World Event Diary – 19th July 2012, Thursday

Russia ratifies entry to join WTO

Russia has finally ratified the agreement to join the World Trade Organisation which took Russia 18 years to negotiate. The decision came after the Federation Council voted 144 to four on Wednesday to approve the protocol on WTO entry, despite widespread opposition inside the country. Russia will become a WTO member 30 days after the bill is signed by the President.

The opposition parties in Russia have been arguing that membership in the WTO would kill Russia’s manufacturing industries and agriculture. Critics said Russia was entering the WTO on significantly worse terms than other emerging economies did, by agreeing to cut its import tariffs from an average 9.5 per cent now to six per cent by 2015.

22 NATO trucks destroyed by Taliban

In a convoy of NATO fuel supply trucks loaded with fuel and other goods for U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan, The Taliban detonated a bomb on a fuel tanker and then opened fire on other trucks, on Wednesday. The Taliban said it attacked NATO supply trucks parked overnight in the Rabatak area of Samangan, and thus around 22 trucks were destroyed.

Islamabad blocked NATO supply trucks for seven months in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

New norms by OECD to check tax evasion and black money

The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Wednesday, updated Article 26 of the model tax convention, which stands for the international standard on exchange of information related to financial data, including instances of black money and money laundering. It will now allow the member-countries to obtain information about a group of tax payers from another country, without verifying their identities separately. This is in order to keep a check on tax evaders and keep money laundering activities and black money menace at bay.