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Post-Panama Probes, Zuma Vote, It's Nova

Post-Panama Probes, Zuma Vote, It's Nova


After yesterday's first reports into the massive leak of confidential documents from law firm Mossack Fonseca, known as "the Panama Papers," several countries have launched investigations into allegations of money laundering and tax fraud, the BBC reports. Among those countries are Australia, Austria, France, Spain, the Netherlands and even Panama.

  • Today's new revelations from The Guardian focus on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and those around him, explaining among other things how a businessman close to the Assad managed to hold luxury London apartments.
  • Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung, the newspaper that received the initial leak, takes a closer look at Germans "decorated by the country's Order of Merit, brothel kings and top managers" involved in shell companies that the papers reveal. The daily also provides details about the 28 national financial institutions involved in the scandal, including at least 14 banks. Deutsche Bank alone is said to have been connected to more than 400 offshore companies.
  • Le Monde, meanwhile, reports that close associates to far-right leader Marine Le Pen also worked with Mossack Fonseca to stash money overseas. The newspaper puts a French bank in the limelight too: Société Générale, which opened 979 shell companies with the law firm's help, making it among the top five banks implicated. HSBC leads the pack with 2,300 offshore companies.
  • Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson will face a vote of confidence later this week over his participation in the scheme. As many as 10,000 protesters gathered yesterday outside the parliament in Reykjavik, throwing eggs on the building. An online petition is calling for Gunnlaugsson's resignation.
  • "Fiscal Terrorism," reads the front page of this week's satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo in the wake of the leak. See the cover here.


A New York Times photographer traveled to Palmyra, the Syrian city the government recently recaptured from ISIS, and took some stunning pictures of what's left of the ancient ruins.


A conflict between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-populated enclave in Azerbaijan, has left at least 20 people dead over the past few days, and now it's threatening to escalate into a "large-scale war," Al Jazeera reports. The disputed region has been marred by violent conflicts between Christian Armenians and Muslim Azerbaijani before, but tensions have been largely quiet in recent decades. AFP reports that neighboring Russia and the U.S. have called for a ceasefire, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "fueled tensions" by insisting that the Armenian-controlled region would "one day" return to Azerbaijan's control. Read more from The New York Times.


Photo: Ringo Chiu/ZUMA

Both California and New York adopted legislation yesterday to push their statewide minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next few years. "This is an important day," California Gov. Jerry Brown said. "It's not the end of the struggle, but it's a very important step forward."


Presidential front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are heading into today's Wisconsin primaries both fearing "embarrassing setbacks" that could give new momentum to their main opponents, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, The Washington Postwrites. The result will be particularly crucial for Donald Trump, who last week had arguably the worst of his campaign so far, and a victory for Cruz could "reset" the race for the Republican nomination.


Argentine companies are adding to the international trend to open up workspaces and make them transparent and fun, Ana Broitman reports for Clarin. At the IT company Globant, "Office design evolves further after a space is used and employees offer feedback," Broitman writes. "For example, the conference room, which has hammocks, was extended with spaces associated with outdoors, leisure and sustainability (such as a barbecue, a terrace and a little garden). There are also rooms with musical instruments for use by so-called ‘Globers,' or Globant employees participating in competitions the company organizes."

Read the full article, Working Happy: Open Office Space 2.0, Latin America Style.


A special Indian court convicted 47 police officers of murdering 11 Sikh pilgrims in 1991, sentencing them to life in prison, India Today reports. The pilgrims were deliberately killed as they returned from visiting holy sites, and the police later lied about their identities, claiming they were terrorists to justify the slaughter. Another 10 officers convicted in the case have since died.


Twenty-two years ago, Kurt Cobain joined the 27 Club. That, and more, in today's 57-second shot of history.


South Africa's lawmakers will debate a motion today to remove President Jacob Zuma from office, following last week's court ruling that he violated his country's constitution, the Mail & Guardian reports. But the vote is unlikely to lead to Zuma's impeachment because a two-thirds majority is required.



Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clarke has officially entered the race to succeed Ban Ki-moon, who will leave the helm of the United Nations in December. "I'm not campaigning as a woman candidate," Clarke told the BBC. "I'm campaigning as the best person for the job." If elected, she would be the first female UN Secretary-General. She said that she would make the UN Security Council "look more like the 21st Century world we live in today."


With a three-pointer at the buzzer, Villanova vanquished No. 1 seed North Carolina in last night's stunning NCAA national championship. While the Tar Heels mourn, the Villanova campus has canceled today's classes to make way for an extended celebration.

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Tour Of Istanbul's Ancient Yedikule Gardens, At Risk With Urban Restoration

The six-hectare gardens in the center of Istanbul, which are more than 1,500 years old, have helped feed the city's residents over the centuries and are connected with its religious history. But current city management has a restoration project that could disrupt a unique urban ecosystem.

Photo of Muslims performing Friday prayer in the garden of Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul.

Last March, Muslims performing Friday prayer in the garden of Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul.

Tolga Ildun via ZUMA Press Wire
Canan Coşkun

ISTANBUL — The historic urban gardens of Yedikule in Istanbul are at risk of destruction once again. After damage in 2013 caused by the neighborhood municipality of Fatih, the gardens are now facing further disruption and possible damage as the greater Istanbul municipality plans more "restoration" work.

The six-hectare gardens are more than 1,500 years old, dating back to the city's Byzantine era. They were first farmed by Greeks and Albanians, then people from the northern city of Kastamonu, near the Black Sea. Now, a wide variety of seasonal produce grows in the garden, including herbs, varieties of lettuce and other greens, red turnip, green onion, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, pepper, corn, mullberry, fig and pomegranate.

Yedikule is unique among urban gardens around the world, says Cemal Kafadar, a historian and professor of Turkish Studies at Harvard University.

“There are (urban gardens) that are older than Istanbul gardens, such as those in Rome, but there is no other that has maintained continuity all this time with its techniques and specific craft," Kafadar says. "What makes Yedikule unique is that it still provides crops. You might have eaten (from these gardens) with or without knowing about it."

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