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U.S. corporations operating in Japan won’t be pleased by this Tokyo High Court ruling: stock options are salary — and must be taxed as such. Lower courts had split on the question of whether option profits could be declared as occasional income, which is taxed at half the rate. The High Court’s ruling could take the shine off an incentive popular among Japanese subsidiaries of foreign corporations. Just ask plaintiff Keisuke Yawata. The former president of a subsidiary of U.S-based Applied Materials will lose a fat slice of the 360 million yen in stock profits he accumulated between 1996 and 1998 … Black workers may have liked the racial slurs used against them, argues International Truck and Engine Corp. In reply, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals coughed, blinked and certified a class action by 350 black employees at the Navistar division … Jonathan Mills would like to plead guilty to murder. But New Haven, Conn., State’s Attorney Michael Dearington just isn’t interested in accepting Mills’ offer of life in prison without parole. So Public Defender Thomas J. Ullmann has asked a judge to force the state to take the deal. The crux of Ullmann’s argument is economic. Why go to the cost of a capital trial, says Ullmann, when his client is willing to stay behind bars for life? Mills has confessed to four murders, including the stabbing deaths of two children … Hearings on the legality of Israel’s security fence will be broadcast live on the Web. The International Court of Justice at The Hague said keen public interest in the Feb. 23-25 proceedings prompted its plans for the court’s first Webcast. – Lori Patel

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