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Friday, March 8, 2019

$4 million US tax fraud

Indian-origin pharmacist guilty in $4 million US tax fraud

The pharmacist along with two others has already admitted to the conspiracy. 

An Indian-origin pharmacist has admitted to conspiring with two others in an income tax fraud of $4 million and now faces a maximum sentence of five years in jail, according to a federal prosecutor.

Ajay Barthwal, 43, admitted participating in the tax evasion conspiracy before federal Judge William J. Martini in Newark, New Jersey, federal prosecutor Craig Carpenito said on Tuesday.

Dilip Naik and Bhavesh Mistry, also of Indian-origin, who were silent partners in a pharmacy with Barthwal, have already admitted to their role in the conspiracy, according to the prosecutors.

The three hid $9 million that their pharmacy in New Jersey took in between 2009 and 2011 from tax authorities and evaded $4 million in taxes, the prosecutor's office said.

To hide their income from the pharmacy, they deposited only a part of the proceeds into the business account and siphoned off the rest by encashing cheques. 

Cheque-cashing businesses in the US pay cash for cheques after taking a commission to facilitate people without bank accounts.
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Saturday, February 23, 2019

16 states sue Trump over border wall emergency

The lawsuit added that Trump had "veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making."

Sixteen US states sued President Donald Trump's administration Monday over his decision to declare a national emergency to fund a wall on the southern border with Mexico, saying the move violated the constitution.
The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California, said the president's order was contrary to the Presentment Clause that outlines legislative procedures and the Appropriations Clause, which defines Congress as the final arbiter of public funds.
The move had been previously announced by Xavier Becerra the attorney general of California who said his state and others had legal

standing because they risked losing moneys intended for military projects, disaster assistance and other purposes.
Several Republican senators have decried the emergency declaration, saying it establishes a dangerous precedent and amounts to executive overreach.
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia are party to the complaint seeking an injunction.
"Use of those additional federal funds for the construction of a border wall is contrary to Congress's intent in violation of the US Constitution, including the Presentment Clause and Appropriations Clause," the complaint said.
It added that Trump had "veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making."

"Congress has repeatedly rebuffed the president's insistence to fund a border wall, recently resulting in a record 35-day partial government shutdown over the border wall dispute," the document read.
"After the government reopened, Congress approved, and the president signed into law, a $1.375 billion appropriation for fencing along the southern border, but Congress made clear that funding could not be used to build President Trump's proposed border wall."
The complaint added that the Department of Homeland Security had violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to evaluate the environmental impact of the wall in California and New Mexico.

Friday's declaration enables the president to divert funds from the Pentagon's military construction budget and other sources.
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Thursday, February 21, 2019

The new iPhones are costlier than the previous generation

The new iPhones are costlier than the previous generation, making it unaffordable to the larger masses in emerging markets.

South Korean giant Samsung that celebrated 10 years of the existence of its Galaxy 'S' series by unveiling 3 premium devices in San Francisco on Wednesday, has followed Apple's footstep when it comes to pricing.
On why new iPhone sales did not pick up and the revenue from the devices was down 15 per cent from last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook last month admitted the customers are holding on to their older iPhones a bit longer than in the past.

The new iPhones are costlier than the previous generation, making it unaffordable to the larger masses in emerging markets.
An all-segment player, Samsung is still holding its turf in the premium segment despite tough competition coming from Huawei devices.

Can the price of Galaxy 'S' series that starts at $849 and goes up to $1,599 hit Samsung's prospects in the premium segment, already stagnated and now have a new entrant Huawei at third place (Apple at second) that sold 60 million handsets globally in the fourth quarter of 2018?

According to Upasana Joshi, Associate Research Manager, Channel Research, IDC India, with the unveiling of new devices in the 'S' family by Samsung, it has further moved up its price bands now matching those of Apple devices.

"But will these hardware evolutions be enough to help Samsung at the premium end remains doubtful," Joshi told IANS.

With consumers holding their premium phones for over two years now, due to their superior-build coupled with lack of differentiating innovations in the newer range, these highly-priced phones will not see as much traction as say the launches around two years back.

"The larger worry is the steep pricing of these devices which lets the consumer hold previous generation devices for a longer time," Joshi added.

Samsung sold 70.7 million units and garnered first place with 17.3 per cent share, according to a Gartner report on Thursday.

In 2018 as a whole, global sales of smartphones to end users (led by Samsung at 19 per cent market share) grew 1.2 per cent year over year to 1.6 billion units.

However, the global sales of smartphones to end users stalled in the fourth quarter at 408.4 million units -- a growth of just 0.1 percent over the fourth quarter of 2017.

