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Russia

Are Russian Security Forces Helping Europe Get High?


NOVAYA GAZETA
(Russia)

MOSCOW - Roughly 60% of synthetic narcotics in Europe are made with an ingredient that is illegally exported from Russia, possibly with the help of high-ranking officials in the Russian Drug Enforcement Agency and Security Agency, Novaya Gazeta reports.

The allegations stem from an audit started after a former top-level officer in the Agency accused colleagues of corruption and of protecting traffickers.

The ingredient involved is benzylpiperazine, a drug that was legal in Russia until 2010 and can be used to manufacture ecstasy and amphetamines.

The investigation has not yet been completed, but according to several law enforcement representatives, these accusations could lead to a senior-level shake-up in the two law agencies.

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Economy

Why More Countries Are Banning Foreigners From Buying Real Estate

Canada has become the most recent country to impose restrictions on non-residents buying real estate, arguing that wealthy investors from other countries are pricing out would-be local homeowners. But is singling out foreigners the best way to face a troubled housing market?

Photo of someone walking by houses in Toronto

A person walks by a row of houses in Toronto

Shaun Lavelle, Riley Sparks, Ginevra Falciani

PARIS — It’s easy to forget that soon after the outbreak of COVID-19, many real estate experts were forecasting that housing prices could face a once-in-generation drop. The logic was that a shrinking pandemic economy would combine with people moving out of cities to push costs down in a lasting way.

Ultimately, in most places, the opposite has happened. Home prices in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Germany, Australia and New Zealand rose between 25% and 50% since the outbreak of COVID-19.

This explosion was driven by a number of factors, including low interest rates, supply chain issues in construction and shortages in available properties caused in part by investors buying up large swathes of housing stock.

Yet some see another culprit deserving of particular attention: foreign buyers.

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