|From: gilad||4/23/2008 4:08:00 AM|
|Investment in companies in crisis|
This subject is interesting, especially in the current market conditions and lack of stability in international markets. I have come across an interesting article about the firm Actrade (http://stockideas.org/content/view/1683/59), which was founded by Amos Aharoni and in the past was traded on the NASDAQ.
The question is how to invest in strong and reliable companies during their hardest moment.
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|From: Smiling Bob||1/6/2009 10:14:36 AM|
|German Billionaire Merckle's Death Viewed As A Suicide|
More News related to General News
* German Billionaire Merckle's Death Viewed As A Suicide
* Reports German Billionaire Adolf Merckle Died
* Bernard Madoff Remains Free On Bail Until Judge's Ruling - Bloomberg
* Democrat Franken Wins Minnesota Recount Over U.S. Senate Seat - Bloomberg
* Meg Whitman May Make A Run To Be California's Next Governor
More News related to General News
January 6, 2009 10:07 AM EST
The death of German billionaire Adolf Merckle is being viewed as a suicide, according to reports.
Merckle was hit by a train near his home in Blaubeurne yesterday evening.
Merckle could be latest victim of the global credit crisis. Merckle made a bad bet on Volkswagen AG. In addition, the value of his HeidelbergCement AG stock has deteriorated. Merckle was recently in negotiations with banks for a bridge loan to rescue his investment company VEM Vermoegensverwaltung GmbH
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|From: Smiling Bob||1/28/2009 12:44:02 PM|
|Letter offers clues to death of 5 kids, 2 adults|
By THOMAS WATKINS, Associated Press Writer Thomas Watkins, Associated Press Writer Wed Jan 28, 7:28 am ET
LOS ANGELES – In one upstairs bedroom, the bodies of twin 2-year-old boys were found beside their dead mother. In another bedroom, 5-year-old twin girls and their 8-year-old sister lay next to their lifeless father.
Officers discovered the horrific scene after rushing to a home in Wilmington, prompted by the father's distraught letter faxed to a TV station describing a "tragic story" and a call to authorities.
Police believe Ervin Lupoe, 40, killed his five children and his wife before turning the gun on himself. Both adults were recently fired from their hospital jobs.
"Why leave our children in someone else's hands?" Lupoe wrote in his letter faxed to KABC-TV. The station posted the letter on its Web site with some parts redacted.
The station called police after receiving the fax, and a police dispatch center also received a phone call from a man who stated, "I just returned home and my whole family's been shot." Police are unsure who the male caller was, but they suspect it was the father.
Officers rushed to the home in Wilmington, a small community between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday and found the bodies.
All the victims were shot in the head, some multiple times, coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter said. The killings may have occurred between Monday evening and early Tuesday, based on neighbors' accounts of firecracker sounds, he said.
Although the fax — addressed to "whom it may concern" and explaining "why we are dead" — asserted that the wife, Ana Lupoe, planned the killings of the whole family, police Lt. John Romero said Ervin Lupoe was the suspect. A revolver was found next to his body.
It was the fifth mass death of a Southern California family by murder or suicide in a year. Police urged those facing tough economic times to get help rather than resort to violence.
"Today our worst fear was realized," said Deputy Chief Kenneth Garner. "It's just not a solution. There's just so many ways you find alternatives to doing something so horrific and drastic as this."
Ervin Lupoe removed three of the children from school about a week and a half ago, saying the family was moving to Kansas, the principal told KCAL-TV. Crescent Heights Elementary School Principal Cherise Pounders-Caver said nothing seemed to be troubling Ervin Lupoe, and she did not ask why the family was moving.
Kaiser Permanente Medical Center West Los Angeles released a statement confirming Lupoe and his wife were fired as medical technicians more than a week ago. The hospital said the firings followed an internal investigation but would not specify why they lost their jobs.
