Will Congress Get Serious About U.S. Offshoring Loopholes?

The Panama Papers were just the beginning. Now the FBI is worried about terrorist financiers exploiting American shell companies

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Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 11.34.21 AM    Sept. 1, 2016  _ In April, the leak of millions of financial and legal records from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca exposed how the firm created hundreds of thousands of shell companies — by themselves, not illegal — to shelter money for wealthy and politically connected individuals and corporate entities. Much of that activity was directed at shielding money from taxes. A bigger problem, current and former senior law enforcement officials have said since then, is that criminals, corrupt officials, and some terrorist groups are increasingly using shell companies to hide assets and move money through the global financial system.

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ESQUIRE

Middle East Edition

Deep in the heart of the West Bank, a group of former hardline Israelis and Palestinians are trying to rescue something from the wreckage of violence and mistrust that divides this troubled land.
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ISRAEL’S GAZA BLOCKADE: MILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF AID PILES UP IN WAREHOUSES

Christian Science Monitor

Ashdod, Israel – In a half-dozen warehouses in this southern Israeli port, refrigerators and roofing materials for Israeli homes share space with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of PVC pipes, generators, and other equipment intended for 37 wells and water treatment facilities in the Gaza Strip.
Stacked in other warehouses close to the Gaza border are steel pipes and cement for building the facilities’ foundations – part of $85 million set aside for water projects by UNICEF and other international donors.
Most of the materials for Gaza have sat idle for a year, some as long as three years, according to the Palestinian water authority in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

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STRESS DISORDERS, DRUG ABUSE, LITTLE HELP FOR U.S. TROOPS

Palm Beach Post

Multiple and extended tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan are resulting in rates of post-traumatic stress disorder among soldiers that will likely match or exceed the number of Vietnam veterans diagnosed with the chronic condition, government officials and veterans groups say.

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PERSONAL STORIES: Veterans support groups say use goes up with repeat deployments.

Palm Beach Post

WASHINGTON _ It was a particularly intense firefight, recalled Ben Schrader, a former cavalry scout in Iraq. “It lasted all day: bullets whizzing by your ear, seeing people with AKs,” said the 26-year-old from Denver, Colo. He remembers firing his M14 rifle at insurgents and watching them drop to the pavement. “Its something you have to live with every day.”

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INDONESIAN MINERS RISK LIVES IN MODERN-DAY GOLD RUSH


Photo by Chaideer Mahyuddin

Agence France Presse

In a desolate area of central Indonesia where lush rainforest once stood, illegal miners on the frontline of a modern-day gold rush tear up the earth in the hunt for the precious metal.

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MINING IN INDONESIA TAKING A HEAVY SOCIAL, ENVIRONMENTAL TOLL

In a patch of rainforest in northern Sumatra, a 28-year-old in jeans and tall rubber boots snubs out his cigarette and pulls a headlamp over his short black hair. Standing under a tarp, he flicks the light on and leans over the entrance of a narrow shaft lined with wooden planks that he and other miners cut from trees that once stood here. He gives a sharp tug on a rope that dangles 100 meters, plateauing in sections, and slides down. For hours, the man, Sarial, will use a pick to scrape away and bag rocks that are hauled to the surface by another miner, using a wooden wheel.
Inside this ore, being dug up daily in the Ulu Masen “protected forest,” is gold.

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How Obama is ‘Trump-Proofing’ His Climate Pact

POLITICO

June 6 _ While the GOP nominee-presumptive promises to dismantle the Paris accord, U.S. officials are rushing to secure it. And Trump’s energy czar is already hinting he may back down.

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EXPERTS: IRAQ VETS WRONGLY DIAGNOSED


‘Personality disorder’ assessment allows for quick honorable discharge but tags veterans with a label that is hard to remove. Austin-American Statesman/ First comprehensive, national investigation on this issue. Former Army Pvt. Jason Harvey was diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Harvey said he later was forced to agree to a diagnosis of a personality disorder.
‘They played me like a fiddle,’ he said.

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A PERSONAL STORY Austin American Statesman. WASHINGTON — William Wooldridge was guiding his tanker truck along a crowded highway in the Iraqi city of Hilla weeks after the U.S. invasion in 2003 when an explosion forced his convoy to a halt.

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GULF WAR ILLNESS WIDESPREAD, PANEL FINDS
AUSTIN-AMERICAN STATESMAN/Cox News Service
WASHINGTON — At least one in four U.S. veterans of the 1991 Gulf War suffers from a multi-symptom illness caused by exposure to toxic chemicals during the conflict, a congressionally mandated report being released Monday found.

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U.S. AID FOR AFGHANISTAN FALLING SHORT

afgani

By Margaret Coker and Anne Usher

SHOWKHEI, Afghanistan _ Most mornings, boys from this village walk to a mud-brick school constructed two years ago, compliments of U.S. taxpayers. But the building is in disrepair already, its walls crumbling and its roof pitted by termites chewing into untreated wooden beams.

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PALESTINIANS STOKE EMBERS OF HOPE FOR CHANGE

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Sydney Morning Herald

TEL AVIV: Like most of Israel’s Arab citizens, Busayna Dabit has been glued to Arab satellite news channels for the past week, watching with shock and growing euphoria as the events in Cairo and other cities in the Arab world gather momentum.
“We watch TV and can’t believe that these forces exist in the Arab world,” said the architect from the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Ramle. “We feel very happy to hear this news. We feel that this is our issue, too, because we feel part of the Arab world.”
She and other Palestinian activists, who prefer to call themselves Palestinians rather than Arab-Israelis, say they have used Facebook to try to matchsteps taken by the youths in Tunis and Cairo, albeit on a far smaller – and much more restricted – scale.
Flying the flags of Egypt and Tunisia alongside the red, green and black colours of their own, they have taken to the streets in Israel in a show of solidarity.

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BEREAVED FATHER TRANSPORTS AILING PALESTINIANS TO ISRAELI HOSPITAL

3YNET, Israel’s largest news website

Buma Inbar, whose son was killed in Lebanon, helps transfer Gazans in life-threatening condition to hospital just outside Tel Aviv. ‘Leaders from both sides don’t care about people,’ he says, ‘I feel I’m doing the peace.’ Palestinian patient’s negative opinion of Israelis hasn’t changed: ‘Ask me how I feel when we have electricity and water in Gaza.’

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Illegal wildlife trade flourishes in Sumatra


Photo by Paul Hilton

Mongabay.com

In a chilly rain on Sunday, in a town just a few kilometers beyond the edge of a protected Sumatran rainforest, a young orangutan sat perched on a piece of plywood and grabbed the metal wires of his tiny cage. He has sat in that cage for six months and, like more than a dozen other species on display in this “zoo” in the town of Kandang in Aceh, he has a price tag. This packed assembly is an acknowledged front for illegal trafficking in wildlife.

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