Any time an International currency transaction occurs, banking institutions connect to the SWIFT network, which identifies the source and details of a transaction. The data is then stored on network servers based in Switzerland and the U.S. The SWIFT network is used by over 8,000 different banks around the world. The infrastructure is an ideal way for intelligence agencies to track terrorist financing and has been the main instrument used to investigate such funding since 9/11. The U.S. had direct access to European transactions immediately after the attack. Since then, that agreement has expired and new negotiations implementing a long term agreement are underway. In the mean time, the U.S. and other countries needed an interim solution. The EU announced the rejection of an interim agreement and direct access of the SWIFT network by U.S.; Parliament refused on Thursday to give its consent to the EU's interim agreement on banking data transfers to the USA via the SWIFT … [Read more...] about EU withholds banking data from U.S. intelligence agencies
U s mutual funds
American startup Mint.com revolutionized the way individuals managed their money across multiple accounts through a cloud-based platform. With a bird's eye view to personal finance and an easy-to-use interface that was miles ahead of those offered by banks and other financial institutions, It gained a devoted following. Then Intuit took note and acquired the company. What Mint did for individual finance in North America, U.K.-based Nutmeg wants to do for individual investing in its home country. The big question: Would you rather pay a person or an algorithm to manage your investments? A bank, or a web service? In both cases, Nutmeg hopes it's the latter. The company combines that desire with a hand-holding, visually rich user interface to effectively take the numbers -- or specifically, the eyes-glazed-over effect you get starting at them -- out of investing. (And yes, I'm aware that Mint has an investments section. But it only tracks your investments made elsewhere. … [Read more...] about Nutmeg, a Mint.com for investing, lands $5.3 million in funding
Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Electric Co. is playing a supporting role in the U.S. Department of Energy's and China's collaborative development of an alternative and potentially safer nuclear reactor - a project for which DOE has funded three U.S. universities, SmartPlanet has learned. As I reported last week , DOE and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have been quietly working together on a reactor design that uses a molten salt coolant auguring safer, more efficient and lower cost reactors that operate at higher temperatures than conventional water-cooled reactors. The Chinese also intend to use liquid thorium molten salt fuel in a molten salt cooled reactor. Some experts believe that the combination of a liquid thorium fuel and a molten salt-coolant would provide a reactor that is much more efficient than today's reactors, and that cannot melt down. Supporters claim that thorium molten salt reactors would yield waste that lasts for only hundreds of years instead of uranium's … [Read more...] about Westinghouse enters U.S.-China nuclear collaboration
Narrative Science, which specializes in software that can take data and turn it into a narrative, landed $10 million in additional funding and USAA as a customer. USAA, a large insurance and financial services company that focuses on U.S. military customers and their families, also invested in the company. Narrative Sciences said the venture round included a USAA subsidiary, Sapphire Ventures, the venture arm of SAP, and Battery Ventures. Narrative Science said it will use the money to invest in engineering, sales and corporate development. Narrative Science’s flagship software is called Quill, which is a platform that turns financial data into a story. The theory behind Narrative Science is that dashboards for analytics and business intelligence only go so far. Visualization tools also need a story behind them and data that can be presented in plain English. Landing USAA as a customer is in keeping with Narrative Science's focus. Narrative Science received some attention because … [Read more...] about Narrative Science lands $10 million in funding, USAA as customer
If I told you that you could travel back in time, to the end of the nineteenth century, and invest in a country that was recently war-torn, and in great transition, would you do it? You’d need to know that the government was primarily one ethnic group, but immigrants with different languages, customs, and religions were arriving in that country, at unprecedented levels, crowding the cities and looking for jobs. Now, what if I said I’d been there myself, and that this same country had just completed a transcontinental railway, one that could move people and goods almost 2,000 miles. Sounds more appealing, doesn’t it? Of course, I’m talking about the United States at the beginning of the economic transformation, fueled by extraordinary technological advancements, that began in the late 1800s. Who hasn’t imagined the investment opportunities that existed when G.E. was still Edison General Electric? Would putting hard-earned dollars into the … [Read more...] about Why savvy investors should focus on Kazakhstan (and other frontier markets)
If you’re you’re in need of a new hire, SkillPages wants you to look no further than its job finding platform. Using an algorithm to weed through contacts based on skills, SkillPages is an alternative to the unreliability of Craigslist, while offering tools that are more robust than LinkedIn for the purpose of actively finding people for just about any skill you can think of.SkillPages culls your contacts from social networks and surfaces the mutual connections that you have with friends or friends of friends who have the skills that you might be looking for. SkillPages founder, Iain Mac Donald, tells me that the foundation of SkillPages revolves around the notion that “People like to do business with people they know or people they have a connection with.” So that LinkedIn contact you haven’t talked to in a couple of years might now be a physical therapist you’d be interested in reaching out to; you might be more trust worthy of a babysitter that … [Read more...] about Job marketplace SkillPages grows to eight million users and heads to the U.S.
