Iraq is suffering from depleted uranium (DU) pollution in many regions and the effects of this may harm public health through poisoning and increased incidence of various cancers and birth defects. DU is a known carcinogenic agent. About 1200 tonnes of ammunition were dropped on Iraq during the Gulf Wars of 1991 and 2003. As a result, contamination occurred in more than 350 sites in Iraq. Currently, Iraqis are facing about 140,000 cases of cancer, with 7000 to 8000 new ones registered each year. In Baghdad cancer incidences per 100,000 population have increased, just as they have also increased in Basra. The overall incidence of breast and lung cancer, Leukaemia and Lymphoma, has doubled, even tripled. The situation in Mosul city is similar to other regions. Before the Gulf Wars Mosul had a higher rate of cancer, but the rate of cancer has further increased since the Gulf Wars.
OK, fair enough. Worth researching certainly.
Soil samples were collected from three sites around Mosul (Adayah, Damerchy and Rehanyah), Soil samples were selected from some of the most extensively contaminated areas throughout the province of Nineveh around Mosul city. Mosul is the provincial capital of Nineveh, northern Iraq. Its geographical coordinates are: 36° 20′ 6” North, 43° 7′ 8” East, in the Nineveh Governorate with latitude of 36.37 (36° 22′ 0 N) and a longitude of 43.15 (43° 8′ 60 E). The sites selected were at Adayah, a landfill site for radioactive waste; Rehanyah, a former centre of research of nuclear military products; and Damerchy, a site used for military activities in 2003 and in subsequent years.
We’re going to research the effects of DU by not looking at DU but at a radioactive disposal site and a nuclear research lab?
Step on the love train: Prague Metro bosses plan to set aside carriages for singles looking for a soulmate
Plans to designate carriages on trains for single people looking for love
Although given the way things generally happen in that city the carriages will be flooded with professionals.
People who call gay sex ‘disgusting’ will be allowed to stay in the UK Independence Party.
The word “liberal” has rather changed its meaning in recent years but UKIP’s attitude to all of this stuff is the properly liberal one. One of toleration.
Consenting adults want to shag each other? Carry on but try not to frighten the horses. Coonsenting adults wish to be carnivores/vegetarians/gay/hetero/polyamorous/shag gingers/eat locusts/run a model train set?
Carry on and try not to frighten the horses.
You have every right to run your life as you wish, up until that point that your lifestyle impinges upon the freedoms of others to do the same. And we all have to tolerate your choices as well. It’s called being liberal, see?
But this toleration, this liberality, does not mean that we must approve of any of your choices, celebrate them, applaud them. Nor does it mean that we cannot describe any or all of them as disgusting.
Indeed, the more that we think whatever it is that you like to do is disgusting and the less we interfere in your ability to do it the more liberal we are being.
After all, it’s pretty easy to be tolerant of the things that you already approve of, isn’t it?
Exploring the costs of adaptation to climate change instead of its prevention.
You may or may not want to send them some cash.
Tags: climate change
The total amount of lost tax revenue is far higher than £100 billion, as the figure only includes tax dodged by individuals, and not companies.
And a high proportion of tax evasion takes place on British offshore tax havens, with more than a third of the £12 trillion held in tax havens around the globe believed to be held in British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, according to Oxfam estimates.
Emma Seery, Oxfam’s head of development finance and public services, said: “These figures put the UK at the centre of a global tax system that is a colossal betrayal of people here and in the poorest countries who are struggling to get by, and put the Government on the side of the privileged few. If they want to get on the right side of this debate, now is the time to take action.
“Britain’s credibility is on the line; talking tough on tax, whilst continuing to usher a third of the world’s wealth into UK tax havens, risks making a mockery of David Cameron’s leadership at the G8 Summit in June.”
Did you see that switch there?
We start with Ritchie’s absurd estimate of the amount of cash tax dodged into tax havens. This is only some fraction of the world’s wealth. One third of this goes into British ish tax havens. So it’s one third of tax dodging goes into British ish places.
But by the fourth paragraph that’s one third of all the world’s wealth. Which is simply entire and gross nonsense of course.
I don’t actuall know what the world’s wealth is: but US GDP is some $15 tillion, US wealth is some $60, $70 trillion or so. Let’s just say that wealth is 4 x GDP. Global GDP is what, $70 trillion at present? Ish, ish? Global wealth is thus $280 trillion. Of which apparently $4 trillion is in British ish tax havens dodging taxes. 1.5%…..I’d say that was a pretty effective tax system myself. No system will ever be entirely leak free after all……
Tags: Ragging on Ritchie
Essentially, a new method of retail banking.
The banks have vast amounts of information about their customers. Who they pay, how much they pay them etc. So, use that information to run comparison engines. Split the savings between he bank and the customer.
I would assume that the problem is somewhere in the Data Protection Act.
As to whether it would work: well, imagine that you were in fact running a comparison engine. Say, Go Compare. Then someone said you can mine the retail customer information at Lloyds to t3ell people how and where they could save. You’d do it like a shot, wouldn’t you? Zero customer acquisition cost and millions upon million of new customers.
There is therefore a business in there.
