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Money Rosneft To Acquire 30% Of North Atlantic Drilling

The deal was entered into by both parties in May, before the stricter round of US sanctions on Russia in July.The Bermuda-based driller has developed its drilling abilities in the Arctic region, just the kind of capabilities and access that US and European sanctions were aimed at curbing. (NADL), announced yesterday, that Moscow-based oil giant, Rosneft Oil Co (RNFTF) would acquire a 30% stake in it, in exchange for 150 of the Russian company’s oil rigs and an undisclosed cash amount.

Norwegian company, North Atlantic Drilling Ltd. (NADL), announced yesterday, that Moscow-based oil giant, Rosneft Oil Co (RNFTF) would acquire a 30% stake in it, in exchange for 150 of the Russian company’s oil rigs and an undisclosed cash amount. The deal was entered into by both parties in May, before the stricter round of US sanctions on Russia in July.

The Bermuda-based driller has developed its drilling abilities in the Arctic region, just the kind of capabilities and access that US and European sanctions were aimed at curbing. However, since the company is receiving oil rigs as part of the deal, rather than it being the other way round, the sanctions will not have much of an impact on the deal. The global offshore drilling services provider is under the majority ownership of Seadrill Ltd, (SDRL), which has a 70% stake. Following the deal, Seadrill will become the largest stakeholder in North Atlantic Drilling.

The deal, which will see North Atlantic Drilling issue 100 million shares priced at $9.25, is expected to close by the end of the fourth quarter of this year and allow Seadrill to retain more than half of its stake in North Atlantic Drilling. As part of the deal, the Russian companies were entitled to nominate two board members on the board of North Atlantic Drilling. Rosneft hopes to raise its stake in North Atlantic Drilling to as much as 50% over time.

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38

Bidness Etc
Today
13 Points
New
1

Marijuana activists lose initial challenge to Colorado marijuana taxes

For one, they pointed out during testimony Friday morning, none of the plaintiffs who testified currently owns recreational marijuana stores. the federal government considering marijuana strictly illegal; the state government considering it something that can be sold legally at licensed stores.

Marijuana activists lost an initial bid Friday to strike down special taxes on recreational pot because they require businesses and consumers to implicate themselves in federal crimes.

At the end of a nearly day-long hearing, Denver District Court Judge John Madden ruled the activists hadn't done enough to show that tax collections needed to be stopped right away with an injunction.

"I can't find that there's immediate, irreparable injury based on the testimony today," Madden said.

However, the lawsuit challenging the taxes will continue, and Madden will decide the overarching questions of constitutionality later.

The activists say the taxes must be stopped because they violate the Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination of marijuana business owners and consumers. By paying taxes, the activists argue, they are acknowledging to the government that they are violating federal law.

"These taxes are a gift-wrapped open-and-shut federal prosecution," Rob Corry, the activists' attorney, said during the hearing.

The hearing quickly ran into the thorny bramble of conflicting federal and state laws over marijuana ? the federal government considering marijuana strictly illegal; the state government considering it something that can be sold legally at licensed stores. Madden said he had concerns about the kind of relief he was being asked to provide.

"How can a party be able to receive a preliminary injunction that would assist in violating federal law?" Madden asked.

Attorneys for the state and for the city of Denver, which is also a defendant in the suit, said Corry's side didn't show enough proof to justify the injunction. For one, they pointed out during testimony Friday morning, none of the plaintiffs who testified currently owns recreational marijuana stores. And, they argued, there is no evidence federal prosecutors are targeting marijuana store owners or consumers based on tax payments.

"Getting rid of the taxes is not going to prevent the federal government from prosecuting," Charles Solomon, an attorney for Denver, said.

Corry, though, argued he was in a Catch-22. In order to present testimony from business owners concerned their tax payments are self-incriminating, he has to put witnesses on the stand to disclose their marijuana sales, thus incriminating themselves.

Madden said he's looking forward to the remainder of the case, which could take months to resolve.

"There are fascinating issues on both sides," he said.

John Ingold: 303-954-1068, [email protected] or twitter.com/johningold

The Denver Post
Today
19 Points
1

Peyton Manning schools defenders in practice with deception

Renck lists the learning points:--He uses his eyes to pull defenders off routes, teaching patience.--He employs dummy calls, forcing defenders to make snap adjustments.--He throws precise passes, meaning bites on fakes or bad techniques are exploited. Overshadowed by the chippy nature of the joint practices was the free education provided by Manning. Renck: [email protected] or twitter.com/troyrenckBroncos quarterback Peyton Manning ran a historic offense last season.

Peyton Manning creates trusts issues. For defensive backs, he's the chocolate chip cookie that reveals raisins on first bite.

The Broncos face the Houston Texans on Saturday in a dress rehearsal for the season opener Sept. 7, and given the tension in their scrimmages, a food or flag fight could break out.

Overshadowed by the chippy nature of the joint practices was the free education provided by Manning. The Broncos reigning NFL MVP provides a graduate course in communications and strategic planning.

