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Posts Tagged ‘Corruption’

Ban on US adoptions is ‘adequate reaction’ – Putin

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 21, 2012

Russian President Vladimir Putin answers journalists' questions during the annual big conference at the International Trade Center in Krasnaya Presnya, 20 December 2012 (RIA Novosti / Iliya Pitalev)

Russian President Vladimir Putin answers journalists’ questions during the annual big conference at the International Trade Center in Krasnaya Presnya, 20 December 2012 (RIA Novosti / Iliya Pitalev)

In response to the first question at his annual international press conference in Moscow, Vladimir Putin said he was in favor of banning the adoption of Russian children by US citizens.

The question dealt with legislation that seeks to prohibit the adoption of Russian orphans by US citizens.

The bill, part of a package of measures drafted by Russian lawmakers in retaliation to the US Magnitsky Act, was approved this week by the Lower House in the second reading.

Putin answered that the Magnitsky Act should be prioritized as it is a deliberately unfriendly piece of legislation aimed at Russia (The act is named after lawyer Sergey Magnitsky, who died in pre-trial detention in Moscow in the course of a massive tax fraud investigation. In addition to banning individuals who US officials believe were involved in the death from visiting the US, it also freezes their US-held assets).

The United States “replaced one anti-Russian law with another,” and this indicates that our foreign partners are living in the past and intend to maintain relations “rooted in a standoff between two systems,” the Russian leader stated.

Speaking on the proposed adoption ban (named in honor of Dima Yakovlev, a Russian boy who died as a result of being left inside of a car on a hot day by his adoptive American parents), Putin said that to his knowledge the majority of Russians disapprove of foreign adoptions. He added that he fully agreed with Prime Minister Medvedev who said that Russia should develop its own adoption system.

The President told his audience that the amendment is not against adoptions per se, but rather a response to the US judicial system that regularly denies Russian diplomats from monitoring the wellbeing of Russian children adopted by US citizens. Putin called this practice “a humiliation,” saying that no one should have to tolerate such an attitude. Read the rest of this entry »

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HSBC exposed: Drug money banking, terror dealings

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 17, 2012

AFP Photo/Lionel Bonaventure

AFP Photo/Lionel Bonaventure

The international banking giant HSBC may have financed terrorist groups and allowed Mexican drug money into the US economy through its lax policies, a damning Senate report reveals.

The findings are the results of a year-long Senate probe into HSBC’s activities, highlighting negligence throughout the bank’s international structure. The probe will be published in a 340-page report in Washington on Tuesday, and senior members of the bank will be called to account for the allegations.

“HSBC used its US bank as a gateway into the US financial system for some HSBC affiliates around the world to provide US dollar services to clients while playing fast and loose with US banking rules,” said Senator Carl Levin in a press release. He added that the US branch of the corporation “exposed the United States to Mexican drug money, suspicious travelers’ checks, bearer share corporations, and rogue jurisdictions.”

“The culture at HSBC was pervasively polluted for a long time,” Senator Levin said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sex abuse scandal rocks US Air Base

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 30, 2012

Photo from      

Photo from

A US air force investigation has identified 31 female cadets who were sexually assaulted by their trainers at a Texas military camp. The scandal has raised concerns that the US armed forces are not doing enough to protect women in the military.

An internal probe is currently looking at 12 male military instructors that were serving at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas. Six of them face charges of misconduct, including allegations of rape and adultery.

The majority of those under investigation were from the 331st training squadron, whose commander was dismissed from duty last week. He was not charged with sex crimes but was relieved because of the unacceptable level of misconduct in his unit.

“We are taking a comprehensive look, not only at the cases we know, but in trying to assess whether there are other cases out there,” said General Edward Rice during a Pentagon briefing. He added that to his knowledge, all 31 women who reported to have been victims of abuse were still in the military. Read the rest of this entry »

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For China, Economic Growth Doesn’t Always Equal Happiness

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 16, 2012

A woman washes clothes next to a railway near a shanty town in Shenyang, China

When Bo Xilai, the rising Chinese Communist Party official who was purged in March, gave his last public comments before disappearing into detention, he was wrong about a lot of things. That bit about not being under investigation, for instance. But one line he uttered has the clear ring of truth, and it poses a serious issue for China’s leadership as it attempts to navigate this year’s political transition, the economic slowdown and the ripples loosed by Bo’s removal. Bo revealed that China’s Gini coefficient — a statistic that measures the gap between rich and poor — had entered into worrying territory. He described the number, which hasn’t been made public in over a decade, as over 0.46. Anything higher than 0.4 is considered dangerously high and capable of fueling unrest.

