The Court of Appeals has stepped in to get the trial of a Vancouver man charged in a child pornography sting back on track after the case stalled for four years in a dispute over evidence.Michael S. Norris, a former church youth minister and Bible camp counselor, has been in the Clark County Jail since August 2006, awaiting trial on 13 child rape and molestation charges. Most recently, he was scheduled to go to trial July 21, 2008.But his case has been postponed so many times that Norris filed an interlocutory appeal, or type of pre-trial appeal, to the higher court. In the appeal, his attorney argued that because federal agents have refused to release tapes allegedly showing him abusing two young children, Norris cannot prepare a defense and move forward to trial. While federal agents seized the tapes during a sting, county prosecutors filed the felony charges.Norris’ appellate attorney, Anne Cruser, has also accused prosecutors of mismanaging the case; while prosecutors had the tapes on loan from the federal government at one point, they didn’t provide them to the defense.In a Tuesday opinion, the Court of Appeals sided with Norris and ordered a Clark County judge to find a way to obtain the tapes for the defense attorney — or seriously consider dismissing charges.
OLYMPIA — Lawmakers only get a short reprieve after wrapping up a two-month legislative session Friday, as they are set to return next week to address an impasse over the supplemental budget.An unresolved budget means they’ll be back at the Capitol on Monday for the start of an overtime special session that could last up to a month. Gov. Chris Gregoire announced she was calling them back to special session, saying: “We’ve a job to do, we’ve got to get it done.”“The public’s confidence in them is wholly dependent on whether they get that job done,” she said late Thursday. “They know that.”The budget drama began last week once Senate Republicans established a philosophical majority in the Senate after three conservative Democrats stood with them on a GOP-crafted budget plan that then passed the Senate but stalled in the House. That chamber passed an alternate plan agreed to by majority Democrats in the House and Senate.Lawmakers are looking to close a budget gap of about $500 million through the end of the two-year budget cycle ending June 2013, as well as leaving several hundred million dollars in reserves.The main sticking point between the two sides, Gregoire said, is Republicans’ plan to delay a pension payment by a year, and Democrats’ plan to delay a $330 million payment to school districts by one day.
This map shows which homes authorities raided in the Oct. 13, 2011 “gang green” raid.A judge on Monday threw out critical evidence against eight people busted during last year’s massive “Gang Green” marijuana raid. The decision means prosecutors will dismiss charges against eight of the 56 people arrested.Clark County Superior Court Judge Rich Melnick ruled that the search warrants leading to the arrest of eight people were not issued lawfully. Police officers raiding the homes of those eight did not have enough evidence establishing “probable cause,” the legal threshold for arrests and warrants. Still, the decision doesn’t mean the cases against the eight are over. Senior Deputy Prosecutor Tonya Rulli said the defendants could now be charged in federal court, which has more lenient search-and-seizure laws.“The federal court is perfectly willing and able to file charges against those we dismiss,” Rulli said.Charges will be dismissed against Yolanda Tran, Tui Buy, Phung Phan, Huot Van Tran, Suu Cong Le, Tau Ngo, Dustin Nguyen and Phil Nguyen.The bust on Oct. 13, 2011, the largest in Clark County’s history, netted more than 7,000 marijuana plants following raids on 56 Clark County houses. About 300 police officers worked the raid.
WASHINGTON — Millions of families and businesses will get hit by big tax increases a lot sooner than many realize if Congress and the White House don’t agree on a plan to skirt the year-end fiscal cliff of higher tax rates and big government spending cuts.In fact, they already have.More than 70 tax breaks enjoyed by individuals and businesses expired at the end of 2011. If Congress doesn’t extend them retroactively back to the beginning of this year, a typical middle-class family could face a $4,000 tax increase when it files its 2012 return in the spring, according to an analysis by H&R Block, the tax-preparing giant.At the same time, businesses could lose dozens of tax breaks they have enjoyed for years, including generous credits for investing in research and development, write-offs for restaurants and retail stores that expand or upgrade, and tax breaks for financial companies with overseas subsidiaries.Even if Congress does act, last-minute changes to federal tax laws could make it difficult for taxpayers to figure out their 2012 tax bills.“We’re really expecting this upcoming tax season to be one of the more challenging ones on record,” said Kathy Pickering, executive director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block. “For your 2012 returns, there’s so much confusion about what will be impacted.”Much of Washington is consumed by negotiations over how to address automatic tax increases scheduled to take effect next year. That’s when tax cuts first enacted under Presi
With the federal government shutdown looking to drag on for a while, an array of public opinion polls show overwhelming opposition to the Republicans’ “strategy” of choking off discretionary spending programs to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act.One of those national polls, by Quinnipiac, reveals the breadth of the opposition. Seventy-two percent of Americans are against it. Not surprisingly, 90 percent of Democrats frown at it. Independents? Seventy-four percent. Even Republicans only narrowly back the move: 49 percent to 44 percent.One wonders why the 44 percent of the GOP can’t buy the 49 percent a beer and have a heart-to-heart about the folly of committing bad public policy and of shoving the U.S. into the territory of global dunderhead.Because the shutdown, not to put too fine a point on it, is a colossus of stupidity.But I’ll get to that in a few paragraphs. That, and an even greater threat to our livelihoods: that the U.S. will crack the debt ceiling in less than two weeks.First, an important point needs to be made: While the Republicans are feeling the heat of overwhelming public disapproval, that doesn’t necessarily mean the extremists among them will cave to pressure.
