Wednesday, 29 February 2012

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

More Stupididty

Virgin Atlantic has appointed a "whispering coach" to ensure cabin crew do not disturb Upper Class passengers on their flights.  Crew will learn how to whisper at a volume of between twenty and thirty decibels on a special, day-long training course.

Virgin's Upper Class passengers pay around £6 000 per person for return flights from London to New York.

Yer What?

9% of adults between the ages of 18 and 55 don't know the postcode of their primary residence.

If You're Happy & You Know It Clap Your Hands

In a survey of people’s happiness, the first of its kind, the ONS found that men aged between 45 and 49 are the least satisfied with life in the UK.  Conversely, men and women aged between 65 and 80 are the most satisfied.  This is followed closely by teenagers aged between 16 and 19.
London or the West Midlands are the gloomiest regions.  People who live here are the least happy with their lives and also value the worth of what they do with their lives less than people in other regions.  The findings come despite London being the wealthiest part of the country by some distance.
The happiest place in the UK, and also the one with the highest levels of life satisfaction and feelings of worth, is Northern Ireland.

More at TTel

Who Really Cares?

In a discovery that could rewrite the history of the Americas, archaeologists have found a number of stone tools dating back between 19 000 and 26 000 years, and bearing remarkable similarities to those made in Europe.
All of the ancient implements were discovered along the north-east coast of the USA.
The tools could reassert the long dismissed and discredited claim that Europeans in the form of Christopher Columbus and his crew were the first to discover the New World.

More at TTel.

Bloody Cards

Five million people will be able to buy cut-price stamps to protect them from steep rises in the cost of sending a letter, the post office has disclosed.

The price of second class stamps is expected to increase from 36p to as much as 55p in April, and then rise by inflation every year for seven years.  The price of a first class stamp (currently 46p) will no longer be capped by the regulator. 

In an attempt to avoid a back lash at these rises, stamp prices will be frozen for some pensioners and benefit claimants to help them with the cost of sending Christmas cards this year.  The deal will be limited to a few weeks in December and the post office said customers would be rationed to prevent abuse of the scheme.

Fuck 'em and use emails instead.  Simple.

Pay Off For Giving Up

Chris Huhne

Chris Huhne has accepted a taxpayer-funded payout of more than £17 000 despite being the first Cabinet minister in history to be forced out of office due to a criminal investigation.

Yes, he's the chap that is being prosecuted for allegedly getting his wife to cop for penalty points when his car was nicked for speeding.  She then 'fessed up that it was a put up job after he got caught snogging another burd.

And payment is tax free.

Now wonder he's grinning.

More at TTel 

Not Just Rowling

Julian Fellowes
In response to mounting criticism from his Liberal Democrat allies, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has announced that the controversial Health & Social Care Bill will be rewritten by acclaimed screenwriter and actor Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey.
‘After detailed discussions with my colleagues in government, it has become clear that my message – that this Bill is the best way to protect the NHS forever – may not have got through’, Lansley said at a Whitehall press conference.
‘So what better way to make the public fall competely in love with my proposals than to get the whole thing rewritten in the style of a much-loved drama penned by the man who brought us Maggie Smith in purple crinoline?’
Sources say that Lansley is preparing a slew of measures to shore up support for the Bill after he ‘began to detect’ signs of opposition from the Royal College of Surgeons, as well as the British Medical Association, nurses, consultants, patients, patient groups, carers, families, families of carers, psychiatrists, radiologists, radiographers, optometrists, therapists, physiotherapists, terrapins, occupational therapists, social workers, social care workers, bear baiters, dentists, Nick Hewer and Rachel Riley, GPs, MPs, MSPs, 78% of voters, and the other 22% of voters.
Fellowes, 62, was also the writer of the Oscar-winning Gosford Park and was nominated for three BAFTAs for his work on the Coroners & Justice Bill 2009.
‘I’m relishing this exciting chance to revive a national institution’, he said.
‘The Health & Social Care Bill has all the ingredients of a great costume drama – growing class resentment between rich and poor, the shadow of impending war, a ‘will-they-won’t-they’ love story between two young toffs whose families don’t entirely approve of their relationship, and all taking place in a grand but crumbling edifice of a coalition that, while undoubtedly stately, probably won’t be standing in three or four years.’

