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Luxembourg report Luxembourg report
by Euro Reporter
2008-11-13 10:14:50
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Tax Havens Face Pressure

Under pressure from Germany, the European Union on Wednesday agreed to consider a new clampdown on tax havens, despite the opposition of one country, Luxembourg, which said it saw no reason to change the existing law. In what is likely to become a lengthy negotiation, the European Commission will propose expanding a directive to ensure that Europeans do not evade taxes on the interest from savings by opening accounts abroad.


Tax havens have been in the spotlight since February, when Germany cracked down on tax evaders. Germany persuaded European finance ministers to speed a planned review of the savings legislation after revelations of tax evasion. Since then, concern has spread, with the tax authorities in Australia and New Zealand carrying out raids and audits on wealthy residents. Most recently, the authorities in the United States indicted a former banker for UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, on charges of helping an American real estate developer evade taxes on $200 million held in bank accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

The end of tax paradises?

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Luxembourg Opens Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art


The dispute was never over I.M. Pei's elegant geometric design for Luxembourg's new Museum of Modern Art. Rather, it was that for the best part of the last 17 years, this tiny, conservative Grand Duchy simply found it hard to accept the need for such a museum.

After all, what could Modern art add to a country that has long prospered as a tax haven for wealthy Europeans? Jacques Santer, Luxembourg's prime minister when the museum was first proposed in 1989, had an answer: it would be good for the country's image. As one of the six founding members of what is now the 25-nation European Union, Luxembourg should demonstrate its belief that Europe was about culture as well as about money. The dream of Mr. Santer and his fellow proselytizers was finally realized in June with the inauguration of the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art, already referred to familiarly as Mudam. Standing beside Christian de Portzamparc's new concert hall, the $100 million museum proclaims that money and culture can go hand in hand.

Still, this striking symbol of modernity is not quite what its name implies. Because Luxembourg owned virtually no Modern art, and the museum could hardly afford to start building a collection of works by, say, Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Dalí, Miró and the like, this is really a museum of contemporary art.

Why do conservatives and extreme right always have problems with art? That must say something about their psyche!

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Steeling an agreement


The Luxembourg steel giant Arcelor is expected to announce a friendly deal to be acquired by Mittal Steel after its board meets Sunday, ending five months of hostility, several people involved in the negotiations said Friday.

Talks between the companies continued Friday in London and other cities in Europe, people involved said, and they could still fall apart. As of Friday evening, the two companies had not agreed on a price, but the deal could be worth about 26 billion Euros ($32.8 billion), up from the previous offer of 24 billion Euros at current market price.

The deal is expected to include some concessions by Mittal, including a chief executive spot for Arcelor's chief, Guy Dollé, control of the management board, and possibly naming the new company Arcelor-Mittal.
An agreement with Mittal would be a significant turnaround for Arcelor. In May, Mittal Steel made a cash- and-stock offer worth just over 36 Euros a share for all of Arcelor, but the deal was rebuffed by Arcelor's management. Instead, Arcelor agreed to sell about a third of the company to the Russian billionaire Aleksei Mordashov in exchange for his steel assets.

   
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Emanuel Paparella2008-11-13 15:07:39
And yet Derrida, who was certainly not on the right of the political spectrum, also like Plato had problems with art to the point of declaring it undefinable. One thing is sure, art cannot hide from politics and in fact it often reveals the politics both artist and viewer espouse; it is like a mirror that allows us to see our faces and the colors of those faces.


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