THE NEWS WRAP: Apple’s new low-cost iPhone surprise

Apple has announced a new, lower cost version of its iPhone 5C smartphone, which will be released in Australia, along with the reintroduction of the iPad 4 as part of a shake-up of its product line-up.


The new 8 gigabyte version of its iPhone 5C smartphone will retail for $673, which is a significant price cut on the previously available 16 gigabyte ($739) and 32 gigabyte ($869) models.


The company also announced it is phasing out the iPad 2, in favour of a reintroduction of the iPad 4, which was originally phased out in favour of the company’s current iPad Air range.


US plans Baltic war games as Crimea crisis escalates


US Vice President Joe Biden says he is considering sending troops to the Baltic states for military exercises in a bid to reassure NATO allies, as Russia claims sovereignty over the Crimean peninsula.


“We are exploring a number of additional steps to increase the pace and scope of our military cooperation including rotating US forces to the Baltic region to conduct ground and naval exercises and training missions,” Biden said during a visit to Warsaw.


“Russia has offered a variety of arguments to justify what is nothing more than a land grab. But the world has seen through Russia’s actions and rejected the logic, the flawed logic, behind those actions.


“Recent events remind us that the bedrock of our alliance remains collective self-defence as enshrined in Article 5 of the NATO treaty. We take it deadly serious and our commitment is absolutely unwavering and unshakeable.”


ATO announces corporate tax crackdown


Australian Tax Office deputy commissioner Mark Konza has announced the agency has begun investigations into 86 companies for offshore tax minimisation.


While the companies have not been named, the ABC reports both Google and Apple are among the companies being rumoured to be investigated.


“At the moment – and I should say this process is ongoing, so other cases will be identified over time – these [are] 86 cases where we felt that the structuring events that had taken place seem to have a very bad effect on a company’s Australian tax position or Australian profitability,” Konza says.


“We will issue assessments on companies that we think weren’t applying the law correctly. If they’re involved in profit shifting, they’ll get an assessment; they’ll get penalties as well.”




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up to 16336.2. The Aussie dollar is up to US91.29 cents.


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