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Caribbean – Wikitravel

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Jun 212016


The islands of the Caribbean Sea or West Indies are an extensive archipelago in the far west of the Atlantic Ocean, mostly strung between North and South America. They’ve long been known as a resort vacation destination for honeymooners and retirees, but a small movement toward eco-tourism and backpacking has started to open up the Caribbean to more independent travel. With year-round good weather (with the occasional but sometimes serious exception of hurricane season in the late summer and early fall), promotional air fares from Europe and North America, and hundreds of islands to explore, the Caribbean offers something for almost everyone.

The Caribbean islands were first inhabited by the Arawak Indians, then were invaded by a more aggressive tribe, the Caribs. Unfortunately, neither could appreciate their victory forever, although the Arawaks may have had a quiet reign of nearly two millenia. Then the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, Danish, and British arrived, after which the Carib population steeply declined due to various factors. The islands have known many historic battles and more than a few pirate stories.

Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the Cayman Islands, often grouped as Greater Antilles, are by far the largest countries in the area and the most visited by travellers. In the north is the Lucayan Archipelago, which includes The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Caribbean also includes the Lesser Antilles, a group of much smaller islands to the east. Further to the west and south, there are various less frequently visited islands that belong to Central and South American countries.

The Lesser Antilles can be further divided into three groups:

These countries are not part of the Greater or Lesser Antilles but are variously close to it, and are commonly associated with the Caribbean (e.g. members of CARICOM, the Caribbean Community).

Numerous companies offer cruises, charters, and boat tours in the Caribbean.

All of the Americas (with 16.3 killed per 100,000 population) suffer from homicide rates far above those in most of Asia (3.0), Europe (3.0) and Oceania (2.9) but some countries in the Caribbean feature in the highest murder rates in the world.

Most visitors are aware of the high rates of gun crime in the United States Virgin Islands (with 52.6) or Jamaica (39.3), but you might be unaware that even sleepy little Saint Kitts and Nevis (33.6) had a murder rate seven times greater than the scary old mainland USA in 2010!

The well policed Bahamas rang up a rate of (29.8), Trinidad and Tobago (28.3), Puerto Rico (26.5), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (with a state Latin motto of “Pax et Justitia” or “Peace and Justice” had 25.6), Dominican Republic (22.1), Saint Lucia (21.6) and Dominica (21.1).

To put this in perspective, rates in more placid countries like Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and New Zealand average well under a single person intentionally killed per 100,000 of their population each year.

Those of a nervous disposition when confronted by these kind of statistics may want to start researching a holiday in Martinique (2.7) or Cuba (4.2) since it’s rather uncomfortable to wear stab or bullet proof vests in these warm and humid climates of course, not to mention it make you look a bit of a prat…

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War On Drugs: Pictures, Videos, Breaking News

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Jun 122016

According to Fox 45 Now, a classy upstanding citizen was robbed & assaulted in an alley by her drug dealer, Tutu after asking him to turn away while s…

Brian Smith

Native New Englander now residing in South Carolina

I love our president, his passion and I appreciate his proposal to heal the epidemic of opioid abuse, but I believe the bigger picture goes beyond treatment centers and expanding scope of practice. We need to assist our patients from the inside, the roots, only then can they truly begin to heal.

Erica Benedicto

Root-Cause Integrative PA-C, Yoga Teacher, Storyteller, Community/Clinical Curator, Speaker, Thinker, Doer, Rapscallion

Becoming a mother has really opened my heart. Besides being with family, I notice the compassion most when I am teaching yoga. One of my favorite plac…

Pia Artesona

Los Angeles-based yoga teacher, writer, life coach and mother-to-be

A robust public conversation is currently unfolding led by the formerly incarcerated and seized by President Obama himself to reflect on our current criminal justice system and the lasting stigma and damage it causes those who have been in contact with it. But does a nation of second chances include those of us who are immigrants?

Tania Unzueta

Legal and Policy Director for Mijente and the #Not1More Campaign

Iceland may be the world’s most progressive country at reducing teenage substance abuse. In the more than 4 decades that I have studied, researched …

In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed Louisiana remained number 1, among the 50 states, with 38,030 in prison, a rate of 816 per 100,000 o…

There are two problems with threatening long sentences to extract cooperation from low-level drug offenders. This strategy is ineffective in impacting the drug trade. It also inflicts immense collateral damage on innocent people and low-level offenders, while letting the guiltiest offenders off more easily.

