Italian biggest win at Italian Lottery Superenalotto

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

The Tuesday drawing of the Italian Superenalotto game has awarded the biggest prize ever won in a betting game in Italy. The single winner of the first category prize (6 numbers guessed) will receive an amount, including the jackpot from previous un-won draws, of 72.090.405,19 (US$93 million.) The prize money will be received in full without further taxation, since taxes in prizes of that type are taken at a fixed rate by the Italian State from the money paid for the bet.

The winning card was purchased in a café in Milan. The betting game, in some respects similar to Powerball in the USA, but without the special number, requires guessing 6 numbers out of 90.

There is not a drawing for the Superenalotto itself. Numbers are taken from the drawing of another Italian lottery game called the national Lotto. If you guess all 6 numbers in Superenalotto, you win the highest prize.

One additional number is drawn from the Lotto drawing. If you have guessed 5 numbers of the normal Superenalotto 6, where the additional number is called the Jolly number or Joker number, you win a runner-up prize (somewhat less than the full 6 award). Called the 5+1 prize, it was just won in the previous drawing on April 30. There are minor prizes for 5, 4 or 3 numbers guessed, but only the full 6 and 5+1 prize have the jackpot mechanism.

November 21, 2018 in Uncategorized

Several groups seek to purchase Saturn auto brand

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Penske Automotive Group, Inc., an Ohio-based investment group and Telesto Ventures have indicated separately that they are interested in purchasing the Saturn auto brand from General Motors (GM).

According to The Wall Street Journal, Nissan-Renault is interested in purchasing Saturn. Bloomberg, however, indicated that Nissan-Renault may be a partner of Penske’s potential bid. If Penske acquired the brand, they would distribute Saturn vehicles and outsource the assembly.

GM revealed that the Saturn brand along with Saab and Hummer were up for sale when unveiling their restructuring plans to Congress for governmental loans. While the Pontiac brand was originally to be a niche brand, GM had changed their plans recently and decided to eliminate the brand.

Telesto Ventures is an investment group that includes private equity firm Black Oak Partners LLC of Oklahoma City and several Saturn dealerships. Initially, Telesto will purchase Saturn branded cars from GM then act as a general retailer for foreign brands. Telesto is in talks with several foreign manufacturers.

The Ohio group includes many former senior auto company managers plus private financial backers, chemists and engineers who live in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Florida. This group plans to initially purchase cars from GM then purchase existing but closed plants due to automaker restructuring. Additionally, one of the partners indicated a willingness to accept some “legacy” cost in relation to the United Auto Workers. The Ohio group is also pursuing possible loans or other support from national and state governments.

GM is reviewing several offers for Saturn. GM has contracted with S.J. Girsky & Co. to advise them on the sale.

November 21, 2018 in Uncategorized

Indonesian anti-corruption chief convicted of murder

Friday, February 12, 2010

An Indonesian court has convicted the former head of the country’s anti-corruption agency of murder. The prosecution of Antasari Azhar and three others has been controversial, with some fearing the so-called “Judicial Mafia” played a role.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) already saw a proven plot to discredit it and frame its senior members. Shortly after Azhar’s arrest in May last year police came to take away Bibit Rianto and Chandra Hamzah, two deputy commissioners, to face trial for corruption. The trial, instead, unveiled a plot to convict the men of offences they had not committed. Protests in the street ensued, and locals gave corrupt officials the joint nickname of the “Judicial Mafia”.

The scandal resulted in the resignations of a chief detective and a deputy attorney general; the KPK had begun probing the attorney general’s office and that of the national police. During Azhar’s time as chair the KPK has exposed bribery at the former and prosecuted an in-law relative of the president during the country’s election preparations, with a jail sentence being the result.

The defendants had claimed political elements orchestrated a conspiracy to see the quartet convicted. The judges disagreed, with judge Herri Swantoro telling the court, “Defendant Antasari Azhar has been legitimately proven guilty of participating in persuading the carrying out of a premeditated murder.” The court’s judgement ran to 179 pages.

The case saw the four accused of plotting the March 2009 murder of tycoon Nasruddin Zulkarnaen, shot dead in his car by a motorbike assassin in Jakarta. Zulkarnaen was Azhar’s golfing partner and the businessman was alleged by the prosecution to have been blackmailing the KPK leader, who is a former prosecutor.

