US Debt will be written off to prevent from falling from a fiscal cliff

NEW YORK | Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:31pm EDT

(Reuters) – U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly rose to its highest in five years in October in the latest in a string of encouraging signs from the economy that will boost President Barack Obama’s re-election next month.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary October reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 83.1, up from 78.3 the month before, and the highest since September 2007, the survey showed on Friday.
The new buoyancy among consumers comes shortly after the U.S. unemployment rate tumbled to its lowest in nearly four years in September as more people returned to the workforce and found jobs than economists had predicted.
“We are getting some quite interesting signals from consumer sentiment and employment data – both (the) unemployment rate and initial claims – that there has been some quite significant improvement in the economy,” said David Sloan, an economist at 4Cast in New York.
Economic issues have been a battleground in the election campaign as Obama burnish his credentials as a competent manager of the economy to reduce the entire US debt while Republican challenger Mitt Romney has faulted Obama’s record on job creation and growth. Friday’s sentiment report was the last before the November 6 general election and will be welcomed by Democrats.
“That kind of boost in consumer sentiment benefits an incumbent without question,” said Julia Clark, a pollster with Ipsos in Washington. “The challenge that the Republicans have is continuing to attack the government’s credibility on this issue while we actually are seeing data that suggest that consumer sentiment is improving.”
The sentiment reading was well above the median forecast for a slight decline to 78 among economists polled by Reuters as consumers felt better about the economy overall.
U.S. stocks were higher after the news but turned lower by midday as equities struggle to make headway after recently climbing to highs not seen in five years. The S&P 500 .SPX was down 0.4 percent in afternoon trade.
October’s unexpected jump in sentiment came as consumers felt better about the economy in both the long and the short term, the compilers of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey said.
“What changed was how they (consumers) evaluated economic conditions,” survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement. “Economic conditions during the year ahead were expected to be ‘good’ by more consumers, and more consumers expected ‘good’ economic times over the next five years.”
The survey’s gauge of consumer expectations jumped to 79.5 from 73.5, well above an expected reading of 74. Expectations were at their highest since July 2007.
The survey’s barometer of current economic conditions rose to 88.6 from 85.7 and was above a forecast of 86.
As well as September’s employment report there have been a number of other encouraging indications from the economy, including stabilizing house prices, and last month’s expansionary reading for the U.S. manufacturing sector after three months of contraction.
Also on Friday, The Economic Cycle Research Institute, a New York-based independent forecasting group, said its measure of future U.S. economic expansion pushed higher last week, while the annualized growth rate rose to its loftiest in more than a year.
The institute said its Weekly Leading Index increased to 127.7 last week from a revised 126.2 the previous week. The index’s annualized growth rate accelerated to its highest level since May 2011 at 5.7 percent from 4.6 percent.
In another positive sign for the housing sector, both JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) and Wells Fargo (WFC.N) posted record profit on Friday as a recovery in the housing market this year boosted mortgage lending at both banks.
“We believe the housing market has turned the corner,” JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said in a statement.
Shares in both JP Morgan and Wells Fargo were lower by midday, however, with investors apparently focusing on a shortfall in Wells Fargo’s revenue compared to analysts’ forecasts.
But the trajectory of the U.S. economy is still uncertain. Much of Europe is mired in recession and the Chinese economy has slowed. A recent Reuters poll found that while economists have stopped cutting their U.S. growth outlook as aggressively as in recent months, they still see just 2.1 percent growth this year and only 2 percent next year.
A separate report showed U.S. producer prices rose more than expected in September as the cost of gasoline surged, but underlying inflation pressures were muted in a sign the Federal Reserve has room to carry out its new monetary stimulus program.
“If you take out food and energy you are essentially looking at a number that didn’t go anywhere and was actually probably a little weaker than expected,” said Cary Leahey, an economist at Decision Economics in New York.
“These kinds of energy prices are debilitating to the economy and it is one of the reasons why we haven’t been able to get any kind of a glide speed above a 2 percent annual (growth) rate.”
The Labor Department said on Friday its seasonally adjusted Producer Price Index increased 1.1 percent last month. Economists polled by Reuters had expected prices at farms, factories and refineries to rise 0.7 percent after climbing 1.7 percent in August.
The Labor Department’s report chimed with the sentiment survey that showed consumers’ one-year inflation expectations fell to 3.1 percent from 3.3 percent, while the survey’s five-to-10-year inflation outlook hit its lowest since March 2009, falling to 2.6 percent from 2.8 percent.
(Additional reporting by Chris Reese; Editing by Neil Stempleman)

