KI Daily Brief – May 26, 2015

London’s Most Mysterious Mansion
The New Yorker

A recent investigation by the Financial Times found that more than a hundred billion pounds’ worth of real estate in England and Wales is owned by offshore companies. London properties account for two-thirds of that amount. Charles Moore, a former editor of the Telegraph, says that London’s property market has become “a form of legalized international money laundering.” The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is ambivalent about the rise in foreign-owned property. “London is to the billionaire as the jungles of Sumatra are to the orangutan,” Johnson said. “We’re proud of that.”

$1.8 Billion Disappears in Russian Space Program
CNN Money

Billions of rubles have been lost in shady transactions. Construction projects are languishing. And important launches are failing. In 2014 alone, federal space agency Roscosmos committed 92 billion rubles ($1.8 billion) worth of financial violations, according to Russia’s public spending watchdog agency.

US Court to Hear Suit Accusing Adelson of Graft in China
The Hill

A judge ruled Friday that a lawsuit accusing casino magnate Sheldon Adelson of graft and ties to organized crime will be heard in a U.S. court. Las Vegas Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ruled that a hearing over the full case will take place in a Nevada courtroom, according to The Guardian, dealing a blow to Adelson, the owner of Las Vegas Sands and a major GOP political donor.

Russian Oil Producer Rosneft Reshuffles Management
Reuters Africa

Russia’s top oil producer Rosneft said on Monday it had made changes to its managerial structure and that veteran oilman Igor Maidannik had left the company. Kremlin-controlled Rosneft, the world’s largest listed oil producer by output, said its head, Igor Sechin, had taken the decision to “enhance the effectiveness of the company’s managerial structure”. Maidannik held a senior position in Rosneft’s legal department and previously worked in the Anglo-Russian TNK-BP firm, which Rosneft bought for $55 billion in 2013.

China Officials Made to Tour Jail in Corruption Warning

The authorities in an eastern Chinese city sent local officials on enforced tours of a prison, as a warning against the temptations of corruption. The group of 70 officials and their wives visited the facility in the city of Shiyan in Hubei province on 15 May. Photographs show the officials and their partners visiting the prison grounds, where they got a chance to speak to former bureaucrats – some of them former colleagues – who had been convicted of charges such as abuse of power.

Putin Orders ‘Mass Surprise Drill’ of 12,000 Soldiers in Response to Nato’s Two-Week ‘Arctic Challenge’ as Tensions Over Ukraine Increase
Daily Mail

Russia has launched a massive ‘surprise’ military drill featuring 12,000 soldiers and 250 aircraft in response to two weeks of Nato exercises in the Arctic, as tensions in Europe continue to escalate.The Russian manoeuvres – which began in the Ural mountains and western Siberia yesterday – are intended to help the military prepare for an even larger drill in September, called Tsentr-2015. This week’s drills began on the same day as Nato launched its own long-planned military exercises in the Arctic, where 100 aircraft and 4,000 servicemen from Germany, Britain, France, Netherlands and the U.S., are taking part in a Norway-led aviation exercise described as the ‘largest of its kind’.

Putin Isn’t Reviving the USSR, He’s Creating a Fascist State
Fiscal Times

A more precise definition of Fascism, according to Griffin, is a political ideology with three broad elements: populist ultra-nationalism, the claim that the country has become soft or ‘decadent,’ and a “rebirth myth.” The third is the promise, typically made by Fascist leaders, to restore a country to some sort of former greatness, usually taken from it treacherously by its enemies, either external or internal. Given the massive changes imposed on Russian society in the past several years, it’s easy to argue that, under Putin, the country is turning into at least a quasi-Fascist state.

China Issues First White Paper on Military Strategy
China Daily

On Tuesday, Beijing issued its first white paper on military strategy, ushering in greater military transparency by giving details of the direction of its military buildup to other nations. In the preface it reaffirmed China’s adherence to peaceful development and its “active defense” military strategy. It interpreted the policy as “We will not attack unless we are attacked, but we will surely counterattack if attacked.” On China’s security environment, it mentioned increasing security challenges brought by certain countries, citing the growing US military presence in Asia and Japan’s major adjustment in its security policies.

And the Law Won

It has been a long and hard fall that says much about the Communist Party’s chosen path of evolution. Activists seeking to protect the legal rights of ordinary citizens rose to prominence in the early 2000s. At the time the party was trying to professionalise its legal system, to encourage people to seek redress through the courts and to reassure them that their land, their homes or the wealth they were fast accumulating would be safe from local officials who often had scant regard for the sanctity of private property. At first the party tolerated the activists’ emergence. It soon lost patience. Since Xi Jinping took over as China’s leader in 2012, he has tightened the noose on them further. The remaining outspoken weiquan activists have been jailed or silenced.

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