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Law / Six Simple Ways to Increase Legal Document Security
« on: June 08, 2017, 11:48:32 AM »
The digital age has made our lives easier in many ways, eliminating the need to transfer documents using older mediums like “snail mail,” but certain challenges still arise when it comes to proving the legitimacy of a digital document.
The luxuries afforded by digital signatures and high-tech documentation mediums expand all the time, but it’s important to understand where the weak points are in these technologies so you can avoid exposing your clients or your personal data. Here are few suggestions on how to stay secure.
Ensure Compliance
Make certain the document you’re signing and the technology you’re using to sign it are compliant under the Federal E-Sign Act.
If you’re involved in something high-stakes, we recommend avoiding any risk and simply having a lawyer review the document before you use an e-signature.
Keep Backups Of Documents
It makes sense to make copies of physical documents you sign, so why would you allow there to be only a single final copy of an important digital document? Keep a private copy of any digitally-signed documents that pass through your hands and rename them so they aren’t confused with the original.
Don’t Copy/Paste
Good signature software will collect an image of your mark and store it somewhere in encrypted format for comparison against future signatures. Don’t simply copy/paste your signature from an old document onto a later document, there is no certificate — the digital locator for your signature — associated with this mark, so it can’t give any guarantee of security.
Use A Trusted Application
Unless you’re a software engineer, it can be difficult to assess whether a document uses a trustworthy method of authentication just by looking at it. Many programs are capable of creating a document with some type of signature field.
There are best-of-breed programs in this market space, and you should know what they are and how to recognize them. This review by the team at Capterra contains quite a few, along with feedback about what worked well and what didn’t. eSignLive, DocuSign and Adobe Document Cloud all offer this service, along with many more.
Keep It Local
If you have the ability to do so, a strong knowledge of where exactly your data is stored and what security measures are in front of it is valuable. Storing data on foreign networks could increase your exposure to threats, and a platform that uses only domestic resources will typically provide you more robust security. That means better peace of mind.
Know When To Sign In-Person
There are still some situations where hardcopy is just necessary. If you don’t know what these are, we’re here to help.
If there is the potential for a deceased person to be involved, for example, when dealing with matters of insurance or estate documents, you must use a hardcopy document because the person cannot respond to questions about intent to sign the document. The E-Sign act also makes it such that Eviction notices, court orders and other imperative orders require a physical signature to be effective.
Signing your life away has never been enjoyable, but you have to admit that with the advent of these new technologies, processes such as purchasing property or navigating legal matters have become much quicker.
Of course, you should read every document you sign in its entirety, no matter how you sign, and be vigilant to make sure good security is in place every time.(Law and Technology Today)

Travel / Visit / Tour / A forgotten underground world
« on: October 04, 2016, 08:42:32 AM »
To some, a deserted public housing block or a derelict hospital is nothing but a waste of space. But to the explorers behind anonymous collective HK Urbex (Hong Kong Urban Exploration), these forgotten buildings reveal another side of Hong Kong, beyond the shimmering skyscrapers and glitzy malls.
“Sometimes we’re the last people to step foot in a building before it’s demolished,” said Pripyat, an HK Urbex crew member. “And then the next week, it’s gone.”
Inside these crumbling buildings,the explorers often find themselves alone with personal artefacts – portraits, postcards, clothes and photo albums. Every room tells a different story of another era, another experience.
“You inevitably end up doing kind of like detective forensics work,” Pripyat said. “The last place we went, we found an x-ray of a guy that revealed a worrying shadow in his chest. You try to piece together these lives.”

HK Urbex is comprised of eight anonymous adventurers who explore derelict buildings (Credit: Kate Springer)
Founded by Ghost and Echo Delta in 2013, HK Urbex comprises a crew of eight anonymous urban explorers. Most are journalists, videographers and photographers who choose to withhold their identities in hopes of keeping the focus onto the sites, rather than themselves.
Their masks and balaclavas also protect them from asbestos and potentially harmful elements – not to mention law enforcement.
“Not everyone would deem climbing a fence to take a few photos of an antiquated site as legal, so the concealment helps,” Ghost said. “What we’re doing is not about us, it’s about so much more than that.”
Over the past three years, the intrepid team has explored everything from old Chinese Medicine factories to rundown psychiatric wards, historic colonial-era mansions, former British military barracks, prisons, decommissioned hospitals, derelict apartment buildings, metro stations, paint factories and cinemas.

