Panama Covid-19 update – the Government has published the biosecurity rules for businesses which will be allowed to reopen in the (very) partial reopening of some businesses. Meanwhile, the airport is readying for reopening next month, with new high-tech heat scanners and other biosecurity requirements, and the need to pre-register and provide information on where you’ve been etc online before even setting off to the airport.
Meanwhile, another 166 new cases (now up to 8,448 total) and 7 new fatalities (now a total of 244 to date). The daily news programme included film of an elderly guy leaving the ICU after 70 days, looking weak but well. The point was made that he’d been in hospital since before they knew that much about the virus and how to treat it. He now faces many more weeks (or months) before he gets back to fully fit – an indication of how serious a bad case of the virus can be.
10 May 2020
MALAYSIA: COURT FREEZES ASSETS BELONGING TO ASIA MEDIA FOUNDER RICKY WONG
The Malay Mail on 10 May reported that the Kuala Lumpur High Court has granted an interim order for the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) to freeze the assets of Datuk Wong Shee Kai, better known as Ricky Wong. The action arises from the SC suit against the defendants in relation to securities fraud offences involving Bright Packaging Industry Berhad. An arrest warrant was issued against Wong by the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court on 27 December.
AUSTRALIA: EMBATTLED QUEENSLAND DEPUTY PREMIER JACKIE TRAD RESIGNS OVER CORRUPTION PROBE
On 10 May, the Daily Mail reported that the announcement came less than 24 hours after she announced she was temporarily standing down from ministerial duties while she faced her second integrity probe in 12 months.
WHO IS DMITRY BADIN, THE GRU HACKER INDICTED BY GERMANY OVER THE BUNDESTAG HACKS?
On 5 May, investigative website Bellingcat published an article following the announcement in German media reported that Germany’s Federal Prosecutor had issued an arrest warrant for Russian citizen Dmitry Badin, the main suspect in the 2015 hacking of the German Bundestag. Dmitry Badin was already on the FBI’s wanted list over his alleged involvement in several hacking operations.
US CLAIMS THAT RUSSIA AND SYRIAN CO-OPERATING MOVING MILITIA TO LIBYA
On 8 May, Defence Web reported that the US Special Envoy for Syria has said that the Russians are working with Assad to transfer militia fighters, possibly a third country, possibly Syrian, to Libya, as well as equipment. A UN report has claimed that Russian private military contractor Wagner Group has up to 1,200 people deployed in Libya, strengthening Haftar’s forces.
REGIONAL RESPONSES TO THE SOUTH CHINA SEA DISPUTES
ETH Zurich has published a report from the Hawaii-based East West Center about the disputes in the South China Sea that involve overlapping claims to territory and maritime jurisdiction, strategic control over maritime resources, and differences in legal interpretations of freedom of navigation. Those involved include Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and China. The report examines the responses of non-claimant regional states — India, Australia, South Korea, and Japan — to the disputes. The report lists the interests involved multifaceted and overlapping claims over land features and jurisdictions, including about fishing; oil and gas; sovereignty over islands and rocks (including “new” ones created artificially); control of low-lying features such as reefs and shoals; baselines and archipelago waters; and freedom of navigation. It is said that China’s assertions in the maritime and aerial domains of the South China Sea (and the East China Sea) have been widely viewed as an attempt to unilaterally alter the US-led regional status quo.
US: DoJ ANNOUNCES FIRST ARRESTS IN COUNTRY LINKED TO PPP LOAN FRAUD
On 10 May, Forbes reported that it appears that 2 New England businessmen took the concept of “free money” way too far. They have been charged with conspiring to illegally obtain funds through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP offers billions of dollars in potentially forgivable loans to keep workers on the payroll, guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). They are said to have claimed to have dozens of employees earning wages at four different business entities when, in fact, there were no employees working for any of the businesses. They allegedly sought more than a half-million dollars in loans.
US CONGRESS OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORTS EXTENSION OF UN ARMS EMBARGO ON IRAN
On 7 May, World ECR reported that an overwhelming majority of US lawmakers from both sides of the political divide have put their signatures to a letter urging Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to do more to push for the renewal of a UN arms embargo against Iran that is currently set to expire in October.
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