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Shoe story media missed

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  • #21
    Re: Shoe story media missed

    Green things in March.





    -----------------------------------------

    British PM Gordon Brown speaks before U.S. Congress on March 4, 2009, among other things, he inquired "“How much safer would everybody’s savings be if the whole world finally came together to outlaw shadow banking systems and offshore tax havens?” while suggesting an overhaul of the global banking system after an "economic hurricane."

    U.S. Senate Bill S506 in the 2009-2010 Congress. http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-506

    Before Gale A. Norton, former Attorney General of Colorado, was appointed Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, she apparently represented an "offshore" bank on its quest to obtain one of the first banking licenses in the U.S. in her home state. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB9917...?mod=googlewsj

    "Sprague admitted that he was not surprised that Colorado was able to get a depository open so quickly because the depository, headed by CEO and co-founder Pierre Boisse, has attracted some high profile supporters such as former Colorado attorney general and now U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton." http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/laws/938571-1.html

    ================================

    More Obama shoes.



    Between childhood, boyhood,
    adolescence
    & manhood (maturity) there
    should be sharp lines drawn w/
    Tests, deaths, feats, rites
    stories, songs & judgements

    - Morrison, Jim. Wilderness, vol. 1, p. 22

    Comment


    • #22
      Re: Shoe story media missed

      British PM Gordon Brown expected to demand members assistance in clamping down on offshore tax havens at G-20 summit.


      "DETERMINED Gordon Brown will this week demand an international clampdown on offshore tax havens." http://www.sundaymail.co.uk/news/uk-...8057-21237390/

      http://www.royalgazette.com/siftolog...0&sectionId=60
      Between childhood, boyhood,
      adolescence
      & manhood (maturity) there
      should be sharp lines drawn w/
      Tests, deaths, feats, rites
      stories, songs & judgements

      - Morrison, Jim. Wilderness, vol. 1, p. 22

      Comment


      • #23
        Re: Shoe story media missed

        convicted felon Madoff's Yacht named "Bull" seized today by authorities. Moo!!!

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/0..._n_181814.html

        Between childhood, boyhood,
        adolescence
        & manhood (maturity) there
        should be sharp lines drawn w/
        Tests, deaths, feats, rites
        stories, songs & judgements

        - Morrison, Jim. Wilderness, vol. 1, p. 22

        Comment


        • #24
          Re: Shoe story media missed

          Setting up an offshore bank account, so easy, a 20 year old intern can do it with nothing more than a phone and an e-mail account. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/0..._n_203008.html

          5/04/09 - President Obama pledges to go after tax havens and U.S. corporations and wealthy individuals who use offshore bank accounts and corporations to evade taxes.
          http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20...tchy/3226240_1

          Obama calls for crackdown on offshore tax havens
          By Margaret Talev, McClatchy Newspapers Margaret Talev, Mcclatchy Newspapers
          Mon May 4, 2:41 pm ET

          WASHINGTON — Following through on a campaign promise to stop rewarding companies that send jobs and money overseas, President Barack Obama on Monday called for eliminating various loopholes that benefit offshore tax havens and ratcheting up overseas enforcement, which he said could save $210 billion over a decade and encourage more job creation at home.

          The proposals, which would require congressional action, enjoy support from some Democratic lawmakers, but they face loud objections from others, including Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky , and from hundreds of the most powerful businesses in the nation, including those that produce technology, pharmaceuticals and food.

          Opponents say that Obama's proposals would amount to a tax increase and put them at a disadvantage to foreign rivals who don't face such tax laws in their home countries.

          "I want to see our companies remain the most competitive in the world," Obama said in announcing his plans at the White House , flanked by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner . "But the way to make sure that happens is not to reward our companies for moving jobs off our shores or transferring profits to overseas tax havens."

          As evidence of the problem, a White House fact sheet noted that:

          — The effective U.S. tax rate on U.S. multinational corporations as of 2004, the most recent year for data, was 2.3 percent.

