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Queen Elizabeth in line for pay rise
Britain's Queen Elizabeth is set to receive a $ 72,000 a week pay rise, an official report revealed.
 
The Queen's income is based on a percentage of money earned by the Crown Estate, one of the wealthiest real estate owners in Britain, Xinhua news agency reported.
 
In its annual report issued on Tuesday, the Crown Estate disclosed that it has delivered a record $405 million to the Treasury in the past year.
 
Unless the current formula is altered, it will mean that in 2017 the Queen's pay packet will be almost $61 million, 6.5 per cent higher than the %57 million she is receiving this year, and representing a 57 per cent increase over what was paid in 2012.
 
The sum is worked out by paying to the Queen 15 per cent of the surplus made by the Royal Estate, paid two years in arrears.
 
The figure can only be changed by three royal trustees, the Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Alan Reid, who has the title of the Queen's Keeper of the Privy Purse.
 
The three are currently in the process of a review which could affect the amount due to the monarch next year, a government official said.
 
A spokesman at Buckingham Palace said that it was too early to speculate on what the result would be or what amount the Queen would receive for 2017-18.
 
The report also showed the monarchy cost British taxpayers $53.5 million in 2015-16, with more than $21 million spent on the upkeep of royal households such as Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, as well as other royal households and buildings.
 
The 90-year-old Queen and the royal family's official travel cost the taxpayer $5.4 million in the past year, a reduction of more than $1 million compared to 2015.
 
The Crown Estate owns London's Regent Street as well as the entire seabed around Great Britain. It also owns Windsor Great Park, and Ascot's famous racecourse, as well as estates and properties in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and across England.
 
The office of the Crown Estate was started in 1760 when it was agreed that surplus revenue from the crown's estate would go to the Government Treasury. In return reigning monarchs receive an annual payment, 15 per cent of the annual surplus of the estate to support official royal duties.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
  

 

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Cameron has left Europe and the global community floundering
British Prime Minister David Cameron's exit speech, with his quivering lower lip, won praise from some in the social media. Very quickly, however, sentiments changed with the recognition that it was his disastrous decision, coupled with bad timing and strategic misreading of sentiment, that plunged global markets into turmoil and uncertainty. Across the globe, the reaction quickly moved from shock and horror to ridicule and contempt.
 
Through the years that the UK has been part of the EU, it has, at best, done so in a half-hearted and hesitant manner. In Churchill's admission to General de Gaulle, the UK preferred the open sea to Europe if it was forced to make a choice. That sentiment has never wavered. Indeed, even though the European Coal and Steel Community [ECSC] was set up in 1951, through the Treaty of Paris, after World War II to unify a devastated Europe, it was only in 1961 that Britain applied to join the European Economic Community that the ECSC had evolved into. It took over a decade, thereafter, for Britain to join the EEC.
 
Even at that time, the British were not convinced of the gains of joining and it was only through a referendum, in 1975, that Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson renegotiated and won Britain's membership. Cameron hoped to emulate his illustrious predecessor but failed to read the innumerable warning signs.
 
Indeed, in October last year, The Economist magazine, in an article titled "The Reluctant European", predicted that thanks to Europe's migration crisis and the euro mess, there was a realistic possibility of a majority of Britons wanting out if a referendum was held.
 
The real reasons behind the exit vote are yet to be fully analyzed and understood, though three things are clear: first, 58 percent of those who wanted to leave were 65 years old and more; second, Northern Ireland and Scotland want to stay in the EU; and third, London voted against Brexit.
 
Those who wanted out, as per statements published in social media, are reported to have blamed the influx of migrants, especially from Islamic countries and the on-going Syrian crisis; the volatile euro; the deepening financial crisis in several European countries such as Greece and Portugal; the aggressive Brussels bureaucracy and the loss of sovereignty.
 
The full implications of Brexit are yet to be fully understood and would, in large part, need to be negotiated between London and the EU member states. However, in the aftermath of the vote, the immediate consequence is one of significant uncertainty and hence confusion.
 
Northern Ireland and Scotland have already voiced views about breaking away from the UK. Bizarrely, lobbying has started within the UK for London to remain a part of the EU! To confound confusion, there is talk of a second referendum!
 
Ultra-rightest lobbies are likely to capitalize on the vote and given how emotive the migration issue is, there is genuine fear that disintegrative forces would be unleashed. A gloating Marine Le Pen of France has already said that the UK has started a movement that will not stop. There is credible anxiety of the contagion spreading and threatening the very idea of European integration and unity.
 
The exit vote, as per Article 50 of EU Law, requires that within two years, a new relationship between the EU and the UK has to be negotiated. This is not as simple as it sounds. Will a post-Brexit Britain be excluded from the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership? Does the UK go it alone in the WTO? What happens to EU nationals working in the UK and vice versa? These are only some of the multiple questions that have been thrown up.
 