The letter indicated that Lupoe and his wife — both 40 — had been investigated for misrepresenting their employment to an outside agency to obtain childcare. He claimed that an administrator told the couple on Dec. 23: "You should not even had bothered to come to work today you should have blown your brains out."
Lupoe's letter said the couple complained to the human resources department and eventually were offered an apology but two days later they were fired.
"They did nothing to the manager who stated such and did not attempt to assist us in the matter, knowing we have no job and five children under 8 years with no place to go. So here we are," the note said.
At the bottom of the letter, Lupoe wrote, "Oh lord, my God, is there no hope for a widow's son?" The phrase is frequently found in Internet discussions about the novel "The Da Vinci Code," Freemasons and Mormonism.
Kaiser Permanente said staff was "saddened by the despair" in Lupoe's letter "but we are confident that no one told him to take his own life or the lives of his family."
Lupoe's fax identified his children as Brittney, 8; 5-year-old twins Jaszmin and Jassely; and twins Benjamin and Christian, ages 2 years and 4 months. Winter confirmed the identities of the girls, but the boys' names were pending.
Lupoe got a state license to work as a security guard in 1989 and a permit to carry a gun as a security guard in 1993 but both expired in 2007, said Russ Heimerich, a spokesman for the state Bureau of Security and Investigative Services.
Bob Pierce, a Long Beach attorney who represented the Lupoes in an auto accident, said the case did not involve any serious injuries and the family was expected to receive "well below $10,000," he said.
Lupoe called Monday to find out when the money might be coming, Pierce said. Pierce told him that it might be another week or two "and he said 'no problem.'"
To Amanda Garcia, everything seemed normal in the Lupoe house next door. Her neighbors always had a friendly wave and their five young children would play outside.
"They were happy, they had birthday parties," the 22-year-old Garcia said as she choked back tears near her home. "The kids were always outside on bikes, riding on their wagon."
On the Net:
Lupoe letter available at: abc7.com
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|From: Smiling Bob||3/31/2009 10:28:36 AM|
|Shootings, murder-suicide raise broader question: Is violence linked to recession?|
By Patrik Jonsson Patrik Jonsson Mon Mar 30, 5:00 am ET
Atlanta – Four Oakland, Calif., police officers shot down. An Alabama man strolling a small town with a rifle, looking for victims. Seven elderly people shot dead at a North Carolina nursing home. And on Sunday, six people, including four kids, died in an apparent murder-suicide in an upscale neighborhood in Santa Clara, Calif.
The details in all these cases are still emerging. In most, the exact motive has yet to be determined – or may never be fully understood.
On a broader level, however, such incidents may be happening more often because an increasing number of Americans feel desperate pressure from job losses and other economic hardship, criminologists say.
"Most of these mass killings are precipitated by some catastrophic loss, and when the economy goes south, there are simply more of these losses," says Jack Levin, a noted criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston.
Direct correlation between economic cycles and homicides is difficult to prove, cautions Shawn Bushway, a criminologist at the University at Albany in New York. But an economic downturn of this breadth and depth hasn't been seen since data began to be collected after World War II, he also points out. "This is not the average situation," Mr. Bushway says.
Still, criminologists do say that certain kinds of violent crimes have risen during specific economic downturns. The recession in the early 1990s "saw a dramatic increase in workplace violence committed by vengeful ex-workers who decided to come back and get even with their boss and their co-workers through the barrel of an AK-47," Mr. Levin says.
And in the midst of this downturn, one study released Monday in Florida finds a link between domestic violence and economic tragedies like job loss and foreclosures. The Sunshine State saw an almost 40 percent jump in demand for domestic-violence centers, an increase related to the state of the economy, the study says. George Sheldon, secretary of Florida's Department of Children and Families, calls the situation "the worst I've seen in years," according to the Associated Press.