180 Seconds to Gold

British Olypmic medallists
Thanks to new research that suggests that just three minutes of exercise a week can make a person fit, people all over the country are putting down their remote controls, finishing off their pasties and wondering what brand of trainers to endorse once they’ve won gold at the London 2012 Olympics.
“I’d largely given up hope of ever reaching the pinnacle of athletic recognition”, admitted 23-stone Nigel Firth, an unemployed plumber from Stockport.
“This research not only gives me new hope, it also confirms that I don’t really need to start training until the middle of July.”
Firth hasn’t decided which event he will excel in yet, but is torn between the marathon and something where he can still get to sit down, such as the men’s team pursuit cycling.
“Given a good, solid, three minutes of training, I’m sure I could beat the best in the world at running for 26 miles and 385 yards”, confirmed Firth, as he reached for his inhaler.
“But I might do the cycling as well – I think I’ve still got that old Raleigh Chopper in my mum’s shed.”
But Firth wonders if the three minute claim is realistic for all athletes, and doesn’t want to commit to such a punishing schedule if the science is in question.
“Give it a month and I bet the boffins will have it down to one minute thirty. There’s no point pushing yourself too hard, especially if you’ve got a note from your doctor.”
Firth had to finish the telephone interview early, as speaking out loud makes his chest hurt.

Too Risky

Adventurer and TV survivalist Bear Grylls pulled out of an Italian cruise holiday yesterday, citing safety concerns.
The presenter of ‘Born Survivor’ was due to embark upon a luxury fortnight in the Mediterranean via Costa Cruises, but pulled out at the last minute saying, “I’m sorry – you’re not getting me on that thing”.
Grylls, famous for wading through alligator-infested rapids whilst wrapping poisonous snakes around his waist and setting his head on fire to ward off mosquitoes said that he would be happy to lose his deposit on the cruise.
A spokesman for the company criticised the presenter, emphasising the cruise line’s unblemished safety record, “except for a couple of times, and all boats catch fire occasionally”.
But speaking from central Syria via a satellite phone that he had fashioned by inserting a 25,000kW power cable up the arse of a live scorpion, Grylls denied that he was being overly-cautious.
“My career is based upon applying unusual survival techniques in extreme circumstances”, he said, over the sound of mortar fire. “But I’m not going on one of those cruise liners, even with the back up of producers and a camera crew. It’s just too dangerous.”

Unpaid OT

Whether emailing before they get up, working into their lunch break or taking calls after 22:00, more than half of workers admit they simply cannot escape work, a study has found, which said that nearly half of Brits worry about work in their spare time. 

Two thirds work at times when they feel they shouldn’t have to and it was found that the average Brit spends 1 hour 13 minutes working outside of their contracted hours every single day.

A quarter of Brits go above and beyond because they are plagued with fears of redundancy, while 36% constantly have an eye on targets they know they have to reach.  60% also talk about work regularly when at home while one in three has worked on a weekend despite not being required to.

Or maybe they are simply making up for lost time when not working in the office?


"W" can be used as a vowel.

Apparently- no example was cited.

Fantasy NHS IX

THE government's flagship NHS bill is to be rewritten for adults by JK Rowling.

Rectarium Polypus!
The new version will get rid of boring competition between primary care trusts in favour of magical colour-changing lizards that diagnose cancer, enchanted mops and buckets that clean wards on their own. And necromancy.

The new bill also advocates dividing the Royal College of Physicians into four different houses, one of which is proudly evil, and employing a talking surgical mask and gown to rule in cases of medical malpractice.

Rowling said: "The NHS is a wonderful institution in need of fresh ideas, just like Hogwarts® before a certain Harry Potter® enrolled at the school®.

