Panama Covid-19 update – the number of active cases continue a very slow rise, up another 44 today to 2,841; while hospitalisations have actually dropped a little. There are currently 17 patients in ICU and 95 in other wards. 222 new cases were reported today, and 1 new fatality.
5 DECEMBER 2021
US NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION HAS SUSPENDED SHIPMENTS OF RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS TO CHINA’S STATE-OWNED AND -OPERATED NUCLEAR COMPANY
In its November newsletter, the Arms Control Association reported that the NRC) has suspended shipments of radioactive materials to China’s state-owned and -operated nuclear company, the China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN). The action includes restrictions on deuterium, a hydrogen isotope used in nuclear reactors and boosted nuclear weapons.
IN WAKE OF WIRECARD SCANDAL GERMAN REGULATOR CONSULTS ON NOTIFICATION WHEN USING OUTSOURCING
On 3 December, an Insight article from Simmons & Simmons reported that BaFin, the German financial supervisory authority published drafts of several regulations regarding the new notifications which are required when making use of outsourcing. The consultation runs to 23 December and the new requirements are relevant to banks, investment firms, asset managers, payment services providers and insurance companies.
UK: CONSULTATION ON OECD MANDATORY DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS
On 3 December, an Insight from Simmons & Simmons reported that HMRC is consulting on the implementation of the OECD Model Mandatory Disclosure Rules (MDR) with regulations intended to replace the existing ones which implemented DAC6 in the UK and apply to arrangements designed to avoid reporting under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) or certain opaque structures designed to obscure beneficial ownership. The government intends to bring the new MDR regulations into force in Summer 2022, when they will replace the existing DAC6 rules in the UK. The consultation closes on 8 February.
SWITZERLAND EYES TAX DATA EXCHANGE WITH 12 MORE COUNTRIES
On 3 December, Swissinfo reported that Switzerland plans to expand the network of countries with which it automatically exchanges financial information to include another 12 states – Ecuador, Georgia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Montenegro, Moldova, Morocco, New Caledonia, Thailand, Uganda and Ukraine.
SEC CHARGES LATVIAN CITIZEN WITH DIGITAL ASSET FRAUD
A news release from the SEC on 2 December advised that it had charged a Latvian citizen with defrauding hundreds of retail investors out of at least $7 million through 2 separate fraudulent digital asset securities offerings. It is alleged that Ivars Auzins defrauded US and foreign investors through the unregistered offer and sale of digital asset securities in an initial coin offering (ICO) and a purported digital asset cloud mining programme. He allegedly used fake names, fictitious entities, and fraudulent profiles to perpetrate his schemes, and misappropriated nearly all of the investor funds that were raised.
ON SYRIA’S RUINS, A DRUG EMPIRE FLOURISHES
On 5 December, an article from the New York Times was concerned with powerful associates of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, are making and selling captagon, an illegal amphetamine, creating a new narcostate on the Mediterranean. It is said that much of the production and distribution is overseen by the Fourth Armoured Division of the Syrian army, an elite unit commanded by Maher al-Assad, the president’s younger brother and one of Syria’s most powerful men. Major players also include businessmen with close ties to the government, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, and other members of the president’s extended family, whose last name ensures protection for illegal activities.
ISRAEL BANS SALE OF HACKING AND SURVEILLANCE TOOLS TO 65 COUNTRIES
The Hacker News on 25 November reported that Israel’s Ministry of Defense has dramatically restricted the number of countries to which cybersecurity firms in the country are allowed to sell offensive hacking and surveillance tools to, cutting off 65 nations from the export list, leaving only 37 – and missing from the 37 are countries such as Morocco, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and UAE.
ARMS SALES OF TOP 100 ARMS COMPANIES CONTINUE TO GROW AMID PANDEMIC
In a report dated 6 December, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said that sales of arms and military services by the industry’s 100 largest companies totalled $531 billion in 2020—an increase of 1.3% in real terms compared with the previous year. The arms sales of the Top 100 arms companies in 2020 were 17% higher than in 2015 — the first year for which SIPRI included data on Chinese companies. This marked the sixth consecutive year of growth in arms sales by the Top 100.
US-OWNED BUSINESSES AND THEIR IMPACT IN THE UK
On 5 December, the Department for International Trade published information on US-owned business investment, including foreign direct investment (FDI), and its impact in the UK. The report also estimates the economic impact of employment in US-owned businesses on the UK economy.
INDIA: ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE STOPS ACTOR JACQUELINE FERNANDEZ FROM LEAVING COUNTRY
On 5 December, The Hindu reported that the Enforcement Directorate had stopped Sri Lanka actor Jacqueline Fernandez from flying abroad as she may be required to join an ongoing money laundering investigation against alleged conman Sukesh Chandrashekar.
96 CONTAINER SHIPS ARE WAITING TO DOCK AT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PORTS
On 5 December, American Shipper reported that there were 40 container ships waiting for berths within 40 miles of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, but there were also 56 container ships waiting farther out to sea, putting the actual tally at an all-time-high of 96.
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