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Tony Scott, director of Top Gun and brother of Prometheus director Ridley Scott, has died from what appears to be suicide after jumping from the Vincent Thomas bridge near Long Beach, California, around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Update: ABC News is now reporting that Tony Scott had inoperable brain cancer. This has not been confirmed by the family and no further details of his condition have been forthcoming.
The Wrap has reported that the 68-year-old British-born director’s identity had been confirmed by Los Angeles County Coroner Lt. Joe Bell. The U.S. Coast Guard found a
list of names and phone numbers in Scott’s vehicle, parked on the eastbound lane of the bridge. A suicide note was later found in his office. Scott climbed the apex at the south side of the bridge and jumped “without hesitation.” Details of the suicide note have not been released.
Tony Scott’s recent projects included Unstoppable with Denzel Washington and Prometheus, on which he was a producer. Scott also had many TV credits in his career, including The Good Wife.
Tony Scott is survived by his wife, Donna Scott, and two children. Our condolences go out to the Scott family. This is truly a tragedy and the entertainment world will be impacted by this great loss.
By ASSOCIATED PRESS | August 19, 2012
(LONDON) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange called on President Barack Obama to end a so-called “witch hunt” against his secret-spilling website, appearing in public Sunday for the first time since he took refuge two months ago inside Ecuador’s Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden on sex crimes allegations.
The 41-year-old Australian, who has fought for two years against efforts to send him to Sweden for questioning over alleged sexual misconduct against two women, addressed several hundred supporters and reporters as he spoke from the small balcony of Ecuador’s mission, watched by dozens of British police.
Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa on Thursday granted Assange asylum and he remains out of reach of British authorities while he is inside the country’s embassy. Britain insists that if he steps outside, he will be detained and sent to Sweden, as by law it must meet the obligations of a European arrest warrant.
(PHOTOS: Inside WikiLeaks’ Bunker)
Assange and his supporters claim the Swedish case is merely the opening gambit in a Washington-orchestrated plot to make him stand trial in the U.S. over his work with WikiLeaks — something disputed by both Swedish authorities and the women involved.
“I ask President Obama to do the right thing. The United States must renounce its witch hunt against WikiLeaks,” Assange said as he read aloud a written statement. “The United States must dissolve its FBI investigation. The United States must vow that it will not seek to prosecute our staff or our supporters.”
He said that in purportedly targeting WikLeaks, the U.S. risked “dragging us all into a dark, repressive world in which journalists live under fear of prosecution.”
The White House declined comment Sunday.
A Virginia grand jury is studying evidence that might link Assange to Pfc. Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier who has been charged with aiding the enemy by passing the secret files to WikiLeaks and is awaiting trial. No action against Assange has yet been taken.
Assange also urged the U.S. to release Manning, but said: “If Bradley Manning really did as he is accused, he is a hero, an example to us all, and one of the world’s foremost political prisoners.”
The WikiLeaks founder did not refer in his statement to the Swedish allegations against him, or indicate how he believes the stalemate over his future may be resolved, though he said he hoped to be “reunited soon” with his two children.
“I think these allegations are just a way of getting to him,” said Laura Mattson, a 29-year-old supporter from London who joined a raucous crowd outside the embassy. “Is it about the charges or is it about silencing WikiLeaks?”
Assange said Ecuador had shown itself to be “courageous” in granting him refuge, and claimed to have won support from other Latin American, Central American and South American nations — including Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Argentina.
Speaking outside the embassy, former Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon, who is representing Assange, said Ecuador could consider making an appeal to the International Court of Justice in the Hague to compel Britain to grant Assange safe passage out of the country.
Garzon, who won global fame for aggressively taking on international human rights cases, is appealing his conviction for overstepping his jurisdiction in a domestic corruption probe in Spain.
Tensions have risen between London and Quito over the Assange case, after Britain appeared to suggest it could invoke a little-known law to strip Ecuador’s Embassy of diplomatic privileges — meaning police would be free to move in and detain Assange.
Assange claimed Britain had only refrained from carrying out the threat because of the presence of his supporters outside the embassy. Ecuador’s mission is a small apartment inside a larger building which houses offices and Colombia’s Embassy. British police form a thick line outside, and are on guard in the building’s shared lobby and staircases.
“Inside this embassy in the dark, I could hear teams of police swarming up inside the building through its internal fire escape,” Assange said. “If the U.K. did not throw away the Vienna Convention the other night, it is because the world was watching.” Under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, diplomatic posts are treated as the territory of the foreign nation.
Britain’s government declined to comment on Assange’s statement, though diplomats have accused Ecuador of deliberately misinterpreting its attempts to explain its legal options, and insist they are seeking an amicable solution to the standoff.
The WikiLeaks founder attempted to draw parallels between himself and the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, three of whose members were convicted and jailed this week for a performance denouncing President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral.
“There is unity in the oppression. There must be absolute unity and determination in the response,” Assange said.
