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India joins G20 in fighting tax evasion, terror funding

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has joined the G20  major economies in fighting money laundering, tax evasion and terror financing while calling upon tax havens to become transparent in this regard and share information.This new mechanism, which will have to be approved by the heads of state and government in November, seeks to combat tax optimization techniques that cause the loss of 240 billion dollars per year in tax revenues.

After a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors here, attended by Jaitley and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan from India, a joint communique also warned non-cooperative jurisdictions with “defensive” steps.

The G20 leadership said it was important to improve transparency in the global financial system to prevent the misuse of such entities for illegal acts such as corruption, tax evasion, terror financing and money laundering.

It said all countries and jurisdictions must become members of the the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering that was established at the G7 Summit of rich nations in Paris in 1989. India is a member of this initiative.

Held on the margins of the World Bank-International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings, the G20 said countries that have not committed to automatic exchange of information by 2017 or 2018 must do so without any further delay.

“We mandate the OECD (Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development) working with G20 countries to establish objective criteria by our July meeting to identify non-cooperative jurisdictions with respect to tax transparency,” the communique said.

“Defensive measures will be considered by G20 against non-cooperative jurisdictions if progress as assessed by the Global Forum is not made,” it said adding it looked forward to its report before the end of the year for further decisive action.

The communique comes when another global expose has surfaced on people with accounts in tax havens, including top politicians. With 500 Indians, too, named in the list, dubbed the “Panama Papers” a probe is currently on by a multi-agency team.

India does not have any official estimate about the quantum of black money stashed away by its nationals abroad, but unofficial estimate puts it somewhere between $466 billion and $1.4 trillion.

Earlier, during his interaction with US Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, both countries agreed to step up their joint work in pursuing tax evaders and terror financing, steps such as joint tax audits and examination.

“We have enhanced our cooperation in tackling money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism through increased information sharing and cooperation, including a dialogue held recently in India,” the duo said in a joint statement.

“We both agree on the importance of fighting illicit finance in all forms as an important means of tackling global terrorism.”

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China warned against ”clear, serious” violation of treaty with UK

The Foreign Office said: “There are 349,881 holders of BN(O) passports and the government estimates there are around 2.9m BN(O)s currently in Hong Kong. The scheme is for eligible BN(O) status holders and their immediate family dependants.”

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Boris Johnson

London, July 2 : UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said China’s imposition of a new security law in Hong Kong constituted a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed in 1984 and aimed at smoothing the transition when the territory was handed back to Beijing in 1997.

The UK believes that Beijing’s move violates HongKong’s autonomy, threatens the freedoms and rights protected by the joint declaration, and is in direct conflict with the territory”s Basic Law, its mini-constitution.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Johnson said: “We have made clear that if China continued down this path, we would introduce a new route to those with British National (Overseas) status to enter the UK granting them limited leave to remain with the ability to live and work in the UK and thereafter to apply for citizenship, and that is precisely what we will do now.”

Describing the Chinese move as “a grave and deeply disturbing step”, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab promised that UK would honour its commitment to the people of Hong Kong.

“We will grant BN(O)s five years” limited leave to remain, with the right to work or study. After these five years, they will be able to apply for settled status.

“After further 12 months with settled status, they will be able to apply for citizenship. This is a special, bespoke, set of arrangements developed for the unique circumstances we face,” Raab told MPs.

Raab did not set out any plan to sanction China or individual Chinese officials through new legislation due to be introduced by the Foreign Office this month.

He also said he was hopeful that other countries in south-east Asia would also offer asylum to Hong Kong citizens wanting to leave.

“China has broken its promise to the people of Hong Kong under its own laws. China has breached its international obligations to the UK under the joint declaration.”

Hong Kong’s autonomy, which now faces threat from Beijing’s imposition of a new security laws, was guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” agreement of the 1984 joint declaration signed by the then Chinese premier, Zhao Ziyang, and British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

The Foreign Office said: “There are 349,881 holders of BN(O) passports and the government estimates there are around 2.9m BN(O)s currently in Hong Kong. The scheme is for eligible BN(O) status holders and their immediate family dependants.”

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Disaster

96 killed in Myanmar jade mine landslide

Deadly landslides are frequent in Kachin state, known as land of jade, especially in Hpakant mining region.

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Myanmar jade mine landslide

Yangon, July 2 : At least 96 people were killed and many others were reported missing on Thursday after a jade mine collapsed due to a landslide in Myanmar’s Kachin state, authorities said.

Caused by the monsoon rains, the landslide occurred at the jade mining site in Sate Mu village tract of Hpakant township at 8a.m., Xinhua news agency quoted a statement from the Fire Services Department as saying.

Hundreds of miners were feared buried as the landslide took place during their work hours, but the exact number of casualties are yet to be known and rescue works are being carried out, a township police official told Xinhua.

Deadly landslides are frequent in Kachin state, known as land of jade, especially in Hpakant mining region.

A major landslide occurred in the region in November 2015, leaving at least 116 people dead.

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Global COVID-19 cases top 10.6mn: Johns Hopkins University

The US accounted for the world”s highest number of infections and fatalities with 2,685,806 and 128,061, respectively, according to the CSSE.

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RUSSIA CORONAVIRUS

Washington, July 2 : The overall number of global COVID-19 cases has increased to over 10.6 million, while the deaths have soared to more than 515,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Thursday morning, the total number of cases increased to 10,667,217, while the fatalities stood at to 515,542, the University”s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US accounted for the world”s highest number of infections and fatalities with 2,685,806 and 128,061, respectively, according to the CSSE.

Brazil came in the second place with 1,448,753 infections and 60,632 deaths.

In terms of cases, Russia ranks third (653,479), and is followed by India (585,493), the UK (314,992), Peru (288,477), Chile (282,043), Spain (249,659), Italy (240,760), Mexico (231,770), Iran (230,211), Pakistan (213,470), France (202,981), Turkey (201,098), Germany (195,893), Saudi Arabia (194,225), South Africa (159,333), Bangladesh (149,258) and Canada (106,288), the CSSE figures showed.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are the UK (43,991), Italy (34,788), France (29,864), Mexico (28,510), Spain (28,364), India (17,400) and Iran (10,958).

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