Trump assures CIA officials ‘I am so behind you’

President Donald Trump speaks at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

President Donald Trump moved to mend his tumultuous relationship with America’s spy agencies Saturday, traveling to CIA headquarters on his first full day in office and assuring officials, “I am so behind you.”

But the president quickly shifted from praise for the CIA to criticism of media coverage of Inauguration Day, in an unscripted address that overstated the size of the crowd that gathered on the National Mall as he took the oath of office. Trump said throngs “went all the way back to the Washington monument,” despite photos and live video showing the crowd stopping well short of the landmark.

The president’s media criticism came as he stood in front of a memorial honoring CIA officers killed while serving the United States. In response, a source close to former CIA director John Brennan told NBC News that he was “saddened and angered” by Trump’s “despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of the CIA’s Memorial Wall of Agency heroes.”

The source added that “Brennan says that Trump should be ashamed of himself.”

Trump’s decision to visit CIA headquarters just outside of Washington was aimed at making a public gesture to the intelligence officials he disparaged during the transition. He had repeatedly challenged the agencies’ assessment that Russia meddled in the presidential race to help him win and suggested intelligence officials were behind the leak of an unverified dossier that claimed Russia had collected compromising financial or personal information about him.

During remarks to about 400 CIA officials, Trump denied that he had a feud with the intelligence community, saying it was “exactly the opposite.” He again blamed the media for creating that impression, despite the fact that he made numerous public statements critical of intelligence officials.

“There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and CIA than Donald Trump,” he said. “There’s nobody.”

The 45th president’s inauguration has been shadowed by news reports that the CIA and other federal agencies are investigating Russian interference in the presidential election on behalf of Trump. The New York Times, citing anonymous officials, said agencies were examining intercepted communications and financial transactions between Russian officials and Trump’s associates.

FBI Director James Comey has declined to confirm or describe the nature of the government’s investigation, both during a congressional hearing and in closed-door meetings with members of Congress.

Saturday marked the end of three days of inaugural celebrations, with Trump and his family attending a national prayer service traditionally held for the new president. The president and his wife, Melania, and Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, sat in a front pew at Washington National Cathedral for the morning service.

The interfaith service is a tradition for new presidents and is hosted by the Episcopal parish. But the decision to hold a prayer session for Trump sparked debate among Episcopalians opposed to his policies.

Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington wrote in a blog post that while she shared “a sense of outrage at some of the president-elect’s words and actions,” she felt an obligation to welcome all people without qualification, especially those who disagree and need to find a way to work together.

The service took place as throngs of women, many of them wearing bright pink, pointy-eared hats, descended on the nation’s capital and other cities around the world Saturday for marches organized to push back against the new president. The presidential motorcade sped past the protesters.

Officials said the crowd in Washington for the women’s march could be more than half a million people, more than double expectations. The event appeared to have attracted more people than Trump’s inauguration, based on figures from transportation officials.

Trump arrived at the cathedral mid-morning. The service included readings and prayers from Protestant, Jewish, Sikh, Mormon, Buddhist, Roman Catholic, Baha’i, Episcopal, Hindu and Native American leaders. But the program was remarkable for the large number of evangelicals participating, including two former presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest evangelical denomination. Several speakers had served as Trump advisers and supporters who spoke at the Republican National Convention.

Trump, a Presbyterian, is not a regular churchgoer. He does not attend weekly services in New York, but worships every Christmas at a church near his estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump courted evangelical voters during the presidential campaign and infused his inaugural address with references to God and quoted from the Bible’s book of Psalms during a call for national unity.

The president’s family joined him at the White House for his first weekend in office. His daughter Ivanka and her husband, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, were seen snapping photos Saturday on the Truman balcony with a young girl who appeared to be their daughter.

The Justice Department released a memo concluding the president’s “special hiring authority” allows the New York real estate mogul to appoint Kushner to the administration and the move does not contravene federal anti-nepotism laws.

source”cnbc”

 

John Paulson: Increased long exposure to stocks after Trump’s win

Hedge fund manager John Paulson, who openly supported Donald Trump’s candidacy and played a role in helping to shape his economic agenda, echoed many in the business community who are optimistic about the coming administration’s policies.

“An administration that supports growth supports everyone,” Paulson told CNBC in an exclusive interview on Thursday night, during the inaugural’s VIP Candlelight Dinner.

Paulson said he increased his firm’s long exposure to stocks following Donald Trump’s win.

