Cancelled our sojurn into the interior, or rather postponed it for a couple of week, hoping that the protests that have been closing public roads outside the city have subsidied by then. Tomorrow is when the facemask mandate changes, with masks still required on public transport, in health settings and clinics, and for those handling food. Will the protestors be masked?
Incidentally, along with situation where mask use is still required, the ministry of health recommended to all people over 55 years of age and those who suffer from a chronic disease that may be complicated by covid-19, should “try to use the mask”.
Meanwhile, local press in panama reports that (relatively) nearby, but poorer, Guatemala currently has over 58,000 active cases of Covid-19 – maybe 4 times the figure here – and has suffered over 18,000 deaths – well over twivce that of Panama. Notably, it has reimposed its mask mandate in public and enclosed spaces.
10 JULY 2022
US HAS ADDED 36 ENTITIES BASED IN CHINA, LITHUANIA, PAKISTAN, RUSSIA, SINGAPORE, THE UAE, THE UK, UZBEKISTAN AND VIETNAM TO ITS ENTITY LIST
On 9 July, EU Sanctions blog reported that the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security had added 36 more entities to the list of those subject to export/re-export controls. At the same time, BIS also removed China-based Nanchang O-Film Tech. and Pakistan-based Mushko Electronics Pvt. Ltd. from the list following removal requests.
UK INDEPENDENT REVIEWER OF TERRORISM LEGISLATION CRITICISM OF HUMANITARIAN AID AND CHARITY GUIDANCE
On 10 July, the EU Sanctions blog referred to the latest report in April, which contained criticism of the clarity of the UK Government guidance concerning humanitarian aid and sanctions affecting Afghanistan, saying it was less clear than that from the US authorities. It also criticised the guidance for charities concerning aid to Afghanistan, saying that it omitted an important reference to an information note which clarified the position.
CANADA: FURTHER SANCTIONS ON KEY RUSSIAN ECONOMIC SECTORS PLANNED
On 8 July, a news release advised that Canada intends to impose further sanctions on Russia. It will expand existing measures on the oil, gas and chemical sectors to include industrial manufacturing. These new measures will prohibit Canadian services to contribute to the production of goods made by these sectors. New sanctions will apply to land and pipeline transport and the manufacturing of metals and of transport, computer, electronic and electrical equipment, as well as of machinery. Once the measures are in effect, Canadian businesses will have 60 days to conclude contracts with targeted industries and services.
US ANNOUNCES FURTHER CUBA SANCTIONS AS THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE 11 JULY PROTESTS APPROACHES
On 9 July, Local 10 in Miami reported that, with commemorations planned in Florida, the US Government announced sanctions on Cuba in the run-up to the anniversary of the protests in Cuba in 2021. 28 unnamed Cuban officials, including some the White House accuses of repressing last year’s protests, face visa restrictions. It is said that more than 1,400 protesters were detained and more than 700 Cubans remain in detention, many of them sentenced to significant prison time.
UK: OVER 300 FOOTBALLERS INCLUDING PREMIER LEAGUE STARS ‘PROBED’ FOR TAX AVOIDANCE
On 10 July, the Mirror reported that 329 professional footballers are reportedly under investigation – increased from just 93 the previous year. The inquiries are said to focus on so-called “image rights”, as well as a discrepancy over the commission clubs are paying to agents.
CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS UNDER THE LENS AS INDIA UPS CHINESE SCRUTINY
On 10 July, the Economic Times reported that the authorities are investigating chartered accountants’ role in setting-up shell companies to launder money to China. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs is said to have started the process of inspecting books of accounts of more than 500 Chinese-linked companies.
IRELAND: CRIMINAL ASSETS BUREAU DEPRIVED CRIMINALS OF ALMOST €11 MILLION LAST YEAR AND RETURNED €5.5 MILLION TO THE EXCHEQUER AND €5.4 MILLION TO VICTIMS OF CRYPTOCURRENCY THEFT
On 8 July, Today FM reported on the annual report of the Criminal Assets Bureau, which said that it had deprived criminals of almost €11 million in ill-gotten gains last year. The report also notes that the bureau is investigating almost 18,000 people or organisations – a record number in its 25-year history. It is said that it currently takes up to 7 years for an asset to be confiscated after CAB determines that it is the proceeds of crime, but that the Government is now aiming to reduce that timeframe substantially.
