Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay
ASIANA Airlines will sue the TV station that reported on the accident that saw three passengers killed (two have been named as Ye Mengyuan, 16, and Wang Linjia, 17) and scores more injured when one of it jets crashed into the tarmac at San Francisco airport.
Reports suggest that the 777 descended too fast, causing the tail of the airliner to strike a sea wall.
The pilot was Lee Kang Kuk.
Yoon Young Doo, Asiana’s CEO, said the crash was not down to mechanical failure.
OR, in this case, platinum and other valuable metals:
One of the country’s biggest street cleaning firms has announced it is to “mine” the sweepings it collects from roads and pavements, in search of gold and other precious metals.
Veolia Environmental Services believes it can find at least £1 million worth of materials like platinum, palladium and rhodium from the muck swept up from Britain’s streets each year.
ACCORDING to 1980s pop culture stereotypes, anyone who likes computers is compensating for being a socially clueless nerd who cannot get laid. Kudos to pop culture for evolving beyond that, but why the hell are today’s gamer boys trying so hard to revive old stereotypes?
For over a week now, male gamers have been freaking out over news that a woman— 19-year Microsoft veteran Julie Larson-Green — has been named the new head of the Xbox division. Not that the company is any feminist utopia (or dystopia, depending on your preference); it’s the same Xbox which, just last month, got called out by Anita Sarkeesian for introducing its new line of games and “revealing to us exactly zero games featuring a female protagonist for the next generation”.
Estate agency writes the best property blurb ever – ‘Due to the owner’s hobby, we are unable to take internal photographs’
YOU looking to buy a 3-bed semi-detached house on Eastcroft Road, West Ewell, for £337,950? McCann’s estate agents, on Epsom High Street, has just the thing. Want to see inside?
Sorry. You can’t. Why? Well the estate agency says:
“Due to the owners hobby, we are unable to take internal photographs”
This is how you market a property. You create a mystery. Now we call want to look inside. Anyone know what’s there? Is “internal photographs” a clue?
I ASSUME that we all actually know this by now, that you cannot keep things secret on the internet? At least, we should all have learnt it from the revelations by Edward Snowden I think, no? That the only truly secure computer is one that’s not connected to anything at all?
It would appear that the Russians have worked this out:
In the wake of the US surveillance scandal revealed by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, Russia is planning to adopt a foolproof means of avoiding global electronic snooping: by reverting to paper.
The Federal Guard Service (FSO), a powerful body tasked with protecting Russia’s highest-ranking officials, has recently put in an order for 20 Triumph Adler typewriters, the Izvestiya newspaper reported.
BOOKS are not just objects to buy and trade. The BBC reports on a ruling that Apple “conspired with publishers to fix the price of electronic books”.
And those are the electronic books that thanks to convoluted copyright rules you are not permitted to pass on to friends, as you can with an actual paper book.
A SURVEY by Ipsos MORI for the Royal Statistical Society and King’s College London looks at scare stories and the facts behind them.
These are the popular misperceptions:
Fear: 15% of girls under 16 get pregnant each year
Fact: 0.6% % do.
THE Wall Street Journal thinks Egypt needs a General Pinochet
And this has predictably outraged just about everyone else:
Egyptians would be lucky if their new ruling generals turn out to be in the mold of Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, who took over power amid chaos but hired free-market reformers and midwifed a transition to democracy.
What’s wrong with that of course is that Pinochet overthrew a democtratically elected President (Allende), tortued and murdered and then, when age caught up with him, brought back that democracy. Sorta.
What’s right with it is something more subtle and well expressed by Fraser Nelson here:
All this has been established by Hernando de Soto, a Peruvian economist who travelled to Egypt to investigate the causes of the Arab Spring. His team of researchers found that Bouazizi had inspired 60 similar cases of self-immolation, including five in Egypt, almost all of which had been overlooked by the press. The narrative of a 1989-style revolution in hope of regime change seemed so compelling to foreigners that there was little appetite for further explanation. But de Soto’s team tracked down those who survived their suicide attempts, and the bereaved families. Time and again, they found the same story: this was a protest for the basic freedom to own and acquire ras el mel, or capital.
