HUGE BANG DORTMUND, Germany (AP): Three explosions went off near the team bus of Borussia Dortmund, one of Germany’s top football clubs, as it set off for a Champions League quarter-final match yesterday, slightly injuring a player. Police said in a statement they were working on the assumption that the blasts ahead of the team’s match against Monaco were caused by “serious explosive devices”, which may have been hidden in a hedge near a car park. They didn’t elaborate on the possible nature of the devices or say who might have planted them ahead of the first-leg match between Borussia Dortmund and Monaco, which was subsequently called off and rescheduled for today. Police said that there were three explosions near the Dortmund team bus as they left their hotel on the outskirts of the western city of Dortmund for the stadium, around 10 kilometres away, around 7 p.m. local time. A window on the bus was damaged and Spanish defender Marc Bartra was injured. Dortmund said Bartra was taken to a hospital. Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said Bartra was injured in the arm and hand “but nothing life-threatening”. Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Buerki said the team bus had just pulled out of the hotel driveway when an explosion a “huge bang” happened and sent glass flying. The Switzerland international told Swiss daily Blick that he was sitting in the last row of the bus, next to Bartra. Bartra was hit by shards from the broken back window, he added. Players ducked for cover, wondering whether there would be more explosions. “We’re all shocked nobody thought about a football match in the minutes after that,” he said. Inside the packed stadium, supporters of Monaco, who play in the French league, chanted “Dortmund, Dortmund” in sympathy for the German side. Dortmund residents, for their part, used social media to offer accommodation to stranded Monaco supporters ahead of their rescheduled match in Europe’s premier football club competition. “The team is totally shocked, that’s clear. It’s our task now to digest this somehow because it’s only 24 hours before we have to play. That’s our job,” Watzke said. He added that there was “no alternative” to rescheduling the match for today as Monaco also have to play at the weekend and the return Champions League match is scheduled for next week.
…”this is truly a Christmas Budget” – ScottMinister within the Social Protection Ministry with responsibility for labour, Keith Scott has sought to defend the coalition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government’s staunch stance on tackling tax evasion and tax avoidance, saying more could have been achieved over the years had it not been for the rampant mischief that is tax evasion.Minister within the Social Protection Ministry with responsibility for labour, Keith ScottMinister Scott was at the time giving his presentation in the debate on the 2017 National Estimates (Budget) – a Budget that has since seen Government being on the receiving end of severe criticism over the proposed revised taxation system, inclusive of additional penalties and regulations.According to Minister Scott, “It was established by reputable sources that tax evasion was more rampant then than ever, and I would not say that that situation is any way different today.”Scott used the occasion to point out to the members of the National Assembly that the measures outlined in Budget 2017 are meant to tackle the scourge of tax avoidance and tax evasion head-on “by introducing a series of measures that will arrest this trend which will make available more dollars to the economy and thereby causing more jobs to be created for the benefit of all.”He told the House that the levels of unemployment in Guyana could have been much lower “if there had been a more even distribution in the execution of our legal and moral responsibilities in the context of taxation, that is the payment of the various taxes, including income taxes, rates and taxes”.Speaking to some of the relief measures announced by Finance Minister Winston Jordan, Scott also drew reference to the reduction in the corporation tax meant to benefit large businesses.As such, he reported his pleasure at reiterating that the prayers of the business community had been answered when Minister Jordan announced a reduction in the Corporate Tax from 30 per cent to 27.5 per cent.Government, he said, will be losing out on in excess of $750 million annually as a result of the concession offered to the business community.Jobs createdAddressing his remit as Minister with responsibility for Labour, Scott told the House that at the beginning of this year the Ministry’s Central Recruitment and Manpower Agency had projected finding employment for some 3500 persons.He told the House that the Ministry managed to achieve 89 per cent of its target by placing some 3122 individuals in gainful employment.Speaking to the reduction in the income tax rate to be paid, calculated at 28 per cent instead of 30 per cent, Minister Scott said, “I am sure that this entire House would agree that these and other tax measures translates into a good life.”Scott also used his presentation to laud several of the other measures of the 2017 Estimates announced by Minister Jordan, such as the accommodations for GRA tender compliance and the automatic issuance of temporary certificates.According to Minister Scott, the measures are meant to create a more level playing field with regard to the tendering of contracts.He noted too that the measures were intended to improve transparency and lead to a more equitable distribution of resources, as well as to make for good corporate citizenship.Scott, in his presentation, contended, “This is truly a Christmas Budget… it has offered a gift to all sectors of our society and has left the traditional prophets of doom with no ammunition to attack us ,but to resort to lies and distortions.” (Gary Eleazar)