In Chongqing, where Bo was Communist Party secretary for 4½ years, he made building economic protections like subsidized housing for the megacity’s poorest residents one of the tenets of his “Chongqing model.” The wholesale corruption he and his family have been accused of may have steered the wealth gap in the wrong direction, but Bo understood the political importance of appearing to care about the problem, just as he knew the appeal of cracking down on crime and reviving Mao-era culture.

It’s a point that many other officials seem to have missed, mindful perhaps of Deng Xiaoping’s declaration that “some will get rich first,” but forgetting the coda that their prosperity would then spread to all. China’s growth in recent decades has been astonishing and surveys like the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project have found high levels of satisfaction and optimism in China. But there is more to those numbers. A deeper examination of Chinese citizens’ levels of satisfaction indicates that while the country’s richest are increasingly content, the poor are growing more and more unhappy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Secret intel report leaked: US in Afghan dead end

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 13, 2012

Pakistani Taliban fighters hold weapons as they receive training in Ladda, South Waziristan tribal region, in this still image taken from a video, shot between December 9 to December 14, 2011 (Reuters / Reuters TV)

The latest US intelligence report concludes the war against the Taliban has reached an impasse, with the Taliban remaining committed to taking back Afghanistan by force as soon as NATO troops leave the country.

Two current and one former US official speaking on condition of anonymity told AP the intelligence community’s take on the war is that the Taliban may only be paying lip service to peace talks with NATO and Afghan government.

The classified Afghan National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) declares the war at a stalemate, with NATO security gains far outweighed by corruption at all levels of Afghan government.

The report also finds special operations raids and programs to bolster local Afghan security are somewhat effective in degrading the Taliban, but it returns as soon as NATO forces withdraw from an area. The assessment also questions the overall success of the longest war in US history.

The document analyzes possible future scenarios for Afghanistan, “especially with respect to the motivations of the Taliban,” an official told Reuters. The estimate states that the weak government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai will not be able to survive when US will pull its forces out of the country and reduces its assistance to military and civilians.

The military and Pentagon officials called report’s findings incorrect, flawed and overly pessimistic. Top commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, John Allen, argued that the US is not planning to withdraw the troops before they are certain Afghan troops can handle the job. Read the rest of this entry »

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India: Anna Hazare Hunger Strike Highlights Corruption

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 27, 2011

NEW DELHI — An Indian activist began a three-day hunger strike calling for Parliament to pass a tougher version of an anti-corruption bill than the one lawmakers started debating on Tuesday.

Anna Hazare began his fast in India’s business capital, Mumbai, to protest what he calls a lack of teeth for an anti-corruption watchdog that the proposed bill would create.

Hazare has called the government’s anti-graft legislation an attempt to fool the country.

His previous public protests have drawn tens of thousands of people in a country where corruption is rampant and top officials are regularly embroiled in scandals even as hundreds of millions of people remain bitterly poor.

But critics say his populist campaign attempts to vilify all politicians and hold elected officials hostage.

Hazare’s main complaint with the anti-graft bill now before Parliament is that the proposed corruption ombudsman would not have authority over the country’s top investigative agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation. He says the ombudsman position would be too weak without that authority.

In New Delhi, India’s Parliament began its debate as junior minister in the prime minister’s office V. Narayanasamy moved the bill in the powerful lower house, saying the legislation maintained the “fine balance” between the powers of the legislature, the judiciary and the executive branch.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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CrossTalk: Farewell USSR!

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 26, 2011

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Corruption Perception Index 2011 Ranks 183 Countries

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 7, 2011

What is the most corrupt country in the world? In an attempt to answer that question, Transparency International, a Germany-based NGO that monitors corruption, has published an index ranking 183 countries according to how corrupt their public service is perceived to be.

With protests surging around the world and demonstrators demanding greater accountability of their governments and leaders, the corruption index shows protesters’ demands are well-founded,Transparency International concludes. “This year we have seen corruption on protestors’ banners be they rich or poor. Whether in a Europe hit by debt crisis or an Arab world starting a new political era, leaders must heed the demands for better government,” writes the organization chair Huguette Labelle.