Amos Irwin

Chief of Staff at the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation; Training Director at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Boy, it isn’t every day you get to write a headline like that! But those are the kinds of feelings Ted Cruz seems to bring out in everyone — left, right, and center.

During my imprisonment I had tried to commit suicide, been stuck with a knife, and was beat down with a pipe–but nothing hurt me more than my separat…

Anthony Papa

Manager of Media & Artist Relations, Drug Policy Alliance

Jason Hernandez never thought he would see the outside world again.

Today, drug cartels are playing the political activism game and are increasing their support base by appealing to the hearts and minds of millions of people through the widespread social discontent and the ideal of social justice.

Ana Davila

Masters in Science in Global Affairs and Transnational Security Candidate at New York University

The disdain that the Amish faithful feel for family members who reject their all-encompassing religious worldview is such that they refuse to dine with them at the same table.

Kathleen Frydl

Historian studying US state power, policies, and the institutions that shape American life.

In the United States, while there are shifting patterns of drug use, there is no simple relationship to the severity of the nation’s drug laws. The caveat is that from the European study, relaxing penalties had equally unpredictable results. Annan’s statement needs that bit of context. We rate this claim Mostly True.

Undeniably, the world is splintering. Geopolitical blocs are forming once again, the nuclear arms race is reigniting and religious war rages. Globalization is in retreat as publics across the planet suspect trade agreements, politicians talk about building walls and refugees are turned away. Yet, as Parag Khanna, author of the new book, “Connectography,” writes this week from Singapore, “the same world that appears to be falling apart is actually coming together.” (continued)

While mostly ignored by the media (and almost completely ignored in the debates), the issue is going to become a lot more important in the general election, as many states will have recreational legalization ballot initiatives to vote on.

LISBON, Portugal — This week’s U.N. summit on the global drug problem is already a turning point in our collective journey toward improving global drug policy. Whatever the final formal conclusions, reforms are on and history is in the making.

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The SCF Group | Licensed Company & Trust Managers

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May 222016


The SCF Group specializes in providing tax efficient structures be they for general investment, trading abroad or for consultancy. The Group also has considerable experience in advising on UK & overseas property investment, international tax planning & international structures for computer consultants. Our fiscal migration and tax planning department is operated by UK qualified lawyers and accountants and can advise both domiciled and non-domiciled individuals on how to mitigate their individual and corporate tax exposure be it in the UK, Ireland or internationally. Our legal & business department can provide specialized advice on all domestic and international tax planning issues but also upon ‘key’ issues such as asset protection be it in the form of trusts, private interest foundations (PIF’s), pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, divorce and general family law, legal drafting, leave to remove applications etc.


At a more basic level we provide a wide range of Irish and UK company formation, Irish and UK accountancy, “offshore company formation” and offshore/international accountancy services for most European and international company formation jurisdictions.

For overseas property investors and those wishing to set up tax efficient international trading companies – employing mechanisms such as an offshore companies, low tax and managed companies based in jurisdictions such as Ireland, Cyprus, Switzerland and The Isle of Man – particularly where investment in Eastern Europe is involved, our Group has established its own offices in Ireland, the UK, Cyprus and affiliates in jurisdictions such Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands where we can carryout Swiss company formation, Luxembourg company formation and Netherlands company formation. In fact, we are confident that in the case of UK company formation, Irish company formation and Cyprus company formation we are probably the most comprehensive service providers in Europe be it at a company formation, accountancy or company management level. In addition, we have affiliates and agents in all other ‘key’ tax planning jurisdictions including Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Monaco, Gibraltar, Malta, Singapore and Hong Kong. We can provide a wide range of asset protection trusts, private interest foundations “PIF’s & ASSET PROTECTION” in countries such as Lichtenstein, Panama and Switzerland both as general methods of limiting exposure to income, corporate, inheritance and capital gains taxes together with acting as ideal pre-nuptial insurance policies. The SCF Group has its sales representative office in London but also fully owned offices in Madeira, Cyprus and Ireland where we can provide company formation, nominee directors, company administration, accountancy, VAT management, confidential offshore bank accounts in all major jurisdictions including Switzerland, Cyprus, the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and Panama when planning for tax for offshore banking.