On TVo State of the Union address, 6 tonight, major networks.WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama used his last State of the Union to declare 2014 a “Year of Action,” and he can claim credit for accomplishing several of the goals he laid out. The smaller ones.That’s because while he was able to check off most of what he promised to do through executive action in last year’s speech, Obama was unable in the bitterly partisan election year to get Congress to go along with the bigger plans he had for the country that required their approval.As Obama prepares to make that annual trek up Pennsylvania Avenue to address Congress once again, here’s a look back a year later at five of the promises he made — and which got fulfilled and denied.Immigration“Let’s get immigration reform done this year,” Obama declared to a Congress that had long blocked his efforts. And so he did, although it was not the broad plan he envisioned that would have allowed a path to citizenship for more than 11 million immigrants illegally in the United States. Instead, Obama took executive action to make more than 4 million of those immigrants eligible for protection from deportation and eligible for work permits.Minimum wageOne of Obama’s most ambitious ideas was to raise America’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, upping the ante from the $9-an-hour proposal he made in the 2013 State of the Union. Congress wasn’t keen on the idea, but the president was able to unilaterally make the change for new federal contractors. The White House estimated it would directly help a few hundred thousand people, but argues the bigger impact has been that several states and localities raised their minimum wage last year after Obama raised the debate.
Melco likely to pass Australian regulatory inquiry, target full Crown acquisition: Bernstein Increasing headwinds in the gaming market of Vladivostok – the Russian city that is home to the company’s flagship Tigre de Cristal integrated resort – is likely behind a decision by Chairman Lawrence Ho to sell his entire 17.37% stake in Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd, according to analyst Grant Govertsen.In a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Monday, Summit Ascent revealed it had been informed by Ho of his intention to sell his interest via a placing agent, with the placing expected to be completed by this coming Wednesday 20 December. He can expect to pocket around HK$271.6 million for the sale with his 258,634,464 shares to earn HK$1.05 per placing share. Evan Winkler appointed President as Melco Resorts implements latest management overhaul RelatedPosts Ho, who had already sold his stake down from 27.71% earlier in the year, currently owns 1.34% of the company’s issued share capital directly and another 16.03% through his wholly-owned subsidiary Quick Glitter.Commenting on the sell-off in a Monday note, Govertsen pointed to three key factors as seemingly being behind the move.“We had downgraded shares of Summit Ascent last month due to a variety of factors, including that the company’s Chairman, Lawrence Ho, had begun to pare down his holdings,” Govertsen said. “At the time our view was that Mr Ho likely saw better opportunities elsewhere given the confluence of factors that have kept the Vladivostok market from reaching its full potential.“The headwinds still include: 1) the potential for the gaming tax (a per device fixed fee) to double next year, and potentially increase by a factor of 10x over the next several years; 2) numerous illegal gaming venues in closer proximity to the population base remain an impediment to the high-margin mass market story; and 3) given the above, the likelihood of the company’s Phase 2 project (and the other peer ground Phase 1 developments) becomes diminished by the day.”In November Summit Ascent flagged the possibility of its gaming tax doubling should the Russian Federation pass a draft bill proposing an increase to allowable tax rates. Under its current tax responsibilities at Tigre de Cristal, located in Vladivastok in the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone, Summit Ascent pays the maximum rate allowed by law of RUB9,020,000 (US$154,770) per month – equal to RUB125,000 (US$2,145) per gaming table and RUB7,500 (US$129) per gaming machine. If passed, the new law would see a doubling of the maximum monthly tax rate to RUB250,000 (US$4,290) per gaming table and RUB15,000 (US$258) per gaming machine. Tigre de Cristal has 55 gaming tables and 286 gaming machines.“There will be a negative impact of approximately RUB9,020,000 (US$154,770) on the monthly gaming tax payable of Tigre de Cristal, equivalent to an annual negative impact of approximately RUB108.24 million (US$1.857 million) assuming that the same number of gaming tables and gaming machines will be in operation as in September 2017,” the company said at the time. Melco Resorts defers acquisition of second tranche of Crown shares until conclusion of regulatory inquiry Load More