“American companies are going to retain more of their after tax income (with Trump’s policies) which is a huge boost to earnings per share and the S&P 500,” Paulson said at the event which was attended by the President-elect, the soon-to-be first family and several prominent politicians including House Speaker Paul Ryan.

“Companies will have more to invest and a better return on that investment. It can be a positive self-fulfilling prophesy,” Paulson said.

Mr. Paulson was one of several prominent business titans at Washington’s Union Station, who came to support the President-elect.

Among the heavy-hitters also in attendance were outspoken Trump supporter and billionaire investor Carl Icahn along with casino magnates Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn and NFL owners Daniel Snyder, Robert Kraft, Shad Khan, and Woody Johnson who Mr. Trump has tapped to be the new Ambassador to Great Britain.

Mr. Paulson listed several initiatives he’d like to see passed as quickly as possible, including what he called the “dialing back” of unnecessary regulations, reforming corporate taxes to make US companies more competitive and renegotiating trade agreements.

“Lower taxes, less regulations, less lawsuits, deals that support US manufacturers is all very positive,” Mr. Paulson said.

source”cnbc”

Western,Union,admits,to,aiding,wire,fraud,,to,pay,$586,million

A pedestrian passes an advertising board outside a Western Union money transfer store in Athens, Greece.

A pedestrian passes an advertising board outside a Western Union money transfer store in Athens, Greece.

Western Union, the world’s biggest money-transfer company, agreed to pay $586 million and admitted to turning a blind eye as criminals used its service for money laundering and fraud, U.S. authorities said on Thursday.

Western Union, which has over half a million locations in more than 200 countries, admitted “to aiding and abetting wire fraud” by allowing scammers to process transactions, even when the company realized its agents were helping scammers avoid detection, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission said in statements.

With the help of Western Union agents, Chinese immigrants used the service to send hundreds of millions of dollars to pay human smugglers, wiring the money in smaller increments to avoid federal reporting requirements, U.S. authorities said.

Fraudsters offering fake prizes and job opportunities swindled tens of thousands of U.S. consumers, giving Western Union agents a cut in return for processing the payments, authorities said.

Between 2004 and 2012, the Colorado-based company knew of fraudulent transactions but failed to take steps that would have resulted in disciplining of 2,000 agents, authorities said.

“Western Union is now paying the price for placing profits ahead of its own customers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General David Bitkower.

A Western Union spokesman said that the company didn’t “do as much as it should have” to oversee its agents between 2004 and 2012 but is committed to improving its procedures.

Western Union, which helped clients move over $150 billion in 2015, said in a press release that more than one-fifth of its work force is currently devoted to compliance. It also said consumer fraud accounts for less than one-tenth of 1 percent of consumer-to-consumer transactions.

The settlement will fund refunds for customers who were victims of scams, authorities said. It will also implement a comprehensive anti-fraud program to train agents to identify and stop transactions that result from fraud.

Between 2004 and 2015 Western Union collected 550,928 complaints about fraud, with 80 percent of them coming from the United States where it has some 50,000 locations, the government complaint said. The average consumer complaint was for $1,148, the government said.

Western Union reported revenues of $1.4 billion for the quarter that ended on September 30, 2016, according to a government filing. The company said it spent some $200 million a year on compliance.

source”cnbc”

 

Trump ETFs and other investment ideas for 2017

An image of President-elect Donald Trump appears on a television screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016.

Richard Drew | AP
An image of President-elect Donald Trump appears on a television screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016.

Days after the Trump inaugural, the Inside ETFs conference is kicking off in Hollywood, Florida, and by all accounts it will be the biggest gathering around exchange-trade funds yet, with close to 2,500 participants spread out over four days of meetings.

One hot topic on everyone’s mind: Donald Trump and his impact on the markets. Anyone for Trump ETFs?

I’m only partly kidding. The rise of “thematic investing” — placing bets on themes like Cyber Security ETF or Cloud Computing or Airlines — makes it perfectly feasible that someone might float a “Trump ETF” consisting of stocks that may benefit from his presidency.

Even if that doesn’t happen, the early buzz on the conference is that there is plenty of debate on how to construct a Trump-based ETF portfolio, including:

  1. Bets on the dollar. PowerShares Dollar Index Bullish Fund, which replicates an index that is long the U.S. dollar against six currencies, has seen greatly increased volume since the election. Its mirror image, PowerShares Dollar Index Bearish, has recently seen stronger volume as Trump commented that the dollar was too strong. Some have argued that those who think Trump will prevail on getting the dollar down should buy the Europe ETF, which is effectively a short on the dollar.
  2. Bond ETFs. There’s considerable discussion around how demand in the bond market may change should the Treasury Department issue 50-year bonds to pay for an infrastructure program. There’s considerable debate over how broad the appetite for such bonds is and how it would affect the composition of bond ETFs like the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond.
  3. Volatility ETFs. The bet on high volatility has not panned out. After an initial volume push, Volatility ETFs like the iPath VIX Short-term ETF have seen declining volume.

