Winston Churchill in a bathing suit

It’s not clear to me whether this photo of Winston Churchill in a bathing suit comes from 1911 or 1922 — the title of the How to Be a Retronaut page is ambiguous — but either way, he cut a fine figure of a man.


Winston Churchill in his swimsuit, 1911/1922


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$21 trillion has been stashed in tax havens by 0.001% of the world’s population

The Tax Justice Network’s Estimating the Price of Offshore Revisted report says that over $21 trillion has been squirrelled away in offshore tax-havens by 90,000 super-rich tax-cheats (0.001% of the world’s population). The crime was abetted by a network of “enablers” from banks like UBS, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs.

Much of the money has been looted from the world’s poorest countries, whose populations live in conditions of crushing poverty exacerbated by even more crushing international debt. The report estimates that if those countries’ oligarchs and crime bosses were to pay their fair share of taxes that these debts could be settled. For example, Nigeria has lost £196b to tax havens — while the country’s national debt was about $37b as of 2011.

Heather Stewart has more in The Observer:

James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, released exclusively to the Observer.

He shows that at least £13tn – perhaps up to £20tn – has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals. Their wealth is, as Henry puts it, “protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy”. According to Henry’s research, the top 10 private banks, which include UBS and Credit Suisse in Switzerland, as well as the US investment bank Goldman Sachs, managed more than £4tn in 2010, a sharp rise from £1.5tn five years earlier.

£13tn: hoard hidden from taxman by global elite


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Lenovo CEO distributes 3/14th of his compensation to junior employees

Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing took $3,000,000 out of his bonus and shared it among 10,000 of the company’s junior employees. From CNN:

Yang had earned $5.2 million in bonuses for the fiscal year ending in March. His total earnings, including salary, incentives and other benefits, amounted to $14 million, according to the company’s annual report.

I’m not sure what a “junior” employee is — if it’s a Chinese factory assembly worker, then a $300 bonus would probably contribute a significant improvement in material conditions.

CEO gives part of his bonus to employees


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New video from Falling Still: "If U Stay"

[Video Link] I met Brett Hamilton when I blindly hired him through Taskrabbit to help me move some monstrously heavy armoires. While we were giving ourselves hernias I learned that he is the bassist for Falling Still, and I’ve been enjoying their music ever since. Here’s their latest video, for a song called “If U Stay.” IIRC, the white van featured in the video is the same one Brett brought over to move the furniture!


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Olympic flame takes a ride on the London Eye

In this Saturday, July 21, 2012, photo provided by LOCOG, singer Paloma Faith passes the Olympic Flame to torchbearer Sheikh Sheikh on the Torch Relay leg through London. The opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games are scheduled for Friday, July 27. (AP Photo/LOCOG, Ben Birchall)The Olympic flame has had a ride on the London Eye.

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Colo. victims tweets give insight on life, death

This undated photo provided by the family shows Jessica Ghawi. Ghawi is one of the 12 people killed when a gunman barged into a crowded theater, set off gas canisters and opened fire as spectators dove for cover and tried to flee, Friday, July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colo. Dozens of others were injured, including 11 in critical condition. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the family)not for anything life-altering, just a few hours of entertainment.

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‘Dark Knight Rises’ reportedly earns $160 million

This undated film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from the action thriller "The Dark Knight Rises." A gunman in a gas mask barged into a crowded Denver-area theater during a midnight premiere of the Batman movie on Friday, July 20, 2012, hurled a gas canister and then opened fire, killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history. (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Ron Phillips)"The Dark Knight Rises" was on track to earn $160 million, which would be a record for 2-D films, over the weekend following a mass shooting at a Colorado screening of the Batman film.

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Lovato, McHale pair for Teen Choice hosting duties

FILE - In this March 12, 2012 file photo, Kevin McHale arrives at the world premiere of "The Hunger Games," in Los Angeles. Pop star and new “The X Factor” judge Demi Lovato is set to host the 14th annual Teen Choice Awards, alongside “Glee” co-star McHale, on Sunday, July 22, 2012. The teen-fueled ceremony honors film, TV, music and sports stars in such silly categories as choice hottie, villain, lip-lock and hissy fit. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)Kristin Stewart will surely be sailing away with a few new surfboards at this year's Teen Choice Awards.

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Deputies think Jackson safe after reported missing

FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 28, 2005 file photo, Michael Jackson follows his mother, Katherine Jackson, as they arrive for court on the opening day of his child molestation trial at Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria, Calif. Katherine Jackson has been reported missing, but the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says she may be with family members. The agency says another family member reported her missing Saturday night, July 21, 2012 because he couldn't speak with her and was concerned. The sheriff's department says deputies are trying to reach Jackson and are asking her to contact them.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Authorities said Sunday they believe Katherine Jackson, the mother of Michael Jackson and the guardian of his three minor children, is safe in Arizona with family members after she was reported missing.

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Fan-made Sleeping Beauty Castle

Alexandre de Araújo, a Portuguese Disney megafan, produced this spectacularly detailed model of the Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland Paris. He gives us a loving video tour of his five-year project, of which he is justly proud.

Sleeping Beauty Castle Model by Alexandre de Araújo

(Thanks, Miguel!)


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