Brown damns tax avoidance

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US sends top-level diplomat to Taiwan, angering China

first_img“China strongly opposes this,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Thursday, saying the trip “encourages the arrogant attitude of Taiwan independence separatist forces”.Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory, to be absorbed into the mainland — by force if necessary.Relations between the United States and China are at their lowest point in decades, with the two sides clashing over a range of trade, military and security issues, as well as the coronavirus pandemic.Washington’s increased outreach to Taiwan under US President Donald Trump has become yet another flashpoint between the two powers.  Topics : A top US diplomat will arrive in Taiwan on Thursday, the highest-ranking State Department official to visit in 40 years, in a further sign of Washington’s willingness to defy China and its campaign to isolate the self-ruled island.Keith Krach, undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, was heading to Taipei to attend a memorial service for late president Lee Teng-hui on Saturday, the US State Department said.The trip, the second high-ranking US visit in as many months, sparked an immediate rebuke from China, which baulks at any recognition of Taiwan and has mounted a decades-long policy of marginalizing the democratic island. “The United States honors President Lee’s legacy by continuing our strong bonds with Taiwan and its vibrant democracy through shared political and economic values,” spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement announcing Krach’s trip.Taiwan’s foreign ministry said Krach, accompanied by assistant secretary Robert Destro, would also discuss “how to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation” during his three-day visit.It described him as the highest-ranking State Department official to visit Taiwan since 1979, when Washington switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing from Taipei.Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will host a dinner for the US delegation on Friday.”We look forward to more exchanges and discussions between Taiwan and the US to solidify the foundation for further collaborations, including economic cooperation, through undersecretary Krach’s visit,” her office said in a statement. Ambassador meeting in New York Beijing discourages any official exchanges with Taiwan but in recent months Washington has dramatically increased its outreach.Last month, US cabinet member and health chief Alex Azar visited to highlight Taiwan’s widely praised efforts to stop COVID-19.On Thursday Taiwan’s foreign ministry also confirmed a rare meeting took place the day before between James Lee, its top official in New York, and Washington’s ambassador to the UN Kelly Clark. Beijing has ramped up diplomatic, economic and military pressure on Taiwan since the 2016 election of Tsai, who rejects its view that the island is part of “one China”.In recent weeks, Taiwan has reported a sharp increase in incursions by Chinese jets into its air defense identification zone.On Thursday, Taiwan’s defense ministry said two Chinese anti-submarine planes crossed the boundary a day earlier and were warned to leave.Washington remains the leading arms supplier to the island but has historically been cautious in holding official contact with it.Trump has embraced Taiwan more closely as a way to hit back at authoritarian Beijing, especially as he seeks re-election in November.He has also approved some major arms sales, something his recent predecessors were more reluctant to do. But the United States has so far not strayed from the unwritten red line on Taiwan, as it has not sent senior officials whose primary responsibilities are foreign affairs or defense.Lee, who died in July at the age of 97, was a towering figure in Taiwan’s history, helping the once authoritarian island transition to a vibrant democracy and later angering China by pushing for it to be recognized as a sovereign country.When news of his death broke, Chinese state media called him “the godfather of Taiwan secessionism”.Krach, with his economic focus, will be visiting as Taiwan seeks a trade deal with the United States.Taiwan removed a major hurdle last month by easing safety restrictions on US beef and pork — welcome news for farmers, a key constituency for Trump, as the election approaches.last_img read more

