Utah’s OneStop Business Registration Program Recently Enhanced: - Yahoo Finance Utah’s OneStop Business Registration Program Recently Enhanced: - Yahoo Finance

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Utah’s OneStop Business Registration Program Recently Enhanced: - Yahoo Finance

Utah’s OneStop Business Registration Program Recently Enhanced: - Yahoo Finance


Utah was the first state to streamline business registration, putting the entire process online in 2003. This saves the average Utah business owner over 80 hours when registering a new business. Recently, Utah’s OneStop Business Registration Program (OSBR), osbr.utah.gov, has been significantly enhanced to further improve the user experience, allow for more business types to file online, and simplify the business registration process.

“Governor Gary R. Herbert has identified job creation as a top priority and Utah strives to be business friendly. Our comprehensive online offering supports existing Utah businesses and future growth,” said Francine Giani, Department of Commerce Executive Director. “The OneStop Business Registration Program streamlines the registration process for business owners. Ultimately, this fosters business development within the state, job expansion, and a flourishing Utah economy.”

The OneStop Business Registration system transformed a traditional three-week process by providing the service online, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. Exceptional inter-governmental collaboration between respective agencies, including the Utah State Tax Commission, Utah Department of Commerce, Utah Department of Workforce Services, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and 10 participating cities, allows business owners to register their business without filing additional paperwork and/or documentation.

Since inception, over 200,000 new businesses have been registered online. Now, over 60% of all businesses registered within the state are online. With over 2,600 new registrations on average each month, this results in monthly savings of approximately 208,000 hours for Utah businesses per year. In 2011, 27,000 businesses were registered online.

Users consistently recognize the service for its ease of use and convenience. “The OneStop Business Registration service was very easy to use. I received quick responses to any questions I had,” said one user. Another user echoed similar sentiment saying, “So much easier to get everything done at once. I’m a sole proprietor; I didn’t need anything fancy, didn’t have the time (or knowledge) to figure out the whole process on my own. Now I don’t have to worry that I may have missed something.”

Major OneStop Business Registration Enhancements Include:

  • User navigation and interface improvement
  • Improved glossary and frequently asked questions page
  • “Live Help”
  • Allows non-profits to register
  • Allows out of state and foreign registration
  • Enhanced receipt system
  • Ability to preview articles
  • Improved ownership (principals) section
  • Registration for additional tax types

An integral aspect of the business registration service offered by the State of Utah is Doing Business As (DBA) creation. In addition to the OneStop Business Registration updates, Doing Business As was also created to offer a simple online process for the sole proprietor or the exiting entity that is expanding and using an alias. The online Doing Business As application allows business owners to create the Doing Business As business entity within one to three days, from beginning to end. In general, about 15,000-17,000 Doing Business As entities are registered in Utah each year. The new online Doing Business As system simplifies small business creation in Utah while increasing accuracy.

“The online Doing Business As enhancement is government efficiency at its best and will serve the citizens of the state of Utah for many years,” said Kathy Berg, Director of Utah Division of Corporations and Uniform Commercial Code.

Accessible anytime, anywhere, users are able to seamlessly navigate on their mobile or tablet device. Internationally recognized and award-winning, Utah’s OneStop Business Registration and the newly created Doing Business As provide the most convenient, user-friendly business registration experiences.

To find out more information about Utah.gov, visit:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/utahGov

Facebook: http://www.utah.gov/facebook/

RSS feeds: http://www.utah.gov/connect/feeds.html

Utah blogs: http://www.utah.gov/blogs/.

About Utah.gov

Utah.gov is the entry point to over 1,000 online services and benefits over 2.7 million residents in the State of Utah. Utah.gov provides citizens and businesses with more convenient options for interacting with government. Through Utah.gov, citizens can find public meetings, renew their vehicle registration, buy a hunting and fishing license, register a business, find a transparent state budget, and much more. In 2010 alone, Utah.gov received an unprecedented 15 awards making it the nation’s most honored state website.

Utah.gov is the official Web portal for the State of Utah (http://www.utah.gov). It was ranked first in the nation in the Center for Digital Government’s 2009 Best of the Web competition. It is managed and operated without tax funds through a public-private partnership between the state and Utah Interactive, the Salt Lake City-based official eGovernment partner for the state of Utah. Utah Interactive is part of eGovernment firm NIC’s family of companies.