Past this, there is a lively debate about the wisdom of concocting a basket of “Trump ETFs.” The challenge with the Trump trade is he says he is strong on defense, then slams defense stocks. He’s pro-business, but he slams drug stocks. That’s why many are telling clients with strong stomachs to gear up for more “Trump headline investing” around sectors like Oil & Gas Exploration, Defense & Aerospace and Pharmaceuticals.

Health Care is a particular challenge, since the focus on Obamacare is such a huge unknown. Will Trump insist on a single-payer system? Will he go after drug companies and make them pay less?

Here’s the problem: The Trump presidency will be headline-driven, so making a traditional sector call may be tricky. But is there a chance he could suddenly start talking about, say, how awesome the restaurant industry is? Sure. And on that day — and maybe for some time after — you can expect heavy volume in the Restaurant ETF. Yes, there really is a Restaurant ETF.

That’s why we will likely see more industry-specific ETFs as investors try to figure out broad thematic plays rather than old-school sector plays.

As for Trump, the best investing idea I’ve heard is from a trader who said that Twitter should sell co-location services to high-frequency traders so they can be as close as possible to Twitter’s servers so they will get news of any Trump tweets before anyone else.

source”cnbc”

JKBOSE Class 12 exams 2016: Results of Jammu (winter zone) declared

As many as 58,293 students appeared in the examinations out of which 84.61 per cent boys and 81.45 per cent girls cleared the examinations successfully.

JKBOSE Class 12 results 2016 of Jammu (winter zone) declared

JKBOSE Class 12 results 2016 of Jammu (winter zone) declared

  • APPSC AE Mains Exam: Admit cards to be out soon at apspsc.gov.in
  • AIIMS MBBS 2017 to be held on May 28: Check out the eligibility criteria, here
  • NEET PG 2017: Counselling schedule to be out soon at mcc.nic.in
  • MPPSC State Services Prelims 2017: Admit card released, download now
  • UPSEE 2017: Check out examination schedule, here

The results of Higher Secondary (part two) 2016 (regular) of Jammu (Winter zone) have been declared. The candidates who had appeared for the examinations can check the results by logging on to the official website, jkbose.co.in  . 

As many as 58,293 students appeared in the examinations out of which 84.61 per cent boys and 81.45 per cent girls cleared the examinations successfully.

Steps to check the results:

  • Visit the official website, jkbose.co.in
  • Click on the relevant link
  • Enter the required details– registration number and roll number
  • Click on submit
  • Results will appear on the screen
  • Download it and take a print out for further reference.

About JKBOSE:

The Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education, the main board of school education in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, is an autonomous body under the administration of the state government of Jammu and Kashmir. The board has more than 10,609 schools across the state affiliated under it and employs around 22,300 teachers.

The main aim of JKBOSE is to achieve excellence in the development and implementation of academic plans for students in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

source”cnbc”

NEET UG 2017 Official Notification: To be released soon at cbseneet.nic.in

It is speculated that the the examination is likely to be held on May 7.

NEET UG 2017 Official Notification: To be released soon at cbseneet.nic.in

NEET UG 2017 Official Notification: To be released soon at cbseneet.nic.in

  • MPPSC State Services Prelims 2017: Admit card released, download now
  • UPSEE 2017: Check out examination schedule, here
  • AIBE 10 Registrations begin: How to apply
  • GATE 2017: Practice exclusive mock test papers here
  • IBPS RRB Office Assistant Results 2016: Expected to be out today at ibps.in

The official notification for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2017 for undergraduate graduates courses is likely to be out next week on Monday, January 23.

Once the official notification of NEET UG 2017 will be out, all the candidates can check the same at cbseneet.nic.in

A few days ago, one of the leading media websites stated that the examination is likely to be held on May 7 at various test centres across the nation.

The exam was conducted for admissions to MBBS/BDS courses in medical/dental colleges run with an approval of Medical Council of India/Dental Council of India under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

Recent update on NEET-UG:

  • The NEET-UG will be conducted in six additional languages from the commencing academic session 2017-18, a statement released by the Union Health Ministry
  • The six languages in which the exams will be conducted are Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Telugu and Tamil, apart from conventional English, Hindi.

