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Twist in the Tale: former Haitian justice official surfaces as the new key in President Moise’s assassination
Americas

Twist in the Tale: former Haitian justice official surfaces as the new key in President Moise’s assassination

 A new twist has come in the mystery around assassination of Haitian president Jovenel Moise. Colombia’s National Police chief has alleged that Joseph Felix Badio, the former Haitian Justice Ministry official had a key role in assassination of President Moise.

General Jorge Vargas, in an edited video that was made available to the media, said that the new information obtained from investigation indicates that Badio had told two Colombians who are suspected to be part of assassination to carry out the operation. However, no evidence to support the same was provided. General iterated that the information is a result of collaborative commission of Haitian and Colombian authorities that are carrying out the investigation.

Who is Joseph Felix Badio?

Badio was fired from his position at Haitian government’s Anti-Corruption Unit on May 17. He was fired on account of serious breaches in his professional demeanor. A statement by Haitian authorities released on July 13 confirms the same. The statement also mentions a complaint that was filed against Badio on May 20, but no details are disclosed of the complaint.

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Haiti’s elections minister Mathias Pierre told CNN on Friday that Badio, “is effectively in the heart of the assassination, but we believe he is working for big fishes. The intellectual masterminds are bigger than that. Who financed the operation is still the big question mark.”

Port-au-Prince prosecutor’s office issued arrest warrant against Badio on Sunday, accusing him of armed robbery and murder of President Moise.

FBI conducting an investigation

US’s FBI too has initiated interviews in Port-au-Prince into President Moise’s assassination. The US Justice Department said on Monday that it will “investigate whether there were any violations of US criminal law” in relation to the plot to assassinate Moise. Increasing number of Florida connections to the assassination plot signal that at least a part of the plot has its roots in the USA.

Large scale investigation was triggered in aftermath of Moise’s assassination across many countries. The investigations are being supported by the USA’s FBI and Colombian intelligence. At least 39 people have been implicated in the killing. According to Haitian authorities, 26 Colombian suspects were hired and smuggled into Haiti on arrangement of detaining the leader and handing him over to US law enforcement.

Haiti: Chaos spreads after police gunfight with suspected killers of President
Americas

Haiti: Chaos spreads after police gunfight with suspected killers of President

The president of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, was shot dead in his home by a group of armed men who also injured his wife, as per a statement made by the country’s interim prime minister on Wednesday.

While speaking to a local radio station, Claude Joseph authenticated that Moïse, 53, had been killed, saying the assault was carried out by an “armed commando group”.

He, later on in a televised national address, declared a state of emergency across the country and made a call for calm, saying that the sitch was under control.

Frantz Exantus, Haiti’s communications secretary, said police had caught the “presumed assassins”, but did not provide further details about the assassination or how many suspects had been arrested.

Officers, who were fighting with the group – as per the police chief’s statement – had shot four dead and another two arrested.

Police General Director Leon Charles said in his televised comments that security forces would not stop until they had all been dealt with.

“We tackled them en route as they left the scene of the crime,” he said. “We have been battling with them since then.”

“They will be all killed or apprehended.”

Haiti’s security forces engaged in a fierce gun battle with assailants who assassinated the President at his home overnight. The killing has plunged the already impoverished, violence-wracked country deeper into chaos.

Moise, a 53-year-old former businessman, took office in 2017, was shot dead and his wife, Martine Moise, was severely wounded when heavily armed assassins stormed their home in the hills above Port-au-Prince at around 1 a.m. local time.

Bocchit Edmond, Haiti’s ambassador to the United States, told the press that the gunmen were masquerading as US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents.

“Everything that could go wrong went wrong,” said an expert on Haitian politics, Robert Fatton.

