Yukos announced that Russian authorities have told the company its bank accounts are not frozen, giving it access to cash in a major decision the beleaguered oil giant said would help it stay afloat and make good on the massive back-tax bills it faces. \nThe Justice Ministry's bailiffs service told Yukos that it can use its accounts to make monthly payments to cover current operations "as the accounts of Yukos in credit organizations are not blocked," the company said Wednesday in a brief statement on its Web site. \nYukos managers had been warn-ing that unless the company gained access to accounts it said were frozen around the beginning of last month, it could be forced to halt operations and driven out business. \n"We welcome the decision of the Justice Ministry," the Yukos statement quoted chief financial officer Bruce Misamore as saying. \nHe said it would allow Yukos to make uninterrupted payments of current taxes, as well as payments on its US$3.4 billion back-tax bill for 2000, and to "continue financing production activities." \n"This, no doubt, is good news for our several hundred thousand workers and their family members," Misamore said. \nLate last month, chief executive officer (CEO) Steven Theede said restricted access to cash meant that Yukos might be unable to fund its operating expenses and pay bills sometime in the first half of this month. \nCiting an unidentified source at Yukos, the Interfax news agency reported that the Justice Ministry told the company that bailiffs had removed all assets from the accounts last month -- which is when they were reported frozen -- but would not remove money that is in the accounts now or is placed in them in the future. \nAccording to Interfax, the Justice Ministry told Yukos that "an arrest cannot be placed on the accounts themselves" or on money entering them in the future. \nIn addition to the 2000 bill, Yukos faces a similar claim for 2001 and tax authorities are investigating its 2002 activities. The mounting tax claims, along with the trial of former CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, are part of a web of actions by Moscow that many observers say are part of a campaign to punish the billionaire for his growing clout and may be aimed to put at least part of the company in Kremlin-friendly hands. \nThe company has said that it does not have sufficient funds to pay the back-tax claims and has made repeated requests to the government to spread out payments. \nYukos has also repeatedly complained about a court order freezing its assets, which has made it impossible for the firm to raise funds by selling off peripheral units. \nYukos has offered to sell its interest in a gas joint venture with the Anglo-Russian oil company TNK-BP to help settle the bill, and the ITAR-Tass news agency reported that the sale would raise US$357 million toward the US$3.4 billion claim.
At the start of their first-ever virtual World Health Assembly (WHA), WHO member states agreed to delay a controversial discussion on granting Taiwan observer status until later in the year. The agreement came after WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pledged to launch an independent probe to review the coronavirus pandemic response as soon as possible, and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) announced that China would provide US$2 billion over two years to fight the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout. Despite the US and other members stepping up pressure in recent days, the WHA unanimously agreed to postpone a decision on observer
Another automatic 30-day visa extension for foreigners who entered Taiwan on or before March 21 this year has been granted, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) announced yesterday during the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) daily news briefing. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had granted an initial automatic 30-day visa extension on March 21 for foreigners who entered Taiwan on or before that date with a visa waiver, visitor’s visa or landing visa — and another on April 17, as part of tightened border control measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Many foreigners who arrived in Taiwan on holidays or for
PROTEST SENT: Despite a wave of international support Taiwan did not receive an invite, which means that it and all WHO members would lose out, the two ministers said Taiwan deeply regrets and is very dissatisfied that it was not invited to attend the annual World Health Assembly (WHA), which began a virtual meeting yesterday, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said. During the Central Epidemic Command Center’s daily news conference, Chen, who heads the center, said that as of 2pm, Taiwan had not received an invitation to the meeting, which was to begin at 6pm Taiwan time. “We put in our efforts [to get invited] up until the last moment, but it seems that we are unlikely to be invited,
US lawmakers and officials are crafting proposals to push US companies to move operations or key suppliers out of China that include tax breaks, new rules and carefully structured subsidies. Interviews with a dozen current and former government officials, industry executives and members of Congress show widespread discussions underway — including the idea of a “reshoring fund” originally stocked with US$25 billion — to encourage US companies to drastically revamp their relationship with China. US President Donald Trump has long pledged to bring manufacturing back from overseas, but the spread of COVID-19 and related concerns about US medical and food supply chains