Paper pattern:

The exam will be based on the three subjects physics, chemistry and biology.

Meanwhile, the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2016 was successfully conducted on July 24 and the results for the same were released on August 16. The results of the second round of seat allotment for NEET 2016 were declared on September 12.

source”cnbc”

APPSC AE Mains Exam: Admit cards to be out soon at apspsc.gov.in

Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) will release the admit cards soon on the official website, apspsc.gov.in

APPSC AE Mains Exam: Admit cards to be out soon at apspsc.gov.in

APPSC AE Mains Exam: Admit cards to be out soon at apspsc.gov.in

  • MPPSC State Services Prelims 2017: Admit card released, download now
  • UPSEE 2017: Check out examination schedule, here
  • AIBE 10 Registrations begin: How to apply
  • GATE 2017: Practice exclusive mock test papers here
  • IBPS RRB Office Assistant Results 2016: Expected to be out today at ibps.in
  • RRB NTPC Exam: Answer keys to be released soon on this website

Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) will release the admit cards soon on the official website, apspsc.gov.in

How to download

  • Go to the official website
  • Click on the link, ‘Click here to download the admit cards’
  • Enter the necessary details
  • After submitting the same, the admit cards will be displayed on the screen
  • Take a printout for future use

The candidates must carry the admit card to the examination centre, failing to which they will not be allowed to sit for the examination.

The exam is scheduled to be held on February 1 and February 2.

The candidates should keep it in mind that they will not be allowed to sit in the examinations without the admit card. The candidates who will clear the examinations successfully  will be hired for the respective posts.

About APPSC:

The Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) is an organisation that works under the government of Andhra Pradesh to recruit staff for various posts in the various ministries and departments, and in subordinate offices. The commission also conducts examinations for the recruitment in various departments of the state.

source”cnbc”

Microsoft’s upgraded Beam game-streaming service goes live, taking on Twitch and YouTube

beam homepage

 

Microsoft’s Twitch competitor, Beam, has now pushed its “Pro” upgrade live to all users, featuring streams with up to 1440p resolution at 60Hz and integration with Xbox Live.

Microsoft’s purchase of Beam last summer came as something of a surprise, given that the company seemed satisfied with its relationship with Amazon’s game-streaming service, Twitch.tv. Even with the upgrade to Beam.pro, it’s not clear how tightly Beam and Microsoft are tied, save for the new option to log in with your Xbox Live username instead of a dedicated Beam ID. (Eventually, however, the company will enforce Xbox Live logins, it said.)

In late December, Beam said the company was pushing its Beam.pro upgrade as a beta to selected users. This week, Beam lead Matt Salsamendi tweeted that the service was now live for everyone, though a formal announcement would be coming later.

“We’re no longer the scrappy startup we were last year, and with the resources of Microsoft behind us, we’re going back to the basics and evaluating how we can make every aspect of the site more smooth, stable, and epic,” Salsamendi wrote in announcing the upcoming changes.

Why this matters: Microsoft doesn’t necessarily need its own game-streaming solution, but Beam keeps Windows and Xbox players inside its own walls, rather than moving on to Amazon or some other third-party service.

Beam.pro pushes higher bitrates

Here’s what the new Beam update includes: a bitrate increase to a maximum of 10Mbps, including 1440p 60fps streams and “super-high motion” 1080p; a 5X improvement in the site load speed; as well as 60fps rendering performance for videos displayed across the site. Beam also added an upgraded video player, a revamped homepage, and “deep chat” improvements that include a new and improved polling interface.

While Beam added Xbox Live support for better user verification, the company also plans to roll that out in conjunction with the upgraded homepage. One of the more interesting additions is the ability to feature dedicated “mature” gaming streams to authenticated users who are 18 or older.

The higher bitrate streams mean that Beam is now more directly competing with YouTube and Twitch. Gamers can stream on YouTube at 1440p at 60Hz, with bitrates from 9 Mbps to 18 Mbps, all the way up to 4K at 60Hz—provided they have the computational ability within the PC encoder and the bandwidth to handle it. Twitch, for its part, seems more concerned with limiting bitrates so that streams can be enjoyed on a variety of devices; its guidelines cap bitrates at 3.5Mbps, without specifying a particular resolution.

 source”cnbc”

How does China respond to US chip threats? With a $30 billion factory

SW26010 chip

For China, actions speak louder than words, especially in the escalating chip battle with the U.S., which has been hurling out verbal threats in recent months.

The Chinese chip infrastructure is getting a serious boost from Tsinghua Unigroup, which is investing US$30 billion in a new foundry to make chips. The state-owned Tsinghua Holdings is a majority shareholder in Tsinghua Unigroup.

