Poker’s all about luck, says Swiss Supreme Court

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Supreme Court in Lausanne, Switzerland has ruled that Texas hold ’em poker is a game of luck, rather than a game of skill. As a result, only casinos can host poker tournaments in Switzerland. Private games with friends, even where money is at stake, are still permitted under the ruling.

Poker tournaments had been growing in popularity in the country, with many events held in hotels and bars. Such venues do not have to pay the 50% tax on profits levied on licensed casinos, nor comply with regulations combating money laundering and gambling addiction. Poker is now categorised alongside roulette and slot machines, which as games of luck can only be played inside casinos. Mathematics, strategy, and bluffing were less important in determining the result than chance, said the judges, overturning a lower court ruling to the opposite effect, and disagreeing with the stance of the country’s Federal Gaming Commission.

Before the ruling, it had been estimated by the Swiss Federation of Casinos that there were about 100 unlicensed poker tournaments every weekend. A Swiss poker website,, has described the result as “a black day for all amateur poker players in Switzerland.”

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Four British energy suppliers face investigation into claims of misselling

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), the regulator of the electricity and gas markets in Great Britain, has launched an investigation into four of the largest British energy suppliers over suspicions that they not be complying with face-to-face and telephone sales regulations. The four organisations facing scrutiny could be fined up to 10% of their annual turnover if it is found that they are breaking sales regulations. Scottish Power, npower, Scottish and Southern Energy and EDF Energy are all to face questioning by the organisation.

Ofgem has urged customers of the four companies to alert the energy regulator, “if they are concerned about the sales approach any domestic suppliers have taken when selling energy contracts, either face-to-face or by telephone,” according to a statement. “As part of the investigation process Ofgem will examine any evidence of non-compliance and consider whether there are grounds for exercising enforcement powers.”

New regulations on sales tactics by energy suppliers were recently introduced, and, Ofgem has said, energy suppliers must be “proactive in preventing misselling to customers both face to face and over the phone. Also, if suppliers are selling contracts face to face they must provide customers with an estimate before any sales are concluded. In most circumstances customers should also receive a comparison of the supplier’s offer with their current deal.” Only one in five consumers consider energy suppliers to be trustworthy, and 61% of people feel intimidated by doorstep sales people from energy companies. According to the organisation Consumer Focus, “complaints have declined since new rules came into effect this year, but suppliers still seem to be flouting the rules. Some customers are still being given misleading quotes and information, which leave them worse off when they switch provider.”

The newspaper The Guardian has reported that “householders are reporting that sales agents working for the energy suppliers are giving them misleading information and quotes which leave them worse off when they switch supplier.” Consumer Focus has said that if energy companies continue to break the rules, they could be banned from doorstep-selling completely. The report goes on to say that “new figures from helpline Consumer Direct show that while the number of complaints has fallen since last year, about 200 cases of mis-selling are being reported each month.” However, Scottish Power said it insists on “the highest standards possible for all of our sales agents”, and npower told the Financial Times that it was “confident that the processes we have in place mean that we comply with our regulatory obligations”. EDF added that it was “fully compliant with all obligations regarding sales of energy contracts”.

According to the regulator, the obligations are serious and must be followed by energy supplies, or they will face “tougher sanctions than those available under more general consumer protection law.” Ofgem has published a guide advising consumers what they should do should an energy salesperson contact them in person of by telephone. Improper sales tactics are still common in the industry—in 2008 an Ofgem investigation found that 48% of gas customers and 42% of electricity customers were worse off after switching supplier on the doorstep. Npower was fined £1.8 million in 2008 by the organisation, and Ofgem insists that they are “committed to taking action” over improper sales activities by energy companies. “Suppliers have existing obligations to detect and prevent misselling and new licence conditions were brought in following our probe to further increase protection for customers,” said Andrew Wright, a Senior Partner of the regulator. “We expect all suppliers to comply with these tougher obligations but if our investigations find otherwise we will take strong action.”

