

    "If this volatility continues, OPEC will have to do something," Shokri Ghanem, chairman of Libya's National Oil Corp, told Reuters by telephone Tuesday.

    "We may sit down together before December," he said.

    OPEC's next meeting is in December in Algeria.

    Earlier this week, Iran said OPEC may need to cut supply to prop up prices.

    Further support has come from the slow recovery of the U.S. oil sector from Hurricane Ike. According to the U.S. Mineral Management Service, 44.8 percent of Gulf of Mexico production remained shut on Tuesday following the storm.

    The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Tuesday lowered its forecast for world oil demand growth in 2009 versus 2008. The agency cut its forecast by 140,000 barrels per day from its estimate published last month.

    Analysts also are watching oil demand from China -- which helped drive oil's rally from $20 a barrel in early 2002 -- for signs the crisis is hitting consumption in the world's second largest consumer.

    Earlier Tuesday, oil prices received support after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced that it would start buying the short-term debt that many companies use to fund day-to-day operations in a move to restore credit flows.

    An Australia cut rate cut also raised hopes that other countries would follow suit to bolster economic growth, which would support demand for oil.

    But the moves failed to stem fears in the U.S. financial market about fallout from the credit crisis and U.S. stocks slid on Tuesday.

    Tropical Storm Marco rolled over Mexico's Gulf coast on Tuesday, but all three of the country's main oil exporting ports remained open. On Monday, the storm prompted state oil company Pemex to shut down four offshore production platforms and close six wells at a natural gas field.

    Traders are also awaiting the release of the U.S. Energy Information Administration's weekly inventory data on Wednesday. Analysts polled by Reuters anticipated a 2.3-million-barrel build in crude inventories as imports rebounded from storm disruptions.

    (Additional reporting by Alex Lawler and Jane Merriman in London and Annika Breidthardt in Singapore; Editing by Christian Wiessner)

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