"How about enchanted syringes that fly to patients and inject them? Or owl nurses? Or proctological examinations performed by a magic wand?"

Critics of the scheme say that spells like Vulnera Sanentur have no counterparts in the real world, though they did see the value of A&E departments staffed by mountain trolls to deal with Saturday night woundings pissed up on butterbeer.

David Cameron said: "Like me, the nation's favourite writer thinks the NHS is broken. And like me, she believes it can be fixed by magic.

"Those sceptics who say minotaur doctors controlling their own budgets with the help of thousands of bewitched accountant worms are unworkable need to open their minds to new solutions."

The bill will also include 116 excruciating pages about Andrew Lansley winning a Quidditch tournament.


Next Gen Thinking

PEOPLE who want lots of stuff are more likely to have it than people who are not really that bothered, scientist have claimed.

He doesn't have fancy things and is therefore really nice
Psychologists at the University of California found that wealthy people had a habit of wanting money and would actively do things in order to acquire it.

Research director Paul Piff said: "It seems that rich people have become rich by being greedy and developing strategies to get the things they want, while poor people may have entertained the idea of having lots of money but then decided not to do anything about it.

"This has led to a situation where some people have more things than other people."

Dr Piff said the results now raise the possibilty that human beings are animals with some sort of 'survival instinct'.

But the research was dismissed by the International Association of Wealthy Individuals who invited Dr Piff to their mahogany-lined study for a glass of whisky and a quiet chat to see if they could sort out this silly mess.

A spokesman said: "You and I are men of the world, Dr Piff. Tell me what I can do to make this little problem go away."

Meanwhile, the study also concluded that all rich people are exactly the same as Terry-Thomas in
Monte Carlo or Bust.

Dr Piff added: "We studied traffic at an intersection and found that people in expensive cars are 73% more likely to have a contraption fitted to the back which spews out oil in a bid to make driving condition treacherous for Tony Curtis and Susan Hampshire.

"And more than 60% get Eric Sykes to do their dirty work for them."



TRANSPORT for London has unveiled the capital's new breed of innovative, non-insane public transport passenger.

Priority seat for people who are disabled, pregnant or carrying a head in a bag
Transport for London has spent over £240 million on creating thousands of better quality travellers - known as Passengers Plus - from high quality genetic materials.

The project was launched after customer feedback revealed the worst thing about public transport was having to share it with demented, frantically-scrabbling bastards all of whom exist on a spectrum of hostility from 'passive aggressive' to 'carrying a severed head in a bag'.

A TfL spokesman said: "The main problem with the old passengers was not their physical appearance or bodily aroma - challenging though they may be - but their bastardry.

"With their combination of blank-eyed stares and determination to get onto the already-teeming train or bus regardless of the human cost, they appeared simultaneously bored and murderous - 'borederous', if you will.

"The Petri dish-created Passengers Plus are 94% more courteous without being irritatingly cheerful.

"They have the manners and demeanour of an elderly person, but are less saggy."

As a bonus feature, Passengers Plus also has inbuilt weaponry.

The TfL spokesman added: "Let's say the gentleman sitting opposite you is playing Tinchy Stryder through his mobile phone speaker while loudly masticating a Haribo in a half-arsed attempt to be intimidating.

"A Passenger Plus would place a single finger against that man's temple, firing a deadly retractable bolt like the ones they use to do pigs in slaughterhouses. It will then return to quietly reading the Metro."


Off You Go

PEOPLE across Britain have applauded the forced removal of smelly hippies who believe exactly the same things as they do.

Die, perceptive hippy! Die!
As police cleared the Occupy London site at St Paul's Cathedral, millions of people who think bankers are horrid urged police to truncheon the filthy scum who have spent the last 100 days highlighting the horridness of bankers.

Tom Logan, from Hatfield, said: "I don't know who I hate most - the bank that sent my business to the wall while awarding huge bonuses to its failing management or the human sewage who have been pointing out what a fucking disgrace that is.

"Look at them, with their hair."

Helen Archer, from Stevenage, added: "Being angry about banks should be done as quietly as possible. Preferably inside one's own head. If George Osborne could read my thoughts then I suspect things would change overnight.

"Kill them all!"

Margaret Gerving, a retired headmistress from Guildford, said: "Why aren't the police using a machine gun on that young man who is praying? I thought this was supposed to be a Christian country.

"Would you like to see my feet? They've gone blue."The clearance of the site means tourists will once again be able to enter St Paul's and think selectively about Jesus while admiring the underside of a reasonably large dome.


What's English For...

As we have demonstrated before, the English language has some grievous holes in it. We're talking about everyday phenomena that we have all noticed, yet don't have terms for.
Fortunately, while we were busy fumbling with hand gestures and illustrations like cavemen, other cultures just made up the perfect words and phrases to encapsulate those little everyday moments filled with ... uh ... je ne sais quoi.

#9. Shemomedjamo (Georgian)

To eat past the point of being full just because the food tastes good.
Here is a word that describes such a quintessentially American phenomenon it's shocking that another culture came up with it first. After all, there are entire civilizations that have never heard of "never-ending pasta bowls" or "dessert pizzas." Fortunately, the Georgians (the European Georgians, that is) devised a word to describe it exactly. "Shemomedjamo" is the act of eating to the point where your body says, "OK, we did it! We're all done now," and then muscling through another three steaks.
As absurd as that may sound, keep in mind that America has a holiday devoted entirely to shemomedjamo in November. The only way to know if you're done eating on Thanksgiving is when physical pain gets involved. If you don't eat on Thanksgiving until it hurts to breathe, you're either a liar or a terrorist (you're welcome, FBI). In fact, many Americans celebrate Thanksgiving shemomedjamo every day, because they're so patriotic.
Patriotism comes breaded and deep fried.
The literal translation for shemomedjamo is "I accidentally ate the whole thing," which is a charming way of saying "Oh my God, why isn't somebody stopping me?!"
Which neatly brings us to ...

#8. Kummerspeck (German)

Excess weight gained from emotional overeating.
"Kummerspeck" translates to "grief bacon," a word that finally acknowledges that when we are under a crushing weight of sadness or stress, many of us skip alcohol and narcotics in favor of delicious fried meats.
"Oh God, it reminds me of heeeerrrrr!"
College students do have their own version of this term -- they refer to the pounds gained by a new student on his own for the first time as the "Freshman 15" (or the "Freshman 50," depending on how homesick the kid is and how bad his grades are).
"No, you stud ... it's the number of girls you've slept with. Now let's leave the '80s and go the gym."
Sitcoms have always treated this as a predominantly female act (the scene usually features a woman frumped up in pajamas eating fistfuls ice cream after a breakup), but the comforting effects of fatty and salty food is both a physical and a psychological reaction that isn't exclusive to one gender. Everyone knows how comforting it can be to fill the metaphorical holes in our hearts with real doughnut holes.
Please note that icing makes a godawful lubricant.
What we're saying is that if there were a product for sale in the United States called Grief Bacon, we can almost guarantee that it would sell off the shelves right around Valentine's Day, Christmas and all 363 of the other saddest days of the year. Plus, with the recent trend of combining bacon with everything from chocolate to ice cream, it was only a matter of time before we combined it with grief just to see how that would taste.
"Tastes like the cold embrace of a razor. Until you pair it with Easy Cheese. Then it tastes awesome."

#7. Hikikomori (Japanese)

A teenager or 20-something who has withdrawn from social life, often obsessed with TV and video games.
We need this word because we badly need to draw a distinction here. After all, we're long past the "If you play video games, you're a virgin who lives in your parents' basement" stereotype. Pretty much everyone under the age of 40 owns at least one game machine. And these days, "geek" basically refers to the 80 percent of people who like video games, sci-fi or comics. "Nerd" just means somebody who's really smart. So what's the term for, say, MMORPG players who get so sucked into their game that they just withdraw from life?
No idea. All we do is call 911 when the hallway starts to smell.
Because these people do exist -- World of Warcraft even has its own syndrome named after it to account for the people who play the game so much that all of their friends think they moved away. We're guessing there isn't one person reading this who didn't have at least one friend disappear from the social scene when WoW was in its heyday. Or maybe they survived only to have Skyrim claim them.

