Thursday, 23 January 2014

Offshore tax havens and corruption in China – news and views for Thursday 23 January

22-01-2014 offshore
  • Leaked Records Reveal Offshore Holdings of China’s Elite – “Files shed light on nearly 22,000 tax haven clients from Hong Kong and mainland China.” – by The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
  • It’s farewell to the golden chopsticks – “This is normally the season to eat, drink and give away iPads in China. Before lunar new year, companies, institutions and government departments traditionally stage lavish parties in bling-bedecked venues where every raffle ticket is a winner. Think office Christmas parties, taken to another level. But now the decree has come from on high: no more golden chopsticks in the iron rice bowl. President Xi Jinping has inaugurated an era of Chinese abstemiousness and civil servants have been ordered to stop taking bribes, stop wasting money and stop talking nonsense at endless meetings. They have even been told they cannot get up from the table until they have cleaned their plates; talk about a nanny state.”
  •  Australia’s Asian tilt is a mere wish list – “Ordinary Australians show lukewarm support for greater engagement. There is increased xenophobia about immigration from Asia and foreign investment. Aside from mining and farming, businesses remain domestically focused. The new education minister is proposing a revision of the school curriculum to emphasise western civilisation.”
  • Snowden Says Allegations He Received Russian Help Are ‘Absurd’
  • Inquiry calls after migrants die under tow in Greece
  • Ignore the global elites and their Davos spectacle – “So what are we to make of Davos? My suggestion is to start treating it with indifference. An indifference that can help shift cultural power away from it – the power to have its views and ways receive widespread acceptance, as though they were self-evident – by refusing to sit and watch a dramatic performance that is only valid if it has an audience.”
  • ‘Fastest ever’ broadband passes speed test - “The “fastest ever” broadband speeds have been achieved in a test in London, raising hopes of more efficient data transfer via existing infrastructure. Alcatel-Lucent and BT said speeds of 1.4 terabits per second were achieved during their joint test – enough to send 44 uncompressed HD films a second. The test was conducted on a 410km (255-mile) link between the BT Tower in central London and Ipswich. However, it may be many years before consumers notice any effect. But the breakthrough is being seen as highly important for internet service providers (ISPs), as it means a greater amount of information can be sent through existing broadband infrastructure, reducing the need for costly upgrades.”
  • The Euthanasia of the Rentier – Paul Krugman writes how:
A commenter quotes John Maynard Keynes:
The outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live are its failure to provide for full employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes.
It is, of course, a perfect quote for our times, too.
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