TAX experts await Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s 2013-14 budget announcement in Parliament on February 27 with greater trepidation than is normally the case, because it was originally planned to take place the week before.
A week is a long time in a tax planner’s life, especially if it is the week before the end of the tax year. In previous years, this precious week gave experts a window of opportunity to rearrange their clients’ tax affairs in the light of the minister’s announcements. One day is not sufficient to do this, and there are fears this was precisely the reason why the date was changed and that major tax amendments are in the offing. The conspiracy theorists are hard at work.
Mothers of invention
THE Boston Herald reports about a headline flying around the internet this week, that "seemed too outlandish to be true": "Wanted: ‘Adventurous woman’ to give birth to Neanderthal man — Harvard professor seeks mother for cloned cave baby," Britain’s Daily Mail exulted. And Harvard University geneticist George M Church, the scientist at the centre of the viral vortex, says it was: way too outlandish, and entirely untrue.
"The real story here is how these stories have percolated and changed in different ways," Prof Church, who helped kick off the Human Genome Project, told the Herald. "I’m sure we’ll get it sorted out eventually."
His phone had been ringing off the hook with reporters from around the world calling to talk to what they believed, and no doubt hoped, was a modern-day Dr Moreau.
He blames a mistake in an article he says was written off an interview in the German magazine Der Spiegel, badly misinterpreting what he said — that such a cloning might be possible someday — and concluding that he was looking for a woman to bear a caveman baby with DNA scavenged from Neanderthal bones. He suggested poor translation skills may be part of the problem.
"I’m certainly not advocating it," Prof Church said. "I’m saying, if it is technically possible someday, we need to start talking about it today."
So the error is not, in fact, a scientific one but, as usual, mistakes made by the media not letting a poor translation stop them from going off at a tangent. Oh dear.
Boardroom Mata Haris
THE Huffington Post reports that according to an ad on Backpage.com, an escort classifieds site, someone is apparently hiring "beautiful ladies" to extract trade secrets by "seducing" business leaders. Each mission will earn any partaker $5,000 to $20,000. This strikes the Insider as rather cheap. Pillow talk has been known to fell presidents and CEOs and bring down regimes; surely such a hard night’s work should be worth a six-digit figure?
"WHEN asked if they would like to have sex with me, 30% of women said ‘Yes’, while the other 70% replied, ‘What, again?’"
Silvio Berlusconi, former Italian president (born 1936)
• E-mail gossip to firstname.lastname@example.org
More in this section
- Hard for Shuttleworth to win if he sounds like a whingeing whitey
- LETTER FROM AMERICA: Microsoft chief mulls bigger part in pulling customers’ strings
- Have a little sympathy for Igesund and Bafana
- Some things must be private, even in hi-tech world
- IN THE MARKETS: Big four banks letting their clients in Mthatha down
- Why you should not trust a political analyst