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The Dutch government said Friday it will appeal an EU ruling that Starbucks must pay up to 30 million euros ($34 million) in back taxes after being awarded an illegal tax break. "The government is of the opinion that the Commission does not convincingly demonstrate that the tax authority deviated from the statutory provisions," he wrote in a letter to MPs Friday. The Dutch government was seeking "certainty" and therefore it "appeals the Commission decision in the Starbucks case," he added.
Former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo has been declared "physically and mentally able" to stand trial for crimes against humanity trial next year, the International Criminal Court said Friday. Three ICC-appointed experts "underlined a vast improvement in Mr Gbagbo's state of health and observes that he no longer suffers from clinical post-traumatic stress syndrome or hospitalisation syndrome," the Hague-based court said in a statement. Gbagbo, 70, and his former militia chief Charles Ble Goude, 43, are due in the dock on January 28, where they face charges of triggering political unrest after Gbagbo refused to concede defeat to bitter rival Alassane Ouattara in 2010 elections.
Pope Francis on Friday hailed Uganda for its "outstanding" response in welcoming refugees as he began a two-day visit to this east African nation. "Here in East Africa, Uganda has shown outstanding concern for welcoming refugees, enabling them to rebuild their lives in security and with a sense of dignity," he said, shortly after flying in to the central town of Entebbe on the shores of Lake Victoria, on the second leg of three-nation Africa tour. Figures published by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) show Uganda hosts over half a million people, most of whom have fled conflict and violence in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.