One of the UK's top accountants has joined the business backlash against attacks on corporate tax avoidance by politicians, telling the authorities to change the law if they are unhappy with the ethics.
Responding to calls for companies to "pay their fair share", Mark Otty, Ernst & Young's managing partner for Europe, Middle East and Africa, claimed a moral tax code would not work as companies had a duty to pay the lowest rate permitted.
His intervention follows Starbucks' threat to suspend millions of pounds of planned investment in the UK if the attacks continue. Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein has also warned that the row risks stigmatising "every right-thinking person who organises his or her affairs in a sensible way".
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Otty told The Daily Telegraph: "The only way you can resolve this issue is through a legal code. I don't see how you can have any assessment on payments of tax other than what is in the statute. The simplest solution is to stop banging on about morality and change the law. "
He says that because he's an accountant. The dear, simple creatures actually think that way, which is why so few go into politics.
His comments followed David Cameron's pledge to crack down on avoidance, some of which the Prime Minister said had become so "aggressive" it raised "ethical issues". Businesses which thought they could dodge their fair share of tax needed to "wake up and smell the coffee", Mr Cameron said.
Public anger has mounted at the way global companies such as Google, Starbucks and Amazon move profits from one country to another to lower their tax rate. While the behaviour is not illegal, MPs have called it "immoral".
"That money is ours. How dare they take it away as if they'd earnt it!"
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has recovered from a respiratory infection he contracted after undergoing cancer surgery in Cuba, a minister said.
'Fortyfive days after the complicated surgery, the patient recovers normally, his serious respiratory infection has been overcome. Though certain respiratory inefficiency persists, he is receiving the required treatment,' Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said on state TV.
And if you can't believe the state information minister, who can you believe?
He said that despite his illness, the 58-year-old Chavez continues to 'play active role' in the country's politics.
"What did he say?"
"Something like, 'como gurgle gurgle farc mummmphh gurgle,' minister."
"Okay, make that happen, and snappy!"
Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said upon his arrival from Cuba Friday that Chavez was feeling much better than he has done since undergoing surgery. Chavez was smiling, optimistic, and believes the treatment will work.
Chavez, who has ruled Venezuela for 13 years, has had four operations for cancer and four courses of chemotherapy in Cuba and Venezuela within a year. His fourth operation, to remove cancerous tissue, took place in Cuba Dec 11.
His inauguration was slated for Jan 11, but he was unable to attend due to his impending death health reasons.
I think this is just 'happy news', and suggests that the behind the scenes fighting to decide who will succeed him hasn't yet been settled.
News out of North Korean in notorious unreliable, but food shortages in the country have gotten so bad and people so desperate that there are now reports of men murdering their own children for food. These startling reports were compiled by independent reporters commissioned by Asia Press, a independent press agency focusing on Asia, and were published by the Sunday Times. And here's one of the most disturbing thing you'll read this morning:
The source said: "While his wife was away on business he killed his eldest daughter and, because his son saw what he had done, he killed his son as well. When the wife came home, he offered her food, saying: 'We have meat.'
"But his wife, suspicious, notified the Ministry of Public Security, which led to the discovery of part of their children's bodies under the eaves."
From prior reports the Chinese across the border have taken to keeping recently deceased above ground, until they are no longer 'fresh', before burial. Seems the NK's had been crossing the border and digging them up. This was reported about six months ago.
Posted by: ed in texas ||
Famine, cannibalism, general suckitude... but lots of Fairness and Equality of Outcome. Except for the nomenklatura, of course.
Oil companies extracting oil from the Bakken and Texas' Eagle Ford shale fields are flaring (burning off) enough gas to power all the homes in Chicago and Washington combined. The light from the flares can be seen from space.
A leading factor in the tripling of the volume of flared waste gas over the last five years I mean, beside the seven-fold increase in oil production in the Bakken fields
is the low price of natural gas in North America, which can make it uneconomic to build pipelines and tanks to handle the gas released by oil production. There are some problems that you would rather have.
Continental said it already flared proportionately less gas than the industry average, was making progress on more reductions and agreed to report on its progress in 2013.
The North Dakota legislature is considering a bill to encourage flaring reduction through tax breaks. The state is also pushing producers to use gas to power drilling rigs.
Iceland was handed a huge win today by the court of the European Free Trade Association.
The court said that Iceland did not break the law when it decided not to cover the losses of foreigners who had deposited money in Landsbanki, the Icelandic bank that failed in 2008.
The New York Times reports that this case has provoked intense animosity between Iceland and Britain.
"In a recent interview with British television, Iceland's president, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, denounced Britain's 'eternal shame' for invoking the terrorism laws," the Times reports. "'We were there together with Al Qaeda and the Taliban on that list,' he said. 'We have not forgotten that in Iceland.'"