          — Eighty-three of the 100 largest U.S. corporations had subsidiaries in tax havens, according to the Government Accountability Office .

          — Bermuda , the Netherlands and Ireland — all small, low-tax countries — claimed nearly a third of all foreign profits reported in 2003 by U.S. corporations.

          Obama wants to reduce companies' ability to defer taxes on overseas profits, end many overseas tax havens and aggressively hunt down overseas tax evaders.

          To do so, he proposes tightening regulations and hiring 800 more Internal Revenue Service agents. In turn, he said he'd pump billions of projected savings into guaranteed funding of a research and experimentation tax credit for companies that invest in jobs in the U.S.

          McConnell said Monday that while he supports cracking down on tax evasion and offshore shelters, he doesn't back the overall plan.

          "I cannot endorse a plan that gives preferential treatment to foreign companies at the expense of U.S.-based companies and the 52 million people they employ," he said.

          Marty Regalia, the chief economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce , said in a statement following Obama's remarks that "when you limit deferral, you limit the ability of U.S. companies to compete, you impede growth in the U.S. economy, and you cause the loss of jobs — both at the companies directly impacted and companies in their supply chains."

          In taking on the Chamber, Obama also is taking on big companies, such as Microsoft , DuPont , General Electric and Eli Lilly , among the more than 200 companies and trade associations that have gone on record in opposition to the move since March.

          White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that "we know we're going to take on some tough interests in that, but the president believes this is a fight we should have and one that we can win." Gibbs said the changes should be seen as a matter of "fairness, not something that will put them at a competitive disadvantage."

          Under current law, U.S. companies can defer for years paying taxes on profits if they're putting the money back into offshore subsidiaries. Under Obama's proposal, companies could take deductions for foreign expenses only if they were paying taxes on foreign profits to the U.S.

          How companies can take a foreign tax credit also would be tightened, so that the credit reflects how much foreign tax is actually paid and so it can't be used on income that isn't subject to U.S. tax.

          Obama would end "check-the-box" rules that allow U.S. companies to set up subsidiaries in tax havens to avoid paying taxes. Going forward, U.S. businesses establishing certain overseas corporations would have to report them on U.S. tax returns.

          Obama also would give the IRS more legal authority to get more information from foreign bank account holders in order to determine whether they're attempting to evade U.S. taxes.

          In his remarks, Obama criticized "a tax code that says you should pay lower taxes if you create a job in Bangalore, India , than if you create one in Buffalo, N.Y. " He blamed lobbyists for "a broken tax system" and said he is out to change things.

          "Nobody likes paying taxes, particularly in times of economic stress," Obama said. However, he said, "most Americans" recognize that "it's an obligation of citizenship, necessary to pay the costs of our common defense and our mutual well-being."
          Between childhood, boyhood,
          adolescence
          & manhood (maturity) there
          should be sharp lines drawn w/
          Tests, deaths, feats, rites
          stories, songs & judgements

          - Morrison, Jim. Wilderness, vol. 1, p. 22

          Comment


          • #25
            Re: Shoe story media missed

            Subway comes to the rescue of NBC's "Chuck". http://gawker.com/5263174/nbcs-chuck...way-sandwiches

            NBC's Chuck Exists Only to Sell Subway Sandwiches
            By Hamilton Nolan, 4:33 PM on Wed May 20 2009, 9,053 views (Edit post, Set to draft, Slurp) Copy this whole post to another site

            Last month NBC's Chuck had that Subway sandwich product placement that was so laughably flagrant we thought, "This will surely hurt the credibility of NBC's 'Chuck!'" How young and naive we were. Turns out that that Subway deal is literally the only reason that Chuck still exists:

            The special sponsorship with Subway is enabling NBC to bring back the series, executives said, in a deal they described as made possible by a decision to go to advertisers earlier than usual in what NBC called the "infront," to ask for ideas about interweaving brands into shows.