The explorers have visited old military barracks, hospitals, prisons and paint factories (Credit: Kate Springer)
The list covers more than 200 addresses, many of which have since been demolished. Along the way, the crew documents each site’s story with photos, videos, drone footage and even virtual reality.
“It’s about immortalising these sites that are fast disappearing in our city. It’s a form of preservation, really,” Ghost explained. “We also explore train stations, bridges and flood gates. I call them negative spaces – the spaces that exist in limbo between the city that people don’t usually go into.”
Most residents will never see these places. Hong Kong takes a famously passive approach to preservation, instead prioritising the tallest, fastest, biggest developments. The routine demolition of heritage sites – such as historic Queen’s Pier in 2007, Wan Chai's landmark Tung Tak Pawn Shop in 2015 or the slated demolition of the 160-year-old Graham Street Market – has led to public protests and resentment(BBC Travel).

Law / Fears of massive net attacks as code shared online
« on: October 04, 2016, 08:34:04 AM »
Computer code used to mount one of the biggest web attacks ever seen has been released online.

Security experts fear the release will prompt more massive attacks that knock sites offline by swamping them with data.

The attack tool seeks out smart devices in homes that are weakly protected with easy-to-guess passwords.

Net monitoring firms said they had already seen an increase in scans that seek out vulnerable devices.  ( BBC Online)

Venture Capital / The 10 golden rules of investing
« on: November 16, 2015, 11:01:12 AM »
Buy good stocks, funds or bonds cheaply during market slumps, and if you’re on a rollercoaster – you’re not doing it right
Investing does not have to be complicated and it should not be exciting either. Putting your hard-earned money to work in the financial markets is all about helping you get what you want from life while making sure you can sleep easily at night. It is not about riding roller-coasters.
To invest, you need to draw up a clear plan, do your own research, build in a margin of safety by always thinking about the valuation and, ultimately, be patient. By all means include some speculative picks if you wish, but ensure they are only a small part of your portfolio. Looking for an oil explorer whose shares double, treble and double again is exciting but such firms are very rare. There are a lot more which have a consistent record of paying out the dividends which really make the markets work for you, once they are reinvested.
If it sounds simple, it is. Inevitable market slumps can then be embraced as times to buy good stocks, funds or bonds cheaply, not a reason to panic and throw out bad picks at any price.
The trick is how to select the picks which best suit your investment goal, target returns, appetite for risk and time horizon. Our 10 golden rules summarise this entire guide and they should help everyone spot plum portfolio picks and also dodge likely duds.
It bears repetition that the financial markets are a get-rich-slow scheme not a fruit machine. If you lose your discipline you will lose money, heart – and then even more money.
1. Have a plan
Before you put any cash to work, you must know what you are investing for. This will condition your target return, time horizon and appetite for risk and therefore the asset classes best suited for your aims.
2. Never invest in something you do not understand
Peter Lynch of Fidelity was one of the most successful fund managers ever, and he said he never touched anything he could not describe on one sheet of paper with a crayon. You will be angry with yourself if you lose money on something and cannot explain why. Stick to what you know and always do your own research.
3. Do not put all of your eggs in one basket
A diversified portfolio of 12 to 15 stocks, bonds and funds should cover most eventualities and keep something trickling into your savings pot almost whatever the weather assuming they cover a range of different industries and geographies. This number is also practical in terms of dealing costs, newsflow management and performance measurement.
4. Respect the market
Stunning rises and huge crashes show that markets are not efficient, but you must respect their views. When you buy or sell something you are saying the market is wrong, so you need to have a good reason why.
5. It is better to travel than arrive
Financial markets discount – or price in – future events. That is why a share price will sometimes fall on good news and rise on bad, as the valuation already factors in these events.
6. Go against the herd
Punters go skint backing favourites on the horses, and although it may work in the short-term, purely following hyped, momentum names can be dangerous. To get the best long-term returns you will eventually need to sell what everyone is talking about and buy what is being ignored – providing the valuation is right and growth, risk and quality checks are met.
7. Cash is king
Profit is a matter of opinion, cash flow is a matter of fact. Some unscrupulous managers will try and dress up their profits but they cannot fiddle cash. Accidents happen when companies look profitable but generate little cash so focus your research here when looking at individual stocks.
8. Dividend reinvestment is vital
Patient portfolio builders should focus on firms with a strong competitive advantage and a good reason why clients want to pay for their goods or services. This confers the pricing power that enables companies to generate cash and pay the dividends that really get your savings to tot up over time. There are many funds dedicated to such firms, too.
9. It's never different this time
According to fund management legend Sir John Templeton these are the most expensive words in investment. They lead the unwary to pay any price for a good story and forget about valuation with disastrous consequences, as shown by the technology bubble of 1998-2000 and mining boom of 2005-07. If something looks too good to be true it usually is.
10. Focus on value, not price
You would not enter a restaurant and buy a pizza regardless of whether it cost £5, £10, £20 or more. You would use your judgement to decide what is good value, and the same discipline must apply to financial investments. Several simple metrics, in the context of growth, risk and quality, will help you decide whether a valuation is cheap, expensive or about right.(Author: Russ Mould, Investment Director, AJ Bell)

