6 JUNE 2021 – Starvision News 3D PRO

G7 agrees to tax big firms and squeeze havens

The US, Britain and other large, rich nations reached a landmark deal on Saturday to squeeze more money out of multinational companies and reduce their incentive to shift profits to low-tax offshore havens. Hundreds of billions of dollars could flow into the coffers of governments left cash-strapped by the pandemic after the G7 advanced economies agreed to back a minimum global corporate tax rate of at least 15%.

Facebook said it expected it would have to pay more tax, in more countries, as a result of the deal, which comes after eight years of talks that gained fresh impetus in recent months after proposals from U.S. President Joe Biden’s new administration. “G7 finance ministers have reached a historic agreement to reform the global tax system to make it fit for the global digital age,” British finance minister Rishi Sunak said after chairing a two-day meeting in London.

The meeting, hosted at an ornate 19th-century mansion near Buckingham Palace in central London, was the first time finance ministers have met face-to-face since the start of the pandemic. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the “significant, unprecedented commitment” would end what she called a race to the bottom on global taxation.

German finance minister Olaf Scholz said the deal was “bad news for tax havens around the world”. Yellen also saw the G7 meeting as marking a return to multilateralism under Biden and a contrast to the approach of U.S. President Donald Trump, who alienated many U.S. allies. “What I’ve seen during my time at this G7 is deep collaboration and a desire to coordinate and address a much broader range of global problems,” she said.

Ministers also agreed to move towards making companies declare their environmental impact in a more standard way so investors can decided more easily whether to fund them, a key goal for Britain.

Current global tax rules date back to the 1920s and struggle with multinational tech giants that sell services remotely and attribute much of their profits to intellectual property held in low-tax jurisdictions.

Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice-president for global affairs and a former British deputy prime minister, said: “We want the international tax reform process to succeed and recognise this could mean Facebook paying more tax, and in different places.”

But Italy, which will seek wider international backing for the plans at a meeting of the G20 in Venice next month, said the proposals were not just aimed at U.S. firms. Yellen said European countries would scrap existing digital services taxes which the United States says discriminate against U.S. businesses as the new global rules go into effect. “There is broad agreement that these two things go hand in hand,” she said.

Key details remain to be negotiated over the coming months. Saturday’s agreement says only “the largest and most profitable multinational enterprises” would be affected. European countries had been concerned that this could exclude Amazon – which has lower profit margins than most tech companies – but Yellen said she expected it would be included. How tax revenues will be split is not finalised either, and any deal will also need to pass the U.S. Congress.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he would push for a higher minimum tax, calling 15% “a starting point”. Some campaign groups also condemned what they saw as a lack of ambition. “They are setting the bar so low that companies can just step over it,” Oxfam’s head of inequality policy, Max Lawson, said. But Irish finance minister Paschal Donohoe, whose country is potentially affected because of its 12.5% tax rate, said any global deal also needed to take account of smaller nations. (Reuters)

Nigeria bans Twitter after company deletes President’s tweet

Nigerian telecoms firms blocked access to Twitter on Saturday following a regulatory directive aimed at suspending the U.S. social media giant indefinitely, a move criticised by rights campaigners and diplomats as a gag on free speech.

Nigeria’s government said on Friday it had suspended Twitter’s activities indefinitely, two days after the platform removed a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish regional secessionists in the West African country. 

Following the suspension, the country’s attorney general ordered an immediate prosecution of those who break rules banning Twitter. He did not provide details of who would be targeted.

“Based on national interest provisions … our members have acted in compliance with the directives of the Nigerian Communications Commission,” the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) said, confirming the suspension.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed said on Friday the government had acted because of “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

Closer Bahrain-Russia cooperation stressed

The President of the Russian Republic of Adygea, Murat Kumpilov, received the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, who is on a visit to Russia to participate in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Al Zayani conveyed the greetings of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, to President Kumpilov and their best wishes of further progress and prosperity to the President and the people of Russia.

