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Clyde K. Valle

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Clyde is a business graduate interested in writing about latest news in politics and business. He enjoys writing and is about to publish his first book. He’s a pet lover and likes to spend time with family. When the time allows he likes to go fishing waiting for the muse to come.

Matt Millen, the retired NFL linebacker who played for both legendary coach Joe Paterno and ex-defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky when he attended Penn State between 1976 and 1979, broke down in tears during his appearance at ESPN yesterday.

Jerry Sandusky was arrested over the weekend on charges that he sexually abused numerous boys he allegedly met through the Second Mile charity he founded.

The scandal is forcing now Joe Paterno into early retirement and he is expected to leave at the end of this season.

Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz were charged on Saturday after a grand jury investigation of Jerry Sandusky, who was slapped with a 40-count indictment of child sex abuse charges.

The arrest brought shame to the Penn State football program, and left Joe Paterno clinging to his job, which he has held for 45 years, although last night thousands of students marched in support of their beloved coach.

During his appearance on ESPN yesterday, an emotional Matt Millen weighed in on the scandal, saying that the legendary Penn State coach would not go down without a fight

During his appearance on ESPN yesterday, an emotional Matt Millen weighed in on the scandal, saying that the legendary Penn State coach would not go down without a fight

 

Both Matt Millen and Joe Paterno serve as honorary board members for the charity, which Jerry Sandusky founded in the late 1970s.

During his appearance on ESPN yesterday, an emotional Matt Millen weighed in on the scandal, saying that the legendary Penn State coach would not go down without a fight.

Matt Millen said: “The simple answer is that he needs to go, and last I checked this is the United States of America. We need to divorce ourselves from the emotion of the moment.”

“I get mad,” Matt Millen said as he broke down in tears.

“It’s pretty disturbing. It makes you sick to see that this could happen to this level.”

The scandal is forcing now Joe Paterno into early retirement and he is expected to leave at the end of this season

The scandal is forcing now Joe Paterno into early retirement and he is expected to leave at the end of this season

Describing Jery Sandusky, Matt Millen said: “He’s your next door neighbour. He’s the guy you know your whole life. He’s everything you want. I’ve known the guy since 1976. I’ve been to meetings with him. He’s been in my home.”

Meanwhile, the number of accusers in Penn State scandal has more than doubled as Pennsylvania opened up hotlines for potential victims to call.

Sources told Fox 29 News that as many as 17 people have said they were victimized by Jerry Sandusky, up from the 8 victims listed in a grand jury indictment Monday.

Tim Curley and Gary Schultz stepped down Monday night after an emergency meeting of the university’s Board of Trustees – and now Joe Paterno is facing calls to follow them out.

Tim Curley requested to be placed on administrative leave so he could devote the time needed to defend himself against perjury and other charges, university President Graham Spanier said.

Gary Schultz will step down and go back into retirement, Graham Spanier said. He declined to comment to reporters after the meeting.

Jerry Sandusky was arrested over the weekend on charges that he sexually abused numerous boys he allegedly met through the Second Mile charity he founded

Jerry Sandusky was arrested over the weekend on charges that he sexually abused numerous boys he allegedly met through the Second Mile charity he founded

 

Legendary head football coach Joe Paterno, who last week became the coach with the most wins in Division I football history, wasn’t charged, and the grand jury report didn’t appear to implicate him in wrongdoing.

However, at a press conference Monday, Pennsylvania’s top cop wasn’t ready to let him off the hook yet.

Joe Paterno told university officials when a graduate assistant reported to the 84-year-old coach seeing Jerry Sandusky in the shower, reportedly abusing a boy as young as 10.

Joe Paterno might have done what was legally required, “but somebody has to question about what I would consider the moral requirements for a human being that knows of sexual things that are taking place with a child,” state police Commissioner Frank Noonan said in a press conference Monday.

Frank Noonan added: “I think you have the moral responsibility, anyone. Not whether you’re a football coach or a university president or the guy sweeping the building. I think you have a moral responsibility to call us.”

Joe Paterno has long had an image as a leader who does things by the book and runs a program that has seen far fewer off-field troubles than other major college football teams. Doubts about his judgment in handling the Jerry Sandusky matter quickly began to emerge.

Jerry Sandusky, once considered Joe Paterno’s heir apparent, retired in 1999 but continued to use the school’s facilities for his work with The Second Mile, a foundation he established to help at-risk kids.

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Joe Frazier, the former heavyweight box champion, died Monday night at 67 after a brief final fight with liver cancer.

The family issued a release confirming the boxer’s death.

Joe Frazier, who handed Muhammad Ali his first defeat yet had to live forever in his shadow.

The boxer, who took on Muhammad Ali in three momentous fights in the 1970s – including the epic “Thrilla in Manilla” – had been under home hospice care in his Philadelphia home after being diagnosed just weeks ago with the cancer that took his life, a family friend said.

Until then, Joe Frazier had been doing regular autograph appearances, including one in Las Vegas in September.

Boxing promoter Don King called Joe Frazier a giant among men.

Smokin’ Joe was a small yet ferocious fighter who smothered his opponents with punches, including a devastating left hook he used to end many of his fights early.

It was the left hook that dropped Muhammad Ali in the 15th round at Madison Square Garden in 1971 to seal a win in the so-called “Fight of the Century”.

Joe Frazier, the former heavyweight box champion, died Monday night at 67 after a brief final fight with liver cancer

Joe Frazier, the former heavyweight box champion, died Monday night at 67 after a brief final fight with liver cancer

Though he beat Muhammad Ali in that fight, Joe Frazier lost the final two and for many years was bitter about the role Ali forced him to play as his foil.

“You can’t mention Ali without mentioning Joe Frazier,” said former AP boxing writer Ed Schuyler Jr.

“He beat Ali, don’t forget that.”

They fought three times, twice in the heart of New York City and once in the morning in a steamy arena in the Philippines.

They went 41 rounds together, with neither giving an inch and both giving it their all.

In their last fight in Manila in 1975, they traded punches with a fervor that seemed unimaginable among heavyweights.

Joe Frazier gave almost as good as he got for 14 rounds, then had to be held back by trainer Eddie Futch as he tried to go out for the final round, unable to see.

“Closest thing to dying that I know of,” Muhammad Ali said afterward.

Muhammad Ali was as merciless with Joe Frazier out of the ring as he was inside it. He called him a gorilla, and mocked him as an Uncle Tom.

But he respected him as a fighter, especially after Joe Frazier won a decision to defend his heavyweight title against the then-unbeaten Muhammad Ali in a fight that was so big Frank Sinatra was shooting pictures at ringside and both fighters earned an astonishing $2.5 million.

Joe Frazier, who handed Muhammad Ali his first defeat yet had to live forever in his shadow

Joe Frazier, who handed Muhammad Ali his first defeat yet had to live forever in his shadow

The night at the Garden 40 years ago remained fresh in Joe Frazier’s mind as he talked about his life, career and relationship with Muhammad Ali a few months before he died.

Joe Frazier told The Associated Press: ”I can’t go nowhere where it’s not mentioned. That was the greatest thing that ever happened in my life.”

Though slowed in his later years and his speech slurred by the toll of punches taken in the ring, Joe Frazier was still active on the autograph circuit in the months before he died.

In September he went to Las Vegas, where he signed autographs in the lobby of the MGM Grand hotel-casino shortly before Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s fight against Victor Ortiz.

Joe Frazier was small for a heavyweight, weighing just 205 pounds when he won the title by stopping Jimmy Ellis in the fifth round of their 1970 fight at Madison Square Garden.

But he fought every minute of every round going forward behind a vicious left hook, and there were few fighters who could withstand his constant pressure.

His reign as heavyweight champion lasted only four fights – including the win over Muhammad Ali – before he ran into an even more fearsome slugger than himself.

George Foreman responded to Joe Frazier’s constant attack by dropping him three times in the first round and three more in the second before their 1973 fight in Jamaica was waved to a close and the world had a new heavyweight champion.

Two fights later, he met Muhammad Ali in a rematch of their first fight, only this time the outcome was different.

Muhammad Ali won a 12-round decision, and later that year stopped George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire.

There had to be a third fight, though, and what a fight it was. With Muhammad Ali’s heavyweight title at stake, the two met in Manila in a fight that will long be seared in boxing history.

Joe Frazier went after Muhammad Ali round after round, landing his left hook with regularity as he made Ali backpedal around the ring.

 

Bank of America decided to drop the plans to charge a $5 monthly fee for its debit card use in response to complaints from both customers and politicians.

Bank of America said the move to drop the fees was in response to customer feedback and competition, with the company reversing its spoken “right” to turn a profit to, instead, listening to its customers.

The company was under pressure to make the change as rivals backtracked from plans to charge customers for using their debit cards.

Bank of America decided to drop the plans to charge a $5 monthly fee for its debit card use in response to complaints from both customers and politicians

Bank of America decided to drop the plans to charge a $5 monthly fee for its debit card use in response to complaints from both customers and politicians

David Darnell, Bank of America’s co-COO, said in a statement:

“We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee.”

Slipping in rank behind JPMorgan Chase in largest U.S. banks, Bank of America‘s CEO Brian Moynihan had earlier defended their decision of the ATM fees by saying the bank “has a right to make a profit”.