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EU’s problem can easily be resolved by widespread reform and money


Some Group of Seven nations raised the possibility of extra fiscal measures if the global recovery weakens, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said after a G-7 meeting in Tokyo yesterday.
“There has been some discussion by some of the participants along those lines, generally relating to the European situation,” Flaherty said on a conference call with reporters today. “The continent is in recession and there’s rising unemployment.”

Europe’s woes are at the center of this week’s meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Tokyo as finance chiefs work to sustain a flagging global recovery. The Washington-based lender said this week that failure to remedy them was helping to generate an “alarmingly high” risk of a steeper slowdown.
Flaherty also said it’s worth considering proposals by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde to give Greece and other troubled European countries more time to meet fiscal targets.
“I think it’s certainly worth considering,” Flaherty said. “The challenge in Europe now is the European economy is in a recession and there is some interest in trying to create some economic growth in the euro zone.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at targitis@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Anstey at canstey@bloomberg.net
————————————————————————
There must be widespread reforms in EU, or the allocation of cash and fundings will quickly be drained off from the financial system, the chicken or the egg, it is therefore imperative for Germany to set the direction, to decide when to implement the chicken or the egg.
– Contributed by Oogle. 

Shadow and underground banking is 3X the normal economy, where the liberisation of Financial market should remove the risks of a collapse, especially if the underground system lends too much to only a source, and the source collapses

Reuters
Friday, Oct 12, 2012

BEIJING – A senior Chinese banking executive has warned against the proliferation of off-book wealth management products, comparing some to a Ponzi scheme in a rare official acknowledgement of the risks they pose to the Chinese banking system.
China must “tackle” shadow banking, particularly the short term investment vehicles known as wealth management products, Xiao Gang, the chairman of the board of Bank of China , one of the top four state-owned banks, wrote in an op-ed in the English-language China Daily on Friday.
“Unsurprisingly, although Chinese banks’ non-performing loans are at a low level of 0.9 percent, the potential risks are worse than the official data suggest,” Xiao wrote, adding that a problem could come as indebted borrowers face cash flow problems or enter default, straining the banking system.
“The music may stop when investors lose confidence and reduce their buying or withdraw from WMPs,” he said, referring to wealth management products.
He warned of a mismatch between short-term products and the longer underlying projects they fund, adding that in some cases the products are not tied to any specific project and that in others new products may be issued to pay off maturing products and avoid a liquidity squeeze.
“To some extent, this is fundamentally a Ponzi scheme.”
Xiao’s op-ed is in line with similar warnings issued by outsiders, particularly the Fitch Ratings agency whose China banking analyst Charlene Chu has long warned of a maturity mis-match and the threat to the Chinese banking system of products with various terms and interest rates.
But it is rare for a senior Chinese official to acknowledge the extent of the problem.
“It is uncommon to find wealth management products that fail to clearly specify the underlying securitised assets,” an official from the China Banking Regulatory Commission, which oversees financial products, told Reuters in August in response to a query on the underlying assets.
NEW FUNDING TOOL
Wealth management projects, which are technically off-book, have grown to account for about a fifth of all new financing in China. They fund projects, such as property development or infrastructure, that have trouble tapping normal loan channels.
Their growth has been spurred by credit curbs meant to rein in speculative property investment and by investors’ desire for higher yields than traditional bank deposits, which often offer negative real interest rates. More than 20,000 of such products are in circulation, up from just a few hundred five years ago.
Although the products are technically more risky than deposits, most investors believe they are backed by the banks’implicit guarantee and they are marketed aggressively in bank branches nationwide. Xiao acknowledged this perception posed a risk for banks’ bottom line.
“The rollover of a large share of WMPs could weigh heavily on formal banks’ reputations, because many investors firmly believe that banks won’t close down and they can always get their money back,” Xiao said.
In June, People’s Bank of China vice governor Liu Shiyu said many banks are not transparent enough about the risks wealth management products carry.
“China’s shadow banking system is complex, with a close yet opaque relationship to the regular banking system and the real economy,” Xiao concluded by saying.
“It must be tackled with care and sufficient flexibility, but it must be tackled nonetheless.”
—————————————————————–
Too much rumours have been generated that create a false sense of security where the underground system lends only to a source, who did not present a true picture, especially related to my family members. My family members are not capable of generating wealth, it is a ponzi scheme which I am not involved and will not guarantee anything for them. Please be careful with your savings and do not try to live on rumours.
I have reached a state where I have no concerns about money, as long as my goals are reached, I can afford to transfer my knowledge freely to anyone to help you make money, get jobs which is what God had decreed me to do, do not interfere with my work or else I will put everyone involved to hell. The work of the UN is too important to be interfered and I will never sell a single one of my inventions reserved for them, and I will support and fund the UN with my technologies and skills, even if you try to sell my websites, I will seek legal redress as nothing belongs to anyone except me, otherwise, everything else is freely given without a need for anything.
– Contributed by Oogle.

