Wealth International, Limited

Offshore News Digest for Week of May 7, 2001


LOWER WAGES NEVER LOOKED BETTER

The anguished cries can be heard at pink slip parties from Silicon Valley to Silicon Alley.

What, no more Kate Spade handbags?!

The fall can be hard after making so much so quickly. But for future laid off dot-commers, the choice of whether to accept a low-paying job or hold out for something meatier may be easier.

In a policy brief titled "A Prescription to Relieve Worker Anxiety," a pair of economists suggest that the U.S. government supplement the incomes of downsized workers who are forced to take lower-paying jobs.

A companion to unemployment insurance, wage insurance benefits would kick in the day a person is laid off and would last for two years, according to the proposal. Benefits would be capped at around $10,000 per year.

Wage insurance would ease the pain, real and imagined, that naturally accompanies times of economic turbulence caused by new technology, stock market nosedives, and other sordid factors, like free trade.

Unlike unemployment checks, these benefits would make it more attractive to head back to work, by enabling people to accept lower-paying job offers. Also, because every day spent on the dole is one less day of wage-insurance benefits.

"The idea has been kicking around for 15 or 20 years. Itís been flying under the radar," said UC Santa Cruz economics professor Lori Kletzer, who wrote the proposal with Robert Litan, director of the economics studies program at the Brookings Institution.

Only recently has it gained any clout, and itís not rocket science to see why. Pink slips are being handed out by the thousands, and the economy is teetering on the verge of a full-blown recession. Politicians are scrambling for a solution.

More on this story here.

FINGERPRINT FEAR

DNA fingerprints used by police contain information about the health of the suspect, with huge ethical implications.

Every time the police take a saliva or blood sample for DNA fingerprinting they are unknowingly collecting potentially sensitive genetic information concerning the health of the suspects they are testing.

A British team has discovered that the standard DNA fingerprints used by police around the world contain a subtle signature which can be linked to a person's susceptibility to type 1 diabetes.

The unexpected finding strikes at the heart of one of the sacred principles of DNA forensic testing - that tests should identify people and link them to crimes but reveal nothing of significance about their genetic make-up, family history or health. That way fingerprints can be collected from suspects and stored on police computers without invading anyone's medical privacy.

The link between the DNA signature and diabetes was confirmed by a team led by John Stead of the University of Leicester last year, but buried in an academic paper on genetics that made no comment about the implications for forensic science.

Team member Alec Jeffreys, the scientist who invented DNA fingerprinting, says he has decided to go public with the finding now because of the British government's plans for a huge expansion of DNA fingerprinting. He believes further troubling links between DNA fingerprints and disease will emerge as scientists probe the completed draft of the human genome.

More on this story here.

ATTORNEYS GENERAL: LAW LAGGING BEHIND TECHNOLOGY

For Arizona's top law enforcement officer, protecting consumer privacy online is as hard as combating machine gunfire with a lance-wielding knight on horseback.

States have fraud-protection laws they could use to pursue egregious offenders, but little for run-of-the-mill Web sites. Attorney General Janet Napolitano thinks having an Internet-specific privacy law would offer consumers basic protections and make prosecutions easier.

Other attorneys general echoed Napolitano's frustrations this past week at a National Association of Attorneys General meeting devoted to online legal trends. Their chief complaint: The law simply cannot catch up with technology.

"It's this unsettling feeling that the ground is shifting (from) under our feet too fast for us to understand what's happening," said William Sorrell, Vermont's attorney general.

What to do remains open to debate.

More on this story here.

JUDGE RULES AGAINST DRIVER WHO WANTED ďIRISHĒ ON PLATES

Carol Ann Martin is putting a whole new meaning to the phrase fighting Irish.

The Wallingford woman said Tuesday she would appeal a Superior Court decision that upheld the stateís refusal to give her vanity license plates with the word IRISH.

"Iím pretty upset about it," she said. "Iím not upset about it being denied. I thought there might be a chance theyíd deny it. But this offends me. It almost brought me to tears. Iíve ended up the racist and I donít get it."

Martin said she was dismayed to see Washington Superior Judge Matthew Katz clump Irish in with other ethnic slurs that were clearly offensive.

"This opinion offended me," she said. "How did I get painted a racist? Thereís something wrong here."

Katz ruled recently that the state Department of Motor Vehicles acted correctly when it denied Martinís request because the word she wanted to use - IRISH - could be considered offensive or confusing to the public.

More on this story here.

LIVE FROM N.Y.: SECURITY CAM HAMS

A man prostrates himself on a busy sidewalk in midtown Manhattan, praying to a security camera while foot traffic swirls around him.

"I Want God to See Me," says a large cardboard sign propped up behind him.

The man is Bill Brown, and he's protesting the presence of a surveillance camera outside St. Patrick's Cathedral.

The number of security cameras in the Big Apple has doubled in the past three years to more than 5,000, according to folks like Brown who have been trying to keep tabs on their proliferation.

But while some privacy activists advocate donning Richard Nixon masks to befuddle camera operators, and others suggest blinding the electronic eye with a paintball gun, Brown protests the cameras by drawing attention to them.

