Y2K NEWS CENTRE: the January 20th Y2K-related news stories are now up, with an amazing 'bonus' story...

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[Here are the summaries for today's Y2K-related news stories on the Y2K NEWS CENTRE page. Full newspaper links are provided for each story there. Don't miss the last item, which has been posted for 24 hours only as an amazing 'off topic' bonus...]

JANUARY 20th, 2000:

TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS: "Y2K glitch affects some TAR credit card purchases" - 'TAR members who have made credit card purchases from TAR during the first week of January should check their credit card statements carefully. Due to a Y2K glitch with TAR's credit card processor, some members were charged more than once for their purchase...'

ACCOUNTING WEB: "Millennium bug strikes Revenue's electronic filing system" - 'The Inland Revenue's electronic lodgement system (ELS) has encountered Y2K incompatibilities with users of Digita's tax software. In a comment posted on AccountingWEB's Y2K Problem Page, Kevin Salter of Barnstaple-based Grover Standbury & Co reported that returns filed via ELS on 5 January this year triggered responses from the Revenue's computers acknowledging their receipt on 5 January 1900...'

ACCOUNTING WEB: "Welsh tax office bitten by millennium bug in forms fiasco" - 'A Welsh tax office has been bitten by the millennium bug, issuing thousands of tax returns mistakenly dated 1900, Accountancy Age has learned. - 'Up to 4,000 returns were sent out across the country after a printing contractor to the Revenue incorrectly stated the issue date as the turn of the last century. One accountant who received a wrongly dated return said: 'The computer-generated notice date has been given as January 4, 1900 - two years before my grandmother was born.' He joked: 'I'm arranging a loan to cover the interest penalties.' It is understood the Wrexham regional office experienced particular difficulties and was described by one source as in 'chaos'...'

PROVIDENCE JOURNAL [R.I.]: "Rhode Island Courts Expect Quick Remedy to Computer Glitch" - 'Computer experts are expected to apply a "software patch" this week to finish repairing a problem that led to several false arrests last month. A glitch in the state courts' computers that led to a rash of false arrests last month is on the mend -- but not all better. Last week, consultants rooted out all the warrants mistakenly issued by the new computer system -- some 350 in all. But the names of 1,500 past and present suspects remain mismatched in the system, creating the potential for more bogus arrests should a judge put out a warrant for any of them...'

REINSURANCE NEWS NETWORK: "Factory Mutual, Lexington Insurance, Named in Y2K Suit" - 'Factory Mutual Insurance Co. and Lexington Insurance Co. are among the defendants in two Y2K-related lawsuits seeking to recover nearly $100 million in computer-related costs, a Washington-based attorney said Wednesday...'

REINSURANCE NEWS NETWORK: "Munich Re - Winter storms cost up to DM 1bn / No significant material damage losses as a result of Y2K" - '...The date changeover from 1999 to 2000 has so far not resulted in any significant material damage losses for the Munich Re Group companies. Pessimistic predictions that the insurance industry would have to reckon with huge billion-dollar losses from sudden breakdowns and accidents have evidently not been fulfilled. Despite the widespread relief at this, Munich Re is continuing to adopt a reserved attitude and is waiting until any losses that may emerge gradually - in liability insurance, for example - have been identified and estimated...'

FOX MARKET WIRE: "180 Days to Prove 1999 a Glitch" - 'International Business Machines Corp. (IBM.N) Chairman and Chief Executive Louis Gerstner set a 180-day deadline for the world's largest computer maker to prove the dismal results it posted for the second half of 1999 were an exception, not the rule. In a letter to employees sent Wednesday, when IBM reported its 1999 year-end results, Gerstner stated: "As I see it, we have two quarters -- 180 days -- to prove that the second half of 1999 was an aberration, not the beginning of a trend.'' Net profits fell 10 percent on a 4 percent decline in revenues during IBM's 1999 fourth quarter, results for which were released after the close of regular-session trading on Wednesday. "The Y2K issue hit us hard in the fourth quarter,'' Gerstner had said in a statement accompanying the results. IBM's hardware and services businesses were hurt by a pause in spending on new computers and services by some large customers -- especially banks and financial services companies -- were seeking to avert potential Year 2000 software glitches in existing equipment, a scenario IBM had warned in October was likely to stretch into the first quarter of 2000. Third quarter 1999 results had also showed softness, as revenues grew a tepid 5 percent. By contrast, during the first half of 1999, IBM boasted of double-digit revenue growth as customers stocked up on computers ahead of the Y2K transition...'

COMPUTER RESELLER NEWS: "IBM Not Out Of Y2K Woods" - "IBM's chief financial officer cautioned Wall Streetanalysts against boosting their expectations for the company's 2000 profits, despite a better-than-expected fourth quarter. John Joyce, IBM's CFO, told analysts in a conference call that customer Y2K technology buying lockdowns still remain, and will not all lift at once. IBM, Armonk, N.Y., earlier reported fourth-quarter earnings per share of $1.12, compared with Wall Street's consensus expectation of $1.06. "For 2000, the Street's current average expectations are at the upper end of the range of our [earnings] model," Joyce said. "Our fourth-quarter results should not [change expectations for 2000]," he said. "The Y2K lockdown [in 1999] was very real," Joyce said. "Although we're past the most critical stage of Y2K, we expect the lockdown to be lifted at different times by different customers."...'

