Crisis-risk unrest areas identified: from Sri Lanka to the Netherlands

Inflation, Coronavirus and Ukraine: even the US is in danger of instability

The President of Sri Lanka, who fled first to the Maldives and from there to Singapore, announced his resignation. The rebellion that overthrew him in the island state was the result of a deep economic crisis. But there is reason to believe that this is only the first sign: protests are becoming more frequent around the world against the background of the most acute problems caused by rapid inflation, coronavirus and the conflict in Ukraine. Not only the developing countries of the “Third World”, but also the developed economies of Europe and even the USA, which are considered stable, were not insured against the crisis phenomena.

In Sri Lanka, protesters, dissatisfied with the acute shortage of food, fuel and medicine, took over the presidential palace, making it something in between tourist attraction and amusement park.

After overseas-traveled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa finally sent the resignation email that demonstrators had been pushing for months, protesters retreated from government buildings, restoring a fragile calm in the economically crippled country. However, the respite will obviously not be long. With the departure from power and the flight abroad of the head of state, the problems have not gone away. In addition, Rajapaksa further angered the people by appointing his prime minister as acting president.

As the Associated Press notes, the country remains a powder keg, and the military warned on Thursday that it has the authority to respond in the event of chaos. Soldiers in green uniforms and camouflage vests arrived in armored vehicles to reinforce barricades around the parliament, while protesters vowed to continue holding rallies outside the president's office until a new government is formed.

The lack of basic necessities has sown despair among the 22 million people of Sri Lanka. The rapid decline in the island nation was all the more shocking given that the Sri Lankan economy was growing until the recent crisis. In Sri Lanka, inflation reached 54.6% in June, while the central bank raised interest rates to 15.5%. This means that workers are losing savings by the second, while debt payments have increased, putting pressure on household budgets. The government was unable to repay its external debt, and the IMF demanded that it raise taxes and fight corruption as a condition for obtaining a loan to rescue the national economy.

***

Many observers predict with concern : Sri Lanka with its rebellion is only the first domino to fall, which will entail socio-economic and political turbulence in different parts of the world. In many countries, high inflation has driven up the cost of living and protests are flaring up at a rapid pace.

“I am deeply concerned about the situation of developing countries,” World Bank President David Malpass said back in April. “They are facing sudden increases in energy, fertilizer and food prices, as well as the possibility of higher interest rates. Each of these factors hits them hard.”

The UN trade and development arm, UNCTAD, said in a report that 107 countries faced at least one of three shocks: rising food prices, rising energy prices or tightening financial conditions. All three shocks were experienced by 69 countries: 25 in Africa, 25 in Asia and the Pacific, and 19 in Latin America and the Pacific.

Developing countries are particularly concerned about the global food price shock as they often have limited ability to replace imported food with alternative sources.

Reduced food availability carries an increased risk of civil unrest. According to Allianz Research, there are now 11 major emerging markets that will face a high risk of food unrest in the next few years: Sri Lanka, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Tunisia and Turkey.

There are also countries at moderate risk of food disturbances. Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa have received a significant or large share of wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine in the past few years and may find it difficult to replace wheat imports with appropriate substitutes. Therefore, this situation could lead to shortages of staples such as bread for the next year or so.

However, life seems to be ahead of forecasts. As the cost of basic foodstuffs in Kenya skyrocketed, hundreds of demonstrators marched through the capital, Nairobi, urging the government to lower food prices. The protesters argued that the high cost of living was caused by government over-borrowing and rampant corruption. These are not riots yet, but the ground for them is already there. And this applies not only to Africa.

***

And indeed, protests are unfolding in many countries (and not only developing countries), including the Netherlands, Argentina, Sri Lanka and Albania .

“The resignation of the economy minister showed that there is an economic and financial collapse that is affecting the lives of workers and the entire population,” Marcelo Ramal, a member of the Labor Party from Argentina, where inflation currently exceeds 60%, told Reuters. “We have to take into account that this year we will have 80% to 90% inflation, and wages will not grow so fast.”

Gloomy economic conditions brewing in the third most populous South American country prompted angry residents to march to the gates of Argentine President Alberto Fernandez's palace, prompting the leader to declare that “we must walk the path to financial balance and currency stabilization.”

On July 1, protests against the government began in Panama – there, a disgruntled public demands that the government solve the problem of the high cost of living in the country. The demonstrators are in favor of higher wages, lower commodity prices and the elimination of bottlenecks in the supply chain. While inflation remains low in a highly monetized country, problems with the global supply chain have impacted Panama Canal revenues, reducing revenues.

