- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Russia to cut taxes for small business

MOSCOW At Russian President Vladimir Putin's request, lawmakers and government ministers agreed yesterday to draft legislation that would cut taxes for small- and medium-sized businesses a sector of the Russian economy that has been slow to develop.

"The present level of taxation and the way taxes are paid are not the best for the development of this sphere effectively," Mr. Putin said in televised remarks.

Russian Economic Development and Trade Minister Gherman Gref said after the Kremlin meeting that the tax on sales would be cut from 8 percent to 6 percent, the Interfax news agency reported. Mr. Gref said that plans also are under way to reduce the net-profit tax rate from 20 percent to 15 percent, according to the Itar-Tass news agency.

The tax cuts would affect businesses with annual revenue of up to 15 million rubles ($469,000), a higher ceiling than the 10 million rubles ($312,000) proposed by the Kremlin earlier this year.

Quick death awaits starving kangaroos

MELBOURNE, Australia Shooters gathered yesterday to begin killing as many as 15,000 kangaroos on grasslands within an army base in southern Australia after the population exploded and the animals began starving.

The defense department hired nine shooters to reduce the kangaroo population on the 110,000-acre Puckapunyal army base in the southern state of Victoria, spokesman Brian Humphreys said.

The animals will be shot in the head, and their carcasses will be buried in mass graves on the base.

Clinton raises flag in East Timor

DILI, East Timor In its first day as an independent nation yesterday, East Timor swore in a new Cabinet and signed a key oil treaty with Australia. The people danced in the streets and staged a parade in celebration of their nation's birth.

Former President Bill Clinton raised the American flag at the new U.S. Embassy in the seaside capital of Dili and while doing so acknowledged that the United States' record in East Timor has been less than sterling.

Mr. Clinton was asked about U.S. support for the Indonesian military regime that invaded East Timor. "I don't believe America or any of the other countries were sufficiently sensitive in the beginning or for a long time," he said.

British priest jailed in child-porno case

LONDON A senior Roman Catholic clergyman yesterday was jailed for nine months for having more than 30,000 photographs and computer images of children involved in sex acts.

The Rev. Michael O'Kelly, the dean of Reading, had pleaded guilty to a single charge of making indecent images of a child between June 1997 and October 2000.

Prosecutors said there was no evidence to suggest that O'Kelly had shared the images with others or that he had physically abused children.

O'Kelly, 47, who was being treated at a hospital in southern England, was placed under a six-year supervision order during which time authorities will monitor his behavior. He was banned from ever working with children.

Argentine voters want new elections

BUENOS AIRES The popularity of President Eduardo Duhalde, Argentina's unelected leader who has overseen deepening financial and social crisis, has slumped to record lows and a growing number of voters want him to quit and call early elections.

A survey published yesterday by respected Catterberg y Asociados pollsters showed 59 percent of Argentines disapproved of Mr. Duhalde, compared with 24 percent when he was appointed president by an emergency Congress session in January.

Mr. Duhalde, the fifth president since December when elected President Fernando de la Rua quit amid bloody food looting, has struggled to end a four-year recession that has put banks near collapse and seen the devaluation of the currency.

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