About NIC

NIC (NASDAQ: EGOV - News) is the nation's leading provider of government websites, online services, and secure payment processing solutions. The company's innovative eGovernment services help reduce costs and increase efficiencies for government agencies, citizens, and businesses across the country. The NIC family of companies provides eGovernment solutions for more than 3,000 federal, state, and local agencies across the United States. Additional information is available at http://www.egov.com.

CBA Analytical Report: Bahamas Financial Services Industry Begs Reform - thebahamasweekly.com

The Bahamas finds itself in some debate over the actions of its securities commission assisting the Canadian province of British Columbia in preventing the violation of its securities provisions, and perhaps other laws. The situation is instructive and should clarify an age old problem which many Bahamians seem not to understand. The securities Commission of the Bahamas should be commended on doing the kind of job it should do more often, if the Bahamas wants to build its economy, international reputation, and develop a Capital Market Driven Economy (CMDE), as advanced by the Council for Concerned Bahamians Abroad (CBA) in several of its previous reports at www.ourbahamas.org .

The Bahamas must base its future on productive legitimate enterprise, and be a cooperative and collaborative player in world financial affairs, rather than a small “Black Hole” outlier whose primary claim to fame in Financial Services is viewed from the outside by powerful international forces as assisting in the violation of the laws of other countries. The Country must avoid acts seen as encouraging and promoting the international movement and disappearance of monies down a virtual “Black Hole” never to be further traced by anti-terrorist, anti-money laundering, and taxing authorities and agencies.

In brief, it has been reported that Gibraltar Global Securities a Bahamian based and apparently owned financial service company has been declared “Unsuitable” to do business in the Province of British Columbia by the Securities Commission of British Columbia (BCSC). The company and its Canadian affiliate “Global Securities” also faces other sanctions and fines in a hearing scheduled for June 12, 2012. The principals of the Bahamian company have publicly complained that it is a sovereignty issue and that the Securities Commission of the Bahamas (SCB) was wrong in providing the BCSC with information it involuntarily retrieved from Gibraltar in a 2010 “surprise” visit to Gibraltar’s offices. The SCB seized documents containing information which the British Columbia government claimed existed, and which Gibraltar had reportedly refused prior requests for discovery, claiming protection from “Fishing Expeditions” not allowed by Bahamian “Financial Secrecy Law”. Also, Gibraltar now claims that the SCB should be investigated in the matter, as its actions will hurt the Bahamian industry, and reverberate internationally among clientele seeking offshore services and protections.

The SCB has admitted to sending the seized documents to the Provincial government thus giving them evidence needed for their subsequent ruling and actions. Generally, this is how a competent securities Commission is expected to operate, and based on current law and regulations, the SCB seems to have been justified considering the prior discovery requests and resultant refusals by Gibraltar. The BCSC in its ruling also offered evidence that Gibraltar and Global had previously proffered formal statements specifically denying their engagement in the activities the retrieved documents later evidenced they were involved in. More on the specifics of the case can be viewed at www.ourbahamas.org .

While the CBA can only opine as to the actual facts as reported in the BCSC ruling and elsewhere, an evaluation based on what has been reported, reveals a situation which is highly instructive. Notably, this is not the first incident the Bahamas Securities Commission has had with Canadian based and affiliated financial service operations. There have been several prominent examples. Due to the lack of a federal securities commission, oversight regulations, and enforcement capabilities, the Canadian securities system which is Provincially based, has come under much scrutiny and criticism. Some observers have gone as far as to state that parties hurt by Canadian related financial services must often depend on transactional connections to the long and powerful arm of the U.S. Securities operations and laws for enforcement solutions. Ironically, this is also one reason the more prudent Financial Services operations in the Bahamas have traditionally and facially steered away from U.S. based transactions whenever they can. The situation in Canada has led to disparate enforcement of securities matters, and internal and international forum shopping by questionable Investment practices and promoters. The Bahamas has unfortunately become a forum shopped by some of these entities due its history as an offshore center with laws touting financial secrecy, and with local actors amenable to lucrative, less enforceable Canadian, as compared to highly scrutinized U.S., based transactions.