            You read that correctly: the xxxxing Subway product placement is enabling this show to be on TV, period. All the other stuff in there is just extra low fat mayo. How hardcore is NBC willing to get here? Hardcore to the bone:

            "Chuck" appealed to Subway for reasons that included its audience, which is mostly the type of younger consumer that buys a lot of subs at malls. The show takes place in a mall, and Chuck's girlfriend, Sarah, is a C.I.A. agent who works under cover at various stands in the food court.

            It is no great leap to believe she could be selling Subway sandwiches next season. An NBC executive said discussions have been under way about the specifics of the tie-in.

            We hope you're very happy about the success of your "Buy a Subway Sandwich to Save NBC's 'Chuck!'" campaign now. Sandwich w-hores.
            [NYT]

            -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/20/bu...1&ref=business

            The broadcasters, eager not to be usurped, are busy with their own efforts to entice marketers that include new schedules for CBS and ABC, as well as an innovative deal between NBC and a big advertiser, the Subway chain of sandwich shops, to renew the series “Chuck” for 2009-10.

            ...

            The renewal of “Chuck” for a third season by NBC, part of the NBC Universal division of General Electric, offers another example of how marketers and networks are collaborating in nontraditional fashion.

            The special sponsorship with Subway is enabling NBC to bring back the series, executives said, in a deal they described as made possible by a decision to go to advertisers earlier than usual in what NBC called the “infront,” to ask for ideas about interweaving brands into shows.

            The partnership was suggested to Ben Silverman, co-chairman of NBC Entertainment, by Subway executives, who were enthused about the special marketing opportunities the series afforded the chain. Subway sandwiches played a role in an episode of “Chuck” last month, with the “$5 foot-long” Subway slogan as part of the dialogue.

            “Chuck” appealed to Subway for reasons that included its audience, which is mostly the type of younger consumer that buys a lot of subs at malls. The show takes place in a mall, and Chuck’s girlfriend, Sarah, is a C.I.A. agent who works under cover at various stands in the food court.

            It is no great leap to believe she could be selling Subway sandwiches next season. An NBC executive said discussions have been under way about the specifics of the tie-in. “Chuck” will return at 8 p.m. Mondays, after the network finishes covering the Winter Olympics.

            With the fate of “Chuck” in the balance, the show’s fans had waged an aggressive campaign online and through Twitter to save it. Many suggested buying foot-long Subway sandwiches to signal their ardor for the series.
            Between childhood, boyhood,
            adolescence
            & manhood (maturity) there
            should be sharp lines drawn w/
            Tests, deaths, feats, rites
            stories, songs & judgements

            - Morrison, Jim. Wilderness, vol. 1, p. 22

            Comment


            • #26
              Re: Shoe story media missed

              Obama's shoes insult Israelis.



              http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runnin..._anti-semi.php

              http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/...voke_some.html

              Obama's Shoe Soles Provoke Some Israelis

              President Barack Obama talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone call from the Oval Office, Monday, June 8, 2009 Official White House Photo by Pete Souza


              By Frank James

              Who knew President Barack Obama's simple habit of throwing his feet up on his desk could lead to an international incident?

              On Monday White House photographer Pete Souza snapped a photo of Obama while the president was on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

              Obama, as he occasionally does, had his feet up on the desk and Souza shot the photo of the president with the soles of Obama's shoes in the foreground. It's a fairly straightforward picture.

              But few things involving the Middle East are simple. Some Israeli journalists are stirring the pot by suggesting Obama intended to disrespect Netanyahu and Israel by showing the soles of his shoes.

              An excerpt from a piece in the left-leaning Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz.

