Spain: Extensive Credit-Card-Copying Network Dismantled

first_imgBy Dialogo June 16, 2010 A total of 178 individuals from twelve countries have been detained following the dismantlement of an extensive international network that forged credit cards, the Spanish police announced. The members of the network copied credit cards after having obtained their numbers and then withdrew money at ATMs and made purchases in stores, according to a statement by the police. The subgroups within the network’s complex structure, located in each country, “formed a mini-structure within the global framework of the organization and were subject to the overall strategic direction of the leaders at the top,” the police explained. “One hundred seventy-eight individuals have been detained, 84 searches have been conducted, and 11 forgery laboratories have been dismantled, belonging to a network that might have made over 20 million euros from its illicit activities,” the police statement specified. According to the police, the network was not only engaged in cloning credit cards, but also in “robbery, embezzlement, extortion, sexual exploitation, and money laundering.” “In Spain, 76 individuals have been arrested, 120,000 card numbers have been seized, and six laboratories for the cloning of credit cards have been dismantled, as well as a research-and-development laboratory in which 30 altered ATM card readers were found,” the police specified. At the same time, the police said that 30 individuals were detained in France, 16 in Rumania, 16 in Germany, 12 in Ireland, 8 in the United States, 7 in Italy, 4 in Hungary, 3 in Finland, 2 in Australia, 2 in Sweden, and 2 in Greece. However, the police did not specify the detainees’ nationalities.last_img read more

How To Cut A Hole In Sheetrock For An Electrical Outlet With Alure Home Improvements

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Sponsored Content Brought To You By Alure Home ImprovementsDo you want to add an outlet to your home but you’re worried that you might be unable to cut a hole in the wall?Fear not, because Doug Cornwell, the chief operating officer of Alure Home Improvements, shows you how easy it is to create the space you need in this recent installment of Alure Home Improvements’ “60-Second Fix: How to Cut a Hole for an Outlet in 60 Seconds.”Here, the goal is simple. He’s recently installed a new double-switch for the lights, and now he wants to add an electrical outlet nearby for the plugs. He demonstrates how to cut through the finished Sheetrock without making a big ordeal out of it so you can simply insert an electrical outlet box right into the hole.The key to this process is that the wall is already finished. The Sheetrock has been installed and painted; the underlying wall studs are covered up so you can’t access them. This distinction is important because it determines what kind of electrical box is suitable for installation.“Part one is getting the wire there,” he explains. “The other part is cutting the hole out so you can put the box in. Today I’m going to show you how to cut the box out.”Cornwell uses what is called an “old work” or “retrofit” PVC outlet box, which means that the plastic box is not intended for new construction projects.“The walls are closed,” Cornwell explains here. “They’re not open.”He holds the plastic blue box, and recommends that you make sure it’s up to code in your area, which you can do when you’re at your local hardware store.Generally, these electrical boxes come in two kinds: plastic or metal. The plastic boxes are easier for the amateur handyman to handle because they’re lighter than metal and they’re also cheaper.“First thing you want to do is determine the location of the hole,” Cornwell advises.As he shows here, you want to keep the outlet at approximately the same height as the switch for aesthetic purposes and convenience. Take the box and place it firmly against the wall with one hand so you can outline the straight edges with a pencil. Carefully mark all four sides of the box on the wall.“This way you know the area you want to cut out,” he says.You can cut the hole out in several ways. For this job, he wields a small keyhole-type Sheetrock saw, which can cost between $5 and $10. Use whatever tool you’re comfortable with, because this task is not too time-consuming and the hole is manageably small.The keyhole saw is built to penetrate the wall and enable you to perform the in-and-out sawing motion easily. Use the blade to follow along the pencil lines carefully. Try to be as exact as possible because you don’t want to leave an unnecessarily wide gap. When you come to the corner, carefully remove the blade so you don’t tear the wall surface, and then start on the other side.Once you have the little section of the wallboard almost completely cut out, make sure you hold onto the piece so it won’t fall behind the wall.Now comes the installation of the electrical box.As Cornwell points out, the plastic box has two corner screws, one for the top and one for the bottom. Tightening each screw moves a little wing-like flap attached to the back of the box and starts to draw it up until it touches the other side of the Sheetrock and locks in place. These plastic tabs are supposed to act as clamps as they flip into action but they can be rather flimsy flappers, so don’t take them for granted.“You want to go slow with this,” Cornwell says. “You don’t want to go too fast because you just want it to be snug up against the back of the wall.”Done properly, it locks up the box’s top corner and bottom corner.After you’re ready, you can place the box into the wall, line up the screws, and tighten them accordingly.“Once you see the screw start to pull further into the box, stop,” says Cornwell. “You don’t want to pull it through the Sheetrock. That’s it. It’s in.”Click here to learn more about Alure Home ImprovementsTo make sure he’s done, Cornwell prods all four sides with his fingers to make sure the electrical box won’t wiggle.See how simple that was? Thanks to Alure Home Improvements, cutting a hole in Sheetrock is as easy as 1-2-3!last_img read more

