Use the Startpage Proxy to browse websites anonymously – Ghacks Technology News

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By on November 27, 2014 in InternetLast Update: November 27, 2014 0

Proxy server offer a fast and easy way of accessing websites without revealing your IP address. All it takes is to load the proxy website, type or paste the url of the website you want to visit anonymously in the form on that site and hit enter.

There are a couple of things to note. First, there are different scripts available that provide proxy functionality. Some support scripts on target websites, others don’t and chance is that you may encounter sites that work only partially or not at all when you open them using proxies.

There is another aspect to this: trust. Many proxy servers on the Internet have a bad reputation. They may add contents of their own on sites, limit how many pages you can open, are terribly slow or may even track your usage and sell information to other companies.

One way around this is to use search engine caches. They work similar to proxy servers as they provide you with access to contents of third-party websites. While scripts and all that won’t work, it is usually enough to display all the important contents on that site.

Google Cache is a popular choice for that and the main reason for it is that Google crawls a high volume of pages which in turn means that the chance is good that a cached copy of a page exists even if it was updated just a moment ago.

I don’t use Google a lot anymore, mostly for this site and others that I run. My search engine of choice is Startpage for example and it too offers proxy access to websites.

startpage-proxy

The best option to use its proxy service is to search for the url or domain name of the site you want to access anonymously. If things go well, it should be displayed among the first results. There you find the “View by Ixquick Proxy” option that you use to access the page using a proxy service maintained by the company behind Startpage.

A click on the the proxy link opens the selected website with the help of that proxy. The Startpage proxy works like proxy servers and not like search engine caches.

anonymous-access

This means that it will retrieve the webpage you have selected for you and display it to you afterwards. This means that only Startpage’s IP will be listed in the log file of the server and that cookies won’t be stored on your computer either.

Another benefit is that the proxy is being used in that tab for all links that you click on. In other words, you can navigate the whole website using the proxy which you cannot when you use search engine cache’s unless you use extensions that provide you with that functionality.

Using the Startpage proxy offers the same benefits as using other web proxy services including that JavaScript and forms are disabled, and that you may be able to access regionally restricted contents on the Internet.

The downside is that pages load slower and that pages that are not available at the time won’t be displayed at all. If that is the case it is still possible to switch to Google’s or Bing’s cache to display the contents.

Now You: Are you using proxy servers or caches? If so when?

Summary
Article Name
Use the Startpage Proxy to browse websites anonymously
Author
Martin Brinkmann
Description
How to use the proxy that the search engine Startpage offers to access Internet websites anonymously without revealing information about you or your computer.

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Ghani says won't allow Afghanistan to be used for proxy wars – Frontier Post

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Ghani Warns Against Afghan 'Proxy War' – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

Afghanistan’s new president has warned he will not let his country become the battleground for a proxy war.

President Ashraf Ghani issued his warning on November 26 to South Asian leaders meeting in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu.

The departure of NATO combat troops from Afghanistan at the end of the year has raised fears that rivalry between India and Pakistan could escalate.

The two have long accused each other of using proxy forces to try to gain influence in Afghanistan.

Ghani told leaders including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif, “We will not permit anybody to conduct proxy wars on our soil.”

During his first face-to-face talks with Modi, Ghani accepted an invitation to visit India in 2015.

India is the largest regional investor in Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa

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Ghani warns against Afghan 'proxy war' at South Asia summit – Daily Mail

By

Afp


Published:
10:04 EST, 26 November 2014

|
Updated:
10:04 EST, 26 November 2014

Afghanistan’s new president told the Indian and Pakistani leaders Wednesday he would not let his country become the battleground for a proxy war, as the enmity between South Asia’s arch-rivals cast a shadow over a regional summit.

Nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan — bitter and sometimes bloody rivals since gaining independence from Britain in 1947 — have long accused each other of using proxy forces to try to gain influence in Afghanistan.

