Friday, September 30, 2016

How newlyweds can save money on taxes

Your wedding was a blast. Your honeymoon’s a sweet recent memory. Now, as you take the first everyday steps together in your life of wedded bliss, it’s time to think about how being getting hitched makes life different—including getting ready for some new realities when it comes to taxes. Here are a few tips to get yourself ready for your first married tax season.

A Reality Check for Travel to Cuba in 2016

Posted in Compliance, Corporate Matters, Travel
With news of the resumption of commercial aviation flights to Cuba, and other changes in the Cuba embargo accomplished through Presidential executive order, it would appear at first blush that the time is ripe to travel to Cuba to investigate commercial opportunities there. But appearances can be deceiving, and we wanted to report on the reality of Cuba travel and the opportunities there:
  • For most U.S. businesses, critical impediments for commercial projects must be removed by Congress, especially the restrictions on financing commercial projects. Many had hoped that the Obama Administrative would assure U.S. banks that financing and credit term restrictions would be eased, but this has been a very slow process.
  • There have long been congressional exemptions from the embargo, chiefly in the areas of medical supplies, agriculture and telecommunications, but the reality is that the Cuban government imposes demands and restrictions on these projects that make them significantly less feasible and profitable for U.S. businesses.

Three Areas Riding On the Slants’ SCOTUS Case

By  LXBN | September 30, 2016
On Thursday morning the Supreme Court’s new docket moved ever closer with the announcement of eight new cases they would be hearing. One of those cases has seemed like an inevitability for a long time, and it’s got a lot of cases riding on it.
Lee v. Tam, the long fought battle by rock band The Slants to get the USPTO to register their name, is finally coming to the nation’s high court, bringing with it questions about reclamation, the First Amendment, and “disparaging remarks.” They’ve been fighting this battle since 2013, when the PTO initially denied their request on the grounds that their name qualified as a “disparaging remark.” But as the band has always maintained (complete with manifesto on their  website) their aim has always been to put their racial identity front and center in an industry where Asians are traditionally underrepresented.

DPR, LPR not observing ceasefire in three pilot sites

The issue of breaches of agreement on disengagement of forces and hardware in three sectors of Donbas ceasefire by illegal armed groups will be raised at the next meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk on Wednesday and reported to the leadership of Germany and France, Ukraine's representative in the Trilateral Contact Group, second president Leonid Kuchma.
"Looking at the events of the past few days we see that the opposite side does not comply with the agreements. It looks like this has a sole purpose of disrupting the whole of negotiation process. I do not think that small commanders are behind this. This is a serious political decision that will lead to very serious consequences," Kuchma told reporters on Friday while on a working visit to Zhytomyr region.

Ukrainian President met with Prime Minister of the Netherlands

In the course of the visit to Israel, President Petro Poroshenko held negotiations with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte.

The parties commended preliminary results of the JIT’s investigation into the MH17 tragedy. Petro Poroshenko and Mark Rutte emphasized the importance of completing the investigation and bringing the perpetrators to justice. In this context, the Dutch Prime Minister informed that the Russian ambassador had been called to the Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands.

Black Sea Summit 3 – AgroDrone


Following on the Black Sea SummIT, today’s post introduces Agrodrone, a Ukrainian producer of UAV drones for Precision Agricultural use. Mikhailo Gorlovksyi represented AgroDrone at the conference and was kind enough to follow-up with a PDF presentation in English. Technology and Agriculture are two major factors driving international interest in Ukraine, so it is interesting in many regards to cover a company that is at the intersection of both.

But, before we get into the company, let’s take a quick look at how much of a role agriculture plays for Ukraine’s economy. Ukraine’s territory spans 60.4 million hectares. Of this, nearly 42 million hectares (69%) is agricultural land, ranking 8th globally. Overall, Ukraine’s average cereal yield is 4,400 kg per hectare – ranking 47th, where Kuwait’s yields are first at 21,845 kg, UAE coming second at 16,461 kg, and Oman third with 11,538 kg, followed by Belgium at 9,539 kg, have the highest .

FDA Authority Over Cosmetics: How Cosmetics Are Not FDA-Approved, but Are FDA-Regulated

The law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, to have FDA approval before they go on the market, but there are laws and regulations that apply to cosmetics on the market in interstate commerce.

The two most important laws pertaining to cosmetics marketed in the United States are the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). FDA regulates cosmetics under the authority of these laws.

