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peppertree's Journal
peppertree's Journal
October 30, 2021

G20 leaders back Global Minimum Tax to close off corporate tax havens

During the first day of the Rome G20 summit, leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies formally endorsed a revamping of international corporate tax rules which is aimed at preventing corporations from seeking foreign tax havens.

The agreement has been a major goal of the Biden administration and is considered an essential part of President Biden and Democrats’ plans to raise more revenue from taxes in the U.S.

The deal, backed by nearly 140 countries worldwide, would set a global minimum tax of 15 percent and require large multinational companies to pay taxes in the countries where they do business.

According to the Hill, that would generate $60 billion or more in additional revenue annually in the U.S. alone.

The new rule will be formalized when the leaders release a final G20 communiqué on Sunday, when the summit ends.

At: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/10/g20-leaders-back-global-minimum-tax-to-close-off-tax-havens.html

President Joe Biden arrives at this year's G20 summit in Rome earlier today.

The Global Minimum Tax on corporations has been a key goal of the Biden administration, and numerous other G20 leaders - though passage in Congress remains uncertain, and its enforcement among the world's myriad tax havens daunting.
October 29, 2021

Whistleblower Rebekah Jones officially files to run for Congress

Source: WCTV

Controversial whistleblower Rebekah Jones has officially filed to run for Congress.

The Democrat will work to unseat Republican Representative Matt Gaetz in District 1.

Gaetz is facing several legal scandals, including a federal investigation over whether he had a sexual relationship with an underage girl.

The 38-year-old Panhandle area congressman denies any inappropriate relationships with minors and even claims to be the victim of an extortion scheme.

Jones, 32, a former employee with the Florida Department of Health, was fired for insubordination in 2020 in her own scandal over the state’s covid case numbers. She had announced her intent to run on social media in June.

State records show she filed the candidacy paperwork on Sept. 29.

Read more: https://www.wctv.tv/2021/10/28/whistleblower-rebekah-jones-officially-files-run-congress/

October 22, 2021

Argentine economy recovers in August to pre-pandemic levels

Argentina's Statistics and Census Institute (INDEC) reported today that August GDP recovered to its highest level since October 2019 - its first monthly reading above February 2020 pre-COVID levels for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

GDP grew 1.1% in August, and 12.8% from a year earlier.

The nation's economy - the third-largest in Latin America - grew by 10.8% so far this year, after plummeting 9.9% in 2020.

Growth in August was led by recreational and other services (77.4%) and tourism (35%) - the hardest-hit sectors by crowding and travel restrictions in force during much of 2020.

These sectors however remain 17.7% and 42.3% below August 2019 levels, respectively.

Strong growth was also seen in construction (26.7%), retail and wholesale (15.6%), and manufacturing (13.7%) - all showing improvements over 2019 averages of 5.3%, 11.3%, and 10.4%, respectively.

Fixed investment in August in turn jumped by 26.3% from a year earlier according to Orlando Ferreres, a top local macroeconomy consultant - its highest level in two years.

Argentina's recovery - which outperformed initial IMF projections of 4.5% growth - prompted a jump in imports in the first nine months of 2021 of 51.5% (34.5% by volume).

But a sharp rise in export prices (with volume up 10%) allowed merchandise trade surpluses so far this year to edge up to $12.3 billion - though most is devoted to servicing Argentina's $190 billion public foreign debt, which had doubled during the 2015-19 Mauricio Macri administration.

At: https://www-eldestapeweb-com.translate.goog/economia/indec/la-actividad-economica-subio-1-1-y-supero-por-primera-vez-el-nivel-previo-a-la-pandemia-2021102116200?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en-US&_x_tr_pto=nui

Crowds enjoy seaside Mar del Plata during the October 8-11th long weekend - the first since occupancy and crowding restrictions were lifted in Argentina in late September.

Though growth rates have slowed since January amid rising inflation, GDP grew 10.8% in the first 8 months of 2021 year-on-year.

But three years of recession still left August 2021 GDP some 7% below its early 2018 highs, before the "Macrisis" debt bubble collapse and later Covid-related restrictions battered the nation's economy.
October 20, 2021

Carlos Santana a gracious host on 'Blessings and Miracles'

It seems that with many duet albums that bring disparate popular music talents together, there’s a sort of sliding scale of how much influence the “host” is willing to give up.

Sometimes the host artist lets guests take command. In other instances, the guests function as little more than supporting players to the sound and vision.

Blessings and Miracles, the new Carlos Santana album, is, in most instances, neither.