"Fus Ro Dah" is just Dovahkiin for "LOL stfu n00b."
Well, Japan has named these unfortunate souls: the "hikikomori." It had to be the Japanese who came up with a word for it, because the phenomenon is at its worst in Japan, where some people will go entire years without leaving their bedroom (this is also a country where, coincidentally, a record number of young people have no interest in sex). Psychologists in Japan think the epidemic is linked to societal pressures and constant bullying.
Japan makes people want to curl up and hide? No, really.
Nevertheless, we all know at least one person who's right on the cusp of becoming one of the hikikomori, and if you don't, ask yourself when you last saw sunlight.

#6. Gadrii Nombor Shulen Jongu (Tibetan)

Giving an answer that is unrelated to the question.
"Gadrii nombor shulen jongu" translates literally to "giving a green answer to a blue question," and you won't find a gushier spring of it than in political debates. It sounds like this:
Moderator: How do you respond to allegations that you funneled federal grant money into your string of underground toddler fighting arenas?
Candidate: You know, I really can't believe we're focusing on this silly "scandal" when what Americans are really worried about is jobs.
"I will create jobs for boxing managers and trainers. And maybe ninja knife fighters."
It's an old rule of politics -- if you don't like the question you were asked, just answer the one you wish they had asked instead. Here's Sarah Palin doing a clumsily transparent job of it.

If you turn the sound off, it looks like a perfectly normal conversation between two batshit insane people.
But those of us not seeking political office can be just as guilty of this not-at-all-clever bit of skullduggery. Every once in awhile, when someone asks you a mundane question for which you have no answer, pride will intervene and refuse to let you cave to honesty. Before you know it, a question about whether you like a band you've never heard of devolves into a story about the time a bird shit in your friend's eye while the two of you stopped to watch a couple of horses humping. In situations like this, gadrii nombor shulen jongu can, at the very least, convince people to never ask you another question ever again.
And now your favorite musical genre is horse sex.

#5. Iktsuarpok (Inuit)

To go outside to check if an expected visitor has arrived, over and over again.
For lonely people eager to find new ways to express their loneliness, there is a new word that perfectly sums up the feeling of waiting for someone who, as time goes on, you realize probably isn't coming. We've all been guilty of "iktsuarpok" at one point or another, whether it's waiting for a prom date or waiting for a concealed-weapons permit in the mail after that prom fiasco. Time can seem to stretch on for eternity in moments that require you to wait on someone else, glancing out the window again and again, waiting for their car to pull into the driveway. The Inuit know the feeling so well they developed a word for it.
They have 40 words for "sudden onset cannibalism," too, if you're thinking of visiting.
The fact that iktsuarpok even exists as a word offers us all a sense of exactly what kind of isolation the Inuit people are subjected to every day. They will get all iktsuarpok-ed for the prospect of a guest like a kid for Santa Claus. So the next time you're feeling sick to death of all the people around you, remember that somewhere there's a group of people disconnected from civilization in subzero temperatures, just waiting for some hypothermic company to stumble past.
"Just chopping up some nice ice logs for the ice fire."

#4. Kaelling (Danish)

An ugly, miserable woman who yells obscenities at her kids.
If you claim to have never seen one of these, go to the laundromat. Or Walmart. Or maybe it's the woman who lives down the street and offers a Master's class in parenting to everyone in earshot. Their calls are unmistakable, from "Get your asses in this house" to "Clean up your fucking mess" and even "I'll beat the shit out of you in front of the whole goddamn neighborhood."
"Don't cry at me. You're such a child."
But where we rely on the long-winded "That-crazy-fucking-lady-down-the-street-who-someone-really-needs-to-call-CPS-on-but-no-one-will-because-she's-scary-and-besides-she-probably-set-our-house-on-fire" to describe them, the Danish invented a single word.
We do not know the kaelling's story. We are too afraid to make eye contact with her. Was the kaelling always like this? Did the father of the children know this before he made children with her? Is he now dead? Or, most frightening of all, did those kids make her that way?
Now we know that's not the way to beat an indistinct yellow offspring.
Given that at least one of these women live in every neighborhood in the United States -- regardless of how rich or poor that neighborhood is -- it's strange that we never came up with a name for it. Maybe it was because we were already calling her Mom.

