Latest Developments, October 11

In the latest news and analysis…

Immigration disaster
The Associated Press reports that another boat carrying African migrants, this time an estimated 200, has capsized on its way to Europe:

“The capsizing occurred some 65 miles (105 kilometers) southeast of Lampedusa but in waters where Malta has search and rescue responsibilities.

Last week, a ship carrying some 500 people capsized off Lampedusa, killing more than 300 people. Only 155 survived. The deaths prompted calls for the European Union to do more to better patrol the southern Mediterranean and prevent such tragedies.”

And the winner is…
RT reports that the global watchdog tasked with overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons has won this year’s Nobel peace prize:

“The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was founded in 1997 to enforce the Chemical Weapons Convention, an international treaty that bans the production, storage and use of chemical weapons.
Its main job since then has been the ongoing monitoring of the process of chemical disarmament by the treaty’s signatories, particularly the US and Russia, the countries that held the largest stockpiles at the time it was signed.

Awarding the prominent prize to the OCPW came as a surprise to many. Nobel Prize watchers didn’t mention the organization as a likely laureate. Predictions favored several individuals, including Malala Yousafzai, a teenage Pakistani women’s rights campaigner who survived a Taliban attack, Dr. Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist and rape victims’ defender from Congo, Claudia Paz y Paz, the resilient mafia-fighting Guatemalan attorney general, and Sister Mary Tarcisia Lokot, a nun at the forefront of post-war reconciliation in Uganda.”

Above the law
In a New York Times op-ed, Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu argues countries (like the US) that reject membership in the International Criminal Court are “looking for a license to kill, maim and oppress” with impunity:

“Most of all, they believe that neither the golden rule, nor the rule of law, applies to them.

Perpetrators of violence must not be allowed to wriggle free.
Moreover, where justice and order are not restored, there can be no healing, leaving violence and hatred ticking like a bomb in the corner.”

Mercury treaty
The BBC reports that countries have started signing a legally binding agreement regulating the trade and use of mercury:

“The Minamata Convention was named after the Japanese city that, in the 1950s, saw one of the world’s worst cases of mercury poisoning.

The [UN Environment Programme] assessment said the concentration of mercury in the top 100m of the world’s oceans had doubled over the past century, and estimated that 260 tonnes of the toxic metal had made their way from soil into rivers and lakes.”

Falling short
Human Rights Watch’s Jessica Evans argues that the World Bank “lags behind” when it comes to mitigating human rights risks:

“The bank’s safeguard policies partially address protecting indigenous peoples’ rights and ensuring that people are resettled appropriately, but fall short of international human rights law on those areas and more generally. Moreover, the policies don’t even require the World Bank to analyze human rights risks in designing and carrying out its activities.

The World Bank is undertaking its first wholesale review of its safeguard policies. If it goes right, bank staff will be required to identify potential human rights risks and work to prevent or mitigate them, to avoid contributing to abuses.”

For-profit spying
The Guardian reports on the Canadian government’s “increasingly aggressive promotion of resource corporations at home and abroad,” which appears to extend to espionage and intelligence sharing with companies:

“ ‘There is very substantial evidence that the spying Canada was doing for economic reasons aimed at Brazil is far from an aberration,’ Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald told Canadian media on Tuesday. Greenwald hinted that he will be publishing further documents on [Communications Security Establishment Canada].
‘We’ve already seen how Canadian embassies around the world essentially act as agents for Canadian companies – even when they’re implicated in serious human rights abuses,’ said Jamie Kneen of MiningWatch Canada, an NGO watchdog. ‘We just had no idea how far they were willing to go.’ ”

More equal than others
In the wake of the recent US military raids in Somalia and Libya, Foreign Policy’s David Rothkopf writes that America must reject “exceptionalism” in order to be a great nation:

“Exceptionalism is contrary to the spirit of the U.S. Constitution and the ideas that led to the founding of the country. If there is one lesson of human civilization, it is that equality under the law needs to apply to nations as well as people or else chaos and injustice ensue. This past weekend’s raids were more damaging not because the outcome of one was unsuccessful but because the outcome of the other was. If countries feel they can swoop in and snatch up bad guys anywhere, whenever, and however it suited them, the world would quickly fall into a state of permanent war.”

