6 July

British Government warns against tax breaks for Scientology

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The new British coalition government has warned local authorities in the United Kingdom not to provide tax breaks to branches of the Church of Scientology. After an investigation by The Guardian newspaper revealed that several local authorities have granted Scientology tax breaks worth over a million pounds, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles intervened to urge councils to end the practice.

Pickles noted in a statement that Scientology was not officially recognised in the UK as a religion or a registered charity and was not eligible for tax relief. Pickles commented, “I do not believe the majority of the public would want their own council to be giving special tax breaks to such a controversial organisation.”

I do not believe the majority of the public would want their own council to be giving special tax breaks to such a controversial organisation.

The minister’s intervention followed the disclosure by The Guardian that at least four local authorities have given Scientology lucrative tax discounts on branches in their areas. These included:

  • The City of London Corporation, which gave an 80% tax exemption worth £1.3 million to the flagship Scientology centre in the City of London. The corporation justified the exemption on the basis that Scientology could be considered to be a charity either for the advancement of religion “or other purposes beneficial to the community”. It said that it feared being sued by the organisation if it discontinued the exemption.
  • Westminster City Council granted 80% rates relief to the Scientology Celebrity Centre in the Bayswater district of London. This saved Scientology £165,303 over the past ten years, though as of July 2010 the centre is no longer in use. The council determined that Scientology was a “non-registered charity” that is “beneficial to the community”.
  • Birmingham City Council awarded the Church of Scientology Religious Education College an 80% tax discount on the grounds that the property was an educational institution.
  • The City of Sunderland gave the Church of Scientology’s branch in the city tax relief worth £30,000 over five years.

Camden London Borough Council refused to disclose whether and how much tax relief had been granted to the Scientology branch in the London Borough of Camden. Other local authorities, including Manchester City Council and Mid Sussex District Council, said that they charged Scientology the full commercial rate.

In response to The Guardian report, Eric Pickles issued a statement saying that Scientology should not receive privileged tax status and did not deserve to do so, “Tolerance and freedom of expression are important British values, but this does not mean that the likes of Church of Scientology deserve favoured tax treatment over and above other business premises. The Church of Scientology is not a registered charity, since the Charity Commission has ruled that it does not provide a public benefit. Nor are its premises a recognised place of worship. Councils may award charitable relief. They should take into consideration the Charity Commission’s rulings when weighing up whether to do so. I do not believe the majority of the public would want their own council to be giving special tax breaks to such a controversial organisation.”

Scientology is very popular with those who have visited our churches…

The controversy was the latest in a series of disputes involving Scientology’s tax status in the UK. Scientology is not officially recognised as a religion. The Charity Commission for England and Wales rejected an application in 1999 by Scientology for charitable status, ruling that its activities did not meet the “public benefit” test. However, in 2000 Scientology obtained exemption from Value Added Tax (VAT) on the grounds that its services were educational and non-profitable. It successfully sued HM Revenue and Customs for the return of £8 million in overpaid VAT.

A spokesman for the Church of Scientology told The Guardian, “Scientology is very popular with those who have visited our churches, met with Scientologists and observed or utilised our numerous community activities that effectively address drug abuse, illiteracy, declining moral values, human rights violations, criminality and more. Local council authorities, government bodies in this country and many others, and the European court of human rights have all recognised the religious nature of Scientology or the fact that Scientologists are actively helping those in their communities as a direct reflection of their religious beliefs.”

Birmingham City Council told the local Sunday Mercury newspaper, “We have noted Mr Pickles’ comments and will take them on board.”

3 July

Childhood pneumonia can be cured at home

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A new study by researchers of Boston University’s School of Public Health and colleagues sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows children with severe pneumonia can be effectively treated at home and do not need to be hospitalized. This finding is hugely significant for developing countries where children cannot be brought to a hospital easily or where no hospitals exist.

Per the study the change of treatment could save many children’s lives and take pressure off health systems. Every year pneumonia kills 2 million children under the age of 5. The researchers found that antibiotics given at home could significantly reduce deaths.

The group examined 2,037 children between 3 to 59 months in seven areas in Pakistan. About half of them were given antibiotics and sent home while the other ones got intravenous antibiotics in the hospital. Both groups were found to show equal progress in healing off the illness.

