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How Apple saves taxesRead more:Taxes|tax policies|Steve Wozniak|Reed College|offices|Microsoft|iTunes S.ar.l.|itunes|iPhone|iPads|iPad|income taxes|Hewlett-Packard|Google|corporate taxes|Apple's tax bills|Apple|Amazon
RENO: Apple, the world's most profitable technology company, doesn't design iPhones here. It doesn't run AppleCare customer service from this city. And it doesn't manufacture MacBooks or iPads anywhere nearby.
Yet, with a handful of employees in a small office here in Reno in a company subsidiary named Braeburn Capital, Apple has done something central to its corporate strategy: It has avoided millions of dollars in taxes in California and 20 other states.
Apple's headquarters are in Cupertino, California. By putting an office to collect and invest the company's profits out of Reno, just 200 miles away, Apple sidesteps state income taxes on some of those gains.
California's corporate tax rate is 8.84 per cent. Nevada's? Zero.
Setting up an office in Reno is just one of many legal methods Apple uses to reduce its worldwide tax bill by billions of dollars each year.
As it has in Nevada, Apple has created subsidiaries in low-tax countries like Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the British Virgin Islands - some little more than a letterbox in Luxembourg or an anonymous office here - that help cut the taxes it pays around the world.
Almost every major corporation tries to minimize its taxes, of course. For Apple, the savings are especially alluring because the company's profits are so high. Wall Street analysts predict Apple could earn up to $45.6 billion in its current fiscal year - which would be a record for any US business.
Braeburn is a variety of apple that is simultaneously sweet and tart. When someone in the United States buys an iPhone, iPad or other Apple product, a portion of the profits from that sale is often deposited into accounts controlled by Braeburn, and then invested in stocks, bonds or other financial instruments, say company executives. Some profits from those investments are shielded from California tax authorities by virtue of Braeburn's Nevada address.
Since founding Braeburn in 2006, Apple has earned more than $2.5 billion in interest and dividend income on its cash reserves and investments around the globe. What's more, Braeburn allows Apple to lower its taxes in other states because many of those jurisdictions use formulas that reduce what is owed when a company's financial management occurs elsewhere.
While Apple's Reno office helps the company avoid state taxes, its international subsidiaries - particularly the company's assignment of sales and patent royalties to other nations - help reduce taxes owed to the US and other governments.
The Luxembourg subsidiary, named iTunes S.ar.l., has just a few dozen employees, according to corporate documents filed in that nation and a current executive. But when customers across Europe, Africa or the Middle East - and potentially elsewhere - download a song, television show or app, the sale is recorded in this small country, according to current and former executives.
The country has promised to tax the payments collected by Apple and numerous other tech corporations at low rates if they route transactions through Luxembourg. Taxes that would have otherwise gone to the governments of Britain, France, the United States and dozens of other nations go to Luxembourg instead, at discounted rates.
In 2011, iTunes S.ar.l.'s revenue exceeded $1 billion, according to an Apple executive, representing roughly 20 per cent of iTunes' worldwide sales.
Apple serves as a window on how technology giants have taken advantage of tax codes written for an industrial age and ill-suited to today's digital economy. Some profits at companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft derive not from physical goods but royalties on intellectual property, like the patents on software that makes devices work.
Other times, the products themselves are digital, like downloaded songs. It is much easier for businesses with royalties and digital products to move profits to low-tax countries than it is, say, for grocery stores or automakers. A downloaded application, unlike a car, can be sold from anywhere.
The growing digital economy presents a conundrum for lawmakers overseeing corporate taxation: Though technology is now one of the nation's largest and most valued industries, many tech companies are among the least taxed, according to government and corporate data.
Even among tech companies, Apple's rates are low. And while the company has remade industries, ignited economic growth and delighted customers, it has also devised corporate strategies that take advantage of gaps in the tax code, according to former executives who helped create them.
