International News Desk – At Home: Taxes may put the brakes on Dutch bikes at Olympics – In Foreign News: Harvard Law School tuition program suspended

International News Desk – At Home: Taxes may put the brakes on Dutch bikes at Olympics – In Foreign News: Harvard Law School tuition program suspended

At Home: Taxes may put the brakes on Dutch bikes at Olympics

The Dutch government hopes to promote a healthier lifestyle by bringing hundreds of bikes to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. But high import taxes might just derail the plan, as the CBC reports.

Amsterdam, the Dutch capital, is ?widely recognized as the most bicycle-friendly city in the world,? a lifestyle that contributes to healthier citizens, a cleaner environment, and fewer ?traffic and sustainability issues.?

During the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Dutch government plans to make some 450 bikes available at Holland Heineken House, the Dutch hospitality centre at the Olympics. Athletes? families and the public could use the bikes to travel to the nearby speed-skating oval, and staff could use them to cycle between work and hotels.

The bikes would be put to good use after the Olympics as well, when they would be donated to a local charity.

But high Canadian import duties could put the brakes on the goodwill gesture. Dutch officials have ?balked? at the high fees, and have been told that the only way to avoid the cost is to send the bikes back to the Netherlands after the Olympics. Both sides are continuing talks on the issue.

It’s expected that Dutch fans numbering in the tens of thousands could travel to the Games to support their star long-track speed skaters.

In Foreign News: Harvard Law School tuition program suspended

Three years at a top US law school can cost students over $120,000 and leave them with a six-figure debt at graduation. So It’s no wonder that a program offering third-year Harvard Law students free tuition was popular, with nearly twice as many applicants as expected. As the New York Times reports, that popularity is part of the reason the program had to be cancelled.

The program, announced less than two years ago, waived tuition for ?third-year students who pledge to spend five years working for nonprofit organizations or for the government.? A Harvard Law School spokesperson explained to reporters that it was one way of encouraging students ?to explore public interest careers.?

Yet with the recession driving Harvard’s endowment down 27 per cent between 2008 and 2009, even the prestigious university was forced to cut costs. At the same time, the recession made the tuition program even more popular. Before the program began, only about ?10 percent of Harvard’s 550 annual law graduates went into nonprofit or government work.? With some 55 students expected to sign up, costs were estimated at $3 million per year.

However, the first enrolment numbers reached 73, and ?when it came time to sign up last year, 110 first-year students said they were interested.?

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