Greek lawmakers approved a controversial new property tax Tuesday that aims to boost revenue as the country struggles to obtain a critical installment of international bailout loans that will prevent it from default.
The new tax passed 154 votes to 143 against in the 300-member parliament. It was announced earlier this month after international debt inspectors suspended their review of Greek reforms amid talk of missed revenue targets and delayed implementation of austerity measures. The inspectors are expected to return to Athens this week.
Just days after it received intense criticism from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), some other lawmakers and privacy advocates, General Motors' OnStar service has agreed that it won't keep its data connections open to customers who have canceled the service.
"I believe the US owes itself to create a 21st century tax policy for individuals as well as businesses," Kent told the paper. He also went on to criticize the complexity of the tax code, as well as the fact that American companies have to pay taxes on income earned abroad. The FT adds:
The early word from the trial of pop star Michael Jackson's physician is that the prosecutor says "the superstar's misplaced trust in the doctor led to his death" in June 2009, The Associated Press reports.
As the AP adds, "Jackson died of an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol." Dr. Conrad Murray has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. he has pleaded not guilty.
Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 2:09 pm
In Indonesia, many people are celebrating what they see as a long-delayed victory for justice and human rights. Representatives of a village in West Java that was the site of a massacre by Dutch colonial soldiers 64 years ago sued the Dutch government and won.
The Dutch court ruled that the government must now compensate the victims' seven surviving widows. One of them is 84-year-old Cawi Binti Baisan.
She remembers her husband Bitol waking her up before dawn one morning in 1947. Bitol, who went by only one name, had just come in from the rice paddies, carrying his plow.
There are a few things to say about about the incident in which President Obama was heckled by an apparent militant Christian at Monday night's campaign fundraiser at Los Angeles' House of Blues in Los Angeles. (My colleague Mark Memmott reports on the incident over at The Two-Way blog.)
A tiny crimson berry from West Africa discovered by Westerners almost three centuries ago can turn lemons into lemonade and vinegar into apple cider, at least as far as the tongue is concerned.
The chemical miraculin in "miracle fruit," as the berry is known, makes sour things eaten immediately afterward taste sweet, and sweet things taste super sweet. And it's inspired a small counterculture of "flavor trippers" who get together to swirl it (or a tablet containing it) around on their tongues and then sample a parade of foods to showcase its mind-bending qualities.
For the past three years, a highly encrypted computer worm called Conficker has been spreading rapidly around the world. As many as 12 million computers have been infected with the self-updating worm, a type of malware that can get inside computers and operate without their permission.
Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 12:11 pm
Unbearable cuteness is news, right? In any case, we'll get back to the serious news in a bit. But, first, a picture of 12 baby giant pandas taking a nap at a breeding center in Chengdu:
There is a bit of news to go along with this picture. As the AP reports today, China has finished its census of humans and has now started its once-a-decade counting of pandas in the wild. The AP adds:
Many Americans view Congress as a disaster, albeit one whose shifting tectonic plates are caused by humans not geology.
So it was probably fitting that FEMA, whose mission is partly to mitigate calamities stepped in to do just that Monday and rescue the nation's lawmakers from the dire circumstances the policymakers had created.
Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 2:03 pm
There's live video now from CNN and Washington's NBC-4 as work begins to have engineers rappel down the sides of the Washington Monument to inspect for damage from the Aug. 23 earthquake that shook much of the eastern U.S.
For many of us, coffee is the first thought of the day. Just thinking about it gives us the buzz, the energy and the power to ask ourselves the next question, do I make it at home or shell out another $4 at the local Starbucks as I race to work?
The vast majority of parents get their kids vaccinated, but a persistent minority decline to do so.
Their reasons vary: Some continue to worry about a link with autism even though research supporting a connection has been completely discredited. Others are concerned about side effects, or they say they don't believe that the diseases the vaccines prevent are really all that serious.
Israel's government has given the final go-ahead for the construction of 1,100 new housing units in east Jerusalem.
The move is sure to heighten tensions, which are already high following a Palestinian move last week to seek U.N. membership.
Israel's Interior Ministry announced Tuesday that it had given the final approval for the new homes to be built in Gilo, a sprawling Israeli enclave in southeast Jerusalem. It said construction could begin after a mandatory 60-day period for public comment.
Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 7:52 am
July marked a fourth consecutive month of slight gains in home prices in its surveys covering major cities across the nation, researchers who put together the widely watched S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices
Today's top story so far in the U.S. seems to be about the government shutdown that isn't going to happen.
As we reported earlier, Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement last night that averted what might have been at least a partial shutdown later this week. And, as often is the case, both sides are claiming vindication.
Meanwhile, other stories making headlines include:
Originally published on Tue September 27, 2011 8:28 am
As some last-minute developments and a late-evening deal came together to bring another shutdown showdown to a close last night, Democratic and Republican leaders were both declaring their positions in the latest budget battle had been vindicated.
In November 1941, two ships crossed paths off the coast of Australia. One was the German raider HSK Kormoran. The other: an Australian warship called the HMAS Sydney. Guns were fired, the ships were damaged, and both sank to the bottom of the ocean.
Big banks are beginning to make good on their threat to charge fees for everyday checking accounts. But most banks aren't big banks, and community institutions are hanging on to free checking as long as they can in the hopes of luring away some of the big banks' disgruntled customers.
The larger banks are now enacting what customers like James Miller of Nashville have heard was on the horizon for a year or more: Your free checking account is about to cost you.
The high price of gold and other precious metals is encouraging a new breed of gold diggers — traveling estate buyers who temporarily set up shop in hotels. They offer to pay cash on the spot for gold, diamonds, old Rolexes and collectibles.
Walking into one such event at a hotel, it all seems very professional: A fancy conference room with a 20-foot conference table, with soothing bossa nova music playing overhead.
For a long time, much of the world saw the eurozone sovereign debt crisis as Europe's problem. Now world leaders, including the United States, realize a eurozone meltdown could have dire consequences for everyone. They are working up a massive rescue plan whose contours are beginning to emerge. Although Britain does not use the euro, that nation's politicians are using their party conventions to issue dire warnings about the euro's fate. And one eminent economist is proposing a novel solution to limit the impact of the European debt crisis.