In the United States, federal laws are enacted by Congress. In order to make the laws work on a day-to-day level, Congress authorizes certain government agencies. such as FDA, to create regulations. A change in FDA's legal authority over cosmetics would require Congress to change the law.

Inside ROSS: What Artificial Intelligence Means for Your Firm

Ross Intelligence co-founder Andrew Arruda has big plans for the future of law firms and AI.

One of the most potentially transformative new technologies in the legal field was on display over the summer in a conference room at Milwaukee’s von Briesen & Roper. There, an executive from the small startup ROSS Intelligence led a demonstration of the artificial intelligence system that the company has created for legal research in the bankruptcy field.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

London mayor launches unprecedented inquiry into foreign property ownership

 in London and  in Hong Kong

Exclusive Sadiq Khan tells the Guardian he will carry out ‘the most thorough research on this matter ever undertaken’ amid widespread concern over rising housing costs and gentrification

London mayor Sadiq Khan is to launch the UK’s most comprehensive inquiry into the impact of foreign investment flooding London’s housing market, amid growing fears about the scale of gentrification and rising housing costs in the capital.

How did that company get my info?

by Amy Hebert
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
Are you getting calls or emails from a company you’ve never heard of? 

Wondering how they got your name or number — or how they know what you’re interested in? The reason might be lead generation. Here’s what you need to know.

What’s lead generation?

It’s when companies gather information that people submit, often from online forms or applications. Lead generators sell that information to other companies offering products or services those people might be interested in.

50 Best U.S. Colleges For International Students 2016

Last year some 1 million students came from foreign countries to study in the U.S., making it the global powerhouse in higher education. It’s not hard to see why. American colleges and universities have minted scores of billionaires, Nobel Prize winners, game-changing entrepreneurs and celebrated leaders in politics, the arts, science, business and more. The global brand value of institutions such as Stanford, Harvard and MIT rivals that of Apple, Google and Microsoft.

With the numbers of international students at U.S. colleges and universities skyrocketing – last year saw the highest rate of growth in 35 years, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE) – we decided to look at what schools are best for this exploding demographic.  This the heart of this inaugural FORBES college ranking, especially created for foreign students and their families, the only one of its kind.

Anti-globalists: Why they’re wrong

Globalisation’s critics say it benefits only the elite. In fact, a less open world would hurt the poor most of all

IN SEPTEMBER 1843 the Liverpool Mercury reported on a large free-trade rally in the city. The Royal Amphitheatre was overflowing. John Bright, a newly elected MP, spoke eloquently on the merits of abolishing duties on imported food, echoing arguments made inThe Economist, a fledgling newspaper. Mr Bright told his audience that when canvassing, he had explained “how stonemasons, shoemakers, carpenters and every kind of artisan suffered if the trade of the country was restricted.” His speech in Liverpool was roundly cheered. 

Ukraine's envoy to UN dismisses Russian Supreme's court ruling to uphold ban of Mejlis as irrelevant

Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko has called the ruling of the Russian Supreme Court upholding a ban on the Crimean Tatar Mejlis in Russia as an extremist organization as "worthless."
"A worthless court, a worthless decision," Yelchenko wrote on his Twitter page on Thursday.
As reported, on Thursday, September 29, the Russian Supreme Court issued a final ruling upholding a ban on the Crimean Tatar Mejlis in Russia as an extremist organization. The court thus rejected an appeal from Mejlis representatives.

Abe camp to seek lawmaker-initiated legislation to pave way for Emperor’s abdication

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration may seek legislation by submission of bipartisan bills to enable 82-year-old Emperor Akihito to retire, rather than bills sponsored by the government, lawmakers in the administration said Thursday.

The idea is being floated among members of the administration because unanimous or close to unanimous passing of such bills based on a broad agreement by the ruling and opposition parties would be more consistent with the Constitution compared with the government-sponsored bills, the lawmakers said.

MFA Statement on the Publication of the MH17 Joint Investigation Team’s Preliminary Results

Today a Joint Investigation Team composed of representatives of Ukraine, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, and Belgium presented the preliminary results of the criminal investigation into the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

The publication of this information is an important milestone towards our ultimate common goal: bringing to justice all those responsible for downing the aircraft. It is our moral duty to the 298 victims and their relatives and friends.

U.S. lawmakers may change September 11 law after rejecting veto

U.S. lawmakers expressed doubts on Thursday about Sept. 11 legislation they forced on President Barack Obama, saying the new law allowing lawsuits against Saudi Arabia could be narrowed to ease concerns about its effect on Americans abroad.

