Japan ‘Cove’ town plans dolphin park – May 02, 2012
Taiji, Japan plans to open a marine safari park. – shutterstock.com
TOKYO, May 2 – The dolphin-hunting Japanese town of Taiji, made infamous by the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove”, plans to open a marine mammal park where visitors can swim with the creatures, a media report said.
The town intends to section off part of the cove and turn it into a place where people can swim and kayak alongside small whales and dolphins, Jiji Press news agency reported, calling it “a marine safari park.”
The cove is the scene of an annual slaughter when the fishermen of Taiji corral dolphins, select a few dozen for sale to aquariums and marine parks, and stab the rest to death for meat, turning the sea red.
The 2009 film “The Cove” brought Taiji to worldwide attention, winning an Oscar the following year, after showing the bloody slaughter. Activists continue to visit the town to protest the hunt.
Taiji, in western Wakayama prefecture, aims to officially launch the project within five years after negotiating with the prefectural government, which manages the bay, and with pearl farmers operating there, Jiji reported.
The plan, compiled by a panel of residents, calls for the creation of “a whale park” stretching roughly 28 hectares (69 acres) by putting up a net at the entrance to Moriura Bay in northwestern Taiji, it said.
Black whales and bottlenose dolphins caught in waters near the town would be released into the pool, which would be developed as a nature park that also includes beaches and mudflats, it said.
“We want to send out the message that the town is living together with whales,” Taiji Mayor Kazutaka Sangen, was quoted as saying.
The local government will also study whether it is possible to raise large whales there, the agency said, adding it intends to use the park for therapy and ecological research.
The town caught 928 dolphins in 2011, according to Wakayama prefecture.
A town official, who declined to be named, said by telephone that the town “is no way going to stop” its annual dolphin hunt, adding local residents see no contradiction in both watching and eating dolphins. – AFP
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Hateful. Much like the Nomadic Tuareg of North Africa, or the Mongols and early nomadic era Khitans of East Asia, whales are NOMADIC. Whales travel 1000s of miles along the Earth’s ‘energy’ routes and ley lines, enclosing them in this tiny ‘park’ will be the death of them. They will suffer and feel the call to migrate and pine away in illness eventually no matter how ‘kind’ the Japanese are to them. This is a terrible idea and instead I advocate a small fleet of ‘anti-whalers’ (or cruise ships trailing known routes) that should instead accompany the great animals and the dolphin pods on their migrations (at a distance not to disturb them) to protect them as well as truly experience ‘whale lifestyle’, not trapping the pelagic and migratory animals from their natural patterns.
Worse still where the slaughter of so many occurred, the spirits of the dead whales would doubtless be present and thus upset the sensitive animals who could who knows well ‘see’ the deceased. Shame on you Japanese. To think the Japanese claim to study ‘Shinto’ and ‘Ki’ and what not b.s.. How could the Japanese behave like this? Would a Japanese who knew their grandparents were murdered in a certain place want to stay there? This is somewhat worse than saying that ‘Nanjing’ did not happen or that all, (I stress all – probably less than 10% who were that lasvicious or already in the sex work field), ‘Comfort Women’ (who still have not received apology or compensation – print some fiat why don’ the Japanese, bits of paper to allow some aged women who suffered the brutality of Japanese soldiers is no effort at all to the Japs and even then the sincereity would be in doubt, at least they had a chance to enjoy life abit though reparations never can count for what those who were not consensual lost . . . ) were consensual.
Dog and cat meat consumption in Asia
In China and Korea enormous amounts of Dog –and Cat meat are being consumed.
Also in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Myanmar (former Soviet Union) dogs and cats are being used as food, but the consumption is a bit lower over there. Dog and Cat meat is an old cuisine. The assertion that it is a part of the traditional kitchen is nothing less than a publicity stunt of the food producing cartels. Dogs and Cats are simply an easy and inexpensive food source. In a lot of Asian countries the slaughtering of dogs and cats is practiced since time immemorial and will continue. Cats are mainly consumed in China, Korea and parts of Indonesia.
The estimated numbers of dogs that are used for consumption in 2008 lay between 13 and 16 million (source: Animal People); for Cats the numbers were about 4 million.
Dog meat is highly popular in non-Westernized conoisseurs in Hong Kong, South Korea, and the Philippines. Despite the popularity, the numbers of slaughtered dogs grow very little each year as these groups tend to be quite elite and do not mix with the Westerners.
The Dogs and Cats are purposely gruesomely mistreated before slaughter as the belief is that the suffering of the animals makes the meat taste better. Mistreatment is not intended, the killing methods are very painful. Sources in China reveal that Dogs and Cats are being stabbed in the neck, thrown in boiling water or electrocuted, hanged or beaten on the head with a plank while still conscious. There are a few contradicting myths about Dog meat.
In the summer Koreans eat Dog meat to cool themselves. In China they eat Dog meat to stay warm…
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Outlets where cooked dog or cat meat are purposely gruesomely mistreated before slaughter, should be boycotted entirely. Though finding out which of these practice the bad method of culling is another issue. Conversely do remember that those who do treat the animals as other domesticated livestock are treated and culled, should be allowed to continue.
Of course, those with the cash and access to technology for growing meat OF ANY KIND should begin initiatives so that these issues will not plague us. Or better yet, find ways to enable human beings to get energy and nutrition without eating at all! This again must be consensually applied to informed persons, one may not want to give up eating simply because the sense of life eating brings but that would mean a cyberneticisation of the person eventually, a NON-ORGANIC GMO type immortality and a lack of reason to procreate.
Maybe applicable after a few decades of normal organic life and then an option to procreate, age and die or to be turned into a machine? But the ‘humanity’ is lost and that is more precious than existence so only a few particularly insensitive types would opt for that. The rest though would still opt for the organic method, or die trying.
Brazil’s secret fiscal weapon — the tax ‘lion’ – May 08, 2012
BRASILIA, May 8 — In Brazil, groups of armed agents fly around the country by helicopter, pounding on doors and instilling fear in the hearts of those who break the law.
They’re not the police — they’re from the tax agency.
The Federal Revenue Service, which has gained global renown for its tough and creative tactics, will be one of the most important keys to Brazil’s economic prospects in 2012.
