“It’s absurd for Congress to vilify businesses like Apply for wanting to minimize their tax code just like every other American rightly does,” Paul wrote on his Twitter account after the hearing.“If you want to chase companies like Apple away, continue to vilify them,” he wrote in a separate Tweet. “Congress should be giving Apple an award today.”During a Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing on the technology company’s offshore tax practices, Paul told his congressional colleagues that he was offended that a hearing was being held in the first place. Apple CEO Tim Cook testified Tuesday morning to defend his company from allegations that it avoids tax payments by moving its profits to offshore subsidiaries in Ireland. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chair of the subcommittee, said Monday that he has never before seen anything like Apple’s tax “gimmickry”, and that the company is taking advantage of technicalities in US and Irish tax laws to avoid paying taxes on a major portion of its profits.The subcommitteeon Monday released a report that says Ireland was a tax haven for the technology giant, which shielded $47 billion in profits from US authorities over the past four years through subsidiaries that had no official tax residence.But Paul said bringing Cook in to testify was as if Congress was looking into a giant mirror. “Tell me one of these politicians up here who doesn’t minimize their taxes,” Paul told the committee. “Tell me what Apple’s done that’s illegal… I’m offended by the spectacle of dragging in American companies for doing something that isn’t illegal.”Paul also said that “if anyone should be on trial, it should be Congress.”Levin fired back at Paul, telling him that the subcommittee hearing was not held to issue Apple any sort of apologies.“Apple’s a great company, but no company – no company – should be able to determine how much it’s going to pay in taxes, how many profits they’re going to keep offshore, how they’re going to bring them back home, using all kinds of gimmicks to avoid paying the taxes to this country,” Levin told Paul, arguing that Apple’s decision to exploit tax loopholes could force the government to cut crucial social programs and increase taxes for other businesses.But Paul continued to stand by his beliefs, blaming Congress for creating a “bizarre and byzantine” tax code that created the mess and going after an American job provider that employs 600,000 people.“Everybody admits, even those that want to drag Apple before this committee, they admit that the tax code is our problem,” Paul said, striking a blow at Congress for creating the intricate system. …
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Two launches were fired on Saturday morning and another one in the afternoon, reports Yonhap news agency.The missiles were fired from the east coast into the Sea of Japan, the report says.The South’s military says it is maintaining high level of readiness amid the developments.DETAILS TO FOLLOW …
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The eurozone economy has recorded its sixth straight quarter of negative growth, data showed on Wednesday morning. It marks the longest period of recession in the bloc since records began in 1995.
The economy of the 17-nation bloc contracted by 0.2 percent in the January to March period. It had been forecast to shrink by 0.1 percent, after losing 0.6 percent in the last quarter of 2012. Year-on-year, the eurozone economy is today 1 percent smaller than it was in the same period in 2012.
Across the 27-member European Union, GDP was 0.1 percent down. The UK economy however, received some relief with data showing growth of 0.3 percent. GDP in the United States grew by 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2013, and was up 1.8 percent year-on-year.
Of the individual members’ economies, many – including France – are now in recession. Germany recorded only weak growth of 0.1 percent, less than it had been forecast.
France into recession
France’s economy slipped by 0.2 percent for the second consecutive quarter, meaning it is officially in recession for the second time in four years. The country’s economy minister Pierre Moscovici said this was “not a surprise” and that it was “largely due to the eurozone environment.” French president François Hollande said the situation was “serious” but not as bad as the previous recession in 2008-2009. He also pointed the finger at a fall in demand for French products in Europe.
France’s unemployment rate is expected to continue to rise from its current 10.6 percent. That is still below the eurozone average, which was 11.4 percent last year.
Joining France in recording negative growth in the first quarter of 2013 was Italy, where the economy lost 0.5 percent, its seventh consecutive quarter of loss. The same can be said for Spain, where unemployment is above 25 percent.
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