The minister expressed to President Kumpilov his admiration for the development witnessed by the Russian Federation in various fields, and for the success of its development process in various fields.

He stressed the interest of the wise leadership in Bahrain in strengthening and developing bilateral cooperation with Russia, which would consolidate the interests of both countries and peoples.

President Kumpilov asked Al Zayani to convey his sincere greetings to His Majesty the King, HRH the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, and his deep appreciation for the advanced level of friendship between Bahrain and Russia in various fields.

He stressed Russia’s interest and desire to supporting joint efforts to develop bilateral relations and expressed his wishes for Bahrain and its people of continued growth, progress and prosperity.

Bahrain keen to ensure workers’ safety: Labour Minister

Labour and Social Development Minister, Jameel bin Mohammed Ali Humaidan, has stressed the importance of consolidating the ongoing national efforts to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) by raising the level of the precautionary and pre-emptive measures at worksites to protect workers’ safety and health.

He affirmed Bahrain’s keenness to promote a healthy and safe work environment that is free of various occupational accidents and communicable diseases, as part of the precautionary measures recommended by the National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the Ministry of Health.

In a statement, the minister urged employers in the private sector to maintain the productivity levels while putting in place all precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus among workers at work or at their accommodation.

The measures mainly include limiting workers’ gatherings in areas of limited capacity, leaving a safety distance, applying social distancing standards, and providing means of protection for them by providing temperature detection devices for workers, and placing sterilisers in visible places at worksites and at entrances, preventing crowding at work places and in vehicles for transporting workers, he said.

In this regard, Humaidan pointed out that the current challenges should be turned into success opportunities by ensuring the sustainability of the work place safety, developing work methods and creating effective risk management systems, stressing the importance of taking advantage of successful experiences in confronting health risks and vocational accidents.

He revealed that the Labour and Social Development Ministry had carried out as many as 14,176 inspection visits to work places across the kingdom since the spread of the pandemic and until May 2021.

The minister pointed out that the three production parties, namely the government, employers and workers, are responsible for ensuring the safety of workers and the entire country, through implementing all health and vocational safety systems, paying tribute to workers for their dedication and solidarity with employers in order to contribute to pushing the economic development march forward.

China approves emergency use of ‘Sinovac’ for those aged 3 to 17

China has approved emergency use of Sinovac Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine in people aged between three and 17, its chairman Yin Weidong told state TV late on Friday. China’s mass vaccination drive, which administered 723.5 million doses of vaccines as of June 3, is currently only open to those aged 18 and above.

When Sinovac’s vaccine will be offered to younger groups depends on health authorities formulating China’s inoculation strategies, Yin told state TV in an live interview. Yin said minors have lower priority for vaccination against the coronavirus compared with the elderly, who face higher risk of severe symptoms after infection.

Preliminary results from Phase I and II clinical trials showed the vaccine could trigger immune response in three to 17 year-old participants, and most adverse reactions were mild.

State-backed drugmaker Sinopharm, which has two shots using similar technology to Sinovac’s product, is also submitting data for clearance in younger groups. A vaccine from CanSino Biologics’, adopting a different technique, has entered a Phase II trial involving those aged between six and 17.

Sinovac has also completed a Phase II clinical trial where participants were injected with a third booster dose after completing two regular shots, Yin said. Participants saw 10 fold increase in antibody levels compared with previous levels in a week, and 20 fold in half a month, Yin said.

Yin cautioned that Sinovac still needs to complete longer-term observation of antibody duration before it can make recommendation to authorities about when a third dose should be given.

Education Ministry to hold training programme for parents of students with autism

Education Minister, Dr. Majid bin Ali Al-Nuaimi, has revealed that a virtual training programme for parents of students with autism will be launched during the next academic year 2021-2022, as part of the Education Ministry’s continuous efforts to develop its services to students with special needs.

The programme aims to enhance the ongoing partnership with parents, support schools’ efforts to deliver lessons, develop students’ life skills and reduce their emotional behavior, he said.