The Times also points out that Iceland's economy is improving. Fitch even raised its credit rating saying the country's ""unorthodox crisis policy response has succeeded in preserving sovereign creditworthiness."
[FRANCE24] Anger over a long list of corruption scandals implicating bankers, politicians and even members of the royal family is on the rise in recession-hit Spain, putting the spotlight on the failure of the country's democracy to tackle the issue.
At demonstrations against government austerity measures, chants against alleged shady deals by Spain's elite are as common as those venting anger at tax hikes and spending cuts to social services and public workers' pay.
Around 200-300 elected officials out of more than 50,000 in the country are currently implicated in corruption cases in regions governed both by both the left and the right, said the head of the Spanish branch of anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International, Jesus Lizcano.
New estimates from a Norwegian research project show meeting targets for minimizing global warming may be more achievable than previously thought. Quick... someone call Al Gore!!
After the planet's average surface temperature rose through the 1990s, the increase has almost leveled off at the level of 2000, while ocean water temperature has also stabilized, the Research Council of Norway said in a statement on its website. After applying data from the past decade, the results showed temperatures may rise 1.9 degrees Celsius if Co2 levels double by 2050, below the 3 degrees predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Always promising what they can't deliver. Typical.
"The Earth's mean temperature rose sharply during the 1990s," said Terje Berntsen, a professor at the University of Oslo who worked on the study. "This may have caused us to overestimate climate sensitivity." That, and hype, and grants, and greed, and lust for power, and desire for control.
The findings also show the effect of reduced airborne particulates from burning coal, which may decrease the cloud cover that cools the earth, probably has less of an impact on climate through indirect cooling than originally projected.
At some point CO2 has absorbed all the electromagnetic energy that it can absorb. It's an invisible gas -- most wavelengths go right through. This is why the 'tipping point' is so important to the climate people. Without it, you can't have a crisis. It's also pure conjecture and the weakest part of their entire argument.
Cities affect weather thousands of kilometres away
Looks like the hysteria generating Post-normal bien pensants will have to get back to the drawing board.
As Charles Mackay says in his wonderful book Madness of Crowds:
"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
Interesting Tipper. I always called it the flocking effect. One horse bolts then all the others join in on the run. Then again we have Norway at about 1:42 the lemmings mass suicide(all but a few die the conservatives);
India on Sunday successfully test-fired the underwater ballistic missile, K-15 (code-named B05), off the Visakhapatnam coast, marking en end to a series of developmental trials.
In its twelfth flight trial, the 10-metre tall Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) lifted off from a pontoon, rose to an altitude of 20 km and reached a distance of about 700 km as it splashed down in the waters of the Bay of Bengal near the pre-designated target point.
According to scientific advisor to the Defence Minister V.K. Saraswat, the missile was tested for its full range of 700 km and the mission met all its objectives. He said the impact accuracy of the medium range strategic missile was in single digit.
With the completion of developmental trials, the process of integrating K-15 missile with INS Arihant, the indigenously-built nuclear submarine, will begin soon. As many as 12 nuclear-tipped missiles, each weighing six tonnes will be integrated with Arihant, which will be powered by an 80 MWt (thermal) reactor that uses enriched uranium as fuel and light water as coolant and moderator.
India is only the fifth country to have such a missile -- the other four are the United States, Russia, France and China.
Meanwhile the reactor has been integrated with the submarine and it was expected to go critical in May/ June 2013. Once that was done, the harbour trials will begin.
Besides Arihant, three other nuclear-powered submarines were being constructed -- one at Visakhapatnam and two at Vadodara. India is also developing K-4 missile with a range of 3,000 km.
[Dawn] One of the five dacoits who were riding two cycle of violences was killed in an encounter with the Khanot police on Habib Mor near the Indus Highway late on Friday.
Police had also seized one Kalashnikov rifle with eight bullets from the dear departed and one abandoned cycle of violence without the number plate, sources said.
SHO of the Khanot cop shoppe Ghulam Abbas Bubbar said he along with a police party was on patrol when they had signalled five persons riding two bikes to stop, but they opened fire on police.
When the police retaliated, three men riding a bike fled while one of the two riding another bike was killed, but his accomplice escaped, leaving the cycle of violence. The dear departed was not identified. The body was shifted to the Hyderabad branch of the Liaquat University Hospital for medico-legal formalities.
The SHO claimed that the Kalashnikov rifle belonged to one of the two police constables, Abdul Majeed Pitafi and Sahib Khan Solangi, who had been killed on Jan 19 at the Dai Danu police checkpoint within the jurisdiction of the Khanot cop shoppe in Jamshoro district. He said that no police official was maimed in the firing by dacoits and only a police mobile was hit by some bullets.