Panama Covid-19 update – after a technical problem with the supply of statistics, on 14 January the health ministry supplied 2 days’ worth – confirming the continued rise in cases due to (it is assumed) Omicron. Over 9,000 new cases recorded on both days, and 7 new fatalities each day. the number of active cases soared by over 16,000 to 55,069; with by the 14 January there being 69 in ICU and 477 in other wards. The thousands of tests being carried out showed a positive hit rate of 33% or more – indicating the extent of community spread.
Today’s data shows a drop of 301 in active cases to 54,768, despite 8,902 new cases and 11 new fatalities. Patients in ICU have dropped by 12 to 57, but there are 13 more patients in other wards at490. Positive test results are even higheer, at 35.3% of the over 25,000 tests returning positive results.
15 JANUARY 2022
CHINA TURNS TO PRIVATE MILITARY CONTRACTORS TO PROTECT ITS WORKERS AND BRI INVESTMENTS IN AFRICA
On 14 January, Defence Web reported that, as through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has placed tens of thousands of workers in Africa to build Chinese-financed BRI infrastructure projects across the continent. Now, in an effort to protect its workers, China is turning to private military contractors (PMC). At least 9 Chinese security companies operate in Sub-Saharan Africa, where dozens of BRI projects produce more than $50 billion in revenue each year for Chinese state-owned companies.
VIETNAM SEIZES OVER 6 TONNES OF SUSPECTED IVORY, PANGOLIN SCALES SMUGGLED FROM NIGERIA
On 14 January, Tuoi Tre News reported that a customs declaration claimed the contents to be cashew nuts, but upon opening the container, officers found suspected endangered animal parts, including 456 kg of ivory and around 6.2 metric tons of pangolin scales.
ILLEGAL AMAZON GOLD SEEPS INTO SUPPLY CHAINS
On 13 January, ABC News reported on a Brazilian company called Marsam known for its commitment to the responsible sourcing of precious metals. It says that a comprehensive review of public records by The Associated Press found that the Sao Paulo-based company processes gold for, and shared ownership links to, an intermediary accused by Brazilian prosecutors of buying gold mined illegally on Indigenous lands and other areas deep in the Amazon rainforest.
STOLEN CAMBODIAN SCULPTURES WORTH OVER $35 MILLION FINALLY RETURNING HOME
On 15 January, the New York Post reported that dozens of ancient Cambodian sculptures worth more than $35 million are going home, years after they were stolen, brought to the US and sold off in a long-running fraud by disgraced art dealer Douglas Latchford.
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