The potential link between murder-suicides and the economy is an area of study for the Violence Policy Center in Washington. "We've been looking at this issue of whether there are more murder-suicides … [and] a pattern is starting to develop that may point in that direction," says Kristen Rand, legislative director at the center. "Between the Texas Tower shootings in the 1960s until the McDonald's massacre in 1984, it was extremely rare to see these types of mass shootings. Now we're seeing them much more often, and they do seem to happen in spurts."
To be sure, the gun-control debate is heating up, especially after the recent Alabama shootings where a man killed 11 people, including himself, using semiautomatic, military-style weapons. Gun-control advocates point to gun proliferation as a major cause for the loss of life, especially when families turn on themselves. That appears to be the case in the Santa Clara shootings.
"Studies have shown over and over again that a gun in the home is more likely to be used against a family member than an intruder," says Juliet Leftwich, senior counsel for Legal Community Against Violence in San Francisco.
But the root cause of the violence goes deeper than gun ownership, some argue. "Social isolation is a huge factor" in a country as large and transient as America, which places big emphasis on personal results, Levin says. "If you look at where many of these mass killings have occurred lately, they're in states that have lots of strangers, transients, and drifters, who don't have support systems to get them through tough times," he says.
In the incident in Oakland, which occurred March 21, a parolee shot two officers during a traffic stop, then shot two others during an ensuing manhunt. The parolee also died. It was the biggest single-day, gun-related loss of life for law enforcement in the US since 1993.
The shootings at the nursing home occurred Sunday. Chris McKenzie, police chief in Carthage, N.C., said the gunman, who was killed, may have targeted the home because his estranged wife works there.
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|To: Smiling Bob who wrote (6)||4/4/2009 10:36:04 AM|
|From: Smiling Bob|
|This was reported to be the 4th incident this past month|
Lost his job at IBM
NY gunman angry over poor English skills, job loss
By WILLIAM KATES, Associated Press Writer William Kates, Associated Press Writer 10 mins ago
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – The man who police say killed 13 people in a shooting rampage at an immigrant community center was depressed and angry over losing his job and about his poor English skills, officials said Saturday.
Police Chief Joseph Zikuski told NBC's "Today" that people "degraded and disrespected" the gunman over his poor English. Mayor Matthew Ryan, speaking on ABC's "Good Morning America," said the man, believed to be 42-year-old Vietnamese immigrant Jiverly Voong, was angry about his language issues and his lack of employment.
On Friday, he barricaded the American Civic Association community center's back door with his car, walked in the front and started shooting with two handguns. Within minutes, a receptionist, 12 immigrants taking a citizenship class and the gunman were dead. Another receptionist, who played dead after she was shot in the abdomen, called 911 to get police to the scene within two minutes.
Zikuski said the injured receptionist stayed on the phone for 90 minutes, "feeding us information constantly," despite a serious wound in the abdomen.
"She's a hero in her own right," he said.
Four people were critically wounded in the Friday massacre, and 37 others made it out, including 26 who hid for hours in a basement boiler room while police tried to determine whether the gunman was still alive and whether he was holding any hostages, Zikuski said.
Investigators said they had yet to establish a motive for the shooting, which was at least the fifth deadly mass shooting in the U.S. in the past month.
The suspected killer carried ID with the name of 42-year-old Jiverly Voong, of nearby Johnson City, N.Y., but that was believed to be an alias, said a law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The man was found dead in an office with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a satchel containing ammunition slung around his neck, authorities said. Police found two handguns — a 9 mm and a .45-caliber — and a hunting knife.
A second law enforcement official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the handguns were registered to Jiverly Wong, another name the man used. Both officials were not authorized to speak publicly.
A woman who answered the phone at a listing for Henry D. Voong said she was Jiverly Voong's sister but would not give her name. She said her brother had been in the country for 28 years and had citizenship.
Zikuski told "Today" that the shooter had worked in Binghamton for Shop-Vac, which closed in November. The sister told the AP on Friday that her brother worked at a company where "they make the vacuums."
The mayor told ABC that the gunman "had lost a job recently and was somewhat angry."