Stakeholders storm out of public meeting

first_imgVAT on private education… as PM announces tax cannot be removed this yearDozens of stakeholders stormed out of a nearly three-hour long meeting with Government officials after Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo announced that the Administration will most likely not remove the 14 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on private education as is being heavily demanded by all sections of society.After listening to the concerns of parents, students, operators of private schools and other stakeholders; Nagamootoo attempted to convince the disgruntled audience that his Government cares about education by alluding to the 3Bs initiative where Government donates buses, boats and bicycles.He also cited the continuation of the national school feeding programme and theOne of the students who pleaded with the Government for the removal of VAT on private educationrehabilitation of schools to prove that Government cares highly about education.But frustration grew among stakeholders when the Prime Minister began to stray away from the issue and talked about unrelated topics including the sugar industry and his days with the People’s Progressive Party.When the gathering objected to this, Nagamootoo sought to put them in their place by reminding those gathered they had their time to speak and it was now his turn to make his contribution.Notwithstanding, Nagamootoo sent the roomful of stakeholders through the roof when he made an announcement which shattered their hopes instantaneously.“Incrementally, the 14 per cent VAT will be removed, as well as other taxes. But whether it will be removed for 2017, I cannot say that definitively. I can tell you for sure, that 2018, it is a possibility,” he stated.Following weeks of protests and a submission of a petition with over 14,000 signatories, Government finally decided to hold a “consultation” with stakeholdersAnother student at the meeting voicing his concernsto discuss the imposition of VAT on education.The session was held at the National Cultural Centre on Friday where the Prime Minister; Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine; and Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes addressed the gathering.During his opening remarks, Dr Roopnaraine argued that records show that private institutions should be able to absorb the taxes.“The records from the Ministry of Finance demonstrate that the schools are able to absorb the Value Added Tax (VAT),” he stated, noting that only 57 per cent of private schools operating in Guyana are registered with the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).But the President of the Georgetown Chambers of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Deodat Indar explained that such logic is flawed.“VAT is not a business tax, it is a consumer tax. It is passed from the hands of businesses to consumers,” he explained, noting that it would technically be against the law for private institutions to absorb the 14 per cent tax.Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine addressing the concerns of some students after the meeting“You’re asking the private schools to take a cut of 12.28 per cent in their revenue but the Government is not prepared to accept less than a quarter per cent of a cut in its tax revenues,” he stated.President of the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA), Dr Melissa Ifill, in her capacity as a parent, outlined how private institutions actually remove a burden from the State, as she heavily criticised the Administration for charging taxes on a service which can be used to develop the nation.She also outlined that major countries in the Caribbean which have a public/private educational structure, rather than imposing taxes on schools, they were in fact exempted from paying tax because of the recognition that they are aiding the State in providing education.“I find it completely incomprehensible how a Government that says it cares about education, could impose this tax. We are dealing with parents, lots of parents who are struggling to pay for these fees… I find it incomprehensible that a Government could think this is justifiable,” she stated.A hinterland resident highlighted how VAT on private education goes contrary to Government’s mantra about entrepreneurship.“We have heard in the political arena that entrepreneurship is our future; that we should enable and create an environment for entrepreneurship. Where do our entrepreneurs gain their skills? For the vast majority, for people who are trying to start small businesses, it is the private educational sector that is providing those services,” she explained.Director of Nations University, Dr Brian O’Toole urged the Government to desist from punishing private institutions which pay taxes simply because others do not.To give the Ministers a taste of reality, Dr O’Toole disclosed that 12 per cent of students have already dropped out of the prominent ABE programme, presumably because of the extra expenses.Furthermore, in clarifying the misconceptions that only affluent persons attend private institutions, several students, including foreign nationals, shared how their lives have become more challenging due to the imposition of VAT on their education.“Here I am, in a private school, doing a graduates degree and here you are, my Government, that says it’s a good life for all, you have just increased my fees by 14 per cent…the only way I can get an increase in my salary is by promoting my own personal advancement. At my level, the company is not going to give me a raise in pay just because they love me. I have to earn it and I am trying to earn it by getting a graduate degree and my Government is putting a huge stumbling block in my way,” said Jarvin Yearwood, who after years of finishing high school, decided to go back to school.Yearwood, in detailing his plight and how the VAT will lessen his disposable income significantly, implored the Government to revoke the tax on education immediately.“I am asking you, from the bottom of my heart. In fact, I’m not asking you, I am begging you, and I don’t beg for anything, I am begging you… Guyana’s government, see fit to remove this tax,” he urged. A student, who is studying aeronautical engineering, highlighted that there is no other institution in Guyana offering the programme; therefore it makes no sense in making it more difficult for persons to pursue that course.He outlined the struggles of his life and the sacrifices he and his mother made to finally afford to send him to study and how the 14 per cent VAT takes away from money which could have been used otherwise for transportation and meals.“The Minister said that children can’t focus on school if they’re hungry. Well, you’re starving me, you’re starving me,” he stated with much distress.Though Government committed to reviewing their concerns, majority of the stakeholders left dissatisfied.As the Ministers were leaving, several students staged a mini protest to express their disappointment with the outcome of the meeting.A hinterland resident highlighted how VAT on private education goes contrary to Government’s mantra about entrepreneurship.“We have heard in the political arena that entrepreneurship is our future; that we should enable and create an environment for entrepreneurship. Where do our entrepreneurs gain their skills? For the vast majority, for people who are trying to start small businesses, it is the private educational sector that is providing those services,” she explained.Director of Nations University, Dr Brian O’Toole urged the Government to desist from punishing private institutions which pay taxes simply because others do not.To give the Ministers a taste of reality, Dr O’Toole disclosed that 12 per cent of students have already dropped out of the prominent ABE programme, presumably because of the extra expenses.Furthermore, in clarifying the misconceptions that only affluent persons attend private institutions, several students, including foreign nationals, shared how their lives have become more challenging due to the imposition of VAT on their education.“Here I am, in a private school, doing a graduates degree and here you are, my Government, that says it’s a good life for all, you have just increased my fees by 14 per cent…the only way I can get an increase in my salary is by promoting my own personal advancement. At my level, the company is not going to give me a raise in pay just because they love me. I have to earn it and I am trying to earn it by getting a graduate degree and my Government is putting a huge stumbling block in my way,” said Jarvin Yearwood, who after years of finishing high school, decided to go back to school.Yearwood, in detailing his plight and how the VAT will lessen his disposable income significantly, implored the Government to revoke the tax on education immediately.“I am asking you, from the bottom of my heart. In fact, I’m not asking you, I am begging you, and I don’t beg for anything, I am begging you… Guyana’s government, see fit to remove this tax,” he urged. A student, who is studying aeronautical engineering, highlighted that there is no other institution in Guyana offering the programme; therefore it makes no sense in making it more difficult for persons to pursue that course.He outlined the struggles of his life and the sacrifices he and his mother made to finally afford to send him to study and how the 14 per cent VAT takes away from money which could have been used otherwise for transportation and meals.“The Minister said that children can’t focus on school if they’re hungry. Well, you’re starving me, you’re starving me,” he stated with much distress.Though Government committed to reviewing their concerns, majority of the stakeholders left dissatisfied.As the Ministers were leaving, several students staged a mini protest to express their disappointment with the outcome of the meeting.last_img read more