So, what is it I’ve missed?
Maybe the banks simply aren’t competent to do this?
Gay marriage and the EU pile on the agony for the Tories, but Labour is leaching support
Leaching? Losing it slowly? Almost impercetably?
(One the front page it was even better: they had it as leeching. Galloway rejoined the party has he?)
Tags: Newspaper Watch
A study of more than 1,000 pregnant women found those who consumed lower amounts of iodine, which is absorbed from food and found in milk, dairy products and fish, were more likely to have children with lower IQs and reading abilities.
Iodine is essential for producing hormones made by the thyroid gland, which has a direct effect on the development of the foetal brain.
The study by researchers at Bristol and Surrey universities found two thirds of the 1,040 pregnant women they tested were iodine deficient. These women were more likely to have children with lower IQs, and it was found the lower the iodine the lower the IQ and reading ability.
Professor Margaret Rayman of the University of Surrey, who led the study, said: “Our results clearly show the importance of adequate iodine status during early pregnancy, and emphasise the risk that iodine deficiency can pose to the developing infant, even in a country classified as only mildly iodine deficient.”
Researchers have said pregnant women should ensure they get enough iodine by eating dairy products and fish, as well as drinking milk. But they warned against kelp supplements, as they can have ‘excessive levels’ of iodine.
Yes, this is well known.
Iodine deficieny in the mother leads to goitre, in the child to cretinism. Been known for a long time this. The solution is to stick iodine into hte salt that the population eats (sea salt has it already, mined salt may not).
And what have the doctors been terlling everyone? Eat less salt, where the iodine the pregnant women need is.
Tags: Health Care
At the ASI.
A very bizarre claim by Chang.
Tags: Timmy Elsewhere
The scale of the crisis was shown last night by a new poll that puts the Tories down five points on just 24 per cent, 11 behind Labour.
UKIP – up six points in a month – was on 22 per cent, double the level of Lib Dem support.
I rather doubt that will be the GE result but fun all the same, no?
In Britain and America, inequality is now back to Gatsby-esque levels.
It isn’t I’m afraid. Yes, I know, it makes a lovely complaint over on the left but it just isn’t true.
Market income inequality is up at pre-WWII levels, yes. Inequality of marketable wealth is (although the composition is wildly different).
But this is to commit Worstall’s Fallacy. This is to measure before the things we do to change the distribution of incomes and wealth. When what we really want to do is measure the distribution after we’ve changed it. For only after we’ve checked how much we have changed it can we decide whether we want to change it some more.
As an example, the TUC worked out the real consumption difference between the top 10% and bottom 10% of households. They took that market income and that’s about a 30 fold difference. That is indeed high. You’d find me on the barriades arguing for redistribution if that’s all that there was. Even if only on the grounds that it would be better to pass some income along voluntarily rather than have the mob come and take it.
Then the TUC works through all the various things we do. We tax incomes of course. We hand out benefits. And we also provide services financed through tax: so the higher income earners are also paying for the health care and schooling of the poor for example.
When you take all of these into account we find (and note these are TUC figures) that the consumption difference between top and bottom is about sixfold. Maybe that’s still too high: up to you on that. But I think we’d all agree that 6 x is different from 30 x? And if we’re to try and decide whether we should do more redistribution then the 6x number is the correct one to be looking at, not the 30 x?
That is, we must take note of the redistribution that is already done before deciding whether we should do more?
Last year, prize-winning economic geographer Danny Dorling gave a speech in which he plotted how Britain’s annual income had been divvied up down the ages. In 1923 the richest 1% of Britons took almost a quarter – 23.3% – of all income received. After the second world war came a long period of greater fairness so that by 1979 that proportion had dropped to only 6%. Then came Thatcher and Blair and soaraway inequality. By 2006, the year before the crash, we weren’t quite at a Gatsby-esque divide, but we were heading that way: the top 1% of Britons were taking 15% of all income received in the country. This cash is then turned into houses, shares and other assets so that now the top 1% hold over 50% of all Britain’s marketable wealth.
Not doing so leads us to that weasel word in there of “marketable”. So in this we include houses owned and shares and private pensions (even though private pensions are not actually marketable). But we do not include the value of lifetime subsidised tenancies, state pensions, not even the insurance value of the various benefits we might be able to claim if we need to. And all of these things are valuable. The state pension is an inflation proofed annuity and as such at age 65 has a capital value well north of £100k.
When measuring wealth inequality our researchers bravely decide to entirely ignore all of the things that we do to reduce wealth inequality. It’s not that they do this by error either: they quite deliberately include private pensions but not state. It makes the wealth gap look larger you see, even though both should be valued the same way, a the capital value of the income stream, like an annuity.
And if we measure such things the way that the TUC did for incomes, including the capital value for all of free education, free health care: the wealth multiple drops from the 100:1 of marketable wealth to perhaps 3:1, 2:1 even, of the ability to consume wealth between the top 10% and bottom 10%.
Which might just be enough redistribution to be going on with really.
One burger, two and a half sausages, two pints of lager and a sunny Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon makes the perfect barbecue, a survey has found.
And they’re right of course.
