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Money | Anorak - Part 3

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Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay

Sex with a plastic doll in Gateshead cost twice as much as a London prostitute

How much does on-the-clock sex cost in the UK? You can get a shag for £4 in Liverpool; £25 in London; and alcohol and cigarettes in Newcastle. Grim stuff. Bug not as desperate as the blokes spending £50 shagging used sex dolls in Gateshead. The Daily Mail reports:

Businessman selling sex dolls offers customers a £50 ‘try before you buy’ scheme for a half hour session at an industrial estate in Gateshead Customers can ‘test drive’ sex dolls at the industrial site in Gateshead for £50
Service was launched in December and business has had a ‘few’ customer since

The owner tells BBC radio:

“We’ve sold used dolls for a long time, which may come as a surprise to some people, but each one goes through anything from a one-hour to a five-hour [cleaning] process. It’s as clean as can be.”

Spotter: Daily Mail

Posted: 21st, January 2018 | In: Money, The Consumer | Comment


Manchester United’s fee for Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez confuses the Daily Mirror

Manchester United are going to pay an “incredible” £182m for Alexis Sanchez. So says the Daily Mirror. And it’s wrong, of course. A desperate and rich United have agreed to pay a £35m transfer fee for the 29-year-old Chilean. That’s pretty much it.

But the Mirror tots up the £500,000-a-week ages Sanchez will earn before tax on a four-and-a-half year contract and adds £117m to that £35m. It then adds a further £20m Sanchez will get by way of a “signing on payment”. That’s £172m. But the Mirror conjures £182 by double counting £10m Sanchez’s agent will earn, which is already incorporated in the £35m transfer fee.

 

daily mirror sanchez

£10m becomes £20m at the stroke of a pen

 

But aside from the pisspoor accounting, readers have to imagine that United will pay Sanchez over four years wages in one tranche. They won’t, of course.

And there’s the wages. The Sun says Sanchez will earn £505,000 a week. The Mail says it’s £450,000, a week – £350,000 basic plus £100,000 in image rights. That’s a licence for United to exploit Sanchez’s name commercially on stuff like mugs and other merchandising spin-offs. Buying Sanchez is not just about buying his ability on the pitch. United will earn from Sanchez’ name. It’s not wages. It’s a partnership.

Sanchez stands to earn a fortune. But the Mirror thinks his vast income is simply not sensational enough and needs inflating.

But you can get to £180m if you include wages, fees and tax:

 

 

Posted: 18th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, manchester united, Money, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment (1)


Insurance or the NHS: who pays for the rising cost of childbirth?

What does it cost to have a baby on the NHS? The Guardian says: having a baby without complications costs £2,790; having a baby with complications costs £5,000. Those figures are supplied by the Nuffield Trust, an independent charity. The Mirror says it would cost you “tens of thousands of pounds” to have a baby were it not for the NHS.

Would it? Would you all really pay tens of thousands of pounds to have a child?

In the Guardian, another question arises today: “Why does it cost $32,093 just to give birth in America?” The inference, of course, is that the NHS does it much better and much cheaper that any other alternative system.

The answer to the Guardian’s question is simple: there’s insurance that covers it. It’s less about what it costs than it is about who pays the bill and how it’s paid. Indeed, in paragraph five, the paper notes that “insurance typically covers a large chunk of those costs”.

And then this:

Medicaid, a program available to low income households that covers nearly all birth costs….Childbirth Connection put the average out of pocket childbirth costs for mothers with insurance at $3,400 in 2013.

But things do look pricey in the US. The BBC has this graph from 2015:

 

 

Prof Gerard Anderson of the Johns Hopkins Centre for Hospital Finance and Management explains the costings:

“If you can make more money as a doctor by ordering more tests, you are going to order them and therefore patients end up getting more tests.

“You also pay a fee for services a la carte in the US so if you are worried about the pain of the childbirth and have an epidural, you’ll have to pay for it. If you ask for a painkiller after giving birth, you’ll have to pay for it. And all those costs rack up.”

Money is the incentive that encourages more expensive care? The piecemeal approach can create a higher final bill. The NYTimes reports:

Recent studies have found that more than 30 percent of American women have Caesarean sections or have labor induced with drugs — far higher numbers than those of other developed countries and far above rates that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists considers necessary.

And here’s the hook. Anderson explains;

“If you don’t have health insurance in the US, hospitals and doctors will ask you to pay three to four times what someone with insurance will pay for the same service because no-one is negotiating rates on their behalf.”

Andrew Sullivan:

Matt Yglesias drools over the possibility of getting the entire country under the government’s healthcare thumb. Medicare is a particularly revealing program idea in this respect. At a deep level, the left sees all of us as the equivalent of senior citizens, dependent on the benevolence of government for our needs and wants. Of course, they will provide our needs as they see fit – they’re good people, you know. And so much smarter than the rest of us. There will be none of that wasteful drug spending we now have. How dare Americans spend their own money on treatments they actually want? It’s inefficient! This remains the key template for liberals: citizens as permanent supplicants. Those who do manage to look after themselves? Don’t worry. They’ll tax you till you really do need the equivalent of Medicare. And expect you to be grateful for it.

Is the NHS efficient, providing heath care at the points of need? Not always. It spend lots of money on other stuff. In 2014, the NHS’s future was outlined in a policy document:

‘The first argument we make in this Forward View is that the future health of millions of children, the sustainability of the NHS, and the economic prosperity of Britain all now depend on a radical upgrade in prevention and public health… The NHS will therefore now back hard-hitting national action on obesity, smoking, alcohol and other major health risks. We will help develop and support new workplace incentives to promote employee health and cut sickness-related unemployment.’

