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Germany reassures NATO about the working group after equipment failure

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Germany has sought to reassure NATO that it can still be counted on to lead the alliance’s rapid response task force even after all 18 of its most advanced armored vehicles were disabled in a training exercise earlier this month.

Defense chiefs held a crisis meeting in Berlin on Monday to discuss the massive problems that have emerged with the Puma, one of the world’s best-protected infantry fighting vehicles, with Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht describing the issues as a “bitter setback”.

The 18 Pumas that malfunctioned were among 42 that were supposed to be deployed as part of NATO’s “Very High Readiness Joint Task Force” (VJTF), a rapid response force that will be commanded by Germany from next year.

“NATO can continue to count on us to do our duty with the VJTF,” Lambrecht said.

Lambrecht added that the army would not order more Pumas, which were developed by arms firms Rheinmetall Landsysteme and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), but have long suffered from technical problems. The two companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The breakdowns could be deeply embarrassing for Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, who has vowed to restore the fortunes of the armed forces and make up for years of funding shortfalls with a massive increase in defense spending. Days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he announced the creation of a €100 billion investment fund for the German army.

Last week, the Bundestag gave the go-ahead for 8 billion of the 100 billion euros to be spent on new US F-35 fighter jets to replace Germany’s aging Tornado. They also authorized spending on technical modernization of the Pumas.

On Monday, the Defense Department said that during exercises at the Army Marksmanship Training Center last week, the Pumas suffered an “unexpectedly high” number of malfunctions — though it stressed that the tactical and climatic conditions for the exercise were “challenging.”

“The recent malfunctions of the Puma IVV are a bitter setback,” Lambrecht said, adding that she has ordered an investigation into what went wrong with the vehicle.

The minister said the German army would not order more Pumas until it “proves its resilience.” “Our military must be able to rely on robust and stable weapon systems in combat as well,” she said.

And this not only harms the reputation of the Bundeswehr in NATO, but also the corporate image. . . said Thomas Wigold, a prominent military blogger.

Officials have insisted that Germany’s contribution to next year’s VJTF will not be affected by the issues with Puma. It said German combat units to be deployed to the task force had been trained on an older IFV, the Marder, and would now be used in the VJTF instead of Pumas.

Officials said a joint investigation was under way to analyze Puma’s problems. This was carried out by the army and the Bundeswehr Federal Equipment Office, a private logistics company responsible for the repair of military equipment, as well as Rheinmetall and KMW.

Puma has a long and turbulent history. Production began in 2010 but was only declared battle-ready last year.

“Scrap metal for six billion euros is an embarrassment for Germany,” said Dietmar Bartsch, parliamentary leader of the left-wing opposition Link party. “The IFV Puma was from the start a bad design that swallowed billions in taxpayer money.”

The technical problems were first revealed in a letter sent by Maj. Gen. Ruprecht von Butler, commander of the 10th Armored Division, to the German Army Inspector, which was leaked to the news magazine Spiegel. He said that Pumas’ electronics seemed particularly prone to malfunctioning.

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How to Reduce Your Personal Taxes?

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tax income

Basic tips for Singapore tax residents
Whatever Year of Assessment (YA) it is, we should start considering our personal tax strategy early. In Singapore, one of the most expensive cities in the world, financial management can be an important tool for survival, and proper tax planning is an integral part of this.

Should tax planning be exclusively for high net worth individuals (HNWIs) with vast assets? As long as you are required to file a tax return, you need to do tax planning. It’s worth noting that your personal tax obligations affect your disposable income and proper tax planning can translate into significant savings in the long run.

Here are some basic tips to reduce your tax burden. However, please note that they are all general in nature. If you have more specific questions and/or concerns, please schedule a consultation with us.

Claim the relevant tax credits and rebates

Personal tax rates in Singapore are progressive, starting at 0% and ending at 22% (YA 2018) for annual incomes above S$320,000. There are a number of reliefs and allowances that allow you to save on your personal taxes.

Tax credits against your assessable income are given in recognition of your contributions to areas that are in line with government policy. For example, certain allowances are available to support parenthood and family formation, care for elderly parents, upskilling, national service, etc.

