The US has warned the European commission that it will consider retaliating if Brussels goes ahead with plans to demand billions of dollars in unpaid taxes from Apple and other US multinational companies. The Obama administration warned the EU on Wednesday that its investigations into alleged tax avoidance by US firms, including Apple, Amazon and Starbucks, could “create an unfortunate international tax policy precedent”. In a white paper commissioned by US Treasury secretary Jack Lew, the US warned that Brussels was overstepping its powers and becoming a “supranational tax authority”. The US warned that if Brussels pushes ahead with threatened plans to demand as much as $19bn (£14.4bn) from Apple for alleged unpaid taxes as a result of so-called sweetheart deals with Ireland the US Treasury will “consider potential responses”. The EU has been investigating whether Apple’s tax deals with Ireland, which allowed the company to pay very … [Read more...] about US warns Europe over plan to demand millions in unpaid taxes from Apple
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Foreign trawlers and an expanding fishmeal industry are increasingly threatening the livelihood of Senegalese fishermen, forcing many to migrate to Europe, writes the BBC's Alfonso Daniels. Mor Ndiaye, 34, has lived all his life in St Louis, a bustling fishing town in northern Senegal. Its sandy streets are crammed with children and roaming goats. Life here was good until a few years ago when everything changed."The fish just vanished, what can we do? We used to catch enough fish in a day or two. Now we need to go out at sea for weeks to catch the same amount. It's terrifying, we can only rely on God," he says, standing next to men carrying fish in large plastic crates over their heads from the few traditional wooden boats arriving ashore.St Louis, a former French West African colonial capital, lies at the heart of one of the world's richest fishing areas. Fish caught here - mainly sardinella and other so-called pelagic or open sea fish migrating up and down the coast - have provided … [Read more...] about ‘Fish are vanishing’ – Senegal’s devastated coastline
On the wall in the new presidential campaign offices of France’s Front National leader Marine Le Pen hangs a portrait of Hollywood tough guy Clint Eastwood. He might seem an odd choice of pinup for Europe’s biggest far-right, nationalist, anti-immigration party, but Le Pen admires Eastwood’s “bravery” in voting for Donald Trump in the US election last month. Dirty Harry, like Trump himself, has become something of a feel-good mascot for the French far-right’s battle for the leadership of the country. Instead of a gun, the ageing but still snarling Eastwood is pointing a blue rose, Le Pen’s new campaign symbol. Trump’s US victory blew apart any notion of foregone electoral conclusions, leading Paris’s mainstream politicians to warn that the world’s next political earthquake could happen in France. Le Pen winning the French presidential election in five months’ time – something that had always been seen as impossible … [Read more...] about The fear of Marine Le Pen – will the next political earthquake happen in France?
Alain, a repair man, was up a ladder fixing shop signs and, as he put it, "working like a dog to earn 900 pounds a month and still barely feed the family". But the 49-year-old couldn't hide his good mood. In the heart of France's northern rust-belt, in Marine Le Pen's Henin-Beaumont fiefdom – a depressed, former coal-mining town struggling with high unemployment and factory closures – he called himself a typical extreme-right Front National voter: working class, poor and disillusioned with mainstream parties. "She's got this great way of speaking. It's not all about being against Algerians, you know. It's not all anti-immigration, it's about spending power, making ends meet, the financial crisis and what to do about it. She wants to take France out of euro and back to the franc and I agree. Since the euro came in, my salary's gone down and I can barely afford to go out or to the cinema." Henin-Beaumont in France's Pas-de-Calais saw Le Pen top the poll with 35.48% of the … [Read more...] about French election: Marine Le Pen voters grapple with their role as kingmakers
If you drink the water in Ciudad Juárez, there you’ll stay, goes the saying – Se toma agua de Juárez, allí se queda. It’s not a reference to the quality of drinking water (about which polemic abounds because it is so dirty) but to the beguiling lure of this dusty and dangerous yet strong and charismatic city. It’s a dictum that might be applied to the whole 2,000-mile Mexico-US borderland of which Juárez and its sister city on the US side, El Paso, form the fulcrum. Ten years ago, I returned from several months’ immersion along that frontier, reporting on a narco-cartel war for this newspaper and eventually writing a book, Amexica, about the terrain astride the border, land that has a single identity – that belongs to both countries and yet to neither. A frontier at once porous and harsh: across which communities live and a million people traverse every day, legally, as do hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of goods … [Read more...] about Back to the border of misery: Amexica revisited 10 years on