International-Service

Happy International Women’s Day from the Wolf Girl Movie team!

Keep spreading the word about Wolf Girl - The Princess Mononoke  Fan Film! For fans, by fans - Share the adventure! 

http://youtu.be/QUJio7rU2s0

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Study moods
  • Productive procrastination:having an essay due in a couple of days but reluctantly chooses to do homework instead.
  • Early bird:waking up at 6am and having a nice study session before school starts.
  • Late owl:stays up late to finish that one essay you procrastinated doing earlier.
  • In through one ear and out the other:reading the same paragraph five times and still wondering what it's about.
  • Slow but steady:when I make slow progress but I'm very proud of myself.
  • I don't want to:laying on your bed and continuously thinking that you will start studying in five minutes. Alternatively you stare at your book for a prolonged period of time.
  • The master of the free period:the times that you have a snack and a nice spot in the library and just study.

I’m closing out Women’s History month with a post about someone I actually knew, my grandmother’s best friend, Jean Moore Fasse.

Mrs. Fasse was born in Lillington, North Carolina, in 1908 and was raised on a Harnett County farm. She worked as a nanny while attending high school and enrolled at Fayetteville State Teachers College (now Fayetteville State University). That’s where she and my grandmother met. They both earned teaching degrees. My grandmother accepted a position at a one-room school in rural Harnett County. Mrs. Fasse’s first teaching job was in a one-room school in Goldsboro, NC. My grandmother spent her career in education, but her friend decided teaching was not her calling.

In 1944, Mrs. Fasse joined the American Red Cross and was sent to Washington, D.C., for training. After training, she was stationed along the Ledo Road, a supply lifeline from India to China, built by the U.S. Army in World War II. She spent time in Calcutta, India and Burma. After the war, Mrs. Fasse returned to the States, but traveling was in her blood by then.

She signed up for the U.S. Special Services and was trained to run recreation clubs in Europe. She spent many years working in Germany, until she married in 1963. She remained in Europe until 1990.

Mrs. Fasse’s visits were always exciting. She was vivacious, quick-witted and sophisticated. And she always had lots of stories to tell. As a child who was curious by nature, she made me want to see the world myself.

The last time I saw Mrs. Fasse was after my grandmother’s funeral in 2002. She spent some time with our family, talking about the friendship she shared with my grandmother. They had a lot in common. They were both adventurous, independent, strong-willed women who thrived on breaking barriers.

Jean Fasse died on June 21, 2008.

Source: Jean Moore Fasse Papers, Jackson Library, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Photo: Jean Fasse in Indian dress, circa 1946

Taxpayer Bill of Rights - IRS’ Most Serious Problem

National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) Nina E. Olson’s 2013 annual report to Congress urges the Internal Revenue Service to adopt a comprehensive Taxpayer Bill of Rights, and says IRS budget cuts and training reductions are harming taxpayer service. 

First things first – The NTA’s annual report is prepared by the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) – an independent organization within the IRS.  

The NTA delivers the report to the tax committees in Congress. That means the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance. 

The report does not require a prior review by the IRS Commissioner, Treasury Secretary or the OMB, which makes the NTA a very powerful advocate for taxpayers and for reforming the tax collection process. 

The report has four primary sections – most serious problems, legislative recommendations, most litigated issues, and a second volume that includes the results of TAS research and related studies. 

You can read the full NTA report if you want to read all of it, but the “headlines” are listed below. 

Most Serious Problems:-

- IRS Should Adopt a Taxpayer Bill of Rights

- IRS Budget Cuts Harm Taxpayer Service

- IRS Training Reductions Harm Taxpayer Service

- IRS Employees Lack Education on Taxpayer Rights

- New Approach Needed for Identity Theft Victim Assistance

- Taxpayers are harmed by Lack of Regulation of Return Preparers

- Offshore Voluntary Disclosure (OVD) Pressures Taxpayers Into Paying Disproportionate Penalties

- Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Could be Bothersome

 Legislative Recommendations:-

- Permanent Repeal of AMT

- Broaden Timeframes for Filing Refund Claims

- Lower Affordability Threshold for Premium Tax Credit

- IRS Should Bear the Burden of Proof Required to Ban Taxpayers From Claiming ETIC for Two Years

- Allow Educational Institutions to Verify Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) with the IRS before filing Tuition Information Reports

