Burger King is aiming high with a target to surpass 40,000 locations...
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BRUSSELS • Citigroup Inc, Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (RBS) and JPMorgan Chase & Co are among five banks that agreed to pay European Union (EU) fines totalling €1.07 billion (RM5 billion) for colluding on foreign-exchange (forex) trading strategies.
Citigroup was hit hardest with a €310.8 million penalty, followed by fines of €249.2 million and €228.8 million for RBS and JPMorgan, the European Commission said in a statement yesterday.
Barclays plc was fined €210.3 million and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (MUFG) must pay nearly €70 million as part of the settlement with the EU’s antitrust regulator.
Traders ran two cartels on online chatrooms, swapping sensitive information and trading plans that allowed them make informed decisions to buy or sell currencies, the regulator said.
Many of them knew each other, calling one chatroom on the Bloomberg terminal the “Essex Express n’ the Jimmy” because all of the traders but one met on a commuter train from Essex to London.
Other names for rooms were the “Three Way Banana Split” and “Semi Grumpy Old Men”.
“Forex spot trading activities are one of the largest markets in the world, worth billions of euros every day,” EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.
“These cartel decisions send a clear message that the commission will not tolerate collusive behaviour in any sector of the financial markets.”
While relatively large, the cartel fines are lower than a €1.3 billion penalty for banks for rigging the Euro Interbank Offer Rate, and below a record €3.8 billion penalty for collusion between truckmakers.
UBS Group AG escaped a fine because it was the first to tell regulators about the collusion.
The five other banks won reduced penalties by striking a settlement with the commission that won’t allow them to challenge the EU’s findings.
Credit Suisse Group AG was separately charged by the EU over forex collusion last year. That case involves another online chatroom and banks may be fined at a later date.
Traders’ manipulation of benchmark forex rates was exposed in 2013 Bloomberg articles, triggering regulatory probes in the US, the UK and Switzerland. More than a dozen financial institutions have paid about US$11.8 billion (RM49.09 billion) in fines and penalties globally, with another US$2.3 billion spent to compensate customers and investors.
Former US attorney general Loretta Lynch in 2015 said the banks engaged in a “brazen display of collusion” to game markets.
“The fine is a further reminder of how badly the bank lost its way in the past and we absolutely condemn the behaviour of those responsible,” RBS said in an emailed statement.
“This kind of behaviour has no place at the bank we are today; our culture and controls have changed fundamentally during the past 10 years.”
JPMorgan said the bank is “pleased to resolve this historical matter, which relates to the conduct of one former employee” and has now “made significant control improvements”.
MUFG is “committed to ensuring integrity and compliance with the regulatory authorities in every jurisdiction in which we operate, and have taken a number of measures to prevent this occurring again”, the bank said in a statement. Citigroup and Barclays declined to comment.
The fines for Barclays and RBS are covered by the two British banks’ existing provisions and in line with expectations, according to Edward Firth, an analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods in London.
Traders exchanged information about outstanding customers’ orders, bid-ask spreads, their open-risk positions and details of current or planned trading activities.
They would sometimes agree to “stand down” or stop a trading activity to avoid interfering with another trader in the group.
They traded 11 currencies, including the euro, the US dollar, the British pound and the Japanese yen.
While the US has won guilty pleas from JPMorgan, Citigroup, RBS and Barclays, three British traders in a group known as “The Cartel” were acquitted by a US federal court last year of using a chatroom to coordinate trades and manipulate prices on the spot exchange rate for euros and US dollars.
The EU is continuing to investigate banks for possible EU antitrust violations. — Bloomberg
The post Citigroup hit hardest as EU fines banks RM5b over collusion on forex appeared first on The Malaysian Reserve. [...]
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The state Wildlife Department is worried about the health of Tam, Malaysia’s last male Sumatran rhino.
KOTA KINABALU: The state Wildlife Department is worried about the health of Tam, Malaysia’s last male Sumatran rhino.
Deputy Chief Minister cum Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew in a statement today said Tam’s health has been declining since April this year.
“Tests are ongoing, but it seems that one or more of his internal organs are not functioning well.
“Tam’s appetite and alertness have declined abruptly since late April this year. He is receiving round-the-clock attention and medication,” she said.
