Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

A Beautiful Smile With Invisalign In Richmond, Va

byAlma Abell

Whether you are an adult or a teenager, deciding to have your teeth straightened is a decision affecting both your lifestyle and your smile. There are many reasons to want to improve a smile, but whatever the reason, Invisalign in Richmond, VA can offer a simple way to accomplish having teeth straightened without the traditional problems that go along with metal braces. Many adults would prefer to have straighter teeth, but do not feel metal braces are a choice they would want to consider.

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The Invisalign aligners are smooth, clear plastic, and nearly invisible so most people do not notice them over the teeth. This helps those who might feel self-conscious about the way they look. In addition, the aligners do not irritate the mouth or cause soreness, unlike irritating wires and brackets of traditional braces. Since the aligners can be removed, this allows a person to continue flossing and brushing their teeth as normal, which better helps to maintain good oral health.

For teens, having to wear metal braces around their friends and classmates, or while playing an instrument or participating in sports, does not rank very high on their “attractive things to do list.” Most teens know friends that are not allowed to chew gum or eat popcorn while wearing braces, but, the teen Invisalign aligners are smooth plastic and will allow them to eat all their favorite foods. Without all the problems of metal braces in the mouth, they can still enjoy an active lifestyle, take pictures with their friends, and be more comfortable in social situations. Visit website

Metal braces can cause mouth sores, pain, discomfort, and even tooth decay from not flossing and brushing enough. They can also contribute to tooth discoloration or breakage, plaque buildup, and mouth injuries from breaking wires. Invisalign in Richmond, VA offers several advantages over metal braces, with one being the ability to eat whatever foods the person enjoys. The device is removable for easy flossing and brushing, and there are no problems associated with the smooth aligner as there are with metal braces. In addition, aligners do not require as many dentist visits, which will help to save money on the overall cost.

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Gunmen with rocket-launchers massacre 60 at market in Mahmoudiya, Iraq

Gunmen with rocket-launchers massacre 60 at market in Mahmoudiya, Iraq

Monday, July 17, 2006

For 30 minutes, a mob of heavily-armed gunmen tore through a Shiite populated market town in Mahmoudiya, Iraq, exploding car bombs and shooting at people.

Police Capt. Rashid al-Samaraie said the assault which killed at least 60 began at 9 a.m. when mortars were fired into the town and a group of men in cars stormed a checkpoint, killing three Iraqi soldiers.

The gunmen proceeded to attack shoppers and passers-by with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades. Some of the 50 strong attack force threw grenades into open restaurants and cafes. Two car bombs also were detonated leading to further casualties.

Local town official Sheik Bassem Anizi said he was an eyewitness to the events as they unfolded. “I saw the armed gunmen shooting randomly at the people. The terrorists wanted to send a message saying we can attack anywhere we want and kill civilians,” he said. Anizi escaped the massacre by hiding behind a wall in a hardware shop.

Early reports said a total of 60 people died and about 50 people were injured.

Tropical Storm Irene passes over New York

Tropical Storm Irene passes over New York
October 25th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tropical Storm Irene, recently downgraded from a hurricane, passed over New York City at about 0900 local time (1300 UTC) today, bringing heavy rain and winds up to 65 miles per hour (96.6 km/h).

Flooding has been reported in New York City, where the Hudson River spilled over its banks into Manhattan and the East River briefly flooded. Floods were also reported in Brooklyn. Water was reported to be inside Battery Park and near the New York Mercantile Exchange. The water level of New York Harbor is as much as four feet higher than normal, with a predicted storm surge of up to eight feet.

Elsewhere in the northeast, suburbs of Philadelphia also flooded; mayor Michael Nutter described the scene in one area as “couches, furniture, all kinds of stuff floating down the street.”

Up to eleven people have been reported killed by the storm, five in North Carolina, three in Virginia and one each in Florida, Maryland and Connecticut. Some three million people evacuated from areas expected to be impacted by the storm, and another three million are reported to be without power.

Irene made landfall in North Carolina on Saturday, bringing up to fourteen inches (~36 cm) of rain and a storm surge measuring four feet in the Cheasapeake Bay with it. At about 0530 local time today, the storm made its second landfall as it passed over Little Egg Inlet, New Jersey.

According to New Jersey governor Chris Christie, the storm is expected to cause damage “in the billions of dollars, if not in the tens of billions of dollars.”

