Items of Interest

Brazil, a field rich in possibilities for the cattle industry, has been a cattle country, although not a meat exporting one, since early colonial times. For the past year the new meat export business has received the special attention of Brazilian officials, business men, and economists. The only existing census of the herds in the republic sets their total at 30,000,000, but the number is undoubtedly larger than that. It is thought that not only the rolling plains of southern Brazil, which border upon Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay, but also a vastly more extensive central and tropical highland region, may prove in time to be valuable cattle ranges. In these states are vast lands still undevoted to agriculture. Frost is practically unknown there. A special pasture adapted to the Brazilian soil and climate grows there all the year round and keeps the cattle constantly in fit condition.

The administration revenue bill, designed to raise $350,000,000 through special taxes and bond issues, passed the United States Senate by a vote of 47 to 33, and was signed by President Wilson. The bill provides that $175,000,000 of the taxes collected under it, and under the revenue bill of last year, shall "constitute a special preparedness fund" to be used in army, navy, and fortifications expenditure. Strong objection was made to the excess profits tax feature of the bill, which placed a tax of 8 per cent on the net profits of corporations and joint stock companies when they exceed $5000 a year and are more than 8 per cent of the capital invested. A second important feature will increase the present tax on estates 50 per cent. This tax will range from 1½ per cent on net estates over $50,000 to 15 per cent on estates over $5,000,000.

Colombia has worked out a comprehensive road system intended to facilitate highway traffic and to connect interior points with railways, ports, and commercial centers. Much interest in road construction has also been shown recently in the neighboring countries of Venezuela and Peru, and there is a certain similarity between the completeness of the Peruvian plan and that of the project passed by the Colombian Congress. The extension of roads will cover practically the whole of Colombia. The best routes have been selected, and their maintenance provided for. To provide a special fund for this road construction a surtax of 5 per cent will be levied on all imports. In addition to this fund the toll tax, which has been collected on certain roads, will continue. Other assistance may be granted by legislative bodies to petitioners for roads when requests are accompanied by satisfactory details and estimates.

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"Wars and rumors of wars"
March 24, 1917

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