One of the landmarks in the saga of the world’s most endangered terrestrial mammal species, the Sumatran rhino, was the capture of a male rhino at Kretam in Sabah in August 2008.
This male was named Tam. He had moved out of the forest into an oil palm plantation.
A week of exposure to staff of Sabah Wildlife Department, SOS Rhino and WWF-Malaysia, who fed and befriended him in the plantation, allowed Tam to be coaxed into a crate. He was brought to facilities in Tabin Wildlife Reserve, where he has lived ever since.
At time of his capture, Tam was thought to be in his mid-twenties, meaning that he is now well into old age for a Sumatran rhino.
Now, serious concerns are growing over his health.
Tam has always been a favourite of the people who work with him or visit him, due to his calm and steady manner.
Hopes to find a mate for him were dashed when Puntung, captured in 2011, was found to have multiple cysts throughout her uterus, and when Iman, captured in 2014, was found to have massive uterine fibroids.
These illnesses are a reflection of too few rhinos and insufficient breeding success during the last decades of the twentieth century. Puntung was euthanized in 2017 because of painful and incurable cancer.
Since 2011, all efforts in Malaysia to save the species from extinction have been focused on the application of advanced reproductive technology including in vitro fertilisation attempts and on collaboration with Indonesia.
To date, neither have met with success.
The post Sumatran rhino’s health worrying appeared first on Borneo Post Online. [...]
ESSCom seized 3,500 packets of cigarettes in 14 black plastic bags which were left by the beach at Cowie Bay yesterday. — Reuters pic
TAWAU, May 19 — The Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) seized 3,500 packets of cigarettes in 14 black plastic bags which were left by the beach at Cowie Bay, Jalan Tawau Lama here yesterday.ESSCom Commander DCP Datuk Hazani Ghazali said the seizure was made at 10.40 pm following a public tip-off.“When our team arrived there, they saw a speed boat doing unloading activity, but it sped off to the sea after realising the presence of the security team,” he said in a statement here today.He said upon checking, the team found 14 black plastic bundles containing the cigarettes, with the brand names Djarum Hitam (400 packets) , Premium Gold (500), Astro Merah (1,000), Premium Hitam (1,000) and Menara Hitam (600).“The seized items were then taken to the Tawau district police station for further action, he added.On another matter, Hazani said ESSCom would beef up efforts to curb smuggling and illegal entry of foreigners in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone).They included stepping up patrols and show of force at suspected locations or staging points for cross-border crimes, he added.He also advised the public to lodge a report if they observe suspicious characters and/or dubious activities by contacting ESSCom operations centre at 089-863181. — Bernama [...]
(Reuters) - Former Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso will need a clutch run on Sunday to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 on May 26 after he failed to seal a guaranteed spot on Saturday. [...]
NEW YORK: Oil prices edged lower on Friday due to demand fears amid a standoff in Sino-U.S. trade talks, but both benchmarks ended the week higher on rising concerns over supply disruptions in Middle East shipments due to U.S.-Iran political tensions. [...]
KUALA LUMPUR (May 18): Police have confirmed receiving a report from a former aide to a Member of Parliament in Perak alleging that she was... [...]
KOTA KINABALU: Authorities in Sabah have foiled an attempt to smuggle 220 crocodiles from Indonesia. [...]