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Why Georgia Is Cleaning Up Its Voter List With 100,000 names
Americas

Why Georgia Is Cleaning Up Its Voter List With 100,000 names

Georgia state has decided to remove more than 100,000 names from its voters lists in order to clean up its registration rolls and bring them to speed. Republican Brad Raffensperger did not mince his words when he said that there was no need to have ineligible voters on the rolls. “Making sure Georgia’s voter rolls are up to date is key to ensuring the integrity of our elections,” he further added giving out a media statement.

Those names being removed are apparently obsolete and outdated. The announcement comes as alteast 14 states have enacted 22 new laws making it harder for people to vote.  Most of the new laws make it harder to vote absentee and by mail, after a record number of Americans voted by mail in November.

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In addition, at least 61 new bills also said to be advancing through legislatures in 18 states. After the restrictions put in place, Georgia has become the first state to put into practice the voting restrictions. While Raffensperger was not liked for his stance to support Joe Biden, he continues to hold his ground strong.  He has also mentioned that he wishes to keep up with this cleaning spree every election cycle.

The effort to remove 101,789 names from Georgia’s voter files marks the first time the state has conducted a “major cleaning” since 2019. In addition to the “obsolete and outdated” files, Georgia also removed “18,486 voter files of dead individuals based on information received from Georgia’s Office of Vital Records and the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), an interstate partnership of 30 states and the District of Columbia focused on maintaining accurate voter rolls,” the statement says. Georgia has been cleaning up records of names of dead felons or of those who have expired on a monthly basis.

Justice Department Drops Lawsuit Against John Bolton
Americas

Justice Department Drops Lawsuit Against John Bolton

Under the Joe Biden administration, there is no time for blame games or investigation into John Bolton’s book on Donald Trump. So, the Justice Department has dismissed the case against Bolton. It has been a complete win for Bolton and somewhere brings the truth out in the open.

Bolton had candidly brought out ill-doings by Trump in his tenure as President of the United States. The book titled “The Room Where It Happened,” literally brings out exactly that- everything that happened behind closed doors, of how President Donald Trump’s handled foreign policy in the most careless manner. Bolton has been accused him of using his power to further his personal agenda instead of the nation’s interest.

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Giving out a personal statement, Bolton’s attorney Charles Cooper of Washington, D.C. said, “By ending these proceedings without in any way penalizing Ambassador Bolton or limiting his proceeds from the book, the Department of Justice has tacitly acknowledged that President Trump and his White House officials acted illegitimately.”

Bolton had been pulled into a lawsuit when he was accused of divulging classified information from within the White House, without getting due permission first. The Justice Department sued Bolton a year ago. The lawsuit sought to block the book’s release. But when that effort failed, the government kept the suit going, seeking to prevent Bolton from receiving any profits from its sales. That effort was unsuccessful, as well. Through the book, Bolton has brought to light a lot of lapses in leadership that went on behind closed doors. The government was literally was being run by Trump’s advisors, with the former behaving like a young boy in heat, making a mockery of the whole administration and the reputation of America.

Texas Voting Rights: Democrats leave House floor restricting voting bill passage for now
Americas

Texas Voting Rights: Democrats leave House floor restricting voting bill passage for now

 Sunday was a “dark day for democracy” in America as Texan Republicans pushed a highly restrictive voting bill in middle of the night. Democrats walked off the House floor stymieing the bill for now as Republicans were left short of required quorum required to approve the bill before the midnight deadline. This has effectively ‘killed’ Senate Bill 7 for this year’s session. Republican Governor Greg Abbott however, rekindled hopes of bill revival as he tweeted Sunday night of adding “election integrity” as top of the list to be discussed by lawmakers in a special session he intends to call. “Legislators will be expected to have worked out the details when they arrive at the Capitol for the special session,” Abbott said.

Sunday night at 10:45 pm, CT, Democrats walked off the House floor. Dade Phelan, the Republican Speaker had thus no choice but to adjourn the House due to lack of 100 members quorum required. With this Texas was left out to join 14 fellow GOP controlled states including Florida and Georgia who have capitalized on former President Donald Trump’s unbacked accusations and lies around 2020 Presidential elections and adopted strict new voting restrictions, making voting for these states residents harder.

