Daily Archives: August 26, 2017

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Time Topic

Visit program of “Free Patriotic Movement” Head, Minister Gebran Bassil, to northern Bekaa:

10:00 Mass Service at Ser’een Church – followed by a meeting with the region’s dignitaries in the Church Hall

11:45 Visit to Prophet Shit – laying flower wreath on the tomb of former Hezbollah Secretary General, Al Sayyid Abbas al-Moussawi and meeting with heads of municipalities of the region

16:15 Launching of the water project in Ain Daher – Ainata

18:00 Public meeting at Chlifa Church Hall


16:00 Launching of Ain Daher-Aynata Water Project, patronized by Foreign Affairs Minister, Gebran Bassil, and Water and Energy Minister, César Abi Khalil, at the Project’s site in Ainata – Baalbek Province

17:00 Traditional tourism carnival entitled “Lebanon of the 20th Century” organized by Qartaba Municipal Council at the town’s public square

17:00 Eighth Annual Honors Ceremony for University Graduates in the town of Hounin in the South, organized by Hounin Youth Gathering under the patronage of Hezbollah Executive Council Deputy Head, Sheikh Ali Daamoush, at Al Jinan Hall – Batoul High School – Airport Highway

18:00 Cultural Movement in Baskinta launches a book entitled, “The Fugitive Doctor,” by Author Tanios Abu Nader, followed by an honorary ceremony for the author at St. Joseph Church Hall in Baskinta

================== R.Sh.

Follow the latest National News Agency (NNA) news on Radio Lebanon 98.5, 98.1, and 96.2 FM

South and Central Asia: Acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells Travel to South Asia

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs and Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Alice Wells will travel to Dhaka, Islamabad, and Colombo from August 28-September 2. She will meet with government officials, business leaders, and civil society representatives to discuss our cooperation in the region. On September 1, she will speak at the Indian Ocean Conference in Colombo, which will bring together high-level officials from around the world to discuss peace, progress, and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region.

Follow her activity on twitter: @State_SCA.

Egyptian Ministerial event drives new consensus on Africa and Middle East aviation security

Montréal, 25 August 2017 – A high-level Ministerial Conference on Aviation Security held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, this week has endorsed a new Africa and Middle East Aviation Security Roadmap to align future programmes and targets with ICAO’s new Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP).

In his address to the 27 attending Ministers and 35 Directors General of Civil Aviation, representing some 45 African and Middle Eastern Member States, ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu stressed that ICAO’s new Global Aviation Security Plan sets out key priorities where ICAO, States, and others should now focus their urgent attention, resources and efforts, as well as corresponding actions at the global, national and local levels.

“ICAO recognized long ago that it is imperative that all States have optimized access to the significant socio-economic benefits of safe, secure and reliable global connectivity,” he noted, “and more effective compliance with our global standards, policies and plans is the very first and most fundamental step on that journey.”

The main objective of the AFI and MID AVSEC Roadmap is to encourage and help guide the Africa and Middle East collaboration now needed. President Aliu therefore praised the commitments realized in Sharm El Sheikh as a critical first step which should be emulated worldwide as ICAO seeks similar commitments in aid of its coordinating efforts for global aviation security effectiveness and sustainability.

“The GASeP provides an ambitious framework while incorporating key themes from United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 2309, on Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts via aviation security, adopted in September 2016,” he added.

His Excellency Sherif Fathi, the Minister of Civil Aviation for Egypt, declared the Ministerial conference open under the Patronage of President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, remarking that “This Roadmap complements the important milestone we achieved in the region earlier this year through the Riyadh declaration. It also strongly supports the current AFI and MID SECFAL Plans and will be essential to improved regional cooperation and coordination to enhance aviation security in both Regions.” 

Minister Fathi thanked the ICAO President for the UN agency’s leadership in aviation security, while commending the expanded role now being played by its Regional Offices in Africa and the Middle East.

Council President Aliu also took advantage of his mission to Egypt to award the State with an ICAO Council President Certificate, in recognition of the State’s recent commitments and actions to address aviation safety oversight priorities and improve the effective implementation (EI) of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs).

During his stay in Sharm El Sheikh, the President of the Council also held a number of bilateral meetings with senior government and aviation officials, including a meeting with Eng. Sherif Ismail, the Prime Minister of Egypt. Also in attendance during this meeting were Egyptian Minister Fathi and Mr. Mohamed Khalifa Rahma, ICAO’s Regional Director for its Middle East Office in Cairo.

Resources for Editors

About ICAO
A specialized agency of the United Nations, ICAO was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, amongst many other priorities. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 191 Member States.

