VMany felt reminded of the days before the first corona wave, when the two chief scientific advisors to the British government appeared on Downing Street on Monday and made depressing reports: The number of infections is doubling every seven days, explained Patrick Vallance. Unless the trend is stopped and “we change our course”, the country faced 50,000 infections in the middle of next month and 200 deaths a day from November onwards. “The message is simple,” said Vallance. “As the disease spreads across all ages, we will see more hospitalizations, which in turn will lead to an increase in deaths.” His colleague Chris Whitty pointed out that the virus has by no means become more harmless and that the death rate is “considerably higher” than with ordinary flu.
The joint appearance – the first in a long time – was perceived as a prelude to further restrictions. This Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to convene the crisis cabinet (with representatives from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), then appear in front of the House of Commons and then address the British with a speech to make them aware of the seriousness of the situation and the applicable distance – and to remember hygiene rules. Rumors made the rounds on Monday that Johnson could impose a two-week “mini-lockdown” on the whole country, which this time should not affect schools or jobs.
It had already happened in rapid succession in the past week. First the government introduced the “Rule of Six”, according to which – with a few exceptions – no more than six people are allowed to meet. Thereafter, the opening times of pubs and restaurants were limited in more and more regions in the northern part of the island and the “mixing of households” was prohibited. From Thursday, pubs and restaurants across the country should close by 10 p.m. at the latest. In addition, only table service will be allowed.
At the weekend, the government announced draconian fines for those infected or possibly infected who oppose the requirement of self-isolation: the equivalent of 1,100 euros for the first disregard, 11,000 euros in the event of a repeat The government increased the police presence in particularly affected areas and began to recruit special supervisors (“Covid Marshals”).
Corona app not in use until today
The Labor Party attributes the tense situation primarily to government failures. This did not use the comparatively calm summer to prepare for the second wave. The criticism of the “Test and Trace” system, which Johnson had full-bodied announced as “the world’s best”, goes beyond the opposition banks. Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin suggested over the weekend that the army be used to get a grip on the patchy contact tracing.
The government boasts of its efforts and explains the difficult situation in the country with a global trend. Vallance and Whitty based themselves on statistical curves from Spain and France on Monday and derived the developments in Great Britain from them. Nevertheless, Johnson is finding it increasingly difficult to counter the charge of “incompetence”. The Corona app presented with Aplomb is still not in use today, and the test offer proves to be inadequate.
The government succeeded in increasing capacities from 1,000 to 230,000 a day since March, but demand is now one million a day. Many Brits are referred to test centers hundreds of kilometers away. Only half of all those tested receive the results in the promised 48 hours; many wait longer than a week.
“Brits cannot be treated like children”
Not only the new measures, but above all the means of their implementation, arouse displeasure. Brits do not allow themselves to be “treated like children,” it says on the Tory benches. Johnson himself affirmed that he did not want a “Petz Society”, but his ministers, most notably Priti Patel (Home Affairs) and Matt Hancock (Health), encourage citizens to report violations to the police. Many MPs now regret their decision to have given the government authority to fight the disease.
An attempt to reintroduce parliamentary scrutiny is expected this week, at least to impose another lockdown. In the lower house, influential backbencher Graham Brady campaigns for it. In the House of Lords, the revolt is fueled by two former constitutional court presidents. Lord Jonathan Sumption has been presenting himself as a fundamental critic of government protection measures for months – now Baroness Brenda Hale is also calling for a return to a “properly functioning constitution”.
The French film and stage actor Michael Lonsdale is dead. The actor who played the villain Hugo Drax in the James Bond film “Moonraker” from 1979 died on Monday at his home in Paris – at the age of 89. This was announced by his agent Olivier Loiseau of the AP news agency.
The son of a French mother and a British father, he has appeared in around 200 cinema and TV films and plays in his 60-year career. Lonsdale played mostly supporting roles in films by well-known directors such as Orson Welles, Steven Spielberg, François Truffaut and Louis Malle. His breakthrough came with the Truffaut films “The Bride Wore Black” and “Stolen Kisses”, both from 1968.
In the mid 1980s he appeared in Jean-Jacques Annaud’s drama “The Name of the Rose”. He was also seen in Steven Spielberg’s political thriller “Munich”, which was about an Israeli retaliation for the attack on the Israeli Olympic team in 1972 by a Palestinian terrorist group.
Lonsdale was a devout person. He played several roles that reflected his Christian faith. In 2016, Lonsdale told the French daily The Parisian, he is not afraid of dying: “I give myself a reason. It’s life.”
