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Panama Papers & Politics, From Pakistan to Iceland

SPOTLIGHT: PANAMA PAPERS & POLITICS, FROM PAKISTAN TO ICELAND

It's been more than six months since a massive leak first exposed vast networks of offshore financial dealings linked to a Panama-based law firm. But the reverberations of the so-called "Panama Papers" continue to show up in unlikely places. Pakistan's opposition party announced today that two of its supporters have died after police fired tear gas to stop protesters from marching to the capital Islamabad to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Driving the opposition's outrage are revelations from the leaked Panama documents that appear to show Sharif's family owned offshore holding companies. Opposition leader Imran Khan, a cricket hero turned politician, has vowed to send a million supporters to the city tomorrow to force Sharif to step down or agree to a corruption investigation.


In a starkly different corner of the globe, Iceland's Prime Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson announced his resignation on Sunday. His Progressive Party was routed in a general election that had been scheduled after his predecessor was forced out after another series from the Panama leaks showed that he and his wife had stowed away millions offshore.


While it's indisputable that leaks from tiny Panama have shaken far-flung parts of the world, it remains to be seen which political players will gain from it. It's fitting that Iceland's Pirate Party, which saw strong gains in the election, was founded by activists, anarchists and former hackers. It's also true that Pakistani opposition leader Khan, who's calling for the graft inquiry, was himself forced to admit to using an offshore company to avoid paying tax on the sale of a London property.


WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY


IRAQI FORCES ENTER MOSUL

Iraqi troops have entered the outskirts of Mosul for the first time since the battle to retake the city from ISIS began just over two weeks ago. According to the BBC, Iraqi forces are "facing very stiff resistance."

RUSSIA, AN INCREASING THREAT TO THE UK

Russia is being "increasingly aggressive" and is prepared to use "propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks" in order to "to push its foreign policy abroad," and especially across Europe and the UK, the director general of MI5 Andrew Parker told The Guardian.

FBI ACCELERATES EMAIL PROBE, ONE WEEK FROM ELECTION DAY

FBI investigators continue to sift through some 650,000 emails potentially linked to Hillary Clinton, and experts believe they will find any relevant material by election day, The Wall Street Journal reports. Meanwhile, other documents leaked by Wikileaks continue to damage the Democratic nominee, including information related to what The Hill describes as "Team Clinton's sordid financial dealings." The New York Times this morning reports that in the early 1990s, Donald Trump used a "legally dubious method" to avoid paying tax. For the latest state-by-state polls, check out this map, which shows Clinton holding on to a narrow lead.

ACTRESS: HITCHCOCK SEXUALLY ASSAULTED ME

Actress Tippi Hedren, famous for her role in The Birds, writes in her new memoir that she was sexually assaulted by director Alfred Hitchcock. "It was sexual, it was perverse, and it was ugly, and I couldn't have been more shocked and repulsed," the 86-year-old wrote.

VERBATIM

"Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.." Pope Francis said at a Mass this morning on the second day of a historic trip to Sweden to seek reconciliation with Protestants. Next year will mark 500 years since Martin Luther nailed 95 theses on the church door in the town of Wittenberg, Germany, which set off the Reformation and led to the spread of Protestantism around the world and centuries of conflict with the Catholic Church. Read more from the Associated Press.

— ON THIS DAY

It's safe to assume a lot of people went "Wow" in the Sistine Chapel, 504 years ago. Find out why in your 57-second shot of history.

CHINA UNVEILS J-20 FIGHTER JET

China unveiled its fifth-generation J-20 fighter jets earlier today at the country's biggest air show in Zhuhai, where radar equipment and close to half of Chinese weapons systems were also on display, the South China Morning Post reports.

SOUTH KOREA PRESIDENT'S FRIEND DETAINED AMID SCANDAL

South Korean prosecutors have placed Choi Soon-sil, a close friend of President Park Geun-hye and the woman at the center of a massive influence-peddling scandal, under emergency detention, Yonhap reports. Opposition leaders are calling for Park's resignation.

OIL EXTRACTION LINKED TO CALIFORNIA EARTHQUAKES

The deadly 1933 earthquake and other seismic events in the Los Angeles region in the early 20th century may have been caused by oil drilling, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey concluded in a report published yesterday. Read more from the Los Angeles Times.

— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

How does a parapsychologist deal with people who say they've seen ghosts? That is the question Victoria Michalczak tries to answer in a disturbing, spooky piece for Süddeutsche Zeitung. "It's the summer of 2006, and Farnaz Azadi, a 16-year-old German-Iranian, heads on vacation with her boyfriend and his family to Portugal. One night, shortly before midnight, a friend of Azadi's screams in panic — she had heard footsteps in the corridor and the sound of a knock from her cupboard. Azadi's boyfriend searches the house for burglars but doesn't find anyone.

The following night, Azadi, whose name has been changed, experienced something she will never forget. She thinks about the incident a lot but rarely speaks about it. It was a "little traumatic," she recalls and recounts the tale: Azadi and her boyfriend had gone to bed and turned off the light. Her boyfriend had fallen asleep immediately. When Azadi turned around, she saw a dark figure standing next to her bed. She clearly sees its shape — the head, the neck, the shoulders. The figure could not be older than an eight-year-old. Azadi is certain it's not a shadow. And she faints."

Read the full article, Parapsychology, Serious Study Of The "Ghost" In Your Life.

— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

Going North — Road to Mo i Rana, 1967

MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH

THUNDERSTRUCK

Caitlín Nic Aoidh appeared to be hit by lightning and disappeared in a cloud of smoke live on TV, as she was presenting the weather forecast on an Irish news broadcast. Apparently Halloween has merged with April Fools' Day ...

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Society

Parenthood And The Pressure Of Always Having To Be Doing Better

As a father myself, I'm now better able to understand the pressures my own dad faced. It's helped me face my own internal demands to constantly be more productive and do better.

Photo of a father with a son on his shoulders

Father and son in the streets of Madrid, Spain

Ignacio Pereyra*

-Essay-

When I was a child — I must have been around eight or so — whenever we headed with my mom and grandma to my aunt's country house in Don Torcuato, outside of Buenos Aires, there was the joy of summer plans. Spending the day outdoors, playing soccer in the field, being in the swimming pool and eating delicious food.

But when I focus on the moment, something like a painful thorn appears in the background: from the back window of the car I see my dad standing on the sidewalk waving us goodbye. Sometimes he would stay at home. “I have to work” was the line he used.

Maybe one of my older siblings would also stay behind with him, but I'm sure there were no children left around because we were all enthusiastic about going to my aunt’s. For a long time in his life, for my old man, those summer days must have been the closest he came to being alone, in silence (which he liked so much) and in calm, considering that he was the father of seven. But I can only see this and say it out loud today.

Over the years, the scene repeated itself: the destination changed — it could be a birthday or a family reunion. The thorn was no longer invisible but began to be uncomfortable as, being older, my interpretation of the events changed. When words were absent, I started to guess what might be happening — and we know how random guessing can be.

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