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Offshore Private Banking

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Jan 282016

Or company provides services fr nddl nd companies wishing t form, register nd operate outside f Europe nd U.S. spheres f influence, fr legal r financial reasons, nldng reducing tax fees.

If r interested n working wth l feel free t contact , wll try t fnd th best jurisdictions fr , t k r wealth nd funds safe.

International financial transactions n b conveniently md mr efficient wth th help f n offshore bank account. N doubt tht efforts fr th reduction f criminal activities wthn th economically nd politically stable offshore competences r ndd md b international nd government business firms. Hwr, setting bank account abroad tll proves t b necessary. Bureaucratic problems nd tax haven disgraces n b easily prevented wth th help f h bank account. h bank account certainly offers important benefits lk easy international operation, mr business freedom, online access nd payments, easiest fund management, asset protection, tax efficiency, credit cards t., ll f whh n b conveniently optimized f th right jurisdiction chosen.

In regards t bank deposits, th 7th largest bank center n th world Switzerlandnd th 5th largest th Cayman Islands. Th, whn t comes t setting private bank account, th countries happen t b th tw mt demotic jurisdictions. rnd 3 trillion US dollars n bank accounts r held n th Swiss Confederation nd approximately 1.9 trillion US dollars n deposits r held n Cayman Islands. Whn t comes t financial hubs, thr r l rl thr splendid jurisdictions nldng Dubai, Hong Kong, Ireland nd Singapore.

A means f evading tax evasion, loads f efforts h bn md b th OECD nd western governments result f whh various tax haven jurisdictions h n emerged. Fr entrepreneurs wh come frm th United States nd thr English-speaking countries, Ireland nthr ideal choice n n tax haven difficulties r carried b th country. nthr stimulus tht mght encourage nddl t open n offshore bank account n Ireland th low 10% tax rate n th country. Tax incentives n th country r l available n th form f th Dublin Financial Services Center nd th Shannon Airport Free Zone, whh nthr reason wh t mght b ideal t make legal investment thr.

Hwr, whn t comes t open bank account offshore n th safest nd th mt secure way, thn opening n outside Europe n ideal alternative. Whn bank account needs t b opened ff shore, countries n Asian nd th Middle East r ideal nd funds migrate frm th west t th east, t n prove t beneficial fr th countries t. Dubai, Hong Kong nd Singapore r included n th countries. n h country tht h bm n excellent global financial center Dubai nd quite remarkable business reputation nw held b th country.

Mt international businesses nd entrepreneurs tend t prefer Asia, Hong Kong nd Singapore offshore banking alternatives. n Asia, business hubs tht r presently dominating r nml Hong Kong nd Singapore. n whn international business needs t b conducted nd n exceptional offshore banking benefit mt b possessed, th cities n l prove t b th right jurisdiction.

Fr th wh want t carry t regional operations n Asia nd need t open n offshore banking account n tht region, t wld b wise t open corporate account n thr Hong Kong r Singapore. Th wh r wondering whr th hld open n international bank account t achieve certain business objectives hld n seek r professional assistance t.

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Top 12 tax havens for US companies RT Business

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Oct 232015

US corporations are making record profits in tax havens like Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Some of the profits exceed the GDP of the host country, with Bermudas offshore profits 1643% of total economic output.

As a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), profits from subsidiary US companies operating in the Netherlands are more than 100 percent of the countrys annual economic output, according to a new study by Citizens for Tax Justice, published Tuesday.

In Bermuda, US companies reported $94 billion in profit, but the islands GDP is only $6 billion. The report draws on data collected by the US International Revenue Service from subsidiaries reporting profits outside of the US in 2010.

Clearly, American corporations are using various tax gimmicks to shift profits actually earned in the US and other countries where they actually do business into their subsidiaries in these tiny countries, the report says.

US companies filed the largest profits in the Netherlands, Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Singapore, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, the Netherlands Antilles, and Barbados. But none of these finances are factored into the GDP of the host countries.

