Iceland has become the first country to make it illegal to pay women less than men. The new law, which took effect on January 1, imposes a fine on companies and government organisations employing more than 25 workers if they pay men more than women. The Scandinavian country wants to eliminate the pay gap between the sexes completely within the next four years.
Iceland has been considered the world’s fairest country in terms ofgender equality for the past nine years. In a country where half of the parliamentarians are female, women still earn about 15% less than men. The new Icelandic law aims at helping to change the attitude towards women in business and politics.
According to the World Economic Forum, a Swiss-basednon-profit organisation, there is a global 58 % difference in pay between the sexes. Economic experts predict that, if the current trend continues, women will have to wait over two hundred years to get equal pay and the same opportunities at work.
There is also a lack of female politicians. Only a quarter of the world’s politicians is female and fewer than one in five ministers are women. Only 23% of the world’s parliamentary seats go to females.
according to = as reported by …
aims at = wants to achieve something
attitude = the feelings you have about someone or something
considered = thought to be
current trend = if the situation of today goes on
eliminate = get rid of; do away with
employ = to give a person work
equal = the same
gender equality = the same chances and opportunities for men and women
global = worldwide
illegal = against the law
impose = to force people to accept something
in terms of = if you look at or observe closely
lack = not enough
law = rule or regulation that a country has
non-profit = to use the money you get to help other people
opportunities = chances
parliamentarian = member of parliament
pay gap = the difference in the amount of money men and women get for their work
predict = to say that something will happen in the future
quarter = 25%
seat = here: an elected member of parliament
Swiss-based = organisation that operates out of Switzerland
Singles Day is the biggest e-commerce day in the world. Organized by China’s Alibaba, shopping sales on November 11 hit a record $25 billion, 40% more than on Singles Day 2016. In contrast, Prime Day, organized by Amazonachieved only $1 billion in sales. During the Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend of 2016 American online shoppers spent $5 billion.
Singles Day started out as an informal holiday in China, celebrating people who stayed single. Similiar to Valentine’s Day in the western world Singles Day took place on 11/11 . In 2009, Alibaba turned it into a shopping holiday and in the past 8 years, sales have steadilyincreased.
Although the event targets mostly Chinese customers, shoppers came from 220 countries. Over 80 brands took part in the event, with Nike and Xiaomi Corp. among the biggest winners. Household goods and electrical appliances were the most bought products, but customers soughtbargains for almost everything, ranging from cheap toilet paper to rice.
At its peak Alibaba’s computers handled 250 000 transactions per second, most of them coming in via mobile phones. In the weeks before the event was held, Alibaba had helped 600,000 companies upgrade their computer systems to make them fit for Singles Day.
The event was also turned into a gala in Shanghai where celebrities Nicole Kidman and tennis star Maria Sharapova counted down the seconds until the world’ largest sales event started.
Many critics of the event say that Singles Day is environmentallycontroversial. It creates an enormous amount of waste. According to Greepeace, 1 billion packages were delivered in the days that followed the event.
Alibaba’s Singles Day is a display of Chinese spending power. The company’s owner, Jack Ma, is one of China’s richest men. He has been investing heavily in new technologies includingautomated stores which use facial recognition systems.
according to = … as said by
achieve = here: reach a number of sales
automated = where everything is done automatically, without people helping
although = while
bargain = to buy something cheaply, for less money than usual
billion = a thousand million
brand = type of product made by a company
celebrate = here: in honour of, to show respect for
celebrity = famous person
controversial = here: to cause a lot of disagreement
critic = a person who is against something
customer = a person who buys something
deliver = to bring to a person’s home
display = to show something
e-commerce = buying and selling things with computers over the Internet
electrical appliance = things you use at home and need electricity, like a cooker or washing machine
enormous = very large
environment = nature and the world around us
facial recognition = when a computer image of a person can find out who they are
handle = deal with
heavily = very much
household goods = things that you need in the house and use every day
in contrast = the difference between two things
including = also
increase = to go up
informal = not official
record = highest
sales = buying and selling products
seek – sought = look for
steadily = slowly
target = people who the event aims at; potential customers
transaction = here: the sales of a single product
upgrade = here: to give a computer more power, so that it can do more things
via = by way of, through
waste = unwanted things that you throw away and don’t need any more
The Paradise Papers are documents which show how rich people – celebrities, politicians and businessmen use offshore countries to protect themselves from paying high taxes. The documents were leaked to the German Süddeutsche Zeitung and examined by 400 journalists from all over the world.
There are more than 13 million documents that contain 1,400 GB of information. They revealfinancial transactions of hundreds of individuals, as well as famous corporations like Apple and Nike.
Among those accused of investing money in offshore accountsto avoid paying taxes are close advisors of US President Donald Trump and German ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. The documents also reveal that some of Queen Elisabeth’s private money was invested in offshore accounts. Russian oligarchs with ties to the Kremlin and an aide to Canada’s Prime Minister are also named in the report.
The majority of the Paradise Papers comes from Appleby, a law firm that helps companies and rich people reduce their tax burden through offshore accounts. The firm with headquarters in Bermuda has thousands of clients and offices around the world. The other documents come from various businesses in the Carribean.
Two years ago the Panama Papers revealed similar documents. It showed how hundreds of people set up businesses in tax havens in order to hide their money and pay fewer taxes.
accuse = to believe that someone has done something wrong or illegal
advisor = a person who helps you and gives you information because they know a lot about a certain subject
aide = someone who helps a politician
avoid = to prevent something from happening
business = company
celebrity = famous person
chancellor = here: leader of the German government
corporation = large company
examine = to look at very closely
financial transaction = here: money moves from one place to another
headquarters = the main building or offices used by a large company
individual = single person
leak = to give secret information to a newspaper, TV station or journalists
majority = most
politician = person who works in politics, either for a government or a political party
offshore = here: country in which you pay less tax than elsewhere
offshore account = bank account in a country where you pay fewer taxes than in your home country
oligarch = boss of a group of people who run a country or organisation
reduce = lower
reveal = show something that hasn’t been known before
similar = almost the same
tax = the money you must pay to the government based on your income
tax burden = here: the amount of taxes you pay
tax haven = country where people go to live in order to avoid paying high taxes in their own country
For the first time in history there are more billionaires in Asia than in the United States. But, the amount of wealth among American billionaires is still higher than in Asia. There are a total of over 1500 billionaires in the world today , 10 % more than last year. According to a new business report, one new billionaire pops up every second day.
The overall wealth of American billionaires reached $2.8 trillion last year, while Asian billionaires accumulated a total of $2 trillion. If the trend continues, within four years , Asian billionaires will have overtaken America . The combined wealth of the world’s billionaires has increasedto over $6 trillion.
The new Asian billionaires come mostly from India and China. Most of them make their money in consumer industries and technology. Especially in China, billionaires are younger than elsewhere. Some haven’t even reached the age of 30 yet.
The new billionaires in Asia are investing large sums of their money in sports. They are buying whole sports teams in their home country as well as in Europe. Art and museums are other areas of interest for the new billionaires.
according to … = as reported by …
accumulate = to get more and more money over a period of time
amount = here:how much money in total
billionaire = a person who has more than a thousand million dollars
combined = here: all billionaires in the world together
consumer industries = factories and companies that make everyday things that people need
especially = above all
increase = to go up
invest = to buy or spend money on something because you will need it later on
pop up = appears, comes up
overall = total, all in all
overtake = here: to have more than others
reach = climb up to ; increase to
sum = amount
trillion = 1,000,000,000,000
wealth = the money or valuable things that a person owns