- - Tuesday, April 24, 2012

OTTAWA — Canada’s Ontario province Tuesday introduced a 2 percent surtax on the “super rich” - those with annual earnings of more than $500,000.

The measure passed by a vote of 52 to 37, with New Democrats abstaining and Tories voting against. It will help the government eliminate a $15.3 billion deficit by 2017-18.

“They wanted a tax on the rich, I wanted to pay down our deficit faster,” Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said at a news conference Monday. “So if you make more than half a million dollars, we will ask that you do a little bit more.”

The minority Liberal government was short two votes in the 107-seat legislature to pass its budget bill. Despite a pledge last year not to raise taxes, it struck a last-minute deal with Social Democrats to avert a snap election.

The surtax is expected to generate about $470 million in revenue next year, which will go directly to deficit reduction. Once the budget is balanced in five years, the surtax will be removed.

This is expected to affect 23,000 Ontarians, or about 0.2 percent of tax filers in the province.

UKRAINE

Tymoshenko goes on hunger strike

KIEV — Jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has gone on hunger strike after prison guards allegedly beat her, her lawyer said Tuesday.

Mrs. Tymoshenko, who suffers from a severe spinal condition and needs hospital treatment, was taken Friday to a clinic in the eastern city of Kharkiv where her prison is located, but was moved back to jail a day later after refusing treatment.

Mrs. Tymoshenko’s lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, said prison officials kicked Mrs. Tymoshenko in the stomach while taking her to the hospital by force.

Mrs. Tymoshenko refused to be treated at the Kharkiv clinic because she doesn’t trust government-appointed doctors.

When prison officials entered her jail cell, Mrs. Tymoshenko “naturally got scared, began resisting, after which she received a punch in the stomach and passed out,” Mr. Vlasenko said, adding that she still has a large bruise on her stomach after the incident.

Mr. Vlasenko said Mrs. Tymoshenko has been refusing food since Friday night.

ISRAEL

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