Sanctions against tax havens

At the conclusion of the first economic summit meeting to rivet world attention in decades, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain announced that the leaders had committed to $1.1 trillion in additional loans and guarantees to finance trade and bail out troubled countries.
Among the steps Mr. Brown detailed are strict new regulations on hedge funds and rating agencies, as well as a crackdown on tax havens, which will be publicly named and subject to sanctions if they do not agree to share tax information with the authorities of other countries.
The announcements came after negotiators from the United States and Europe worked frantically to hash out an agreement on new regulations, a day after France and Germany signaled a rift over the level of scrutiny that regulators should have over hedge funds and other global financial institutions.
France other Europeans countries also pressed China to accept action against tax havens, a step it has resisted because of the possible consequences for its coastal banking centers, Hong Kong and Macao.

“I think we’re going to see an agreement,” said Stephen Timms, the financial secretary to the Treasury. “I am expecting sanctions against tax havens. We want that pressure to be maintained.”

Britain began talks on Wednesday on a tax information exchange agreement with Liechtenstein, an Alpine principality used by wealthy Europeans and others as a place to stash money.

Helsinki Festival

This August, Helsinki Festival 2009 will be bringing a line up of international stars to Finland’s capital city. The festival, which last year celebrated its 40th anniversary, now casts an eye into the future with a programme of new music, never-before-seen guests, unique ensembles and a host of premieres.

The festival kicks off with a visit by classical music legend Pierre Boulez, who arrives in Helsinki with his French Ensemble Intercontemporain, led by Music Director Susanna Mälkki. Hailing from London, the Philharmonia Orchestra returns to Finland, now directed by newly appointed Principal Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. Osmo Vänskä makes a long-awaited appearance at the helm of a Helsinki Orchestra, as he takes up the baton for a concert with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

A Helsinki Festival and Korjaamo Theatre joint venture, the Stage Helsinki Theatre Festival has established itself as a major European theatre event. Now in its third year, the festival will be showcasing ten international ensembles, two Finnish premieres and a review of Finnish theatre. Programme highlights include the latest from Alvis Hermanis from Latvia, Dmitri Krymov from Russia and the Swiss Stefan Kaegi, as well as the Finnish premiere of circus artist Jani Nuutinen’s much-awaited new production.

The Helsinki Festival dance programme, created by Artistic Advisor Kenneth Kvarnström is headlined by the Shaolin combat acrobatics-inspired Sutra and fea-tures Kvarnström’s Destruction Song choreographed for his own ensemble. Circus rolls into town in the shape of a Russian clown troupe. Semianyki delivers laughter therapy for the whole family with a joyously anarchic twist.

A total of 17 international and Finnish acts will be taking to the stage at the festival’s legendary Huvila venue. The Huvila programme treats audiences to a stellar line up of world music’s leading stars from the Malian Oumou Sangare to the L’Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio from Italy. Top Finnish performers include Maija Vilkkumaa, celebrating her 20-year career and the ever-popular Scandinavian Music Group. Adding American flavour to the proceedings will be jazz musicians Joshua Redman and Paquito d’Rivera together with Wilco, here making their Finnish debut appearance. The Huvila season will be brought to a close with a joint performance by Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson.

The Amos Anderson Art Museum is to play host to a joint exhibition by Susanne Gottberg and Markus Kåhre. Titled A Dialogue, the duo’s unique spatial exercise was many years in the making. The cinema programme culminates in a retrospective of the work of the Japanese film director Nagisa Oshima, while the free outdoor cinema screenings at the Kinopiha celebrate the fall of the Berlin wall.

The Children’s Festival programme features four Finnish premieres. Junior audiences will love Compañía Kaari Martin’s fresh and flamenco-inspired take on the iconic Pippi Longstocking and Glims & Gloms Dance Company’s new interpretation of the classic Finnish fairytale Pessi and Illusia. At the Suvilahti big top, kids and adults alike will be whisked away on a whirlwind tour of Vietnam in the company of a water puppetry troupe.

The Night of the Arts takes over Helsinki on Friday 21 August - programme to be announced in early August. Flow Festival returns to Suvilahti from 14 to 16 August and the Poetry Moon shines on the city from 26 to 27 August. The Viapori Jazz Festival grooves Suomenlinna Island from 26 to 29 August, while the Art goes Kapakka festival makes its presence felt in Helsinki restaurants from 13 to 22 August.

The 2009 Helsinki Festival programme was created by Risto Nieminen, who has led the festival with great success for the past 12 years. He will depart at the end of April 2009. New Festival Director Erik Söderblom is set to assume his role from May 2009. Press Release

musikfest berlin 09 - Shostakovich, Xenakis, Haydn

14 orchestras perform 50 works at 24 concerts on 19 different days

Opening the concert season and running from September 3rd to 21st will be the musikfest berlin 09, Berlin's preeminent international orchestra festival. Organized by the Berliner Festspiele in collaboration with the Foundation of the Berliner Philharmoniker, musikfest berlin cordially invites you to take part in a festival program that includes 50 works by 26 composers performed at 24 concerts.

Performing in addition to the Rundfunkchor Berlin and the city's four prominent orchestras with their artistic directors will be Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Bernard Haitink, the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam with Mariss Jansons, the four orchestras of the musical metropolis of London (the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra London, and the London Symphony Orchestra), and ensembles from Birmingham, Bamberg, Freiburg, and Vienna. Also making guest appearances in Berlin will be Latvian Radio Choir radio and the "Latvija", the State Choir of the Republic of Latvia, singers Angela Denoke, Christiane Oelze, Matthias Goerne, Dietrich Henschel, and Thomas Quasthoff. Other invited soloists include Colin Currie, Håkan Hardenberger, Marco Blaauw, Steven Osborne, and Lars Vogt.

The center of musikfest berlin 09 will be the symphonic achievement of Dmitri Shostakovich. Interpreters include prominent Shostakovich experts such as conductors Mariss Jansons, Valery Gergiev, and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Forming provocative counterpoints to Shostakovich's symphonies will be works by Iannis Xenakis and Joseph Haydn, as well as compositions by Bartók, Janáček, Poulenc, Rachmaninov, Schnittke, Tishchenko, Gubaidulina, Britten, Turnage, Yun, Nono, Mozart, Schubert, Zemlinsky, Reger, Berg, B. A. Zimmermann, Eisler, Dessau, Enno Poppe, Helmut Lachenmann, and Hans Zender. Presented on the September 3 on the evening preceding the opening concert of musikfest berlin 09 will be Karlheinz Stockhausen's electronic composition Hymnen.

The main concert venue is the Berlin Philharmonic. An additional venue is the Konzerthaus at Gendarmenmarkt, which marks its 25 Year Jubilee. To take place in the Chamber Music Hall of the Berlin Philharmonic will be two prestigious benefit concerts marking 25 years of the IPPNW Concerts and featuring top-flight performers. Press Office