More than 280 people, most of them students, remained unaccounted for Wednesday night as coast guard and navy divers continued to search a ferry that sank hours earlier off the southwestern tip of South Korea.
By nightfall, four people were confirmed dead, including a high school student and a member of the ferry’s crew. But fears that the sinking could become one of the worst peacetime disasters in the country increased as rescued passengers told news outlets that they believed that many people had been trapped below deck after those aboard heard a loud noise and the ship began sinking rapidly.
Some rescued passengers who had been below deck told reporters that even while the ship was tilting, they were told to stay in their seats.
“We must not give up,” President Park Geun-hye said from the headquarters of the Ministry of Security and Public Administration, which is coordinating the rescue efforts. “We must do our best to rescue even one of those passengers and students who may not have escaped from the ship.”
… Among the passengers were 325 students from Danwon High School in Ansan, south of Seoul. So far, 75 of them are known to have been rescued. The students were on an overnight voyage to Jeju, a popular resort island, where they had been scheduled to arrive Wednesday morning for a four-day field trip and sightseeing.
The ministry reported that a total of 174 passengers and crew members were known to have been rescued; given the known deaths, that left 284 of the 462 people on the ferry unaccounted for. Earlier in the day, the ministry had issued different figures, including a much lower estimate for the number of missing; it attributed the mistakes to confusing reports from the scene.”
– The New York Times, “Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks”
Companies paid an average effective federal tax rate of 12.6 percent in 2010, the last time the Government Accountability Office measured the rate. That compares with the nominal federal tax rate of 35 percent, so all those accountants appear to have done their jobs in exploiting the loopholes in our tax code.
The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Representative Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, proposed a vast reform of our tax code this year, eliminating a lot of the Swiss cheese that makes it so porous and, arguably, unfair. Mr. Camp’s proposal, as you might imagine, isn’t gaining a lot of traction.
In recognition of Uncle Sam’s payday, it’s only proper to take note of some of the most egregious corporate tax loopholes and some unexpected beneficiaries.
■ For the last seven years, a debate has raged over the “carried interest” benefit taken by private equity and hedge fund executives. Instead of paying ordinary rates on much of their income — typically 35 percent for the highest bracket (39.6 percent for this tax year) — these executives pay the capital gains rate of 15 percent. It’s a clear loophole that is plainly unfair. Despite repeated efforts to repeal it, the loophole has remained, in part because of well-financed industry lobbying in Washington.
■ If individual taxpayers are arrested, admit guilt and reach a civil settlement with the government, they cannot deduct the costs from their returns. But amazingly, a company is allowed to claim those costs as a business expense. JPMorgan Chase, for example, which has agreed to pay billions of dollars in fines for various transgressions, can deduct a large portion — and all the legal expenses — from its taxes.
■ A tiny but symbolic loophole still persists. Companies that own aircraft can depreciate their planes more quickly than airlines — over five years instead of seven — and claim the deduction. In total, closing the loophole is worth $3 billion to $4 billion over a decade.
■ A much larger loophole involves the deduction of executive stock options by the company issuing them. Inexplicably, many of Silicon Valley’s newest star companies will be able to shelter a large portion of their profits as a result. Citizens for Tax Justice estimated late last year that a dozen technology companies, including Twitter, LinkedIn and Priceline, “stand to eliminate all income taxes on the next $11.4 billion they earn — giving these companies $4 billion in tax cuts.””
The New York Times, "Looking at Some Corporate Tax Loopholes Ordinary Citizens May Envy."
“We own the finish line!”
– A defiant Vice President JOE BIDEN, at the end of remarks delivered during a memorial ceremony for the one-year anniversary of the Boston marathon bombings.
Front page, The Boston Herald, 15 April 2014.
One year ago today, cowards struck at Boston’s heart.
And while Boston stood strong, many still hurt.
Women cry in despair following a bombing at a bus depot in Abuja, Nigeria on Monday. At least 71 people were killed and 124 wounded in the rush hour attack; Islamist insurgents are suspected of carrying out the bombing, which a week after 60 people were killed by militants at a village in the northeast section of the country. (Photo: Afolabi Sotunde / Reuters via NBC News)
Three people died Sunday when a gunman opened fire outside the Jewish Community Center and a senior living facility in Johnson County.
Police arrested the suspected shooter, a man in his 70s with a beard, outside Valley Park Elementary nearby by 2:45 p.m. He smiled and reportedly made anti-Semitic statements as he was led away. Police said the man, who was not from Kansas, used a shotgun in the slayings at the Jewish Community Center. He also had a handgun when he was arrested.
“We are investigating it as a hate crime,” said Overland Park Police Chief, but investigators are not sure of the motive.
Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass would not say whether the man was talking to investigators.
Two of the victims were a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather who attend the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, said church spokeswoman Cathy Bien.
The Rev. Adam Hamilton, the church’s senior pastor, shared the news with church members at the beginning of the evening Palm Sunday service. He said he had been talking to the victims’ family in the hours after the shooting, and they asked him to go through with the Sunday evening worship service.
The lights were lowered as Hamilton asked members to pray for the family.
“Help us, oh, Lord to grieve as people of hope,” Hamilton said.
Two of the victims who died were shot in a car at the community center, and one of them died at a hospital, Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said at a press conference.
Five people were hit by gunfire at the center at 5801 W. 115th Street and the Village Shalom senior living facility 5500 W. 123rd St. about 1 p.m.
The gunfire at the west side of the Jewish Community Center came as hundreds of high school singers from across the metro area were expected to audition for the KC SuperStar contest and actors were rehearsing for a production of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
“There were tons of kids because this was about to start at 1 o’clock,” said Ruth Bigus, the publicist for KC SuperStar.
An interfaith service will be held at 8 p.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church, 12251 Antioch Road, in conjunction with Temple Israel of Greater Kansas City.
The community center will be closed Monday.”
The Kansas City Star, "Three Dead, Man Arrested In Shootings at Johnson City Jewish Centers."
According to the New York Daily News, the gunman yelled out “heil Hitler” as he was being led away by police.
Manny Pacquiao avenges loss to Timothy Bradley, wins by unanimous decision. (Photo: Jed Jacobson / Sports Illustrated)
From today’s nydailynews.com, a brief reminder of just how fucked up this world is.
“The real ‘voter fraud’ is perpetrated by people who make bogus arguments about voter fraud.”
– PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, during an address to the National Action Network, on the Republican-led war on alleged voter fraud
(David Letterman) has been on the air my entire adult life. Late Night debuted my first year in college. I learned more from watching Dave than I did from going to my classes — especially the ones I did not go to because I had stayed up until 1:30 watching Dave.
This man has influenced every host that came after him, and even a few who came before him — he’s that good.
And I tell you — I do not envy whoever they try to put in that chair.”
– STEPHEN COLBERT, The Colbert Report
"The exciting news today is I no longer need a cable subscription for the privilege of watching Stephen Colbert. Our good friend Stephen Colbert will be heading to CBS to take over The Late Show from — for at least me — the best that ever was.”
— JON STEWART opened his show tonight with kind words for his former Daily Show correspondent.
C’est la vie. In France, anyway.