Investors love mutual funds. Even after late trading and market timing abuses surfaced in late 2003, investors poured money into equity mutual funds at a record pace this year; net inflow was more than $100 billion for the first quarter. Overall, $7.6 trillion is invested in more than 8,000 funds. Investors hate scandal. From September 2003 to the end of March 2004, they pulled a total of $43 billion from the 17 fund companies (including Janus and Putnam) that figured most prominently in trading scandals, according to researchers at Financial Research Corp. For the most part, that money flowed to other mutual fund brands with more pristine reputations instead of to alternative investments.Investors want integrity. The trading abuses focused attention on other industry practices harmful to shareholders, including payments from fund companies to brokers to push their funds and the failure of brokers to credit big investors with discounts. Proposed bills in Congress and Securities and … [Read more...] about Integration: Consolidating the Mutual Fund Supply Chain
The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, ranked as the most authoritative science and technology think tank in the U.S. (second in the world behind Max Planck Institutes of Germany), has just released its latest report on the impact of the existence and disclosure of the broad NSA national and international spying programs.It was initially reported that the revenue loss range would be between $21.5 billion and $35 billion, mostly affecting U.S. cloud service providers. However, they have gone back and researched the impact and found it to be both far larger and far broader than originally estimated. In fact, it appears the surveillance programs could cause a number of U.S. technology firms to fail outright or to be forced into bankruptcy as they reorganize for survival. The damage has also since spread to domestic aerospace and telephony service providers. [ Related: Picking a Fight Over NSA Surveillance in the Post-Snowden Era ]The programs identified in the … [Read more...] about U.S. surveillance programs are killing the tech industry
China has slammed a new U.S. funding law that will tighten scrutiny of information technology purchases from the country, and said it could severely damage the mutual trust between the two nations."The contents of the U.S. congressional act sends a very wrong signal, and could directly affect normal trade between Chinese enterprises and U.S. business partners," the country's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on Friday.The funding law, signed by U.S. President Barack Obama last week, includes a provision that U.S. authorities will vet all IT system purchases made by select federal agencies, including the Commerce and Justice Departments, NASA, and the National Science Foundation.As part of the vetting process, the U.S. will consider "cyber-espionage or sabotage" risks to the IT system purchases, as well as if the system was "produced, manufactured, or assembled" by companies with links to the Chinese government.The funding law only extends to Sept. 30. The nation's Ministry of … [Read more...] about China Slams U.s. for Discriminating Against Nation’s Tech Vendors
A mutual fund is a type of company that takes money from multiple investors, pools the money and invests in securities. Mutual funds are operated by money managers, who make investment decisions with the fund's capital, to produce capital gains and income for the investors. The holdings of the mutual fund are known as its portfolio, and investors buy shares in mutual funds. Each share purchased represents an investor's partial ownership in the fund and the relative income it generates. Mutual funds became popular over the last 20 years, as more than 80 million people have invested in mutual funds. In the United States alone, trillions of dollars are invested in mutual funds. Mutual funds give small investors access to a professionally managed and diversified portfolio of various assets, including equities, bonds and other securities. These investments would otherwise be difficult to recreate with a small amount of capital, making mutual funds more affordable. This diversification … [Read more...] about What is a Mutual Fund?