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A FINANCIAL adviser has barely escaped with his life after being beaten and held hostage for four days … by a gang of old-age pensioners.                                           

American James Amburn was beaten until his ribs broke, burnt with cigarettes and hit with a Zimmer frame by the gang of five pensioners furious that he’d lost their £2 million ($4.1 million) savings.

Living in Germany, Mr Amburn was ambushed as he left a café and driven in the boot of an Audi to a house, where he was dumped in a cellar.

“I was jumped from the rear and struck,” he told UK tabloid The Sun.

“Then they bound me like a mummy with masking tape. It took them quite a while because they ran out of breath.”

In four days, the pensioners fed him just two bowls of soup, burned him with cigarettes and threatened to kill him “again and again”, angry that he had invested their money in a failed Florida property scheme.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

He escaped once but was recaptured and beaten until his ribs broke.

Mr Amburn was eventually rescued after convincing his captors to let him fax a Swiss bank in an attempt to get their money.

He left a note for police at the bottom of the fax and armed cops stormed the house in Bavaria on Saturday.

The “Furious Five” as they have been dubbed, face 15-year sentences for hostage-taking and torture.

Source  :  www.news.com.au  

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The end of financial year can be a stressful time for small business owners, and that time is now upon us once again.  For those of you who are behind and not ‘in shape’ for the end of end of financial year financial year… don’t panic, right now there is still a very small window of time for you to get prepared for the end of financial year, but that time is ticking by.

How can you get in shape?

Before 30 June make it a priority to ensure all your bookkeeping and reconciliation is up-to-date, follow up payment of overdue invoices, pay outstanding bills and pay all super contributions (this should not only be for your employees, but for yourselves too). 

With all your reconciliation up-to-date, such as your receivables, payables, bank accounts and inventory, once 30 June is here you will only have one month to reconcile and you can then move on to completing your BAS.  Getting on top of this will ease some of the stress you may feel when preparing your end of financial year documentation.

For small business owners with employees, remember that you will also need to reconcile your payroll and send out payment summaries to your employees (before 14 July 2009).

Following the completion of all your reconciliation and BAS, it’s time to run your end of financial year reports.  Having all your records and reports prepared prior to visiting your accountant will really save you time and money. 

If you’re having difficulties with these tasks, speak to your accountant or bookkeeper, or alternatively a range of online resources, and even accounting software providers, have information on completing these activities.

If you’re having difficulties with these tasks, Don’t forget to backup all your data.  You will also need to keep copies of your accounting records for at least five years (an ATO requirement).

It is also important now to prepare for the 09/10 financial year, as no doubt you want everything to be ‘AOK with the ATO’.

A number of new Federal Government compliance changes will apply from 1 July 2009 and these will affect small businesses.  Information about the new compliance requirements is available from the ATO, or your accountant will also be able to update you on the changes.

If you use accounting/payroll software, you will need software updates that address the compliance changes.  Ensure you’re scheduled to receive the compliance update from your provider, so that you’re compliant for 09/10.

This time of year is also good to consider what improvements you could make to your work practices to stay in shape and make the 09/10 end of financial year less stressful.  For example, implement work practices that ensure you stay on top of your bookkeeping requirements, keep up-to-date with inventory, cash flow and debtors and follow task lists.

Yes, the economic downturn is having an impact on businesses and the pressure is really building, but this presents you with the opportunity to select your own course.

It’s important that you take a step back and look at the ‘big picture’.  Instead of only responding to daily issues, now is the time to develop and implement a sound business plan for overcoming future challenges.

Don’t be afraid to seek specialist advice.  Talk to your accountant.  They can not only help you with tax and accounting related matters, but they can also help you with your business planning, financial goal setting, cash flow and making sure your business is running at its best.

Remember… It’s important to be prepared!

Source  :  www.livenews.com.au

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Wall StreetTHE share market has opened marginally stronger the morning after the federal budget was handed down, and following a mixed lead from Wall Street.
At 10.15am (AEST), the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 12.1 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 3889.3, while the broader All Ordinaries gained 8.7 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 3872.3.

The four major banks were mostly higher at the open.

ANZ gained 4cents to $16.01, NAB was up 14 cents at $22.00 and Westpac was up 10 cents at $20.48.

The Commonwealth Bank, which reported cash earnings for the March quarter of about $1.15 billion, generating a cash return on equity of over 15 per cent, was down 20 cents at $36.40.

Resources weren’t as lucky, opening lower in morning trade.

Mining giant BHP was down five cents at $34.26, while rival Rio Tinto lost 4.41 per cent to $65.46.

Wall Street wobbled to a mixed finish on Tuesday as investors paused to assess gains from a long rally and mulled the new efforts to raise capital by banks and other firms.

The markets also digested better-than-expected data on the US trade deficit and reassuring comments from Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, about the health of the banking system.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 50.34 points, or 0.60 per cent, to settle at 8,469.11.
The tech-dominated Nasdaq dropped 15.32 points, or 0.88 per cent, to 1715.92 while the broad-market Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 0.89 point, or 0.1 per cent, to settle at 908.35.

On the Sydney Futures Exchange, the June share price index contract was trading 17 points higher at 3885 on volume of 4900 contracts.
www.news.com.au

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