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    Monday, January 14, 2013

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    Wednesday, January 2, 2013

    Reuter site - Soprano Bartoli: My voice has more colors, shadow

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    Soprano Bartoli: My voice has more colors, shadow

    Thu, Dec 27 09:42 AM EST

    By Michael Roddy

    LONDON (Reuters) - Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli has released a year-end blockbuster that is part mystery story, part research project and shows off a voice which only seems to improve with age.

    Bartoli's latest deluxe-packaged album "Mission" (Decca) is devoted to the music of the late 17th-century Italian composer, diplomat and perhaps spy, Agostino Steffani.

    Steffani may have been a bit overlooked as a result of his appearance at the end of the Renaissance and at the beginning of the Baroque periods - until Bartoli's interest alighted on him.

    "The variety is amazing in the music of Steffani, the slow arias have very beautiful melodic lines, they are unbelievable, it's quite hypnotic music," Bartoli said in a telephone interview from Paris.

    Since she burst upon the world in the 1990s, specializing mostly in Mozart and Rossini, Bartoli has gone from strength to strength, not only in digging up unusual repertoires, including another deluxe compilation in 2009 devoted to music sung by castrati, but also vocally.

    Here's what else Bartoli had to say about Steffani and his possible career as a spy, why she goes for the anti-diva look on her recent album covers, and what she calls a Fellini-esque experience at La Scala with conductor Daniel Barenboim:

    Q: Is it true, then, that the voice improves with time?

    A: "I think this is a very good time because of the maturity of the technique. When you are young, of course, you have to have a beautiful voice. This is a gift you receive, but you don't have enough technique or experience. So this is a very good time because I can really paint with my voice with so many colors, like a painter. I love painting with the voice and I'm of an age when I do this definitely better than 20 years ago."

    Q: So this bit about Steffani being a spy, surely that was dreamt up by the Decca marketing department?

    A: "He had an incredible life as a priest, a missionary and a diplomatic mission to arranging weddings between the royal princes of that period. And also he was a kind of spy, in fact he was a Catholic priest in the north of Germany, in the Protestant area, and he spent lots of years in that area - it was very unusual, very strange. Maybe he also had the mission to convert (people) to Catholicism, who knows? We have lots of speculation about him, all the mysterious things about this man. There's still mystery."

    Q: There's no mystery though that the cover for this album, showing you bald-headed and wielding a crucifix, is "non-diva" - like the cover on the "Sacrificium" album of castrati music, with your head superimposed on the torso of a male statue.

    A: "The idea was to have a cover related to the project and it was a bit against the cliche of a diva who has to look beautiful all the time. In a project like 'Sacrificium', when at the beginning of the 18th century 3,000-4,000 boys were castrated every year in can I make a CD project about this and make a cover with a beautiful, glamorous Vanity Fair picture? This would be more embarrassing...People realize there is a real story here to tell, it's not a compilation of arias which you do for Christmas. And 'Sacrificium' was a huge success."

    Q: Your concert recital earlier this month singing Handel, Rossini and Mozart with Daniel Barenboim conducting at La Scala in Milan, with a chorus of boos and whistles in the second half, was perhaps less of a success?

    A: "This story is repeating what happened to Carlos Kleiber, one of the greatest conductors of our lives, also to (Maria) Callas, (Luciano) Pavarotti. The concert was magnificent - Handel, Mozart, Rossini - and then I believe at the very end there was a very Fellinian situation. You think these things don't happen anymore, that they only happen in the movies of (Federico) Fellini but actually, no, this is happening. And it seemed like a parody but the next morning I opened the newspaper and (Silvio) Berlusconi is back (in Italian politics). And so I said, 'Yes, of course.'

    I think living in Italy is difficult but living without Italy is impossible."

    (Editing by Michael Roddy)

    Goldman Sachs | Growth Markets - Growth Markets

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    Reuter site - Apple testing new iPhone, iOS 7: report

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    Apple testing new iPhone, iOS 7: report

    Wed, Jan 02 08:09 AM EST

    (Reuters) - Apple Inc has started testing a new iPhone and the next version of its iOS software, news website The Next Web reported.

    Apple shares were up 2.6 percent at $546.06 in premarket trading. The stock closed at $532.17 on the Nasdaq on Monday.

    Application developers have found in their app usage logs references to a new iPhone identifier, iPhone 6.1, running iOS 7 operating system, the website reported. (

    Apple's iPhone 5 bears the identifiers "iPhone 5.1" and "iPhone 5.2" and is powered by iOS 6 operating system.

