EU warns Italy, Isle of Man over yachts, private jets tax breaks

It warned Italy about its system of exemptions for fuel used to power charted yachts in EU waters. (AP)
Updated 10 November 2018
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EU warns Italy, Isle of Man over yachts, private jets tax breaks

  • Italy and the UK have two months to respond to the letters of notice before they get a warning
  • Britain received a letter of formal notice over the Isle of Man’s VAT practices related to supplies and leasing of aircraft

BRUSSELS: Italy and the Isle of Man found themselves in the European Commission’s crosshairs on Thursday as the EU executive took steps to force them to scrap illegal tax breaks for yachts and private jets or face court action.
The EU executive said incorrect value added taxes levied by Italy and the Isle of Man breached common tax rules and distorted competition.
The Commission said it had sent a letter of formal notice, the first step in its infringement proceedings, to Italy for not levying the correct amount of VAT on the leasing of yachts.
It also warned Italy about its system of exemptions for fuel used to power charted yachts in EU waters, in a notice called a reasoned opinion. This second step is typically followed by court action if countries fail to allay the Commission’s concerns.
Britain also received a letter of formal notice over the Isle of Man’s VAT practices related to supplies and leasing of aircraft. The island, located between Great Britain and Ireland, is a self-governing territory that is under British sovereignty although not part of the United Kingdom.
“It’s simply not fair that some individuals and companies can get away with not paying the correct amount of VAT on products like yachts and aircraft,” European Taxation Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said in a statement.
Italy and the UK have two months to respond to the letters of notice before they get a warning. In the excise duty case, Italy will have two months to convince the Commission or be taken to court.
Cyprus, Malta and Greece were targeted by the Commission for similar yacht VAT breaches in March and have subsequently said they would revise their legislation.


South Sudan vaccinates health teams in Ebola epidemic

Updated 10 December 2018
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South Sudan vaccinates health teams in Ebola epidemic

  • The ministry of health’s vaccination campaign, with cooperation from the WHO, will target health care and frontline workers in the high-risk states of Juba, Yei, Yambio and Nimule

NAIROBI: South Sudan will vaccinate key health workers against Ebola close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, which faces a new epidemic, the World Health Organization said Monday.
The ministry of health’s vaccination campaign, with cooperation from the WHO, will target health care and frontline workers in the high-risk states of Juba, Yei, Yambio and Nimule, the UN agency said in a statement.
South Sudan is one of several countries bordering the vast DRC, where the new outbreak of the highly contagious viral disease had since August claimed 271 lives by December 6, according to Congolese Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga.
A total of 2,160 doses of the experimental vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV have been allocated to South Sudan for a program starting on December 19. This trial vaccine is not yet licensed but is considered safe and provided “under the compassionate-use guidelines in response to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in DRC,” the WHO said.
Like neighboring Uganda, where similar measures have been taken for health personnel, South Sudan has declared a state of alert because of the risk that Ebola may be carried into its territory. At present, no cases have been reported, according the WHO.
The experimental vaccine first went on trial during the terrible epidemic of Ebola that ravaged parts of West Africa between the end of 2013 and 2016, at a cost of more than 11,300 lives. The disease spreads through contact with bodily fluids from other people or infected animals.
The vaccine was created by Canadian public health specialists at the National Microbiology Laboratory and is considered highly effective by the WHO, but it works only against the Ebola virus-Zaire strain, confirmed in the outbreak in the DRC.
South Sudan has been torn by civil war for five years in a conflict that has left nearly 400,000 dead. More than four million people — about a third of the population — have fled.
The main belligerents signed a peace accord in September, but the work of humanitarian organizations remains complicated and dangerous.
Participants in the vaccination program have been trained on rVSV-ZEBOV and undertaken a simulation exercise. Meanwhile, the Ebola preparedness contingency plan covers measures ranging from screening travelers, community engagement and provision for safe and dignified funerals, the WHO said.