Travel / Visit / Tour / 18 reasons to visit the Philippines
« on: November 15, 2015, 10:49:21 AM »
1. Arguably the cheapest beer in the world
The Philippines has been the home of San Miguel since 1890, with a bottle costing, even now, only about 50p. The Spanish San Miguel was at first an affiliate but it is now an independent brewer. The version drunk everywhere in the Philippines is a fraction of the price of its Spanish namesake and, when chilled by a beach, actually tastes much better.
2. There are 7,107 islands to choose from
In an archipelago of 7,107 islands, ringed by pristine beaches and teeming coral reefs, the main problem with the Philippines is that it can be hard to decide where to lay your towel. Our writer picks his favourite for first-time visitors here.
3. You can play bingo on the plane over
Filipinos have a vivacious sense of humour – as evidenced by Cebu Pacific’s mid-air passenger quizzes and bingo games that will have you chuckling in the aisles and possibly even winning a cuddly toy. The locals' easy-going demeanour helps make visiting a happy experience and lends weight to the tourist board's slogan "It's more fun in the Philippines".
Seven new wonders of the natural world
4. It has the world's longest subterranean river
PP Underground River is a 8.2km navigable river, the world's longest underground, running through a cave system before flowing into the South China Sea. A lagoon framed by ancient trees marks the mouth of the cave. It was recently named one of the seven wonders of the natural world.
5. You can eat quirky purple desserts
Ever wanted to douse a bowl of cornflakes in ice? In the Philippines you can, while adding a scoop or two of psychedelic purple yam ice cream. Halo halo is the name of the cold and crunchy dish.
A halo halo ice cream dessert
6. You can cringe at one of the world’s weirdest snack foods
At the other end of the scale is balut - a partially-developed duck embryo that is boiled and eaten in its shell. Try or avoid, it's certainly one of the world's weirdest foods.
The terraces are the only form of stone construction from the pre-colonial period
7. Rice terraces to make you swoon
Banaue’s rice terraces are majestic. Rising to nearly 3,000 metres, the Cordillera Central mountains in North Luzon provide a dramatic but tranquil alternative for hikers. Banaue is perhaps the most famous attraction in this area, earning the tiny town a place on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites with its ancient, towering rice terraces that were so impressively sculpted from mud-walls more than 2,000 years ago.
Tarsiers do not like being kept as pets
8. Tarsiers are the world’s cutest animal
Nocturnal mammals with rotating heads and bulbous eyes, tarsiers are one of the world’s smallest primates. Many live in Bohol and can be seen in its conservation centre. At less than six inches high, these furry little fellows are shy and endangered.
Philippines: a introductory guide
9. Some of the world's most colourful festivals
If you like riotous costumes, bizarre folklore and dancing in the streets try timing a visit to coincide with a festival like Panagbenga, in Baguio City, or alternatively try Ati-Atihan or Sinulog for religious fervour.
10. The beauty of El Nido
Striking limestone stacks (some shaped like crocodiles, helicopters and dinosaurs) guard tiny golden sand coves here that are best explored on a sailing trip. There are also picturesque lagoons to swim in.
The karst-studded landscapes make this slither of Asia so striking
11. Some of the world’s best diving
Immerse yourself in the underwater world at Tubbataha Reefs National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site that has a 100-metre perpendicular wall, lagoons and two coral islands, or take a boat to see black coral at the Black Forest dive site off Panglao Island.
A colourful coral garden
12. Karaoke is a national sport
In the Philippines, you can belt out a tune in even the shabbiest of roadside shacks. Just don't expect your voice to compare to the dulcet (and well-practiced) tones of locals.
13. Boxing actually is a national sport
If you love the sport then you'll already know about Manny Pacquiao, who most recently made headlines in a flight with Floyd Mayweather Jnr in Vegas. Where Mayweather is crass though, Pacquiao is class, and a star in his home country where rumours that he may one day run for president are not wholly exaggerated.
14. You can snorkel for your dinner
At these three unique restaurants, set on stilts over the sea, guests arrive by boat and are sent overboard with a snorkel to catch their supper. Underneath are nets and you can choose your fish straight from the water. They’ve got baby scallops and oysters, and they’ll scoop up whatever you want, barbecue it and serve it with coconut vinegar, soy sauce, chilli and ginger. That’s it – you eat it with garlic rice and papaya salad. It’s simple, delicious and unadulterated.
Jeepney riding fun
15. Jeepneys will make you never want a taxi again
Colourful jeepneys are one of the world's best forms of public transport. These old US army vehicles left behind after the Second World War have now been individually decorated by their young drivers, covered in crazy slogans and kitsch, flouro religious icons that you are unlikely to find anywhere else. They are also highly sociable - just bang on the side if you want to get off.
16. You can see whale sharks and thresher sharks
Donsol is a reliable place to see whale sharks pass by in season, while threshers can, if you are lucky, be spotted at the bottom of hte sea on a dawn dive from Malapascua island.
A juvenile whale shark eats "uyap", small shrimps, fed to it by a fisherman on a paddleboat  Photo: REUTERS/David Loh
17. Churches are made out of coral
With 90 per cent of the population Christian, the Philippines is South-east Asia with a difference. Rather than the region's characteristic Buddhist temples and monks, here you will see coral-stone churches and incense-waving priests.
18. You can spend Christmas Day on the beach
Filipinos celebrate Christmas with aplomb. The season's main festivities start on December 16 with nine days of dawn mass leading up to Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, feasting on suckling pig starts at midnight. New Year is fun too, with beach parties and fireworks in most resorts. (By Natalie Paris).