However, Bank of America reported profits at $6.2 billion in its third quarter profit report in October.

Last week, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co decided to cancel test programs for debit card fees, while SunTrust Banks Inc and Regions Financial Corp said on Monday they would end monthly charges and reimburse their customers.

After Bank of America announced their debit card fee, Navy Federal Credit Union, the nation’s largest credit union, reported their volume of new account openings was more than 20% above normal.

Bank of America had planned to start charging customers next year.

Banks began crafting the monthly charges to make up revenue lost to a law that slashes the fees they charge retailers when consumers swipe their cards.

The new bank fees sparked a firestorm of criticism from consumers and politicians, and many smaller banks and credit unions shunned the practice.

Speaking out against the banks’ decisions in October in an interview with ABC News, President Barack Obama criticized the banks’ slew of fees saying that they don’t “have some inherent right just to, you know, get a certain amount of profit’ if their ‘customers are being mistreated”.

“Banks can make money. They can succeed, the old-fashioned way, by earning it,” said President Obama during interview.

Bank of America had planned to give customers more ways to avoid the charge, such as maintaining minimum balances, having a paycheck direct-deposited or using their Bank of America credit card.

 

Hillary Clinton’s mother, Dorothy Rodham has died aged 92 shortly after midnight on November 1.

Hillary Clinton cancelled a planned trip to London and Turkey after her mother fell ill on Monday.

Dorothy Rodham died in Washington surrounded by her family , according to a release from Clinton Foundation.

Hillary Clinton‘s mother was the last surviving parent of the US Secretary of State.

The family statement remembered Dorothy Rodham as “a warm, generous and strong woman; an intellectual; a woman who told a great joke and always got the joke; an extraordinary friend and, most of all, a loving wife, mother and grandmother.”

“Her family is and will be forever grateful for the gift of Dorothy’s life and for the memories they will treasure forever.”

The statement didn’t say about the nature of Dorothy Rodham’s illness.

Hillary Clinton's mother, Dorothy Rodham has died aged 92 shortly after midnight on November 1

Hillary Clinton's mother, Dorothy Rodham has died aged 92 shortly after midnight on November 1

 

Hillary Clinton was due to attend international conferences on cyber-security and Afghanistan but rushed to be at her ailing mother’s side.

Dorothy Rodham was married to Hugh Rodham, an American textile wholesaler who died in 1993.

Hillary Clinton’s mother was born in Chicago, Illinois into a dysfunctional family.

Dorothy Rodham eventually went to live with her father’s parents in California when she was just eight years old, making the 2,000-mile train trip alone with her younger sister.

As a schoolgirl, Dorothy Rodham was banished to her bedroom for a year by her grandparents after she was caught trick-or-treating and at the age of 14 she took a job as a nanny.

When her mother wrote to her while she was still in high school asking her to return to Chicago, she saw it as a chance of a reunion.

However, that hope for reconciliation was short-lived and Dorothy Rodham was asked to work as her mother’s housekeeper.

Determined not to have a family like her own, Dorothy Rodham became a dedicated housewife, raising Hillary and her brothers, Hugh and Tony in Park Ridge Illinois.

Dorothy Rodham was very close to Hillary and moved to Arkansas so that she could watch her granddaughter, Chelsea, grow up.

Dorothy Rodham rarely spoke to the media and makes few public appearances but did appear in 2007 during Hillary Clinton’s presidential nomination bid and on a television advertisement.

She is described by the Washington Post as Hillary Clinton’s “most enduring influence”.

Hillary Clinton and her mother, Dorothy Rodham, in 1992

Hillary Clinton and her mother, Dorothy Rodham, in 1992

Hillary Clinton was even more protective of her mother than Chelsea Clinton when it comes to making public appearances.

The US Secretary of State wrote in her autobiography Living History: “I’m still amazed at how my mother emerged from her lonely early life as such an affectionate and level-headed woman.”

Hillary Clinton was due in London on Tuesday where she would appear alongside the UK’s foreign secretary, William Hague at London’s Conference on Cyberspace and was due to speak this afternoon.

Later this week Hillary Clinton was expected at a conference will take place in Istanbul on Wednesday focusing on creating a regional strategy for boosting security and economic development in Afghanistan.

Statement on Dorothy Rodham’s death

Dorothy Howell Rodham was born in Chicago on June 4, 1919 and died shortly after midnight on November 1, 2011 in Washington, D.C., surrounded by her family. Her story was a quintessentially American one, largely because she wrote it herself. She overcame abandonment and hardship as a young girl to become the remarkable woman she was — a warm, generous and strong woman; an intellectual; a woman who told a great joke and always got the joke; an extraordinary friend and, most of all, a loving wife, mother and grandmother.

Dorothy is and always will be lovingly remembered by her daughter and son-in-law, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Clinton; her sons and daughters-in-law, Hugh Rodham and Maria Rodham and Tony Rodham and Megan Rodham; her grandchildren, Chelsea Clinton and her husband Marc Mezvinsky, Zachary Rodham, Fiona Rodham and Simon Rodham. She leaves behind many friends from all stages and places in her life, friends from California she met in high school, friends from Little Rock and Washington with whom she explored the world, the people who were first her doctors and then became her friends at George Washington Hospital, to the people she met through her children and grandchildren who became as much her friend as theirs.

To honor Dorothy, her family will hold a private celebration of her life for family and friends. In lieu of flowers and in line with what Dorothy would have wanted, the family have asked that any one who would want to do so would make a donation in Dorothy’s memory to George Washington Hospital (http://www.gwhospital.com/Donations) where she received excellent care and made terrific friends over many years; to the Heifer Project (http://www.heifer.org/), her Christmas gift of choice in 2010 and an organization dear to her heart; or to a local organization meaningful to the giver that helps neglected and mistreated children, a blight Dorothy was determined to remedy until her last day because she knew too well the pain too many children suffer. Her family is and will be forever grateful for the gift of Dorothy’s life and for the memories they will treasure forever.

 

Janet Rodriguez from New York, who was laid off after over a decade’s time under the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, says she’s keeping their mailed severance check, even if it is 400-thousand over.

Janet Rodriguez, 54, is now playing defense, however, after the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, the world’s biggest drug maker and manufacturer of Viagra, says they want their money back.

Pfizer insists the check for $517,140.24 was an honest mistake with only $105,851.75 of the check meant to be paid.

Thecompany plans to take it every which way in court.

Pfizer says Janet Rodriguez cashed a severance check priced over $400K more than she was owed

Pfizer says Janet Rodriguez cashed a severance check priced over $400K more than she was owed

 

An attorney for Janet Rodriguez told the New York Post that Pfizer waited far too long to spot their error and collect it from her.

Janet Rodriguez was laid off in December 2009 and her check arrived on March 31, the following spring

Pfizer, however, took three and a half months before they either noticed their mistake or came to collect.

“By virtue of the fact that they bring this claim so late in the game, so long after their alleged mistake, [it] is just a cheap bullying tactic that we expect the court to see right through,” Janet Rodriguez’s lawyer, Saul Zabell told the New York Post.

After ignoring a collection agency hired by Pfizer, the company totting $1.9 billion in sales last year filed a suit in the Manhattan Supreme Court against Janet Rodriguez this past week.

Janet Rodriguez just missed a change in the company’s severance package to its employees which went into affect last December after it announced the change to employees in 2009.

For years, Pfizer had offered its laid-off employees three weeks pay for each year worked, in addition to 13 weeks’ severance, the rate believed to have been received by Janet Rodriguez.

Those newly laid off Pfizer employees now receive two weeks’ pay for every year’s service, including 12 weeks of severance.

 

Muammar Gaddafi Wounded or Dead Corpse

Muammar Gaddafi has reportedly been killed in his hometown of Sirte. (Photo by AFP)

 

UPDATE: The NTC have confirmed the death of Muammar Gaddafi

 

“He [Gaddafi] was also hit in his head,” National Transitional Council official Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters. “There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.”

 

Al Arabia reported 45min ago (via twitter) that the corpse of Muammar Gaddafi arrived in Misrata.

Libyan interim authorities fighters captured Muammar Gaddafi’s home city on Thursday, extinguishing the final substantial holdout of resistance by troops loyal towards the deposed leader and ending a two-month siege.

The seize of Sirte indicates Libya’s ruling Nationwide Transitional Council (NTC) ought to now start the job forging a brand new democratic program which it had stated it might begin following the town, constructed like a showpiece for Gaddafi’s rule, had fallen.

 

Information reviews had been conflicting on whether or not Gaddafi was arrested.

 

At first, Libyan Television channels circulated reviews the embattled leader himself was arrested.

Other reviews stated the corpse of Gaddafi had arrived in Misrata.

A senior NTC army official stated that Gaddafi died of wounds endured in his seize close to his hometown of Sirte.

NTC official Abdel Majid Mlegta informed Reuters previously that Gaddafi was captured and wounded in each legs at dawn on Thursday as he attempted to flee inside a convoy which NATO warplanes attacked.

The Libyan authorities also stated that Gaddafi was hiding inside a hole in Sirte, shouting “don’t shoot, don’t shoot.”

There had been reviews also by Reuters that Gaddafi’s son, Mutassim, and his intelligence head, Abdullah al-Sinosi and had been arrested.

The U.S. State Division on Thursday stated it couldn’t verify that deposed Gaddafi was captured and wounded in each legs.