Supermarket Lidl UK is to increase minimum pay in line with the new voluntary living wage rates from 1 March 2017 as part of its ongoing pay strategy.Lidl employees across England, Scotland and Wales will receive a minimum of £8.45 an hour, and £9.75 an hour in London. The pay increase will benefit 5,500 employees.The increase will coincide with the retail organisation’s cyclical review of salaries in March 2017.The living wage is a voluntary, independently set rate, which is calculated according to the basic cost of living. The Living Wage Foundation announced the new living wage rates on 31 October 2016.Although Lidl UK is not accredited with the Living Wage Foundation as a living wage employer, the organisation is the first UK supermarket to align its pay with the new living wage rates.Lidl UK increased employee pay in line with the voluntary living wage in October 2015. This contributed to a 20% increase in job applications over the last 12 months.Nan Gibson, HR board director at Lidl UK, said: “We recognise the contribution of each and every colleague within the business and we feel it’s important to celebrate our achievements together. So it fills me with pride that our colleagues are amongst the best paid in the supermarket sector, and it’s absolutely deserved for the commitment and value they bring to the [organisation] every day.”Katherine Chapman, director at the Living Wage Foundation, said: “Lidl’s commitment to pay [its] staff the new real living wage rates is fantastic news and an acknowledgement of what we have always believed and advocated; that it is possible to pay the real living wage if you are a supermarket in the UK.“We would love to see Lidl go further and signal [its] long-term commitment by accrediting with the Living Wage Foundation to guarantee that all sub-contracted staff such as cleaners are paid the real living wage. This will also reassure [employees] that their wages will rise in line with the cost of living every year.”
Two-fifths (44%) of employee respondents are most interested to receive between 22 and 35 days of paid annual leave as an employee benefit, according to research by insurance organisation Aviva.Its survey of 2,011 UK employees and 502 managers with recruitment responsibilities further found that other workplace benefits staff are most interested in include a pension scheme (41%), flexible working opportunities (39%), paid sick leave or critical illness cover (38%) and bonuses or profit and share schemes (25%).Colin Williams (pictured), managing director of workplace benefits at Aviva, said: “Workplace benefits have really come under the spotlight in recent years as employers and employees realise that while salary is important, there’s more that can be offered.“But, while we hear of [organisations] across the world experimenting with a range of benefits, some more unusual than others, it’s encouraging to see that employees still value the more traditional benefits.”More than four in 10 (43%) of employee respondents cite that they are least interested in being able to have dogs in the office as a workplace benefit; this compares to 35% who are disinterested in entertainment at work, such as films, video games and table football, and 31% who do not value childcare vouchers or on-site childcare.Around a quarter (26%) are not interested in social events, for example parties and away days, as a workplace benefit, while a further 26% are not interested in free or subsidised gym memberships.Despite 85% of employees revealing that they would choose a salary increase over an improvement to their workplace benefits, 38% of employer respondents would prefer to improve their benefits package rather than raise salaries.Williams added: “Offering holiday, a decent pension and access to flexible working are clearly important to employees. These types of benefits can help create the foundations of a resilient workforce and a resilient business.”
HIALEAH GARDENS, Fla. (WSVN) — Truckers went on strike in the streets of Hialeah Gardens to protest what they call unfair labor practices.Trucks lined up along the southbound lanes of the Palmetto Expressway and Okeechobee Road, Monday morning.Truckers from a number of different companies protested in hopes of changing a slew of labor practices. “The reason we here today, cause we can’t work no more,” said Joel Varela-Diaz. “We struggle, we going to hell, we don’t have no money — not even to put our trucks in the condition that the DOT, they want it. We can’t afford it.”The drivers said companies are preventing them from claiming standard workplace protections, such as overtime pay, minimum wage and unemployment benefits.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.