Apple, say former executives, has been particularly talented at identifying legal tax loopholes and hiring accountants who are known
for their innovation. In the 1980s, for instance, Apple was among the first major corporations to designate overseas distributors as "commissionaires," rather than retailers, said Michael Rashkin, Apple's first director of tax policy, who helped set up the system before leaving in 1999. Because commissionaires never technically take possession of inventory - which would require them to recognize taxes - the structure allowed a salesman in high-tax Germany, for example, to sell computers on behalf of a subsidiary in low-tax Singapore.
In addition, Apple was a pioneer of an accounting technique known as the "Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich," which reduced taxes by routing profits through two Irish subsidiaries - today named Apple Operations International and Apple Sales International - and the Netherlands and then to the Caribbean. In 2004, Ireland, a nation of less than 5 million, was home to more than one-third of Apple's worldwide revenues, according to company filings.
Without such tactics, Apple's federal tax bill in the United States most likely would have been $2.4 billion higher last year, according to a recent study by a former Treasury Department economist, Martin A. Sullivan. As it stands, the company paid cash taxes of $3.3 billion around the world on its reported profits of $34.2 billion last year, a tax rate of 9.8 per cent. (Apple does not disclose what portion of those payments were in the United States, or what portion are assigned to previous or future years.)
By comparison, Wal-Mart last year paid worldwide cash taxes of $5.9 billion on its booked profits of $24.4 billion, a tax rate of 24 percent, which is about average for non-tech companies.
Apple's domestic tax bill has piqued particular curiosity among corporate tax experts because though the company is based in the United States, its profits - on paper, at least - are largely foreign.
While Apple contracts out much of the manufacturing and assembly of its products to other companies overseas, the majority of Apple's executives, product designers, marketers, employees, research and development and retail stores are in the United States. Tax experts say it is therefore reasonable to expect that most of Apple's profits would be American as well. The nation's tax code is based on the concept that a company "earns" income where value is created, rather than where products are sold.
However, Apple's accountants have found legal ways to allocate about 70 per cent of its profits overseas, where tax rates are often much lower, according to corporate filings.
Neither the government nor corporations make tax returns public, and a company's taxable income often differs from the profits disclosed in annual reports. Companies report their cash outlays for income taxes in their annual Form 10-K, but it is impossible from those numbers to determine precisely how much, in total, corporations pay to governments. In Apple's last annual disclosure, the company listed its worldwide taxes - which includes cash taxes paid as well as deferred taxes and other charges - at $8.3 billion, an effective tax rate of almost a quarter of profits.
However, tax analysts and scholars said that figure most likely overstated how much the company would hand to governments because it included sums that might never be paid. "The information on 10-Ks is fiction for most companies," said Kimberly Clausing, an economist at Reed College who specializes in multinational taxation. "But for tech companies it goes from fiction to farcical."
Apple, in a statement, said it "has conducted all of its business with the highest of ethical standards, complying with applicable laws and accounting rules. We are incredibly proud of all of Apple's contributions."
The statement also said that Apple "pays an enormous amount of taxes which help our local, state and federal governments. In the first half of fiscal year 2012, our US operations have generated almost $5 billion in federal and state income taxes, including income taxes withheld on employee stock gains, making us among the top payers of US income tax."
The statement did not specify how it arrived at $5 billion, nor did it address the issue of deferred taxes, which the company may pay in future years or decide to defer indefinitely. But the $5 billion figure appears to include taxes ultimately owed by Apple employees.
The sums paid by Apple and other tech corporations is a point of contention in the company's backyard.
A mile and a half from Apple's Cupertino headquarters is De Anza College, a community college that Steve Wozniak, one of Apple's founders, attended from 1969 to 1974. Because of California's state budget crisis, De Anza has cut more than a thousand courses and 8 percent of its faculty since 2008.
Now, De Anza faces a budget gap so large that it is confronting a "death spiral," the school's president, Brian Murphy, wrote to the faculty in January. Apple, of course, is not responsible for the state's financial shortfall, which has numerous causes. But the company's tax policies are seen by officials like Murphy as symptomatic of why the crisis exists.
