THERE’S a lovely little scam operating over in the US at the moment. Somewhere between ort of legal and foul and disgusting but sorta legal.
What they do is look around for someone using Bit Torrent or similar services to download movies n’stuff. Then they check whether they’ve downloaded various porn films. If they have downloaded one that the law firm owns the copyright to (and they’ve gone out and bought many copyrights, which are pretty cheap these days for porn films) then they sue them for copyright infringement.
Allan Gray is a South African investment management company.
Our purpose is to help our investors build wealth over the long term and we seek to earn the trust of our clients by providing superior long-term investment performance, outstanding client service and holding ourselves to the highest ethical standards.
THIS is a fascinating little example of how the debate of climate change gets very skewed. In fact, the report is more interesting for what it says about that than it is in its intended actual result.
The number of people dying from unbearable heat in big cities could almost double because of climate change, according to new research.
A study in Manhattan found the number of fatalities caused by global warming will far outstrip the reductions in those perishing from the cold.
It follows a report last year by the Health Protection Agency that warned heat related deaths in the UK will increase by more than 10,000 annually – a fivefold rise.
It’s undoubtedly true that if and when global warming happens then more people will die of the heat than happens now. So the finding isn’t all that odd.
AFTER the inquiry into the crud oil prices is announced we’ve got the AA leaping in and insisting that there’s another group conspiring and manipulating to make the petrol made from crude more expensive.
Few of the traders’ names – including Glencore, Cargill, Gunvor and Trafigura – are known to consumers outside the oil industry, but their effect on Britain’s 33million motorists and the wider economy is profound.
They buy huge quantities of petroleum on the open market and store it until the price goes high enough to make them a handsome profit, at which point they sell.
RELIGIONS are often the first to point out how good charity is and that we should always reach out to those in need. However, one homeless chap has conducted an experiment which shows religious people aren’t taking their own advice.
The homeless man, as seen in a Reddit thread, bears a sign that says: “Which religion cares the most about the homeless?” There are nine begging bowls in front of him, each with money in them.
RYAN Lee Chiropractic Center is open for business. It might be an idea when advertising health remedies that not everyone agrees with to shy away from a “not-so-serious” commercial that features the chiropractor stood behind and on top of young, photogenic women:
HS2 is, as you know, this idea that we should build a great big train set to go through the middle of England. Politicians love train sets so all the politicians are in favour of it.
Unfortunately they’ve been lying about the numbers. Yes, lying is the correct word here. The problem is that they’ve been using 1960s figures not 00′s figures to justify it. And many people have told them that what they’re doing is wrong, misleading, lying. But they’ve carried on regardless:
The Labour MP added that transport bosses had ‘belatedly identified errors in their calculations that have wiped £12billion off the expected benefits’ and left themselves ‘no room for mistakes’.
DO you recall a year or so back when we were all having a lovely time shouting at the BBC stars who were all avoiding tax by being paid into companies? And the BBC promised to do something about it?
It’s a year later and not a lot has been done. For the terribly difficult question is, well, what should be done?
BBC plans to force freelance presenters back on to the employment books to end suspicions of tax avoidance have descended into chaos, it emerged last night,
Stars are being made to sign short-term contracts because the BBC has been unable to thrash out an acceptable way of paying them on a full time basis.
The corporation decided to act following concerns from MPs about the corporation’s use of so-called personal service companies as a way of channelling stars’ earnings.
THE French have decided it would be a good idea to tax all the smartphones, TVs, tablets and the rest in order to subsidise the creation of French movies n’ stuff that people can watch on their smartphones, tablets and TVs. This is truly insane:
The French government is considering creating a new tax on smartphones and tablets in a bid to raise millions to support the creation of digital cultural content inside France.
The proposal, handed to President Francois Hollande today, outlines a one per cent tax on the sale of Internet-compatible devices, targeting companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon.
The tax would yield about 86 million euros per year. The revenue would help cultural industries create French content such as music, images and videos.
ISNT this just wonderful?
Britain is the world’s leading exporter of power generators, as they are seen as manufacturers of the “best quality and are the most reliable”, according to latest research.