 Top 10 Most Litigated Issues of 2013, in descending order are:-

- Accuracy-Related Penalty Under IRC § 6662(b)(1) and (2)

- Trade or Business Expenses Under IRC § 162(a) and Related Code Sections

- Gross income Under IRC § 61 and Related Code Sections

- Summons Enforcement Under IRC §§ 7602(a), 7604(a), and § 7609(a)

- Collection Due Process Hearings Under IRC §§ 6320 and 6330)

- Failure to File Penalty Under IRC § 6651(a)(1), Failure to Pay Penalty Under IRC § 6651(a)(2), and Estimated Tax Penalty Under IRC § 6654

- Charitable Deductions Under IRC §170

- Frivolous Issues Penalty Under IRC § 6673 and Related Appellate-Level Sanctions

- Civil Actions to Enforce Federal Tax Liens or to Subject Property to Payment of Tax Under IRC § 7403

-  Relief from Joint and Several Liability for Spouses Under IRC § 6015

Dealing with Crowds and Service Dog Etiquette

Below are some suggestions for dealing with crowds when you have a Service Dog. When travelling in busy areas or cities you can face a lot of issues, not all of them access-related. You need to be wary of people trampling your dog and approaching you to ask questions. If you are anxious or unsure about how to handle these situations the list I have written may be useful to you.

Ways to deal with crowds:

  • If travelling with a friend or group of people, keep your Service Dog between you and one of them so that they are more concealed and invite fewer people to approach.
  • When travelling on busy transport, keep your leg on the outside of your dog and have them sit close to you to avoid them being stood on or sliding when the transport makes any sudden stops and starts.
  • Always walk on the side of the road when travelling with your Service Dog, this avoids incidents with people driving too close to the curb or your dog being pushed onto the road if you are nudged by a crowd member. If you have your dog clearly vested people should hopefully give you more space on the sidewalk. (Note- This point may be contradictory to what some Service Dogs are trained to do. Guide Dogs in particular are trained to stand in front of cars so that in the event of being hit when crossing a road etc, the dog is a buffer than can protect the human. I merely state that you should be vigilant about roads in the case of an incident that is non-life-threatening to you but very harmful to your dog. If your dog is seriously injured, your independence will be affected as a result of this.)
  • Make sure your dog is clearly marked as a Service Dog with patches that remind people to not pet or distract them. Yes, a lot of people tend not to read them, but it can help deter the ones that do.
  • If you struggle with anxiety and people approaching you to ask about your dog, some patches can be purchased that ask people NOT to approach the handler as it causes anxiety. Consider in investing in ones of these. They can be found on Ebay.
  • On more basic grounds, if you wish to avoid getting into conversation use the simple trick of avoiding eye contact and listening to an mp3 player if possible. It might not always work, but if you aren’t eyeing people back it tends to be less inviting grounds for a conversation.
  • Have a pretend phone call.
  • Have a real phone call.
  • Carry small business cards around with you with information on them. A few of my friends do this. You can have basic info on them or website links that explain things such as: What your Service Dog is trained in, What organisation trained them (if you did not owner-train) and links to places where people can read more if they are interested. It can help if you don’t want to appear rude or dismissive but still want to help educate people about Service Dogs. On cards you can explain that you may have not been feeling very well, but appreciate the interest of the person before giving brief snippets of information about your Service Dog.
  • If somebody tries to pet your dog, a way to deal with this is to place your hand under theirs so that they would come into contact with you rather than your dog. This is often enough to deter people who have either been too rude to ask if they can pet your dog or have ignored your request for them not to.

HOW TO BEHAVE AROUND A SERVICE DOG

Many people approach Service Dog handlers out of simple curiosity. Not everyone has bad intentions. Even though it can be repetitive and tiresome to hear 20 times a day how somebody has a dog ‘just like yours’ or wishes their dog was as well trained or has a distant relative who has a Service Dog, the general public can often not realise this. Here I will discuss simple Service Dog etiquette. For the sake of handlers everywhere, please take these points into account:

  • Do NOT pet the dog without permission. As a rule of thumb it is best not to ask to pet the dog at all, they are working and if distracted they can fail to perform important tasks such as alerting to medical emergencies. There have been instances in which people have suffered seizures after their Service Dogs have been distracted from alerting them. It is dangerous to distract a Service Dog.
  • READ THE PATCHES! Service Dogs do not just wear those glaring bright patches that read 'Do Not Pet’ to look pretty. Please read and respect them.
  • Do not allow your dog to approach a Service Dog if it is working. If you are in doubt ASK whether it is alright for you to introduce your dog. This is especially important if your dog is unruly or aggressive. If a Service Dog is injured by another dog you are seriously affecting the independence of the handler. If a Service Dog is injured it is unable to work. If the dog is unable to work, the handler may be rendered unable to do everyday tasks for a long period of time. It’s not worth the risk.
  • Never feed a Service Dog.  A lot of dogs are on specialized diets and may have health conditions that make them unable to tolerate certain foods. I have had a dog with years of pancreatitis and hypothyroidism - if somebody fed him anything remotely high in fat he would become so seriously ill that his life was in danger. Do NOT feed other people’s dogs. You don’t know their health conditions or dietary requirements. Regardless of health, it is also a distraction. 
  • Speak to the person, not the dog. Handlers often find that they are 'invisible’ when they have their dog. People always address the dog first and show interest in the dog, but not the person. This can be regarded as rude and a tad disrespectful. Consider the handler.
  • Don’t whistle, call out or harass a Service Dog. This is a distraction and as mentioned before, distractions are dangerous.
  • Make sure your children don’t approach or pet a Service Dog. This is a distraction and even though it may appear 'cute’ or 'funny’ it’s still dangerous. On more general terms it is also a good idea to educate your children on how to approach a dog correctly. Although Service Dogs are no risk to people, children should be taught not to rush over to unfamiliar dogs. Not all dogs are friendly and you do not want your child to get hurt by an aggressive or anxious dog.
  • Do not assume the disability of the handler or ask what their disability is. Quite frankly, that is private and personal. You wouldn’t ask somebody why they are in a wheelchair, so you most certainly shouldn’t ask why they have a Service Animal. Not everyone with a Service Dog is deaf or blind. Be respectful of the different disabilities out there and treat the person as you would treat any other. Some people may not mind offers for help, but a great deal are happy to be left to get on with their day with the help of their Service Dog.
  • Be respectful of the dog. You may not like animals or be fearful of dogs. That is alright, but it is important to recognise that Service Dogs are highly trained. They would NOT be a Service Dog if they are aggressive or in any way a risk to people. These dogs are valued family members that are clean, gentle and just trying to get their job done. Most handlers will do their best to keep their dog at a distance to you if you are uncomfortable with them, but this is not always possible. It is rude (and illegal) to ask someone with a Service Dog to move or leave the premises because you don’t like dogs, 'have allergies’ or are fearful of them. Compromises can be met, but please have some respect.
  • Do not be rude to the handler if they don’t permit you to touch their dog or ask you not to distract them. They have a good reason for asking this.
  • Do not ask a Service Dog handler to have their dog 'demonstrate’ a task.
  • Do not take pictures or record a Service Dog without the handler’s permission.
  • Be considerate about the comments you make. 'But you’re so young!’, 'Are you training him?’, 'I wish I could take my dog everywhere, that’s so cool!’, 'You don’t look disabled’, 'You must be faking it’, 'Are you blind?’ They may seem innocent to you but are invasive to a handler. Put yourself in their shoes.


Remember when responding to people approaching you and your Service Dog…

  • Be patient. You may be tired or having a bad day, but try to be polite. You are representing Service Dog teams and it’s important that you don’t give others a bad name or reputation by being rude to people approaching you out of curiosity.
  • You do not have a 'duty’ to educate the public, but if you have the time or energy to spread a bit of knowledge it can help. Let people know simple things about Service Dog etiquette and how to behave around a Service Dog for future reference. The more people that are educated, the easier it is for future Service Dog teams.

  • If you don’t feel like talking, try using the small business card idea I mentioned earlier.

Today is the start of international assistance dog week!!

Shout out to all the incredible task trained service dogs who work every day to keep their handlers safe. From guiding the blind to alerting the deaf, assisting those with mental disabilities, alerting the epileptic, aiding in mobility, alerting the diabetic, responding to various medical emergencies, disrupting harmful behaviors, and SO much more.