Azhar is alleged to have had an affair with one of Zulkarnaen’s wives, a golf caddie. With Zulkarnaen threatening to inform the press and parliament, Azhar is alleged to have plotted murder with several other officials. Police commissioner Wiliardi Wizar was accused of locating the assassins used; he claimed his senior had ordered him to testify he had been told by Azhar to kill Zulkarnaen.

Media mogul Sigid Haryo Wibisono stood accused of financing the contract killing, and businessman Jerry Hermawan Lo of arranging a meeting with the gunmen. All three were convicted alongside Azhar, who received an eighteen-year prison sentence. Wizar was jailed for twelve years, Wibisono for fifteen and Lo for five. All intend to appeal the verdicts.

One person who feels the court got it wrong is a human rights lawyer who defended Bibit and Chandra. “I think that this is all still a mystery,” said Taufik Basari. “I don’t think the judge had all the necessary facts to warrant a verdict of eighteen years.”

Despite the conviction of his relative, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono retained the presidency last June by a landslide majority. Originally elected in 2004, Yudhoyono has used an anti-corruption stance in his campaigns, heaping praise upon the KPK which Azhar was head of from December 2007 until his arrest.

The four new convicts join five men convicted of the murder in December. Alleged to have comprised the gang behind the shooting, they received sentences varying from seventeen to eighteen years imprisonment.

November 21, 2018 in Uncategorized

South African couple killed after being hit by train while having sex

Monday, September 22, 2008

A South African couple died after being hit by a freight train while having sexual intercourse on railroad tracks. The couple, who are yet to be identified, were having intercourse on the tracks in the Mpumalanga Province of the African country. The engineer yelled warnings at the couple to move, but according to him, they ignored them. South Africa’s national freight railway is called Transnet.

The man, in his thirties, was dismembered and died at the scene. The woman, in her twenties, was transported to a local hospital but later died from her injuries.

An investigation is taking place to determine if the woman was being raped or if she was having intercourse out of her own free will. Nearby residents suspected prostitution, because the area was commonly used for such.

November 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

Russian police to ‘check’ officer allegedly involved in large theft and murder

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Russia’s Internal Affairs Ministry’s Department for Own Safety says it will begin a “check” on Russian Militsiya lieutenant colonel Artem Kuznetsov, who is publicly accused by a group of American lawyers of illegitimately imprisoning and then torturing Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky to death. Later, head of Investigating Committee of the Prosecution Office Alexander Bastrykin said he will “personally check” the course of investigation into actions by Kuznetsov and his coworkers. In 2007 and 2008, Magnitsky worked in Russia for American investment fund company Hermitage Capital Management and was involved in the disclosure of a large-scale corruption among several top law enforcement officials in Moscow.

Lawyers concerned with the death of Magnitsky, which occurred in Butyrka prison on November 16 of last year, started the bilingual website russian-untouchables.com, where they presented evidence of Artem Kuznetsov’s alleged efforts to cloak the crimes. As reported by the website’s authors, Kuznetsov was a key player in a US$230 million theft from the Russian government and then successfully brought criminal charges against everyone who reported his theft.

The central part of website material is a ten-minute video providing a summary of the case. Its main point is the fact that multiple large-scale luxury buyings registered to members of Kuznetsov’s family; they are not comparable to official income of all of these persons. It is emphasized in the video that Kuznetsov’s official monthly income is $850 per month (in roubles), and to gain all the assets found to be connected with him he would have to work for 322 years. The video was released in the middle of last week, and gained enormous popularity within Russian blogosphere, and drew attention of some mass media.

One of the American lawyers, Jamison Firestone, states at the website that last month he directed several petitions to check the sources of Kuznetsov’s family wealth to Russian authorities: the President of Russia, Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, Department for Own Safety and Department for Preventing Corruption and Other Crimes of Interior Ministry. News website Lenta.ru states that addresses were directed on May, 21, but there were no replies since then.

Magnitsky’s case has received international attention for several months. In April 2010 US Senator Ben Cardin proposed the cancellation of US visas to 60 Russian officials allegedly connected with Magnitsky’s death. He directed an appeal to US State Secretary Hillary Clinton.

There has been no decision on it yet, but last Tuesday Clinton urged Russia to bring officials responsible for the death of Magnitsky to justice, The Daily Telegraph says. She told the US-Russia “Civil Society to Civil Society” summit in Washington that the Obama administration is “deeply concerned about the safety of journalists and human rights activists in Russia”. In the meantime Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev were meeting last week during Medvedev’s visit to US.