A general view of the construction site of the East Coast Rail Link project in Bentong July 10, 2018. — Bernama pic
KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) and China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) have denied appointing agents to offer direct contracts to Malaysians for the construction of the East-Coast Rail Link (ECRL).These agents are purportedly offering Class G3-G6 contractors the opportunity to participate in civil work contracts for the ECRL project by registering with them as subcontractors.The agents claim to provide an opportunity for local contractors to participate in the project as subcontractors through direct awards to certain companies.“No agents or lobbyists have been appointed to facilitate the pre-qualification of local contractors as potential tenderers of the ECRL civil work packages to facilitate the 40 per cent local participation in the ECRL civil works as agreed in the ECRL Supplementary Agreement (SA) of Engineering, Procurement, Construction & Commissioning (EPCC) contracts signed on April 12, 2019,” both agencies said in a joint statement today.“No contracts for the ECRL civil works will be awarded on a direct tender basis. Claims by any companies that they have been promised contracts as the main contractors of the ECRL project via direct award are absolutely and categorically untrue.”The initially suspended ECRL project is now back on track after months of negotiations, as led by former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin. The project was shelved after Pakatan Harapan (PH) ousted Barisan Nasional (BN) in the general election last year, due to its egregious cost.The construction cost for Phase 1 and 2 of the ECRL has now been now reduced to RM44 billion, a reduction of RM21.5 billion from its original cost of RM65.5 billion.The government then said it will ensure that the renegotiated ECRL will be developed with 40 per cent local participation.“The MRL and CCCC are currently running its Pre-Qualification (pre-Q) exercise aimed at allowing all contractors with a CIDB (Construction Industry Development Board) Grade G3 to Grade G7 licence and a minimum 2-star rating to register for a pre-qualification exercise to shortlist local contractors as potential tenderers for the ECRL civil works.“Additionally, CCCC had run advertisements in all leading local dailies to publicise the Pre-Q exercise on May 13 and May 14. Hence, all genuine and qualified local construction companies and contractors interested to be shortlisted as potential tenderers on the ECRL civil work packages are encouraged to participate in the Pre-Q exercise and submit their applications directly at the CCCC counters at the Sime Darby Convention Centre on May 29 and 30, 2019,” the statement read.MRL and CCCC urged contractors to ignore any messages claiming they are recipients of direct tenders for the ECRL as well as “lobbyists” claiming that they can assist contractors to gain “favoured” status for ECRL projects.“Any local contractors who receive such offers and claims, can report to MRL or CCCC.“Legal measures would also be considered if deemed necessary to protect our rights,” they said.The ECRL will connect five states and one federal territory, namely Kelantan, Pahang, Terengganu, Negri Sembilan, Selangor and Putrajaya.The revised alignment will see a direct link from the Kuantan Port to Port Klang, and will serve as a Iand bridge connecting them.New alignment will avoid the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge in Selangor which is being established as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) World Heritage site. [...]
Police said a man was killed during a fight between two groups at an entertainment centre in Bandar Baru Medan Ipoh today.— Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
IPOH, May 19 — A man was killed during a fight between two groups at an entertainment centre in Bandar Baru Medan Ipoh, here today.Ipoh District Police deputy chief Supt Mohd Nordin Abdullah said in the 8am incident, the victim known as S. Kanakaran, 35, died after he was slashed with a parang.“Preliminary investigations reveal that the victim was intoxicated and was involved in a fight between two groups at the centre.”“The fight continued outside the entertainment centre before the victim was attacked and slashed,” he said in a statement.He died while receiving treatment at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (HRPB) here, Mohd Nordin said.Police have identified four suspects believed to be involved in the killing and efforts to track them down are underway, he added. — Bernama [...]
Former Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick once blamed the high cost of each ride on the "other dude in the car" – the driver. [...]
Google has demonstrated a new approach to translation. — Reuters pic
SAN FRANCISCO, May 17 — Google has introduced an experimental new verbal language translation system that could dictate translated speech in the speaker’s voice.Most vocal translation software today, including Google Translate, use a three-step process to convert vocal content in one language to vocal content in a second language: automatic speech recognition, machine translation, and text-to-speech synthesis. While this multipart system is effective, Google is developing a simpler system that directly translates speech into speech in the target language.Google calls this method Translatotron, and it has the potential to offer quicker interface speed, reduce the number of translation errors that occur during the transcription sequence and retain the voice of the original speaker.In fact, the steps that involve text are completely omitted and replaced with spectrograms — visual representations of speech. While the Translatotron translation speed lags behind that of the conventional system with the internal text conversion, it demonstrates “the feasibility of the end-to-end direct speech-to-speech translation.”The system can be further enhanced with an optional speaker encoder which, based on the vocal characteristics of a brief example utterance, can create translated speech that sounds like the original speaker, making the translation more natural and human.Translatotron is the first successful creation of a speech-to-speech translation system and is a “starting point” for demonstrating how the future of language translation could look. — AFP-Relaxnews [...]
