SECP and FBR join hands to launch one-window facility
The Secur¬ities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) have launched a one-window facility for company and national tax number (NTN) registration.The move is part of ‘Doing Business Reforms’ and the one-window facility is based on back-end integration between SECP and FBR systems. Through this facility, the entrepreneur will login to the SECP online portal eServices, get the company registered with the SECP and will receive the NTN automatically at company’s email address.
‘Panama Papers’ law firm shuts down operations, but the story continues…
The law firm at the heart of the “Panama Papers” global tax evasion that brought down two world leaders has announced it would shut down operations, citing negative press and what it called unwarranted action by authorities, according to an AFP report. “Reputational deterioration, the media campaign, the financial consequences and irregular actions by some Panamanian authorities have caused irreparable damage, resulting in the total ceasing of public operations at the end of this month,” Mossack Fonseca said in a statement.
April 3, 2016 marked the beginning of the “Panama Papers” scandal — a leak of 11.5 million files from Mossack Fonseca’s digital archive that revealed how wealthy and influential figures across the world had created offshore businesses to safeguard assets. The information was obtained by German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, who shared it with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. It was released as a searchable database, with revelations continuing to be unearthed to this day. Iceland’s prime minister was forced to resign after it was revealed his family had offshore accounts while former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif is currently facing corruption cases after being implicated in the documents. Other figures implicated included former British premier David Cameron, football star Lionel Messi, Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri, Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, to name but a few. At least 150 investigations were opened in 79 countries to examine possible tax evasion and money laundering, according to the US-based Center for Public Integrity.
Givenchy, the French style icon passes away at age 91
Hubert de Givenchy, the aristocratic French fashion designer famous for the “little black dress” and styling Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy, has died aged 91. Givenchy set the template for ladylike chic in the 1950s and 1960s, dressing everyone from Princess Grace of Monaco to Jane Fonda. With his perfect manners and old-school charm, the tall and handsome count was the very acme of French elegance and refinement.But it was his 40-year friendship with his muse Audrey Hepburn, whom he met while she was making Billy Wilder’s Oscar-winning comedy “Sabrina” in 1953, that helped make him a fashion legend.
The narrow-collared suits and slim woollen dresses Givenchy designed for the gamine actress in “Funny Face” and “How to Steal a Million” made both of them style icons. “To dress a woman is to make her beautiful,” Givenchy once said. “In haute couture, we are cosmetic surgeons, erasing imperfections and refining the silhouette… for isn’t a couturier a magician of sorts, who creates illusion and perhaps beauty itself?”
Increasing water scarcity bodes disastrous consequences for Pakistan
Experts on water and environmental issues have warned of potentially disastrous consequences Pakistan faced owing to increasing water scarcity, a problem, they said, which had intensified owing to India’s active strategy to control and manage water resources and the fast changing climatic patterns. They were speaking at a briefingrecently organised by Pakistan Water Partnership in collaboration with Farozan and The Nature magazines. Dr Pervaiz Amir regretted that water had become a highly politicised subject in the country, leaving the country without a water policy for seven decades. He favoured construction of large dams to address growing agricultural and electricity needs of the country as the storage capacity of Tarbela and Mangla dams had been reduced over the years owing to silting. “A dam is like a water tank. It’s the people who decide how to regulate it. Small dams could only meet minimal localised needs,” he said, while rejecting what he described as ‘misconceptions’ and propaganda on dams’ constructions.
Research reveals world’s leading bottled water brands contaminated with plastic particles
The world’s leading brands of bottled water are contaminated with tiny plastic particles that are likely seeping in during the packaging process, according to a recently published major study across nine countries. “Widespread contamination” with plastic was found in the study, led by microplastic researcher Sherri Mason of the State University of New York at Fredonia, according to a summary released by Orb Media, a US-based non-profit media collective. Researchers tested 250 bottles of water in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Thailand, and the United States.Plastic was identified in 93 per cent of the samples, which included major name brands such as Aqua, Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, Nestle Pure Life and San Pellegrino. The plastic debris included polypropylene, nylon, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is used to make bottle caps.Particle concentration ranged from “zero to more than 10,000 likely plastic particles in a single bottle,” said the report. Experts cautioned that the extent of the risk to human health posed by such contamination remains unclear.“There are connections to increases in certain kinds of cancer to lower sperm count to increases in conditions like ADHD and autism,” said Mason.
