Debt crisis warning as poorest countries’ repayment bills soar | Business | The Guardian

Debt repayments by the world’s poorest countries have doubled since 2010 to reach their highest level since just before the internationally organised write-off in 2005, campaigners have warned.

The Jubilee Debt Campaign (JDC) said a borrowing spree when global interest rates were low had left many developing nations facing repayments bills that were forcing them into public spending cuts.

Plunging commodity prices, a stronger dollar and rising US interest rates had combined to increase debt repayments by 85% between 2010 and 2018, the JDC said.

The bid to reduce the unaffordable debts of the world’s poorest countries was prompted by grassroots activism in the late 1990s and early 2000s, first with the Jubilee 2000 campaign and then with Make Poverty History.

But the financial position of many developing nations has again deteriorated in recent years.

via Debt crisis warning as poorest countries’ repayment bills soar | Business | The Guardian

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Inheritance tax loopholes allowing super-rich to pay lower rates | Business | The Guardian

The UK’s super-rich pay half the rate of inheritance tax paid by the merely very rich, according to an analysis of HMRC data that throws fresh focus on how billionaires’ advisers use a “kitbag” of tricks to reduce heirs’ tax bills.

Estates worth £10m or more paid an average of 10% tax to the exchequer in the 2015-16 tax year compared with an average 20% tax paid by estates worth £2m-£3m, according to data released by HMRC following a freedom of information request by asset manager Canada Life.

The law states that estates should pay 40% tax on assets above £325,000 – or above £450,000 if the family home is given to children or grandchildren. But Neil Jones, the market development manager at Canada Life, said the richest of the rich often did not pay anywhere near that rate because they had access to “a myriad of potential solutions in an adviser’s kitbag to help mitigate IHT [inheritance tax]”.

via Inheritance tax loopholes allowing super-rich to pay lower rates | Business | The Guardian

Lucy Flores on Joe Biden: 'I Want Him to Change His Behavior'

When asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper what she would say to critics who accused her of being “politically motivated” in her decision to speak out about Joe Biden’s inappropriate behavior, former Nevada assemblywoman Lucy Flores said: “I would say politics was definitely the impetus.”

In her response, Flores upended the script that women are expected to follow, one in which they must play defense against cynical, sexist attacks that insist women come forward against powerful men for fame or personal gain. Instead, Flores, a former candidate for Nevada’s lieutenant governor, said she told her story at precisely this moment because Biden is now considering running for president. Addressing his behavior with women should be part of that vetting process. It is, in other words, absolutely political.

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via Lucy Flores on Joe Biden: 'I Want Him to Change His Behavior'

Report: European Parliament Screwed Up Their Chance to Amend Copyright Directive By Voting Wrong

The European Parliament approved a massive, sweeping overhaul of online copyright rules on Tuesday, leaving the extremely controversial Articles 11 and 13 untouched on as the EU Copyright Directive cruised through the legislative body. According to a report on TechDirt, they may have done so in part because several members of the European Parliament cast incorrect ballots on a key vote to allow amendments.

Article 11, sometimes called the “link tax” by detractors, requires web platforms to obtain a license to link to or pull quotes from news articles. It is ostensibly intended to ensure that publications get a slice of the revenue that big services like Google News pull in, but critics say it could undermine the ability of users to share content across the web.

via Report: European Parliament Screwed Up Their Chance to Amend Copyright Directive By Voting Wrong

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Fires Back on 'Elitist' Green New Deal

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who introduced the bill back in February, faced similar mockery during a Monday hearing of the House Financial Services Committee when Wisconsin Republican Sean Duffy, a Real World alum and all in all terrible shit, called the Green New Deal a policy designed for a “rich liberal.”

“This is not an elitist issue,” she said in a video clip from that hearing that went viral on Tuesday night. “This is a quality of life issue. You want to tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist?”

She added, “This is about American lives. And it should not be partisan. Science should not be partisan. We are facing a national crisis.”

via Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Fires Back on 'Elitist' Green New Deal

Trump’s Legal Battle to Keep Blocking Critics on Twitter Doesn’t Seem to Be Going So Hot

Last year, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that Donald Trump (a man whose unhinged tweeting has ranged from boosting neo-Nazi propaganda and slamming critics to worrying the military about nuclear war) could not block critics on Twitter, finding his feed is a public forum and that blocking his haters amounted to a violation of the First Amendment. Well, he’s still fighting that ruling in the appeals process, with the Justice Department defending the blocks before a three-judge panel in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday.