"He's making me better. He doesn't even know some of the things he's teaching me in practice," said safety T.J. Ward, who joined the Broncos this spring as a free agent. "It's just such great preparation for a game having to go against him every day. You learn so much."

Manning's eyes are his chalkboard, where lessons begin. It wasn't too long ago that quarterbacks stared at targets as if they were long-lost high school sweethearts. Deception now prevails. Even on quick routes, Manning lies to defenders. Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib, who played with the New England Patriots last season, called Manning the toughest he's ever gone up against in practice.

"(The Patriots') Tom (Brady) was great, too. Defensively, Peyton gives you a workout," Talib said. "He uses his eyes to take you out of the play.

"You have to be careful."

Watch Manning on film, and there are traces of mortal behavior, solutions to slowing him down. But he has evolved since his first record-breaking season in 2004. He threw downfield more often with the Indianapolis Colts, relying more on his arm than his receivers. He gets rid of the ball quickly in the Broncos' offense. According to ESPN research, Manning threw 373 passes for 5 yards or fewer last season, and 49 of his 55 touchdown featured a pass within two seconds of the snap.

It's like the NFL's version of "Jeopardy." A lot of people can answer the game show questions, but few can hit the buzzer correctly in one second.

"He's going to challenge you in every facet of the defense. He runs up-tempo offense, and you have to be smart in your disguises and be in the right place at all times," Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. "Because a guy like him, he can pick up where you kind of have a letdown in coverage. He tends to find those open holes and open windows."

Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas smirks when talking about Manning's precision. Numerous times over the past two seasons, he's caught a pass and heard complaints before cheers.

"You will hear the the DB say, 'Only Peyton could put the ball there,' " Thomas said.

Cornerback Chris Harris explained that Manning's precision teaches discipline and fundamentals. Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, Manning lined up in the shotgun with C.J. Anderson flanked to his left. On the snap, Anderson ran toward the linebacker. He took the bait, leaving Julius Thomas wide open as safety Craig Dahl waved his arms helplessly.

Quarterbacks are paid to trick defenders. Manning preys on those who stray off the script.

"You learn you have to have great technique to really make a good play on Peyton's passes. You have to be in great position," said Harris, who remains on track to play in the season opener against the Colts and could practice without limitations next week. "You can't have bad eyes or false technique with Peyton."

Poor ears might actually help though. Manning gives dummy calls at the line of scrimmage. There's an audible in there somewhere, but his willingness to take the play clock under six seconds ties the defense's hands. Defenders have no chance if they bite on the wrong oral cues.

"It's helping a lot going against him," Texans linebacker Brian Cushing said. "There's a lot of different stuff he can do. He has a million checks and a million different looks. He's a great player. You have to try to match as best as you can."

Manning will see his final preseason action Saturday. He will stand under center. He might as well be behind a podium wearing wire-rim glasses.

"I think any time you have a chance to defensively go against a Hall of Fame quarterback, a guy that runs the operation at the line of scrimmage, a guy that recognizes things easily, that's always going to help your defense ? whether it's disguising better or understanding their keys and things they're looking for," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "Anytime you go against a guy the caliber of Peyton Manning, that's going to help you learn."

Troy E. Renck: [email protected] or twitter.com/troyrenck

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning ran a historic offense last season. His receivers benefit from his accuracy. The Broncos defensive backs benefit from facing him in practice. NFL reporter Troy E. Renck lists the learning points:

--He uses his eyes to pull defenders off routes, teaching patience.

--He employs dummy calls, forcing defenders to make snap adjustments.

--He throws precise passes, meaning bites on fakes or bad techniques are exploited.

The Denver Post
Today
17 Points
1

Money Netflix Showcases Oculus Rift-Based User Interface

(NFLX) with over 40 million paid users worldwide, showcased a new Oculus Rift based user interface for its streaming video services which its engineers developed during a company Hack Day. Oculus Rift was developed as a gaming device to give a virtual reality-like experience to users, which means you can be a part of the game rather than just controlling a character on a screen.You might also like this:42.

Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) with over 40 million paid users worldwide, showcased a new Oculus Rift based user interface for its streaming video services which its engineers developed during a company Hack Day. The hack day is a companywide initiative to fuel innovation within the organization. The demo revealed a potential new innovation which Netflix may offer in the future, enriching the overall consumer experience and adding to the applications and activities that the Oculus Rift handsets, powered by the tech giant Facebook Inc. (FB), can be used for.

The demo called Oculix is a 3D room version of Oculus Rift which allows users to browse through different menus, selecting movies through hand gestures in virtual space. When a movie has been selected the user is taken into a virtual room where the movie can be viewed on computer-generated grid screen. Oculus Rift was developed as a gaming device to give a virtual reality-like experience to users, which means you can be a part of the game rather than just controlling a character on a screen.

