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Friday, 28 December 2012

Blue Morning (and Baby Blue)


Three pictures from the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC:




Ethiopian Cooking, Restaurants in Washington DC


The good thing about being in Washington DC is the opportunity to eat out at Ethiopian restaurants (and to exchange a few words of Amharic with a taxi-driver). One driver was glad to hear about my documentary film on Ethiopia, and the scenes of Ethiopian Christmas at Lalibela (January 6th).

I see the Rastafari Fellowship has reposted my film on YouTube (worse copy), without a credit to me. I'm happy that it's being viewed by Ethiopians and Rastas, after all these years. About the Rastafari Fellowship:

"Call to all RASTAFARI! Support the Lion of Judah Society! Let Jah Will be done! That the Name of Our God and Father One Haile Selassie be glorified in and through Iyesus Kristos!"

ያባታችን ሆይ ጸሎት

አባታችን ሆይ:በሰማይ፡የምትኖር፤ስምህ፡ይቀደስ፡መንግሥትህ፡ትምጣ።ፈቀድህ፡በሰማይ፡እንደሆነች:እንዲሁ፡በምድር­፡ትሁን።የዕለት፡እንጀራችንን፡ስጠን፡ዛሬ።በደላችንንም፡ይቅር፡በለን%እኛ፡የበደሉንን፡ይቅር፡እንደምን­ል።ወደፈተናም፡አታግባን፤ከክፉ፡አድነን፡እንጂ።መንግሥት፡ያንተ፡ናትና።ኃይልም፡ምስጋናም፡ለዘለዐለሙ።­አሜን።

Most of the Ethiopian restaurants in DC are in Adams-Morgan or on 9th and U Streets.

Huffington Post article

Injera with doro wat tastes great, but the berbere and spices can prove challenging. In my nostalgic enthusiasm I had forgotten.

In future I'll stick to Ethiopian (and Eritrean) music.


Ethiopian Culture and Folk Art

Meanwhile, Nina-Maria reports on US troop deployments in Africa for China Central TV, go to the 15 minute mark to watch

When The Sun Goes Down, Island Stories


Now available in paperback, from Amazon

Also on Kindle as an e-book

See the first customer review here.

Another review here

Maria Strani-Potts, books

Thursday, 20 December 2012

The clan gathers in Washington




Typical British family: variously born 
in Ethiopia, Kenya, France, Bermuda and the USA 
(as a result of international careers of parents and grandparents)!





Monday, 17 December 2012

Greece, Property and Capital Gains Taxes



Kathimerini article on new property and capital gains taxes in Greece (in Greek)

Automatic translation:

Surcharge on real estate and capital gains tax

The transfers will be charged at 20% on the difference between sale and purchase price

From 01/01/2013 all property transfer will be accompanied by capital gains, provided that occurs at a rate of 20%.

At the same time it continues to real estate transfer tax despite the original intentions of the economic team to eliminate or reduce them to the same level of taxes imposed in various countries of the European Union.

The bill states that the land transfer tax is levied at 20% on the difference between sale and purchase price. This difference will be taxed by applying the following factors age:

- 0.90 for holdings of 1 to 5 years

- 0.80 for holdings of 5 to 10 years

- 0.75 for holdings of 10 to 15 years

- 0.70 hold for 15 to 20 years

- 0.65 hold for 20 to 25 years

- 0.60 hold for 25 years.

The capital gains tax will be imposed in cases of donation or parental benefit. Excludes tax profit up to € 25,000 if the property has retained up to 5 years.

Not subject to tax:

a) The profit realized from a commercial real estate business activity

b) The profit made from the sale of the property, assets, entity

Income from rents


Self will be taxed on income from rents in 2013. In particular they will be taxed as follows:

- 10% for the first € 12,000

- 33% for the portion of annual income over 12,000 euros.

The new plan has only one rental income of € 15,000 will pay to the IRS the amount of 2,190 euros. The existing tax regime was lower at 950 euros that the IRS paid 1,240 euros.

Unlike most favorable is the new status for those who have high incomes from rents. Specifically taxpayer with income from rent will pay 100,000 euros to the new system to the IRS the amount of 30,240 euros, while currently paying 32,420 euros.

The gross amount of property subject to a supplementary tax, calculated at the rate of 1.5%.The above rate is increased to 3% if the residential area exceeding 300 square meters is for professional or lease.

In the first quarter of 2013 should homeowners and businesses to register or make the necessary corrections on the form E9 for off plan properties and parcels. From 2013 to apply the single tax on real estate which will replace the property tax and the Special End Property paid through the accounts of PPC.

Specifically, the new tax law provides that:

"Individuals, who at 1.1.2013 have real rights in land unzoned city or village shall complete, modify and finalize their assets online, as depicted on the website of the General Secretariat for Information Systems. Also legal persons who have at 1.1.2013 rem in immovable property, shall electronically submit a statement of property until 31.3.2013, which will include their assets, as configured by the 31.12.2012. "

Next week the competent bipartisan committee is expected to result in rates and the tax-free limits of a single new tax. The committee is considering various scenarios that provide tax-free limit on total personal property ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 euros.


Control of intercompany transactions


The Treasury spends only control of intercompany transactions, the new tax bill, while far had jurisdiction and the Ministry of Development, which, however, until now it was that had imposed and any fines in multinational companies.

Two key innovations for Greek standards while controlling intercompany transactions.

First, under the bill will be checked and thin capitalization cases for loan contracts concluded between associated enterprises. This is because the focus is often underfunding avoidance, companies apply the following trick: the parent who is abroad lends its subsidiary in Greece with disproportionately large amounts of higher borrowing capacity or larger needs. Thus the affiliate shows harmful uses in Greece, as a creditor selected affiliated company located in a country with a low tax rate (eg Switzerland).

Secondly, adopting the practice already in 17 Member States of the EU and the relevant OECD guidelines provide businesses the option of so-called pre-approval Methodology intercompany pricing.


Property tax to remain on DEH (Public Power) bills






Sunday, 16 December 2012

Protecting Dorset's Marine Life


Criticism has been voiced at government's plans (Dorset Echo)

Chinese and Ethiopian Art



Update: Nina-Maria broadcasting on China Central TV (CCTV) News about Japan, China and the USA








A "Chinese" work by an Ecuadorian artist-friend

and some arty shots in the Warner Building...



Washington Ballet, The Nutcracker



Looking forward to seeing my granddaughter dance as a mouse in "The Nutcracker" at the Warner Theatre next week!








Published: December 14, The Washington Post:

"Families of Washington, it’s “Nutcracker” season!
As popular as a prom queen and as inevitable as the new year, Washington Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” is presented at the Warner Theatre. The audience on Dec. 7 featured the whole gamut of “Nutcracker” fans. There were the traditionalists, the dance enthusiasts, the nostalgists and the ’tis-the-season-ists. In­cred­ibly tiny dancers (at least one was young enough to be enrolled in “pre-ballet” at Washington Ballet) bumped into dapper boys in bite-size bow ties who chomped on enormous servings of cotton candy".