08 August 2008

Luxury-tax dodgers: Audi A4 v BMW 3 Series v Lexus IS250 v Mercedes C-Class

These four models may be top-end but they are cheap enough to avoid the luxury car tax hike. Drive put them to the test. RICHARD BLACKBURN reports.

The Rudd Government announced an increase in the luxury car tax, from 25 to 33 per cent, in its first budget in May and even though the legislation hasn't passed through the senate, the higher amount is already being collected.

The move sparked much outcry, with the car industry claiming the $57,123 threshold that defines a luxury car for tax purposes is too low.

So to promote further debate of this important topic, Drive has gathered together four tax

The Sydney Morning Herald, July 21, 2008

The focus of the story is NOT the cars, but a small part of a sentence that is highlighted in RED.

A very important piece of information. This falls under the section / legal ruling of GOVERNMENT FRAUD. Will the ACCC (a guppyment body) investigate itself and give itself a FINE ??? !!! No Einsteins necessary to answer this question.

The Law Makers make their OWN rules and the plebs are powerless.

Beijing cops ask for shoe size, blood group

Living in Beijing? The government wants to know your shoe size, blood group, political affiliation and where you get your money from, according to police in at least one corner of the security-obsessed Olympic host city.

Questionnaires handed to a businessman in Beijing's east also demanded full technical details of the company computer network and a hand-drawn map of Internet connections.

Beijing has ramped up security ahead of the Games, with missile launchers guarding the main venues and a special 100,000-strong security force on the alert for terrorists.

Residents of the capital have got used to over-zealous police intruding into their lives. Visitors, even those who stay only one night, are expected to register at the local police station. Police sometimes call to ask why if they do not.

Compounds in the city centre have demanded even long-term residents carry special identity cards, while one restaurant owner said his staff had been warned by police not to speak to foreign customers about anything but their orders.

But the police forms seen by Reuters, which were aimed at Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japanese businessmen and foreign non-government workers, were unusually intrusive with detailed personal questions, some of which implied a criminal record.

Among some over 100 categories to be filled were "the last time of breaking the law", date of release from prison and source of funds. The document also asked about "cultural level" — or educational background — distinguishing features, and favourite hangouts.

They appeared to be internal police documents, said the businessman who asked not to be named because he feared retaliation for handing the forms to foreign journalists.

"It just seems like everyone is terrified ahead of the Olympics that something will happen on their patch so they are overreacting," the businessman asked to fill them in said.

"If I'd known the city was going to be like this I would have left for the Games," he told Reuters.

On Monday, religious extremists killed 16 police in the restive West in an attack the government said aimed to disrupt the Games, and which appeared to justify some of the concerns.

But critics say the security lockdown risks cloaking the host city in an oppressive atmosphere — with live music and outdoor parties banned at some venues, security checks to get on the subway and tens of thousand of migrant workers and others deemed undesirable pushed out of the city.

Reuters, 08/08/08

A glimpse into the future of Western Life

The us has already started to catalog everyone who comes in, under the excuse of an 'ism'.

07 August 2008

Trucking company short-changes drivers

Eleven Sunshine Coast truck drivers will share a $34,000 windfall after the Workplace Ombudsman uncovered underpayments of overtime and penalty rates.

Eleven Sunshine Coast truck drivers will share a $34,000 windfall after the Workplace Ombudsman uncovered underpayments of overtime and penalty rates.

Workplace Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said the underpayments, by a company he refused to name, justified his organisation's targeting of the trucking industry.

He said investigations found the small company had underpaid 11 of its 14 drivers a total of $34,458.

"We have found that the company was not paying correct penalty rates or overtime," Mr Wilson said.

"We also discovered it had wrongly deducted mobile phone charges, which in some weeks, left drivers with little or no pay at all."

Mr Wilson said road transport was at "high risk" of breaching the Workplace Relations Act, given his office had received more than 2,500 claims about it over the past two years.

Workplace Ombudsman inspectors began auditing the company's books in February following a confidential complaint.

Mr Wilson said the company had cooperated fully and was voluntarily reimbursing employees amounts from $241 to $9,454.

The underpayments date back to March, 2006.

Mr Wilson said while legal action would not be taken against the company over its mistakes, he warned there would be no excuse for it failing to comply with workplace laws in future.

Letters have been sent to 9,500 businesses around the country advising that up to 700 would be randomly selected for audit.

In Queensland, inspectors will focus on checking short distance freight companies to ensure they are complying with minimum rates, minimum shifts, split shift provisions and allowances, pay slips and time sheets.