USACE Launches Seven Mile Island Living Laboratory

first_imgThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District has announced the launch of the Seven Mile Island Living Laboratory.According to USACE, this is an initiative designed to advance and improve dredging and marsh restoration techniques in coastal New Jersey through innovative research, collaboration, knowledge sharing, and practical application. USACE has partnered with the State of New Jersey and the non-profit Wetlands Institute on the concept.Seven Mile Island, located in Cape May County, N.J., is backed by 6000 acres of state-owned marshland that provides both critical habitat for birds, fish, shellfish and other wildlife, and coastal resilience for barrier island communities. Marshes in this area, as well as throughout the region, are showing signs of degradation and are vulnerable to impact from rising seas.“The Living Lab initiative will help us continue to learn by enhancing the science behind projects, improve our methods using a systems approach, and evaluate innovative solutions that are based on Regional Sediment Management and Engineering With Nature principles,” said USACE Project Manager Monica Chasten.“We modeled the laboratory on a concept used internationally – it provides a forum to advance technical knowledge, demonstrate novel approaches, develop new tools and technologies, and enhance collaborative efforts on new projects.”  One focus area for the Living Lab will be to build on the success of these demonstration projects and implement future projects with a more systematic approach. The Living Laboratory will establish a forum for experts to share knowledge, provide input, and disseminate information to stakeholders.Seven Mile Island Living Lab research activities, data collection efforts and Working Group meetings will kick off in April 2019.last_img read more

Read This If You’re Still on the Fence About the Legalization of Marijuana

first_imgHuffington Post 24 October 2016Family First Comment: This is a great read. From an expert in addiction treatment – “legalising a drug increases consumption thereby increasing the number of people who develop a drug problem, and that leads to more people seeking treatment. Capitalism should tell me this is a great idea. Morality and humanity tell me otherwise.”Call me crazy. As someone in the business of providing treatment, you’d think I’d want nothing more than to see an influx of business. Legalizing a drug increases consumption thereby increasing the number of people who develop a drug problem, and that leads to more people seeking treatment. Capitalism should tell me this is a great idea. Morality and humanity tell me otherwise.Now, I’ve written on marijuana legalization before. The barrage of hate that I received might stop most people from doing it again. But I just cannot sit idly by while this issue continues to float around this nation’s great states, jeopardizing public health and our children’s futures.Hear me on this people: in many respects, I could be considered monetarily motivated to want marijuana legalized! I work for a treatment center that treats addiction to this and other drugs. But my conscience and compassion for people in the depths of addiction prohibit it.The argument of the pro-pot crowd is that marijuana is harmless, that it’s just a plant and is safer than alcohol. Unfortunately, there are too many holes in this argument, as anyone who’s been paying attention knows.True, marijuana is made from a plant. While we’re at it, let’s keep in mind that Hemlock, of which the ingestion of small doses can easily result in respiratory collapse and death, is also a plant. But back on topic, a recent study found that the level of THC in marijuana, or tetrahydrocannabinol (marijuana’s main psychoactive ingredient) rose from about 4 percent in 1995 to about 12 percent in 2014. Another study found those levels rose more significantly, from 10 percent to 30 percent. As the lead researcher in the former study said, “smoking marijuana with high doses of THC may involve a higher risk of negative health effects, such as psychosis or panic attacks.”As several experts have pointed out before, this is not your father’s weed. Indeed a 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that marijuana causes heart attacks and artery disease, even among the young. Other studies have shown that marijuana use can permanently impair brain development, problem solving, concentration, motivation, and memory. Teens who use marijuana are more likely to engage in delinquent and dangerous behavior, and experience increased risk of schizophrenia and depression, including being three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts. Marijuana-using teens are also more likely to have multiple sexual partners and engage in unsafe sex.So even if you smoked weed when you were young, you need to acknowledge that we’re talking about a vastly different drug here and have learned a great deal more about its short and long-term effects. With this, there is no debate.So why else am I opposed to the legalization of marijuana? The Rand Corporation concluded that under legalization, the price of the drug would fall substantially, thereby further increasing consumption. Increased drug use leads to greater societal costs including greater absenteeism and less productivity in our workforce. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs incurs more than $700 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and health care. Employees who test positive for marijuana had 55 percent more industrial accidents and 85 percent more injuries and they had absenteeism rates 75 percent higher than those who tested negative.Legalized weed creates greater access, more abuse, and greater costs to society. As I said before, those of us in the business of treating addiction might take this as news that our business will be booming. Sadly, it already is and I can’t bear to see it get exponentially worse with legalization of marijuana. I mean, does this country really need another legal intoxicant?There are an estimated 23 million Americans who need treatment for problems related to drugs or alcohol, but only about 2.5 million people receive it in any given year. This is what we call the treatment gap. So to be clear, I already have my hands full trying to reach the over 20 million people in our country who need but don’t pursue addiction treatment. I don’t need a boom in business with the legalization of marijuana and, in my opinion, the costs are just too high.Dr. Kevin Sabet, former Senior Advisor for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and co-founder of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), recognized that the marijuana market seems like an attractive target for taxation, and many have compared recent campaigns to legalize it to tactics used by Big Tobacco. One research firm estimated that the marijuana industry is worth roughly $10 billion a year. But these taxes will do little to offset the cost to society. Says Dr. Sabet, “Legal alcohol serves as a good example: The $8 billion in tax revenue generated from that widely used drug does little to offset the nearly $200 billion in social costs attributed to its use.”And if you still assert that legalizing marijuana for adults is their right, you need only look at two examples of this backfiring amongst our youth. In the 1970s, Alaska legalized marijuana only to recriminalize it in 1990 after Alaskan teen marijuana use jumped to twice the national average. And pot use tripled among young adults in the Netherlands after a policy shift made it essentially legal.Expanding on some of Dr. Sabet’s words, the legalization of marijuana would lead to a commercialization that glamorizes its use and furthers its social acceptance. High profits might make aggressive marketing worthwhile for sellers (read: big corporations), with addiction simply the price of doing business, but take it from someone in the treatment field: we do not need more access, more justification, or more incentive for people to become addicted to a drug.The risks far outweigh the reward for you being able to legally smoke that joint.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/read-this-if-youre-still-on-the-fence-about-the-legalization_us_580e5b2ce4b0f8715789fefb?Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