But the imminent departure of NATO combat troops from Afghanistan has raised fears that rivalry could escalate, further destabilising the two countries’ troubled neighbour as it tries to rebuild after decades of war.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) shakes hands with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu, on November 26, 2014

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) shakes hands with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu, on November 26, 2014 ©Asish Maitra (PIB/AFP)

President Ashraf Ghani issued his warning to South Asian leaders meeting in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu to try to reinvigorate regional cooperation held back by decades of rivalry between India and Pakistan.

“We will not allow our territory to be used against any of our neighbours. But we will not permit anybody to conduct proxy wars on our soil either,” he told the leaders including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif.

Ghani’s predecessor Hamid Karzai frequently accused Pakistan of trying to destabilise the Afghan government by giving sanctuary to Taliban fighters.

Only last week, former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf warned that the departure of NATO troops could provoke a proxy Indo-Pakistan war involving members of Afghanistan’s rival ethnic groups.

- Call to fight poverty -

Without mentioning Pakistan by name, Ghani said state sponsorship of non-state actors could have “blowback effects”, and described the aftermath of a suicide blast at a volleyball game in Afghanistan that killed 57 people on Sunday.

“To hold wounded children in one’s arms in a hospital, as I was late Sunday evening, is to feel the depth of our fall from our sense of shared humanity and the values of our great religions,” he said.

The leaders of the eight South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries are meeting for the first time since the election of a new Indian government eager to improve ties in the face of growing Chinese influence in its backyard.

Regional leaders stressed the need for greater cooperation to combat poverty in South Asia, where cross-border trade remains minimal due to mistrust and weak infrastructure.

“My vision for our region is a dispute-free South Asia where instead of fighting each other we jointly fight poverty, illiteracy, disease, malnourishment and unemployment,” said Sharif.

- Ball in India’s court -

But the summit, which comes just weeks after some of the worst cross-border violence in the disputed region of Kashmir for a decade, is already being overshadowed by the rivalry between India and Pakistan.

During his speech Modi pointedly referred to deadly attacks in Mumbai exactly six years ago, which were blamed on Pakistani militants and led to the collapse of peace talks between the two countries.

“In 2008 we felt the endless pain of lost lives. Let us work together to fulfil the pledge we have taken to combat terrorism and transnational crime,” he said.

Modi told Ghani India was committed to strengthening relations with Afghanistan, India’s foreign ministry spokesman tweeted after the two leaders held their first face-to-face talks on the summit’s sidelines.

India, the largest regional investor in Afghanistan, enjoyed close relations with Ghani’s predecessor and is building a huge new parliament in Kabul and funding new roads, dams, infrastructure and reconstruction.

Modi scheduled one-on-one talks with all the SAARC leaders except Sharif, according to an Indian official who said Islamabad had not requested a meeting.

Sharif said the ball was in India’s court after it cancelled senior-level talks earlier this year.

Hopes of a move towards reconciliation were raised when Modi invited Sharif to his swearing-in ceremony, but his right-wing nationalist government has adopted a more aggressive policy on Pakistan than its centre-left predecessor.

“SAARC’s main problem is that SAARC is basically about India and Pakistan, with the Afghanistan dimension thrown in now,” said Sujeev Shakya, chairman of the Nepal Economic Forum.

Modi said India would lead a drive to increase regional trade, committing to reduce his country’s large trade deficit with other South Asian nations and make it easier for goods to cross its borders.

He also pledged to launch a communications satellite dedicated to the SAARC nations by 2016.

Trade between them — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — has grown from under $140 million in 2008 to $878 million in 2012, but still accounts for less than five percent of the region’s total commerce.

An Afghan intelligence officer arrests a man suspected of placing explosives in the Wazir Akbar Khan area of Kabul, on November 25, 2014

An Afghan intelligence officer arrests a man suspected of placing explosives in the Wazir Akbar Khan area of Kabul, on November 25, 2014 ©Shah Marai (AFP)

Afghanistan's new President Ashraf Ghani says he will not allow anyone to conduct a proxy war in his country after warnings that the rivalry between India an...

Afghanistan’s new President Ashraf Ghani says he will not allow anyone to conduct a proxy war in his country after warnings that the rivalry between India and Pakistan could spill across their borders ©Farooq Naeem (AFP/File)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the inaugural session of the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu, November 26, 2014

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the inaugural session of the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu, November 26, 2014 ©PIB (PIB/AFP)

Afghan security personnel retaliate against Taliban insurgents during an anti-terrorism raid in the Dur Baba district near the border with Pakistan, on Septe...

