THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 16

Panama Covid-19 update – first the good news, with no new fatalities reported today! Nevertheless, there were 344 new cases reported, with there now being 5,367 active cases – 60 (up again) in ICU and 281 in other wards.

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16 MAY 2021

HIZBOLLAH AND THE COLLAPSE OF LEBANON

On 15 May, Global Risks Insights published an article saying that Lebanon is at the brink of collapse, undergoing fuel shortages and driving its population into poverty.  It is said that apolitical vacuum has given room to Hezbollah, which is likely one of the actors responsible for stalling the government’s formation, to demonstrate its abilities in managing the country through its apparently well-developed social welfare.  It says that Hezbollah has implemented a series of programmes and initiatives to assist the population economically, such as expanding the services of its parallel banking system, carrying out smuggling with Syria in order to provide cheaper goods, making donations to the Shi’ite population, and supporting agricultural projects to ensure weak families’ economic independence.

https://globalriskinsights.com/2021/05/hezbollahs-economic-initiatives-in-collapsing-lebanon/

UK: MAN CONVICTED IN £36 MILLION CARBON CREDITS BOILEROOM SWINDLE

On 16 May, Eastleigh News reported that the ‘malicious and greedy’ directors of a Winchester based firm conned elderly folk out of their live savings while living the high life.  They were directors of a company called Enviro Associates which was based in Winchester. The pair operated a ‘boiler room scam’ making cold calls to vulnerable people and then using false claims and high-pressure sales patter to con their victims into buying worthless ‘carbon credits’.  The convictions followed an 8-year investigation by Hampshire Constabulary and the City of London police.

https://www.eastleighnews.co.uk/2021/05/29393

NORTH KOREA’S CEMENT INDUSTRY: MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

On 14 May, Tearline published an updated briefing saying that North Korea’s cement industry is central to achieving several of the goals set forth in the new five-year economic plan. Cement and concrete are necessary for improvement or expansion of tourist facilities, housing, roads, major construction projects, and even non-carbon electrical energy production. However, it is difficult to assess the industry’s capacity, output, modernisation and expansion.  It says that North Korea has an abundance of the natural resources necessary to make cement and turn it into concrete, but its cement industry has lagged due to poor quality control practices and dated production processes, often resulting in setbacks for the country’s larger and more aggressive construction efforts.; and these problems will persist without actual modernisation of the industry.  It is said that modernisation efforts and successes which have been claimed often do not match observable markers of modernisation or success on imagery.

https://www.tearline.mil/public_page/north-koreas-cement-industry-more-than-meets-the-eye/

2 HAMAS BANKS IN GAZA HIT BY ISRAELI ATTACKS

On 15 May, Kenneth Rijock in his blog reported that missiles have attacked the headquarters of the one of the 2 Hamas-controlled banks in Gaza, AL-INTAJ BANK as well as 4 branches of the bank.  Additionally, Israel destroyed a branch of the ISLAMIC NATIONAL BANK OF GAZA, which is subject to sanctions by OFAC.

https://rijock.blogspot.com/2021/05/israel-hits-two-hamas-banks-in-gaza.html

UN APPROVES NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS EXEMPTION FOR COVID-19 TESTING KITS

On 13 May, NK News reported that a Singapore-based humanitarian organisation will have 9 months to transfer the items.  The sanctions exemption allows the organisation to donate COVID-19 testing kits and related items to local hospitals in North Korea.

https://www.nknews.org/2021/05/un-approves-north-korea-sanctions-exemption-for-covid-19-testing-kits/

ITALY: VERONA FOOTBALL CLUB OWNER DENIES FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING

On 13 May, Football Italia reported that Verona President Maurizio Setti had released a statement assuring he intends to prove he did not commit fraud or money laundering.  The accusation is that he used money from Verona to prop up another company in his possession and avoid bankruptcy.

https://www.football-italia.net/170596/verona-owner-denies-money-laundering

MAN LINKED TO REPUTATION LAUNDERING FOR MALTESE GOVERNMENT ARRESTED IN FRANCE

On 13 May, The Shift website reported that the CEO of Sandstone has been arrested in France over links to a $4 billion cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme.  Frank Schneider is the head of the so-called corporate intelligence company which was reportedly hired by Malta to help improve its image following the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

https://theshiftnews.com/2021/05/13/man-linked-to-reputation-laundering-for-maltese-government-arrested-by-swat-team-in-france-2/

UN NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS HUMANITARIAN EXEMPTION REQUESTS

The relevant UN Resolution 1718 Sanctions Committee makes available online the terms of sanctions exemptions un the Resolution, and provides a list of exemptions which have been granted.

https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1718/exemptions-measures/humanitarian-exemption-requests

JEFF BEZOS AND THE SECRETIVE WORLD OF SUPERYACHTS

On 14 May, the BBC published an article saying that shipyards have continued turning out mega yachts that experts say are growing larger as they gain in popularity. According to experts and brokers, 2020 saw more yachts sold than ever before, with 2021 set to again break sales records.  It says that there is no official definition of a superyacht (versus a regular yacht), but in the industry the term generally refers to a yacht that is over 74 feet long.  Some dispute that definition, saying the term superyachts applies to ships over 200 feet long. Some brokers have even taken to the term “gigayacht” to refer to ships longer than 300 feet.  It says that only a few superyachts like the Bezos vessel are completed each year, but high-profile projects are often done with such secrecy that builders are required to sign non-disclosure agreements.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-57079327

UK: 3 CHARGED WITH POSSESSING 3D PRINTED FIREARM PARTS FOR SUSPECTED TERRORISM

On 14 May, Police Professional reported that 3 people arrested as part of an investigation into right-wing terrorism have been charged with possessing components of a 3D-printed firearm.

https://www.policeprofessional.com/news/three-charged-with-possessing-3d-printed-firearm-parts-for-suspected-terrorism/

‘SIGNIFICANT’ RANSOMWARE ATTACK SHUTS DOWN IRELAND’S HEALTH SERVICE IT SYSTEMS

On 14 May, Police Professional reported that the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland has closed down its IT systems after being targeted in what it said was a “significant ransomware attack”.

https://www.policeprofessional.com/news/significant-ransomware-attack-shuts-down-irelands-health-service-it-systems/

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