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Flying le coop: France's Richest Man Seeks Belgian Citizenship, Denies its an Attempt to Dodge Taxes

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Bernard Arnault, France's richest man with a net worth estimated at US$41 billion, has applied for Belgian citizenship - citing personal and business reasons and maintains this has nothing to do with François Hollande's 75 per cent tax hike on the super-r[ich].

As the Belgian authorities evaluate Arnault's request to determine whether or not he has demonstrable "real ties" to Belgium, it stands to reason that Arnault would wish to seek shelter under Belgium's 50 per cent tax rate.

Arnault insisted on Saturday that he was not becoming Belgian to dodge tax.

Dollar

Debt Slavery! Collectors Cash in on $1 Trillion in US Student Loans

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Most US college students hope to land a good job with a high salary after graduation. But for some the reality is very different. Many find themselves faced with insurmountable debt - and a loan industry that's happy to cash in on their misfortune.

­As the number of people taking out government-backed student loans has soared, so has the number of borrowers who have fallen behind in making payments.

Around 5.9 million people nationwide have fallen at least 12 months behind in their payments. This number has grown by a third in the last five years, according to a State Higher Education Finance survey.

Many who can't repay their loans feel they have no choice but to default. It's a decision that can be disastrous - ruining a borrower's credit and increasing the amount they owe. It can also result in penalties of up to 25 per cent of the balance.

Comment: The student loan racket is destroying the future for many young people and often forces them to take desperate measures:
Prostitution Attractive Option for Med Students with Debt
"I Cannot Eat Your Prayers": How Student Debt Changed One Woman's Mind on "Christian Charity"
America's Student Loan Racket
US: Students Protest Debt While These Companies Rake in Money


Heart - Black

Gardening company faces $12.5 million penalty for adding poison to bird food

bird
© Agence France-Presse/Patrick Pleul
The US law and garden products company, Scotts Miracle Gro, the world's largest marketer of residential pesticides, is facing $12.5 million in fines for violating numerous federal pesticide laws and for adding illegal toxins to wild bird food.

The company pleaded guilty to distributing pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels, distributing unregistered pesticides and falsifying pesticide registrations - but the most disturbing was its use of toxic insecticide in its bird food products, including Storcide II and Actellic 5E.

Part of Friday's $12.5 million criminal settlement will go towards restoring some of the wildlife the company may have endangered. Scotts will be forced to contribute $500,000 to organizations that protect bird habitats. Other fines include a $6 million civil penalty, $2 million for environmental projects and a $4 million criminal state fine.

"Storcide II is extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife," reads the label on the containers of the chemical. Still, Scotts used the substance and sold its illegally treated bird food for two years after it began making it and for six months after employees warned the company of its dangers. The company admitted it used the toxic substances to protect against insects in the bird food during storage.

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had prohibited the use of Actellic 5E and Storcide II, both of which were used by Scotts and which the company imported illegally from other countries.

House

Wells Fargo loses all of family's possessions after wrongfully foreclosing on home


Wells Fargo employees wrongfully foreclosed a modest home near a small town in California, removing and destroying nearly all of an old couple's belongings.

Alvin and Pat Tjosaas, who have been married for 56 years, lost three generations worth of their belongings when a contracted foreclosure crew accidentally broke into the wrong house. The Tjosaas had no mortgage on the house that Alvin had built with his dad as a teenager.

"Good news, we know who took it: Wells Fargo. Bad news, the stuff is all gone," Alvin Tjosaas told CBS Los Angeles.

Subcontractors hired by the bank broke doors, smashed windows and stole valuables while foreclosing the couple's vacation home near Twentynine Palms.

A 14-year-old Alvin had build the house brick by brick with his dad in 1961 and has taken his family and kids there ever since.

"I put my whole life into this place, building it for my mom and dad," he told ABC News.

"I know every inch, every rock... my mom mixed all the cement by hand," he told CBS.

Among the stolen goods were three tractor mowers, three golf carts, masonry tools, carpenter tools, a WWI uniform and flag, and decades worth of family heirlooms.

Che Guevara

Greeks protest fresh cuts as 'troika' auditors visit

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© Agence France-Presse/Sakis Mitrolidis
Thousands of workers protest against budget cuts in Thessaloniki
More than 12,000 protesters marched Saturday against fresh austerity measures the Greek government has prepared to win another slice of an international bailout loan.

As auditors from Greece's international creditors inspected the government's books, four separate marches took place in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

"The Greek people can't take any more," read one banner. A number of ambulances joined the demonstration: hospital workers are among those hit, both by salary cuts and reduced public spending.

"Very soon, the vast majority of the Greek people is going to react," said Alexis Tsipras, leader of the main opposition radical Syriza party, currently riding high in the polls.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is leading the country towards a catastrophe, he warned.

