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Poisoning, Adultery, Incest, Murder, and Mayhem: A Family History of Humankind

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A lot of world dates have popped up in the past few years, but this one is different. It is a family history of the world–not a global history of families, tracing how marital unions evolved from the loose alliances common to hunter-gatherers through the strict patriarchy of peasant societies to the dizzying diversity of residential groups in the twenty-first century, but rather a history of the world as evidenced by the lives of specific families.

Simon Sebag Montefiore, whose previous books included a living history of the Romanovs, begins with the oldest known person of his name, an accountant named Kushim, who lived in the third millennium BC in the Middle East.

As it progresses through time, the geographic range of The world: a family history It expands steadily. By 1150 BC, the story has expanded to include King Wuding of the violent, ancestor-worshipping Shang dynasty of China, who ruled with his favorite wife, Lady Hao. By 800 BC, we hear of King Alara of Kush, who is believed to have married his sister and built mud-brick pyramids in what are now Egypt and Sudan. In the sixth century B.C., we join the greedy Alcmaeonids in Athens; Around 300 BC, we meet King Chandragupta and his mother in India; And by the second century AD, we find ourselves in Tikal at the court of the bloodthirsty Mayan clan of Yax Ehb Xook, or “First Step Shark”.

By the 19th century, Sebag Montefiore’s novel had become truly international, casting characters from Kamehameha in Hawaii with his 30 wives and his 500-pound girlfriend/adviser Kaahumanu, through King Gezo of Dahomey, whose three thousand “wives” in his army fought for English Victoria and her wise husband and the sentimental Albert, whose 42 descendants went on to thrones across Europe. Another exceptional story follows, all very well told. It’s hard to stop turning pages – and that too, since there are more than a thousand of them.

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One of the most common critics of world history is Jared Diamond Guns, germs and steel Or Yuval Noah Harari Sabines is that it is about the enormous impersonal forces of geography and evolution, and hardly has a place for the very important people who have already made history. The family-centered Sebagh Montefiore alternative is the perfect antidote, reveling in the outspoken quirks and perversions of its human representatives.

A big part of the author’s challenge is that the nature of our evidence changes a lot over time. Until only a few centuries ago, many of our sources were written by wealthy and educated men and most of them were written. This requires him to focus heavily on a narrow elite of wealth and birth, but he tries very hard to give a voice to pre-modern women—in fact, it’s so hard that our perspective becomes distorted in two different ways.

One of them includes the kind of women we hear about. Pericles of Athens is supposed to have said, “Women’s greatest glory, is the least spoken of by men”—implying that young girls tend to get lost in the historian’s gaze.

The women who access the pages of Sebagh Montefiore constitute something of a catalog of delinquents, constantly betraying, torturing and/or doing to death their relatives. Whether Olympias of Macedon or Catherine the Great was truly as troubling as the men put it is still open to debate, but the ways men chose to write about women mean we hear more monsters like Messalina, who – it has been claimed – made Roman Emperor Claudius’ life very miserable, in comparison. With delightful people like Julius Caesar’s daughter, who shared bliss with Pompey the Great until she died in childbirth.

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One of the few things we know about Julia, however, is that when she married Pompey she was only 14 while her new husband was 57. This is a second approach to the exceptional women who feature strongly in the first 600 pages or so. From the scientist may mislead us. Throughout most of history, most marriages — even happy ones — have been startlingly masculine.

Take Julia’s father. When he’s not busy conquering Gaul, subverting the Roman constitution, killing scores of rivals, reforming the calendar, writing a two-volume work on Latin grammar and composing some of the most crisp prose ever written, Julius Caesar found time to seduce the wives of just about everyone. A leading man in Rome, a foundling father with an Egyptian queen and an adulterer with outnumbered slaves. Yet Caesar’s wife had to be above suspicion. And when she failed to meet his standards, she had to go.

The Sebagh-Montefiore families are largely unhappy. Immediate marital misery, such as Napoleon’s neglect of Empress Josephine, is the least of them. I soon lost count of husbands beating wives, wives killing husbands, and parents of both sexes killing unfit children.