The minister indicated that the training programme will be conducted by a group of specialists from the Ministry of Education and the specialised psychiatric medical units in the Kingdom.

Dr. Al-Nuaimi added that the programme is within the Ministry’s efforts to provide education for students with autism during the current circumstances created by the pandemic.

BRAVE CF 51: an eventful fight night ends without main event, several finishes and exciting bouts

BRAVE CF 51: The Future is Here marked the much-anticipated debut of the truly global Mixed Martial Arts promotion in Belarus and the fight night delivered in every single aspect, from memorable bouts, to amazing finishes, and a completely unexpected last-minute sour surprise, with the cancellation of the main event of the evening a few moments before the walkout.

Hometown hero Denis Maher was still celebrating his triumph over Rinat Sagyntay in the co-main event of the evening when BRAVE CF’s color commentator Kirik Jenness broke the news: there was something wrong with one of the headliners and the main event would not proceed.

At the time, it was still unsure who had faced last-minute issues and exactly what happened. The story started to shape up when Lucas “Mineiro” Martins was invited inside the BRAVE CF Arena, which meant the Brazilian wasn’t the one who had pulled from the bout. In fact, what happened is that Marcel Grabinski had been suffering from a stomach bug and the pre-fight medical check deemed the fighter unfit to compete. Inside the cage, Martins expressed his frustration but also made sure to send his best wishes to Grabinski.

Despite losing its main event, BRAVE CF 51 was a very busy night inside the arena, with beautiful knockouts and submissions, alongside back-and-forth matches that showed the best international talents competing with top class Belarusian fighters.

In the co-main event of the evening, for example, Minsk’s own Denis Maher completely obliterated Rinat Sagyntay with a first-round KO after a beautiful uppercut connected straight to the chin. Anastasia Feofanova stopped the Turkish hype in Sevde Turk with a beautiful inverted triangle submission and Vadim Rolich starred in what was, arguably, the most highlight-worthy moment of the night: a spinning-back kick KO over Kurbonsho Jamolov in the second round.

But the main event situation wasn’t the only anticlimax in the fight card. Labeled as the most prominent young MMA star in the world, Muhammad Mokaev always draws tons of attention every time he steps into the cage, and at BRAVE CF 51 it wasn’t different.

But the fight against Ibragim Navruzov marked the first time ever that “The Punisher” left the arena without a win on his record. He didn’t lose either. Mokaev connected an unintentional low blow on his opponent, who couldn’t continue fighting afterwards. The fight was then declared a no-contest.

Kuwait renews commitment to UNCAC

Kuwait has renewed commitment to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), said a senior Kuwaiti diplomat on Friday.

Cooperation and joint action are the best means to counter this dangerous crime that jeopardizes safety of communities, especially recently on the backdrop of COVID-19, said Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi, Kuwait’s Permeant Delegate to UN before the organization’s 32nd General Assembly on anti-corruption.

Terming UNCAC a “cornerstone” in the fight against corruption, yet the phenomenon, according to Al-Otaibi, is still prevalent and becoming more complex due to advancing technology, making it a trans-border crime, branching out to terrorism financing, money laundering, arms dealing and drug trafficking.

Corruption continues to drain countries’ resources, especially developing ones, making it a major obstacle for those countries to accomplish the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he said.

Despite all precautionary measures, yet, no country is safe from this phenomenon, which causes global economy to lose USD two trillion on an annual basis, he added.

Good governance, less bureaucracy and improving performance of the state’s public institutions are all key elements for fighting corruption; an endeavor the State of Kuwait been aiming for and pursuing on a national level through many laws and legislations that guarantee the rule of law and reinforce, as well as buoy the level of integrity, Ambassador Al-Otaibi carried on saying.

He also referred to ‘Nazaha’; Kuwait’s anti-corruption body, established in line with articles five and six of UNCAC.

UNCAC is the only legally binding international anti-corruption multilateral treaty, as it recognizes the importance of both preventive and punitive measures, addresses the crossborder nature of corruption with provisions on international cooperation and on the return of the proceeds of corruption.

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