"He had language issues, didn't speak English that well, and was really concerned about his employment situation," Ryan said.
Initial reports suggested Voong had recently been let go from IBM, which has roots in the region, but a person at IBM said there was no record of a Jiverly Voong ever working there. His father, Henry Voong, does work there.
The attack at the American Civic Association, which helps immigrants settle in this country, came just after 10 a.m. as people from all over the globe — Latin America, China, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Africa — gathered for English and citizenship lessons in an effort to become a bigger part of their new home.
The gunman parked his car against the back door before barging through the front and opening fire, apparently without saying a word. He then entered a room just off the reception area and fired on a citizenship class while terrified people scrambled into a boiler room and a storage room.
Abdelhak Ettouri, a Moroccan immigrant who lives in nearby Johnson City, told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin he found the back door locked when he tried to flee, then ran to hide in the basement as he heard 12 to 14 shots: "Tak-tak-tak-tak."
Zhanar Tokhtabayeva, a 30-year-old from Kazakhstan, was in an English class when her teacher screamed for everyone to go to the storage room.
"I heard the shots, every shot. I heard no screams, just silence, shooting," Tokhtabayeva told the AP. "I heard shooting, very long time, and I was thinking, when will this stop? I was thinking that my life was finished."
Hoi Nguyen of Binghamton said his 36-year-old daughter Phuong Nguyen, who survived the massacre, was taking an English class in the basement when the gunfire started.
"She said it sounded like a firecracker and everyone in the class was startled," he said. "Then the teacher locked the door, called the police, then told everyone they couldn't leave the room."
Police arrived in minutes, heard no gunfire and waited for about an hour before entering the building to make sure it was safe for officers. They then spent two hours searching the building. They led a number of men out in plastic handcuffs while trying to sort out victims from the killer or killers.
The police chief said the suspected gunman "was no stranger" to the community center and may have gone there to take a class. He said he had no idea what the shooter's motive was.
On Friday evening, police searched Voong's house and carried out three computer hard drives, a brown canvas rifle case, a briefcase, a small suitcase and several paper bags.
Dr. Jeffrey King, speaking at the Catholic Charities office, said he was certain his mother, 72-year-old Roberta King, who taught English at the community center, was among the dead.
Authorities read a list of survivors and his mother's name wasn't on it, he said.
The shootings took place in a neighborhood of homes and small businesses in downtown Binghamton, a city of about 47,000 situated 140 miles northwest of New York City.
The region was the home to Endicott-Johnson shoe company and the birthplace of IBM, which between them employed tens of thousands of workers before the shoe company closed a decade ago and IBM downsized in recent years.
A string of attacks in the U.S. in the last month left 44 people dead in all.
A gunman killed 10 people and himself in Samson, Ala.; shootings that began with a traffic stop in Oakland, Calif., left four police officers and the gunman dead; an apparent murder-suicide in Santa Clara, Calif., left six dead; and a gunman went on a rampage at a nursing home Sunday, killing seven elderly residents and a nurse who cared for them.
Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Michael Hill, John Kekis and Michael Rubinkam in Binghamton; Carolyn Thompson and John Wawrow in Buffalo, N.Y.; Jessica M. Pasko, George M. Walsh and Chris Carola in Albany; Ben Dobbin in Rochester, N.Y.; Daisy Nguyen in Los Angeles; and the AP News Information Research Center in New York.
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|From: Smiling Bob||4/19/2009 12:06:56 PM|
|No glimmers here|
Couple, their 3 kids found dead in Maryland home
By ALEX DOMINGUEZ, Associated Press Writer Alex Dominguez, Associated Press Writer Sun Apr 19, 7:42 am ET
MIDDLETOWN, Md. – A Maryland man who killed his wife and three children before fatally shooting himself left behind five notes, including an apology to family members and hints that he suffered from psychiatric problems, authorities said.
The local sheriff said there were also signs that the family had financial problems.
