Archive | August 16, 2012

Occupy World: 38,000 Take Class Action Against ANZ Bank!*

Occupy World: 38,000 Take Class Action Against ANZ Bank!*


By Stephen Cook

Today 38,000 customers of the ANZ Bank, representing a whopping 170,000 total customers, launched Australia’s biggest ever Class Action as they took the bank to the Australian High Court over the fees, charges and penalties – such a late payment fees, overdrawn accounts fees etc – it has been imposing customers. All of which the customers and their lawyers – who are being funded by Australian internet service provider iinet – say are illegal.

By Will Ockenden, ABC’s PM with Mark Colvin, ABC Radio Australia – August 14, 2012

Radio Transcript

Host Mark Colvin: Australia’s biggest class action reached the High Court today: a suit against the ANZ Bank over fees.

The battle is over what’s fair to charge customers for missing a credit card payment or not having quite enough money in their account.

Lawyers for the ANZ customers in the class action argue that many of the fees banks charge are unfair.

They want the fees refunded. The banks say the fees are defensible.

Will Ockenden reports.

WILL OCKENDEN: Everybody grumbles about paying bank fees but now tens of thousands of people are doing something about it.

ANDREW WATSON: It’s going to be a very significant case for both banking consumers across the country and for consumers generally.

WILL OCKENDEN: That’s Andrew Watson from the law firm, Maurice Blackburn.

He’s heading up a case on behalf of 170,000 bank customers (represented by the 38,000 involved in the class action) against all of the nation’s major banks

Mr Watson argues fees on late credit card payments, bounced cheques, or overdrawn accounts are unfair.

ANDREW WATSON: The distinction really boils down to: are they a fee for a service – we say they’re not – or are they a penalty, that is, something that’s designed in effect to punish the customer. And we say they are penalties and that they’re out of all proportion to the cost to the bank.

WILL OCKENDEN: The High Court appeal against the ANZ Bank is a test case.

It’s an attempt to add to a Federal Court decision on the types of fees which can be included in the class action.

If the fee paying customers win, lawyers hope all banks will have to pay back $220 million.

ANDREW WATSON: We want customers to receive back the money that they paid in these fees over and above what it cost the bank to actually process these transactions.

WILL OCKENDEN: The Reserve Bank surveys banks fees every year.

Over the last few years, the income banks earn from households in fees has been falling.

Several years ago, about $1.3 billion in the types of fees being argued about in the High Court was collected by the banks, it’s now a third of that.

Nevertheless, Andrew Watson from Maurice Blackburn says the fees are still too high.

ANDREW WATSON: Many of the banks have cut their fees. We think that speaks volumes frankly.

We are arguing that, as their conduct would seem to indicate, that their fees were previously just simply extravagant.

WILL OCKENDEN: Professor of economics at RMIT University, Professor Sinclair Davidson, disagrees.

SINCLAIR DAVIDSON: This is a point about contracts and when people enter into a relationship with a bank they sign a contract and they agree to fees and charges up front.

And so if they are late in meeting their payments, they’re breaking their contract, they then pay the penalty that they’ve agreed to in advance.

I really don’t think that it’s that much of a problem that banks charge fees for breaching contracts.

WILL OCKENDEN: Sinclair Davidson says competition between the banks is what will bring fees down.

SINCLAIR DAVIDSON: They will charge what they can think they can get away with but if there’s push back from customers they will lower their prices. That more-or-less happens all the time. That’s what we’re seeing here and the competitive process will actually keep so-called excessive charges in check.

WILL OCKENDEN: The case is being financed by the litigation powerhouse, IMF Australia.

The company is paying for the lawyers, and will cover costs if the case is lost.

But it also charges fees – about 25 per cent of any winnings.

IMF’s executive director, John Walker.

JOHN WALKER: We’re paying for the costs of the process up to the High Court and back and the substance procedure.

We’re covering any adverse cost orders in the events that we lose and in return for that service we’re charging around 25 per cent of any money that is finally recovered.

WILL OCKENDEN: The Australian Bankers Association, which represents the banks, says the fees are defensible.

The ANZ says while some fees may be unpopular, it believes they’re lawful.


Related Topics:

Iran’s Central Bank

Bankers Arrested In Nine Countries

Bloomberg – World Financial Market To Be Rebalanced By Currency Revaluation!

US$ 1.5Trn Siphoned Off Annually By Foreigners

U.S Banks Avoid Taxes By Creating Foreign Subsidaries*

BRICS ~ Brazil, Russia, India, China, & South Africa: Block Rothschild’s US and EU Computer Generated Ponzi Bailout Scheme Money Issuances.

German Police Officers Take Off Helmets & Marched With German Citizens Against Rothschild European Central Bank!

Your Money, Their Interest – Banking Scandals Continue…

Iceland Refused To Bailout Rothschild’s Corrupt Banking Cabal ~ Continues To Grow Using ‘Startups’ vs ‘Outmoded Banks’.

