Panama Covid-19 update – another day with no new fatalities, but with 223 new cases, with total active cases dropping by 109 to 2,414. Numbers in ICU up to 15, with another 66 in other wards.
2 APRIL 2022
PATROLLING BORDERS OVER LATIN AMERICA
In its latest edition, Pucara magazine published an article about the types of aircraft used to patrol countries’ borders in Latin America, saying that, with increasing activity by criminal gangs across borders, the mission of patrolling them has been increasing in recent years throughout the region. The challenge is to be able to have economical aircraft, but at the same time with good capabilities in autonomy and ability to carry equipment. Currently, the forces employ different types of aircraft for the mission, almost always light, ranging from small aircraft to twin-engine aircraft of medium capacity.
SPAIN’S NEW STANCE ON THE WESTERN SAHARA COMES AT A CURIOUS TIME
On 30 March, World Politics Review published an article about Spain’s move in supporting Morocco’s plan to grant Western Sahara autonomy over its internal affairs, while remaining under Moroccan sovereignty. This comes after Spain maintained a position of careful neutrality over its former colony’s efforts to gain independence from Morocco for nearly 47 years. It notes that the move angered Algeria, which has long backed Western Sahara’s independence movement, the Polisario Front, and is Spain’s biggest supplier of natural gas.
A PROLIFERATION OF INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION OF CRYPTOCURRENCY DISPUTES
On 1 April, Cryptonews BTC highlighted some strategic facets in the arbitration of cryptocurrency disputes. This is Part 1, in Part 2 the author will examine authorised points in enforcement of worldwide arbitration awards in cryptocurrency disputes and sensible points in enforcement towards digital belongings.
A CRUISE PORT OPERATOR AND SANCTIONS LAW AS ROMAN ABRAMOVICH’S $600 MILLION SUPERYACHT DOCKS IN TURKEY
On 2 April, Business Insider reported that UK-based port operator Global Ports Holding has been accused of breaching sanctions laws by allowing superyachts belonging to a sanctioned Russian oligarch to dock in Turkey. The port operator, whose co-founder and chair is Turkish, runs 22 terminals in 14 countries. It has been asserted that the port operator was “doing nothing wrong” because a recent ban on Russian ships entering British ports did not apply outside the UK.
RUSSIA’S BIGGEST BANK HAS BEEN CUT OUT OF THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL MARKETS — AND NOW IT’S LAUNCHED A CRYPTOCURRENCY
On 2 April, Markets Insider reported that Sberbank had launched sbercoin as Western sanctions hampered Russia’s access to the global financial system.
OVER 140 TARANTULAS RECOVERED FROM SMUGGLERS IN COLOMBIA
On 1 April, Local 12 reported that Colombian authorities seized over 140 tarantulas being smuggled to Mexico City via Bogota’s International Airport. This followed a tip-off from a parcel company, which reported the presence of foreign objects at the time of reviewing the cargo terminal scanners.
SOUTH AFRICA: SOLIDARITY TRADE UNION LAYS CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST 21 ALLEGED STATE CAPTURERS, INCLUDING EX-DENEL EXECUTIVES
On 29 March, Defence Web reported that Solidarity has laid charges of corruption, theft, fraud and mismanaging state funds against 21 alleged state capturers, including the former chairperson of Denel, Daniel Mantsha, as well as the former chief executive of Denel, Zwelakhe Ntshepe.
US VIRGIN ISLANDS ANNOUNCES THE US FLAG OPEN SHIP REGISTRY AND AMBITIOUS PLAN TO ENERGISE THE US COMMERCIAL MARITIME SECTOR
HFW published an article about an agreement to establish the first international open ship registry in the US.
VARIATION IN REMITTANCE FEES AND FACTORS PREDICTING VARIATION IN REMITTANCE FEES
On 1 April, the IMF published a paper which documents a general reduction in such fees over the past decade although the goal of fees below 3% has not been met yet in many corridors. It identifies both cost- and risk-based constraints and market structure as barriers to lower remittance fees, noting that remittance corridors dominated by banks and few players are characterised by higher fees.