Water justice
The Blue Planet Project’s Meera Karunananthan argues that the private sector cannot provide “silver bullet solutions” for ensuring the human right to water:

“The real crisis is a political one: corporations are attempting to control water policy to guarantee secure access to scarce water resources. When governments relegate basic services, such as water and sanitation, to profit-driven multinationals that hike up the service fees and exploit scarce resources, we are dealing with a crisis generated by an unsustainable economic model.
Yet that model continues to be promoted around the world at events like the Budapest Water Summit, where governments discuss the future of the world’s water with polluters and water profiteers rather than with the communities most impacted by the global water crisis.”

Latest Developments, August 2

In the latest news and analysis…

USA for Africa
In a speech delivered in the Senegalese capital Dakar, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to portray her country as force for good in Africa, even if “in the past our policies did not always line up with our principles”:

“We’re also working with resource-rich nations to help make sure that their mineral and energy wealth actually improves the lives of their citizens. The days of having outsiders come and extract the wealth of Africa for themselves leaving nothing or very little behind should be over in the 21st century.

We want to advance your aspirations and our shared values. We want to help more people in more places live up to their own God-given potentials. We want this to be our mutual mission. That is the work we are called to do in the 21st century.”

Top-down agenda
The Guardian reports that not everyone is happy with the makeup of the UN panel tasked with preparing a “bold yet practical” global development agenda beyond 2015:

“John Hilary from War on Want, the anti-poverty group, criticised the panel for being unrepresentative. ‘Ban Ki-moon has put together a panel of career diplomats, business leaders, politicians and professors,’ said Hilary, who strongly criticized the appointment of Cameron as co-chair. ‘Why is there no one at all from social movements, trade unions or people who are actually engaged in the struggle against poverty? Was there genuinely no room for a single representative from civil society? This is like having a panel to take forward women’s empowerment composed entirely of men.’ ”

Oil shutdown
Al Jazeera reports that a Brazilian court has given oil giant Chevron and drilling company Transocean 30 days to suspend their operations in the country:

“The court said in a statement posted on Wednesday on its website that each company will be fined 500 million reals, or about $244m, for each day they fail to comply with the suspension.

‘Two environmental accidents in the space of just four months and the lack of equipment needed to identify the origin of the leaks and contain them, shows that the two companies do not have the conditions necessary to operate the wells in an environmentally safe manner,’ Judge Ricardo Perlingeiro said in his ruling.”

FTT baby steps
The Nicolas Hulot Foundation’s Nicolas Hulot and Oxfam’s Luc Lamprière call for the right kind of precedent to be set by France’s new financial transaction tax which, they say, offers a mere hint of what a “real tax on transactions” could look like:

“If an extreme weather event causes, on average, 23 deaths in a rich country, that number is 1,052 in less developed countries. Even in the face of nature’s fury, the injustice of poverty divides humanity.
If the goal of containing our deficits is laudable, necessary even, we must not create a choice between two debts: the one owed to financial players who are now betting on the euro’s failure, and the one we have been accumulating for centuries in the countries of the South by pillaging their resources, ignoring the pandemics they face and provoking climate change that hits the poorest hardest.” [Translated from the French.]

Crop Shock
The World Development Movement’s Amy Horton presents the latest surge in cereal prices as evidence that the global food system needs urgent reform to reduce the damage caused by biofuels and financial speculation:

“The researchers [at the New England Complex Systems Institute] point out that efforts to reform the markets have been too slow, with US regulators facing a legal challenge from Wall Street and European regulation also delayed. Consequently, measures that might have limited the effect of speculators have not yet been implemented.

But power to deliver many of the necessary reforms – not least reform of the global trade system – lies with developed nations. Without a radical change of approach to our food system, including regulation to prevent financial speculators gambling on food prices, the world’s poorest people will continue to pay the highest price.”

Reconstruction business
CNNMoney reports that bakery-café chain Cinnabon has become the first US franchise in Libya, as American business interests expand in the rebuilding country:

“American business interest in Libya is growing, said Chuck Dittrich, executive director of the U.S.-Libya Business Association, a trade group representing American companies that are interested in doing business in Libya.
In April, the trade group led a delegation of 20 American companies to Libya to discuss business opportunities.
Much of the interest is coming from the energy, infrastructure and health care industries, Dittrich said. But American franchises are also taking note of Libya.”