THE skill with which the EU has been managing the wider economy is shown delightfully in these new figures from Greece:
Overall unemployment has risen to an all-time high of 27 per cent, data showed on Thursday, while joblessness in the 15-to-24 age group jumped to 64.2 per cent in February from 59.3 per cent in January.
A 27% unemployment rate is higher than the United States had at the worst level of the Great Depression. And a 64% youth unemployment rate: that’s more like some godawful shanty town in the wilds of sub-Saharan Africa than anything else.
MUHAMMAD Yunus has done some pretty good things in his life: the founding of the Grameen Bank led to a Nobel Prize for example. Yet this really does have to be a silly idea: the idea of having an international minimum wage:
I propose that foreign buyers jointly fix a minimum international wage for the industry. This might be about 50 cents an hour, twice the level typically found in Bangladesh.
THOSE Big Bad Bankies, screwed up the entire world economic system and impoverished us all. Of course, what should happen is much greater regulation of what the banksters are doing with or money.
Which might even be true in fact. However, the problem is that you can’t actually regulate the banking system just by regulating the bankers. Because there are all sorts of companies out there that have money and which can and will step in to do business when we prevent banks from doing it.
Hedge funds using debt-trading strategies honed on Wall Street are expanding at a record pace as they profit from risks big banks are no longer taking.
MONACO is, like Dubai, a country suffering from small-man syndrome. It wants to be bigger. It’s wearing the flashy gold watch, driving a sports car and attracting celebrity friends but it remains small. Monaco is further damaged by being a very small version of France, that venue for scholastic exchanges, romance, booze cruises, burning sheep and car-b-cues. Monaco’s a foreigner’s view of an al fresco French drawing room, a gilded, gaudy, snooty, ultra-conservative bastion of monied minds, opulence, esoteric watch brands and tackiness.
Maybe it can improve if it can grow? The country is taking bids for a six-hectare (14-acre) development project of land drained of the sea. You have until 23 July to design a new district for Monaco’s new district by 2024.
New Monaco will be environmentally friendly and favour pedestrians and cyclists. Residences will be blocks of flats. Can it be that New Monaco will look like an old Russian slum, the locals all emigres recapturing the mood of Stalin’s Steppes, their heads swaddled in Dr Nip ‘n’ Tuck’s scarves as they affect a look of a housewife taking a Siberian winter full in the face – at least until the stitches mend?
Monaco is seeping into the Med like a sewage outlet of greed. It’s good for the little men, of course.
Come on in, the water’s shallow…
WE all know, or at least we should all know, that the browsing and sluicing of MPs is subsidised by the rest of us. Costs us about £5 million a year to provide cheap food and booze for them in Westminster.
However, that’s just the headline number of what we actually spend. There’s also a concept (very important in economics) called opportunity cost. This is the amount that we would have if we put whatever it is to a different use rather than doing whatever it is with it right now.
I AGREE that global warming is a real problem, that it’s one we might want to do something about as well. But that doesn’t stop people from taking the arguments in favour of doing something a little too far. Like this recent bill introduced into the US Congress. Apparently we should fight global warming because more women will become prostitutes:
A group of American politicians has introduced a resolution into Congress saying that climate change (among many other bad things it does) forces women into prostitution, and that as a result the USA should use “gender sensitive frameworks” in battling the scourge of global warming.
Whereas women will disproportionately face harmful impacts from climate change …
… insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health …
SOME people are thundering bozos and will do anything to get noticed. Take for example, the gasping simpleton that works for a New York real estate agency called Rapid Realty. RR are offering their staff a pay rise if they get a tattoo of the company logo. (On your arse? – ed)
In exchange for carrying a logo of a corporation, you get a 15% wage increase. Astonishingly, 40 members of staff have already taken up the offer.
One member of staff says it isn’t about the money. Robert Trezza says:
“I think it’s a good opportunity to show commitment to a company that makes going to work fun every day.”
CERTAIN people are getting rather angry about yesterday’s bond deal by Apple:
As is par for the course, the financial media is telling a story about a major US company from the perspective of the investing classes, rather than the broader public.
