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forest444

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Member since: Tue Dec 30, 2014, 06:11 PM
Number of posts: 5,902

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Colombia and Panama fail to meet deadline in tax evasion dispute

Colombia and Panama have given each other another 60 days to come to agreement on how to combat Colombian tax evasion through Panamanian banks.The two countries failed to meet the negotiation deadline set for the exchange of tax information after one year, extending a further 60 days, in a Colombian bid to fight money laundering and tax evasion on Panamanian soils.

The bilateral negotiations seek to enable the efficient exchange of tax information, if successful Colombia will have access to figures of savings that Colombian tax evaders are hiding in the neighboring country.

Though an exact number is not known, initially estimated to be up to $7 billion in losses for the Colombian government as citizens continue to hide money in Panama and other countries as a means of avoiding taxation. This money, Colombia’s Finance Minister Mauricio reports he believes should be used to help the poor in Colombia, and fund the post-conflict process in the aftermath of the Cuban-sponsored peace talks between Bogotá and FARC rebels.

Tensions flared between the countries last October when Colombia declared Panama a tax haven, over the Central American country’s failure to meet a deadline to sign a bilateral tax information exchange agreement. As a consequence money transfers were set to incur taxes of 33%, instead of the usual 10%.

In response Panamanian officials gave Colombia an ultimatum: if the country was not removed from the list sanctions would be placed on the country, including imposition of VISAs for travel, and tax changes, even threatening the deportation of thousands of Colombians living illegally in the country, giving the Colombian government a week to make a decision.

Panama is the largest foreign investor in Colombia after the United States, and has been one of Latin America’s fastest growing economy since 2008, showing a 6.2% GDP growth last year with 2015 forecasts to remain at this level (double Colombia’s predicted 2.8%).

Much of that growth has been driven by favorable tax structures attracting foreign investment and companies, where exemptions from income, property and import taxes are often granted. These kinds of favorable taxing laws made Panama by far the largest foreign investment market for Colombia, with over 40% of Colombia’s 2013 total going there.

At: http://colombiareports.com/colombia-and-panama-fail-to-meet-deadline-in-tax-evasion-dispute/
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Panama's gains have become everybody else's losses.
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aOjRYA47d8ms

Yayo Grassi, gay man and Pope's former student, opens up about meeting with Francis in DC.

Yayo Grassi, a gay man and former student of Pope Francis who met with the pope in Washington D.C., said Francis "is not afraid to have a gay friend."

"Me being gay is no different [to the pope] than me having blue eyes," Grassi told ABC News today. "It's not different than me living in Washington. It is part of my life. And the way he accepted my boyfriend, it is a validation of how happy he is that two people of the same sex can be together and happy and miss each other when we are not close to each other."

Grassi brought his boyfriend of 19 years, Iwan Bagus, to the private meeting with Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature (embassy) in Washington, D.C., on September 23.

"When he [Francis] shows up on that corridor and I see him, and we embrace, it was so wonderful," Grassi said of the meeting. "I joked with him, we told each other a couple of jokes, and then I introduced all my friends to him, and they had things to bless and we talked," Grassi said.

"He asked me how my business is doing, what kind of food I was cooking, really things of a friend, that a friend would ask another friend. "We never discussed anything about me or my boyfriend," Grassi said. "We discussed my life, we talked about a lot of other things."

"I think the message that he puts forth is that of understanding, is that of not judging," he said. "I think that we all had one teacher, one mentor that we love very much and we consider that person extraordinary, remarkable. I think that he was he has a superior mind, he has an intelligence that goes beyond the common intelligence of regular people," Grassi said.

When Grassi learned the pope was coming to the U.S., he wrote to him; two weeks before Francis' trip, Grassi received a surprising call.

"He called my cell phone. And I just couldn't believe it," Grassi said. "I thought it was a prank at the beginning. But he called me by the nickname when I was a student so I knew it was him." "He's just so much fun."

Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Director of Holy See Press Office, confirmed Grassi's meeting with the pope in a statement Friday.

At: http://abcnews.go.com/US/yayo-grassi-gay-man-popes-student-opens-meeting/story?id=34223583
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And this meeting - unlike the Davis stunt (Vigano's head should roll for this) - was personally approved by Pope Francis as a meeting between two old friends.

Gun violence in America, in 17 maps and charts

By Germán López. Vox.

America is an exceptional country when it comes to guns. It's one of the few countries in which the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected, and presidential candidates in other nations don't cook bacon with guns.

But America's relationship with guns is unique in another crucial way: Among developed nations, the US is far and away the most violent — in large part due to the easy access many Americans have to firearms. These charts and maps show what that violence looks like compared with the rest of the world, why it happens, and why it's such a tough problem to fix.

At: http://www.vox.com/2015/8/24/9183525/gun-violence-statistics

The Gun Violence Chart President Obama Asked For

When President Barack Obama took the podium on Thursday night to speak about the mass shooting at Oregon's Umpqua Community College, he blasted Congress for its inaction on gun safety legislation. "Our thoughts and prayers are not enough," he said, visibly angry.

He also had a request for the media: "Have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who have been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who have been killed by gun violence, and post those side by side on your news reports."

Wish granted, Mr. President. We compared gun deaths with other highly publicized causes of death in the chart below. (Note that about two-thirds of American gun deaths are suicides). The numbers come from 2013 — the most recent year that data is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Breast cancer__________________________41,325
Guns________________________________33,636
Car crashes___________________________32,719
War in Afghanistan (U.S. deaths)_________127
Terrorism in the U.S.___________________7


At: http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/10/oregon-shooting-obama-gun-violence-chart
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