Magnitsky’s advocates emphasize that Kuznetsov, since committing his crimes, was promoted in service; previously, he was working for the Department of Tax Crimes of the Central Internal Affairs Directorate of Moscow, and at the start of 2010 began to work in Department for Economic Safety of the Interior Ministry. Recently there were many cases when civil groups and private persons publicly reported alleged large-scale corruption crimes within top Russian authorities, with some evidence provided.

November 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

New York executive files $60 million libel lawsuit over insurance scandal

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A former Marsh & McLennan Cos. executive has hit former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer with a $60 million defamation lawsuit over an online magazine article regarding an insurance bid-rigging scandal.

William Gilman, a former Marsh managing director, filed a complaint last Friday in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, over allegations Mr. Spitzer defamed him in a Slate article published a year ago. A copy of the complaint was made public on Monday.

Gilman, who had a final insurance fraud charge dismissed in January, said Spitzer acted with “actual malice” by suggesting that he was guilty of crimes of which he was never accused.

Although he wasn’t named in the article, Mr. Gilman complained that Spitzer defamed him by writing that “Marsh’s behavior was a blatant abuse of law and market power: price-fixing, bid-rigging and kickbacks all designed to harm their customers and the market while Marsh and its employees pocketed the increased fees and kickbacks.”

“While Mr. Spitzer’s statements do not refer to Mr. Gilman by name, Mr. Gilman is readily identifiable as the subject of the defamatory comments,” said the complaint. “Mr. Spitzer was well aware of his own allegations as attorney general and the resolution of those allegations in favor of Mr. Gilman and yet, recklessly disregarded these facts.”

In 2004 Mr. Spizter, then the state’s Attorney General, announced an investigation into the practices at Marsh & McLennan, particularly fees paid by insures to brokers who place business with them. Gilman, who worked for the company at the time, was charged in 2005 with 37 counts of insurance fraud. Gilman’s final charge was dropped last January.

“I haven’t seen the lawsuit and so will not comment on it,” said Spitzer. “The illegalities rampant at Marsh & McLennan leading to their fine of $850 million and the multiple judicial findings of illegality are clear from the public record.”

Mr. Gilman is now seeking at least $10 million in compensatory damages; $20 million in general damages, including damage to his reputation; and $30 million in punitive damages.

November 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

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November 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren releases DNA test results, asks Donald Trump to make promised donation

Thursday, October 18, 2018

United States Senator Elizabeth Warren released to newspaper The Boston Globe on Sunday, with public statement following on Monday, the results of a DNA test suggesting she has somewhere from 1/64 to 1/1024 Native American ancestry. She took the test in response to a dare from U.S. President Donald Trump, who promised at a rally this July to donate USD1 million to a worthy cause if she could prove she had Native American genes, as she claimed.

Warren on Monday reminded Trump of his offer publicly on Twitter: “By the way, @realDonaldTrump: Remember saying on 7/5 that you’d give $1M to a charity of my choice if my DNA showed Native American ancestry? I remember – and here’s the verdict. Please send the check to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center”.

Trump responded by telling the press “I didn’t say that. You better read it again.” He later added he would only write the check if he could personally test Warren’s DNA himself, adding “That will not be something I enjoy doing, either.”

An aide to Warren said her DNA was collected in August. It was tested by Stanford University professor and genetics expert Carlos D. Bustamante, who did not know whose sample he was analyzing at the time. Accoriding to Bustamante’s report, “While the vast majority of the individual’s ancestry is European, the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor in the individual’s pedigree, likely in the range of 6-10 generations ago.” Bustamante himself told the press about a stretch of genes on Warren’s 10th chromosome. “We found five segments, and that long segment was pretty significant. It tells us about one ancestor, and we can’t rule out more ancestors. […] We are confident it is not an error.”

Chuck Hoskin Jr., Secretary of State of the Cherokee Nation, voiced a concern: “Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. […] Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”

Democratic strategist Steve Elmendorf told the press, “She is most clearly doing the things you do if you’re running for president.”