And across the Atlantic, in the Netherlands, Fox News reports, farmers are wreaking havoc after forming their own version of Canada's “Freedom Convoy” by blocking highways with tractors, setting fire to hay bales and taking other actions to protest the government's recent emissions reduction target. , which may cause some farms to close.

The Dutch government aims to reduce nitrogen and ammonia emissions by 50% by 2030 to improve air, land and water quality. Government plans include reducing fertilizer use on farms and reducing livestock numbers by around 30%.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and Dutch farmers fear the change will harm their livelihoods. Wearing the toga, they climbed into their tractors and trucks to block off supermarket distribution centers, which briefly led to some fresh food shortages on Dutch grocery shelves.

Farmers also clashed with police near the home of the minister in charge of government nitrogen policy. An officer opened fire on a tractor driven by a 16-year-old.

On the other side of Europe, in Albania, thousands of opposition supporters held a peaceful protest in Tirana the other day, calling on the centre-left government to resign due to a cost crisis life and alleged corruption.

Albania saw increases in the prices of basic food and fuel related to the conflict in Ukraine and the prolonged impact of the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, according to Forbes, the country's central bank announced an increase in interest rates by 1.25%, while the official June inflation was 6.7%.

Even China did not stand aside from the protest activity. According to the US Fox News channel, the police “beat up” citizens who had gathered on the street to protest the freezing of their bank accounts due to the covid restrictions policy.

The protests were targeted at three banks serving predominantly rural communities that had frozen millions of dollars in accounts since April. Some 1,000 protesters gathered to call for the release of their funds outside the Central Bank of China's Zhengzhou branch, but they said they were met with violence.

***

If in case In China, we are talking about specific problems with specific banks, then discontent in Western countries develops along a different trajectory.

Witse Sonnema of the Netherlands Agricultural and Horticultural Organization says in a commentary to Sky News Australia that the government's initiatives to drastically reduce nitrogen and ammonia emissions have sparked widespread feelings of “frustration, anger and even despair” among the country's farmers, as it could lead to the closure of many farms: “And imagine if you are a fifth-generation farmer, living on your own land, making a living, being part of the local community, and you see a map that says that in principle there is no future. There is no future for agriculture, but there is also no future for the economic, social and cultural fabric of the countryside.”

“Protest against draconian regulations that destroy agriculture and the energy sector in the name of extremist climate policy, says Fox News Digital Victoria Coates, former deputy national security adviser in the Trump administration. “Now we hear that Colombia and even Canada may follow suit.”

“If the Biden administration continues with its current policies,” she added, “I worry that America will not be far behind.”

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As Forbes notes, while the US looks fairly strong and employment data points to a booming economy, higher inflation could easily put pressure on US household budgets and lead to protests. The Federal Reserve (Fed) is “walking a tightrope and any mistake or black swan event could easily trigger demonstrations.”

Источник www.mk.ru

Italy, the Netherlands and Latvia have reported freezing the assets of Russians

Italy, the Netherlands and Latvia reported freezing the assets of Russians for almost €1.5 billion European countries continue to freeze the assets of Russian businessmen and seize their property after the imposition of sanctions. In Italy, the amount of seized property reached €900 million , the Netherlands and Latvia reported freezing the assets of Russians” />

Italy seized property from the Russians who fell under the sanctions in the amount of €900 million, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said in an interview with Bild.

“Until now, we can talk about a total amount of & nbsp; 900 million. We acted quickly and consistently and will continue to do so in the future,— Di Maio said, noting that Rome is strictly adhering to its sanctions commitments. On March 22, the Italian authorities announced a freezing of assets worth €800 million.

The volume of frozen assets of Russians in the Netherlands rose to €516 million, according to a letter from the Dutch ministers. Freeze reports have been received from banks, insurance companies, fund managers and other financial institutions. On March 22, the Dutch authorities announced an asset freeze for €400 million

€55 million belonging to the Russians on the sanctions list has been frozen in Latvian banks, LETA reports, citing data from the Financial and Capital Markets Commission. As of March 18, this amount was €17.5 million. As the commission explained, we are talking about the funds of three individuals directly affected by the sanctions, and 32 legal entities controlled by the Russians who fell under the restrictions.

Since the end of February, the EU has included in the sanctions list, which implies the freezing of assets in Europe, about 20 major Russian businessmen. By March 27, the list suggesting an asset freeze in Europe included 877 individuals and 62 organizations that Brussels considers involved in “undermining the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.”