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42

Bidness Etc
Today
18 Points
New
1

Money Madison Square Stock Surges After JAT Capital Discloses Stake

Thaler’s hedge fund JAT Capital Management LP disclosed a 6.7% stake in The Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) yesterday. This makes the hedge fund the fourth-largest stakeholder of Class A shares.JAT said that it would hold discussions with the Madison Square Garden management to recommend “constructive” measures to improve the company’s long-term value. The discussions will cover recommendations related to the company’s operations, strategic plans, and management structure.

John A. Thaler’s hedge fund JAT Capital Management LP disclosed a 6.7% stake in The Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) yesterday. Madison Square Garden stock was boosted 1.9% in extended trading yesterday to its highest price since the company was spun off from Cablevision Systems Corporation (CVC) in 2010.

The stock had already risen 2.3% during regular trading hours on Friday to $65.08. The hedge fund revealed its stake in the media and entertainment business owned by the Dolan family after the company’s mixed quarterly results on Wednesday.

JAT increased its stake in the company by 161% from 1.64 million on June 30 to 4.28 million ordinary shares, according to a regulatory filing yesterday. This makes the hedge fund the fourth-largest stakeholder of Class A shares.

JAT said that it would hold discussions with the Madison Square Garden management to recommend “constructive” measures to improve the company’s long-term value. The discussions will cover recommendations related to the company’s operations, strategic plans, and management structure. The Connecticut-based hedge fund also said that it does not have any plans to acquire a controlling interest in the company or push for a merger.

On Wednesday, Madison Square Garden released fourth-quarter earnings results for its fiscal ’14 (4QFY14; ended June 30). The company generated revenue of $372 million, up 10% year-over-year (YoY), and ahead of the consensus estimate of $349 million by 6.6%; it has now beaten revenue estimates for six straight quarters.

Per-share earnings (EPS) were 15 cents, down 68% from 47 cents in the comparable quarter last year, and behind the mean projection of 19 cents.

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37

Bidness Etc
Today
7 Points
New
1

Tech Experimental SpaceX rocket self-detonates over Texas

SpaceX's large Falcon 9 rockets cost about $54 million each, the company says.That's roughly the price tag of a smaller pre-owned passenger jet in good shape. (CNN) -- A small rung on a long ladder to Mars broke on Friday, when a rocket test in Texas ended in a midair ball of fire.Debris from the SpaceX F9R trundled down from the flames onto an open field outside of McGregor.The blast was no accident, nor a tragedy.

(CNN) -- A small rung on a long ladder to Mars broke on Friday, when a rocket test in Texas ended in a midair ball of fire.

Debris from the SpaceX F9R trundled down from the flames onto an open field outside of McGregor.

The blast was no accident, nor a tragedy. The rocket self-destructed as a safety measure -- a common practice in the aerospace industry in unmanned crafts.

A hitch in the F9R test vehicle turned up during launch, and the "flight termination system automatically terminated the mission," SpaceX said in a statement.

"There were no injuries or near injuries."

But it was a vivid firework for bystanders parked on a nearby country road -- and for their cellphone cameras. CNN affiliate KWTX reported the explosion on Friday and posted video.

The F9R has been successfully tested before, but SpaceX decided to push the limits this time, and it didn't work out, the company said.

All about the landing

F9R launches don't rumble the earth with the kind of blastoff thunder that the space shuttles or Saturn rockets once did, and the F9R is small, comprising only one stage.

It's a sawed-off version of its parent, the Falcon 9, the first rocket from a commercial company to fly to the International Space Station, according to SpaceX.

Nine rocket engines fire up to boost the Falcon 9 into Earth's orbit. Just three propel the F9R, which has only flown to an altitude of 1,000 meters (3,280 feet). That equals about twice the height of New York's One World Trade Center -- a trivial feat for a rocket.

More exciting is how it comes back down to the ground, because that's what makes the F9R a stepping stone to a Mars mission. The rocket has landing gear, four legs that stick out like an insect's. So did its even shorter predecessor, which bore the name Grasshopper.

Up until now, American space rockets have been mostly one-way vehicles.

Their payloads -- satellites, for example -- tend to stay in space, though rockets transporting astronauts have capsules that come down on parachutes and splash down into the ocean.

But the bulk of the rocket gets tossed into the cosmic incinerator -- their stages separating one by one and burning up in the atmosphere as they plummet earthward.

The F9R -- all of it in one piece -- slowly backs down to the pad it took off from and sets down gingerly on its feet.

Mars, here we come

That makes it reusable, a characteristic useful for a distant-future mission to Mars -- if anyone plans to return home from there, that is.

A trip to the Red Planet is the visionary call of the space industry from NASA to Mars One, the latter of which has devised a plan to send a one-way mission there, where astronauts would not return but eventually die.

But SpaceX CEO Elon Musk takes the vision a step further. He foresees the human colonization of Mars and other planets as the next step in human evolution, according to the company's website.

There is also a less sexy but more immediate advantage to reusable rockets: They save tons of money. SpaceX's large Falcon 9 rockets cost about $54 million each, the company says.

That's roughly the price tag of a smaller pre-owned passenger jet in good shape. But a jet flies multiple times. Most rockets usually only fly one time.

