Jacob Zuma to face impeachment vote
In South Africa, the Parliament will face an impeachment vote Anglo has started impeachment hearings against the president, Jacob Zuma, who is accused of corruption by failing to pay back US15 million of public funds used to upgrade his house. South Africa is facing rough economic waters and although it still has a majority in the parliament, the African National Congress is increasingly seen as corrupt. The party, once an armed liberation movement which successfully toppled apartheid, has been in power since 1994, and Zuma has been seen by some to have betrayed the legacy of Nelson Mandela and his efforts to reconstruct the “Rainbow” nation of South Africa. Zuma has been involved in other scandals and in a country where AIDS is rampant, said that it was enough that he had showered after having unprotected sex. The ANC still has a majority in parliament, so impeachment is unlikely, but after 22 years in power, the party shows signs of hubris and fatigue.
The Panama Papers
Millions of secret documents have been leaked this week from a law firm, based in the Panama City, which specialized in off-shore banking. The firm Mossack-Fonseca has been handling the money of the rich and powerful who seek to shield their assets from the taxman. Some of these financial machinations are legal, some not, yet it has been suggested that Mossack-Fonseca has done business with unsavory people such Basshir Assad’s cousin, and connections of North Korea president, Kim Jong. British Prime Minister David Cameron’s father used one of these accounts, as did the Icelandic prime minister who has since resigned. Tax havens are dotted around the world, Monaco being the most glamorous. Question: why do all those F-1 driver live there? Answer: Because if they lived in their own countries their governments would take up to half their earnings in taxes. As long as the ways to hide assets exist, those with a real incentive to, i.e. the rich and powerful, will use them. In the heart of ‘civilized Europe, there are two entire countries, albeit small ones, whose economies are based on attracting the money of those keen to shirk taxes. Luxemburg and Lichtenstein.
Bombing of Christians in Pakistan
On March 28, Easter Sunday, a bomb ripped through a park in Lahore, northern Pakistan, where Christians were having picnics and celebrating the holiest day of the Christian calendar and killed over 70 people. A wing of the Taliban claimed responsibility. Although ephemerally present on the front pages of the western press, a comparison with the attention given to the Brussels attack seemed to suggest European lives are more important than others. In November last year, Turkish football fans booed during a moment of silence for the victims of Paris. They were reviled for this, but their response was a reference to the disparity in coverage of terrorism since Turkey had just a month before the Paris attacks suffered a devastating terrorist attack where over one hundred people had died in its capital Ankara. It received startlingly little indignation in the west. Pakistan has 2.5 million Christians in its overall population of almost 200 million. The country has a nuclear bomb, bad relations with its neighbor India, and decades of involvement with the Afghanistan war. The world should pay attention to what’s happening there and political stability has always been elusive there.