The U.S. launches airstrikes against ISIL in Syria; the Treasury fights against tax inversions, and lawmakers urge the FCC to maintain its ban on in-flight cell phone calls. Here are the top news stories for Sept. 23, 2014.
U.S. Launches Airstrikes in Syria
President Barack Obama Tuesday will make a public comment about the overnight airstrikes in Syria against the Islamic State. The attacks targeted up to 20 sites, including logistics, fuel and weapons depots, training sites, troop encampments, and command and control sites. The United States attack included manned and unmanned planes, including F-22s and B-1 bombers. According to Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby, “The decision to conduct these strikes was made by the U.S. Central Command commander under authorization granted him by the commander in chief. According to U.S. officials, five Middle East countries assisted the U.S. with the airstrikes, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Treasury Takes Action Against Tax Inversions
In response to a number of companies, many in the pharmaceutical industry, moving their headquarters overseas to avoid U.S. taxes, the U.S. Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service have come up with a series of actions to make those “tax inversions’’ less attractive. The Treasury says it is trying to reduce the benefits that come with buying a foreign company in order to switch its tax base to a country with lower rates. “These first, targeted steps make substantial progress in constraining the creative techniques used to avoid U.S. taxes, both in terms of meaningfully reducing the economic benefits of inversions after the fact, and when possible, stopping them altogether," Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said. The Treasury says it will prevent U.S. companies from accessing a foreign subsidiary’s earnings while deferring U.S. taxes, and would block inverted companies from transferring cash or property to a new parent company in order to avoid U.S. tax.
Lawmakers Say “No’’ to Phone Calls On Airplanes
U.S. lawmakers Monday urged federal regulators to maintain its ban on making mobile phone calls on commercial airline flights. There is a proposed Federal Communications Commission rule that would allow the use of cell phones on flights, but that rule is raising concerns over safety and security. "Passengers making voice calls during flight could impact the ability of crew members—flight attendants and pilots—to perform their jobs, keep passengers safe and the cabin environment calm,'' said a letter from 77 members of the House of Representatives. The flight attendants union is also in support of maintaining the ban.
White House Front Door Will Be Locked
Did you know the front door to the White House is not always locked? It will be now, after a fence jumper entered through the front portico while carrying a knife. “After Friday night's incident, when the door is not in use, it will be secured," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday. A 42-year-old decorated Iraq war veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome faces charges of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said the front door to the White House had been kept locked "intermittently." “It’s clear the door should have been locked when the incident began," he said.
Beer-Flavored Coffee at Starbucks?
In Ohio and Florida, Starbucks is testing a new latte that has the flavor of a foamy mug of stout beer. The Dark Barrel Latte is topped with whipped cream, dark caramel drizzle and incorporates a “chocolaty stout flavored sauce.” The drink contains no alcohol. No further details on the drink or the company’s plans for testing were available. Starbucks has said it would expand its test of serving alcohol and small bites in the evening to a number of stores around the country.
German Bank Official Charged With Fraud
Juergen Fitschen, co-CEO of Deutsche Bank, has been charged with what attempted serious fraud over misleading statements made in a court case. Four others were also charged, including two former CEOs of the bank. The Munich prosecutor’s office said Fitschen, Rolf Breuer, Josef Ackerman and others gave misleading statements during a lawsuit brought by media mogul Leo Kirch, who died in 2011. Kirch accused Breuer of contributing to the 2002 bankruptcy of his company by saying publicly that banks would not lend it any more money. Deutsche Bank settled with Kirch’s estate earlier this year by agreeing to pay 775 million Euros, which translates to $997 million. A court must yet decide whether there is enough evidence for a trial.