National / International News

Brain's dementia weak spot found

BBC - Mon, 2014-11-24 15:06
The brain has a weak spot for Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia, according to experts who have pinpointed the region using scans.

Candidates give income tax positions

BBC - Mon, 2014-11-24 15:04
Jim Murphy calls on his party to support the full devolution of income tax to Holyrood while his rivals are more cautious.

Renewed call for North Sea tax break

BBC - Mon, 2014-11-24 15:03
Business leaders say tax reform is needed for the North Sea oil sector after a survey suggests confidence has fallen sharply.

VIDEO: African Dream: Banker turned shoemaker

BBC - Mon, 2014-11-24 15:02
As part of the African Dream series, we profile an entrepreneur who turned his back on banking to set up a shoemaking company in Ghana.

Amazon to deliver via post offices

BBC - Mon, 2014-11-24 14:56
Internet retailing giant Amazon is offering its online customers access to Royal Mail's Local Collect "click and collect" network.

Optimism as Iran nuclear talks fail

BBC - Mon, 2014-11-24 14:51
Both the US and Iran say they are confident of reaching a deal over Tehran's nuclear programme despite the failure of the latest round of talks.

Vaughan to take 'T20 FA Cup' to ECB

BBC - Mon, 2014-11-24 14:39
Michael Vaughan will offer his proposal for an FA Cup-style T20 competition to the ECB after a report into falling numbers.

Juncker tax scandal fails to gain heat

BBC - Mon, 2014-11-24 14:33
A tax scandal debate on European Commission chief Jean Claude Juncker is struggling to gain traction in the European Parliament.

VIDEO: Iran nuclear talks deadline extended

BBC - Mon, 2014-11-24 14:23
The deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran has been extended to the end of June after talks in Vienna failed to reach a comprehensive agreement.

MI5 set for criticism over Lee Rigby

BBC - Mon, 2014-11-24 14:18
A report into the killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby is set to criticise MI5 over its monitoring of one of the killers, but will add that the security service could not have prevented his death, the BBC understands.

As Hackers Hit Customers, Retailers Keep Quiet About Security

NPR News - Mon, 2014-11-24 13:46

Leading companies are keeping tight-lipped about what they're doing to protect customers from similar attacks that have hit Target, Home Depot and other major retailers.

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Private aircraft in take-off accident

BBC - Mon, 2014-11-24 13:32
A private plane is involved in an accident on take-off from Biggin Hill in Bromley, south-east London.

Ferguson Timeline: Grief, Anger And Tension

NPR News - Mon, 2014-11-24 13:27

A look at the chronology of events leading to a grand jury's decision on whether to indict police Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

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Aston Villa 1-1 Southampton

BBC - Mon, 2014-11-24 13:25
England defender Nathaniel Clyne scores late on to deny Aston Villa a win and rescue a point for Southampton.

California College Students Walk Out Of Class To Protest Tuition Hikes

NPR News - Mon, 2014-11-24 13:21

The University of California system recently approved a 5 percent tuition hike, annually, for up to five years. Students at UC Berkeley have taken the lead in protesting the measure.

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Tax relief threat to private schools

BBC - Mon, 2014-11-24 13:19
A future Labour government would require private schools to "earn" the yearly £700m they receive in rate relief by helping out state schools.

Labour's message to private schools

BBC - Mon, 2014-11-24 13:14
Taking on private schools is always a popular cause in Labour circles. Equally it always produces howls of outrage from the small but influential group of people whose children are educated in them.

Who gets the money made by dead celebrities?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-11-24 13:07

The latest entry in our “I've Always Wondered” series involves dead celebrities, mythic mansions and legendary kings: the King of Pop and the King of Rock ‘n Roll.

Listener David Rigby, an actuary in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, asked: “We hear about the vast amounts made by the estates of deceased celebrities like Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. Who enjoys the benefit of all this income, and does the government get any tax revenue from it?”

I started with the king of dead-celebrity lawyers, Mark Roesler of CMG Worldwide. He’s got offices in Indianapolis and, of course, Los Angeles. His client list reads like a "Who’s Who" of Hollywood's departed: James Dean, Ella Fitzgerald, John Belushi, Telly Savalas, Bettie Page, The Andrews Sisters.

When one of these stars checks out, Roesler checks in. He values what’s left and figures out how to make money on it, for the both heirs and his firm. “They have two types of assets," Roesler says of the typical dead celebrity. "Tangible assets — cars, bank accounts, homes; and intangible assets — copyrights, trademarks [and] the right of publicity, which is the right to your name and likeness.”