That’s no barbecue, that’s just cooking outside. Short beef ribs, baby back pork ribs, pulled pork, chicken of various cuts…….there’s a great deal more to barbecue that a burger and a couple of hostages.
I’m in southern Portugal. The Algarve. Towards the end of May.
And I’ve got the wood fire going in my office to prevent my hands going blue as I type.
Global warming, eh?
Tags: climate change
So Ouur Wullie decides to tell us about Tyler Cowen’s views.
Mr. Cowen begs to differ:
Such views make for a convenient target, but that is not close to what I wrote in The Great Stagnation. For instance on p.83 you will find me proclaiming, after several pages of details, “For these reasons, I am optimistic about getting some future low-hanging fruit.” Those are not Straussian passages hidden like the extra Nirvana audio track at the end of Nevermind. The very subtitle of the book announces “How America…(Eventually) Will Feel Better Again.”
Then there’s the other stuff Wullie tells us:
Some argue that a dystopian world is emerging in which good jobs and full-time employment will become the preserve of an educated, computer-literate elite.
Oh for the Lord’s Sake!
We don’t actually want “good jobs” nor do we want full-time employment. What we want is the ability to consume as much as we can with the minimum amount of effort.
Which is exactly what mechanisation of anything at all brings us. The machines make it, we consume it and no sweated brows to be seen anywhere.
Seriously, who gives a fuck about the alphas all having to go to work as long as the rest of us have our flying cars?
Tags: Woo Watch
I bought a Powerball ticket for the $500MM lottery last Saturday, and was actually interviewed by a local TV crew when I bought my one ticket, and said something to the effect that $2 buys me several minutes of daydreams about buying ridiculous things (that $100k lake submarine in SkyMall magazine). Later I discovered a better reason for my purchase. In the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, every quantum event happens. It’s basically the only way many can reconcile the EPR paradox or Schrodinger’s cat being alive and dead. All possible alternative histories and futures are real, each representing an actual “world” or “universe”. Therefore, after buying that ticket, I actually won the $500MM jackpot in many of those universes. Unfortunately, in this particular universe I did not win the lottery, but, I can take comfort that many of ‘me’ did win, and my utility function somewhere among those universes is insanely high. For some reason, I’m not enjoying that as much as I should based on the math.
China has adopted the mores of Hong Kong and they are now working to a model of economic growth that glorifies excess.
It was said back 15 years that the handover of Hong Kong might be the greatest reverse takeover in history.
Might even be right….
Tags: Johnny Foreigner
The retailer dispatches online orders destined for mainland Europe from the UK but bills the transaction to Ireland, according to documents seen by the Guardian.
In a structure used only for overseas sales, the company’s UK warehouses sell goods to Marks & Spencer (Ireland) Ltd at wholesale prices, allowing M&S to pay Ireland’s 12.5pc rate of corporation tax, the lowest in Western Europe, on any retail mark-up.
Such arrangements, known as “transfer pricing” are completely legal but have drawn heavy criticism in recent months. Tax avoidance is set to feature high on the agenda at next month’s G8 economic summit.
M&S is a UK domiciled company. So doing this doesn’t save it any tax at all.
It might delay or defer a tax bill, but it doesn’t reduce it.
For any profits that are brought in to the UK so that they can be paid out as dividends (which is the purpose of the whole game, after all) will be subject to the UK corporate tax rate minus the corporation tax that has already been paid. If they don’t bring it in but reinvest it in the business, well, there are enough tax breaks and investment allowances that they wouldn’t be paying corporation tax on it anyway.
The important point to note is that using Ireland (or Luxembourg, Bermuda, whatever) does work to dodge UK corporation tax for companies not domiciled in the UK. It does not work for companies which are domiciled in the UK.
UPDATE: And wouldn’t it be interesting if Timmy understood the tax laws?
At the ASI.
More about capitalism. Americans really are rich and they don’t actually work longer hours to be so. Maybe there is something to this free market stuff?
Tags: Timmy Elsewhere
A new ban on restaurants serving olive oil in jugs is “silly” but not a reason to quit the European Union, Danny Alexander has said.
It isn’t a reason to quit, no.
But it is symptomatic of all of the reasons to quit. That, you know, we’re being ruled by fuckwits.
Tags: European Union
Perhaps we should take Schmidt’s “aspiration” to do the right thing at face value. But if Mr Schmidt is anything like me, he might need a bit of outside assistance to achieve his aspirations. So, how about we legislate to crack down on all forms of tax avoidance: like passing the General Anti-Tax Avoidance Bill, drawn up by Richard Murphy and introduced by Labour MP Michael Meacher.
As we’ve pointed out many a time, that bill would loosen, not tighten, the definition of avoidance that can be cracked down upon.
For it states that anything that is specifically mentioned in legislation is outside the scope of tax avoidance. Thus Amazon relying upon the warehouse exclusion in the double taxation treaty with Luxembourg is absolutely not, under the definitions of this bill, tax avoidance. Google selling from Ireland is absolutely not tax avoidance: mentioned in EU law.
Plus of course Our Owen is blindingly ignorant about tax incidence.
Tags: Woo Watch