"I just don't understand it," he said in an interview. ''I'll bet every person at Apple has a connection to De Anza. Their kids swim in our pool. Their cousins take classes here. They drive past it every day, for Pete's sake.
"But then they do everything they can to pay as few taxes as possible."
©2011 The New York Times News Service
【明 報專訊】盈利屢創新高的科技巨擘蘋果被轟帶頭避稅，「帶壞」矽谷巨企。《紐約時報》引述披露蘋果曾「開發」多項避稅招數，包括將子公司設在內華達等不設企 業徵稅的州份，或是在低稅國家設立空殼公司以將收入轉移海外等，其他科技公司紛紛效法。美國財政部前經濟師發表的報告指出，蘋果去年避稅最少24億美元 （187.2億港元），相當於其在全球報繳稅款的七成。《紐約時報》引述多名蘋果前會計人員指出，蘋果特別擅長運用財技，藉各地稅務條款的差異合法避稅，爭取最大利潤，亦會特別僱用會計專家「開發」避稅 手法。這些手法為數以百計科技企業，包括微軟、思科（Cisco）等應用，有其他企業的會計人員直指公司的避稅手法，是由蘋果直接「複製」。
專家稱，蘋果是所謂「雙愛爾蘭加荷蘭三文治」（Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich）財技的先驅，透過將業務納入兩間愛爾蘭子公司名下，把美國本土收入化為稅率較低的海外收入，然後再將愛爾蘭子公司部分資金免稅轉移至荷 蘭，最後轉匯到英屬處女島等避稅天堂，藉以避開美國的高額徵稅。
雖然蘋果的營銷研發重心都在美國，但蘋果去年約342億美元稅前盈利中，近70%都是海外盈利。美國財政部前經濟師沙利文（Martin Sullivan）近日發表報告稱，去年蘋果在全球繳納的現金稅僅約33億美元，只佔盈利約9.8%，他認為蘋果最少50%盈利實際上來自美國，以美國企 業稅率為35%計算，蘋果應多付24億美元稅。
Writ of election24.
—(1) For the purposes of every general election of Members of Parliament, and for the purposes of the election of Members to supply vacancies caused by death, resignation or otherwise, the President shall issue writs under the public seal, addressed to the Returning Officer.
(2) Every such writ shall be in Form 1 in the First Schedule and shall specify the date or dates (referred to in this Act as the day of nomination) not being less than 5 days nor more than one month after the date of the writ and the place or places of nomination (referred to in this Act as the place of nomination).
(2A) In respect of any group representation constituency, no writ shall be issued under subsection (1) for an election to fill any vacancy unless all the Members for that constituency have vacated their seats in Parliament.
(3) Upon receipt of the writ, the Returning Officer shall proceed to hold the election in the manner hereinafter provided.
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Moscow protest against Putin win sees drop in support10 March 2012 Last updated at 18:04 GMT Help
Protests have been held in Russia over Vladimir Putin's presidential election victory, but turnout in Moscow was sharply down on earlier rallies.Between 10,000 and 20,000 people lined an avenue near the Kremlin, compared to crowds of 100,000 in December.Demonstrators heard calls not to recognise Mr Putin's re-election because of alleged widespread fraud.Foreign states have accepted Mr Putin's election, but observers said the poll had been skewed in his favour.Daniel Sandford reports from Moscow.
Vote and track down violationsMarch 4, 2012
Pavel KoshkinRussian citizens went to the polls on March 4 to elect the country's new president. Vladimir Putin took about 63 percent of the vote during at Sunday’s presidential election; Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov came in second, with more than 17 percent, according to the preliminary data from the Central Election Commission. The rest of the candidates - Mikhail Prokhorov, Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Sergei Mironov - won no more than 10 percent. Putin avoided a run-off by winning more than 50 percent of the vote.