SANCTIONS HAVING NEGATIVE IMPACT ON SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH, RIGHTS EXPERTS WARN
On 7 July, UN News reported that a group of independent human rights experts advising the UN Human Rights Council had said that scientific research and academic freedom are under threat, they warned, following reports that research submitted by scholars from sanctioned countries were being disqualified from publication. The rights experts are concerned about expanding the application of unilateral sanctions into areas of scientific and academic research, and publishing; and expressed particular concern over the existence of “sanction clauses” contained in some publishing companies’ research and publishing ethics policies and guidance. They called for academic associations, publishing companies and editorial boards to take all necessary measures to eliminate over-compliance with existing sanctions regimes.
MEXICO PROBES FORMER PRESIDENT PENA NIETO FOR POSSIBLE USE OF ILLICIT FUNDS
On 7 July, Yahoo Finance reported that Mexico’s federal prosecutors are investigating former President Enrique Pena Nieto for the use of potentially illicit funds, the first known case against an ex-leader by an administration that pledged for years to crack down on graft at the highest levels of government.
NEW JERSEY: HESITATION GREETS MEASURE TO LEGALISE PSYCHEDELIC MUSHROOMS
On 6 July, an article in the New Jersey Law Journal reported on a Bill 2huch would legalise psilocybin for treatment of certain mental health disorders, likely using amounts of psilocybin that are expected to be a fraction of that of recreational cannabis.
CHEMICALS SUPPLIER WARNS OF ADDITIONAL CHIP MATERIAL PRICE HIKES WHICH COULD SQUEEZE SEMICONDUCTOR GIANTS
On 5 July, the South China Morning Post reported that Japanese chemicals supplier Showa Denko KK expects to further raise prices and cut back unprofitable product lines. It supplies essential chip fabrication materials to chip-makers, and is far from alone in raising prices, as other component makers and materials suppliers have been making similar moves to cope with the tough market.
eSPORTS: COULD IT BECOME MORE POPULAR THAN THE REAL THING?
On 29 June, Euronews posed this question and asking what exactly are eSports? It replies that it is an industry worth more than a billion euros, and events feature amateurs and professionals globally. Several eSports streaming platforms were created due to demand from people staying at home during the pandemic. Analysts predict that by 2023, 15.5% of US internet users will watch esports at least once a month, and with the spectacular prize money, its profile is only going to grow.
INDIA: PUNJAB POLICE BUSTS INTERNATIONAL CYBER FRAUD RACKET; WITH KINGPIN AMONG 2 NIGERIAN MEN ARRESTED FROM DELHI
On 7 July, The Tribune reported that, with the arrest of 2 Nigerian men from Delhi, the Cyber Crime Cell of the Punjab police says that it has busted an international cyber fraud racket wherein imposters were using profile pictures and names of VVIPs on their WhatsApp profiles to dupe government officials and common people. The gang sent personal WhatsApp messages to innocent people, mostly government officials, asking for financial favours in the form of Amazon gift cards, Paytm or any other digital payment method.
US DEFENCE COMPANY ENDS TALKS TO BUY NSO GROUP’S SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY
On 10 July, The Guardian reported that defence contractor L3 Harris has abandoned talks to acquire Israeli surveillance company NSO Group’s surveillance technology after the White House said any potential deal raised “serious counterintelligence and security concerns for the US government”.
HONG KONG TO INTRODUCE LICENSING FOR CRYPTO PLATFORMS THROUGH AML LAW
On 10 July, Bitcoin.com reported that new legislation tailored to regulate the crypto space in Hong Kong aims to implement a licensing regime for crypto service providers. The respective changes to the AML rules have been submitted to its legislature while a recently published report examines relevant threats.
CFATF AND THE RISK-BASED APPROACH
In the January-March edition of EDF Project News from FATF-style regional body for the Caribbean (CFATF), its Deputy Executive Director provides an article on the risk-based approach (RBA) as it pertains to countering money laundering and terrorist financing. The edition also identifies the most common risks identified by members in the Caribbean – drug trafficking; increasing terrorist financing threats; illegal lotteries; Ponzi schemes; romance fraud; human trafficking; risks associated with the use of digital currencies; and abuse of NPO.
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