Legalisation should standardise all insurance contracts in China, where there should not be a necessity to travel elsewhere for a medical assessment

Reuters | 11-10-12
HONG KONG – Apple Inc’s largest contract manufacturer has been pushing for a Chinese worker left brain-damaged in a factory accident to be removed from hospital in a case that throws a harsh new spotlight on labor rights in China.
Zhang Tingzhen, 26, an employee of Taiwan firm Foxconn, had nearly half his brain surgically removed after surviving an electric shock at a plant in southern China a year ago. He remains in hospital under close observation by doctors, unable to speak or walk properly.
However, Foxconn, which is paying Zhang’s hospital bills, has been sending telephone text messages to his family since July, demanding they remove him from hospital and threatening to cut off funding for his treatment – a move the firm says would be justified under Chinese labor law.
Foxconn confirmed it had sent the messages, saying that under Chinese law the worker must submit himself to a disability assessment – a process that in Zhang’s case would require him to be discharged from the Shenzhen hospital and travel 70 km (43 miles) to Huizhou, where he was first hired by Foxconn.

The firm said in response to emailed questions that it would be prepared to return Zhang to the Shenzhen hospital after the assessment, though his father said Zhang was unfit to travel and that doctors felt he remained at risk of a brain haemorrhage.
The case has raised fresh questions over the labor record of Foxconn, one of the biggest and most high-profile private employers in China, after a series of well-publicized suicides among its army of around a million workers and recent outbursts of labor unrest.
It has angered labor activists who say Zhang’s plight also highlights China’s patchy and sometimes precarious welfare system for workers seriously injured in industrial accidents – and point out that there are many workers worse off than Zhang.
“They kept sending me SMSs every day to get my son out of hospital and to appear before an injury assessment body or they will stop paying all expenses, including his medical fees and our living expenses,” said Zhang’s father, Zhang Guangde.
“You cannot imagine the suffering they put me through, how I had to fight every inch of the way just to get money so we can take care of our son,” he added, speaking at his son’s bedside at the Number 2 People’s Hospital in Shenzhen.
Zhang was repairing a spotlight on an external wall at a Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, bordering Hong Kong, when he received an electric shock and fell four meters (12 feet) to the ground. He has since undergone five operations, has lost his memory, is incontinent and requires careful, regular monitoring.