Who is behind the money? Banks worldwide must be able to answer this question when doing business. If bank employees suspect money laundering, they must report it. The International Network of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has evaluated some of these suspicious transaction reports from 2000 to 2017 as well as confidential reports from the US Treasury Department in recent weeks after confidential documents were leaked to them. In Germany, NDR, WDR, »Süddeutsche Zeitung« and »Buzzfeed News« were involved. Their conclusion: banks from all over the world have been doing business with high-risk customers for years, circumventing anti-money laundering precautions and thus enabling corruption and crime.
The banks often reported these processes with great delay. According to the research team, on average there was almost six months between the first suspicion by the bank and the report to the anti-money laundering authority. In some cases, the banks did not report suspicions of money laundering until years later, despite warnings. In the meantime, business continued and the money was long gone. According to the media involved, the “FinCEN files” contain more than 2100 suspicious transaction reports. The total amount of the transactions is around two trillion US dollars (1.69 trillion euros). However, only a small part of the suspicious transaction reports are recorded in this way; a total of 114,914 suspicious transaction reports were received by the US Financial Intelligence Unit in 2019 alone.
Suspicious activity reports, known as suspicious activity reports, are generally classified as secret in the USA. Banks and financial institutions issue these reports and list in them which transactions appeared suspicious to them and for what reasons. In Germany, too, banks are obliged to report suspicious transactions.
According to the research, in numerous cases banks also undermined their own anti-money laundering standards, for example when checking new customers. Often they would not have been able to explain who owned the funds that had been deposited with them on behalf of mailbox companies. Some of the world’s largest financial institutions have even continued to make profits with dubious customers after they had already been sanctioned in the US for violations. In addition to the major banks JP Morgan and HSBC, the name of Deutsche Bank is also mentioned.
According to research, the leaked documents contain 982 suspicious transaction reports from the largest German financial institution, for example on sanctioned Russian oligarchs or the corruption scandal in Latin America surrounding the construction company Odebrecht, which is said to have bribed the incumbent and former president. According to US investigators, Russian criminals and a money launderer working for terrorist groups are said to have laundered money through the Moscow branch of Deutsche Bank. According to the data leak, the bank classified transfers with a volume of more than one trillion dollars as suspicious. Deutsche Bank called the processes in response to media inquiries “criminal acts by individuals”, which have been extensively investigated, reported to the supervisory authorities and personal consequences drawn up to board level, according to a spokesman.
However, the bank’s own security systems are also criticized. Today’s Deutsche Bank boss Christian Sewing is said to be partly responsible for ensuring that money launderers were able to use the bank for stock transactions over a longer period of time. Sewing was then head of corporate auditing. For several months in 2014, his department had reviewed and approved the operations of the share trading department in Russia. A later external investigation, commissioned by Deutsche Bank itself, complained about “serious deficiencies”. According to Deutsche Bank, Sewing neither saw nor signed the relevant audits.
In addition, according to the research, Deutsche Bank made money laundering possible via the correspondent banking system. The method is intended to give small banks access to international markets by having larger banks – in this case Deutsche Bank – pass on their funds on behalf of them. Often the referring bank does not find out where the money comes from and who is benefiting from the transactions. Deutsche Bank alone appears in the leaked documents with more than 500 correspondent bank relationships with mostly small banks. The data corroborate the impression that the correspondent banks are often not interested in the origin of the money. However, due to the increased risk, Deutsche Bank announced in 2019 that it would end relations in some countries. In addition, according to the bank, customer reviews have already been realigned and money laundering controls have been massively expanded. The new media reports dealt with “historical issues,” according to a statement. »The issues have already been investigated and have led to agreements with the authorities in which the bank’s cooperation and rectification of deficiencies have been publicly recognized. Where necessary and appropriate, we have taken the necessary steps. «Investors do not seem to be convinced: By Monday noon, the price of Deutsche Bank on the stock exchange in Frankfurt am Main fell by more than eight percent. However, according to a bank spokesman, the price slide was not due to the revelations as the entire industry saw significant declines. Market participants would explain this with the interest rate decision of the US Federal Reserve.
In addition to Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank has also come under fire. As the portal “Buzzfeed News” reported, the financial institution, which is 15 percent in the hands of the German state, worked for years with people and companies that are on sanction lists. The money house has forwarded hundreds of millions of euros to companies and suspects who have been accused of terrorist financing or money laundering.
