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Nick Corbishley

Articles by Nick Corbishley

Mexico’s AMLO Just Made Washington and Ottawa an Offer They’ll Probably Refuse

4 days ago

AMLO’s proposal: to build an alliance of states within Latin American and the Caribbean, and then pursue economic integration with the United States and Canada. 
Over the past weekend Mexico hosted the sixth summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). A total of 16 heads of state, two vice presidents and 13 foreign ministers attended the event, which was held behind closed doors at Mexico’s National Palace. They included Cuba’s leader Miguel Diaz Canel, Peru’s recently elected president Pedro Castillo and Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro, who arrived as a surprise late addition on Friday afternoon. It was Maduro’s first foreign trip since the US Justice Department made him a wanted man, in March 2020, by putting a $15 million reward on his head for his

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Spanish Government Infuriates Energy Giants By Making Them Pay for Soaring Electricity Prices

9 days ago

In retaliation, the energy companies have even threatened to shut down nuclear plants, which would decimate Spain’s energy supplies. 
As winter approaches, a perfect storm of demand- and supply-side forces, financial speculation and geopolitical uncertainty is driving natural gas prices in Europe to worryingly high levels. European benchmark prices have almost tripled so far this year. That is putting added pressure on electricity prices across the continent, at a time when rising inflation is already taking a toll on consumers and businesses still reeling from the aftershocks of multiple lockdowns.
Things have got so bad in Spain that newspapers and broadcasters are now providing daily reports on the current price of electricity. To cope with the surging bills, customers have taken to

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Is the UK’s Cladding Crisis About to Get Even Worse?

12 days ago

As the UK government prepares to pass its Fire Safety Act, concerns are growing that it could leave even more apartment owners in limbo.
One of the most brutal aspects of the Grenfell fire disaster is the sheer number of victims it has left in its wake, who now count in their millions. First and foremost, of course, are the 72 residents who perished in the blaze on June 14, 2017, and the loved ones they left behind. Then there are the hundreds of residents who managed to survive the inferno but lost their homes. Many had to wait years for rehousing. Then came the legions of indirect casualties: the millions of leaseholders* who discovered after the disaster that the buildings in which they own their flats may have also been rigged with flammable cladding and insulation materials.

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After a Long, Hard Summer, Southern Europe’s Long Awaited Tourism Recovery Remains Largely Elusive

17 days ago

Global travel is still far from returning to anything like the conditions that existed prior to the pandemic — at least for non-essential travellers.
The EU’s covid-19 passport “has been of little benefit” for Spain’s tourism industry, according to Carlos Abella, secretary general of the country’s Tourism Board. “The expected boost to confidence and mobility between countries that the single-page document was supposed to provide has not materialised. On the contrary, each country has set its own rules and that has generated a lot of uncertainty”. 
As NC warned back in late June, Europe’s grand reopening risked becoming a bit of a damp squib. Travel restrictions were still in place for many countries, including the UK, where cases of the Delta variant were (and still are) surging. In 2019,

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As US Prepares to Ban Ivermectin for Covid-19, More Countries in Asia Begin Using It

19 days ago

The information war takes a dark turn as the corporate media transitions from misinformation and obfuscation to outright lies and fabrication.
The campaign against ivermectin is intensifying in the US. Until recently the health authorities appeared to be quite content merely to ridicule those who take or prescribe the drug in order to treat or prevent Covid-19. A couple of weeks ago, the FDA released a now-infamous advertorial on twitter with the heading “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.” The subheading: “Using the drug Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 can be dangerous and even lethal. The FDA has not approved the drug for that purpose.”
It’s a subtle message that has been faithfully echoed by the corporate media: ivermectin, a tried-and-tested drug that has

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Why Are Spanish Companies Beating a Retreat from Latin America?

23 days ago

Latin America helped transform Spanish firms into global ones. But conditions are changing and some are getting cold feet.
A few months ago, El País ran a curiously titled article, “Las promesas incumplidas de América Latina”, which more or less translates as “The Broken Promises of Latin America.” In it the author lays out how and why Latin America is no longer delivering the goods for big Spanish corporations. For the past 30 years the region has provided huge money-making opportunities for many of those companies. It has also served as a giant springboard for international expansion as well as a highly lucrative home from home during Spain’s sovereign debt crisis. But in the face of deteriorating economic conditions and rising political uncertainty in the region, some firms are now

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“We Will No Longer Sell Crude Abroad”: Mexican President AMLO