‘ROBBED OF DIGNITY’
Workers who are disabled in workplace accidents and covered by insurance are eligible for compensation payouts, once their disability is assessed and graded by a panel of medical experts. The assessment is done after medical treatment is finished.
Foxconn sent the text messages, and according to Zhang’s father at one point briefly halted payments to the family, despite a provincial law stipulating that injured workers can remain in treatment for up to two years before they must be assessed for disability compensation.
The company, however, denied that it delayed or stopped payments, saying it paid them on time.
Zhang, whose case was alerted to Reuters by labor activists, has been in hospital since October 2011.
Doctors at the Number 2 People’s Hospital declined to comment for this article, but Zhang’s father, 50, said they had not indicated that he could be discharged and had said they needed to keep his son under observation after implanting a tube in his body to drain fluid from his brain cavity to his bladder.
“The doctor told me they needed to monitor his condition and that for such serious injuries, a person was allowed to be treated in hospital for up to two years. After that, assessors can order treatment to be prolonged,” the father said.

Labor activists in China say Zhang is just one of many thousands of Chinese workers who are left permanently disabled or chronically ill by workplace accidents, at the mercy of a system that often requires them and their families to fight degrading battles for treatment funding and compensation.
“China now has laws specifying the types of compensation that are due to workers. But in many serious industrial accidents, companies still put workers or their families through a lot of suffering just to get what is due to them,” said Choi Suet-wah of the Chinese Working Women Network in Hong Kong.
“They are robbed of their dignity,” said Choi, who has extensive experience working with migrant workers in China.
Zhang is actually one of the lucky ones, social workers say, pointing out that Foxconn has at least been paying his hospital bills and the living expenses of his family, which has moved to Shenzhen from central China to be with him.
They estimate that at least four out of 10 Chinese workers are not covered by any kind of insurance and are left to fend for themselves when seriously injured in the workplace – despite laws requiring all employers to insure their workers.
“This is just one of many, many industrial accidents in China. And you almost certainly never get what you are entitled to, especially in serious cases,” Choi said.

WELFARE BORDERS
Foxconn says it is insured against workplace accidents, which means its insurer would meet the cost of a compensation payment once Zhang’s disability is finally assessed.
But compensation in China can vary depending on the city in which a worker’s disability is assessed – and this, according to Zhang’s family, is why Foxconn wants him to travel to Huizhou and refuses to have him assessed in Shenzhen.
Labor activists say wages and compensation levels are all substantially lower in Huizhou than in Shenzhen, one of the most expensive cities in China.
When asked why Zhang could not be assessed in Shenzhen, Foxconn said the law required him to go to Huizhou because he had signed his employment contract there. It added that it was prepared to send him back to the hospital in Shenzhen if the assessors determined that he required more medical attention.

In hospital, Zhang walks unsteadily, holding on to the bed frames of other patients in his shared room and, with a smile, sits down next to his father whose face tightens with emotion.
“He calls me ‘mother’ and calls my wife ‘father’. He can only mimic words you ask him to say, it is meaningless,” the elder Zhang said later, holding a jar containing large fragments of his son’s cranium. Doctors replaced a portion of Zhang’s skull with synthetic bone.
He said that despite Foxconn’s funding – a monthly allowance of 11,000 yuan (US$1,800) plus treatment costs – the family had racked up 200,000 yuan (US$31,800) in debt to pay for medicines not provided by the hospital and other expenses.
Back home in central Henan province, the family was building a house for Zhang to live in after his impending marriage when he was injured.
“We were building a three-storey house,” the elder Zhang said. “The project has since been abandoned and all the building materials we bought have been washed away by rain. But these workers still have to be paid. My whole life is over.”