Making rockets reusable would cut space flight costs enormously, SpaceX says.

Lose a few

Rocket science is complex even for rocket scientists, and failures in various stages of space missions happen regularly. That includes launches, many that are not experimental.

One need only think of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986 that killed all seven astronauts on board when it exploded some 70 seconds into launch.

In mid-May, a Russian satellite launch went sour, when the rocket veered off path, causing an emergency system to cut off propulsion. The rocket had traveled 100 miles high and reportedly burned up in the atmosphere on its way back down.

It was at least the fourth time such a tried-and-true Russian rocket type failed.

As Musk tweeted after F9R's self-detonation:

"Rockets are tricky ..."

CNN
Today
13 Points
1

Tech Tech Now: Gee-whiz gadgets for back to school

You can preorder your own Osmo set for just $49, prior to its launch this October.A GADGET EVEN KIDS CAN'T LOSEYou probably don't even own a smartwatch yet, but with companies like Samsung and Google working on wrist-worn gadgets, there's a good chance you will soon. Cool and creepy.SOUND THAT FITS YOU AND ONLY YOUThe biggest problem with earbuds is that they never seem to fit quite right. studying, they can sling whatever video they want to their screen without worrying about a monthly fee.

We've given you the back-to-school basics ? laptops, tablets, smartphones ? and great ways to go high tech, even on a low budget. But what about those wacky, OMG! gadgets that are sure to make your kids way too cool for school this year? Check out some of the futuristic faves we've unicycled across this year:

AN EPIC HOLOGRAM KEYBOARD

Most kids today probably wouldn't be impressed to see Princess Leia appear out of thin air thanks to R2-D2's hologram player, but that crazy special effect from the 1970s has finally made its way to their desks thanks to the Epic Hologram Keyboard, a futuristic typing tool from Hammacher Schlemmer. It connects via Bluetooth to any smartphone or tablet to provide your student with a full-size keyboard anywhere they might need it. It's a bit pricey at $119.95, and isn't quite as accurate as the kind with physical buttons, but the wow factor is more than worth it.

BRING VIRTUAL GAMES INTO THE REAL WORLD

If your younger kids are spending too much time engrossed in the virtual world of their iPad, Osmo can bring them back to reality without the tears they always seem to produce when you tap that "off" switch. With fun games, puzzles and activities that add real-world objects into the mix, the Osmo system turns your countertop or a pad of paper into a tablet-compatible plaything. You can preorder your own Osmo set for just $49, prior to its launch this October.

A GADGET EVEN KIDS CAN'T LOSE

You probably don't even own a smartwatch yet, but with companies like Samsung and Google working on wrist-worn gadgets, there's a good chance you will soon. VTech's Kidizoom smartwatch will have your younger kids ready for the watch revolution with their very own timepiece that can shoot photos and record video, and even play games. It's really the perfect tech toy for children since it's strapped right to them, meaning no more "Mom, I lost it!" emergencies. And at $59.99, it's a small investment that could pay off big "time." (Get it?)

THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD

Turning a piece of toast into an edible selfie might be the only way to ensure your college-age kids are actually eating breakfast, so consider a $75 custom toaster from the Vermont Novelty Toaster Corp. an investment in their well-being. Each toaster is a one-of-a-kind gadget made specifically to match the photo you submit, making it a ridiculously perfect gift idea. And parents, if you're traumatized about your kids going away to college, here's a way to make sure they wake up to an impression of you every single day. Cool and creepy.

SOUND THAT FITS YOU AND ONLY YOU

The biggest problem with earbuds is that they never seem to fit quite right. And whether they're running between classrooms or getting some much-needed exercise after school, kids are prone to losing them. Decibullz earphones might have a funny name, but they also have a cool trick: With a little bit of heat, the funky in-ear adapters will conform to the exact shape of the user's ear, making them perfectly comfortable and virtually impossible to lose. Oh, and they come with a built-in excuse whenever a pesky friend tries to borrow them ? after all, they'll only really fit the owner! Pick up a pair for $59.

SLING IT!

For college kids, dorm-room space is at a premium and spare cash is at a minimum, so give them something that will provide hours of entertainment, be easy to store and won't make their bank accounts bleed. The Slingbox does just that, and since it syncs with smartphones and tablets to stream TV shows and movies, there's no big, bulky box to wedge between the TV and the microwave it's sitting on top of. In between partying, napping, more partying and ? oh yeah! ? studying, they can sling whatever video they want to their screen without worrying about a monthly fee. The Slingbox M1 is priced at $149.99.

Jennifer Jolly is an Emmy Award-winning consumer tech contributor and host of USA TODAY's digital video show TECH NOW. E-mail her at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @JenniferJolly.

USA Today
Today
13 Points
1

Egypt calls for open-ended Gaza cease-fire

fact-finding team said both Israel and Hamas violated the rules of war by targeting civilians . Hamas by firing rockets at Israel.However, Izzat Rishq, a senior Hamas official, said Saturday that Hamas was not concerned about becoming a target of a war crimes investigation and urged Abbas to act "as soon as possible.""We are under occupation, under daily attack and our fighters are defending their people," he said in a phone interview from Qatar.

