Iran state TV’s English channel says anchorwoman held in US

Peyman Jebelli, chief of the world service for the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and head of its 24-hour English- and French-language news network Press TV, speaks during a press conference in the capital Tehran on January 16, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 16 January 2019
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Iran state TV’s English channel says anchorwoman held in US

  • The reported detention of Press TV’s Marzieh Hashemi comes as Iran faces increasing criticism of its own arrests of dual nationals and others with Western ties

TEHRAN: A prominent American anchorwoman on Iranian state television’s English-language service has been arrested after flying into the US, the broadcaster reported Wednesday. US law enforcement agencies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The reported detention of Press TV’s Marzieh Hashemi, born Melanie Franklin of New Orleans, comes as Iran faces increasing criticism of its own arrests of dual nationals and others with Western ties, previously used as bargaining chips in negotiations with world powers.
Iran’s state broadcaster held a news conference and launched a hashtag campaign for Hashemi, using the same techniques families with loved ones held in the Islamic Republic use to highlight their cases.
“We will not spare any legal action” to help her, said Paiman Jebeli, deputy chief of Iran’s state IRIB broadcaster.
Press TV said Hashemi, who has worked at the state broadcaster service for 25 years, had been arrested after arriving at St. Louis Lambert International Airport on Sunday. Jebeli alleged that her son, Reza Hashemi, had been arrested as well.
Jeff Lea, a spokesman for St. Louis Lambert International Airport, didn’t immediately return phone or email messages from The Associated Press. Rebecca Wu, St. Louis’ FBI spokeswoman, directed questions to the press office at FBI headquarters.
A call to FBI headquarters rang unanswered early Wednesday morning. The bureau also did not immediately respond to a written request for comment. Several local jails around Washington that house federal inmates also said they did not have her in custody.
Last week, Iran confirmed it is holding US Navy veteran Michael R. White at a prison in the country, making him the first American known to be detained under President Donald Trump’s administration.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told state TV that Hashemi’s arrest indicates the “apartheid and racist policy” of the Trump administration.
“We hope that the innocent person will be released without any condition,” Ghasemi said.
There are four other known American citizens being held in Iran, including Iranian-American Siamak Namazi and his 82-year-old father Baquer, both serving 10-year sentences on espionage charges. Iranian-American art dealer Karan Vafadari and his Iranian wife, Afarin Neyssari, received 27-year and 16-year prison sentences respectively. Chinese-American graduate student Xiyue Wang was sentenced to 10 year in prison.
Also in an Iranian prison is Nizar Zakka, a US permanent resident from Lebanon who advocated for Internet freedom and has done work for the US government. He was sentenced to 10 years on espionage-related charges.
Former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished in Iran in 2007 while on an unauthorized CIA mission, remains missing as well. Iran says that Levinson is not in the country and that it has no further information about him, though his family holds Tehran responsible for his disappearance. Tehran now says it has no information about him.


New Zealand plans new tax for giants like Google, Facebook

Updated 58 min 33 sec ago
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New Zealand plans new tax for giants like Google, Facebook

  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday the current tax system isn’t fair and there is a gap that needs to be closed
  • Revenue Minister Stuart Nash said the tax could be implemented next year

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: New Zealand’s government has announced plans for a new tax targeting online giants like Google and Facebook that earn plenty of money in the country but pay little tax.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday the current tax system isn’t fair and there is a gap that needs to be closed.
She said the proposed digital services tax would tax multinational online companies at about 2 or 3 percent on the revenue they generate in New Zealand. She said the rate is in line with other countries considering similar taxes.
Revenue Minister Stuart Nash said the tax could be implemented next year. He said New Zealand will continue working with the Organization For Economic Cooperation and Development to find an international solution to the problems of taxing big online companies.