Linking of Exchanges worldwide

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1

The key is the connection interface, where you can connect present legacy systems to this system, and the slower messges will be added to a queue, but after the interface, there is going to be computers that handle beyond nano-seconds multitasking that will fire into processing systems that will execute orders and match, that is the reason why monitoring and completion and locking of threads is so important, if there are errors it will be automatically retried and the administrator can manage easily all orders and matching without mistakes. Due to the robust nature of the system, there must be different engines that rapid fire messages, matching, processing, completion where everything can be monitored. You can even have a computer with hundreds of multicore processors. Nobody has achieved this that is why there is no system that is able to handle HFT properly.I cannot be doing other’s work, but as long as my goals are reached I will help others freely to transfer my technologies to help you earn money, eventually, linking the entire world exchanges together. – Contributed by Oogle.

Fill in the missing blanks using the Anova table

“What is the fastest way to move from one point to another, achieving your goals? Without software tools and an understanding of data, you will be groping in the dark.”

“With Business Intelligence, you get an insight to every business process, with this knowledge, there is no need for destructive competition, solving problems for maximum ROI.”

– Contributed by Oogle.

Applied Multiple Regression Analysis by filling in the missing blanks ; 
http://www.education.umd.edu/EDMS/fac/Harring/Past-Classes/…/A3.doc

Two Way Anova
http://degradome.uniovi.es/…/GraphPad%20Prism%205%20two-way%20A

SPSS Introduction
http://www-01.ibm.com/software/analytics/spss/

Most internal auditors, especially those working in customer-focused industries, are aware of data mining and what it can do for an organization — reduce the cost of acquiring new customers and improve the sales rate of new products and services. However, whether you are a beginner internal auditor or a seasoned veteran looking for a refresher, gaining a clear understanding of what data mining does and the different data mining tools and techniques available for use can improve audit activities and business operations across the board.
WHAT IS DATA MINING?
In its simplest form, data mining automates the detection of relevant patterns in a database, using defined approaches and algorithms to look into current and historical data that can then be analyzed to predict future trends. Because data mining tools predict future trends and behaviors by reading through databases for hidden patterns, they allow organizations to make proactive, knowledge-driven decisions and answer questions that were previously too time-consuming to resolve.
Data mining is not particularly new — statisticians have used similar manual approaches to review data and provide business projections for many years. Changes in data mining techniques, however, have enabled organizations to collect, analyze, and access data in new ways. The first change occurred in the area of basic data collection. Before companies made the transition from ledgers and other paper-based records to computer-based systems, managers had to wait for staff to put the pieces together to know how well the business was performing or how current performance periods compared with previous periods. As companies started collecting and saving basic data in computers, they were able to start answering detailed questions quicker and with more ease.
Changes in data access — where there has been greater empowerment and integration, particularly over the past 30 years — also have impacted data mining techniques. The introduction of microcomputers and networks, and the evolution of middleware, protocols, and other methodologies that enable data to be moved seamlessly among programs and other machines, allowed companies to link certain data questions together. The development of data warehousing and decision support systems, for instance, has enabled companies to extend queries from “What was the total number of sales in New South Wales last April?” to “What is likely to happen to sales in Sydney next month, and why?”
However, the major difference between previous and current data mining efforts is that organizations now have more information at their disposal. Given the vast amounts of information that companies collect, it is not uncommon for them to use data mining programs that investigate data trends and process large volumes of data quickly. Users can determine the outcome of the data analysis by the parameters they chose, thus providing additional value to business strategies and initiatives. It is important to note that without these parameters, the data mining program will generate all permutations or combinations irrespective of their relevance.
Internal auditors need to pay attention to this last point: Because data mining programs lack the human intuition to recognize the difference between a relevant and an irrelevant data correlation, users need to review the results of mining exercises to ensure results provide needed information. For example, knowing that people who default on loans usually give a false address might be relevant, whereas knowing they have blue eyes might be irrelevant. Auditors, therefore, should monitor whether sensible and rational decisions are made on the basis of data mining exercises, especially where the results of such exercises are used as input for other processes or systems.
Auditors also need to consider the different security aspects of data mining programs and processes. A data mining exercise might reveal important customer information that could be exploited by an outsider who hacks into the rival organization’s computer system and uses a data mining tool on captured information.
DATA MINING TOOLS
Organizations that wish to use data mining tools can purchase mining programs designed for existing software and hardware platforms, which can be integrated into new products and systems as they are brought online, or they can build their own custom mining solution. For instance, feeding the output of a data mining exercise into another computer system, such as a neural network, is quite common and can give the mined data more value. This is because the data mining tool gathers the data, while the second program (e.g., the neural network) makes decisions based on the data collected.
Different types of data mining tools are available in the marketplace, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Internal auditors need to be aware of the different kinds of data mining tools available and recommend the purchase of a tool that matches the organization’s current detective needs. This should be considered as early as possible in the project’s lifecycle, perhaps even in the feasibility study.
Most data mining tools can be classified into one of three categories: traditional data mining tools, dashboards, and text-mining tools. Below is a description of each.