For residents of the small town of Middletown and members of Holy Family Catholic Community Church, where the slain mother taught catechism, reports of the brutal killings were upsetting and baffling.
"We're all in shock and trying to come to terms," said Kevin Farmer, the pastor of Holy Family.
Christopher Alan Wood killed his wife and children, then himself, in their northwest Maryland home, leaving a gruesome scene that authorities said was found Saturday by the children's' grandfather.
The 33-year-old mother and three children suffered "traumatic cuts" and each also had at least one gunshot wound from a .25-caliber handgun, Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins said. Their precise cause of death wasn't immediately known, and Jenkins declined to say what was used to slash them.
Jenkins said Wood, an accountant at railroad operator CSX Corp., apologized to family members in one of the notes he left at the scene. The sheriff wouldn't elaborate on what else was written in the notes.
The sheriff also said there was evidence that Wood faced financial problems and may have been in debt.
CSX did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Saturday.
The family had moved months ago to the home in Middletown, a community of fewer than 3,000 people about 10 miles west of Frederick, friends said.
Jane Durant, the director of Middletown United Methodist Church Preschool, said she last saw the slain mother, Francis Billotti Wood, on Thursday morning, when she picked up her 4-year-old son at the school.
The boy didn't come to school the next day. Durant, the school's director, thought it was unusual. Now, she wonders if something horrible happened Thursday night.
The dead woman's father found the slain family around 9 a.m. Saturday. He had grown concerned after not hearing from them for several days, Frederick County sheriff's office spokeswoman Jennifer Bailey said.
When investigators arrived at the two-story home, the couple's two sons, ages 5 and 4, lay dead in their beds, while the bodies of a 2-year-old daughter and the mother were in the master bedroom, Bailey said. On the master bedroom floor by the foot of the bed was the 34-year-old father, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, she said.
Francis Wood — known by some as "Francie" — returned to her native Middletown from Texas last year to be closer to her family, said Durant, the preschool director. She described Francis Wood as a vibrant, bubbly and loving person.
"I just talked to her every day and she's just one of those people you fell in love with right away," Durant said.
Neighbor Peggy Lawrence described Francis Wood as a good homemaker.
"It wouldn't lead you to believe anything was wrong," Lawrence said. "I'm still sick to my stomach. Just to see it end so quickly is so devastating and makes you realize you never know what's going on in people's lives."
Associated Press Writer Gillian Gaynair in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.
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|From: Smiling Bob||6/13/2009 1:43:50 PM|
|As theft rises, stores step up anti-crime efforts|
Retailers step up anti-crime efforts as recession fuels shoplifting, organized theft rings
* Dan Sewell, AP Business Writer
* On Saturday June 13, 2009, 12:50 pm EDT
CINCINNATI (AP) -- With shoplifting on the rise -- including organized teams sweeping through stores and lifting scores of items in minutes -- retailers are beefing up plainclothes patrols and video surveillance, and competitors are working together to prevent crime.
Stores are running online stings and sending security guards onto sales floors posing as customers. The FBI helped create a database for trading notes on suspects and their methods. Minneapolis-based Target Corp. even has a forensic lab and tracks video feed from its 1,700 stores at regional hubs.
"In light of today's economy and the expense pressure, it is an investment that shows good return," said Brad Brekke, a former FBI special agent who heads assets protection for Target. "There is definitely economic pressure generating more activity across the board -- fraud, theft, cyber crime. The intensity has gone up as the economy has gone down."
The National Retail Federation, a trade group, says nearly half of 115 retailers it surveyed are spending more on crime-fighting -- some companies spend more than $1 million a year just on personnel hired to stop crime rings. The NRF, which opens a loss prevention conference Monday in Los Angeles, says 92 percent of the surveyed retailers were victims of organized theft teams last year, an 8 percent increase, even as many saw slumping sales.
