Courtesy of Zoe Conway @ The BBC:
Anderson Group, one of the recruitment industry’s most high-profile companies, is promoting an “aggressive” tax avoidance scheme which experts are calling “abusive”.
The scheme works by exploiting the government’s Employment Allowance.
The scam could deprive the Treasury of tens of millions of pounds of National Insurance payments.
Anderson Group says that all of its services are fully compliant with UK tax laws.
It says it is “totally incorrect” to say that Anderson Group is promoting the scheme and says it is a product being offered by one of its clients.
Anderson Group, which calls itself the UK’s “leading provider of support services to the recruitment industry” has hundreds of agencies and thousands of contractors on its books.
The tax avoidance scheme works by exploiting the government’s Employment Allowance which was introduced last year.
The allowance enables companies to claim £2,000 off their annual employers’ National Insurance bill and was meant to encourage small businesses to take on more workers.
The BBC secretly recorded Anderson Group’s sales manager, Ian Moran, promoting the tax avoidance scheme to a recruitment agency.
The agency he was pitching to employs 300 workers, many of whom work in low paid jobs in warehouses or as labourers.
Mr Moran suggested that if the recruitment agency were to set up more than 100 limited companies with a couple of workers in each of them, each company could then claim the £2,000 allowance.
By Mr Moran’s calculations the agency’s National Insurance bill would then fall from £300,000 a year to zero. Continue reading
Courtesy of True Activist:
An ambitious new project is hoping to help clean the world’s oceans with a trash collector that is reportedly the longest floating structure in recorded world history.
Back in 2013 we reported that a 19-year-old developed a plan to clean up the world’s oceans in just 5 years, removing 7,250,000 tons of plastic. However, last week, Boyan Slat (now 20), founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, announced that this awesome project will be deployed in 2016.
Slat’s invention consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that could be dispatched to garbage patches around the world. Working with the flow of nature, his solution to the problematic shifting of trash is to have the array span the radius of a garbage patch, acting as a giant funnel as the ocean moves through it. The angle of the booms would force plastic in the direction of the platforms, where it would be separated from smaller forms, such as plankton, and be filtered and stored for recycling. The issue of by-catches, killing life forms in the procedure of cleaning trash, can be virtually eliminated by using booms instead of nets and it will result in a larger areas covered. Because of trash’s density compared to larger sea animals, the use of booms will allow creatures to swim under the booms unaffected, reducing wildlife death substantially.
Image Credit: theoceancleanup.com Continue reading
Courtesy of The Hedge:
From the first sudden, and quite dramatic, appearance of the fanatical Islamic group known as ISIS which was largely unheard of until a year ago, on the world’s stage and which promptly replaced the worn out and tired al Qaeda as the world’s terrorist bogeyman, we suggested that the “straight to beheading YouTube clip” purpose behind the Saudi Arabia-funded Islamic State was a simple one: use the Jihadists as the vehicle of choice to achieve a political goal: depose of Syria’s president Assad, who for years has stood in the way of a critical Qatari natural gas pipeline, one which could dethrone Russia as Europe’s dominant – and belligerent – source of energy, reaching an interim climax with the unsuccessful Mediterranean Sea military build up of 2013, which nearly resulted in quasi-world war.
The narrative and the plotline were so transparent, even Russia saw right through them. Recall from September of last year:
If the West bombs Islamic State militants in Syria without consulting Damascus, LiveLeak reports that the anti-ISIS alliance may use the occasion to launch airstrikes against President Bashar Assad’s forces, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Clearly comprehending that Obama’s new strategy against ISIS in Syria is all about pushing the Qatar pipeline through (as was the impetus behind the 2013 intervention push), Russia is pushing back noting that the it is using ISIS as a pretext for bombing Syrian government forces and warning that “such a development would lead to a huge escalation of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.”
But it’s one thing to speculate; it’s something entirely different to have hard proof.
And while speculation was rife that just like the CIA-funded al Qaeda had been used as a facade by the US to achieve its own geopolitical and national interests over the past two decades, so ISIS was nothing more than al Qaeda 2.0, there was no actual evidence of just this.
