Wednesday, April 2, 2014

GM adds 1.3 million cars to growing recall list as hearings looms

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General Motors Co. GM +0.90% added another 1.3 million vehicles Monday to its growing list of cars in dire need of repair.
The problem this time? Power steering.
According to the company, seven models made between 2004 and 2010 could “experience a sudden loss of electric power steering assist.” While that doesn’t mean the cars can no longer be steered, it does mean it would be physically harder for the driver to turn the steering wheel, especially at slow speeds. And the company warns that could increase the risk of a crash.
Among the cars being rounded up in this recall are the Chevrolet Malibu (all 2004 and 2005 model years, some 2006 and all 2008 and 2009 model years), Chevrolet Malibu Maxx (2004-2006), Chevrolet Cobalt (some 2010 models), Saturn Aura (some 2008 and 2009 models), Saturn ION (all 2004 through 2007 models), and the Pontiac G6 (all 2005, some 2006, and all 2008 and 2009 models).
“We have recalled some of these vehicles before for the same issue and offered extended warranties on others, but we did not do enough,” Jeff Boyer, GM’s newly-appointed Global Vehicle Safety vice president, said in a statement.
Including this latest recall, GM has called in nearly 4 million vehicles for repairs over the past two months, the biggest and most serious being the recall to replace faulty ignition switches that have been linked to 13 deaths.
The company said it now plans to take a charge of about $750 million against its first-quarter results to cover the cost of the recalls. That number includes $300 million set aside for the previously announced recalls.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra will be appearing twice this week before Congress — a House subcommittee hearing Tuesday and a Senate subcommittee hearing Wednesday — to explain why the company waited nearly a decade before acting to replace the ignition switches.
In addition to Barra, David Friedman, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will face the same hearings to explain why NHTSA didn’t spot troubles with the GM ignition systems and launch an investigation. If Friedman’s written testimony, filed in advance and dated April 1, is any indication of how things may go for GM, fingers are ready to point at the automaker.
“GM had critical information that would have helped identify this defect,” said Friedman, in that testimony.
GM shares were last down 0.3% at $34.32 in after-hours trade, extending a 0.9% loss during the regular session. So far this year GM’s share price has fallen nearly 16%.
– Jim Jelter

Teacher Takes Student to Hospital and Pays Bill, Loses Job

An award-winning teacher from Tennessee alleges she was forced to resign from her post at Red Bank High School after taking a student to the emergency room and paying the charges.
According to reports by area news station WTVC-TV , Mitts took the ill 20-year-old student, who did not have health insurance, to the emergency room. She paid up on the students behalf.  But according to Mitts, the moment the school got wind of her act of charity, school officials:
“dictated to (me) what (I) should write in the resignation letter, including forcing (me) to waive (my) right to a hearing.”
Officials at the school say Jennifer Mitts was threatened with a temporary suspension for her actions, and that she resigned voluntarily. Either way – this is surely a case of ‘no good deed goes unpunished’.
Stacey Stewart, assistant superintendent of human resources for the district, told local outlet WDEF-TV:
“It’s a liability issue. It’s an issue of insubordination after doing something you were officially warned not to do and doing it again. It’s an issue of neglect of duty because the classroom was left unattended. There’s several issues,” Stewart said.
A petition has been set up in support of Mitts, who has taught students at Red Bank for 14 years.  The petition has gathered over 1,100 signatures by Tuesday morning. The petition highlights the fact that Mitts was warned after taking a seriously ill student to the emergency room once before – but is this a serial offender, or a woman who simply reacts with an appropriate level of compassion and pragmatism in the face of a crisis?
“Even though both students may have suffered harm by not going to the doctor, Principal Roberts saw fit to give Miss Mitts the choice of being fired or resigning for her good deeds,” reads the petition.
A commenter on the petition also claims to be the student whom Mitts took to the doctor last year.  They have nothing but praise for the life saving intervention.
Read more

FBI Probing High-speed Trading on Wall Street

The FBI has disclosed a year-long investigation into the questionable practices of high-frequency trading less than 24 hours after the rest of the world discovered how suspect the practice can be.
The Wall Street Journal reports the Federal Bureau of Investigationopened an investigation into high frequency trading on Wall Street about a year ago. “Trading ahead of other investors based on information about orders that other investors can’t see could violate insider-trading laws,” an FBI spokesperson explained to theJournal.
The FBI joins investigations into high-frequency trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York Attorney General’s office. CBS News and various others have confirmed the existence of the FBI’s investigation.
Read more

