Category Archives: News and Views

Tax Scams are Once Again on the Rise | Small Biz Trends

Tax scammers are again at work and your small businesses could be vulnerable just like other consumers. Authorities insist calls from scammers claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service are on the rise around the country.

Just in case you are not aware of this tax scam, it works on fear and intimidation by the criminals. They call their victims and leave a menacing message on voice mail stating you have a warrant for your arrest because of a tax violation. When you call the number to find out what it is all about, the ruse continues to play out until they talk you into sending them money.

Here’s what you need to protect your business and yourself.

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Not one Paris attacker has been identified as a Syrian refugee | Mashable

In the wake of the Paris attacks, politicians in the United States and Europe are claiming that the movement of refugees and migrants across Europe’s borders made it possible for Islamic State (ISIS) militants to infiltrate the continent.

In response, Europe is tightening its borders, and the refugee crisis has become an unlikely subject in next year’s U.S. election. So far, Donald Trump has questioned whether Syrian refugees seeking asylum in America were part of a “Trojan Horse” plot and Gov. Chris Christie has suggested that even 5-year-old Syrian orphans should be kept out of the U.S. There have also been calls to discriminate among refugees according to religion.

But while investigators are still unravelling the plot, one fact is clear at this point: Not one Paris attacker has been identified as a refugee.

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Weekly Economic Update | LAEDC

v.19 n. 47 – Released November 19, 2015

This Week’s Headlines:

Messaging App Telegram Shuts Down 78 ISIS Propaganda Channels | Forbes

It’s been less than two months since the messaging app Telegram launched a new feature called Channels that allowed anyone to broadcast messages to thousands of people in a similar fashion to Twitter. Within that short time frame, it appears that dozens of Channels were created by supporters of ISIS to spread the group’s propaganda to thousands of users.

Supporters of ISIS have used Telegram to publish official statements, claiming responsibility for the Paris attacks for instance, and to communicate with one another. Founder Pavel Durov created Telegram in 2013 so that he could communicate with friends and colleagues without interference from the Kremlin; the app prides itself on a heavily encrypted network that keeps all communication private.  The company says on its FAQ page that its network is more secure than mass market messaging apps like WhatsApp and LINE.

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NASA Wants to Make a C-3PO to Help Colonize Mars, But That May Not Be a Super Idea | WIRED

WHAT IS YOUR favorite space robot? How about stalwart Opportunity, still doing Martian science 11 years after its mission was supposed to end? Canadarm2 is another strong candidate: The 58-foot-long, seven-jointed robot put the International Space Station together, grappling from module to module like a slo-mo ninja warrior. Or maybe you’re more of a humanoid C-3PO fan. In that case, there’s the R5, a bipedal droid from NASA that can do all the repetitive and dangerous things that humans are too busy, bored, or susceptible to radiation to perform. Well, in theory.

Fact is, humanoid robots aren’t quite there yet. Not on Earth (witness the follies from the last DARPA Robotics Challenge), not in space. The world’s best bipedal robots have trouble doing things like opening doors, climbing out of jeeps, and walking in straight lines. That’s something NASA would like to fix, so it’s given a pair of R5s—along with $500,000 each—to two US universities with awesome robotics teams.

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4 years after Occupy Wall Street, big banks are hurting | CNN Money

Four years ago, police started evicting Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park in New York City.

Justin Wedes remembers it well. It was one of several times he was arrested for protesting as an Occupy Wall Street leader.

“I think there’s a general sentiment, even amongst many on Wall Street, that our current political and economic system isn’t working,” says Wedes, who has now returned to his hometown of Detroit.

The Occupy tent cities are gone, but the movement has had a lingering effect on American politics — and even Wall Street itself.

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Move Over, PayPal: This $5 Billion Startup Is the Hottest Thing in Money |

Nearly two decades ago, PayPal transformed the world of e-commerce by offering to mask a user’s credit card information for online transactions. Today, that baton could easily pass to Stripe, a San Francisco-based payments startup founded by two young Irish entrepreneurs, brothers John and Patrick Collison.

Over the past 12 months, five-year-old Stripe has moved from the cutting edge in financial software development to mainstream awareness for businesses. It’s raked in tens of millions of venture capital; sealed important payments deals with prominent companies; and brought on high-profile executives who should help the company grow and scale.

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