💼 NewsNeat Weekend Read #7

Dirty Money, Ebola, Netflix & Obama, Cannot Trump Rule of Law, Texas Shooting

The Moscow Times, Defense One, Recode & Reuters were sources for this weekend NewsNeat. Enjoy! - Ed: Kingi


Dirty Money

Britain is determined to tackle the problem of illicit money flows, a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday, after a report by lawmakers said Russian money laundered by British financial institutions harms national security.

The U.S. also remains the easiest place in the world to set up an anonymous shell company. According to a 2012 study (expanded two years later into a book) by researchers from the University of Texas and Brigham Young University.

Impersonating would-be money launderers, corrupt officials, and terrorist financiers, the researchers requested services from thousands of corporate service providers that create and sell shell companies around the world. A typical response, from a corporate formation agent in Florida, was that “your started purpose could well be a front for funding terrorism…I wouldn’t even consider doing that for less [than $5,000] a month…”

Britain's financial centre has been a major beneficiary of the massive flight of Russian cash since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, and London remains the Western capital of choice for the oligarchs and Russian officials who flaunt their wealth across Europe's most luxurious destinations.

"There is no excuse for the UK to turn a blind eye as President Putin’s kleptocrats and human rights abusers use money laundered through London to corrupt our friends, weaken our alliances, and erode faith in our institutions." U.K. Foreign Affairs Committee

The solution is clear for both U.S and the U.K. change the rules that govern corporations so that their ownership is clear and available to law enforcement


Ebola Spread by Fear

Congo’s government, the World Health Organization (WHO) and aid agencies are racing to contain what could be the most dangerous of Democratic Republic of Congo’s nine epidemics since it was discovered by northern Congo’s eponymous river four decades ago.

Health officials say the community thinks doctors in white coats are the source of the disease - a doctor and a nursing sister were threatened by locals after they were accused of bringing the disease to their communities, while people in one town prevented medics from testing the body of someone suspected to have died from Ebola, officials said.

Its appearance in the northwestern river port city of Mbandaka this time gives it a potential clear shot at the capital Kinshasa, a chaotic city of more than 10 million inhabitants that lies downstream. Since April, the disease is thought to have killed at least 22 people and infected 30 more.

When Ebola hit the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2013 and 2014, killing more than 11,000 people. Locals suspected health workers in their spacesuit-like protective gear and this prompted patients to flee, helping accelerate the disease’s spread.

Health workers find themselves having to strike a delicate balance: restricting Ebola patients’ movements but without antagonizing communities whose cooperation is vital. Nahid Bhadelia, medical director of the special pathogens unit at Boston University Medical Center, who worked in an Ebola treatment unit in Sierra Leone during its 2014-2016 outbreak said officials should focus on assuaging fear, including bringing social workers and spiritual leaders to hospitals to speak to patients across a protective barrier.


Inbox vs GDPR - What Does It Mean?

Did your inbox just get filled up with lots of “GDPR Privacy Policy Updates”? The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union (EU) privacy initiative designed to give EU citizens more control over their personal data. The GDPR means companies have to acknowledge that your personal data is valuable, and that ultimately control of its use belongs to you rather than them, and that spamming you with marketing emails might not actually be “using your data in accordance with your wishes”.

Fact is almost every aspect of our lives revolves around data - from social media companies, to banks, retailers, and governments. Almost every service we use involves the collection and analysis of our personal data. Your name, address, credit card number and more all collected, analysed and, perhaps most importantly, stored by organisations.

It’s that simple. The GDPR is a rebalancing of power between us, the people who have to hand over data to do transactions on the internet, and the organisations that intend to blitz us into submission with emails. The major news is that Google says it is not going to implement the privacy law, which means they want to continue to business as usual - mining for more depth to your online identity. I think they are perhaps so deep into data it impossible for them to ever back-out.


“No government official — including the President — is above the law.”

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald declared that President Trump violates the First Amendment when he blocks critics on Twitter for political speech. Since Trump took an oath to uphold the law, he should follow her declaration of the law, she reasoned.

Buchwald ruled that Twitter was a public forum, rejecting counter-arguments from the Justice Department that Trump acts in a personal manner, much like "giving a toast at a wedding or giving a speech at a fundraiser," when he uses his longstanding @realDonaldTrump account (the official @POTUS handle created during Barack Obama's presidency also transitioned to Trump on Inauguration Day).

Nope, said the judge in a 75-page opinion

“The President presents the @realDonaldTrump account as being a presidential account as opposed to a personal account and, more importantly, uses the account to take actions that can be taken only by the President as President,” she wrote. 

The judge also pointed out that the space below a Trump tweet, often with hundreds of respondents, is certainly a public forum. Blocking critics prevents them from participating in those “mentions.”


In brief:

Texas School Shooting, 10 Dead

Last week at Santa Fe High School, a 17-year-old student shot and killed eight students and two teachers, and injured at least 10 others. It was the worst school shooting since the one in Parkland, FL just months ago. Police are investigating what motivated the attack. The suspect is in custody and has been charged with capital murder. And now, the gun debate. Texas's lieutenant governor said abortion and violent video games "have devalued life," and that the problem isn't guns. He also said it's time to look at how schools are designed, and that if this school had just one entry point, the shooter may have been stopped. Critics say gun policy, not doors, is the problem.

U.S. Makes 12 Nuclear Demands of Iran

Iran needs to stop all uranium enrichment. And give more access to nuclear inspectors. And stop interfering in regional conflicts like in Syria and Yemen. And a lot more. If Iran doesn't agree, the US will impose "the strongest sanctions in history." Chances are Iran won't agree to any of the conditions.

Italy’s New Prime Minister is a Lawyer

The new prime minister, Guiseppe Conte, is a member of the country’s most popular party. He’s a relatively low-profile lawyer with limited background in politics, and his selection was a compromise between the two most-popular parties, which agreed to work together after no group won an outright majority in March’s parliamentary election. The new coalition leaves both the traditional liberal party and the traditional conservative party out of the majority.

Morgan Freeman Meets #MeToo 

Eight women accused the award-winning actor of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behaviour. 

NFL Issues Fines for Kneeling In Anthem

NFL Players such as Colin Kaepernick will be fined if they kneels in protest. The NFL passed a rule allowing the league to fine teams if their players kneel during the national anthem.


Coming up:

Trump & North Korea Suspense

Masterful use of fear and drama. President Trump canceled his planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The meeting had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore and would have been the first meeting between leaders of the U.S. and North Korea.

However, White House staff have been asked to “keep the door open” for a potential summit and are headed to Singapore - which President Trump said today could ultimately still take place. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said today,

“we have got some, possibly some good news on the Korea summit, where it may, if our diplomats can pull it off, may have it back on even.”

That followed a statement from North Korea that the summit was still necessary, and they are prepared to talk. What a flip-flop, the perfect kind of storm to keep the attention of journalists focussed on his international play.

Netflix Partners with Obama’s

Netflix confirmed its development deal with ex-First Couple Barack and Michelle Obama, just in time for the release of her new book: