InvestmentsMay 20 2013

Morning Papers: Apple faces grilling over US tax rate

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ByEleanor Lawrie

Apple would have paid a tax rate of roughly 15 per cent last year, far below the 25.2 per cent it reported, had it not used a form of reserve accounting that sets it apart from other big US technology companies, reports the Financial Times.

The rare accounting treatment has helped to distract attention from Apple at a time when the tax-avoidance strategies of other cash-rich US tech companies, notably Google, have come under public attack, according to tax experts.

Treasury opposes RBS shares transfer to public

George Osborne is likely to face opposition from Treasury civil servants over plans to transfer the government’s shares in Royal Bank of Scotland to the public, reports The Times.

The Chancellor is likely to have to write a “letter of direction” ordering his officials to execute the plan if he decides to transfer a large portion of the government’s 81 per cent shareholding to public ownership.

North Korea Fires Missiles

North Korea on Sunday fired a short-range missile into the sea off the eastern coast of the Korean peninsula following three similar launches Saturday, again stirring tensions that had appeared to ease after recent threats directed at South Korea and the US, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The latest missile firing came after the South Korean government on Sunday condemned Pyongyang’s launches and urged the country to come to the negotiating table over the jointly run Kaesong Industrial Complex.

Yahoo! agrees to buy Tumblr for $1.1bn (£723.4m)

The board of Yahoo! unanimously approved chief executive Marissa Meyer’s plan to buy the six-year-old company as it pursues a younger audience online, reports The Telegraph.

Tumblr is based in New York where it is run by David Karp, who grew up on the Upper West Side. The young tech entrepreneur, who started his website at the age of 20, only attended high school for a year before being taught at home and never went on to college. His father is a film and TV music composer.

EU decision to lift Syrian oil sanctions boosts jihadist groups

The EU decision to lift Syrian oil sanctions to aid the opposition has accelerated a scramble for control over wells and pipelines in rebel-held areas and helped consolidate the grip of jihadist groups over the country’s key resources, reports The Guardian.

Jabhat al-Nusra, affiliated with al-Qaida and other extreme Islamist groups, control the majority of the oil wells in Deir Ezzor province, displacing local Sunni tribes, sometimes by force. They have also seized control of other fields from Kurdish groups further to the north-east, in al-Hasakah governorate.