Current WHO guidelines recommend that pneumonia should be treated in a hospital with injectable antibiotics. With the new study there are indicators that pneumonia can be treated just as effectively at home with oral antibiotics.

20 June

French workers use threats in compensation demand

Friday, July 17, 2009Following similar threats by workers at New Fabris and Nortel, workers at JLG in Tonneins, France, threatened to blow up several platform cranes. The JLG factory announced in April 2009 that it will fire 53 of its 163 workers by the end of 2009, while the remaining 110 jobs will not be secure over the next 2 years.

JLG Tonneins was acquired in 2006 with its parent JLG Industries, a maker of aerial work platforms, by the U.S.-based Oshkosh Corporation. Despite being hugely profitable in the past, production has been much reduced since 2008 with the contraction of the construction industry and lower demand for its products. Despite excellent past results the new American management demanded sweeping cuts at the company.

In the view of locals, “the company’s actions are a disgrace given the expensive perks, such as official cars, for its corporate fat cats, compared to the sacrifice, silence, and dignity demanded by the company of those it has made redundant.”

The management offered severance pay of 3,000 (US $4,200), however the workers demanded a severance package commensurate with “the wealth that their labor has generated.” Worker’s delegates requested a “supra-legal” payment of € 30,000, on Thursday 16 of July the management responded with a counter offer of € 16,000. On Thursday night the worker’s actions secured the € 30,000 settlement initially demanded.

20 June

New Ghanaian currency introduced

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

New currency notes are being introduced in Ghana today. The new currency, to be called the Ghanaian cedi, replaces the previous cedi which has been in circulation since 17 February, 1967.

The Ghanaian cedi will be exchanged at 10,000 old cedis to one new Ghanaian cedi. The exchange rate against the U.S. dollar starts at GH¢0.92 to one U.S. dollar. The new ISO code for the currency is GHS, and the new symbol, GH¢.

The change, which was originally scheduled by the Bank of Ghana to start on July 1, 2007, will instead start on Tuesday July 3, as the original date is Ghana’s Republic Day.

Monday, July 2, was declared a public holiday as the actual Republic Day fell on a Sunday. July 3, is thus the first day that the currency will be available to the public as banks open to the general public. This is because ATMs were shut down over the weekend so that the currencies could be checked and replaced in all of them nationwide. The old and new currencies will be used concurrently until the end of December 2007, when the old currency will cease to be legal tender.

This is the third Ghanaian cedi to be introduced in the country since 1965.

20 June

Wikinews interviews Mark Bunker, producer of anti-Scientology website ‘XenuTV’

Monday, February 18, 2008

Television producer and owner of the anti-Scientology website www.xenutv.com (XenuTV), Mark Bunker, also known as Wise Beard Man, chatted online with Wikinews for nearly three hours. More than 120 people followed the interview live (many from Project Chanology), which makes this exclusive Wikinews interview our most attended IRC interview to date.

Bunker started XenuTV in 1999 and began to make videos that he provided for the Lisa McPherson Trust. Bunker has been a critic of the Church of Scientology since 1997.

In 2006, he won a Regional Emmy Award after he and KUSI-TV news reporter Lena Lewis produced a documentary news video on the issues with the United States – Mexico border with San Diego, California.

Contents

  • 1 The Interview
    • 1.1 Questions from IRC users
  • 2 Sister links
  • 3 Sources
12 June

Category:Featured article

Shortcut:WN:FA

Featured articles are selected by the community to represent the best of Wikinews. See the Featured Article Candidates page for nominations and discussions of candidate articles for this page. Or, subscribe to the RSS feed!

[edit]

Pages in category “Featured article”

12 June

U.S. 2004 tax rates lower for those earning over $10 million, Tax Policy Center says

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Tax Policy Center has published a table that states that taxpayers earning more than $10,000,000 in 2004 paid lower tax rates than taxpayers earning between $1,000,000 and $10,000,000. Among other things, it breaks down the average tax rate by cash income into various income tax categories.

According to the Tax Policy Center, the average tax rate paid by the 9,000 taxpayers earning over $10,000,000 in 2004 was 20.1%, more than 2% lower than the nearly quarter million taxpayers earning between $1,000,000 and $10,000,000. If taxpayers earning over $10,000,000 were taxed at 22.3%, the rate of those earning between $1,000,000 and $10,000,000, the federal government would have received an additional $4.8 billion in revenue.