Study Raises Questions About Movie Ratings

first_imgA study says PG-13 and R-rated movies share much of the same risky behavior content.You may give the OK for your child to see a PG-13 movie, thinking the content is age-appropriate. However, according to a new study, when it comes to some risky behaviors on-screen there’s little difference between PG-13 and R-rated flicks.Amy Bleakley, a research scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, authored the study. She said she found that a PG-13 rating by the Motion Picture Association of America doesn’t always stop the kind of material parents may think it does.“We found that there was really no difference between PG-13 and R-rated movies with regards to which the extent of this content is featured,” she said, “except with tobacco and explicit sex, which is more common in R-rated movies.”The study looked at 400 of the top-grossing movies released from 1985 to 2010. In nine out of 10, on average, the movies showed a main character involved in violence, and in nearly eight of 10 movies, the main character was in scenes showing other risky behavior.Bleakley said the big question, even after releasing this study, revolves around how children process what they see at the movies – and whether they are more likely to act out on a broad range of risky behaviors.“We know that when kids see just tobacco on-screen, they’re more likely to initiate smoking,” she said, “and when they see alcohol on-screen they’re more likely to drink, and so on – but we don’t know the effect of these clustered behaviors. So, that’s our next step – we want to try and find that out.”Parents can review the Motion Picture Association of America’s definitions of what it intends each rating category to mean here .last_img read more

Home of Bengal player, houseguest center of drug investigation

first_imgWest Chester, Oh. — A convicted felon and houseguest of a Cincinnati Bengal football player has been charged with drug trafficking following a multi-state investigation. Jarrod Blair, 36, was arrested at the home of Dre Kirkpatrick in West Chester on April 10 following a traffic stop days earlier in Illinois.Illinois State Police stopped a rental car bearing Colorado plates on I-70 near Madison, Illinois. During a probable cause search police found 55 pounds of marijuana in the trunk.Two people in the car told police they were drug couriers from California and provided them with the West Chester address as their destination. One of the suspects told police she would be paid $4,000 to make the delivery and another $4,000 when she returned to California.Court documents say the woman agreed to work with police and make the delivery.West Chester police officers served a search warrant following the delivery and found 55 pounds of marijuana in the kitchen of the home and eight cell phones. Police arrested Blair at the scene. Blair is currently on parole for trafficking cocaine.Earlier this year, neighbors told police there was suspicious activity and overnight vehicle traffic around the home.Kirkpatrick has not commented on the case.last_img read more

