National security and government stability are increasingly at risk from an increase in illegal wildlife trading -- valued at $19 billion annually, according to a study by WWF. Criminal organizations behind the surge operate across borders and invest in weapons and to buy off government officials. On Tuesday, customs officials in Malaysia seized some 1,500 illicit elephant tusks valued at about $20 million.
Global corporations are worried that the conflict between U.S. and Chinese audit authorities will have far-reaching ramifications. U.S. companies with operations in China may find it difficult to produce audited accounts if the Securities and Exchange Commission bans the Chinese affiliates of five of the world's biggest auditing firms from working on accounts of companies listed in the U.S.
Gender inequality will keep an estimated 865 million women out of the global economy this decade, with 94% of them living in emerging markets. Raising female employment to male levels would boost GDP growth in individual countries: 5% each in the U.S., the U.K. and China; 9% in Brazil; 10% in South Africa; 27% in India; and 34% in Egypt.
The end of 2012 could mean the end of the current low-income and capital-gains tax rates and the reduction of the $5 million estate and gift tax exemption to $1 million, among many other scheduled tax changes. Now is the time for clients to be planning for 2013. Here's a handy checklist of tax issues clients should be thinking about now.
A commodity boom, favorable population trends and enthusiasm for technology have given Africa a rapidly growing middle class, according to The Economist. The continent has a chance to follow Asia to prosperity. "Autocracy, corruption and strife will not disappear overnight," the magazine notes. "But at a dark time for the world economy, Africa's progress is a reminder of the transformative promise of growth."