CAIRO (AP) ? Egypt on Saturday called for an open-ended cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, urging the Palestinians and Israel to return to indirect talks.

The call from the foreign ministry came shortly after Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo. Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev had no immediate comment on the Egyptian call.

A temporary cease-fire collapsed earlier this week, bringing the Egyptian-brokered talks to a halt. More than 2,090 Palestinians, including close to 500 children, have been killed since the Gaza war began on July 8.

Meanwhile, the Islamic militant group Hamas ? the war's main Palestinian participant ? has signed a pledge to back any Palestinian bid to join the International Criminal Court. Palestinian acceptance of the court's jurisdiction could expose Israel ? as well as Hamas ? to war crimes investigations.

Hamas' written consent could further increase domestic pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to turn to the court. Such pressure has been mounting since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on July 8, in which more than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza.

A hesitant Abbas has debated for months whether to join the international court, a step that could transform his relations with Israel from tense to openly hostile, strain his ties with the United States and deprive his government of badly needed Western financial support.

Last month, Abbas said he would not make a move without the written consent of all Palestinian factions. He obtained such support from all groups represented in the Palestine Liberation Organization, while Hamas, not a PLO member, said it would study the idea.

With Hamas now pledging its support in writing, Abbas likely will face even stronger pressure at home to turn to the court, though it's still not clear if and when he might do so.

In a new twist, the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad group, also not a PLO member and one of the factions fighting in Gaza, said Saturday it would not approve going to the international court.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined comment. Israel opposes involving the court, arguing that Israel and the Palestinians should deal with any issues directly.

Abbas signaled that he hasn't made a decision yet after a meeting in Cairo with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, saying that "we are about to finalize this issue." The two talked about ways of resuming Israel-Hamas truce talks that collapsed earlier this week.

In the past seven weeks, more than 2,090 Palestinians have been killed, including close to 500 children, and about 100,000 Gazans have been left homeless, according to United Nations figures and Palestinian officials. Israel lost 64 soldiers and four civilians, including a 4-year-old boy killed by a mortar shell Friday.

During the war, Gaza militants have fired more than 3,800 rockets and mortar shells at Israel, while Israel launched about 5,000 airstrikes at Gaza, the military said. Israel has said it has targeted sites linked to militants, including rocket launchers and weapons. U.N. and Palestinian officials say three-fourths of those killed in Gaza have been civilians.

On Saturday, an airstrike on a house in central Gaza killed two women, two children and a man, according to medics at the Red Crescent. Six strikes also hit a house in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza, causing severe damage and wounding at least five people, Gaza police said.

Hamas' decision to back any bid by Abbas to turn to the international court came after meetings Thursday and Friday in Qatar between Abbas and the top Hamas leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal.

If Abbas were to turn to the court, Hamas could be investigated for indiscriminate rocket fire at Israel since 2000. Israel could come under scrutiny for its actions in the current Gaza war as well as decades of settlement building on war-won lands the Palestinians seek for a state.

Hamas has been branded a terror organization by Israel and the West. Israel has accused Hamas of using Gaza civilians as human shields by firing rockets from residential areas.

After the last major round of Israel-Hamas fighting more than five years ago, a U.N. fact-finding team said both Israel and Hamas violated the rules of war by targeting civilians ? Hamas by firing rockets at Israel.

However, Izzat Rishq, a senior Hamas official, said Saturday that Hamas was not concerned about becoming a target of a war crimes investigation and urged Abbas to act "as soon as possible."

"We are under occupation, under daily attack and our fighters are defending their people," he said in a phone interview from Qatar. "These rockets are meant to stop Israeli attacks and it is well known that Israel initiated this war and previous wars."

Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas leader who participated in the meetings, wrote on his Facebook page early Saturday that "Hamas has signed the paper" of support Abbas had requested. Abu Marzouk's post was also reported on Hamas news websites.

A senior Palestinian official has said Abbas likely would wait for the findings of a U.N.-appointed commission of inquiry into possible Gaza war crimes ? due by March ? before turning to the court. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss internal deliberations with reporters.

A former International Criminal Court prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, told The Associated Press earlier this week that he believes drawing the court into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might be a positive step.

"I think the ICC could contribute to a solution" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said.

He noted that the court, established in 2002, would only get involved if it determined that the two sides are not conducting their own credible investigations of alleged war crimes.

Turning to the International Criminal Court became an option for Abbas in 2012, after the U.N. General Assembly recognized "Palestine" in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, lands captured by Israel in 1967, as a non-member observer state. The upgrade to a state opened the door to requesting the court's jurisdiction in Palestine.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

USA Today
Today
13 Points
1

Money Infamous “Backoff” Malware Continues To Spread; UPS And A Thousand More Affected

SVU and UPS were among the few companies who came out clean, informing authorities that their security was being compromised. UPS has reported that 51 of their retail outlets have been targeted, resulting in an information leak of about 100,000 customer transactions from January-August.You might also like this:46. The notorious “Backoff” Malware is turning out to be an unstoppable force; reports suggest that it has discomfited over a thousand businesses in the US and has breached confidential data.