              A photo released by the White House, which shows Obama talking on the phone with Netanyahu on Monday, speaks volumes: The president is seen with his legs up on the table, his face stern and his fist clenched, as though he were dictating to Netanyahu: "Listen up and write 'Palestinian state' a hundred times. That's right, Palestine, with a P." As an enthusiast of Muslim culture, Obama surely knows there is no greater insult in the Middle East than pointing the soles of one's shoes at another person. Indeed, photos of other presidential phone calls depict Obama leaning on his desk, with his feet on the floor.
              Meanwhile, CBS News' World Watch blog reported:

              Israeli TV newscasters Tuesday night interpreted a photo taken Monday in the Oval Office of President Obama talking on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an "insult" to Israel.
              They saw the incident as somewhat akin to an incident last year, when the Iraqi reporter threw a shoe at President Bush in Baghdad.


              It is considered an insult in the Arab world to show the sole of your shoe to someone. It is not a xxxish custom necessarily, but Israel feels enough a part of the Middle East after 60 years to be insulted too.


              Again, just another example of how even a simple gesture can get twisted by the geopolitical forces of the Middle East.


              FLASHBACK
              Last edited by freakyfreaky; 06-13-2009, 11:37 AM.
              Between childhood, boyhood,
              adolescence
              & manhood (maturity) there
              should be sharp lines drawn w/
              Tests, deaths, feats, rites
              stories, songs & judgements

              - Morrison, Jim. Wilderness, vol. 1, p. 22

              Comment


              • #27
                Re: Shoe story media missed

                Obama's assault on tax havens causes Lloyds Banking group to dump its U.S. clients banking with it in the UK. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/n...tax-purge.html

                Lloyds Bank hit by Obama tax purge
                Banking group drops American customers in UK ahead of costly proposals to stamp out tax evasion

                By Louise Armitstead
                Published: 9:39PM BST 13 Jun 2009

                President Obama is planning a crackdown on tax evasion Lloyds Banking Group is ditching American customers based in Britain pending a crackdown on international tax evasion planned by President Barack Obama.

                This week American private client account-holders at Lloyds's received letters informing them of an "important change in policy regarding clients who are resident, domiciled or linked to the United States by property or asset holdings". They were told the bank had "no choice" but to "cease acting as your investment manager."

                One letter sent to Bank of Scotland's portfolio management division, which is now part of Lloyds, said: "The USA has a mature regulatory environment governed by its Securities and Exchange Commission. These regulations mean that we are not licensed to manage portfolios for US clients."

                The letter added: "Unfortunately we cannot offer an equivalent service from within Lloyds Banking Group." Clients have been advised to transfer their assets.

                One recipient, who has lived in the UK for over 25 years, said: "After all this time, I've suddenly been told I must take my money elsewhere and I don't understand why. Now I'm scared that other banks won't take me on either."

                In its letters to clients, Lloyds has not referred to specific legislation. But last month, The Sunday Telegraph reported that British banks and stockbrokers were threatening to close down accounts held by American citizens due to concerns over new international tax proposals could make it too expensive for them to service the clients.

                The proposals, which were unveiled in the President's first budget, have been designed to clamp down on American tax evaders abroad. But bank bosses say that in practice they could be asked to take on the task of collecting American taxes at a cost and legal liability that make servicing the clients inexpedient. The rules have not yet been finalised and are still subject to debate in Congress.

                So far Lloyds has started dropping its "mass affluent" clients who have investment portfolios of up to a few hundred thousand pounds but that its "high-net-worth individuals" are not yet effected.

                A source said: "Until the new rules are properly explained, we don't know how expensive they will be to implement. But it's clear that Lloyds believes that any extra cost to the system will be too much when it comes to the mass affluent."

                The letters also contained four comprehensive descriptions of the bank's definition of clients that are effected. These included clients that hold green cards, pay American taxes, are American domiciled or even those where there is "any indication" that a client spent more time in the US than "normal holidays currently or in the past or future."

