The top­ics you have to be able to dis­cuss this week


1. Tax on rev­enues?

Euro­pean fi­nance min­is­ters want dig­i­tal firms such as Ama­zon and Google to be taxed in Europe based on their rev­enues, rather than only on prof­its. In a joint let­ter, the min­is­ters of France, Ger­many, Italy and

Spain say the com­pa­nies should not be al­lowed to do busi­ness in Europe while pay­ing min­i­mal amounts of tax.

The dig­i­tal firms are taxed on prof­its booked by sub­sidiaries in low-tax coun­tries such as Ire­land, even if the rev­enue orig­i­nated from a dif­fer­ent EU coun­try.

“It would be good for the ANC [to lose the next elec­tion] be­cause those el­e­ments who are in it for the largesse will quit it, will desert it and only then would the pos­si­bil­ity arise for sal­vaging what­ever is left of it.” Kgalema Mot­lanthe, speak­ing to the BBC’S Hardtalk

2. China clamps down on cryp­tocur­ren­cies

The grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of bit­coin in China may have caused the govern­ment to see it as a threat to the lo­cal cur­rency. China is ru­moured to be go­ing af­ter bit­coin ex­changes in an ef­fort to step up its clam­p­down on cryp­tocur­ren­cies. The news caused the price of bit­coin to fall close to US$4,000. Three Chi­nese ex­changes made up more than 45% of the global mar­ket share over the past 30 days, ac­cord­ing to Bit­coin­ity.org.

3. Wind en­ergy cheaper than nuclear

En­ergy from off­shore wind in the UK will for the first time be cheaper than elec­tric­ity gen­er­ated from nuclear. Com­pa­nies say they can build off­shore plants for £57.50/MWH. This is half the price of wind power sub­si­dies granted in 2015. In com­par­i­son, the Hink­ley Point C nuclear plant now be­ing built se­cured sub­si­dies of £92.50/MWH.

Wind sub­si­dies will run for 15 years, while sub­si­dies for nuclear run for 35 years. Nuclear will still be part of the UK’S en­ergy mix, but the huge price dif­fer­ence has put pres­sure on the govern­ment to re­con­sider its com­mit­ment to a new gen­er­a­tion of nuclear sta­tions.

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