Instead, it’s the best kind of duet album, allowing Santana, 74, to sound like himself while at the same time allowing guest artists to do what they do best. Having two established artists be able to successfully express their voices on the same song in this way is less common than you may think.

But that’s exactly what happens on “Angel Choir/All Together,” a pairing of Santana and the late jazz keyboardist Chick Corea that doesn’t sound like a Corea track, nor a Santana track.

It sounds like both, and that’s a good thing.

At: https://riffmagazine.com/album-reviews/carlos-santana-blessings-and-miracles/

October 20, 2021

Leslie Bricusse, 'Willy Wonka,' 'Goldfinger' songwriter, dies at 90

Leslie Bricusse, Oscar- and Grammy-winning songwriter whose songs for Broadway and Hollywood include “What Kind of Fool Am I?” and “Pure Imagination,” died Tuesday in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France. He was 90.

Bricusse wrote the lyrics for James Bond theme songs “Goldfinger” and “You Only Live Twice,” as well as songs for movies including “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (including “The Candy Man”), “Scrooge,” “Hook,” “Doctor Dolittle” and “Superman.”

Over seven decades, the London-born writer-composer was in demand for his clever, witty and tuneful songs, sometimes in collaboration with others (notably Anthony Newley in London, Henry Mancini and John Williams in Los Angeles) and sometimes serving as both lyricist and composer.

At: https://variety.com/2021/music/news/leslie-bricusse-dead-willy-wonka-goldfinger-1235092734/

Songwriter Leslie Bricusse, 1931-2021: Pure imagination
October 17, 2021

Calls grow in Italy to ban far-right group Forza Nuova after protest violence

Calls multiplied on Monday in Italy for the ultra-right group Forza Nuova to be banned, after it was implicated in violent demonstrations against the COVID-19 health pass in Rome at the weekend.

Several hundred people clashed with police in central Rome on Saturday evening, damaging the headquarters of the country's main trade union confederation, the CGIL, and other property.

The assault came after a protest against the health pass, due to become compulsory in all workplaces from October 15. Forza Nuova officials were among those arrested.

At: https://www.euronews.com/2021/10/11/forza-nuova-calls-grow-in-italy-to-ban-far-right-group-after-protest-violence

Neo-fascist Forza Nuova militants attack the headquarters of Italy's top labor federation, CGIL, after failing to breach the Italian Parliament amid a violent protest against the 'Green Pass' vaccine passport system.
October 13, 2021

Kristalina Georgieva will remain managing director of the IMF, its board says

The International Monetary Fund’s executive board on Monday expressed confidence in the leadership of Kristalina Georgieva, its managing director, following allegations that she had manipulated data to placate China when she was a senior World Bank official.

The decision came less than a month after an independent inquiry commissioned by the World Bank concluded that she played a central role in meddling with its 2018 Doing Business survey.

The findings raised questions about her judgment and ability to continue leading the IMF - but ultimately its executive board decided that the investigation into Ms. Georgieva’s actions “did not conclusively demonstrate” that she had acted improperly.

“Having looked at all the evidence presented, the executive board reaffirms its full confidence in the managing director’s leadership and ability to continue to effectively carry out her duties,” the IMF’s executive board said in a statement.

Ms. Georgieva, 68, a Bulgarian economist, maintained strong support from many of the IMF’s shareholders, including France, which had lobbied hard for her to get the job in 2019.

The United States, which is the fund’s largest shareholder, declined to express public support for her following the allegations but ultimately did not call for her removal.

At: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/11/business/kristalina-georgieva-imf.html

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, smiles during an August 26 Berlin summit of global economic and financial organizations.

Georgieva was confirmed in her post by the IMF executive board following a probe into her allegedly pressuring World Bank economists to lift China's ranking by seven spots (to 78th) in their 2018 Doing Business survey.

Her confirmation was welcomed by severely indebted countries such as Argentina - which is currently negotiating a rescheduling of a record, $45 billion IMF debt lent under Georgieva's more conservative predecessor, Christine Lagarde.
October 12, 2021

Chile and Argentina are reopening to vaccinated U.S. travelers -- with no quarantine

If Patagonia, Easter Island, Santiago, or Buenos Aires is on your travel wish list, you can finally start planning that trip: Chile and Argentina have announced that effective November 1, vaccinated international travelers can enter without having to quarantine.

After over 18 months of closed borders, Chile officially opened its borders to vaccinated international travelers on October 1 - but with a mandatory five-day quarantine.

