Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

Why Are Our Political Elite So Obsessed With Lowering the Age of Consent?

January 15, 2013

Why are UK politicians so preoccupied with lowering the age of consent? Who asked for it to be lowered in the first place? Not parents in Britain, that’s for sure. Listen to this bit of common sense before you start your debate…

UPDATE: British PM Rules Out Lowering Age Of Consent To 14…
http://news.sky.com/story/1036565/pm-rules-out-lowering-age-of-consent-to-14

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Henningsen on RT: ‘Syria is a gangster’s paradise right now’

January 9, 2013

21st Century Wire and UK Column’s analyst Patrick Henningsen discusses with RT about how NATO’s recent deployment of missile defense batteries in neighboring Turkey is nothing more than a chess move to prepare for western/NATO airstrikes at some point further down the timeline, and also how Syria’s so-called ‘opposition’ are using the chaos in the country to steal land, businesses and profit from the new black market that has replaced the previous economy.

Saving Private Face: Manning ‘awarded’ 112 days off potential life sentence

January 9, 2013

Private Bradley Manning, accused of sharing classified US army files with the whistleblowing website Wikileaks, will get a 112 days cut from his eventual sentence. The victory for his defense team comes after a judge ruled that Manning’s 9 months in prison amounted to pre-trial punishment and was excessively harsh. Retired colonel Morris Davis told us the military is just trying to spare its blushes.

Settlements Snarl: ‘Israel gambles on US protection from intl law’

December 18, 2012

Israel says it will go ahead with plans to build 1500 new settler homes in East Jerusalem – the part of the city that’s considered Palestinian land.

The project was given an intermediate green light by Israeli officials on Monday. This comes less then a month after the UN granted Palestine non-member observer status. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state, and are promising to raise the issue at a Security Council meeting. Author and historian Gerald Horne says that with Palestine’s recent upgrade, Israel’s playing a risky game.

New Legal Issue: Prince Charles’s £700m Estate Accused of Tax Avoidance

December 17, 2012

The duchy of Cornwall gave the prince an income of £18m last year, but says it is not subject to paying corporation tax

Robert Booth
Guardian

HM Revenue & Customs has been asked to investigate alleged tax avoidance by Prince Charles’s £700m hereditary estate.

The duchy of Cornwall last year provided Charles with an income of £18m and HMRC‘s anti-avoidance group is now being asked to examine its non-payment of corporation tax following a potentially significant court ruling on its legal status.

The issue has been raised by an accountant investigating the tax affairs of the duchy – an agricultural, commercial and residential landowner.

He has analysed the impact of a judicial ruling handed down last year. Anti-monarchy campaigners claim it shows the duchy is running “a well-entrenched tax avoidance scheme”.

The duchy insists it “is not subject to corporation tax as it is not a separate legal entity for tax purposes”. But John Angel, principal judge at the information rights tribunal, ruled last December it was a separate legal body to the prince.

Accountants now believe the ruling could leave the duchy exposed to the 24% levy on profits other organisations must pay. Any change to its tax status could result in a cut to the prince’s income.

Republic, the campaign for an elected head of state, has asked HMRC’s anti-avoidance team to investigate whether the ruling means the duchy is now “using a highly questionable interpretation of its legal status as a means of avoiding corporation tax obligations”.

A spokesman for HMRC said it would evaluate the information and “take appropriate action”. There is no suggestion any law has been breached. Clarence House strongly denies claims of avoidance.

The move comes as the House of Commons public accounts committee, which earlier this month criticised Starbucks, Google and Amazon for their “immoral” decisions to avoid paying more corporation tax, prepares to hold a hearing next year into the royal finances. As well as duchy income, last year Charles received £2.2m in grants from the taxpayer to pay for his travel by private jet, helicopter and train and the upkeep of Clarence House.

He voluntarily paid tax of £5m on his £18m income from the duchy last year, which Clarence House said was at the full 50% rate after deductions from expenses.

The duchy owns 53,000 hectares of land in 23 counties, including Prince Charles’s Gloucestershire home of Highgrove. It has provided incomes to successive Princes of Wales since the 14th century. The assertion that the estate is inseparable from Charles has allowed him to use its gross profits to fund private and official spending including 26 valets, gardeners and farm staff. In the past five years he has received more than £86m from the arrangement.

But when Angel was tasked with deciding if the duchy should publish information about its environmental impact, he ruled it must be considered a separate legal body to the prince because of “the differentiation of the duchy and duke in commercial and tax matters as well as under legislation and the contractual behaviour of the duchy”.

The judge said: “We find that the duchy is now a body or other legal person.”

Independent accountants and a firm of tax lawyers consulted by the Guardian over the claims confirmed the ruling had the potential to undermine the prince’s tax arrangements, but said it was not clear-cut.

“There appears to be no legal basis on which the duchy is not taxed and there is no legal basis for the arrangement under which Prince Charles pays tax on an ad hoc basis of his own making,” said Richard Murphy, who runs Tax Research LLP, and has examined the duchy’s arrangements. “We have a token PR gesture from Prince Charles, not unlike Starbucks’ arrangement [to pay voluntary corporation tax].”

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2nd Worst Massacre in US history: Dozens killed, most victims Children

December 15, 2012

It’s one of the worst school shootings in US history. At least 27 people gunned down in a US primary school in Connecticut  twenty of them young children. Pupils had tried to hide from the killer in classrooms and closets, but the bloodbath ended only when he turned the gun on himself. A woman believed to be his mother was also found dead at her house. 

Morsi Backs Down: Revokes Power Grab,Referendum On Constitution Still Up

December 10, 2012

Egypt’s President has scrapped the decree that gave him sweeping new powers and effectively put him above the law of the land. But the opposition says that’s not enough

Everyone In US Under Virtual Surveillance, All Info Stored, No Matter The Post

December 5, 2012

Whistleblower and former NSA crypto-mathematician who served in the agency for decades – virtual privacy in US, Petraeus affair and whistleblowers’ odds in fight against the authorities are among key topics of this exclusive interview…

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Amsterdam Plans To Relocate Troublemakers To ‘scum villages’

December 5, 2012

The Washington Post
 Caitlin Dewey

In a move that sounds straight out of Orwell, Amsterdam allocated 1 million euros last week to a plan that would relocate trouble-making neighbors to camps on the outskirts of the city, the BBC reports.

The “scum villages,” as critics have called them, would lie in isolated areas and provide only basic services to their unwilling residents. According to details of the plan reported by Der Spiegel and the BBC, residents will live in “container homes,” under the watchful eye of social workers or police. The residents themselves might not make very good company. According to the BBC, they’ll include families that engage in repeated, small-scale harassment, like bullying gay neighbors or intimidating police witnesses.

If this reads a little like ghettoization, you’re not the only one to notice. Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan has already faced a number of questions about the fairness of the plan, as well as the fear that crowding troublemakers together will simply breed more trouble. Most alarming, however, are the parallels to a plan proposed by far right-wing politician Geert Wilders last year.

Under that plan, Dutch paper de Volkskrant reports, repeat offenders (and their families, if minors) would relocate to container compounds in isolated areas. Residents could only return to society after a proven period of work or study. At the time, Wilders called his proposal a way to “put all the trash together and leave normal people alone,” according to a translation by Der Spiegel. But Wilders’s definition of “normal people” has concerned many observers, including Holland’s Public Prosecution Service — it charged him with several counts of inciting hate and discrimination against Muslims in January 2009.

Amsterdam city officials are, unsurprisingly, disavowing any similarity between their plan and Wilders’s. It’s already drawing comparisons to a gentler assisted-living program in Denmark, which lacks — through design or better PR — the dystopic overtones of the “scum villages.”

“Usually people are scared to report problems for fear of intimidation,” city spokeswoman Tahira Limon told the BBC. “It’s an upside down world and we want to change it so the people who cause the problems are moved.”

‘Criminals, Terrorists And Pedophiles’: Spy Bill Author Slams Big Bro Critics

December 5, 2012

Britain’s so-called “snooper’s charter” bill is heating up debates among MPs as parliamentary reports on it are being prepared. The bill’s initiator has just released an emotional verbal offensive against the opponents, equaling them to criminals.