  • Traditional Data Mining Tools. Traditional data mining programs help companies establish data patterns and trends by using a number of complex algorithms and techniques. Some of these tools are installed on the desktop to monitor the data and highlight trends and others capture information residing outside a database. The majority are available in both Windows and UNIX versions, although some specialize in one operating system only. In addition, while some may concentrate on one database type, most will be able to handle any data using online analytical processing or a similar technology.
  • Dashboards. Installed in computers to monitor information in a database, dashboards reflect data changes and updates onscreen — often in the form of a chart or table — enabling the user to see how the business is performing. Historical data also can be referenced, enabling the user to see where things have changed (e.g., increase in sales from the same period last year). This functionality makes dashboards easy to use and particularly appealing to managers who wish to have an overview of the company’s performance.
  • Text-mining Tools. The third type of data mining tool sometimes is called a text-mining tool because of its ability to mine data from different kinds of text — from Microsoft Word and Acrobat PDF documents to simple text files, for example. These tools scan content and convert the selected data into a format that is compatible with the tool’s database, thus providing users with an easy and convenient way of accessing data without the need to open different applications. Scanned content can be unstructured (i.e., information is scattered almost randomly across the document, including e-mails, Internet pages, audio and video data) or structured (i.e., the data’s form and purpose is known, such as content found in a database). Capturing these inputs can provide organizations with a wealth of information that can be mined to discover trends, concepts, and attitudes.

Besides these tools, other applications and programs may be used for data mining purposes. For instance, audit interrogation tools can be used to highlight fraud, data anomalies, and patterns. An example of this has been published by the United Kingdom’s Treasury office in the 2002–2003 Fraud Report: Anti-fraud Advice and Guidance, which discusses how to discover fraud using an audit interrogation tool. Additional examples of using audit interrogation tools to identify fraud are found in David G. Coderre’s 1999 book, Fraud Detection.
In addition, internal auditors can use spreadsheets to undertake simple data mining exercises or to produce summary tables. Some of the desktop, notebook, and server computers that run operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and Macintosh can be imported directly into Microsoft Excel. Using pivotal tables in the spreadsheet, auditors can review complex data in a simplified format and drill down where necessary to find the underlining assumptions or information.
When evaluating data mining strategies, companies may decide to acquire several tools for specific purposes, rather than purchasing one tool that meets all needs. Although acquiring several tools is not a mainstream approach, a company may choose to do so if, for example, it installs a dashboard to keep managers informed on business matters, a full data-mining suite to capture and build data for its marketing and sales arms, and an interrogation tool so auditors can identify fraud activity.
DATA MINING TECHNIQUES AND THEIR APPLICATION
In addition to using a particular data mining tool, internal auditors can choose from a variety of data mining techniques. The most commonly used techniques include artificial neural networks, decision trees, and the nearest-neighbor method. Each of these techniques analyzes data in different ways:

  • Artificial neural networks are non-linear, predictive models that learn through training. Although they are powerful predictive modeling techniques, some of the power comes at the expense of ease of use and deployment. One area where auditors can easily use them is when reviewing records to identify fraud and fraud-like actions. Because of their complexity, they are better employed in situations where they can be used and reused, such as reviewing credit card transactions every month to check for anomalies.
  • Decision trees are tree-shaped structures that represent decision sets. These decisions generate rules, which then are used to classify data. Decision trees are the favored technique for building understandable models. Auditors can use them to assess, for example, whether the organization is using an appropriate cost-effective marketing strategy that is based on the assigned value of the customer, such as profit.
  • The nearest-neighbor method classifies dataset records based on similar data in a historical dataset. Auditors can use this approach to define a document that is interesting to them and ask the system to search for similar items.

