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Maersk posts best profit ever

As the world economy slowly gathers momentum and business and trade picks up, the Danish container service firm AP Moller Maersk seems to have put the worst behind them.

Net profit for the year was reported at 28.2 billion Danish Kroner ($5.18 billion, £3.19 billion) by Maersk for 2010, the highest ever full year profit against a net loss of 5.49 Danish Kroner reported in 2009. “Our people have done a truly great job”, said Group CEO Nils Andersen.

The world shipping business was badly hit in 2009 as the economic crisis had hit global trade and business.

Maersk however warned that its 2011 profits might be lower due to high oil prices and uncertain freight rates.

Maersk is trying to tap the growing business between Asia and Europe and has recently ordered for 10 container ships from Daewoo Shipbuilding for $1.9 billion, with the option of acquiring more if needed.

Chief executive Eivind Kolding told Reuters that the new triple E class carriers measuring 400 meters long, 73 meters tall and 59 meters wide will be “the largest vessel of any type known to be in operation”. The new carriers will be able to carry 18,000 standard 20 foot containers.

“Looking ahead, we see strong potential in growth markets, where the number of middle-income consumers is booming”, said Mr. Andersen.

“In 2011, we will focus the main part of our attention and investments in these markets, where we already have a strong presence”, added the CEO of the world’s biggest container shipping company.

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Woman arrested after taking thrown out food

A woman has been arrested after helping herself to some of the 3000 pounds worth of food that a Tesco express had thrown out. Sasha Hall is said to have taken some potato waffles, pies and ham that she had found on the street, following a power cut at the Tesco in Great Baddow, Essex.

She was shocked as she was approached by police and arrested for ‘Theft by finding’. The 21-year-old is now facing trial later this month.

She said of the matter: “It had been thrown out, so I thought I could put it to better use. But when the police came round I was so upset. I felt like a terrible criminal.

‘I would think the police have better things to be doing with their time than going after people who pick up potato waffles from the street. It’s all been blown totally out of proportion.

A Tesco spokesman said: ‘We are assisting the police with their inquiries. We seek to minimise waste in all our stores and where possible will seek to reuse and recycle it’

Hall also said that the supermarket, who’s motto is ‘Every little helps’ should have been glad that the food would be put to good use.

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Oprah Winfrey and Celine Dion give to sextuplet family

An American family got a lot more than they were bargaining for after putting a family photo up on Facebook.

The McGhee family recently had sextuplets and poster a photo of their family on the popular social networking site, Facebook, and before long it had become an internet sensation.

To one powerful American women, it became the opportunity to do some good, as Oprah Winfrey invited the family onto her show, and gave the family $250,000 of Walmart store credit, and bought the couple a long overdue honeymoon to Las Vegas.

Rozonna and Mia, with sextuplets, Isaac, Elijah, Josiah, Rozonno Jr, Madison and Olivia, will be well fed after the remarkable gesture from Oprah Winfrey.

Celine Dion, who was on the show as a guest at the same time as the family also handed them front row tickets to one of her gigs.

The couple, who had struggled financially to deal with the costs of six new born babies, revealed that they can go through 50 nappies and 30 bottles of milk a day.

The sextuplets mark the end of a remarkable turnaround for the couple, who were married as teenagers, and had turned to fertility treatment to have twins, who sadly died just after birth.

The couple quickly became pregnant again, this time with six babies, despite the late nights they are thankful for their babies.

Mia said: ‘It can become overwhelming, but it’s a joy. It’s a joy being a mom now.’

She added, “Most days, maybe two or three people come throughout the morning and then the night to help with baths and help with clean up.

“I stick to a schedule and clean the babies’ bottles as soon as they’re done eating and dispose of their diapers regularly. That keeps the smell down.

“When I was at the airport I actually held one baby and changed another.”

The couple will now be able to afford to feed their children for years to come with Oprah’s kind gift, as well as enjoying their 4 night stay at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, and the tickets courtesy of Celine Dion.

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EFSF releases €3.6 billion to Ireland

According to sources from European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), Ireland has been released the first tranche of €3.6 billion (£3 billion) – a little higher than the initially agreed €3.3 billion, from the euro zone rescue fund.

Ireland will be paying an effective rate of interest of 5.9 percent per annum.