#3. Neidbau (German)

A building (often of little or no value to the proprietor) constructed with the sole purpose of harassing or inconveniencing his neighbor in some way.
Remember when we told you about the crazy neighbor who built a 16-foot-high wall just to annoy the person living next to him? That's an example of a "Neidbau," a word that in German represents a very special and intense flavor of dickbaggery so potent it comes at the expense of the dickbag. It translates to "envy building," and, honestly, if a guy constructs an entire building just to say "Screw you," how can you not be flattered by that?
"Soooo ... saw your erection ... cool."
Apparently this happens so frequently that the Germans not only made a word for it, they actually had to create laws against it. After all, even among neighbors who can't sink a half million bucks into pissing off the guy next door who rehearses in his garage with a Creed cover band, they can still celebrate a much smaller, subtler form of Neidbau with smaller projects like fences. People do it all over suburbia -- neighbors will build "spite fences" just to rob the guy next door of his view of the sunset with a Brandenburg Gate of neighborly hate. Sometimes it's the simple pleasures in life that make it all worthwhile.
Which is why we're building one around Canada, because they refuse to take their 30 miles of Montana back.

#2. Pochemuchka (Russian)

A person who asks too many questions.
So, your class/work meeting/couples therapy session is dragging on and you are just barely containing a hangover that's making your internal organs try to crawl out of your mouth. Just when you think everybody has finally shut the hell up, it happens.
Son of a bitch.
Everything was all wrapped and couldn't have been clearer. But not for this guy. He wants times, dates, definitions, measurements. The endless stream of questions begins. And they are all staggeringly boring:
What font should that be in?
When will the old wooden doorstops be replaced by the regulation blue plastic doorstops?
Where do I find paper for the printer, if the printer is empty and the replacement printer paper has also run out?
"I have secretly pooped somewhere. Is it on the TV or in your handbag?"
That's when you realize that the guy is simply inventing irrelevant questions because he just likes the attention. You now truly know the meaning of despair, and the meaning of "pochemuchka."
Naturally, this word comes from a country in which asking too many questions will result in death. But maybe more surprisingly, it originates from the children's book Alyosha Pochemuchka, which is the story of a young boy who constantly asks "Why?" There are no copies of it online, so we can only assume it's a parable about a Russian child who started getting too nosy about government affairs and was quickly taken care of.
He wants to ask TWO questions! Shooooot!

#1. Pilkunnussija (Finnish)

A person who believes it is their destiny to stamp out all spelling and punctuation mistakes at the cost of popularity, self-esteem and mental well-being.
They're out there. They're reading this right now. Judging, smirking, analyzing. They care nothing about the actual meaning or fun of writing, but care everything about whether you used that semi-colon correctly. While we -- perhaps inappropriately -- call them Grammar Nazis, the Finns have a much more fitting name: "pilkunnussija."
Or literally, "comma fuckers."
Check out that tail.
Let that delicious imagery sink in for a second: Some stubborn, miserable person slowly removing his or her sweater vest while caressing the pendulous dip and point of a comma before slowly climbing on top of it and thrusting away in quiet desperation. These are people who have taken the most boring, pedantic aspect of language and adopted that as their cause. It's like a child on a basketball court dreaming of one day being a referee. And these people certainly exist. Take, for example, the Apostrophe Protection Society, who feel the need to protect this "much abused" punctuation mark from the grubby fingers of people like you.
The'yre pretty seriou's about it.
This is why we encourage you to leave such incomprehensible comments that these goddamn comma fuckers will be too busy to leave the house ever again.