Afghan security personnel retaliate against Taliban insurgents during an anti-terrorism raid in the Dur Baba district near the border with Pakistan, on September 25, 2014 ©Noorullah Shirzada (AFP/File)

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Proxy contest may loom for Biglari – San Antonio Express-News

Sardar Biglari has been in control of Biglari Holdings since he won a proxy contest against Steak n Shake Co. in 2008. Photo: EDWARD A. ORNELAS, STAFF / SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS / SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS
Photo: EDWARD A. ORNELAS, STAFF / SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

Sardar Biglari has been in control of Biglari Holdings since he won a proxy contest against Steak n Shake Co. in 2008.

Sardar Biglari has been in control of Biglari Holdings since he won…

San Antonio activist investor Sardar Biglari is known for waging proxy fights, but he may soon be fending one off.

A Minnesota hedge fund manager has nominated a slate of directors to replace each of the board members at the San Antonio-based company that bears Biglari’s name — Biglari Holdings Inc. It’s the parent company of restaurant chain Steak n Shake and men’s magazine Maxim.

Minneapolis-based Groveland Capital LLC disclosed the nominations in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

A representative of Groveland, citing SEC rules, said it would have no comment until the filing of a forthcoming proxy statement, which it may file in February.

Biglari did not respond to a request for comment, but he has a policy of not speaking with the media. Biglari Holdings’ annual meeting, where nominees for the board are elected, is scheduled for April 9.

As Nation’s Restaurant News first reported, this may mark the first real challenge to Biglari’s control of Biglari Holdings since he won a proxy contest against Steak n Shake Co. in 2008. Biglari was elected chairman and later became CEO of Steak n Shake Co. Two years later, he renamed the company Biglari Holdings.

More Information

Biglari has a long history of agitating for change at companies. Before Steak n Shake, in 2006, he used the threat of a proxy fight to take over steak chain Western Sizzlin. He then forced his way on to the board of Friendly Ice Cream Corp., a New England chain.

More recently, though, Biglari hasn’t been so successful in his proxy battles. In each of the last three years, he soundly lost bids to win seats on the board of Tennessee-based Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. He passed on a fourth straight proxy contest this year. Biglari Holdings owns nearly 20 percent of Cracker Barrel.

Groveland Capital hasn’t filed with the SEC a 13D filing indicating the firm would be an active rather than a passive investor in Biglari Holdings. Groveland is the record holder or beneficial owner of 3,000 shares of Biglari Holdings.

Local Business

On its website, Groveland Capital says it’s “focused on unearthing unique investment opportunities.” It has two funds, the Groveland Fund and the AO Partners I Fund. AO Partners Group last year waged a successful proxy fight with Pro-Dex Inc., a California developer and manufacturer of surgical and dental instruments.

Groveland nominees to Biglari Holdings board include Groveland’s founder and CEO, Nicholas Swenson, and portfolio manager Seth Barkett. Also nominated was James Stryker, a former chief financial officer of Perkins & Marie Callender’s Inc. who has 37 years in the restaurant industry. Swenson beneficially owns 345 shares of Biglari Holdings.

Biglari has sparked his share of controversy at the helm of Biglari Holdings. Whether any of it triggered Groveland’s move isn’t publicly known, though.

Biglari has been unapologetic about how he runs the company.

“It’s a jockey stock,” he told shareholders at last year’s annual meeting in New York. “You’re investing in the jockey.”

The company’s directors were sued last year in a shareholder derivative lawsuit brought on behalf of Biglari Holdings. The action, filed in Indianapolis federal court, takes issues with various matters, including:

What’s described as Biglari’s “lavish” compensation. He made close to $11 million in both 2012 and 2013.

A rights offering that the suit says was intended to “increase his own voting control in order to further insulate his position at (Biglari Holdings) from any challenge.”