There is no clarity yet on when Abbott is planning to call in the special session. Furthermore, it is also not clear if Republicans would seek to edit already drafted Senate Bill 7 or present it in the current draft.

The decision to leave the House by Democrats came after hours of debate and as Republicans refused to take questions around bill from Democrats. Rep. Nicole Collier, who chairs the Texas Legislative Black Caucus said, “We used all the tools in our toolbox to fight this bill, and tonight we pulled out that last one. We are no longer going to stand and let them continue to push measures that disenfranchise our voters.”

What was in the voting bill?

The Senate Bill 7, if passed, would have made main-in voting difficult for the voters. They would have to provide more information. Furthermore, it would have prevented local officials from sending absentee ballot applications to people who request one and also prohibit them working with “get out the vote” groups that work locally to encourage Texans to vote through mail-in ballots. Also, after-hours and drive through options of voting would have been prohibited. It is to be noted that these options had enabled Black and Latino workers in Houston area to cast their votes in 2020 election.

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President Joe Biden too called out the Texan bill calling it “un-American” and said it is “part of an assault on democracy that we’ve seen far too often this year — and often disproportionately targeting Black and Brown Americans.”

The United States propose a new global tax of 15% for multinationals
Americas

The United States propose a new global tax of 15% for multinationals

The minimum global tax on the revenues of multinationals could be 15%. This is the new quota proposed by the US Treasury Department, which would thus accept a significant reduction from the 21% initially submitted to the 140 countries of the Organization for Cooperation and Development economic (OECD). The idea was illustrated during a meeting of the OECD group on the erosion of the tax base and the transfer of profits and testifies to the difficulty of the negotiations between the parties. However, the dicastery headed by Janet Yellen stressed that 15% is “a base and that discussions should continue to be ambitious and push the quota higher”.

The global minimum corporate tax would be one of the sources of financing for President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, which intends to increase the domestic tax on corporate revenues from 21 to 28% in parallel. A levy similar to the IRES that former President Donald Trump had significantly cut from the previous 35%, with the aim also of keeping companies fleeing towards advantageous taxation on American soil. In addition, however, the Republican president introduced a new minimum tax of 10.5% in the United States, the global intangible low taxed income (Gilt) tax, aimed at capturing the turnover shifted by domestic companies into tax havens, along with incentives to the repatriation of offshore capital.

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Now, the Joe Biden plan would like to raise the Gilt tax from 10.5% to 21%, making it a basis for discussions within the OECD regarding the global minimum tax on multinationals. Nations that believe they can make money by intercepting corporate revenues in lucrative markets have come out in favor, such as France and Germany. Others, which have built fortunes by hosting the headquarters of large companies such as big tech, focus on more moderate percentages, such as the 12.5% ​​practiced by Ireland. Brits have also expressed concerns that 21% may prove too high over the long term, although the UK plans to raise the corporate tax to 25% by 2023.

On the other hand, Yellen urges the international community to put an end to “a 30-year race to the bottom on corporate taxes”, arguing that this competition has eroded governments’ revenues, all the more so at a time when they have spent trillions (much more in dollars and in euros) for the support measures against the economic and health crisis caused by Covid-19, creating record levels of debt According to OSCE calculations, the global minimum tax should make it possible to redistribute about 100 billion dollars a year among governments. It will be discussed again on June 4-5 among the finance ministers in the group of Seven, while the G20 discussions will be held on July 9-10 in Venice, Italy. The agreement should be concluded by the end of October.

Trump organization investigation has ‘criminal’ component now, New York Attorney General adds
Americas

Trump organization investigation has ‘criminal’ component now, New York Attorney General adds

 On Tuesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James joined Manhattan District Attorney’s office in adding ‘criminal component’ in to ongoing investigation in Trump Organization. This has potentially increased legal troubles for former President Donald Trump and his family. NY Attorney General’s office has been carrying out investigation into Trump’s company since 2019 on allegations of the company falsely property values to secure loans as well as gain tax benefits. Though an addition of criminal component, the investigation would continue as a civil probe also, informed James’ office.