Roesler says for the heirs of music stars, this is where the big money usually is. It’s the songs: sold on iTunes, played in bars and used in ads. Plus, the celebrity’s name and image, put on products or even back 0n stage in holographic form.

And who gets the profits? The estate lawyers’ cut is typically 10 percent or more. Record labels and marketers also get a slice of the revenue stream. Income tax can grab as much as 40 percent of the profits, and the IRS also takes a one-time Estate Tax payment on the estimated value of the assets at the time of death.

Roesler says that for a complicated estate — when he’s doing licensing deals and he’s in court suing bootleggers using the artist’s image or music in ads or t-shirts — his cut can be 30 percent or more.

Now let’s see what the King of Pop and the King of Rock ‘n' Roll left to their heirs.

Michael Jackson

When Jackson died from a drug overdose in 2009, he didn't have much value to marketers. Numerous scandals had eroded his reputation and value as a product endorser, and he faced massive debts from his lavish lifestyle and the upkeep of Neverland Ranch. He was planning a major comeback and arena residency in London.

Jackson has topped Forbes’ annual dead-celebrities list for five years, bringing in $140 million this year alone. The Forbes list, released in the fall, estimates revenue from all sources from the past 12 months before taxes and management fees. As Beverly Hills entertainment lawyer Joseph Schleimer explains, death often brings a change in a star’s financial fortunes.

“The mansions, yachts, luxury cars, private jets and parasitic entourages are dispensed with,” Schleimer says. “Death ushers in lawyers, accountants and executors, and they usually bring a cold eye for maximizing revenue.”

Jackson’s will was clear: he left the bulk of his estate to his mother, Katherine, and his three children, Prince, Paris and ‘Blanket.’ His father, Joseph, and his siblings inherited nothing.

In the six years since Jackson’s death, the executors designated in his will given Jackson's legacy a complete turnaround, generating more than $600 million in earnings. They've raked in profits from several song catalogs Jackson acquired during his life, Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas, posthumous albums, a documentary, plus numerous marketing and endorsement deals.

Jackson’s estate, meanwhile, is in tax court, fighting a $730 million IRS demand for back-estate taxes and penalties. The executors reportedly pegged the value of Jackson's assets at just $7 million when he died in 2009 and they say the half-billion-dollar turnaround they've engineered came after he died and couldn't have been anticipated. The IRS says the estate was worth at least $1 billion when he passed it on to his heirs, and that’s how much they should have paid taxes on.

AFP/Getty Images

Elvis Presley

When Elvis Presley died of a heart attack in August 1977, his finances were a wreck. His personal life, his music and his movie career had been in decline for years. Graceland was expensive to keep up.

Today, Elvis Presley is the second highest-earning dead celebrity, according to Forbes, with his estate pulling in about $55 million each year.

Presley’s longtime manager, Colonel Tom Parker, let Presley into several ill-advised business deals. In 1973, they sold off Elvis’s rights to all future royalties from songs he had recorded up to that date. RCA Records paid the pair $5.4 million, which they split 50-50. After multiple lawsuits over Parker’s handling of Presley’s finances before and after his death, Parker was removed from involvement in the estate altogether.

Elvis never sold off control of his hundreds of published songs, and they continued to generate revenue for him and for the estate after his death.

Presley’s will left his estate to his father, Vernon, his grandmother, Minnie Mae, and his nine-year-old daughter, Lisa Marie. Mounting debts led to a recommendation that the estate sell Graceland, but the heirs decided to keep the mansion, eventually opening it to the public in 1982. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and receives 600,000 visitors per year. The estate has also since opened the Heartbreak Hotel and operates a Memphis shopping mall selling Elvis memorabilia.

Today, the Elvis Presley Estate owns a vast collection of photos, album covers, movie posters, archive video footage, as well as the Presley's catalog. It protects and markets Presley's name and image.

But the estate isn’t controlled by Presleys anymore. In 2005, Lisa Marie Presley sold an 85 percent stake to Robert Sillerman’s CKX media company. The estate was sold to Authentic Brands in 2013. The company also manages the Marilyn Monroe and Juicy Couture brands. Lisa Marie Presley retains a 15 percent stake in the estate, as well as owning Graceland and her father’s personal effects, which she manages with her mother, Priscilla Presley.

Vitamin D Tests Aren't Needed For Everyone, Federal Panel Says

NPR News - Mon, 2014-11-24 13:05

There's not enough evidence that screening the general public for vitamin D deficiency helps reduce the risk of disease, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says.

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Iran nuclear talks thrown lifeline, but time running short

BBC - Mon, 2014-11-24 13:04
Sides agree to extend Iran nuclear deadline, but clock is ticking ever more loudly, says Jeremy Bowen in Vienna