Today's newsletter covers VAT in Poland, Sweden's position with NATO, sanctions on Mali, refugees in Costa Rica, and euthanasia in Colombia.
Poland announces removing VAT on food and gas despite EU laws. But not on fuel
In order to curve inflation, the government of Poland announced it would remove VAT on food items, gas and fertilizers. It reduces VAT on fuel and electricity, too. The country anticipates a European tax reform but the exemption on gas remains unclear.
Russian demands to NATO also concern Sweden and Finland
Amid tensions around Ukraine, Russia has been demanding that no new countries join NATO. As close partners to the security alliance, the demands also concern Sweden and Finland's adhesions.
West African countries further sanction and isolate Mali
ECOWAS members decided to close their borders and cut diplomatic ties after a new schedule for elections proposed by the transition government in Mali was deemed unacceptable.
Record number of refugee applications in Costa Rica from Nicaraguans
Costa Rica received 53,000 refugee applications from Nicaraguans in 2021, 68% more than in 2019.
In Colombia, first two legal euthanasia for patients with non-terminal illnesses
On January 7, Victor Escobar died by legally regulated euthanasia without suffering from terminal illness. But he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease along with other conditions. The following day, Martha Sepulveda was euthanized after the procedure was stopped in October at last minute.