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London-based Global Witness has just put out a good report on how some major international banks, including Citibank, “have been dealing with some of the world’s most corrupt regimes.” Gavin Hayman, the group’s Campaigns Director, said, “The same lax regulation that created the credit crunch has let some of the world’s biggest banks facilitate the looting of natural resource wealth from poor countries.”
Among the findings:
Barclays kept open an account for the son of the dictator of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea
long after clear evidence emerged that his family were heavily involved in substantial
looting of state oil revenues.
A British tax haven and a Hong Kong bank helped the son of the president of
Republic of Congo, another oil-rich African country, spend hundreds of thousands of
dollars of his country’s oil revenues on designer shopping sprees.
Citigroup facilitated the funding of two vicious civil wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia
by enabling the warlord Charles Taylor, now on trial for war crimes in the Hague, to
loot timber revenues.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Commentary — November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm
The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Amount of laundry an average American family of four washes in a year (in tons):
A study of female Finnish twins found that relative preference for masculine faces is largely heritable.
Following the arrest of at least 10 clowns in Kentucky and Alabama, Tennesseans were warned that clowns could be “predators” and Pennsylvanians were advised not to interact with what one police chief described as “knuckleheads with clown-like clothes on.”
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”