The view from outside is extremely important in this area. The Bahamas cannot build and maintain a financial services industry or any industry for that matter, which is viewed from the outside as assisting in the violation of the laws of other countries. This is particularly so when the laws being violated are those of world leading countries, and where our actions may be seen as contravening international norms of financial practice. Simply because we are a sovereign nation with our own laws, does not mean we can do any and everything to make money.

A simple rule that actors within the Bahamian Financial Services industry must remember is that within International Law and Relations, “Might Is Almost Always Right”. This may be a sobering realization for the less well heeled nations, but it is one to take important notice of. While International law and treaties may be interpreted by international bodies with some token representation from smaller nations, such laws are generally established by the larger more powerful forces, and always unilaterally self interpreted and enforced by them in protecting their interests. Unresolved international disputes only exist when two behemoths disagree, but generally when a behemoth confronts a small actor in an international dispute, most knowledgeable observers realize who will ultimately win. Numerous examples of this can be cited but is unnecessary in the context of this report, and may be covered in a follow up report on www.ourbahamas.org .

Large powerful countries and international organizations in attempting to protect their interests will strive to do so, particularly when the moral and ethical situation, and international law is arguably on their side.

The new Minster of Financial Services Ryan Pinder, a highly trained and U.S. experienced Tax and Business Transactional lawyer has his work cut out in reigning in unrealistic actors and expectations in the Bahamas Financial Service community. His appointment breeds hope that financial services can now be focused on bringing foreign income and jobs from legitimate foreign business setup and financial services, rather than from the assistance of “Black Hole” financial services couched in terms like “sovereign protected”, “wealth management”, “high net worth offshore asset protection” et al.

The writing has been on the wall for some time now for any objective observer to see. Large important production based world economies will not allow small non-production related economies like the Bahamas to assist foreign violations and abuse of their laws. The recent BCSC ruling, FATCA, OECD, The Patriot Act, and several others now in the pipeline are clear examples that the problem for countries like The Bahamas is not going away.

Both Prime Ministers Ingraham and Christie recognized the problem, and Ingraham though criticized for giving in to the OECD during his first terms in office should be applauded for doing what was morally and ethically right, even if he may have been forced to do so. It is important to note that Christie in his first term did not try to repeal Ingraham’s decision, apparently recognizing the futility of attempting to do so in face of the clear writings upon the international wall of financial compliance. In addition, he appears to have an obvious inclination and predisposition to make the Bahamas a more important and respected player on the world stage. Members of the Bahamas Financial Services Community who do not follow the views espoused in this CBA report, should not be surprised, or expect Prime Minister Christie to take any steps which will put the international reputation of the Bahamas at risk.

Financial planners at war over poaching - Australian Financial Review

Sally Patten

The chairman of financial planning group Count, Barry Lambert, has accused rival BT Financial Group of unsporting behaviour over its attempts to poach his firm’s advisers.

Since Commonwealth Bank of Australia acquired Count for $373 million earlier this year, the Westpac-owned BT Financial has bought least seven Count practices, a move that senior executives in the industry argue breaks an unspoken non-compete agreement between financial advice and administration businesses.

“It’s not cricket. It’s not the thing to do,” Mr Lambert told The Australian Financial Review. “BT’s behaviour is equivalent to underarm bowling between Anzac friends” – referring to the infamous incident in 1981 when former Australian cricket captain Greg Chappell instructed his brother, Trevor, to deliver the last ball of the match underarm. The incident snuffed out any chance of New Zealand scoring the six required to tie the match.

“I’m very disappointed with the behaviour of BT in the way they are going about business. I’d be surprised if anyone else who knew what was going on would support them.”

Mr Lambert, one of the advice industry’s most respected veterans, said this was his personal view rather than that of CBA or Count.

BT Financial’s poaching of Count advisers is regarded as a “game changer” by some observers and has raised concerns that the Westpac subsidiary has broken traditional ties between planning practices and administrative platforms.

“On the one hand it is part of competition, but [BT] is breaking some unwritten codes around the industry,” said Tony Fenning, chief executive of Shadforth Financial Group, an independent adviser network that is listed on the ASX.

“We would not see as a positive the breaking of those unwritten rules,” Mr Fenning said.

As an independent planning firm, Count used the BT Wrap administrative platform for 25 years, helping build the latter into Australia’s biggest platform business with $86 billion of assets.

