History is the version of past events have decided to agree upon -Napoleon
Unfortunately for Napoleon the sovereignty of the many islands that reside in the South China Sea (or more specifically the oil and mineral rich seabed that lies beneath them) have rarely been discussed politely in diplomatic circles let alone agreed upon. Of the 6 main Asian powers with contesting claims, a list that contains Vietnam, China, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, China is undoubtedly the biggest kid on the block. Not only has China had the ability to forcibly coerce other nations in the region but it has recently had the incentive and brevity to do so.Currently China claims nearly all of the South China Sea including ocean as far West as the Philippines and as far South as Northern Indonesia making its claim at over 2,900,000 square kilometres, approximately the size of Argentina.
The government has released its half-yearly report on Mining Tax profits one year on from the implementation of the tax. Last year Julia Gillard promised that the controversial tax would generate over 2 billion dollars (2.05 billion U.S dollars) in its first financial year alone. The end results have been disappointing to say the least with the total profits equalling under 126 million, only 6.3% of expected revenue leading many to question whether the Mining tax was really worth it. The nail in the coffin for the Mining Tax is not the forecast of 2 billion but the budget’s expectation of the tax. In Swan’s budget the tax was supposed to supply over 3 billion dollars of federal income, probably one of the main reasons for his doubletake on a budget surplus. Government spokesperson’s explained the failure as down to lower than expected commodity prices, probably due to the unexpectedly high Australian dollar as well as instability in our region and others.
The Coalition has jumped at these findings and has renewed its promise to scrap the tax as well as all related legislature if they rise to power. For more on Mining Tax head to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minerals_Resource_Rent_Tax
Taken by White House Employees. Copyright Free.
On February 1st, the US Congress voted 64 to 34 to temporarily raise the American debt limit past it’s current 16.4 trillion until May the 19th when a new deal must be struck. This provides another reprieve for the American economy which has been under intense scrutiny due to it’s much prophesised collapse that was supposed to take place at the beginning of January, when automatic spending cuts where to be put in place. Although Obama has copped a lot of criticism for his budget plans and his apparently free spending he has little to no control over both of those aspects of government. Read more