Does your private quack do that? Would you want them to? Would you pay them to?

And is it fair to take one part of your ‘cradle to grave’ health needs out of context?

The OECD tells us that the UK spends less on health as a share of GDP than the USA:

 

 

The message seems to be: if you can afford it, get insurance and read the small print. If you can’t, be poor enough to qualify for help but don’t expect many of the optional extras. And then ask if the NHS – a tax-funded, free at the point of delivery healthcare provider – serves the needs to the patient best, how it compares to foreign alternatives and if we shouldn’t be looking at other solutions, including better funding for community care?

Posted: 16th, January 2018 | In: Money, News | Comment


BBC staff should be paid less than ambassadors says new Culture Secretary

Does the BBC pay staff too much? No, not the cleaners and caterers. This is about the presenters and mangers – people doing skilled jobs. New Culture Secretary Matt Hancock thinks they earn too much. His benchmarks for what a top BBC editor earns is Her Majesty’s ambassador to Costa Rica.

“This isn’t just a matter of levelling women’s pay,” says Hancock, picking up the story that the BBC employs less women on big salaries than men,  it is a matter of equality. Working for the BBC is public service, and a great privilege, yet some men at the BBC are paid far more than other equivalent public servants.”

So what? It’s a different job. Why not compare what the ambassadors earn to, say, the bloke who empties your bins.

“The BBC has begun to act and I welcome that, but more action – much more action – is needed, especially when BBC foreign editors can earn more than Her Majesty’s ambassadors in the same jurisdiction.”

Jon Sopel, the BBC’s North America editor, earns £200,000-£249,999 per year. Sir Kim Darroch, Britain ambassador to the US, earns £180,000-£184,999.

Add in the perks of free board and lodgings, boarding school for children

The Foreign Office spends more than £14m per year on private school fees for children of its staff, including £6m for staff based in the UK…It meant that last year staff stationed in the UK received school fees worth on average more than £33,000 per year.

Factor in the perks and the BBC editor earns less.

But Hancock’s point is, presumably, that the BBC is either a public service or it isn’t. It can’t be commercial and public, not if it’s funded by a tax, which it is.

It also reminds me of the moan many GPs guff out when they see the bigger money consultants earn. Never mind the fact they are very well paid for doing their jobs; look instead of what they would be earning as a specialist had they only not made the sacrifice.

Posted: 10th, January 2018 | In: Money, News | Comment


If Harry Kane is worth 194.7m why is he playing for Spurs?

The facts are in and it’s clear: Spurs striker Harry Kane,24, is the third most valuable player in the world. Well, he is according to CIES’ Football Observatory, which calculates that Kane is worth 194.7m euros. Ahead of him are Paris St-Germain’s forward Neymar, 25, and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, 30.

In euros, this is the Top Ten:

1. Neymar (PSG) – 213m
2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
3. Harry Kane (Tottenham)
4. Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
5. Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
6. Dele Alli (Tottenham) – 171.3m
7. Kevin de Bruyne (Man City) – 167.8m
8. Romelu Lukaku (Man Utd) – 164.8m
9. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) – 150.2m
10. Paul Pogba (Man Utd) – 147.5m

The most valuable Arsenal player is Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) – 97.6m. Which pretty much sums it up. As Arsenal tie themselves in knots over Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, the clear message is that both wantaway players should have been sold the start of the season. The Gunners rejected Manchester City’s £60m in the summer. Since then Sanchez has been average and Arsenal are now trying to offload him for £40m, which in the inflated world of football transfers equates to one uninspiring Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain . Ozil has said to be winding down his contract and thinking of joining Manchester United.

But as Arsenal’s palsied board, absentee owner and spent manager make a mess of things, Spurs fans should contain their delight. Harry Kane knows his value. His wages of £100,000-a-week are roughly a third what he over-hyped Paul Pogba gets at Manchester United. And Spurs win nothing. As Kane says, “I’ve always said, just keep progressing, keep getting better. We want to start winning trophies so that’s the aim. As long as the club keeps doing that then I’m happy here.”

But other clubs are winning trophies. And each week Kane  and his agent know how much money he’s forgoing to remain at Spurs. “If a player wants to go then why would you stop him?” Kane adds. “He’s not going to be at the club, he’s not going to want to play every game, he’s not going to put his heart on the line.” See Ozil and Sanchez. And if he has a decent World Cup. next year it’ll be Kane…

Posted: 9th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Money, Sports, Spurs | Comments (4)


Indian bookmakers offer to fix The Ashes and offer odds on Pope wearing funny hat

After two matches played, England’s cricketers are two down in The Ashes best of five series. You might think the results so far were down to a combination of poor England performances and a superior Australian team. But you’d be wrong. Maybe. The Sun leads with news that bookmakers have been plotting to fix the games.

The paper says it’s been handed a “bombshell dossier to the International Cricket Council which details attempts to fix” the Third Test.

 

fix ashes the sun

 

Would it be possible to fix a Test without anyone realising? You could argue that an England victory would be so shocking that no-one would notice peculiar betting patterns. We’d be too busy head-butting one another, dousing themselves in beer and arranging time off work to watch the victory bus on its way to Downing Street. And if Australia win, well, plus ca change.

The Sun shines a light on two men. Sobers Joban and Priyank Saxena allegedly asked for up to £140,000 to “spot fix” markets, such as the exact amount of runs scored in an over. It’s alleged that when a cheating player gives a secret signal – a fielder moves to a certain position; bowling a first-ball wide; wearing a long-sleeve top; tugging his ear; tugging the umpire’s ear; etc. – a network of bookmakers gamble “millions” on the sure thing. We also hear of India’s ‘Mr Big’ and Australian cricket’s ‘The Silent Man’.