The poster child is the New York Times’ Dealbook, in a story titled “To Satisfy Its Investors, Cash-Rich Apple Borrows Money.” It third paragraph reads:
Apple’s return to the debt markets raises a riddle: Why would a company with so much cash even bother to issue debt?
A full seven paragraphs later, the article gets around to the last, and arguably the most important reason:
By raising cheap debt for the shareholder payout, Apple also avoids a potentially big tax hit. About two-thirds of Apple’s cash — about $102 billion — sits overseas in lower-tax jurisdictions. If it returned some of that cash to the United States to reward its investors, it could have significant tax consequences for the company. In some ways, the bond issue is a response to that tax situation.
DID you know that Waitrose raises property prices?
The Waitrose effect: How upmarket supermarket can add 50% to the value of your home
And given that it is the Mail of course they get it wrong. The truth lies in this qualification:
Miss Chick admitted there was ‘no real answer’ to whether Waitrose ‘gentrifies’ areas or if the chain only opens in areas which are already upmarket and so more expensive.
SOMETHING from the other side of the pond to consider today. Obamacare is of course the great hope of the progressive movement in the US. How glorious that finally everyone will be able to have affordable health care insurance!
YOU’LL have seen the story all over the papers. That appalling disaster in Bangladesh where a building fell down killing hundreds.
As a result of which we’ve got the usual suspects crawling out of the woodwork insisting that the UK fashion chains are to blame for what happened. Primark, for example, should be running building inspectors over the factories and offices of all their suppliers.
All of which is really very slightly odd. The Bangladeshi Government itself is indicating that 90% of the buildings in the capital don’t in fact meet even local building codes. Someone in the UK is supposed to do better than this? Bring them up to scratch?
OR, if I’m to be entirely fair, on the new US Guardian’s coverage of economics. They’ve hired some bird called Heidi Moore from one of the public radio programmes to be their US finance and economics editor. And today she said this:
For one, it will be harder for us to know when we’re in a recession. Right now, a recession means several quarters of negative GDP. Getting to negative from where we are now isn’t hard; getting there when we’re 3% higher will be. While it may seem useful to avoid recession right now, that is actually a bad thing: it means that in periods when we do get negative GDP, we’ll be in truly terrible shape.
Oh my word……
TEEN pregnancy makes you fat. That’s according to the latest research at least. Getting pregnant under the age of 19 makes you fat in later life. This research suffers from the same problem that an awful lot of economics research suffers from: getting correlation and causality confused.
‘When taking care of teen mums, we often have so many immediate concerns – childcare, housing, school, social and financial support – that we don’t often think of long-term health effects.’
After controlling for factors such as race, education and background, the scientists found women who gave birth before 19 had a 32 per cent higher risk of obesity than women who had given birth at age 20 or later.
The survey by the University of Michigan of US women aged between 20 and 59 is believed to be the first to identify teen pregnancy as a predictor of obesity.
There’s a problem with this. For we know that fat birds are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour. Every young man out on the pull understands this entirely of course but perhaps academics don’t.
I DO think this is a lovely little misunderstanding of how the world works from M’Lord Stern. He’s telling us that all hte oil and coal that people have found is worth nothing because we cannot afford to burn it. So, why are all these companies valuing it at more than nothing?
The world could be heading for a major economic crisis as stock markets inflate an investment bubble in fossil fuels to the tune of trillions of dollars, according to leading economists.
“The financial crisis has shown what happens when risks accumulate unnoticed,” said Lord (Nicholas) Stern, a professor at the London School of Economics. He said the risk was “very big indeed” and that almost all investors and regulators were failing to address it.
The so-called “carbon bubble” is the result of an over-valuation of oil, coal and gas reserves held by fossil fuel companies. According to a report published on Friday, at least two-thirds of these reserves will have to remain underground if the world is to meet existing internationally agreed targets to avoid the threshold for “dangerous” climate change. If the agreements hold, these reserves will be in effect unburnable and so worthless – leading to massive market losses. But the stock markets are betting on countries’ inaction on climate change.