Some of the reliefs you can claim include, but are not limited to, Spouse Relief, Child Relief, Parental Relief, Earned Income Relief and Foreign Maid Relief. All are subject to certain conditions.

Top up your CPF (Central Provident Fund)

The CPF Minimum Top Up Scheme allows you to claim tax relief when you top up your CPF savings. You can also claim relief if your employer does the topping up.

This also applies when you top up your family members’ retirement account or special account for additional relief, provided their annual income does not exceed S$4,000 in the previous year.

For cash top-ups under S$7,000 made by you or your employer, you are entitled to a tax credit equal to the top-up amount. For cash top-ups of S$7,000 or more, your tax credit is limited to S$7,000.

For top-ups you make to your sibling’s, spouse’s, parents’ or grandparents’ CPF, you can claim additional relief equal to the cash top-up amount, which is capped at S$7,000.

The CPF top-up allowance you can make annually is S$14,000 (maximum).

Contribute to the SRS (Supplementary Pension System)

The Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) is a voluntary scheme that encourages individuals to save for retirement beyond their CPF savings. Contributions to the SRS are eligible for tax relief, which will again be deducted from your taxable income. Investment returns are tax-free before withdrawal, and only 50% of SRS withdrawals are taxable at retirement. For Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents, the maximum allowable contribution is $15,300 – YA 2018 per year, while the ceiling is $35,700 – YA 2018 for foreign Singapore work visa holders.

Voluntary contribution to your Medisave account

Claim relief on any income earned in the year your voluntary MediSave contributions were made. This method will help you reduce the amount of taxes you have to pay while saving for your health care needs.

The amount of relief allowed for voluntary Medisave contributions is limited to the lowest of the following: (1) Voluntary contributions specifically to a Medisave account; (2) Annual CPF limit minus the mandatory contribution by you and your employer; or (3) The prevailing Medisave contribution cap of $48,500 ($49,800 – YA 2018) less your Medisave account balance before your voluntary contribution.

Make a charitable donation

In Singapore, donations to any approved Institution of Public Character (IPC) or Eligible grant-making philanthropic organization are tax deductible.

In general, you will claim a double tax deduction (ie, double the amount of the gift) for gifts that fall into any of the following categories: (1) monetary gifts; (2) share gifts; (3) computer gifts; (4) donations of artifacts; 5) a public system of tax incentives for art; and (6) gifts of land and buildings.

The government will promote or discourage certain activities according to the economic situation and social benefits to fulfill the national benefits as a whole. By donating to charity, you not only do a good deed, but you also significantly reduce your tax liability. For example, donations made between 2009 and 2018 that meet the double tax deduction criteria will be temporarily entitled to 2.5 times the tax deduction.

Apply for the Not Ordinarily Resident (NOR) program.

Enjoy a period of 5 years of tax benefits (YA) if you qualify under the Not Ordinary Resident (NOR) scheme.

You must meet both of the following criteria: (1) you have not been in Singapore for 3 YAs prior to the year you qualify for the NOR scheme; and (2) you are a tax resident for the YA in which you wish to qualify for the NOR regime.

Rental expenses can be deducted from rental income

Rental income is taxable, so related expenses are deductible.

Examples of such allowable costs are: property tax, mortgage interest, fire insurance, maintenance fees to the governing body or general repair and maintenance costs. Check the following: rental expenses are deductible if incurred: (1) solely for the purpose of generating rental income; and (2) during the term of the lease.

The above are general tips to reduce your tax burden in Singapore. It is always better to plan before the end of the basic period. If your tax situation is unique or if your needs are more specific, consider consulting with a Singapore tax specialist.

JC has over 20 years of experience, including 14 years in senior management positions for small to some of the largest companies across Asia. He helps more than 30 companies from various industries and takes care of a number of CEOs and top managers. Transformation of digital business, first-class management and with multidisciplinary fields. With sets of unique business frameworks, JC helps clients grow their companies to where one of the startups is now valued at SGD 30 million.

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Commuters from the Southwest threatened arrest at Christmas in a viral video

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Southwest Airlines He already had it Terrible end of the year After a massive winter storm forced it to cancel flights that had outsold its industry competitors. Then, somehow, the PR nightmare got worse.

