The Vatican – When in Rome, do as the Romans do; when in The Vatican, do as the Pope does.
Both The Vatican and The White House have confirmed that U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with Pope Francis on March 27. It is no secret that Obama had always wanted to have an audience with the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
Obama’s official visit to The Vatican will not be like any other by a sitting U.S. president. Pope Francis has insisted that any bureaucratic and elitist protocols by The White House or the U.S. State Department must be thrown out the door the moment Obama steps into Vatican territory.
No secret service agents will be allowed past the gates of The Vatican. There will not be any presidential limousine that will take Obama into and around The Vatican (Instead, the Obamas will share rides with the Pope in his old, borrowed Fiat). Both Barack and Michelle will stay in the same apartment that Pope Francis is staying in along with other Roman priests. And instead of the usual state dinner, the Obamas will join Pope Francis that evening in sneaking out of The Vatican to minister to the homeless.
The Obamas seem not to have any problems with The Vatican’s conditions, except for one thing: the Obamas cannot bring First Dog Bo into the papal apartment because Pope Francis is allergic to dogs. That means Bo will have to stay behind in Washington, D.C. in the care of the Obamas’ pet sitter.
Manila, Philippines – Got money? Watch out, Kim Henares will go after you.
Henares is the commissioner of the Philippines’ Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the counterpart of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). She has gained the reputation of going after the big fish – Filipinos like world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and newly-crowned X Factor Israel winner Rose Fostanes. Henares wants a chunk of their earnings abroad.
Analysts say that Henares’ actions are a desperate attempt to save her tax agency from bankruptcy. The BIR, which many Filipinos consider among the most corrupt agencies, continues to face declining revenues due to widespread tax evasion schemes especially among the country’s richest tycoons.
However, The Adobo Chronicles learned that Pacquiao and Fostanes are joining hands to challenge Henares in court and prevent her from taxing their foreign earnings. In papers to be filed in court today, Pacquiao and Fostanes claim that the BIR has no authority to collect taxes from their prize money earned in the U.S. and Israel, respectively.
“That is why the agency is called Bureau of INTERNAL Revenue,” lawyers said, so earnings outside the Philippines should be off limits to the tax agency.”
Tel Aviv – Good fortune has just struck twice for Rose Fostanes, the Filipina caregiver who recently won in the inaugural season of X Factor Israel.
Yesterday, Fostanes won one hundred fifty million sheqel (Israeli currency) in the country’s national lottery, Mifal HaPayis.
Most gambling is prohibited in Israel, but Mifal HaPayis is a government-sanctioned national lottery organization. It was established in August 1951 to recruit funding for the construction of a hospital in Tel Aviv. At first, the project’s profits were used only for healthcare applications. Later on, when Mifal HaPayis became a national lottery organization, its support was extended to projects in the fields of education, recreation, and the arts.
This latest fortune comes as huge relief for Ms. Fostanes who learned last week that she cannot be paid for any recording contracts, concerts or public appearances within Israel because her work permit allows her to only get paid as a caregiver. Winning the lottery has no such restrictions. Citizens, immigrants and tourists can claim the prize as long as they possess the winning ticket.
Asked by The Adobo Chronicles about her immediate plans, the singer/caregiver/millionaire said she will continue to work as a caregiver and give free concerts in Tel Aviv and other cities in Israel. She added that she is considering establishing a care facility in Tel Aviv so she could help the sick, indigents and the elderly.