UK police charge man with knife outside palace
The four-member crew, Brown Coasta from Brazil, Martin Coorad from Germany, Karlash Terekal from France and Antony from Britain had embarked on a round-the-world journey from Australia in August, 2012. After visiting Sri Lanka on October 11, they had set sail to Mali but while going in the Arabian Sea, the yacht was rammed by a merchant vessel around 5am on Monday. As the sail and the mast sustained damage, they could not proceed further. Hence they reached Colachel shore where officials of the Indian Coast Guard, ‘Q’ Branch and Coastal Security Group interrogated them jointly. The crew members said that they decided to approach the nearby shore after the yacht sustained damages. They claimed that the merchant vessel that hit them did not stop to help them nor could they identify the ship’s details due to the darkness. They also said that the boat was registered and insured in the UK. The insurance company in the UK has been alerted which in turn is looking out for its Indian agency to help carry out the repair works, the crew members said. ‘Q’ branch officials said that the crew members have got all the necessary documents in place and visiting India was not in their schedule. It was a mid-sea emergency that forced them to seek shelter in Colachel fishing port, a ‘Q’ branch official said. Meanwhile, the crew members have approached the district administration through Coast Guard for permission to stay. On Monday they stayed in their cabin awaiting approval from the authorities. The yacht may be taken to Tuticorin for repair works, official sources said.
Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor By Tom Bergin LONDON | Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:38am BST LONDON (Reuters) – A British charity and a labour union accused Europe’s largest pharmacy chain, Alliance Boots, of avoiding over 1.1 billion pounds in UK tax since 2008 and called on the government to change laws which allow such tax planning. Corporate tax avoidance has risen to the top of the political agenda in the UK as Britons tire of austerity measures aimed at tackling large public debt built up as a result of the financial crisis. The UK government has backed international action to reduce corporate profit shifting but has resisted calls to amend domestic rules which tax advisors say offer greater opportunity for tax minimisation than tax systems in other large industrial countries such as Germany, the United States and France. A consortium led by private equity group Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (KKR) and the drug distributor’s billionaire executive chairman Stefano Pessina took Alliance Boots private in 2007. Last year U.S. drugstore chain Walgreen Co bought 45 percent of the company. Anti-poverty group War on Want and Unite, the UK’s largest trades union, published a report on Tuesday which said that after being delisted from the London Stock Exchange, Alliance Boots’ owners loaded the company up with loans from affiliates in low-tax jurisdictions. These debts sent interest costs rocketing to 853 million pounds in 2008, the year after the acquisition, compared to 42 million pounds in the year to March 2007, said Nell Geiser, a researcher at Change to Win, an advocacy group backed by U.S. labour unions, which co-authored the report.
The Tom Jenkins-led group, as expected, released a general statement regarding todays announcement of the simplification of visa applications for Chinese visitors to the UK. ETOA said: What we have been doing to our visitors has been extraordinarily damaging; and so the announcement from George Osborne is good news for potential visitors and so good news for Britain. Its significance is wider: by making Britain more attractive (or, more correctly, less unattractive) the Chancellor has strengthened Continental Europe as a destination too. The disparity with Britains European neighbors is striking, said ETOA. France welcomed 1.28 million Chinese visitors in 2012. Britain had 149,000 in the same period. The total loss to the UK economy of these missing people has been estimated at 1.5 billion. To this end, ETOA posited that some searching questions have been asked about the system. Why was it that other countries in Europe were satisfied with a three page form, when the UK form was eight pages long? Were all those questions really necessary? The answer is that they were not. In a snide remark, ETOA said: We are told that Schengen forms will be now acceptable with the addition of a relatively short addendum form. It would be interesting to know if this will include such mandatory questions as: Have you engaged in any other activities that might indicate that you may not be considered a person of good character? The less controversial counterpart of ETOA, Tourism Society, also released a statement welcoming the announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne this morning regarding the simplification of Visa applications for Chinese visitors to the UK. Tourism Society applauded the new application process saying it should go a long way to encouraging a large number of the one million Chinese tourists who currently visit other European destinations while avoiding Britain to now include us on their itineraries. Tourism Society Chairman David Curtis-Brignell commented: France alone receives in excess of 25% more Chinese visitors than we do. Todays announcement is a significant step towards increasing the number of visitors to Britain from this important market and although it has been a long-time coming the industry must say a collective thank you to DCMS [Department for Culture, Media & Sport], the Home Office and the Chancellor for making it a reality today. To the UK government, ETOA, however, has a stronger message. It said: Much more needs to be done to rectify the debilitating competitive position that UK border security places on Britain as a destination.
NGOs accuse Alliance Boots of avoiding £1.1 billion in UK taxes
Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 UK police charge man with knife outside palace Related View Larger Tourists gather at the area in front of Buckingham Palace in central London, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. British police arrested a man with a knife after he tried to dart through a gate at Buckingham Palace in London on Monday. The palace said Queen Elizabeth II was not in residence. Breaches of royal security are rare, but just a month ago police arrested two men over a suspected break-in at the palace. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) View Larger A British police officer guards the grounds of Buckingham Palace in central London, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. British police arrested a man with a knife after he tried to dart through a gate at Buckingham Palace in London on Monday. The palace said Queen Elizabeth II was not in residence. Breaches of royal security are rare, but just a month ago police arrested two men over a suspected break-in at the palace. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) View Larger British police officers guard the grounds of Buckingham Palace in central London, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013.