We don't subscribe to the criticisms of the 1% - mostly it's political trouble making and jealousy and we've no time for either. But there is one area where we do take issue: where rich or well connected put themselves above the law when they, their family or friends commit, or are suspected of committing, crime. Failure to ensure suspects come to trial is a failure of the system of law and an indictment of the entire legal system from its designers to the lowliest officers who let someone go because they are a recognised "figure." It's a problem that afflicts absolutely all countries and all enforcement agencies, be it criminal or even regulatory. The big-boys clubs of financial and legal regulation are examples of how widespread the practices are. The case of one of the grandchildren of the man who invented Red Bull, originally an energy drink produced by a small company in Thailand, is a case in point. He has long been accused of driving his speeding Ferrari through Bangkok and knocking a policeman off his motorcycle, dragging him more than 100 metres and killing him. Forensic evidence and witness evidence connected Vorayuth Yoovidhaya to the crash and he has been charged with a range of offences. That was in 2012. Since then he has avoided numerous attempts to make him appear in court but he has not been arrested and detained so that he can be compelled to appear. His excuses are vapid...
Here's a fascinating tale: who remembers the USD81 million theft of money from the Central Bank of Bangladesh that was routed, mainly, through a couple of financial businesses in the Philippines and caused a major, but short-lived scandal. Kaspersky Lab, an internet security company, has been quietly plugging away at the evidence it can find. It identified a group known as Lazarus, which it describes as a "notorious hacking group" as being allegedly responsible. The evidence they have published relating to Lazarus is, in itself, fascinating. But what is even more interesting is the report that the moving force behind the attempt to steal USD851 million from CBB may have been the government of North Korea. It's a one-line comment in a long report and requires a certain amount of interpretation. But it's there.
April Fool's Day passed relatively un-noticed this year: perhaps the world, in the grip of more serious stuff than one can shake a stick at, has had a sense of humour bypass. But not online marketplace iPrice. It issued a statement, backed up by a mock up of a website, showing a tie-up across South East Asia with Amazon.com, a company which dipped a toe in the water in Japan and hasn't even got that far with its vapour-like pretence at presence in Australia and then gave up with everything else East of India (except periodic notes that it's making some kind of plans). Sadly, iPrice felt it necessary to apologise, instead of just telling people to grow up and have a bit of fun. Gosh, some people are miserable old gits, even when they are young.
As if Kenya doesn't have enough trouble with impending famine, growing problems with terrorists and other destabilising groups, now water is a potential problem. Construction of a dam may be suspended during investigations into corruption on the project. High level sackings have already taken place.
Good grief: and we thought that the latest measures were supposed to help prevent ATM fraud. Seemingly not as it's reported that last year saw a 70% increase in this class of offence. But wait: this is in the USA where the country's been utterly retarded in its adoption of chip and PIN technology both on the cards themselves and at ATMs. Merchant, outside the scope of the report referenced here, are understood to be similarly leaden-booted.
This is interesting. As most people know, even if they haven't tried it, marijuana gives people "the munchies." Why, then is the suddenly fashionable town of Denver, Colorado, long known, for topographical reasons, as "The Mile High City" and now the darling of TV crews who produce episodes of almost everything they can from the once quiet town, to say nothing of the tourists, using buses planes and cars to travel several hundred miles to purchase marijuana legally, finding that its restaurants are starting to struggle? In the past few days, derivatives of a Bloomberg report have appeared across the USA's media and blogosphere (a word we were told a couple of days ago is out of date so we're making a point of using it more). The original report (link below) says it's simple economics: the pot retailers pay better than restaurants and bars and, outside the kitchen, usually people don't work in those places for fun, they do it for the money. But then there's the other squeeze: cooks are joining pot shops to make confectionery and other foods that include the weed and its derivatives (which, if we are brutally honest, have a huge advantage in that it's easier to pass a bag of jelly babies (oh, the Americans call them gummy bears) through an airport x-ray machine than a bag of obviously grass-like material and the law's still out on carrying personal use quantities across borders when it's been bought legally). It seems things have moved on a long way from the old fashioned brownie. And perhaps there is something in the air: a restaurateur featured in the report seems to be having trouble with his words: " I have some old bottles of nebiollo that I want to taste you on."
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