Refugees pay more income tax than millionaire investor immigrants

Only 39% of investor immigrants paid any income tax 5 years after arriving

By CBC News

Refugees who have come to Canada over the past 30 years have paid more income tax in this country than immigrant investors admitted under the now defunct immigrant investor program, critics say.

Ian Young, a South China Morning Post journalist based in Vancouver, crunched the numbers with data from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Canada seeks 50 millionaire immigrant investors under pilot program

Only a small proportion of the immigrant investors who have come to Canada under the program since 1980 end up staying here, Young said, again relying on numbers from the federal government.

“After five years, only 39 per cent of investor immigrants declared any income. Not only that, those who did, their average incomes were very low,” he said in an interview with CBC Radio’s The Current on Friday.

Not much Canadian income

They may have been millionaires, but they were earning very little money here in Canada. Immigrant investors declared about $18,000 to $25,000 of income annually, he said.

“Why? Either because they were living off existing wealth, or they weren’t declaring their [global] incomes,” Young said.

Read more » CBC
See more » http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/refugees-pay-more-income-tax-than-millionaire-investor-immigrants-1.2984982?cmp=rss

Banned ASWJ ends protest as Islamabad police forms team to probe murders

By SHAKEEL QARAR

ISLAMABAD: The banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) marched from Lal Masjid to the Parliament House on Friday in protest of “target killings and kidnappings” of its representatives.

The proscribed outfit marched today to protest against what it called a recent surge in acts of violence against its representatives. The march was led by ASWJ Islamabad President Ghulam Mustafa Baloch in light of which police cordoned off the street near the headquarters of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) with containers.

Following a dialogue with the Islamabad police, the outfit agreed to end its protest after an assurance was given that the murders of its workers would be probed. The additional deputy commission Islamabad, the SSP and other police officials said that a special investigation team to be led by SP Captain (retd) Ilyas was being formed to investigate the killings.

ASWJ, a reincarnation of the banned Sunni militant group Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), had been banned in Feb 2012.

Despite the ban, the ASWJ continues to operate in the country with religious conferences and demonstrations held in different cities from time to time and no apparent action from the authorities.

Read more: Banned outfit operates with impunity in Chakwal

Last month, lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir led a protest against ASWJ’s activities, bringing attention to the government’s negligence towards following due process of law.

ASWJ representatives have been targeted in three incidents of sectarian violence this year. Two days ago, senior ASWJ leader Dr Mohammad Fayyaz Khan was gunned down in Karachi.

According to data compiled by the South Asian Terrorism Portal, 112 people have been killed and 140 injured in incidents of sectarian violence in Pakistan since the beginning of 2015.

The Sunni Supreme Council had, at the end of February, announced the launch of a protest movement against sectarian killings and terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but the province-wide protest has not picked up impetus outside of KP.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM
Read more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1167784/banned-aswj-ends-protest-as-islamabad-police-forms-team-to-probe-murders

Self-driving cars all across the UK within 10 years

Self-driving cars are coming but Britain isn’t ready for them, say MPs

By Jonathan Walker

Newcastle University academic Professor Eric Sampson tells MPs that automated cars could cut or end deaths on the roads

Driverless vehicles which could dramatically cut deaths on the roads are coming to Britain – but the Government must do far more to ensure the UK is a world leader in adopting the technology, according to MPs.

The findings were published after a Newcastle academic told MPs that driverless cars could even potentially cut the number of road fatalities down to nothing.

But Professor Eric Sampson, visiting professor at Newcastle University, told the inquiry that the Government would have to pass legislation making the new technology compulsory.

Giving evidence at Westminster, he said: “To get zero fatalities, if you can ever get there, you have to mandate the fitment. You cannot have vehicles travelling around that are not fitted with the latest technology.”

Cars which drive themselves might sound like science fiction but manufacturers say they could have vehicles available within five years.

Nissan, which has a major plant in Washington, Tyne and Wear, says it will introduce vehicles with affordable autonomous drive systems by 2020.

The firm is planning to introduce technology which automates specific tasks, such as driving in heavy traffic or traffic jams; maintaining a steady speed and changing lanes in motorways, and parking.

A spokeswoman said: “The first of these systems will be in the market from 2016 with a successive roll-out towards 2020 when full autonomous drive systems will be available.”

But in a new report, the Commons Transport Committee said the UK needed a “visionary strategy” to make the most of new motoring technology.

Laws and regulations governing car insurance needed to be reformed to make it clear how the introduction of self-driving cars will affect the liabilities of drivers, manufacturers and insurers, the MPs said.

Britain must also work with the EU to develop common standards which will help UK manufacturers develop products suitable for export.

Committee chair Louise Ellman MP said: “The public need to be sure that new types of vehicles are safe to travel on our roads.

The Government must do more to prepare for a transition period where manual, semi-autonomous and driverless vehicles will share UK roads.

“Transport Ministers must explain how different types of vehicles will be certified and tested, how drivers will be trained and how driving standards will be updated, monitored and enforced.”

The inquiry heard evidence from a range of experts before publishing its findings. As well as Professor Sampson these included Professor Phil Blythe, Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems at Newcastle University.

He told the committee that self-driving cars were probably inevitable.

Giving evidence to the inquiry, Prof Blythe said: “I see a real role for moving towards autonomous vehicles, for all sorts of reasons.