When filing US income taxes, a foreign corporation is defined if its US shareholders control more than 50 percent of the outstanding voting stock.

Offshore wealth money that is kept abroad for tax purposes- is a popular tactic for American companies to avoid paying high taxes in the US. Google, Apple, and other hi-tech companies have all been accused of sheltering money abroad and not contributing enough to the American tax system, which is their main market.

Many US companies use a loophole called repatriation in order to delay paying the US government taxes. Under US tax law, companies with offshore subsidiaries can wait until their company is repatriated, or returned to the US, until they pay taxes. This tool encourages US companies to report profits outside of the US, where they are safe from high taxes.

Other countries can offer very attractive corporate tax rates compared to the required 40 percent in America. Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas for example, have a rate of 0 percent.

Ireland has a corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent, Switzerland 17.92 percent, and Luxembourg a local rate of 29.22 percent, according to data from KMPG Global.

The only country where companies pay more taxes than in America is in the United Arab Emirates, which has a 55 percent corporate tax rate.

Countries, or tax havens, can provide opportunities for investors by lowering their corporate tax rates as well as income tax rates.

Low income tax rates can make investment more competitive and business climate more attractive for some investors looking for loopholes. An estimate by Boston Consulting Group pegs offshore wealth at $8.5 trillion. Other independent estimates peg it as high as $20 trillion.

With the G20 and OECD countries focused on curbing tax evasion and avoidance, several Caribbean countries Bermuda, Barbados and Cayman Islands would be subject to a tightening tax noose. These countries could face a deceleration in economic activity if international tax structures are to be dismantled.

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Top 12 tax havens for US companies RT Business

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SEO India, SEO Company India, SEO Services India, SEO …

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Sep 282015


SEO Company Services India is a Digital Marketing firm founded in January 2011 based in Noida, help businesses, Enterprises, Start Ups to grow their business online to get better ROI. SEO Company Services India is a full-service agency for different requirements like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Optimization (SMO), Pay-Per Click (PPC). Apart from the digital marketing we also help our clients through Website Design & Development, Mobile App Development and Responsive Designs in HTML5. We also have strong presence in US, Singapore and Australia. If you are looking for an agency which can make you stand different from your competitors then we are the best option.


To deliver high impact result for endless project.

Delivering services like Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Optimization, Pay- Per Click Management with highest value for money to our clients having any level of businesses.


At SEO Company Services India, we utilize people, resources and technology through which we assist our clients in achieving success in their online businesses. For fulfilling the requirements of our clients in India and overseas we have elite team of dedicated and talented professionals with various skills.

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5 Best Countries for Offshore Banking – Activist Post

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Aug 302015

Activist Post

When we hear the term offshore banking, it often conjures up images of the overly-wealthy elite or sly, nefarious criminals hiding away millions of dollars from prying government eyes. But the way offshore banking is portrayed in the movies is not the reality.

Opening an account offshore is not illegal, as many people wrongly believe. In fact, many offshore financial institutions are considered safer than many domestic banks. Most foreign banks offer absolute privacy guarantees, as well as security to protect your assets.

Banks in the United States are limited in the amount of the interest they can pay to customers. Many offshore institutions are able to offer higher interest rates to their clients. In many US and European banks, the governments have too much control, to the detriment of the countries citizens. Because of this, the government can step in to freeze your bank accounts and assets indefinitely.

Some countries are a better choice for offshore banking than others. Here are the top five countries to consider if you want to put a portion of your money into a foreign account and what you need to open one.


Dubai has a premium banking sector that serves local, expatriate and offshore clients. It is said that the privacy policy for Dubai banks is even better than that of Swiss banks. There are also no taxes in this country. To open an account, you will first need to find what the minimum balance is for each bank. You will need to provide a copy of your passport, a visit visa, proof of address, bank card from your country of residence and maybe a letter of recommendation from a UAE resident.


When you open an account in Singapore, you are investing in one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, while at the same time protecting your money and saving on taxes. This country has the lowest tax rate in Asia. The typical minimum required balance is $1,000. You need to have your passport, proof of address, and maybe even your taxpayer number (SSN) for your country of residence. Accounts can be held in any currency, even gold.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong has a strong banking infrastructure. Banks do not require formal approval from the government for opening accounts. The minimum balance is $3,000. To open an account, you will need your passport, proof of address, and possibly a reference letter from a banker. Sovereign savings accounts in Hong Kong can also be held in any currency including gold.