A deal in which Biglari licensed his name to the company. Steak n Shake, for example, is using the trademark “Steak n Shake by Biglari.” If Biglari’s employment is terminated or there is a change in control, he’s entitled to receive 2.5 percent of Biglari Holdings’ revenue for at least five years under the licensing deal. Its 2014 revenue was almost $793 million; 2.5 percent of that is just under $20 million.

Ironically, Biglari Holdings mentions in a regulatory filing that the licensing deal is among some agreements that could deter a change in control or proxy contest.

Biglari Holdings’ shares rose 75 cents Tuesday to close at $363.33.

pdanner@express-news.net

Twitter: @AlamoPD

Express-News archives contributed to this report.

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Biglari Holdings faces its own proxy contest – Nation's Restaurant News (blog)

Biglari Holdings has used a pair of proxy showdowns to help build its business. Now it faces a shareholder vote of its own — despite agreements designed in part to discourage a proxy.

A group led by Minneapolis-based investment firm Groveland Capital has quietly filed documents with the SEC to replace each of Biglari Holdings’ six board seats, which would presumably include Chairman Sardar Biglari himself.

The group owns a small percentage of shares, but has owned them for years. It has not filed documents with the SEC suggesting it has an activist investment. So the filing has not come with the sort of election-style posturing that often marks proxy fights, at least not yet.

The proxy represents the first real threat to Sardar Biglari’s control at Biglari Holdings since he won a proxy fight against Steak n Shake in 2008, won the chairmanship and then renamed the company Biglari Holdings. It also reveals mounting shareholder unrest at the company, which also owns Western Sizzlin — of which he also gained control in a proxy.

Last year, for instance, Biglari barely beat out a shareholder vote over his compensation. Even the Humane Society, upset at Biglari’s refusal to adopt its suggestions on animal welfare, has proposed a shareholder motion to have Biglari Holdings name an independent director.

The company’s stock is down 28.8 percent this year. And while much of that was due to a shareholder rights offering earlier this year that brought down the per-share value of the stock, it was on its way down before that offering was announced.

Perhaps more telling is this: In May 2011, Biglari began buying up shares in Cracker Barrel, and then launched a series of unsuccessful proxy fights against the Tennessee-based family dining chain.

Stock in Cracker Barrel has gone up 133 percent over that period, and the value of Biglari’s shares has more than doubled — up by more than $323 million. The total value of Biglari Holdings’ Cracker Barrel shares, now owned through the Sardar Biglari-run hedge fund The Lion Fund, is worth nearly $564 million. Plus, Cracker Barrel has paid the fund $34.9 million in dividends over that time.

But shareholders aren’t giving Biglari Holdings the full credit of those shares. The total market cap for the company is just $618.7 million. That would leave only $55 million for the company’s entire restaurant operations, including Steak n Shake and Western Sizzlin, which last year had total revenues of $778 million, according to the company’s annual report.

Investors might be undervaluing Biglari Holdings’ ownership of the Cracker Barrel shares in part because of the transfer to the Lion Fund, which complicated the ownership structure. Also, it’s difficult to imagine Biglari Holdings receiving the full value of those shares unless Cracker Barrel is sold. Cracker Barrel has so far resisted a push by Biglari Holdings to sell the company.

A call this morning to Groveland Capital was not returned. The fund says it invests on a global basis and is focused on “unearthing unique investment opportunities” A related hedge fund, AO Partners Fund, does have a history of proxy contests.

Groveland has nominated six people, including Nicholas Swenson, the CEO of Groveland, Seth Barkett, who is also with Groveland, Tom Lujan, principal at Lujan Legal Counsel, Jim Stryker, a 37-year restaurant industry veteran and former CFO of Perkins Marie Callender’s, Chicago attorney Steve Lombardo, and Ryan Buckley, a director at investment banking firm Livingstone Partners.

Biglari Holdings has just six board members, making this a bid by Groveland to unseat the entire board, similar to the effort by the activist Starboard Value to take control at Darden Restaurants.

Of course, Biglari Holdings is fundamentally different than Darden. Biglari would be due substantial sums if he were to ever be ousted from the company.