I Just Got PayPal’s New Absolutely-No-Privacy-Ever Policy

Wolf Richter
Sunday, when people had other things to do and weren’t supposed to pay attention, PayPal sent its account holders an innocuous-sounding email with the purposefully bland title, “Notice of Policy Updates.” They didn’t want people to read it – lest they come away thinking that the NSA, which runs the most expansive spying dragnet in history, is by comparison a group of choirboys.
The email started with corporate blah-blah-blah on privacy, that they were “constantly” changing things “to give you more of what you want and improve your experience using us.”
Got it. This is going to be for your own good.
The email further discourages you from diving into it: So “this might not be your favorite stuff to read… but if you are interested take a look.” And this having gone out on a Sunday: “if you have other pressing things to do we’ll understand.” The click-through ratio of that link to these policy changes must have been near absolute zero. So I clicked on it.
Once on that page, you have to dig through some dry verbiage before you get to what they cynically call their “Privacy Policy.” Turns out, PayPal is a giant data hog.
It already has the information you hand over when you sign up, including your name, “detailed personal information such as date of birth,” address, phone number, banking and/or credit card information. It further collects information about all “your transactions and your activities.”
When you get on a PayPal site or use its services, it collects “information sent to us by your computer, mobile phone or other access device.” This “includes but is not limited to” (so these are just examples): “data about the pages you access, computer IP address, device ID or unique identifier, device type, geo-location information, computer and connection information, mobile network information, statistics on page views, traffic to and from the sites, referral URL, ad data, and standard web log data and other information.”
You read correctly: “and other information” – anything it can get.
PayPal also collects personal data by putting cookies, web beacons (“to identify our users and user behavior”), and “similar technologies” on your device so that you can be tracked 24/7 even if you’re not using PayPal’s services, and even if you’re not on any of its sites.
Wait, “similar technologies?” By clicking on another link, you find out that they include pernicious “flash cookies,” newfangled “HTML 5 cookies,” and undefined “other web application software methods.” Unlike cookies, they “can operate across all of your browsers.” And you can’t get rid of these spy technologies or block them through your browser the way you get rid of or block cookies. You have to jump through hoops to deal with them, if they can be dealt with at all.
In addition, PayPal sweeps up any information “from or about you in other ways,” such as when you contact customer support and tell them stuff, or when you respond to a survey (Just Say No), or when you interact “with members of the eBay Inc. corporate family or other companies.” Yup, it sweeps up information even when you interact with other companies!
It may also “obtain information about you from third parties such as credit bureaus and identity verification services.” And it may “evaluate your computer, mobile phone or other access device to identify any malicious software or activity.” So they’re snooping around your devices.
And when you download or use PayPal’s apps to your smartphone, or access its “mobile optimized sites,” it collects location data along with a host of other data on your mobile device, including the unique identifier that ties it to you personally in order to manipulate search results and swamp you with location-based advertising “and other personalized content,” or whatever.
After vacuuming up all this information “from or about you,” PayPal will then “combine your information with information we collect from other companies” and create a voluminous, constantly growing dossier on you that you will never be able to check into.
Who all gets your personal information that PayPal collects? You guessed it.
First, it defines “personal information.” Turns out, much of your personal information is not“personal information”: any information that PayPal has “made anonymous” – we already know how anonymous that really is – is not “personal information,” and thus can be freely shared with or sold to whomever. And it shares the remaining “personal information” with:
  • eBay and its affiliates
  • Contractors that “help with,” among other things, “marketing and technology services”
  • Financial outfits (such as GE Capital) that help decide, for example, if you should receive pre-approved credit-card offers
  • Credit bureaus and collection agencies, which get your account information
  • Companies PayPal might merge with or be acquired by. There goes your entire dossier. You can’t stop it from being sold to the new entity, which might be a Chinese company.
  • A basket of our favorite law enforcement and government agencies and “other third parties pursuant to a subpoena, court order, or other legal process….”
You can’t opt out of their PayPal’s apparatus.
You can only opt out of receiving their ads and pitches. And activating that “do not track” function in your browser to keep PayPal off your back? No way José. “We do not currently respond to DNT signals,” it says laconically.
So, if you don’t like being surveilled like that, you’re still free to close your PayPal account. But that’s not going to wipe out the information PayPal has collected “from or about you,” and its automatic systems continues to collect data through cookies, beacons, and “similar technologies,” and through the sophisticated spy capabilities that are part of any smartphone worth its salt [hilarious video.... iPhone 5nSa].
PayPal will simply mark your account as “closed” and you can’t get into it anymore, but it will “retain personal information from your account for a certain period of time” – probably forever – to do all sorts things, including “take other actions as required or permitted by law.” Yup, as permitted by law. It won’t do anything illegal with it. That’s the only promise. Alas, there aren’t exactly a lot of legal restrictions in the US on what companies can do with personal data.
PayPal is not unique. They’re all doing it. They’re part of the enormously hyped bubble of Big Data whose business model is to collect and monetize your personal information, which has become part of a new asset class. And seeing this, the NSA is dying of data envy.
But government agencies are already on a roll with off-the-shelf surveillance technologies, and they justify them with peculiar rationales: According to the LA Police Department, anyone driving a car in the greater Los Angeles Metropolitan area is automatically part of a vast criminal investigation! Read…. Los Angeles Cops Argue ALL Cars in LA Are Under Investigation

Stocks On Speed: Leverage Spikes, As Does Risk Of Crash (Look At That Insane Chart!)

Wolf Richter
Margin debt is a crummy predictor of a stock market crash. But after it starts spiking, it has a bone-chilling habit of peaking right around the time stocks crash. In the last fifteen years, it spiked three times: during the final throes of the bubbles that started imploding in 2000 and 2007; and now.
In February, margin debt jumped by $14.5 billion to a new all-time crazy record of $465.7 billion. In the last seven months, it soared $82.8 billion. It’s now 22% above the prior all-time crazy record of $381.4 billion set in July 2007, during the glorious moments before the whole construct came tumbling down.
Are we there yet?
Margin debt started spiking in January 1999 and in March 2000 hit a record of $278.5 billion, or 2.66% of GDP. That very month, stocks began their epic collapse, which, after 28 months of cliff dives and sucker rallies, left the S&P 500 down 45% and the Nasdaq nearly 80%!
Margin debt started spiking again in September 2006 to peak in July 2007 at $381.4 billion, or 2.60% of GDP. The market maxed out in October. Then the fetid air started hissing out of it. As stocks swooned, brokers told their frazzled clients with suddenly too much margin debt to put more money into their accounts or sell their holdings – right now! Forced selling commenced. As margin debt was unwound by dumping whatever could be dumped at whatever price, the selloff turned into a plunge. After a few waves of it, hedge funds, leveraged to the gills and going deaf from the giant sucking sound of redemptions, were forced to sell too, which drove stocks down further and triggered more forced selling. When the dust settled, the S&P 500 had crashed 57%.
It didn’t take long for people to forget.
Margin debt began spiking again in August 2010 but didn’t make it very far. In April 2011, well below the prior records, it headed south as spooked investors fondled their sell buttons. But in August 2012, it started rising again, and this time, it turned into a phenomenal spike that set a new record in July 2013 and continued shooting toward the stars. In February, at $465.7 billion, margin debt hit 2.73% of GDP. The highest ratio ever!
Over that period, investors had borrowed an additional $188 billion from their brokers and bought stocks with it, which drove up stock prices further and encouraged even more borrowing. Margin debt: the great accelerator on the way up. And on the way down.
Is this the red line? 
What we won’t know until afterwards is if February was an absolute peak, an interim peak, or just another stage on the way to a much more dazzling peak. Hence, it’s worthless as a predictor. But it’s an indicator of overall stock-market leverage and ballooning risks.
Margin debt, which is based on what brokers report to the NYSE, is only a fraction of total leverage in the stock market. Stocks can be leveraged in many ways. Large players borrow in the shadow banking system and buy stocks with the proceeds. Executives borrow from their company, with their shares as collateral. When the stock crashes, the exec walks away with the borrowed cash and the company gets to keep the crashed shares – an elegant mechanism that transfers the loss to the company (and to the rest of the stockholders) while the exec profits from any upside.
Corporations have issued record amounts of new debt to buy back their own shares. In the fourth quarter of 2013, share buybacks of S&P 500 companies soared 30.5% year over year to $129.4 billion; for the year, buybacks jumped 19.2% to $475.6 billion. Tech companies dominated the game with 26.7% of all buybacks. Like Apple and IBM, they issued bonds to fund those buybacks. Yup, buying stocks with borrowed money.
The quarterly record for buybacks was set in the third quarter of 2007 when S&P 500 companies shelled out $233.2 billion for their own shares, at the cusp of the epic crash. With these buybacks, banks ingeniously tried to prop up their shares as they were heading into the financial crisis, a strategy that accelerated their collapse.
Most of these banks got bailed out by the Fed, and in return the Fed prevented them afterwards from blowing their iffy capital on buying back their own shares. But eventually, it allowed some buybacks, and last week, it opened the door further. JPMorgan didn’t waste time before announcing it would increase its buyback program by an additional $6.5 billion. Other banks followed, doing the very thing that had accelerated their collapse during the financial crisis.
Stock-market leverage can take wondrous forms. For example, taking out home equity loans to plow that moolah into stocks. Who would recommend such a thing? Plenty of people. It ties the risk of stocks to the home, and when the market crashes, much of the money is gone, but the debt is still there. The fact this stuff worms its way into financial publications these crazy days of ours is a sign that leverage and stock hype are reaching into rarefied regions to scrape up the last borrowed dollar.
Adding up all the money people and institutions have borrowed to buy stocks remains elusive. But margin debt is one of the indicators. And that indicator is redlining.
Even the Fed, which hardly ever sees anything, has seen it.
Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher repeatedly warned about it. Other Fed heads nodded. Stock market leverage was exactly what the Fed wanted as part of its strategy to shove even retirees, after destroying their livelihood, out on the thin end of the risk limb so that they would fall off and break their necks. The Fed called it the “wealth effect.” But now, as risks and leverage have taken on hair-raising proportions, the Fed is worried that its policies have created the conditions for a third crash in fifteen years. Hence the taper and the cacophony over raising rates.
What can possibly go wrong with stocks these days? Five years of the Fed’s QE and zero-interest-rate policy, and look what happened: risks no longer exist. They’ve been priced out of the equation. But now the illusion is ending. Read…..  The Risk of Stock-Market Vertigo

