Archive for February 14th, 2013

14/02/2013

Some Multinationals Pay as Little as 5% in Corporate Taxes; Smaller Businesses Up to 30%

Human Wrongs Watch

Global solutions are needed to ensure that tax systems do not unduly favour multinational enterprises, leaving citizens and small businesses with bigger tax bills, according to a new report.

Source: OECD

Source: OECD

An OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) study commissioned by the G-20 – Addressing Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) – finds that some multinationals use strategies that allow them to pay as little as 5% in corporate taxes when smaller businesses are paying up to 30%.

OECD research also shows that some small jurisdictions act as conduits, receiving disproportionately large amounts of Foreign Direct Investment compared to large industrialised countries and investing disproportionately large amounts in major developed and emerging economies, according to a OECD news release.

“These strategies, though technically legal, erode the tax base of many countries and threaten the stability of the international tax system,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría.

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14/02/2013

NASA Alert: Middle East Headed Towards a Water Shortage Crisis

Human Wrongs Watch

By RT*, 14 February, 2013 – The Middle East is headed towards a water shortage crisis, as NASA satellites show that reserves the size of the Dead Sea have been depleted in just seven years, largely due to well-drilling.
Credit: NASA | Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons

Credit: NASA | Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons

Newly-obtained results show that 144 cubic kilometres of freshwater – a volume nearly equivalent to that of the Dead Sea or Lake Tahoe – had been removed from the ground in the area that encompasses Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria between 2003 and 2009.

“That’s enough water to meet the needs of tens of millions to more than a hundred million people in the region each year, depending on regional water use standards and availability,” said Jay Famiglietti, the UC Irvine professor who led the team who made the findings, which are due to be published on Friday in Water Resources Reasearch magazine.

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14/02/2013

Cooperatives: Egypt’s Farmers Sow the Seeds of an “Agricultural Revolution”

Human Wrongs Watch

Geneva, ILO*, February 2013 – “Agriculture will be critical to future economic growth in Egypt,” says the International Labour Organization (ILO), “but only if the laws on farmers’ cooperatives are reformed.”

Source: ILO

Source: ILO

While the political reverberations of the 2011 revolution continue to resound throughout Egypt, many of the country’s farmers are hoping positive change will reach the agricultural sector.

Farmers like Mohamed Farghaly and Ahmed El Komy, from the Upper Egypt village of Rafaa Al Tahtawy are hoping for a change in the law – with help from the International Labour Organization (ILO) – so that their businesses can become more profitable.

That could, in turn, boost Egypt’s economy, since agriculture is the largest contributor to its GDP, even though less than 4 per cent of the land is arable. El Komy, another small-scale farmer, heads the cooperative, which serves around 300 members.

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14/02/2013

Buddhist Leader Tables Concrete Proposals for Nuclear Abolition, Global Disarmament

By Ramesh Jaura, IDN-InDepthNews*, Berlin – An eminent Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda is calling for an “expanded nuclear summit” in 2015 to solidify momentum toward a world free from nuclear weapons and become the launching point for a larger effort for global disarmament aiming toward the year 2030.

SGI President | Credit: SGI

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda | Credit: SGI

With this in view, he hopes that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and forward-looking governments will establish an action group to initiate before year’s end the process of drafting a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC) outlawing nuclear weapons, which are not only inhumane but also swallow some $105 billion year after year.

“A key factor . . . will be the stance taken by those countries which have relied on the extended deterrence of nuclear-weapon states, the so-called nuclear umbrella,” writes Ikeda, who heads Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a Tokyo-based lay Buddhist organization spanning the globe.

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14/02/2013

UN Voices Concern over Health of Palestinian Detainees in Israeli Custody

Human Wrongs Watch

Two senior United Nations officials voiced their concern about Palestinian detainees in Israeli custody, particularly following reports of the fast deteriorating health conditions of several who have been on hunger strike.

Palestinian women walk near Israel's barrier near Ramallah in the West Bank. Photo: IRIN/Shabtai Gold

Palestinian women walk near Israel’s barrier near Ramallah in the West Bank. Photo: IRIN/Shabtai Gold

Tarek Qa’adan and Jafar Azzidine have been on hunger strike for 78 days to protest against their administrative detention by Israel, while Samer Al-Issawi has been on partial hunger strike for over 200 days, according to a news release issued on 13 February by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“I am concerned about the health conditions of these three Palestinian detainees on hunger strike,” stated* High Commissioner Navi Pillay.

She reiterated her concerns with regard to the use of administrative detention by Israel. “Persons detained must be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees in accordance with international standards, or be promptly released,” she said.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, James Rawley, reiterated the same message on 13 February when he met with the Palestinian Minister of Prisoner and Detainee Affairs, Issa Qaraqe, in Ramallah.

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