Panama Covid-19 update – after a bad day, for new cases, yesterday today was much better – “only” 107 new cases (i.e. less than a third of yesterday’s figure), taking us to 7,197 cases in total, of which 91 are now in ICU. There were 3 more fatalities, taking to total to date to 200. There is news of a couple more “rescue” flights for ex-pats, including one to Mexico. Mind you, I noticed one American asking why he would want to go home, when things seem much worse there…
3 May 2020
THE NOT SO SUBTLE RETURN OF KIM JONG UN
On 3 May, the International business Times and other media reported on Kim Jong Un’s reappearance in public, opening the Sunchon Phosphatic Fertilizer Factory in North Korea. However, it is pointed out that a recent paper from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) claimed that DPRK has mastered extracting “yellowcake” uranium from phosphoric acid as part of the phosphate fertiliser production process – making it part of the country’s nuclear programme.
UK BANS PPE EXPORTS TO COUNTRIES OUTSIDE THE EU, UNLESS ON HUMANITARIAN GROUNDS
On 2 May, the Telegraph reported that the UK has imposed a ban on the sale of PPE to countries outside of the EU. An EU Regulation effectively bans the export of equipment such as masks, gowns and visors to non-EU countries other than to provide “humanitarian aid”. This is said to be embarrassing for ministers, who have criticised other countries for imposing export bans on PPE amid a global shortage of the protective clothing.
SANCTIONS-HIT SYRIAN TYCOON RAMI MAKHLOUF – SECURITY FORCES ARRESTING EMPLOYEES AT HIS COMPANIES AMID PRESSURE ON HIM TO STEP DOWN FROM HIS BUSINESS EMPIRE AND PAY TAX
On 3 May, the New York Times reported that Makhlouf, a cousin of President Bashar al-Assad and widely considered part of the president’s inner circle, has a business empire that ranges from telecoms and real estate to construction and oil trading. He is said to have played a big role in financing Assad’s war effort. He claimed that he had been asked to step down from his companies, including Syriatel, the main mobile operator and main source of revenue for the sanctions-hit government. He has been under US sanctions since 2008 for what Washington calls public corruption, and EU sanctions since 2011.
AML/CFT: ACFCS REGIONAL REPORT ON ASIA
On 30 April, compliance specialists ACFCS has produced its newsletter on AML/CFT matters in Asia. One item says that India, one of the world’s compliance outsourcing capitals, has seen its AML community rush to adapt to working from home – potentially losing the trust of large international banks. In Hong Kong, fraudsters and “phishermen” attempt to impersonate banks in scam, spam blasts. In Japan, regulators to focus on banks with chequered past.
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