A spokesman for the Workplace Ombudsman said employers were only named if a matter went to court.

Transport Workers Union state secretary Hughie Williams said companies caught underpaying workers should be named regardless.

"If they're prepared to commit an offence by underpaying their workers, prospective workers should know who they are," he said.

"They could have been prosecuted, so they should be named."

aap 7 Jul 2008

Always this veil of secrecy, when it comes to corporations. When an individual 'steals' a $0.50 item from a department store, a criminal conviction IS recorded against their name.

11 workers $34,000 total, therefore approx $3,100 per worker average.

Telstra is responsible for a fraud that is worth approx $6.5 million per annum.

Telstra defrauded its workers approx $6,600 each on average.

Lets see if the Workplace Ombudsman will give a similar victory to those workers.

The answer will be NO.

Stay tuned here for further results.

Update : 13 AUG 2008 - Letter has been sent to the Workplace Ombudsman.

05 August 2008

Best coffee value

If one is a frequent coffee connoisseur, then acquiring a discount card is a sensible idea.

For the purpose of this exercise 3 establishments have been surveyed.
Muffin Break, Donut King and Michel's.

All offer a free coffee every x bought ones, but just which one has the best value?

Muffin Break give you a free one every fifth coffee,

Donut King give you a freebee at the 7th one and at
Michel's you have to wait for the eighth one to be free.

Considering that the average price is approx. $3, and converting the figures, the percentage savings are as follows:

1). Muffin Break - 20%
2). Donut King - 14%
3). Michel's - 12%.

04 August 2008

Cancer causing chips; chemicals in foods a danger to health?

French fries and potato chips have never been the most healthy snack choice and never will be. Not only are they detrimental to the body in terms of high fat content, they also contain a potentially cancer-causing chemical known as acrylamide.

The chemical forms naturally when starchy foods are baked or fried and became of international concern in 2002 when unexpectedly high amounts were discovered in produce. Over 200 research projects around the world have taken place since to determine the true threat to consumers.

The majority of findings, according to the UK’s Food Standards Agency, have found that the levels we actually eat are at least 1000 times lower than the dose found to cause cancer in lab rates.

As the precise danger posed to humans consuming foods containing acrylamide is unknown, the agency’s advice is that people eat a balanced healthy diet and limit the amount of fried foods such as crisps and chips to an occasional treat.

However, in a small win for health this week, four major food manufacturers in the States have agreed to reduce levels of the chemical.

Food giants J.J. Heinz Co., Firto-Lay, Kettle foods inc. and Lance Inc have agreed to pay a combined $3 million (US) in fines for not including warning labels about the high levels of the chemical and will also reduce the amount in future products.

The new move, ordered by Attorney General Jerry Brown in the US, has been referred to as a victory for public health and a lead that other manufacturers should follow.

ninemsn 4 Aug 2008

Aussie's accused killer begs forgiveness

The man accused of the stabbing murder of a Sydney woman in Bali has begged for forgiveness in an Indonesian court.

Ahmad Fahrul Rosi, 23, told Denpasar District Court he only intended to steal ( so that makes it ok??? !!! ) , not kill, when he broke into Heidi Murphy's Bali villa on February 10 this year.

Murphy was allegedly stabbed 37 times (so where did the knife come from? or was it a butter knife and he was planning to cake her do death and it went horribly wrong ??? !!! ) after she woke and found Rosi robbing her house.

"I would like to apologise to both the parents and family of Heidi Murphy for what I have done which caused her death," Rosi told the court.

"My intention was only to steal because I was pushed by economic needs and the result of that burglary was meant to buy a ring and to fund my marriage.

"I did that because both of my parents could not afford to give me (this) and I didn't expect at all that the incident would be something like this.

"By God's name, I didn't have any intention to do this."

Prosecutors have requested Rosi be found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

But Rosi's lawyer I Nyoman Karsana on Monday urged the court to free his client of the charges.

"In this criminal case, the defendant ... clearly had no intention and purpose to kill so that sentence demanded by the prosecutor ... is unacceptable," he said.

Karsana said Rosi panicked after hearing a computer alarm and Murphy screaming.

Rosi allegedly stole two mobile phones, a laptop computer and cash, which he used to buy an engagement ring for his girlfriend in East Java. (someone's LIFE is worth an engagement ring from a piece of TRASH)

He was arrested after he used the stolen mobile phone to make calls. (NOT very smart either, probably with the IQ of the average temperature in ALSAKA )

Rosi also apologised (thank goodness for that, now he has a clear conscious) to the judges and prosecutors.

