“The Pakistan flooding has affected more people than the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami combined.”
The U.S. Department of State has established the Pakistan Relief Fund for all to join in the tremendous relief, recovery and reconstruction effort in the aftermath of Pakistan’s devastating floods.
Individuals, corporations and other organizations can send much-needed help to the people of Pakistan through a variety of means.
→ IN THE UNITED STATES
U.S.-based callers can help with relief efforts by texting “FLOOD” to the number 27722, which will contribute a $10 donation to the State Department’s Pakistan Relief Fund. In addition, by texting “SWAT” to the number 50555, U.S.-based callers can make a $10 contribution that will help the United Nations provide the Pakistani people with tents, clothing, food, drinking water and medicine. Working with mGive, U.S.-based callers are also contributing to Pakistan flood relief by texting the word “SWAT” to 50555. The text results in a donation of $10 to the UNHCR Pakistan Flood Relief Effort. Every $10 helps provide tents and emergency aid to displaced families. Information on donating online or sending a contribution via the U.S. mail can be found at the Pakistan Relief Fund site and both methods are available to all donors anywhere.
→ IN PAKISTAN
People in Pakistan are invited to share information and updates by SMS texting the word FLOODS to 7111, the country’s active Humari Awaz (“Our Voice”) cell phone network. Through Humari Awaz, Pakistanis are able to update each other about the latest flood news, get information on valuable non governmental organization (NGO) grant and business opportunities and make new announcements of support, according to a State Department fact sheet. The Humari Awaz social network was launched by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during her visit to Pakistan in October 2009. To learn how to use Humari Awaz, mobile users in Pakistan need only SMS the words “HELP” or “MADAD” to 7111.The government of Pakistan and the Pakistan cellular phone industry are inviting Pakistanis to contribute to the Prime Minister’s Fund for Flood Relief by texting the amount of their donation to “1234.”
A number of NGO sand companies have announced the creation of trust funds or donations to the Prime Minister’s Fund, according to State Department fact sheets.
→ ADDITIONAL DONATION INFORMATION
The most effective way people can assist is by making cash
contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations. Cash donations allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in the affected region); reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff
time,warehouse space, etc.); can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the
disaster-stricken region; and ensure culturally, dietarily and environmentally appropriate assistance.
A list of humanitarian organizations that are accepting cash donations for flood response efforts in Pakistan can be found at
Information about organizations responding to the humanitarian situation in Pakistan may be available at http://www.reliefweb.int. More information is also available from the State Department, http://www.state.gov/pakistanflooding; the U.S. Agency for
International Development (USAID),
http://www.usaid.gov/pakistanflooding; and the Center for
International Disaster Information: http://www.cidi.org.
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Website: http://www.america.gov)
1. Auction Fraud
The setup: Online auction fraud accounts for three-quarters of all complaints registered with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (formerly the Internet Fraud Complaint Center). There are many types of eBay chicanery, but the most common one is where you send in your money and get nothing but grief in return.
What actually happens: You never get the product promised, or the promises don’t match the product. The descriptions may be vague, incomplete, or completely fake. One scammer accepted bids for Louis Vuitton bags that she didn’t own, and then scoured the Internet looking for cheap knockoffs that cost less than the winning bid. She managed to collect at least $18,000 from bidders before she got nailed. A buyer thought he’d purchased a portable DVD player for $100, but what he got instead was a Web address for a site where he could buy a player for a $200 discount. The stories are virtually endless.
The risk: You get ripped off, losing time and money. If you spill the beans about the scam, the seller may retaliate by posting negative eBay reports about you using phony names.
The question you’ve gotta ask yourself: Who in their right mind would sell a $200 bag for $20?
2. Phishing Scams
The setup: You receive an e-mail that looks like it came from your bank, warning you about identity theft and asking that you log in and verify your account information. The message says that if you don’t take action immediately, your account will be terminated.
What actually happens: Even though the e-mail looks like the real deal, complete with authentic logos and working Web links, it’s a clever fake. The Web site where you’re told to enter your account information is also bogus. In some instances, really smart phishers direct you to the genuine Web site, then pop up a window over the site that captures your personal information.