The notorious “Backoff” Malware is turning out to be an unstoppable force; reports suggest that it has discomfited over a thousand businesses in the US and has breached confidential data. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is investigating this cyber threat, and has issued a general warning to the US retail space to check point-of-sale systems for potential malware.

According to Homeland Security’s investigations, the general breach is caused by a deadly malware known as “Backoff” that attacks cash registries at point-of-sale. The nature of such cyber-attacks usually involves swiping a credit card that contains the malware. When this infected card is swiped through the cash-register equipment, it captures the information, compromising confidential data on customer transactions.

The “Backoff” cyber-attack has reportedly spread faster than Homeland Security expected; the hackers behind the sophisticated malware have access to confidential consumer transaction information. Authorities are looking into vendors who have remote access to retailers’ internal systems and are remotely operating to crack passwords and usernames to enter the networks, allowing them to capture information from the payment systems.

Victims of the cyber-attack include United Parcel Service (UPS), Target Corporation (TGT), and Supervalu (SVU). SVU and UPS were among the few companies who came out clean, informing authorities that their security was being compromised. UPS has reported that 51 of their retail outlets have been targeted, resulting in an information leak of about 100,000 customer transactions from January-August.

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46

Bidness Etc
Today
16 Points
New
1

Happy 1st birthday, Bao Bao!

Bao Bao makes her debut at the National Zoo on Jan. When she was 100 days old, the National Zoo named her Bao Bao, which means "precious."Bao Bao weighs in at 7.9 kilograms, or about 17 pounds.And then Bao Bao got an Instagram.At 4 months old, Bao Bao strolled around in front of media, stumbling as she prepared for her zoo debut. Bao Bao, the National Zoo's giant panda cub, turns 1 on Saturday. Check out these adorable photos of Bao Bao through her first year.

Bao Bao, the National Zoo's giant panda cub, turns 1 on Saturday!

To celebrate this major milestone, let's look back at some of her cutest moments caught on camera.

On Aug. 23, 2013, the nation watched as a baby panda was born at the National Zoo

And then we found out the baby panda was a girl!

Remember when the panda cub attempted her first steps?

When she was 100 days old, the National Zoo named her Bao Bao, which means "precious."

Bao Bao weighs in at 7.9 kilograms, or about 17 pounds.

And then Bao Bao got an Instagram.

At 4 months old, Bao Bao strolled around in front of media, stumbling as she prepared for her zoo debut.

Finally! Bao Bao makes her debut at the National Zoo on Jan. 18. Zoo officials extended hours of the panda den from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. so that visitors would have the chance to see the 4-month-old.

And people from across the country came to see little Bao Bao.

Check out these adorable photos of Bao Bao through her first year.

USA Today
Today
11 Points
1

Voices: A call for an independent ethics watchdog

squarely in the Democratic camp.CREW's motives have always been in question. Now, it will be much more quotable, and more reliable, as a reflection of the political views of Democrats.As long as CREW was claiming to be non-partisan and independent, it occupied a critical place in the Washington firmament. Most people with money to spend in the political world want to spend it funding attacks on their opponents. When a reporter discovers a misdeed by a member of Congress .

An exceptionally valuable piece of Washington, D.C., real estate has just become available.

Earlier this month, the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington ? a nominally non-partisan ethics watchdog group ? announced that it is becoming part of a broad Democratic political enterprise run by activist David Brock.

Instead of being a non-partisan voice on the behavior of public officials, CREW will now be part of an operation that specifically targets Republicans with political research and campaign fundraising.

This move is great news for people like me, who are interested in truly independent ethics expertise, because it places CREW where it should have been all along ? squarely in the Democratic camp.

CREW's motives have always been in question. It was created and largely funded by Democratic-leaning interests ? though its donor list was never public ? and it made more hay of the ethical lapses of Republicans than Democrats. I investigated the organization six years ago and noted that it mostly targeted Republicans; the group's spokeswoman said that was simply because "you must have power to abuse it, and until recently, the Democrats didn't have much power."

The group was hard to quote in news stories, because it was hard to place it in context. It was not officially "liberal-leaning," but it was clear which side its bread was buttered on. Now, it will be much more quotable, and more reliable, as a reflection of the political views of Democrats.

As long as CREW was claiming to be non-partisan and independent, it occupied a critical place in the Washington firmament. When a reporter discovers a misdeed by a member of Congress ? or investigates allegations made by the lawmaker's opponents ? a group like CREW can serve as the arbiter of credibility. The "independent watchdog" gets quoted in the story; if the resulting story is strong, the "independent watchdog" files a complaint with the relevant federal agency or one of the congressional ethics committees. The filing of that complaint then becomes another news story, and the watchdog group becomes the megaphone for alerting the public to possible wrongdoing.

