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Supporters of opposition party KMT wearing t-shirts with the Taiwan flag at an election rally in Taoyuan.

REUTERS/Ann Wang

What We’re Watching: Taiwanese election, Trump's taxes, South African protests, ugly economic forecast

As Taiwan votes, China watches

Taiwanese go to the polls Saturday to vote in the first election since early 2020, when President Tsai Ing-wen won a second term in office right before COVID erupted. This time it’s only a local election, but as with anything political in Taiwan, China is paying close attention. Beijing is bullish on the pro-China KMT party, which is leading the polls in several key races. (Fun fact: the KMT mayoral candidate for the capital, Taipei, is the great-grandson of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the founder of modern Taiwan.) A good overall result for the KMT would mean two things. First, it would buck historical trends — and China's declining popularity among Taiwanese — if voters sour on the ruling anti-China DPP party just months after China responded with its biggest-ever show of military force to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visiting the island. Second, it raises the stakes for the DPP ahead of the presidential election in 2024, when the popular but term-limited Tsai needs a strong candidate for the party to stay in power. Alternatively, if polls are wrong and the DPP does well, expect fire and fury from across the Taiwan Strait.

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Will Tech Companies Embrace the Global Corporate Tax Deal? | Cyber In :60 | GZERO Media

How will the global corporate tax deal impact tech companies?

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

Will the OECD-brokered global corporate tax deal make a difference?

Well, it should, at least in two years, once it is adopted by the 136 countries that have now agreed to it. Once enforced, a minimum contribution would see approximately $125 billion flowing to public purses where it doesn't today. It would make it harder for countries to be tax havens or to be part of this race to the bottom when it comes to tax rates. It puts a limit on competition between countries but that is still possible. Now, public scrutiny over the corporate sector has intensified over the past years and with a whole host of issues like health care, climate change, and infrastructure begging for better solutions, there is a need for fair taxation that is widely supported, both publicly and now also politically.

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Demonstrators take part in a protest against the tax reform of President Ivan Duque's government in Bogota.

REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

Don’t tax the dead: Colombia’s crisis

There's never a great time to impose higher taxes on funeral services — but doing it in the middle of a raging pandemic is an especially bad move. Yet that was one of a number of measures that the Colombian government proposed last week in a controversial new tax bill that has provoked the country's largest and most violent protests in decades.

In the days since, the finance minister has resigned, the tax reform has been pulled, and President Iván Duque has called for fresh dialogue with activists, union leaders, and opposition politicians.

But demonstrations, vandalism, and deadly clashes with police have only intensified. Two dozen people are dead, 40 are missing, and the UN has criticized Colombian police for their heavy-handed response.

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Gabriella Turrisi

The Graphic Truth: What companies actually pay in taxes

On top of the global debate about enacting a minimum global tax for multinational corporations, there's another growing movement in a host of countries for all firms to pay their fair share in taxes, whether they do business abroad or not. Many US corporations are notorious for getting away with paying little to no federal taxes by taking advantage of multiple loopholes in the tax code — which is true for a lot of them. However, as a whole the average percentage of income US corporations do pay taxes on — their effective tax rate — is in reality not much lower than the legal national rate due to additional taxes levied by some US states and cities — the same as in many other developed economies. We compare the official and the effective corporate tax rates in some nations around the world.

Ari Winkleman

The Graphic Truth: Can we work only 4 days a week?

This fall Spain plans to launch what will be the world's first national pilot program for a four-day workweek. The idea has gained popularity in recent years to encourage productivity, boost workers' mental health, and fight climate change (less commuting means less pollution). The pandemic, particularly with its stresses on mental well-being, has added urgency to the proposal. That's why other countries — especially those with strong labor protections and short workdays — are paying close attention to the experiment, under which the Spanish government will subsidize part of a company's cost to transition its employees to a four-day workweek. Here's a look at how long workers are generally on the job in other OECD countries (without accounting for paid leave in any of them).

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