It turns out Sen. Bernie Sanders may have been right when he railed against the richest 1%, with leaked tax returns appearing to show some of the world’s wealthiest people pay virtually no taxes. Investigative site ProPublica reports that Tesla’s Elon Musk paid zero tax in 2018, while Amazon’s Jeff Bezos paid nothing in 2007 and 2011. Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett and George Soros were also named as exploiting tax loopholes. The White House called the leak “illegal” and the FBI and tax authorities are investigating. President Joe Biden has vowed to raise taxes for the richest Americans.
What do you think? Should such legal tax evasion be punished? Vote here or on Twitter.
2. US Senate Passes Bill to Compete With China
A battle for hegemony. In a rare bipartisan display, senators yesterday approved a $250 billion bill to keep America top dog in the face of a rising China. It aims to strengthen U.S. manufacturing and technological might — and to curtail China’s influence by allowing more human rights sanctions and a new study of the origins of COVID-19. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer put the reasoning for Washington’s investment in stark terms, saying, “If we didn’t do something about it, they would become the number one economy in the world.” The legislation now heads to the House.
“A dictator.” That’s what the top U.S. diplomat for Latin America branded Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega after two more opposition challengers for president were arrested yesterday. Felix Maradiaga and Juan Sebastián Chamorro were charged with terrorism offenses as the 75-year-old Ortega seeks a fourth term in elections slated for November. Two other opposition leaders were arrested last week following the passage of a controversial new security law last year that critics say is intended to prevent people running against Ortega. The EU and U.S. both have sanctions against the former leftist rebel.
4. Stymied by GOP, Biden’s Infrastructure Talks Collapse
No compromise. President Biden has ended talks with Senate Republicans aimed at reaching a deal on how to pay for his massive infrastructure package. After weeks of talks failed, the president is shifting his focus to a different bipartisan group in the hopes of finding a compromise. One stumbling block has been that Biden proposes raising corporate taxes, something Republicans want to avoid. The new talks will focus on a narrower package. One option could be breaking the package in two, assembling one bill with Republicans and then trying to pass another with only support from Democrats.
French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face by a man in a crowd during a visit to the country’s southeast yesterday. El Salvador has become the first country to make Bitcoin legal tender. And speculation over North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s health was prompted by photos that appear to show he’s lost weight.
Coronavirus Update: India closed all its tiger reserves to tourists to prevent animals from getting infected after a number of COVID-19 outbreaks in zoos. Experts say San Francisco may be the first major U.S. city to reach herd immunity.
Today on The Carlos Watson Show: Learn why Hollywood’s go-to on-screen terrorist is starting an artists’ sanctuary in Boyle Heights. Iranian-born Navid Negahban, who starred as Abu Nazir in Homeland and as the Sultan in the live-action Aladdin shares the amazing story of how acting brought him from a refugee camp in Germany all the way to Hollywood. Watch now.
“We’ll always have Paris,” as the famous line from Casablanca goes, but Auckland and Osaka are just more livable. That’s according to an annual survey by The Economist. This year, the pandemic saw most European capitals fall in the rankings and cities in Asia-Pacific take top billing. Auckland, New Zealand, topped the survey, which measures criteria including stability, health care, culture, environment, education and infrastructure. It was followed by Osaka, Japan, and Adelaide, Australia. Vienna, Austria, previously in top place, fell to 12th. And the most unlivable place? Damascus, due to Syria’s ongoing civil war.
2. Enemy of the Press? Cicadas Delay Reporters’ Plane
Politicians are constantly complaining that journalists bug them. But yesterday it was the White House press’s turn to be bugged — literally. A government plane carrying reporters from Washington to the G-7 in England was delayed after sections of the aircraft were invaded by the city’s summer plague of Brood X cicadas, which emerge every 17 years. Luckily the journalists didn’t have to wait that long for a new plane to ferry them to Europe. Their 9 p.m. takeoff was delayed until 2:15 a.m., but the hacks at least got pizza delivered in the meantime.
3. School Yearbook Scandal: BLM Content Offends Parents
How many controversial yearbooks can one state have? Last month a Florida school caused a furore for digitally altering 80 female students’ yearbook photos to cover their chests. Last week West Broward High School halted sales of a yearbook that depicted students participating in Black Lives Matter protests after parents complained that it wasn’t objective because it made no mention of the pro-police Blue Lives Matter countermovement. After pulling the yearbook for review, distribution resumed this week with an insert saying the views in it are not sponsored by the school district.
The best defense against a crocodile attack? A twin sister. Georgia Laurie, 28, repeatedly punched a croc in the head after it dragged her twin Melissa underwater while the two were swimming in a lagoon near Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Georgia managed to save her sister, although Melissa remains in an induced coma. “Her worst injuries are in her lungs. She was half-drowned. The crocodile took her in a death-roll, turning her over and over under water,” the pair’s father said. Their mother said the girls’ bond saved their lives, noting, “There is no closer relationship than twins.”
5. Russian Outrage Over Ukraine’s New Soccer Jersey
Sports can bring nations together — like China and America’s Ping-Pong Diplomacy during the Cold War — or drive them even further apart. The latter is the case after Ukraine unveiled new soccer jerseys featuring a map of the country that includes Russia-annexed Crimea. Moscow is furious because it considers the peninsula to be part of Russian territory since 2014, though internationally it’s still recognized as belonging to Ukraine. Russian parliamentary deputy Dmitry Svishchev called the jerseys “a political provocation” ahead of the pandemic-delayed 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, which kicks off Friday.
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