26 days ago

This is good news for Mexico’s long-beleaguered state-owned oil company, Pemex, but not such good news for the US’ refinery industry.
Last Thursday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador made another public statement that won’t have gone down well in Washington’s corridors of power — or for that matter Texas, Louisiana, California or any other US state with a big refinery. Lopéz Obrador — commonly referred to as AMLO — said that Mexico will stop selling crude oil abroad and will only extract the oil that it needs to produce the gasoline the country requires. It is all part of the president’s quest for energy self-sufficiency.
AMLO also claimed that Mexico’s long-suffering state-owned oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) is finally putting its decades-long crisis behind it

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Spain’s Supreme Court Rules Against Using Vaccine Passports to Restrict Access to Public Spaces

August 24, 2021

It’s the first time a high court of a European Member State has challenged the use of vaccine passports domestically. 
Spain’s Supreme Court made waves last week by becoming the first judicial authority in Europe to rule against the use of covid passports to restrict access to public spaces — specifically hospitality businesses (bars, restaurants and nightclubs). It is not the first Spanish court to come out against vaccine passports but it is the most important. So far, only five of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions – the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla, Andalusia, Cantabria and Galicia – have proposed using vaccine passports to restrict access to public spaces. And all have been rejected by local judges.
The EU’s Green Pass is a one-piece QR-code document that can be issued to a traveller

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Going, Going, Almost Gone: UK Government Speeds Up Privatisation of National Health System

August 20, 2021

Operating on the maxim of “never let a good crisis go to waste”, the government is exploiting the pandemic to embed even more private interests across the system. 
Like many healthcare systems around the world, the UK’s National Health System (NHS) has been through the grinder over the past year and a half — largely as a result of the perfect storm created by the Covid-19 pandemic but also due to disruptive forces unleashed by Brexit. Yet if anything, the institution enjoys even more public support today than it did before the pandemic.
Drive through any town, village or city neighbourhood and you’ll find homes and businesses displaying tributes to the NHS in the form of rainbows, often drawn by young children back in 2020 when the pandemic threatened to overwhelm the country’s hospitals.

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The US Is Losing Power and Influence Even In Its Own Back Yard

August 17, 2021

Politically, economically and geopolitically, the sands are shifting in Latin America — and not in Washington’s favor!
If you’re trying to win the hearts of minds of millions of people living in countries neighboring your own, many of which your government has not exactly treated well over the decades, it’s probably not a good idea to call them corrupt. Yet that is exactly what the head of US Southern Command, Admiral Craig Faller, did last week. In an interview with Politico on Friday, he accused China of taking advantage of widespread corruption in Latin America to further its own interests (not that this is something the US would ever do or has ever done):
PRC state-owned and private businesses often exploit pervasive corruption in the region to undermine fair contracting practices and

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Remittances to Latin America Surge, Even As Virus Crisis Continues to Bite in Host Economies

July 20, 2021

One of the rare economic success stories of the past year. But there are also downsides and dark sides to the remittances story.
Between January and May of this year the total amount Mexico received in remittances — transfers of money by workers of Mexican descent mainly in the US but also other countries to individuals in Mexico — surged by 21.75% compared to the same period last year, from $15.75 billion to $19.17 billion. Spanish lender BBVA says it’s on target to set another annual record, of around $47 billion. That’s after increasing by 11.4% in 2020, to $40.6 billion. This all happened despite the fact that GDP in the US, where 98% of the remittances to Mexico originate, slumped by 3.5% last year, the worst annual decline since 1946.
Mexico is the third largest recipient country

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Vaccine Certificates Are Making Global Travel Harder, Not Easier

July 16, 2021

Vaccine certificates were ostensibly rolled out to help facilitate cross-border travel as vaccination numbers increased. But thanks to vaccine geopolitics, the opposite is happening.  
Montse, a Mexican friend of a Catalan friend of mine, was supposed to come to Barcelona at the beginning of July, as she does just about every year, to visit old friends and family. Last year, for obvious reasons, she didn’t. But this year was going to be different. She made sure she did everything right. She booked the flight months in advance, got fully vaccinated, through the university she works at, and did a PCR test two days before her flight, which came out negative. Yet she never left the ground.
On her arrival at Mexico City’s Benito Juarez airport, Montse was politely informed by Aeromexico/KLM

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Does the Fate of Ivermectin As a Covid-19 Treatment Rest in the Hands of the Deeply Conflicted Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation?

