Panama Covid-19 update – see the protests in London is depressing. We have had a few, small protests here – but targeted and sensibly run, with people with masks and distancing etc. There have been idiots, partying and so forth, but to see thousands of ostensibly sensible people acting like idiots beggars belief… Maybe that’s a reason to be here rather than there?
Meanwhile, another 271 new cases reported here (better than in neighbouring Costa Rica, where a warning of over 90+% ICU capacity has been made), with 2 more fatalities. Of the 3,925 active cases, 63 are in ICU and 323 in other wards.
25 APRIL 2021
THE BILLIONS INVESTED BY BIG BUSINESS IN NUCLEAR ARMS
On 25 April, The Nation in Scotland reported that research is said to have found that 3 major Scottish financial institutions – NatWest Group, Lloyds Banking Group and Standard Life Aberdeen – invested a total of £7 billion in nuclear weapons over a 2-year period. It also reveals 2 Scots universities held £2.4 million of investments in companies that undertake work related to nuclear weapons, while 11 council pension funds together had £275 million invested in 20 businesses in the sector. The information is contained in a report, “Don’t Bank On The Bomb Scotland”.
FOREIGN ORDERS FOR RUSSIAN WEAPONRY UNAFFECTED BY PANDEMIC AND SANCTIONS
On 25 April, TASS in Russia reported that Russian state-owned advanced technology corporation Rostec’s book of foreign orders was not affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and sanctions, and is volume is currently estimated at approximately $50 billion. It also says that last year, civilian-purpose products accounted for 34% of the entire output of Rostec.
SANCTIONS-BUSTING IRANIAN OIL TANKER ON FIRE AFTER ‘ISRAELI DRONE STRIKE’ EXPLOSION OFF THE COAST OF SYRIA
On 24 April, the Irish Sun reported that there is a fire on an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Syria following a suspected Israeli drone strike. Unconfirmed reports from Lebanon have claimed the attack was carried out by an “Israeli aircraft”. The Israeli military declined to comment on the incident.
INDIA: HAWALA LINK IN RACKET SMUGGLING HUMAN HAIR TO MYANMAR
The Times of India on 24 April reported that investigating agencies have stumbled upon strong hawala link between gold smugglers of Hyderabad and hair smugglers to Myanmar. Customs officials said balance payment of undervalued exported hair is made through smuggled gold via Myanmar. The investigating agencies have zeroed in on some hawala operators and gold smugglers linked to human hair exports. Operators are also said to be using illegal online betting apps to transfer the money.
LEBANON: DETAILS OF THE ARREST OF AN AIRCRAFT LADEN WITH SUBSIDISED SHEEP
The Sprout Wired in the US reported on 24 April the details of the arrest of an Iran Air aircraft loaded with subsidised sheep bound for Kuwait. The aircraft is said to have been loaded with 1,280 sheep, including sheep which had been imported and then re-exported. The order was given to unload the cargo of the aircraft, stop the export of the cargo and request an investigation into the matter. It is claimed that the exporter is someone who smuggled over 40,000 sheep in the past 3 months
GUERNSEY FSC REVEALS LOCAL LINK TO 2015 TAX FRAUD BID
On 25 April, the Guernsey Press reported on apparent involvement in a $1.4 billion tax fraud which emerged after more than 50 clients suddenly asked to pull money from a local licensed fiduciary firm and potential tax evasion focused on clients from Indonesia. It follows a £140,000 fine in June 2020 to Standard Chartered Trust (Guernsey). In May 2020, the Royal Court appointed joint liquidators to the licensee to wind up the Guernsey business, which had announced its closure in 2016 as part of a centralisation of business in Singapore.
MACAU’S DIGITAL YUAN PLANS DEAL FRESH BLOW TO CASINO JUNKETS
On 22 April, US News reported that Macau’s plans to use China’s future digital currency will help China curb money laundering in the world’s top gambling hub but could deal a fatal blow to casino junket operators. Companies who help lure high rollers to Macau have faced difficulties since China identified the cross-border flow of funds for gambling as a national security risk last June, and long-time customers rushed to withdraw money from junkets, resulting in liquidity problems.
US WARNS IRELAND IS A TARGET FOR CYBER-SPIES DUE TO DATA STORAGE
On 23 April, the Irish Independent reported that Ireland is a target for cybercriminals due to the large amount data stored here, according to John Demers, the Assistant Attorney General at the US National Security Division has warned. Ireland is at a heightened risk of cyberattacks because it hosts not just the data of Irish citizens, but of citizens from all over Europe. More than 30% of all EU data rests in Ireland.
DISGRACED STOCKPICKER NEIL WOODFORD HAS REGISTERED A NEW FIRM IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS
On 25 April, City AM reported that a new firm called WCM Partners, which Woodford announced 2 months ago, has been registered. Previously, Woodford Equity Income Fund was suspended with £3.7 billion in savers’ money trapped inside. It is said that the decision to register in the Cayman Islands comes after Jersey’s financial services regulator criticised Woodford’s comeback attempt, and that Woodford’s new entity will focus on biotech stocks such as Oxford Nanopore.
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