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May 23, 2012

Former UBS trader Kweku Adoboli accused of unauthorised trading that cost the Swiss bank $2.3 billion (£1.5 billion) was due to enter a plea for the first time on Tuesday.

In a case that led to the resignation of UBS's chief executive, Adoboli 31, who worked as a director of exchange traded funds, has been charged with two counts of fraud and two of false accounting and will appear at Southwark Crown Court at 2:00 p.m.

UBS said it had uncovered rogue trades that took place between October 2008 and December 2010.

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Posted: May 23, 2012 7:20pm
May 23, 2012

Kweku Adoboli has given no indication how he will plead against charges he gambled away huge sums while working at UBS

A trader accused of gambling away a record £1.4bn will enter a plea in court on Monday.

Kweku Adoboli, 31, from east London, allegedly lost the cash while working for Swiss bank UBS.

He will appear for a plea and case management hearing at Southwark crown court accused of two counts of fraud and two of false accounting.

Adoboli, who is in custody, worked for UBS’s global synthetic equities division, buying and selling exchange traded funds, which track different types of stocks, bonds or commodities such as metals.

He is accused of dishonestly using his position to try to make a personal gain, and causing UBS losses or exposing the bank to the risk of loss.

City watchdog the Financial Services Authority and its Swiss counterpart have launched an investigation into why UBS failed to spot allegedly fraudulent trading.

The son of a former Ghanaian official to the United Nations joined the bank in a junior capacity in 2002.

Charges relate to the period between October 2008 and September last year.

Prosecutors allege he gambled away the cash while buying and selling exchange traded funds.

Adoboli, who has appeared in the dock in tailored suits at previous hearings, has given no indication of how he will plead.

Judge Alistair McCreath granted Adoboli’s new defence team an extra month to consult with their client after a previous appearance.

Adoboli switched legal teams in November.

He has hired London law firm Bark & Co, which specialises in fraud cases, in place of Kingsley Napley.

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Posted: May 23, 2012 7:20pm
May 19, 2012

a subsidiary of Wing On Travel, is a fully licensed cruise company operating sightseeing cruises in the Harbour and to the exotic outer islands of Hong Kong by motorised Chinese-style sightseeing vessels.

Being established in 1959, Watertours currently operates 2 tour vessels. Both are built to the traditional Chinese theme which can accommodate 250 and 220 persons respectively. The cruiser for 250 persons is fully air-conditioned and suitable for any style of outing. Our vessels are licensed to the highest Hong Kong Government Marine Department standard and can carry excellent insurance. Watertours proudly served and provided satisfactory services to over several millions passengers over the years.

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Posted: May 19, 2012 7:35pm
May 19, 2012

Kai Tak Cruise Terminal Hong Kong

Foundation stone laid at new cruise terminal in Hong Kong

A foundation stone laying ceremony, attended by the Chief Executive of HKSAR, senior government officials and representatives of the architects Foster + Partners and Dragages team, has been held today to mark the start of construction of the new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong. Reinventing the site of the former Kai Tak airport as one of the world’s foremost cruise terminals, the project will create a sustainable new gateway to the city and a major entertainment destination for residents.

The site on the south-western tip of the old runway has dramatic unobstructed views of the eastern entrance to Hong Kong harbour, framing both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. The terminal has a large, rectangular footprint and is arranged over three main levels, punctuated by four atria that draw daylight deep inside the building. A pedestrian promenade rises up through the terminal and opens onto a large public roof garden, with open and sheltered spaces for picnics, outdoor dining and more formal events such as wedding banquets, all set against the stunning backdrop of the city.

The terminal will have the capacity to disembark a total of 8,400 passengers and 1,200 crew and its design also anticipates the demands of a new generation of larger cruise liners currently being designed. The spacious interior, which spans 70 metres, is highly flexible – the concourse areas can be converted into a venue for performances, events and exhibitions, supported by the terminal’s wide variety of restaurants and shops – this ensures that the building will be used all year round and can fully utilise down time. The sustainable design combines a number of energy saving measures and will generate power from renewable sources, as well as making use of recycled rain water for cooling.

Mouzhan Majidi, Chief Executive of Foster + Partners, commented: “Today’s ceremony marks an exciting moment in the reinvention of Kai Tak – we were delighted to win the competition to design such an important new gateway to the city. The terminal will establish Hong Kong as a major cruise hub in Asia and, together with the West Kowloon Cultural District, will further enhance the city’s position as a centre for tourism and culture.”

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Posted: May 19, 2012 7:35pm
Apr 19, 2012

Starships, warp speed, transporters, phasers. Think Star Trek technology is only the stuff of fiction? Think again.

