WASHINGTON — Some 7,500 international tax dodgers have applied for an amnesty program that promises no jail time and reduced penalties for tax cheats who come forward, the Internal Revenue Service announced Wednesday.
The tax dodgers were hiding money in more than 70 countries and on every continent except Antarctica. Accounts ranged from just over $10,000 to more than $100 million.
Response to the program has been unprecedented, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said.
"The whole idea of this program was to get people in and get them on the right side of the law," Shulman said.
The IRS long has had a policy that certain tax evaders who come forward before they are contacted by the agency usually can avoid jail time as long as they agree to pay back taxes, interest and hefty penalties. Drug dealers and money launderers need not apply. But if the money was earned legally, tax evaders can usually avoid criminal prosecution.
AMSTERDAM — A 14-year-old Dutch girl who hopes to become the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe solo said Monday she will wait until the school year ends before starting her attempt.
Laura Dekker is awaiting a court's decision on whether she can go ahead with her voyage or whether it would be too risky for a girl her age.
The Utrecht court temporarily blocked her departure in August out of concern for her safety. The decision sparked a worldwide debate on how much authorities and parents should limit children's freedom to undertake risky adventures.
"Before I made the plan I didn't expect (so much publicity) but now I'm trying to make the best of it," she told NOS television in an interview Monday.
"It's probably the most prudent if I just finish this school year" which ends in May, she said, citing the arrival of winter weather and a need for preparations before she departs on her 26-foot (8-meter) boat named "Guppy."
SYDNEY — John Daly will play in the Australian Open and Australian PGA golf tournaments in December after recovering more quickly than expected from a rib injury.
The two-time major winner said Wednesday he was reversing a decision announced in September to withdraw from the Australian tournaments. A swift recovery has allowed him to return to competitive golf earlier than expected.
"My recovery from stem cell surgery has been closely monitored by my doctor and I have been cleared to begin playing competitively in two weeks," Daly said in a statement.
"As such, I have added the Viking Classic to my 2009 U.S. schedule plus have accepted invitations to play in the 2009 Australian Open and 2009 Australian PGA Championship.
"I regret the confusion the injury process has caused but I'm relieved things have begun moving in the right direction."
SYDNEY - Under explosive bursts of crimson, purple and blue, more than 1 million New Year revelers in Sydney got one of the world's biggest parties st...