President Dilma Rousseff (picture) is counting on the agency’s tax-collecting prowess to help her government meet ambitious budget targets without smothering the country’s suddenly brittle economy.
The agency, known as “The Lion” for its official emblem as well as its ferocious pursuit of tax dodgers, deploys everything from gun-toting operatives to meters on beer kegs in breweries to ensure that individuals and companies fully declare, and pay, their share to the government.
Recent operations have had names like “Black Panther” and “Delta” that are usually more associated with army special forces. The agency even uses helicopters to size up millionaires’ homes and make sure they are consistent with their tax returns.
No one is immune: Rousseff herself briefly came under scrutiny in 2009, when she was a minister in the previous government, because of what she said was an innocent mistake on her tax return.
The agency’s methods, as well as high and extremely complex taxes, have prompted grumbling among some Brazilians. They point to woeful infrastructure, education and other decrepit public services and say they are not getting nearly enough in return for the cash they contribute.
But others express admiration for a rare success story of tax collection in Latin America, a region where evasion often rivals football as a favourite pastime.
“When it comes to collecting taxes, Brazilians are really good. They are probably some of the best in the world,” said Italo Lombardi, an analyst with Standard Chartered in New York.
Rousseff will need every bit of the agency’s skill in what is proving to be a surprisingly tough year for Brazil’s economy.
Her government has committed to a key budget goal known as the primary budget surplus — revenues minus expenditures except debt payments — of about 139 billion reais (RM216 billion) this year.
The target is closely watched by investors as a sign of whether the government is pumping too much money into the economy. Falling short of the target could signal higher inflation, which in turn could jeopardise Rousseff’s entire agenda, including her drive to lower interest rates.
There are two ways to balance a budget, of course, and Rousseff can meet the target in part by limiting spending. But officials say she is wary of cutting too much, for fear of causing damage to an economy that has been stagnant since the middle of last year. In fact, Rousseff has announced some new tax cuts to try to revive activity.
That means that the burden of hitting the budget goal will depend primarily on another stellar performance by the Federal Revenue Service, which managed to increase tax collection by 10.1 per cent last year, when the economy grew just 2.7 per cent.
So far, so good. In the first three months of the year, the government was able to save nearly a third of its primary surplus target for the year. Tax revenues rose more than 7 per cent compared to the same period in 2011.
One of the secrets behind such performance, officials say, is the agency’s willingness to ignore social status and political connections in a country where both often grant the elite a degree of protection in courts and elsewhere.
In April, local media reported that police seized a sports car owned by Luis Fabiano — a football star for the popular Sao Paulo club. Fabiano, a former member of Brazil’s national team, denied the authorities’ allegation that he had failed to pay taxes on the Audi, which is worth nearly half a million reais.
“The role of the tax authority is to let taxpayers know that we are keeping an eye on them and that they should do the right thing,” Caio Candido, the agency’s undersecretary for inspection, said in an interview.
The agents themselves also have a good record of doing the right thing. Corruption cases are few and far between, a sharp contrast with the deluge of charges against officials in the police and other public institutions.
Officials from Chile, Tanzania and even China have come to Brazil to study what makes the agency so effective.
Several Latin American countries such as Mexico and Paraguay are believed to lose as much as half of potential tax revenues to evasion and lax enforcement. By contrast, evasion in Brazil is thought to be around 16 per cent of potential income, according to the Tax Planning Institute, a private Brazil-based group.
That rate is high when compared to some northern European countries, experts say, but much better than that of many emerging market peers.
Average tax evasion in Brazil from 2000-2009 was below that of China, India, Russia and South Africa — Brazil’s fellow members of the BRICS group of large emerging markets — according to data from Global Financial Integrity, a Washington-based research group that advocates financial transparency.
More than 25 million Brazilians declare income tax. That is less than a quarter of the economically active population because most Brazilians make less than the US$8,300 (RM24,900) a year, the level at which people have to start paying income tax.
The high-profile cases involving individuals grab the headlines, but the biggest money comes from closely monitoring companies, which make up more than half of Brazil’s tax revenue.
Here, technology and manpower play large roles. Teams of accountants and legal experts are deployed to monitor the books of companies year-round. Everardo Maciel, who helped modernise the tax agency in the 1990s, said the authority was one of the first in the world to fully embrace the Internet as a tool.
The agency has about 12,000 agents across Brazil and their tasks range from monitoring the tax receipts of millionaires to hunting for the smugglers of everything from cocaine to Chinese toys along its border.
The government has also managed to instil habits among Brazilians that help prevent evasion.
Cashiers at supermarkets and other retail outlets in big Brazilian cities constantly ask their customers: “Do you want your CPF on the receipt?” By consenting to enter their CPF, which is a personal tax identification number, consumers get a tax refund — and the government gets data that allows officials to better track a company’s sales.
Such measures helped the government demand a record 109 billion reais in unpaid taxes from individuals and companies last year. Some of those accused of underpaying are global giants like iron-ore miner Vale, which is partly owned by the government.
Most tax cases take years to be resolved in courts, but the tax agency was able to secure about 18 billion reais in back payments last year alone.
Some Brazilians see a less virtuous explanation for the tax agency’s efficiency — what they describe as their government’s all but insatiable appetite for money.
Tax revenues equal to about 35 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, well above emerging-market peers and more in line with European countries. But the services offered in return are hardly Europe-like, as Brazil’s roads, schools and police remain under-resourced even by Latin American standards.
Sixty-five per cent of Brazilians disapprove of the government’s tax policies, according to a CNI-Ibope poll released in April. Brazilian vent their anger on websites with names that, translated into English, mean “timetoact.com” or “bigtaxholiday.com.”
“Tax collection in this country is very high, but why is the application of that money not as efficient as collection?” said Gilberto Luiz do Amaral, head of studies at the Tax Planning Institute.
Amaral is the creator of the “taxmeter,” a website with real-time projections on how much the government is collecting, juxtaposed with headlines like “This could buy six million ambulances.”
Taxes are not only high but complex. Brazil ranks 150th out of 183 countries in terms of ease of paying taxes, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking. It takes nearly seven times longer for companies to prepare their taxes in Brazil than the average elsewhere in Latin America, the bank says.