Who they? Dunno. So the Sun tells us a bit more about the people it did meet, who can allegedly reveal all for a not inconsiderable consideration. Around a photo of Joban dressed in cricket gear we read about his “lavish lifestyle”, house in the “swanky, diplomatic area of Delhi” and his engagement “to a Russian martial arts specialist”. Saxena “was described by his partner Sobers as a tobacco and spice tycoon with business interests in South Africa”.

They urged our investigators, who posed as financiers for underworld London bookies, to pour millions into a new Zimbabwean league where matches would be fixed.

Corruption. In Zimbabwe?! Say it ain’t true, Joe!

Joban allegedly told the paper:

“I will give you work in Ashes Test. Session runs. Maybe day one, two, three. We have two session work, one session costs 60 lakh rupees (£69,000), two sessions 120 lakh rupees (138,000).

“If you are interested Priyank will talk to the Silent Man. If you want to go with him alright, but you will not sit in meeting. I don’t know what he give, script or session.

“Right now if I tell you he want one crore (£116,000), he might want five crores (£580,000).”

Fast forward a few hours and the ICC is on the case. “We have now received all materials relating to The Sun investigation,” says Alex Marshall, the ICC general manager anti-corruption. “There is no indication that any players in this Test have been in contact with the alleged fixers.”

England captain Joe Root tells BBC Test Match Special: “It’s very sad that this has been written about. We’ve got to focus on this Test match and do everything we can to win it.”Australia captain Steve Smith adds: “As far as I know, there’s nothing that’s been going on or anything like that. There’s no place for that in our game.”

In other news: anyone who wants to know the result, can contact us on the usual address. For £850,000, we will tell them who is going to win The Ashes. But given that you’re our loyal readers, we’ll let you in on the secret: keep your eyes on Joe Root’s wicket. When the umpire raises his finger, it’s on!

 

Posted: 14th, December 2017 | In: Back pages, Money, News, Tabloids | Comment


Tania Amisi jailed: Express turns crook into a story about immigration

If Tania Amisi is “Queen of the Scroungers”, are her subjects also scroungers? And where might they be found?

The Express leads with Tania Amisi, 27, who on Monday began a four-year prison sentence for defrauding 22 councils out of at least £244,000. She raked in the cash by claiming benefits on properties she did not live in. To put the tin id on it, she was living in a swanky flat in Chelsea Harbour.

 

Tania Amisi

 

Congo-born Amis, who came the UK as a 12-year-old asylum seeker (she was granted indefinite leave to stay) after her father was murdered, would have most likely gone to prison earlier, having pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud. But she legged it. The law caught up with her in Paris in July.

On Monday the judge at Southwark Crown Court told her:

“You had a flat in Chelsea paid for by your fraudulent activities and your son had all the material benefits he could want. Once discovered, you could not face up to the consequences and you fled to mainland Europe until you were brought back.”

So how do you tell the story?

The BBC told it in a story called Britain on the Fiddle:

 

 

Over in the Express, there’s no word on why Amisi was granted asylum. The paper punctuates its front-page story with a “Daily Express Vote” (page 5) in which readers are invited to respond to the question “Should Britain be more careful about who get asylum?” – which begs another question not asked by the paper: how can you best vet a 12-year-old whose dad’s been murdered for any future crimes she may commit?

To help Express readers reach an answer, on page 12 the paper delivers the editorial: “Fraudster made fortune from soft-touch Britain.” Amisi is the “pregnant mother-of-three, who came to Britain from the Congo as an asylum seeker”. When she was 12. She didn’t come when she was pregnant and take Britain as a soft touch by pointing to her kids and her bump. This is a story on benefits fraud. But the Express makes immigration its thrust.

The London Evening Standard mentions Amisi’s place of birth not once. The Guardian doesn’t report on the story at all. But to the Express she is “the shameless former asylum seeker”. Why can’t she just be a crook?

 

Posted: 13th, December 2017 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment


Apple’s huge stash of cash is invested in the global financial system

Much financial illiteracy in the Guardian, wherein there’s talk of Apple and its billions. Writing beneath the headline “The tech giants will never pay their fair share of taxes – unless we make them” Guardian readers are told about Apple’s tax avoidance schemes and how they must be stopped. It begins:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, and the accountants of Silicon Valley have proved Arthur C Clarke’s third law to be as true of tax avoidance as it is of tech.

Clarke’s third law features on the writer’s essay Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination, as seen in his book book of 1973 (originally published in 1962) Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible. The law states: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

But it’s nothing like magic what Apple does. Fortune has a decent take on how it works. And it can be argued that Apple has painted itself into a corner, albeit one of sublime luxury on small islands. “Apple and firms like it are hoist by their own petard,” says Professor Edward Kleinbard of the University of Southern California. “They have gigantic pools of cash that are the fruit of their tax-avoidance labour but they can’t enjoy it in the way they want because that is the deal. The way to look at the cash is not that it’s a problem but that it’s the result of the success US firms have had in generating stateless income.”

And so we get to this nonsense in the Guardian:

The most recent outrage is Apple’s $252bn offshore cash pile, as exposed by the Paradise Papers investigation. More valuable than the foreign currency reserves of the US or the UK, it represents all the money that the world’s most valuable company has siphoned out of the global financial system for the benefit of its shareholders.

Bizarre stuff indeed to view Apple’s billions as cash dumped in a treasure chest. There is sits, not being used for investment in bills, bonds, overseas goods and services, nor even earning interest in its host nation.