“We’ve seen the media reports but can’t confirm them,” State Division spokeswoman Beth Gosselin informed Reuters.

A pro-Gaddafi tv web site denied Thursday reviews the strongman had been killed or captured.

“The reports peddled by the lackeys of NATO about the capture or death of the brother leader, Muammar Gaddafi, is baseless,” stated Al-Libiya tv. Gaddafi “is in good health,” they added.

But Holland’s prime minister stated that Gaddafi was captured.

Meanwhile, Libyan NTC fighters stated that they had been arresting previous Libyan officials and medics stated that Gaddafi’s protection minister, Abu Bakr Yunis, was lifeless.

A Libyan transitional forces commander stated Moussa Ibrahim, previous spokesman for Gaddafi’s fallen authorities, was captured close to the town of Sirte.

A group of some forty automobiles carrying Gaddafi forces had damaged out with the metropolis and had headed west, NTC fighters stated.

“The Gaddafi people broke out west, but the revolutionaries have them surrounded and are dealing with them,” said one of the fighters, Abdul Salam Mohammad.

Reporters in the scene watched because the last assault started about eight a.m. and ended about ninety minutes later on. Just prior to the assault, about 5 carloads of loyalists attempted to flee the enclave down the coastal highway but had been satisfied by gunfire in the revolutionaries, who killed a minimum of twenty of them.

Meanwhile, the troops didn’t permit reporters to enter the positions previously held from the Gaddafi loyalists because they stated mopping up functions had been nonetheless underway.

“Our forces control the last neighborhood in Sirte,” Hassan Draoua, a member of Libya’s interim National Transitional Council, told The Associated Press in Tripoli after Sirte’s fall. “The city has been liberated.”

A minimum of sixteen pro-Gaddafi fighters had been captured, together with numerous instances of ammunition and trucks loaded with weapons. Reporters noticed the fighters beating captured Gaddafi males within the back again of trucks and officers intervening to quit them.

 

Muammar Gaddafi dead body picture published by Al Jazeera

Muammar Gaddafi dead body picture published by Al Jazeera

 

Commanders for Libya’s transitional authorities say they have captured rebel leader Col Muammar Gaddafi.

These news reports came right after the transitional forces regained control of the city Sirte, Col Gaddafi’s birthplace, after many weeks of ongoing battles.

The colonel was brought down in August after 42 years in commanding power. The International Criminal Court is waiting for his arrest.

“He’s captured. He’s wounded in both legs,” National Transitional Council (NTC) official Abdel Majid told Reuters news agency.

“He’s been taken away by ambulance.” AFP news agency quoted another NTC official, Mohamed Leith, as saying that Col Gaddafi had been captured in Sirte and was “seriously wounded” but still breathing.

 

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Asda is selling beer at less than £0.5 a bottle as the supermarket price war blows retailer promises to tackle binge drinking out of the water.

Asda is selling 24 bottles of 0.33 l Budweiser pack for just £11 under Rollback price cutting scheme.

The supermarket reduced Budweiser price from the normal price of £15.98 as its battle with Tesco over which is the cheapest intensifies.

During the time, bargain drink deals from supermarkets have been criticized by doctors, police and the charity Alcohol Concern for fuelling binge drinking among young people, resulting in violence, disorder and ill-health.

Asda has reduced 24 bottles Budweiser pack price from £15.98 to £11 as its battle with Tesco over which is the cheapest intensifies

Asda has reduced 24 bottles Budweiser pack price from £15.98 to £11 as its battle with Tesco over which is the cheapest intensifies

 

According to drink wholesalers, Asda is selling the Budweiser at a “dramatically cheaper” price than they have to pay the big brewers.

Martin Williams, Landmark Wholesale managing director said: “In this day and age of responsible consumption and retailing, offering a major brand for under 50p a bottle completely contradicts all the messages that retailers and wholesalers are giving out.”

Meanwhile, the British government attempts to crack down on supermarkets using alcohol as a loss leader in order to bring in shoppers.

In the past months, British PM David Cameron said: “There is a problem with very cheap alcohol, alcohol being bought at convenience stores and supermarkets that people are using to what’s called <<pre-load>> before they go out. And this is a problem you just can’t ignore.

“We’ve got a situation where in some supermarkets you can walk in and buy incredibly cheap drinks, a lot of which is high strength lager, which people are using to get off their heads before they even go out. That is what we’ve got to hit.”

At that moment, Asda announced it would not sell drink at less than the price of tax – duty plus VAT. But, this does not stop Asda from using it as a loss leader to attract customers from rivals.

Martin Williams from Landmark Wholesale said the Asda price is so low that corner shops and pubs will find it cheaper to buy stocks from the supermarket than from wholesalers.

“Twenty-four bottles is a full-blown wholesale case. At a time when prices are going up in the market and brewers are putting up prices, to retail at that sort of price is crazy.”

Defending the deal, Asda says: “We are as committed to our role as a responsible alcohol retailer as we are to providing affordable deals for our customers.”

Tesco pushed prices up on hundreds of products few weeks prior to £500 million price cutting campaign “Big Price Drop”, it was revealed today in British media.

Tesco raised prices for a few days and was able to say customers were making big savings.

According to The Times, there are many examples of raised prices and then cut by Tesco in the new Big Price Drop campaign:

Tesco 750g Fruit and Nut Museli went from £1.28 on August 16 to £1.89 on August 23 – before “dropping” to £1.75 on September 26;

Sliced Mushrooms – 250g – August 30: 85p; September 6: 97p; September 26: 87p;

Tesco Value Unsalted Butter – August 23: £1.10; August 30: £1.19; September 26: £1.10

Tesco Value Unsmoked Back Bacon – August 16: £1.44; August 23: £1.57; September 26: £1.44;

Oxo Beef Stock Cubes – 12 pack – August 16: 99p; August 27: £1.07; September 26: 99p;

Loose Carrots – August/September: 70p per kg; One week at 80p; September 26: 56p;

Surprisingly, after the “price cut”, the Tesco customers were even paying more than they had been six weeks before.

Tesco pushed prices up on hundreds of products few weeks prior to £500 million price cutting campaign “Big Price Drop”,

Tesco pushed prices up on hundreds of products few weeks prior to £500 million price cutting campaign “Big Price Drop”,

 

Hundreds of Tesco products that have been reduced are either selling for the same amount they were six weeks before the Big Price Drop campaign or have been cut only by a small amount.

Tesco said they had slashed prices on 3,000 items by up to 35%.

It was reported that in one four-page advert which featured 12 items which had their prices slashed, 4 of them had been on sale at the same lower price in the weeks beforehand.

A spokesman for Tesco admitted some products would have been on offer in the weeks before the campaign was launched.

“Given the current economic situation and inflation levels it is not surprising, and a factor for every supermarket that some prices on some products will have gone up in the weeks before Big Price Drop.

“In addition, with more than 3,000 products included, inevitably some will have been on promotion in the previous weeks.

‘With the Big Price Drop we are reducing prices on thousands of products our customers need to buy every week aiming to reduce the inflation that they have been experiencing on their weekly shop.

“It is real and sustained investment of £500 million.”

Tesco launched their Big Price Drop promotion campaign on September 27 just days before announcing their worst sales figures in 20 years.

Shoppers bought less food, switched to rivals and turned away from luxury purchases because of the living standards squeeze as sales fell by 1%.

After the supermarket launched Big Price Drop campaign, it was revealed that a basket of 33 staple items from Tesco now costs £58.37, which is up by £1.34 since the promotion began.

The Texas Department of Public Safety issued a warning on Friday about drug cartels from Mexico seeking younger and younger recruits in Texas high school to “support their drug, human, currency and weapon smuggling operations on both sides of the Texas/Mexico border.”

 

A number of incidents in the past thirty day period caused DPS to issue the notice, however officials say the threat started in 2009.

“In ’09 we started seeing that happening with the bridge cases, when the cartels started getting our teenage students to move drugs across the bridge,” McCraw said. “Texas teenagers provide unique compatibility to the cartels. They’re U.S. citizens, they speak Spanish, they’re able to operate on both sides of the border and they’re expendable labor.”

Drug Cartel from Mexico

Drug Cartel from Mexico

Because they’re juveniles, it’s not likely that they’ll be charged by the federal prosecutors, he said.

“Parents should talk to their children and explain how the cartels seek to exploit Texas teenagers and the risks in dealing with these ruthless organizations, especially those parents who live along the Texas/Mexico border,” the news release said.

Elisabeth Mandala left a Texas public high school for Mexico last May where she wound up beaten to death in a pick up truck along with two men carrying fake identification. It’s believed the violent drug cartels recruited Mandala to smuggle illegal immigrants across the border.

“Sometimes this may be delivering drugs. It may be crossing drugs over from Mexico or involvement in some of the other violent activities,” Steen said.

Just past week in a border county officers caught a 12-year-old boy driving a stolen pick up truck with more than 800 pounds of marijuana.

 

Last month a pair of Texas teenagers were lured to Mexico where they were kidnapped, beaten, redeemed and released in a distant region on the Rio Grande River.

 

“There’s some indication that they were subjected to the temptations to working with the gangs and cartels,” McCraw said.

The former gang task force director for the city of Houston, Kim Ogg, said:

“Recruiting is easy for such a vulnerable population”

He suspects the cartels are recruiting through gangs.