Commerzbank also commented on the allegations as “known”. Since 2015, the company has “intensified the fight against money laundering in a targeted manner, invested more than 800 million euros and significantly increased the number of employees,” according to a statement. According to the documents, Commerzbank reported suspicious transactions in connection with the Russian Sviaz-Bank, which bought about $ 497 million in cash between 2010 and 2013. According to FinCEN files, the financial institution suspected a connection with the US and European sanctions against Syria. However, the bank did not report this suspicion until ten months later. Too late for any action on the part of the financial regulator.
A research network found massive failures by major banks in the fight against money laundering in US documents. Deutsche Bank is also in its sights.
Money laundering: Banks have too little interest in clarification, a data leak shows Photo: dpa
MUNICHafp | Secret documents of the US Treasury Department reveal significant failures of major international banks such as Deutsche Bank in combating money laundering after a worldwide research by numerous media partners. The US documents show that banks from all over the world have been doing business with high-risk customers for years, “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, WDR and NDR reported on Sunday evening from their so-called FinCEN files research.
Despite strict regulations, the financial institutions accepted alleged Mafiosi, fraudsters of millions and sanctioned oligarchs as customers and made transfers worth billions for these. These events were sometimes reported only very hesitantly and in some cases with years of delay.
Some of the world’s largest financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and HSBC, would have done business with dubious customers even after they had already been sanctioned for money laundering violations in the US. In numerous cases, according to the report, banks apparently undermined their own anti-money laundering standards, for example when checking new customers.
The data leak also brings the Deutsche Bank in need of explanation, it said. According to US investigators, Russian criminals and a money launderer working for terrorist groups are said to have laundered money through the Moscow branch of Deutsche Bank.
Research of 110 media from 88 countries
The financial institution stated that the “SZ” and its research partners had reported “on a number of historical topics” which, as far as they concerned DeutscheBank, were already known to the supervisory authorities. It is recognized that Deutsche Bank and other banking houses have already reacted with “rectification of defects”. “Where necessary and appropriate, we have drawn conclusions,” the statement said.
The information is the result of a joint research by numerous media partners, which is published under the name FinCEN-Files and which is based on thousands of pages of secret money laundering reports. The US online medium “Buzzfeed News” reportedly shared the documents with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and thus enabled 110 media from 88 countries to be researched worldwide. Around 400 journalists took part.
“Süddeutsche Zeitung”, WDR and NDR found out in their research on the FinCEN files that money launderers used the global infrastructure of Deutsche Bank for a longer period of time and to a greater extent than previously assumed. The newspaper also derived from the US documents that the security systems in Germany’s largest bank had apparently failed.
Allegations against Deutsche Bank boss Sewing
The report went on to say that the current CEO of Deutsche Bank, Christian Sewing, was “partly responsible for the fact that it was not noticed earlier how money launderers could use the bank for suspicious stock transactions”. The Corporate Audit department, which he headed at the time, examined the processes in the conspicuous share trading in Russia in 2014 and had nothing serious to complain about. Experts specially commissioned by the bank later confirmed that the work of Sewing’s department had “serious deficiencies”.
The Deutsche Bank denied to “SZ”, WDR and NDR a direct or indirect involvement of their current CEO in the examination of Moscow business. Sewing only submitted the overall plan for several hundred audits – so-called audits – for 2014, according to the bank.
In addition to the Deutsche Bank, the international research has also revealed omissions at numerous other major banks, writes the “SZ”. The US documents showed how well-known financial institutions had been involved in money laundering and sometimes allowed criminal networks to operate unmolested.
Deutsche Bank said on Sunday evening that leading financial institutions around the world had “invested billions of dollars” to “more effectively support” the authorities in the fight against money laundering. This “naturally leads to a higher number of findings” of such cases. The money house also assured that it had “massively invested in improving controls”.
Dhat was quite a blow to the widespread macho in surfing, in sports. A woman, the Brazilian Maya Gabeira, 33 years old, surfed the biggest wave of the season? Not one of the vigorous gamblers from the world of ultra-tough men? Yes, that’s exactly how it was, for a few days it was finally certain. Maya Gabeira, the surfer from Rio de Janeiro, conquered a 73.5-foot wave on February 11, 2020 in the Portuguese town of Nazaré, the epicenter of big-wave surfing in Europe, which corresponds to around 22.4 meters. The men’s rating was won by Hawaiian star surfer Kai Lenny with a 70-foot wave. A woman better than any man. Without a question mark.
The World Surf League (WSL), which awards the winners of the monster classification with the “XXL Biggest Wave Award” every year, probably had a problem with that. In any case, Gabeira’s wave was measured and measured and measured, and it was still being measured long after the men’s laureate had been honored.
