Amnesty for tax evaders in India uncovers hidden billion$

❝ A tax evasion amnesty in India has prompted tens of thousands of people to declare more than $9.5 billion in undeclared income and assets…All were offered immunity from prosecution in return for paying tax, a surcharge and a penalty…It is estimated that the government could raise nearly $4.5 billion from the scheme.

❝ The government contacted about 700,000 suspected tax evaders earlier this year, urging them to declare hidden income and assets…They were told they would not be pursued by the authorities if they came clean and paid a penalty…

The BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi says that despite the huge numbers, the amount declared is only a fraction of the country’s undisclosed earnings.

It does not account for money stashed in Swiss banks and overseas tax havens which some government investigators believe amounts to around $500 billion…

❝ In a series of tweets on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the amnesty “successful”, saying it was “a great contribution towards transparency and growth of the economy”.

The government says the money raised will be spent on public welfare.

Looks like many of the corporate barons of India’s economy still take 19th Century thieves as their role model. Something often true of their class, globally. Not as easy to getaway with as it obviously has been in India.

Arizona newspaper receives death threats after endorsing Hillary


❝ For the first time in 126 years, The Arizona Republic endorsed a Democrat for president, Hillary Clinton. Almost immediately afterwards, the death threats started rolling in.

…“Well, it’s been crazy around here,” said Phil Boas, director of the editorial page. He says the Republic has seen…subscription cancellations, angry phone calls, and yes, death threats.

❝ Still, he stands by their decision. “The things [Donald Trump] has done, making fun of disabled people and rolling back press freedoms, you know a guy who would do that and crush our freedoms in one area will do it in others as well,” Boas said.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it, again. Arizona is the Mississippi of the west.

Examples of China’s commitment to combating climate change

Click to enlargeReuters/Jason Lee

❝ Two years after President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that their countries would work together to combat climate change, Republicans and conservatives in the U.S. continue to cite China’s rising carbon emissions as a reason not to bother cutting our own.

Earlier this month, Donald Trump’s economic advisor Stephen Moore claimed that limiting our carbon pollution is pointless because of China’s supposedly growing coal dependency. “Every time we shut down a coal plant in the U.S., China builds 10,” Moore told E&E News. “So how does that reduce global warming?”

❝ Not only is Moore’s statement simply untrue, but the broader conservative theory behind it is badly outdated. China’s coal use and carbon emissions have dropped for the last two years. In 2015, China cut its coal use 3.7 percent and its emissions declined an estimated 1–2 percent, following similar decreases in 2014.

If China continues to cut its emissions, or even just keeps them at current levels, the country will be way ahead of its goal of peaking emissions by around 2030, which it laid out in 2014 and recommitted to during the Paris climate talks last December.

❝ In part, China’s emissions are dropping because the country is undergoing a dramatic shift in the nature of its economy. For years, China had been rapidly industrializing and growing at a breakneck pace. Growth often causes emissions to rise, all the more so when a country has an expanding manufacturing sector and is building out its basic infrastructure such as highways and rail lines. Heavy industrial activity — especially making cement and steel, which are needed for things like buildings, roads, and rail tracks — can be extremely energy intensive and have a massive carbon footprint…Now, as China is becoming more fully industrialized, its growth is slower and driven more by service industries, like technology, that are much less carbon intensive.

RTFA for several indicators. The author missed one of the most important because it’s still mostly under the radar of those who don’t read deeply into political economy.

Like the UK and many industrial Europeans nations – before the 1960s – China has relied on home coal fires for heating and cooking. China now is on the way to making the same change the West did. Switching to gas. Major pipeline conduits are under construction to bring natgas from Siberia, other regions outside of China. Different pipelines will link into LNG landing facilities at major harbors. As the last-mile, last city block hookups fall into place, the change will be rapid. And welcome.

China wants to deal with their immediate air pollution as much as the ongoing effect on climate. That shouldn’t surprise anyone.