The marginal tax rate for companies in Brazil averages about 34 per cent. Business owners often complain they are charged twice and sometimes even three times the same tax by municipalities and states.
Tax laws are complicated and fast-changing. Private lawyers estimate a new tax rule is created about every seven weeks.
Rousseff says she gets the message. She has vowed to improve the quality of spending and seek tax cuts.
“The government needs to use public resources efficiently and with honesty,” Rousseff said in a televised address last week, “so that people feel they are getting a good return for their taxes.” — Reuters
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Remember that overreaching all these agencies and government as well, is the fact that the voters can vote to abolish taxes or even the army or police entirely by choosing an MP who will do so. With enough MPs, the entire parasite system will no longer take up tax dollars. For example, when a MP says they will increase police number or military equipment, this does not mean crime is going down, what does happen is that instead of subsidies for poor, more taxes will be spent supporting that new recruits and maintaining equipment which doubtless will meet government crony middlemen along the way which will increase prices inflation, running costs etc.., for decades long periods of time!
The agency, uniformed group, and all employees are drawing on taxpayer funds, and without them, there would be less consumption of tax. Vote for people who will abolish GST, VAT and tax entirely. At least for those not earning massive amounts. Perhaps taxes could begin to be levied on upper scale earners only. To solve the police or army problem, make the whole uniformed group voluntary, to provide their own weapons, and still be bound by laws. To solve the military equipment problem, let the multi-millionaires or billionaires buy tanks, ships and planes.
If they wish to, they can also fund any barracks existing. The issue of bureaucracy can also be dealt with in the same manner. Voluntary and with responsibilities, the respect should not be for a fat salary but for the service provided which also needs to be limited to a certain number of terms to prevent political hegemony by groups of citizens in all areas in all fields. Democracy is not a parasite system, democracy means Socialism with Capitalist limits (not unlimited uncontrolled Capitalism), each pulling the weight they are able to. (i.e. poor and middle wealth do not pay tax, upper wealth and above pay, apex be required to support healthcare, education, the military and police etc.. instead of sequestering that wealth).
Threatening Letters Containing White Powder Sent To Manhattan Banks – Given Reference To ‘May Day,’ NYPD Suspects Possible ‘Occupy’ Involvement – April 30, 2012 11:59 Threatening letters containing a white powder that turned out to be cornstarch were sent to multiple Wells Fargo locations around the city. (credit: Sonia Rincon, 1010 WINS) Updated at 12:26 a.m., May 1, 2012
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Envelopes containing white powder turned up at multiple banks in Manhattan on Monday, police told 1010 WINS.
Five of the envelopes were sent to Wells Fargo banks, one was sent to JP Morgan Chase headquarters and another was sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Office and ended up in a mailroom on Gold Street.
The powder was determined to be cornstarch, police said.
1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon Hears From Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne
Hazmat teams and detectives were dispatched to banks all afternoon checking for possible threats, 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported.
The envelopes also contained notes that were nearly identical, containing references to “May Day,” which falls on May 1 and is a traditional rally day for labor movements.
The notes also included statements such as “You have 10 seconds to stop working,” “You are not in control” and “[Expletive] the banks.”
Occupy Wall Street is planning a big demonstration Tuesday in New York City, urging followers to block traffic at bridges and tunnels to make it hard for people to get to work.
That has the NYPD suspecting that there may be an Occupy Wall Street connection to the letters.
“I’m not aware of any unions who are actually striking, but the message seems to be connected to that, saying ‘Stop work, you have 10 seconds to do it,’” Browne told 1010 WINS’ Rincon.
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False flag to justify enriching hazmat or TSA suppliers and contractors. In fact, all terrorism might be strawmen events including 911 to generate massive profits based around ‘terror’ and ‘war against terror’ ala 10th crusade. How about looking for a ‘Clintonite’ who propagates good economics and good times, rather than the Bush era warmongering. There are better ways to educate populations about overpopulation WHILE humanity has a good time. We don’t care if the President has sex regularly in the oval office (though not at our expense), but we do care that life does not become a ‘Hazmat’ or ‘Fed Reserve’ justifying exercise which enriches extreme plutocrats and causes ‘collateral deaths’ that cause hatred worldwide for what used to be the better of nations. Oh and lets get some Native American peoples into government or at very least the UN Ambassadry for USA.
Michael Krieger On The Rebirth Of Barter – Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/27/2012 17:46 -0400
The Final Act of the Uruguay Round, marking the conclusion of the most ambitious trade negotiation of our century, will give birth – in Morocco – to the World Trade Organization, the third pillar of the New World Order, along with the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund – Government of Morocco – April, 1994 Source: New York Times, full page ad by the government of Morocco
The Rebirth of Barter
One of the most important articles I have read this week comes from Forbes contributor Gordon Chang. In it he states that China is preparing to avoid U.S. sanctions on Iran by paying for oil with gold. Not only that but he also mentions that China has already been bartering with Iran to get a hold of petroleum. He states:
So how can Beijing keep both Iran’s ayatollahs and President Obama happy at the same time? Simple, the Chinese can avoid the U.S. sanctions through barter. China has already been trading its produce for Iran’s petroleum, but there is only so much gai lan and bok choy the Iranians can eat. That’s why Iran is also accepting, among other goods, Chinese washing machines, refrigerators, toys, clothes, cosmetics, and toiletries.
The barter trade works, but Iran needs cash too. As it is being cut off from the global financial system, the next best thing is gold. So we should not be surprised that in late February the Iranian central bank said it would accept that metal as payment for oil. Last year, China imported $21.7 billion in Iranian oil and exported $14.8 billion in goods and services. As the NDAA goes into effect, look for Beijing to ship gold to Iran to make up the difference.
Thus, the leadership in America in its infinite stupidity has actually accelerated the demise of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. After its “kinetic action” in Libya succeeded in toppling the regime there, Washington’s geopolitical hubris grew and it has attempted to muscle Iran into a corner. Instead, all it has done is alienated our “allies” that need Iranian oil to survive and in the process quickened a move away from the dollar to settle certain transactions. Read Gordon’s article here.