Escalating the row between the advice subsidiaries of Australia’s two biggest banks, Count written to BT Financial seeking assurances that BT Wrap has not disclosed confidential information about Count clients that has given BT the upper hand in attracting Count planners.

BT, which has spoken to between 15 and 20 more Count practices about the possibility of them joining the Westpac subsidiary, has denied breaching any of its obligations to Count.

“As BT has explained to Count, BT has fully complied with all of its obligations to Count and to Count’s members, and will continue to do so,” a BT spokesperson said.

“Calculations of the per-client savings that a Count practice can achieve by switching to Magnitude are only performed where this is authorised or requested by the relevant Count practice.

“Beyond that, BT does not propose to comment on the detail of how it deals with its customers and partners,” the spokesperson said.

Some in the industry, including Mr Lambert, are concerned that platforms such as BT Wrap have worked alongside advice businesses to their and their clients’ mutual benefit, but that platforms would now start to compete with advice firms, particularly if they joined a rival company.

BT Financial argued that some Count advisers were questioning whether they would receive adequate support from CBA, saying it was “commercially logical” for them to consider a move to Westpac.

As a result of BT Financial’s concerted campaign to attract Count practices, Count has been forced to raise its retention payments.

Count chief executive David Lane refused to reveal the size of the increase, but a senior industry figure said he had heard it was “substantial”.

Mr Lane said the payments had been distributed evenly across Count practices, so no one would be discriminated against.

He has previously declined to comment on rumours that CBA had set aside $25 million for retention payments to be used to discourage Count advisers from leaving.

BT has denied rumours that it is offering “transition payments” of between $500,000 and $1 million to Count practices that move across.

BT Financial is trying to attract Count planners to its Magnitude advice business.

Magnitude chief executive Phil Butterworth, a former boss of DKN, an advice firm bought last year by IOOF, is expected to give an update on the division’s expansion plans this week.

It is understood that Magnitude has held talks with another 20 planning practices, apart from those that are part of the Count alliance.

Business star Tamer Hassan: I could have killed Richard Gere - The Sun

Like if you're a Christmas tree farmer and you throw one slightly too far over the pile. Just nudge it back a bit.

But when Football Factory star Tamer Hassan didn't know his own strength in the workplace, he went and dislocated Richard Gere's shoulder.

And it only made him even more respectful.

Tamer says: "Richard Gere's over 60 years old. His passion for the industry and the game is just as strong as when he started. He's a beautiful individual, a profesional and very committed.

"We did a film called The Double with Martin Sheen.

"Me and Richard were rehearsing for a month for a big scene. I said 'let me use the stunt double, and you can slip in where you can' - not wanting to hurt him.

"But Richard being Richard as committed as he is, said 'no, I'm doing it.'

"I took a knife off him, jerked his shoulder and it popped out."

Richard's shoulder wasn't the only thing that popped out. The crew then went on a mammoth break, as production shut down when the Pretty Woman actor was unable to film for three months!

"To his credit, he went away, healed, came back and finished the scene," Tamer added.

"If I can be like him at his age I'll be a very happy man."

I talk to Tamer at the new Jongleurs Picadilly - along with his pal, EastEnders star Ricky Grover - ahead of their Comic Idol talent search.

And Tamer has an idea of somebody he thinks would made a useful entrant - his best pal Danny Dyer.

"Danny is probably one of the funniest kids you’ll ever meet.

"He’s got such a likeability to him. He’s so sweet, so lovely. I know people will think I’m being biased, but he had me at hello.

"Danny, Ricky and Ray Winstone - three Canning Town boys - I think it would be the funniest show at Jongleurs ever."

With ex-fighter Ricky in our presence, the conversation flows easily into boxing. Ricky says stand-up, and getting in the ring, aren't too dissimilar.

Tamer isn't so sure, as his mind is elsewhere during a fight.

"You’re mainly worried about women," he says.

"I always used to bring the birds. You’re never going to lose in front of a girl are you? That was my trick anyway.

"I would put the most beautiful cheerleaders round the England training pitch. When women are around, men put the most effort in ever.

"You see it in the gym. When we were kids, and a girl walked into the gym, we exceeded ourselves.

"But now they’ve given the girls physio roles like at Chelsea, so everybody’s rolling around injured!"

