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Posts tagged ‘Sunday Times’

Cameron Asks Danish PM to Auction Controversial Selfie for Charity.


Image: Cameron Asks Danish PM to Auction Controversial Selfie for Charity

By Melanie Batley

British Prime Minister Dave Cameron has privately asked the Danish prime minister to auction off the selfie she took of them with President Barack Obama at Nelson Mandela‘s memorial service, suggesting it could raise significant amounts of money for charity.

Cameron had a conversation with Helle Thorning-Schmidt last week, British newspapersThe Daily Mail and The Sunday Times are reporting, after the world leaders faced a barrage of criticism for taking the smiling photo as thousands of mourners gathered to pay tribute to the 95-year-old former South African leader.

Thorning-Schmidt has so-far refused to release the picture, which was taken shortly after Obama’s tribute to Mandela. She reportedly told a Danish newspaper that it was not “particularly good,” and sources say she wanted to delete it, according to the Mail.

Cameron was grilled about the picture in Parliament during Prime Minister’s Questions last week, explaining he obliged to be photographed because he “was being polite.”

Cameron’s office has refused to confirm if the conversation took place, or if it did, what was discussed, according to the Mail.

Thorning-Schmidt previously defended the shot, saying the trio was “just having a bit of fun.” The White House, meanwhile, has not commented on the photo.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Fake Mandela Interpreter Part of Mob that Burned 2 People to Death.


Image: Fake Mandela Interpreter Part of Mob that Burned 2 People to Death

By Greg Richter

Thamsanqa Jantjie, the sign language interpreter who was accused of making nonsense gestures at the Nelson Mandela memorial last week while standing next to President Barack Obama and other world leaders,  admitted to being part of a mob who burned two people to death in 2003, South Africa’s Sunday Times reports. 

Jantjie, gesturing with his hands in what amounted to gibberish, stood little more than arm’s length away from Obama as he spoke at the memorial at Soweto‘s FNB Stadium.

Jantjie told the paper he is being treated at a South African mental health hospital and suffered a schizophrenic episode while on stage during the event. He said he saw angels descending on the stadium.

Addressing the burning deaths, Jantjie told The Times, “It was a community thing, what you call mob justice, and I was also there.”

He and others were arrested and charged with murder, attempted murder and kidnapping. Jantie’s charges were dropped because he was ruled incompetent to stand trial.

Earlier reports indicated Jantjie also has faced rape charges.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Billionaire Branson Denies Fleeing UK to Avoid Taxes.


Virgin Group billionaire Richard Branson is denying that he fled Britain to avoid a 50 percent tax rate, saying he moved his family to their privately owned island of Necker in the British Virgin Islands for health reasons and because they love it there.

Britain’s Sunday Times reported that the 63-year-old Virgin airlines tycoon was using the residence as a tax shelter, and had relocated to take advantage of the islands’ zero tax rate.

However, Branson fired back in his Virgin Group blog post that he actually moved to the island seven years ago and continues to pay taxes, according to CNBC.

“I still work day and night, now focusing on not-for-profit ventures with Virgin Unite, but on Necker I can also look after my health,” he wrote, in a reference to his island getaway in the Caribbean.

“There is no better place to stay active and I can kitesurf, surf, play tennis, swim, do Pilates and just play,” Branson said.

Branson said his enterprises have created tens of thousands of jobs and have paid hundreds of millions in taxes. He said they would continue to do so.

“I have been very fortunate to accumulate so much wealth in my career, more than I need in my lifetime, and would not live somewhere I don’t want to for tax reasons,” he declared.

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Billionaire Branson Leaves UK for Caribbean Tax Haven
More American Companies Seeking Off-Shore Tax Havens

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Audrey Hudson

Billionaire Branson Leaves UK for Caribbean Tax Haven.


Image: Billionaire Branson Leaves UK for Caribbean Tax Haven

LONDON — One of Great Britain’s richest men, Sir Richard Branson, has permanently taken up residence in a Caribbean tax haven.

The London Sunday Times reports that Branson sold his Oxfordshire estate and will officially live in Necker, an island he bought in the 1970s and where he has spent much of his time the last seven years.
According to The Sunday Times, Branson’s new address means he will not be required to pay any personal income tax on earnings outside Britain, although he will still be taxed on U.K. earnings.