Taxpayers who earned more than $10,000,000 paid a lower average rate than any category of taxpayer earning over $100,000. Although taxpayers in the $75,000 to $100,000 range paid 18.9% of their income in taxes, 1.2% less than those making over $10,000,000, taxpayers in the $100,000 to $200,000 range paid an average of 20.6%, or 0.5% more than those making over $10,000,000.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

Furthermore, the Tax Policy Center’s analysis is described by David Cay Johnston, New York Times columnist and author of Perfectly Legal as “understating the real economic gains of those at the very top, who have perfectly legal ways to defer reporting income for tax purposes.”

The Tax Policy Center is a nonpartisian joint venture of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution and comprised of nationally recognized experts in tax, budget, and social policy who have served at the highest levels of government.

11 June

U.S. team unveils plans for F1 entry in 2010

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A United States-based operation, known now as USF1, has unveiled plans to join the Formula One motor racing series beginning in the 2010 season. Team principal Ken Anderson and sporting director Peter Windsor officially launched USF1 in a live press conference broadcast on the US television channel Speed.

Ken Anderson has previously worked for the Ligier and Onyx Grand Prix Formula One teams, and most recently held the position of technical director for the Haas CNC Racing team in the American NASCAR series. Windsor has previously been general manager at Scuderia Ferrari and team manager for WilliamsF1 before taking up his current role as a journalist and reporter for the Speed channel.

USF1 would be based in Charlotte, North Carolina in the United States, unlike all eleven teams that participated in the 2008 Formula One season, which are based in Europe. Anderson also expressed a preference for the team’s drivers to be of American nationality. They confirmed that they do not yet have an engine supply contact but expressed a desire to contact all existing Formula One engine builders before signing one.

The team expressed an intention to be more open to fans than current Formula One teams in order to appeal to the US market. The possibility for fans to tour the factory and see the car being built as well as television shows showing the inner workings of the team were suggested. Windsor claimed that the team had received the backing of both Max Mosley, the president of Formula One’s governing body, and Bernie Ecclestone, president of Formula One’s commercial rights holders. No details were given on the team’s financial backers, however.

10 June

Your 2006 Web Marketing Plan

Submitted by: Rich Brooks

With the New Year right around the corner, we often resolve to improve our behavior, health, or personal relationships. Let me tell you, you’re wasting your time. I’m OK, you’re OK.

It’s our Web marketing that’s a mess.

We’ve got out-of-shape Web sites, directionless Web marketing, and we’re lost at the search engines.

It’s time to stop worrying about self-improvement and start worrying about Web marketing-improvement!

While every business has different goals and needs, please consider these twelve items in creating your own Web marketing plan for next year. Rearrange the order to fit your own schedule in 2006.

January: Set up a Web marketing budget.

I know, this is your favorite part: the budget. However, once you’ve decided how much money you plan on spending quarterly or monthly, deciding

what

to spend your marketing dollar on becomes much easier. You’ll also want to

carve out some time

for your Web marketing endeavors. After all, a lot of the following to-do’s are more about time than money.

February: Audit your Web site (beginner.)

Often we’re surprised or dismayed at the material that’s on our Web site: bios of ex-employees, links to sites that no longer exist, a 2001 pricelist. Spend some time reviewing the content on your Web site and get rid of anything that’s out-of-date or no longer expresses who you are. Nothing turns off prospects faster than a neglected Web site.

YouTube Preview Image

March: Audit your Web site (advanced.)

Review your traffic reports and decide if your navigation needs to be updated. Maybe certain parts of your site are getting a lot of traffic and should be further promoted on the home page. If other sections or pages are being ignored they may need to be removed…or promoted. Fill out all the Web forms (contact, search, etc.,) and read the “hidden text” that appears on landing pages. Rewrite the copy that seems dated or incorrect.

April: Start reading blogs in your industry.

Download a newsreader (I recommend NetNewsWire for Mac users) or set up a free account at Bloglines. To find blogs in your industry you can do searches at Technorati or check out BlogCatalog among others. Make sure you’re reading the blogs of your competition

and your clients.May: Start your own blog.

