A new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 other news organizations around the globe, reveals the offshore links of some of the planet’s most prominent people.
In terms of size, it is likely the biggest leak of inside information in history – more than 11.5 million documents – and it is equally likely to be one of the most explosive in the nature of its revelations.
The leak exposes the offshore holdings of 12 current and former world leaders and reveals how associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin secretly shuffled as much as $2 billion through banks and shadow companies.
The files also provide details of the hidden financial dealings of 128 other politicians and public officials around the world and show how a global industry of law firms and big banks sells financial secrecy to fraudsters and drug traffickers as well as billionaires, celebrities and sports stars.
Read this investigation:
Inequality is a universal challenge faced by least-developed, middle-income and developed countries alike, but which can be overcome by political will at national and international levels, the United Nations deputy chief said today.
Addressing a special meeting on inequality convened by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said that inequalities within and among countries pose an immense challenge to global development efforts.
“Large disparities in income, wealth, power and opportunity plague our work for progress, both internationally and nationally, so do also large gaps in access to education, healthcare, water, sanitation, food, energy, and social protection,” Mr. Eliasson told the meeting, which brought together leading experts on inequality from academia, government, the private sector, the UN system and other stakeholders to conceptualize, analyze and recommend solutions for inequalities in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
It is easy to criticize poverty reduction policies, as it is obvious we have to put serious questions about targeting and minimalist ‘social protection’ systems. We defend and promote universal social protection and cannot be happy with liberal basic income proposals. Our alternative is a system of ‘social commons’, democratic and participatory, based on human rights and able to also protect societies.
The main question is: how to put this into practice?
The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, if completed and implemented, will cover a large portion of global trade and investment, but they will exclude the majority of developing countries. American and European negotiators also want these deals to be “gold standard” agreements that establish the new rules of trade for a new century. The biggest concern arising from these mega-regional agreements is that they will undermine the rules-based multilateral trading system. More immediately, preferential trade arrangements divert trade from outsiders and the new or expanded rules that US and EU negotiators want to establish as precedents for the global system will not always be optimal for poorer countries.
They say it takes two to tango and yet the Western world has exonerated itself in the role it plays concerning corruption in Africa.
Together with war and poverty, 'corrupt Africa' has become a favourite cliché of Western writers when describing the desperation of the continent.
Even lauded organisations like Transparency International (TI) which publishes the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is usually silent on the role the Western world plays in corruption in Africa.
Despite TI publishing the CPIs since 1995 ranking countries by their perceived levels of corruption as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys, very little is said about countries that keep looted money from Africa.
TI also publishes the Global Corruption Barometer, which ranks countries by corruption levels using direct surveys instead of perceived expert opinions.
Understandably, though a lean choir of critics find corruption to be a serious ill in developing countries, they feel this pardonable sin compares to failure to lump the connivance of countries like Switzerland.
The silence to condemn Western countries that connive with looters in Africa can be likened to Western countries' earlier support of the apartheid regime and slavery.
It is a financial whodunit for the digital era: More than $80 million of Bangladesh’s money vanished last month after it was electronically transferred out of that country’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
As officials around the world search for the money and place blame, the caper is highlighting what looks like a weak point in the global financial system that allowed the money to get by regulators: the murky banking system of the Philippines.
Domestic revenue – the funds that governments raise through tax and other finance streams – will be a key driving force behind implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet many of the countries facing the greatest challenge in meeting the SDGs are those where domestic revenues are lowest (see chapter 3 of our 2015 Investments to End Poverty report). Some of the key issues the international community has been discussing are how best to support countries to increase their revenue mobilisation in progressive and sustainable ways and the role of aid for domestic revenue mobilisation (aid for DRM).
The world of work is changing. The European Union already has a very high unemployment rate, especially for its young people (respectively around 10 and 20 %). Moreover, the new technological revolution probably will destroy millions of jobs in the near future and consequently destabilize society. With the development of ‘on demand labour’ a general precarization is in the making.
The only answer so far given to these negative developments, is the emergence of new forms ow production and work: cooperatives, collaborative and sharing economy, self-managed enterprises, P2P, etc. coupled with a demise of social protection and the introduction of a basic income for all. While it is far from clear that these new modes of production and protection can mean a real alternative to the existing world of work, progressive forces should carefully examine their potential for the construction of ‘another world’.
After years of dizzying appreciation, the values of luxury assets are plateauing and in some cases plunging.
Last year, a Manhattan penthouse sold for $100 million and another went into contract for $200 million. Christie’s auctioned Picasso’s “Women of Algiers” for $179 million, and Sotheby’s sold the 12-carat Blue Moon of Josephine diamond for $48.4 million. A vintage Jaguar sold for $13.2 million.
For the ultrawealthy, 2015 was an embarrassment of riches.
But after years of dizzying appreciation, the values of luxury assets are plateauing and in some cases plunging. Volumes have shrunk, prices are being cut and some auction lots are going unsold.
On 11 March 2016 the UN Statistical Commission agreed “as a practical starting point” with the proposed global indicator framework by which to measure progress towards the 17 goals and 169 targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It recognized that the development of a robust and high quality indicator framework is a process that will need to continue over time and authorized the Interagency and Expert Group for Sustainable Development Goals (IAEG-SDGs) to continue its work, including:
◾to take into account the specific proposals for refinements of the global indicators made by Member States;
◾to report on progress made on developing and improving the global indicators, and provide its proposals and a plan for regular reviews of the indicator framework, including mechanisms for approval;
◾to report on plans to develop methodologies for those indicators for which definitions and standards have yet to be developed.