Blair, Ahern unveil plan for Northern Ireland devolution

Blair, Ahern unveil plan for Northern Ireland devolution
October 18th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Friday, April 7, 2006

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern have unveiled their plan to restore a power-sharing executive government in Northern Ireland by a deadline of November 24.

The plan calls for the Northern Ireland Assembly‘s members to be recalled on May 15 and given six weeks to form an executive. If no results comes within six weeks, then the members are to be given another 12 weeks to attempt to form an executive. After that, if no result is achieved by November 24, then the salaries of all members will be suspended, and the Irish government will be given greater influence in Northern Ireland.

The Assembly has been suspended since October 2002 following the allegation of the existence of a republican spy ring.

Blair and Ahern acknowledged the diffculty of implementation of the plan, which has been hampered by the murder this week of Denis Donaldson, a former British spy in Sinn Fein.

Blair said of the plan, “We have today set out a framework, beginning with the recall of the assembly on the 15th of May and running up to November of this year, for that ultimate decision to be made. At that point we close the chapter … or we close the book.” His verdict on the plan was, “If the parties really can’t find a way forward, we have to call a halt and find a different way forward.”

Ahern said, “It is time to talk and to agree. People are entitled to firm assurances that if there is deadlock that it will not be allowed to continue indefinitely.” His verdict on the plan was, “I don’t look at the end date of this. In fact, I look at this as a start of a process. I do not want on 24 November to be thinking about another plan.”

Ian Paisley, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party said “The DUP will not be forced, rushed or bullied into accepting any level of IRA criminality. Currently there is no evidence that Sinn Fein/IRA will be any further advanced in giving up criminality in November.” Paisley also denounced the involvement of the Irish government, saying, “This part of the UK is not really a part of the UK but is a part of the UK where a foreign government has more say over Northern Ireland than the people of Northern Ireland.”

Gerry Adams, the President of Sinn Fein, said that the statement contained “negatives and positives.” “We welcome that the assembly has been brought together … we have concerns about the timeframe, about other aspects of the statement, but we think that’s a good forward step. We would like to think that unionism generally would see it as a positive opportunity. I appeal to Unionism to seize this opportunity. It is about a shared future for all the people on this island. It appears that they [the two governments] are saying to the DUP, ‘If you don’t come on board, we are going to go ahead without you.’ “

The leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Sir Reg Empey‘s response was, “We urgently need to have an input into, and make changes to, direct rule decisions on education, water rates and the Review of Public Administration, to name but three. This is our job.” Empey was also critical of the DUP’s statement, saying, “We have been told by the Democratic Unionist Party that the Belfast agreement was binned, consigned to the dustbin of history. Looking and listening to today’s press conference, it didn’t look binned to me. It’s actually back centre stage.”

The SDLP‘s Mark Durkan said, “All we have today is an 11-paragraph announcement that tells us less rather than more. That’s why the SDLP will need to see the legislation that follows it. It may be better — or indeed worse.” He further added, “A shadow assembly was agreed between the DUP and Sinn Fein in 2004, in the so called comprehensive agreement. We are still living with the damage caused by that bad deal.”

United States President George W. Bush issued a statement saying, “Today is an opportunity for all in Northern Ireland to take control of their future and bring the political process to a successful completion this year.” “We remain steadfast in our support of the peace process and the efforts of the British and Irish governments to achieve a lasting peace under the principles of the Good Friday Agreement.”

Sen. Larry Craig claims innocent of lewd conduct

Sen. Larry Craig claims innocent of lewd conduct
October 18th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sen. Larry Craig held a news conference Tuesday in Boise, Idaho to issue a public statement about his arrest in June, 2007 and subsequent guilty plea, August 8, to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

In his statement, Sen. Craig indicated that when he pled guilty to the charge, two months after the fact, he didn’t understand at the time what he was signing and declared himself innocent of any wrongdoing at the Minneapolis airport on June 11, 2007.

According to the arresting officer, Sgt. Dave Karsnia, who was dressed in civilian clothes at the time of the incident, he was using a bathroom stall when Sen. Craig entered the stall next to his. Karsnia reported the Senator tapped his right foot, and then stretched his foot over to touch the officer’s left foot. Sen. Craig also ran his hand along the bottom of the stall’s dividing wall. According to CNN, that type of behavior is known in the Gay community as a signal that the person wants to engage in lewd behavior. The officer subsequently showed Sen. Craig his badge. Using his other hand, Karsnia directed Craig to move toward the door. After some words and Sen. Craig’s refusal to cooperate with the officer, he was placed under arrest.