Unilever relocates its main headquarters to Rotterdam
Britain’s third biggest company Unilever picked Rotterdam over London for its main headquarters in a blow to Prime Minister Theresa May’s government a year before Brexit. The Anglo-Dutch maker of Dove soap, Lipton teas and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream launched a review of its dual-headed structure in 2017 after fighting off a $143 billion takeover from Kraft Heinz, triggering a battle between Britain and the Netherlands. Under the new plan, Unilever will continue to be listed in London, Amsterdam and New York, and will divide into three divisions, keeping two based in Britain. That will enable it to retain its 7,300 staff in the United Kingdom. The company said the decision to end 88 years of two parent-ownership was not linked to Brexit or any form of protectionism, but would simplify its structure and facilitate acquisitions. However, British unions and supporters of EU membership bemoaned what they said was a deterioration in Britain’s competitiveness at a time when tax code changes and strong anti-takeover laws have made the Netherlands increasingly attractive. “Let me categorically say that this had nothing to do with Brexit,” Unilever Chairman Marijn Dekkers told reporters.
Increase in overall remittances rise to $12.8bn
Remittances in the first eight months of this fiscal year rose to $12.8 billion, showing a year-on-year growth of 3.4 per cent. Despite the continuous fall in remittances from Saudi Arabia, the overall remittances increased with the help of UK and United States as both registered high growth. According to the State Bank’s latest data the remittances from Saudi Arabia fell by 8.7pc to $3.26bn. Saudi Arabia still provides highest remittances to Pakistan despite thousands of Pakistanis having lost their jobs in the last couple of years. From July-February FY17, remittances from Saudi Arabia fell by 6.8pc, reflecting the impact of job losses in the kingdom.
Former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle are in talks to produce shows for Netflix, according to the New York Times.
The couple would make exclusive content for the US streaming site focused on uplifting stories, the paper suggested. If confirmed, the deal would give a global platform for the Obamas, bypassing mainstream US media such as Fox News. Netflix told the BBC it had no comment to make about the reports. ‘Inspire’ Eric Schultz, a senior adviser to the former president, did not confirm the plans but said they would make sense. “President and Mrs Obama have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire,” he told the paper. “Throughout their lives, they have lifted up stories of people whose efforts to make a difference are quietly changing the world for the better. As they consider their future personal plans, they continue to explore new ways to help others tell and share their stories.” The New York Times said one possible show idea was for Mr Obama to moderate debates on issues such as health care, climate change and immigration- all of which dominated his eight years in the White House. Mr Obama already connects directly to an audience through social media. He has more than 100 million twitter followers and his Facebook page has been liked by 55 million users.
Trans-Pacific Partnership now renamed CPTPP signed by 11 Asia-Pacific countries sans US
Although the US pulled out last year, the deal was salvaged by the remaining members, who signed it at a ceremony in the Chilean city of Santiago.Chilean foreign minister Heraldo Munoz said the agreement was a strong signal “against protectionist pressures, in favour of a world open to trade”. The deal covers a market of nearly 500 million people, despite the US pullout. In the absence of the US, it has been renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)
Human genome pioneer Sir John Sulston has died aged 75.
Described as one of the greatest scientists of our times, Sir John Sulston came to prominence as the British face of the international project to decode the human genome. He won a Nobel Prize in 2002 for his work on the development of cells within a humble worm, which paved the way for innovations in cancer research.He was known as a passionate believer in pushing the boundaries of science and in making data on the human genome available to all. He helped found the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute at Hinxton near Cambridge, and the laboratories there bear his name.It is one of the country’s foresmost biomedical institutions.
Pakistanis the happiest among all their bordering nations!
According to the sixth World Happiness Report, Pakistan is 58 points ahead of its arch-rival India, 11 points ahead of all-weather friend China, 31 of Iran, and 70 points ahead of Afghanistan on the ranking table of happiness. The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s annual survey report ranked Pakistan on the 75 spot among 156 countries. The ranking was based on six indicators: income per capita, healthy life expectancy, social support, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption. The report declares Finland the world’s happiest country while Norway, Denmark and Iceland clinched the second, third and fourth position, respectively.