The annoyance at the vote is considerable and though Cameron has said that he will step down only later in the year, when the party elects a new Prime Minister, there is pressure to commence the negotiations immediately and begin the process of clarity.
 
German Chancellor Angela Merket, known for her sagacity and far-sightedness, clearly anticipated this and, immediately after the vote, convened a meeting of the six founding states -- Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands -- to gauge the sentiment on next steps. She cautioned against a quick divorce and said that while there needs to be clear roadmap, rushing into an exit was unwarranted. This was in sharp contrast to the position taken by the EU president, who wanted the UK out and fast.
 
These are difficult times and once again, all eyes will turn to Merkel's cool head to steer the dangerously damaged EU ship. What an extraordinary development that it is Germany, post-World War II, that has emerged as the ultimate European!
 
Perhaps the most remarkable tragedy is not that Britain is isolated or that the global economy is in turmoil but rather that when the majority of persons who voted for out were senior citizens, it is the young in the UK who would be denied the opportunity of taking advantage of the opportunities that EU offers. They would be the biggest losers. Perhaps the British Prime Minister ought to have gauged the implications with greater sobriety.
 
Cameron might have hoped to go down in history. He will, most certainly, do so but it is least likely that the biographies would be kind. As democracies, we are aware of the importance of respecting the will of the people. But democratic governance is also responsible governance. If anything, the timing of the referendum was an irresponsible and strategic blunder. Cameron didn't just let down the UK, he let Europe and the global community floundering. This surely was not the mark of statesmanship.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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NDTV asks bourses to disregard ‘allegations, based on surmises and conjectures’ as they are an ‘abuse of your good offices and bring disrepute to the company’
New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV), which has made several disclosures to bourses based on action pursued against it by investigation agencies, has also proffered some advice to stock exchanges in its latest disclosure dated 27 June 2016. This is based on specific queries sent to the NDTV on 23rd June in connection with an earlier disclosure made by the company. While the company has provided a point-wise response to the bourses, it is the closing paragraphs that are extremely startling. 
 
 
"We would like to further submit that any allegations, based on surmises and conjectures, that a penalty has been imposed on the company by way of the SCN are meritless and should be disregarded by your good offices. The same are an abuse of your good offices to disrepute the company," Navneet Raghuvanshi, company secretary of NDTV, said in a reply to BSE.  
 
For several years now, exchanges have been routinely writing to companies to seek clarifications based on media reports as well as information received by them. These are put into the public domain without further verification or comment. 
 
 
On 23 June 2016, BSE had sought a clarification from NDTV about the company's regulatory filing on receiving a SCN that was consequential to the assessment order or 1 February 2014 passed by the Income Tax Department for the AY2009-10. BSE had asked NDTV to provide, quantum of the penalty amount included in the SCN and its impact on the financials of the company.
 
 
In its clarification, NDTV says, "...the SCN is not a final order, instead it only refers to a proposed penalty and no penalty has been imposed on the company as of date. Further, the company, based on advice received from tax experts believe that the possibility of such a penalty being imposed and any economic outflow resulting from it is remote. The quantum of such proposed penalty as stated in the SCN is Rs525.39 crore."
 
 
"It is further stated that the SCN does not impose any penalty on the company. The proceedings contemplated under the SCN are premature and can only be commenced once a final determination of the assessment order is provided by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) in view of the provisions of section 275(1)
(a) of the Income Tax Act. As informed to your good offices in the earlier disclosures, the company believes and as opined by its legal counsels, that the additions so made in the assessment order are not legally sustainable, are baseless and in the considered opinion of the company, the said additions and the consequent demand are likely to be dismissed by the ITAT. Consequently, no penalty would be leviable after the receipt of the order of the ITAT," NDTV said in its reply to the BSE. 
 
 
NDTV had informed the BSE that it received a show cause notice from a Deputy Commissioner related with an assessment order (AO) passed by the Income Tax Department for assessment year 2009-10. Earlier in February 2014, the I-T Department had served a tax demand of Rs450 crore on the company for AY2009-10, which the company did not inform to exchanges at that time. 
 
 
The assessment of AY2009-10 is sub-judice before the ITAT. NDTV had appealed before the ITAT against the assessment order dated 21 February 2014. The ITAT had stayed the demand arising out of the assessment order on payment of Rs5 crore, as per NDTV's filing with the stock exchanges.  The appeal has been pending before the ITAT for more than two years. 
 
 
This show cause notice comes on the back of the show cause notice from Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) against the company and its promoters for their failure to multiple disclosures information to exchanges. (Read: SEBI finally initiates action against NDTV, promoters)
 

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