A license agreement reached between Biglari and Biglari Holdings, and another deal between Biglari and Steak n Shake, gives those companies the use of his name. But “in the event of a change of control,” according to the company’s annual report, or if he’s terminated from his job as CEO or chairman, Biglari gets 2.5 percent of company sales for at least five years. Biglari would also get payments under performance compensation plan.

That would be a substantial amount of money. Steak n Shake’s 2014 sales alone were $765.6 million, and 2.5 percent of that would be more than $19 million. According to the report, the payments would be a “significant liability.”

The risk of these licensing deals? According to the company’s annual report, these agreements “may deter a change of control or proxy contest.” 

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2015 Proxy Season to See Big Jumps In Proxy Access, Cybersecurity Resolutions – Bloomberg BNA

By Yin Wilczek

Nov. 20 — The number of shareholder proposals regarding proxy access and cybersecurity likely will see big jumps in the 2015proxy season, an attorney said Nov. 18.

“Looking ahead to 2015, we’re expecting a fairly significant increase in the number of proxy access proposals submitted,” said David Rivard, an associate at McGuireWoods LLP’s Richmond, Va., office.

Proxy access proposals seek to allow certain shareholders to include their director nominees on the company’s ballot. Rivard, speaking at a compliance webcast sponsored by his firm, cited a recent initiative announced by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer as one reason for the anticipated increase.

75 Companies Targeted

Stringer, on behalf of the $160 billion New York City Pension Funds, Nov. 6 said he submitted proxy access proposals to 75 companies requesting bylaws to give shareholders who meet the threshold of owning 3 percent of the company for three or more years the right to list their director candidates on the company’s ballot.

Rivard said it is likely that the funds’ proposals will garner shareholder support because of their ownership threshold. The attorney noted that of the 13 proxy access proposals submitted in 2014, nine utilizing the 3 percent/three-year threshold averaged 54 percent of the votes cast (ranging from 44 percent to 69 percent). Of that nine, five received majority support, he said.

Rivard also described as an “interesting development” the approach taken by Whole Foods Market Inc. in response to a proxyaccess resolution submitted by James McRitchie.

The company—similar to what was done by a number of others in response to special meeting proposals—decided to offer up its own proxy access proposal with more stringent ownership thresholds, Rivard noted. Whole Foods then applied to the Securities and Exchange Commission staff for no-action relief, arguing that it could exclude McRitchie’s proposal because it conflicted with the proposal the company intended to submit in its 2015 proxy materials.

Rivard said the SEC staff has yet to respond to Whole Foods’ no-action request. However, should the staff allow the relief, “it will be interesting to see how many other companies take a similar approach,” he said.

High-Profile Topic

Meanwhile, Rivard said a “relatively low number” of cybersecurity proposals were submitted for the 2014 season. However, given the amount of attention the topic has received thus far, “it seems likely that a much higher number of these proposals will be submitted to a much broader group of companies in the coming year,” he said.

Rivard added that in the 2014 season, companies received cybersecurity proposals asking for reports on their efforts to protect consumer information and to manage data security risks. In the next season, “we also expect proposals” requesting reports on companies’ responses to government requests for customer information, he said.

In other predictions, Rivard suggested that proposals on board diversity will receive more attention in 2015. This year, board diversity resolutions averaged 29 percent of shareholder vote, which “was the highest average level of support received by a social policy proposal” in 2014, he said.

Rivard also noted that commenters expect that board diversity proposals in 2015 will shift from calling for a commitment to gender diversity to requesting a progress report on gender diversity efforts.

Political Contributions

As happened this season, 2015 will see a large number of proposals on political contributions and lobbying activities, Rivard said.

The attorney noted that political contribution proposals were the top resolution submitted in 2014: of the 900 resolutions filed in theseason, 126 proposals concerned political activities. Although the resolutions averaged only 28 percent support, five did receive over 40 percent of the votes cast, and three received majority support, he said.

Rivard added that many of the 2015 proposals likely will focus on companies’ affiliation with the American Legislative Exchange Council. Companies also are seeing a new variation seeking the adoption of anti-discrimination policies protecting employees’ right toengage in various political and civic activities, he said.