It seems Tamer is at home discussing our national sport. Having returned from the States, he can now enjoy it in the comfort of his local. While meeting Danny to work on their new film, following their last hit Freerunner.

And to plug the film's DVD release, Tamer challanged pro freerunner Chase Armitage to a 'Man Vs Tube' race, below.

PRO freerunner Chase Armitage takes on the London Underground

Tamer says: "I’ve been out in LA for two years, for my sins, and I’m happy to be back.

"I came back and wrote a movie. It wasn’t planned, it just came to me.

"The distributors were saying ‘we all want another Tamer and Danny movie’, so I went ‘alright, I think we’ve covered everything. Dead Man Running, to The Business, to The Football Factory.

"I said ‘what do you want?’ They said ‘everything combined’.

"So, thinking on my feet, I said ‘what about two football agents, unearthing the corrupt underbelly of the football industry’.

"They said ‘can you write something?’ and I said ‘yeah’ so called Stephen Reynolds - who’s a fantastic writer.

"We sat down in a room for 8 hours a day for 5 days straight. We went back and said ‘here’s 135 pages'."

Not a bad week’s work, for a dyslexic man.

"I suppose not!" he acknowledges.

FOOTBALL Factory star sits down with his EastEnders' pal Ricky Grover

Tamer - like his EastEnders pal Ricky - has struggled with the condition in the past, but can now memorise pages in minutes thanks to developing a photographic memory.

"Its like, if you’re deaf, you get higher senses in other things. I think dyslexic people have a heightened creativity."

Fans of the Football Factory star will be used to seeing him killing or being killed, so this time around things will be different.

"I’m usually just being violent and Danny ends up with the girl, so I’ve got a love interest in this one," says Tamer.

And the tough guy is still casting for the female part.

"We’re still looking," he adds. "The character is amazing, she drives the film.

"She could actually steal the movie."

"The character portrays women as being the strong one because I’m a great believer that if any man says he is the strong one at home is either lying or miserable."

So is Tamer the boss in his own home?

"Nooooo. Of course not, no way.

"In the bedroom, yes! But everywhere else? Not a chance."

Tamer isn't even the boss in a kebab shop - despite his Wikipedia page's claims that he 'had his eyebrows done after being teased while working in his parent's restaurant'.

Tamer laughs: "I've got no idea where that came from.

"My dad was a carpenter, my mum was a seamstress, we've never had a kebab shop - and I was never called mono!"

And while the hardman does admit to having his eyebrows 'tended to', he won't give away how.

"I can't disclose how I've done it unfortunately.

"My daughter would kill me!"

Sounds like The Business man knows who the real boss is.

- TO keep up-to-date with Tamer, follow him on Twitter @RealTamerHassan

Stocks close out week higher despite Spain's growing troubles - Denver Post

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks fell Friday but still managed a first positive week in four as investors fretted over troubles in Spain, where banks are under severe financial strain and government bond yields shot higher.

"European leaders need to address the situation quickly. The nature of contagion is it feeds on itself," said Alan Skrainka, chief investment officer at Cornerstone Wealth Management. "Traders by and large tend to square their positions before a big holiday weekend where there's potential for news flow, especially from Europe."

The Dow Jones industrial average Friday lost 74.92 points, or 0.6 percent, to 12,454.83, with the blue-chip index up 0.7 percent for the week.

Posting a 1.7 percent rise from the week-ago close, the S&P 500 index retreated 2.86 points, or 0.2 percent, Friday to 1,317.82. The Nasdaq composite fell 1.85 point to 2,837.53, leaving it 2.1 percent higher from the previous Friday's close.

The European-related uncertainty had investors once again flocking to the perceived safe havens of U.S. Treasury notes, the U.S. dollar and gold.

Yields on the benchmark 10-year note fell to 1.74 percent, while the dollar gained against currency rivals, including the euro. Gold futures for June delivery climbed $11.50, or 0.7 percent, to end at $1,568.80 an ounce.

Oil prices advanced, with the July contract rising 20 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $90.86 a barrel.

In Spain, bond yields jumped, rattled on reports that one of Spain's autonomous regions has asked for assistance from the government because it can't get debt financing from markets.

The yield on Spain's 10-year government bond jumped after media outlets reported the warning from the president of Catalonia, Artur Mas.

Troubled Spanish lender Bankia said Friday the government was ready to inject about $24 billion in financial support requested by Bankia in what would be the biggest bank rescue in Spain's history.