12 Largest Banks Sued By Public Retirement Funds For "Conspiring To Rig Global FX Markets"

Yesterday, we read with some amusement that Goldman has moved Guy Saidenberg, reportedly one of the greater profit centers at the firm - and how could he not be when he always traded against Tom Stolper's recommendations which led to tens of thousands of pips in losses to those who listened to him over the past five years - from head of global foreign-exchange trading to a new role, as co-head of commodities.  Why did Goldman decide to scrap its once uber-profitable FX vertical and redo it from scratch? Simple - the ability to rig and manipulate FX markets, which are now under every global regulator's microscope after the "Cartel" members so foolishly let themselves be exposed to the entire world, is no longer there, as confirmed last night by news that a dozen large investors have filed a joint lawsuit against 12 banks for "allegedly conspiring to rig global foreign-exchange prices." Allegedly? Hasn't everyone read the Cartel chatroom transcripts yet?
WSJ reports:
The class-action lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York late Monday, was from a group of investors across the U.S. and Caribbean, including city and state pension plans.

They accused the banks of communicating "with one another, including in chat rooms, via instant messages, and by emails, to carry out their conspiracy," and for rigging foreign-exchange rates as far back as January 2003, the lawsuit said.
The bank sued are BofA, Barclays, BNP, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche, Goldman, HSBC, JPM, Morgan Stanley, RBS and UBS, or, in other words, everyone. And certainly all the Too Big To Prosecute banks. So best of luck there, even though the plaintiffs include some very recognizable public investment funds:
The investors behind the consolidated lawsuit are: Aureus Currency Fund LP, a Santa Rosa, Calif., investment fund; the City of Philadelphia and its board of pensions and retirement; the Employees' Retirement System for the Government of the Virgin Islands; the Employees' Retirement System of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority; Fresno County Employees' Retirement Association; Haverhill Retirement System for the city of Haverhill, Mass.; Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System; State-Boston Retirement System; Tiberius OC Fund, a Cayman Islands fund; Value Recovery Fund LLC, a Delaware fund with offices in Connecticut; Syena Global Emerging Markets Fund LP, a hedge fund in Connecticut; and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

In the complaint, the investors accused the banks of controlling foreign-exchange rates via a "small and close-knit group of traders." They alleged it became possible for banks to rig the market because the traders "have strong ties formed by working with one another in prior trading positions" and by in many cases living "in the same neighborhoods in the Essex countryside just northeast of London's financial district."

"They belong to the same social clubs, golf together, dine together and sit on many of the same charity boards," the complaint adds.
Of course, the rigging of FX markets, disclosed hot on the heels that Libor too was massively manipulated (to the delight of "conspiracy theorists" everywhere) is by now well known.
But the punchline is not that FX is rigged, and as a result virtually all carbon-based traders are now gone, leaving the FX market at the mercy of Virtu and GETCO algos (those USDJPY momentum ignitions at specific, recurring times of the day are just that), but that as Goldman has shown by relocating Saidenberg, the commodity market is the only one where manipulation, rigging and fraud are not only possible but smiled upon by regulators. Because one of the key commodities in said market is gold. And as everyone knows, alongside getting the Russell 200,000 to all time highs, the other core mandate of central bankers everywhere is to push gold to 0.
The worst news: we are rapidly running out of "conspiracy theories" that haven't become conspiracy facts yet.

'Playboy CEO stole $7 MILLION of company money to fund luxury lifestyle including splashing $171,000 on a Tiffany engagement ring and $90,000 on a trip to Vegas'

  • New York-based Aaron Thomas, 26, was sacked earlier this year as CEO of London-based Oakmont Trading Ltd
  • The company claims he misappropriated $7 million and it is taking legal action against Thomas in both the UK and the US
  • Thomas used company money to fund his extremely lavish lifestyle which included a $14,500 a month Manhattan apartment
  • He also spent $121,500 on designer watches and $30,000 on chartering a luxury yacht and private jet for his fiancee's family

A New York-based Australian playboy is accused of embezzling over $7 million from his own mining company to fund ‘a high-class lifestyle for himself and his girlfriends,’ including private jets, a luxury yacht and a $171,000 Tiffany engagement ring for his Brazilian fiancée, a new lawsuit claims.
Aaron Thomas, 26, was sacked as CEO of London-based Oakmont Trading Ltd earlier this year after the board accused him of squandering millions of company money to fund his extravagant lifestyle, according to a lawsuit filed by the company in the Manhattan Supreme Court on Monday.
Thomas founded the company, which owns and operates a Brazilian iron ore mine, in 2010 and then proceeded to sell 74 percent of the company’s stock to investors, the suit states.
$121,500 was apparently spent by Thomas on designer watches by Rolex, and Hubot (stock pic)
Aaron Thomas is is accused of embezzling over $7 million from London-based Oakmont Trading Ltd to fund 'a high-class lifestyle for himself and his girlfriends,' including private jets, a luxury yacht and $120,000-worth of designer watches
Aaron Thomas is accused of embezzling over $7 million from London-based Oakmont Trading Ltd to fund 'a high-class lifestyle for himself and his girlfriends,' including private jets, a luxury yacht and $120,000-worth of designer watches

But Thomas’ playboy lifestyle, including paying $14,500 a month for a Manhattan apartment where he lived with his fiancée Thaiana Rodrigues, got the better of him and the company has launched legal action in both the UK and the US to recover an estimated $7m of company money.
‘While Thomas has made some disclosures as to the whereabouts of the misappropriated funds, a sum of around [$2.5 million] remains unaccounted for,’ the suit states.