HAVE we been taken over by some alien race of puritans or something? They’re telling us today that having a long shower is a “waste”. One that we should righteously avoid:
An average shower lasts seven-and-a-half minutes, yet cutting just a minute off that time would save British households £215 million on energy bills each year, the report said.
TWO stories that show quite how insane people are becoming over this corporate tax dodging stuff. Both, of course, from the Mail. The paper that can indeed read the zeitgeit but never quite get the details correct.
The first, about Starbucks:
Starbucks’ UK sales during the year rose 4 per cent to £413.4million – the biggest increase since 2008.
But the company made a loss of £30.4million – after paying £26.5million to overseas subsidiaries in ‘royalty payments’.
It also paid £1.8million to other Starbucks companies as interest payments on loans made between divisions.
YOU’VE got to hand it to the campaigners: they can get newspapers to print the most godawful rubbish these days. The latest complaint seems to be that a company is paying all the tax that is due. What Horrors!
Downing Street faces more flak over company tax arrangements after it emerged that a major Government contractor is funnelling profits into an offshore haven.
Telereal Trillium has a £3.2 billion contract to manage buildings such as job centres for the Department for Work and Pensions. It also manages property used by the DVLA.
While the company paid full UK corporation tax last year, it funnelled £163 million of its post-tax profits in the form of share dividends into a parent company based in the British Virgin Islands where there is a zero rate of income and corporation tax.
THIS has to be the most insane side effect of the hysteria over climate change yet: we’re all supposed to kit ourselves out with diesel generators:
NHS hospitals are being asked to cut their power demand from the National Grid as part of a government attempt to stave off power blackouts, which the energy watchdog Ofgem warns could arrive as early as 2015.
According to one energy company, four hospitals have already signed up to a deal under which they will reduce demand at peak times by using diesel-fired generators.
SOME scientists are working on the idea that we do you know. Fortunately, they’ve really not grasped an important part about the world that we live in:
American families may soon be using waterless toilets and recycling their urine, according to new research.
Chemical engineers at the University of Florida have been looking at ways to extract phosphorus – a life-sustaining element – from urine, before it enters the sewage system and becomes diluted.
Since estimates suggest that phosphorous – which occurs as phosphate rocks and is mined for crop fertilizer – could be exhausted in the next 50 to 100 years, urine recycling may be the key to conserving the non-renewable resource in the future.
SO, someone’s gone and had a look at the Apple UK tax filings and once again we find that the company has paid no UK corporation tax whatever. Which really shouldn’t some as all that much of a surprise:
The US technology giant used tax deductions from share awards to employees to help wipe out the corporation tax liabilities of its UK businesses.
Accounts filed by one of Apple’s two main UK divisions, Apple Retail UK Ltd, showed the company made a pre-tax profit of £16m on sales of almost £1bn in the year to September 29.
Another subsidiary, Apple (UK) Ltd, made a pre-tax profit of £43.8m on sales of £93m, according to accounts filed at Companies House, while a third, Apple Europe, made a pre-tax profit of £8m.
However, the company offset tax deductions relating to share schemes of £27.7m against its corporation tax liabilities in the UK. The move also enabled it to claim a tax credit of £3.8m to carry forward to future years. Experts have also suggested Apple’s total sales in the UK are far higher, as many are logged elsewhere.
THE Guardian’s been lambasting any and every one who doesn’t pay the amount of tax that they think they should. But of course, we find there is hypocrisy there:
The events and magazines company Top Right Group ran up a corporation tax bill of just £200,000 despite making a pre-tax profit of £186.2m last year.
Top Right, owned by Guardian Media Group and Apax Partners, landed a huge one-off windfall of £166.1m after selling its motoring research arm, CAP. Its chief financial officer, Mandy Gradden, told The Independent the profits on the sale were “exempt from tax under the substantial shareholding exemption which is available to every company in the UK”.
BRANDING. There is much in a name. Which makes us wonder why the chain of Apple resellers is called STORMFRONT? The Exeter-based retailer has 24 stores across the UK.