Swiss banks are best known for their strict privacy policies. Since 1934, laws prevent bankers from divulging any client account information. Only recently have US law enforcement officers been permitted to get information in the course of a criminal investigation (including tax evasion). Some accounts may be opened with as little as $3,500. You need to have a passport, recent utility bill to establish residency, residence permit to set up an account.

Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands have no direct taxation. The minimum balance is usually $5,000 to open an account. You will need a letter of reference from your home banker and deposits cannot be made with cash, but with check, wire transfer or bank draft. You need proof of identity and a notarized copy of your passport, character reference and any additional documents requested by the bank.

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The 10 Biggest Tax Havens in the World – TheRichest

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May 082015

In 2009, the governments of the 20 wealthiest countries in the world vowed that they will tighten the regulations that enabled rampant tax evasions in their own nation and territories. The major problem that these countries faced was the high level of secrecy when it comes to withholding the financial assets of clients from the authorities. However, two years later, despite the increase in such regulations, people were still left with a great number of countries to choose from that will allow them to evade their taxes through the use of offshore accounts. This was according to a report made by the Tax Justice Network.

The report, which the Tax Justice Network referred to as the Financial Secrecy Index, assessed 73 different jurisdictions around the world that allowed billions of foreign currency to be stored in offshore accounts. The money that was deposited into these accounts were also left untaxed. The report found that governments worldwide lose approximately $250 billion in revenue every year because of these offshore accounts.

This list is comprised of the 10 biggest tax havens in the world countries that allow the highest level of client financial secrecy, tax evasion, and offshore accounts.

Bahrain, situated near the Persian Gulfs western shores, is a small island-country. The archipelagos largest island is Bahrain Island. While there are plenty of financial institutions offering offshore banking services and bank accounts in the island, its client financial secrecy is the lowest of all the other nations included in this list. Bahrain gets tenth place because it has the lowest level of Financial Secrecy Index value based from the Tax Justice Networks report, which is at 660.3. It also has a Secrecy Score of 78.

Germany makes it easy for people to open offshore bank accounts. However, this has also resulted in the increasing number of individuals opening such accounts so they can evade their taxes. The good news is that the country is trying to control this problem through the implementation of stricter and much more stringent policies. In the report, Germany got a score of 669.8 for its Financial Secrecy Index value, and a Secrecy Score of 57.

Many of the offshore banks in Japan do not subject the deposits made by their clients to interest rate standards and regulations. Fortunately, with the offshore banking center that has been established in Tokyo, the countrys law enforcement authorities would at least be able to monitor and control any developments in these financial institutions.

Jersey is a British Crown Dependency that houses a great number of banks offering offshore accounts to foreign clients. Offshore banking and investments has been a part of the bailiwicks underground economy. In the Tax Justice Network report, Jersey got a Financial Secrecy Index value of 750.1 and a Secrecy Score of 78.

Singapore, an island city-state in Southeast Asia, is considered by many as one of their best choices for opening offshore bank accounts. Almost anyone can open such a bank account without experiencing any hassle. This is one of the major reasons why Singapore was graded with a Financial Secrecy Index value of 1,118 and a Secrecy Score of 71 by the Tax Justice Network.

The states of Nevada and Wyoming are two of the major contributing factors to the countrys increasing problems in terms of tax evasion. In Nevada, there are no capital gains, gift tax, personal income tax, and inheritance tax. In Wyoming, there are no corporate taxes, inventory taxes, unitary taxes, gift taxes, estate taxes, personal income taxes, franchise taxes, and inheritance taxes.

In the Peoples Republic of China, there are two Special Administrative Regions, with Hong Kong being one of them. It is located at the south coast of China and is surrounded by the South China Sea and the Pearl River Delta. Seven million people live in the region. Aside from being a popular tourist hot spot, Hong Kong is also a haven for people who do not want to pay their taxes and deposit large amounts of money in offshore accounts. Here, clients do not have to pay for sales taxes, capital gains, and payroll taxes. They also do not have to worry about personal tax being deducted from their money.

