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Nick Corbishley

Articles by Nick Corbishley

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

2 days ago

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

9 days ago

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

23 days ago

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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Why Is Everyone Talking About Squatters’ Rights in Covid-Ravaged Spain?

January 26, 2021

Squatters versus landlords: the battle lines are drawn as this once-in-a-lifetime crisis threatens to create a whole new generation of olvidados. 
Spain’s center-left government last week unveiled a controversial draft law that has incensed right-wing media pundits and political parties. The proposed law seeks to halt the eviction of squatters from the properties they have occupied until May 9, when Spain’s State of Alarm is scheduled to end. Most of the properties that will be affected belong to banks or other large institutional landlords.
The proposed change in law has added fuel to a national debate that has been raging since early summer. Government sources say the draft law is needed to protect squatters who are in socially vulnerable situations. They include victims of gender

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Workers’ Wages: The Next Frontier in the Financialization of Just About Everything

January 5, 2021

As the virus crisis bites deeper and deeper into workers’ wages and household finances, big money is pouring into workplace finance initiatives.  
The virus crisis is opening up a rich vein of opportunities for some well-placed financial intermediaries. Salary Finance, one of the UK’s leading workplace lenders, enables cash-strapped workers at its client companies to receive advances on their wages as well as other financial products, including low-interest loans that are deducted directly from workers’ pay checks — a mechanism that sharply reduces default rates, since it’s much more difficult for borrowers to avoid paying their debt if it is extracted directly from their salary.
The company has secured funding from two FIRE-sector heavyweights, Legal & General and Experian, the latter of

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Wall Street Mega-Landlord Blackstone Prepares to Reap the Spoils of Another Crisis

December 29, 2020

Blackstone was a big winner of the last crisis. Now, it hopes to repeat the feat, albeit using a somewhat different playbook. 
Back in 2008, Blackstone emerged as one of the biggest beneficiaries of the subprime crisis, becoming a trailblazer in financializing rents. As that crisis went global, so too did Blackstone’s property empire. By the time the dust had settled, it was the biggest commercial real estate company  on the planet, according to Fortune magazine. .
Now, Blackstone wants to repeat the feat, albeit using a somewhat different playbook. At the Goldman Sachs Financial Services Conference, held on December 9, Blackstone’s CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, gave a few hints about how it plans to do just that. Asked if he thought large firms such as Blackstone would once more gain more

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Big Banks Grow Bigger and Smaller Banks Disappear, As Mergers Return to Crisis-Hit Eurozone

December 2, 2020

A fresh wave of bank failures and mergers are set to trigger a new round of consolidation of the Eurozone’s banking system.
The ECB has a dream: to unleash a whirlwind of consolidation across the Eurozone’s banking system, out of which will arise a new breed of giant trans-European bank. The operations of these new mega-lenders will straddle the continent, thus helping to finally convert the Eurozone into a genuine single financial market. Their gargantuan size will allow them to finally compete with their mega-bank rivals from the U.S. and China. At least that’s the theory. As an added bonus, these mega-bank deals can serve as handy cover for stealth recapitalisations of failed or failing banks. 
This dream is not new, of course. One of the crowning goals of Europe’s half-baked Banking

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