He shot to international prominence in 2010 when his WikiLeaks website began publishing a huge trove of American diplomatic and military secrets — including 250,000 U.S. embassy cables that highlight the sensitive, candid and often embarrassing backroom dealings of U.S. diplomats.
As he toured the globe to highlight the disclosures, two women accused him of sex offenses during a trip to Sweden. Assange denies any wrongdoing, and insists sex with the women was consensual.
By DAVID STRINGER
Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:38am IST
According to a survey in United Kingdom, more than 50% of people do not save enough for their retirement. The number is worse for Americans and Canadians. 150 million Americans out of 200 million, who are in working age, are not saving enough to fund their needs after retirement. Similarly, 80% of Canadians will not have a comfortable life after retirement. Countries like America, UK, and Canada offer many benefits for old age people in terms of social security. However, this amount is small and doesn’t guarantee a good life.
The situation in India is worse because there is absolutely no social security for a large mass of people. With increasing prices and longevity, the need for sufficient corpus is of paramount importance. In this article, we will take a look at some of the pension schemes available in Indian market and how can we make the most out of them.
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A pension plan is a scheme where people invest in order to withdraw a specified sum of money periodically after they retire. They can also withdraw in lump sum amount but this is not advisable. People invest in many instruments for their future requirements. These instruments differ in returns and structure of products.
Employee provident fund (EPF) –
EPF is a scheme which allows employees to contribute certain part of their income for their provident fund. The advantage of this scheme is that the employer contributes equal amount. EPF is the most widely used pension plan. This gives 8.6% returns on the savings. Investors should keep an eye on EPF rate as it keeps changing. At the same time, the interest earned on it is not taxable. Nowadays, individuals also get annual statement from their company which helps them plan better for post-retirement needs.
Public Provident Fund (PPF) –
PPF is another pension scheme, which allows individuals to save a certain amount. The return is 8.8% and the tenure is 15 years. Please keep an eye on the rate as it keeps changing. Due to the flexibility that PPF offers, it has become a very popular instrument for employees to plan for their retirement. Individuals can save Rs 500 to Rs 1,00,000 every year. It is offered by many banks and post offices. Since the interest rate is known, individuals know how much they are going to receive at the end of the tenure. If individuals want to extend the tenure, they can do it in a slab of 5 years.
There are other savings scheme by Government and banks that are also used by individuals for their retirement plan.
Pension funds –
Pension funds are mutual funds offered by fund companies. These funds are mainly of three types – aggressive funds, balanced funds, and conservative funds. Aggressive funds invest major part of their fund in equity. Balanced funds invest a part of fund in equity while conservative funds invest almost all in debt securities. Needless to say, Equity funds are the most risky of them. Balanced funds are risky compared to conservative funds because of equity exposure. However, looking at the time horizon of individuals, equity funds and balanced funds can give better returns over long term. Conservative funds are less risky and hence give low returns. In general, equity funds can give 12% to 18%; balanced funds can give 10% to 15%; while conservative funds can provide 7% to 10% returns over long term.
Few pension funds launched by mutual fund companies are the following. The list below is merely indicative and is just an illustration for the sake of providing examples. Fund name Fund company Type of Fund Structure Returns since inception UTI – Retirement Benefit Pension Fund UTI Hybrid fund, debt oriented 40% Equity, 60% debt and liquid 11.01% Tata Retirement Savings Fund – Moderate Plan Tata Mutual Fund Equity Oriented Hybrid Speciality Funds 85% Equity, 15% debt and liquid 9.15% Templeton India Pension Plan (G) Franklin Templeton Equity Oriented Hybrid Speciality Funds 35% Equity, 75% debt and liquid 12.71%
There are other mutual funds which offer the same. The funds mentioned here also offer different variants. The variants can be aggressive plan or conservative plan depending on exposure to equity. The variants can also be dividend or growth depending on payment structure of the fund.
Unit Linked Pension Plan –
There are pension plans which are linked to the market. These plans expose investors to higher risk but the return will also be high in longer term. However, investors must be careful in choosing the unit linked pension plan. You may not want to take too much of risk while planning for your retirement. Some of the unit linked pension plans are HDFC unit linked pension plan, Kotak retirement income, ICICI pru lifetime pension maxima, and many others. Investors should do more research on past performance to select the right one.
The pension funds, while offering a great way to plan your retirement, also penalize you hard if you redeem it before time. Most of the funds do not charge you anything if you redeem after 5 years. However, they may charge as high as 3% to 5% if you redeem within 3 years.
There are other opinions on retirement planning such as buying good, performing mutual funds and take term insurance at the same time. This can also be a very effective tool for retirement planning but investors need little more knowledge to form an effective portfolio.
Finally, investors must separate insurance and investment for retirement. There are many products which combine these two. The best way to judge whether you should go for such products is to know their past returns. An insurance product will have low returns which will not be right for an investment product.
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