A New York businessman must face criminal fraud charges for trying to claim a billion-dollar stake in social media company Facebook, according to a judge. Paul Ceglia, 40, is accused of forging a 2003 contract with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that supposedly entitled him to part ownership of the company.
Despite the ruling, Ceglia is standing firm. He sent Bloomberg BusinessWeek an email claiming the case against him is part of "an intimidating display of power" by Zuckerberg, his lawyers and the Justice Department. Ceglia said the government is violating his right of access to the courts by prosecuting him for conduct in a pending lawsuit. "I'm certain that the First Amendment right we all have in this country to petition should bar the feds from picking sides in civil cases, or every contract dispute is indictable," Ceglia said in the e-mail.
Last March, U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York Judge Leslie Foschio recommended the dismissal of Ceglia's suit. Judge Leslie Foschio ruled that the contract between Ceglia and Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, dated April 28, 2003, contained no references to Facebook, and Zuckerberg said earlier that the idea for the social network didn't even exist at that time. The judge ruled that Ceglia altered the original contract prior to filing his lawsuit in 2010
The new Ukrainian government was immediately nicknamed "kamikaze team". It's hardly an exaggeration. The ministers and their PM, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, have inherited from their predecessors billions in debt and a country on the verge of economic and social collapse. It's a tough job but somebody has to do it.
Why is the Ukrainian economy in such a mess. According to The Economist, Ukraine's economic problems were long in the making. Dodgy economic policy, distaste for reform and endemic corruption have brought the country to its knees. Corruption and poor governance are other major problems. The Ukrainian shadow economy is one of the biggest in the world-at around 50 per cent of GDP, according to IMF research. Businesses operating underground tend not to pay taxes, further depriving the government of funds. And last week Ukraine's new prime minister estimated that $37 billion had gone missing during Viktor Yanukovych's rule.
Deutsche Welle says the crisis focusing on the Crimean peninsula could push Ukraine over the brink into bankruptcy. And Western analysts say Russia is paying the price for intervention. Tumbling stock markets and a big currency devaluation are delivering a blow to its faltering economy. Shares in Russia's leading companies have fallen 7 per cent since the start of this week, and are now down 11 per cent in 2014. That compares with a 3 per cent decline across emerging markets. Russia's central bank was forced to jack up interest rates to 7 per cent from 5.5 per cent on Monday in a bid to stabilise markets and counter the impact of a near 10 per cent decline in the value of the rouble this year.
The region is an economic disaster and that could destabilise the politics even more.
You know that the American system of government is stuffed when private corporations start bankrolling public security. But that's exactly what's happening.
NBC reports that Facebook has offered to pay $200,000 a year for three years to hire a "community safety police officer in Menlo Park, a wealthy part of Silicon Valley. This particular police officer would earn an annual salary of $108,000 plus perks andbe tasked to help out school campuses and large businesses in planning security measures. The officer would also gather intelligence on gangs, taggers and drugs and run fire and earthquake drills for schools and surrounding businesses. The plan is to find the position for three years before re-evaluating.
"It's safe to say this is unprecedented," Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, the nation's oldest police research nonprofit in Washington, D.C.told NBC Los Angeles "But this may be the model of the future."
Some analysts believe the deal will pave the way for similar partnerships in the future. There is some real unease about a private company funding what should be a publicly paid service. Just think about it. What will happen to law enforcement if companies like McDonald's and Monsanto join Facebook in paying for officer salaries?