Panama Covid-19 update – a report has shown that, in different prison centres in the country, there were 815 positive cases, 703 recovered, 104 active positive, 2 hospitalised and (perhaps surprisingly) only 1 death (but then, perhaps, most of the inmates are younger and fitter men, notwithstanding what the conditions in the prisons might be?).
Meanwhile, another high new case number, with 948 new cases (with 2,767 new tests carried out), so that now the grand total is 25,222. 8 more fatalities, taking the total to date to 493.
20 June 2020
HOW THE PANDEMIC FORGOT MERCHANT SEAMEN
In an Economist podcast, the sad stories of hundreds of thousands of stranded seamen, unable to get home and as the emergency contract extensions are due to expire. About 250,000+ out of contract and stranded.
CONTROLS ON SEMICONDUCTOR TRADE ARE A HARBINGER FOR “TECHNO-NATIONALISM”
On 18 June, Global Trade carried an article saying that gaining the technology upper hand requires the secure production or supply of advanced semiconductors, which makes the controls on trade in semiconductors a harbinger for how “techno-nationalist” trade policies are reshaping global supply chains. The article looks at the Chinese semiconductor sector. However, it says that China is not alone in its interdependence on global value chains. Leading US, European, Japanese and South Korea semiconductor companies have all developed and optimised geographically dispersed production networks. It then goes on to say that the US government has taken steps to block Chinese acquisitions and investments in US technology companies and has also made critical changes to the US export controls programme, which recently expanded the technologies included on the Controlled Commodity List (CCL) – technologies which require issuance of an export licence prior to sale and transfer to a foreign market. It says that the US is not alone in its trade countermeasures, as the EU is also turning to techno-nationalism.
The article includes a link to a January 2020 report “Semiconductors at the heart of the US-China tech war” –
EXPORT OF MEDICINAL CANNABIS FROM ISRAEL
On 18 June, Open Access Government published article claiming to tell you all you need to know about the export of medicinal cannabis from Israel. Within Israel, the medical use of cannabis is permitted, it explains; recreational use is illegal but largely decriminalised. Then, in May, Israel approved the export of medicinal cannabis from Israel. It says that Israel is one of the countries that is leading in the field of Research and Development of Cannabis and is conducting a great deal of research in a variety of fields today: ranging from the cannabis plant science, agrotechnology, development of medical cannabis products and up to clinical trials in humans.
NEW US SANCTIONS DO NOT INTERFERE WITH COMPLETION OF NORD STREAM 2
On 20 June, 112 UA in Ukraine carried a story originating with Die Welt in Germany which claims that new sanctions planned by the US will not prevent the Russian concern Gazprom from completing the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which runs along the bottom of the Baltic Sea to Germany. It says that only the ban on most work in the Baltic Sea in July-August due to spawning of cod during this period can stop the laying of the pipeline.
NORD STREAM 2 SEEKS UPDATED PERMIT FROM DENMARK AVOIDING US SANCTIONS
On 20 June, New Europe reported that the company building a gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, has reportedly requested a permit allowing it to use pipe-laying vessels with anchors to complete the final roughly 120 km stretch of pipeline in Danish waters. It is speculated that the request is to allow Nord Stream 2 more freedom of choice in respect of technical characteristics and configurations of vessels it can use for finalising construction, given that the draft US sanctions legislation is very broad and retroactive, and as such makes it impossible to know in advance what exactly could/would be sanctioned.
TEXAS’S CACTUS COPS BATTLE TO SAVE RARE DESERT BEAUTY FROM SMUGGLING GANGS
On 20 June, an article from the Guardian was concerned with special agents in America having busted a smuggling ring on the US-Mexico border, but their haul is not drugs or immigrants – but so-called “living rock cactus” that grows uniquely on the arid plains of Big Bend national park in Texas.
SPAIN: MULTI-MILLION EURO TOBACCO SMUGGLING RING BUSTED IN ANDALUCIA
On 20 June, Olive Press reported that police had busted a gang smuggling 6 tonnes of tobacco.