You knew that was coming, right? Blogs are becoming an important, perhaps essential, part of business communications. No matter the size of your organization, a blog can be a great way to connect with your clients…and your clients-to-be.

June: Subscribe to your competitors’ email newsletters.

This is a fantastic (usually) free resource of advice that is targeted towards your clients. Shouldn’t you know what your competition is recommending? Maybe they know something you don’t!

You probably know many of your competitors already and can visit their Web site to see if they offer an email newsletter. However, you can Google “

your industry

+ email newsletter” to find some ezines that are new to you. (You should also be reading your clients’ newsletters as well; you can’t know too much about their business.)

July: Start your own email newsletter or jumpstart your subscriber rate.

If you’re not publishing an email newsletter you’re missing out on one of the most cost-effective Web marketing tools at your disposal. Use an Email Service Provider (ESP) to manage your subscriber list and publish an ezine regularly.

If you’re already publishing an email newsletter

try some new ideas to increase your subscriber base

. Offer a free article for new subscribers, raffle off a prize to one subscriber each month, or advertise on a complementary newsletter.

August: Troll discussion boards in your industry.

There are discussion boards on every topic under the sun, and certainly a few in your industry (or your target audience’s industry.) By reading posts at these discussion boards you can get an understanding of what prospects are looking for and create products or services that meet their needs.

By posting responses you can quickly establish yourself as an expert and create links that drive traffic to your Web site while improving your site’s ranking at the search engines!

September: Start listening to podcasts.

The New Oxford American Dictionary named “podcast” its 2005 word of the year, so maybe you shouldn’t wait until September before you tune in.

Whether podcasting ever becomes a part of your Web marketing, it’s important to understand how podcasting works and how other companies (including your competition) use it. Visit the iTunes Music Store or a podcast directory like Podcast Alley and start sampling some podcasts. Not sure where to start? Adam Curry’s PodFinder show (available at the iTunes Music Store) highlights new podcasts each episode.

October: Consider starting your own podcast.

I can’t recommend podcasting for every business, or even most businesses. I still believe there are more effective ways to communicate with prospects and clients. However, some businesses will benefit from offering a podcast. Keep in mind your target audience, and whether they will be downloading audio to their computer or mp3 player.

November: Submit some of your articles to article directories.

A great way to increase your “findability” at the search engines is to have a lot of quality incoming links. One proven method to do this is to have articles you’ve written appear on other Web sites that link to yours. To get your articles posted at other Web sites check out article directories such as The Phantom Writers and iSnare.

December: Add share this page functionality to some or all of your Web site.

As people suffer from information overload, they rely more heavily on the recommendations of friends and family. Make this word-of-mouth advertising easier by allowing site visitors to quickly “share this page” with a friend or colleague. You can even include your own marketing message embedded in the email that arrives at the friends’ mailbox.

About the Author: Rich Brooks is president of flyte new media (

flyte.biz

) a Web design and Internet marketing firm. He writes an an email newsletter and blogs regularly at

flyteblog.com

on Web marketing. His podcast, flyte: Web strategies for small business, is available at

flytecast.com

.

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=26837&ca=Internet

10 June

Debris narrowly misses International Space Station

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Space debris passed within a short distance of the International Space Station (ISS) Tuesday, forcing the crew to enter their escape capsules to be ready to depart in case of a collision. The debris ultimately missed the orbital outpost and passed within 260 meters (853 ft) of the station at 12:08 UTC (8:08 EDT).

Approximately half an hour after the closest approach of the debris, the crew were given the all-clear to reenter the space station from their escape capsules.

Under normal circumstances and had mission controllers known about the collision threat sooner, the crew would have used the station’s thrusters to maneuver out of the path of the oncoming debris.

The size of the debris that threatened the station and its crew in this instance was not immediately known; however, even small fragments can become a major concern due to their high speed.

Had the debris struck the ISS, the crew would have sealed their Soyuz spacecraft and departed the station.

There are six people aboard the ISS and two Soyuz spacecrafts docked to the station. Each Soyuz contains accommodations for three people.

This is not the first time that debris threatened the ISS and its crew. A similar incident occurred in March 2009. Estimations show that there are more than 300,000 pieces of debris in Low-Earth orbit over 10 centimeters (4 in) in length, which travel several thousands of kilometers per hour.


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