CNN helps us know how the money is used:

So Apple has actually been going into hock to help fund some of its stock buybacks and dividends. The company raised $10 billion in debt last quarter and now has about $47 billion in long-term debt overall.

Apple can use its cash reserves to buy unsecured debt, paid back at a much lower rate than 35%. As Bloomberg noted in May:

The iPhone-maker has $148 billion of its record $257 billion cash pile invested in corporate debt alone, according to a company filing from Wednesday.

Buy debt and wait for a tax window to repatriate the cash? If Apple moves the cash from overseas to the US, it’ll receive a gigantic tax bill.

…the Cupertino, California-based company invests in corporate bonds and other assets like money market funds and U.S. Treasuries.

With more than 90 percent of its war chest abroad, the company regularly issues bonds of its own to help fund programs like share buybacks and capital spending.

Shareholders and investors see that huge stack of cash and want some.

Apple said Thursday it’s selling what may be $7 billion of debt, and will use proceeds in part to support a 63-cent dividend and an increased stock-repurchase program.

The money is not siphoned out of the global financial system. It’s just in another part of it.

PS – if you have business idea and don’t live in a high-tax juristiction, call Apple.

 

Posted: 13th, December 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News | Comment


Ryan ToysReview: meet the 6-year-old YouTube multi-millionaire

ryantoysreview

 

Ryan is 6 and the host of Ryan ToysReview on YouTube. Last year he earned – get this – $11 million. Yah, and The Washington Post:

What has grown into a viral phenomenon began with a simple, unremarkable 15-minute video about a Lego Duplo train set. When his family started recording and posting the videos in March 2015, the 3-year-old barely had any views let alone reviews, according to a profile of Ryan in Verge. In his first video, he simply opened a Lego box, set up the blocks, and played with them.

“Ryan was watching a lot of toy review channels — some of his favorites are EvanTubeHD and Hulyan Maya — because they used to make a lot of videos about Thomas the Tank Engine, and Ryan was super into Thomas,” his mother, who declined to be named, told TubeFilter last year.

“One day, he asked me, ‘How come I’m not on YouTube when all the other kids are?’ So we just decided — yeah, we can do that…

If every child made toy videos like Ryan, and every child agreed to watch them all day, would all children be rich? During the 12 months, Ryan ToysReview counted over 8 billion views. How many children are there?

Posted: 11th, December 2017 | In: Money | Comment


A thrilling story of how a man threatened with rape over a bogus debt got revenge

You know those terrible phone calls: we hear that you’ve been in an accident; we know you owe money; we are collecting a debt and you need to pay now. But don’t worry. Money is cheap and easy. Why not take out a payday loan? Bloomberg has a cracking story of how when one man was harassed by loan sharks for a debt he never owed he sought revenge. When a debt collector threatened to rape his wife, Rhode Island resident Andrew Therrien made it his mission to expose the scumbags running the fake debt scams.

A few minutes later, Therrien’s phone buzzed. It was the same guy. He gave his name as Charles Cartwright and said Therrien owed $700 on a payday loan. But Therrien knew he didn’t owe anyone anything. Suspecting a scam, he told Cartwright just what he thought of his scare tactics.
Cartwright hung up, then called back, mad. He said he wanted to meet face-to-face to teach Therrien a lesson.

“Come on by, asshole,” Therrien says he replied.
“I will,” Cartwright said, “and I hope your wife is at home.”
That’s when he made the rape threat.
Therrien got so angry he couldn’t think clearly. He wasn’t going to just let someone menace and disrespect his wife like that. He had to know who this Cartwright guy was, and his employer, too. Therrien wanted to make them pay.

And so began the quest. And, boy, is it satisfying.

Eventually FTC charges were brought against the scam’s bigshot, one Joel Jerome Tucker. In October, Scott Tucker, Joel’s brother, “was convicted Friday of 14 criminal charges against him in connection to a $2 billion payday lending enterprise that authorities said exploited 4.5 million consumers with predatory interest rates and deceptive loan terms.”

Scott [Tucker], the oldest, was the brains. He’d served time in prison for a scam in which he’d pretended to work for JPMorgan Chase & Co. … Joel, tall and handsome, was a natural salesman. But when he was 21, he was selling furniture and working at a mini-mart, so hard up that he got arrested for bouncing a $12 check. (The case was dismissed.)

In the mid-1990s, Scott opened a payday-loan store and gave his brothers jobs.Lending money to people who don’t have any is surprisingly profitable. In states where such stores are legal, such as Missouri, they’re more common than McDonald’s franchises. … Scott pioneered what he thought was a clever legal loophole that would give him access to that market: He created websites that were owned on paper by an American Indian tribe, which could claim sovereign immunity from regulators. …

The loophole was ridiculously lucrative. Scott’s operation generated $2 billion in revenue from 2003 to 2012. He bought a private jet and spent more than $60 million to start his own professional Ferrari racing team. Around 2005, Joel split to start a company that would allow anyone to get into online payday lending—supplying software to process applications and loans and offering access to a steady stream of customers. All the clients had to bring was money and a willingness to bypass state law. Word spread around Kansas City’s country clubs and private schools that if you wanted to get rich, Joel Tucker was your man.

Read it all.

Posted: 8th, December 2017 | In: Money | Comment


Seeing students as a welfare issue demeans education

Do we agree that university fees are too high for students? And do we agree that the real debate should not be about any rights for everyone to go to university and if leaving with a student debt is right or bad, but what the point of a university education is? Why do you need to study for a degree? Is the degree an investment in a career and sound future, because that’s what successive governments have sold you?