“2011 saw the movement for greater transparency take on irresistible momentum, as citizens around the world demand accountability from their governments. High-scoring countries show that over time efforts to improve transparency can, if sustained, be successful and benefit their people,” Transparency International Managing Director Cobus de Swardt added.

According to the index, New Zealand is seen as the least corrupt country in the world, with Finland and Denmark tied for second place.

Can you guess which countries ranked last? Take a look in the slideshow below and let us know in the comments section if the results surprise you

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Naomi Wolf arrested at Occupy Wall Street

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 19, 2011

Photo by Thomas Good / NLN

Author and activist Naomi Wolf has been added to the list now hundreds of names long of protesters arrested during the ongoing Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.

Wolf, a popular writer perhaps most known for her book The Beauty Myth and frequent articles in the Huffington Post, was arrested Tuesday night in Manhattan along with a handful of other Occupy Wall Street protesters.

A group of around 50 participants in the movement, including Wolf, had been in attendance outside of a gala that was honoring New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at New York’s Skylight Studios. While Gov. Cuomo was being lauded as “Game Changer of the Year” at the awards ceremony, Occupy Wall Street protesters were expressing their detest over the politician’s opposition to extending a tax on millionaires and his support of hydraulic fracking.

Wolf says that her participation in the protests outside the event was “peaceful, respectful, law-abiding and orderly,”and insists that the NYPD officials that apprehended her were wrong in doing so.

“I was arrested for not backing down when a police officer told me contrary to what I knew about the law and the permit process that a private entity owned the sidewalk,” Wolf writes on her website following her arrest. “He was mistaken and I was correct,” she adds.

In a separate article written today for the UK’s Guardian, Wolf writes that “Police keep inventing this right to barricade people in and tell people where to protest, but in the United States this is wrong: it’s against the first amendment rights of freedom of assembly.” Read the rest of this entry »

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WikiLeaks at war

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 4, 2011

A scandal worthy of being hosted on their own site is erupting between WikiLeaks and some of the biggest newspapers in the world over the distribution of thousands of top-secret files.

When word got out earlier this week that over 250,000 unredacted diplomatic cables leaked from the US State Department had made it to the web, critics were quick to question the security that Julian Assange had in place on his whistleblower site. As rumors circulated in days past that a trove of nearly 2 gigabytes of confidential cables had made its way to the Web, WikiLeaks responded first by denying any breach of security. Now Assange is attacking the Guardian newspaper of London because he says they are responsible for compromising the cables.

The Guardian has been slowly leaking the censored, redacted cables since last November, along with a handful of other top-tier news outlets across the world. Assange is insisting now that an encrypted database of files he put in the hands of the Guardian was mishandled and that the paper published the password in a book they printed about WikiLeaks. According to Assange, the Guardian’s actions were along the lines of malice and violated a confidentiality agreement between the two parties. The Guardian is firing back that Assange said the password would expire almost immediately, however, and it is his own fault for not taking care of the protection before it became a problem.

“No concerns were expressed when the book was published, and if anyone at WikiLeaks had thought this compromised security, they have had seven months to remove the files,” responds the Guardian. “That they didn’t do so clearly shows the problem was not caused by the Guardian’s book.” Read the rest of this entry »

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SWAT kills American hero

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 21, 2011

Seventy-one rounds of ammo were unloaded in seven second on Jose Guerena, an ex-Marine who served two tours of

SWAT kills American hero


The gunfire wasn’t unleashed by insurgents from opposing military forces, however. The 60 bullets that entered Guerena’s body were fired by an Arizona SWAT team as Guerena’s wife Vanessa and their four-year-old son Juan hid in a closet at around 9:30 am on a Thursday morning. It happened only earlier this month in their Tuscon, Arizona-area home.

According to police, the Guerena residence was targeted in an investigation surrounding home invasions and drug rip-offs. Police says their house was among those “identified as locations where these activities were being carried out from.” What hard evidence they have for this has not been disclosed.

What we do know, more or less, is that Vanessa heard noises and saw a man outside their window on the morning of May 5. She woke her husband up, who then grabbed a rifle and walked toward the kitchen. There he was shot dozens of times within the mere moments after. Guerena’s possession of the AR-15 was completely legal and it was never fired.