Blocking Braille
The Guardian reports that the US and EU are blocking a treaty that would give blind people access to more books translated into Braille:

“Europe and the US are home to some of the world’s biggest publishing companies, many of which don’t like the idea of an international treaty that would restrict their intellectual property rights. Observers speculate that the Obama administration may be loth to upset the publishing industry, a major campaign supporter, this late in an election year. ‘What we can see in the [negotiating] room is that primarily it’s the business interests that dominate,’ said [Electronic Information for Libraries’ Teresa] Hackett.
Activists are hoping for a legally binding treaty, but US and European delegates have been pushing for a softer ‘instrument’ that would offer only guidelines and recommendations.”

Water rights
Inter Press Service reports that two years on from the UN General Assembly’s recognition of the human right to water, a coalition of NGOs is saying much work remains to be done if the resolution is to become a reality:

“The resolution in the General Assembly proved politically divisive, with 122 countries voting for it and 41 abstaining, but with no negative votes.
The United States abstained and so did some of the European and industrialised countries, including Britain, Australia, Austria, Canada, Greece, Sweden, Japan, Israel, South Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Ireland.

In its letter, the NGO coalition said the recently concluded Rio+20 summit on sustainable development affirmed ‘full and unquestioned consensus among UN Member States regarding the human right to water and sanitation’.”

Latest Developments, July 10

In the latest news and analysis…

ICC first
Reuters reports that the International Criminal Court in The Hague has handed down its first ever sentence:

“Delivering its first sentence, the International Criminal Court jailed Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo for 14 years on Tuesday for recruiting child soldiers.
Lubanga was found guilty in March of abducting boys and girls under the age of 15 and forcing them to fight in a war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).”

Arms Trade Treaty talks
IRIN reports on the key discussion points as the second of four weeks kicks off at UN talks intended to produce an international agreement regulating the trade in conventional weapons:

“The meeting will tackle three overriding issues in formulating a conventional arms treaty: Scope – to determine which categories of weapons will be included; criteria – establishing a minimum threshold for the transfer of weapons and taking into account UN arms embargos, as well as the potential for an arms shipment to be denied if weapons could be used in violation of international human rights law; and implementation – covering the establishment by each potential signatory of transparent and competent regulating authorities.”

Obama’s inequality focus
The Globe and Mail reports that US President Barack Obama has chosen income inequality as a central theme in his reelection bid, by pushing for increased taxes on the wealthiest Americans:

“[Obama] is asking Congress to pass a one-year extension of lower tax rates for households earning under $250,000 (U.S.). The cuts, first passed in 2001 under George W. Bush, were prolonged in 2010 and are now set to expire on Dec. 31.
But while the middle-class would get tax relief for at least another year under Mr. Obama’s proposal, the 2 per cent of U.S. households earning more than $250,000 would see their income taxes rise by thousands of dollars in 2013 in an effort to tame the deficit.
‘We’ve tried it their way. It didn’t work,’ Mr. Obama said Monday of the ‘trickle-down’ economic theory that inspired the Bush-era reduction in income tax rates on top earners. ‘The wealthy got wealthier, but most Americans struggled.’

In the name of development
The Oakland Institute has released a new report on the human impact of a massive land deal between US-based AgriSol Energy and the Tanzanian government:

“The project initiated in 2007-2008 has moved forward without public debate or consent, and will evict more than 160,000 long-term residents of Katumba and Mishamo, who remain in the dark over compensation and relocation plans. The AgriSol land deal is a part of Kilimo Kwanza, or Agriculture First, the Tanzanian government’s scheme to promote agricultural development through public-private partnerships.

‘Caught in the crossfire of this egregious land deal are more than 160,000 newly naturalized Tanzanians–former Burundian refugees who fled civil war more than 40 years ago. Initially promised citizenship, the residents still await their papers, conditional on them vacating their homes and lands in order to make way for the foreign investor. The residents have been banned from cultivating crops including perennial crops such as cassava or building new homes and businesses, leaving them with no other option but to consider moving. This is how the situation will be resolved for AgriSol,’ said Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute and coauthor of the report.”

Thirst for tourism
Tourism Concern has released a new report on the water impacts of foreign visitors in vacation hotspots Zanzibar, Goa, Kerala, The Gambia and Bali:

“All regions are highly dependent on tourism as a means to generate jobs and economic growth. However, tourism cannot fulfil its potential as a contributor to poverty alleviation and sustainable development while it so often causes the unsustainable depletion and inequitable appropriation of freshwater.

