The general election has just started in India on April 11 and are scheduled to run until May 19. In terms of the sheer volume of the election – 900 million voters, spread across the continental expanse of the country – India is the world’s largest electoral democracy. It is also perhaps the most expensive insofar as the cost of electoral competition to political parties is concerned. Except for the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Parties, political parties in India do not have strong organizations like European political parties. Come election: parties scramble for workers and organizers to run the campaign and gifts to motivate voters. With a huge number of parties – with thirty-one national and regional parties, 2044 registered unrecognized parties and a total of 8,251 candidates who contested for the 543 Lok Sabha (lower house) seats, the 2014 parliamentary elections involved a huge number of people. That gives an idea of why the total funds that elections cost are so enormous. It has been estimated that the funds that the parties and candidates spent in the 2009 general election were around $2 billion and the sums involved in 2014 were to the tune of $5 billion. The current parliamentary elections are likely to be the most expensive general elections in Indian history, and perhaps one of the most expensive ever held in any democratic state.
Much has been reported about the abuse in the Catholic Church and there are now numerous excellent studies on it. The Catholic Church is finally responding. Though hesitant, as became discernable at the end of the four-day crisis-summit in the Vatican, the Pope after all officially warned that the cover-up of the acts of abuse in the Catholic Church must be put to an end. Still, it remains a riddle why the Church did not simply reassign the suspected priests to administration or a convent, but often into new churches – where they again had access to children, to potentially new victims. Sometimes there were even exchanges between the dioceses, according to the motto: I take your problem case, if you help me with another problem or with my problem case. That’s the scandal behind the scandal.
Gattaca is a 1997 Hollywood film which features the distinctions between genetically improved humans and the naturally conceived ones, known as „in-valids“ or „God-children“. The title „Gattaca“ is composed of the abbreviations of the four nucleobases of DNA: A for adenine, C for cytosine, G for guanine and T for thymine. The sequence of these bases as GATTACA can surprisingly often be found in human DNA. Now in China, for the first time ever, the path seems to have been opened for genetically engineered humans, as the twins „Nana“ and „Lulu“, were born into the world. Another genetically edited baby is to follow. This has not yet been confirmed by appropriate publications. But the Chinese authorities have not contradicted that and Dr. He Jiankui, the scientist in question, has already been kept under guard on the basis of preliminary investigations. The Chinese Ministry of Health responded to this issue in a prompt manner not typical of the unwieldy bureaucracy in Beijing and ordered any research projects of similar nature to be immediately halted.
Christmas in Jamaica means: 30 ° C, sunshine and party-non-stop. When the „CrisMus Breeze“ arrives in early December, the exuberant parties and festivities for which Jamaica has been famous and notorious since the slaveholding era. On Christmas Eve there is also a big celebration and breakfast is served with ackee and saltfish, breadfruit and boiled bananas. After the Christmas fair, steel drums and reggae versions of popular Christmas carols provide the well-known Caribbean touch.
Cum-cum and cum-ex transactions (Cum/Ex) enabled „the biggest tax theft in the history of Europe“, concluded Dr. Christoph Spengel, Professor of Business Taxation at the University of Mannheim, who had prepared a report for the 4th Enquiry Committee of the German Bundestag on Cum/Ex. A German insider, who worked as a lawyer for a long time on specialized Cum/Ex transactions, spilled the beans in front of the running camera. He reports exclusively from the „engine room“ of this „devil’s machine,“ as he calls it. After 14 months of interrogation by the Cologne public prosecutor, he was able to convince himself that he was part of a system of „organized crime in pinstripes“ between 2006 and 2011. What has actually happened and what is behind the scandal?
Imagine a world where integrity, morality and virtue rule the roost: would that be a better world? Companies, in particular, seem to be very occupied with this idea to steer their employees through the medium of morality. Would there really be no more crime in this world of saints though and would it be a better world?
It must be bedevilled. In Brazil’s presidential election, there is no genuine alternative to political corruption, except to vote for dictatorship. He who wants to know something about the culture of political corruption in Brazil just has to watch the election campaign. Geraldo Alckmin, the candidate of the rather right-wing Social Democratic Party (PSDB), who leads an eight-party coalition, is under investigation by the prosecutors for illegal party financing. He is suspected to have got roughly 2.5 million USD in illegal funding for the campaign to get him re-elected as the governor of São Paulo in 2014. The money was donated by Odebrecht, a construction company deeply implicated in various corruption scandals. Fernando Haddad, the stooge of ex-President Lula da Silva and the candidate of Labour Party (PT), is also accused by the prosecutors of illegally receiving from the construction company UTC nearly 650.000 USD for his campaign to run for the mayor of São Paulo in 2012. The prosecutors believe that these undeclared campaign donations were associated with unlawful favours enjoyed by the construction companies.
Rabies is an infectious viral disease that is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical symptoms, which usually occur one to three months after the infection, though this incubation period could be as short as one week and as long as one year, depending on where the virus entered the body and the load of virus that entered the body. Initial symptoms of rabies include a fever with pain and unusual or unexplained tingling, pricking, or burning sensation (paraesthesia) at the wound site. As the virus spreads to the central nervous system, progressive and fatal inflammation of the brain and spinal cord develops. Of all human rabies cases, 70% are patients of furious rabies, who exhibit signs of hyperactivity, excitable behaviour, hydrophobia (fear of water) and sometimes aerophobia (fear of drafts or of fresh air). Death occurs after a few days due to cardio-respiratory arrest. The rest 30% are patients of paralytic rabies, whose muscles gradually become paralyzed, starting at the site of the bite or scratch. A coma slowly develops, and eventually death occurs.
The betting odds were bad for the German Soccer team and excellent for South Korea. He who had placed a wager on a South Korean win, would have realized more than 16 times his stake with a betting odd of 16.75 at 10Bet Sports.
Betting is a lucrative business. More than US$ 70 billion is spent annually, between 75% and 80% of which on football. This is more than the gross national product of small countries such as Costa Rica or Uruguay. Given that a lot of money is at stake, football bets are difficult to control and exertion of influence is difficult to prove, betting on football is a hotbed for criminal activity par excellence – also in Europe.
The ‚Paradise Papers‘ are making headlines since November 2017. Half a year later, the first conclusions have been drawn: What does this data leak reveal that we did not already know?
1. The ‚Apple‘ case
At first glance, the publications paint a vivid picture of celebrities, the super-rich, politicians, and multinationals who are all using complex financial architectures to reduce their tax burden. Apple is one case in point. The name of the US technology icon appears in connection with expiring tax reliefs in Ireland. The Paradise Papers reveal how Apple searched for a new tax haven from 2013 onwards, and that it found the Channel Island Jersey. The company subsequently transferred the majority of its offshore cash holdings from about $ 250 billion there. Apple said in a statement that the company did not pay fewer taxes due to the relocation, but remained the largest taxpayer in the world and even paid corporate taxes in the amount of about $ 35 billion within a few years .