“Some see it (the gang) as their family. Some are attracted to the money, drugs, guns, women, and others are attracted because they have family members in gangs and it seems normal,” said Ogg.

McCraw explained:

“Teens are sometimes offered as little as $50 to act as drivers for the cartels or the local gangs who support them”

“We want to warn parents for the things to look out for so their child doesn’t get involved in this,” he said. “It’s subtle; it’s not always obvious. It’s not like a narco will show up at your doorstep with a wad of cash. It could be friends of friends at school influencing their child.”

The Texas border region represents 9.7% of the state’s population, yet has 19.2% of the state’s juvenile felony drug referrals and 21.8% of the state’s juvenile felony gang referrals, according to the release.

“We’re going to continue to warn parents. We have an obligation to be honest with the public, regardless of how it looks,” McCraw said.

“We’re not going to overinflate the threat, but we’re going to be honest. Al Qaeda has nothing on the savagery of these cartels,” he said.

“They don’t care what happens to the kids, we do. They’re our most precious asset in Texas.”

According to authorities more than 25 juveniles have been arrested for drug trafficking in one Texas border county alone within the past year.

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Gap Incorporation has announced its plans to close more than 20% of all Gap stores in US.

The retailer, which runs the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic chains, plans to close 189 of its locations, which means 21% of Gap stores in the U.S., by the end of 2013.

The announcement comes as President Barack Obama’s push for the Made in America brand saw him visit a GM plant in Orion, Michigan, hailing a new trade agreement with South Korea that will see the manufacture of subcompact cars in the U.S.

However, while the Made in America stamp of approval is creating thousands of jobs in the motor industry, Gap‘s losing streak will see the loss of thousands more in the retail sector.

 

Gap plans to close 189 of its locations, which means 21 per cent of Gap stores in the US, by the end of 2013

Gap plans to close 189 of its locations, which means 21 per cent of Gap stores in the US, by the end of 2013

 

Like many U.S. companies, Gap has been looking overseas for growth as Americans continue to cut back on spending during the down economy in the U.S.

Gap, which is the largest U.S. clothing chain, said it plans to triple the number of its stores in China from about 15 by the end of 2011 to roughly 45 by the end of 2012.

Gap sales in the U.S. have eroded considerably since it drove America’s love of khakis and all things business casual in the 1990s because of growing competition from specialty retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch and cheap chic merchants such as H&M.

In May 2011, Gap design director Patrick Robinson, was dramatically fired, with immediate effect, and the store was knocked from the top position as the world’s biggest fashion chain by Spanish behemoth Zara.

Gap’s overall revenue has fallen 3% over the last quarter, as has Banana Republic’s, while the revenue at Old Navy, which sells low-priced clothing, remained flat.

The changes are related to a Gap’s previously stated goal of reducing its overall square footage in the U.S. by 10% from 2007 to the end of 2013, while roughly doubling revenue from outside of the U.S. to 30% by the end of the same year.

Glenn Murphy, Gap’s CEO, said in a statement:

“The combination of our global strategy and formidable growth platform puts us in a strong position to expand our reach into the top 10 apparel markets worldwide.”

“In North America, we’re taking a number of steps to improve sales in the near-term, and I’m confident that with a strong management team in place, we’re well positioned for sustained growth across the business.”

In order to improve its profitability, Gap has closed or reduced the size of stores over the past few years. In 2008, the company announced plans to reduce overall square footage in the U.S by primarily focusing on cutting the number of stores. But Gap never gave details on how many stores that it planned to close.

On October 13, Gap officials offered more details to analysts gathered in New York for its annual meeting. It plans to have closed 34% of its namesake stores between 2007 and the end of 2013, not including Gap Outlet locations. After the reduction, Gap will have 700 stores left by the end of 2013, down from 1056 in 2007.

“Over the next 26 months, we’ll look store by store at our specialty fleet and determine which stores meet the standards we’ve set for our brand,” said Art Peck, president of Gap North America, who took over the helm of the brand in February.

Gap also said it plans to keep the same number of Old Navy stores in North America, but is cutting down the size of each store. Old Navy had decreased its square footage by 8% to 18.5 million since 2007. It plans to add 50 new Gap Outlet stores by the same period, which will leave 250 stores by the end of 2013.

The company said that it is testing new merchandising ideas and marketing to get shoppers excited. Gap Kids has collaborated with designer Diane von Furstenberg to design a children’s line to be shipped to stores next spring.

Meanwhile, the first Gap store in Hong Kong will be opening in a few weeks, as is the first Banana Republic store in Paris later this year. Gap also plans to expand Old Navy outside of North America to Japan within the next 18 months.

Gap’s shares rose 11 cents, to $17.96 per share after the information was released in New York.

A $45 million Atlanta mansion – Forsyth County estate Le Rêve – was foreclosed and then sold at a massive 75% drop at only $11.5 million.

Forsyth County estate Le Rêve (“The Dream” in French) was foreclosed at the end of 2010 after taking three years to build with no expense spared by Hubert and Norma Humphrey.

The impressive mansion, which has its own private 18-hole golf course, now has a new owner, who bought it for almost $34million less than the asking price.

WSBTV reported Le Rêve (The Dream) estate features seven bedrooms, nine full baths, 11 half baths, ten fireplaces and two elevators.

The $45 million Atlanta mansion - Forsyth County estate Le Rêve - was foreclosed and then sold at only $11.5 million

The $45 million Atlanta mansion - Forsyth County estate Le Rêve - was foreclosed and then sold at only $11.5 million

Besides the private 18-hole golf course, the expensive mansion features other sports courts, stables, a camping area, bowling alley, home theatre, fifties diner, an exercise facility, a massage room and a pool. Le Rêve property is gated and entirely monitored by security cameras.

Troy Stowe, a real estate agent described the property:

“One of the largest challenges of selling Le Rêve was it sat on 72 acres, it was 47,000 square feet and just trying to find someone (who) wants to take on (what) I kind of call the big dragon.

“If you’re not used to maintaining and caring for a property like that, it is a challenge.

“I was told that in that one room, there are 27 seats and there was over $1 million spent in the home theatre.”

Immediately after foreclosure, the mansion was originally listed for $45 million. Then the bank took possession of the property and its price was dropped to $28 million. The Forsyth County estate Le Rêve price was dropped down to $16 million before the $11.5 million offer was accepted.

Troy Stowe said: “Ultimately, if you get a $50 million house for $11.5 (million), at some point, when the money lined properly with what the property offers, (a buyer) just came onboard.”

According to Zillow, the online real estate database, Hubert Humphrey started life as a railroad brakeman and conductor who later enjoyed entrepreneurial success.

Hubert Humphrey sold insurance for A.L. Williams, where he earned record sales, then launched his own company, Humphrey Worldwide Network, before selling it to Primerica, which is now part of CitiGroup.

The entrepreneur then formed World Marketing Alliance, followed by the World Leadership Group, a marketing, financial services and mortgage company based in Atlanta.

Hubert Humphrey started building Le Rêve mansion in 2005 on the 72-acre property.

Asked about the identity of the new Le Rêve owner, Troy Stowe said he cannot give anything away:

“Everybody wants to know who bought it. And I did sign a confidentiality agreement, but I just tell them it’s normal folks, husband and wife living at the property.”

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Former Ukrainian Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, was found guilty of abuse of authority by signing gas contracts with Russia in 2009.

 

Mrs Tymoshenko claimed the charges against her were politically motivated.

Yulia Tymoshenko at her trialIn April, the Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s office opened a criminal case charging Yulia Tymoshenko with signing overpriced gas deals with Russian energy provider Gazprom that inflicted damages to the country of more than 1.5 billion hryvnas (almost $190 million at the current exchange rate) and which Yulia Tymoshenko had allegedly no right to sign.

Yulia Tymoshenko rejected multiple times all the charges against her, calling the trial a “farce” and naming the judge a “stooge of (President Viktor) Yanukovych’s administration” appointed to “fabricate” the case.

 

Yulia Tymoshenko was sentenced to prison for seven years. Judge Rodion Kireyev said the former prime minister would also have to pay back the money lost by the state gas company as a result of the deal. In addition to that, she was banned from political office for three years.

 

As the verdict was read out, Mrs Tymoshenko spoke over the judge, saying she would fight to defend her honest name. She said she would take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

“We will fight and defend my good name in the European court,” she said. “We have to be strong and defend Ukraine from this authoritarianism.”

When the judge finished the verdict, all supporters in the courtroom cried “Shame!”

“Dear friends, I just want to say that I disagree with this verdict and I am saying that the year 1937 is back again,” Yulia Tymoshenko said in the courtroom on Tuesday, making a reference to Josef Stalin’s rule when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union.

The US and the EU have condemned the charges as selective prosecution of political opponents.

 

European officials suggested that jailing Mrs Tymoshenko would be a serious blow to the country’s hopes of integration with the European Union.

 

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the nation’s 2009 natural gas agreements with Ukraine were legal.

“We follow the principle that (Yulia) Tymoshenko’s trial must be fair and unbiased and meet all of the requirements of Ukrainian legislation, with the possibility of defense and compliance with the fundamental humanitarian standards and rules,” according to a ministry statement.