"I admit to all my mistakes ( ??? !!! mistake eg. run someone over accidentally, NOT STAB them 37 TIMES !!) and I realise that my action has violated law which the consequence is jail for me," he said.

"I surrender Mr Judge, even though it feels so heavy the punishment that I must bear because I'm aware that this is definitely not as sad as has been felt by both parents and the family of Heidi Murphy for losing the person they loved.

"I'm also aware that my action has tainted and slandered Bali's image as tourist destination."

He said he had been unable to find a job in Bali to help support his ageing parents, who are farmers.

"Please, honorary judges, consider being ... a little bit more lenient with me so that I can have the chance to improve my life and so that I can do good deeds to others for now and for the future," Rosi said.

"I also beg and ask for the greatest forgiveness from the parents and family of Heidi Murphy who have lost their most loving daughter.

"I also offer an apology to my own parents for causing this very deep pain."

In a separate hearing, Rosi's alleged accomplice in the murder - 28-year-old Indonesian construction worker Nuryanto Bin Sudar - said he was surprised and confused about the murder.

"I didn't know anything about the murder ... I only knew about the burglary," said Nuryanto, who could face up to 10 years imprisonment.

Judges are expected to hand down their verdict in the next few weeks.

aap 4 Aug 2008

No surprise there as to the verdict, because the victim is not a national of the country.
He SHOULD be sentenced to the death penalty BUT that will NEVER happen.

03 August 2008

Telstra accused of super swindle

TELSTRA has been accused by unions of "swindling" up to 20,000 staff on individual employment contracts by cutting their take-home pay and using the money to cover a shortfall in superannuation contributions. Unions claim Telstra has been caught red-handed trying to disadvantage staff, after changes to superannuation laws that require employers to calculate superannuation based on a person's earnings, not base salary.

In a circular to staff, Telstra admits many on Australian Workplace Agreements and other types of individual contracts may suffer a reduction in "disposable take-home pay" following superannuation changes.

It confirms that these staff -- potentially up to two-thirds of Telstra's 32,000 workforce -- have previously had their superannuation calculated on "base salary" and not total earnings that include performance pay.

In this month's pay packets, Telstra will subtract 1 to 2 per cent of the employees' take-home pay and put the money into their super funds.

The company is complying with new federal government laws that require income such as performance pay to be included in calculating an employer's compulsory 9 per cent superannuation contributions.

ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence said Telstra's decision to dip into workers' take-home pay was not illegal, but he questioned its ethics. He said Telstra's behaviour was a clear example of how its workers on individual contracts could be worse off compared with those on union-negotiated collective agreements.

Telstra admits workers on the union agreement will experience "little or no change going forward" because they are paid a standard salary almost identical to the new "Ordinary Time Earnings" definition used for calculating superannuation.

Mr Lawrence described Telstra's decision to deduct money from wages in the August pay period, backdated to July 1, as a "super swindle".

He said Telstra would argue that total remuneration remained unchanged. But unions believed workers would be disadvantaged when staff on base salaries of $40,000 and performance payments of $8000 incurred a $720-a-year wage cut.

"Literally weeks after management mounted a blitz to sign 15,000 employees on to AWAs, many of these Telstra workers will now receive a nasty surprise," Mr Lawrence said.

The Rudd Government abolished AWAs earlier this year but some companies such as Telstra beat the deadline by rushing to sign-up employees to five-year agreements.

The ACTU is in a protracted dispute with Telstra over negotiations for about 10,000 employees who remain on union agreements.

The Government yesterday dodged responsibility for any wage cuts for workers, and declined to comment on cuts in take-home pay for Telstra staff.

A spokeswoman for Superannuation Minister Nick Sherry said the changes related to laws introduced by the previous government in 2004. She said most employers had made the transition long before the July 1 cut-off, and meeting the requirement was a matter for negotiation between employers and workers.

Telstra spokesman Martin Barr said the company was affected like many others and must comply with the law.

He said employees were notified in advance, and the take-home pay of a majority of Telstra staff would be unaffected.

When asked, he would not confirm how many would be affected.

AustralianIT 1 Aug 2008

Telstra is also responsible for an estimated $16.5 MILLION (PER ANNUM) fraud against its contractors, a matter that was declined to be taken by SLATER & GORDON, because they were TOO BUSY and it was NOT in their financial interest to pursue.