FEARS OVER POST-BREXIT ‘SMUGGLERS’ CHARTER’ ON IRISH BORDER AS HMRC SYSTEMS FACE DELAY
On 19 June, iNews reported that MPs claim failure to implement a robust customs regime in Northern Ireland will lead to criminals, including drug traffickers, making plans to target a soft border. One comments reported is that smuggling between the north and the south has always existed with livestock, fuel and retail goods being smuggled across but now we have a situation where the days of a porous border return with a renewed intensity.
KENYAN AIRCRAFT REPORTEDLY SMUGGLED TONNES OF KHAT INTO SOMALIA
On 20 June, Garowe Online reported that Kenya is said to be the biggest exporter of khat, and Somalia its biggest market.
FRANCE: ORDINANCE PASSED TO STRENGTHEN AML/CFT LAW
An article from Baker McKenzie on 20 June is concerned with a new law in February to implement the EU 5th EU AML Directive. It says that relevant institutions with a presence in France should carefully analyse the ordinance and its supporting decrees and, where necessary, review and adapt their processes to ensure compliance with the new regulatory framework. In particular, client identity checks need to be adapted.
IRELAND: KINAHAN CARTEL ASSOCIATE IS CHARGED WITH 30 COUNTS OF LAUNDERING OVER 5 YEARS
On 20 June, the Herald reported that Jonathan Harding, 48, a senior associate of the Kinahan cartel has been charged with 30 money laundering offences relating to bank accounts he held in his own name over a 5-year period. He is currently serving a lengthy jail term over a major weapons seizure.
EU EUROPEAN COURT OF AUDITORS ANNOUNCED TO AUDIT EU’S FIGHT AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING IN THE BANKING SECTOR
On 11 June, Brussels Times reported that the European Court of Auditors (ECA) has said that there is a renewed policy focus in EU on fighting money laundering to preserve the integrity of the internal market and the stability of the EU financial system. The ECA audit will focus on the transposition of EU legislation in Member State law, the management of risks to the internal market, coordination among national and EU supervisory bodies, and the EU’s action to remedy breaches of its anti-money laundering law at national level. The audit will be concluded in the first half of 2021.
HONG KONG: EXPORTERS PESSIMISTIC AS COVID-19 OUTBREAK PERSISTS
On 16 June, HKTDC in Hong Kong reported on its latest export index survey. It says that the results can be taken as a clear indication that Hong Kong’s export prospects are not likely to improve dramatically in the short-term – although exporter confidence did rally slightly in certain industry sectors: notably, machinery and electronics. However, exporters remained cautious with regard to the near-term prospects in many of its major markets. Some 97.5% of exporters conceded that the pandemic had adversely impacted their businesses.
IRELAND: ALLEGED ‘GHOST BROKER’ AMONG 5 CHARGED OVER €4 MILLION MOTOR FRAUD CLAIM
On 20 June, the Herald reported that an alleged “ghost broker” is facing trial along with his partner and in-laws after they were charged in connection with a €4 million motor insurance scam. They are facing nearly 200 charges between them, relating to dates spanning several years in the 2010s.
BULGARIAN PRESIDENT’S SECRETARY PLAMEN UZUNOV IS INVESTIGATED FOR TRADING IN INFLUENCE
On 20 June, Novinite reported that the President’s secretary on legal affairs and anti-corruption Plamen Uzunov is being investigated for trading in influence.
IRAN JUDGE ACCUSED OF BRIBERY DIES IN ROMANIA – ALLEGATIONS OF ‘MURDER’
Al Arabiya on 20 June reported that a senior Iranian official referred to the death of former Iranian judge Gholamreza Mansouri in Romania as a “murder”. Mansouri, who was accused of corruption in Tehran and of human rights violations by activists was found dead at his hotel.
ZIMBABWE HEALTH MINISTER CHARGED OVER VIRUS KIT SCANDAL
On 20 June, News 24 reported that Obadiah Moyo was charged, and bailed, for criminal abuse of office in connection with a multi-million-dollar contract. The charges relate to alleged corruption connected to the irregular awarding of a big contract to a new Dubai-based company for coronavirus testing and protective kits.
