16th December 2018
FERTILE SOIL BEING SMUGGLED OUT OF IRAN ON LARGE SCALE
Radio Farda from Rferl on 16th December reported that an Iranian environmental official has admitted that fertile soil from farms and pastures is being smuggled abroad. Several social media reports had raised the alarm in recent years about smuggling on a massive scale. It is sold to UAE and other Arab states south of the Persian Gulf in flower pots, registered as “flower export”. The soil smuggled is mainly from southern parts of Iran, including the province of Fars. The head of Iran’s Society of Soil Sciences says 2 billion tons of Iranian fertile soil is lost annually through erosion leaving the country with $56 billion damage each year. Excessive erosion and degrading have seriously endangered Iran’s soil resources, experts have repeatedly asserted.
CAMBODIA’S LARGEST IVORY BUST SEES TONS OF ELEPHANT TUSKS SEIZED
Deutsche Welle on 16th December reported that Cambodian authorities have seized 3 tons of elephant tusks from Mozambique following a tip from the US Embassy. It says that the demand for ivory from China and Vietnam is a driving factor in Cambodia’s illegal wildlife trade.
COCAINE CRUISE PENSIONERS’ 16 DRUG SMUGGLING TRIPS TO NORWAY
The Daily Mail reported on 16th December that the British pensioners arrested on a cruise liner last week and accused of smuggling cocaine had previously been on at least 16 drug-smuggling trips to Norway in a battered old car. It is said they acted as couriers for a cannabis smuggling ring. It says that they were arrested in Oslo in 2004, after which they skipped bail and returned to England, where they changed their names and moved into sheltered housing.
MALTA: INFORMAL POSITIVE FEEDBACK BY EBA AND EU COMMISSION OVER ACTION PLAN FOR FIAU
The Malta Independent on 16th December reported that the informal feedback provided by the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the EU Commission to the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) on the latter’s action plan following scrutiny by the institutions is said to be “positive and encouraging”. The FIAU action plan consists of 9 key actions, 8 of which are intended to directly address the EBA 8 recommendations. The primary aim of the action plan, the FIAU said, is to serve the FIAU in ensuring that it strengthens its supervisory and enforcement functions.
PAKISTANI BILLIONAIRE NAMED IN INSIDER TRADING CASE IN UK
Pakistan Today on 15th December reported that multi-billionaire Pakistani national, Alshair Fiyaz, has been named in connection with allegations of market manipulation in a high-profile insider trading case at the Southwark Crown Court brought by the FCA.
PANAMA: TRIAL OF FORMER PRESIDENT MARTINELLI POSTPONED
Kenneth Rijock in his blog reported that the trial of former President Martinelli, scheduled for 12th December, was cancelled at short notice. He is charged with conducting a massive unlawful surveillance program, using state-of-the-art equipment and his National Security Council staff, and procedural reasons were cited for the delay.
MALDIVES SEIZE $6.5 MILLION FROM FORMER PRESIDENT ABDULLA YAMEEN
The Economic Times on 16th December reported that a court has ordered accounts holding $6.5 million to be frozen. Yameen was defeated in a September election. He has been dogged by allegations that he received close to $1.5 million in illicit payments during his failed bid for re-election.