We were once the world market leader in limes, “says Jeffrey Akwasi Asiedu, squeezing the juice of a lime slice into the neck of the bottle of Carib beer on the table in front of him. Relaxed reggae is playing in the background. On normal days, lunch is at the Hi Rise Bar Roseau harbor is busy. The first rum punch and piña coladas are over the counter. From the large balcony you can see the fishermen’s rafts nailed together from a few boards and beams out on the Caribbean Sea. Asiedu likes to take his guests here. The guide knows that they then feel good. But there has been emptiness here since the end of March. Due to the corona pandemic, the island state of Dominica was closed until July 15, no one was allowed in, no one out. Then the government gradually relaxed the lockdown. Dominica is for tourists opened again on August 7th.
The island is roughly the size of the city of Hamburg. And it has it all: the largely intact tropical rainforest is the most pristine in the Caribbean and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. 365 rivers are said to flow on Dominica. There are also hundreds of waterfalls and mountain lakes, some of them spectacular, as well as natural pools with different water temperatures due to volcanic activity. The government has given the island the slogan “The Nature Island” and is attracting guests who are looking for nature experiences. After agriculture, tourism is the second most important employer in the country with around 13,000 jobs and a population of almost 70,000.
Asiedu reports how much the lockdown affected Dominica: People were only allowed to leave their homes between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Those who did not do so had to fear prison. “What’s worse is that almost everyone who worked in tourism has now lost their job,” says Asiedu. That hit the hiking guide just as hard as the waiter or hotel employee. Although the government offered those affected cheap loans through the state AID bank, they would have to be repaid in installments after six months. “And then people have an additional problem,” says Asiedu. “Many will lose their homes as a result.” The fact that the government has distributed seeds and saplings to the population for growing cucumbers, cabbage, watermelons and maize for self-sufficiency does not help. Asiedu is certain that tourism this year and next will not reach the level of pre-pandemic levels. Once again, the country’s dependency is evident in a globalized world. “Although we only have a few infected people at the moment, only 24 so far and nobody has died,” he says angrily.
In view of the catastrophes that regularly break into the country, many of the residents who live on tourism are running out of strength. Devastated two and a half years ago Maria the island. In September 2017, the hurricane destroyed hotels, residential buildings, forests and arable land. Almost two years earlier, the hurricane raged Erika on Dominica. Two century hurricanes in 23 months. Experts are certain that climate change is responsible for the strength and frequency of such events. The steep slopes in the southeast, which the government has declared a prohibited zone, were particularly hard hit. Nobody is allowed to live here anymore.
Above this stretch of coast, on the outskirts of Bellevue Chopin, the world is apparently in order. In the east the waves of the Atlantic ripple, in the west the mirror-smooth Caribbean Sea shines. Behind a massive portal with a golden inscription, the view opens onto tidy streets and sidewalks, which connect row houses painted ocher and white. The Ocean View settlement, built with Chinese help, resembles a senior citizen’s paradise in Florida. But it is the home of around 400 people who are no longer allowed to live below. The former fishermen and farmers are not satisfied. You lack work. The sea is far away and the land between the houses that are not yours is just enough to plant a few bananas or the tuber dasheen. Some resettlers therefore go back anyway. They have no choice.
Researchers have identified climate change and globalization as the two major threats to the Caribbean. The artist Earl Etienne sees it similarly. His studio on the ground floor of his house in Jimmit opens almost completely on one side towards the garden. Cardboard, tubes of paint, fish skin and coconut fibers are piled on the large table in the middle. Etienne likes texture. And his island.
He has just made a parasol out of plastic waste. In the 1990s his works were often statements against the banana companies Chiquita and Dole. “Unworthy working conditions, cancer caused by pesticides. We had none of it,” says the 63-year-old. In the painting “Pray for bananas” black people carry banana boxes on their heads towards the horizon. As the distance increases, the color of the boxes changes from green and yellow to gold. “The path of the banana from nature to the market in England,” says Etienne. In the picture “The beginning and the end” the small fleet of Columbus sails towards the viewer on a blood-red dripping sea. Columbus never set foot in Dominica, but he sailed past the island on November 3, 1493. It was a Sunday, “domingo” in Spanish, and the island had its name. It was the last Caribbean island to be colonized by Europeans. The Kalinago, the indigenous people of Dominica, controlled the land for around 200 years after Columbus sailed by. They were not only helped by the island’s moving relief, but also by their proverbial courage.