ICAO’s Aviation Security and Facilitation Efforts
ICAO’s No Country Left Behind initiative

Anthony Philbin
Chief, Communications
+1 514-954-8220
+1 438-402-8886 (mobile)
Twitter: @ICAO

William Raillant-Clark
Communications Officer
+1 514-954-6705
+1 514-409-0705 (mobile)
Twitter: @wraillantclark
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/raillantclark/


PRETORIA, Taxpayers have seven days left before the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (SVDP) closes on 31 August 2017.

The South African Revenue Service on Thursday appealed to taxpayers with undisclosed offshore assets to use the time available to submit their applications.

There are seven days left before the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (SVDP) closes on 31 August and tax authorities set to begin exchanging data on offshore investments automatically, it said.

To date the revenue service has received 606 SVDP applications of which 253 have been processed. The 253 processed thus far revealed offshore assets to the value of R6.5 billion.

SARS said there has been an increase in enquiries as a result of its widespread communication campaign and the increased use of the communication line it has established with financial institutions and advisors on SVDP matters.

The revenue service is also aware of applications that are in the process of being finalised via its efiling application process. SARS reminded taxpayers to submit these on time.

In line with SARS’ experience with previous deadlines, it is anticipated that the number of applications will increase significantly in the closing days of the SVDP window.

SARS is aware that offshore financial institutions are actively assisting their clients to access prior years’ financial information. Where, in exceptional circumstances, a taxpayer is struggling to get financial information from an offshore institution or otherwise encountering difficulties in obtaining the relevant values of offshore assets, an estimation of the values of these offshore assets may be submitted for purposes of an SVDP application.

In such cases these applications should be accompanied by a description of the efforts to obtain the information, the expected date by which the information will be obtained and the method used to estimate the values.

However, the revenue service stressed that this is not an extension of the 31 August 2017 deadline and will be guided by strict conditions and timeframes, which if not honoured, will forfeit the application.

A total of 101 tax jurisdictions have committed to automatic exchange of information under the new global Common Reporting Standard (CRS). The availability of this information will expose defaulting taxpayers to full taxation, full interest, no relief from penalties and no relief from potential criminal prosecution.

Current lists of jurisdictions that have committed to implementing the CRS are available at https://www.oecd.org/tax/transparency/AEOI-commitments.pdf.

Taxpayers should note that two SARS-related disclosure programmes are running concurrently, which is one of the reasons why the comparison to the 2003 offshore asset amnesty programme, where only one programme was operational, should be treated with caution.

Taxpayers have the option to choose between the SVDP and the normal Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP), depending on which of the two programmes best fits their circumstances.

Taxpayers with offshore assets that were funded with money that was already taxed in South Africa typically make use of the normal VDP. In such a case the value of the offshore asset would not form part of the SARS statistics, as with the SVDP.

It is also important to reiterate that the SVDP is a joint effort between SARS and the South African Reserve Bank. People who do not have an undisclosed tax liability in South Africa but who need to regularise their offshore assets with the Reserve Bank only have to apply to the Reserve Bank.

The Reserve Bank has received 943 applications of which 440 have been processed thus far.

As was demonstrated in the 2016 Budget Review, where no revenue was budgeted around the impact of the introduction of the SVDP, it is difficult to anticipate the final number of applications or the final value of disclosures that the SVDP will yield, said the revenue service.

SARS will gain a better appreciation of the extent of offshore assets held from September 2017 onwards when the automatic exchange of information under the CRS commences for early adopters and in 2018 when automatic exchange of information commences for additional jurisdictions.

While the normal VDP process can be used to declare undisclosed offshore assets, taxpayers should still aim to submit these applications before the automatic exchange of information under the CRS commences.



JOHANNESBURG, A South African model who has said she was whipped with an electric cord by Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe has filed court papers challenging the government’s decision to grant her diplomatic immunity, advocacy group Afriforum said.

Police had placed border posts on red alert to prevent Mrs. Mugabe from leaving but South Africa’s international relations minister said she had granted diplomatic immunity to the wife of Zimbabwe’s 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe.

Afriforum has given legal backing to Gabriella Engels, the 20-year-old woman behind the assault allegation, and is working on the case with Gerrie Nel. He was the prosecutor who secured a murder conviction against Olympic and Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius.

We want to set aside the granting of diplomatic immunity to Grace Mugabe, said Afriforum CEO Kallie Kriel adding that it could take months before the case is heard in court and that no date for the hearing had been set.

Mrs. Mugabe returned home from South Africa early on Sunday, but her immunity was widely-criticised in South Africa, where August has been designated Women’s Month to highlight concerns around gender violence and abuse.

Engels has accused Grace Mugabe of whipping her with an electric extension cable as she waited with two friends in a luxury hotel suite to meet one of Mugabe’s adult sons.

Harare has made no official comment on the issue and requests for comment from Zimbabwean government officials have gone unanswered.