What are your experiences with doorstep salespeople? If they persuaded you to change energy providers, were you worse off as a result?
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Head of energy at Consumer Focus, Audrey Gallacher, called the investigation “a welcome step … to address years of customers getting a bad deal on energy prices on their doorstep. While many doorstep sales people will do a good job, the pay and rewards system continues to encourage mis-selling, despite years of regulation and voluntary initiatives. If better advice for customers and enforcement of the tougher rules doesn’t end the flagrant abuse of this form of selling the big question will be whether it should be completely banned.” Christine McGourty, director of Energy UK, which represents the leading gas and electricity companies, said that “the companies involved will collaborate with the Ofgem investigation and are awaiting further details from the regulator. Any sales agent in breach of the code will be struck off the approved energy sales register.” Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith, has said he considers the situation “shocking”, saying that the investigation “will do nothing to improve consumer trust in energy suppliers. We’re pleased that Ofgem has promised tough measures against any firms guilty of mis-selling. We hope it uses this opportunity to tighten rules around telesales so they are in line with those for face to face sales.”

SNP Westminster Energy spokesperson Mike Weir MP, however, said that the investigation “does nothing to tackle the real problem of fuel prices which leave many Scots facing great difficulty in heating their homes … Rather than tinkering around the edges Ofgem should be looking at how to reduce prices for vulnerable households.” Gareth Kloet, Head of Utilities at, one of the UK’s biggest and most popular price comparison services, also welcomed the inquiry. “It is unacceptable for energy companies to mislead customers like this,” he said, adding that has previously “urged energy providers to either stop the practice of doorstep selling or make it very clear to households that better deals are available online. There is no reason why door-to-door salesmen can’t show people online deals and even help households switch to them.”

“Our research reveals customers could end up paying £167 more than they need to as door-to-door salesmen are unable to offer the discounts that are applied online. The changes that have been made to date are a welcome addition to safeguard customers; however this review has been much needed for a long time. Hopefully it will mark the end of customers being overcharged and missold,” Kloet continued. “Our message to energy consumers remains the same: they should shop around online to make sure they’re getting the best deal possible and turn these salesmen away.”

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Getting Rid Of Infestations By Contacting A Rodent Control Company

byAlma Abell

Can you imagine getting up in the morning, walking into your kitchen to find a mouse scurrying across your floor or counter-top? You might open up a cabinet and find it filled with bugs that are getting into the containers of food you have stored there. Sometimes, no matter how clean you keep your house, you will have creatures that you do not want invading your space. The most important thing right now is to rid yourself of those pests before the problem gets worse. To do this, you will want to contact a company that does Rodent Control in your area.

A company like this will come out to your home and inspect it to see what the problem is. If there is any type of wildlife living within your home, they will trap them and dispose of them and any nests that they may be starting to build. Once they start building nests, your home can quickly be infested with more of them. Any type of infestation of bugs or rodents should be handled immediately because the longer you prolong treatment the worse your problem can become.

One such company, Triple AAA American Exterminators, will come out to the home, inspect the premises, find the source of the problem, and inform you of the best way to eliminate the problem. The chemicals that are used to fight off any invasion of pests, uses organic methods that are 100% safe for your family and pets. This will be handled as quickly as possible to stop any further infestations. This type of company is very knowledgeable about Rodent Control, helping to prevent a health problem to you and your family because of droppings and fur that are left behind by them.

No matter if you are infested by rodents, cockroaches, snakes or any other kind of bugs, you should contact an exterminator immediately for the safety of your family. This type of company can assist you whether the problem is in a home or business. No matter what the issue, the important thing is to get rid of the infestation as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the worse the problem will become, and the more chance that it will pose a health risk to you and your family. The safety of those you love is of utmost importance.

Death toll from tsunami in Southeast Asia increases

 Correction — May 8, 2018 This headline incorrectly locates the tsunami in Southeast Asia; it was in the South Pacific, as stated in the lede. 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A tsunami that was generated in the South Pacific by a powerful undersea earthquake has killed at least 110 people, according to authorities.

The majority of the fatalities occurred in Samoa, where rescue workers say at least 84 people were killed. Another 24 people are confirmed dead on American Samoa, while at least seven fatalities have been reported in nearby Tonga.

The US Geological Survey says an 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck early Tuesday local time. It generated waves that devastated coastal areas, knocked down buildings and sent cars floating out to sea.

Strong aftershocks followed the initial earthquake, with at least one measuring a magnitude 5.6. Tsunami alerts were issued for the entire South Pacific region but were later canceled. Survivors fled to high ground and stayed there for hours.

Several villages were destroyed on the southern Samoan coast of Upolu, which is also home to many tourist resorts.

During a flight on from Auckland, New Zealand to Apia, Samoa, Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi told reporters he was shocked by the disaster. “So much has gone. So many people are gone. I’m so shocked, so saddened by all the loss.”