But my vote for the greatest house in history goes back to Temujin, the Mongol boy who grew up to be Genghis Khan. His father, Yesugei, kidnapped his mother, Hoelun, from her original husband, impregnated her, and renamed her Temujin Temujin Temujin after a man he killed. Temujin was then forgotten by Yesugei and Hoelun when they moved from camp to camp and did not wander back to retrieve him for a year. Then the Yesugei tribesmen killed him, drove out Hoelun, stole her animals and left her to starve. Temujin supported her by trapping the rats. It wasn’t long until he killed his half-brother, blood brother and men who kidnapped and raped his fiancée, before graduating to several million hapless people from the Pacific Ocean to the Volga, taking their lives “where the lines of writing were erased from the paper,” according to a Persian survivor.

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However, the regularly repeated fact that Genghis was so active in the bedroom that his blood now runs in the veins of 16 million people seems to be wrong. According to a paper published in 2018, it was the migrating Mongols collectivelynot a single sex-crazed killer, who has spread the Y chromosome C3* star cluster across Asia.

Although Tolstoy believed that every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, Sebagh Montefiore all tend to be unhappy in somewhat similar ways. Nobody watched TV dramas like this Succession, or reading any Shakespeare, you would be surprised to read that the families of the rich and famous are awful. But where the dramatists work their magic by showing how these crazy families are bound together by love—sick and twisted as they may be—almost as strong as their hate, the Sebagh-Montefiore families have less redeeming features. As the book went on, I regularly found myself wondering why they hadn’t killed each other even earlier.

Individually, Sebag Montefiore’s vignettes are fascinating, if often in an annoying way. But taken together, hundreds of horror stories could undermine anyone’s faith in human nature. “Leaders who trust no one usually trust family,” the author tells us near the end of the book, but he makes it hard to see why. There seemed to be no end to poisoning, adultery, and incest, not to mention flaying and burning; And if the book has a real flaw, perhaps this is it. “There is such a thing as too much history,” notes Sebag Montefiore.

It wasn’t always obvious, as the family story in Family Story accumulated across 1,250 pages added what each new example added, other than simply moving the narrative forward. The book might have benefited from a smaller focus, with fewer examples chosen to illustrate a tighter range of topics.

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the scientist It begins with a group of roughly one million-year-old footprints excavated on a beach in Habsburgh, England in 2013, which appear to belong to a family; Even the oldest footprints from Latoli in Tanzania, dating back 3.7 million years, may also belong to population groups and/or kinship groups.

There is no doubt that the family is the central institution of human history, and Sebag Montefiore’s look at the last five thousand years is constantly entertaining and intriguing. However, it clearly did not lead him to any concrete conclusions. This interesting book is well worth the read, but there should be more to say.

the scientistFamily history Written by Simon Sebag Montefiore, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, £35 / Knopf $45, 1,344 pages

Ian Morris is professor of classics at Stanford University and author of the book Geography is Destiny: Britain and the World, a 10,000-Year History (Profile personly)

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How to Reduce Your Personal Taxes?

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tax income

Basic tips for Singapore tax residents
Whatever Year of Assessment (YA) it is, we should start considering our personal tax strategy early. In Singapore, one of the most expensive cities in the world, financial management can be an important tool for survival, and proper tax planning is an integral part of this.

Should tax planning be exclusively for high net worth individuals (HNWIs) with vast assets? As long as you are required to file a tax return, you need to do tax planning. It’s worth noting that your personal tax obligations affect your disposable income and proper tax planning can translate into significant savings in the long run.

Here are some basic tips to reduce your tax burden. However, please note that they are all general in nature. If you have more specific questions and/or concerns, please schedule a consultation with us.

Claim the relevant tax credits and rebates

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Personal tax rates in Singapore are progressive, starting at 0% and ending at 22% (YA 2018) for annual incomes above S$320,000. There are a number of reliefs and allowances that allow you to save on your personal taxes.

Tax credits against your assessable income are given in recognition of your contributions to areas that are in line with government policy. For example, certain allowances are available to support parenthood and family formation, care for elderly parents, upskilling, national service, etc.

Some of the reliefs you can claim include, but are not limited to, Spouse Relief, Child Relief, Parental Relief, Earned Income Relief and Foreign Maid Relief. All are subject to certain conditions.