Editor’s NoteAn $87,500 Tax Loophole Discovered by Cherry Hill Accountant

Branson’s holdings include the Virgin Atlantic airline, as well as balloon flights and health clubs, and those companies continue to pay significant corporation taxes, the newspaper said.
A spokesman for Branson told the Times the move makes “no difference for tax purposes whether he is in the U.K. or the British Virgin Islands” because Branson mostly works on non- profit ventures and donates his income to charity.
Under British tax laws, Branson will not be allowed to spend more than 183 days in the U.K. in any one year.
Forbes magazine lists Branson as Britain’s sixth wealthiest man with a £2.9bn fortune – the equivalent of about $4.5 billion.

© 2013 NewsmaxWorld. All rights reserved.

NYT: Memo Refers to ‘Seven Perils’ for China’s Communist Party.


China‘s Communist Party is passing around a memo from senior leaders, referred to as “Document No. 9,” warning of the “seven perils” for the party — listing the No. 1 danger as “Western constitutional democracy,” The New York Times reported Monday.

Other perils include promoting “universal values” of human rights, Western-inspired notions of media independence and civil society, ardently pro-market “neo-liberalism,” and “nihilist” criticisms of the party’s traumatic past, The Times reported.

The list comes from Xi Jinping, China’s new top leader, who has tried to prepare some reforms to expose China’s economy to stronger market forces — but has also undertaken a campaign to enforce party authority, The Times reported.

“Western forces hostile to China and dissidents within the country are still constantly infiltrating the ideological sphere,” says Document No. 9, which was issued in April.
A version of the document, which hasn’t been openly published, was shown to The Times and verified by four sources close to senior officials, including an editor with a party newspaper, The Times reported.

The hard line signals a shift to a more conservative stance with Xi’s “rectification” campaign and attempts to defend the legacy of Mao Zedong, the newspaper reported.
The edicts have been distributed at a series of must-attend study sessions.

“Promotion of Western constitutional democracy is an attempt to negate the party’s leadership,” Cheng Xinping, a deputy head of propaganda for Hengyang, a city in Hunan, told a gathering of mining industry officials.

Human rights advocates, he continued, want “ultimately to form a force for political confrontation.”

The memo appears similar to another issued earlier this year and reported by the Sunday Times, in London.

In that memo, officials were told they must “completely understand the harm of viewpoints and theories propagated by the West” and “use battlefield tactics” to defeat liberals.

The Sunday Times also reported a memo sent to China’s universities told them to avoid “seven evil subjects” — listed as “universal values; western ideas of the freedom of the press; civil society; civic rights; historical mistakes of the Communist party; crony networks; and judicial independence.”

The conservative shift is a disappointment for reformists.

“There’s no doubt then it had direct endorsement from Xi Jinping,” Li Weidong, a political commentator and former magazine editor in Beijing, told the New York Times. “It’s certainly had his approval and reflects his general views.”

Since the document was issued, there’s been a torrent of commentary and articles in party-run periodicals.

“Constitutionalism belongs only to capitalism,” said one in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily.

Constitutionalism “is a weapon for information and psychological warfare used by the magnates of American monopoly capitalism and their proxies in China to subvert China’s socialist system,” said another in the paper, The Times reported.

Xi will face another ideological test later in the year when the Communist Party celebrates the 120th anniversary of Mao’s birth. The scale of those celebrations hasn’t been announced, but Xiangtan, the area in Hunan Province that encompasses Mao’s hometown, is spending $1 billion to spruce up for the occasion, The Times reported.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Cathy Burke

Britain Conservatives, Parliament Hit With New Lobbying Scandal.


LONDON — A lobbying scandal that has tarnished the reputation of Britain’s parliament widened on Sunday after a newspaper secretly filmed a senior lawmaker from Prime Minister David Cameron‘s party making what is said were improper remarks.

A series of media sting operations has already thrust the issue into the limelight and forced one lawmaker, Patrick Mercer, to resign from the ruling Conservative Party.

Three members of Britain’s upper house of parliament have also been covertly filmed offering to ask parliamentary questions, lobby ministers, and host events in exchange for cash.