What followed immediately was a poorly-handed 911 call dialed by Mrs. Guerena as she watched her husband grunt on the ground in front of his family, gasping his last breaths of life. She pled with the emergency operators to send help for five minutes while they deemed her “hysterical.” Once they did arrive, it was an hour and 14 minutes before EMTs were allowed access to the wounded Guerena; the SWAT team wouldn’t allow them near. Read the rest of this entry »

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CIA using social networks

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 15, 2011

Wayne Madsen has written about intelligence in America for decades, having transitioned from a Naval officer to journalist, specializing in investigative reporting.

In the past he’s written about the FBI’s Carnivore Internet monitoring program, but now, he says, the government isn’t watching what we do online, but is using the web, rather, to tell us how to do it.

Using the media for propaganda purposes is nothing new for the CIA, says Madsen. He cites the 1960s pirate station Radio Swan as an example of the American government’s attempt to discretely influence the public over 50 years ago, broadcasting messages in favor of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Now, says Madsen, the government is taking to Twitter and Facebook to get their point across—but isn’t being clear at all on how it’s doing it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Russian President sums up year’s events in TV interview

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 25, 2010

President Dmitry Medvedev on December 24 spoke live with the heads of three federal TV channels: Konstantin Ernst

RIA Novosti / Michail Klimentiev

of Channel One, Oleg Dobrodeev of Rossiya, and Vladimir Kulistikov of NTV.


Today, like a year ago, we have this opportunity to look back over the year together with the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev in this conversation broadcast live on three federal channels. Good afternoon, Mr. President.


K.ERNST: Mr. President, every person who remembers 2010 is bound to recall some highlights, flashpoints even, that will stay with them forever. What are your highlights of 2010?

D.MEDVEDEV: I think you used the right term for these events. I will name five things I noted, although will not claim my version is the only right one. The first, although it was a long-term process, was very important for us. We have found our way out of the economic crisis. Our economy did not decline in 2010. It grew. We had our difficulties of course, but the growth was quite sustainable. We are approaching a 4% growth in GDP. This isn’t standard growth, there is a quality of economic modernization in it, therefore we are modernizing our life. Secondly, and this is very important as well, is our new outlook on our children and what we call Russia’s demographic development. I chose this to be the main subject of my address to the parliamentary assembly. I suggested a range of measures. Are these measures sufficient? I think not. We will try to improve the corresponding institutions and the measures. But in any case, that is the centerpiece of our social development policy. Without the right policy on children we will have no future. The third thing I recall is the heatwave and forest fires that shook our country this summer. It was a very difficult situation, both psychologically and physically. Regretfully, it has reflected on our economy, slowing down its growth and bringing about a deficit of certain food items. Undoubtedly, it was a very difficult event. Even more so since it had victims. Another subject that I consider important is the issue of security. I don’t just mean domestic security, but the global situation as well. This year saw a major event: Russia and the U.S. have approached the signing of the crucial New START Treaty. This document is the cornerstone for global and European security for decades to come perhaps. I am very glad we are making progress with the ratification of that document. Of course, I can’t fail to mention the 65th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War. It is certainly a very special day for us. It’s what makes us citizens of Russia. It’s what makes us people of the present while reminding us about our past. These are the five events that I would call the most important and the most difficult. There are others of course and we will talk about them. I think, for example, that our work to improve our law enforcement is very important. The work we did to improve the regulations on police works. Read the rest of this entry »

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Corrupt Nation Rankings Released

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 26, 2010

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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भ्रस्टाचारको यो हास्यास्पद तर दु:खद उदाहरण

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 20, 2010

नेपालमा भ्रस्टाचारका उदाहरण अनगिन्ती पाईन्छन किनकि हामीकहाँ भ्रस्टाचार “Open secret” कुरा हो । भ्रस्टाचार दिन दहाडै हुन्छ, तर कारबाही हुँदैन । कारबाही हुन माथिका मानिस उदाहरण बन्नु पर्‍यो, तर माथिकाहरु नै झन झन माहिर छन भन्ने कुरा झन झन प्रमाणित हुँदै  गैरहेका छन । अनि त भ्रस्टाचार नियन्त्रण कसरी हुनु? जे होस, यो उदाहरण हेरौं त:

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