In a similar move on a more micro level, the government of Spain in a similar desperation has banned the use of cash transactions above 2,500 euros (read this great article here on it). How do you think citizens are going to respond to this? People are already in the streets. They are not pleased with what is going on. Then the government is going to tell them they can’t use cash amongst themselves so that the authorities can track every single thing they do and bleed them with taxes until they are slaves on a banker plantation. Everything is going to go black market and to a barter system. It will happen country by country as governments get increasingly desperate and the authoritarian clamp down continues. It will happen on an increasing level until all of these house of cards bureaucratic states fail and something new is reborn. In case you haven’t seen it yet, this one town in Greece is already leading the way. This story outlines what will be a mega trend globally over the next decade.
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. . . look for Beijing to ship gold to Iran to make up the difference . . .
Joking? This article sounds like an attempt to sequester the only nano-femto-viable (alongside platinum perhaps) valuable commodity (for femto-circuitry probably) – whats the author trying to pull? Maybe goods for goods, but gold is the last resort item that the Indians and Chinese would even let go of. Seriously. Ask around. Labour and cheap goods yes.
But gold for oil that will be burnt energy? Forget it. The largest solar panel producer in the world China, will be going solar based electric soon, and Iran had better start saving cash and being a bit more popular, as in Persian popular. There is no long term paradigm for old energy technology based on coal, oil and gas. And fossil fuel once burnt stays burnt. GOLD LASTS FOREVER (in human terms at any rate). Also China and BRICS needs tht gold to introduce a GOLD STANDARD to destroy the fiat paper system (and all opponent economies) with. I’d rather go no further into this but focus on barter as a viable system instead.
1 Dinar is equal to 4.25 grams of weight at purity of 916. 1 Dinar could buy a goat during the time of prophet Muhammad.
But Gold cannot be produced by farming goats. Think deeply on this.
NRC and the nuclear industry are attempting to whitewash Fukushima to relicense dangerous nuclear plants like Limerick. Myths and outright lies must be confronted to prevent more harm in Japan and a potential Limerick meltdown.
Fukushima’s GE reactors, similar to Limerick’s, were relicensed right before meltdowns. Just like us, Japan’s people were falsely assured meltdowns could never happen. So-called “redundant safety systems” failed. Fukushima was declared the worst nuclear disaster in history. Experts estimate radiation releases are 20 times Chernobyl’s, with three nuclear reactors and four nuclear fuel cores exposed. Dangerous radioactive plumes spread worldwide. Huge radioactive spills poured into the sea. Radiation levels 20,000 times above limits were detected. How anyone, let alone NRC, could call Fukushima doses “too low” to cause harm in the face of undeniable evidence is astounding. Such lies contradict reality, common sense, and scientific studies. It’s indefensible to dismiss Fukushima’s health consequences by inaccurately “claiming” radiation doses are “too low” and that there will be “no health harm.” Such ridiculous claims are political, not scientific. Fukushima, like Chernobyl, has the highest category on the International Nuclear Event Scale, meaning “A Major Release of Radiation With Widespread Health & Environmental Impact.” Russian scientists reported over a million additional deaths worldwide from Chernobyl. Many suffered a long list of health harms, including cancers. Children were born with heartbreaking deformities. For details: New York Academy of Science at nyas.org/annals. Chernobyl:”Consequences To People And The Environment”, compiles over 5,000 scientific studies.
If NRC heeded lessons from Japan, Limerick Nuclear Plant would be closed now. Instead:
• NRC gave Exelon until 2017 to comply with earthquake risk upgrades, even though Limerick is classified “high risk” (3rd in the nation) and earthquake risks are drastically increased from fracking in Pennsylvania.
• Limerick’s uncorrectable “design flaws” are ignored, such as faulty cement used for fuel pools, and substandard containment for reactors allowing more radiation to be released in a disaster.
• Also ignored, insufficient water to deal with a Limerick meltdown. There’s no endless water supply to keep cooling generators and fuel pools from an ocean. In fact, Limerick’s cooling towers have significantly depleted the Schuylkill River since 1985.
• Since 2010, GE’s warnings about Limerick’s flawed “key safety mechanism” to shut down reactors basically goes unaddressed.
• Limerick is run harder than design capacity through uprates, increasing risk of mechanical breakdown.
Exelon is complying with NRC’s weakened requirements for relicensing, but still failing to spend what is required to reduce Limerick’s unprecedented threats and harms to our region.
• Even though Limerick’s deadly “spent fuel” pools are packed and vulnerable, Exelon refuses to guard against terrorist air strikes or missiles.
• Only two back-up generators (for far too short a time) are insufficient for two reactors and two fuel pools.
• Fires can lead to meltdown, yet Limerick does not follow the safest fire safety regulations.
• There’s no filtration for toxics from Limerick’s Schuylkill River intake to reduce air pollution from cooling towers, or extraordinary toxic discharges into the river, or contaminated mine water pumping into the river to operate Limerick.
Enough lies and negligence for Exelon profits. An entire region faces becoming a dead zone, with residents losing their health, homes, and possessions. Clearly, Limerick must be closed to prevent a meltdown. If you agree, call ACE (610) 326-2387, or e-mail email@example.com. Leave your name, phone, and e-mail.
Limerick’s electric can be replaced. For details visit ACE’s new website at http://www.acereport.org.
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This is how a few hundred or thousand people dependent on their salaries from a nuclear plant end up holding millions, possibly the whole nation, even world hostage. If anything goes wrong, the same bunch end up jobless and irradiating tens to hundreds of square kilometres of land that would have been useful. Why not distribute that same land to these people (and even more people as well – for subsistence farming or whatever they want) instead, and be done with the risk of irradiation to the entire nation? An even bigger profit from organic grown food from that same land would be more useful.
Russia’s 200 wealthiest worth some half trillion dollars – Forbes list – Published: 19 April, 2012, 12:04 – Edited: 19 April, 2012, 22:08 – Alisher Usmanov (Reuters / Denis Sinyakov)
Russian metals mogul Alisher Usmanov has become the richest person in Russia thanks to a shrewd investment in Facebook, according to the Forbes list of 200 wealthiest people in the country.
With personal assets of $18.5 billion, the co-owner of the Metalinvest mining company knocked rival Vladimir Lisin, owner of the NLMK steel company, out of the top spot. Lisin, whose wealth is estimated at $15.9 billion, had topped the Forbes list for the last two years.