Current fees are £9,250 a year. Jeremy Corbyn says a vote for him means a vote to end the fees. Little wonder the young like  that policy. One 18-year-old Labour candidate at the last General Election, Eli Aldridge, stated: “I could not be more proud to represent a party that is promising 400,000 undergraduates starting their courses this September that they could do so safe in the knowledge that their education will not saddle them with decades of debt.”

Good for them. But education is politicised. Sod the learning; get a load of that welfare package. You see how bad it is for today’s young?

In today’s Guardian Kehinde Andrews writes:

On the same day that news broke that staff at the University of Birmingham are protesting the obscene pay of their vice-chancellor, I opened an email asking for donations to a food bank that my university, Birmingham City, has started for students. This Dickensian contrast in fortunes demonstrates the widening problems of inequality in universities since fees have been introduced.

Sad news that students need a food bank. But what does that have to do with pay for a non-student’s job?

The very fact that staff have had to reach out for food charity demonstrates the failure of higher education “reforms” to provide for those that need it most.

Education and welfare? They’re not the same thing.

It is chilling to think what future generations of students will have to overcome in order to participate in higher education.

But that’s not right. The student isn’t looking for food banks because they can’t pay their student fees, because those fees are only payable after graduation when your income is more than £21,000 a year. Repayments are set at 9% of everything earned above £21,000, operating more like a tax than a loan. Loans not repaid within 30 years are written off.

Being in debt is not great. And it should make students question their value of their courses offered by the government, which operates a cartel over them. Are students simply investing in the State and the education industry? Maybe students can answer – or maybe they can’t because critical thinking skills, the kind of stuff universities should teach, are being replaced with a need to keep everyone controlled and cosy.

Education, a tool for promoting economic mobility and equality, looks capable of doing just the opposite.

Posted: 8th, December 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News | Comment


Brexit means we will all ‘starve’ says Downing Street winer maker

We are all going to starve because of Brexit. Over the newswires we read that the chief executive of Chapel Down, a Kent wine maker that supplies plonk to 10 Downing Street, telling us that Britons will “starve” if Brexit means an end to cheap fruit pickers imported from overseas.

Frazer Thompson opines: “The biggest potential impact of Brexit is on agricultural labour. Kent has had eastern Europeans picking fruit in recent years, but we’ll all starve if the labour issue is not sorted after Brexit.”

Dead. All dead. And you thank Brexit for it. But hold on moment, why don’t we – and let’s just toss this out there – trade with other countries who have lots of fruit? Says Thompson: “We want a resolution to allow us to have freedom of movement for labour to pick the fruit. This is something that affects all fruit farmers across the south-east of England. I’m hoping it will be sorted out and I hope they won’t close the doors, as if there’s no one to pick the fruit, we’ll have to import everything.”

So British fruit remains unpicked because it’s too expensive to pick here and because it’s less expensive to pick over there we import the stuff. So what’s the problem? Is that the English wine made from English grapes will be more expensive than the English wine made from Greek, Portuguese, Hungary or Romanian grapes? Or why not go outside the EU and buy grapes from places where labour is even cheaper, like Chile and South Africa?

Or why not get the fruit-pickers from within the EU zone visas?

Once upon a time, of course, fruit was picked by seasonal workers – you know, people who went somewhere to do a job and then moved on. But if the peasants are too expensive for the farmer, why not invest in a machine?

 

 

Posted: 4th, December 2017 | In: Money, News | Comment


Madeleine McCann: Luisa Todorov gets scoured

Madeleine McCann was not kidnapped by Luisa Todorov.  “It wasn’t me,” says the woman. You will recall that criminologist Heriberto Janosch Gonzalez featured in the Daily Mirror beneath the words: “Maddie hunt woman” is a…”waitress”.

“Scotland Yard detectives want to speak to a female dressed in purple who was seen by two people standing outside the youngster’s apartment,” said the Mirror. And criminologist Heriberto Janosch Gonzalez “claims to have identified the woman as Bulgarian waitress Luisa Todorov”.

News was that 58-year-old Luisa and her husband, Stefan, 50, were working at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz when Madeleine vanished in 2007. Both gave statement to the police at the time. “They both denied having any knowledge of the case and have not been spoken to again for over a decade.” Why police would have spoken with either of them again is moot, as the Mirror gave readers the side-eye and stated: “British police are now scouring the globe for the pair so they can ask them if they saw anything suspicious.”

Scouring the globe? Not looking to speak with them. Scouring. That’s what you do when you want to reveal what’s beneath the dirt and grime. You scour. Is “scouring” the way to find two innocent people? The paper then noted: “Luisa is believed to be the woman seen standing by a lamp post just outside the apartment at 8pm on May 3, 2007.”

Gonzalez was quoted:

“Examining all the known statements it seems highly likely the police are seeking the Todorovs. They are the only known people with a clear link to Bulgaria. I have been unable to trace them in Portugal and believe they could have moved away. It is widely known that many workers at the Ocean Club were made redundant so it is possible they went to Bulgaria seeking work.”

And to today’s Mirror news, we get an update. Get this:

A criminologist claimed to have identified Luisa Todorov as the mystery person police are said to be searching for. And we discovered she lives less than a mile from Praia da Luz in the Algarve, where Maddie disappeared.

She isn’t living in Bulgaria. No-one had to scour the globe to find her. And she isn’t the “woman in purple”. Indeed, who is? And why is she newsworthy? It was British expat Jenny Murat who introduced us to her. She said: “She caught my eye because she was dressed in purple-plum clothes. It struck me as strange. It’s so usual for anyone, particularly a woman, to be standing alone on the street in our resort, just watching a building. The next morning, we heard that a little girl had gone missing, and I later told police about the woman I’d seen right outside. I didn’t recognise her and don’t have a clue who she is, but she seems a bit suspicious.”