A day after a rare overwhelming rejection of a presidential veto, the first during Obama's eight years in the White House, the Republican leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives opened the door to fixing the law as they blamed the Democratic president for not consulting them adequately.

"I do think it is worth further discussing," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, acknowledging that there could be "potential consequences" of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, known as JASTA.

Komisja Wenecka nie odpuszcza ws. TK

Mamy nadzieję, że rekomendacje KE ws TK spotkają się z pozytywną odpowiedzią polskiego rządu; gdy ją otrzymam, będę chciał przyjechać do Warszawy - powiedział PAP wiceszef KE Frans Timmermans. "Dzieli nas różnica opinii z polskim rządem, ale nie z polskim narodem" - dodał.

Komisja Europejska przeszła w lipcu do drugiego etapu procedury ochrony praworządności, wszczętej wobec Polski w związku z kryzysem wokół Trybunału Konstytucyjnego, wskazując, że w Polsce istnieje "systemowe zagrożenie dla państwa prawa". Polska dostała w lipcu trzy miesiące na poinformowanie Brukseli o realizacji zaleceń.

"Teraz czekam na odpowiedź polskiego rządu na nasze rekomendacje, gdy ją otrzymam, będę chciał przyjechać do Warszawy, by przedyskutować tę odpowiedź" - powiedział PAP Timmermans.

Ukraine raises $1 bln from placing U.S. secured eurobonds

The Ukrainian government on Thursday received $1 billion from placing U.S. secured eurobonds, Ukrainian Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyliuk has said.

"$1 billion from the issue of U.S. secured eurobonds arrived to Ukraine's account!" he said on Facebook.

As reported, Ukraine on September 23 placed five-year $1 billion eurobonds under United States guarantees at the yield rate of 1.471%. The organizers of the placement are: Citi, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley. The upper coupon rate is 2.5% per annum.

The reconstruction of "Buk"'s movement

1. Animatie van het wapen 2. Forensic investigation MH17 3. Animation regarding the transport route and the launch site

E-Mails belegen Weisungen aus Moskau an Separatisten

In der Ostukraine herrscht Krieg, damit einher geht eine Propagandaschlacht. Laut ZEIT-Recherchen wird diese von russischer Seite forciert. Die Spur führt in den Kreml.

Prorussische Separatisten, die Teile der Ostukraine beherrschen, führen im Auftrag von Moskauer Beratern einen Propagandafeldzug gegen die Regierung in Kiew und gegen den Westen. Dies geht aus Tausenden E-Mails hervor, die sowohl der ZEIT als auch dem ZDF-Magazin Frontal 21

БГ+Аквариум - Иван Бодхидхарма (клип) HD

Президент уволил судью Оксану Царевич за нарушение присяги

Президент Украины Петр Порошенко подписал Указ об увольнении судьи Оксаны Царевич в связи с нарушением присяги.
Высший совет юстиции, рассмотрев дисциплинарное дело, открытое в отношении судьи Печерского районного суда города Киева Оксаны Царевич, принял решение о внесении представления Президенту об освобождении от должности этой судьи.
В частности, в представлении отмечается, что действия судьи Царевич при рассмотрении десяти дел в отношении водителей - участников акций протестов в период с ноября 2013 носят предвзятый характер. Сущность таких действий доказывает нарушение судьей основ правосудия, верховенства права, необеспечение права на справедливый суд, неуважение к правам и свободам человека.

Never again. Tragedy should not repeat – President jointly with civil activists initiated establishment of Babi Yar Memorial Center

On the 75th anniversary of the Babi Yar tragedy, President Petro Poroshenko together with civil activists and philanthropists initiated the establishment of the First Memorial Center of Holocaust Victims “Babi Yar”. The Memorial will be installed in Kyiv on the site of mass extermination of Jews, Ukrainians, Roma and members of other nationalities.

Arctic Science Moves to Center Stage


An undated NASA illustration shows Arctic sea ice at a record low wintertime maximum extent for the second straight year, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA. At 5.607 million square miles, the Arctic sea ice is the lowest maximum extent in the satellite record, and 431,000 square miles below the 1981 to 2010 average maximum extent, according to NASA. (Reuters/NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio/C. Starr)
Nothing that happens in the Arctic stays in the Arctic. As a consequence of global warming, this is not a play on words but a truism. Climate change can no longer be denied; it must be addressed. Global warming is opening up an entire region, once silent and perpetually frozen, to commerce, transport, mining, and all the other benefits and ills of modern life. In August, the Crystal Serenity, a giant cruise ship used to ply warm seas, sailed across the top of the world, just one example of a radical transformation bringing the Arctic to the center of the global future.