 

Hoping for a soft sentence, Joe Gordon-a Thai-born U.S. citizen pleaded guilty Monday to charges of defaming Thailand’s royal family, a grave crime in this Southeast Asian kingdom punishable by up to 15 years in jail.

 

Reports show that Joe Gordon lived in the U.S. for about 30 years before returning to Thailand last March for medical treatment. He has been detained since late May in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima.

Joe Gordon

Joe Gordon

 

His primary crime appears to have been that he translated excerpts from locally censored biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej – “The King Never Smiles”- into the Thai language and published them on a blog. He also provided links to the translation to other two web forums, prosecutors say.

 

The book is banned in Thailand. In it, author Paul M. Handley retraces the king’s life, alleging that Bhumibol has been a major stumbling block to the progress of democracy in Thailand as he consolidated royal power over his long reign.

Joe Gordon committed the alleged crimes years ago while living in the U.S. state of Colorado, where he worked as a car salesman. This case has raised concerns about the reach of Thai law and how it is applied to both Thai nationals and foreign visitors.

 

Lese majeste is the crime of insulting a ruler, and Thailand has the most severe lese majeste laws in the world. Critics state they have been increasingly abused by political rivals to agress opponents, especially since a 2006 military coup.

 

“I’m not fighting in the case. I’m pleading guilty, sirs,” Gordon told three judges at a Bangkok criminal court. The 55-year-old spoke while standing with handcuffs and ankle shackles.

Judges said that a verdict and sentence would be issued on Nov. 9.

Defense lawyer Arnon Nampa told The Associated Press earlier that Joe Gordon had decided last week to plead guilty after being denied bail eight times.

“The fact that his bail requests have been repeatedly denied, that disheartened him and made him want to plead guilty,” Arnon said before Monday’s hearing. “He said he wanted the penalty to be lessened and intended to ask for the royal pardon.”

On occasions like Thai king’s birthday or the anniversary of ascension to the throne, royal pardons are granted to prisoners by the Thai king.

 

At first Joe Gordon has denied the charges against him. While he was being escorted into the courtroom, Gordon told the reporters that pleading innocent was futile. “How can I fight?” he said, adding that the justice system in Thailand is “not fair.”

“I want the American government to help me because this is about freedom of expression,” Gordon said.

American diplomats have pressed Thai authorities unsuccessfully to drop the case, arguing in part that it could damage the country’s tourism image and deter some from visiting.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Walter M. Braunohler said at Monday’s hearing:

“We will also continue to raise his case with Thai authorities, stressing at every possible opportunity his rights as an American citizen. We urge Thai authorities to ensure freedom of expression is respected.”

Many had hoped that the nascent administration of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, some of whose top supporters have been accused of lese majeste, would re-examine such harsh sentences for cases involving the monarchy. The issue remains highly sensitive, however, and Yingluck’s government has been just as aggressive in pursing the cases as its predecessors.

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Whether you’re dealing with a lot of debts or just trying to save money, there are multiple circumstances that can force someone to change his or her spending habits.

Frugal living is generally viewed in a negative light, when people need to make sacrifices.

CanDoFinance presented 10 frugal living tips to achieve happiness on a tight budget.

Keep track of your spending

If you’re planning to live on a tight budget, you need to start by keeping track of all your expenses. From car repairs to that cup of coffee you buy every morning, everything must be recorded. It’s easy to lose track of how much you spend in any given week. The next thing you know, you are looking at a credit card bill that is well outside your means. So, you pay the minimum payment, which is another no-no, and the cycle of perpetual debt begins. Keeping better track of your spending can help you avoid wasting money on unnecessary expenses.

Change your spending habits

Now that you’re keeping track of what you’re spending your money on, look through your monthly expenses and start trimming the fat. This is where people begin to think that frugal living is a complete downer compared to a lifestyle of superfluous spending. Don’t think about limiting yourself on the things you want, start thinking about cutting out the things you don’t need or waste money on. Avoiding name brand items, buying in bulk, and buying used or refurbished items are just a few examples to help you save and change your spending habits.

Monitor your money

Many people are guilty of not knowing how much money they are carrying in their pocket or purse on a daily basis. Even worse, many people are guilty of not knowing how much money they have in their bank account. How are you supposed to follow a budget if you don’t even know what you are working with? What if you dropped some cash without even knowing it? Finding random cash in your pocket is the best feeling in the world, but you should be taking better care of your money if you plan on living on a tight budget.

Carry a coin purse

Start carrying a coin purse, and stop treating loose change like it’s the plague. Most people become annoyed with fishing through their pockets for change, so they just pay with large bills and get more loose change that they don’t want. Keep those coins organized with a coin purse. If you still refuse to pay with exact change, just stuff the coins in the coin purse and empty it into a jar when you get home. When the jar is full, take it to a coin counter at your local grocery and exchange it for cash or a gift card.

For a frugal living, start carrying a coin purse and stop treating loose change like it's the plague

For a frugal living, start carrying a coin purse and stop treating loose change like it’s the plague

 

Give yourself an allowance

Limit yourself to a set amount of spending cash per week, like $100, and only withdraw that amount from your bank account. Stretch that weekly allowance as far as you can, and if you spend it all, don’t withdraw more money until it’s time for your weekly withdrawal. Giving yourself an allowance will help you develop better spending habits to help you save money for when it counts.

Start living a healthier lifestyle

Your health can play a factor in how much money you’re spending. One of the best frugal living tips anyone can follow is to get in better shape. Those who smoke, consume too much alcohol, have poor eating habits, are out of shape or are overweight tend to spend more money than a person who is living a healthy lifestyle. If you are in shape, you will eat less. If you quit smoking and drinking, you aren’t wasting money on alcohol or cigarettes. If you jog, walk or run on a regular basis, you are giving yourself an activity that will make you healthier and hardly costs any money.

Look for ways to earn on the side

While you don’t necessarily have to take up a second job or even a part-time gig, finding ways to earn money on the side is a frugal living tip that will help you reach your retirement goals, or give you more spending money. Earning money on the side will also keep you preoccupied so that you feel less tempted to waste money, and what better way to live happily on a tight budget than to spend time earning money rather than spending it.

Stop impulse buying

Never walk into a store and purchase something without thinking about it first. Frugal living requires you to consider all purchases with at least a 24-hour timeframe. If you still feel compelled to have the item in question after 24-hours, then it might be worth buying.

Never buy anything at full price

If you find an item, make sure that the item you must have is at least on sale. If it’s not, then wait till it goes on sale before you buy it. Hopefully, by the time the item goes on sale, you’ll no longer feel compelled to buy it, thus saving even more money in the long run.

Another useful tip would be to only allow yourself to purchase something if you are able to find a coupon for it. Websites provide free coupons you can use for online purchases. This is another great way to help you curb your shopping impulses and practice frugal living habits.

You can even avoid paying full price for your water utilities with a flow meter. This device helps you to monitor and regulate your water consumption.

Change the way you eat out

Giving up on restaurant dining and eating out may be a good tip to save money, but it probably won’t make you very happy. Instead of giving up on it completely, try changing the way you eat out. Always keep an eye out for promotions or deals. Restaurants tend to offer discounted meal prices during off hours, so try eating earlier or later than usual to save. Scan the appetizer section and see if you can turn an item into an entrée. Many times, a restaurant will have an appetizer and an entrée that are virtually the same, only the appetizer is a bit smaller and comes at a cheaper price. Also make sure you take advantage of any coupons you receive in the mail, or print your own from online.

Italy and Spain debts have both been downgraded by the Fitch credit rating agency.

Italy’s rating was cut from AA- to A+ by Fitch, following agency Moody’s downgrade earlier this week.

Fitch cited the “intensification” of the eurozone debt crisis that “constitutes a significant financial and economic shock which has weakened Italy’s sovereign risk profile”.

Fitch also cut Spain’s rating from AA+ to AA-.

The credit rating agency raised concerns about the strength of Italian banks, particularly in light of the current debt crisis.

Fitch talked of the “small but no longer negligible risk that a further worsening of the eurozone debt crisis and volatility in the value of Italian government bonds will further erode confidence in the banking system”.

Fitch also said a “vicious cycle” could emerge where a growing lack of confidence in Italian banks could knock confidence in government debt, which could in turn undermine the banks further.

Regarding Spain, Fitch also cited the deepening debt crisis, and raised questions about the country’s ability to cut its debt levels quickly – and its growth prospects.

The Spain’s high underlying budget deficit and its fragile economic recovery made the country “especially vulnerable” to external shocks, Fitch said.

The rating agency added that it expected growth to remain subdued between now and 2015, and unemployment to remain high. Spain has the highest jobless rate in the eurozone, at more than 20%.

Fitch agency cuts Italy and Spain ratings

Fitch agency cuts Italy and Spain ratings

However, Fitch said the Spanish economy should grow faster than the eurozone average after this date.

Italy and Spain have introduced austerity measures designed to cut their levels of debt and restore confidence in their finances.

Italy has stated it wants to balance its budget by 2013.

However, despite Italian government reassurances and the European Central Bank intervening to buy up Italy’s debts, country’s borrowing costs have begun to creep up again in recent weeks.

Global policymakers are discussing ways in which to resolve the debt crisis once and for all.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is meeting the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, in Paris later on Saturday.

