9 May 2016   Leave a comment

The political situation in Brazil became murky today as the acting speaker of the lower house of Congress annulled the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff because of procedural irregularities.  The Senate had already approved the impeachment bill and had been moving toward a trial of President Rousseff.  It was unclear whether the Senate would return the impeachment bill to the lower house or what the possible steps forward would be.  Investors were spooked by the move as political uncertainty is a certain enemy of financial stability.

Kenya has announced that it intends to close all refugee camps in the country in “the shortest time possible.”  There are about 600,000 refugees, mostly from Somalia and South Sudan, in Kenya and virtually all of them fled the widespread violence in their countries.  If the refugees are force to go back to their former countries, they almost certainly will experience retribution.  The international community, both governmental and non-governmental, have protested the decision, but Kenya believes that the refugee camps have become locations from which those opposed to the Kenyan government can launch attacks.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has released a searchable database of almost 320,000 offshore companies and the names of people associated with those companies.  There are many legitimate uses of an offshore company and it is a serious mistake to assume that an offshore company is automatically involved in illegitimate activities.  But the secrecy shrouding these companies makes it very difficult to separate good from bad activities.  Secrecy is a way to launder drug money, sex trafficking money, arms deals, and other nefarious activities.  Secrecy also enables people to avoid paying taxes on their wealth.  It is difficult to imagine that the beneficial uses of offshore companies outweighs the detrimental uses.  The estimates of how much money is hidden away in these companies varies widely:  low estimates are about $7 trillion; high estimates are about $42 trillion.

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Posted May 9, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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