At Nashville International Airport on Christmas Eve, a police officer threatened to arrest stranded Southwest passengers if they did not leave a secure area of ​​the airport. A video of the incident went viral on social media after it happened Posted by passenger to TikTok. Other videos circulating on social media also captured parts of the incident.

In the video, which has been viewed more than 910,000 times since it was posted two days ago, the officer warns passengers that they must leave the area or they will be “arrested for trespassing.”

“Now,” he continued. “Everyone to the unsafe side. The ticket counter will help you answer any questions you have.”

Shelly Morrison, who was among the passengers with her three daughters, was queuing at the southwest gate hoping to get more information about what was going on with her flight, to me the Tennessee.

After she and others waited nearly an hour for an explanation, one of the workers announced via the intercom that she was leaving – and called security. Morrison told the local newspaper that he did not tell a passenger that they had to leave if they had a canceled ticket.

“The Southwest is calling us”

Soon, two police officers from the airport’s Department of Public Safety arrived at the scene, just as Morrison’s daughter, Amani Robinson, began recording a video.

An officer tells passengers in the video, “If you don’t have a ticket, you don’t have to be on the safe side.” To someone who said they had tickets, he replied, “Your tickets just got cancelled.”

Morrison asked the officer again if he might be stopped, and he repeated to him: “If you don’t have a valid ticket and you’re on the safe side and you refuse to leave, you’ll be arrested… If your ticket’s canceled, they don’t have a ticket anymore. You understand that, right?”

He added, “Right now, Southwest is calling us because you guys are congregating here, and they’re trying to close that gate.”

The officer grew impatient when Morrison again tried to “establish a legal connection,” as she puts it in the video, and told him she was an attorney.

“Do you refuse to leave the safe side?” he asked clearly.

She replied, “No, I don’t refuse to leave.” “I ask for additional information. Can you mention the statue to me?”

He replied, “It is the security of airports and planes.”

“Don’t you have a department?” she asked.

“I don’t need to give you the code. If you’re a lawyer, you can look it up.”

Morrison thanked him and went with the others to where he had indicated.

Southwest responds

when called luckA Southwest spokesperson said that employees “did not request that customers be escorted outside the gate area.” Instead, the company required “that local law enforcement be present at the gate to assist with crowd control efforts while our team works with customers.”

A spokesperson for Nashville International Airport, also known by the airport code BNA, responded:

“The sheer number of flight cancellations over the past week has caused great stress for our passengers, and included an unfortunate incident involving a passenger, airline staff and an LNA officer. We are very sorry this happened and we take this situation very seriously. We are working with Southwest Airlines and our other airlines to promote better communication between team members so that every traveler enjoys the optimal experience at BNA:

luck She also contacted the Ministry of Transport regarding the airport incident, but did not receive any immediate response.

Southwest passengers trying alternative routes faced higher fares from other airlines, some of which — faced public backlash —Announce a price cap on the affected roads.

The Department of Transportation said this week it would open an investigation into Southwest Airlines. He. She he wrote in a tweet It was “concerned by Southwest’s unacceptable rate of cancellations, delays, and reports of a lack of prompt customer service. The department will study whether cancellations are manageable and whether Southwest is complying with its customer service plan.”

This article has been updated with responses from Southwest Airlines and the airport.

The Impact Report’s new weekly newsletter examines how ESG news and trends shape the roles and responsibilities of today’s CEOs. Subscribe here.



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Why Trump didn’t want you to see his tax returns

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What was he hiding?

We’re finally starting to find out, now that the House Ways and Means Committee has released six years of Donald Trump’s personal and business tax returns. Trump’s returns are complex and it could take weeks for experts to realize whether Trump cheated or used overly aggressive tactics to lower his tax bill. The committee did not release any tax documents for some of Trump’s business entities, so puzzles may remain.

But a few things soon emerge from the assessment of the leading figures in Trump’s comeback. When Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2015, he described himself as a builder and businessman who could go to Washington and fix what politicians had destroyed. Trump’s stated status was as a political outsider and business titan crucial elements in his appeal to voters.

