Tuesday, October 29, 2013

NASDAQ says options trading in major indexes
resumes after halt


NASDAQ says options trading in major indexes resumes after halt

Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:39pm EDT
(Reuters) - Nasdaq OMX (NDAQ.O) said on Tuesday that options trading had resumed in a number of widely followed indexes after a halt where the exchange failed to disseminate value for the Nasdaq 100 .NDX.

The exchange also said its Global Index Data Service had "experienced a brief disruption of service" with no impact to equity exchange operations, and that it was investigating the issue.

Earlier, Nasdaq said its PHLX and Nasdaq Options Market exchanges had halted options trading in the Nasdaq 100, as well as the PHLX Semiconductor .SOX, PHLX Oil Service .OSX and PHLX Housing .HGX sectors because it was not disseminating values for the indexes.

The news was the latest technical issue to befall the exchange, which has struggled to repair its reputation following some high-profile problems, most notably the botched initial public offering of Facebook Inc (FB.O).

"I don't know what it is, but it appears they have an unusual proportion of technical problems there," said Stephen Massocca, managing director at Wedbush Equity Management LLC in San Francisco. "You would think they would be on their tippy-toes making sure everything was absolutely correct over there ... at this point, it's more than just luck."

The exchange also said it is not generating values for the Nasdaq 100 index, the benchmark of the PowerShares QQQ Trust exchange-traded fund (QQQ.O), one of the most traded ETFs.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, Chuck Mikolajczak and Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Andre Grenon and Tim Dobbyn)

Commonwealth Bank of Australia
hires G4S to spy on politicians


Commonwealth Bank of Australia hires G4S to spy on politicians

29 Oct 2013 by Clark Kent

An undercover surveillance operation ordered by the Commonwealth Bank has embroiled the institution in a spying scandal, with senior MPs monitored and photographed by private detectives investigating one of its critics.

Michael Fraser
The bank hired security firm G4S to conduct ”Operation Lantern”, round-the-clock surveillance on consumer advocate and anti-banking lobbyist Michael Fraser (pictured right) between August 28 and September 1. G4S, which conducted the security operation for the London Olympics, claims it is ”a world leader in providing compliance and investigation related services”.

Internationally, surveillance operations by governments and private firms are attracting increasing criticism and allegations of infringing privacy.

In a memo obtained by Fairfax Media, the bank requested photographs of people Mr Fraser met to ”allow for the identification of individuals”, and said it was trying to confirm if Mr Fraser was receiving information from bank insiders.

On those dates Mr Fraser was travelling from Brisbane to Sydney to attend a fund-raising dinner for Coalition senator John Williams, who is part of a Senate inquiry involving CBA with Labor senator Doug Cameron.

Other guests included former NSW opposition leader Kerry Chikarovski, entertainer Kamahl and liquidator John Sheahan. It was organised by lawyer Stewart Levitt, who is behind a class action against the bank. Also attending was Geoff Shannon, an aggrieved CBA customer who established the Unhappy Banking advocacy group and barrister Geoff Slater who is acting for Mr Shannon.

Senator Williams said when he found out about the spying, his initial thought was “What the hell is going on here? Why am I being monitored by some mob employed by the Commonwealth Bank?”

'We're Really Screwed Now': NSA's Best Friend Just Shivved The Spies

'We're Really Screwed Now': NSA's Best Friend Just Shivved The Spies

Posted By Shane Harris, John Hudson   Monday, October 28, 2013 - 7:21 PM

One of the National Security Agency's biggest defenders in Congress is suddenly at odds with the agency and calling for a top-to-bottom review of U.S. spy programs. And her long-time friends and allies are completely mystified by the switch.

"We're really screwed now," one NSA official told The Cable. "You know things are bad when the few friends you've got disappear without a trace in the dead of night and leave no forwarding address."

In a pointed statement issued today, Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein said she was "totally opposed" to gathering intelligence on foreign leaders and said it was "a big problem" if President Obama didn't know the NSA was monitoring the phone calls of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She said the United States should only be spying on foreign leaders with hostile countries, or in an emergency, and even then the president should personally approve the surveillance.

It was not clear what precipitated Feinstein's condemnation of the NSA. It marks a significant reversal for a lawmaker who not only defended agency surveillance programs -- but is about to introduce a bill expected to protect some of its most controversial activities.

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