13 May 2021

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Binance Faces Probe By US Money-Laundering and Tax Sleuths

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Binance Holdings Ltd. is under investigation by the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service, ensnaring the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchange in U.S. efforts to root out illicit activity that's thrived in the red-hot but mostly unregulated market. As part of the inquiry, officials who probe money laundering and tax offenses have sought information from individuals with insight into Binance's business, according to people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be named because the probe is confidential. Led by Changpeng Zhao, a charismatic tech executive who relishes promoting tokens on Twitter and in media interviews, Binance has leap-frogged rivals since he co-founded it in 2017. The firm, like the industry it operates in, has succeeded largely outside the scope of government oversight. Binance is incorporated in the Cayman Islands and has an office in Singapore but says it lacks a single corporate headquarters. Chainalysis Inc., a blockchain forensics firm whose clients include U.S. federal agencies, concluded last year that among transactions that it examined, more funds tied to criminal activity flowed through Binance than any other crypto exchange. [...] While the Justice Department and IRS probe potential criminal violations, the specifics of what the agencies are examining couldn't be determined, and not all inquiries lead to allegations of wrongdoing. The officials involved include prosecutors within the Justice Department's bank integrity unit, which probes complex cases targeting financial firms, and investigators from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle. The scrutiny by IRS agents goes back months, with their questions signaling that they're reviewing both the conduct of Binance's customers and its employees, another person said. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has also been investigating Binance over whether it permitted Americans to make illegal trades, Bloomberg reported in March. In that case, authorities have been examining whether Binance let investors buy derivatives that are linked to digital tokens. U.S. residents are barred from purchasing such products unless the firms offering them are registered with the CFTC. [...] Along with the CFTC, the Justice Department is likely to examine steps that Binance has taken to keep U.S. residents off its exchange. One person familiar with Binance's operations said that prior to the establishment of Binance.US, Americans were advised to use a virtual proxy network, or VPN, to disguise their locations when seeking to access the exchange. "We take our legal obligations very seriously and engage with regulators and law enforcement in a collaborative fashion," Binance spokeswoman Jessica Jung said in an emailed statement. "We have worked hard to build a robust compliance program that incorporates anti-money laundering principles and tools used by financial institutions to detect and address suspicious activity."

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13 May 2021 8:48pm GMT

Extraterrestrial Plutonium Atoms Turn Up on Ocean Bottom

Scientists studying a sample of oceanic crust retrieved from the Pacific seabed nearly a mile down have discovered traces of a rare isotope of plutonium, the deadly element that has been central to the atomic age. From a report: They say it was made in colliding stars and later rained down through Earth's atmosphere as cosmic dust millions of years ago. Their analysis opens a new window on the cosmos. "It's amazing that a few atoms on Earth can help us learn about where half of all the heavier elements in our universe are synthesized," said Anton Wallner, the paper's first author and a nuclear physicist. Dr. Wallner works at the Australian National University as well as the Helmholtz Center in Dresden, Germany. Dr. Wallner and his colleagues reported their findings in Science on Thursday. Plutonium has a bad reputation, one that is well-deserved. The radioactive element fueled the world's first nuclear test explosion as well as the bomb that leveled the Japanese city of Nagasaki during World War II. After the war, scientists found the health repercussions of plutonium to be particularly deadly. If inhaled or ingested in minute quantities, it could result in fatal cancers. Small amounts also pack a bigger punch than other nuclear fuels, a quality that aided the making of compact city busters that nuclear powers put atop their intercontinental missiles. The element is often considered artificial because it is so seldom found outside of human creations. In the periodic table, it is the last of 94 atoms characterized as naturally occurring. Traces of it can be found in uranium ores. Astrophysicists have long known that it's also spontaneously created in the universe. But they've had a hard time pinpointing any exact sites of its origin.

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13 May 2021 8:04pm GMT

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New users can get 3 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $1 today

Dealmaster also has deals on iPhone cases, Garmin watches, and robot vacuums.

13 May 2021 7:33pm GMT

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Spencer Silver, an Inventor of Post-it Notes, Is Dead at 80

Spencer Silver, a research chemist at 3M who inadvertently created the not-too-sticky adhesive that allows Post-it Notes to be removed from surfaces as easily as they adhere to them, died on Saturday at his home in St. Paul, Minn. He was 80. From a report: His wife, Linda, said that he died after an episode of ventricular tachycardia, in which the heart beats faster than normal. Mr. Silver had a heart transplant 27 years ago. Since their introduction in 1980, Post-it Notes have become a ubiquitous office product, first in the form of little canary-yellow pads -- billions of which are sold annually -- and later also in different hues and sizes, some with much stickier adhesives. There are currently more than 3,000 Post-it Brand products globally. Dr. Silver worked in 3M's central research laboratory developing adhesives. In 1968, he was trying to create one that was so strong it could be used in aircraft construction. He failed in that goal. But during his experimentation, he invented something entirely different: an adhesive that stuck to surfaces, but that could be easily peeled off and was reusable. It was a solution to a problem that did not appear to exist, but Dr. Silver was certain it was a breakthrough. "I felt my adhesive was so obviously unique that I began to give seminars throughout 3M in the hope I would spark an idea among its product developers," he told Financial Times in 2010. Dr. Silver promoted his adhesive for several years within 3M, a company known for its innovative workplace, so assiduously that he became known as "Mr. Persistent."

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13 May 2021 7:26pm GMT

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New analysis confirms hypothesis for source of mysterious auroral “dunes”

Ongoing collaboration between physicists and amateur stargazers yields new insights.

13 May 2021 7:24pm GMT

Tesla owner who “drives” from back seat got arrested, then did it again

Man jailed for leaving driver seat empty says he feels safer in back seat.

13 May 2021 6:57pm GMT

01 Jan 2009

feedLinux.com :: Features

A new year, a new Linux.com

Many of you have commented that our NewsVac section hasn't been refreshed since the middle of last month. Others have noticed that our story volume has dropped off. Changes are coming to Linux.com, and until they arrive, you won't see any new stories on the site.

01 Jan 2009 2:00pm GMT

31 Dec 2008

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Android-powered G1 phone is an enticing platform for app developers

The free and open source software community has been waiting for the G1 cell phone since it was first announced in July. Source code for Google's Android mobile platform has been available, but the G1 marks its commercial debut. It's clearly a good device, but is it what Linux boosters and FOSS advocates have long been anticipating?

31 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT

30 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Municipalities open their GIS systems to citizens

Many public administrations already use open source Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to let citizens look at public geographic data trough dedicated Web sites. Others use the same software to partially open the data gathering process: they let citizens directly add geographic information to the official, high-quality GIS databases by drawing or clicking on digital maps.

30 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT