Americas

The United States propose a new global tax of 15% for multinationals
Americas

The United States propose a new global tax of 15% for multinationals

The minimum global tax on the revenues of multinationals could be 15%. This is the new quota proposed by the US Treasury Department, which would thus accept a significant reduction from the 21% initially submitted to the 140 countries of the Organization for Cooperation and Development economic (OECD). The idea was illustrated during a meeting of the OECD group on the erosion of the tax base and the transfer of profits and testifies to the difficulty of the negotiations between the parties. However, the dicastery headed by Janet Yellen stressed that 15% is “a base and that discussions should continue to be ambitious and push the quota higher”.

The global minimum corporate tax would be one of the sources of financing for President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, which intends to increase the domestic tax on corporate revenues from 21 to 28% in parallel. A levy similar to the IRES that former President Donald Trump had significantly cut from the previous 35%, with the aim also of keeping companies fleeing towards advantageous taxation on American soil. In addition, however, the Republican president introduced a new minimum tax of 10.5% in the United States, the global intangible low taxed income (Gilt) tax, aimed at capturing the turnover shifted by domestic companies into tax havens, along with incentives to the repatriation of offshore capital.

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Now, the Joe Biden plan would like to raise the Gilt tax from 10.5% to 21%, making it a basis for discussions within the OECD regarding the global minimum tax on multinationals. Nations that believe they can make money by intercepting corporate revenues in lucrative markets have come out in favor, such as France and Germany. Others, which have built fortunes by hosting the headquarters of large companies such as big tech, focus on more moderate percentages, such as the 12.5% ​​practiced by Ireland. Brits have also expressed concerns that 21% may prove too high over the long term, although the UK plans to raise the corporate tax to 25% by 2023.

On the other hand, Yellen urges the international community to put an end to “a 30-year race to the bottom on corporate taxes”, arguing that this competition has eroded governments’ revenues, all the more so at a time when they have spent trillions (much more in dollars and in euros) for the support measures against the economic and health crisis caused by Covid-19, creating record levels of debt According to OSCE calculations, the global minimum tax should make it possible to redistribute about 100 billion dollars a year among governments. It will be discussed again on June 4-5 among the finance ministers in the group of Seven, while the G20 discussions will be held on July 9-10 in Venice, Italy. The agreement should be concluded by the end of October.

Biden flaunts Israel-Gaza ceasefire surviving his Presidency’s first foreign crisis
Americas

Biden flaunts Israel-Gaza ceasefire surviving his Presidency’s first foreign crisis

Just an hour before official declaration and coming into effect of truce between Israel and Gaza, US President Joe Biden touted the ceasefire that would bring an end to 11 day long violence and bloodshed in the region. Biden credited his Presidency’s relentless, quiet and successful diplomacy, along with ceasefire efforts by Egypt to bring truce between Israel and Hamas controlled Gaza Strip. The positive development will hopefully bring an end to conflict that was a testing fire as first major foreign crisis of Biden’s presidency. It also checked waters and tested decades long friendship with Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister.

“We’ve held intensive high-level discussions, hour-by-hour, literally, (with) Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and other Middle Eastern countries with an aim of avoiding the sort of prolonged conflict we’ve seen in previous years when the hostilities have broken out,” Biden said from White House in a hastily arranged speech delivered an hour before ceasefire was to take effect.

What the Israel and Gaza conflict and then subsequent ceasefire transcribed about Joe Biden’s presidency and his experience in foreign policy is something noteworthy. Just under five months into his presidency Joe Biden showcased how well versed, polished and experienced his foreign policy is as compared to his predecessors and that he can handle trickiest of foreign crises rapidly and efficiently. The prime approach highlighted during past ten days was that Biden believed in ‘quit and private’ diplomacy rather than issuing random public statements. He held his stand and policy in this matter even after being criticized by fellow Democrats over not condemning Israel’s offensive and the conflict more forcefully and publicly.

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Biden now has expressed his confidence that his approach of behind the scenes talks with Netanyahu have been successful in bringing an end to violence faster. Biden’s modus operandi was simple – engage in talks privately and effectively rather than issuing a face-off with close ally Netanyahu publicly and possibly accelerating the situation. He reportedly felt that private talks along with public condemnation would have delayed truce chances. He did in past couple of days took a hard and firm road to Israel telling Netanyahu bluntly that violence needs to stop, but it was done privately.

Biden is known to be Israel’s firm supporter since his days as young senator. But carefully balancing his statements Biden treaded on a neutral road by supporting Palestinians right to better living conditions as he also supported Israel’s right to defend their territory after Hamas triggered the conflict by launching rocket attacks last Monday. “I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely, and enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy. My administration will continue our quiet, relentless diplomacy toward that end.”

On Thursday, Israel and Hamas announced independently of accepting mutual ceasefire agreeing to initiative by Egypt. Hamas leader told that ceasefire would go into effect on Thursday 7pm ET.

Joe Biden vows to donate 80 million vaccines to other countries
Americas

Joe Biden vows to donate 80 million vaccines to other countries

The President of the United States Joe Biden said in June the United States will donate 20 million doses of the coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to other countries: these are the three vaccines of which the administration in the United States, and it would be the first time that the country has shipped vaccines abroad that it could use internally. It is not yet clear which countries it will be sent to. At the end of April, the US government announced that it would send 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine abroad, but its administration is not authorized in the United States.

Biden’s decision also comes following the criticism levelled in recent weeks by several countries, including India, which accused the United States of having managed vaccines in a protectionist way and limiting their exports. The World Health Organization has long recalled that countries with the highest percentage of vaccinated people should do more to help those in which vaccination campaigns are most in difficulty. In the United States, 47 percent of the population has received at least one dose, while 37 percent have completed the entire vaccination course.

When Biden embraced the cause of patent liberalization, Brussels raised a substantial wall by inviting the US to start exporting the doses produced at home as well as the countries of the European Union. The United States is ready to show its generosity now by donating a total of 80 million doses. To whom they will be destined is not yet known. Joe Biden, however, was keen to emphasize that the 80 million doses just made official is a much higher donation than those made so far by Russia and China, which have stopped at 15 million vaccines.

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According to the latest data, 37% of the population overseas have been fully vaccinated against Covid. Considering that the White House has optioned 1.2 billion doses for 2021, Washington now has a large surplus in its belly. Already at the end of April, the United States had made it known that it did not need the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not yet been approved by the American authorities. The 60 million optional doses of serum made in Oxford will thus be donated to other countries.

But now Joe Biden has announced that the 60 million doses of AstraZeneca will add 20 million vaccines Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. In June, the US will distribute a total of 80 million doses.But who will they go to? Part probably to Mexico, given a tacit agreement that would also concern border control to avoid massive arrivals of migrants, while in recent weeks aid has been promised to India.Then there is always the COVAX program, put in place by the WHO to ensure access to vaccines for middle and low-income countries. So far, the project has been a substantial flop, with the US that with their generosity could help fundamental nations in the complex global geopolitical chessboard.

Trump organization investigation has ‘criminal’ component now, New York Attorney General adds
Americas

Trump organization investigation has ‘criminal’ component now, New York Attorney General adds

 On Tuesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James joined Manhattan District Attorney’s office in adding ‘criminal component’ in to ongoing investigation in Trump Organization. This has potentially increased legal troubles for former President Donald Trump and his family. NY Attorney General’s office has been carrying out investigation into Trump’s company since 2019 on allegations of the company falsely property values to secure loans as well as gain tax benefits. Though an addition of criminal component, the investigation would continue as a civil probe also, informed James’ office.

Attorney General Letitia James’ spokesman Fabien Levy said, “We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature. We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA.”

The announcement now makes total three criminal investigations being conducted against former United States President four months after he left the office. The Trump Organization has not yet commented on the development. However, Trump said the investigation is politically motivated as its being conducted by AG James, a Democrat.

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It is to be noted that Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance, also a Democrat has been separately investigations into Trump’s pre-presidency dealings for over two years now. The investigations by Vance office include extensive criminal conduct like tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records by the Trump family owned business. Probe by Vance was started after Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen had paid hush money to silence two women over claimed extramarital sexual encounters with Trump before 2016 Presidential election. James investigation was opened after Cohen testified in Congress that there were manipulations in Trump’s financial statements to reduce his taxes in real estate save loan money.

Multiple financial dealings of properties of Trump Organization financial are under scrutiny as part of the investigation. These include Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County, New York; 40 Wall Street, a building in Lower Manhattan; Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago; and Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles.

Chileans go for independents to draft a new constitution
Americas

Chileans go for independents to draft a new constitution

Chileans chose left-leaning independent candidates to elect an assembly to draft a new constitution, replacing the decades old constitution set in place during the military dictatorship.

In what is termed as a major blow to the traditional political entities in Chile, weekend voting for the 155-member assembly saw 48 seats being given to independent candidates, most of them aligned with leftist ideology, according to official results out Monday.

The mega-elections were held on May 15 and May 16, where Chilean voters elected 155 delegates to an assembly that is to draft a new constitution that is to be put in place of the country’s dictatorship-era charter. Chileans also casted votes for governors, mayors, and local council members. 

These elections are termed as the most consequential ones that the country has held since it got back to democracy in 1990.

Prior to the results, it was already foreseen that Chile was taking a step in the proper direction by drafting a new constitution. As per the details, women will take half of the seats on the drafting committee. Furthermore, there is a guaranteed representation of the Indigenous people of Chile.

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Going against a three-decades-long trend, the population seems to be up with the traditional center-left and center-right coalitions and went for challengers, including independents, and that too in substantial numbers. 

With reference to the votes counted, candidates being supported by President Sebastian Pinera’s Chile Vamos coalition could muster only a fifth while independents amassed the most seats. New proposals will, however, require two-thirds approval of the delegates. The government will face a resistance to block radical changes to the constitution if it doesn’t forge new alliances.

Pinera said his government, along with other traditional political parties, should lay out the message “loud and clear” that they could not adequately respond to the needs of citizens.

Biden’s resolute on Israel rages against him: Will he change political ground under growing pressure?
Americas

Biden’s resolute on Israel rages against him: Will he change political ground under growing pressure?

United States of America’s 46th President Joe Biden has a staunch stand when it comes to Israel, and it is much from his days as a young senator. Biden’s faithful support towards Israel has so far not transcribed into bending under pressure from progressive Democrats as well as Jewish Democrats. The demand from this sect is pretty simple – take a tougher line of action towards Benjamin Netanyahu. The issues revolve around human rights that is on verge of complete jeopardy as Israeli military continues its offensive in Gaza Strip leading to mounting body count. This also puts President Biden’s own credibility and foreign policy on question. With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “vowing” to keep attacks at “full force” and no sign of ceasefire, international and American pressure citing death toll on President Biden can finally nudge him just enough to change his stand on situation.

Netanyahu is not a popular choice among American Jews, thanks to his controversial policies. Survey by Pew Research Centre reveals that only 40% think PM Netanyahu is showcasing a good leadership. This number fell to just 32% among younger Jews. Furthermore, only 34% opposed sanctions imposed on Israel. J Street, the influential and liberal Jewish lobby in Washington that has quite meaningful sway in Democratic party, has urged President Biden to work on arresting bloodshed in region and policies that helped pave way to conflict. J Street’s president Jeremy Ben-Ami said, “We’re also urging the administration to make clear publicly that Israeli efforts to evict and displace Palestinian families in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are unacceptable, as is the use of excessive force against protesters.”

What made Israel’s policies a partisan issue in Congress lies majorly on former President Donald Trump’s undying affection and embracing of Netanyahu and his policies. With increasing opposition from American Jews, former Israeli Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer argued last week that Israel must spend its energy to reach out to “passionate American evangelicals”, rather than Jews who are one of the most vocal critics of Israel.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is one of the most vocal progressive Congressional. AOC has been opening criticizing Biden’s open support to Israel’s “right to defense”. She tweeted on Saturday, “If the Biden admin can’t stand up to an ally, who can it stand up to? How can they credibly claim to stand for human rights?

It is possible that under growing pressure, Biden might eventually alter his stand. However, experts say that President Biden’s opinions have been set too long ago and it would be pretty hard to change the course now. Biden’s foreign policy is largely based on his support from traditional alliances, and Israel is one of them. In 1981, when Israel had bombed Iraq’s suspected nuclear reactor, Joe Biden as a senator had supported the act firmly in Senate. He also bagged the label of “Israel’s best Catholic friend”.

Carmiel Arbit, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council said, “Biden has his own compass when it comes to the region, and is less susceptible to pressure from the left flank of his party. Although there is some pressure within the Democratic party to take a less sympathetic stance towards Israel, and it is certainly starting to drive a different conversation, it is not driving policy on this issue. But a lot depends on the situation. If the conflict escalates, and casualty numbers rise significantly, Biden’s posture could change.”

GOP tug of war ends: Trump loyalist Stefanik replaces Cheney as No.3 Republican in House
Americas

GOP tug of war ends: Trump loyalist Stefanik replaces Cheney as No.3 Republican in House

Four term Congresswoman from New York, Elise Stefanik has bagged the No.3 position in Republican leadership in House of Representatives, after much speculation and tug of war in GOP. The Republicans have thus ousted Liz Cheney and replaced her with Former president Donald Trump loyalist Stefanik. The move was sealed after a final secret voting was conducted on Friday with 134 votes for Stefanik versus 46 for another candidate, Congressman Chip Roy.

The voting, however, wasn’t unexpected as Ms. Stefanik was the favorite and had backing of top Republicans, including No2 Republican in House of Representatives. Liz Cheney was in crossfires of Republican leadership, with minor support, after she openly rebuked former President Donald Trump for inciting January 6 violence in Capitol Hill and unproven allegations on election system. Trump was known to pressurize his allies in leadership to take strict action against Cheney for her ‘act of dissent’. The appointment of Stefanik can be largely seen as enormous grip that Trump still has on the GOP, even after losing Presidential election six months ago.

Taking on to Twitter, also Trump’s favorite platform for controversially expressing his views at large before he was banned by the social media for inciting Capitol riots, Stefanik wrote, “Thank you to my colleagues for electing me to serve as House Republican Conference Chair. I am excited to lead our unified team… to combat Biden and Pelosi’s Far-Left agenda!”

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Former president Donald Trump congratulated Ms. Stefanik in an issued statement on her “overwhelming victory” and saying the “Make America Great Again movement is strong”.

Addressing to the press on her predecessor Liz Cheney, daughter of former US Vice President Dick Cheney, Ms. Stefanik said that she remained “a part of the Republican Conference”. Cheney fell in sour eyes of many Republicans after she was one of the 10 Republicans who voted alongside Democrats to impeach former US President Donald Trump for his role in inciting the Capitol Hill riots on January 6. Trump was eventually acquitted in Senate which is controlled by Republicans.  

Why Are Republican States Withdrawing Federal Jobless Benefits?
Americas

Why Are Republican States Withdrawing Federal Jobless Benefits?

With more Republican states dropping unemployment benefits, it is going to be a difficult time of survival during the ongoing onslaught of the Coronavirus pandemic.

To start with are Arizona, Georgia and Ohio that has withdrawn their support to the enhanced federal jobless benefits.

There are thirteen more such states that have withdrawn support which means the weekly $300 support that went into state benefits will not be there.

The jobless could lose as much $10.8 billion in payments in these states.

According to the Century Foundation, a progressive think-tank based in Washington, with states pulling off support, nationally, there will be some 16.8 million workers who will be adversely affected. This is the number of workers that are found on the unemployment programs, and the nation is still short 8 million-plus jobs from the start of the pandemic.

Strangely, the payment schedules for the package were extended by the Democrats till early September as part of their $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package. This is going to end as soon as June 12 in some states.

The reason that the governors are now citing is workforce shortages and the improving economy. But what happens to those who have been under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance programs? These amount to nearly

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1.4 million out-of-work Americans who will stop receiving any payments once their states withdraw.

This was an initiated started in March 2020 and was meant to support freelancers, independent contractors, the self-employed and certain people affected by the coronavirus. If all Republican governors were to pull out their funding, some 4.8 million workers would be severely affected, and $29 billion in payments would also be lost.

Justifying itself, the state of Montana is actually offering a $1200 return-to-work bonus.  It will be making use of federal funds. Similar announcements have been made by South Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota, Missouri, Iowa, Idaho, Tennessee, Wyoming, South Dakota and Utah. Other red states are likely to follow.

Additionally, Arizona has set aside $300 million in federal funds to offer one-time $2,000 bonuses to eligible people who take a full-time job and $1,000 to those who return part-time, after they complete at least 10 weeks of work.

Also, those earning $25 or less, roughly $52,000 a year, can qualify. They must begin working September 6 (Labor Day). It has also guaranteed that it will provide three months of child care assistance for unemployed workers who return to work and are eligible for the bonus. This entire scheme of things works well, if the returning lot is healthy, not a silent carrier of the virus and/or vaccinated to be fit to come back to work. Else we are looking at another widespread herd spread in no time.

Republicans draw ‘red line’ in negotiations with Joe Biden on an infrastructure package
Americas

Republicans draw ‘red line’ in negotiations with Joe Biden on an infrastructure package

On Wednesday Republican leaders met President Joe Biden to negotiate on a massive infrastructure package. They called an increase to corporate taxes a “non-starter” and mentioned that they’re only willing to pay for physical infrastructure costs, which includes the construction of roads, bridges, airports and broadband expansion. The meeting continued for 90 minutes where Biden heard opinions of “Big 4” legislative leaders from both chambers including Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.

However, the meeting did not reach any conclusion, as Biden seeks more than $4 trillion in spending. His $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan will cover $400 billion for caregiving for seniors and the disabled, $200 billion in the expansion of electric vehicles, research and manufacturing and other investments on top of traditional infrastructure. Alongside, he is also aiming at $1.8 trillion as an investment in families and children. The Senate Republicans recently countered with a narrower $568 billion infrastructure counter-proposal to Biden’s plan.

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His plan of investment of $1.8 trillion further includes funds for preschool and community colleges and create new subsidies for child care, offer free community college nationally, provide paid family and sick leave. He believes that this plan would make a permanent boost in child tax credits. He also mentioned to the reporters that he came encouraged to put his proposal to the meeting. He wanted to assert a way out without burdening middle class and working-class people to pay an exorbitant amount in a child’s education and self-care. On the other hand, McCarthy and McConnell went into the meeting after criticizing Biden’s infrastructure and family plans. They view this plan as a tax hike on businesses, investments and higher-income people. Answering their statement, Biden clarifies that the huge bills must be paid for through revenue increases.

Last week, Joe Biden stated that he is willing to compromise, but not ready to the deficit the spend. He often claims that he can broker bipartisanship on the bills despite pushing his $2 trillion COVID relief package through Congress without a single vote received through Grand Old Party (GOP).

Wave of Revolution: Georgia abolishes American Civil War-era Citizen’s Arrest Law
Americas

Wave of Revolution: Georgia abolishes American Civil War-era Citizen’s Arrest Law

A wave of revolution was brought by fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a jogger, in February 2020 by a white man who pursued Arbery over burgular suspicion and fatally shot him. That incident has brought in US state of Georgia to abolish Citizen’s Arrest Law, an American Civil War-era legislature that allowed citizens to arrest suspected criminals. The very law that gave Greg McMichael and his son Travis McMichael right to pursue and shoot dead Ahmaud Arbery, a black man while he was jogging in his neighborhood.

The encounter had nation’s attention as another neighbor William Bryan joined the chase of Arbery and recorded the whole unfolding. Prosecutor had used reference of Citizen’s Arrest Law to justify the shooting, triggering outcry to revoke the much criticized law. This pushed lawmakers to repeal the law made in 1863 that gave Georgians a ‘right’ to arrest anyone who they believed had committed a crime. A very thin line! This law rounded up escaped convicts but at the same time justified ‘lynching’ of African Americans.

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All 50 US states have their own law that’s a version of Georgia’s Citizen’s Arrest Law. On Monday, by signing the bill, Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp made it the first US State to repeal the law. “Today we are replacing this Civil War-era law, right for abuse, with language that balances the sacred right of self defence of person and property with our shared responsibility to root out injustice and set our state on a better path forward,” Gov Kemp said.

Mr Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, hoped the bill would save thousands of American lives, especially of people of color. She said, “I think that the signing of this bill will make people think before they take action into their own hands. Unfortunately I had to lose my son in this manner but with this bill being in place, I think it will protect young men if they’re jogging down the street.”

Greg McMichael, 65, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and neighbor William Bryan who filmed the whole incident, have been charged for murder. They are currently awaiting their trials scheduled for October this year. They also have been charged with federal hate crimes and attempted kidnapping. The three have pleaded not guilty for the shooting.

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