The lawsuit features numerous examples of Thomas’ decadent spending, reports the New York Post. He is alleged to have spent $91,000 of company funds on a trip to Las Vegas in May 2013.
Another $121,500 was apparently spent on designer watches by Rolex, and Hubot, and he even paid for ‘many other flights taken by Thomas’s girlfriends, including Rodrigues, in 2012 and 2013,’ the suit states.
Thomas is alleged to have spent $91,000 of company funds on a trip to Las Vegas in May 2013
Thomas is alleged to have spent $91,000 of company funds on a trip to Las Vegas in May 2013

During a Caribbean vacation in Turks & Caicos, Thomas allegedly chartered a luxury yacht and private jet at a cost of over $30,000
The lawsuit claims that Thomas spent $171,000 on a Tiffany engagement ring for his Brazilian fiancée
During a Caribbean vacation in Turks & Caicos, Thomas allegedly chartered a luxury yacht and private jet at a cost of over $30,000, while his Brazilian fiancee's Tiffany engagement ring cost $171,000

‘During a Caribbean vacation in Turks & Caicos for himself, Rodrigues, and members of Rodrigues’ family, Thomas chartered a luxury yacht and private jet for his travel companions at a cost of over $30,000, both of which were paid for with Oakmont funds,’ the suit states.
Thomas maintains that the lawsuit is an attempt by the board to get his remaining shares. He told the New York Post that he plans to file a countersuit but declined to comment further.

60 Minutes Sanitizes Its Report on High Frequency Trading

By Pam Martens: April 1, 2014
Floor of the New York Stock Exchange as Featured in 60 Minutes Report on High Frequency Trading
Two of the chief culprits of aiding and abetting high frequency traders, the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq stock exchange, failed to come under scrutiny in the much heralded 60 Minutes broadcast on how the stock market is rigged.
This past Sunday night, 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft sat down with noted author Michael Lewis to discuss his upcoming book, “Flash Boys,” and its titillating revelations about how high frequency traders are fleecing the little guy.
Kroft says to Lewis: “What’s the headline here?” Lewis responds: “Stock market’s rigged. The United States stock market, the most iconic market in global capitalism is rigged.”
Kroft then asks Lewis to state just who it is that’s rigging the market. (This is where you need to pay close attention.) Lewis responds that it’s a “combination of these stock exchanges, the big Wall Street banks and high-frequency traders.” We never hear a word more about “the big Wall Street banks” and no hint anywhere in the program that the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq are involved.
60 Minutes pulls a very subtle bait and switch that most likely went unnoticed by the majority of viewers. In something akin to its own “Flash Boys” maneuver, it flashes a photo of the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as Kroft says to the public that: “Michael Lewis is not talking about the stock market that you see on television every day. That ceased to be the center of U.S. financial activity years ago, and exists today mostly as a photo op.”
That statement stands in stark contrast to the harsh reality that the New York Stock Exchange is one of the key facilitators of high frequency trading and making big bucks at it.
In this Google cache of a promotional piece aimed at high frequency traders, the New York Stock Exchange explains how it is offering a “fully managed co-location space next to NYSE Euronext’s US trading engines in the new state-of-the-art data center.” Who is it for? The NYSE says it is for “High frequency and proprietary trading ?rms, hedge funds and others who need high-speed market access for a competitive edge.” More eye-popping details on how the New York Stock Exchange is arming high frequency traders in Mahwah, New Jersey against the little folks who can’t afford tens of thousands of dollars a year for a “competitive edge” are provided on its web site here. (The closer a high frequency trader’s computers are located to the New York Stock Exchange’s main computers, the faster their trades are executed.)
The Securities and Exchange Commission knows full well this is going on. Just this past December 24, the SEC filed this rule change in the Federal Register, announcing that the New York Stock Exchange was changing its pricing for some of its co-location services and computer cabinets for outside users. Like some kind of a half-off sale at Macy’s, the NYSE says it will offer: “a one-time Cabinet Upgrade fee of $9,200 when a User requests additional power allocation for its dedicated cabinet such that the Exchange must upgrade the dedicated cabinet’s capacity. A Cabinet Upgrade would be required when power allocation demands exceed 11 kWs. However, in order to incentivize Users to upgrade their dedicated cabinets, the Exchange proposes that the Cabinet Upgrade fee would be $4,600 for a User that submits a written order for a Cabinet Upgrade by January 31, 2014…”
The Federal Register notice also shines light on some pricing comparisons between what the NYSE is offering high frequency traders versus the Nasdaq stock market, writing: “The Exchange also believes that the Cabinet Upgrade fee is reasonable because it would function similar to the NASDAQ charges for comparable services. In particular, NASDAQ charges a premium initial installation fee of $7,000 for a ‘Super High Density Cabinet’ (between 10 kWs and 17.3 kWs) compared to $3,500 for other types of cabinets with less power.The Exchange charges only one flat rate for its initial cabinet fees ($5,000), regardless of the amount of power allocation.”
Congress is equally aware of what is going on. As far back as October 28, 2009, the U.S. Senate Banking committee took testimony from Larry Leibowitz, head of technology at the NYSE on the fact that it was offering co-location to outside trading firms. Neither the Flash Crash of 2010 or confidence-busting trading “glitches” since then have roused Congress and the SEC from their slumber.
Another opportunity emerges in the 60 Minutes broadcast for Kroft to call out the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq for their practices. As Kroft explains how this young former trader from the Royal Bank of Canada, Brad Katsuyama, figured out how high frequency traders were gaming the market and made appointments with institutional investors to share his insights, Kroft says “and some of the most famous names in the American stock market heard the pitch.” At this exact moment a photo of the exterior of the New York Stock Exchange flashes across the screen, giving the impression that the NYSE is some poor, naïve victim of a cartel of high frequency traders.
What is also preposterous about this 60 Minutes segment is that it deals exclusively with gaming the system through miles of fiber optic cable. That is so yesterday, according to the Futures Industry magazine. On January 24 of last year, the publication wrote that “High frequency traders can use wireless to connect to data sources or exchanges about 1.5 times faster than through fiber optics, enabling them to quote prices at tighter bid-ask spreads than rivals or execute trades more quickly than other firms. Such are the potential competitive advantages, however, that many projects are pursued behind a veil of silence.”
The article noted that San Diego-based NexxCom Wireless was building a millimeter wave network between New York, London and Frankfurt and considering connections to Zurich and Milan with the potential to add Stockholm and Moscow.
Within less than 24 hours of the big splash made by the 60 Minutes broadcast, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI was all over the problem and had been for a year. The question, of course, is – will anyone ever acknowledge the key role being played by the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.
Related Article:
60 Minutes Takes a Pass On Wall Street’s Secret Spy Center

Shocking ’60 Minutes’ Report Will Shake Wall Street To Its Core!