Murat is, of course, mother to the innocent Robert Murat, who was monstered and libelled. Odd that her words are now being used to zoom in on another foreigner living an working in Portugal. Indeed, it was Mirror journalist who introduced us to Robert Murat, telling readers that he found him “creepy”. Now Luisa is in the crosshairs.

These are some of the reactions to her name:

Madeleine McCann: Mystery ‘woman in purple’ sought by Met police identified as waitress – Indy

‘Woman in purple’ mystery witness tracked to Bulgaria. Waitress Luisa Todorov, seen twice near the holiday apartment on the night Maddie disappeared, could be a significant witness – International Business Times

Madeleine McCann mystery woman spotted outside Portugal apartment is identified – Leicester Mercury

MADDIE CLUES – Madeleine McCann cops hunt Bulgaria for waitress believed to be ‘woman in purple’ – The Sun

Madeleine McCann: Police hunt waitress believed to be mysterious ‘woman in purple’ – Daily Express

Today she tells the Mirror: “I’ve no idea about any woman in purple. It wasn’t me. I spoke to the police a long time ago about the Madeleine case. I don’t really want to talk about it, nobody around here does, it brings back lots of bad memories. Nobody knows what happened to her. If the British police want to speak to me that’s fine, but I don’t know anything.”

The restaurant worker, originally from Madeira, gave a statement to Portuguese police five days after Maddie’s disappearance, along with husband Stefan, 50.

He also worked at the Ocean Club resort, in the kitchens, and is believed to have returned to his native Bulgaria without being quizzed again.

He worked in the kitchens? But the Express told us:

Luisa’s husband Stefan Todorov, 50, was working at the Tapas bar, where the McCanns and their seven holiday friends were dining when Madeleine was abducted.

Over in the Sun, Luisa Todorov’s innocence is a “twist as waitress denies she is the mysterious ‘woman in purple’”. It’s not a twist, is it. It’s woman stating a fact.

Luisa Todorov was named as the woman that police wanted to speak to, after a shadowy figure was spotted by witnesses the night the three-year-old went missing.

Can you be “shadowy” dressed distinctively in purple and standing in full view?

 

But the hung continues. after all, the Indy reported:

Detectives working on Madeleine McCann’s case have travelled to Bulgaria in search of a paedophile’s widow known as the “woman in purple”…

On the evening of Madeleine’s disappearance an eyewitness saw a woman startng [sic] intently at the apartment block next to where the McCann’s were staying in Portugal.

The woman is believed to have been the wife of a man of a convicted peadophile, who has is now believed to be dead.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 27th, November 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Money | Comment


The pay gap for women and trans is about parenthood not gender

Trans issues are to the fore. The Government is looking at altering the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA), which would permit trans people to change their legal gender without a medical process. Right now the rules are that a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is needed to begin the process. People seeking to change gender have to submit evidence that they have been in transition for at least two years.

It’s not about society, manhood and womanhood. It’s about the individual and individual wellbeing. The BBC’s Jenni Murray got into bother by saying that trans women were not “real women”. Feeling yourself to be women is not the same as being one, she opined. Countering that is Shon Fay, who writes beneath the Guardian headline: “Trans women need access to rape and domestic violence services. Here’s why –  All women face similar dangers, whether trans or not, and it’s distressing that some people seek to drive a wedge between our rights.”

Growing up being perceived by others as a feminine gay boy certainly wasn’t easy, but once I transitioned, in my 20s, things radically changed. The flashes of misogyny I witnessed when I was younger are now, as they are for most women, a daily reality. Some of this is banal – like the men on dating websites who call me a “stuck-up bitch” or a “desperate slag” when I turn them down. Some is more structural: when I get into my 30s, the gender pay gap will widen and I will find myself on the “wrong” side of it.

Maybe not.

Vox reported:

The data tells us that this can’t be the entire story. It can’t explain why the wage gap is so much bigger for those with kids than those without. One 2015 study found that childless, unmarried women earn 96 cents for every dollar a man earns.

Which man? Because dad get more:

One of the worst career moves a woman can make is to have children. Mothers are less likely to be hired for jobs, to be perceived as competent at work or to be paid as much as their male colleagues with the same qualifications.

For men, meanwhile, having a child is good for their careers. They are more likely to be hired than childless men, and tend to be paid more after they have children.

These differences persist even after controlling for factors like the hours people work, the types of jobs they choose and the salaries of their spouses. So the disparity is not because mothers actually become less productive employees and fathers work harder when they become parents — but because employers expect them to.

Economist Claudia Goldin suggests more:

Many companies still richly reward people who are available and work long, continuous hours, Goldin says. They give premium pay to certain key players – mostly men who don’t take time off for children or aging relatives. So women or men who need flexible schedules obtain them “at a high price, particularly in the corporate, finance and legal worlds,” Goldin writes in her paper. Technology and science fields are better off in pay equity, as are certain health care careers. … “It isn’t, quote, a women’s issue,” says Goldin in an interview with Quartz. The pay disparity shows up equally when male MBAs need reduced schedules or time off for personal or family needs.

And then we can talk about class…

Posted: 22nd, November 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money | Comment


Arsenal balls: after Mugabe Zimbabwe Gooners demand ‘Wenger Out’

As Robert Mugabe is toppled, protesters in the depot’s native Zimbabwe turn to the next great dictator: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

 

wenger arsenal mugabe

 

Lest we forget:

 

 

“I used to live in Zimbabwe and I’ve watched Robert Mugabe ruin the country, and Wenger is doing the same. He’s the Mugabe of Arsenal.”

 

Seems fair.

