Envoys to meet jailed Islamist Shater: report

CAIRO (Reuters) – A group of Western and Arab envoys will visit jailed Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat El-Shater as they seek to mediate an end to Egypt’s crisis, Al Jazeera reported on Sunday.

BlackBerry: Hold Your Nose And Buy?

By Ashraf Eassa:

Early on, I learned that taking a contrarian position in the markets can be extremely lucrative — that is, if you time it correctly. All too often people try to “catch a falling knife” in the hopes of hitting it big. Some get lucky and catch such deeply hated stocks right at the bottom before sentiment completely reverses, but often times it’s a long, and seemingly excruciating, wait to simply get back to even, let alone make the huge profits dreamed of when taking said contrarian position. However, there are some useful signs that investors can use to determine whether it’s time to “hold your nose and buy,” and I think that BlackBerry (BBRY) might finally be exhibiting them.

Balance Sheet Clean As A Whistle, Trading Significantly Below Book Value

If there’s one thing that can be said about BlackBerry, it’s that its balance sheet is as clean as

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Holy sh*t! Smart toilet hack attack!

Information security firm Trustwave has reported a potential cyber-attack vector to a device you may have never expected the phrase “security vulnerability” would be applied (other than in reference to the end of a toilet paper roll, that is). In an advisory issued August 1, Trustwave warned of a Bluetooth security vulnerability in Inax’s Satis automatic toilet.

Functions of the Satis—including the raising and lowering of its lid and operation of its bidet and flushing nozzles—can be remotely controlled from an Android application called “My Satis” over a Bluetooth connection. But the Bluetooth PIN to pair with the toilet—”0000″—is hard-coded into the app. “As such, any person using the ‘My Satis’ application can control any Satis toilet,” the security advisory noted. “An attacker could simply download the ‘My Satis’ application and use it to cause the toilet to repeatedly flush, raising the water usage and therefore utility cost to its owner. Attackers could cause the unit to unexpectedly open/close the lid, [or] activate bidet or air-dry functions, causing discomfort or distress to user.”

And you thought the only thing you had to worry about was dropping your phone into the toilet.

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Record inflow into U.S. equity funds in July: TrimTabs

(Reuters) – Investors poured a record $40.3 billion into U.S. equity mutual funds and exchange-trade funds in July, after largely ignoring equities in June, research provider TrimTabs Investment Research said on Sunday.

Police shoot dead armed 14-year-old boy in New York City

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A police officer shot an armed 14-year-old boy in New York City early on Sunday after he did not drop his gun when ordered, police said.

Asia’s exports stutter, missing out on U.S. revival

HONG KONG (Reuters) – The U.S. economy may have stopped sneezing, but Asia’s exports are still laid up with a nasty cold.

Tycoon’s 10-year crusade to get a Big Mac in Vietnam

HO CHI MINH CITY (Reuters) – Tycoon Henry Nguyen mopped floors, flipped burgers and even cleaned toilets over a 10-year campaign to convince McDonald’s Corp to let him bring Big Macs and Happy Meals to communist Vietnam.

BART Strike?

SAN FRANCISCO — Bay Area Rapid Transit managers and union leaders returned to the bargaining table Sunday in hopes of heading off a strike that would create traffic nightmares for San Francisco area commuters for the second time in a month.

Representatives from BART management and the agency’s two largest employee unions negotiated for about 14 hours Saturday and resumed bargaining Sunday morning as a midnight deadline loomed.

Big differences remain on key issues including wages, pensions, worker safety and health care costs, but the parties expressed some optimism that an agreement could be reached to avert a strike planned for Monday.

“The parties made some important but incremental moves yesterday, and I hope to get to a deal,” Josie Mooney, chief negotiator for the Service Employees International Union 1021, said Sunday before heading into negotiations. “If the parties work very hard, then it’s certainly possible in the amount of time we have left.”

“There was definitely movement from both sides,” BART chief negotiator Thomas Hock said as he left negotiations late Saturday night. “Hopefully, if we keep moving, we will get to a proposal that both sides can agree to.”

BART’s two largest unions issued a 72-hour notice Thursday that employees would walk off the job if they didn’t reach agreement on a new contract by midnight Sunday.

Bay Area agencies are preparing ways to get commuters to work if there’s a strike, but officials say there’s no way to make up for the BART system, which carries about 400,000 riders a day.

“BART really is the backbone of the transit network. No other transit agency has the ability to absorb BART’s capacity if there’s a disruption,” said John Goodwin, spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

If there’s a BART strike, transit agencies are planning to add bus and ferry service, keep carpool lanes open all day and even give away coffee gift cards to encourage drivers to pick up riders. They’re also encouraging workers to avoid peak traffic hours or telecommute if possible.

When BART workers shut down train service for four days in early July, roadways were packed and commuters waited in long lines for buses and ferries. The unions agreed to call off that strike and extend their contracts until Sunday while negotiations continued.

A strike this week could lead to more gridlock than last month’s strike, which came around the Fourth of July holiday when many workers were on vacation.

Bay Area and state officials have been pressuring BART managers and union leaders to reach an agreement this weekend, saying a strike would create financial hardship for working families and hurt the region’s economy.