The bombshell ’60 Minutes’ report below just released last night will shake Wall Street to its core. Exposing that Wall Street is rigged to the benefit of certain insiders who have made BILLIONS of dollars via computerized trading, this report should bring Wall Street to its knees. 2nd video also below.

This next video is Dahboo7′s take on this latest revelation. 




Seven errors in the search for flight MH370

Putrajaya’s handling of the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has earned it a slew of criticism that it has mishandled the investigation and the public response to the crisis. Here are seven defining errors raised by news portal CNN and other critics on the matter:
Malaysian military radar noticed blips of a plane believed to be flight MH370, but they were not noticed in real time
Radar data offered evidence that the flight did a turn-back and headed west after its last contact with air traffic controllers, and that contact was lost over the Strait of Malacca. Radar operators however did not see it in real time.
The New York Times reported that the plane flew past three military radars and over Penang but nothing was done to identify it, which would have helped prevent its disappearance.
According to CNN, while the radar data was the key reason for expanding the search west of Malaysia, it took officials until March 11 – three days after the disappearance – to explain why they were looking so far off the plane’s expected course. All the while, search efforts continued in places where data showed it could not have been – the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea.
Early briefings seemed chaotic, leaving questions as to who was in charge
“Well, I think they didn’t have a proper plan in place for such an accident like this,” aviation analyst Alastair Rosenschein told CNN’s Isa Soares. “They were speaking off the hymn sheet, if you like, and they were making things up as they went along. And they said things, and then they withdrew them without actually saying they withdrew them.”
An official’s inaccurate description of the two men travelling on stolen passports as resembling a black Italian football player
Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director-general of Civil Aviation, told reporters at a press conference just days after the flight went missing that the two men with stolen passports on board the plane looked like the black Italian footballer Mario Balotelli.
“Do you know of a footballer by the name of Batolli? He’s an Italian. Do you know how he looks like? Battoli, Battoli, Balloteli, Balloteli.”
The men, of course, turned out to be Iranian asylum seekers, according to investigators. The two were not believed to be terror suspects.
From “none of those on board survived” to “hoping against hope”
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on March 24 said the plane’s flight had “ended” in the southern Indian Ocean, just hours after Malaysia Airlines sent a text messages to some relatives, telling them that “beyond any reasonable doubt… none of those on board survived.”
But on Saturday – after family members had angrily said that the conclusion was premature and lacking hard evidence – acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters that he had not entirely given up hope of finding survivors.
“Even hoping against hope, no matter how remote, of course, we are praying and we will continue our search for the possible survivors,” he said at a press conference.
CNN also observed that the following Monday, Hishammuddin further seemed to go back on the account offered by Malaysia Airlines, noting Najib’s carefully worded statement that did not mention a crash or a lack of survivors.
China Daily also reported that Inmarsat, the British satellite firm which provided the data on the possible whereabouts of the plane, said it was not responsible for Putrajaya’s conclusion that flight MH370 crashed into the southern Indian Ocean, contrary to what Najib said – that the ending of flight MH370 was based on an analysis by Inmarsat.
Glaring errors as to the last words from the cockpit
First, Malaysian authorities on March 17 confirmed that the final words from the cockpit were “all right, good night”.
CNN then said that the innocuous bit of radio banter became yet another headache for investigators when, after days of prodding from reporters and family members, they released a transcript showing the final words were actually, “Good night Malaysian three seven zero”.
The news portal added that it’s not that the new language was suspect, but that Malaysian officials got the original wording wrong, let it stand for nearly two weeks, and then – after saying they wouldn’t release the transcript because of its role in the investigation – suddenly reversed course.
“Now it’s just one thing, one day it’s the next. It’s truly kind of an amazing roller coaster ride,” said CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo. “That would be bad enough just for a civil aviation investigation and a criminal investigation, according to Malaysia. But there are 239 families involved. So high criticism is in order at this point.”
She says the shifts call the investigation’s credibility into question.
More confusion over who spoke those words
At first, officials believed that it was co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid who was speaking to controllers. But on Monday, they seemed to waver on that claim.
CNN however reported that Hishammuddin had said: “Malaysia Airlines had stated initial investigations indicated that the voice which signed off was that of the co-pilot. The police are working to confirm this belief, and forensic examination of the actual recording is ongoing.”
Delay in switching search zones
CNN observed that on Friday, the search area in the Indian Ocean suddenly shifted more than 600 miles northeast after authorities announced further refinement of radar and satellite data had showed the plane couldn’t have flown as far south as previously thought.
The Wall Street Journal, however, reported Monday night that “lapses in coordination among countries and companies” led to a three-day delay in making that move.
According to Andy Pasztor, one of the reporters who wrote the story, this boiled down to poor coordination between two parts of the investigation: One dealt with satellite data, and the other with fuel consumption and aircraft performance.
“And so what we’re left with is sort of a three-day gap where it’s clear that folks were definitely looking in the wrong place,” he said. – April 2, 2014.

MH370 Live Report: Sub joins MH370 hunt ahead of PM Najib Razak visit to Perth

HMAS Toowoomba is seen from the Japan Coast Guard Gulfstream V aircraft whilst in the search zone for debris from …

DAY 26 (2 April 2014)
[8.45am]: The search for the missing MH370 was boosted by the arrival of a Britain's submarine HMS Tireless in the Indian Ocean ahead of a visit to Australia by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. British Royal Navy sub, HMS Echo is due to arrive on Friday. Story here.