Severstal owner Alexey Mordashov was in third place with a fortune of $15.3 billion.
Usmanov’s wealth is believed to have been boosted by a 5.5% stake in Facebook, which has multiplied in value several times since 2010, when he purchased it through his Digital Sky Technologies Company (DST). The billionaire also owns stakes in Twitter Inc., Groupon Inc. and China’s internet portal Alibaba.
Just as Usmanov nicely upped his assets by $1.1 billion with his well-timed investment in internet companies, his arch-rivals Lisin and Mordashov lost $8.1 billion and $3.2 billion respectively, as the metal sector was blitzed by recession last year.
Vladimir Potanin, the president of Intrerros, took fourth place with $14.5 billion. He is followed by the head of Lukoil Vagit Alikperov ($13.5 billion) and Mikhail Fridman, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Alfa Group with $13.4 billion.
Former presidential candidate and ex-owner of ONEXIM Group Mikhail Prokhorov was in 7th – a step down from his enviable position as third richest last year. His wealth dropped from $18 to $13.2 billion.
The only lady on the list is Elena Baturina, owner of Inteco development company and wife of Moscow’s ex-mayor Yury Luzhkov. Her personal wealth is estimated around $1.1 billion.
The oldest Russian millionaire is Vladimir Tetukhin from the Avisma titanium monopoly, with $650 million, and the youngest, at just 16, is Deny Bazhaev – son of the late Zia Bazhaev, founder of Alliance Group, dealing in investment. He is the owner of around $750 million.
The total wealth of Russia’s 200 richest weighs in at $446.3 billion. 145 of them live in Moscow, and 13 in St. Petersburg.
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Russia could take over the world if Russian Plutocrats weren’t so un-Marxistly and un-Communistly SELFISH and sequestering of Russian Wealth (get India and China’s BILLIONAIRES – who are not so RED themselves – to form a fleet as well, and BRICS is already the new hegemon but BRICS doesn’t know the fact or is held back by the Plutocracy . . . )
So think ‘Letters of Marque’ for those plutocrats. That means 145 Aircraft Carriers at very least. Well selfish Russian billionaires? ready to build 446 air craft carriers and take over the world? I doubt Russia would care so long as any warlike actions could be countered even if only by citizens rather than state military! Stop being selfish about that sequestered wealth, Capitalism infected plutocratic fools!
Let Marxism show the way Comrades! Have the guts for ‘Private Enterprise’ warfare? Barring the nuke based M.A.D. scenario (Geneva Convention should require all Nukes/Chemical/Biological-weapons to be decomissioned to prevent world wide irradiation or poisoning, though Conventional warfare should still be allowed), or Satellite neurotech (just distribute those countering ELF/EMF frequency helmets), there are 50 states in the USA which can be divvied up among the chief funders of the new Soviet-BRICS-ALBA supercharged war machine, so which Russian Plutocrats are ready to do the right thing and lead by example?
Marine discharged over online Obama comments – by the CNN Wire Staff – April 25, 2012 — Updated 2209 GMT (0609 HKT)
Marine ready to fight for free speech
Sgt. Gary Stein was given an “other-than-honorable” discharge, official says
On Facebook, Stein had called president a liar, suggested he would not follow some orders
Military board found Stein broke rules limiting political conduct, recommended discharge
Washington (CNN) — A Marine who used his Facebook page to criticize President Barack Obama has been discharged, a Marine Corps spokesman said Wednesday.
Sgt. Gary Stein was given an “other-than-honorable” discharge, said Capt. Brian Block, a spokesman for the Marines.
Among other comments posted to his Facebook page, Stein called Obama a liar and suggested he would not follow some orders issued by the president.
An other-than-honorable discharge is given to a Marine who commits a “serious offense” that significantly differs from conduct expected of a Marine, the Corps said.
A statement from the Marines said it approved the findings of a military board, which in March recommended the discharge.
The board found Stein violated rules limiting political conduct by service members.
The Facebook page for Stein’s Armed Forces Tea Party had a post Wednesday saying the discharge will be postponed until the results of a medical condition, with which he was diagnosed Monday, are returned and treatment is discussed.
“I have spent the last 9 years honorably serving this great nation and the Corps,” Stein wrote on his personal Facebook page. “Even though I will be discharged no one can take the title of Marine away from me. I thank my family and friends for their support and love. Today is just the start of the rest of my life. Semper Fi.”
Stein said earlier this month that the case against him was weak, based on personal opinion and not on legal aspects.
Marine has anti-Obama Facebook page
Stein, who is based at Camp Pendleton near San Diego, California, called Obama a liar in a January 26 post to the Armed Forces Tea Party Facebook page. Two days later, he said the president is “the ‘Domestic Enemy’ our oath speaks about.”
Opinion: Marine’s Facebook posts on Obama go too far
In a March 4 posting, Stein questioned Obama’s birth certificate. Another discussion on the site in March said Stein would refuse to obey orders given by Obama. He later clarified to say he meant illegal orders, which he has explained as orders such as sending the military to Syria without congressional approval.
“The allegations drummed up against me are no more than an agenda by the Marine Corps to use me as an example,” Stein previously said in a statement posted to his page. “If I am guilty of anything it would be that I am American, a freedom loving Conservative, hell bent on defending the constitution and preserving Americas greatness.”
While the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the free speech rights of ordinary citizens, a Defense Department rule prohibits service members from engaging in some forms of political activity.
Among the prohibited activities are publishing partisan political articles or serving in an official capacity with a partisan political club.
Stein has said that he carefully followed the Defense Department directive. The Facebook page notes that it does not represent and is not affiliated with the military or government.
Nearly 30,000 people “like” Stein’s Armed Forces Tea Party page.
Facebook members responding to news of Stein’s discharge Wednesday were largely supportive.
“You’ve got to be kidding me. OTH’s (other-than-honorable discharges) are given to Marines who grossly violate the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice), as in drug use, excessive DUI’s, adultery, etc. This is a joke,” one wrote.
“So disappointed in the Corps. This is a poor decision,” wrote another.
Another Facebook member, however, said Stein’s punishment was expected.
“For any of you that thought that he was going to get anything but ‘Other than honorable’ … you really dont know jack about the military,” he wrote.