“The situation is very bad,” said Marie-Francoise Borel, a spokesperson for the International Red Cross, to the CTV News Channel by telephone. “This massive wave has swept across – it’s destroyed villages, it’s destroyed homes, people are in shock.”

The assistant chief executive of Samoa’s disaster management predicted that the death toll in the country could surpass one hundred, saying that searches for bodies in the region are still ongoing.

“They are still continuing the searches for any missing bodies in the area. Some areas have been flattened and the tsunami had brought a lot of sand onshore, so there have been reports the sand has covered some of the bodies. So we need specialised machines to search for bodies that are buried under the sand,” he said.

The communications head for the International Federation of the Red Cross, Jason Smith, told the Al Jazeera news agency that the Red Cross “[…] is working hard through five evacuation centres to provide people with safe places to stay and access to clean water,” estimating that up to 15,000 people in sixty villages were affected by the tsunami.

At the capital of American Samoa, Pago Pago, the tsunami measured 1.57 meters in height. The superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa Mike Reynolds reported four waves as high as six meters. People who experienced the quake said it was long, lasting from 90 seconds to three minutes.

We’re focused on bringing in the assistance for people that have been injured, and for the immediate needs of the tens of thousands of survivors down there.

Pago Pago city streets were strewn with overturned vehicles, cars, and debris. Some buildings located only slightly above sea level were completely destroyed by the waves, and power in some locations is not expected to be restored for up to a month. FEMA administrator Craig Fugate said that “we’re focused on bringing in the assistance for people that have been injured, and for the immediate needs of the tens of thousands of survivors down there.”

“The first federal team members are currently en route to American Samoa aboard a Coast Guard plane and will be providing on the ground assessments once they arrive on the island,” Fugate said. “FEMA, who has provisions pre-positioned in a distribution center in Hawaii, is also preparing to send supplies as needed to help meet the immediate needs of the survivors.”

Didi Afuafi, 28, who was riding on a bus in American Samoa when the tsunami struck, described her experiences. “I was scared. I was shocked. All the people on the bus were screaming, crying and trying to call their homes. We couldn’t get on cell phones. The phones just died on us. It was just crazy,” she said. “This is going to be talked about for generations.”

US President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in American Samoa, and has sent federal aid to support local recovery efforts in the US territory.

“My deepest sympathies are with the families who lost loved ones and many people who have been affected by the earthquake and the tsunami,” Obama said. He had earlier pledged in a written statement to give a “swift and aggressive” government response to the disaster.

“I am closely monitoring these tragic events, and have declared a major disaster for American Samoa, which will provide the tools necessary for a full, swift and aggressive response,” Obama said.

During a Wednesday appearance near Washington, D.C., the president said the US was ready to help its “friends” in neighboring Samoa and throughout the region.

In Tonga, seven people were confirmed dead and another three missing, after waves struck Niuatoputapu, a northern island.Acting prime minister Lord Tuita said in a statement that “according to information gathered from Niuatoputapu so far, seven people are confirmed dead, three missing and four with very serious injuries,” Lord Tuita, the acting prime minister, said in a statement. “It is reported that the tsunami did serious damage to the village of Hihifo, which is like the capital of the island.

“The hospital on the island is reported to have suffered major damage; telephone communication has been cut as a result of damage to equipment and facilities on the island; homes and government buildings have been destroyed,” he said.

An airplane was reportedly chartered by Tongan authorities to determine the amount of damage done to Niuatoputapu, but wasn’t able to land.

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Australian Police alerted to child-sex claims at St Stanislaus in 1997

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Following the escalation of investigations into St Stanislaus College in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia, Wikinews has obtained a police statement from an alleged victim made in 1997 against priest Brian Joseph Spillane. Spillane is facing 33 charges relating to the allegations.

It had been believed that Bathurst detectives set up Strike Force Header after receiving a complaint from a former St Stanislaus student last year. The complainant came to the police’s attention after he came to Bathurst handing out fliers documenting alleged abuses at the school and providing a link to a website he had set up. St Stanislaus College contacted police and asked them to investigate. Police contacted the alleged victim and asked him if he would like to make a complaint.

In the statement obtained by Wikinews, the same man complained to detectives at Kalgoorlie, Western Australia about abuse by Spillane at St Stanislaus. In the graphic statement, he describes abuse which began following a poker game with the priest at the centre of the allegations. The statement describes further abuses spanning several months.