The EFSF had sold 5 year maturity bonds for the first time to raise €5 billion last month.

The funds are part of a greater €85 billion rescue fund approved by the EU/IMF consortium to rescue the country’s struggling banking sector – which is yet to recover from staggering losses suffered due to bad loans and follows Greece, which sought a similar bailout package last year.

Reuters reported a source as saying: “As part of the EU/IMF financial support package agreed for Ireland, EFSF transferred 3.6 billion to the Republic of Ireland”. Since EFSF was successful in raising €5 billion, “the amount transferred to Ireland was higher than the minimum 3.3 billion agreed”, he added.

The EFSF has said that it will issue two more benchmark bonds to raise money for Ireland and both issues will vary between €3 and €5 billion. IMF plans to raise a total of €17.6 billion in 2011 and €4.9 billion in 2012 by selling bonds.

The first EFSF bond was issued at an implied rate of 2.89 percent.

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GE Capital sells Mexican assets to Santander

GE Capital, the financial arm of General Electric Co. is set to sell its $2 billion dollar Mexican assets portfolio to Spain’s Grupo Santander for $162 million and exit the business in the country. Santander will additionally assume the debts of GE Capital in Mexico.

Under the deal, Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico will acquire all consumer mortgage related business of GE Capital in Mexico, including GE’s $2 billion consumer mortgage portfolio. The transaction will be completed by first half of 2011.

GE Capital’s Mark Begor – Chief Executive of restructuring operations said the company will continue focusing on core operations and will shed its non-core assets. “This sale is consistent with our strategy to exit non-strategic businesses that lack scale to help reduce GE Capital’s balance sheet while investing in core industrial and commercial finance platforms, including in Mexico”, he said.

Santander will become the second largest mortgage provider in Mexico after the deal, said Marcos Martinez Gavica, executive vice president of Grupo Financiero Santander. ““This acquisition is evidence of Santander’s confidence in Mexico, and is consistent with Santander’s strategy in Mexico of investing in the strengthening of our franchise, investing in the country, and the implementation of strategies that would allow us to continue growing in this market”, he added.

GE Capital has been dealing in both Residential and Commercial Mortgages in Mexico since 2002. The mortgage unit was brought under restructuring operations in early 2009.

GE Capital said it will still continue its business in technology and structured finance, working capital funding, transportation, commercial real estate and equipment and aircraft financing.

Top GE Capital executives said that they have disposed of financial assets worth $14 billion in 2010 and plans to liquidate another $17 billion worth assets in 2011 in an effort to make the balance sheet smaller. The aim is to expand GE Corp’s engineering & industrial business and shrink the financial division so that GE Capital’s contribution to the group’s net profit comes down to 30% from the present 50%.

Jack Immelt, GE’s Chairman and Chief Executive said in an investor meet this month: “there’s some well-known pieces of GE Capital that will be disposition candidates or run-off candidates”.

GE’s share prices are down by 56% on a net basis since 2001, when Mr. Immelt had taken over as CEO. However, the share prices have grown by 19% this year alone.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Trailer Released

Activision have unveiled the trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, going on to declare that the game will be the Almost groundbreaking and visceral Call of Duty experience ever.’ The gaming industry has made big gains in regards to technology. Though there is still plenty of room for improvement, newly-released games are now run with such strong engines that the experience is as fluid and immersing as ever.

The first Black Ops game made £1 billion in sales, selling 25 million copies all over the world. The latest game could break that record, since there is more interest in the title than ever.

David Goyer, game writer

The game, which is set to release on November 13th, will be the ninth title in the successful first person shooter franchise. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will follow on the record smashing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and will be set in 2012, adding a futuristic twist to the game series.

Centred around a cold war between the USA and China, the storyline has once again been written by David Goyer, the screenwriter for Batman Begins. The game propels the players into a global conflict that features advanced weaponry and robotics. The inspiration for these stunning weapons animations came from the real-life headlines of today.

Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg spoke about the release, saying that the latest installment of the game will be the most ambitious ever. Hirschberg also says that Activision were intent on bringing disruptive innovation to the franchise, pushing the boundaries not only technologically and graphically, but from a more narrative and gameplay perspective as well. He went on to say that they need to stay true to the realism, authenticity and cinematic action that players of the game are use to.