After the main demonstrations, about a thousand activists confronted police near the university in the city centre.

The police, pelted with projectiles, responded with volleys of tear gas and stun grenades before charging the crowd and scattering them.

The main trade unions, opposition parties including the Syriza party and communist activists all joined the protest, and police put the turnout at more than 12,000.

Camcorder

Rochester Police Exempt from Red-Light Cameras

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© MPR Photo/Sea Stachura
119 infractions recorded, but violators won't have to pay

New York - Over the past 18 months, city of Rochester employees have committed at least 119 red light violations while driving city vehicles, records show.

But while employees can be disciplined for the violation, "payment of the related fine will not be required," according to a newly adopted city procedure for handling the violations.

One-third of the infractions were by police department vehicles, including one driven by Police Chief James Sheppard. These are not instances where squad cars are going through intersections with lights and sirens blaring. But Sheppard said most do involve emergency responses, and typically are rolling stops on right turns.

Arrow Down

Rising Food Prices Continue to Climb, with Prices Up 10% in July Alone

Rising Food Prices
© Natural Society
Food prices are rising, and consumers are feeling it. Rising food prices aren't only hitting America, they are happening around the world. Costs have gone up 10 percent between June and July alone, with corn, soybeans, and wheat reaching record prices. This outpaces the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's estimate of a 6 percent increase.

Rising Food Prices and Vulnerable Populations

While we may all see small changes in the grocery store and in grocery bills, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim says countries reliant on imported grains, especially "Africa and the Middle East are particularly vulnerable."

The World Bank attributes the price jump mainly to the American heatwave and drought in Eastern Europe, which has hurt corn and soy in the US and wheat in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Use of corn in the production of ethanol in the U.S. - accounting for up to 40 percent of corn crop - has also been blamed for the price jump.

But of course this isn't the beginning of rising food prices. Costs have been going up for some time now; you can see a food price index we covered around just last Thanksgiving. The food index count, which is an overall score reflecting the total price of the top 6 food commodities, rose to 215 in December of 2010 - up from 90 in the year 2000. Sugar spearheaded the spike, hitting only 2 points away from the 400 mark in December of 2010.

Rice is the only staple that has actually decreased in price (by 4 percent).

Eye 1

Jacksonville Woman Strips Naked and Goes on Knife-Wielding Rampage

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© mugshots.com
Cheri Dana
With a yell of "God is here, I'm going to repent," a woman swung a butcher knife Wednesday afternoon at someone inside Teen Challenge at 3333 Philips Highway, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

She next stabbed a table before stripping down and attacking two cars. She had chased children with the blade before a Taser stopped her rampage, police said.

Cheri Dana, a 42-year-old transient, has been jailed on charges of aggravated assault and criminal mischief. She remains in the Duval County jail on $90,000 bail, according to jail records.

Stormtrooper

TSA at Houston Airport Kicks Woman off Flight Over Attitude

A TSA screener admitted to a woman traveling through Houston Airport that she was prevented from boarding her flight for retaliatory reasons as punishment for a bad attitude rather than any genuine security threat, after the woman refused to allow TSA agents to test her drink for explosives.


The audio and video in the clip above is scratchy, but the woman is heard saying, "Let me get this straight, this is retaliatory for my attitude, this is not making the airways safer it's retaliatory."

"It pretty much definitely is," the TSA screener responds.

The incident began when the woman refused to allow TSA agents to carry out a controversial policy where they test drinks for explosives that are purchased by passengers after they have already passed through security.

"This was inside the terminal at the Houston airport," the woman writes on her You Tube channel. "I was not allowed to board a plane (even though I had already been through airport security) because I drank my water instead of letting the TSA "test" it. The TSA agent finally admitted that it wasn't because they thought I was a security risk - it was because they were mad at me!"

The new policy, which as we highlighted is completely pointless and unnecessary, was back in the headlines earlier this week after the Drudge Report posted an Infowars story featuring a video which showed TSA screeners testing drinks in the departure lounge at Columbus Ohio Airport.

Source: Infowars

Sheriff

Chicago Police Making Plans If Students Miss School Due To Strike

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© CBS News
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy
The Chicago police superintendent says he'll be ready if police have to deal with the sudden exodus of students from the classroom to the street - in case there's a strike.

The Chicago Public Schools will have some schools open for half a day, if there's a strike.

And that in itself is an issue for Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.

"We do have concerns and we're working with CPS to ensure that rival gang members are not put into the same places," McCarthy said.

"The fact is, we just came out of the summer where those kids were not in school for the most part anyway," he said. "So it's really just going to extend exactly what we're doing."

He says he's working with the Chicago Public Schools to make sure rival gang members aren't placed in the same school.

McCarthy says police resources will be concentrated well into the early morning hours.

"If the kids aren't in school, the likelihood is they're going to be awake later and perhaps out on the street," he said.