Whether you can retire early comes down to your habits: good and bad.Read More >
The Greek people are bracing themselves for tough times ahead, following Greece’s proposal with tax hikes and spending cuts submitted to European creditors on Thursday. Greek Prime Minister Alex Tspiras is asking the nation’s 300-member parliament today for “pre-approval” of these measures, which European Union leaders will discuss at Sunday’s full summit. Among the proposals submitted Thursday is to “implement in full the 2010 pension reform law” when austerity measures were put in place during Greece’s last bailout in 2010. Greek banks are on a holiday, limiting cash withdrawals to 60 euros a day, as the country struggles with cash liquidity. Meanwhile the nation has a 25 percent unemployment rate and public debt that is 177 percent of its gross domestic product. The nation is due to pay the European Central Bank 3.5 billion euros by July 20. Here are five points in Greece’s latest proposal to help the country during its debt crisis. One of the important points in the proposal, according to Boston College economics Professor Robert Murphy, is that it meets creditors’ demands for changes in the consumer value-added tax, aiming to raise an additional 1 percent of GDP in annual tax revenue. Greece’s previous proposal would have increased revenue by around 0.75 percent. Another key part of the proposal is that it pledges to implement reforms of the pension system starting next week, with goal of reducing annual spending by 1 percent of GDP, according to Murphy, who was an economist with the Clinton administration. This moves up the start date for pension overhaul from October that was previously proposed by Greece. The Greek government also proposes to create “strong disincentives” to early retirement and following the statutory retirement age of 67 years, “or 62 and 40 years of contributions by 2022.” The proposal offers commitments to reform labor and “product market” institutions, such as for truck licenses, food and petroleum, following recommendations from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Murphy said these reforms are aimed at fostering greater competition in product markets and more flexibility in the collective bargaining process with labor unions. While the proposal does not directly deal with question of debt relief, it mentions amending corporate and household insolvency laws. “Negotiations over the next few days are likely to revolve around what sort of commitment to debt relief the E.U. is willing to provide in return for getting a deal,” Murphy said. “Germany is against haircuts but now seems to be willing to consider maturity extensions.” The proposals are similar to the austerity measures that the majority of Greek voters rejected in a referendum last Sunday. Greece is asking for three-year loans of at least 53.5 billion euros. International Monetary Fund Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard indicated on Thursday that Greece now may need even more debt relief than the 60 billion euro amount estimated by the IMF last week.Read More >
One of the biggest challenges facing the new legal marijuana industry comes down to money: now that businesses in certain states have gotten the go ahead to sell weed, many of them are stuck in a tough spot when it comes to actually dealing payments for their products, since the drug is still illegal under federal law. A group of senators is seeking to change that, introducing a bill that would take the heat off legal marijuana operations and give them access to banking services.Read More >
Are Uber drivers independent contractors or employees of the popular ride-hailing service? The company has long maintained that Uber is just a platform for drivers — using their own cars on their own time — to connect with passengers, while others have contended that Uber drivers are treated like employees and should therefore not be responsible for all the costs of operating their vehicles. Yesterday in federal court, the company presented statements from drivers claiming to be just fine with their status as non-employees.Read More >
It seems like as soon as we warn the public about a nefarious phone scam, another slight variation sprouts up to vacuum more money from the pockets of innocent people. This new scam that we’ve learned about combines a focus on grandparents with the urgency and fear of the overdue taxes and jury duty scams that we’ve shared with you recently. What these scams have in common, of course, is that the problem can always be solved with the number from a prepaid debit card.Read More >
Daybreak Games acknowledges another attack, following CEO John Smedley's comments about convicted hacker.Read More >
Hotel Adriatic, located in the heart of Rovinj on the northern coast Croatia, has officially re-opened as a boutique luxury art hotel following a major refurbishment. The hotel, which is the oldest and only hotel located in the centre of the historical town of Rovinj, features an impressive and unique collection of over one hundred art works by world-renowned artists from Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Germany and France, as well as bespoke art installations created specifically for the hotel.