On average, households across the three villages [on Zanzibar] consume some 93.2 litres of water per day. The types of tourist accommodation in each village varies, but average consumption per room ranges from 686 litres per day for guesthouses, to 3,195 litres per day for 5-star hotels. This gives an overall average consumption of 1,482 litres per room per day: 16 times higher than average household daily usage.”

The mining minefield
The McLeod Group has released a new paper on the development impacts of the Canadian extractive sector’s overseas activities:

“Who will stand up for the rights of local communities when a bad government joins forces with a ruthless and impatient company? This is where international oversight is indispensable.
These are challenging issues that have too often been overlooked by companies and policy makers. This needs to change. Developing countries should no longer be seen as a place of expedient profiteering, where foreign companies can operate in ways that would never be tolerated in their home countries.”

IP recalibration
Intellectual Property Watch reports that the UN Human Rights Council has expressed support for the continued work of a specially appointed expert on cultural rights who recently produced a report on access to “the benefits of scientific progress”:

“ ‘[T]he Special Rapporteur proposes the adoption of a public good approach to knowledge innovation and diffusion, and suggests reconsidering the current maximalist intellectual property approach to explore the virtues of a minimalist approach to IP protection,’ the May 2012 report said. ‘Recalibrating intellectual property norms that may present a barrier to the right to science and establishing greater coherence among them seem to be necessary steps. The Special Rapporteur stresses the need to guard against promoting the privatization of knowledge to an extent that deprives individuals of opportunities to take part in cultural life and to enjoy the fruits of scientific progress, which would also impoverish society as whole.’ ”

More special economic zone
The Economist reports that China is planning to take one of its grandest experiments to the next level in a currently vacant 15-square-kilometre chunk of the Shenzen Special Economic Zone:

“The zone has licence to try policies that are ‘more special’ than those prevailing even in an SEZ. It aims to attract ‘modern service industries’ rather than big-box manufacturers. It will charge only 15% corporate-profit tax and levy no income taxes on the finance professionals, lawyers, accountants and creative people it hopes eventually to attract.

Its firms will be given help in raising yuan offshore. Hong Kong banks will be allowed to enter the zone more easily. The ground will also be laid for greater cross-border lending. ‘Since the mainland is targeting the gradual achievement of full yuan convertibility, Qianhai should be a pioneer for progress,’ said Zhang Xiaoqiang of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s planning body.”

Latest Developments, May 31

In the latest news and analysis…

Universal justice?
Following the 50-year sentence handed down by a court in The Hague to former Liberian president Charles Taylor, the Daily Beast reports on some of the different views held in the country he once ruled concerning Western-style justice.
“Just last week, controversy arose when a commissioner from the nation’s Independent National Human Rights Commission (INHRC) was quoted by media outlets as saying that the body would be forwarding names of Liberians to the International Criminal Court to be considered for prosecution.
Leroy Urey, chairman of the commission, said the statement did not reflect the view of the body. Commissioner Thomas Bureh, who was quoted in various Liberian media outlets, has stepped away from the comment and said that reconciliation should be Liberia’s primary focus.
According to a report by Front Page Africa, Mr. Urey accused Mr. Bureh of receiving bribes to make the statement: ‘I think Bureh has been tampered with by people in the erstwhile [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] and the international community, especially [the UN Mission in Liberia],’ said Mr. Urey, according to the report.”

Boomerang bailout
The New York Times reports that most of Greece’s bailout money is going right back to where it came from.
“The European bailout of 130 billion euros ($163.4 billion) that was supposed to buy time for Greece is mainly servicing only the interest on the country’s debt — while the Greek economy continues to struggle.
If that seems to make little sense economically, it has a certain logic in the politics of euro-finance. After all, the money dispensed by the troika — the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission — comes from European taxpayers, many of whom are increasingly wary of the political disarray that has afflicted Athens and clouded the future of the euro zone.
As they pay themselves, though, the troika members are also withholding other funds intended to keep the Greek government in operation.”

Right to Water
Embassy Magazine reports that “after years of opposition,” the Canadian government has said it plans to recognize the human right to water.
“In an interview, [Environment Minister Peter] Kent told Embassy that Canada is now willing to remove its request for the statement on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation to be deleted.
At the same time, he maintained that the right to water should not encompass ‘trans-boundary water issues or the export of water, or any mandatory allocation of international development assistance.’