Mobile Apps Are Selling Like HotCakes

first_imgDo you have an Iphone? Do you have a BlackBerry? If the answer is yes, then you are obviously into cool technology. How many mobile applications have you bought for your new toy? 10? 20? Well, you are not alone. It’s no surprise that these creative gems are selling like hotcakes. Where did that saying come from? Find out more history on the origin of selling hotcakes by clicking here. I may have to try one of these hotcakes to see what all the hype was about!Independent developers and entrepreneurs are not the only ones seeing a growing community of mobile applications. They are popping up all over the place. I remember having a conversation with a friend a few months ago after he showed me an app on his phone that contained a flipping coin, as well as other odd features. I’m not sure of which application he had, as there are multiple different options with that feature. I asked him why he bought it, and he said, “It only cost $1”. I grinned at him for a moment, and we moved on to a more enlightening conversation. I’m pretty sure that some people will buy just about anything for $1. There are some applications that are absolutely genius and some that are utterly obnoxious. I suppose it comes with the territory.One really cool company I’ll touch on is Shazam. I was reading an article on VentureBeat that noted Shazam as having more than 50 million users and they have also raised four rounds of venture capital funding to use for development. Their latest round of venture capital financing was led by Kleiner Perkins’s iFund. The amount was not disclosed. Shazam tells you the name of the song you are listening to by holding your phone next to the speakers. Have you ever been shopping at the grocery store and wondered whose beautiful voice was blaring out of the speakers in aisle 3? Shazam is your answer to that dilemma. Once it recognizes the song, it also gives you the option to buy it immediately. That is a very cool feature for music lovers like me.There are too many of these applications for me to start listing all my top picks, and since I like to keep my posts brief, here is my closing statement. Mobile Apps are a buzzing business. I’m sure you’ll find a few that will make your life more enjoyable or at least add some convenience to your day. It’s easy to browse options online, or ask friends which applications they like or find amusing. This type of word-of-mouth marketing helps sustain the buzz, and keeps luring more bees to the honey.article source digital.venturebeat.com/2009/10/14/song-recognition-application-shazam-gets-boost-from-kleiner-perkins/AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThislast_img read more