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Business - Tobacco tax law cost U.S. billions in revenue: report

By Annika McGinnis WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A 2009 law that raised federal taxes to discourage smoking cost the U.S. government billions of dollars in lost revenue as manufacturers relabeled products and consumers shifted to cheaper pipe tobacco and large cigars, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a report released on Tuesday. The GAO estimated $2.6 billion to $3.7 billion in lost revenue from April 2009 to February 2014 as manufacturers exploited loopholes in the Children`s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act which raised taxes for smoking-tobacco products. `Each of the three tobacco manufacturers that agreed to speak with us explained that their companies switched from selling higher-taxed roll-your-own tobacco to lower-taxed pipe tobacco to stay competitive,` the congressional watchdog agency said in the report, which was the focus of a Senate hearing on Tuesday. Showing a third sample, he pointed out that a label saying `all-natural pipe tobacco` covered up a statement that the bag `makes approximately 500 cigarettes.` `Everyone knows this is cigarette tobacco,` Bernstein said.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014  03:53


World - Barclays first-half net profit soars 68% amid restructuring

Britain`s scandal-hit Barclays bank posted a 68-percent jump in first-half net profits on Wednesday, as it pushed ahead with a major restructuring that will shrink its investment bank division. Earnings after taxation surged to £1.13 billion ($1.9 billion, 1.4 billion euros) in the six months to June, from £671 million a year earlier, Barclays said in a results statement. Barclays, which has been plagued by a series of scandals in recent years, added that it was buoyed by its personal and corporate banking and its credit card unit, amid a major group-wide restructuring. Adjusted pre-tax profits however sank seven percent to £3.349 billion in the first half, hit by a 46-percent slump at its investment banking operations.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014  09:38


World - Barclays says first-half net profit soars to £1.13bn

London (AFP) - Barclays said Wednesday that first-half net profits surged 68 percent, despite a poor performance at its investment banking division.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014  07:52


Europe - World Briefing: Germany: Body Is Found Above Plane`s Landing Gear

The Pentagon said Tuesday that members of the military at Ramstein Air Base in Germany had found the body of an adolescent male trapped above the landing gear of a C-130 aircraft after a trip to Africa.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014  04:19


Middle East - Square Feet: Designer Hotels Wend Their Way Into Dubai

With luxury five-star hotels opening often in the city, some operators are hoping that brand loyalty and a dose of fashion will set them apart.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014  23:50


World - African girls to sue British Airways over alleged abuse by pilot

Girls and young women who allege they were sexually abused by a British Airways (BA) pilot in African schools and orphanages plan to sue the airline, a law firm representing them said on Wednesday. Lawyers argue that BA should be held responsible for the actions of First Officer Simon Wood who carried out the alleged crimes during stopovers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. `We allege that Wood was able to abuse the victims, by reason of his employment with the airline, in particular through his involvement with the airlines` community relations work,` said Nichola Marshall, a lawyer at Leigh Day which is representing 16 alleged victims aged from eight to 20. `The schools and orphanages that our clients attended were all in receipt of charitable donations from the airline, and Wood played a key role in administering those donations, on behalf of British Airways.` A team from the law firm would meet with other possible victims in Kenya and Uganda in the coming weeks, she said.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014  09:12


Asia-Pacific - Ten convicted for India school fire

A court in India finds 10 people guilty for a school fire in which 94 children were burnt alive in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in 2004.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014  07:39


Top Stories - Bergdahl could be questioned soon

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could meet next week with the U.S. Army General looking into how the now-freed prisoner of war was captured by the Taliban in 2009, his attorney said.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014  04:06


World - Artist Tracey Emin`s `My Bed` to return to Britain

British artist Tracey Emin`s controversial `My Bed` is to be exhibited in Britain as part of a long-term loan to the Tate group of museums, its new owner said on Tuesday. German art collector and industrialist Christian Duerckheim, who bought the controversial work for $3.8 million at auction earlier this month, will lend the unmade bed to the Tate group for a period of at least 10 years. Among the most well-known works of the Young British Artists generation, the rumpled bed surrounded by intimate debris of cigarettes, condoms and empty bottles caused controversy when it was shortlisted for the 1999 Turner Prize.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014  01:25


World - Israel public back Gaza assault despite death toll: analysts

The army`s mounting death toll in Gaza has taken the Israeli public by surprise but without dampening its strong support for the military campaign against Hamas, analysts say. Funerals were held across the Jewish state on Tuesday for 10 soldiers killed the day before, five of them in a firefight with Palestinian militants who infiltrated Israel by a tunnel from Gaza. Four others were killed after a mortar shell exploded not far inside Israel and another in fighting in the Gaza Strip. An overwhelming `86.5 percent believes that Israel cannot agree to a ceasefire as long as Hamas continues to fire rockets on Israel, as long as all the tunnels have not been discovered and as long as Hamas refuses to surrender,` it said.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014  00:03

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