Top up your CPF (Central Provident Fund)

The CPF Minimum Top Up Scheme allows you to claim tax relief when you top up your CPF savings. You can also claim relief if your employer does the topping up.

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This also applies when you top up your family members’ retirement account or special account for additional relief, provided their annual income does not exceed S$4,000 in the previous year.

For cash top-ups under S$7,000 made by you or your employer, you are entitled to a tax credit equal to the top-up amount. For cash top-ups of S$7,000 or more, your tax credit is limited to S$7,000.

For top-ups you make to your sibling’s, spouse’s, parents’ or grandparents’ CPF, you can claim additional relief equal to the cash top-up amount, which is capped at S$7,000.

The CPF top-up allowance you can make annually is S$14,000 (maximum).

Contribute to the SRS (Supplementary Pension System)

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The Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) is a voluntary scheme that encourages individuals to save for retirement beyond their CPF savings. Contributions to the SRS are eligible for tax relief, which will again be deducted from your taxable income. Investment returns are tax-free before withdrawal, and only 50% of SRS withdrawals are taxable at retirement. For Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents, the maximum allowable contribution is $15,300 – YA 2018 per year, while the ceiling is $35,700 – YA 2018 for foreign Singapore work visa holders.

Voluntary contribution to your Medisave account

Claim relief on any income earned in the year your voluntary MediSave contributions were made. This method will help you reduce the amount of taxes you have to pay while saving for your health care needs.

The amount of relief allowed for voluntary Medisave contributions is limited to the lowest of the following: (1) Voluntary contributions specifically to a Medisave account; (2) Annual CPF limit minus the mandatory contribution by you and your employer; or (3) The prevailing Medisave contribution cap of $48,500 ($49,800 – YA 2018) less your Medisave account balance before your voluntary contribution.

Make a charitable donation

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In Singapore, donations to any approved Institution of Public Character (IPC) or Eligible grant-making philanthropic organization are tax deductible.

In general, you will claim a double tax deduction (ie, double the amount of the gift) for gifts that fall into any of the following categories: (1) monetary gifts; (2) share gifts; (3) computer gifts; (4) donations of artifacts; 5) a public system of tax incentives for art; and (6) gifts of land and buildings.

The government will promote or discourage certain activities according to the economic situation and social benefits to fulfill the national benefits as a whole. By donating to charity, you not only do a good deed, but you also significantly reduce your tax liability. For example, donations made between 2009 and 2018 that meet the double tax deduction criteria will be temporarily entitled to 2.5 times the tax deduction.

Apply for the Not Ordinarily Resident (NOR) program.

Enjoy a period of 5 years of tax benefits (YA) if you qualify under the Not Ordinary Resident (NOR) scheme.

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You must meet both of the following criteria: (1) you have not been in Singapore for 3 YAs prior to the year you qualify for the NOR scheme; and (2) you are a tax resident for the YA in which you wish to qualify for the NOR regime.

Rental expenses can be deducted from rental income

Rental income is taxable, so related expenses are deductible.

Examples of such allowable costs are: property tax, mortgage interest, fire insurance, maintenance fees to the governing body or general repair and maintenance costs. Check the following: rental expenses are deductible if incurred: (1) solely for the purpose of generating rental income; and (2) during the term of the lease.

The above are general tips to reduce your tax burden in Singapore. It is always better to plan before the end of the basic period. If your tax situation is unique or if your needs are more specific, consider consulting with a Singapore tax specialist.

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JC has over 20 years of experience, including 14 years in senior management positions for small to some of the largest companies across Asia. He helps more than 30 companies from various industries and takes care of a number of CEOs and top managers. Transformation of digital business, first-class management and with multidisciplinary fields. With sets of unique business frameworks, JC helps clients grow their companies to where one of the startups is now valued at SGD 30 million.

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Commuters from the Southwest threatened arrest at Christmas in a viral video

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Southwest Airlines He already had it Terrible end of the year After a massive winter storm forced it to cancel flights that had outsold its industry competitors. Then, somehow, the PR nightmare got worse.

