Iranian women protest US arrest of state TV journalist

People in Tehran are protesting the arrest of an Iranian journalist in the US, who works for an English-speaking state sponsored channel in Iran. (AFP)
Updated 20 January 2019
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Iranian women protest US arrest of state TV journalist

  • The journalist’s family and friends say she was arrested in Louis Lambert International Airport on Jan. 13
  • Iran’s Foreign Minister says the arrest stands in the way of free speech

TEHRAN: Dozens of women staged a protest in in Tehran on Sunday calling for the release of an Iranian state TV journalist arrested in the United States.
The demonstrators waved pictures of Marzieh Hashemi at the rally in front of the Swiss Embassy which handles US interests in the Islamic republic.
US-born Hashemi, who works for Iran’s English-language Press TV, was held on arrival at St. Louis Lambert International Airport on January 13, according to family and friends cited by Press TV.
Hashemi, a Muslim convert who changed her name from Melanie Franklin, had reportedly been visiting her ill brother and other family members.
A US court on Friday confirmed the arrest, saying her testimony is required over an unspecified case but that she is not accused of a crime.
At a hearing in Washington, a judge ordered the partial unsealing of an order on Hashemi.
It said that Hashemi was arrested on “a material arrest warrant” and would be let go after she gave testimony to a grand jury investigating unspecified “violations of US criminal law.”
The protesters in Tehran, including students and female members of the paramilitary Basij militia, shouted slogans such as “we are all Marzieh” and carried posters with the hashtag #FreeMarziehHashemi.
“We demand that she is immediately released and returned to her family in full health,” demonstrator Minaeepour told AFP.
Iran’s FM Javad Zarif on Thursday described the detention as a “political action” by the United States that “tramples on freedom of speech” and demanded she be set free.
Zarif said that since Hashemi was married to an Iranian she is considered as an Iranian national and “it is our duty to defend our citizens.”


New Zealand plans new tax for giants like Google, Facebook

Updated 18 February 2019
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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.