Studio Head of Treyarch, Mark Lamia, spoke about giving the fans what they want, saying that the Call of Duty: Black Ops II team are creating an experience of the franchise that fans have never seen before. He said that they endeavour to create thought-provoking storylines that introduce branching stories and meaningful choices that impact the narrative.

Multiplayer engine

He also went on to say that running the game in the multiplayer engine for the first time will give the players a much larger set of gameplay experiences as well as new ways to wage war with the undead.

The multiplayer mode also allows players to embrace all skill levels and play all styles, which will give them the experience of the best Call of Duty game they have played and the best Call of Duty game that’s been made.

The November release of the game means it will go head-to-head against the release of Microsoft’s biggest selling franchise of Halo 4.

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Global Study Shows British Workers Have Worst Retirement Futures

A new global study by HSBC shows that Britain is the country in which those who are soon to retire have the worst financial prospects.

Among other things, the study found that a fifth of Britons in their late 50s and early 60s now expect to never be able to retire.

Fifteen countries where studied by HSBC, whose Future of Retirement report polled more than 16,000 people. The range of countries was varied, with both ‘developed’ economies such as the US and France, and quickly growing emerging market nations such as Brazil, India and China.

Majority of Retirement Unfunded

The report found that workers in the UK can expect, on average, a 19 year old long retirement. However the study also found that on average, savers are only prepared to support themselves financially for the first 7 years, leaving the average future retiree with a 12 year long shortfall period.

Future pensioners in the US seem to be more well prepared, as their savings will on average last them 14 years in retirement, twice aslong as their British counterparts and the highest number of any country covered by the survey.

Fortunately, there are some steps being taken to close the gap between low savings levels and long expected retirements. A year ago the Government’s auto-enrolment initiative kicked in, prompting the largest employers in the UK to automatically enroll their staff in a company pension scheme.

Already, auto-enrolment has pushed over one million people to save for their retirement for the first time in their lives. Some of them were not able to save into workplace pensions before the reform, and some simply chose not to opt in to their employer’s pension scheme. When you instead have to actively opt out, more people continue saving.

Problem Solved?

However warnings have been raised about auto-enrolment giving savers a false sense of security, as the levels of savings in the default plans may not be enough for everybody, especially those on lower salaries or who are older but have not started saving yet.

Poor return on savings and low annuity rates means it’s more important than ever to properly save for a financially stable retirement.

When Brits who were already retired were polled on how long their savings would last them, the average answer was 13 years – almost twice of what today’s 55-64 year olds — the future generation of pensioners — can expect.

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TraitWareID

FinanceNews Fintech One to Watch: TraitWareID
TraitWareID is a patent pending process that authenticates the identity of an end user and certain digital personality traits on their mobile device.
This provides real-time, in-transaction authentication of the person and device. Combined with PhotoAuth, our patent pending image-based activation method, ease-of-use and heightened security allow only the registered user to access sensitive data, or initiate financial transactions.

TraitWareID simplifies and secures access to protected web sites and applications by employing the user’s mobile device as a login token, eliminating the use of inconvenient and problematic usernames and passwords. TraitWareID does this with patent-pending technology, which begins with user authentication, then binds the user’s identity to their device. TraitWareID utilizes digital identity mapping to analyze the user-created content of the authentication device.

Press Coverage
Acuity Systems is unveiling a software platform called TraitWareID that authenticates a person’s identity with the help of a mobile phone.

The Visalia, Calif.-based Acuity Systems started life in 2008 as a video analytics software company in video surveillance. The recession and the collapse of that market forced the company to pivot into identity and access management, using mobile platforms. Heightened fears about mobile hacking and device theft have prompted companies to pay more attention to authenticating employees when they access company information using phones. On top of that, authentication is more important as mobile commerce takes off.

TraitWareID authenticates who a person is with a few questions and then associates that user with a specific mobile device and its digital characteristics. That provides enhanced security as well as a seamless customer experience, making transactions on mobile devices safer. The content that we keep on our phones distinguishes us from other people, so the chances of someone else having the exact same mobile device data is 1 in 360 billion…….

