The Chinese minister of propaganda has taken quick and explicit measures to censure the reporting of the Panama Papers.
Some relatives of high ranking Party officials have been mentioned in the massive data leak.
While some of the off shore transactions are believed to be legitimate, there is growing evidence that shell companies and complex ownerships have served some to hide trillions of dollars from the tax man. Evidence is also growing that some of the people who used the Panama firm Mossack Fonseca, used some of its expertise for money laundering.
One of the first to resign over the growing scandal was the PM of Iceland. Today Swiss authorities raided the FIFA offices. PM David Cameron has come under fire for his failing to mention a fortune that his father squirreled away in offshore caches. Many more of the rich and infamous are expected to be exposed in the near future.
That fate is unlikely to happen in the People’s Republic of China. When the official party line is that the leaders are fighting corruption, it looks bad for some of those leaders to be named as avoiding their social responsibilities.
"Find and delete reprinted reports on the Panama Papers," a leaked provincial propaganda directive published and translated by the U.S.-based China Digital Times (CDT) website said. "Please act immediately."
"Do not follow up on related content, no exceptions," the April 4 directive, delivered verbally to news editors across China, said.
"If material from foreign media attacking China is found on any website, it will be dealt with severely," it said. Radio Free Asia
The story continues to grow, but in countries that tightly control their media outlets, the people there are unlikely to hear many details.
Radio Free Asia
Scandals, corruption, money laundering, the worst recession in 25 years in Brazil threaten to put a damper on the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Brazil depends heavily on its oil revenues for much of its economy. The world price for petroleum has plummeted and Brazil is suffering. Added to that a two year investigation of the state owned Petrobras corporation, dubbed Operation Car Wash, has uncovered suspicion that over one billion dollars in revenue has been siphoned off by corrupt officials. The timeline starts when the Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff was chair of the corporation.
Many of Rousseff’s inner circle are under suspicion. The president is facing impeachment and may be out of office before August. Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been taken into custody for questioning. He was released after a short period. Rousseff’s gambit to make him a member of the current government to shield him from court has failed as the country’s judges have ruled the move illegal.
The economic recession has hit the preparations for the Olympic venues hard. Some venues have been hit with budget cuts and the contracts for the equestrian and tennis venues were recinded. The police chief for Rio made a statement that his budget has just been cut by $600 million US. It is difficult to imagine that security will not be affected by such a massive cut.
Some of the sailing and water sports facilities have already been modified. The concern over the heavily polluted water around Rio de Janeiro has some athletes taking extreme measures to avoid contamination. While Rio has a modern face, many of the home and apartment buildings lack basic sewer connections or treatment and raw sewage flows into most of the waterways. One of the promises made when competing to hold this year’s games was the promise to clean up the waterways. It didn’t happen.
It seems unbelievable that on top of all the scandal and uproar in Brazilian politics that anything more could be added to the mix, but the epidemic of the mosquito borne Zika virus has prompted WHO to declare a health emergency. Coupled with what might be a mild viral infection is the real possibility that the virus causes profound damage to the unborn. It has also been implicated in an increase in Guillain Barre Syndrome which can cause paralysis and/or death. Women who might be pregnant or who might become pregnant have been warned of the dangers of travelling to Brazil or other affected countries.
This last week, about 2 million people marched in the streets of Rio to announce their displeasure with their government’s handling of affairs.
By the same author:
Brazil in crisis
Rotten fish float in Rio Olympic lagoon
Rio holds junior world championships in dirty water
Brazil 2016 Olympics if you go be very very careful
Human rights activist Berta Caceres has been murdered in her home. Thursday night two thugs broke into her home, shot and killed her. She knew that her life was in danger because of her activism. There was supposed to be security for her, but apparently was either missing or ineffective.
Amnesty International has called on the Honduran government to bring the assassins to justice.
“The cowardly killing of Berta is a tragedy that was waiting to happen. For years, she had been the victim of a sustained campaign of harassment and threats to stop her from defending the rights of indigenous communities,”
A witness to the assassination has sought refuge in a priest’s home.
Caceres campaigned for indigenous rights, gender equality and environmental protection. The latest project that she was working on was to stop a dam being built in the Rio Blanco area. Originally funded by the World Bank, it has continued to be built in spite of the World Bank withdrawing its support. The dam when completed will cut off water supplies to the indigenous people who live in the area.
In 2015 Caceres received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s top environmental activism award.
It is unlikely that the Honduran government will enthusiastically investigate and prosecute those who committed this latest murder. In 2013 a fellow activist, Tomas Garcia was shot dead by a military person. Activists in the central American country protest encroachment on their land at their peril. In the years between 2010 and 2014 there have been more than one hundred documented murders of activists.
Honduran politics are turbulent. In 2009 a military junta arrested the elected president and flew him to exile in Costa Rica. Many countries refuse to recognize the current president.
Honduras has become a very dangerous place. Gang warfare, military actions and ‘collateral murders’ make it one of the most dangerous places in the world. Its per 100 000 murder rate is 82.1 while the world average is 8.8 per hundred thousand.
Several government advisory sites warn prospective travellers to Honduras to exercise a high degree of caution if you venture there.
Latin American Herald Tribune
Former Pres. Jonathan announced periodically that breakthroughs were being made in gaining the girls’ freedom but little action was seen. Reports of soldiers fleeing towns that they were tasked to defend made me wonder if they were cowardly. News has been trickling out that the soldiers were issued with scant ammunition and other weapons and had no tools to fight the well-armed terrorists.
Money for the purchase of helicopters, fighter jets, bombs and ammunition is missing. Recent video footage taken surreptitiously by an enlisted man shows the soldiers training in bare or sandaled feet, no uniforms and no weapons.
Thousands of needless Nigerian deaths would have been avoided" if the money had been properly spent, Femi Adesina, an adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, said in a statement on Tuesday. Al Jazeera
Nigeria should be a wealthy country. It has been a major supplier of petroleum from the fields at the mouth of the Niger River Delta. Instead, those living in the Delta area are coping with the loss of livelihood from the widespread pollution. Endemic corruption by those in power has diverted billions of dollars into private hands. The sums are staggering. As much as $150 billion may have been stolen in the past decade.
[Who or what is Boko Haram? Boko Haram is a militant extremist group that opposes any political or social activity that may be viewed as Western. This is why women or girls in the process of being educated are sometimes a target. The Islamist group or sect, Boko Haram, was founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002 but he was killed by authorities in 2009. The group reformed and in the last few years have escalated violence once again.]
That is not a surprising as his daughter is married to the Ugandan President’s son.
Kutesa, a wealthy businessman, is also widely seen by critics to have benefited from his close ties with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, an increasingly authoritarian leader who has held power for nearly three decades. Kutesa's daughter is married to Museveni's son. Al Jazeera
Pres. Museveni has been in power since the ousting of Idi Amin Dada, a particularly nasty dictator who ended his reign in the ‘90s.
It seems incongruous that the UN can build unneeded multimillion dollar conference centres in a small Asian enclave when it cannot meet the basic food needs of refugees.
Bottom line – we can’t do any of this without your support. WFP is 100% voluntarily funded, so every donation counts. World Food Programmes
If something as important as feeding starving children is supported solely by citizen donations, then shouldn’t something as optional as a conference centre be built by those donating dribs and drabs of money as well?
UN General Assembly
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