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LOTTO SCAM “FUELS JAMAICA CRIME”

Jamaican version of advanced fee fraud, but Jamaican police say that a high proportion of funds defrauded are being used to buy high-powered weapons.

CROATIA “MAFIA HIT” SPURS SACKING

Prime Minister of Croatia sacks Interior Minister, Justice Minister and Chief of Police after mafia hit on daughter of lawyer defending general accused of embezzling $5million worth of jewels to use to make deals during Croatia’s war of independence. The latest in a series of incidents, apparently.

ANIMAL ACTIVISTS IN INTERNATIONAL PLOT, JURY TOLD

Trial of alleged SHAC members for their campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences has begun. Nasty business, involving targetting individuals in their homes in a campaign of intimidation. Used the names of the Animal Liberation Front and the Animal Rights Militia for some of their activities.

POKER-GAME EXECUTION AS ITALY DECLARES WAR ON MAFIA

Intimidatory shooting of the Uncle of a man who had turned state’s evidence in a Camorra trial. Looks like the Independent has a correspondent based in Italy for a while, so we should get more of these stories.

FRENCH ELITE ON TRIAL IN $791M ANGOLA ARMS CASE

Sale of old Soviet weapons 1993-1998 to President dos Santos to use against Unita. Loads of allegations and lots of individuals named, but sounds awfully like one of those cases in which verdicts prove impossible to reach. With a new round of negotiations coming up over access to Angolan oil, my money would be on a brushing under the carpet. Two central suspects and a cast of about 42 linked in one way or another. Most interesting name against whom allegations are being made is Charles Pasqua, former Minister of the Interior. Second most interesting for UK readers will be Arkady Gaydamak, whose son owns Portsmouth FC. Oh and Mitterand’s son is in there too. We shall see, said the old cynic.

A CHANCE TO CRACK DOWN ON AFRICA’S LOOT-SEEKING ELITES

Curious little comment piece that starts by comparing the criminal opportunities involved in running a chip shop and running a bank. Argues that the banking crisis [lets stop calling it the credit crunch. My grandfather used to call such incidents a “banker’s ramp”] provides an opportunity to bring the banks under proper scrutiny. Dream on!

KAZAKH CRISIS BLAMED ON CRIME

Let me see now…theyre going to hand over control of construction projects that are in trouble to the banks??!! Havent they been reading the papers?

TALIBAN SPLIT WITH AL QAEDA SEEK PEACE

Hmmmm….Story from CNN, attributed to “sources”. lots of rumours that Saudi Arabia is trying to broker a peace deal with the Taliban and clear signals coming from the military that clear victory unlikely. At least Gulbadin Hekmatyar had a representative present. Now what would such a peace do to the border areas with Pakistan and the Taliban-style militants there…not to say the al Qaeda headquarters, which must be on the move as we write?

DRUG CARTEL BLOODBATH ON MEXICAN BORDER CLAIMS 50 LIVES

Actually, if you read down, it’s 3,500 lives so far this year. That’s 40% up on 2007, which itself was a record. Getting close to something that could really be called “narco-terrorism”. But having got this far, the government has to fight on.

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