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Akamai

FinanceNews Fintech One to Watch: Akamai
Akamai is a leading cloud platform for helping enterprises provide secure, high-performing user experiences on any device, anywhere.
At the core of the company’s solutions is the Akamai Intelligent Platform providing extensive reach, coupled with unmatched reliability, security, visibility and expertise. Akamai removes the complexities of connecting the increasingly mobile world, supporting 24/7 consumer demand, and enabling enterprises to securely leverage the cloud. To learn more about how Akamai is accelerating the pace of innovation in a hyperconnected world, please visit akamai.com or blogs.akamai.com, and follow @Akamai on Twitter.

How they describe their product/innovation: Akamai’s Kona Site Defender is the first cloud-based Web security solution to help financial services institutions protect against both large scale denial of service and sophisticated application-layer threats seeking to compromise their brands, applications and associated data. Web based attacks have been on the rise, with Financial Services being one of the primary targets of criminal, political, and chaotic actors. These attacks can cost institutions millions in lost transactions and business productivity each year, and even higher losses in their brand value and reputation. With the introduction of Kona Site Defender, real-time web security monitoring, adaptive rate controls and other powerful features are bundled into a single, always on, cloud-based solution that can protect an institution’s most critical online business functions.

In a unique demonstration, Akamai will command agents and attack servers across the Internet to launch attacks commonly directed at financial services sites (including SQL injection, slow HTTP post, and denial of service attacks) at a pair of live demonstration banking sites on the public Internet ­ one in the clear, and one protected by Kona Site Defender. The demonstration will show how these attacks can compromise an unprotected site and how Kona Site Defender is able to detect and mitigate these attacks automatically, live, in real-time. The demonstration will feature innovative adaptive rate control and real-time Web security monitoring security technologies.

Press Coverage
This $10 Billion Company You’ve Never Heard Of Is The Reason Your Internet Is Fast

If you’ve been watching the Olympics online, you’ve got one company to thank for the quality of your stream. It isn’t NBC or your cable provider. It’s a company based out of Massachusetts with a funny-sounding name that few outside of tech have heard of: Akamai — which is Hawaiian for “intelligent,” in case you were wondering.

In essence, what it does is simple: it makes everything you do on the Internet faster by putting content onto servers that are physically closer to the people accessing it. The company operates what’s known as a content delivery network, and Akamai’s is the largest in the world, serving up as much as 30% of all Web traffic (PDF).

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Azimo

FinanceNews Fintech One to Watch: Azimo
Azimo is a UK-based financial services company whose website and mobile applications enable users to send money to 125 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.
Founded in 2011, by Michael Kent, Ricky Knox and Marek Mawro, Azimo announced a £300,000 angel investment round in January 2013.[3] The company raised an additional $1 million in September of 2013.[4] Azimo is headquartered in London and was included in the Wonga Future 50 UK Businesses for 2012

Azimo allows users to send money directly to a bank account, top up a mobile phone or send cash for collection at one of 150,000 global cash pay-out locations. Consumers pay for Azimo money transfers using funds from their UK bank account, a debit card or by depositing cash with one of the company’s banking partners. The money transfers are paid out in either U.S. dollars (USD), Euros (EUR), Sterling (GBP) or in local currency.

Azimo now provides money transfer services to 195 countries including Poland, Argentina, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Lithuania, Brazil and most recently New Zealand and South Africa.

Azimo gives customers the option to donate a portion of the money they transfer to charities working in developing countries and has active partnerships with charities, including Operation Smile.[9] It has pledged to donate 10% of annual profits to charities that it supports.[6] Staff members are offered a free day every quarter to allow them to get involved with work in the community and Azimo also provides non-profit organisations that have operations in the developing world with cost price access to its money transfer services.

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UK-based start-up adds fourth European market to online money transfer operation

Azimo has stepped up its aggressive European expansion with the launch of its online international money transfer business in Austria.

Austria will be the company’s fourth market since Azimo launched in 2012 and it follows successful fast-growing operations in the UK, Ireland and Germany.

The service gives Austrian residents a simple and cost-effective solution to sending money to 190+ countries across the world and is available in 12 different languages.

To mark the new launch, Azimo Austria will be waiving all fees for the first 90 days, saving customers up to €15. The site will continue to offer market-beating exchange rates on all transactions.

The expansion means the low-cost international money transfer service is now available to over 160 million people across Europe. It also opens up a market worth €4 billion annually, meaning Azimo has potential access to over €30 billion of money transfers every year.