It doesn’t appear to be going so well for the president’s itchy blocking finger! According to reports in Bloomberg, the Washington Post, and CNN, the three judges in question seemed rather skeptical of the DOJ’s claim that what goes down on @realDonaldTrump is between the president and his Twitter enemies, rather than between the federal government and the U.S. populace. Instead, they seemed amenable to the plaintiffs, users who at one time or another were blocked by Trump, and are being represented in the suit by the Knight First Amendment Institute.

via Trump’s Legal Battle to Keep Blocking Critics on Twitter Doesn’t Seem to Be Going So Hot

Stephanic Borowicz’s Racist Prayer as Movita Johnson-Harrell Sworn-in

s Pennsylvania made history on Monday, swearing in the first Muslim woman elected to the state House, one Republican lawmaker prayed to Jesus for forgiveness.

State Representative Stephanic Borowicz, a newly-elected state representative who opposes abortion and loves Donald Trump, kicked off the Pennsylvania House session’s opening prayer by asking God to watch over fellow Republican leaders, including the president. “Lord thank you that he stands behind Israel, unequivocally.”

She continued in a 100-second display of pure Islamophobia: “God forgive us. Jesus, we’ve lost sight of you, we’ve forgotten you, God, in our country, and we’re asking you to forgive us.”

via Stephanic Borowicz's Racist Prayer as Movita Johnson-Harrell Sworn-in

What It Means for Jeff Ballabon to Call Ilhan Omar “Filth”

There too, Trump campaign advisor Jeff Ballabon found Representative Ilhan Omar. On Monday, Ballabon called Omar “filthy” during a Fox Business interview while accusing the progressive congresswoman of being an anti-Semite due to her criticisms of Israel and its right-wing leader, Benjamin Netanyahu.

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This is by now an old smear, told again and again about the Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota, but the most recent iteration of the cycle started last week. The New York Times reports that during an event at a Washington, DC bookstore, Omar, responding to accusations of anti-Semitism, “questioned why it was acceptable for her to speak critically about the political influence of the National Rifle Association, fossil fuel industries, and ‘big pharma,’ but not the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.”

via What It Means for Jeff Ballabon to Call Ilhan Omar “Filth”

Rape Charges Dropped Against NYPD Cops Who Had Sex With Teen

In 2017, two NYPD detectives admitted to having sex with a teen in their custody. The detectives were charged with rape and kidnapping, but on Wednesday, Brooklyn prosecutors dismissed those charges.

According to the New York Daily News, former cops Richard Hall and Eddie Martins now face bribery and official misconduct charges for the September 2017 incident, in which they admitted to having sex with a teen identified as Anna Chambers after arresting her on a minor drug charge in Brooklyn.

Chambers, now 20, alleged the cops raped her, and DNA was found on her. The Brooklyn DA’s office, however, claimed Chambers made a number of “false, misleading and inconsistent statements,” including “false statements under oath,” which may have contributed to the dismissal. And though it is now (at long last) illegal for cops in New York to have sex with people in custody, that law did not exist in 2017. The age of consent in New York is 17.

via Rape Charges Dropped Against NYPD Cops Who Had Sex With Teen

Rikers Rape Victim Wins Settlement After Smuggling out DNA Evidence

Jane Doe, a woman who smuggled out clothing with DNA evidence on it after she was raped by a guard at Rikers won her $500,000 settlement in a civil lawsuit against the city in a rare victory on Monday, the Intercept reported.

According to the Intercept, Jose Cosme, the guard who sexually assaulted Jane Doe, cornered her in an office. Jane Doe accused another officer, Leonard McNeil, of arranging the rape after Cosme found out that McNeil had a sexual relationship with Jane Doe (any sexual relationship is considered non-consensual between a guard and a incarcerated person under New York law). McNeil was neither prosecuted nor disciplined.

via Rikers Rape Victim Wins Settlement After Smuggling out DNA Evidence