ICE coppers bust pastor over student visa fraud

A Southern California pastor has been accused by immigration authorities of helping foreigners fraudulently obtain student visas and handing out phony diplomas at a fake graduation ceremony on a campus where they never attended class.

Samuel Chai Cho Oh, 65, surrendered to authorities Tuesday and faces a charge of conspiracy to commit visa fraud for allegedly charging foreigners cash to help get them student visas on the premise they would attend the Christian university he owns in Fullerton.

But more than 100 students from countries including South Korea, Thailand and Japan never took classes at California Union University, which served as a shell for them to stay in the country legally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said…

Immigration authorities say Oh charged students between $600 and $10,000 over the last decade to file paperwork on their behalf to certify they had been accepted to the university and would be attending class in order to obtain valid student visas.

Authorities said Oh raked in between $40,000 and $50,000 a month from the alleged scheme and acknowledged that 75 percent of the 300 students enrolled at the university did not regularly attend class.

According to a court affidavit, several Korean citizens said they paid Oh for paperwork to support their student visas so they could stay in the country legally but suspected the university was a sham. Young Rim Shin told investigators her paperwork indicated she studied computer science but she never took classes on campus and Oh told her to study at home or online, the affidavit said…

California Union University was originally founded as a Christian seminary but later broadened its course offerings to include education and Oriental medicine, according to the school’s Web site…

The creep would even hold phony graduation ceremonies for make-believe-students who never went to class, etc..

Ford agrees to sell Volvo to Geely

My wife would like this V30 to be her next car – with the turbo-diesel

Ford has agreed the terms of the sale of its Swedish business, Volvo Cars, to China’s Geely.

Ford said “some work still remains to be completed” but the deal will be finalised early next year ahead of completion soon after Easter…

Geely was named preferred bidder in November. If completed, it will be the largest purchase by a Chinese car firm.

The question for Volvo is whether its new Chinese owner will do more for the marque than Ford did.

On one level, the decade-long US-Swedish partnership can be seen as a successful. They benefited from each other’s technology and expertise. But although many new models have been introduced in recent years, Volvo sales have not increased much.

That may change under Geely, which will market Volvo in the fast-growing Chinese market.

No details were given of how much the deal is worth, but it is widely rumoured that Geely will pay Ford $2 billion, less than a third of the $6.45 billion Ford paid for Volvo in 1999…

“In theory, the Chinese market could be an opportunity for Volvo,” Nomura’s auto specialist Michael Tyndall said. “It’s a well-known brand, has a good heritage and a range of products that should appeal to the Chinese consumer.”

Equally, the deal should help Geely get into the Western market.

RTFA – especially if you’re not a motorhead. I wouldn’t even say there’s a devil in the details over this deal.

A recession is the best time in the world for someone with bucks to make a deal like this – and the tax break on a loss is advantageous to Ford, as well. They’ve already derived every hidden benefit of platform sharing with Volvo and learned a lot about design in the process.

Disclosure: I own a wee bit of Ford stock. My wife owns an ancient Volvo. 🙂

Holiday photos from Bethlehem you won’t see on network TV

Israel will allow 200 Palestinian Christians into Bethlehem for the holiday
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Roger Waters vows to hold a concert matching the Pink Floyd concert in Berlin
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

The Pope’s visit to Bethlehem Palestinians below an Israeli watchtower
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

I had a dear friend who survived the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. She was brave enough to return from Russia whence she had escaped to – to fight in the Polish underground against the Nazis.

I recall asking her in 1978 why she kept the Polish name she used in the underground. She told me that – everything about her that was a Jew before the war died when her husband and children were slaughtered by the Germans.

She also told me – years later – she couldn’t be a Jew, again, watching Israel treating Palestinians the way Nazis treated Poles.

“Trust no one” – jailbreak fugitive updates his Facebook page

British police have appealed for information about the whereabouts of an escaped prisoner who has been telling the world via Facebook about his life as a fugitive.

Craig Lynch, 28, escaped Hollesley Bay open prison near Suffolk, eastern England, back in September, but has continued to update his Facebook status regularly — describing everything from his meals to who his next girlfriend will be…

In a…posting from earlier this week Lynch wrote “Is thinkin, which lucky girl will be my first of 2010!!.”

Police are trying to use clues left by Lynch on his Facebook to track down where the convicted burglar may be hiding…

“We have spoken to Facebook and we are trying to trace him from the information we have, but it’s one of those things that we’re also asking for help from members of the public,” Suffolk police spokesperson Anne-Marie Breach told CNN.

“Obviously we’re taking what he’s saying on Facebook with a pinch of salt because he’s now aware that people may be reading what he’s writing.”

Life on the lam apparently gets easier and easier. So much for snoops and database mining.

U.S. investigates need to regulate meds in water – finally

Federal regulators under President Barack Obama have sharply shifted course on long-standing policy toward pharmaceutical residues in the nation’s drinking water, taking a critical first step toward regulating some of the contaminants while acknowledging they could threaten human health.

Policy? What policy?

For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency has listed some pharmaceuticals as candidates for regulation in drinking water. The agency also has launched a survey to check for scores of drugs at water treatment plants across the nation…

The Associated Press reported last year that the drinking water of at least 51 million Americans contains minute concentrations of a multitude of drugs. Water utilities, replying to an AP questionnaire, acknowledged the presence of antibiotics, sedatives, sex hormones and dozens of other drugs in their supplies…

In the first move toward possible drinking-water standards, the EPA has put 13 pharmaceuticals on what it calls the Contaminant Candidate List. They are mostly sex hormones, but include the antibiotic erythromycin and three chemicals used as drugs but better known for other uses.

They join a list of 104 chemical and 12 microbial contaminants that the EPA is considering as candidates for regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. No pharmaceutical has ever reached the list in its 12-year history, but medicines now make up 13 percent of the target chemicals on the latest list “based on their potential adverse health effects and potential for occurrence in public water systems,” the EPA said.

Could it be that the political power of corporate pharma in America has restrained investigation?

How could that happen in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?

Computers offer a faster way to predict humanity’s ills

Cancer cell

How do you predict whether a given patient is likely to die from a heart attack? Conventional medical wisdom would base a risk assessment on factors such as the person’s age, whether they were smokers and/or diabetic plus the results of cardiac ultrasound and various blood tests. It may be that a better predictor is a computer program that analyses the patient’s electrocardiogram looking for subtle features within the data provided by the instrument.

A team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan analysed a large data-set of 24-hour electrocardiogram recordings collected at a Boston hospital as part of a clinical trial for a new drug. Employing a number of computational techniques involving algorithms for signal processing, data mining and machine learning, the researchers developed a way to analyse how the shape of the electrical waveform varies, a measure they dubbed morphological variability. At the heart of the approach are mathematical techniques used in speech recognition and genome analysis which allow researchers to compare individual beats. “We compute the differences for every pair of beats,” reported one of the researchers. “If there is lots of variability, that patient is in bad shape.”

The team then applied their algorithm to a second set of electrocardiogram recordings and found that patients with the highest morphological variability were six to eight times more likely to die from a heart attack than those with low variability. They concluded that it consistently predicted as well or better than the indicators commonly used by physicians…

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