Many of the biggest technology companies in the world are opposing a US cybersecurity bill that it is feared could lead to the invasion of citizens’ privacy.
The Senate will soon vote on the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (Cisa), which has wide support across parties and is endorsed by Obama and is intended to allow government agencies and companies to share information about cybersecurity threats. But it is being opposed by most of the world’s tech giants — as well as the government agency that it is intended to help.
The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CISA), which represents companies including Google and Facebook, has written an open letter arguing that the bill could cause “collateral harm” to innocent internet users.
The group recognised that it was important to ensure that threats are shared to ensure that people remain safe.
“However, CCIA is unable to support CISA as it is currently written,” the association’s policy counsel wrote. “CISA’s prescribed mechanism for sharing of cyber threat information does not sufficiently protect users’ privacy or appropriately limit the permissible uses of information shared with the government.
“In addition, the bill authorizes entities to employ network defense measures that might cause collateral harm to the systems of innocent third parties.”(The Independent)

Law / Why Russia had to intervene in Syria
« on: October 20, 2015, 08:32:11 AM »
Russia's actions against terrorists are already bringing tangible results on the ground, and there is still time for Britain to get its share of the bombing pie, says the Russian Ambassador to the UK
Russia has been one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s strongest allies over recent years, and used its veto power four times at the UN Security Council to prevent international sanctions on Syria AP
Combating international terrorism has long been one of the top priorities of Russia's foreign policy. We have been consistently advocating genuinely global efforts in countering that evil. The fight against terrorism must be conducted on a universal legal basis, starting with the UN Charter. That is why Russia has been unable to join the US-led “global coalition” against Isis. The coalition was established in circumvention of the UN Security Council, and its operations in Syria violate the sovereignty of that country.
The fight against Isis can gain legitimacy only through a UN Security Council mandate. So far the Security Council has been blocked by attempts of a group of states to impose an ideological approach to this direct common threat. The Russian draft resolution on combating terrorist groups in the Middle East, while respecting the independence of countries of the region, remains on the table.
Russia calls for establishing a broad counter-terrorist front. Robustly addressing the threat of Isis and other terrorist groups in the region requires a joint and coordinated action by all those who are already fighting Isis on the ground. Those include the Syrian and Iraqi armies, the Kurdish and Shia militias, and groups of patriotic opposition in Syria. The recent meetings at the UN General Assembly have shown that nobody is enthused at the prospect of destruction of the regional architecture and replacement of secular states with an extremist “caliphate”.
While those diplomatic efforts are gaining momentum, Russia remains the only international player whose military actions in Syria have a legal basis in the form of the request of the government in Damascus. Our air strikes in Syria are solely focused on the elimination of the terrorist threat in that country. As regards the choice of targets, the Russian Defence Ministry has shown an unprecedented openness, providing comprehensive and detailed information on every single operation of the Russian Air Force, on a daily basis. Yet any information that our partners can share regarding potential Isis targets to be hit, will be highly appreciated. So far we haven't had any responses to our respective requests.
Russia's actions are already bringing tangible results on the ground. Several hundred air strikes have allowed to degrade significantly Isis command and logistical infrastructure. This is in stark contrast with the widely recognised and admitted inefficiency of the US-led coalition. After more than a year of bombing, Isis' ranks have swollen, their control over some regions has strengthened, and financial flows have been steady.
As we said, Britain can have its fair share of the bombing pie in Syria. We’d rather know what resources Her Majesty’s Government is willing to commit to this joint endeavour. As year-long bombing campaign by the US-led coalition showed, the lack of healthy competition and mutual control benefited the terrorist. Hopefully, that is changing now. In terms of legitimacy, the British participation could be part of the operation of the quadripartite coalition, acting at the request of Damascus.
The accusations that Isis is a product of Russia's “insistence” on keeping President Assad in power are absolutely untenable. What is true is that the weakening of the Syrian authorities caused by the outside interference has led to vacuum and vast zones of anarchy throughout the country, that were filled by terrorists. The so called moderate opposition was led to believe that a Western military intervention would engineer a “regime change”, that somebody would fight for them. Consequently, as civil war raged, polarisation left little room for those misled groups.
Indeed, while solving the problem of terrorism, we certainly must facilitate the launch of a UN-led focused and comprehensive political process based on the Geneva communiqué of 30 June 2012. Defeating terrorists will help create the right conditions for a lasting political settlement. It will be the best way to put an end to the civil conflict and achieve а “peace without victory”, something that the Entente powers couldn’t stomach in 1918.  After all, it is peace all the Syrians are longing for.
(The Independent) By Alexander Yakovenko is the Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom

Law / Is studying law boring?
« on: October 05, 2015, 09:27:20 AM »
In an episode of The Simpsons, the juvenile delinquent Jimbo Jones helps a group which is trying to reduce crime in the community. The scheme, however, goes badly wrong. Disenchanted, Jimbo turns to another member and says "Hey man, you've really let me down. Now I don't believe in anything anymore. I'm joining Law School".
Although law is sometimes portrayed as a dull discipline pursued by ethically dubious practitioners, it is a spellbindingly vivid and varied subject which affects every part of human life.
Physics, history, Spanish, business, architecture, and other subjects are all vital disciplines but law permeates into every cell of social life. Law governs everything from the embryo to exhumation. Law regulates the air we breathe, the food and drink that we consume, our travel, sexuality, family relationships, our property, sport, science, employment, education, and health, everything in fact from neighbour disputes to war.
A university law degree is the most adaptable of academic qualifications. Only people who want to become doctors study medicine whereas people with diverse career plans study law.
Many law graduates, of course, do go on to become solicitors or barristers but, equally, many others use the qualification to become successful in companies, academic research, the media, the civil service, local government, teaching, campaign organisations, and politics - over 80 MPs, for example, have law degrees.
Being educated in logical thinking, the articulate expression of complex ideas, the composition and art of argument, and how to use evidence and rules, law graduates have an excellent record of employability. A law degree can prepare someone for work at the highest levels – many world leaders are lawyers including Barack Obama. Other law graduates such as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Derren Brown, Gaby Logan, and Gerard Butler, chose different careers.
Historically, legal education had a bad start. The law schools set up in London in the early thirteenth-century were banned in 1234 by a writ of Henry III. He thought trouble would come from people knowing the law. Later, it was the disciples of Jeremy Bentham who launched the first degree in English law, at University College London in 1826. The first graduating class of three was in 1839.
Legal study develops organically in line with social needs. Today, areas of study and practice like sports law, media law, immigration law, human rights, and international criminal justice are very important, though they did not exist as recently as fifty years ago.
Much legal study involves reading and discussing the decisions of appeal courts. Only particularly unusual cases are appealed so the law reports are brimming with interesting and unusual human dramas.
There are over a million decisions you can study – reading them all, though, is not compulsory as your law lecturers appreciate the need for you also to engage in essential life-supporting activity such as sleep. You will learn many areas of law including the rules that determine whether a judge is being impartial, how contracts are made, and how careful the law requires people to be when they do everything including surgery, sport, science, and even manoeuvre during sex.
The courts showcase a constant run of extraordinary and bizarre cases spanning eight hundred years, and there are many colourful decisions from other jurisdictions. Recent examples have included whether you can sell your soul on the internet, a court order which forbade a man from laughing in public, a lawyer who tried to use quotations from the film The Hangover in arguing for his drunken client, another lawyer who was caught using Wikipedia for his arguments, and the question of whether a vibrating condom is technically a contraceptive or a sex toy.
Law is an organic body of rules and good lawyers help to reshape it. As one judge, Lord Denning, noted in a case in 1954, just because something has never been argued before doesn't mean it is wrong. He said:
"If we never do anything which has not been done before, we shall never get anywhere. The law will stand still while the rest of the world goes on: and that will be bad for both".
Knowing the law is empowering. The American comedian Jerry Seinfeld said that a lawyer is "the person who knows the rules of the country". He said "we are all throwing the dice, playing the game, moving our pieces around the board, but if there is a problem the lawyer is the only person who has read the inside of the top of the box". Controlling everything, law is a constantly stimulating and hugely important game.
(Gary Slapper-----The Guardian).