Dr. Peter Jansen, a PhD graduate of the Cognitive Science Laboratory at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, has developed a scientific measurement device based on the tricorders used by Captain Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy and other space adventurers on the classic TV series that has spawned numerous spin-offs in more than 45 years.

“Star Trek inspired me to be a scientist” said Jansen, who has been formally working on his tricorder prototypes since 2007, but toying with the idea of making a functioning device since he was “a kid in high school.”

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The 29-year-old Jansen’s school days spanned the late 1990s when Star Trek: Voyager was on the air. It featured his favorite tricorder, a model with screens on top and bottom.

The first tricorder appeared on the original show’s initial episode in 1966, when Capt. Kirk swaggered toward audiences with his phaser weapon holstered to his side but a tricorder in his hand. The hand-held devices for data sensing, analysis and recording, have been a part of Star Trek ever since.

But if Jansen, a self-confessed “addicted maker” of things, is successful at developing, testing and bringing his instrument into the public, the tricorder may not be just the stuff of Star Trek prop rooms. It may be used for real.

Jansen said his tricorder can take atmospheric measurements, or ambient temperature, pressure or humidity. It can take electromagnetic measurements to test magnetic fields, and it can make spatial measurements of distance, location, or motion.

Fascinating, as Spock might say.

Jansen thinks of his tricorder as a “general tool” – a kind of “Swiss Army Knife” – with practical uses in building inspection, for instance, where it might help taking temperature and humidity readings or be a distance sensor to measure rooms.

It resembles the device carried by countless “Away Team” members in Star Trek – The Next Generation – his favorite of the Star Trekshows, he notes.

No science fiction

No independent group has yet verified his claims for the device which, he said, is one reason for placing his designs on a public website as an “open source” that technology makers can utilize to test and tinker.

Jansen has posted schematics and designs of his first and second prototypes, the Mark 1 and Mark 2, for anyone to see and build. Jansen expects to have his latest version, the Mark 4, produced for “about $200.”

“Everything you need to build one is on line” at, said Jansen. He hopes others will follow his lead.

While it may sound like the stuff of science fiction, Jansen isn’t the only one to take notice of just how useful a real functioning tricorder would be – especially as a medical tool.

Telecommunications giant Qualcomm this year launched the “Tricorder X-Prize Contest” with the slogan “Healthcare in the palm of your hand.” Qualcomm hopes to motivate developers with a $US10 million prize to make medical tricorders a reality.

Wanda Moebus of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, who is not affiliated with Jansen or Qualcomm, told Reuters the X-Prize “is really cool,” but cautioned that making a real medical tricorder device “would have to be measured on its safety and effect, like all other medical technologies.”

Jansen said he has been approached by “a couple of teams” about the X Prize, but added that his prototypes are more for science research than medical tools.

Besides, he said he already is on to his next frontier, making a sort of “replicator,” another Star Trek device that will create 3D objects and foods that are dimensional copies of real items.

Jansen’s “replicator” is a 3D printer, which in itself is not really new, but the scientist thinks about it in terms reminiscent of Star Trek’s famous prologue. It’s “like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” Jansen said.

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Posted: Apr 19, 2012 8:11pm
Apr 19, 2012

Many investment policies have guideline asset allocations that target a constant 

proportional weighting between stocks and bonds during both bull and bear markets.  A 

“Constant Mix” asset management approach is defensible under a variety of commonly 

held assumptions.  Generally, a recommendation to “stay the course” during volatile 

market conditions implicitly assumes that investors, will benefit from a Constant Mix 

approach.  Investors, however, are not a homogeneous group; and, for some, changes in 

wealth may cause changes in risk tolerance.  Wealth management, therefore, may require 

dynamic changes in both asset allocation as well as other aspects of investment policy 

such as rebalancing, distribution and monitoring & surveillance policies.   

This article outlines several asset management approaches and discusses the importance 

of aligning Investment Policy with investor risk preferences.  If the investment policy 

ignores this critical “calibration,” there is little hope that the investor will be able to 

maintain the policy during recessionary periods.  It presents a follow on simulation study 

to illustrate the range of possible portfolio evolutions under various asset management 

approaches.  Finally, it focuses on how investment advisors can transition from static 

(“blueprint” oriented) to dynamic (“systems engineering” oriented) investment policy by 

using advanced simulation tools and by transforming set-in-stone asset management 

guidelines into a sequence of periodic decisions regarding the exercise of asset 

management options.    

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Posted: Apr 19, 2012 8:11pm
Apr 6, 2012

We were at the Oberalp Pass, literally the high point of the Glacier Express’s seven-and-a-half-hour journey between St Moritz and Zermatt. We were passing between a range of 6,600ft mountains before our descent towards Brig. 

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Posted: Apr 6, 2012 9:41pm


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