Catarina de Albuquerque, the UN special rapporteur for the right to water, publicly condemned Canada for its stance in a speech on world water day, March 22.”

Pan-African vote
Press TV reports that the Pan-African parliament has chosen Bethel Amadi to be its new president, though the body’s powers remain strictly “consultative and advisory.”
“Already commentators have criticized it, saying that without being able to pass binding resolutions, the parliament risks becoming nothing more than a talkshop. The new president admits the step to achieve legislative powers is one of his biggest challenges…
In order to be ratified, the amendment must receive the support of 28 countries. The Pan-African Parliament is hopeful a tangible step in this direction will be taken at the African Union Heads of State meeting in Malawi in July.”

Executive maximum wage
Reuters reports that France’s new government aims to unveil next month its plans to impose a relative cap on the salaries of top executives at state-controlled companies.
“Elected this month promising to curb the privileges enjoyed by France’s wealthy and powerful, Socialist President Francois Hollande pledged during campaigning to limit senior executives’ salaries to a maximum of 20 times that of their lowest-paid employee.

While restricted to state-controlled firms, the French pay limit could affect a number of listed companies including nuclear power plant builder Areva and utility EDF.”

Drone survivors
Harper’s provides a series of statements made by families of victims and survivors of a 2011 US drone strike in Pakistan’s North Waziristan.
“The men who died in this strike were our leaders; the ones we turned to for all forms of support. We always knew that drone strikes were wrong, that they encroached on Pakistan’s sovereign territory. We knew that innocent civilians had been killed. However, we did not realize how callous and cruel it could be. The community is now plagued with fear. The tribal elders are afraid to gather together in jirgas, as had been our custom for more than a century. The mothers and wives plead with the men not to congregate together. They do not want to lose any more of their husbands, sons, brothers, and nephews. People in the same family now sleep apart because they do not want their togetherness to be viewed suspiciously through the eye of the drone. They do not want to become the next target.”

Spear’s silver lining
The Centre for the Study of Democracy’s Steven Friedman argues that the controversy over a painting depicting South African President Jacob Zuma’s genitals will have done some good if it leads to an acknowledgment of the sense of frustration among many that “minority rule is still with us.”
“[The solution] rests, rather, in recognising that the attitudes that made apartheid possible have not disappeared and that those who were powerful then still are — not in politics, perhaps, but in the economy, in the professions and in our cultural life. To name but one example — despite constant complaints about affirmative action, research shows that it is still harder for black graduates to get work than it is for their white counterparts.
While the row over the painting seems like a diversion, there is nothing trivial about a widespread sense that black people still do not enjoy the respect and access to opportunities due to citizens of a democracy. There is no more important issue than the charge that we are not overcoming our past.”

World Bank transparency
Global Financial Integrity “applauded” the World Bank for committing to the public disclosure of its decisions regarding sanctions against companies and individuals over allegations of fraud and corruption.
“ ‘Knowing which companies have been debarred is helpful, but understanding why a company has been debarred is critical in the fight against fraud and corruption.  The methods used by companies and individuals, who are defrauding the World Bank, are methods used to defraud governments, businesses, and individuals globally,’ [said GFI’s Heather Lowe.]”

Latest Developments, March 14

In the latest news and analysis…

ICC’s big day
The Independent reports that even as the International Criminal Court handed down its first ever verdict – finding Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga guilty of recruiting and using child soldiers – questions remain about the court’s ability to overcome the challenges it faces.
“The complicated nature of building cases in the absence of international legal precedent and the necessity of gaining support from states for its intervention, as well as the uneven support for the Rome treaty by major powers such as the United States, have undermined the court’s efforts to gain acceptance. The ICC and its controversial outgoing chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, have been criticised in some quarters for focusing exclusively on Africa. In an effort to weaken the accusations of an anti-African bias the ICC has appointed Fatou Bensouda from the Gambia to replace the departing Argentinian.”

