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Luxembourg, From Tax Shelter to Animal Haven

A shelter for him instead of tax dodgers?
A shelter for him instead of tax dodgers?

LUXEMBOURG — This tiny country has long been known for its unsavory status as a tax haven. But now Luxembourg may be on its way to forging a new title: as animal rights capital of the world.

A new government bill aims to protect the "security and dignity" of animals, and recognizes that they possess "certain rights," reports Le Quotidien, a prominent daily in Luxembourg.

The government boasts that if the measure is passed, it would provide the strongest animal protections in the world. Those convicted of mistreating their furry friends could face prison time ranging from eight days to three years, and fines up to 200,000 euros, a far more severe penalty than what was outlined in a 1983 law on the subject.

The government proposal, which animal rights groups helped draft, argues that animals possess rights because they have "a nervous system with the ability to feel pain and other emotions," thereby broadening the definition of mistreatment to include "anguish and suffering."

The bill, however, doesn't appear to address the "anguish" of cattle that may wind up on your dinner table. As noted in another Luxembourg newspaper L'Essentiel, the bill prohibits raising animals for slaughter primarily for their skin, fur, feather or wool, and bans the practice of killing economically unviable male chicks. It also aims to stop animals from being offered as prizes or gifts and reserves the sale of dogs and cats to breeders that guarantee the welfare of the four-legged creatures.

"This law is more than necessary," says Marie-Anne Heinen of ASBL, a Luxembourg-based animal rights group, adding that violence against animals has risen in the last 25 years. "It will help associations like mine continue to carry out their work."

If the bill becomes law, animals would find a friendly home in Luxembourg. It's the kind of haven taxpayers around the world can rally behind.

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Shame On The García Márquez Heirs — Cashing In On The "Scraps" Of A Legend

A decision to publish a sketchy manuscript as a posthumous novel by the late Gabriel García Márquez would have horrified Colombia's Nobel laureate, given his painstaking devotion to the precision of the written word.

Photo of a window with a sticker of the face of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with butterfly notes at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Poster of Gabriel Garcia Marquez at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Juan David Torres Duarte


BOGOTÁ — When a writer dies, there are several ways of administering the literary estate, depending on the ambitions of the heirs. One is to exercise a millimetric check on any use or edition of the author's works, in the manner of James Joyce's nephew, Stephen, who inherited his literary rights. He refused to let even academic papers quote from Joyce's landmark novel, Ulysses.

Or, you continue to publish the works, making small additions to their corpus, as with Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett and Clarice Lispector, or none at all, which will probably happen with Milan Kundera and Cormac McCarthy.

Another way is to seek out every scrap of paper the author left and every little word that was jotted down — on a piece of cloth, say — and drip-feed them to publishers every two to three years with great pomp and publicity, to revive the writer's renown.

This has happened with the Argentine Julio Cortázar (who seems to have sold more books dead than alive), the French author Albert Camus (now with 200 volumes of personal and unfinished works) and with the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The latter's posthumous oeuvre is so abundant I am starting to wonder if his heirs haven't hired a ghost writer — typing and smoking away in some bedsit in Barcelona — to churn out "newly discovered" works.

Which group, I wonder, will our late, great novelist Gabriel García Márquez fit into?

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