European countries began to regularly report asset freezes Russians and the arrest of their property, including yachts. The Italian newspaper La Reppublica wrote that the Italian authorities confiscated two yachts belonging to the head of Severstal; Alexei Mordashov and businessman Gennady Timchenko. The UK announced the detention of the superyacht Phi, which, according to the Financial Times, belongs to the founder of the telecom operator in the Urals Federal District “Motive” Vitaly Kochetkov. Forbes wrote that the yacht of Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov, the founder of USM Holdings, was confiscated in Hamburg.

Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov said that Russian entrepreneurs whose property was confiscated due to sanctions, robbed “like in the Wild West”.

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The King of the Netherlands refused the “Golden Carriage”

The King of the Netherlands decided to abandon the “Golden Carriage” as a symbol of the colonial past The King said that the image on the carriage door is offensive to most people. He acknowledged that it is pointless to deny the historical past and it “will continue to cast a shadow” on the country as long as there is discrimination

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands has announced that he and other members of the royal family will stop using the traditional “Golden Carriage”, made in the 19th century, reports the BBC. The reason was the images decorating the carriage, & mdash; many perceive them as racist and glorifying the country's colonial past.

We are talking about a drawing on the doors of the carriage called “Tribute from the Colonies.” It depicts several Africans and Asians presenting gifts, including cocoa and sugar cane, to a white woman who symbolizes the Netherlands.

A man sits next to a woman who holds out a book to people: according to the author of the work, the artist Nicholas van der Waay, she represents the “gift of civilization” that the Netherlands gave to its colonies.

In his address, Willem-Alexander stated that “Tribute from the Colonies” offends the feelings of most people. At the same time, he acknowledged that it is senseless to deny the country's historical past and that banning historical objects and symbols will not solve the problem. “As long as there are people living in the Netherlands who daily feel the burden of discrimination, our past will continue to cast a shadow on us,” — added king.

“Golden Carriage” at the end of the 19th century, Queen Wilhelmina received as a gift from the inhabitants of Amsterdam upon her accession to the throne. The royal family used it in ceremonial occasions such as the monarch's annual address to Parliament. In 2015, the carriage was sent for restoration.

In the 17th century, the Netherlands and the territories that were colonially dependent on them formed the Netherlands Colonial Empire. By the 18th century, it included Guiana, Indonesia, trading posts in India, Ceylon and the island of Formosa, as well as other territories. In the 1660s and 1670s, the Netherlands ceded its possessions in North America, including modern New York, to Great Britain, and in the 19th century they also abandoned Ceylon and the Cape Colony in South Africa.

In the Netherlands, As in other European countries, the debate about the colonial past and slavery has been revived since the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. Bloomberg named its founders among the top people of 2020. Last year, the movement claimed the Nobel Peace Prize.

In July 2020, the Central Bank of the Netherlands decided to find out if its activities were connected with the support of slavery in the former colonies. This decision was made by the regulator on the example of the Bank of England, which decided to take portraits of leaders associated with the slave trade.

Last year, the Art Museum in Amsterdam (Rijksmuseum) hosted an exhibition on the role of the country in the slave trade, and the mayor of Amsterdam Femke Halsema apologized for the active participation of the city in it.

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The lawyer told the details of the detention of the Russian at the request of the United States in the Netherlands

Dubnikov was detained in the Netherlands at the request of the United States. They accuse the Russian of laundering money received by the ransomware hacker Ryuk. Cybersecurity companies associated it with “Russian-speaking hackers”

Russian citizen Denis Dubnikov, who was detained in the Netherlands at the request of the United States, was “practically stolen from Mexico,” lawyer Arkady Bukh told RBC. According to him, it happened immediately upon arrival.

“ They pushed him on a plane to Holland, although he was not going there at all and did not pay for tickets. Paid by the other side, we just understand that the United States. He arrived in Holland, the United States had about 12 hours to prepare all the documents through Interpol. And upon arrival, Holland accepted him, discovering an open arrest from the United States and a demand for extradition, '' & mdash; Bukh reported.

According to him, the United States knew about Dubnikov's movements. “ The fact is that many countries have a common anti-terrorist system, a list of people who should not fly. And so the United States is using this system to calculate and pinpoint people they are interested in arresting around the world, '' & mdash; the lawyer considers. In the United States, a Russian is subject to an article on money laundering, which provides for up to 20 years in prison, he added.

It was in the Netherlands that they decided to send Dubnikov, since this country has “ almost one hundred percent statistics on extradition to the United States, while Mexico is not so simple, '' Bukh continued.

According to him, extradition from the Netherlands is of two types: ordinary, which takes a couple of years, and high-speed, which takes a couple of months. While it is a question of the standard extradition procedure, the lawyer noted.