But CREW's role in this process was tarnished by widespread suspicion about its political leanings and motivations. With the group now publicly declaring its partisan stripes, the door is wide open for a new, impeccably independent, non-partisan group to rise up and live out the true meaning of CREW's creed: working "to ensure government officials ? regardless of party affiliation ? act with honesty and integrity and merit the public trust."

Sadly, the current political climate makes the emergence of such a venture unlikely. Most people with money to spend in the political world want to spend it funding attacks on their opponents. There are precious few donors who are going to want to set aside money for a truly unbiased ethics watchdog that is likely to eventually begin gnawing on the ankles of the donors' other friends.

But if we really want clean politics, this is critically important real estate. Someone needs to build an edifice of ethics that does not lean to either side.

Singer is USA TODAY's politics editor.

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'Big nasty': Corvette Z06 to start at $78,995

will start at $78,995 for the coupe while the convertible version will start at $83,995.At those levels, the Corvette Z06 is the most expensive vehicle GM sells in the U.S. "We haven't tested them all, but we've tested quite a few of them."The Corvette Z06 also leverages other technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray, including the use of lightweight materials and advanced driver technologies, with calibrations tailored for its capabilities.

The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 ? which General Motors' product chief Mark Reuss has called "the big nasty" ? will start at $78,995 for the coupe while the convertible version will start at $83,995.

At those levels, the Corvette Z06 is the most expensive vehicle GM sells in the U.S. The automaker also called it "the most powerful and technologically advanced model in the iconic sports car's 62-year history."

Revealed last January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Z06 pricetag increases quickly with the purchase of various packages.

For example, the Z07 Performance Package ? which comes with Brembo carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors, adjustable aerodynamic parts on the front and back and Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup tires ? tacks on $7,995.

The carbon fiber ground effects package ? which integrates a carbon fiber front splitter, rocker panels and a larger rear spoiler ? is priced at $2,995.

The sports car's 6.2-liter, 8-cylinder engine boasts 650 horsepower, making it the "most powerful production car ever from General Motors," the company said. Like its sister car, the Corvette Stingray, the Z06 engine has direct injection, cylinder deactivation and continuously variable valve timing.

It also boasts a tremendous amount of downforce, an engineering term describing a car's ability to hug the road around corners. Most mass-market vehicles are exactly the opposite: They have too much lift when cornering.

"It's got more downforce than any vehicle General Motors has ever tested from any manufacturer," Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter said earlier this year. "We haven't tested them all, but we've tested quite a few of them."

The Corvette Z06 also leverages other technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray, including the use of lightweight materials and advanced driver technologies, with calibrations tailored for its capabilities. The aluminum frame structure, for example, is 20% stiffer than the previous, fixed-roof Z06.

"The 2015 Corvette Z06's performance and technical capabilities place it in the elite fraternity of supercars," said Harlan Charles, Corvette product and marketing manager.

The vehicle will be offered in 1LZ, 2LZ and 3LZ trim levels.

Other option boxes you can check:

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3 lessons to teach your kids about money

Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY. Once you co-sign for them to get a real credit card, remember that if your kid doesn't pay the bill, it will hurt your credit score too.© CNBC is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news and commentary. Last year, my son added some extra information about the items on his "Wish List" for Christmas. Explain to them using a credit card is like taking out a loan to make that purchase, and you need to borrow wisely.

The shopping spree may start months, weeks or maybe the day before the school year begins.

Buying a dozen pencils and a few Trapper Keepers won't cut it for today's students. The back-to-school buying binge may include trendy new clothes, shoes, sneakers, in addition to hefty expenses for extracurricular activities.

For older kids, a new laptop, tablet or mobile phone may now be essential. It all adds up fast!

According to a recent survey by RetailMeNot and The Omnibus Company, parents spend nearly $660 a year on school-related costs for their family.

But spending on your kids can offer some practical lessons that you can use to teach about money.

Only 17 states require students to take a personal finance course before they graduate from high school, according to the Council for Economic Education.

BE SMART: How to improve your credit score

WANT SMART MONEY ADVICE: Ask a 25-year-old

$1 MILLION QUESTION: How much for retirement?

The responsibility of teaching kids how to manage, grow and protect their money often falls on parents.

No matter how old your child is, here are three key lessons that you should teach them as they head back to school.

Wait before you buy

Stress to your kids the value of delayed gratification. My daughter was six when she first started saving regularly in her piggy bank, but even a preschooler can learn to wait until they've saved enough money?in a special "savings" jar or piggy bank?to buy a toy or treat they want.

Also show them how much they could save if they wait until an item goes on sale. You might explain to your child that you only have money to buy essential classroom supplies right now, but by December you'll have enough money to buy him a new laptop after the holidays when they are on sale.

Compare prices before you buy

Shopping around before you buy is a great way to get the best deal and save money. I'm always comparison shopping?whether it's for groceries or a new refrigerator?and I often bring my kids along on the trip or show them the items that I am thinking of buying online. And it's rubbed off.