Tomorrow, Nicolas Sarkozy is due to hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

Plans to expand the eurozone’s bailout fund, and give it greater power, were agreed in July and have been ratified by most national parliaments.

However, these plans are now seen as inadequate. Further action is now being discussed and leaders have said they hope to announce new measures at a G20 meeting in Cannes at the beginning of November.

Reports from several suppliers in Asia said that Apple has reduced its orders by 25% in the last quarter for this year, according to JP Morgan Chase.

Apple has enjoyed global success and market domination with its pioneering tablet computer, iPad.

Shares in Apple Inc fells as much as 3% in early trading today after an analyst claimed Apple was cutting orders from suppliers of parts for its iPad tablet.

The development could indicate a potential slow-down in sales of the successful iPad.

Shares in Apple Inc fells as much as 3 per cent in early trading today after an analyst claimed Apple was cutting orders from suppliers of parts for iPad

Shares in Apple Inc fells as much as 3 per cent in early trading today after an analyst claimed Apple was cutting orders from suppliers of parts for iPad

Gokul Hariharan, JP Morgan’s Asia Pacific electronic manufacturing services analyst, said:

“Our understanding is that this is not in preparation for a new model launch.”

Gokul Hariharan also said the move could result in slower sales for suppliers such as Hon Hai Precision Co.

Fear of a slowdown in iPad sales come as rival Amazon is expected to unveil its own tablet device on Wednesday, to rival Apple.

Amazon’s tablet, which is expected to go on sale on Wednesday, has already been described as a “game changer” by one analyst which could challenge the iPad.

Shares in Apple recovered slightly from earlier losses and were down by $4 (1%) at $400.28 in mid-morning trading on Nasdaq.

JP Morgan’s Asia Pacific electronic manufacturing services analyst also said that Mark Moskowitz – JP Morgan’s U.S.-based Apple analyst – does not expect the supply chain adjustments to result in a downside to his estimates for iPad shipments.

Other analysts also said they would not change their iPad shipment estimates and that it would be difficult to accurately estimate shipment orders.

Colin Gillis, analyst for BGC Partners, said:

“The iPhone 5 launch is much more important than the iPad right now.

“Could the tablet market slow down? Yes absolutely, but data from factories is notoriously unreliable especially since Apple started diversifying their supplier base.”

Walter Piecyk, an analyst from BTIG, said he would be maintaining his forecasts of Apple selling 13 million iPads in the fourth quarter.

“I don’t see any reason to change our estimates. We expect that iPad and iPhone production is shifting to Brazil and Apple remains the market leader that it created with the iPad.”

Apple did not make any comment until now.

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On Saturday morning a man fired three air gun shots in Erfurt, Germany, around one mile (1,6 kilometers) from the city’s main cathedral (Saint Mary), where Pope Benedict XVI was to celebrate Mass.

 

The shooting incident has occurred on the edge of the security zone about an hour before the Pope started his celebration of the Mass for around 30,000 people. The gun fires aimed at a security guard.

Eckhard Deutschmann, a local police spokesman told AFP that no one was injured in the incident and a suspect was arrested in his apartment, from where the shots were fired.

 

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates a Mass Saturday morning at Saint Mary's Cathedral in Erfurt, Germany, about an hour after the shooting incident.

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates a Mass Saturday morning at Saint Mary's Cathedral in Erfurt, Germany, about an hour after the shooting incident.(AP)

 

When the man was arrested, the Pope was already at the airport on his way to the staunchly Catholic city of Freiburg, the final stop on this visit, where he holds a prayer vigil for young people later on Saturday.

According to the German police, it seems to be the action of an unbalanced person,” said Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokeman. It was “an incident that had nothing to do with the Pope” and “the Pope has not been informed,” he said.

There was “no worry” in the papal entourage over the incident, and the pontiff was not informed about it before the Mass. “It didn’t seem particularly urgent,” he told reporters on the pope’s plane after the Mass.

There has been very tight security for the Pope’s first state visit to his native Germany. Large parts of Berlin, Erfurt and Freiburg have been locked down for the trip and large police forces were deployed.

 

On the Mass celebrated early Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI paid tribute to those Catholics who had kept the faith burning during Nazi and Communist regimes in Erfurt, former East Germany. The most resilient Catholic community under the Communist regime was in Erfurt.

 

Pope Benedict XVI prays during the Mass held in Erfurt after the shooting incident.

Pope Benedict XVI prays during the Mass held in Erfurt after the shooting incident.(AP)

 

You have had to endure first a brown and then a red dictatorship, which acted on the Christian faith like acid rain,” Pope Benedict XVI said. “Are not the deep roots of faith and Christian life to be sought in something very different from social freedom? It was actually amid the hardships of pressure from without that many committed Catholics remained faithful to Christ and to the church,” Pope said.

Germany’s Church has been losing thousands of followers because of revelations that hundreds of children and young people were abused by clergy and church employees, the scandal has cost them badly needed trust among the roughly 24 million German Catholics.

 

The victims groups and their lawyers has been accused Pope Benedict XVI of being part of a systematic cover-up by the church hierarchy for pedophile priests in his earlier roles as an archbishop in Germany and later at the pontiff.

 

On Friday night, Pope Benedict XVI met for half an hour with two women and three men from parishes across Germany who were among the abused. He expressed “deep compassion and regret” at the suffering of those who were abused and assured them the Church is seeking “effective measures to protect children,” Vatican said.

Survivors groups denounced the pope’s meeting with German victims as an empty gesture. They maintain the church has not done enough to prosecute offending priests and prevent future cases of abuse.

Catholic leaders had warned ahead of Pope Benedict XVI visit that there was no quick solution, but they hoped the pontiff could help heal wounds left by the scandal.

Germany’s Bishops Conference has set up a telephone hotline to counsel victims and help them to take legal steps against offending priests when possible.

About 9,000 people turned out in Berlin to denounce the Vatican views on homosexuality, contraception and other issues.

On the first two days of his visit, the Pope met members of Germany’s Jewish and Muslim communities and then held prayers with Protestant leaders in a show of greater Christian unity.

 

Kweku Adoboli, the suspected UBS rogue trader said today that he was “sorry beyond words” for the record $2.3 billion losses suffered by Swiss banking giant.

Kweku Adoboli sat in the dock at City of London magistrates’ court as his barrister Patrick Gibbs QC told the court:

“He is sorry beyond words for what has happened here.

“He went to UBS and told them what he had done and he stands now appalled at the scale of the consequences of his disastrous miscalculations.”

Kweku Adoboli will face a second count of fraud in addition to two charges of false accounting over three years at UBS

Kweku Adoboli will face a second count of fraud in addition to two charges of false accounting over three years at UBS

 

Kweku Adoboli, 31, will face a second count of fraud in addition to two charges of false accounting over three years at UBS.

Magistrates remanded Kweku Adoboli in custody until October 20 at the first of two committal hearings.

Prosecutors allege Adoboli lost the cash while working at UBS’s global synthetic equities division, buying and selling exchange traded funds, which track different types of stocks, bonds or commodities such as metals.

Kweku Adoboli’s lawyer, Louise Hodges, of solicitors Kingsley Napley, has made no application so far for bail for her client.

The alleged fraud offence took place between January 1 and September 14 this year.

Kweku Adoboli, son of a former Ghanaian official to the United Nations, joined the Swiss firm in a junior capacity in 2002.

The fraud charge against the rogue trader reads:

“While occupying a position, namely being a senior trader with Global Synthetic Equities, in which you were expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests of UBS Bank, you dishonestly abused that position intending thereby to make a gain for yourself, causing losses to UBS or to expose UBS to risk of loss.”

The two accusations of false accounting claim that Kweku Adoboli “falsified a record, namely an exchange traded fund transaction”

The two accusations of false accounting claim that Kweku Adoboli “falsified a record, namely an exchange traded fund transaction”

 

The two accusations of false accounting – which date back to 2008 – claim that Kweku Adoboli “falsified a record, namely an exchange traded fund transaction”.

After Kweku Adoboli’s first appearance in court, UBS revised upwards the cost of the rogue trading to 2.3 billion US dollars (£1.5 billion) after previously saying the incident had cost it in the range of two billion US dollars (£1.3 billion).

British Financial Services Authority and its Swiss counterpart have launched an investigation into why UBS failed to spot allegedly fraudulent trading.

Full Tilt Poker and its operators built a global Ponzi scheme that bilked online players out of at least $390 million, said federal prosecutors who filed a civil lawsuit against the internet gambling site.

According to U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, besides defrauding the U.S. banking system, as alleged in a civil lawsuit last spring, Full Tilt Poker was “not a legitimate poker company.”

Instead, Full Tilt Poker “cheated and abused its own players”, as insiders “lined their own pockets with funds picked from the pockets of their most loyal customers while blithely lying to both players and the public alike about the safety and security of the money deposited with the company.”

Full Tilt Poker built a global Ponzi scheme that bilked online players out of at least $390 million, said federal prosecutors

Full Tilt Poker built a global Ponzi scheme that bilked online players out of at least $390 million, said federal prosecutors

The lawsuit said that Full Tilt Poker owed its U.S. customers a total of $150 million as of the end of March.

Poker players around US said they were stunned by the latest accusations.