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Inequitable punishment and a black mark against 1st Amendment Rights. A public apology to the unit serving on, and a general ‘group’ for soldiers who do call the POTUS or other VIPs names should suffice. At the end of every year, Obama could address these ‘dissenters’ and ‘get a feel’ of whats wrong with the military, amend some laws instead of this ‘corporatised’/'recorded message laws’ treatment.
No need to discharge? American exceptionalism remember? How about Obama sit down with this Marine over a beer and let the world watch if the Marine repeats this to Obama’s face? 5 minutes at the White House for a quick beer, man to man . . . Obama is no ‘Mountaindew Comacho’ but this sort of televised meeting should gather much interest instead of the ‘hide behind rules’ feel of this case.
It’s the Prince of Gales! Charles and Camilla have soggy forecast for the UK as they take to presenting the weather live on TV – by Rebecca English, Royal Correspondent – PUBLISHED: 14:21 GMT, 10 May 2012 | UPDATED: 19:07 GMT, 10 May 2012
One day he will reign over us. Today he just predicted it. Bucket loads in fact.
Despite the gloomy forecast, however, Prince Charles became something of an internet sensation when he decided to try his hand at reading the weather on a trip to BBC Scotland.
Dressed in a smart suit and tie, he was introduced live on air by presenter Sally Magnusson on the lunch-time news bulletin, Reporting Scotland.
Viewers of BBC Scotland’s lunchtime news were treated to a weather forecast delivered by Prince Charles
As he waited for his cue Charles looked quizzically at the button in his hand, but on hearing the words ‘Over to you, Your Royal Highness’, quickly warmed to his theme.
In fact, standing against the familiar backdrop of the BBC’s weather map, the prince proceeded to deliver an almost word-perfect reading of a specially-written script from his autocue.
The map itself had also undergone a little tweaking in honour of its special guest presenter, to include a number of places with links to the Royal Family north of the border including Balmoral, the Queen’s Highland home, the Castle of Mey, the former holiday home of the late Queen Mother, and Dumfries House, which was recently saved for the nation by a charitable consortium led by the prince.
After her husband had finished Camilla also tried her hand at presenting the weather
After her husband had finished Camilla also tried her hand at presenting the weather
Camilla looks on as Charles motions towards areas of low pressure
‘Well it’s an unsettled picture as we head towards the end of the week,’ Charles said confidently.
‘Ahh, this afternoon it will be cold, wet and windy across most of Scotland. We are under the influence of, err, low pressure and this weather front pushing northwards is bringing clouds and outbreaks of rain. The rain, of course, will be heaviest over the borders and, err, around Edinburgh, where it could lead to difficult conditions on the roads
‘In the west rain will be lighter and patchier with maybe a few drier interludes over Dumfries House in Ayrshire.’
At this he point he turned to the camera and gave a cheery ‘ah-ha!’ at the sneaky reference to his pet project.
He continued: ‘There will be snow for the higher ground of the Highlands and Aberdeenshire. There will be the potential for a few flurries over Balmoral’ before exploding into giggles and asking: ‘Who the hell wrote this script!’
He concluded: ‘The best of the drier and brighter weather will, of course, be over the far northern isles and far north of the mainland. So a little hazy sunshine for the Castle of Mey and Caithness. But a cold day everywhere with temperatures of eight celcius and a brisk north easterly wind.
More rain on the way: Prince Charles became something of an internet sensation when he decided to try his hand at reading the weather
Complete with waving hands, Charles seized the opportunity to step in front of the camera
‘Thank God it isn’t a bank holiday!’
His wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, also gave the forecasting a go but it was her husband who clearly stole the show.
Indeed his famously expressive hand gestures made him an entirely natural weatherman.
The couple, who are known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, were visiting the BBC studios in Pacific Quay, Glasgow, as part of their annual Holyrood week and to celebrate sixty years of BBC Scotland Television.
The unlikely scenario sent national News at One presenter Sophie Raworth into fits of laughter. She Tweeted: ‘Something I never thought I’d say – watch Prince Charles and Camilla have a go at being weather presenters.’
Later on air she turned to her weatherman, Nick Miller, and joked: ‘You might have some competition.’
After Charles had finished, Miller congratulated the royal on getting it spot on, adding: ‘That’s proof that even the royals can’t give us dry weather, because he’s absolutely right.’
A Clarence House spokeswoman said: ‘The prince entered into the spirit of the occasion and did very well, we think. He spends a lot of time in Scotland so he’s very interested in the weather there.’
The Duchess of Rothesay, as she is known in Scotland, mastered her presenting technique
The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall met BBC newsreader Sally Magnusson during their visit
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall later visited the BBC studio set of quiz show Eggheads, where they met contestants and panellists
Charles had a brief chat with Eggheads presenter Jeremy Vine afterbeing introduced during his tour of set of the popular general knowledge quiz show
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OMG totally out of touch. This is where Julie Andrews from ‘Sound of Music’ goes ‘You’re incorrigible.’ to Werner von Trap. And thats to put things VERY mildly, though an aging Prince still unable to take up the Crown and brought up through WWI and WWII could hardly be expected to understand such 99%ter issues (. . . wealth cannot buy breeding, breeding also cannot buy wealth . . . ). More riots anyone? No canapes served later . . .
Solidarity with the plutocrat reporter! 1%ter type attitude. Guess what, Prince Charles is a ‘Plutocrat Nazi’ (i.e. blindly supports pluocrats). For every Scotsman who is working for future a Sovereign Scottish Kingdom (perhaps with a Scottish King) with a Scottish seat at the UN, that might yet not one day be disappointed with a parallel in Tibet-like politics (though not necessarily violence and theocracy), the world goes, ‘Shame on you Prince Charles for taking sides with the wrong peope!’, and this is nothing new! Bou! Bou!
China faces a tough year in attracting foreign investment
By Cui Peng (People’s Daily)
16:41, April 19, 2012
Edited and translated by People’s Daily Online
The outlook for foreign investment in China is grim this year, said Shen Danyang, a spokesperson for the country’s Ministry of Commerce, on Tuesday.