The multinational hunt of MH370 has also attracted a benevolent Peter Jackson who was reported to have been called in to assist the search. The New Zealand Herald reported that the Oscar-winning
movie director had personally approved the use of his Gulfstream G650 in the search.
DAY  25 (1 April 2014)
[6:10pm]: The full transcript between MH370 and local air traffic controllers was released to the public, after being held back due to investigations. Story here.
Insurers will likely have to pay out up to RM1.5 billion following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Story here.
[8.45am]: Malaysia's civil aviation department said late Monday the last words spoken by one of pilots of missing Flight MH370 were "Good night Malaysian three seven zero", and not the more casual "All right, good night" originally reported. Get story here.
- The multiple objects sighted at sea by an Australian P-3 Orion have been identified as fishing buoys, nets and other ocean flotsam. Story here.
DAY 24 (31 March 2014)
[6.15pm]: Highlights from today's press update:
- PM Najib Razak will travel to Perth on Wednesday to see the operation first hand. Indonesia has allowed 94 sorties - by aircraft from nine different countries - to fly in their airspace to get through to search area.
- Area of search is 254,000 sq km.  US towed pinger locator due to arrive in search area on April 3.
- Objects retrieved on Saturday were examined, found not to be related to MH370. Details.
- International experts, including those from China will brief a group of relatives who have arrived from Beijing. The session will be shown live to families in Beijing. Read here.
- Defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein dismissed claims that Najib had announced a plane crash, calling it ‘erroneous’.
- MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya says MAS has announced the background and experience of both pilots, but will fully cooperate with investigators on matters involving them
- Ahmad Jauhari says MAS has not been informed of a lawsuit by families: ‘We need to know what the lawsuit is before we respond.”
- Details in a Daily Mail report were not released by the police, Hishamuddin confirmed.
- Appointment of Chew Mei Fun is to ‘try and understand with the Chinese authorities on what needs to be done to assist them in this difficult time. “It’s a difficult time for all of us and it does not only apply to Chinese nationals but 13 other nationalities.”
Full statement here.
[3.42pm]: The search area for flight MH370 needs to be reduced for the black box pinger detector to do its job, said a US navy officer in charge of the sophisticated equipment. Read in full.
[10.30am]:  All evidence points to flight MH370 being lost in the remote Indian Ocean, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said today, backing his Malaysian counterpart's view that the plane crashed.  Read here.
[8.20am]: Good weather and a search zone closer to land had helped the Australian P-3 Orion crew captained by Flight Lieutenant Russell Adams to spot the objects yesterday,  Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported. Get story here.

- Senior US lawmakers said on a TV interview that investigators had found no evidence thus far pointing to terrorism in the disappearance of flight MH370 three weeks ago, and that it was critical to find the plane to understand what happened on board.

DAY 23 (30 March 2014)

Experts say that the cost of hunting MH370 may hit RM130 million, and even RM650 million annually if the search stretches on for years. Full details HERE.

Just hours after arriving, some 50 relatives of MH370's Chinese passengers held a protest at Subang Jaya Holiday Villa. Full story HERE.

American forensic investigators confirm that nothing incriminating was found in Capt. Zaharie's flight simulators. Full story HERE.

Security protocols will be revamped at nation's entry points and a new system implemented, says Zahid. Read the full story HERE.

The South China Morning Post reports that a 'frustrated' China is considering launching 50 satellites to form a global surveillance network, following the disappearance of MH370. Full story HERE.

Australia has appointed its ex-defence forces chief to lead in the search for MH370. Full story HERE.

With Hishamuddin being front man in the world's media coverage of MH370, he has now suddenly become a household name worldwide. How is this boosting his political career? Find out HERE.

A US naval officer says the search for MH370 could take years. Details HERE.

MAS needs confirmation that MH370 has indeed crashed in the Indian Ocean before flying the passengers' families to Perth. Story HERE.

DAY 22

Acting Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein has assured families of passengers on board the missing plane that Putrajaya will not stop its search and rescue operations to find survivors, no matter the odds. Full story here.

Meanwhile, Hishamuddin also revealed that no debris spotted in an area off the west coast of Australia has been recovered. Read more here.

The Interpol has hit back at the Malaysian government, saying that Malaysia's decision to not consult the database before allowing travellers to enter the country "cannot be defended by falsely blaming technology or Interpol". More on this here.

Fresh objects of "multiple colours" were spotted by planes searching for the missing Malaysian passenger jet in a new area of the southern Indian Ocean, once again raising hopes of unravelling the three-week old mystery. Click here for more on this.

DAY 21
(Highlights from the Press Conference today)

- The major news for today is that the search area has been refined to an area approximately 1,680 kilometres west of Perth, after taking into account new data and satellite sightings of possible debris.

- The area was determined based on 'complex calculations' and analysis of the plane’s possible flight path and capabilities by Boeing’s experts.
- On China’s demands for Malaysia to release all information, and calls to set up a Chinese investigation, Hishamuddin reiterates that all data and information that Malaysia received has been consistently shared with Chinese authorities.
- With time running out on the black box battery, Malaysia reiterates its commitment to find the aircraft, and is looking into deep sea salvage in the case where the black box has not been found before its battery runs out.

Read the full statement HERE
Other news of note today:

Singapore defends Malaysia's efforts on missing plane

Chinese MH370 relatives not confident of Malaysia, demand Beijing probe

Chinese travel agencies ban sales of Malaysia Airlines tickets

As MH370 lawsuit brews in US, Malaysian families say too soon

MH370 beacon locator battery set to run out in 10 days, as search area shifts 1,100km

MH370 search area shifted on ‘new, credible lead’, says Australia

Questions now over Subang ATC response when MH370 went missing

Families of some Chinese passengers on missing plane get insurance payouts

DAY 20:
No press conference was held today. Here are highlights from a press statement issued by the Transport Ministry:

- Malaysia will send a team comprising representatives from the DCA, MAS, the navy and air force to Perth to work with the Australian Rescue Co-ordination Centre.

- PM Najib Razak met with China's foreign affairs vice minister Zhang Yesui. Minister Hishammuddin Hussein briefed him of the findings that led to the conclusion that the plane ended in the southern Indian ocean. Zhang later met with the relatives of Chinese passengers on board MH370.

- High level Malaysian team met with families in Beijing for the fourth time yesterday. Relatives were told of search operation and technical details. Another meeting is currently underway. Malaysia has requested the Chinese government to 'engage and clarify the actual situation to the affected families and the Chinese public'.

Full statement here.
AFP reports that a Thai satellite has spotted 300 floating objects with each up to 15 metres in size. Thailand's The Nation reports that the objects were seen about 200km away from the search area in the Indian Ocean. Details.

[1.23pm]: The search for MH370 takes another hit as severe icing, turbulence and near zero visibility force authorities to call off the search today. Read in full.

[11:35am]: Thunderstorms and gale winds are threatening to disrupt the search for the 122 objects spotted in the southern Indian Ocean, as military and civillian planes rush to search the 78,000 square kilometer area. Story here.
Oceanographers are playing a key role with their understanding of ocean dynamics in determining where exactly did Malaysia Airlines MH370 crash in the southern Indian Ocean. Story here.
Also, math wizards - the same people who found Air France Flight 447 - are standing ready to help in the search for MH370, working independently using all available public data. Story here.
[8.40am]: Aircraft and ships scouring the southern Indian Ocean for wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 were racing to beat bad weather today and reach an area where new satellite images showed what could be a debris field. The latest satellite leads by  France-based Airbus Defence & Space showed 122 objects - between one and 23 metres in length - that could possibly be debris from the Boeing 777. Read more.