July 13, 2021

One of the world’s biggest vaccine proponents and strident defender of intellectual property rights is funding, directly and indirectly, large trials into cheap, off-patent, off-label COVID-19 treatments, including ivermectin.
The evidence backing ivermectin’s efficacy against Covid-19 continues to stack up, even as most health authorities refuse to approve its use. The last two months have seen the publication of three peer-reviewed meta-analyses demonstrating clear benefits. A review by Pierre Kory et al summarised findings from 18 randomized controlled treatment trials, concluding that ivermectin produced “large, statistically significant reductions in mortality, time to clinical recovery, and time to viral clearance.” Another study, led by Doctor Andrew Hill, a well-respected

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A Worrying Trend Emerges in South America, As Right-Wing Populists Take A Leaf Out of Trump and Netanyahu’s Playbook

July 6, 2021

If the elected leaders of long-established democracies like the US and Israel can question the workings of their electoral system, why can’t others of less-established ones? 
Exactly one month has passed since 17.4 million Peruvians cast their ballot in the country’s run-off presidential elections. But the country still has no president. The losing candidate, Keiko Fujimori, a former congresswoman and daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, has refused to concede, claiming that her opponent Pedro Castillo’s party, Peru Libre, committed voter fraud. And now it transpires that Peru’s version of Rasputin is back: a recent investigation revealed that Vladimir Montesinos, a former long-standing head of Peru’s intelligence service who is in jail for crimes against humanity, has been

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Is Another Military Coup Brewing in Peru, After Historic Electoral Victory for Leftist Candidate?

June 22, 2021

The threat should not be taken lightly, especially given Peru’s long history of coups d’états.
Five days ago, a group of retired military officers in Peru dispatched a letter to the high command of the country’s armed forces. In it they call upon the army to rise up against the leftist leader Pedro Castillo if he is pronounced president. The letter also raised questions about the recent work of Peru’s National Office of Electoral Processes (JNE) and urged the institution to fulfil “its constitutional mandate in a reliable and transparent manner” — i.e. by ensuring that Castillo, a former schoolteacher and farmer who ran largely on a socialist platform, does not become the next president. If it fails in this task, the institution will “bear the consequences.”
18 Coups in 200 Years

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First UK Inquiry Into Greensill Scandal Calls for Extension to Lobbying Ban for Former Ministers and Civil Servants

June 15, 2021

The inquiry also recommends greater transparency and accountability from the government. Unfortunately, the trend is in the opposite direction. 
It is a formality of British politics that when a big scandal breaks, a public inquiry is formed. Sometimes a scandal is so bad that it warrants more than one. So far, the Greensill affair, the worst lobbying scandal in a generation, has racked up no fewer than eight separate inquiries.
The first to report its “interim” findings — that of the Committee on Standards in Public Life — has recommended that former ministers and civil servants who enter the private sector should be barred from lobbying for up to five years, as opposed to the current two-year limit. Chaired by Lord Jonathan Evans, a former MI5 chief, the committee said the ban should, if

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The Empire Strikes Back Against Mexican President AMLO

June 1, 2021

The Economist urges Mexican voters to vote for anyone but AMLO and the US government is up to its old tricks: funneling money to political opposition groups. 
Andres Manuel López Obrador enjoys pride of place on the cover of the May 29-June 4 edition of The Economist. Above his picture is the headline “Mexico’s False Messiah.” An editorial inside the magazine compares AMLO, as the president is commonly known, to “authoritarian populists” such as Viktor Orbán of Hungary, Narendra Modi of India and Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil. But unlike them, AMLO has been able to escape the limelight, the newspaper said.
“This is partly because he lacks some of the vices of his populist peers. He does not deride gay people, bash Muslims or spur his supporters to torch the Amazon,” The Economist said. “To his

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“I Don’t Know of a Bigger Story in the World” Right Now Than Ivermectin: NY Times Best-Selling Author

May 25, 2021

So why are journalists not covering it?
Michael Capuzzo, a New York Times best-selling author , has just published an article titled “The Drug That Cracked Covid”. The 15-page article chronicles the gargantuan struggle being waged by frontline doctors on all continents to get ivermectin approved as a Covid-19 treatment, as well as the tireless efforts by reporters, media outlets and social media companies to thwart them.
Because of ivermectin, Capuzzo says, there are “hundreds of thousands, actually millions, of people around the world, from Uttar Pradesh in India to Peru to Brazil, who are living and not dying.” Yet media outlets have done all they can to “debunk” the notion that ivermectin may serve as an effective, easily accessible and affordable treatment for Covid-19. They have