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SEO Can Be Complicated – Video

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Mar 252015

SEO Can Be Complicated
SEO is usually very complicated if you do not understand what you're doing. Make sure to hire an experienced SEO consultant in Singapore if you're in South-East Asia to get the best results…

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New Freedom! offices in London, New York, Singapore? – Video

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Feb 042015

New Freedom! offices in London, New York, Singapore?
Freedom! is expanding. Read the business article here Get Heartbeat – it's free! Links Dashboard…

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YouTube Ranking Video Seo | Youtube Video Seo Services | Singapore Video Seo Services (650) 273-0037 – Video

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Feb 012015

YouTube Ranking Video Seo | Youtube Video Seo Services | Singapore Video Seo Services (650) 273-0037
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Singapore Car Dealer | Youtube Ranking King | Singapore SEO Services – Video

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Jan 312015

Singapore Car Dealer | Youtube Ranking King | Singapore SEO Services
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Things to do in Phuket Thailand | Phuket Island attraction beaches – Video

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Jan 282015

Things to do in Phuket Thailand | Phuket Island attraction beaches
Phuket Province has an area of 576 square kilometres (222 sq mi), somewhat less than that of Singapore, and is the second-smallest province of Thailand. It formerly derived its wealth from…

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France, Singapore go after tax evaders

 Tax Havens  Comments Off on France, Singapore go after tax evaders
Jan 162015

France on Friday lauded Singapore for entering into a new pact that tightens measures against foreign tax cheats seeking to hide their assets in the Asian financial hub.

The revised agreement on double taxation, signed late Thursday by French Finance Minister Michel Sapin and his counterpart Tharman Shanmugaratnam, seeks to promote business ties between the two countries while plugging tax loopholes.

We must improve information exchange between our two countries, Sapin told AFP on Friday in written remarks, before leaving for Indonesia as part of an Asian tour that also includes Japan.

Our relations are already good but thanks to this agreement, we will be at a world-class standard in the fight against tax fraud and going after accounts that are kept hidden from tax authorities I dont need to spell it out for you.

French budget minister Jerome Cahuzac was forced to step down in March 2013 after being accused of having an undeclared Swiss bank account and moving assets to Singapore to hide them from tax authorities in France, where prosecutors want to bring him to trial.

The new French-Singapore agreement offers improved terms for companies in both countries.

It also contains anti-abuse provisions that will enable us to fight against the kind of tax avoidance that some companies have been indulging in, while also permitting us to fine-tune other situations which can lead to double taxation of some companies, Sapin said.

Beyond this agreement, we want to make sure that Singapore is truly part of this major international movement leading us to the automatic exchange of information between all countries. France has decided to do that with 60 other countries in 2017. Singapore is poised to make it in 2018.

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development had initially included Singapore in a grey list of global tax havens but the island nation has since been removed after entering into tax data-sharing agreements with major partners.

Last month, Singapore signed an agreement to facilitate compliance by its financial institutions with US laws targeting Americans who use overseas accounts to evade taxes.

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+91 8290666599 Get Freedom By Tona Totka in Saudi Uk – Video

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Jan 092015

+91 8290666599 Get Freedom By Tona Totka in Saudi Uk
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Government By 'Guidance' Quashes Economic Freedom And Rule Of Law

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Jan 052015

Freedom is declining in America. The Heritage Foundation-Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom ranks the United States at #12, as does the Fraser Institutes Economic Freedom of the World Index. The U.S. ranking has slipped in recent years according to both studies and now scores significantly below Hong Kong, Singapore, Chile, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, and New Zealand.

According to the Heritage Foundations description of its Index of Economic Freedom, In economically free societies, governments allow labor, capital and goods to move freely, and refrain from coercion or constraint of liberty beyond the extent necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself. The Heritage Foundation notes that greater economic freedom is associated with healthier societies, cleaner environments, greater per capita wealth, human development, democracy, and poverty elimination. The Fraser Institutes definition of economic freedom is similar, and it also notes the similar connections between economic freedom and favorable economic outcomes.