                President Obama's proposals are built on the so-called Qualified Intermediary system introduced in 2001 that were intended to ensure Americans paid the correct tax wherever they were domiciled. Under the rules, foreign financial institutions that handle American money have to fill in a US tax form on behalf of the client that has to be audited too.

                In return, the banks receive a QI seal of approval as a qualified intermediary. Bank bosses say that under plans to extend the system, which includes paying for the figures to be audited twice, the costs and legal liabilities of the system will soar.

                APCIMS, the trade body whose members manage £400bn of Britain's wealth and employ 25,000 people, sent a letter to the US Treasury's Internal Revenue Service (IRS) complaining that the "unfair'' proposals represent "no benefit but . . . significant cost'' to its members.

                Last night Lloyds declined to comment.
                Between childhood, boyhood,
                adolescence
                & manhood (maturity) there
                should be sharp lines drawn w/
                Tests, deaths, feats, rites
                stories, songs & judgements

                - Morrison, Jim. Wilderness, vol. 1, p. 22

                Comment


                • #28
                  Re: Shoe story media missed



                  Between childhood, boyhood,
                  adolescence
                  & manhood (maturity) there
                  should be sharp lines drawn w/
                  Tests, deaths, feats, rites
                  stories, songs & judgements

                  - Morrison, Jim. Wilderness, vol. 1, p. 22

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Re: Shoe story media missed

                    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=a62_boqkurbI

                    Suitcase With $134 Billion Puts Dollar on Edge
                    by William Pesek

                    June 17 (Bloomberg) -- It’s a plot better suited for a John Le Carre novel.

                    Two Japanese men are detained in Italy after allegedly attempting to take $134 billion worth of U.S. bonds over the border into Switzerland. Details are maddeningly sketchy, so naturally the global rumor mill is kicking into high gear.

                    Are these would-be smugglers agents of Kim Jong Il stashing North Korea’s cash in a Swiss vault? Bagmen for Nigerian Internet scammers? Was the money meant for terrorists looking to buy nuclear warheads? Is Japan dumping its dollars secretly? Are the bonds real or counterfeit?

                    The implications of the securities being legitimate would be bigger than investors may realize. At a minimum, it would suggest that the U.S. risks losing control over its monetary supply on a massive scale.

                    The trillions of dollars of debt the U.S. will issue in the next couple of years needs buyers. Attracting them will require making sure that existing ones aren’t losing faith in the U.S.’s ability to control the dollar.

                    The dollar is, for better or worse, the core of our world economy and it’s best to keep it stable. News that’s more fitting for international spy novels than the financial pages won’t help that effort. It is incumbent upon the U.S. Treasury to get to the bottom of this tale and keep markets informed.

                    GDP Carriers

                    Think about it: These two guys were carrying the gross domestic product of New Zealand or enough for three Beijing Olympics. If economies were for sale, the men could buy Slovakia and Croatia and have plenty left over for Mongolia or Cambodia. Yes, they could have built vacation homes amidst Genghis Khan’s Gobi Desert or the famed Temples of Angkor. Bernard Madoff who?

                    These men carrying bonds concealed in the bottom of their luggage also would be the fourth-largest U.S. creditors. It makes you wonder if some of the time Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner spends keeping the Chinese and Japanese invested in dollars should be devoted to well-financed men crossing the Italian-Swiss border.

                    This tale has gotten little attention in markets, perhaps because of the absurdity of our times. The last year has been a decidedly disorienting one for capitalists who once knew up from down, red from black and risk from reward. It almost fits with the surreal nature of today that a couple of travelers have more U.S. debt than Brazil in a suitcase and, well, that’s life.

                    Clancy Bestseller

                    You can almost picture Tom Clancy sitting in his study thinking: “Damn! Why didn’t I think of this yarn and novelize it years ago?” He could have sprinkled in a Chinese angle, a pinch of Russian intrigue, a dose of Pyongyang and a bit of Taiwan-Strait tension into the mix. Presto, a sure bestseller.