Teaching from 1987 to 1995 at the University of Pennsylvania, Warren identified there as Native American, and again at Harvard University, where she served as a professor. This fact re-emerged during her 2012 campaign for the senate, drawing some criticism. President Trump has sarcastically referred to Senator Warren by the nickname “Pocahontas” after the famous Powhatan Indian chief’s daughter. Warren has said she identified as Native American during that part of her life because that was when her older female relatives were dying and she wanted to feel closer to her family history. Warren said on Monday via Twitter, “DNA & family history has nothing to do with tribal affiliation or citizenship, which is determined only – only – by Tribal Nations. I respect the distinction, & don’t list myself as Native in the Senate.”

In the 1980s and 1990s, universities like Harvard and Penn were under pressure to show they had minorities on staff. Warren recently released employment documents to The Boston Globe that reportedly indicated her purported ethnicity did not affect her career.

Warren’s family’s history names a great-great-great grandmother called O.C. Sarah Smith. She is listed as white on period documents, but Warren’s family maintained she was, in some degree, Native American.

Bustamante’s report notes searching DNA for Native American ancestry is difficult because the databases of known Native American DNA to which to compare samples are relatively small. Some tribal authorities have asked their members not to participate in genetic studies because of exploitation and misuse by scientists in the past. In one case, beginning in 1989, hundreds of Havasupai Indians provided blood samples to researchers from the University of Arizona who claimed they were performing a study on diabetes, from which many Havasupai suffered. The donors later learned their samples were used not only for diabetes but for other disease studies and for migration studies that contradicted the tribe’s traditional stories about its origin. This was without the donors’ knowledge or permission, in violation of standard medical ethics. This led to the Havasupai Tribe vs. the Arizona Board of Regents lawsuit, which was settled in 2010. Warren’s sample was tested against samples from Mexico and South America believed to have genetic markers in common with Native Americans from what is now the United States.

November 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

November 16, 2018 in Uncategorized

Oil spill hits Australia’s Sunshine coastline

Sunday, March 15, 2009

200,000 litres of oil leaked into waters off the coast of Brisbane from the Pacific Adventurer when their fuel tanks were damaged in rough seas on Wednesday. The figure is about ten times higher than the original estimate of twenty thousand litres of oil. The devastating diesel oil spill has spread along 60 kilometres (37 miles) of the Queensland coast. In addition, 31 containers with 620 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser flew overboard during the violent storm.

Questions are being asked why the Hong Kong cargo ship was out in seas with nine meter waves caused by Cyclone Hamish, a Category 5 tropical cyclone, as well as why the fertiliser containers were not properly secured. One of the overboard containers ruptured the hull of the Pacific Adventurer, causing between 30 to 100 tonnes of oil to spew from the severely damaged ship.

If the ammonium nitrate mixes with the heavy oil, an explosion could occur. None of the containers have been recovered. Some of these may float, but it is believed that they may have sunk which then may cause algal blooms.

Disaster zones have been declared at Bribie and Moreton Islands, and along the Sunshine coast.

The vessel’s owner, Swire Shipping, reported that a second leak began on Friday, when the ship began listing after docking at Hamilton for repairs. “As full soundings of the vessel’s tanks were being taken at the port to determine how much oil had leaked from the vessel, a small quantity of fuel oil escaped from the Pacific Adventurer,” it stated. The ship was brought upright, and a recovery vessel was used to suck up the oil from the water. The leak produced a 500m-long oil slick down the Brisbane River. Booms were placed around this oil spill so that a skimmer could clean up the second spill.

Swire Shipping could face clean up costs of AU$100,000 a day as well as fines up to AU$1.5million (US$977,000; £703,000) if found guilty of environmental breaches or negligence.

Sunshine Coast beaches are slowly starting to be reopened. The beach of Mooloolaba was still closed following reports of burning sensations from swimmers. 12 beaches remain closed; however, 13 have been reopened.

Over 300 state government and council workers are using buckets, rakes and spades in the clean up effort. Sunshine Coast Mayor Bob Abbott says the majority will be gone by Sunday afternoon. The full environmental impact on wildlife is not yet known. One turtle and seven pelicans have been found covered in oil.

There are concerns that the drinking water of Moreton Island is at risk, as the island uses water from the underground water table near the oil spill site.

“Every bucketload of contaminated sand has to be removed from the island by barge, and each bucketload from a front-end loader weighs about one tonne. It’s just an impossible task,” said Mr Trevor Hassard of the Tangalooma Dolphin Education Centre.

The commercial fishing industry has suffered from the incident. Trawlers won’t resume operations until Sunday evening, and any catches will be tested for human consumption.

November 15, 2018 in Uncategorized