Website: NKorea won’t participate in Tokyo Olympics
SEOUL, South Korea — A North Korean website says the country will not participate in the Tokyo Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Sports in DPR Korea website said Tuesday the decision was made during a national Olympic Committee meeting March 25 where members prioritized protecting athletes from the “world public health crisis caused by COVID-19.”
The country’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and the website describes itself as being run by the North’s Sports Ministry. North Korea’s state media previously reported the committee met but not the outcome of the meeting.
South Korea’s Olympic Committee said it hasn’t been informed of North Korea’s decision, and the government could not immediately confirm the website’s operator.
Yellen calls for minimum global corp income tax
WASHINGTON — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday urged the adoption of a minimum global corporate income tax, an effort to at least partially offset any disadvantages that might arise from the Biden administration’s proposed increase in the U.S. corporate tax rate.
Citing a “30-year race to the bottom” in which countries have slashed corporate tax rates in an effort to attract multinational businesses, Yellen said the Biden administration would work with other advanced economies in the Group of 20 to set a minimum.
President Joe Biden has proposed hiking the U.S. corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%, partially undoing the Trump administration’s cut from 35% in its 2017 tax legislation. Biden also wants to set a minimum U.S. tax on overseas corporate income, and to make it harder for companies to shift earnings offshore. The increase would help pay for the White House’s ambitious $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal.
Gaetz says he won’t resign
WASHINGTON — Rep. Matt Gaetz said Monday he will not leave Congress and denied that he “slept with” an underage girl.
The Florida Republican, starting his fifth year in Congress, has been battling to preserve his political career since reports last week that he is under federal investigation for possible sex crimes. In a column in the Washington Examiner, a conservative news outlet, Gaetz predicted that “some of my feckless colleagues in Congress” will call for him to step down.
“No, I am absolutely not resigning,” he wrote Monday.
Gaetz, 38, is under scrutiny over whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws, including if he had sex with a 17-year-old and other underage girls, paid them or offered gifts in exchange for sex. That’s according to people familiar with the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they could not discuss details publicly.
Haiti awaits COVID vaccines
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haiti does not have a single vaccine to offer its more than 11 million people more than a year after the pandemic began.
So far, Haiti is slated to receive only 756,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through a United Nations program aimed at ensuring the neediest countries get COVID-19 shots. The free doses were scheduled to arrive in May at the latest, but delays are expected because Haiti missed a deadline and the key Indian manufacturer is now prioritizing an increase in domestic demand.
“Haiti has only recently completed some of the essential documentation that are prerequisites for processing of a shipping order,” said Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a Geneva-based public-private partnership that is co-managing the U.N.-backed COVAX effort.
The country also didn’t apply for a pilot program in which it would have received some of its allotted doses early, according to the Pan American Health Organization. However, a spokeswoman commended its other pandemic efforts, including reinforcing hospital preparedness.
Meanwhile, a human rights research center cited in a new U.S. State Department report found Haiti’s government misappropriated more than $1 million worth of coronavirus aid. The report also accused government officials of spending $34 million in the “greatest opacity,” bypassing an agency charged with approving state contracts.
After new law, McConnell warns CEOs: ‘Stay out of politics’
WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says it’s a “big lie” to call the new voting law in Georgia racist and he warned big business to “stay out of politics” after major corporations and even Major League Baseball distanced themselves from the state amid vast public pressure.
McConnell particularly slammed President Joe Biden’s criticism that the Georgia bill was restrictive and a return to Jim Crow-era restrictions in the Southern states aimed limiting ballot access for Black Americans.
“It’s simply not true,” McConnell told reporters Monday.
The choice by the GOP leader to dive into voting politics lends heft to efforts nationwide to install strict new voting laws after Donald Trump’s false claims of fraud that cost him the election to Biden. The new laws are aimed at scaling back early voting and other options that became wildly popular during the pandemic.
Even more, McConnell’s warning to big business not to get involved shows the scramble Republicans face as progressive groups are shining a spotlight on corporate America to live up to its brands and values as Congress takes on voting rights, gun violence and other issues Republicans have resisted.