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Bayer-Monsanto Fails (At First Attempt) to Block Mexico’s Phaseout of Glyphosate and Ban on GMO Corn

May 11, 2021

Mexico has already gone mano a mano with Monsanto before, and it came out on top. But this time it’s on a direct collision course with Big Ag and the U.S. government.
Life used to be a whole lot easier for German pharmaceutical and crop science company Bayer. But that was before it bought the scandal-tarnished US GMO giant Monsanto for $66 billion. That has turned out to be a very price indeed. Bayer itself is now worth just $53 billion — $13 billion less than what it paid for Monsanto in 2018. And it has faced tens of thousands of lawsuits claiming that Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The German company has agreed to pay as much as $11.5 billion to resolve existing US litigation. It has also proposed to pay a further $2 billion into a fund that would cover

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India Just Became Latest Country to Approve Use of Ivermectin to Treat Covid-19

May 4, 2021

There are now more than 20 countries on the planet that are using the off-patent anti-parasite drug against Covid-19. 
Doctors in India, the world’s second most populous country, are locked in an epic, gruesome battle against SARS Cov2. The country currently accounts for half of the world’s cases. Many cities are running out of hospital beds. As happened in Mexico and Brazil just a few months ago, medicinal Oxygen has become dangerously scarce and is being sold on the black market at extortionate prices. As of last week fewer than 10% of Indians had received even one dose of a vaccine. Just 1.6% are fully vaccinated, according to a New York Times database — even though India is producing two vaccines on its own soil and is home to the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer.

This time

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Mexico’s AMLO Locks Horns With Business Elite As Make-or-Break Elections Loom

April 27, 2021

Long-simmering tensions between government and business interests escalate in the run-up to the country’s biggest ever midterm elections.
Business groups are once again in a lather about the reform agenda of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, or AMLO as he’s often referred to. The latest bone of contention is his wide-ranging plans to overhaul Mexico’s energy sectors. The energy reforms will enhance the powers of energy ministry Sener and regulatory commission CRE to review and cancel midstream and downstream permits. They will also expand the role of national oil company Pemex and state-owned electricity utility CFE (Federal Electricity Commission).
The EU’s Ambassador to Mexico, Gautier Mignot, recently described the reforms as a major source of worry to the European

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Europe’s Eminence Grise, BlackRock, Is Helping to Write Europe’s Sustainable Banking Rules. What Could Go Wrong?

April 20, 2021

Despite facing accusations of rampant greenwashing, BlackRock is once again in the driving seat of public policy in Europe. But its potential conflicts of interest are at least finally attracting a little attention.   
When things get serious in Europe and new financial rules, regulations or bailouts are needed, the first phone number to call is invariably that of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager. That is exactly what the European Commission did when it needed to create new environmental standards for Euro-Area banks: it called BlackRock’s Financial Markets Advisory (FMA) unit. Which means that at the same time that BlackRock is launching some of the world’s biggest environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing funds for its clients — many of the world’s passive

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7 Reasons Why a Vaccine Passport (Pass, Certificate or Whatever They Want to Call It) Should Give Us Pause for Thought

April 13, 2021

As the use of vaccine passports snowballs around the world, concerns about their potential reach and implications are growing.
Vaccine passports (or passes or certificates) are being rushed through around the world, including in places where most people have not even been able to get a vaccine yet. They are being touted as a way of jump-starting the global economy by providing a means for people to prove their vaccinated status, allowing them to travel, shop, go to the gym, attend sporting and cultural events and conduct other indoor activities. Countries like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore have already introduced vaccine passports in the last couple of months.
Of course, the use of the word “passport” is deceptive. “Passport” implies a document endorsed by a state that establishes

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Fallout from Greensill Collapse Splatters British Government, As Taxpayers Face Big Losses

April 6, 2021

Downing Street’s dodgy dealings with Citigroup and Greensill show just how far the British government is willing to go to line the pockets of banks and other financial firms while bleeding taxpayers dry. 
The collapse of UK-based supply chain finance firm Greensill Capital continues to reverberate. In Germany the private banking association has paid out around €2.7 billion to more than 20,500 Greensill Bank customers as part of its deposit guarantee scheme after the bank collapsed in early March. But the deposits of institutional investors such as other financial institutions, investment firms, and local authorities are not covered. Fifty municipalities are believed to be nursing losses of at least €500 million.
Greensill’s biggest source of funds, Credit Suisse, has seen its share price

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It’s Time To Talk About Ivermectin