The risk: Your account information will be sold to criminals, who’ll use it to ruin your credit and drain your account. According to Gartner, phishing scammers took consumers (and their banks, who had to cover the charges) for $1.2 billion in 2003.
The question you’ve gotta ask yourself: If this matter is so urgent, why isn’t my bank calling me instead of sending e-mail?
3. Nigerian 419 Letter
The setup: You receive an e-mail, usually written in screaming capital letters, that starts out like this:
“DEAR SIR/MADAM: I REPRESENT THE RECENTLY DEPOSED MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE FOR NODAMBIZIA, WHO HAS EMBEZZLED 30 MILLION DOLLARS FROM HIS STARVING COUNTRYMEN AND NOW NEEDS TO GET IT OUT OF THE COUNTRY…”
The letter says the scammers are seeking an accomplice who will transfer the funds into their account for a cut of the total–usually around 30 percent. You’ll be asked to travel overseas to meet with the scammers and complete the necessary paperwork. But before the transaction can be finalized, you must pay thousands of dollars in “taxes,” “attorney costs,” “bribes,” or other advance fees.
What actually happens: There’s no minister and no money–except for the money you put up in advance. Victims who travel overseas may find themselves physically threatened and not allowed to leave until they cough up the cash. (FYI, “419” is named for the section of Nigeria’s penal code that the scam violates.)
The risk: Serious financial loss–or worse. Victims of Nigerian letter fraud lose $3000 on average, according to the FBI. Several victims have been killed or gone missing while chasing a 419 scheme.
The question you’ve gotta ask yourself: Of all the people in the world, why would a corrupt African bureaucrat pick me to be his accomplice?
4. Postal Forwarding/Reshipping Scam
The setup: You answer an online ad looking for a “correspondence manager.” An offshore corporation that lacks a U.S. address or bank account needs someone to take goods sent to their address and reship them overseas. You may also be asked to accept wire transfers into your bank account, then transfer the money to your new boss’s account. In each case, you collect a percentage of the goods or amount transferred.
What actually happens: Products are purchased online using stolen credit cards–often with identities that have been purloined by phishers–and shipped to your address. You then reship them to the thieves, who will fence them overseas. Or you’re transferring stolen funds from one account to another to obscure the money trail.
The risk: Sure, you can make big bucks for a while. But after a few months, you’re going to look inside your bank account and find it cleaned out. Worse, when the feds come looking for the scammers, you’re the one they’re going to nail.
The question you’ve gotta ask yourself: Why can’t these people receive their own darn mail?
5. “Congratulations, You’ve Won an Xbox (IPod, plasma TV, etc.)”
The setup: You get an e-mail telling you that you’ve won something cool–usually the hot gadget du jour, such as an Xbox or an IPod. All you need to do is visit a Web site and provide your debit card number and PIN to cover “shipping and handling” costs.
What actually happens: The item never arrives. A few months later, mystery charges start showing up on your bank account. The only thing that gets shipped and handled is your identity. (A more benign variation on this scam drives you to a site where you’re asked to cough up your contact info and agree to receive spam from advertisers until unwanted e-mail is coming out of your ears.)
The risk: Identity theft, as well as lost money if you don’t dispute the charges.
The question you’ve gotta ask yourself: When did I enter a contest to win an Xbox (iPod, plasma TV, etc.)?
1. 1994 Honda Accord
–55,170 total Accords stolen nationwide
–Most stolen vehicle in Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington
–Second-most stolen vehicle in Arizona, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin
–Third-most stolen vehicle in Louisiana and Oklahoma
2. 1995 Honda Civic
–48,073 total Civics stolen nationwide
–Most stolen vehicle in Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Utah,
–Second-most stolen vehicle in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Washington
–Third-most stolen vehicle in Arizona, Maryland, Rhode Island and Texas
3. 1989 Toyota Camry
–26,245 total Camrys stolen nationwide
–Most stolen vehicle in Kentucky
–Third-most stolen vehicle in California, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington
4. 1997 Ford F-150 Pickup
–17,416 total F-150s stolen nationwide
–Most stolen vehicle in Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia
–Second-most stolen vehicle in Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas
–Third-most stolen vehicle in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana and New Mexico
5. 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup
–17,405 total Rams stolen nationwide
–Most stolen vehicle in Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas and Wyoming
–Second-most stolen vehicle in Oklahoma
–Third-most stolen vehicle in Kansas and Montana
>Chinese manufacturers are probably not afraid of copying anything. The pictures show that the Chinese managed to copy such brands as Mercedes, BMW, Smart Cars and even a whole bus. Chinese manufacturers also copy the badges, slightly changing the name.