Russians electing the new president. Source: RIA Novosti
The 2011 parliamentary elections were reported to have seen a lot of falsifications and violations which resulted in the public unrest that turned into a series of rallies held in central Moscow in support for honest elections. The alleged political fraud during the parliamentary elections encouraged civil activism among some Russians who decided to volunteer as observers during the 2012 presidential elections.Kira Tverskaya served as an observer from Golos, a grassroots organization aiming to combat vote fraud during the elections. “We had to visit at least eight polling stations,” Tverskaya said. “What we had to do was to keep track of possible violations ranging from barring observers from doing their job at the polling stations to carousel practices. Actually we had to gather the information about the number of voters at a polling station, including those who voted from home and voters without permanents residence registration. Nearly every polling station we visited recorded between 2,000 and 3,000 votes.”When asked about violations at the polling stations, Tverskaya said: “I didn’t witness that any observers had been prevented from moving along the station, videotaping and taking pictures. But nevertheless some officials asked us to fill out a permission form to do recording at the poll. In addition, we saw some suspicious voters, young people who, as a matter of fact, didn’t have the right to vote at the polling station because they don’t have the permanent residence registration and they looked pretty nervous while voting which seemed to me a bit suspicious.”Lesya Ryabtseva from the Russian State University for Humanities (RGGU) was an observer at polling station 1210. She was confused by the fact that some officers at her polling station gave two ballots to some voters who wanted to vote for their relatives. “Although the elections seemed to be honest I was a bit surprised when a woman came to the poll and said that she wanted to vote for her husband,” Ryabtseva said. “And the officer of the polling election commission gave her two ballots. It looked pretty weird to me.”Likewise, she was a bit surprised when 18 employees of a company located not far from the polling station voted together although they didn’t have the right to vote there. As the officers of the election commission explained, the leadership of the company asked the permission for them to vote at this polling station because they couldn’t interrupt the working process in the firm, Ryabtseva said.While observers were tracking down the probable violations, young Russian voters were casting their ballots.
“I voted for Vladimir Putin because he proved to be a strong leader who fulfilled his pledges,” said Maksim Rudnev, 23, a student at Russia’s Academy of Law and Governance. “His words and deeds are never at variance. It was he who brought stability in the country and recovered Russia’s low profile”“I elected Gennady Zyuganov from the Communist Party, because I find him the most eligible person from the Russian opposition who proposes the most adequate program and ideas,” said Ilya Overchenko, 21, a history major at Moscow State Regional University.Artem Avtandilov, studying engineering in Kazan State Technical University voted for Mikhail Prokhorov. “Although he is not well-experienced enough in big politics I think that he is the only candidate who may bring positive changes into our inefficient [political] system.”But some students didn't vote at all. For example, 24-year-old Airat Bagadtiunov, a student at the Higher School of Economics, refused to vote. “I couldn’t find any worthy candidates for Russia’s presidency,” he said. “Of course, there were some compromise options among them but, nevertheless, I didn’t vote.”Likewise, Tatyana, a 21-year-old journalism student from Moscow State University decided not to vote because she found the election results too predictable. Tatyana doesn’t think that she will be able to change the situation. “Everything we witnessed during Election Day was nothing but well-orchestrated theatrical show,” she said. “Every candidate plays his own role on the stage.”