At Nashville International Airport on Christmas Eve, a police officer threatened to arrest stranded Southwest passengers if they did not leave a secure area of ​​the airport. A video of the incident went viral on social media after it happened Posted by passenger to TikTok. Other videos circulating on social media also captured parts of the incident.

In the video, which has been viewed more than 910,000 times since it was posted two days ago, the officer warns passengers that they must leave the area or they will be “arrested for trespassing.”

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“Now,” he continued. “Everyone to the unsafe side. The ticket counter will help you answer any questions you have.”

Shelly Morrison, who was among the passengers with her three daughters, was queuing at the southwest gate hoping to get more information about what was going on with her flight, to me the Tennessee.

After she and others waited nearly an hour for an explanation, one of the workers announced via the intercom that she was leaving – and called security. Morrison told the local newspaper that he did not tell a passenger that they had to leave if they had a canceled ticket.

“The Southwest is calling us”

Soon, two police officers from the airport’s Department of Public Safety arrived at the scene, just as Morrison’s daughter, Amani Robinson, began recording a video.

An officer tells passengers in the video, “If you don’t have a ticket, you don’t have to be on the safe side.” To someone who said they had tickets, he replied, “Your tickets just got cancelled.”

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Morrison asked the officer again if he might be stopped, and he repeated to him: “If you don’t have a valid ticket and you’re on the safe side and you refuse to leave, you’ll be arrested… If your ticket’s canceled, they don’t have a ticket anymore. You understand that, right?”

He added, “Right now, Southwest is calling us because you guys are congregating here, and they’re trying to close that gate.”

The officer grew impatient when Morrison again tried to “establish a legal connection,” as she puts it in the video, and told him she was an attorney.

“Do you refuse to leave the safe side?” he asked clearly.

She replied, “No, I don’t refuse to leave.” “I ask for additional information. Can you mention the statue to me?”

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He replied, “It is the security of airports and planes.”

“Don’t you have a department?” she asked.

“I don’t need to give you the code. If you’re a lawyer, you can look it up.”

Morrison thanked him and went with the others to where he had indicated.

Southwest responds

when called luckA Southwest spokesperson said that employees “did not request that customers be escorted outside the gate area.” Instead, the company required “that local law enforcement be present at the gate to assist with crowd control efforts while our team works with customers.”

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A spokesperson for Nashville International Airport, also known by the airport code BNA, responded:

“The sheer number of flight cancellations over the past week has caused great stress for our passengers, and included an unfortunate incident involving a passenger, airline staff and an LNA officer. We are very sorry this happened and we take this situation very seriously. We are working with Southwest Airlines and our other airlines to promote better communication between team members so that every traveler enjoys the optimal experience at BNA:

luck She also contacted the Ministry of Transport regarding the airport incident, but did not receive any immediate response.

Southwest passengers trying alternative routes faced higher fares from other airlines, some of which — faced public backlash —Announce a price cap on the affected roads.

The Department of Transportation said this week it would open an investigation into Southwest Airlines. He. She he wrote in a tweet It was “concerned by Southwest’s unacceptable rate of cancellations, delays, and reports of a lack of prompt customer service. The department will study whether cancellations are manageable and whether Southwest is complying with its customer service plan.”

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This article has been updated with responses from Southwest Airlines and the airport.

The Impact Report’s new weekly newsletter examines how ESG news and trends shape the roles and responsibilities of today’s CEOs. Subscribe here.



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Why Trump didn’t want you to see his tax returns

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What was he hiding?

We’re finally starting to find out, now that the House Ways and Means Committee has released six years of Donald Trump’s personal and business tax returns. Trump’s returns are complex and it could take weeks for experts to realize whether Trump cheated or used overly aggressive tactics to lower his tax bill. The committee did not release any tax documents for some of Trump’s business entities, so puzzles may remain.

But a few things soon emerge from the assessment of the leading figures in Trump’s comeback. When Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2015, he described himself as a builder and businessman who could go to Washington and fix what politicians had destroyed. Trump’s stated status was as a political outsider and business titan crucial elements in his appeal to voters.