Law / The 10 rudest things people do at work
« on: September 08, 2015, 02:23:08 PM »
Nobody likes to think they are “that guy” at work. But bad behaviour at work is rife – and often we do it without thinking. Crimes against office etiquette range from revolting personal habits and poor electronic manners to being a cheapskate and stealing ideas. So, what are some of the rudest things that people do at work – and why shouldn’t you do them?
1. Gross behaviour
The most common form of this is eating smelly foods at lunchtime - eat all the egg mayonnaise sandwiches you want, but do it at home where you do not pollute the airspace of your colleagues. Other olfactory offences include BO (yes, Steve Jobs had it, but you’re not Steve Jobs) and its opposite, the wearing of strong perfume or aftershave. Then there’s messy desks, the hanging of sweaty cycling kit to dry, bad breath, not flushing loos.... and the really weird stuff like clipping toenails at your desk. It’s worth remembering that all these things will become part of your personal brand. In fact, they’ll become the most important part: no matter how good you are at your job, you’ll still be “the guy who picks his nose and eats it when he thinks no-one is looking.”
2. Bad language
A 2013 Harris Interactive survey for Randstad USA listed “profanity” as the top workplace offensive behaviour. This was in the US, but in the less puritanical (and perhaps less prissily professional) UK, a little workplace swearing is probably OK. But what is not OK is endless swearing, swearing in front of people you don’t know and aggressive swearing. If nobody reacts when you say the c-word, it’s probably time to rein it in a little.
3. Never buying your round
Once confined to the pub after work, this form of rudeness has found a new, all-day outlet: the coffee shop. Nothing makes you look more like the office skinflint than never standing your round of cappuccinos. Particularly unforgivable are bosses who endlessly send the team junior to get the coffees but never fork out for them. It’s fine not to go to Starbucks because you have an important job that pays £150k a year, but what is not fine is making the guy who earns £15k a year eat the tab. Think of paying for the team’s lattes as a high-performing investment in not being hated.
4. Checking email on your phone when you’re talking to other people
Buzzfeed recently did an online poll where 49 per cent of people said their bosses checked their phones while talking with them. But let’s think about what this says: it says that the possibility of an interesting email is more valuable than the flesh and blood person you are actually talking to. If you’ve ever wondered why your team members are unmotivated, well, this may be why. In fact, when you’re talking to someone at work, really, you should reject any non-important calls. Seriously, try doing this. It’s amazing watching the other person’s face light up as they realise that they are your number-one priority.
5. Boasting about how much you earn
Even in roles like finance and sales where you are are effectively “scored” by what you earn, a little bit of game theory suggests that it’s better to be coy. If you brag to someone then discover you get less than them, you’ll look a fool - and if you earn more, they’ll resent you. So keep them guessing and signal your earning power in more subtle ways - like always paying for the team coffees.
6. Not giving others credit for ideas
We’ve all been in meetings where we hear something we suggested a few days ago trip off the tongue of someone else, entirely uncredited. Usually they explain it better too – as they’ve had a bit of time to think about it. Doing this is always a bad move. If you steal Bob’s idea, Bob will hate you and start a whispering campaign behind your back. But if you credit Bob you’ll earn his gratitude, look decent and still have the kudos for recognising a good idea. Moreover, you won’t have to worry about getting your fingers caught in the ideas-till at a later date. This is a great image, but it’s not mine; it’s an adaptation of something Martin Amis wrote about plagiarism. See what I did there?
7. Superiority
Everyone has their eyes on promotion and to an extent we try to mirror the behaviour of those above us. Unfortunately, we often get it wrong by sucking up to the brass and treating our peers and underlings like something we found on our shoes. But this is a losing gambit. Brown-nosing senior managers makes you look untrustworthy and sycophantic; they want people who deliver more than empty compliments. Moreover, your peers will resent and dislike you. So by all means, network with your superiors, but do so by bringing something to the table. Remember too that being nice to junior staff (who don’t expect it) can often pay big future dividends.
8. Passive aggressive behaviour
Emailing colleagues who sit next to you, taking an unreasonably long time to respond to requests, forgetting to pass on messages... If you’re doing little things that feel like cheap victories over colleagues, the important word here is “cheap” not victories. You need to be the bigger person. Ask yourself why the colleague annoys you and then either decide a) that it’s not a big deal and you can live with it or b) you need to speak to them and clear the air. The alternative is keeping up the behaviour in question until they call you out – and if they do, you will almost certainly look bad.
9. Talking over other people
Do you like the sound of your own voice? Great. Perhaps it’s time you learned to like the sound of other people’s voices too. If you interrupt others when they speak, they’ll resent you and discount whatever it is you’re saying. And if you routinely take up three quarters of the meeting with your monologues, people will turn off and, quite rightly, start checking email on their phones. However, if you listen to what others say and show interest by asking intelligent questions, they’ll love you and be likely to give you their support when you speak. In fact, people love good listeners so much, they routinely describe them as intelligent and interesting when they’ve barely spoken.
10. Poor email etiquette
Nearly two decades after it became widespread, there are still people who don’t get email. Perhaps they forward everything, like an elderly relative with bad jokes or perhaps they cc everyone in. Perhaps they expect instant replies or perhaps they just keep endless group conversations going long after they became both useless and unintelligible. Anyway, good email etiquette is easy. Less is more and if a conversation is more than four emails long, pick up the phone. Remember too that being a bad emailer is like talking too much. Because you’re such a source of waffle, when you finally do have send an important email, it’ll get treated as marginally more important than spam. (The Telegraph)