- The United States has dispatched its Pinger Locator - the undersea navy drone and  high-tech black box detector to boost search efforts. When it arrives, on April 5, the heavy duty machine will be fitted to an Australian Defence vessel, says Reuters. Story here.
- Elsewhere in the Malaysian Parliament, Home Minister Zahid Hamid made listed the chronological account of how two Iranian men ended up on the flight MH370 using stolen passports. The revelation was the first ever made since MH370 news broke on March 8. Find out what happened here.

DAY 19:
Highlights from today's press conference:
- New satellite images have spotted 122 objects - between one and 23 metres in length - in a 400 sq kilometre debris field. Some appear to be bright which could indicate that they were solid material.
- Australia has divided search area into east and west, 12 planes will search both areas
- On Malaysia’s image getting hit by international media, Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said attention would fall on Malaysia as there have been no debris linked to MH370 yet. He said Malaysia has done an ‘admirable job’ coordinating 26 countries during the events of the past 17 days. “I think history will judge us well”.
- On engagement with families in China, Hishammuddin said MAS has done everything to support the next of kin and will continue to engage with them, saying Malaysians and people of other nationalities have lost their loved ones as well.
- On the fire that broke out in a Malindo Air plane, Malindo Airlines chief executive Chandran Ramamurthy explains: At 7,000 ft, the aircraft captain realised the fire detection system triggered and immediately diverted the plane to Subang Airport. In 10 minutes, the plane was successfully diverted.
Full statement here, with 3 satellite images.

*Malaysia Airlines will hold its own press conference tomorrow.

The Malaysian military initially assumed that a jet detected on its radar on March 8 was ordered to turn back by the air traffic controllers, deputy defence minister Abdul Rahim Bakri told Parliament. Read it here.
Tony Abbot says Australia owes it 'to an anxious world to do everything we can' to solve the riddle surrounding flight MH370. Full story.
British tabloid Daily Mail quoted an industry expert as saying that the plane had spent 23 minutes at up to 45,000 feet – way above its maximum altitude – and rendered everyone unconscious from the lack of oxygen. Read it.
Investigators are now poring over satellite data to find out whether MH370 was deliberately flown to the Indian Ocean, or was it a result of autopilot control. Story here.

Countries are growing suspicious of China's motives in the MH370 search, that China may be using the tragedy to spy on them. There has been a pushback against China's participation. Story here.

Families of MH370 passengers are believed to have hired a leading global law firm to sue the MH370 plane manufacturer, The Boeing Co, and 'one other company'. Story here.
The hunt for wreckage of flight MH370 resumes after the weather gradually improves, with China's polar supply ship Xue Long and and Korean planes joining the search covering a vast stretch of the Indian Ocean, off western Australia. Gale force winds, rain and choppy waves prevented any sorties being flown yesterday but 12 aircraft to be on air today. Story here.
- In another development, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the recovery of MH370 and its black box is going to be a Herculean task as geologists believe the debris from the aircraft could be lying above a giant undersea chain of volcanoes whose complex terrain has barely been charted. Read here.

DAY 18:
Highlights from this evening’s press conference:

- Search operations in northern corridor and area near Indonesia called off. Current search area is 469,407 sq nautical miles from the initial 2.24 million sq nautical miles.
- MAS will take the lead in communicating with families.
-The aircraft wreckage, if found, may be brought to Australian soil for further investigation.
- Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said new analysis was convincing enough for the UK’s AAIB to brief PM Najib Razak that the plane’s last position was in the southern Indian ocean. The message was then conveyed to the families and announced to the public.
- IGP says investigation will continue on the four areas: sabotage, hijacking and psychological and personal problems.
- The US Navy’s Towed Pinger Locator - which can detect the aircraft’s black box - is en route to Perth.
- High level team from Malaysia will leave to Beijing today. Lack of details yesterday caused speculations that Malaysia was not revealing information. Team to address all questions from family members.
- Malaysian air force is conducting its own inquiry into the incident and Transport Ministry is looking at members to form its own inquiry board.
Read the full statement.
 Angry relatives of Chinese passengers scuffled with security personnel outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing, demanding answers. Full story.

Highlights from the press conference by Malaysia Airlines:
- Motivation last night was to deliver the ‘tragic news’ to the families before the world heard it. Message was conveyed to the families ‘wherever humanly possible’ and SMS was used as a last resort. Airline wanted to make sure the news came from them and not the media. Full story.
- MAS chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya says Australian authorities would give visas to families who wish to go to Australia only when ‘evidence has been established’. MAS will then make arrangements to fly them to the site. Read.
- MAS will continue to support nearly 1000 family members and have trained an additional 40 caregivers to attend to their needs.
- Additional payment will be made to families on top of the US$5,000 that was given in initial financial assistance.
- MAS chairman Md Nor Yusof denied claims that it had ‘isolated’ family members, saying they were given places that would allow them comfort, privacy and access to caregivers. “We do not know why, we do not know how this terrible tragedy happened but as the MAS family, we are all praying for the passengers and crew of MH370.”
- On whether MAS had sent high ranking representatives to meet with families, Md Nor said: “That has been done all the time. We just do not display our names when we go”.
- To a question on whether MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya would resign, he replied: "It is a personal decision." Read.
Full statement here.
 Prime Minister Najib Razak addressed the Parliament called on members of the government and the Opposition not to politicise the issue of the missing plane.
" This is the time to show our solidarity with the families of those onboard. I plead to the government and the Opposition that in a crisis like this we have to show our sympathy to all parties involved. We have to show our maturity, love for the country and sensitivity to the families who are going through a difficult time. The government will do everything that we have to do with a full sense of duty."

- The announcement was made last night to dispel the perception that Malaysia was withholding information.
- Suggestions to mourn the loss of the crew and passengers include flying the national flag at half-mast, but Najib said it should be done only after wreckage is found.
- Australian PM Tony Abbot informed Najib this morning that cooperation from Australia will continue until traces of the aircraft is found. Although the conditions in the southern Indian ocean are challenging, Malaysia will continue search operations as a commitment to the families of all those onboard MH370.
Bad weather and rough seas forced the suspension of the search for any wreckage of a missing Malaysian jetliner. Full story.
The  United States is sending an undersea Navy drone capable of exploring waters nearly 15,000 feet deep to potentially help search for any sunken wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the Pentagon said. Story here.
Strong gale force winds of up to 80 kilometres per hour halts air and sea search for MH370, Australia Maritime Safety Authority said. Search operations will resume tomorrow. Full story here.

The why and how about MH370 ended up in the remote rough seas will only be known once investigators get to 'fish' the black box of the Malaysian jet that is registered as 9M-MRO. Read what the experts say here.
DAY 17:
French investigators today said it was too soon to consider launching undersea searches for the remains of MH370. Full story here.
Malaysia Airlines vowed that the ongoing search for the plane and an intensive investigation into its fate "will continue, as we seek answers to the questions which remain". Full story here.
"God loves you more daddy....God loves them more."The daughter of MH370 Chief Steward Andrew Nari tweeted the above, as the Prime Minister announced the sad news minutes ago. Full story here.