Bathurst Police refused to comment when contacted about the statement today.

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Queensland Premier denies March 28 election

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Despite fuelling speculation of a March 28 election, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has indicated that she will serve a full term. The Courier-Mail reported that the premier was moving to “tie off issues that could hurt Labor’s prospects” in the election.

However, Anthony Chisholm, Australian Labor Party state secretary, has indicated that it does not mean an early election would be called.

“I’ve got no idea on timing – the Premier has indicated she intends on going full term,” he said.

The government move to set up a lobbyist register, a 1998 election promise, and to reined-in judicial entitlements that involved magistrate Di Fingleton.

An inquiry has also been set up to address continuing concerns at Bundaberg Base Hospital. The inquiry was announce by health minister Stephen Robertson a day after he said that the issue was dated.

The quick actions to quell these issues encouraged fresh conjecture from the opposition Liberal National Party that the election would be held next month, possibly on the 28th. This would be legal as the Queensland Electoral Act (1992) requires the election campaign to last between 26 and 56 days.

Early election or not, several minor parties have already nominated candidates for a number of electorates. Notably, The Greens will run environmental lawyer Larissa Waters in Mt Coo-tha against treasurer Andrew Fraser, the Socialist Alliance will run Sam Watson in the premiers South Brisbane electorate and Daylight Saving for South East Queensland will run candidates in South East Queensland electorates only.

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Mobile Payment Services

Submitted by: Eadie Dynah

Several end users today have confidence in their mobile a lot more than their financial institution when it comes to manage income. Mobile payment, also referred to as M-payment or m-payment, is at forefront of this technological innovation, development and creating this component of have confidence in and security. The enhancement of security has seen the use of mobile funds transfer and transactions enhance equally in quantity of products and solutions purchased, as nicely as value.Cellular payment is a new and rapidly-adopting choice payment strategy – especially in Asia and Europe. Alternatively of having to pay with cash, cheque or credit cards, a buyer can use a mobile telephone to shell out for a vast variety of services or challenging goods these kinds of as. &bull Music, video clips, ringtones, online video game subscription or products, wallapers and other digital products. &bull Transportation fare (bus, subway or train), parking meters and other providers &bull Books, magazines, tickets and other difficult products.Combined industry for all varieties of cellular payments is expected to get to much more than $600B globally by 2013.In a planet dominated by networked communications, comfort is the essential to almost everything. Mobile income supplies a cashless, rapidly and easy way for your buyers to deal with all their economic transactions, from property, office or whilst travelling around the globe. From telephone banking to web banking and now to mobile payment solutions, the continuously modifying financial solutions landscape has stepped up to incorporate complete answers to deal with cash from any area. Mobile economic providers are the future, bridging the distance amongst banks and telecommunications, integrating the innovative platforms of mobile cell phone networks and protected economic systems. As a result, absolutely everyone who can make a payment via their cellular system wishes one hundred% protection andsecurity for every single transaction.Mobile payment is establishing speedily in latest years and will increase speedily in the pursuing a long time. Presently, MNOs (Mobile Network Operator), banking institutions, remedy providers, mobile terminal suppliers and other 3rd events are participating in the innovation of supplying cellular monetary support. Mobile Payment solution is typically primarily based on SMS, WAP, Internet, USSD and RFID, operators can produce diversified mobile payment services on 1 platform to make use a lot more simpler and helpful for subscribers, meanwhile keeping away from more investment and issues in operation of many platforms so as to reduce operators’ CAPEX and OPEX.With this solution, subscribers can make payments directly from their cellular cell phone at their ease from either a lender account or a cellular wallet for generating Credit card payment (client to economic institution) Bills (consumer to utility company or service provider).Mobile organization-to-exchange could be utilized for payments produced by stores to wholesalers for receipt of consumer goods, salary, commission and pension disbursements manufactured by companies and governments to individuals and social advantage distributions from firms and governments to men and women.In building countries wherever the vast majority of the population is unbanked, cellular business-to-exchange can play the function that direct deposits play in industrialized nations.All the stakeholders, cellular cell phone operators, developers and manufactures of payment systems, regulatory and standardization bodies and companies companies are now doing work jointly to make the cellular payments a industrial accomplishment. They are informed that the industry is attaining mass popularity and reaching ‘critical’ mass. The recent testing of mobile payment technologies at mass scale has elevated prospective customers for mobile payment’s application in a lot more regions and a quicker expansion in future.Advantages for Mobile Network Operators &bull Added Worth to your brand name picture &bull Additional recurrent and continuous revenue supply &bull Greater loyalty and have confidence in from customers &bull Strengthen the marketplace reveal by offering far more appeal extra interactive providers to clientsPositive aspects for Mobile Subscribers &bull Removes the need to have to have ready cash &bull The assistance is available anytime and wherever you require it &bull Create ease via real-time, safe, paperless transaction &bull The subscriber can shell out for equally products and services anytime and everywhere


