Archive for the ‘International’ Category

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In the Islamic Republic of Iran, there is no issues that cannot be resolved by the Koran, or at least Muslim clerics, as a moral imperative. Thus, after complaints that Iran has one of the highest rates of Internet use and one of the slowest average speeds, Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, a prominent Shia scholar, stepped in to denounce fast Internet connections as immoral and dangerous. He also specifically denounced 3G — third generation mobile communications technology — as morally corrupt and unacceptable for good Muslims.

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Burger_King_(1955-1968)Burger King is close to a deal that would acquire Tim Horton’s (Canada’s huge corporate version of Dunkin’ Donuts). It is more than a corporate expansion however. The move would allow Burger King to justify a “tax inversion” where an American company merges with a foreign company and then reincorporates abroad to fell under a more beneficial corporate tax rate. So long as shareholders of the Canadian companies end up owning at least 20% of the shares of the new parent company, you can escape the high corporate tax rate. I have previously criticized the corporate tax rate — and tax policies in general — as irrational in light of the lower rates in nearby countries. During the last campaign, even Obama admitted that our corporate tax rate is too high but there was never action to reduce it. The White House however recently asked for legislation to stop the inversion maneuver while Senator Sherrod Brown is calling for a boycott of Burger King.

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250px-Chinese_Kilo_in_serviceChina appears to be close to one of the greatest technological breakthroughs in military history: the supersonic submarine. I know that that sounds ridiculous but it is possible. As a military buff, I had to share the story. The submarine is based on “supercavitation” technology that was used earlier on torpedo technology but the Chinese have reportedly used to envelop an entire submarine that could theoretically allow it to cover the distance between Shanghai to San Francisco in less than two hours. If that (likely hyperbolic claim) is attainable, it would constitute less time than it sometimes takes to just get through the security line at Dulles International airport (of course some international flights seem shorter than TSA lines these days). It is not clear what the submarine would look like (this is a conventional nuclear Chinese submarine).

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Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 8.11.57 AMThe Israeli Diamond Industry has released an interesting video on how thieves were able to switch massive diamond worth over $160,000 for a worthless zirconia. It is hardly the stuff that Ocean’s Eleven is made of, but it got the job done for these two thieves.

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james-foley-beheadingIntelligence officials in the U.S. and Britain believe that they are closer to identifying the terrorist who beheaded American journalist James Foley in the grotesque video released by the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS. The U.S. continues to follow a policy against such ransoms, though many have charged that the Obama Administration broke that policy in the controversial trade of five Taliban leaders for Bergdahl in addition to violating federal law. Europe has long rejected the policy and, according to media reports, has sent millions to fill the coffers of ISIS, which then uses the money to fill coffins around the world. France alone paid $13.2 million for four of its citizens and Islamic State is now known to have special kidnapping squads looking for Westerners. While we often discuss the financiers of terror in places like Saudi Arabia, we may have to start to look closer to home in the West.

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By Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor

VIDEO Snakes Revenge As Severed Head Bites And Kills ChefEating habits in Guangdong Province, China are likely about to change. There, the Indochinese spitting cobra is a prized delicacy. The preparation of the serpent is a time-honored tradition but yesterday something went terribly wrong for Chef Peng Fan of Foshan. Disposing of the head of the snake that had been killed twenty minutes before, Fan was fatally bitten and died before the anti-venom could be administered. Spitting cobra venom contains  one of the world’s most powerful neurotoxins that kills within hours of injection by suppressing involuntary muscles which control respiration.

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300px-Microsoft_building_17_front_door

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)- Weekend Contributor

We have read in recent weeks and months about the continued movement of corporate profits by US corporations to their overseas subsidiaries in order to avoid paying taxes here on those profits.  Walgreens almost went that route recently but they decided to not do what is called an “inversion” to avoid taxes.  At least for now.

You may be wondering what the picture is all about.  The building in the attached photo is one of the main buildings on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington.  And Microsoft has also been busy working on their taxes.

Microsoft, made news recently, by admitting that they have stashed $92 Billion dollars overseas in an attempt to avoid paying $29 Billions in taxes!  While Microsoft has not officially “inverted” its profits, they have done the next best thing.

Many large US corporations have complained that they have to move profits overseas because they cannot be competitive in the world market without a lower tax base.  Just how true is that claim? (more…)

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