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Friday News: HP’s bribery and money laundering, Amazon’s acquisition of ComiXology,...

Hewlett-Packard Admits to International Bribery and Money Laundering Schemes – Okay, let’s start with the bad news. If this were April Fools’ Day, I’d say this has got to be a joke. Sadly (or for those reading The Will, alas), HP “has admitted to creating and using slush funds for bribes, money laundering, and clandestine “bag of cash” handoffs in order to profiteer off of lucrative government contracts in Russia, Poland, and Mexico.” Apparently they have already pled guilty, which will result in a $108 million penalty (probably petty change when compared to the contracts), criminal fines, and DOJ forfeitures. American HP executives have, thus far, escapes prosecution, but considering that the SEC, FBI, and IRS all collaborated in the investigation, I wouldn’t be surprised if individuals are soon charged. If you want a sense of how this works, check out some of the details of their Russian operation:

Beginning in the late 1990s, HP’s Russian conspirators concocted a sophisticated scheme to bypass internal controls and falsify records in order to siphon cash into a secret slush fund — eventually totaling about $10 million. Partly used for bribes and kickbacks to Russian officials, the money was aimed principally to grease the wheels for an approximately $48 million technology contract that HP ultimately won. The vast majority of that cash was laundered through off-shore bank accounts and ultimately deposited into shell accounts, some directly held by Russian officials. –VICE News

AMAZON.COM TO ACQUIRE COMIXOLOGY – I’m not sure whether this is good news or bad news. Amazon and ComiXology honchos seem to be pretty happy about the deal, the terms of which have not yet been made public. There are references to “reinventing reading in a digital world” and growing the market for comics and graphic novels. ComiXology’s Guided View technology creates what the company describes as an “immersive experience” for readers, and it’s obvious that Amazon is interested in capturing a wide swath of readers, especially in the context of their recent introduction of Kindle Worlds.

Founded in 2007, comiXology offers a broad library of digital comic book content from over 75 of the top publishers as well as top independent creators. Following the acquisition, comiXology’s headquarters will remain in New York. –ComiXology Unbound

Ten books shortlisted for the 2014 Award – In what is apparently the most valuable annual literary prize in the world for a work of fiction published in English, the shortlist for the€100,000 Dublin Literary Award has been announced. Featuring titles like A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard, The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng, and Traveler of the Century by Andrés Neuman, books were nominated by 110 library systems in 39 countries. Despite the language requirement, half of the books were originally published in languages other than English, and they represent an international literary perspective.

The titles on this year’s shortlist were nominated by public libraries in Australia, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, South Africa and The Netherlands.

The five member international judging panel, chaired by Hon. Eugene R. Sullivan, will select one winner which will be announced by the Lord Mayor of Dublin and Patron of the Award, Oisín Quinn on Thursday 12th June in a morning announcement. –IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

Is this the best singing priest ever? – You may be one of the 7 million or so people who have seen this video, but check out the story of this singing Irish priest, who surprised a couple who were not from his parish with an amazing rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (slightly customized to fit the couple he just married). The sound wasn’t great on my computer, but I can’t tell how much of that is my speakers and how much is the recording. Hopefully you can hear it clearly, because Father Ray Kelly has quite the pipes. –The Guardian

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!

9 Comments

  1. SAO
    Apr 11, 2014 @ 05:09:46

    The Garden of Evening Mists is a great book. I highly recommend it. It’s a bit slow going at first, because it’s starts off with the heroine as an older woman and the real story begins later.

    (Why do so many books I read for my book club use this device? All it does it make readers think the book is going to be deathly slow and half the book club doesn’t make it through chapter 1 to where the story actually starts).

  2. MSilk
    Apr 11, 2014 @ 06:44:00

    The singing priest was great, although the sound was a bit off for me as well. The video was taken down at the original news story link so it can be seen here for those interested.

  3. KT Grant
    Apr 11, 2014 @ 08:10:02

    Raul Esparza singing Hallelujah will send chills down your spine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwFTApXNGyw.

  4. Fallen Professor
    Apr 11, 2014 @ 08:28:49

    I also have a hard time deciding whether these mergers are good or bad. On the one hand, it’s a bit scary to see the big fish gobble up so many of the smaller ones. On the other hand, interesting things come out of these unions. When Amazon bought Audible, it resulted in crossover syncing of e-books and audiobooks, which is great for people who buy both versions and want to move seamlessly from one to the other.

    I’ve used ComiXology for a while now, and like its optional guided view feature, since I have a terrible sense of direction :-D. So we’ll see what happens once it joins Amazon; if it means a larger catalogue of comics (and ComiXology already has a huge selection), it will be a plus for readers. The disadvantages will also soon become obvious, I’m sure.

  5. leslie
    Apr 11, 2014 @ 09:31:51

    David Packard is rolling in his grave.

  6. Rosario
    Apr 12, 2014 @ 03:39:32

    @SAO: I really liked The Garden of Evening Mists as well. I’m surprised it’s been nominated for a 2014 book prize, though. It’s been out for at least 2 or 3 years!

  7. Lindsay
    Apr 12, 2014 @ 15:50:32

    Huh, Amazon acquiring ComiXology might be the push I needed to finally pick up a tablet, and it’ll be an Amazon Fire. I prefer an e-reader for books but my physical comic/graphic novel reading has dropped pretty significantly over the years, so having a major source for mainstream and indie comics available in one location is exactly what I’d want. I’ve been picking up daily deals here and there (the entire Calvin and Hobbes collection was $1.99 a few months ago) but hesitant to pull the trigger on a whole separate device.

  8. LaurieF
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 16:59:56

    Thanks for the video. So sweet
    When it comes to Hallelujah, give K.D. Lang a try.

  9. carmen webster buxton
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 12:55:35

    Got to be the most upbeat version of a Leonard Cohen song ever! I didn’t know it was possible.

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