Voluntary solutions
The Guardian reports not everyone is impressed by a new set of proposed “voluntary global guidelines” on land governance and resource rights that would theoretically address the issue of mass land grabs by foreign investors in poor countries.
“ ‘The breadth of participants, including governments, has seen the content watered down to secure consensus. Value for the immense time and money invested in producing the guidelines may be hard to come by,’ said Liz Alden Wily, an international land tenure specialist.  ‘These are only guidelines after all, not binding on the very governments, companies, elites and investors who are already so heavily involved in land and resource capture.’
She said the time and money might have been better spent reframing international trade law, on which resource exploitation so heavily depends, and ‘bringing feeble human rights law up to scratch. Or invested in mobilising the millions of poor affected by policies and laws.’
Alden Wily added: ‘It will be interesting to see if the global aid community promoting these guidelines will spend the same effort to translate the advice into 150 languages and get copies down to every poor community in the developing world. That’s a billion copies right there.’ ”

Water rights
Reuters AlertNet reports that NGOs were unable to get the World Water Forum declaration amended to include “an unequivocal commitment to the U.N.-recognised rights to water and sanitation.”
“…Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch – a small U.S.-based NGO – described the declaration as ‘a step backwards for water justice’, noting that signatures had not even been collected from nations that endorsed it. “The entire event itself is a corporate tradeshow parading as a multilateral forum,” she added.

The firms supporting the event include French energy giant EDF, Veolia Eau, Bouygues Construction, HSBC and JCDecaux.”

WHO woes
Intellectual Property Watch reports on allegations that the private sector is using “financial leverage to gain undue influence” in the cash-strapped World Health Organization.
“A recent piece for the non-governmental Third World Network made the assertion based on developments such as the presence of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates sharing the stage with WHO Director General Margaret Chan at the WHO members annual meeting last year, and the presence of industry interests at a civil society meeting before last year’s UN summit on non-communicable diseases.

Chan has sought repeatedly to assure member states that the WHO understands the necessary line between any stakeholders. But some see industry links in the reform proposals emerging from the WHO, the group said.”

Environmentalists, Martians and terrorists
The Huffington Post reports that the campaign by Canada’s ruling party against environmental groups took a “jaw-droppingly bizarre” turn when a Conservative senator asked “if environmentalists are willing to accept money from Martians,” would they also take money from Al Qaeda, Hamas or the Taliban?
“Many environmentalists are upset with [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper’s seeming obsession with the millions they receive each year in charitable funding from the U.S., while ignoring the millions more spent in Canada each year by foreign business interests.
Liberal Senator Grant Mitchell pointed out that the Tories have no trouble with foreign funding as long as it benefits it’s own causes, such as the National Rifle Association petitioning to kill the long gun registry.
‘Funding flows in all directions across borders, and to somehow single out a subset just because you don’t like the stance of certain organizations and then demonize them for it for receiving the funding…is really a reprehensible treatment,’ Peter Robinson, the chief executive officer of the David Suzuki Foundation told HuffPost.”

Tax haven runaround
EUobserver reports the EU’s top tax official is running into opposition from certain member countries over attempts to tackle tax avoidance in Switzerland.
“Algirdas Semeta told EUobserver that bank secrecy makes it impossible to say how much potential tax income is being lost even as EU countries cut wages and public services amid the financial crisis. But it is likely to be big bucks: Switzerland currently hands over €330 million a year in tax payments to EU countries, while its banks manage €1.5 trillion of private wealth.”

Bizjet bribes
Tulsa World reports an American aviation company and its German parent have agreed to a deal with US authorities over alleged bribes paid to Mexican officials between 2004 and 2010.
“In many instances, Bizjet allegedly paid the bribes directly to the foreign officials. On other occasions, Bizjet is accused of funneling the bribes through a shell company owned and operated by a person who was then a Bizjet sales manager.
The Justice Department also stated that Lufthansa Technik — which it described as Bizjet’s “indirect parent company” — also entered into an agreement with DOJ in connection with the purported unlawful payments by Bizjet and the directors, officers, employees and agents involved in the conspiracy.”

Bankers vs. Robin Hood
Intelligence Capital’s Avinash Persaud compares the London banking industry’s arguments against a proposed financial transaction tax, aka the Robin Hood Tax, to past denials of the link between cigarettes and cancer.
“Listening to some London bankers, you would think that a 0.1% tax would usher in a nuclear winter. Bankers are effectively saying that, while they justify their high pay with claims of superior creativity, credibility and connectivity, all of that cannot compete with a tax on each transaction of just one tenth of one per cent. If, despite the industry receiving billions in implicit public subsidies and guarantees, the largest sector in the UK economy hangs by such a thin thread, its value-added must be seriously questioned.”