Bukh admitted that he, Dubnikov and the Dutch lawyer of the Russian could agree to the US deportation request in order to sort out the case in the United States. This decision can be made because the United States is not obliged to provide the Netherlands with a full package of documents: a minimum set of documents is sufficient to start the expulsion procedure, the lawyer explained.

According to him, the Russian embassy in Holland has already received information about the arrest of Dubnikov. “They’re working on it. We are waiting for some action from the Russian side '', & mdash; said Bukh.

Dubnikov was arrested at the request of the United States in the Netherlands on November 2, The Wall Street Journal reported. According to the US Department of Justice, the Russian was engaged in money laundering in the interests of the Ryuk hacker group, and also received a reward of $ 400 thousand in bitcoins from the funds that the victims transferred to the extortionists. Dubnikov did not admit his guilt, since he was not aware of any criminal acts, Bukh said in a conversation with the WSJ.

In 2020, Ryuk accounted for a third of all cyber attacks that were carried out in the United States with the aim of extortion , said cybersecurity firm SonicWall. Initially, it was assumed that the group is associated with North Korea, but in 2019, experts from CrowdStrike and McAfee Labs reported that the malware was developed rather by “ Russian-speaking hackers ''. The Russian authorities have repeatedly denied their involvement in any hacker attacks.

Dubnikov is 29 years old. According to SPARK, he is the CEO of Briefcase, a law firm in which he owns 50%. On November 5, the press service of Briefcase noted that “ the unfounded accusations imputed to Dubnikov by US law enforcement agencies have nothing to do with the company's activities. ''

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Colombian airlines face controversy over loans to survive pandemic crisis

Colombian airlines face controversy over loans to survive pandemic crisis

Governments worldwide — from Singapore to the Netherlands and the US — have devoted more than $85 billion to prop up airlines during the coronavirus pandemic. But airlines' requests for aid are controversial in less rich Latin American economies, where millions live in poverty and public health systems are ill-equipped to respond to a large-scale health crisis.

By
Jorge Valencia

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An aerial view shows Colombian airline Avianca’s planes parked at El Dorado International Airport amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Bogotá, Colombia, April 7, 2020.

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Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters

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The Colombian government is considering extending loans to the country’s airlines, as the coronavirus pandemic has grounded their fleets and wiped out most of their revenue through at least June.

Altogether, the country’s airlines would need some $1.2 billion in financial aid to stay in business without flying through the middle of the year, according to the International Air Transport Association, an industry trade group. Most of the cash would likely go to Avianca, which accounts for about half of Colombia’s flights and passengers. Avianca filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States last week.

Governments worldwide — from Singapore to the Netherlands and the US — have devoted more than $85 billion to prop up airlines during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Bloomberg News analysis. But the request for financial aid is controversial in less rich Latin American economies, where millions live in poverty and public health systems are ill-equipped to respond to a large-scale health crisis.

Related: ‘Reckoning day’ could be ahead for airline industry amid coronavirus challenges

Medellín-based Vivia Air, Colombia’s largest low-cost carrier, has not laid off any of its roughly 730 workers but has instituted across-the-board salary cuts, the company’s chief executive, Felix Antelo, told The World. Antelo’s salary was reduced by 70%. The company is asking the government for a $50 million bridge loan to restart operations once air traffic returns, he said.

“Not for a bailout, not for relief,” Antelo said. “It’s a loan that we will repay, obviously, and those are figures that are reasonable for a country like Colombia.”

Carolina Cortizo, managing director of Bogotá-based airline, Wingo, which employs about 230 people, said the company has reduced its costs by 20% — “which would have seemed awesome pre-COVID[-19]” — but is looking to make further cuts. The company is seeking a loan from the government of less than $12.5 million, she said.

“There’s nothing I want more than to get our planes back in the sky,” Cortizo said. “Our team has been putting a huge effort into the back-to-normal of our airline.”

Related: Governments offer aid as airlines forced to deepen cuts to flights, staffing

But many leaders in Latin America likely see air travel as a luxury and may be reluctant to extend help to airlines during the crisis, said Thijs Boonekamp, an economist with SEO Amsterdam Economics, a think tank. 

In Colombia, about 1 in 4 people live below the poverty line. And in Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador halted the construction of a new airport for Mexico City because he said it would represent no benefit to the working poor. 

Latin American countries have less “fiscal space” than richer economies to help airlines, said Tomás Serebrisky, an economist with the Inter-American Development Bank.

“They are allocating those resources to more immediate and urgent needs like the need to revamp the health system, or provide income support to the most vulnerable poor of the population,” Serebrisky said.

