Panama Covid-19 update – well, it seems that Latin America and the Caribbean became this Sunday the region with the highest number of virus cases in the world…just overtaking the North America (chiefly US) total. Brazil, however, is responsible for over half of the 4.3 million infections (notably, another country that underplayed risks from the virus). Meanwhile, the local airline COPA has, again, delayed the start of “normal” operations – from 22 August to 5 September, the fourth such deferral.
Meanwhile, cases up again, 1,432 (making a total of over 60,000 now; of which 24,871 said to be active), but fatalities down somewhat, to 19 (total to date now 1,294). There are 1,388 people in hospital – 151 in ICU and 1,237 in other wards, with 380in requisitioned hotel rooms and 22,803 in self-isolation at home.
26 July 2020
WHY IS THE GULF GOING NUCLEAR?
A video report from Al Jazeera says that the UAE is pushing ahead with its nuclear power plant but, it asks, is it safe for the region? Why diversify with risky nuclear energy when there are safer and cheaper alternatives – and could it lead to nuclear proliferation in the region?
US CITIZEN ARRESTED FOR SMUGGLING LOOTED SYRIA ARTEFACTS
On 26 July, Middle East Monitor reported that Mohamad Yassin Alcharihi, 53, from California, a US citizen, was arrested by police for smuggling a priceless ancient mosaic and grossly underestimating its true value to avoid import duty from Syria. The artefact was seized in 2016, and he has since been locked into a legal battle with federal authorities to reclaim the mosaic.
NEW REPORT HIGHLIGHTS HOW INEFFECTIVENESS OF THE GLOBAL AML/CFT SYSTEMS
On 26 July, Regulation Asia reported on the publication of the Basel Institute of Governance AML Index which, it says, highlights continued failures from jurisdictions to make progress to effectively address AML/CFT vulnerabilities. Published annually since 2012, the AML Index provides risk scores based on data from 16 sources including FATF, Transparency International, World Bank and World Economic Forum, and covers 16 indicators in 5 domains relevant to assessing ML/TF risk at the country level.
The AML Index is at –
INDIA: FATF MUTUAL EVALUATION DELAYED TO 2021
On 26 July, various media in India reported that the FATF mutual evaluation of India’s AML/CFT regime and legal measures framed to check financial crimes, scheduled for this year, has been postponed till early next year due to the pandemic. The review is being tentatively pushed to January-February next year.
ISLE OF MAN: MEDICINAL CANNABIS REGULATIONS EXPECTED IN PARLIAMENT IN OCTOBER
On 26 July, Manx Radio reported that the enterprise minister says he’s “fully committed” to bringing in medicinal cannabis licensing later this year. Regulations for the sector are being prepared for October’s sitting of the Manx parliament.
CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS IN NAMIBIAN 5G DEAL WITH HUAWEI
On 15 July, Al Jazeera claimed an exclusive with a report that a city Councillor in Namibia’s capital has alleged she was offered a bribe by a local politician to ensure Chinese tech giant Huawei would win an exclusive contract to build the 5G telecommunication network in Windhoek.
TOMORROW GROUP CONTESTS TAKEOVER BY CHINESE REGIME
On 24 July, the Epoch times reported that the Tomorrow Group in China as responded on to an announcement by the Chinese authorities of the takeover of 9 of its subsidiaries. It was founded in 1999 by Xiao Jianhua, who it says has been suspected of being a “white glove” (money launderer) for certain high-ranking communist officials in China. China’s banking and insurance regulatory commission seized control of 4 insurers and 2 trust firms, while the securities regulatory commission seized control of 2 securities firms and a futures company. An announcement accused the companies of violating Chinese laws, which thus triggered the process of takeover to protect the interests of investors.
FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE FOR THE ILLEGAL TRADE OF WILDLIFE
Manchester CF has produced this briefing paper that provides background to the illegal wildlife trade which it says is by some estimated to be worth $7 billion to $23 billion per year. It includes information on CITES and such things as where elephants are “sourced”, and the ivory trafficked and consigned to. It examines how financial intelligence could be used to combat wildlife trafficking.