Anti-radicalisation strategy lacks evidence base in science (the open letter of Academics)

We are concerned with the implementation of “radicalisation” policies within the UK Prevent strategy, internationally referred to as countering violence extremism. Tools that purport to have a psychology evidence base are being developed and placed under statutory duty while their “science” has not been subjected to proper scientific scrutiny or public critique.
Of particular concern is the Extremism Risk Guidance 22+ (ERG22+) framework that is being used as the basis for assessing risk of “radicalisation” and referral to the Channel programme. More than 500,000 public servants have been placed under a duty to implement the tool and several dozen children have been directly affected, through the courts, based on assessments using the tool. The impact is significant and cannot be emphasised enough.
We endorse the recent statement by the Royal College of Psychiatrists calling for publication of the ERG22+ study. We call on the Home Office to do so and further to invite debate by experts.

Babyn Yar: "Did the sun really not pale at the sight of that horror? "

Halya Coynash

It is 75 years since the Nazi massacre of almost 34 thousand Ukrainian Jews in Babyn Yar, then a ravine on the outskirts of Kyiv, and 25 years since the end of the Soviet Union and its lies about the Victims of Babyn Yar and about the Holocaust   

On 28 September 1941 notices appeared around Kyiv ordering all Jews to come the next morning with their possessions and documents to the corner of Melnykova and Degtyryovska St.  Those who did not, the announcement read, would be executed. 

Around 150 people found refuge with non-Jewish friends or neighbours.  How many were refused will never be known.  Reports say that many of the families who came to Babyn Yar did so hoping that nothing terrible could be planned on the eve of Yom Kippur which fell that year on Oct 1.  People had been told to bring warm clothes, and probably hoped that they were being deported, since there was a railway nearby.

Instead Nazi Einsatzgruppen and local collaborators stripped men, women and children naked, forced them to lie on the bodies of other victims, and killed them. 

How the Best CEOs Get the Important Work Done

If you’re a chief executive officer, your job is to execute. It’s written right into your title. But what does it mean, in terms of daily tasks, to be the company’s top “executer?” After all, CEOs don’t actually build factories or sell products.

It’s tempting, therefore, to view the CEO as primarily a thinker; someone who mulls and shapes strategy. That is a part of the CEO’s job, of course. But the best CEOs know that strategy is just theory unless it’s actually translated into frontline routines―unless the rest of the company actually is executing the strategy.

Credit Card Hacks and How To Avoid Them


If you know me, or have read my previous post, you know that I worked for a very interesting company before joining Toptal. At this company, our payment provider processed transactions in the neighborhood of $500k per day. Part of my job was to make our provider PCI-DSS compliant—that is, compliant with the Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard.
It’s safe to say that this wasn’t a job for the faint of heart. At this point, I’m pretty intimate with Credit Cards (CCs), Credit Card fraud and web security in general. After all, our job was to protect our users’ data, to prevent it from being hacked, stolen or misused.
You could imagine my surprise when I saw Bennett Haselton’s 2007 article on Slashdot: Why Are CC Numbers Still So Easy to Find?. In short, Haselton was able to find Credit Card numbers through Google, firstly by searching for a card’s first eight digits in “nnnn nnnn” format, and later using some advanced queries built on number ranges. For example, he could use “4060000000000000..4060999999999999” to find all the 16 digit Primary Account Numbers (PANs) from CHASE (whose cards all begin with 4060). By the way: here’s a full list of Issuer ID numbers.

NABU exclusivity no more?

As predicted almost 2 months ago, the assault upon the legislatively ring-fenced prosecutor arena that is exclusively the remit of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) has begun.

It is naturally not framed in such a way as to undermine the jurisdiction of NABU by removing any competencies, but rather to open up that exclusive zone prescribed by statue to other parts of the PGO machinery.

Solidarity inside and outside colonial borders

Any critical solidarity finds difficulty in acknowledging Indigenous populations and refugees as  “people forced to the edges of Australian society” , as stated by Walter Shaw from the Tangentyere Council, without running the risk of constructing a dangerous narrative of ‘outsiderness’, disenfranchising the traditional ownership of territory, or reifying a culture of minority solidarity which marginalises difference.  