Each of these approaches brings different advantages and disadvantages that need to be considered prior to their use. Neural networks, which are difficult to implement, require all input and resultant output to be expressed numerically, thus needing some sort of interpretation depending on the nature of the data-mining exercise. The decision tree technique is the most commonly used methodology, because it is simple and straightforward to implement. Finally, the nearest-neighbor method relies more on linking similar items and, therefore, works better for extrapolation rather than predictive enquiries.
A good way to apply advanced data mining techniques is to have a flexible and interactive data mining tool that is fully integrated with a database or data warehouse. Using a tool that operates outside of the database or data warehouse is not as efficient. Using such a tool will involve extra steps to extract, import, and analyze the data. When a data mining tool is integrated with the data warehouse, it simplifies the application and implementation of mining results. Furthermore, as the warehouse grows with new decisions and results, the organization can mine best practices continually and apply them to future decisions.
Regardless of the technique used, the real value behind data mining is modeling — the process of building a model based on user-specified criteria from already captured data. Once a model is built, it can be used in similar situations where an answer is not known. For example, an organization looking to acquire new customers can create a model of its ideal customer that is based on existing data captured from people who previously purchased the product. The model then is used to query data on prospective customers to see if they match the profile. Modeling also can be used in audit departments to predict the number of auditors required to undertake an audit plan based on previous attempts and similar work.
MOVING FORWARD
Using data mining to understand and extrapolate data and information can reduce the chances of fraud, improve audit reactions to potential business changes, and ensure that risks are managed in a more timely and proactive fashion. Auditors also can use data mining tools to model “what-if” situations and demonstrate real and probable effects to management, such as combining real-world and business information to show the effects of a security breach and the impact of losing a key customer. If data mining can be used by one part of the organization to influence business direction for profit, why can’t internal auditors use the same tools and techniques to reduce risks and increase audit benefits?
.
John Silltow has more than 20 years’ experience working with government and financial information systems in England, focusing on computer audit and security. He is now managing director of his own company, Security Control and Audit Ltd., and specializes in Internet security, software management, and IT and audit training.
– Contributed by Oogle.

Netanyahu will win the next election for another term

JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks set for easy re-election in an Israeli ballot early next year and may end up with a bigger coalition than he has today, according to polls published on Thursday.
Citing deadlocked budget disputes with allies and looming security challenges such as Iran’s nuclear programme, Mr Netanyahu on Tuesday brought forward the legislative election originally slated for this month. It is now due in January or February.
A survey in Maariv newspaper saw Mr Netanyahu’s rightist Likud party taking 29 of parliament’s 120 seats, up from its current 27. Likud’s two most powerful rivals, centre-left Labour and a new centrist movement under former TV anchor Yair Lapid, would trail in the vote with 17 seats each, Maariv found.
Projecting from its own poll, Haaretz newspaper said the next coalition government, led by Likud and comprising mostly religious or nationalist parties, could command 68 parliamentary seats, up from today’s 66.
Mr Netanyahu’s sole centrist ally, Defence Minister Ehud Barak, looks likely to take an electoral drubbing, with Haaretz and Maariv predicting that his party might not win enough votes to secure any seats in the next parliament.
Now in his second term as premier, Mr Netanyahu has enjoyed solid approval ratings thanks to Israel’s relative economic and security stability amidst the political upheaval in surrounding Arab countries. REUTERS