Links: 2013-05-19

Former Google Exec Turns Whistleblower On Company’s Tax Avoidance Machinations In The UK | TechCrunch

“Google is under fire in the UK for its tax practices in the country, and a new key witness (who spoke to The Sunday Times) might put them in deeper hot water when he hands over a reported 100,000 emails and documents to the British Revenue & Customs (HRMC) services. Barney Jones, a former Googler who was at the company between 2004 and 2006, says he has material proof that Google’s London sales staff which would negotiate and close sales for the UK market, despite claiming its Dublin HQ handled finalizing all deals.
Jones was prompted to speak out by testimony given to the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last week by Google VP Matt Brittin, who said that London-based Google staff were never closing any ad sales deals, though some selling efforts were made there. Brittin had previously gone on record in November 2012 with statements asserting that no one in the London office was doing any kind of ad selling.
The matter of where the deals were finalized is especially important because if a sale closes in London, it’s likely they’d be taxable in Britain, rather than in the extremely low tax-rated Ireland. “

Yahoo to Buy Tumblr for $1.1 Billion –

“Yahoo has agreed to pay $1.1 billion in cash for the company, one of the people said. Tumblr would continue to operate largely as an independent business, the people said.”

Fierce battle for corporate loans sparks US bank risk concerns –

““If you look at the balance sheets of the banks today, the asset quality metrics are improving,” said Joseph Pucella, senior analyst at Moody’s, the rating agency.
“What we’re concerned about is what’s being put on today. Based on what we’re seeing, this kind of lending could lead to the next asset bubble or crisis down the road.””

The Nexus Experience Galaxy S4 is most likely a software modified T-Mobile S4 | Android and Me

“When Google announced the Nexus Experience Galaxy S4 (which shall henceforth be referred to as the NES4), information on exactly which hardware variant Google was using for the device left something to be desired. We know that it includes 16GB of storage, has a removable battery, a microSD slot, appears to retain its physical button configuration and has access to T-Mobile and AT&T LTE. By process of elimination, we’re fairly certain at this point that the NES4 is merely a software modded T-Mobile Galaxy S 4.”

Despite sequester, high-level federal executives slated to get bonuses | McClatchy

“In a process known as sequestration, $85 billion in across-the-board federal spending cuts took effect March 1, forcing the government to slash services and furlough workers. A month later, the Obama administration froze bonuses for the vast majority of federal workers.
But by law, agencies still must pay bonuses to Senior Executive Service employees who meet certain performance criteria, the report said.
Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, introduced a bill Friday that would eliminate bonuses for members of the Senior Executive Service during sequestration. McCaskill leads the Senate Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight, which produced the report.”

Revenge, ego and the corruption of Wikipedia –

“The unmasking of a writer who took extraordinary advantage of online anonymity to pursue old vendettas”

Jamaica in last-chance saloon following latest bailout led by IMF –

“Jamaica has suffered a long string of international rescues and ultimately failed fiscal programmes. But last month’s bailout led by the International Monetary Fund could be the country’s final chance to avert an economic catastrophe.
The latest four-year programme is controversial even among its bankrollers. The IMF led the negotiations with the Jamaican government, but wanted the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank to stump up more of the cash needed.
However, the latter two were sceptical of the programme’s design, and Jamaica’s ability to adhere to its conditions, according to people familiar with the matter. In the end the IMF increased its contribution to $958m, while the World Bank and the IADB will each lend $510m.”

Job market gains could lead Fed to taper QE3 early | Reuters

“”We could reduce somewhat the pace of our securities purchases, perhaps as early as this summer,” San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams said on Thursday, adding that his view is that summer begins in mid-June.
The central bank next meets to debate policy on June 18-19.
The Fed’s balance sheet has swelled to some $3.3 trillion and officials have been debating whether this risks igniting future inflation or blowing up asset bubbles, even as they seek to help a tepid economic recovery.
Chairman Ben Bernanke and other top Fed officials have increasingly stressed that any change to the pace of QE3 would not signal a withdrawal of monetary stimulus and that they could continue the program for quite some time at a lower level or even increase it again if needed.”

Amari Urges to Boost JGB Credibility to Cap Yield Spike – Bloomberg

““It’s being said excessive yen gains have been corrected a lot,” Amari said. “If the yen extends losses a lot, people’s lives will be negatively affected. It’s our job to minimize that.”
The government will decide around October on whether to raise the consumption tax next year, Amari said.
“The most important factor is that we can confirm the economy has shifted to an uptrend at that point,” he said.” | On a dangerous path

“Golden Dawn’s fascist, petty-bourgeois populism was hidden in the smallest and biggest parties, in unionist as well as television talk. Statements issued by respectable unions were filled with Golden Dawn vernacular in all its dimensions.
What is Golden Dawn actually doing? It is praising and taking the extremist, populist discourse of various politicians, the conspiracy theories unearthed by sensationalists and posted on the Internet as well as slogans launched by salesmen of indignation to the uttermost limits.”

The Aleph Blog » What to Do When Things are Nuts?

“I have not been a fan of this rally, and I have been selling into it.  I do have a rule for equity clients — cash never goes above 20%.
I have suggested in the past that a good solution in the face of uncertainty is to do half of what you would like to do. Doing half breaks the psychological stranglehold of fear and greed, because regardless of what happens, part of your decision was a success.”

Google engineers discuss fragmentation, hardware, and Project Butter | Ars Technica

“Although Google’s keynote at the I/O conference this week focused heavily on the APIs and behind-the-scenes development of the Android operating system, it looks like there’s a lot more in store. This idea was especially apparent in a panel discussion today involving eleven members of the Android development team. The team sat for a forty-minute question and answer session, and while they dodged most inquiries about forthcoming features for Android, they did offer a bit of insight into what the future of Android might look like, what developers could do to help further the platform, and what they’ve learned from their journey thus far.”

Bernanke Says Pessimists Wrong as Innovation Spurs Growth – Bloomberg

““Pessimists may be paying too little attention to the strength of the underlying economic and social forces that generate innovation in the modern world,” Bernanke said today in a speech at Great Barrington, Massachusetts. “Both humanity’s capacity to innovate and the incentives to innovate are greater today than at any other time in history.”
The Fed chairman, who didn’t comment on policy or the U.S. economic outlook, rebutted the view of academics such as Northwestern University professor Robert Gordon, who predicted U.S. growth may stall over the next century in a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research last August. Innovation’s contribution to higher standards of living will slow, and headwinds such as an aging population and increased inequality will reduce growth, he said.
The pessimists’ view is “sort of depressing,” Bernanke said in a commencement address at Bard College at Simon’s Rock.”

Bernanke: There’s No Housing Bubble to Go Bust

This is from 2005
“Ben S. Bernanke does not think the national housing boom is a bubble that is about to burst, he indicated to Congress last week, just a few days before President Bush nominated him to become the next chairman of the Federal Reserve.
U.S. house prices have risen by nearly 25 percent over the past two years, noted Bernanke, currently chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, in testimony to Congress’s Joint Economic Committee. But these increases, he said, “largely reflect strong economic fundamentals,” such as strong growth in jobs, incomes and the number of new households.”

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