Attorney General Letitia James’ spokesman Fabien Levy said, “We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature. We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA.”

The announcement now makes total three criminal investigations being conducted against former United States President four months after he left the office. The Trump Organization has not yet commented on the development. However, Trump said the investigation is politically motivated as its being conducted by AG James, a Democrat.

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It is to be noted that Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance, also a Democrat has been separately investigations into Trump’s pre-presidency dealings for over two years now. The investigations by Vance office include extensive criminal conduct like tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records by the Trump family owned business. Probe by Vance was started after Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen had paid hush money to silence two women over claimed extramarital sexual encounters with Trump before 2016 Presidential election. James investigation was opened after Cohen testified in Congress that there were manipulations in Trump’s financial statements to reduce his taxes in real estate save loan money.

Multiple financial dealings of properties of Trump Organization financial are under scrutiny as part of the investigation. These include Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County, New York; 40 Wall Street, a building in Lower Manhattan; Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago; and Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles.

South America, record deaths and coronavirus contagions in Chile despite 41% population vaccinated
Americas

South America, record deaths and coronavirus contagions in Chile despite 41% population vaccinated

The coronavirus continues to spread and make victims in Latin America and there is also a paradox, that of Chile. Since February 3, when the anti-Covid immunization campaign began, over 41 percent of the inhabitants have received at least one dose. Only Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States have done better. Of the more than thirteen million people reached, nearly seven – about one-third of the population – are fully vaccinated. At the rate of the current 300,000 injections per day, the goal of 80 percent of those immunized by the end of June does not seem so far off.

Yet, in the last month, the South American country has seen a dramatic surge in contagions and deaths. Since the end of March, the new cases have not dropped below 6 thousand. And there is an average of one hundred victims a day. On Friday, with nearly 7,000 infected and 179 deaths, Chile seemed to have plunged back into the nightmare of a year ago.

The apparent inconsistency is the result of a mix of factors, from the penetration of the so-called “Brazilian variant” – more lethal and contagious – to the type of serum used. Only 10 percent of the time Pfizer-BioNTech was administered: the rest – 90 percent – to be distributed was Coronavac, produced by the Beijing Sinovac laboratory, whose effectiveness is the subject of international controversy.

The product has not yet been included in the emergency list drawn up by the group of strategic consultants of the World Health Organization. This reticence is due to the non-publication by the Dragon of the data collected in the last phase of experimentation. To raise doubts, the recent statement by Gao Fu, director of the Beijing Disease Control Centers, admitted “a not very good protection rate” by his antidotes. A severe blow for the whole of Latin America, the one where the Chinese preparations of Sinovac, Sinopharm, and CanSino are most widespread. Not so much by choice as by necessity. Faced with the difficulties of obtaining supplies from US and European pharmaceutical companies, the countries of the continent – primarily Chile – have turned to the help of the Dragon, very skilled in using vaccines as a soft-power tool.

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To explain the resurgence of the pandemic in Santiago is also the excess of “government triumphalism” – as stated by a study of the Icovid platform, carried out by the University of Chile, the Pontifical Catholic University, and the Concepciób University – which, given the good performance of the immunization campaign, since the beginning of the year, has removed the restrictions. Except, now, being forced to abruptly back off.

Since April, the nation has closed its borders until May 1, imposed a curfew from 9 pm, and confinement in many regions. Above all, the escalation of contagions caused local elections to be postponed again as well as those to designate the 155 members of the Constituent Assembly, including 17 representatives of native minorities. Initially scheduled for 25 October, the consultations had been postponed to 26 April, only to be delayed now to 15 and 16 May. And it is not certain that even this time, people will not be able to vote.