“Internationally speaking, the European sovereign debt crisis continues unabated, resulting in a steady decline in Europe’s outbound investment,” Shen Danyang said at a regular news conference. “The U.S. government is struggling to revive the country’s manufacturing sector, and has launched a series of campaigns to encourage capital backflow. Other developing countries have strengthened efforts to attract foreign capital.”
Shen added that U.S. companies are taking advantage of the European debt crisis to increase investment on the continent, and emerging economies such as India, Brazil, and Russia are becoming a new focus of investment by multinational corporations. All these factors will lead to changes in global foreign direct investment flows.
Domestically speaking, foreign companies are becoming less willing to increase investment in China amid rising labor costs, increasing shortage of land and other resources, and escalating financing problems, said Shen.
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What kind of investment? REAL GOODS non-polluting investors? Or shipping and air freight colluders that add cost to goods – also cause outflow of funds, hot money type of investment that destabilises currency, speculators that lock up commodities and inflate prices that may never come down making life difficult for the poorer Chinese, or property invester-hoarders cause housing price inflation? Maybe what looks like a tough year is a blessing in disguise, and that previous years should recalculate based on removal of the above examples of REAL investment vs. non-sustainable investment. REAL EARNINGS and REAL GDP is not based around the above mentioned issues.
Prices cut for costliest high-speed rail tickets
13:43, May 08, 2012
Some tickets on high-speed rail services between Shanghai-Nanjing and Shanghai-Hangzhou have been cut.
But only the more expensive business and parlor seats will qualify for discounts of up to 30 percent. Other cheaper seats are not included, the Shanghai Railway Bureau said yesterday.
The discounts will cover 116 train services along the Shanghai-Nanjing and Shanghai-Hangzhou lines from May 18 until June 20, said the bureau.
“In the future the ticket prices will be adjusted based on market demand and transport seasons,” railway officials said of the first price cuts to be introduced since the high-speed lines came into operation in 2010.
The lines are among the busiest in the region with bullet trains leaving Shanghai railway stations for neighboring cities every five minutes during peak periods.
Qian Guifeng, the general manager with the Shanghai-Hangzhou railway passenger transport company, the regional operator, said yesterday the low take-up of the more expensive seats played a part in the price cuts.
A Shanghai Daily investigation found that by the time some bullet trains were about to leave Shanghai, the majority of business seats remained unsold.
On the railway operator’s ticket buying website, only one or two tickets for business carriages had been sold. Each bullet train has about 28 business seats available.
Business seats see the biggest price reductions. On the Shanghai-Nanjing line, a ticket that used to be 438 yuan (US$69.4) is now 307 yuan.
Discounts range from 10 to 30 percent on the business and parlor seats but the operator says they can vary depending on the time of purchase.
“It means little to a passenger like me,” said a man surnamed Zhu, who travels to the Yangtze River delta region on business.
Zhu said he usually bought a second-class, or ordinary seat ticket.
He said he hoped to see prices for second-class seats lowered too.
Meanwhile, an air-rail combined service began receiving passengers in Shanghai over the weekend.
The service allows passengers to transfer between domestic or international flights and a train with a single ticket which is cheaper than separate tickets.
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Titanic returns minus nude scene – by Deng Jingyin (Global Times) – 09:21, April 11, 2012
Chinese moviegoers seeking to re-experience the romance of blockbuster Titanic from 14 years ago through the latest 3D version have been complaining about excessive censoring of nude scenes.
The 3D version of James Cameron’s epic returned to cinema screens in China Tuesday, but audiences looking forward to the scene of Jack drawing a nude portrait of Rose were disappointed to find it had been completely removed.
Xiao Fei, a resident of Nanchang, Jiangxi Province who booked tickets two days before the movie was released, expressed her disappointment about the cut after watching it Tuesday afternoon.
“I was a student in a primary school when I watched Titanic many years ago, but it was deeply ingrained in my memory, including the nude scene. It wasn’t deleted 14 years ago, and I don’t know why it was deleted this time,” she told the Global Times Tuesday.
The epic was released to incredibly high acclaim in China, with its heart-rending storyline winning over young Chinese viewers.
The original Titanic stormed to 360 million yuan ($57 million) in Chinese box office takings in 1998 and remained the country’s top earner for 10 years until 2009.
“I didn’t wait so many years to see a three-dimensional iceberg,” Xiao Fei said.
Insiders pointed out that the removal of the nude scene damaged the classic work, and also spoiled fans’ memories.
Zhang Jiangnan, the director of Midnight Taxi, told the Global Times that Titanic was the first movie he went to watch with a girl.
“This move (to cut the nude scene) went against the trend of the times and indicated the censorship system has failed to comply with the marketization of the film industry,” said Zhang.” I think we should pay attention to this change since this trend may be applied to other films yet to be shown or affect new productions.”
The State Administration of Radio, Film and Broadcast could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but some rumors circulated online that authorities decided to remove the scene out of concern that viewers may attempt to reach out and touch the screen during the scene and hit the heads of viewers sitting in front of them.
Despite the complaints from some audience members, Chinese fans were still largely enthusiastic about the release.
Since last week, cinemas in many cities have begun selling tickets for this movie and the IMAX 3D screenings are proving particularly popular.
“We can’t disclose the box office takings now, but the number of people watching Titanic is apparently larger than that for all other films,” director of the publicity department of Wanda Cinemas in Beijing, told the Global Times Tuesday.
According to sohu.com, the box office revenue of its debut show at midnight is estimated to reach 5 million yuan in China.
Commentator Comments :
@Daniel Templeton at 2012-04-1374.221.157.*
To edit the nude scene in Titanic is unfortunate. The government does not understand the intelligence of the Chinese people when this content is included in an artistic movie.
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I concur with Daniel Templeton, but not in the same manner. I’d say Titanic was all about the woman posing in the nude and the relationship with a poor guy who had to die because of poverty and the sick fascination of poor society with the ‘cuckold factor’ affecting wealthy men (reminder to at least be fair to homemakers for the mistress crazy guys). The ship takes an obvious back seat. Come to think, maybe a more ship oriented script should be rewritten instead. Titanic 1997 (James Cameron) is a romance film, not a ship film, with elements of greed and classist commentary thrown in (love the bland polished look of the rich kid, you can’t get any blander or more stereotypical), and some philosophy via a nice big fat gemstone being thrown into the sea by a decades later depicted haglike female star, to get the mind reflecting. Nope, not about the ship, even with the nude scene edited out. Note the ‘black heart’ pendant the actress was wearing during the nude scene. Any NPP (neuro-pictorial programming) intended?