Long known for their hearty meat-and-potatoes fare, Danish chefs have now carved out a name for themselves in the culinary world with trailblazing dishes at star-studded restaurants. — AFP pic
AARHUS, May 19 — Long known for their hearty meat-and-potatoes fare, Danish chefs have now carved out a name for themselves in the culinary world with trailblazing dishes at star-studded restaurants.With cold winters and sandy fields battered by winds from the North Sea and Baltic, Denmark is worlds away from the sun-drenched orchards of France and Italy, whose bountiful crops have served up gastronomic feasts for centuries.Heavily dependent on its pork industry and known for its beer and aquavit, the Scandinavian country has traditionally had little to boast about in the kitchen.So when Copenhagen hotspot Noma opened 15 years ago — it has since been voted the world’s best eatery repeatedly by British magazine Restaurant — it was seen as the herald of “New Danish Cuisine”: Inventive dishes using high-quality organic, local and seasonal ingredients.Noma paved the way for a new generation of chefs raring to break new ground such as those at gourmet restaurant Geranium, the only Danish eatery to boast three Michelin stars.‘New story of Nordic cuisine’Noma, started by acclaimed chef Rene Redzepi, took cuisine “to a new level”, says chef Wassim Hallal, whose Restaurant Frederikshoj in Aarhus also has a Michelin star.“That’s how the new story about Nordic cuisine started.”Fully booked months in advance and popular with celebrities, Noma has not only elevated Danish cuisine to new heights, it has also given the country a lot of very valuable publicity.According to VisitDenmark, some 1.3 million gastro-tourists visited the nation in 2017, accounting for 28 per cent of foreign visitors.And topping it all off, Denmark, now home to 27 restaurants with Michelin stars, in January won the prestigious Bocuse d’Or, the gastronomy equivalent of the World Cup, nudging out its Scandinavian neighbours Sweden and Norway.It was a French chef, Daniel Letz, who earned Denmark its first Michelin star in 1983.A lot has happened since then, with awards raining down on the country in recent years.Starting from scratchDenmark’s culinary successes have been attributed paradoxically to the country having no gastronomic traditions to speak of.“When you have traditional dishes, it’s difficult to reinvent them,” says Szilvia Gyimothy, associate professor in tourism research at the University of Aalborg-Copenhagen.As a result, Danish chefs have learned to make do with what they have at hand and tend to have an interest in organic foods.They’ve invented new dishes far from the traditional heavy peasant fare of pork with potatoes and gravy.Creating refined, delicately flavoured meals, chefs favour local specialities, honouring the country’s environmental mindset.“Instead of looking (at) what is happening in the world, it helps to follow nature and see what is fresh now and what’s happening in the season. That’s what inspires us,” says William Jorgensen, one of the chefs and owners of Gastrome.At his establishment in Aarhus’ Latin Quarter, customers dine on halibut with lemon confit and watercress, blood oranges with buckwheat, garlic and verbena, or potatoes with birch syrup and spruce.Danish terroirThe late culinary awakening has seen the new chefs make it their trademark to use in-season, locally-grown products and the maritime diversity of the country’s shores, defining a Danish terroir for the first time.And it’s mostly all organic, with a sharp focus on responsible consumerism: More than half of Danes buy organic foods at least once a week, according to Organic Denmark.“Sustainability is earning a lot of focus in Scandinavia but it’s not something that concerns others, for instance American chefs,” Gyimothy says.Denmark is considered a pioneer in recycling and sorting of waste. In Copenhagen, each household is encouraged to compost its own kitchen waste, and the goal is to recycle 50 per cent of household trash by 2022.At his vegetarian eatery, Moment, bathed in light and backing onto a permaculture farm, Morten Storm Overgaard, a geologist and professor at the University of Aarhus, is pushing the culinary experience to the extreme.He insists people “should use every opportunity to make as ethical choices as possible”, covering everything from the building to the dishes and drinks served, the interior design and dishware.Here, everything is sustainable and eco-friendly.“All dishes have to take their point of departure in our garden,” he says.And many end up back in the garden: At Moment, like at Gastrome, almost nothing gets thrown away.“We use the bread and the peel for the chickens and they fertilise the ground in our garden,” Jorgensen says. — AFP [...]
A compound present in broccoli sprouts could change a chemical imbalance that characterizes the brains of people with schizophrenia. [...]