This news comes just two weeks after U.S. accused China of rigging the chip market and artificially reducing the prices of semiconductors. The tough talk came from the administration of former President Barack Obama but will continue under Donald Trump, who was sworn in as president Friday.

The factory in Nanjing will primarily make 3D NAND flash and DRAM chips to bulk up the country’s semiconductor and storage markets. The first stage of investment will be $10 billion and produce 100,000 chips per month. The manufacturing facilities will stretch over 1,500 acres, or 2.34 square miles.

Beyond the investment in the chip factory, Tsinghua Unigroup will also invest about $4.3 billion to build a complimentary IC (integrated circuit) international city that will include a science technology park, a school, commercial facilities, and apartments.

China has a poor chip-manufacturing infrastructure, and this investment should fill a hole in the country’s long-term effort to be self-reliant with technology products.

Companies like Intel, Samsung, TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) and GlobalFoundries, which invest billions in fabs, will feel the pinch. Intel and GlobalFoundries operate factories in the U.S., and those companies also spend billions to upgrade manufacturing facilities.

But the U.S. will certainly take notice. Earlier this month, a White House working group said China was not playing fair in the semiconductor market, by artificially reducing the prices of chips through government assistance. The working group, called the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology or PCAST, recommended the U.S. respond to the Chinese chip threat by investing more in innovation and education and creating new types of quantum and neuromorphic computers.

The U.S. and China have conflicting technology agendas. China has made it difficult for U.S. technology companies to do business in the country. Most hardware companies have turned to partnerships or joint ventures to operate, with the Chinese government having some level of ownership.

Security and intellectual property theft have also been major U.S. concerns. The U.S. has been placing more emphasis on China’s semiconductor market in recent months.

China today hosts the world’s fastest supercomputer called TaihuLight. Fast supercomputers are used in weapons development, economic forecasts, and scientific research, making them central to a country’s security and economic strategies. The U.S. in the past has banned the export of supercomputing chips to China, citing concerns that it could be against U.S. national interests.

In 2014, China said it would invest $150 billion to subsidize chip development over a 10-year period. That’s partly because China wants 70 percent of devices in the country to use homegrown chips by 2025. That investment helped spur the development of low-cost semiconductors, which are also shipping outside China.

But the U.S. charges that Chinese semiconductors are inferior and have affected the quality of devices. The flood of Chinese chips has slowed down demand for chips and hurt the bottom line of U.S. companies, giving them less money to spend on the research and development of new chip technologies.

Products like the iPhone and iPad are assembled in Chinese factories, helping to keep down the price of those devices. The cheap Chinese chips have also reduced the cost related to building electronics, appliances, and cars.

U.S. companies are also moving factories to China, which offers a cheaper way to make chips. Intel is making its memory chips at a factory in Dalian, China.

source”cnbc”

 

Researchers propose a way to use your heartbeat as a password

Electrocardiograph readings could be used as passwords in the future.

Researchers at Binghamton State University in New York think your heart could be the key to your personal data. By measuring the electrical activity of the heart, researchers say they can encrypt patients’ health records.

The fundamental idea is this: In the future, all patients will be outfitted with a wearable device, which will continuously collect physiological data and transmit it to the patients’ doctors. Because electrocardiogram (ECG) signals are already collected for clinical diagnosis, the system would simply reuse the data during transmission, thus reducing the cost and computational power needed to create an encryption key from scratch.

“There have been so many mature encryption techniques available, but the problem is that those encryption techniques rely on some complicated arithmetic calculations and random key generations,” said Zhanpeng Jin, a co-author of the paper “A Robust and Reusable ECG-based Authentication and Data Encryption Scheme for eHealth Systems.”

Those encryption techniques can’t be “directly applied on the energy-hungry mobile and wearable devices,” Jin added. “If you apply those kinds of encryptions on top of the mobile device, then you can burn the battery very quickly.”

But there are drawbacks. According to Jin, one of the reasons ECG encryption has not been widely adopted is because it’s generally more sensitive and vulnerable to variations than some other biometric measures. For instance, your electrical activity could change depending on factors such as physical exertion and mental state. Other more permanent factors such as age and health can also have an effect.

“ECG itself cannot be used for a biometric authentication purpose alone, but it’s a very effective way as a secondary authentication,” Jin said.

While the technology for ECG encryption is already here, its adoption will depend on patients’ willingness to don wearables and on their comfort with constantly sharing their biometrics.

source”cnbc”