✴ If you see a service dog team in public, the best thing for you to do is leave them alone. Service dog handlers have busy lives too and often don’t like to be stopped/questioned.

✴ Always ask before you pet a service dog, and be respectful if the handler says no. Service dogs work hard and petting can distract them.

✴ It might be hard, but please don’t “oooo” and “ahhh” and point at service dog teams. Some service dog handlers suffer from severe mental illnesses, and drawing unnecessary attention to them can be triggering.

✴ Registering your pet online does NOT make him a service dog. Unless you are disabled and your dog is task trained to mitigate your disability, please leave your pets at home. Pet dogs can be distracting to service dogs, and ill-mannered pets posing as service dogs can ruin the reputation of legitimate service dog teams.

✴ While Emotional Support Animals ARE a type of assistance dog, they are NOT service dogs. Though it varies by state, most states do not allow ESAs to accompany their handlers like service dogs do. Check your local laws before taking your ESA out in public. Just like service dogs, registering your pet online does *not* make him an ESA.

✴ Not all disabilities are visible! You cannot judge the legitimately of a service dog team by looks alone. Unless the dog is acting up or being aggressive, it’s best to ignore them and assume they are a real service dog team.

✴ If a service dog is misbehaving, businesses have the right to ask the handler to remove the dog. You may NOT tell the handler to leave, but you may tell the handler to remove the dog.

✴ BY LAW, service dogs are medical equipment and are attached to their handlers. You may not deny access to someone simply because they have a service dog.

✴ Service dogs work very hard every day to keep their handlers safe. Please respect service dog teams.

For more information, visit www.ada.gov!

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Revenue Canada quietly handed 155,000 Canadian banking records to IRS

The Canada Revenue Agency quietly turned 155,000 banking records over to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service during last fall’s election, without waiting for an assessment from Canada’s Privacy Commissioner or the outcome of a court challenge to the controversial move.

According to documents tabled in the House of Commons, roughly 150,000 of the Canadian bank records transferred to the IRS on Sept. 30, 2015 related to individuals who are U.S. residents or people with U.S citizenship living in Canada.

The transfer, the first of its kind, was the result of a deal worked out between Canada and the United States in the wake of the U.S. decision to adopt the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), pressuring financial institutions around the world to reveal information about bank accounts in a bid to crack down on tax evasion by U.S. taxpayers with foreign accounts.

The Conservatives have argued that given the penalties the U.S. was threatening to impose, they had no choice but to negotiate the information sharing deal and through the deal was able to exempt some types of accounts such as RRSPs and Tax Free Savings Accounts from the information transfer.

A second transfer of records to the IRS is scheduled for September 30, 2016.

Continue Reading.

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These Pink Rickshaws Are Helping Pakistani Women Overcome Oppression — One Ride at a Time

“In Pakistan, where the rickshaw and taxi industries are aggressively dominated by men, one new government initiative in Lahore is working to bring women into the fray, providing both a new world of economic opportunities and a safe way for women to travel around the city.

The Pink Rickshaw service is a new provincial government service in which the Punjab government will provide a fleet of pink rickshaws exclusively for female passengers and female drivers.

The government launched the “Pink Rickshaw service in a bid to remove the cultural barriers for women, to provide new possibilities to generate revenue for their families,” reported Saach TV, a Pakistani news organization.

A crowdfunding page for the initiative, which does not appear to be officially affiliated with the government, notes, “Many women do not enter the workforce or acquire education for lack of safe transportation.” The hope is that Pink Rickshaws will help overcome this daily challenge.

Successful entrepreneur and self-described women’s rights activist Mehrunissa Khan, who is a Lahori native, spoke with Mic about the program, saying, “This is absolutely amazing. It will make it more socially acceptable for women to get around and give them a lot more freedom.”

Driving history in the right direction. Across much of Pakistan, poor women often don’t have access to safe or reliable transport and they are regularly victims of harassment and abuse as a result.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) published a report on the absence of safe public transport in Pakistan and found the negative effect it has on women is “substantial.” When it comes to gender equality overall, Pakistan ranked “124 out of 155 on Gender Development Index (2009) and 132 out of 134 on the Global Gender Gap Report (2009).” The report specifically noted that Pakistani women “have limited access to resources; restricted rights, limited mobility and somewhat muted voice in shaping decisions,” making them “highly vulnerable.”

Read the full piece here