A further postponement, however, would risk raising the political temperature. On 25 October last year, over 78 percent of citizens expressed their support for the drafting of a new Constitution. Precisely with the referendum, the country had managed to give an institutional outlet to the anti-inequality protests at the end of 2019. The square – whose movement does not recognize itself in traditional parties – is ready to battle against other delays. Meanwhile, Piñera’s popularity, rising from the initial success of the vaccination campaign, is once again in free fall.

New record of Covid-19 contagions in Germany, Parliament approves new restrictions
Americas

New record of Covid-19 contagions in Germany, Parliament approves new restrictions

Germany registered a new record in coronavirus contagions which forced the Parliament to approve an emergency package of new restrictions, including for the first time a national curfew. All while mounting the protest against the lockdown, with demonstrations also yesterday in Berlin. The growth of new cases does not stop: according to data from the Robert Koch Institute, the German epidemiological center, 29,518 infections were registered in 24 hours, with an incidence of more than 161 infections per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days.

In parallel, there are 259 deaths related to COVID-19, which brings the total number of victims in the Federal Republic, from the beginning of the pandemic to 80,893, while the total number of people who contracted the Coronavirus exceeded 3.21 million.

The third wave of the coronavirus worries chancellor Angela Merkel and the German government. The Bundestag, the federal Parliament, yesterday passed that “emergency brake” which has been talked about for days by majority vote. Now, there is only the green light from the Bundesrat which will examine the measures today. The big news is that the measures will have a national character, removing for the first time from the beginning of the pandemic some specific competencies from the Laender, and will automatically trigger where the incidence rate will exceed 100 infections per 100 thousand inhabitants.

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Among the restrictions, there is also a night curfew at 10 pm. The text also provides for the closure of most of the shops, a limit to gatherings: in practice, only family members plus an outsider can be brought together; children under 14 are excluded. And be careful: because if the incidence were to break through 165, actually 161 at the national level, schools should resort to distance learning. A maximum of 30 people would be allowed to attend the funerals and public ceremonies.

In such a critical context, the campaign on anti-Covid vaccines continues unabated. To speed up the vaccination campaigns, three Laender (Mecklenburg, Bavaria, and Saxony) have decided to ‘liberalize’ AstraZeneca administration by allowing anyone to get vaccinated regardless of age and other priorities. There is no dose to lose, much less waste. The green light comes despite the recommendation of the health authority for the administration of the vaccine doses only to the over 60s. A specific medical evaluation will suffice and those under 60 years old will be able to receive the Anglo-Swedish vaccine.

Bolivia’s former President Jeanine Anez gets arrested over alleged coup charges
Americas

Bolivia’s former President Jeanine Anez gets arrested over alleged coup charges

On Saturday, Bolivia’s Bolivia’s former interim President Jeanine Anez got arrested as officials of the opposition charged her of helping in the coup and oust socialist leader Evo Morales in 2019. 

Supporters of Morales alleged Anez had a hand in the coup. She got arrested from Trinidad and was flown to the capital La Paz, where she had to appear in front of the prosecutor.

“This is an injustice and abuse,” she told journalists after the appearance. “There was no overthrow, but a lawful succession,” she added. 

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Anez, many ministers, and security officials are facing charges of conspiracy, sedition, and terrorism over an alleged coup on Bolivia’s 13-year long served government, as per the arrest warrant which she posted on social media.

Anez headed Bolivia for around half a year after when Evo Morales left office following election results, violence, and protests.

In letters to the European Union and the Organization of the American States, Anez pleaded for observer missions to probe her case and other ministers’ arrest.

On Saturday, Government Minister Eduardo del Castillo affirmed that the Public Prosecutor’s Office had confined Anez for association in a coup that happened in 2019.

According to Reuters, America’s Human Rights Watch director, Jose Miguel Vivanco stated that the arrest warrants contained no proof to state any kind of terrorism.

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