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A battle between AMD and Intel takes place at 2007 Taipei IT Month

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

On the third day of the 2007 Taipei IT Month in Taiwan yesterday, notebook computers and desktop computers built with AMD’s Phenom processor and Intel Penryn processor openly battled for the consumer-market after each company launched their quad core processors.

Intel with partners like Acer, Genuine, ASUS, and Lenovo promoted their desktops with Core 2 Quad and notebooks with Centrino Duo, even though Intel didn’t plan to exhibit in IT Month. Intel’s Taiwan division is holding two road shows for DIY experts. One was on December 1 while the second will be on December 8.

AMD, on the other hand, put on a showcase for IT Month with a Bee Movie booth-style exhibit at halls 1 and 3 of the Taipei World Trade Center. AMD’s subsidiary company ATI showcased HDMI and Full HD with a demonstration of a new graphic card named “Radeon HD2000”.

As the two rivals postured over factors like performance and high-definition, Wikinews reporter Rico Shen interviewed some of their partners. BenQ and Micro-Star International both said: “No matter whether the consumer chooses a computer with AMD or Intel, the consumer should consider it based on functionality and practically before purchasing. For example, some low-price notebook computers (EeePC, OLPC) were launched before the show because notebook computer manufacturers had considered and evaluated what a consumer really want. Sincerely, I recommend a consumer not be fooled by a its price but to consider its functionality first!”

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New fossils from 10 million year old ape found in Ethiopia

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Researchers say that new, ten million-year-old fossils found in Ethiopia, prove that the theory that humans may have evolved from a species of great apes eight million years ago, may not be true, but that humans may have split from apes as long as 10.5 million years ago.

At least nine fossilized teeth, one canine tooth and eight molars, of a previously unknown species of apes found in Africa were discovered by a team of researchers from Ethiopia and Japan who then compared the 3-D make up of the teeth to other fossils that date back as far as 8 million years and found that the fossils are likely a “direct ancestor” of apes currently living in Africa and that the new ape fossils were that of a species of gorilla who ate mostly plants high in fiber.

Current fossils and research say that the evolutionary split from apes to humans occurred at least eight million years ago. The new fossils say that the split may have happened as long as 10.5 million years ago.

“Based on this fossil, that means the split is much earlier than has been anticipated by the molecular evidence. That means everything has to be put back,” said researcher at the Rift Valley Research Service in Ethiopia and a co-author of the study, Berhane Asfaw.

Despite the finds, other researchers are not convinced that the findings are correct.

“It is stretching the evidence to base a time scale for the evolution of the great apes on this new fossil. These structures appear on at least three independent lineages of apes, including gorillas, and they could relate to a dietary shift rather than indicating a new genetic trait,” said a Professor at the London Natural History Museum in the United Kingdom, Peter Andrews who also added, “but the fossil evidence for the evolution of our closest living relatives, the great apes, is almost non-existent.

Researchers have named the newly discovered species Cororapithecus abyssinicus whose remains were found in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, the same place where the remains of Lucy were discovered in 1974.

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Fifteen people killed in attack on Nigerian college

Friday, September 19, 2014

Officials said at least fifteen people were killed in an attack on a teachers training college in the Northern Nigerian city of Kano by a group of armed gunmen on Wednesday. Over 30 others were wounded.

News agencies have reported while there has been no claim of responsibility, suspicion will likely fall on the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. The group has previously targeted Western-style schools within the country, including past attacks on secondary schools.

According to official reports, police first approached the group in the area of the school, concerned about their unusual activity, and the attackers engaged police in a firefight. The attackers gained entry to the school and started throwing bombs.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan described the incident as a “dastardly attack”. He has already declared a state of emergency in three northern states, and is being criticized along with the country’s armed forces for failure to prevent extremist attacks.

A police spokesman said police killed two attackers at the scene.

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