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‘It’s a not a real thing’: Watch Paul Ryan’s senior tax counsel blow up Trump’s ‘magic unicorn’ tax plan

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With President Donald Trump working overtime this week to come up with a tax cut wish list for Congress — including a massive cut to the top corporate tax rate — the senior tax counsel for House Leader Paul Ryan (R-WI) declared Trump’s plans dead before it has ever even been submitted.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Trump’s proposal would slash the top corporate rate down to 15 percent and would primarily benefit, “professionals that organize themselves in an LLC or partnership. Doctors, lawyers, consultants, lobbyists.”

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Speaking at an international finance summit last week, Ryan’s tax law specialist George Callas called out Trump’s plan for a massive tax cut without offsetting cuts to pay for it a “magic unicorn.”

“A plan of business tax cuts that has no offsets, to use some very esoteric language, is not a thing,” Callas patiently explained to the panel and attending crowd. “It’s not a real thing. And people can come up with whatever plans they want. Not only can that not pass Congress, it cannot even begin to move through Congress on day one. And there are political reasons for that. No. 1 of which is, members wouldn’t vote for it. But there are also procedural, statutory procedural, legal reasons why that can’t happen.”

Watch Callas’s blistering dissent below:

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Papua New Guinea bans travelers from all ‘Asian ports’

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Papua New Guinea shut air and seaports to all foreign travellers coming from Asia on Wednesday, in a desperate bid to prevent the deadly coronavirus from reaching the impoverished Melanesian nation.

In a note to airlines and boat operators, the ministry of immigration said "all citizens originating from the Asian ports will be refused entry to the country effective today".

The ministry also announced that Papua New Guinea's only official land border -- with Indonesian-controlled Papua province -- would be shut from Thursday.

No cases of coronavirus have been reported in Papua New Guinea, but the country's health service is already buckling under the weight of underfunding and rampant public health problems.

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Syria army says retakes key northwest town

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Syria government forces recaptured the strategic highway town of Maaret al-Numan from jihadist and allied rebels on Wednesday, the army said, returning for the first time in seven years.

"Our forces managed in the past few days to stamp out terrorism in many villages and towns," including Maaret al-Numan, an army spokesman said.

In 2011, Maaret al-Numan was one of the first towns in the northwestern province of Idlib to rise up against the Damascus government and the following year, it was captured by rebels fighting against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

It lies on a key highway connecting the capital to second city Aleppo and has long been in the sights of the government.

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The only nationwide database of priests deemed credibly accused of abuse

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ProPublica published an interactive database on Tuesday that lets users search for clergy who have been listed as credibly accused of sexual abuse in reports released by Catholic dioceses and religious orders.

It is, as of publication, the only nationwide database of official disclosures. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the religious leaders’ national membership organization, does not publicly release any centralized, countrywide collection of clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexual assault.

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