THERE much spluttering around about the fact that companies are people. However, there’s a damned good reason that they are: if they weren’t we couldn’t sue them. And we like being able to sue companies when they stuff up or rip us off.
This particular example is more about the US than UK but the principle still stands:
If progressives had their way, the ACLU’s latest challenge to the NSA’s domestic surveillance would easily be dismissed. ACLU v Clapper, filed in the wake of the Snowden revelations, is based on the ACLU’s First and Fourth Amendment rights, which, according to progressives, ACLU should not possess. It is, after all, a corporation, and constitutional amendments aggressively promoted by progressives would limit constitutional rights to “natural persons.”
THIS looks like an interesting piece of propaganda from our neo-capitalist overlords in the banking system. The property crash wasn’t actually their fault at all, oh no sirree. Actually, it was the state school system:
People with poor maths skills are more likely to be behind with their mortgage payments and have their home repossessed, according to a study.
It shows the risk of defaulting on a mortgage is directly linked to a home owner’s maths skills and could explain the mortgage defaults in the recent global crisis.
AS you may or may not know The Guardian has just started up an online section devoted to Australia. And it’s terribly comforting to know that even on the other side of the world the lefties are subject to the same damn delusions as they are here. For example, we’ve got a complaint about how the Sony PS 4 is going to be more expensive in Oz that it is in other countries:
All that, and it cost $100 USD less, too, coming in at $399. It seemed like Sony could do no wrong. But for all this fanfare and literal standing ovation, there’s a problem for Australian gamers. The PS4 is set to retail at a tooth-grindingly expensive $549 because of… reasons? That’s too much. I’ve checked. You can too. Sony haven’t explained their unique pricing structure yet, but it seems like a fairly arbitrary dollop of Australian tax.
NOT that it actually means very much but it’ll give some campaigners something else to shout about:
Payday loan giant Wonga has increased the interest rate it uses to illustrate the cost of borrowing to 5,853 per cent – a rise of 1,600 per cent.
I GUESS we should call this a victory for UKUncut. Starbucks has just paid some tax:
The coffee shop chain will reveal the amounts in its annual report, which is set to be published as early as this week, saying that it has started the process of paying the £20m over two years it promised in 2012.
The figures will reveal that the business is still making an annual loss of £30.4m – a 7.5pc reduction in losses from the year before when they stood at £32.9m.
But I will admit that I’ve got something of a problem with this victory.
FLOYD Mayweather Jr. enjoys spending quality time with his money. Having earned a fortune from boxing, Mayweather enjoys tasteless displays of wealth. There’s the $100,000 jacket, the big gambling chips and the bottles of Cristal champagne – but just four of them. Mayweather should try harder. He’s soooo high street. As the sticking rich man said to the merely rich man, “I see you have a new Rolls Royce. Pity you’re so poor that you feel a need for one.”
MICROSOFT has just done a complete u-turn on the terms and conditions under which their new Xbox One will operate. They had been proposing that used games would require “authorisation” to move from one box to another. Obviously, so that hands could be held out for a fee to facilitate this authorisation.
The machine had to dial in over the internet every day for any games at all to keep working. And finally there would be region blocking on games: no buying your stuff cheap off Amazon US and then playing it in more expensive Europe for example.
THE High Street is dying. It’s victim of restructuring. But until it can be redesigned to make better use of space and local retailers and suppliers who can’t afford exorbitant rates set before the internet kicked in, the high street will continues to feature empty units.
But why not pretend they’re real shops? At Coronation Square shopping centre in Hester’s Way, Cheltenham, the owners of a struggling shopping centre have been filling empty lots with fake shops. They are remarkably unimaginative. Why not have a WMD retailer, a purveyor of stains that look like Jesus Christ or a shop selling cats that look like Hitler?
The internet is winning. The old high street needs to readjust:
POLLY Toynbee has decided to have a good old rant about the iniquities of the UK tax system. It’s all terrible that we cannot actually manage to take all that cash off the rich. Where do they think they are, in a free society or something?
And then she says this:
But the IFS says Denmark successfully collects its high top rate because it has no dodges: the rich can be taxed if reliefs are blocked.