    Developer logs show that the app requests originate from an internet address on Apple's Cupertino campus, suggesting that Apple engineers are testing compatibility for some of the popular apps, the website said.

    "Although OS and device data can be faked, the unique IP footprint leading back to Apple's Cupertino campus leads us to believe this is not one of those attempts," the website said.

    Apple launched iPhone 5 in September and it has been reported that the new iPhone will be released in the middle of 2013.

    (Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bangalore)

    Tuesday, January 1, 2013

    The Other Steve in apple; Steve Wozniak - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    Reuter site - Armed robbers hit Paris Apple store

    This article was sent to you from, who uses Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:

    Armed robbers hit Paris Apple store

    Tue, Jan 01 15:42 PM EST

    PARIS (Reuters) - Armed robbers targeted an Apple Inc store in central Paris on New Year's Eve, taking thousands of euros (dollars) worth of goods, a police official said on Tuesday.

    The robbery took place at about 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) on Monday, three hours after closing time at one of Apple's flagship stores behind the Paris Opera which sells products ranging from iPhones and iPads to Mac computers.

    The police official declined to comment on reports the thieves walked away with about 1 million euros ($1.32 million) of loot, saying the company was still evaluating the loss.

    Christophe Crepin from the police union UNSA told reporters four masked and armed individuals forced their way into the shop and afterwards escaped in a van.

    "They were well prepared. As the majority of police were busy watching the Champs Elysees (for New Year's Eve celebrations), the robbers took advantage of this opportunity," he said.

    ($1 = 0.7585 euros)

    (Reporting By Thierry Leveque and John Irish; Editing by Michael Roddy)

    Reuter site - Insight: How Colombian drug traffickers used HSBC to launder money

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    Insight: How Colombian drug traffickers used HSBC to launder money

    Tue, Jan 01 01:06 AM EST

    By Carrick Mollenkamp and Brett Wolf

    (Reuters) - When several Colombian men were indicted in January 2010 on money-laundering charges, the case in Brooklyn federal court drew little attention.

    It looked like a bust of another nexus of drug traffickers and money launderers, with mainly small-time operatives paying the price for their crimes.

    One of the men was Julio Chaparro, a 48-year-old father of four who owned three factories that made children's clothing in Colombia.

    But to U.S. authorities the case was anything but ordinary. Chaparro, prosecutors alleged, helped run a money-laundering ring for drug traffickers that took advantage of lax controls at UK-based international banking group HSBC Holdings Plc. It was one of the most important leads for U.S. investigators pursuing a case against the bank that eventually led to a $1.9 billion settlement on December 11.

    Chaparro was "basically putting the orchestra together" and investigators saw "him as a major player in terms of cleaning a lot of money," said James Hayes, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in New York. Known as ICE, the agency and its task force led the probe.

    The Colombian's lawyer, Ephraim Savitt, said Chaparro was a middleman in the operation, but disputed the extent of his client's role, saying he was the "page turner of sheet music for the conductor."

    Chaparro, who was arrested in Colombia in 2010 and extradited to the United States in 2011, pleaded guilty to a money-laundering conspiracy count in May and is awaiting sentencing in 2013.

    An HSBC spokesman declined comment.

    Much about the trail that drug traffickers used to move U.S. dollars - the proceeds from drug sales - through HSBC and other banks remains unclear. By design, the process is layered to evade detection.

    But a review of confidential investigative records that originate from two U.S. Attorney office probes and federal court filings in New York and California, as well as interviews with senior law-enforcement officials, shows how investigators tracing the activities of people who allegedly worked with Chaparro were able to expose large-scale money laundering at one of the world's biggest banks.

    The federal law-enforcement task force - named after El Dorado, the mythical city of gold in South America - used wire taps, email and computer searches, information from at least one inside source, and old-fashioned surveillance, to piece together the ring's operations.


    Drug cartels sold narcotics in the United States and routed the cash to Mexico, often using couriers to smuggle it across the border. That cash would then be put into bank accounts at HSBC's Mexico unit, where large deposits could be made without arousing suspicion, according to U.S. Department of Justice documents.

    In one filing, U.S. prosecutors said, Chaparro and others allegedly utilized accounts at HSBC Mexico to deposit "drug dollars and then wire those funds to ... businesses located in the United States and elsewhere. The funds were then used to purchase consumer goods, which were exported to South America and resold to generate 'clean' cash."