CANADA’S ‘MAPLE SYRUP HEIST’ THIEF MUST REPAY MILLIONS FOR SWEET STOLEN GOODS
On 1 April, the Guardian reported that the ringleader behind the theft in 2011/12 has a new challenge: paying his victims C$9 million or serving 6 more years in jail. The Supreme Court has ruled that he is required to pay back the full amount of the syrup he stole from the strategic reserve and then sold, not just the profits from his crime spree.
SECOND-HAND CANNABIS SMOKE WORSE THAN THAT FROM TOBACCO
On 2 April, the Guardian reported that a new study has found that second-hand cannabis smoke from bongs can be even more harmful than tobacco due to an increased concentration of fine particulate matter.
IRANIAN CITIZEN FACES TERRORISM CHARGES IN ALBANIA
On 2 April, Eurasia Review reported that Bijan Pooladrag, an Iranian citizen arrested in Albania on October 2020, will face charges for collaborating with and serving persons involved in terrorism. He is suspected of working for the Iranian secret services and of eavesdropping on an exiled Iranian opposition group.
RUSSIA’S WAR ON UKRAINE: A SANCTIONS TIMELINE
On 1 April, the Petersen Institute for International Economics published a timeline of sanctions against Russia and other major events starting November 2021.
LEBANON PROSECUTOR SEEKS FREEZE OF CENTRAL BANK CHIEF’S OVERSEAS ASSETS
On 1 April, Reuters reported that Lebanon’s top prosecutor has sought to freeze European bank accounts belonging to central bank chief Riad Salameh. 5 European states had already frozen assets related to embezzlement probes. He is facing investigations in Lebanon and 5 European countries into the alleged embezzlement of some $330 million in public funds with the help of his brother, Raja.
FORMER PUERTO RICO LEGISLATOR AND 2 EMPLOYEES PLEAD GUILTY TO BRIBERY AND KICKBACK SCHEME
A US DoJ news release on 1 April announced that a former Puerto Rico legislator, Nelson Del Valle Colon, and 2 employees who worked in his office have pleaded guilty to engaging in a bribery and kickback scheme. He was elected to the Puerto Rico House of Representatives in 2016.
MALAYSIANS FORCED TO WORK FOR A CAMBODIAN GAMBLING SYNDICATE
On 31 March, Gambling News reported that, according to the local news outlet Khmer Times, over 100 Malaysians are currently held hostage by an illegal gambling group.
RISING PRICES INCREASE ALARM FOR FOOD SECURITY AND POLITICAL STABILITY
ARE OLIGARCHS HIDING MONEY IN US REAL ESTATE? OWNERSHIP INFORMATION IS A MISSING LINK
On 1 April, an article from ICIJ says that recent analysis finds shortcomings in federal oversight of money laundering in the housing market. Meanwhile, New York legislators are proposing a bill to make property ownership more transparent.
DRUG SMUGGLING IN COLUMBIAN PORTS
The UK P+I Club has released this report prepared by its local correspondent, A&A Multiprime Consulting Services, which includes new smuggling methods recently observed on ships, updated new recommendations to avoid the problem and an update on how the situation has been developing over the last 3 years. It also says that vessels calling to Colombian ports should take actions to reduce the risks of drugs being placed in any manner in/on the vessel; and to prevent drug smuggling at Colombian ports, the report provides advice and preventive measures.
UK REPORT: THE DEVELOPMENT, IMPLEMENTATION AND IMPACT OF ECONOMIC SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA
On 21 March, the House of Commons Treasury Committee published a report which covers UK sanctions on Russia, including sectoral sanctions, the impact of sanctions on Russia and sanctions evasion through cryptocurrency, and the economic impact on the UK.
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