As of November 1, Chile is dropping that quarantine requirement for vaccinated international travelers who submit to COVID testing, according to Chile tourism officials.

Next door in Argentina, the borders are also opening on November 1 to fully vaccinated travelers who conduct a COVID-19 PCR test 72 hours prior to arrival, Health Minister Carla Vizzotti announced on Twitter.

As with Chile, another COVID-19 PCR test will be administered by local health officials after arrival in Argentina, and possibly a third test will be requested between the fifth and seventh day after arrival, per information provided by the U.S. Embassy in Argentina. Travelers are responsible for the costs of the COVID-19 tests.

Unvaccinated travelers arriving in Argentina will be required to quarantine for at least seven days.

At: https://www.afar.com/magazine/chile-and-argentina-reopen-to-us-travelers

Mount FitzRoy, near the Chilean-Argentine border.

High vaccination rates in both countries have prompted their respective authorities to loosen strict restrictions on international visitors - a policy change welcomed by their battered tourism sectors, though critics fear that a wave of foreign tourism might raise currently low Covid case rates.
October 5, 2021

Pandora Papers in Latin America: Three active heads of state and 11 former presidents named

Three current and 11 retired presidents, 90 politicians in the upper echelons of power, entire religious congregations, world-famous artists, billionaires and even the governor of a central bank; in Latin America, an array of influential figures have made use of tax havens over the years.

Despite inhabiting the region dogged by the most inequality in the world - top 10% earn nearly half the region's income - members of Latin America's elite have used a network of trusts, shell companies and opaque business records in places such as the British Virgin Islands and Panama to keep substantial assets from public scrutiny.

While the results of the investigation have a global impact, they are particularly earth-shattering in Latin America, where an estimated $40 billion is diverted to tax havens each year.

Of the 35 presidents or former presidents named, 14 are from this region. Most are conservative.

Among them are three active heads of state, who have all been wealthy businessmen: Chile’s Sebastián Piñera, Ecuador’s Guillermo Lasso, and the Dominican Luis Abinader.

Eleven former presidents also appear: César Gaviria and Andrés Pastrana (Colombia); Alfredo Cristiani and Francisco Flores (El Salvado); Michel Martelly (Haiti); Porfirio Lobo (Honduras); Horacio Cartes (Paraguay); Pedro Kuczynski (Peru); and Juan Carlos Varela, Ricardo Martinelli and Ernesto Pérez from Panama - itself a notorious tax haven.

Brazil's current Economy Minister and Central Bank President, Paulo Guedes and Roberto Campos Neto, were also named.

At: https://english.elpais.com/usa/2021-10-03/pandora-papers-in-latin-america-three-active-heads-of-state-and-11-former-presidents-operated-in-tax-havens.html

Guillermo Lasso (Ecuador), Sebastián Piñera (Chile) and Luis Abinader (Dominican Republic) - all of whom were revealed to have undeclared overseas accounts in the Pandora Papers.

Of the 35 current or former heads of state named worldwide, 14 are from Latin America.

Others, such as former Argentine President Mauricio Macri, don't appear in the Pandora Papers - but have siblings who do. Macri appeared over 50 times in the 2016 Panama and Paradise Papers - but was acquitted by an allied judge before leaving office in 2019.
October 5, 2021

Chile's Pinera impacted by Pandora Papers

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera is facing a new political headache - in the form of impact from the “Pandora Papers” released on Sunday.

According to the investigation carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), in December 2010 Piñera sold his share of the Dominga Mine to his partner and close friend Carlos Alberto Délano.

Some $14 million were exchanged in Chile and $138 million in the British Virgin Islands, to avoid paying Chilean taxes.

The Pandora Papers likewise revealed details on Monday about how Piñera, who has one of the largest fortunes in Chile with almost $3 billion, transferred his businesses to his children to avoid possible conflicts of interest after his first election as president in 2010.

In documents obtained by the ICIJ, his four children acknowledge that the source of the assets declared in the British Virgin Islands are the product of gifts they received from their father.

This opens the question of whether taxes were paid for the transfer, since living gifts pay a 25% tax in Chile.

At: https://www-pagina12-com-ar.translate.goog/372603-chile-sebastian-pinera-herido-por-los-pandora-papers-que-tam?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en-US&_x_tr_pto=nui

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera (right) and his center-right coalition's nominee, Sebastián Sichel.

The revelations may further erode already dim prospects in elections this November for Sichel, who has struggled in the polls against center-left rival Gabriel Boric.

Recent polls even have Sichel running third, behind far-right candidate José Kast.

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