But Trump’s tax returns suggest his businesses are always losing money, while raising questions about how he manages to fund a gilded lifestyle. In each of the six years from 2015 through 2020, DJT Holdings, one of Trump’s main business entities, lost millions of dollars. The smallest loss was $34 million in 2015. The largest loss was $64 million in 2016. Combined, these losses totaled $314 million from 2015 through 2020.

This is not an entirely new revelation. Glimpses of Trump’s finances have long revealed that Trump is capitalizing heavily on losses incurred in one part of his business portfolio, to offset gains elsewhere and significantly reduce his tax bill. Documents leaked to the New York Times in 2016 showed that Trump declared a loss of $916 million in 1995. lowered his tax bills for nearly two decades. When Trump began earning millions from The Apprentice TV show in the 2000s, losses from faltering real estate ventures, such as his casinos in Atlantic City, helped keep his income tax payments down. These practices are generally legal, although some tax experts believe Trump could have expanded the legal boundaries.

Members of the US House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee move boxes of documents after a panel meeting to discuss former President Donald Trump’s tax returns on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, December 20, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

When Trump ran for president in 2016, he said he would release his tax returns once the IRS finished auditing them. Of course Trump never released any tax returns, and the IRS audit wouldn’t have stopped him from doing so in the first place. Ways and Means Committee Finally got Trump’s payout from the IRS on Dec. 20, after Trump lost a four-year legal battle to keep them secret. He found justices all the way up to the Supreme Court Congress had the right to see the proceedsbecause it can contribute to legislative activity.

[Follow Rick Newman on Twitter, sign up for his newsletter or sound off.]

If Trump had released his comeback in 2015 while running for president in 2016, journalists and political opponents would have been mired in what appears to be huge business and personal losses. His return to DJT Holdings shows total revenue of $25.1 million but a net loss of $34.1 million. It is reasonable for a company to incur losses greater than revenue, since tax code allows for carry-over losses from prior years. But it’s very bad looks to tell voters you’re a business owner while reporting large losses to the IRS.

Trump and his wife Melania’s 2015 comeback undermines his commercial credibility. Trump’s adjusted gross income in 2015 was $31.8 million. In other words, he supposedly lost $31.8 million, because he was allowed to claim losses from his business against his personal income. His taxable income was $0 and he owed $0 in federal income tax. It is difficult for average workers who earn most of their income from work to declare passive income, unless they have capital losses or other types of losses beyond what they earn from their employer.

Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent, She released her tax return for 2015 on August 12, 2016. The report showed that she and her husband, Bill Clinton, had an adjusted gross income of $10.6 million, and paid $3.6 million in federal income tax, for an effective tax rate of 34%. While the return showed the Clintons wealthy, they claimed no mysterious tax breaks except for a small capital loss of $3,000. Trump was the nominee going after meat-and-potatoes voters in 2016, but Clinton’s taxes were more involved.

DJT Holdings reported business losses for each of the next five years, through 2020. In terms of Trump’s personal returns, his adjusted gross income has been negative for three years and positive for two years. Over the six years combined, those business losses have pushed Trump’s total adjusted income – $53.2 million, or a loss of $53.2 million. His taxable income was $0 for four out of six years.

Trump has hit one snag with regard to federal income tax payments — the alternative minimum tax, which raises the tax liability of some, mostly wealthy, depositors who use the deductions to significantly lower their taxable income. During four of those six years, the federal tax code started to push Trump’s federal tax bill. Including regular income tax and AMT payments, Trump appears to have paid about $4.1 million in federal income taxes from 2015 through 2020.

If voters had been able to see several years of Trump’s tax returns during the 2020 presidential election, it would have been clear that Trump’s corporations lose money every year and that Trump as an individual loses more money than he earns, overall. This isn’t really how it works. Trump has very few regular sources of income, such as millions of dollars in interest each year, and the capital gains that would come from the countless deals to license the Trump name. This income appears to be constant and recurring, while losses may occur in a particular year or two, but are spread across many years, for tax purposes.

Trump has sometimes bragged about the low taxes he’s paid, saying he’s drastically undercutting his tax bill It makes him smart. Maybe so. It will be interesting to see if that makes him more or less electable.

Rick Newman is a senior columnist for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @tweet

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