He directs the Surveillance Camera Players, a group of anarchists and libertarians that stages avant-garde skits in the camera-lined streets of New York City.

"The cameras violate the Fourth Amendment protecting citizens from illegal search and seizure," said Brown, who has a Ph.D. in American literature and works as a proofreader.

More on this story here.

PROFESSOR CITES EVIDENCE THAT GUNS STOP CRIMES

When Thomas Shim moved to Augusta, Georgia, and opened up a small convenience store more than four years ago, he planned to build his business peacefully.

But that plan was abruptly shattered by violence when he was robbed at gunpoint in his store. His wife Yougim was shot and wounded in the robbery.

Fed up and scared, Shim bought a .38-caliber pistol for protection.

That decision that may have saved his life, because in July of 1999, Shim's store was robbed at gunpoint once again. Fearing for his life, Mr. Shim shot and killed the armed robber, a career criminal named Anthony Boyd.

"If I didn't have a gun I would have been killed," Shim told Fox News. "I grabbed my gun, clicked it ... and shot him. At that moment, I had to survive."

Shim's story is one of many cited in research by Yale University Professor John R. Lott Jr., author of More Guns, Less Crime.

Lott says his research shows that guns used defensively stop about 2 million crimes a year, five times the amount of crimes in which guns are used.

"No one has found bad effects resulting from right-to-carry laws," Lott said, citing instances in which the mere presence of a gun played a key role in preventing crimes.

"When guns are used defensively, most of those times, the gun is not fired," said University of Georgia Professor David Mustard, who collaborated with Lott.

Lott says most media reports ignore the life-saving aspects of guns. In his research, he compiles instances across the country where the simple brandishing of a gun prevented crime.

More on this story here.

OFFSHORE -- WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

As taxes keep on rising, the offshore sector has grown until an estimated half of the world's money is stashed there. But how how do you define "offshore"?

The answer, here.

FRENCH MASS ARREST OF LUXEMBOURG INSURERS

PARIS. High handed French police have arrested but not charged 11 officials of a US owned Luxembourg insurance company.

More on this story here and here.

BLAIR ASSAULTS BRITISH FREEDOMS

LONDON. Labour wants to abolish the right to a jury trial, repeal the rule against double jeopardy and confiscate assets of alleged criminals without trial.

More on this story here.

ISLE OF MAN OVERBOARD?

DOUGLAS. Manx authorities are imposing new financial disclosure laws stricter than in the US or UK. And VALMETís CEO keeps on singing to the police about his clients.

More on this story here.

COOK ISLANDSí PIONEER LAWS

This well known tax and asset haven has led the way in offshore financial statutory enactments. Background here.


SINKING DOWN UNDER

Australia may become an isolated loser in the process of globalization.

More on this story here.

ANTIGUA WANTS OUT

St. JOHN'S. The government cleaned up its act, now demands an end to the arbitrary US and UK financial advisories imposed on the islands.

More on this story here.

SAINT LUCIA OFFSHORE CENTER

CASTRIES. The government wants you to know they welcome your offshore finances with new, modern laws.

More on this story here.

CANADAíS TOUGH OFFSHORE TAX RULES

ONTARIO. David LESPERANCE, explains how Canada's tax laws impact offshore finances.

More on this story here.

And here is what Canadians are thinking about taxes these days.

More on this story here.

EURO CAUSES CASH CONVERSION FEVER

With 200+ days before the introduction of euro notes and coins, Europeans with something to hide from the taxman are anxious not to be caught with hot cash in the wrong currency.

More on this story here.

MORE OFFSHORE FRAUD

Feds seize $1.5 million from the GUERNSEY offshore account of stockbroker who pleaded guilty to cheating 16,000 investors out of more than $176 million.

More on this story here.

DOLLARIZATION

GUATEMALA is the latest Latin American country to legalize the free circulation of the US dollar.

More on this story here.

E.U. LEADERS WANT EUROPEAN TAX

BRUSSELS. Not content with individual national taxes, EU bureaucrats now hunger for a Europe wide tax. But not everyone agrees with pan-European taxes.

More on this story here and here.

F.A.T.F. FLATULENCE

The Financial Action Task Force says the best way to prevent dirty money laundering is to eliminate financial privacy globally.

More on this story here and here.

F.B.I. SPIES ON BANK ACCOUNTS

New documents disclose FBI's Web surveillance of bank accounts using Carnivore seeking possible money laundering.

More on this story here.

US civil liberties and privacy rights groups urge US Atty. Gen. ASHCROFT to curb FBI Carnivore violations of electronic privacy.

More on this story here.

CELL PHONE TAPS INCREASE

Wireless devices accounted for 60% of 1,190 wiretaps authorized by US state and federal courts last year.

More on this story here.

A new device called an "IMSI catcher," switches off cell phone encryption without users knowing it, allowing secret police eavesdropping and location tracing.

More on this story here.

PRIVACY TIPS

Top 12 ways to protect your Online privacy.

More on this story here.

A better Anonymizer? This one leaves no browser records of your Web travels and frustrates Online official censoring used in China and Australia. As used by the US CIA!

More on this story here.
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