Every Christmas, my son and daughter leave a "Wish List" of gifts they'd like from Santa in their stocking at the fireplace. Last year, my son added some extra information about the items on his "Wish List" for Christmas. He included the best price he found online for the tablet, videogames and sneakers and the name of the retailer.

I also showed my 12-year-old son, who loves basketball, how to look on coupon websites to find discounts and deals at retailers for his favorite sneakers or sports gear.

Now, he always tells me how much I'm "saving" if I buy him a discounted pair of shoes or clothing he's selected.

Remember a credit card is like a loan

Get out of the habit of pulling out plastic for every purchase. Using cash and figuring out the change is a terrific math lesson for younger kids. Explain to them using a credit card is like taking out a loan to make that purchase, and you need to borrow wisely. You need to make sure you can afford that new pair of jeans or iPhone before you buy it.

Let them know that credit cards can wreck finances. Rates on some store credit cards can top 20 percent, raising the price of that purchase significantly if you don't pay off the entire balance on time.

For your high school student who may want their own credit card, start them off with a debit or prepaid card that you can monitor first. Once you co-sign for them to get a real credit card, remember that if your kid doesn't pay the bill, it will hurt your credit score too.

© CNBC is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news and commentary. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

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4 reasons not to buy a home

I lived in the same apartment for four years after college, and at the end I was still paying my original $900 per month in rent when the same apartment was going for $1,150 to new residents. This is especially true in areas where apartment complexes have trouble staying full. Many apartments, especially in cities, are rent-controlled or rent-stabilized.And, a lot of large apartment complexes will renew a lease at the same price for several years, while raising rent on new tenants.

Owning a home has been a part of the American dream for many years, but that doesn't mean it's right for everyone. For example, if you move around every few years, you can spend so much on closing costs and other fees that you would be better off renting. Here are four situations where you are probably better off renting.

You don't have a steady job

There is a big difference between making a good living and having a steady job. Sure, you make enough to cover a mortgage payment now, but what about in a year from now? Five years?

There are a lot of American workers who fit into this category. Some people have jobs that are temporarily grant-funded or are otherwise non-permanent positions. And, there are the millions of people who are self-employed or own their own businesses, whose income varies from year to year.

If you happen to lose your job, or are forced to accept significantly less income, it's much easier to downgrade your lifestyle if you're a renter. At most, you'll probably be locked into a year of rent payments, and then are free to move to a smaller or less-expensive apartment without the hassle and stress of selling a house.

An "unsteady" job also refers to one that may require you to move around somewhat frequently. While a lot of people who move every few years do buy homes, consider the additional costs of buying and selling often.

Closing costs on a home generally run about 3% of the home's value. So, on a $200,000 home, expect $6,000 of fees and other upfront expenses. This isn't a huge expense if you stay in the home for 10 years, but if you move every two to three years, these expenses can add up tremendously over time, and eat up your profits when you sell.

You have a great deal on your apartment

If you have a good deal on your apartment, and it meets your needs, why mess up a good thing? Many apartments, especially in cities, are rent-controlled or rent-stabilized.

And, a lot of large apartment complexes will renew a lease at the same price for several years, while raising rent on new tenants. This is especially true in areas where apartment complexes have trouble staying full. I lived in the same apartment for four years after college, and at the end I was still paying my original $900 per month in rent when the same apartment was going for $1,150 to new residents. If you have a deal like that, it's hard to justify leaving.

You don't have a lot of cash in the bank

Now, I realize it's not terribly hard to buy a home without a large down payment, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea.

For instance, consider the most popular low down payment loan option, the FHA mortgage, which allows buyers to purchase a home with 5% down. Not only does this make your mortgage payment more expensive, since your financing more of the purchase price, but it also adds FHA mortgage insurance to your tab.

Currently, FHA mortgage insurance requires an upfront payment of 1.75% of the loan amount plus an annual premium equal to 1.35% of the loan's balance. So, on a $250,000 mortgage, you can expect $4,375 added to your upfront costs and about $280 added to each of your monthly payments.

If you can deal with renting for a few years, it may be a better option to rent an apartment or home and save your money until you have a more substantial down payment. In order to avoid mortgage insurance, lenders want 20% down, and many require a certain amount of cash reserves in savings.

You like simplicity

I have spoken with many former homeowners who decided to rent again, and they simply cannot get over how much simpler life is when renting.

When you rent, someone else (the landlord or property manager) generally takes care of all the maintenance and repairs on the home. If your toilet breaks, or your faucets are leaky, it's usually no more of a hassle than calling the maintenance man, which won't cost you a dime. Instead of spending thousands of dollars when the air conditioner kicks the bucket, when you're renting it isn't your responsibility.

The bottom line is that there are lots of very good reasons to buy a house, but there are also a lot of good reasons not to as well. Your own American dream depends on your particular life situation, your preferences, and your finances.

The Motley Fool is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news, analysis and commentary designed to help people take control of their financial lives. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

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