Not only is economic freedom the wellspring of prosperity, it is essential to all other individual freedoms. If the government can control your work, spending and property, then it can leverage that power to control all of your actions. A legal right to freedom of speech and assembly, therefore, is worth little without significant economic rights.

How did Americans become significantly dispossessed of their economic freedom? There is much talk in the news these days about Presidential overreach through Executive Orders and Memoranda in areas such as immigration and health care, but unfortunately, Presidential actions are only a small part of the problem and White House overreach is reversible when a new Administration takes office. At the heart of the matter is the growth of unaccountable law making and law enforcement within administrative agencies, which marks a significant erosion of the rule of law.

The number of agencies that enact, enforce, and adjudicate disputes over their own regulations has grown exponentially over the past century. Agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Labor Relations Board, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Securities Exchange Commission to name only a small number are given vast authority by Congress to draft regulations that implement the legislative intent of what are often broad and vague statutes. The agencies set and enforce rules that apply to businesses and individuals, and also preside over disputes by citizens or firms who object to them.

In principle, Congress could alter regulations it regards as undesirable, but that seldom occurs. In 1996, the Congressional Review Act attempted to encourage Congressional review of agency actions. As of May 2008, however, only 47 joint resolutions of disapproval had been introduced in both houses of Congress, relating to just 28 rules. During the same time period, Federal agencies had promulgated 47,540 rules.[1] And while it is also true that U.S. courts retain authority to hear cases related to agency actions, they are not the primary adjudicators of regulatory disputes, and appeals to the courts are challenging to accomplish.

The new trend in regulation has been the use of guidance as a means of avoiding even informal rulemakingthe laxest kind of executive lawmaking that requires only public notice, a comment period, and detailed explanations of an agencys decision.[2] Agencies are now free to guide the nation without even these simple procedures, giving only vague guidance about the considerations they will take into account in bringing enforcement actions.

Neither does the new reliance on guidance imply any burden of explanation. A recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board broadened the definition of employers, creating huge new potential liabilities for franchising companies like McDonalds. Upon request for clarification of the logic underlying its decision, the NLRB declined even to share internal memoranda, stating that it was reserving those for prospective litigation.[3]

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Government By 'Guidance' Quashes Economic Freedom And Rule Of Law

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Internet freedom improves in India: Report

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Dec 052014

NEW DELHI: India made a positive jump of five spots to be ranked 30 among 65 countries in a study on internet freedom by the US-based watchdog organization Freedom House. Titled “Freedom on The Net”, the report assesses internet freedom in various countries against the metrics of accessibility, limits to content, and user rights violations.

India figures in the “partly free” category along with countries such as Rwanda, Tunisia, Singapore, and Sri Lanka. With a cumulative score of 42, India showed a marginal improvement over last year’s score of 47 (higher score indicates lower freedom).

Iceland, Estonia, and Canada are the top three countries in the list. Pakistan ranks 56 while China is at number 63. Last year, India’s rank on the same list was 35.

“The regulatory framework that governs the internet in India is at a pivotal moment,” says the report, adding, “Detentions declined in the past year in the wake of negative publicity, as well as intervention from the government and Supreme Court. Several petitioners have challenged parts of the IT Act…as unconstitutional in the Supreme Court. The court’s decision in these cases will be critical to the protection of freedom of expression online in India.”

The report also takes note of the lack of a privacy law and the government’s Central Monitoring System for the surveillance of communication over the telephone and the internet. Lack of infrastructure and low digital literacy added to the “obstacles” tally, though the study takes note of the fact that India became the third largest internet consumer base in 2013.

“There was a spate of such incidents where free speech was hindered online. But now, I think more than the government, the people have become more aware and responsible about these things,” says activist Aseem Trivedi, who was briefly jailed in 2012 for his anti-establishment cartoons on his personal blog. “There is still room for improvement when it comes to those who manage to foment sectarian violence online,” he says.

Bhopal-based Shubhranshu Choudhary, who is behind the digital citizen journalist program CGNet Swara, says that in terms of access, improvement is only marginal. “In the normal course of things, it is more or less the same. Yes, there are more mobile towers now, and we have bulky figures for mobile penetration. The government also seems to be talking more about digital expansion. But with Internet penetration at about 15% India remains behind,” says Choudhary.

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Internet freedom improves in India: Report

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