Posted: 19th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Money, News, Politicians, Sports | Comment


Steve Mnuchin and his wife posing with dollar bills is wonderfully revolting

Steve Mnuchin, the US Treasury Secretary, and his fragrant wife Louise Linton (top notes of mink perineum and aviation fuel over a puppy farm base) walked into the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington DC to see his signature on the new notes posed with the new lucre.

 

 

For purposes of identification, she’s the one dressed as Dick Dastardly’s getaway driver.

 

 

Go internet!

Posted: 17th, November 2017 | In: Money, News, Politicians | Comment


The cheapest State in the US for renters

According to Earnest, Californians spend the most on rent; West Virginians the least. But win terms of disposal income, South Dakotans spend a whopping 24.8% of their cash on rent.

 

rent usa

rent usa

 

Spotter: Earnest , via BB

B

Posted: 15th, November 2017 | In: Money | Comment


Clickbait balls: Liverpool ‘favourites’ to sign Barcelona Mascherano in a market of one

Transfer balls spots this gem in the Daily Mirror’s desperate clickbait factory: “Liverpool favourites to sign Barcelona star in January transfer window.”

To reach this story, readers vault no fewer than three video adverts. The story is squashed between them:

 

skybet daily mirror

 

 

daily mirror liverpool

 

The entire scoop is an exercise in total balls:

Liverpool have been made favourites to sign Barcelona star Javier Mascherano in January.

Ah, him. Is he still any good? Does he want to rejoin Liverpool? Who else wants him?

Mascherano’s contract at Barcelona is less than two years to run and he is understood to be considering an early exit.

Understood by whom? Dunno. The Mirror doesn’t bother to say. But it does note:

Liverpool have been made 6/4 favourites to sign him by Sky Bet, although River Plate are another option for the 33-year-old.

Why SkyBet have odds on Mascherano is not stated, nor how large the market on the move is. Although it is fun to see the Mirror plugging its rival – SkyBet is operated by the Sun’s owners. Once upon a time both red-tops were fierce rivals seeking out scoops and shockers – now they exist to fluff each other’s guff and get readers to bet on total nonsense.

We called SkyBet and were told that the bet does exist. And because it’s a ‘Special Bet’ or a ‘Request A Bet’ the odds can be triggered by one person requesting odds. Make the request and look back in wonder as your simple question makes it on to the pages of the self-declared”Intelligent Tabloid”.

The full odds are hereunder:

 

 

Since the Mirror published its story, the odds have not changed, which implies the market for Mascherano to Liverpool is no larger than a PR’s chequebook?

 

Posted: 14th, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Money, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Taxies levied on turnover will turn the lights off

Sky News economics editor Ed Conway has an idea about how the likes of Apple, Google and Facebook can be taxed when they operate a slippery system of moving services around the world and as a result pay about £3.45 in corporation tax on billions of pounds in profits. He writes in the Times:

The way we tax companies needs to be turned on its head. Abolish taxes based on a company’s profits and replace them with taxes levied on their turnover.

In which case, good luck getting gas and oil out of the ground – and investing in making things more efficient:

 

 

Might be better if governments invested in their own nascent unicorns and beat the all-conquering US tech giants fair and square.

Spotter: Forbes

Posted: 13th, November 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money | Comment


Brexit Balls: Irish cheese panic

More fine anti-Brexit work in the The Guardian, where news is that people who eat non-organic butter and hum-drum Irish cheddar are going to be worst off once the country quits the EU:

Leaving the customs union in a hard Brexit scenario could lead to the price of meat doubling and the price of dairy, half of which is imported, rising by up to 50%.

How so?

A block of cheddar imported from Ireland that costs £1 now will cost £1.41 under World Trade Organisation rules, with Ireland being a major producer of cheddar. This would prompt a vicious economical cycle and a period of “runaway” food price hikes, he warned.

The quoted “he” is Gabriel D’Arcy, chief executive of dairy producers LacPatrick in Strabane in Northern Ireland. In May Mr D’Arcy said LacPatrick “had seen a 25pc surge in its sales into the British market in the wake of Brexit, due to its presence in Northern Ireland”. Not all doom and gloom, then.

And as for the Guardian’s words on WTO, well, the quoted price hike represents the maximum import tariffs, so-called ‘ceiling rates’ on ‘bound rates’ . You can charge less through ‘applied rates’. The Government could go further and charge no tariffs (aka tax), and make the populace’ richer’ by allowing them to keep more cash in their pockets by way of cheaper cheese.

No need to panic, then, and dash out to buy lots of Irish cheese. Guardian readers, of course, can stick with their runny brie.

Posted: 13th, November 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News | Comment


Alex Wubbels: nurse assaulted by police gets $500,000

Nurse Alex WubbelsRemember Alex Wubbels. the nurse roughed up by police for doing her job? Well, she’s been awarded $500,000 for her ordeal.  When she rightly refused police demands to take blood from an unconscious man, the police cuffed, her and dragged her outside. Gratifyingly, the police thuggery was recored on a bodycam.

The money will be paid by Salt Lake City and the University of Utah. Detective Jeff Payne was sacked from his job with Salt Lake City police. No other police were busted – chiefly Payne’s colleague who stood by and watched it happen. Payne is taking his dismissal to appeal.

“We all deserve to know the truth, and the truth comes when you see the actual raw footage, and that’s what happened in my case,” says  Wubbels. “No matter how truthful I was in telling my story, it was nothing compared to what people saw and the visceral reaction people experienced when watching the footage of the experience I went through.” Media matters.

Ms Wubbels has donated some of her compensation to a nursing union and plans to use the money to help other abused by police who can’t respect the law.