More individuals are shoplifting, as in several steak-stealing incidents in Kroger Co. grocery stores across the country this year. But retailers say the vast majority of their losses are from thefts by organized rings that usually send in a small group including a getaway driver, an in-store lookout and several "shoppers."
Joe LaRocca, a senior adviser for the retail federation, said it only makes sense to cooperate with competitors to fight the problem, which officials peg at $35 billion a year and rising.
"You know you're getting hit and your neighbor is getting hit and, by working together, you have a much better rate of identification and prevention," LaRocca said.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Saks Inc., Ann Taylor Stores Corp. and others share information in the 2-year-old national database with the hope of stopping organized teams that take medicines, popular-brand clothes, video games and electronics -- items that can be quickly resold in small shops, flea markets and online.
"I'm even amazed sometimes at what these guys do," said Jerry Biggs, who heads anti-organized crime efforts for the Walgreen Co. drugstore chain. "They're in and out in four minutes. They can go from store to store, do this all day long."
In what Florida authorities dubbed "Operation Hot Milk," 21 people were arrested in March in connection with a multimillion-dollar baby formula theft ring. Generally, men acted as lookouts and getaway drivers while women slipped cans of powdered formula worth about $25 each into their bags. Polk County Sheriff's deputies began investigating in late 2008 after finding stolen baby formula during a traffic stop.
Biggs said the rings know more households are looking harder for bargains -- often online, where many high-volume thefts are fenced, or in flea markets and small shops -- during the recession.
"It's created a larger demand for product at lower price," he said. "People just think they're getting good deals."
Stores are trying to slow the theft rings with new packaging, less-accessible display cases, and electronic gizmos. But how many precautions to take is a delicate issue for retailers, who risk alienating customers by making them wait while items are retrieved from locked cases or embarrassing them when exit alarms go off. Customers could also be turned off by increasingly intense surveillance.
"You've got to balance the value you get from that," said Michael Brown, a retail strategist for the consulting firm Kurt Salmon Associates. "You don't want your loss prevention department to become your sales prevention department."
Art Wulfeck, director of loss prevention for Cincinnati-based Kroger, says it trains employees to be regularly engaging customers around the store -- asking whether they need help or have questions -- which also reduces theft opportunities.
Some Kroger stores have begun using the "Lane Hawk," a shopping-cart electronic device that alerts cashiers to items on the bottom, avoiding accidental or intentional failure to ring them up. Wulfeck said Kroger is experimenting with a display rack for selling infant formula that has an automatic delay before another item can be removed -- so a thief can't quickly grab several cans.
"The typical shopper isn't there to buy 10 cans of formula," he said.
Shopper Pat Girod, whose son-in-law is a police officer, knows the crime prevention efforts are all around, seen and unseen, in her Kroger store in central Ohio.
She chuckled about the Lane Hawk: "It's a great idea ... I wish they had that in the parking lot, too, so I don't forget to load something in my car."
National Retail Federation: nrf.com
Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
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|From: Smiling Bob||8/5/2009 3:26:12 PM|
|The Associated Press August 5, 2009, 8:14AM ET text size: TT|
Spike in suicide calls due to economy
Economic woes are weighing heavily on some Americans -- so much so that the federal government is boosting financial support for suicide prevention centers around the nation.
Richard McKeon, the lead health adviser for suicide prevention at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, says calls to suicide crisis centers have increased sharply in the past year -- with more than 57,000 calls in July alone. He said about a quarter of the calls were linked to economic distress.
McKeon said SAMHSA plans to provide more than $1 million in additional money this year to help up to 20 crisis centers facing a big uptick in the number of calls for help as well as possible state and local budget cuts.
"We know that every single day, there are people calling who are in the midst of a suicide attempt," McKeon said in an interview late Tuesday. "Any delay in getting that call answered could be tragic."
SAMHSA helps fund the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which routes calls to about 140 crisis centers across the country that provide suicide prevention services. McKeon says it usually provides a grant for the lifeline of about $2.9 million a year.
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