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Updated: 10 min 36 sec ago

Panama Papers Reveal $2 Billion Offshore Trail That Leads To Vladimir Putin

Sun, 03/04/2016 - 10:40pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: A network of secret offshore deals and vast loans worth $2 billion has laid a trail to Russia's president, Vladimir Putin. An unprecedented leak of documents shows how this money has made members of Putin's close circle fabulously wealthy. Though the president's name does not appear in any of the records, the data reveals a pattern -- his friends have earned millions from deals that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage. The documents suggest Putin's family has benefited from his money -- his friends' fortunes appear his to spend. The files are part of an unprecedented leak of millions of papers from the database of Mossack Fonseca, the world's fourth biggest offshore law firm. They show how the rich and powerful are able to exploit secret offshore tax regimes in myriad ways.

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Tech Jobs Are Replacing Tech Jobs in Silicon Valley

Sun, 03/04/2016 - 9:33pm
An anonymous reader writes: More than 22% of the jobs in Silicon Valley are now in the technology sector, reports the San Jose Mercury News, while the area has lost nearly 156,000 factory jobs over the last 15 years. But 59% of those lost manufacturing jobs were at tech companies, indicating that "the hardware has faded in importance compared with the software," says economist Christopher Thornberg. "It's all about the applications these days." Over the last 15 years employment gains happened in "information" areas characterized as mobile/internet/social media as well as software and tech services -- for example, at companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Salesforce -- and at hotels and restaurants catering to high-tech workers. "It's not just that tech is replacing other industries," reports the San Jose Mercury News. "Tech is replacing itself."

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Panama Papers: Data Leak Exposes Massive Official Corruption

Sun, 03/04/2016 - 8:30pm
An anonymous reader writes: The hidden wealth of some of the world's most prominent leaders, politicians and celebrities has been revealed by an unprecedented leak of millions of documents that show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes. The Guardian, working with global partners, will set out details from the first tranche of what are being called "the Panama Papers". Journalists from more than 80 countries have been reviewing 11.5m files leaked from the database of Mossack Fonseca, the world's fourth biggest offshore law firm. Twelve national leaders are among 143 politicians, their families and close associates from around the world known to have been using offshore tax havens. Among national leaders with offshore wealth are Vladimir Putin, Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan's prime minister; Ayad Allawi, ex-interim prime minister and former vice-president of Iraq; Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine; Alaa Mubarak, son of Egypt's former president; and the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davio Gunnlaugsson. The leak is one of the biggest ever - larger than the US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2010, and the secret intelligence documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden in 2013. More here. Search the Offshore Leaks Database here.

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20th Anniversary of Unabomber's Arrest

Sun, 03/04/2016 - 7:51pm
theodp writes: Sunday marks the 20th anniversary of the arrest of Theodore Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber, at his cabin in rural Montana. Kaczynski, a brilliant mathematician turned recluse, spread destruction and death throughout the U.S by mailing bombs to his victims, most of whom worked at UNiversities or in the Airline industry -- hence the "UNAbomber" moniker -- from 1978 until his arrest in Lincoln, MT, on April 3, 1996. For years, the only clue to his identity was a single now-iconic sketch of a shadowy, hooded figure. The big break in the case came in 1995, when David Kaczynski recognized the ramblings of the Unabomber's 35,000-word anti-technology manifesto entitled Industrial Society and its Future, which was published in the Washington Post, as those of his older brother Theodore and tipped off the FBI. (Kaczynski warns of a world of intelligent machines where "the fate of the human race would be at the mercy of the machines.") Kaczynski, now 73, is currently serving a life sentence without parole at the so-called Supermax prison in Colorado. Kaczynski's listing in the Harvard alumni directory for the class of 1962 gives his occupation as 'prisoner' and cites "eight life sentences, issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, 1998" in the awards section.

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Tesla May Need Cash To Deliver On the Model 3, Says Analysts

Sun, 03/04/2016 - 6:51pm
An anonymous reader writes: After receiving more than 198,000 Model 3 preorders in the first 24 hours, Tesla may need more cash if it hopes to deliver their new electric vehicle to customers on time, analysts said. Elon Musk plans to launch the Model 3 in late 2017, eventually boosting the company's annual production tenfold to 500,000 by 2020. Many analysts believe some customers making early reservations may not receive their vehicle until 2019 or 2020. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, predicted Tesla's sales will hit under 250,000 in 2020. Barclays analyst Brian Johnson, believes the surge of Model 3 reservations could reach 300,000 by the end of June. Some analysts expect the first cars will sell for an average of $50,000-$60,000, but Tesla prices its current models in several "tiers," depending on content and optional features. RBC analyst Joseph Spak said strong initial orders for the Model 3 could help Tesla achieve positive free cash flow. In February, the company said it expected to be cash-flow positive in March. Spak said Tesla may not be able to fulfill many of the early orders before 2019: "Demand was never really our concern, it is more about execution and getting production up to meet demand."

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Lasers Could Hide Us From Evil Aliens

Sun, 03/04/2016 - 5:49pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Washington Post: Most of the time when we talk about silly scientific papers related to alien life, we're talking about crazy ideas for how to find aliens. But a new study in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society proposes a way of hiding from aliens. Humans are so fickle. A lot of our search for Earth-like planets (and, by extension, for life as we know it) hinges on transiting planets. These are planets that pass in front of their host star in such a way that the transit is visible from our perspective. The movement of the planet in front of the host star makes the light from that star dim or flicker, and we can use that to determine all sorts of things about distant worlds -- including how suitable they may be for life. Professor David Kipping and graduate student Alex Teachey, both of Columbia University, determined how much laser light it would take to mask the dimming caused by our planet transiting the sun, or cloak the atmospheric signatures associated with biological activity, [such as oxygen, which is achievable with a peak laser power of just 160 kW per transit]. From the report: "According to their math, it would take 10 continuous hours of shining a 30 MW laser once a year to eliminate the transit signal in visible light. Actually replicating every wavelength of light emitted by the sun would take about 250 MW of power."

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Quebec Bill Would Force Internet Firms To Block Access To Online Gaming Sites

Sun, 03/04/2016 - 4:56pm
New submitter rotoblobule writes that in order to help Quebec's lottery service fight against illegal gaming sites, "the Quebec government is currently passing bill 74, which will impose mandatory banning by internet providers of a list of online gaming sites." Here's stories about the pending legislation in French and English, and a relevant excerpt from the bill itself: "To monitor online gambling, the Consumer Protection Act is amended to require Internet service providers to block access to illegal gambling sites entered on a list drawn up by the Societe des loteries du Quebec, which must report...if service providers fail to comply with the Act."

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