March 30, 2021

I’d like to start this article with a couple of disclaimers and a caveat. First of all, I am not a medical doctor. This article is not intended as medical advice. It’s a layman’s account of how an extremely cheap, safe and widely available off-patent medicine called ivermectin appears to be saving the lives of countless Covid-19 patients across Latin America and beyond. Yet hardly anybody is talking about it. 
Here’s the caveat: The first section of the article, which was completed on Friday, is about Mexico City’s recent deployment of ivermectin in its fight against Covid-19. On Saturday, Mexico’s Ministry of Health jacked up its total excess death count due to Covid (for the whole country) by 60%, from 182,000 to 294,000. However, most of these deaths took place before Mexico City began

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The Ultimate Grenfell Betrayal: UK Government Leaves Victims of Cladding Crisis Holding the Bill

March 23, 2021

The costs fall on leaseholders, who are least able to pay and not remotely to blame for the crisis while the government protects builders, developers and cladding manufacturers.  
On Monday evening, the House of Commons had a golden opportunity to make the lives of millions of lower income people materially better. All they had to do was pass a proposed amendment to the Fire Safety Bill that sought to ban leaseholders* from bearing the costs of cladding remediation. Those costs could rise as high as £15-20 billion in the coming years. The government’s bill placed the responsibility for removing cladding on leaseholders, but peers in the House of Lords proposed a plan that would force the government to pay the initial costs before recouping them from developers, construction firms and

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Scandal-Splattered UK Outsourcing Giant, Serco, Sets Sights on the Ultimate Gravy Train: U.S. Defense Contracting

February 23, 2021

The company has been repeatedly caught falsifying records, at times on a gargantuan scale. Now it is seeking opportunities in an industry where money routinely disappears in the trillions. What could possibly go wrong?
UK outsourcing giant Serco has a long history of failing to deliver. But every time it does, it has a knack of picking up even more lucrative projects once the dust has settled from the ensuing scandal. It has been repeatedly accused — and occasionally found guilty — of falsifying records on a huge scale. Yet it keeps winning government contracts, including for some of the most sensitive public services, such as maintaining the UK’s air defence radar and ballistic warning system.
Since going public in 1988, Serco has grown into a sprawling behemoth. Its tentacles reach

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Italy’s Newly Unelected Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, Has Urgent Unfinished Business With the World’s Oldest Bank

February 16, 2021

In his former role as governor of the Bank of Italy, Draghi was partly responsible for Monte dei Paschi’s di Siena’s decline. Now he must reverse it.  
Mario Draghi set a new precedent this week, becoming the first former ECB Chairman to head up a national government. And he did it without winning a single popular vote. The long-serving central banker and one-time managing director of Goldman Sachs International was handpicked by Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, to lead a so-called “government of experts”. Italy’s main political parties were by and large thrilled with the choice. So, too, unsurprisingly, were the markets. 
Unfinished Business with a Very Old Bank
Close to the top of Draghi’s agenda is urgent unfinished business with Italy’s third largest lender, Monte dei Pachi di

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How the Catalonia Question Caused Blushes for Brussels in Moscow

February 9, 2021

In a heated face-off Russia reminded the EU that when it comes to imprisoning politicians, it too has form. In Catalonia tensions are coming back to the boil as new elections loom. 
During a visit last week to Moscow Josep Borrell, the EU Minister for Foreign Affairs, received a lesson on the dangers of throwing stones in glass houses. The ostensible purpose behind the visit was to get EU-Russia relations back on track, after years of ratcheting tensions. Borrell also hoped to exert diplomatic pressure on Moscow over the recent imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. It was Borrell’s first visit to Moscow and the first of any EU diplomat since 2017. And by all measures it was a resounding failure, and in part due to recent events in Catalonia.

On Sunday, Borrell wrote on his EU

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Oxygen Becomes a Scarce Resource in Latin America’s Two Largest Economies

February 2, 2021

In the case of Mexico, criminal gangs are taking full advantage of the medical oxygen shortage, with deadly consequences.
[Warning to readers: the first two paragraphs of this post include spoilers for one of the greatest movies of all time, The Third Man, the screenplay for which was written by Graham Greene. If you’ve never seen it before, you might want to skip to the third paragraph] 
In Graham Greene’s classic The Third Man the antagonist Harry Lime makes a killing — literally — in post-WW2 Vienna by stealing penicillin from military hospitals, diluting it, and selling it on the black market, resulting in the preventable deaths of countless people. That doesn’t seem to trouble Lime’s conscience. During the famous Ferris Wheel scene Lime (played by Orson Welles) is asked by his friend

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