REUTERS: "Lawyers gear up for Y2K backlash" - ' "It ain't over till the fat lady sues.'' That's the message which greets visitors to the web page of Ross & Co, a law practice in South Wirral, northwest England, which specializes in millennium computer bug law suits. The website www.y2kalert.com/fatladyis a reminder to those who believe that the lack of mayhem caused by the millennium computer bug over the New Year proves it was a non event. "Stories about the death of the millennium bug have been exaggerated,'' said Mark O'Conor, a lawyer with Bird & Bird. Law suits worth hundreds of millions of dollars are in the pipeline, seeking damages for a range of problems. Some corporations will allege over-charging by information technology consultancies, or that consultants induced work that was unnecessary. Other companies might seek to recover huge sums spent on new computers because they were persuaded that unless they were installed, the business might disappear into a cyberspace blackhole...'

REUTERS: "Fed Reserve Bank exec: Y2K cash not an issue" - 'Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Alfred Broaddus said today that the unwinding of cash built up at the end of last year was not a factor in U.S. financial markets. "That's being unwound, and frankly I don't see that as an issue" for U.S. financial and stock markets, Broaddus told a business group. "The Y2K effect on liquity and money supply generally, like the rest of the Y2K effect, is likely to be a non event," he added...'

NEWSDAY: "Fed Notes Good Business Conditions" - '...The Fed, in its survey, said the Year 2000 computer changeover did not cause major disruptions to the U.S. banking system or other parts of the economy. "Few future disruptions are anticipated and few problems concerning Y2K-related inventories are expected," the Fed said....'

LAS VEGAS SUN: "Sizzling LV economy to produce a record 50,000 home sales" - '...The quarterly survey questioned 20 new home shoppers at each of 25 new home communities, for a total of 500 interviews. Company officials say the survey has a margin of error of less than 5 percent. The survey said another factor driving new home demand is continued consumer confidence. "More than half of those surveyed continue to believe the economy will improve in the next six months," said Bottfeld. "(Consumer) confidence bottomed out last summer because of Y2K concerns, and has been rising ever since." The survey found one in five respondents think the local economy will "improve a lot" this year, while one-third of Las Vegans believe the economy will slightly improve. That level of consumer confidence has remained constant for the last six quarterly surveys. There is, however, one foreboding cloud rising over the housing market horizon: higher interest rates...'

TELEGRAM & GAZETTE [Worcester, MA] "Time for `Next Big Story' With Y2K talk exhausted, nominations are now in order" - 'First it was O.J., then Monica, now Y2K. All have captured the attention of the press, if not always the public's imagination. But now that Jan. 1, 2000, has come and gone with hardly a hitch, what's the next big event to dominate headlines and water cooler chatter? Well, no one knows what the next media obsessions will be -- they are event-driven, said Robert J.S. Ross, a professor of sociology at Clark University. "What we can say is there will be another obsession," Mr. Ross said. "It will be about something important or something trivial. We won't know ahead of time." But Mr. Ross believes the "big quiet stories" in the next 20 years will be the retirement of the baby boomers, the absorption of new immigrants and the impact both groups will have on our culture...'

IRONMINDS.COM: "Its time to recognize the brave souls who protected us from the hell of Y2K. And the Winner is ..." - 'Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the First Annual Ironminds Y2K Humanitarian Hero Awards. These awards are dedicated to the brave few who risked life and limb during the Great Y2K Disaster, performing amazing acts of bravery throughout the world on and about New Years Day, 2000. Some of these unsung men and women labored tirelessly throughout 1999, warning the rest of us that Y2K was something to fear. But did we listen? No. While most of us foolishly refused to panic, a few brave stalwarts did the important work - digging desert bunkers and hoarding oats. And then there were the heroes who leaped into the fray after disaster struck - rescuing those who did not take proper Y2K precautions, like buying grenade launchers. But before we get to the presentations, we here at Ironminds feel that we owe our readers a big apology. We hope that none of you were hurt by our lack of vision and that you made it safely into the year 2000 despite all the havoc caused by Y2K. How were we to know that society would completely unravel the way it did? We admit that we ran several stories debunking the entire Y2K disaster concept, and that, in our chosen role as Doubting Thomases, we might have put many of you directly into the path of danger...'

OFF-TOPIC BUT WORTH NOTING: This amazing item appeared in today's MOSCOW TIMES [the online edition has already been replaced by tomorrow's newspaper, so we're reproducing this story in full here for 24 hours only]

Thursday, January 20, 2000

Canadian Paper Calls Russia a Piece of Dung

[full story on the Y2K NEWS CENTRE page...]


-- John Whitley (jwhitley@inforamp.net), January 20, 2000

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