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Archive for February 19th, 2009

UBS To Pay Fine, Give Up List Of Clients On Whose Behalf It Schemed

The New York Times reports:

Tearing a hole in the veil of secrecy surrounding Swiss banking, UBS agreed on Wednesday to pay $780 million to settle federal claims that it helped wealthy Americans evade taxes and to disclose the names of up to 19,000 clients….

Under the agreement, UBS admitted to conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.

It’s that agreement to give up the names of its wealthy clients that’s the big deal here. The bank had been refusing to disclose the names, but appeared to cave with the threat of indictments hanging over its head.

Prosecutors allege that UBS helped clients evade $300 million a year in taxes.

Last fall, Raoul Weil, who ran the firm’s global wealth management and business banking division, was indicted in connection with the scheme. And a few months earlier, a former UBS exec, Bradley Birkenfeld, pleaded guilty to helping a client evade millions of dollars in federal income taxes while with the firm.

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Press TV | Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Laboratory tests conducted by a Turkish university on Gaza soil have confirmed the use of phosphorus bombs by Israel in the coastal sliver.

Istanbul’s Yildiz Technical University conducted the tests on soil transferred by the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUM-DER).

The tests yielded results confirming the existence of white phosphorus particles in the samples, the daily Vakit reports.

White phosphorus, classified as a ‘chemical weapon’ by US intelligence, is an incendiary material that causes horrific burns, severe injuries or death when it comes in contact with humans.

During Israel’s 23-day offensive in the Gaza Strip, a fierce controversy broke out over the alleged use of white phosphorus — also known by the military as WP or Willie Pete — by the Israeli army.

The legality of the toxic chemical agent is a matter of debate, with many groups recognizing it as an illegal weapon, while international law allows its usage solely for smoke-screening.

Israel maintains that its actions were being conducted under international laws, despite contradictory reports of the Israeli claim.

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David Edwards | Raw Story | Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Osama Bin Laden: The most likely candidate is in Parachinar which housed many mujahideen during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan Photo: AP

Osama Bin Laden: The most likely candidate is in Parachinar which housed many mujahideen during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan Photo: AP

It’s a question many are still pondering: Where is Osama Bin Laden hiding? Rachel Maddow talks to UCLA geography professor Thomas Gillespie, who might have the answer.

“Using patterns of how animal species spread, the world’s most wanted terrorist can be tracked down to a town in the tribal region of North West Pakistan it is claimed,” The Telegraph reported. “By factoring in his need for security, electricity, high ceilings to accommodate his 6ft 4in frame and spare rooms for his bodyguards, the search can be further narrowed to three walled compounds.”

The article added, “Their research published in MIT International Review also concluded he should also be in a large town with a similar culture to Afghanistan where he can remain largely anonymous. The most likely candidate is in Parachinar, 12 miles inside Pakistan, which housed many mujahideen during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s.”

Maddow asked Gillespie, “Now, what else about that city is useful in terms much finding where he might be? What else do you need to know about what kind of place he could be hiding in?”
(more…)

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