Category Archives: Profiteering

Legislation protecting Netanyahu brings Israeli parliament to a new low – Smells really bad – wonder if their Supreme Court will do anything?

If the police can publish their recommendations regarding the bribery allegations plaguing Netanyahu, there could be an early election. So the coalition partners hold their noses

Source: Legislation protecting Netanyahu brings Israeli parliament to a new low

Trump commerce secretary’s business links with Putin family laid out in leaked files

Wilbur Ross stands to profit from company run by Russians, some of whom are under US sanctions

Source: Trump commerce secretary’s business links with Putin family laid out in leaked files

 

 

In 2014, Ross led a €1bn takeover of the Bank of Cyprus, a favoured destination for Moscow oligarchs seeking to store their wealth. The bank’s biggest shareholder at the time was the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. In 2008, as the US began to fall into a financial crisis, Rybolovlev bought a Florida mansion from Trump for $95m. The future president had paid $41m for it four years earlier.

Also invested in the bank takeover was the billionaire Russian industrialist Viktor Vekselberg. Vekselberg, who owns the world’s biggest collection of Fabergé eggs, attended the now infamous December 2015 dinner in Moscow for the Kremlin TV channel RT, where Trump’s future national security adviser Michael Flynn was photographed next to Putin.

Ross sat on the senior leadership team of Bank of Cyprus alongside Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, a former KGB colleague of Putin’s who is also on the board of several state corporations in Moscow.

And in 2015, while Ross was vice-chairman of the bank, its Russia-based businesses were sold off to Artem Avetisyan, a Russian businessman who had been appointed by Putin to lead an agency responsible for strengthening ties between the Kremlin and business.

Plot behind Caceres murder in Honduras, says legal panel | News | DW | 31.10.2017

Records had shown multiple communications between suspected gunmen and an unnamed DESA official, according to GAIPE findings reported by Associated Press.An international outcry ensued after the murder of Caceres who with her movement Copinh led indigenous Lenca peoples in opposing the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam project.Construction was subsequently suspended when investors, including a Dutch bank and a Finnish fund, froze funding.

Source: Plot behind Caceres murder in Honduras, says legal panel | News | DW | 31.10.2017

Scott Pruitt’s EPA Just Shut the Door on Independent Scientists | Earthjustice

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt decreed that scientists who receive EPA funding for their research may no longer sit on key scientific advisory boards. This policy will freeze out many academic experts who rely on public grants to conduct independent studies. Pruitt also dismissed independent scientists from several important scientific bodies and replaced them with industry insiders.

Source: Scott Pruitt’s EPA Just Shut the Door on Independent Scientists | Earthjustice

The 14 Stereotypes That Facebook Assigns To All Of Us: SFist

Zuckerberg and company seem stuck in a cushy Silicon Valley mindset that assigns actual reality to the milk-and-cookies stereotypes that investors and advertisers are comfortable with. The monster they’ve created is being used for far more sinister purposes than what falls within purview of the company advertising parameters. Facebook remains flat-footed and clumsy in response to troll accounts that literally call for U.S. violence, and internationally, use of Facebook to cause real-life mass violence.There is a popular Silicon Valley notion that tech execs like Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and Sergey Brin are the best and brightest minds of our era. But if their platforms are being used in ways they didn’t anticipate and still can’t control, well, doesn’t that inherently make them not best and brightest minds of our era?

Source: The 14 Stereotypes That Facebook Assigns To All Of Us: SFist

How saving West African forests might have prevented the Ebola epidemic | Vital Signs | The Guardian – “Bingo! What I have been saying for past 5 years.”

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa may have surprised most of the medical establishment – this is the first such outbreak in the region – but the risk had been steadily rising for at least a decade. The risk had grown so high, in fact, that this outbreak was almost inevitable and very possibly predictable.All that was needed was to see the danger was a bat’s eye view of the region. Once blanketed with forests, West Africa has been skinned alive over the last decade. Guinea’s rainforests have been reduced by 80%, while Liberia has sold logging rights to over half its forests. Within the next few years Sierra Leone is on track to be completely deforested.This matters because those forests were habitat for fruit bats, Ebola’s reservoir host. With their homes cut down around them, the bats are concentrating into the remnants of their once-abundant habitat. At the same time, mining has become big business in the region, employing thousands of workers who regularly travel into bat territory to get to the mines.

Source: How saving West African forests might have prevented the Ebola epidemic | Vital Signs | The Guardian

Firm restoring Puerto Rico’s power threatened to quit, mayor says | World news | The Guardian – “#TraitorTrump’s people are all about graft and greed at other people’s expense.”

Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz had demanded greater transparency over the $300m deal secured by Whitefish Energy, a tiny two-year-old firm based in the Montana home town of the US interior secretary, Ryan Zinke.

Source: Firm restoring Puerto Rico’s power threatened to quit, mayor says | World news | The Guardian

Whitefish had only two full-time employees when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on 20 September, killing more than 50 people and knocking out power to the whole island. The company has since contracted more than 300 workers, but three-quarters of the US territory remains without electricity.

Trump sought dissident’s expulsion after hand-delivered letter from China – report | World news | The Guardian  #TraitorTrump!

The report said the letter had been hand-delivered to him at a private dinner by Steve Wynn, a Las Vegas casino magnate and Republican National Committee finance chairman with interests in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau, for which Wynn relies on Beijing for licensing.The marketing director for Wynn Resorts Ltd, Michael Weaver, told the Journal in a written statement: “[T]hat report regarding Mr Wynn is false. Beyond that, he doesn’t have any comment.”Weaver did not respond to a request for comment from the Guardian on what part of the story was false and whether Wynn had ever delivered a letter from the Chinese government to Trump.The Journal report said that aides tried to persuade Trump out of going ahead with Guo’s deportation, noting he was a member of the president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. The aides later ensured that the deportation would not go ahead.There was no immediate response from the White House or the state department to a request to comment on the report.

Source: Trump sought dissident’s expulsion after hand-delivered letter from China – report | World news | The Guardian