In the latest covert recording, Tim Yeo, a former minister and the chairman of a powerful parliamentary energy committee, appeared to admit he had told a representative of a firm that is a subsidiary of a company he is paid to work for, what to say in front of his own committee.

Such conduct does not break rules which forbid lawmakers from taking cash for questions, but the Sunday Times newspaper said it had also got Yeo on camera explaining “how he could secretly help push private business in parliament for cash.”

Yeo said he “totally rejected” all the allegations.

“The Sunday Times has chosen to quote very selectively from a recording obtained clandestinely during a conversation of nearly an hour-and-a-half in a restaurant with two undercover reporters, who purported to be representing a client from South Korea,” he said in a statement.

Shaken by such scandals, the coalition government has promised to bring forward tighter rules in the coming weeks to ensure lobbying is more transparent.

Lobbying has the potential to become an embarrassing issue for Cameron.

He said before the 2010 general election that it was “the next big scandal waiting to happen,” saying:

“It’s an issue that crosses party lines and has tainted our politics for too long, an issue that exposes the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money.”

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com

‘Cash for Access’ Scandal Hits Britain’s Parliament.


LONDON — Three members of Britain’s upper house of parliament were suspended from their parties on Sunday after media sting operations caught them apparently offering to use their influence for personal gain.

The undercover investigations have thrust the issue of lobbying into the limelight and had already forced a member of the lower house of parliament, Patrick Mercer, to resign from the ruling Conservative Party and seek legal advice.

The three House of Lords peers caught out by a Sunday Times sting operation are John Cunningham and Brian Mackenzie of the main opposition Labour Party and John Laird of the Ulster Unionist Party.

All three denied breaking the chamber’s rules but their parties took swift action against them.

“Lord Cunningham and Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate have been suspended from the Labour Party pending further investigation,” the party said in a statement.

Mike Nesbitt, leader of the Ulster Unionists, said in a statement he had called Laird after reviewing the media coverage and as a result of that call Laird had resigned from the party pending an investigation.

The trio were covertly filmed offering to ask parliamentary questions, lobby ministers and host events in prestigious House of Lords premises in exchange for payment by what they were told were lobbyists acting for companies.

The scandal will renew pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron to introduce a statutory register of lobbyists, as promised in 2010 in the coalition agreement between his Conservatives and their junior partners, the Liberal Democrats.

Cameron warned more than three years ago that lobbying was “the next big scandal waiting to happen” but critics, including some Liberal Democrats, accuse him of dragging his feet.

SUSPICION

Sunday Times reporters approached Cunningham, a former minister under then Prime Minister Tony Blair in the 1990s, pretending to represent a South Korean solar energy company.

“Are you suggesting 10,000 pounds a month? Make that . . . 12,000 pounds a month. I think we could do a deal on that,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper during a discussion about his fees for what was described as consultancy work.

Cunningham later sent a statement to the Sunday Times saying he had referred to “a fanciful 12,000 pounds a month” to test his suspicion that he was talking to undercover journalists.

“I deny any agreement to operate in breach of the House of Lords code of conduct and, in fact, recall that I made it clear that I would only operate within the rules,” Cunningham said.

Laird also issued a statement denying he had broken the rules and Mackenzie denied wrongdoing in two BBC interviews. The three peers could not immediately be reached by Reuters.

Mercer was caught out by undercover reporters from the Daily Telegraph newspaper and the BBC’s investigative Panorama program posing as lobbyists for businesses seeking to end Fiji’s suspension from the Commonwealth on human rights grounds.

His resignation from the Conservative Party was no great loss to Cameron as the House of Commons MP was an outspoken critic of the prime minister, but the allegations against him reflect badly on the party and on parliament in general.

Mercer tabled five questions to government and a parliamentary motion on the Fiji issue after being paid 4,000 pounds ($6,100) as part of a bogus contract he believed would earn him 24,000 pounds a year, the two media reported.

He told the fake lobbyists he had persuaded 18 other members of parliament to join an all-party group on Fiji, commenting that they included “several freeloaders that would like to go to Fiji” and one who asked to take his wife, the media said.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com

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