Dereck Chisora has been suspended indefinitely by the World Boxing Council (WBC) for his behaviour before and after his fight with Vitali Klitschko.  The WBC said it was "one of the worst behaviours ever by a professional" adding that he seek anger management treatment before considering whether to lift the suspension and that he may yet still face a "serious".

"The WBC is absolutely condemning behaviours that are not to be accepted in boxing under any circumstances and will act as soon as it can proceed to impose the fines and sanctions as we consider necessary.  Boxers are gentlemen and show to the world an example of honour and fair play when, after a tremendous battle, they go to the centre of the ring to pay respect to each other.

Dereck Chisora is not going to tarnish the sport for those born in the humblest beds, who become sports heroes of the world to live a life of dignity and pride."

He is due before a British Boxing Board of Control hearing on 14th March, so why announce the punishment before all the facts and mitigating circumstances (if any) are heard?

And what of Hayes, the other person involved who has since admitted he was holding a bottle when he punched him?

Very shabby all round.


Pic of the Day

Festival of Lanterns in Chiang Mai, Thailand

A Weekly Wage

The average "successful" convenience store robber in the US gets away with just $537.

Can we then presume that daily takings at such establishments is over half a grand a day?

Always the Same

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) Union has rejected an offer of up to £500 bonus for Tube staff to work during the Olympics, saying that there were too many strings attached to the proposed deal.

The union also announced it is to ballot hundreds of administrative staff it represents at Transport for London (TfL) for industrial action over "severely restricted" annual leave during the Games this summer.  Officials claimed that leave had been banned altogether for the duration of the Games in one department, saying this would make life "impossible" for many staff, especially those with school-age children.

That I agree is unreasonable (particularly as I hear the Government is considering banning parents from taking kids on holiday during term time) but why the need to be paid a bonus for doing your job?

Apparently, it's because they will have to work extra or longer shifts, change working arrangements and be under increased pressure because of the huge numbers of sports fans travelling in London this summer.

Sounds like bollocks to me and it comes across as holding companies to ransom.

More at TInd

No More


The Treasury has closed two “highly abusive” tax loopholes after a leading bank - believed to be Barclays - tried to avoid paying more than £500 million.

The move is the first time the current Government has clawed back taxes which have been avoided in the past and will ensure billions of pounds of tax are paid in the future.

Although the Treasury has not named the bank, the schemes have been widely linked to Barclays, which will cause the bank embarrassment because it has signed up to a code of practice against tax avoidance and has stressed the importance of good citizenship.

Barclays flagged up the schemes to HMRC but the Government decided they were not suitable for a company that had signed up to the code of practice.

It has been reported that Barclays does not agree with the Treasury's estimate of a £500 million loss, saying the real figure is less than £200 million.

One of the tax schemes involved a bank avoiding corporation tax on profits it made buying back its own IOU-notes. The Treasury said it will move to block the recent use of the scheme by the bank and by any other company.

The other scheme - understood to be devised by the same bank - involved investment funds trying to receive tax credits from the Treasury on non-taxable income. The Government brought in legislation yesterday to block future use of the scheme.

Exchequer secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said the Government was clear that "business must pay the tax they owe when they owe it".

He added: "The Government wants to ensure that the tax system is fair for all and we will not allow those who seek to benefit from this aggressive avoidance to get an unfair advantage.

"We do not take today's action lightly, but the potential tax loss from this scheme and the history of previous abuse in this area mean that this is a circumstance where the decision to change the law with full retrospective effect is justified."

Tax avoidance - unlike tax evasion - is not illegal but the UK's major banks have agreed to a code of practice to pay their fair share with the Government.

Barclays has long faced questions about the way it pays tax and whether it attempts to take advantage of the differences in rules around the globe.

The bank is led by Bob Diamond who was paid £6.5 million in 2010, but has yet to reveal the size of his bonus for 2011.

Scores on the Doors

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