Exit polls: Putin wins Russia's presidential voteBy 22 hours 34 minutes agoMOSCOW (AP) — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Sunday claimed victory in Russia's presidential election before tens of thousands of cheering supporters, even as the opposition and independent observers insisted the vote had been marred by widespread violations.At a massive rally just outside the Kremlin, Putin thanked his supporters for helping foil plots aimed at destroying Russia, sounding a nationalistic theme that has resonated with his core supporters."I have promised that we would win and we have won!" he shouted to the flag-waving crowd, which responded with shouts of support. "We have won in an open and honest struggle."Putin tallied 58-59 percent of Sunday's vote, according to exit polls cited by state television. Communist Party candidate Gennady Zyuganov received about 18 percent, according to the survey, and the others — nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, socialist Sergei Mironov and billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov — were in single digits.Official vote results from the far eastern regions where the count was already completed seemed to confirm the poll data. With about 30 percent of all precincts counted, Putin was leading the field with 64 percent of the vote, the Central Election Commission said.If thousands of claims of violations made by independent observers and Putin's foes are confirmed, they would undermine the legitimacy of his victory and fuel protests. The opposition is gearing up for a massive rally in downtown Moscow on Monday."These elections are not free ... that's why we'll have protests tomorrow. We will not recognize the president as legitimate," said Mikhail Kasyanov, who was Putin's first prime minister before going into opposition.Golos, Russia's leading independent elections watchdog, said it received numerous reports of "carousel voting," in which busloads of voters are driven around to cast ballots multiple times.Alexei Navalny, one of the opposition's most charismatic leaders, said observers trained by his organization also reported seeing extensive use of the practice.Evidence of widespread vote fraud in December's parliamentary election drew tens of thousands to protest against Putin, who was president in 2000-2008 before moving into the prime minister's office due to term limits. They were the largest outburst of public anger in post-Soviet Russia and demonstrated growing exasperation with massive corruption, rising social inequality and tight controls over political life under Putin.Putin has dismissed the protesters' demands, casting them as a coddled minority of urban elites working at Western behest to weaken Russia. His claims that the United States was behind the opposition protests spoke to his base of blue-collar workers, farmers and state employees, who are suspicious of Western intentions after years of state propaganda."Putin is a brave and persistent man who can resist the U.S. and EU pressure," said Anastasia Lushnikova, a 20-year old student who voted for Putin in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don.Authorities gave permission to Putin's supporters to gather just outside the Kremlin walls, and tens of thousands flooded the big square immediately after the vote ended. Some participants of the demonstration, including employees of state organizations, said they were forced by the management to attend it under the threat of punishment.The authorities denied the opposition's bid to hold the rally at the same place Monday, but allowed them to gather at a nearby square.Putin has given generous social promises during his campaign and also initiated limited political reforms in a bid to assuage public anger. His spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Sunday that Putin will seek to modernize the nation's political and economic system, but firmly ruled out any "Gorbachev-style liberal spasms."Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, has become increasingly critical of Putin's rule. "These are not going to be honest elections, but we must not relent," he said Sunday after casting his ballot.Putin has promised that the vote would be fair, and the authorities apparently have sought to take off the steam out of the protest movement by allowing more observers to monitor the vote. Tens of thousands of Russians, most of them politically active for the first time, had volunteered to be election observers, receiving training on how to recognize vote-rigging and record and report violations.Golos said monitors have recorded fewer obvious violations than during the December election, but they still believe that violations are extensive. This time, election officials are using more complicated and subtle methods, said Golos deputy director Grigory Melkonyants.According to data based on official figures from polling stations attended by Golos observers, Putin still garnered some 55 percent of the vote, while Zyuganov won about 19 percent.Zyuganov told reporters after the polls closed that he will not recognize the vote, calling it "illegitimate, unfair and intransparent."His campaign chief Ivan Melnikov claimed that the authorities set up numerous additional polling stations and alleged that hundreds of thousands of voters cast ballots at the ones in Moscow alone in an apparent attempt to rig the vote.Prokhorov said