US CHART OF ALEX SAAB MORAN’S ALLEGED EXTENSIVE CRIMINAL NETWORK ON BEHALF OF VENEZUELA
On 20 June, in his blog Kenneth Rijock said that the US Treasury has published a chart showing the relationship between the individuals and entities used to evade US sanctions on Venezuelan oil through covert sales abroad.
UK GUIDANCE ON AI FOR GDPR COMPLIANCE
On 18 June, Gowling WLG published an article saying that the UK Information Commissioner’s Office has published its guidance – “Explaining Decisions Made With Artificial Intelligence (AI)”, drafted in collaboration with The Alan Turing Institute. The guidance aims to help organisations explain decisions made by AI systems to the individuals affected. It is said to cover a wide range of data protection-related topics including the basic legal framework that applies to AI, practical steps to take to explain AI-assisted decisions and the types of policies, procedures and documentation that organisations can put in place. The guidance comprises 3 parts setting out what AI is, what it means in practice and what it means for your organisation.
THE EXTRATERRITORIAL REACH OF EU COUNTERVEILING MEASURES
On 20 June, Jurist published an article on the reach of EU trade measures designed to combat subsidies provided by exporting countries. It considers a case involving China and Egypt, where the EU alleged market-distorting aid granted by a country (China) to exporters located in another country (Egypt). Previous action only focused only on subsidies provided by the country where the exporters are located. However, it is argued that the EU position runs counter to WTO rules. It says that the government of Egypt provides no subsidy, but nevertheless, countervailing duties are imposed on imports into the EU from Egypt.
EU PROPOSES NEW POWERS TO COUNTER FOREIGN SUBSIDIES
On 19 June, Clifford Chance published an article saying that the European Commission has published a White Paper with proposals for a new legal framework to address subsidies granted by non-EU governments that distort markets in the EU. Its main components comprise general powers to impose remedies to address distortive foreign subsidies.
GDPR SURVEY: BENEFITS BEYOND COMPLIANCE
Baker McKenzie has published a new report which reveals that in spite of a continuous struggle to secure compliance with the GDPR, many organisations are able to derive operational benefits from this implementation. The report follows a survey of over 100 data privacy specialists across the globe to better understand their compliance journeys. Its findings include that 71% of survey respondents stated that they have achieved operational benefits as a result of implementing GDPR compliance. These benefits were realised through the activities necessary to move toward compliance.
SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL STORAGE AND DISPOSAL
The Stimson Center has produced this report which starts by saying that, as of 1 April, there are 442 operational nuclear power reactors in 30 countries and 220 research reactors operating across 53 countries. Along with the sustainable nuclear energy and radioisotope materials they provide to the world, they also produce radioactive waste. Spent nuclear fuel will continue emitting high-level of radiation for thousands of years, which presents a challenge not only for long-term SNF management but also for its ownership. The report examines its storage and disposal around the world.
MEXICO: US CITIZEN DETAINED WITH MORE THAN 32,000 ROUNDS TRYING TO EVADE SECURITY INSPECTION
On 19 June, a news release from the Mexican Government advised that the arrest occurred when a van driver crossed the tax precinct at the border at speed to evade the safety filter, and when performing various manoeuvres he was hit and the vehicle overturned.
US EXTENDS HUAWEI TEMPORARY GENERAL LICENCE TO 13 AUGUST AND REVISES THE RULES TO TARGET HUAWEI’S ACQUISITION OF SEMICONDUCTORS
On 20 June, Baker McKenzie reported that the US Government extended the Huawei temporary general licence to 13 August and revised the EAR foreign-produced direct product rule to target Huawei’s acquisition of semiconductors.
COMPANIES OPERATING IN XINJIANG’S RAW MATERIALS INDUSTRIES SAID TO USE PRISON LABOUR, OR EXPLOIT GOVERNMENT-RUN “POVERTY ALLEVIATION” PROGRAMMES
On 19 June, Kharon reported that companies operating in Xinjiang – an autonomous region of China home to a wide array of ethnic groups, including Uighur Muslims – raw materials industries use prison labour and other exploitive schemes and ship products throughout China for use in goods sold in China and around the world. It claims that at least 1 million are in “vocational education and training centers“ (VETC) and other holding facilities – and the VETC are said to have security features typically associated with prisons.
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