An additional charge against Sen. Craig, interference with privacy, had been thrown out. Sen. Craig received a ten-day suspended jail sentence, was fined US$500, and was given one year probation.

Sen. Craig admitted that he did not mention his arrest to the Senate Ethics Committee, which is not required by law, and also didn’t tell his wife and other immediate family members about his arrest until recent days.

Further developments to this story are available. See:
Republican leaders accused of double standard after Larry Craig’s resignation

Fannie Mae forgives mortgage debt of 90-year-old woman who shot herself

Fannie Mae forgives mortgage debt of 90-year-old woman who shot herself
October 18th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fannie Mae, a housing mortgage lender, has forgiven the mortgage debt of Addie Polk, a 90-year-old woman from Akron, Ohio who attempted to kill herself when she was being evicted from her home on Wednesday.

Polk had lived in her home since 1970, and refinanced her mortgage numerous times since 1997 when she first got a loan taken out against her home. When authorities tried to evict her, she shot herself once in the chest. Fannie Mae took over Polk’s home in 2007 after the loan company filed for foreclosure. One report from Reuters states that authorities tried to evict Polk more than 30 other times in the past.

“Just given the circumstances, we think it’s appropriate,” said Brian Faith, a spokesman for Fannie Mae who also said that the incident was almost immediately “on [their] radar screen”.

Polk is currently undergoing treatment at Akron General Medical Center and is expected to make a full recovery. She can return to her home as soon as she recovers from her injuries.

Polk was recognized on Friday when Dennis Kucinich, who is a democratic representative for Ohio, spoke of her incident during debates on a 700 billion USD bailout bill that the United States House of Representatives passed on Friday. He states that the bill does not focus on people in situations like Polk.

“This bill does nothing for the Addie Polks of the world. This bill fails to address the fact that millions of homeowners are facing foreclosure, are facing the loss of their home. This bill will take care of Wall Street, and the market may go up for a few days, but democracy is going downhill,” said Kucinich on Friday.

Sarkozy appoints François Fillon as Prime Minister of France

Sarkozy appoints François Fillon as Prime Minister of France
October 18th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Thursday, May 17, 2007File:Francois fillon1.jpg

The new President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy has appointed François Fillon to head the new French government. Fillon’s predecessor Dominique de Villepin stepped down yesterday, and formally handed over the post during a ceremony today.

The nomination did not come as a surprise after the British newspaper the Financial Times had reported on May 8 that Sarkozy had introduced Fillon to Tony Blair in a telephone conversation.

François Fillon (53) has been the political advisor of Sarkozy in the UMP for the past 2 years, and he was Sarko’s campaign leader during the recent presidential elections. Fillon has experience in negotiating with the trade unions, having undertaken controversial reforms of the 35-hour workweek and the pension system. Sarkozy in his inauguration speech on Wednesday reiterated his plans to reform the French labour and social system, and Fillon will have to oversee these reforms as the new Prime Minister. Sarkozy said he wants to make the economy more flexible and lessen social tensions.

I expect I’ll end up being the first French premier with a Welsh wife.

The Guardian reported that Fillon is an Anglophile; his wife Penelope Clarke, with whom he has 5 children, was born in Wales. Ideologically, Fillon is being described as a moderate left-leaning member of the conservative UMP party.

Fillon had his first experience as a minister in 1993 when he became Minister for the Higher education and Research under PM Édouard Balladur. He later became Minister for the Post office, Telecommunications and Space, then Minister for the social Affairs, Work and Solidarity, and finally Minister for national Education, the Higher education and Research. At the university, he studied public law and political sciences.

Sarkozy might announce his cabinet of 15 ministers as early as Friday, half of which are going to be women, he said. Fillon will lead the UMP in the parliamentary elections next month. A poll on Wednesday predicted a 1.5% increase in votes for the UMP, up to 40%, compared to 28% status-quo for the allied socialists.

Reports say that Sarkozy has offered the foreign minister post to Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières, who is seen as being on the left in French politics.

Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant
October 18th, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.