Costco Wholesale Corp. and Walt Disney Co.—two companies that received employee-discrimination proposals from the National Center for Public Policy Research—have filed for no-action relief from the SEC staff. The staff Nov. 14 told Costco it could exclude the resolution because it pertained to the company’s ordinary business operations.

In other trends, Rivard said that several groups are expected to continue their majority-vote letter writing and proposal campaigns, with an increased focus on small to mid-cap companies. He noted that in the past, many of these proposals were resolved prior to a vote, “so companies that receive one of these should certainly consider initiating a dialogue with the proponents.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Yin Wilczek in Washington at ywilczek@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kristyn Hyland at khyland@bna.com

Stringer’s release and details of the initiative are available at http://comptroller.nyc.gov/newsroom/comptroller-stringer-nyc-pension-funds-launch-national-campaign-to-give-shareowners-a-true-voice-in-how-corporate-boards-are-elected/.

Whole Foods’ no-action request is available at http://www.sec.gov/divisions/corpfin/cf-noaction/14a-8/2014/jamesmcritchie102314-14a8-incoming.pdf.

Walt Disney Co.’s no-action request is available at http://www.sec.gov/divisions/corpfin/cf-noaction/14a-8/2014/nationalcenter102114-14a8-incoming.pdf.

The SEC staff response to Costco Wholesale Corp.’s no-action request is available at http://www.sec.gov/divisions/corpfin/cf-noaction/14a-8/2014/nationalcenter111414-14a8.pdf.

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Dow Chemical pact With Loeb's Third Point avoids proxy fight – Crain's Detroit Business

Dow Chemical Co., the largest U.S. chemical maker, avoided a proxy fight with activist investor Third Point LLC after agreeing to add four new independent directors. Midland-based Dow’s shares rose.

Two Third Point nominees will join the board on Jan. 1, according to a regulatory filing Friday. Two candidates proposed by Dow will join the board in January and May. Dow’s board increases to 13 directors, from 10, and will shrink to 12 before the 2016 annual meeting.

Third Point, founded by Daniel Loeb, has called for Dow to focus more on its petrochemicals business or spin it off as a separate company. The accord means Loeb won’t run a hostile slate of candidates for Dow’s board, Third Point nominee Steve Miller, chairman of American International Group Inc., said in an interview Friday.

“The main thing that Third Point wanted was to have some fresh blood come on the board with some new ideas for how to improve the returns on assets of this very fine company,” Miller told Betty Liu on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop.”

Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris has defended Dow’s integrated model, arguing that the company is more profitable because it produces commodity chemicals for use in its higher-value products such as pesticides and plastic films for packaging.

Dow rose as much as 4.5 percent, the biggest intraday gain since Jan. 29, and was trading 1.8 percent higher at $52.40 as of 1:56 p.m. in New York.

 Joining the board on Jan. 1 will be Third Point nominees Miller and Ray Milchovich, former chairman and chief executive of Foster Wheeler AG. Dow nominated Mark Loughridge, former chief financial officer of IBM Corp., who will also join in January, and Richard Davis, chairman and CEO of U.S. Bancorp, who will replace a current board member in May.

In addition to their Dow director fees, Third Point is paying Miller and Milchovich $250,000 each plus a further $250,000 to buy Dow shares when they join the board, Third Point said in a Nov. 13 regulatory filing. They also each will receive any value increase in Dow shares multiplied by 396,500, to be paid after 3 years and 5 years.

Third Point has taken down a website unveiled Nov. 13 that was critical of what it called “broken promises” by Dow and Liveris. Under today’s agreement, Third Point is to refrain from proxy challenges, lawsuits or public disparagement of Dow and its executives for a year.

“Dow and Third Point will be making no further public comment on the matter,” according to a joint statement today. “Both are pleased to have resolved the matter amicably and to have arrived at an agreeable path forward.”

Third Point first disclosed its Dow stake in January and today reported owning 27.5 million shares, or about 2.3 percent of shares outstanding. Third Point agreed today to keep its stake below 5 percent.