And Standard & Poor's on Friday cut its credit-worthiness ratings on five Spanish banks and revised its assessment of the country's economic risk, saying it believes Spain was headed to a double-dip recession.

Chinese Dissident Monitoring Business Is Booming In China - Huffington Post

BEIJING — Every workday at 7:20 a.m., colleagues pick up Yao Lifa from his second-floor apartment and drive him to the elementary school where he taught for years.

This is no car pool. Yao is a prisoner, part of a China boom in outsourced police control.

By day, Yao is kept in a room, not allowed to work and watched by fit, young gym teachers and other school staff. At dinner time or later, he is sent back to the apartment that he shares with his wife and 3-year-old daughter. A surveillance camera monitors the building entrance, while police sit in a hut outside.

"At school, if I have to go to the bathroom, someone escorts me. Most of the time, I'm not allowed to speak with others or answer the phone," Yao said in a recent late-night Internet phone interview from his home in Qianjiang city. "When they bring me home, they sign me over to the next shift."

Like the blind activist Chen Guangcheng until his escape from house arrest last month, Yao belongs to an untold number of Chinese activists kept under tight control by authorities, even though in many cases they have broken no law.

Co-workers, neighbors, government office workers, unemployed young toughs and gang members are being used to monitor perceived troublemakers, according to rights groups and people under surveillance.

Yao has never faced criminal charges. His misdeed is decades of campaigning for democratic elections.

"They won't let me teach. They're afraid of course that I'll start talking about democracy to the students," said Yao, a 54-year-old former school administrator and science lab instructor with wavy black hair and possessed of a passionate, fiery manner.

While China has long been a police state, controls on these non-offenders mark a new expansion of police resources at a time the authoritarian leadership is consumed with keeping its hold over a fast-changing society.

"Social activists that no one has ever heard of have 10 people watching them," said Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher with Human Rights Watch. "The task is to identify and nip in the bud any destabilizing factors for the regime."

Mostly unknown outside their communities, the activists are a growing portion of what's called the "targeted population" – a group that also includes criminal suspects and anyone deemed a threat. They are singled out for overwhelming surveillance and by one rights group's count amount to an estimated one in every 1,000 Chinese – or well over a million.

Targeted are growing numbers of people, from typical political dissidents to labor organizers and, increasingly, ordinary Chinese who want Beijing to correct local wrongdoing. In method, this new policing represents a break from recent decades.

In Mao Zedong's radical communist heyday, colleagues, neighbors and family members snitched on suspected enemies of the revolution. Free-market reforms broke the totalitarian grip and gave people incentive to leave farms and state jobs for work in booming cities and industrial zones. Private lives and private wealth blossomed, creating less reason for snooping.

Money now fuels the extensive surveillance system. Budgeted spending for police, courts, prosecutors and other law enforcement has soared for much of the past decade, surpassing official outlays for the military for the second year in a row this year, to nearly 702 billion yuan, or $110 billion.

Allocated by Beijing to the provinces and on down, the money sometimes is called "stability preservation funds" for the overriding priority the government now puts on control. As long as trouble is quelled, Beijing doesn't seem to mind how this money is spent. It's proving a growth opportunity for cash-strapped local governments and small-time enforcers.

Along with the police, Yao counts the city education bureau as benefiting from the funds available for his surveillance. His minders are mainly drawn from the bureau, his Qianjiang Experimental Primary School and the ranks of physical education teachers throughout the city school system.

Anywhere from 14 to 50 people a day are on the local government payroll for his round-the-clock surveillance – what he calls the "Yao Lifa special squad." They get 50 yuan, $8, for a day shift and twice that for night work. Often, he said, hotel rooms, transport, meals and cigarettes are thrown in.

The sums add up in Qianjiang, a city of struggling factories and one million people set in the center of the country. Basic pay runs about 1,000 yuan, or $160, a month for an entry-level teacher and goes to three times that amount for a veteran, Yao said.

"This isn't bad for teachers," said Yao. "An English teacher probably wouldn't take it. They can earn extra money giving private tutoring. But gym teachers can't do the tutoring. Besides, their superiors have told them to do this. They can't not do it."