That may all have changed now when a declassified secret US government document obtained by the public interest law firm, Judicial Watch, shows that Western governments deliberately allied with al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups to topple Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad.
According to investigative reporter Nafeez Ahmed in Medium, the “leaked document reveals that in coordination with the Gulf states and Turkey, the West intentionally sponsored violent Islamist groups to destabilize Assad, despite anticipating that doing so could lead to the emergence of an ‘Islamic State’ in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
According to the newly declassified US document, the Pentagon foresaw the likely rise of the ‘Islamic State’ as a direct consequence of the strategy, but described this outcome as a strategic opportunity to “isolate the Syrian regime.”
Courtesy of University of Virginia:
In a stunning discovery that overturns decades of textbook teaching, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist.
That such vessels could have escaped detection when the lymphatic system has been so thoroughly mapped throughout the body is surprising on its own, but the true significance of the discovery lies in the effects it could have on the study and treatment of neurological diseases ranging from autism to Alzheimer’s disease to multiple sclerosis.
“Instead of asking, ‘How do we study the immune response of the brain?,’ ‘Why do multiple sclerosis patients have the immune attacks?,’ now we can approach this mechanistically – because the brain is like every other tissue connected to the peripheral immune system through meningeal lymphatic vessels,” said Jonathan Kipnis, a professor in U.Va.’s Department of Neuroscience and director of U.Va.’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia. “It changes entirely the way we perceive the neuro-immune interaction. We always perceived it before as something esoteric that can’t be studied. But now we can ask mechanistic questions.”
He added, “We believe that for every neurological disease that has an immune component to it, these vessels may play a major role. [It’s] hard to imagine that these vessels would not be involved in a [neurological] disease with an immune component.”
Kevin Lee, who chairs the Department of Neuroscience, described his reaction to the discovery by Kipnis’ lab: “The first time these guys showed me the basic result, I just said one sentence: ‘They’ll have to change the textbooks.’ There has never been a lymphatic system for the central nervous system, and it was very clear from that first singular observation – and they’ve done many studies since then to bolster the finding – that it will fundamentally change the way people look at the central nervous system’s relationship with the immune system.” Continue reading
The IMF had no credibility in the first place but feels it needs to go full blown idiocracy, it’s now all about the electrolytes. What the IMF is essentially saying, whether stupidly, disingenuously or both, is that it is better to be a perpetual debt slave than a free man with money in their pocket and control over their own destiny.
It would be too much to ask for the IMF to offer an alternative to a debt based monetary system, ironically and factually more debt is required for this Ponzi scheme to keep growing, otherwise it will collapse anyway. What the IMF will not admit is that the debts were created out of thin air so should be cancelled under a debt moratorium/jubilee, historical reference given to ‘The Shemitah’ where debts were cancelled every 7 years.
This regretfully will not happen as debt represents control (don’t want to give the slaves any ideas of what freedom actually is) and psychopaths like to control. Courtesy of Zerohedge:
On Tuesday we brought you what will likely be the first of many calls for so-called “Helicopter money”, whose advocates suppose that the reason printing trillions in fiat currency has not yet brought about the desired effects in terms of stoking aggregate demand and promoting robust economic growth is that central banks have yet to go the nuclear route by simply mailing out free money to everyone.
Here’s an excerpt from the Bloomberg View piece:
“Money isn’t a liability in the ordinary sense. Nothing is owed and nothing ever has to be paid back.”
As ridiculous as that sounds, it’s not exactly surprising in a debt-addicted world run by Keynesian central planners and indeed, it echoes recent calls by US lawmakers for the absolution of some $1.3 trillion in student debt.
Now, it appears the insanity has spread to the highest possible levels with none other than the IMF’s deputy director of research suggesting that when governments are faced with too much debt, they should consider simply not worrying about it.