Relatives of the passengers on MH370 have been called to an emergency meeting with the company and charter flights are being arranged for Australia, Sky News reported. Full story here.
The Prime Minister, Najib Razak has confirmed that MAS flight MH370 ended in the Southern Indian Ocean, according to new data from INMARSAT and AAIB.
- Based on new analysis, INMARSAT and AAIB also concluded that MH370 flew along the Southern Corridor. The last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.
- No further details were furnished during the press conference, and another press conference will be called tomorrow with further details.
Full statement here.
Malaysia Airlines has also released a statement:
On behalf of all of us at Malaysia Airlines and all Malaysians, our prayers go out to all the loved ones of the 226 passengers and of our 13 friends and colleagues at this enormously painful time.
Full statement here.
This is the text alert Malaysia Airlines sent to the families of the MH370 passengers before PM Najib's official announcement today:
What we know as of Day 17, Monday, 24 March 2014:
Search operations:
1. PM Najib Razak announced that INMARSAT and AAIB confirms that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
Two objects - one circular and another rectangular- were seen by Australian counterparts.
Chinese aircrew have spotted "suspicious objects" in the southern Indian Ocean.
The US Navy is sending a black box locator to the search area in the southern Indian Ocean.
2. Pallet and belts were spotted in the Indian Ocean.
3. Chinese satellites have spotted objects floating in the southern search area.
4. Two objects possibly related to MH370 have been spotted on Australian satellite imagery. Largest object sighted is 24 metres.
On-going investigations:
1. Transcripts of the communication between MH370 and air control is “ not accurate”.
2. Communications satellites picked up faint electronic pulses ("pings") from MH370 for hours after it went missing.
3. Police are investigating the matter from four angles: hijacking, sabotage, psychological problems, and personal problems among passengers and crew.
4. The PM said that the plane movement was consistent with "deliberate action" by someone on the plane.
5. Flight simulator:
- Data log was deleted from the pilot’s flight simulator on Feb 3, forensic work is being done to retrieve data.
- A flight simulator was taken from the home of MH370's pilot and is being examined by the police.
6. Pilots:
Police have questioned more than 100 people including families of both pilot and co-pilot.
- No red flags in pilot and co-pilot backgrounds
- Last words from cockpit - ‘Alright, good night’ believed to be said by the co-pilot at 1.19am.
- MAS: The pilot and co-pilot did not ask to fly together, ands flew as assigned by the roster.
- The flight was piloted by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, with total flying hours of 18,365 hours.
- First officer, Fariq Ab.Hamid, 27, has a total flying hours of 2,763 hours.
7. Plane:
- No additional waypoint on MH370’s flight plan. Normal route to Beijing.
- Plane was carrying three to four tonnes of mangosteen and 200kg of Li-Ion batteries, packaged according to guidelines.
- The B777-200 aircraft that operated MH207 had undergone maintenance 12 days before the flight. There were no issues.
- The aircraft was carrying 7.5 hours of fuel at the time of its disappearance (2.40am, March 8).
About the passengers:
1. Malaysia Airlines has retired the missing jetliner's flight code as a sign of respect to the 239 passengers and crew.
5. MH370 Full passenger list here .
Editors's note: The public may contact +603 7884 1234. Next-of-kin may head to the Support Facility Building at KLIA's South Support Zone. For directions, call 03 8787 1269.

Fizzy drinks fall flat as soda sales decline in U.S. even faster than expected

  • Total sales fell 3 percent in 2013 to 8.9 billion cases
  • It was the ninth straight year of decline and lowest since 1995
  • Soda sales in the United States grew throughout most of the 1990s, before beginning to slow in 1999
  • Coca-Cola Co's share of the U.S. soft drinks market rose 0.4 percentage points, while PepsiCo Inc's market share shrank by the same percentage

Americans cut back on soda at an accelerated pace last year, underscoring the difficulties Coca-Cola and PepsiCo face in winning back customers.
U.S. sales volume of carbonated soft drinks fell 3 percent in 2013, extending a streak of declines that began nearly a decade ago.
It also represents a steeper drop than the 1.2 percent decline in 2012 and the 1 percent drop in 2011, according to an annual report by Beverage Digest, an industry tracker.
Sugar high: Sugary drinks aren't just fattening - they're deadly, according to a new study that links roughly 180,000 deaths annually worldwide to the beverages

Unhealthy: Industry critics have pointed to the soda industry as contributing to the U.S. obesity epidemic, and growing health concerns among consumers have hurt sales,
Ban: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg unsucessfully fought to ban businessnes from selling sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces
Ban: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg unsucessfully fought to ban businessnes from selling sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces
Carbonated soft drinks still represent the biggest category in the beverage industry. But the popularity of longtime favorites like Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper is waning as a growing number of alternatives like flavored waters and energy drinks pop up in beverage aisles. Soda has also been under fire from public health advocates for fueling weight gain.

Even diet sodas are suffering. Last year, for instance, Diet Coke's sales volume declined 6.8 percent, compared to a 0.5 percent drop for regular Coke, according to Beverage Digest. Diet Pepsi declined 6.9 percent, compared to a 3.6 percent decline for regular Pepsi.

Industry executives blame the trend in diet sodas on worries people have about artificial sweeteners. But diet sodas are also facing intensifying competition from the proliferation of lower-calorie alternatives, many of which are made with artificial sweeteners as well.
Losing its fizz? U.S. Carbonated soft drink sales have been in decline for nine years, hurt by concerns about obesity and artificial sweeteners
Losing its fizz? U.S. Carbonated soft drink sales have been in decline for nine years, hurt by concerns about obesity and artificial sweeteners

Sickeningly sweet: Sugary drinks are specifically inked with 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 6,000 deaths from cancer, and 44,000 deaths from heart disease worldwide.
Sickeningly sweet: Sugary drinks are specifically inked with 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 6,000 deaths from cancer, and 44,000 deaths from heart disease worldwide.
Sparkling Ice, a small brand owned by TalkingRain, for instance, last year saw sales more than double, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm.
Overall, Coca-Cola, which also owns Sprite and Fanta, saw its soda volume fall 2.2 percent.

PepsiCo, which makes Mountain Dew, saw volume fall 4.4 percent. That was despite the company's stepped up marketing for its flagship soda, including sponsorship of the Super Bowl halftime show for the past two years.
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo both make an array of other beverages, including bottled water, orange juice and sports drinks. But sodas still account for a large and lucrative portion of their businesses, and executives have expressed determination in getting sales volume back on the path to growth.
Dan Schafer, a spokesman for Coca-Cola, said the Atlanta company was 'committed to returning our overall sparkling business to growth in the U.S.'