In the deep south farming county of Yun'an, more than a quarter of its 6,700 officials are on the "stability" payroll, the magazine Caijing reported last year. Township "stability" offices spent money on vans, motorcycles and computers, and also allocated reward money – 20,000 yuan or $3,100 in 2010 – for stopping any disgruntled local from going to Beijing to complain about conditions, the report said.

For blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, the shock troops of his persecution were his neighbors. After the daring escape from his rural village outside Linyi city that eventually took him to New York, Chen detailed the two years of brutal house arrest in a video, saying over 100 police and other officials were involved. He, his wife and mother were beaten and his young daughter searched and harassed.

Family planning officials bore him a particular grudge for exposing forced abortions and sterilization under the government's one-child policy. But it was local farmers who guarded his house and the entrances to the village and plundered the family farm for food. They received 100 yuan, or $16, a day, and though they had to kick back a tenth to the head of the surveillance squad, Chen said it is still a good deal.

"Those people, if they work other jobs, they only make 50 to 60 yuan a day. But doing this, they don't have to do anything, and they have three free meals a day and they are safe. Of course they love to do it," Chen said in the video. He said he was told 30 million yuan, $4.3 million, was spent on his captivity in 2008 and by last year that amount had doubled.

The Public Security Ministry, the national police agency, did not respond to requests for comment about the outsourcing policy. Authorities in Linyi and Qianjiang either did not answer queries or declined comment on Chen and Yao.

Cases like Chen and Yao "are the tip of the iceberg," said John Kamm, a veteran human rights lobbyist. Research by Kamm's Dui Hua Foundation found that since the mid-1980s Beijing has tasked police throughout China with controlling the "targeted population." An initial quota for police to target 2 in every 1,000 people proved unattainable, Kamm said. He said 1 in 1,000 is a more accurate estimate, or 1.3 million people.

Included are recently released convicts, parolees, suspects on bail and anyone police see as a threat – from activist lawyers to evangelical Christians. Overtly political cases are a small, expanding subset. But once marked, the status is hard to shake.

"Joining the 'targeted population' is the last stop on the road to oblivion for political prisoners," said Kamm.

Yao's forays into politics started 25 years ago when he sought to use a new electoral law to get himself elected to Qianjiang's legislature as an independent. After more than a decade of trying, Yao succeeded in 1998. He made a name for himself as an activist trying to change the Communist Party-dominated system. He championed the rights of farmers rebelling against high taxes and fees.

The party fought back. Yao and 31 teachers and others inspired by him to run for legislatures in 2003 all lost in an election he complained was rigged. Afterward, Yao's short-term detentions began. But he also at times slipped away to meet like-minded activists around the country.

Soon after returning from a trip to Shanghai and Beijing early last year, the controls tightened. Yao said school Vice Principal Wang Qian, police and others kidnapped him and drove him 500 kilometers (300 miles) to a hotel. He got free by throwing a note out the window while his captors slept. During another hotel captivity in July, he jumped from a second story window at 3 a.m., injuring his back and an arm in a failed escape.

By September, the "Yao Lifa special squad" settled into the current pattern – picking him up in the morning and sending him home at night.

"Usually there are eight people with me at school, and those eight people have a duty: to speak and lecture me without interruption," said Yao. "One goal is to keep me from resting. A second is to see my reaction. One person is tasked with taking notes."

Some nights, Yao said shady-looking men sleep in a car by his building's entrance, in addition to the police in a hut. He said he heard the school and education bureau were arguing over $48,000 for his surveillance.

"I have many acquaintances. Some of them work in police stations," Yao said. "They tell me 'Really we could use a Yao Lifa. If we had one, we could make more money.'"

Mexico vows to push for business interests at G20 forum - Today's Zaman

“By creating a new working group during the Mexican presidency to analyze the impact of the recommendations made by the business community at the Seoul and Cannes G20 summits, we are making sure that the recommendations made in the past are not abandoned,” José Antonio Torre Medina, undersecretary for competitiveness and business regulation of Mexico, told Today's Zaman in an exclusive interview last week in Mexico City.

Fearing that suggestions made last month within the framework of the business group B20 may be in vain, he said Mexico has for the first time pushed for the creation of a new working group in order to follow up on and analyze the impact of the recommendations. The group is called the B20 Task Force on Advocacy and Impact and is co-chaired by Dominic Barton, global managing director of McKinsey & Company from the US, and Pablo Gonzalez, chief executive officer of Kimberly-Clark from Mexico.