Liveris told investors and analysts at a Nov. 12-13 meeting in Texas that earnings will climb as new plants open in Texas and Saudi Arabia and margins will widen with the sale of less- profitable assets. The company is raising its dividend to a record, making additional share buybacks and is in the process of selling as much as $8.5 billion of low-margin assets.

Dow also is making changes to how it reports business segment results, partly to assuage Loeb’s call for greater financial transparency.

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Study slams CFPB's proxy methodology – Automotive News

Stinebert: Many “false positives”

Related Topics

Jim Henry
Automotive News
November 23, 2014 – 12:01 am ET

The statistical method the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau uses to identify which consumers belong to minority groups correctly identified African-American borrowers only 24 percent of the time.

That was one of the findings of a nearly yearlong study commissioned by the American Financial Services Association, a lender group with offices in Washington. AFSA has been at odds with the CFPB over the bureau’s methodology.

“From start to finish, this thing is flawed,” AFSA Executive Vice President Bill Himpler told Automotive News.

The CFPB’s statistical analysis is so inaccurate that the CFPB’s conclusions about alleged discrimination in auto loans are also invalid, the lender group said.

Chris Stinebert, AFSA CEO, said the research was an independent study by financial consulting firm Charles River Associates. He said the study looked at around 8.2 million auto loans for both new and used vehicles. The loans were originated in 2012 and 2013, he said.

“The conclusion reached by the study is the CFPB proxy methodology to determine alleged discrimination is significantly biased,” Stinebert told Automotive News. Besides a low success rate in identifying minorities, the CFPB methodology also produced a lot of “false positives,” exaggerating the number of minorities, the study said.

Auto lenders are legally prohibited from collecting race or ethnic data from loan applicants. In contrast, mortgage applicants self-report race and ethnicity.

To analyze auto-loan contracts for potential discrimination, statisticians use so-called proxies — such as names, addresses and census data — to assign a probability as to whether a given consumer with a particular name at a particular address belongs to a legally protected class of borrowers, such as minorities or women.

To check accuracy, statisticians can compare those results with mortgage data from the same individuals, where race and ethnicity are reported.

In an industry “guidance” released in March 2013, the CFPB had concluded, based on its analysis of auto loan data, that lenders permit discrimination when they allow dealerships to set their own compensation for acting as a middleman to set up auto loans.

That compensation comes in the form of a small amount of interest, known as dealer reserve, that lenders allow dealerships to tack onto the car-loan interest rate charged by the lender.

The CFPB wants lenders to switch to flat fees or some other way to compensate dealers, where dealers would have no discretion in setting the consumer’s final rate.

The bureau said it plans to “carefully” review “the AFSA-commissioned” report. “The CFPB is always interested in relevant data regarding important issues like discrimination in auto lending,” the bureau said.

The National Automobile Dealers Association strongly endorsed the latest study results.

“This study shows that CFPB’s attempt to upend the auto lending process is insufficiently informed and the victim of flawed assumptions and inadequate peer review,” Peter Welch, NADA president, said in a statement. “Allegations of potential discrimination are explosive — and certainly should not be made without a reliable foundation in data.”

You can reach Jim Henry at autonews@crain.com.

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Karzai Says Kabul Won't Allow India-Pakistan 'Proxy War' On Afghan Soil – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

Afghanistan’s former president, Hamid Karzai, has said at a gathering in New Delhi that Kabul will not allow its soil to be used for a “proxy war” between India and Pakistan.

Speaking at a conference of policymakers, diplomats, and business leaders hosted by the “Hindustan Times” newspaper, Karzai also urged Indian, China, and Russia to put up a united fight against terrorism in Afghanistan.

Karzai told the gathering on November 21 that terrorism “derives its sustenance and support from outside” of Afghanistan’s borders.

And in a reference to Pakistan, the former Afghan president said: “Terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy has boomeranged.”

Karzai, who made 20 visits to Pakistan in more than 12 years as president, has consistently spoken about terrorist sanctuaries outside of Afghanistan — often referring to the financial and ideological support that terrorist groups have received in neighboring Pakistan.

Based on reporting by the “Hindustan Times”

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