Occupy World: Canadians Lay Claim to Nation’s Central Bank!*

U.K. When Freedom of Speech Loses the Right to Work

U.K. When Freedom of Speech Loses the Right to Work

It was in the memorable 2008 that the reputable British daily, The Guardian disclosed that there is a secret blacklist used by 44 leading employers whose views were in favor of the union. Labeled ‘left-wing troublemakers’. Founded by Ian Kerr, The Consulting Association made the list available for a fee, based on surveillance files on over 3,200 workers, including political activists, shop stewards and health and safety representatives according to Common Dream. Lives have been ruined goin back as far back as the 1960s, with long term unemployment, and broken marriages as a result, while Ian Kerr only got a fine of U.S$7,500.

This blacklist comes to the fore again as Liberty threatens to take this to court, as none of the cases were investigated. From the Black List Support Group one can learn what happened to some of these men…

Mick Abbott, a 74-year-old ex-scaffolder:

“This nearly ruined my marriage and it meant that my children were on free meals at school. My file goes back to 1964 and the last entry says that I rekindled the campaign for justice for the Shrewsbury picketers in 2006. They have been watching me all these years and passing this information around, blighting my life over four decades.”

Steve Kelly – an electrician:

 “I was blacklisted because I was a union member and because I raised issues about safety. In 2007, [Sir Robert] McAlpine sacked me from the Colchester Barracks project after 2 days for refusing to work on a moving platform without proper training (exactly as we had been instructed in the site induction) – the dismissal is recorded on my blacklist file.

“Over the year I suffered severe financial strain, my wages were cut in half which caused immense stress paying bills and putting food on table. I was out of work for a year apart from few weeks here and there in 2001. Being sacked from Colchester Barracks after only two days piled up the stress and caused a nervous breakdown for me eventually.”


Related Topics:

Living off the Grid: How Ridiculous Can the U.K. Get!

U.K. – Tottenham Riot and Disenfranchised Youth

U.K. Students Have Won the Battle But Not the War

Can’t See the British Woods Without the Trees

Anti-Austerity and Living on the Edge

U.K: The Affect of Globalization on Poverty

Musicians to Raise Funds for Earthquake Victims


Iranian musicians are planning to hold charity concerts to raise funds for the quake-stricken victims of Iran’s northwestern province of East Azarbaijan.

Tar virtuoso Keyvan Saket will hold a solo concert in Tabriz, the provincial capital of East Azarbaijan, while the Sepid-o-Siah ensemble will perform in the northeastern city of Gorgan on August 30 and 31.

Keyvan Saket is a composer, researcher and master player of Tar and Setar, who has held numerous national and international concerts.

The Sepid-o-Siah ensemble is a traditional Persian music group which has held numerous concerts in different Iranain cities as well as Malaysia, Armenia and Tajikistan.

On August 11, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the city of Ahar, near the provincial capital Tabriz, at 15:53 local time (1123 GMT). The quake struck 60 kilometers (37 miles) northeast of Tabriz at a depth of 9.9 kilometers (6.2 miles).
Another quake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale jolted Varzaqan and Haris districts, which are located near Ahar, 11 minutes later at a similar depth. The epicenter of the quake was 49 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Tabriz.

Twelve villages in Varzaqan have been completely destroyed by the earthquake and about 60 others have been partially destroyed.

Thousands of people were forced to remain outdoors as at least 20 aftershocks rocked the area. Read on >>>

Related Topics:

Turkey-Iran: An  Ancient Language Rediscovered

Delivering Music Therapeutics to the Homeless

Turkey: Music Therapy in Modern Healthcare

Nuclear Realities!

Nuclear Realities!

August 14 2012

High Seawater temperatures causes Nuclear Plant to shutdown in Connecticut

37-year old nuclear reactor, Unit 2 of The Milestone Nuclear Power Station in Connecticut, was shut down on Sunday, August 12, 2012 as seawater used in cooling the reactor soared to 76.7 degrees Fahrenheit (24.83 degrees Celsius). 880-megawatt reactor was shut down by Dominion Power who operates the facility. Under the reactor’s safety rules, the cooling water can be no higher than 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Temperatures this summer are the warmest we’ve had since operations began here at Millstone,’’ said a spokesman for Dominion, Ken Holt.

Unit 2 of Millstone Power Station has occasionally shut for maintenance or other issues, but in its history it has never gone down because of excessively warm water, Holt said on Monday. Dominion does not have an estimate of when the unit will restart, he added.

August 8

Nuclear reactor in Belgium shuts down

Doel 3 nuclear reactor at Doel Nuclear Power Station in Belgium was shut down on August 8, 2012 under the suspicion that one of its components might be cracked. “We have found anomalies,” said Karina De Beule, spokesman for the ACFN, the federal agency for nuclear control.

The station is located in the most densely populated area of all nuclear power stations in Europe, with 9 million inhabitants within a radius of 75 kilometres (47 miles). Construction of this plant started in 1969 and commission started in 1975. Read on >>>

82 Year Old Nun Shuts Down US Nuclear Weapons Facility

In the early morning on Saturday, July 28, three gray-haired trespassers made their way into a nuclear weapons facility in Tennessee. They were armed with human blood, hammers, candles, flowers, crime-scene tape and a Bible. In the process of their break-in and after, they managed to close down operations at the facility for days on end and raise searching questions about how secure — and how justified — the United States’ vast nuclear stockpiles really are. Read on >>>

Related Topics:

Nature’s Response to Japan’s Nuclear Reactor Restart

Can Japan Withstand More Natural Disasters?

The Nightmare that is Fukushima!