Around 3500 descendants of theirs now live in the partly self-governing Kalinago territory. The eight villages in northeast Dominica are each separated by a stream and the associated valley. The simple, colorful one-room wooden houses on stilts that are typical of the region stand on the narrow village streets, with bananas growing in between, but also passion fruits and papayas. In the cultural center of the territory, which is also a museum village, in Barana Autê, 23-year-old Lorenzo Sanford is waiting. A few months ago he was elected head of the Kalinago Territory with a margin of three votes and thus has the task of leading the Kalinago and representing it nationally and internationally. The muscular man in the white short-sleeved shirt sits on a bench in front of the meeting house. Sanford is controversial among the Kalinago. Too young, too naive, to assert the interests of his people against a government that has never taken the Kalinago so seriously, according to many.
The Kalinago are the population group with the lowest level of education and the lowest income. To Maria the territory was one of the last regions to receive electricity and water again. However, thanks to the government’s National Employment Program, Sanford does not have a negative view of the future. With the help of this program, he wants to give a perspective to young people in particular who have an idea of their own future: “They should work in the areas they want, for that we have to listen to them.” He wants more unity and cohesion for his people. “It’s like hunting, it’s more successful in a group than alone,” says Sanford.
The young leader describes a government-funded planting project as a successful initiative. Even the ancestors of Sanford used the up to 40 meter high Gourmier trees as windbreakers around their fields. “We have now started again. That at least protects against weak hurricanes,” he says, looking at his heavy watch. “The next appointment,” he says and gets into the new Honda sedan. The government rewarded him with this for his election victory.
Resilience to the effects of climate change is a major issue among organic farmers in Dominica. Since they mainly sell their products to the population, the lack of tourists due to Corona is not a big problem for them. There is hardly any state aid for organic agriculture. It supports farmers who use artificial fertilizers and pesticides, although their runoff not only endangers the reefs off Dominica’s coast, but also the health of the people.
One who did it without government support Maria is Simon George. His land is a few kilometers southwest of the coastal town of Rosalie in a side valley on the slope above the O’Hare River. The wiry man studied soil science in the USA and is certain that his garden Maria has survived comparatively well because of its location in the deep side valley and because of its diversity. Five of the 14 banana varieties that grew on the island before the storm sprout here in the lee of some gourmet trees. Cocoa flourishes in between. “Actually, it belongs in the forest, it can’t stand direct sunlight. That’s why I planted it under a large breadfruit tree.” Like most cocoa trees, it survived the storm. Mango, coconut and pineapple also thrive. The organic farmer attaches great importance to the layered cultivation of his field crops, which protect each other. Preserving the soil is even more important to him: “The greatest treasure we have.” So that it is not washed into the sea by the heavy rains, especially during hurricanes, the soil scientist has created a sophisticated system of moats that also keep the water in the ground longer.
While walking around the farm, George stops at a few sugar cane plants. He smashes them into manageable pieces with his machete. It is impressive how much sweet liquid can be sucked out of such a piece of pipe. Even Simon’s ancestors, as slaves, grew a few sticks of sugar cane in the fields, the juice of which they drank while they worked hard. “So they didn’t have to haul water to the fields, which are often far away,” says George.
A plant that Maria An old lime tree seems to have survived well on the farm. Its root system does not tolerate prolonged periods of drought, which have been more and more common on Dominica for a few years. At George, there is no shortage of water due to the sophisticated water management. But elsewhere on the island the citrus fruit has disappeared almost everywhere. Dominica was the largest producer of limes in the world at the beginning of the 20th century. Until the 1920s, limes made up 80 percent of the island’s total exports. With the prohibition in the USA, the demand collapsed. “It can be difficult to get one on the market today. And in a country like Dominica,” says George.
Entry: The Federal Foreign Office does not classify Dominica as a risk area, but warns against unnecessary tourist trips to Dominica due to the spread of Covid-19 and adverse effects on public life. In principle, however, entry is possible. Tourists must present a negative corona test no more than 72 hours old on arrival. In addition, a quick test will be carried out upon entry. A health questionnaire (domcovid19.dominica.gov.dm) must also be completed prior to arrival. If the temperature rises or based on the information in the questionnaire, travelers are tested on site for Corona and come at their own expense to a quarantine facility specified by the government or a certified hotel to wait for the results.
Getting there: From Germany with Airfrance via Paris to Point à Pitre (Guadeloupe) or Fort de France (Martinique) from 445 euros, airfrance.de; the next day by ferry to Dominica for around 120 euros. Without an overnight stay (probably from the end of October) with Air Antilles via Paris and St. Maarten from 800 euros, airantilles.com; discoverdominica.com/de