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Gold Medal For International Bribing Goes To Russia

Russia garners top spot in the list of those countries whose businesses try to pay bribes when working abroad. There are two explanations: either Russians pay bribes out of habit, or because they couldn’t sell their products without them.

Gold Medal For International Bribing Goes To Russia

MOSCOW - Outperformed in so many ways, Russian companies apparently beat their foreign competitors in at least one activity: paying bribes for international deals.

"The Bribe Payers' Index 2011," a newly released study by the anti-corruption organization Transparency International, rates the likelihood that companies from 28 different countries will pay bribes while doing business abroad. On this score, the study found Russian companies are the most corrupt.

Kirik Kabanov, an official with Russia's anti-corruption office, says that Russian companies often give bribes simply out of habit. "There is an understanding of tradition, and a more or less convenient, common working method," he says. "Like Pavlov's dogs: once you teach them something, then they will behave similarly in other situations."

Still Kabanov said some business people also see a payoff as a way to stay ahead of the competition. "We are not going to cede territory to some Chinese company just because there it's OK to use corrupt channels to reach business goals," he said.

Dimitri Abzalov, a leading expert at the Center for Current Politics in Russia, has another take. He thinks that Russian companies have to pay bribes because their products are just not good enough.

"If we are talking about low worker productivity in Russia, and the unsatisfactory level of innovation, then it is obvious that there is a competitive problem with Russian products," Abzalov says. "The more effective Russian exports are, the less necessary bribes will be for sales and expansion."

The United States used to be one of the principal countries that tracked corruption, but in the past year both Britain and China have cracked down on bribes in the business world. International corruption is one of the main agenda items at Thursday's G-20 summit in Cannes, France.

Read the original article in Russian

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

Photo - Perry French

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LGBTQ Plus

Where Conversion Therapy Is Banned, And Where Its Practices Are Ever More Extreme

After almost five years of promises, the UK government says it will again introduce legislation to ban conversion therapy — and in a policy shift, the proposed law would include therapies designed for transgender people.

Photo of demonstrators in the UK against conversion therapy

The UK Government has finally announced a draft bill to ban conversion therapy for all – including trans people.

Openly via Twitter
Riley Sparks, Ginevra Falciani, Renate Mattar

Conversion therapy, which includes a range of practices that aim to change someone’s sexuality or gender identity, has long been controversial. Many in the LGBTQ community consider it outright evil.

As the practice has spread, often pushed on young people by homophobic family members, there has been a worldwide push to make conversion therapy illegal, with the UK as the latest country set to ban such practices as electric shocks, aversion therapy and a variety of other traumatic, dangerous techniques to try to change someone's sexual preferences or gender identity.

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The British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy, the professional body which governs therapists in the UK, calls the practice “unethical (and) potentially harmful.”

In France, journalists have documentedmany healthcare professionals offering the pseudoscientific practice. In one case, a self-described “LGBT-friendly” therapist offered to “cure” a young lesbian through so-called "rebirth therapy," a dangerous practice that was banned in some U.S. states after unlicensed therapists killed a 10-year-old girl during a session.

For one Canadian man, therapy included prescription medication and weekly ketamine injections to “correct the error” of his homosexuality, all under the guidance of a licensed psychiatrist. Some people are forced into treatment against their will — often minors — but most of the time, those who receive conversion therapy do so willingly.

The UK announcement of plans to ban conversion therapy for England and Wales comes after four separate British prime ministers had promised, for almost five years, to ban the practice.

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