Torre Medina, who acts as the government liaison for this working group, acknowledges there may be high expectations from the G20 to address all the issues brought to the table. However, he says the Mexican presidency will focus on what he called “high-impact suggestions.”

“We will look into achievable commitments,” he said, noting that G20 members represent a very diverse group of countries. “Turkey is different from Mexico in many aspects,” he added.

According to the mandate of this task force on advocacy and impact, the group will first look at the current status and barriers for advancement of the Cannes and Seoul recommendations. It will lobby for the B20 recommendations to enter the G20 agenda and write action plans for the recommendations. Most important, it will create a follow-up mechanism that includes defining a process to permanently track B20 and G20 recommendations.

The businesspeople represented in the B20 group gathered in the Mexican resort of Puerto Vallarta last month to engage in dialogue with G20 participants, with the hope of pushing their interests in the high-level summit to be held among leaders of the world's major economies next month in Las Cabos, Mexico. They submitted a list of proposals to be included in the final declaration of the G20 and established eight working groups on different issues to advance their agenda.

The recommendations, announced by Mexican businessman Alejandro Ramirez, president of the B20 Organizing Committee, state that the G20 should incorporate trade and investment in its agenda; lead by example by rejecting measures that restrict trade; promote multilateral trade liberalization according to rules outlined by the World Trade Organization; and create a working group focused on investment and report the results at the G20 summit meeting.

Eight working groups were established on food security; green growth; employment; transparency and eliminating corruption; trade and investment; ICT and innovations; financing for growth and development; and advocacy and impact.

Torre Medina emphasized there will be different levels of maturity on the progress of these working groups as some were previously established and some are new. He pointed out, however, that the participation of more than 150 international business leaders from 25 nations, with the support of international experts from the World Economic Forum, the International Chamber of Commerce, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as well as Mexican President Felipe Calderón were important. “Without the involvement of key stakeholders, the problems the world is facing cannot be solved,” he remarked.

The undersecretary admitted that fulfilling all the recommendations would not be easy. “In my view, we are improving the process. It is far from perfect, but it is better than before,” he said. “You will see different maturities for each one. It reflects how the summit will improve on key recommendations.”

He pointed out that the most difficult part boils down to the question of how to proceed on the commitments made by the member states. “Everybody agrees on the recommendations, but the ‘how' is the tricky part,” said Torre Medina. Nevertheless, he argued that keeping these issues in focus is vital. “Some will keep traction, and others will stay on the dashboard,” he noted.

Mexican officials also signaled that the solid performance of some member states on different issues may create an incentive for others to follow, thereby making the recommendations a useful tool for all members. “Let's say Turkey has made this. Here are the results and achievements. It can lead others by example. We are really focusing on getting good examples and success stories,” he explained. Similarly, Mexico can do certain things and Canada do others, Torre Medina stated.

Asked how all these suggestion will be framed in the final declaration, the undersecretary acknowledged that it will take a lot of innovative work on how to restructure these recommendations and how to make sure that the probability of their realization will go beyond the report. “That is a formidable challenge,” he admitted.

He stated that the B20 did not forget the important player, SMEs, even though their representation in the forum was dwarfed by big corporations. “Many of the task forces have recommendations on SMEs to make sure that they have the right tools and access to innovations and technology. In general, big companies participate in the task forces, but there is understanding on how to involve SMEs in the processes,” Torre Medina explained. In its report, the B20 group noted that SMEs are the dynamo of all economies, in many countries employing around 75 percent of employees and contributing between 30 and 60 percent of GDP and 45 percent of net new wealth.

He emphasized that working groups have a special focus on education. In the employment task force, he said, the B20 recognized the value of educating workers through training. “Learning by doing, not necessarily going to school, provides a value, and we should recognize that value,” he said. He also said the B20 highlighted the role of technology in education. In its report, the B20 group urged all stakeholders to “embrace the opportunities offered by modern technologies to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of workers and organizations across advanced, emerging and developing economies.”

Turkey was represented at the B20 task force on ICT and innovation by Ayşegül İldeniz, the regional director for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa of the Intel Corporation. In another task force on employment, Rıfat Hısarcıklıoğlu, chairman of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), represents Turkey.

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