“In urban areas, you can manage and optimise traffic if you have some control over speed, lane or whatever at certain times.

“As people get older, they have functional and cognitive declines. Assistive technologies in cars to help them when they cannot judge distances or speeds are important.”

He added: “I see a lot of reasons why automation in vehicles will come. Virtually all you need for fully autonomous vehicles is there now in different vehicles; it just has not all been brought together.

“It has real safety benefits and will allow platoons of freight, which may increase capacity on the roads.”

News courtesy: Chronicle Live
Read more » http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/self-driving-cars-coming-britain-isnt-8783135

The Fed is considering a more ambitious target for “full employment”

Fed Weighs More Ambitious Goal for Sweet Spot on Employment

(Bloomberg) — As the U.S. jobless rate reaches the range that the Federal Reserve defines as full employment, some Fed officials are asking a question: How low can you go?

Their answer: less than the 5.2 percent to 5.5 percent the Fed currently defines as the lowest that can be achieved without heating up inflation. Some Chicago Fed economists say this sweet spot, often called full employment or the natural rate of unemployment, may be as low as 5 percent.

Their boss, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, is among policy makers who have lowered their estimates for the normal rate. “I now think that it might be something more like 5.0 percent,” Evans said in a speech Wednesday.

Read more » Bloomberg
See more » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-05/fed-weighs-more-ambitious-goal-for-sweet-spot-on-full-employment?hootPostID=b3ad681452769348e7e399927e593771

Nimrud: Outcry as IS bulldozers attack ancient Iraq site

Archaeologists and officials have expressed outrage about the bulldozing of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud by Islamic State militants in Iraq.

IS began demolishing the site, which was founded in the 13th Century BC, on Thursday, according to Iraqi officials.

The head of the UN’s cultural agency condemned the “systematic” destruction in Iraq as a “war crime”.

IS, which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, says shrines and statues are “false idols” that have to be smashed.

“They are erasing our history,” said Iraqi archaeologist Lamia al-Gailani.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31760656

What Some Muslims Are Doing For Hindus In Pakistan On Holi Will Make You Stand Up & Applaud Humanity

By Rohit Bhattacharya

The National Students Federation of Pakistan, a platform to redirect the thinking of students and others alike from the inept politics of the ruling powers, has proposed an event that is as heartwarming as it is heart wrenching. They want to form a human shield for the Hindu Holi revellers, to show solidarity with their brothers and sisters.

Read more » Scoop Whoop
See more » http://www.scoopwhoop.com/inothernews/hindus-on-pakistani-holi/

Pakistani farmers struggle to switch to solar powered pumps

By Aamir Saeed

Amid Pakistan’s growing energy crisis, farmers are being encouraged to switch from diesel to solar powered water pumps, but few can afford the initial costs

Arshad Khan recently converted his diesel-operated water pump to solar energy to save money on his monthly diesel bill. He grows wheat, vegetables, peanuts and sugar-cane on his 18 hectare farm in Attock district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.

“In April last year I decided to convert my tube well to solar energy after my diesel costs rose to 29,000 rupees (US$287) per month,” he said.

In Pakistan, there are over 1.1 million agriculture tube wells, with only 30% of them operated by electricity.

As the country faces a growing energy crisis, farmers are left with no option but to switch from diesel to solar energy to irrigate their crops. Tube wells consume around 2,000 million litres of diesel every year.

Khan is now encouraging other farmers in the area to install solar panels, pointing out the long-term economic benefits despite the initial expenditure of 1.8 million rupees (US$17,827).

National solar drive?

Pakistan’s government recently approved the use of grid-connected solar energy and rooftop solar installations and cut import taxes on solar equipment in a bid to boost solar power across the country.

In the next few months, Pakistan will add 100MW from the Quaid-e-Azam solar park in Punjab province to the national grid for the first time, with an additional 50MW to be added within a year. The project is part of Pakistan-China Economic Corridor, under which China will invest US$33 billion including in the energy and power sector.

But the country’s solar sector has a long way to go. “At the moment, generation of solar energy in the public sector is zero as all the projects are being done in the private sector,” said Asjad Imtiaz Ali, CEO of the Alternative Energy Development Board, a government organisation.

Chairman of Pakistan Solar Association, Faiz Muhammad Bhutta, recently urged the government to do more to spread solar power: he called for a 20,000-MW solar target by 2026, following the example of India’s National Solar Mission.

Despite plummeting oil prices, Asjad Imtiaz Ali believes Pakistan should continue to develop its renewable energy sector as a way of reducing its reliance on volatile fossil imports for electricity.

Almost half of Pakistan’s total electricity generation comes from expensive thermal energy sources and this means electricity prices have become unaffordable, according to the country’s 2013 National Power Policy.

Solar is the most viable and reliable energy source for agriculture, argues Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman, climate change and renewable energy expert with LEAD Pakistan, an NGO based in Islamabad. He believes farmers across the country should be encouraged to convert their diesel-operated water pumps to solar energy.

“Agriculture tube wells can be operated directly from solar panels as no batteries are required to store the energy for them,” Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman said, adding farmers can recover costs within three to four years by saving on diesel and electricity bills.

Read more » The Third Pole
See more » http://www.thethirdpole.net/pakistani-farmers-struggle-to-switch-to-solar-powered-pumps/