“If true, these allegations detail a massive betrayal of player trust, which will cause financial hardship for thousands, if not millions, of individual poker players, none of whom are accused of doing anything wrong,” John Pappas, executive director of advocacy group Poker Players Alliance, said in a statement.

Until now, defense lawyers declined to comment.

Since April 2007, Full Tilt Poker distributed nearly $444 million to owners and directors, with much of it going into overseas accounts, according to the new claims in the civil suit that accuses it of money laundering.

The amended civil suit is part of a filing that seeks to recover $3 billion from Full Tilt Poker; two other sites, PokerStars and Absolute Poker; 21 related firms and four individuals: Full Tilt Poker Chief Executive Raymond Bitar and board members and poker stars Howard Lederer, Christopher “Jesus” Ferguson and Rafael Furst.

The sites were shut down April 15, a day many players now refer to as Black Friday, in an FBI raid. Also, a grand jury indicted Bitar and 10 other executives and third-party payment processors for the three sites on charges of bank fraud, money laundering and gambling law violations.

The crackdown sent shudders through the poker community and sent online players scrambling for solace in bricks-and-mortar casinos. Some U.S. high rollers who made a living playing on the Internet packed up and moved abroad.

PokerStars returned money to U.S. players in the wake of the federal actions last spring. Absolute Poker agreed to refund what it owed. But Full Tilt Poker, with only $60 million in its coffers, didn’t have enough funds to pay back players, prosecutors said.

Full Tilt Poker also was plagued by a U.S. payment processing network that was disrupted last year, preventing the company from pulling money from customers’ bank accounts to fund online gambling credits.

Instead of disclosing the problem, prosecutors said, Full Tilt Poker maintained a false image of financial stability by crediting players’ accounts with $130 million in “phantom funds.” When players gambled with these funds and lost to other players, a “massive shortfall” developed, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors are seeking refunds of $42 million from Lederer, $41 million from Bitar, $25 million from Ferguson and $12 million from Furst and said they also may seek additional money laundering penalties.

A federal court has allowed prosecutors to seize five accounts associated with the men, but three of the accounts are based abroad.

The fraud was made possible, prosecutors said, because Full Tilt was based overseas.

In July, regulators on the British Channel island of Alderney, where Full Tilt was licensed, suspended Full Tilt’s international operations.

Debi O’Neill, 53, from Georgia, an administrator for online poker forum CardsChat, recouped all of the $7,500 she had kept at PokerStars. But she still has $2,000 trapped in Full Tilt.

“I don’t really expect to ever see any of it again,” she said.

“I feel like they stole it from me. I trusted them, deposited money there in good faith.”

Without the Full Tilt Poker funds to reinvest in other poker sites, Debi O’Neill said, she has lost a part-time livelihood. She now relies on gambling trips to Las Vegas and her husband’s salary from a poultry company.

“I can’t play the kind of volume I used to,” she said. “It’s life-changing for me.”

Kweku Adoboli, the suspected rogue trader accused of a staggering $2 billion fraud told friends he needed “a miracle” days before he was arrested.

Kweku Adoboli, 31, posted a strange message on his Facebook account as he tried to recover enormous losses he had made through illegal trading.

London Police detained the suspected rogue trader, who works for Swiss banking group UBS in raid at 3:30 a.m. on Thursday at his luxury London flat.

Kweku Adoboli is Ghanaian origin, but he was privately educated in UK and is the son of a retired UN worker. He is accused of being responsible for the biggest loss ever accrued by a single trader based in London.

The $2 billion fraud figure easily dwarfs the $1.3 billion lost by rogue trader Nick Leeson, the man behind the collapse of Barings bank in 1995.

Kweku Adoboli enjoyed parties and the company of attractive women

Kweku Adoboli enjoyed parties and the company of attractive women

The same amount was intended by UBS to save by cutting 3,500 jobs worldwide.

Speculation was mounting that he may have been caught out after the Swiss Central Bank unexpectedly devalued the franc last week, producing mammoth losses on one of his currency trades.

On Tuesday, September 6, a Kweku Adoboli’s final Facebook message read: “Need a miracle.”

Kweku Adoboli’s boss John Hughes is reported to have quit his job in the aftermath of the scandal. Sources said Hughes would have faced serious questions about supervision of staff. The former boss could not be reached for comment last night.

It is understood that UBS have discovered the $2 billion loss late on Wednesday afternoon.

City of London Police commander Ian Dyson said the force was tipped off by UBS at 1:00 a.m. on Thursday.

Within three hours, police had entered UBS headquarter and had also arrested Kweku Adoboli, who according to sources was a “work-hard, play-hard” trader who enjoyed the company of a series of attractive women at his flat in Whitechapel, East London.

According to some sources, Adoboli earned around $300,000 a year, plus up to $600,000 more in bonuses.

Kweku Adoboli was formally arrested on suspicion of fraud by abuse of position, and was still in custody last night. Police are liaising closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and a decision on charges could be made over the weekend.

Kweku Adoboli was detained on the anniversary day of the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers three years ago.

Rogue traders act independently of colleagues (often recklessly), harming both clients and the firm they work for. In most cases this type of trading is high risk and can create enormous losses.

Police questioned Kweku Adoboli about the fraud, but it was unclear how he was allegedly able to lose such eye-watering sums without being detected by UBS’s risk management team.

The type of trade Kweku Adoboli used is the same as the one used by Jérôme Kerviel, the rogue trader who amassed losses of 4.9billion euros at Société Générale in 2008.

Kweku Adoboli joined UBS in 2006 as a trainee investment adviser. He took on a more senior role as a trade support analyst in 2007 before assuming his present role in one of the banking world’s most important trading areas.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Kweku Adoboli worked as director of Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) and Delta-1 Trading at UBS Investment Bank.

ETFs are an investment fund traded on stock exchanges, much like stocks, which holds assets such as stocks, commodities, or bonds.

UBS rogue trader arrested in London for $2 bn losses.

 

Kweku Adoboli is the suspected rogue trader who was arrested in London at early hours today on suspicion of losing $2 billion of UBS, the major investment Swiss bank group.

Ghanaian Kweku Adoboli, 31, was detained on suspicion of committing fraud while working at Swiss bank UBS, after police raided his home at 3.30am.

After the raid UBS shares fell by 8%, as the bank warned that the unauthorized trading could tip the firm into a third-quarter loss.

Kweku Adoboli, the rogue trader arrested in London for $2 bn UBS losses (Facebook image)

Kweku Adoboli, the rogue trader arrested in London for $2 bn UBS losses (Facebook image)

 

UBS CEO, Oswald Gruebel sent a memo to UBS staff yesterday that the rogue deals had been discovered within the past 24 hours.

Gruebel told staff:

“We regret to inform you that yesterday we uncovered a case of unauthorised trading by a trader in the Investment Bank. We have reported it to the markets in line with regulatory disclosure obligations.

“The matter is still being investigated, but we currently estimate the loss on the trades to be around 2 billion US dollars.”

Oswald Gruebel vowed to “establish exactly what has happened” and underscored that “no client positions were affected”.

The UBS CEO urged staff to remain focused on their clients as the investigation continues.

“We want to reassure you that we, together with the rest of the management, are working closely with the Investment Bank’s management and risk and controlling to get to the bottom of the matter as quickly as possible, and will spare no effort to establish exactly what has happened. We will keep you updated on the progress of our investigation.”

Trader Kweku Adoboli worked at the UBS’ headquarters in the very heart of London’s finance district.

UBS has around 65,000 employees worldwide, but it said the bank has recently reduced its staff by 3,500 as part of a bid to save $2.3 billion by the end of 2013.

The cuts came as it said pre-tax profits dropped 23% on the previous quarter to $2 billion at the end of June.

As well as the economic downturn, UBS said regulatory changes such as the Basel rules, which require the bank to hold more capital, were behind the need for the cost reductions.

Despite being one of the biggest wealth managers in the world, UBS has a chequered recent history.

In 2008, UBS was rescued by the Swiss state following huge losses on toxic assets held by its investment bank.

The bank then became embroiled in a serious tax evasion dispute with US authorities and was forced to hand over 300 client names and pay a $780 million fine. There was then a second case in which bank agreed to hand over data on 4,450 American clients.

A restructuring then saw UBS launch a multi-million dollars advertising campaign which used the slogan ‘we will not rest’.

UBS Investment Bank’s offices in Stamford, Connecticut boasts the largest trading floor in the world – it is the size of two American football pitches, and sees more than $1 trillion in assets traded every day.

 

London police have arrested a man in connection with allegations of unauthorized trading which has cost Swiss banking group UBS an estimated $2 billion.

The 31 year-old man was detained in the early hours of Thursday and remains in London Police custody.

UBS shares fell today 8% after it announced it was investigating rogue trades which would mean the bank making a loss for the third quarter of 2011.

UBS, the Swiss bank said no customer accounts were affected.

London police have arrested a man in connection with allegations of unauthorized trading which has cost Swiss banking group UBS an estimated $2 billion

London police have arrested a man in connection with allegations of unauthorized trading which has cost Swiss banking group UBS an estimated $2 billion

City of London Police said:

“We can confirm we arrested a 31-year-old man at 3:30am on suspicion of fraud by abuse of position.”

In a letter to its 65,000 staff, UBS said:

“The matter is still being investigated, but UBS’s current estimate of the loss on the trades is in the range of $2bn.