Visit Indiana reveals first 20 IN 20 list

first_imgStatewide—It’s no surprise to Hoosiers that Frommer’s named “Indiana Among the World’s Top Places to Go in 2020”.  So, Visit Indiana is unveiling the ultimate 2020 travel experience, called The 20 IN 20 (click here to go to the 20 IN 20 page). Visit Indiana says they will reveal 20 lists of 20 must-see, must-do Indiana experiences, one at a time, all year long.They will highlight some of the best the state has to offer as far as dining, destinations and family fun.Their first list was released on New Year’s Day and covers places to eat and small Indiana towns to visit.  Only one southeastern Indiana restaurant made this year’s list, Batar in Seymour. There were however several towns in the area listed on their places to visit list.  They included Madison, Aurora, Nashville, and Shelbyville.   These 20 cities and towns are all home to 25,000 people or less.last_img read more

Seymour Man Arrested for Neglect of Dependent Causing Death

first_imgSeymour, IN—Last week a Seymour, Indiana man was arrested on a warrant for Neglect of a Dependent Causing Death after a two-month investigation by Detectives Jason Duncan and Andrew Mitchell with the Indiana State Police-Versailles.The investigation began on March 27 of this year when a 9-1-1 call was made to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department. The caller reported that a six-week-old male infant was not responsive. Emergency personnel responded to the scene and attempted to provide lifesaving care to the infant. However, the infant was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Jackson County Coroner’s Office.The investigation determined that on the morning of March 27, Joseph Michael-Wayne Scott, 31, the father of the victim, fell asleep in a recliner at the residence while holding the baby. Scott was later awoken by a family member who noticed the baby was not breathing due to his position in the chair. Further investigation revealed that Scott had methamphetamine and marijuana in his system at the time of the incident when the child was in his care.At the conclusion of the investigation, the case was presented to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office for review. The investigation resulted in a warrant being issued for Scott on a charge of Neglect of a Dependent Resulting in Death.last_img read more

Cricket News Rishabh Pant is one for future, says Sourav Ganguly

first_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. Kolkata: Former captain Sourav Ganguly on Monday hailed India’s historic Test series win in Australia and said wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant is one for the “future”. Having made his Test debut in August 2018, the 21-year-old Pant has gone from strength to strength, scoring a Test hundred each in England and Australia within months. In Australia, Pant amassed 350 runs in seven innings, the second highest after Cheteshwar Pujara, while behind the stumps he broke the record for most catches — 20 —  by an Indian wicketkeeper in a Test series.“He will be a superb player for India in the future. He has been so good in the series and in future also, he will shine,” Ganguly told reporters on the sidelines of Bengal’s Ranji Trophy Elite Group B fixture against Punjab.Also Read | Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team and their amazing numbers following historic win in AustraliaRain played spoilsport in the fourth and final Test as the Virat Kohli-led side won the series 2-1, ending a 71-year wait to win their first series Down Under.Australia were 316 in arrears when the match was called off, leaving India with a 2-1 triumph after wins in Adelaide and Melbourne. Australia won in Perth.Terming their win terrific, Ganguly said: “It’s a terrific win. They played excellent cricket througout and the batting clicked. They scored 400-600 runs and that was the key.”“Bumrah and Pujara were simply brilliant. They played big roles behind the win,” Ganguly said, while also giving credit to pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who claimed 21 wickets in four Tests at an average of 17.00, including a five-for.Also Read | Virat Kohli’s India break 71 years of pain, clinch series win in Australia for the first timePujara amassed 521 runs at 74.42, scoring three hundreds to be adjudged both Man of the Match and Man of the Series.Asked to compare Kohli’s side with teams of the past including his side that drew 1-1 in 2003-04, Ganguly said: “I don’t compare ever. So I can’t answer that question. last_img read more