Lower trading liquidity has resulted in "air pockets" causing prices in debt markets to swing wildly for another day

Debt traders suffered another turbulent day of trading on Tuesday, as a global rout in government bonds extended, which some analysts warned might merely be a sign of worse to come.
The prices of government bonds fell across the developed world, including a major German bond sell-off labelled as "large and vicious" by Goldman Sachs analysts.
The yields on 10-year German government notes - which move in the opposite direction to their price - rose by more than 20pc, settling 11pc higher as the day drew to a close.
US Treasuries also rocked back and forth as yields on the bonds climbed by as much as 3.7pc before falling back down to earth, retracing their movements and sliding 2pc below where they began.
Volatility in the bond markets manifested in other markets, driving down the FTSE by 1.3pc and knocking the US S&P500 to the tune of 0.4pc.
The recent sell-off has lacked a single catalyst. Rather, analysts suggested that the correction reflected stretched valuations in the debt markets as investors have struggled to reposition themselves due to thin supply.
Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank, said: “It’s not really obvious what caused the sell-off. Everyone seems to have different theories.” Low levels of liquidity have exacerbated the present movements, resulting in larger jumps back and forth as markets seek the correct prices for bonds.
Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) said: “The cumulative result of so much central bank support is that the market’s emotional gap between fear and greed has narrowed.”
“This has ultimately given rise to more erratic price swings,” the US bank’s staff said. As investors have attempted to reposition themselves to take account of higher oil prices - a sign that deflation may have been defeated - lower liquidity has made it difficult to make trades.
Financial regulations introduced since the crisis have required banks to hold more bonds, as quantitative easing schemes have meant central banks hold many on their own balance sheets, reducing the number available to trade on the open market.
Simultaneously, central banks have attempted to boost so-called “high money liquidity” with quantitative easing schemes and their close to zero interest rates. “What has become increasingly clear over the last couple of years is that the combination of high money liquidity and low trading liquidity creates air pockets,” said Mr Reid.

He continued: “It’s a worry that these events are occurring in relatively upbeat markets. I can't helping thinking that when the next downturn hits the lack of liquidity in various markets is going to be chaotic. These increasingly regular liquidity issues we're seeing might be a mild dress rehearsal.”
David Absolon, an investment director at Heartwood Investment Management, said that the “recent market volatility is a result of repositioning rather than anything more sinister”. He pointed out that the yields on riskier high yielding credit had remained “relatively stable”.
“Nevertheless, a lot of investors have been feeling the pain in the short term, including some high profile trend-following hedge funds,” Mr Absolon said. Holders of the 30-year German bund have faced capital losses of 15pc over the past couple of weeks, he said.

Tradeweb data showed that more than a quarter of all euro-denominated sovereign debt traded with a negative yield last Friday, far lower than the near 36pc that did less than a month earlier on April 13.
The rise in yields has been good news for Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), creating more room for the central bank to continue its bond buying programme. The ECB has pledged to buy up €60bn of assets a month, the majority of which are government bonds, until September 2016 or when inflation appears on a path back to its target.
Analysts have cautioned that the size of the debt market the ECB can buy assets in has been small, and made smaller still as more of the yields on the available pool have turned negative. The ECB has committed to not buying bonds yielding less than its deposit rate, which is currently set at minus 0.2pc. (The Telegraph)