“It is possible that this could lead UBS to report a loss for the third quarter of 2011. No client positions were affected.

“While the news is distressing, it will not change the fundamental strength of our firm.

“We urge you to stay focused on your clients, who are counting on you to guide them through these uncertain times,” the bank said.

“All the clever systems that the banks now have still cannot stop a determined individual .”

In 2008, UBS was rescued by the Swiss state following huge losses on toxic assets held by its investment bank.

The bank then became embroiled in a serious tax evasion dispute with US authorities and was forced to hand over 300 client names and pay a $780 million fine. There was then a second case in which bank agreed to hand over data on 4,450 American clients.

UBS declined to say in which department, or country, the rogue trader operated. However, there is already speculation that the losses may have occurred in foreign exchange trades.

At the beginning of September, the Swiss Central Bank shocked the markets by capping the franc against the euro at 1.20 francs. The move sent the franc-euro pairing up 10%, and it is rumored that some traders lost money.

William H. Millard , former ComputerLand CEO was one of the world’s most-wanted tax exiles and allegedly totalled astonishing unpaid tax bills of more than $100 million for over 20 years.

William H. Millard, the 79 year-old founder of retail chain ComputerLand, was last seen by tax authorities on the remote Pacific island of Saipan in 1990.

Despite vanishing soon after selling his company, Millard has now been tracked down to the Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean, court papers said.

William H. Millard was one of the world’s most-wanted tax exiles and totalled unpaid tax bills of more than $100 million for over 20 years

William H. Millard was one of the world’s most-wanted tax exiles and totalled unpaid tax bills of more than $100 million for over 20 years

The astonishing news about the man once listed as one of the US richest men was revealed by the Wall Street Journal on Saturday.

The U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, which includes Saipan, is now using a law firm and investigators’ help to get the money.

William H. Millard is linked to a vast network of more than 50 shell companies, trusts and bank accounts, according to Wall Street Journal.

“This is one of the most sophisticated and complicated cases of offshore asset structuring that we have ever seen,” Michael Kim, prosecuting, said.

“Last Christmas an investigator spotted their target at dinner with one of his daughters in Florida,” Mariana government officials said.

William H. Millard has not yet commented, but his former attorney Terry Giles said it was “ludicrous and insulting” to suggest he was hiding.

College dropout William H. Millard was a 1970s technology pioneer in California and he turned ComputerLand into a huge PC retail chain.

The retail chain had around 800 stores and his stake in the company was valued at $1 billion at one point, reported the Wall Street Journal.

William H. Millard was known for his lavish spending, private jets and working 18-hour days whilst eating peanut-butter sandwiches.

William H. Millard left ComputerLand, having a fallout with franchisees and management, and soon moved with his family to Saipan.

Former ComputerLand CEO sold his remaining shares in 1987 and the family left Saipan, where William H. Millard had half-built a turreted castle on the coastline, in 1990.

The commonwealth got a tax judgment against William H. Millard and his wife for $36 million in court in 1994, according to Wall Street Journal.

Commonwealth authorities then picked up traces of his movements in Singapore, Ireland, Brussels, Hong Kong and the Caymans.

Then the commonwealth hired New York law firm Kobre & Kim and a private investigator tracked William F. Millard’s daughter’s home to Orlando, Florida, in December.

The private investigator soon spotted William H. Millard talking a walk outside and they tracked him to the Grand Cayman Island, lawyers said.

“I hope he will do the right thing and pay his debts,” Michael Kim told the Wall Street Journal. “But most people do not let go of $100 million easily.”

 

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has been fired from her position after the ailing internet company lost further ground to main rival Google.

Carol Bartz, 63, who was fired over the phone, has had a rocky tenure lasting nearly three years punctuated by stagnating growth and a bitter row with one of the Yahoo‘s Chinese partners.

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz posted her first official blog post today.

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz posted her first official blog post today.

 

Carol Bartz, who was hired despite a lack of internet or advertising experience, told her former employees that she was fired by Yahoo’s chairman of the board, Roy Bostock.

Recently, Yahoo has settled a payment dispute with China’s Alibaba Group, in which the internet company holds a 40% stake.

Carol Bartz, the fired CEO, has also had to watch as Yahoo loses further ground as an internet domain to all-conquering Google, while also facing strong competition from other social networks like Facebook.

Yahoo ex-CEO announced her departure to employees via a two-sentence email from her iPad which read:

“I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board.

“It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.”

Yahoo has appointed chief financial officer Timothy Morse as CEO on an interim basis, but plans to search for a permanent replacement for Carol Bartz.

In 2000, Yahoo shares achieved its peak , being traded for $125, but on Tuesday they closed at $12.91.

Yahoo lost further ground in the race against Google during Carol Bartz’s tenure, despite actually making more money through layoffs, service closures and other cost-cutting moves.

In 2010, Yahoo’s revenue edged up by just 2% in the first nine months of the year, while Google’s climbed by 23% in the same period.

In April 2010, Carol Bartz candidly admitted that she “could have done better” in her job, by which time speculation around her position was already growing.

Facebook has also become another serious competitor for Yahoo by attracting the major marketing partners which once went to Yahoo during its boom in 2000.

Yahoo was forced to fire more than 600 staff – around 5% of its workforce – in 2010 due to lacklustre growth.

Yahoo shares jumped 74 cents (5.7%) to $13.65 in after-hours trading, around 12% higher than they were when Carol Bartz was named chief executive.

Roy Bostock has decided to let Carol Bartz go after Yahoo posted more disappointing financial results

Roy Bostock has decided to let Carol Bartz go after Yahoo posted more disappointing financial results

In the last months speculation has mounted over various companies wanting to either take over Yahoo or invest and split into parts.

News Corp, AT&T and Verizon had all been linked with a move to buy the company out, with Yahoo’s cooperation.

Carol Bartz had joined Yahoo as the firm’s Chief Executive Officer after 17 years at design software company Autodesk.

Roy Bostock, chairman of the Yahoo board, had publicly backed Carol Bartz earlier this year, but has since decided to let her go after the company posted more disappointing financial results.

Roy Bostock said:

“The board sees enormous growth opportunities on which Yahoo! can capitalize, and our primary objective is to leverage the Company’s leadership and current business assets and platforms to execute against these opportunities.

“We have talented teams and tremendous resources behind them and intend to return the Company to a path of robust growth and industry-leading innovation.”

Roy Bostock also thanked Carol Bartz for her service to Yahoo during “a critical time of transition in the company’s history, and against a very challenging macro-economic backdrop”.

Timothy Morse, the newly appointed interim CEO said:

“It is an honor to be selected for this role and lead the Company with this world-class team of executives.

“I look forward to working with the Executive Leadership Council and the talented employees of Yahoo!, and to partnering with the Board to invest in the organization and continue to drive its ongoing growth plans.”

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Paradise Lost directors commented on West Memphis Three’s release

 

[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”stanga”]The West Memphis Three case, that has turn out to be a wide known cause  for a number of celebrities (American actors along with music artists), went to an intense and surprising final result.

On Friday the three men found guilty of murdering three eight-year-old boys  in 1993 were freed from jail. Their release comes after “Alford plea” that permit them to assert innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict them.

West Memphis Three: Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. and Jason Baldwin in 1993.

West Memphis Three: Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. and Jason Baldwin in 1993.

Damien Echols was sentenced to death while Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. were serving life sentences.

Interest in the initial trial focused on Damien Echols, back then 18, who had dressed in black garments, had colored his hair black, had read books on vampires, and listened to heavy-metal music. He was frequently inquired by law enforcement regarding satanism.

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The horrible homicides, that were described as satanic by the law forces, stunned West Memphis, Arkansas. However residual uncertainty whether the West Memphis Three had been responsible led to campaigns feed by stars to have the men liberated.

Those uncertainties has increased last month, when a  report on new DNA data was submitted in Craighead County Circuit Court. It could not link the crimes to the West Memphis Three charged in the murders.[googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”stanga”]

Two HBO documentaries shot within the the nineteen nineties ( “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills” won an award), have increased consciousness concerning the case. Metallica has permitted their songs to be utilized in the film. Another documentary will be launched this fall.

The American stars have supported West Memphis Three cause.

Johnny Depp has been an West Memphis Three's supporter

Johnny Depp West Memphis Three's supporter

Eddie Vedder from  Pearl Jam and Johnny Depp have grown to be highly effective supporters for Echols, specifically.

Previous year, Eddie Vedder, together with  “Arkansas Take Action”, organized  “Voices for Justice” live concert in Little Rock to raise understanding about the West Memphis Three. Depp made an appearance together with  Patti Smith and Natalie Maines.

“Three innocent people are losing years of their life on a wrongful conviction on a crime they didn’t commit. It makes me scared. It could happen to any of us” said Natalie.

Through the years, Depp and Vedder have donated for  Echols legal fees. Eddie has composed songs in relation to Damien and visited him. Other celebrities have  given souvenirs for auctions to assist the cause.

Internet sites  were meeting places for allies and additional followers.  They written  to the West Memphis Three and also to political figures.

“From beginning to end, this is probably the first national case to play out on the Internet. The Internet was the way to mobilize the troops all over the world. I don’t see how we would be where we are right now without the Internet,” said Lisa Fancher, an activist for the West Memphis Three Fund, on Friday prior to the hearing.