"Long Replacement Cycles impact all the players in the ecosystem be it original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or component players. However, Samsung is relatively better placed than Apple as it has wide range of portfolio as compared to Apple," Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research, told IANS.

"Even though premium replacement cycle slows down for Samsung, it can always push their mid-segment users towards premium segment bringing in new users which is not the case with Apple," Pathak noted.

Joshi said that China market too faces these challenges of lack of differentiating innovations and rising prices by vendors, thus pushing these consumers to shift to vendors like Huawei.

What works in Samsung's favour is that it is an all-range player, unlike Apple and Huawei. 

Yet, Chinese players like OnePlus have brought some leading specifications in premium segment too, making a dent into the market share of top premium smartphone vendors in emerging markets.

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Friday, February 15, 2019



The Donald Trump White House is more than capable of doing conventional things well. Last week’s State of the Union saw a complex policy process synthesized into a well-delivered prime-time address that captured the president’s unique policy agenda and won high praise. But if conventional management styles alone could make or break a presidency, historians would be praising Jimmy Carter and vilifying Ronald Reagan. And Donald Trump wasn’t elected to just be conventional. In fact, he promised to be a disruptive, often unpredictable, force who would take a two-by-four to the status quo. And on that he has delivered.

Where other presidents have balked at moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, this president understood the value of keeping his word. Where other presidents have shied away from third-rail issues like criminal justice reform, this president parlayed a diverse coalition into a bipartisan victory that eluded President Barack Obama.
OUR VIEW: Don't ignore Trump's 'best people' who now tell all

Thursday, February 14, 2019

US public debt at record high above $22 trillion

US public debt at record high above $22 trillion
America's public debt has reached a record high of more than $22 trillion, according to data released by the US Treasury Department. The amount of the debt as of February 11 was quoted in a daily statement by the department on Tuesday. "The national debt has now eclipsed $22 trillion, as we added $1 trillion in debt over just the last 11 months," said Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a non-partisan organisation dedicated to addressing America's long-term fiscal challenges.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in January estimated that federal budget deficit was about $900 billion in 2019 and exceeds $1 trillion each year beginning in 2022. Because of persistently large deficits, the public debt is projected to grow steadily, reaching 93 per cent of US gross domestic product (GDP) in 2029 and about 150 per cent of the US GDP in 2049, according to the CBO. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has warned that the rising public debt in the US could lead to the next economic recession. Analysts said the Trump administration's $1.5-trillion tax cut and increased government spending have fueled the rapid increase in budget deficits and public debt.
"Reaching this unfortunate milestone so rapidly is the latest sign that our fiscal situation is not only unsustainable, but accelerating," Xinhua quoted Peterson as saying. "As we borrow trillion after trillion, interest costs will weigh on our economy and make it harder to fund important investments for our future," Peterson said. "We already pay an average of $1 billion every day in interest on the debt, and will spend a staggering $7 trillion in interest costs over the next decade," he said, adding "we must put our fiscal house in order and begin to manage our national debt".
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Monday, February 11, 2019

Soon, you can go around Dubai on 'Sky pods'

The sky pods were on display at the annual World Government Summit.
The annual World Government Summit (WGS) is a platform for presenting new ideas and game-changing technologies, including the future of transportation. 
Two years ago, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) unveiled its vision for flying taxis and this year on display at WGS 2019 are two models of Dubai Sky pods.

The first model of the Dubai Sky pod units is called the Unibike, a small-sized, lightweight vehicle that is fitted with steel wheels to move on suspended rails. According to the RTA, the Unibike can accommodate up to five passengers and their luggage. It can travel at a maximum speed of 150km/hr and ferry about 20,000 riders per hour.
The second model is the Unicar, which is designed to carry passengers for a distance up to 200 kilometres. Unicar is slightly longer and wider than the Unibike and can accommodate up to six riders. The Unicar can travel at a maximum speed of 150 km/hr and transport around 50,000 passengers per hour.
The Sky pods, which were first introduced to the public through a series of tweets by the RTA in December last year, "are a highly power-efficient futuristic autonomous mobility system that requires infrastructure much less than conventional mode of transit."

"(Sky pods) would use an area of land that is 100 times less than conventional means of the same capacity, while the pods' power efficiency is five times better than electric vehicles and the system requires infrastructure, which is 10 times less than conventional transit systems," the RTA underlined.
The RTA, however, has yet to announce when the trial phase for the Sky pods but it is expected to do so at the WGS.
The RTA added that they are working with global labs on trials of innovative transit systems to solve the first and last mile challenges.
"The future projects also include autonomous air taxi, which is being developed by a big global firm. This step is needed to keep pace with the ambitions of our leaders in harnessing the government's resources to serve the society and ensure sustainable welfare of future generations," the RTA said in an earlier statement.