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4th April

  Tales from the Swampy...

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BBC commissions reality TV series about British tourists at Bangkok airport
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bbc3 logoKeo Films will follow the arrivals and departures of British tourists at Bangkok airport as part of a documentary commission for BBC3.

The 6 x 60-minute Bangkok Airport will follow young, English-speaking travellers checking in and out, as well as their run-ins with immigration, police and customs.

User-generated content will be incorporated into the show.

 

25th March

  Taxed More For Less...

David Cameron is now considering taxing expat Brits at a significantly higher rates than those in the UK.
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David CameronMany of the five million Britons living and working overseas may have missed the announcement in the Budget last week that personal allowances for non-residents are set to be reviewed.

Every UK taxpayer has a personal allowance, which is the amount of income that can be earned before tax needs to be paid. For the 2014/15 tax year the level is set at £ 10,000 for most people.

However, Chancellor George Osborne said:

To ensure the UK personal allowance remains well targeted, the government intends to consult on whether and how the allowance could be restricted to UK residents and those living overseas who have strong economic connections in the UK, as is the case in many other countries, including most of the EU.

Any expat who derives an income from UK property or a pension, but is not resident in the UK for tax purposes, could be affected. Tax experts believe the personal allowance will still be made available to Britons living in the EU, but other countries could face changes. These include destinations such as the US and Australia which are popular with British expats.

Singapore-based Martin Rimmer, tax manager for the Fry Group, said:

This could detrimentally affect those retirees living abroad who are currently not being taxed on their state pension, as well as the raft of others who receive income from UK sources. But it's too early to say if the allowance will be withdrawn completely.

 

24th March

  Chippies Starved Out of Liverpool...

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Council moves to ban takeaway food outlets in the town centre
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take away fish and chipsLiverpool City Council want to ban takeaway food outlets in the town centre.

Nick Small, Liverpool council's anti-enterprise chief claimed the move was intended to tackle city centre littering. He told the Liverpool Sunday Echo:

We don't want people buying chips, eating them outside and then dropping their litter.

The new rules will apply to city centre businesses with outdoor seating areas and any new business will be forced to serve food on plates with cutlery instead of in a paper bag or polystyrene tray.

The move will mainly affect fast food outlets, chippies, kebab houses and takeaways but the council cannot go back and review businesses that already have a licence.

 

17th March

  Ailing Britain...

Expats to be denied free health care in the UK
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UK Government armsExpatriate Britons have been caught up in a major crackdown on health tourists announced by the Government.

Under new restrictions, people who fly to Britain to exploit the NHS will be denied free care. The ban preventing visitors and failed asylum seekers from milking the system is likely to come into force by this April.

The new rules may lead to all patients being asked for proof of residence, such as a passport or electricity bill. However, pensioners from the UK who live abroad for more than half the year will be denied free treatment. No matter how much they have paid in tax and National Insurance over the years, such expatriates will now have to pay for NHS care back in Britain.

Only treatment for emergencies - such as heart attacks, accidents or sudden illness - will still be free.

The move will hit thousands who have retired to the Spanish costas, France or other countries. Under existing rules, pensioners are only supposed to spend up to three months abroad to qualify for free NHS care. But officials did not vigorously apply this rule.

Under the health tourism clampdown, thousands of expat pensioners will find themselves being quizzed on their eligibility. The Department of Health said it had made one concession - that pensioners who return to the UK to spend their final years will still be eligible for free care. But pensioners who spend more than three months outside the EU - in countries such as Canada, America or Australia - will find they become ineligible.

Overall, the proposed law changes will mean that, unless people from overseas meet strict eligibility criteria, they will be able to receive only emergency care

 

16th March

  A Snap Shot of Hungarian Repression...

Photographers required to get the permission of everyone featuring in a photo
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Hungary flagFrom 15 March it is against the law in Hungary to take photographs without the permission of everyone in the photograph. According to the justice ministry, people taking pictures should look out for those who are not waving, or who are trying to hide or running out of shot .

Officials say expanding the law on consent to include the taking of photographs, in addition to their publication, merely codifies existing court practice. However, Hungary's photographers call the law vague and obstructive, saying it has left the country of Joseph Pulitzer and photography legend Robert Capa out of step with Europe .

Akos Stiller, a photojournalist at the weekly HVG, the New York Times and Bloomberg, says the new regulation is another unwanted complication for his profession in Hungary. Can we take photos of strangers: say people looking at a shop window? Do we shoot first and ask permission later? he asked.

Marton Magocsi, senior photo editor at news website Origo, said having to ask for permission beforehand is quite unrealistic in any reportage situation . Meanwhile, some judges who have overseen hundreds of such cases are privately saying they have no idea how to rule on cases under the new code.



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