MADRID | Spanish prosecutors file tax evasion charges against Shakira

MADRID | Spanish prosecutors file tax evasion charges against Shakira

MADRID — Spanish prosecutors are charging pop music star Shakira with tax evasion, alleging she failed to pay more than 14.5 million euros ($16.3 million) between 2012 and 2014.

The charges published Friday allege Shakira listed the Bahamas as her official residence for tax purposes during those years but was in fact living in Spain with her partner, Spanish soccer player Gerard Pique.

Tax rates are much lower in the Bahamas than in Spain.

Continue reading MADRID | Spanish prosecutors file tax evasion charges against Shakira at STL.News.

WASHINGTON | US retail sales rose 0.2% in Nov., helped by holiday boost

WASHINGTON | US retail sales rose 0.2% in Nov., helped by holiday boost

WASHINGTON— U.S. retail sales increased a slight 0.2% in November, as strong sales tied to holiday shopping were offset by lower gasoline prices.

Excluding gas, however, the Commerce Department said Friday that last month’s retail sales rose a healthy 0.5% in a positive sign for economic growth.

Retail sales have climbed a solid 5.3% so far this year. In November, non-store retail sales — a category that includes Internet brands such as Amazon — jumped 2.3%.

Continue reading WASHINGTON | US retail sales rose 0.2% in Nov., helped by holiday boost at STL.News.

BRUSSELS | UK’s May sticks to her Brexit plan despite rebuff from EU

BRUSSELS | UK’s May sticks to her Brexit plan despite rebuff from EU

BRUSSELS — British Prime Minister Theresa May insisted Friday that her Brexit deal was still alive and kicking, despite a stinging rebuff from the European Union after she asked for changes to make the agreement more palatable to U.K. lawmakers.

May came to an EU summit in Brussels seeking legally binding changes to the agreement, but the bloc told her bluntly that a renegotiation was not possible. They offered only assurances they would seek to move swiftly on forging a new trade deal after Britain leaves the bloc on March 29.

Continue reading BRUSSELS | UK’s May sticks to her Brexit plan despite rebuff from EU at STL.News.

WASHINGTON | US industrial production climbed 0.6 percent in November

WASHINGTON | US industrial production climbed 0.6 percent in November

WASHINGTON — U.S. industrial production climbed 0.6 percent on surging output at mines and utilities. But manufacturing production was flat.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that that utility output rose 3.3 percent as power companies were busier because of unusually cold weather. Mining output rose 1.7 percent on higher production at coal mines and oil and gas drillers.

Overall industrial production is up 3.9 percent from November 2017.

But manufacturing was flat in November after falling 0.1 percent in October.

Continue reading WASHINGTON | US industrial production climbed 0.6 percent in November at STL.News.

BRUSSELS | The Latest: Romania calls on UK to respect EU citizen rights

BRUSSELS | The Latest: Romania calls on UK to respect EU citizen rights

BRUSSELS— The Latest on Brexit (all times local):

3:30 p.m.
Romania’s president is stressing how important it is for Romanians and other European Union citizens in the U.K. to have their rights respected after it leaves bloc.

In a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Brussels, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said the divorce deal was “important… to guarantee the rights of (Romanians) who live, work or study in Britain.”

Iohannis said all EU citizens living in the U.K.

Continue reading BRUSSELS | The Latest: Romania calls on UK to respect EU citizen rights at STL.News.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka | Sri Lankan lawmaker says disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will resign Saturday to end political crisis

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka | Sri Lankan lawmaker says disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will resign Saturday to end political crisis

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — A Sri Lankan lawmaker says disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will resign Saturday to end the country’s political crisis.

The pro-Rajapaksa lawmaker, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, said Friday that Rajapaksa decided in a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena to resign to allow the president to appoint a new government.

Sri Lanka has been without a functioning government for nearly two weeks after a court suspended Rajapaksa and his Cabinet while it decides if they should hold office after losing two no-confidence votes in Parliament.

Continue reading COLOMBO, Sri Lanka | Sri Lankan lawmaker says disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will resign Saturday to end political crisis at STL.News.

MADRID | Spain plans to spend $8 billion on military hardware upgrade

MADRID | Spain plans to spend $8 billion on military hardware upgrade

MADRID — Spain’s government has announced a plan to spend 7.3 billion euros ($8.2 billion) over the next 10 years on improving its military defense capabilities.

Defense Minister Margarita Robles said Friday the money will be used to build five new navy frigates and, in a first phase, develop and build 348 new armored personnel carriers. It will also enable the latest technological upgrades to be installed in its fleet of 69 Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft.

Continue reading MADRID | Spain plans to spend $8 billion on military hardware upgrade at STL.News.

PRISTINA, Kosovo | Serbia talks up armed intervention as Kosovo OKs new army

PRISTINA, Kosovo | Serbia talks up armed intervention as Kosovo OKs new army

PRISTINA, Kosovo — Serbia talked up the possibility of an armed intervention in Kosovo Friday after the parliament in Pristina overwhelmingly approved the formation of an army, with Belgrade calling the move the “most direct threat to peace and stability in the region.” NATO’s chief called Kosovo’s move “ill-timed” and urged dialogue.

The 120-seat parliament voted with all present 107 lawmakers in favor of passing three draft laws to expand an existing 4,000 Kosovo Security Force and turn it into a regular lightly armed army.

Continue reading PRISTINA, Kosovo | Serbia talks up armed intervention as Kosovo OKs new army at STL.News.