However, recent campaigns have emphasised the correlation between the detention and displacement of Indigenous and refugee populations in a way which may have critical traction: taking account of the high rate of incarceration – in which, for example,  indigenous children are 24 times more likely to be detained than non-indigenous children, and often followed by deaths in custody , reverberates with uneasy echoes of reports of violent degradation in detention on Nauru.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Turkey sealing Syrian border with giant wall

Sefer Levent – ISTANBUL

The Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ) has undertaken the construction of the remaining 700 kilometers of the wall being built on Turkey’s border with war-torn Syria, after the construction of the initial 200-kilometer-long concrete wall on the border was completed jointly by the Defense Ministry and neighboring provinces governor’s offices. 

Times Have Changed. Have Your Operating Documents?

Operating documents such as articles of incorporation, bylaws and operating agreements (together, "operating documents") set forth rules and procedures that, along with applicable laws, govern the actions of a legal entity. If an organization’s operating documents were prepared a long time ago and have not since been updated, now may be a good time to revisit them. To begin, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Is my organization still doing the same thing as when the operating documents were first prepared?
  • Has the board of directors changed at all?
  • Have any shares of my organization been sold or transferred?

BlackBerry Stops Making Phones

It’s official. BlackBerry Ltd., the Canadian company that invented the smartphone and addicted legions of road warriors to the “CrackBerry,” has stopped making its iconic handsets.

Finally conceding defeat in a battle lost long ago to Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., BlackBerry is handing over production of the phones to overseas partners and turning its full attention to the more profitable and growing software business. It’s the formalization of a move in the making since Chief Executive Officer John Chen took over nearly three years ago and outsourced some manufacturing to Foxconn Technology Group. Getting the money-losing smartphone business off BlackBerry’s books will also make it easier for the company to consistently hit profitability.

‘Corporate feminism’ oppresses women. Here’s how

Eve Livingston

I’m sure someone benefits from society’s focus on a few high-flyers beating their wings against the glass ceiling. But it’s certainly not the vast majority of women

What would you do with £119,000? It’s a nice problem to have, but not one the majority of us will ever have to grapple with, given that the average UK income is £26,500.
The £119,000 threshold is what it takes to become one of the UK’s super-rich, the top 1% of earners in the country. They are concentrated in sectors such as finance and business, and between them they are worth more than £250bn to the UK’s economy. It also just so happens that only one in five of them are women, according to new research released by the LSE.

Ukrainian JCCC mulls implementation of framework Trilateral Contact Group solution on forces and equipment disengagement

Disengagement of forces and equipment in certain areas on the delimitation line in Donbas will be carried out in full compliance with the Framework Solution of the Trilateral Contact Group, head of the Ukrainian side of the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC) on ceasefire Major General Borys Kremenetsky has said.
"Military men of the Ukrainian JCCC side performed reconnaissance in the required areas of the delimitation line to define the possible places of deployment of observation points for JCCC and the special monitoring mission of the OSCE (OSCE SMM).

President of Ukraine met with U.S. Secretary of Commerce

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko had a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker who is on a working visit to Ukraine as head of the U.S. delegation at the events on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy.
The Head of State thanked the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for supporting Ukraine in the protection of sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as financial and technical assistance in the reforms.

Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini on the interim results of the Joint Investigation Team criminal investigation into the downing of flight MH17

The tragedy of flight MH17, in which so many lives were lost just over two years ago, remains a constant source of sorrow and sadness for the European Union.

Today's interim results of the independent criminal investigation, presented by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), demonstrate that important progress has been made, answering many questions that have borne heavily on those who lost their loved ones on 17 July 2014. The JIT's work as regards individual suspects continues; it is crucial that the investigators can complete their work, independently and thoroughly. 

Argument preview: Justices to consider what constitutes a “personal benefit” in insider trading

It’s the 1980s all over again – shoulder pads, synthesizers, bomber jackets and insider trading. But in 2016, the defendant in the biggest insider trading case of the year isn’t a high-profile Wall Street denizen like Ivan Boesky or “junk bond king” Michael Milken: The main character in this story is a Chicago grocery wholesaler named Bassam Salman. 

Even if Salman’s case lacks the glitz of other insider trading cases, though, both sides agree that the legal stakes in his case are high. Salman and his attorneys contend that, if his conviction for trading on third-hand information passed to him by an insider’s relative is allowed to stand, the federal government will essentially have free rein to prosecute whenever an insider passes on information to a friend or relative.