On the eve of a ten-day hearing, which is likely to cost £250,000 in legal costs, the judge urged her to reach an out-of-court settlement with her estranged husband A judge has told a former beauty queen that divorce battles are “like a boxing match” as he urged her to reach an out-of-court settlement with her estranged husband. On the eve of a ten-day hearing, which is likely to cost £250,000 in legal costs on top of £1 million the couple have already spent, Mr Justice Holman told Ekaterina and Richard Fields their fight over £6m in assets was “unedifying”. He said: “"It's awful. Don't you think it's awful? It's like a boxing match. You and Mr Fields were married to each other for 10 years roughly. You have got two children. It really doesn't have to be like this. It should never have got this far. "Think about what each of you could have done with a million pounds. Just think." He asked Mrs Fields whether she had ever experienced litigation before, and she said she had not. He added: "You should not be going on like this. Frankly, it is very, very unedifying." He urged them to avoid the "painful destructive experience" of having to give evidence against each other in open court, and said it filled him with "gloom" to see them fighting when they should be sitting around a table negotiating a fair settlement. Five times married businessman Mr Fields, 59, became the second husband of 42-year-old Ekaterina Parfenova, a Russian-born model, actress and philanthropist, in 2002. She is a former Miss World University. They have two young children and although a decree nisi was granted in March 2013 it has never been made absolute while they battled over money. Mr Justice Holman is today due to start hearing evidence in the dispute in the Family Division of the High Court in London. Mrs Fields was originally looking for a home in London for around £500,000, but in the two years that have elapsed since divorce proceedings started property prices have soared. She also wants maintenance payments from his £1.3m annual income, which comes from his company funding litigation in America. She also felt she was "cheated" when he closed down a company in which she owned 22.5 per cent of the shares to set up a new company where he owned all the shares, leaving her with shares in a worthless shell company. Mr Fields is chairman and chief executive of Juridica Asset Management Ltd, which is described on its company website as “one of the most successful litigation funding firms in the world”. It boasts that it has clawed back more than $3 billion for its clients over the years. He was previously a partner at a law firm in Washington DC. Mr Fields had asked for the hearing to be held behind closed doors, but Mr Justice Holman refused. He said: “There is a very long tradition in this country of open justice. We sit in the name of the sovereign but on behalf of the public. How can people have any confidence in the way the system is being operated if they are excluded? "The press have to be in here unless it is necessary to exclude them. “Barristers have got to understand that so far as this judge is concerned and this court is concerned there is a very, very high public interest ... in openness. "The public are entitled not just to hear the sanitised judgment that a judge gives, they are entitled to hear the evidence and argument upon which he has based that judgment. They are entitled to see the judge at work." The hearing continues. (The Telegraph)

Prosecutors believe they have enough smuggled documents for war crimes trial against senior Syrian officials if ever the conflict reaches an international court
A three-year covert investigation inside Syria has collected enough evidence to support criminal charges against Bashar al-Assad and many of his top officials, according to a report in The Guardian.
The cases cover the Syrian regime's brutal response to the protests that led to civil war in 2011.
The evidence against 24 senior officials has been collected for the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA) which is building prosecutions for any war crimes tribunal established in the future.
At present, Mr Assad and his government are protected from prosecution at the International Criminal Court by Russian and Chinese veto power at the United Nations.
The commission is working with a team of 50 Syrian investigators – including members of the armed opposition - who have smuggled regime documents out of the country. One has been killed and others detained by regime forces.
The chief investigator, Adel (a pseudonym), told The Guardian: “The work has caused a lot of stress in my family.
“There are long absences and constant fear. But I still believe in the cause of justice. I hope one day to see a court that would try the senior leadership and hold it accountable for the crimes committed.”
More than 210,000 people have died since protests erupted four years ago, and more than 11million people have fled their homes.
The Syrian regime is accused of using poison gas and indiscriminate bombing as it clings to power.
The commission is working on three cases.
The first against the Central Crisis Management Cell – set up to quell the protests - names Assad, Assad, Mohammad al-Shaar, the minister of the interior, and Mohammed Said Bekheitan, an assistant secretary of the Ba’ath party.
The two others focus on the National Security Bureau and the Security Committee of Deir al-Zor province. (The Telegraph)

Law / Re: Why US unsigned the Rome Statute ?
« on: March 05, 2015, 01:56:56 PM »
Not really surprised! 

Law / Brazil judge suspended over tycoon's Porsche
« on: March 04, 2015, 04:01:18 PM »
A judge in Brazil has been suspended from a high-profile case against Eike Batista, a tycoon who is accused of insider trading, officials say.
Flavio Roberto de Souza was deemed unfit to continue because he was caught driving home in Mr Batista's Porsche.
The judge said police had no appropriate place to park the car - confiscated by his own order - so he took it home for safe keeping.
The judge's decisions in the case are now annulled, meaning a likely retrial.
A number of car belonging to Mr Batista have been confiscated by a court order
A new judge is expected to be appointed in the case, which began last November.
Mr Batista was once Brazil's richest person, with an estimated $30bn (£20bn) fortune.
He is accused of manipulating market charges in the sales of shares of two of his companies. He has denied wrongdoing.
If convicted, he faces up to 13 years in prison.

Career Opportunity / Re: Communication In Job
« on: March 04, 2015, 10:57:34 AM »
Please explain further.

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