on Channel One television after the vote that authorities kept his observers away from some polling stations and were beaten on two occasions.Oksana Dmitriyeva, a Duma deputy from Just Russia party, tweeted that they were witnessing "numerous cases of observers being expelled from polling stations" across St. Petersburg just before the vote count.Unlike Moscow and other big cities, where independent observers showed up en masse, election officials in Russia's North Caucasus and other regions were largely left to their one devices. The opposition said those regions have experienced particularly massive vote rigging in the past.A Web camera at a polling station in Dagestan, a Caucasus province near Chechnya, registered unidentified people tossing ballot after ballot into boxes. The Central Election Commission quickly responded to the video, which was posted on the Internet, saying the results from the station will be invalidated.Web cameras were installed in Russia's more than 90,000 polling stations, a move initiated by Putin in response to complaints of ballot stuffing and fraudulent counts in December's parliamentary elections.It was unclear Sunday to what extent the cameras would be effective in recording voting irregularities or questionable counts. The election observation mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe noted skepticism in a report on election preparations."This is not an election ... it is an imitation," said Boris Nemtsov, a prominent opposition leader.But despite the increased resentment against Putin's rule among the rising middle class, opinion polls ahead of the vote had shown Putin positioned to win easily. He presided over significant economic growth and gave Russians a sense of stability that contrasted with the disorder and anxiety of the 1990s, when Boris Yeltsin led Russia's emergence from the wreckage of the Soviet Union."Under Boris Nikolayevich, life was simply a nightmare, but, you know, now it's OK. Now it's good, I'm happy with the current situation," said 51-year-old Alexander Pshennikov, who cast his ballot for Putin at a Moscow polling station.The police presence was heavy throughout the city on Sunday. There were no immediate reports of trouble, although police arrested three young women who stripped to the waist at the polling station where Putin cast his ballot; one of them had the word "thief" written on her bare back._____Jim Heintz, Lynn Berry, Maria Danilova, Nataliya Vasilyeva, Mansur Mirovalev and Sofia Javed in Moscow and Sergei Venyavsky in Rostov-on-Don contributed to this report.
SCDF commissioner suspended, CNB chief under investigationThe Commissioner of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), Peter Lim, 51, has been suspended from work since last month.
Chinese Daily Lianhe Wanbao reported today that he, Central Narcotic Bureau (CNB) Chief Ng Boon Gay and six other SCDF officials are under investigation by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).
Two SCDF officials who hold senior ranks are amongst the six under investigation.
Quoting reliable sources, the paper stated that the case is linked to money and women.
There are no further details on when Mr Ng, who has been in the police force for 20 years, was called in for questioning by the CPIB.
The report added that Mr Lim's use of the official SCDF car has suspended too.
According to a national broadcaster, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that both Mr Lim and Mr Ng are on leave for now.
MHA is due to issue a statement tomorrow.
Mr Lim became the SCDF Commissioner in May 2009 and has been in the SCDF for 24 years.
Local government merit scholar, Mr Ng Boon Gay, 45, was previously in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) before heading CNB in January last year.
Malaysia opposition's Anwar freed of sodomy charges
Malaysia's High Court acquitted opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim of sodomizing a former aide, citing unreliable DNA evidence in a verdict Monday that surprised supporters who saw the case as an attempt to sideline him.
Anwar has long maintained that Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling coalition concocted the charge to damage his chances of leading the opposition to an election victory. Najib, who is expected to call for national elections sometime this year, denies plotting against Anwar.
Najib's administration said the judgment showed that Malaysia's legal system was free from government interference, despite claims to the contrary by opposition activists.
The case rested mainly on testimony by Anwar's 26-year-old accuser, Saiful Bukhari Azlan, and semen samples found on Saiful's body that investigators said matched Anwar's DNA.
High Court Judge Mohamad Zabidin Diah said his decision was founded on concerns that the DNA evidence was tainted.
"The court at this stage could not with 100 percent certainty exclude the possibility that the (DNA) sample is not compromised," Mohamad Zabidin told the court. "Therefore it is not safe to rely on the (DNA) sample. There is no evidence to corroborate" the charge.A crowd of Anwar's supporters shouted "Allahu Akbar," or "God is great" after the judge finished reading the verdict. Members of Anwar's family burst into tears and hugged him.
"Thank God justice has prevailed," a jubilant Anwar told reporters. "I have been vindicated. To be honest, I am a little surprised."