    In a typical transaction, a middleman in a drug cartel would offer to deliver consumer goods, such as computers or washing machines, to Colombian businesses on favorable terms. Another person in the United States would buy the goods from firms using funds from drug trafficking, and fulfill those orders.

    Money launderers exploited the laxness of HSBC in policing shadowy money flows, the Department of Justice said earlier this month. Failures included not conducting due diligence on customers, not adequately monitoring wire transfers or cash shipments and not having enough employees to run anti-money laundering systems. U.S. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer called the lapses "stunning failures of oversight."

    The situation was so bad, according to the Department of Justice, that in 2008, the head of HSBC's Mexican operations was told by Mexican regulators that a local drug lord described the bank as "the place to launder money."

    The Chaparro probe, led by ICE and the Justice Department, converged over the past two years with two other investigations - led by federal prosecutors and investigators in West Virginia and by the Manhattan district attorney - resulting in this month's settlement with HSBC.

    HSBC and its employees avoided criminal indictments, as the bank agreed instead to a deferred-prosecution deal that forces it to strengthen controls and accept a compliance monitor.

    Today, Chaparro sits in a federal detention center in Brooklyn, reading the Bible and awaiting sentencing, said Savitt, a former U.S. prosecutor in Brooklyn, who submitted a list of questions to Chaparro for Reuters.

    "He is contrite, regretful and ashamed about his crimes," Savitt said. "He wants to serve his time and rejoin his family. He understands that a prison term could prevent that from happening for many years."

    Under federal guidelines, he could face 15 to 18 years in prison.


    The El Dorado federal task force, based in a building on the west side of Manhattan near Chelsea Piers, serves as an umbrella organization for some 250 law-enforcement officials from state, local and federal agencies.

    One of the task-force supervisors is Lieutenant Frank DiGregorio, a former New York detective who spent years tracking the so-called Black Market Peso Exchange, which is used to convert dollars to Colombian pesos through trading in goods. DiGregorio along with two younger investigators - Graham Klein and Carmelo Lana - led the HSBC case.

    The overall probe began in 2007 when investigators analyzed how courier companies ferried cash through airports in Miami and Houston, a person familiar with the case said. They ultimately tracked that to HSBC's operations in Mexico and then connected it to funds moving through New York.

    A tipping point in the investigation came in 2009 when El Dorado agents arrested a man named Fernando Sanclemente. Two sources familiar with the case say Sanclemente was an operative in Chaparro's network.

    Sanclemente, who was charged with allegedly conducting financial transactions tied to narcotics trafficking, is free on bail with a $200,000 bond, according to the latest court docket entry, which dates to January 2012. His lawyer, James Neville, declined to discuss the status of the case.

    According to a criminal complaint filed against him by Lana, the El Dorado agent, on June 30, 2009, task force agents followed Sanclemente for more than two hours as he drove around Queens in New York to ferry cash from drug sales.

    Sanclemente first met with a person for about "30 seconds" on one street corner, and left with a yellow plastic bag. Later that night, he drove to a Dunkin' Donuts near LaGuardia Airport, where a black livery cab pulled up and the driver handed him a black bag.

    The El Dorado team followed Sanclemente to Laurel Hollow, New York, some 40 minutes away, where the investigators stopped and searched him, finding about $153,000 in the two bags. At Sanclemente's apartment, investigators said they found ledgers and documents consistent with money laundering.

    With the arrest, investigators gained insight into Chaparro's alleged transactions. At one point, investigators set up undercover bank accounts where they were able to get Chaparro's network to wire proceeds that could be traced back to HSBC's Mexico operations, according to people familiar with the situation and a Department of Justice filing in the HSBC case.

    Federal agents would ultimately home in on $500 million that had moved from HSBC Mexico to HSBC's operations in the United States, according to the confidential investigative records.

    Between October 6, 2008 and April 13, 2009, Chaparro and others conducted money laundering transactions totaling $1.1 million tied to narcotics trafficking, the indictment against Chaparro alleged.

    (Reporting By Carrick Mollenkamp and Brett Wolf of the Compliance Complete service of Thomson Reuters Accelus; Additional reporting by Tomas Sarmiento Cordero in Mexico City and Aruna Viswanatha in Washington; Editing by Paritosh Bansal and Martin Howell)

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