A Chinese company entitled Haunghai Automobile was definitely not afraid of violating the rights of Hyundai, which created Santa Fe. The Chinese manufacturer duplicated Santa Fe, its car looking just like Hyundai’s SUV. What is most amazing is that both cars were presented at the Beijing Auto Show. During the auto show the majority of industry insiders came up to one conclusion that the whole front of the Chinese car is copied from the Santa Fe, including the radiator grill and head lamps.
The rest of the car looks pretty much like another representative from the Korean auto industry – KIA. The company’s Kia Sorento probably served as the main (if not the only) source of inspiration for the Chinese manufacturers. However, Hyundai Motor is currently the only threat for Haunghai Automobile, who is accused of stealing the design. It is most likely that the Korean car manufacturer will analyze the impact of Haunghai’s creation on the sales of Santa Fe in China before filing the lawsuit. The legal actions will be taken in case the sales in China will severely affect Hyundai.
Another Chinese company, based in Shandong, made a copy of Smart but after Daimler-Chrysler filed complaints against the Chinese replica, the company that created the copy stopped its production. Huo Yun EV, the Chinese vehicle, is in fact different from Smart, especially regarding its engine. The car it runs on an electric engine and not a gasoline powered one. Huo Yun EV reaches 31 mph and its batteries can hold up to 75 miles.
According to an article written in Economist, fake cars that are manufactured by such firms as Shuanghuan Automobile and Chery, are probably be the most complicated. In the picture there are BMW’s X5 and the Shuanghuan CEO.
The average car features 6,000 parts without counting the number of people that fit these parts together in a way that the car can actually be driven. It is amazing how the Chinese are able to make a profit. A real car needs a material cost that cannot be compensated only by cheap labor force. The Economists writes:
“That they can sell these cars for half the price of the originals suggests that something odd is going on. They either do know their own costs (a distinct possibility), have revolutionized car-making (highly unlikely) or are being subsidized in some way. For the time being, no one knows.”
Surprisingly enough Italians also managed to copy a car. Italians were always famous for purchasing exclusive and fashionable bags from Gucci and watches of the popular Swiss brands. At the end of February, 2008, police discovered a new wave of accurate copying. The manufacturers were able to break up the ring trading with fake Ferrari vehicles for a real price fraction.
The police accused 15 individuals of faking red Ferrari sports cars and putting them up for sale to fans of the brand. It is worth mentioning that some of the Ferrari fans were aware of the fact that they purchase a counterfeit car.
People who produced counterfeit Ferrari cars used a few original parts but most of the parts were fakes. The body parts were taken from cars of other brands. These parts included: chassis, roofs, hoods, trunks and doors. Workers modified the part so they would look like the original ones. Some of the counterfeit Ferrari cars were sold for 20,000 euros, which is approximately 1/10th of the price of genuine Ferrari. Police managed to confiscate 21 cars, seven being produced in Sicilian garages and 14 already sold.
However, not only Italians can accurately fake Ferraris. The Chinese are in the field as well. Franco Frattini, the European Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs, stated that the Chinese were able to make a counterfeit Ferrari car.
“This is the seventh one, produced in China” mentioned Frattini.
The EC stated that it is going to crack the illegal business down. It has recommended a punishment of minimum four years in prison. The fine that the European Commission puts on fake product manufacturers is at least 100,000 Euro and in case there is a connection with a criminal organization or the business carries a health risk the fine may reach 300,000 Euro.
The members of the European Union may impose greater penalties or fines.
Is that a terd?
More turtle loving.