However, questions lingered over whether the legal saga was over, as chief prosecutor Yusof Zainal Abiden said he had not decided whether to appeal the acquittal.
Sammyboy.Com URLPolice outside the court reported that after the verdict was delivered, a small blast wounded a man on a road nearby. Authorities indicated it was a homemade explosive, but did not say whether it was linked to the hearing.Anwar, whom the opposition regards as its future prime minister if it wins federal power, had earlier said he was bracing for a conviction, which could result in a maximum of 20 years in prison.The verdict is expected to have a major impact on general elections that most politicians believe will be held some time this year. Anwar is the opposition's most charismatic politician and is considered the figure who can best hold the three ideologically distinct parties in his alliance together.Information Minister Rais Yatim said in a statement that the acquittal "proves that the government does not hold sway over judges' decisions.""Malaysia has an independent judiciary," Rais said. "The current wave of bold democratic reforms introduced by (Najib) will help extend this transparency to all areas of Malaysian life."At least 5,000 opposition supporters gathered outside the court Monday, chanting "Long live the people." Some carried banners that read "Free Anwar" and "Reject slander."A police helicopter flew over the court, while riot police backed by a truck mounted with a water cannon monitored the crowd amid concerns that a conviction might spark unrest in Malaysia's largest city.Defense lawyers had insisted Saiful's testimony about the alleged sodomy at a Kuala Lumpur condominium in 2008 was riddled with inconsistencies and that the DNA evidence was mishandled by investigators.Anwar, a former deputy prime minister and married father of six, was jailed in another sodomy case in 2000 when he was convicted of sodomizing his family's ex-driver. He denied the allegation, and Malaysia's top court released him in 2004 by overturning his conviction and nine-year sentence.Judge Mohamad Zabidin said that without DNA evidence, Saiful's word was insufficient to convict Anwar."The court is always reluctant to convict on sexual offenses without corroborative evidence," he said in an unexpectedly brief two-minute judgment. "Therefore, the accused is acquitted and discharged."Saiful did not attend the hearing, but wrote on Twitter after the verdict that he would "remain calm, continue praying and be patient."The charge emerged several months after Anwar's alliance made major inroads in 2008 general elections, when the National Front ruling coalition endured its worst polling setback in more than five decades of governance.The opposition now controls slightly more than one-third of Parliament's seats and hopes to win power by pledging to reduce problems such as graft, racial discrimination and curbs on civil liberties. Najib has increased efforts in recent months to tackle those grievances and regain the support of voters who deserted the National Front in the last elections.
Russia's Interior Ministry and the Investigative Committee have presented Dmitry Medvedev with an interim report on violations committed during campaigning and voting in the December 4 State Duma elections.
The document shows Moscow leading the field on the number of registered violations.
"The largest number of violations was recorded in Moscow (462), the Stavropol territory (96), the Samara region (88), the Sverdlovsk region (80), and the Novosibirsk region (64),” the Kremlin website reports.
All in all, the police drew up 2,091 administrative reports during the recent election campaign. So far, 53 criminal cases have been launched in 27 Russian constituencies.
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Putin eyes total anti-fraud webcam surveillance of polling stations15 December, 2011, 12:29Published:Putin eyes total public surveillance of polling stations (RIA Novosti / Aleksandr Kryazhev)TRENDS: Election 2012In response to opposition allegations that parliamentary elections were rigged, Prime Minister Putin says all polling stations in Russia should be fitted with constantly-streaming webcams. It will make the process absolutely transparent for everyone.“I suggest and request that the Central Election Commission set up web cameras in all polling stations – we have more than 90,000 of those – and let them work round the clock. Let the country watch it all on the internet,” he said.Last week Moscow saw the largest opposition rally in Russia’s modern history, with tens of thousands of people attending. The demonstrators said the election results, which gave about half of the seats in the Russian parliament to the ruling United Russia party, were rigged. They demanded an investigation of alleged fraud and a new, fair election.