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Business briefs

Posted: Monday, January 3, 2011 8:57 pm

Cyber defense center planned
BERLIN (AP) — Germany is planning the creation of a national cyber defense center in 2011 in reaction to a growing number of cyber attacks on government institutions that mostly originate in China.
An interior ministry spokesman said last week that while in 2009 the government registered only 900 attacks, there were already 1,600 electronic attacks in the first half of 2010 as well as a high number of unreported cases.
Stefan Paris said “most electronic attacks are coming from China.”
He said Germany as an industrialized country is an attractive target for cyber attackers because of its advanced technical development.
Paris did not give any details on the future cyber defense center apart from saying that it should be composed by government experts, members of the intelligence services, and would closely cooperate with the corporate world.

Anti-spam crusader at work
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Daniel Balsam hates spam so much he quit a marketing career to go to law school and make a living out of suing companies that flood his e-mail inbox with offers of cheap drugs and unbelievable vacations.
From San Francisco Superior Court small claims court to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the San Francisco-based Balsam has racked up more than $1 million in judgments and settlements with e-mail marketers.
His courtroom foes contend he is one of many sole practitioners unfairly exploiting anti-spam sentiments and laws.
Balsam makes no apologies for his tactics or his mission, saying he’s doing “a little bit of good cleaning up the Internet.”

Minimum wage up in 7 states
DENVER (AP) — It will be a happier New Year for nearly 650,000 workers earning minimum wage. They’re getting small raises in seven states that tie their salaries to the cost of living.
The minimum wages in those states went up between 9 cents and 12 cents an hour Saturday because their consumer price indexes rose in 2010.
The extra pennies can’t come soon enough for Joe Martinez of Denver, who works odd jobs such as lawn maintenance for minimum wage. In Colorado, the wage is rising 11 cents, from the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour to $7.36 an hour.
“The prices of everything are going up — food, rent, electricity,” Martinez, 55, said on his lunch break Wednesday. “I know it’s not a lot of money, but any extra money will help, you know?”
Poverty advocates say the rising minimum wages shouldn’t be seen as raises, just adjustments to keep the working poor at the same level as prices of goods rise.
The National Employment Law Project, a New York-based advocate for workers, estimates that about 647,000 people will see their paychecks go up in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

Published in The Messenger on 1.3.11

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