But Trump’s tax returns suggest his businesses are always losing money, while raising questions about how he manages to fund a gilded lifestyle. In each of the six years from 2015 through 2020, DJT Holdings, one of Trump’s main business entities, lost millions of dollars. The smallest loss was $34 million in 2015. The largest loss was $64 million in 2016. Combined, these losses totaled $314 million from 2015 through 2020.

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This is not an entirely new revelation. Glimpses of Trump’s finances have long revealed that Trump is capitalizing heavily on losses incurred in one part of his business portfolio, to offset gains elsewhere and significantly reduce his tax bill. Documents leaked to the New York Times in 2016 showed that Trump declared a loss of $916 million in 1995. lowered his tax bills for nearly two decades. When Trump began earning millions from The Apprentice TV show in the 2000s, losses from faltering real estate ventures, such as his casinos in Atlantic City, helped keep his income tax payments down. These practices are generally legal, although some tax experts believe Trump could have expanded the legal boundaries.

Members of the US House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee move boxes of documents after a panel meeting to discuss former President Donald Trump’s tax returns on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, December 20, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

When Trump ran for president in 2016, he said he would release his tax returns once the IRS finished auditing them. Of course Trump never released any tax returns, and the IRS audit wouldn’t have stopped him from doing so in the first place. Ways and Means Committee Finally got Trump’s payout from the IRS on Dec. 20, after Trump lost a four-year legal battle to keep them secret. He found justices all the way up to the Supreme Court Congress had the right to see the proceedsbecause it can contribute to legislative activity.

[Follow Rick Newman on Twitter, sign up for his newsletter or sound off.]

If Trump had released his comeback in 2015 while running for president in 2016, journalists and political opponents would have been mired in what appears to be huge business and personal losses. His return to DJT Holdings shows total revenue of $25.1 million but a net loss of $34.1 million. It is reasonable for a company to incur losses greater than revenue, since tax code allows for carry-over losses from prior years. But it’s very bad looks to tell voters you’re a business owner while reporting large losses to the IRS.

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Trump and his wife Melania’s 2015 comeback undermines his commercial credibility. Trump’s adjusted gross income in 2015 was $31.8 million. In other words, he supposedly lost $31.8 million, because he was allowed to claim losses from his business against his personal income. His taxable income was $0 and he owed $0 in federal income tax. It is difficult for average workers who earn most of their income from work to declare passive income, unless they have capital losses or other types of losses beyond what they earn from their employer.

Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent, She released her tax return for 2015 on August 12, 2016. The report showed that she and her husband, Bill Clinton, had an adjusted gross income of $10.6 million, and paid $3.6 million in federal income tax, for an effective tax rate of 34%. While the return showed the Clintons wealthy, they claimed no mysterious tax breaks except for a small capital loss of $3,000. Trump was the nominee going after meat-and-potatoes voters in 2016, but Clinton’s taxes were more involved.

DJT Holdings reported business losses for each of the next five years, through 2020. In terms of Trump’s personal returns, his adjusted gross income has been negative for three years and positive for two years. Over the six years combined, those business losses have pushed Trump’s total adjusted income – $53.2 million, or a loss of $53.2 million. His taxable income was $0 for four out of six years.

Trump has hit one snag with regard to federal income tax payments — the alternative minimum tax, which raises the tax liability of some, mostly wealthy, depositors who use the deductions to significantly lower their taxable income. During four of those six years, the federal tax code started to push Trump’s federal tax bill. Including regular income tax and AMT payments, Trump appears to have paid about $4.1 million in federal income taxes from 2015 through 2020.

If voters had been able to see several years of Trump’s tax returns during the 2020 presidential election, it would have been clear that Trump’s corporations lose money every year and that Trump as an individual loses more money than he earns, overall. This isn’t really how it works. Trump has very few regular sources of income, such as millions of dollars in interest each year, and the capital gains that would come from the countless deals to license the Trump name. This income appears to be constant and recurring, while losses may occur in a particular year or two, but are spread across many years, for tax purposes.

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Trump has sometimes bragged about the low taxes he’s paid, saying he’s drastically undercutting his tax bill It makes him smart. Maybe so. It will be interesting to see if that makes him more or less electable.

Rick Newman is a senior columnist for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @tweet

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