James Blake – If The Car Beside You Moves Ahead

[Verse 1]
Chemical days so I can draw
Conclusions in my ways
I’ve come to take as law
Always you [?]
Always you [?]

[Chorus]
If the car beside you moves ahead
As much as it feels as though you’re dead
You’re not going backwards
You’re not going backwards
If the car beside you moves ahead
As much as it feels as though you’re dead
You’re not going backwards
You’re not going backwards

[Bridge]
How can you sleep?
How can you sleep?

[Verse 2]
Chemical days so I can draw
Conclusions I’ve come to take as law
Always Pakistan and Netherlands

[Chorus]
If the car beside you moves ahead
As much as it feels as though you’re dead
You’re not going backwards
You’re not going backwards
If the car beside you moves ahead
As much as it feels as though you’re dead
You’re not going backwards
You’re not going backwards

Huncho Jack, Travis Scott & Quavo – Eye 2 Eye (On Jimmy Kimmel) (Live)

[Intro: Kodak Black]
Murda on the beat, that’s not nice, man

[Chorus: Quavo]
Real nigga, I
Get high, touch the sky
Right hand in the air
Left hand in the pot
Real nigga, I
We see eye to eye
Real nigga, I
We see eye to eye
Yeah yeah (yeah)

[Post-Chorus: Travis Scott]
I see green in your eyes, it don’t lie (it’s lit!)
Blue dollar bills in them hills to the sky (cash!)
We put the floor on dash
Know all my hoes they go and cash
Over that bag, they mad
I know the problem, yeah yeah

[Verse 1: Travis Scott]
Eye to eye (yeah!)
Trips to Dubai (yeah yeah)
I could see that they jealous, don’t know why (yah)
Is it ’cause we lit at 4 AM at the spot?
Put that on your tongue, wait for the swag to unlock (yeah!)
If you searching, come look for us (alright!), over the border (it’s lit!)
We import ’em (yeah!), just don’t record us (straight up!)
Poppin’ at the crib, the living room look like The Forum
Roll the dice at night, I take the chance in the morning

[Interlude: Quavo]
Know what I mean?
We ain’t really with that camera shit
Nah

[Verse 2: Quavo]
We fuck up for real, for real, for real
We fuck up the check for real (checks)
We havin’ the lean, exotics, and percs, she havin’ the X pill (lean)
We know how to flex for real
We hop on the jet, the time we kill (pew)
These niggas be wildin’, chasin’ money
While I’m signing deals (ye)
I got a ‘Tek Philippe (ye)
And I bought a skeleton (ice, ye)
I’m a deadly weapon (ye)
I’m about to go off in a second (vroom, yeah)
Moving bricks and medicine (bricks)
She like to fly, pelican (brr)
Touch the sky, heavenly (sky)
Designer belt from the Netherlands (yeah yeah)

[Chorus: Quavo]
Real nigga, I
Get high, touch the sky
Right hand in the air
Left hand in the pot
Real nigga, I
We see eye to eye
Real nigga, I
We see eye to eye
Yeah yeah

[Post-Chorus: Travis Scott]
I see green in your eyes, it don’t lie (green)
Blew dollar bills in them hills to the sky (yeah!)
We put the floor on dash (skrrt skrrt)
All of my hoes they go and cash (skrrt skrrt)
Over that bag, they mad
I know the problem, yeah yeah

[Verse 3: Takeoff]
Real nigga, I (I), pop a perc’ and fly (brr)
Crack that seal and take a whiff and I come back alive (die)
Niggas commit suicide when they don’t got mob ties
Flip it like it’s Five Guys, I’m 2Pac, get all eyes (all)
Look at the bitch, she a dime
So many watches, a nigga can’t run out of time
They get out of line
The gang in your yard with the strap like the Uber driver with the sign (brrt)
I’ve been known to tell the truth in my raps but these other rapper tell lies (lies)
Real niggas keep the trap alive
Ain’t no fabrication on the vine (it’s cap)

[Chorus: Quavo]
Real nigga, I
Get high, touch the sky
Right hand in the air
Left hand in the pot
Real nigga, I
We see eye to eye
Real nigga, I
We see eye to eye
Yeah yeah

[Post-Chorus: Travis Scott]
I see green in your eyes, it don’t lie (green)
Blue dollar bills in them hills to the sky (yeah!)
We put the floor on dash (skrrt skrrt)
All of my hoes they go and cash (skrrt skrrt)
Over that bag, they mad
I know the problem, yeah yeah (yeah!)

[Outro: Travis Scott]
Skrrt skrrt, skrrt skrrt