Backpage.com defiant over sex trade ads – May 7th, 2012 – 01:05 PM ET
Backpage.com, a small ads website, is not backing away from a small but profitable corner of the internet that is accused of being a marketplace for pimps to peddle prostitution and exploit young women.
The company says there’s nothing illegal about it, even though 51 attorneys general want to shut it down.
Watch Liz McDougall, from Village Voice Media, defend Backpage.com
But New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof and California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris argue Backpage is a marketplace for human trafficking.
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Backpage is just a website for crying out loud. It’s MEDIA, might as well be fantasy. Also this is not an issue as so long as both parties are consensual and non-abusive, they are free to communicate and exchange whatever they want. What so many websites do is make specific what any person is looking for and to allow another to find them. Is what anyone does any of our business at all to begin with? Voltaire would fight for the right to think and say what one wanted (1st Amendment), try now to fight for the right to LIVE how one wants. Trafficking is bad, but consensual prostitution is not. What the authorities should do is to send i plainclothes to ferret out those who were coerced or trafficked, those who are infectedwith disease to get treatment, and to leave EVERYONE ELSE alone.
‘If you saw your daughter . . . ‘ Liz McDougall
Demogoguery. If common sense is applied rather than law (see Note 1), we all do know that whats illegal is only illegal to anyone on a case by case basis and not specifically by the written law of the majority that tends to ignore the minority. And the essence of civilisation as opposed to MOB RULE (or rule by mob numbers in implemented laws) means that ALL and sundry will be allowed their spaces so long as all parties are consensual. In many cases prostitution is NOT coerced and simply viewed as either a form of entertainment or income, or a form of social interaction where money is involved (much like betting at golf or checkers), even in some cases ‘empowerment’ via affirmation of the right to do as one will with one’s own body (regardless of male, female or inbetween)! Think the ‘minority of 1‘ rule that Mahatma Gandhi coined.
Even if a single soul, a single person wanted prostitution to be legal, their right would be inalienable because the world is large enough to have space for them. They may not be allowed to coerce anyone to participate by in the same light, but in turn cannot be forced to concur with what everyone else or a majority wants becauase they are not affecting anyone (save by the mental weakness of busybody people who make attempts to know what others do, which is again none of anyone else’s business), especially if assigned areas and zones are estalished. That is the essence of democracy and civilisation, the basis of American exceptionalism, not this rule by mob mentality shown here on CNN, which is frankly very un-American.
This is not necessarily about money or poverty, this is also about lifestyle. Without these websites, there will be absolutely no way or even electronic record of what and who happened. Meanwhile consider legalising RLDs (red light districts – think Singapore (Geylang), Mexico (Zona de Tolerancia etc..)) and OPZs (Organic Psychedelics Zones – think Amsterdam, Bolivia etc..) in ALL cities and towns, via enclosed zones at perhaps at the size of 1 dedicated street for every 100,000 people and a main road for every 1 million population. This way monitoring can be done at the checkpoint instead of everywhere unnecessary, resulting in unecesssary costs and Orwellian big society.
For more ideas, do look up under the tags RLD or prostitution, responses on – http://malaysiandemocracy.wordpress.com/
Reporter claims she was fired for being a stripper May 12, 2012 – 5:26 – Debate over woman’s legal case
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A specialist reporter holding 1 job would be better but since there was no contract to only hold 1 job, or not be involved in adult work, there was no right to fire at all. Moral discrimination occurred here. ‘Uncomfortable’ watchers need to get over this, though unless particularly nosy, or from the immediate community who knows the reporter personally, none would know or even bother (unless from the moral lunatic fringe) what the reporter does in her free time. It’s not like shes a member of their family, in which case she’d still have a right to continue what she does, though the immediate family members could have a limited right to say something though not at a level amounting to mental torture or invasions of privacy (much less neighbours).
A law to prevent even contracts limiting an employee to 1 job (especially if the job does not pay particularly alot, applicable only to salaries USD$5000 monthly and below???) could allow and employer to justify applying the ’1 job only rule’. (i.e. the job pays so much that there is no need for a second job). Only way above middle class salary payouts could be allowed to enforce the 1 job rule.
In fact adult services jobs should be treated like any other job unless a network declares their news as specifically child friendly, specially for a religious community or for a specifically extra-P.C. (easily offended upper class?) target demographic. The government could consider pensions for all registered sex workers, perhaps at a rate of 1 year worth of pension for every 3000 clients services and recorded or logged in. This in fact could help prevent spread of disease when detected (i.e. if detected, tracebacks could be done etc..).
As for the right to fire issue, an example : if a news network has featured any beauty contests with bikini clad women, firing BASED on private out of employment time in adult services jobs is not justifiable. If said news network refuses to feature anyone wearing anything above the knees, disallows cleavage or disallows images of bare chested men, THEN could the firing on such a basis be justified, though such a news network would be the territory of, and appeal to, the ‘moral lunatic fringe’ demographoc. Which fringe does Fox belong to? The demogogue fringe part of the time for certain, but not the moral lunatic as well? Better get out those burkhas . . . (if Fox disallows Burkhas then we’d have to use the hypocrite label for Fox News as well . . . ).
Note 1 : For example, a person smashes a police car’s window and gets a few month’s prison at cost to your tax money. Would you not prefer that the same person simply be required to repair the vehicle at cost to their own finances (or be put on community service for hours of work equitable to the cost of damage caused) and not be imprisoned at cost to the citizens’ tax monies, while the same person wrongfully lose their job (caused damage so pay for damage, the person did not cause loss of jobs so should not lose their job by being imprisoned). Meanwhile society loses access to their tax contributions, loses their presence and work they do (remember this person’s issue is against the single police car, not even the police, hardly society -jailing is etirely unrelated for purposes of re-education or pubishment) and inconveniences their boss who has to retrain a staff for the period of imprisonment? From this paragraph, we learn that LAW does not apply COMMON SENSE. Therefore most laws and criminal codes for punishment need to be re-written.