                    Daniel Craig may be thinking this is a great story on which to base the next James Bond flick. Perhaps Don Johnson could buy the rights to this tale. In 2002, the “Miami Vice” star was stopped by German customs officers as he was traveling in a car carrying credit notes and other securities worth as much as $8 billion. Now he could claim it was all, uh, research.

                    When I first heard of the $134 billion story, I was tempted to glance at my calendar to make sure it didn’t read April 1.

                    Let’s assume for a moment that these U.S. bonds are real. That would make a mockery of Japanese Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano’s “absolutely unshakable” confidence in the credibility of the U.S. dollar. Yosano would have some explaining to do about Japan’s $686 billion of U.S. debt if more of these suitcase capers come to light.

                    ‘Kennedy Bonds’

                    Counterfeit $100 bills are one thing; two guys with undeclared bonds including 249 certificates worth $500 million and 10 “Kennedy bonds” of $1 billion each is quite another.

                    The bust could be a boon for Italy. If the securities are found to be genuine, the smugglers could be fined 40 percent of the total value for attempting to take them out of the country. Not a bad payday for a government grappling with a widening budget deficit and rebuilding the town of L’Aquila, which was destroyed by an earthquake in April.

                    It would be terrible news for the White House. Other than the U.S., China or Japan, no other nation could theoretically move those amounts. In the absence of clear explanations coming from the Treasury, conspiracy theories are filling the void.

                    On his blog, the Market Ticker, Karl Denninger wonders if the Treasury “has been surreptitiously issuing bonds to, say, Japan, as a means of financing deficits that someone didn’t want reported over the last, oh, say 10 or 20 years.” Adds Denninger: “Let’s hope we get those answers, and this isn’t one of those ‘funny things’ that just disappears into the night.”

                    This is still a story with far more questions than answers. It’s odd, though, that it’s not garnering more media attention. Interest is likely to grow. The last thing Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke need right now is tens of billions more of U.S. bonds -- or even high-quality fake ones -- suddenly popping up around the globe.

                    (William Pesek is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)

                    To contact the writer of this column: William Pesek in Tokyo at wpesek@bloomberg.net

                    Last Updated: June 16, 2009 15:00 EDT
                    Between childhood, boyhood,
                    adolescence
                    & manhood (maturity) there
                    should be sharp lines drawn w/
                    Tests, deaths, feats, rites
                    stories, songs & judgements

                    - Morrison, Jim. Wilderness, vol. 1, p. 22

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Re: Shoe story media missed

                      http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f200bec6-5...nclick_check=1

                      Italian Mafia cashes in on fake T-bills
                      By FT reporters

                      Published: June 19 2009 03:00 | Last updated: June 19 2009 03:00

                      One summer afternoon, two "Japanese" men in their 50s on a slow train from Italy to Switzerland said they had nothing to declare at the frontier point of Chiasso. But in a false bottom of one of their suitcases, Italian customs officers and ministry of finance police discovered a staggering $134bn in US Treasury bills.

                      Whether the men are really Japanese, as their passports declare, is not entirely clear, but Italian and US secret services working together soon concluded that the bills and accompanying bank documents were most probably counterfeit, the latest han-diwork of the Italian Mafia.

                      Few details have been revealed beyond a June 4 statement by the Italian finance police announcing the seizure of 249 US Treasury bills, each of $500m, and 10 "Kennedy" bonds, used as inter-government payments, of $1bn each. The men were apparently tailed by the Italian authorities.

                      Yesterday the mystery deepened as an Italian blog quoted Colonel Rodolfo Mecarelli of the Como provincial finance police as saying the two men had been released. The colonel and police headquarters in Rome both declined to respond to questions from the Financial Times.

                      "They are all fraudulent, it's obvious. We don't even have paper securities outstanding for that value,'' said Mckayla Braden, senior adviser for public affairs at the Bureau of Public Debt at the US Treasury department. "This type of scam has been going on for years.''