In a new research paper, the IMF’s research department says that as long as countries can fund themselves at a reasonable cost via capital markets, they should consider simply “living with high debt”:
While some countries face debt sustainability constraints that leave them little choice, others are in the more comfortable position of being able to fund themselves at reasonable—even exceptionally low—interest rates. For these countries, there is a very real question of whether to live with high debt while allowing the debt ratio to decline organically through growth, or to pay it down deliberately to reduce the burden of the debt…
Next, the Fund says that if there’s still room to borrow, paying down debt makes no sense:
If fiscal space remains ample, policies to deliberately pay down debt are normatively undesirable…
It only gets better when the suggestion is made that contrary to reality, paying down debt actually increases countries’ debt burden:
Distorting your economy to deliberately pay down the debt only adds to the burden of the debt, rather than reducing it. Continue reading
Chemists at the University of Waterloo have discovered the key reaction that takes place in sodium-air batteries that could pave the way for development of the so-called holy grail of electrochemical energy storage. The key lies in Nazar’s group discovery of the so-called proton phase transfer catalyst. By isolating its role in the battery’s discharge and recharge reactions, Nazar and colleagues were not only able to boost the battery’s capacity, they achieved a near-perfect recharge of the cell. When the researchers eliminated the catalyst from the system, they found the battery no longer worked. Unlike the traditional solid-state battery design, a metal-oxygen battery uses a gas cathode that takes oxygen and combines it with a metal such as sodium or lithium to form a metal oxide, storing electrons in the process. Applying an electric current reverses the reaction and reverts the metal to its original form.
Credit: University of Waterloo
Courtesy of Science Daily:
Chemists at the University of Waterloo have discovered the key reaction that takes place in sodium-air batteries that could pave the way for development of the so-called holy grail of electrochemical energy storage.
Researchers from the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, led by Professor Linda Nazar who holds the Canada Research Chair in Solid State Energy Materials, have described a key mediation pathway that explains why sodium-oxygen batteries are more energy efficient compared with their lithium-oxygen counterparts.
Understanding how sodium-oxygen batteries work has implications for developing the more powerful lithium-oxygen battery, which is has been seen as the holy grail of electrochemical energy storage.
Their results appear in the journal Nature Chemistry.
“Our new understanding brings together a lot of different, disconnected bits of a puzzle that have allowed us to assemble the full picture,” says Nazar, a Chemistry professor in the Faculty of Science. “These findings will change the way we think about non-aqueous metal-oxygen batteries.”
Sodium-oxygen batteries are considered by many to be a particularly promising metal-oxygen battery combination. Although less energy dense than lithium-oxygen cells, they can be recharged with more than 93 per cent efficiency and are cheap enough for large-scale electrical grid storage. Continue reading
Courtesy of Michael Segalov @ The Independent:
Over the weekend, it was reported that Tony Blair pulled out of addressing The World Hunger Forum in Stockholm because his £330k price tag for turning up and talking just couldn’t be met.
According to one source, the food company organising the event, Eat, dropped Blair because “his star power is fast diminishing”. But regardless of whether this is true or not, many agree that he was wrong to ask for such an astronomical payment in the first place. It was apparently going to be given to The Cherie Blair Foundation. So if his claim that he didn’t turn up and speak due to “prior commitments” is true, that’s a real shame; it would have been a huge donation.
But either way, I think it’s time we give the man a break. His impeccable record as a selfless public servant aside, Blair’s approach to life after his Downing Street days display the exact same values that both the government and opposition want us to tattooed on our foreheads: “aspiration” and “wealth creation”.
The next Labour leadership favourite, Andy Burnham, last week suggested “wealth creators must be valued as highly as NHS staff”. Burnham reckons these wealthy people are “everyday heroes”, in which case Tony Blair is basically Superman, creating cash money left right and centre.
Since leaving Downing Street he’s had to deny reports that he has amassed a personal fortune of £100m, and has insisted that it’s closer to £20m – a far more modest amount. But regardless of how many millions he has, Tony’s real message to us all is that we shouldn’t be bothered by those bleeding-heart liberals who think we should be paying a fair level of tax – in fact, a company he set up managed to halve its tax bill to just £300,000 on an income of £14m. Continue reading