 

Posted: 1st, November 2017 | In: Money, News | Comment


The top 20 MBA courses in terms of wages and cost

Does it pay to study for an MBA? These are the average tuition fees of the top ten schools is $134,600. It does pay to get an MBA – so long as you study for an MBA in the USA:

 

American business schools dominate The Economist’s 2017 Which MBA? ranking, taking 16 of the top 20 places. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management returns to the top spot for the first time since 2004. Kellogg students praise its facilities and collaborative culture. Their career opportunities are among the best, thanks in part to one of the largest alumni networks in the world; 97% of students find a job within three months of graduation, pocketing a 72% pay bump. All of the top ten slots in the ranking are now occupied by large, prestigious American schools, for which students are happy to pay extra. Their average tuition fee is $134,600, and has risen quickly in recent years. Employers, too, are willing to shell out for the best students. Their average basic salary was $127,300, a 70% increase on their pre-MBA pay cheques. But life, like rankings, isn’t just about money. So we weight data according to what students tell us is important. The four categories covered are: opening new career opportunities (35%), personal development and educational experience (35%), better salary (20%) and networking potential (10%). See the full ranking and methodology.

If you want to earn the big bucks, run a sought after MBA course:

All of the top ten slots in the ranking are now occupied by large, prestigious American schools, for which students are happy to pay extra. Their average tuition fee is $134,600, and has risen quickly in recent years. Employers, too, are willing to shell out for the best students. Their average basic salary was $127,300, a 70% increase on their pre-MBA pay cheques.

More at the Economist: full ranking and methodology.

 

Posted: 28th, October 2017 | In: Money | Comment


Albert Einstein’s tip to a bellboy sells for £1.3m

In November 1922, Noble-Prize winner Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879–April 18, 1955) was in Japan to deliver a series of lectures. At Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel, Einstein was greeted by a bellboy delivering a message. With no cash to hand, Einstein wrote a note on a sheet of hotel stationery and handed it to the man. “Stilles bescheidenes Leben gibt mehr Glueck als erfolgreiches Streben, verbunden mit bestaendiger Unruhe,” he wrote. (Translation: A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness).

 

einstein letter bellboy japan million

 

 

 

albert einstein letter auction japan tokyo 1922

 

He told the messenger that if he was lucky, the notes would become valuable. On October 24, the courier ‘s nephew sold the letters at auction for $1.56m.

Via Winners  and Flashbak, which has more.

Posted: 25th, October 2017 | In: Money, News | Comment


Shock and horror as Facebook seeks to make a profit

What do you think of Facebook? It’s pretty good, isn’t it. You can post stuff about your dog, website or uniquely gifted children and watch as people write ‘Bless” and “OMG” beneath the images and breaking news. Having throttled post reach – the number of people who actually see a post from your Facebook Page on their timeline is typically around 5%; and then invited users to pay up to ‘boost’ that figure – Facebook is looking for new ways to charge its users. It’s pay-to-play.

Facebook is testing moving publishers’ posts out of people’s news feeds unless the companies pay thousands of dollars to reach their audience.

The new format is being tried in six countries, including Slovakia, Serbia and Sri Lanka, and moves any posts that do not come from users’ friends and family into a secondary feed unless they are paid for. Paid promotions still appear in news feeds as normal.

Pay or vanish.

The change could wreck the business models of small publishers who depend on organic sharing on Facebook for a large part of their audience. It could also have a big impact on larger companies such as BuzzFeed that create content designed to go viral on the site, as “likes” cause Facebook’s algorithm to promote them in news feeds.

Of course it’ll hurt publishers – that’s part of the idea. But if you pay, you an use the service.

Critics yesterday accused Facebook of devious tactics, in giving publishers a huge organic reach and only later charging for that audience.

It’s not a public service, however long and loud Facebook founder and majority owner Mark Zuckenberg tells us his site is a force for world good. It’s a money-making machine. Facebook wants global harmoney [sic].

Facebook has issued a statement (via Recode):

“With all of the possible stories in each person’s feed, we always work to connect people with the posts they find most meaningful. People have told us they want an easier way to see posts from friends and family, so we are testing two separate feeds, one as a dedicated space with posts from friends and family and another as a dedicated space for posts from Pages. To understand if people like these two different spaces, we will test a few things, such as how people engage with videos and other types of posts. These tests will start in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia. We have no current plans to roll this out globally.”

One Slovakaisn user explains:

 

Posted: 24th, October 2017 | In: Money, News, Tabloids | Comment


The charity game: when sex with clients is ok

The charity business continues of amaze. The Sunday Times looks at the Leeds-based Yorkshire Mesmac charity, which, says the headline, “allows sex with clients”. And who are these clients at its centres in Leeds, York, North Yorkshire, Bradford, Wakefield, Rotherham and Hull?

A charity for child abuse victims, sex workers and gay men given more than £2m by the government, councils and police has told its staff they are allowed to have “sexual relationships” with the often vulnerable people they meet through their work.

Ah.

The organisation, based in Leeds, is being investigated by the city’s child safeguarding board after The Sunday Times obtained a copy of its “workers’ conduct policy” which states: “Sexual relationships are acceptable with service users initially met during work time”. Most health and social work organisations ban professionals from establishing relationships with patients and clients.

To which the Guardian adds, so as not to create confusion:

The rules do not relate to the charity’s work with children. 

Mesmac’s chief executive, Tom Doyle, gets the right to reply:

“We understand that, viewed out of context of Yorkshire Mesmac’s suite of policies including safeguarding of children and of adults at risk, there is a possibility that this code of conduct could be misunderstood.”

The policy was now being redrafted.

Spotter: Times

Posted: 22nd, October 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money, Politicians | Comment