                      The Treasury has not issued physical Treasury bonds since the 1980s - they are handled electronically - though they still issue savings bonds in paper format.

                      In Washington a US Secret Service official said the agency, which is working with the Italian authorities, believed the bonds were fake.

                      Officials in Tokyo were nonplussed. Takeshi Akamatsu, a Japanese foreign ministry press secretary, said Italian authorities had confirmed that two men carrying Japanese passports had been questioned in the bond case, but that Tokyo had not been informed of their names or current whereabouts.

                      "We don't know where they are now," Mr Akamatsu said.

                      Italian officials, while pointing out that hauls of counterfeit money and Treasury bills were not unusual, were stunned by the amount involved. Investigators are looking into the origin and destination of the fakes.

                      Last month Italian prosecutors revealed they had cracked a $1bn bond scam run by the Sicilian Mafia, with the alleged aid of corrupt officials in Venezuela's central bank. Twenty people were arrested in four countries.

                      The fake bonds were to have been used as collateral to open credit lines with banks, Reuters news agency reported. The Venezuelan central bank denied the accusations.By FT staff in Rome, Tokyo, New York and Washington

                      Fall in jobless claims raises hopes

                      The number of US citizens claiming unemployment benefits fell for the first time since January, the labour department said yesterday, raising hopes the worst could be over for the stricken job market.

                      Continuing jobless claims declined by 148,000 to 6.69m in the first week of June, more than economists expected and marking the biggest weekly drop since 2001. The total number of US workers claiming unemployment benefits had hit new record highs for 19 straight weeks.

                      However, new jobless claims ticked up last week, offering a reminder that any employment recovery will be slow and that companies are continuing to cull workers as they cope with the recession. Initial jobless claims rose by 3,000 last week to 608,000 as layoffs mounted in the construction and car industries.

                      Joshua Shapiro, chief US economist at MFR, noted the probability that "long-term unemployed are starting to fall off the rolls as the duration of their unemployment benefits reaches the statutory limit".

                      http://www.reuters.com/article/busin...55I3NA20090619

                      Swiss tax deal to help cut tax evasion: Treasury
                      Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:00am EDT

                      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Treasury on Friday confirmed it reached a deal with the Swiss government to revise a two-way income tax treaty to boost an information exchange aimed at combating tax evasion through offshore accounts.

                      The changes, the result of more than two months of negotiations, are a key step toward Switzerland's removal from an international "gray list" of tax haven states. An official signing of the new protocol is expected in the next few months, the Treasury said.

                      "This treaty will increase our ability to enforce our tax laws and will help bring an end to an era of offshore accounts and investments being used for tax evasion," U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a statement.

                      The treaty revisions strengthen the exchange of information agreement between the United States and Switzerland, the world's largest wealth manager, known for its strict bank secrecy laws. The U.S.-Swiss pact will now be in line with standards set by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which has ordered Switzerland to improve cooperation in tax matters to avoid possible sanctions from Group of 20 members.

                      The United States and Switzerland have been renegotiating a tax treaty since April, part of the Swiss bid to secure 12 new bilateral tax treaties by the end of 2009 that will allow it to boost its standing with the Paris-based OECD.

                      In the background is a lawsuit by the U.S. government against Swiss bank UBS AG to retrieve tens of thousands of names of American clients with funds in Swiss bank accounts.

                      Switzerland, whose private banks manage around $2 trillion of foreign wealth, had asked Geithner to drop the civil suit in return for a tax deal. The Treasury's statement made no mention of the UBS case.

                      UBS is fighting the suit and says compliance would require UBS employees to commit fraud in Switzerland, which jealously defends its bank secrecy legislation.

                      UBS settled with the U.S. Department of Justice in February to avoid criminal charges by agreeing to pay a $780 million fine and provide a certain number of U.S. account holder names.

                      (Reporting by David Lawder and Kim Dixon; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)
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