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Global Notebook 3/98

 Global Tax Gets Another Look

LONDON – Proposals to pay for international aid, peacekeeping, and other humanitarian causes through global taxes have long been shunned by the US Congress. Suggestions range from an international lottery to a tax on the arms trade. But one idea – a tax on foreign currency transactions – may have a better chance after the currency fluctuations that crashed the “Asian miracle.”

Although congressional Right-wingers see it as a plot against US sovereignty, cuts in Western aid budgets and recent economic jitters are reviving consideration of the so-called Tobin Tax. Originally suggested by US Nobel laureate James Tobin, a tax on currency transactions supposedly would discourage trading and reduce exchange-rate volatility. With $1.2 trillion washing through the global economy every day, the proceeds could reach $80 billion a year. Princeton economist Peter Kenan suggests that funds be used for projects like disaster relief, AIDS research, and environmental clean-ups. read more

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Global Notebook 2/99

Moving Beyond Borders

PRETORIA – When southern Africa was wracked by civil wars in the 1980s, an electric fence was strung across the no-man’s-land separating South Africa from Mozambique. But it’s about to be replaced by a huge, trans-boundary "peace park" linking Kruger National Park in South Africa with two others across the border. Together with a reserve in Zimbabwe, the plan represents a new trend in nature conservation and regional cooperation. read more