Philippine officials faked data showing ex-Wirecard exec in country


MANILA: Philippine immigration officers falsified records to show ex-Wirecard executive Jan Marsalek briefly visited the country after he was sacked from the collapsed German payments processor, the justice minister said on Saturday (Jul 4).

German and Philippine authorities want to question the former chief operating officer as part of their separate investigations into the Wirecard accounting scandal, but his whereabouts are unclear.

Entries in the Bureau of Immigration database show Marsalek arrived in the Philippines on Jun 23 – the day after he was fired – and left for China on Jun 24.

READ: Wirecard’s former boss faces criminal complaint in Austria

But CCTV footage, airline manifests and other records prove Marsalek was not in the country on those dates, minister Menardo Guevarra said in a statement.

“The investigation has now turned to the persons who made the false entries in the database, their motives, and their cohorts,” Guevarra said.

The immigration employees have been stood down and face punishment. Investigators were also looking into “possible criminal responsibility” for the fake entries, he said.

Guevarra told reporters last month that immigration records showing Marsalek’s transit through the Philippine city of Cebu could be part of “diversionary tactics to mislead Marsalek’s pursuers”.

Marsalek was responsible for the Asia business that became the focus of accounting irregularities – including a missing €1.9 billion (US$2.1 billion) supposedly banked in the Philippines – that ultimately brought Wirecard down.

READ: Who’s to blame for Wirecard? Germany passes the buck

READ: Wirecard collapse leads to call for German parliamentary inquiry

Wirecard has filed for insolvency and admitted that the €1.9 billion likely did not exist.

Marsalek failed to turn himself in to Munich investigators despite a reported earlier promise to do so.

Wirecard’s former chief executive and founder Markus Braun was bailed for five million euros last week after reporting to prosecutors over charges of falsifying accounts.

The assets supposedly held in trust accounts at two Philippine banks were to cover risks in trading carried out by third parties on Wirecard’s behalf.

But the Philippines’ central bank said the cash never entered the country’s financial system and both banks, BDO and BPI, have denied having a relationship with Wirecard.

As part of the Philippine probe, Guevarra said Manila-based lawyer Mark Tolentino, the trustee of the Wirecard deposits, gave a statement to investigators on Monday.

“Tolentino said he was hired by his principal early this year to provide consultancy services,” Guevarra said.

“He said he’s receiving death threats.”



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England include Dom Bess in 13-man squad for first Windies Test | Cricket News


Dom Bess (Photo credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

LONDON: Spinner Dom Bess was named in England’s 13-man squad for the first test against West Indies and there was no place for Moeen Ali among nine reserves, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Saturday.
All-rounder Ben Stokes will lead England in the match, which will begin at the Ageas Bowl Southampton on Wednesday in a bio-secure environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moeen announced in September he was taking a break from test cricket after losing out on a central contract for the longest format but he was included in a 30-man training group.
But the ECB opted to go with off-spinner Bess, who grabbed his first five-wicket test haul against South Africa in January.
Fellow spinner Jack Leach is among the reserves for the opening game of the three-match series. All-rounder Sam Curran, who was cleared to resume training after testing negative for COVID-19, was also placed on stand-by.
Regular skipper Joe Root will miss the first test to be at the birth of his second child.
The second and third tests will be played in Manchester.
England squad: Ben Stokes (captain), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
Reserves: James Bracey, Sam Curran, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Ollie Robinson, Olly Stone.



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Agriculture will be country’s priority – President in Anuradhapura election rally


Colombo, 04 July, (Asiantribune.com):

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says that agriculture will be country’s priority after resolving number of persisting issues and shortcomings affecting it.

Issues such as shortage of water supply and fertilizer for agriculture are being addressed by the government.

Failure to make payments due to suppliers on time has resulted in delay in the importation of fertilizers.

The absence of a proper market and a price for their produce has rendered the farmers helpless. The President stresses that he will address these issues and will take steps to protect the farming community.

President Rajapaksa made these remarks joining the Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna election campaign in Anuradhapura, today (July 03).

The President who visited the Thammannawa Nidahas Uyana village in Thalawa, engaged in a cordial discussion with the residents of the area and inquired into their well-being.

President Rajapaksa also looked into the requirements for improving water supply facilities of Eeriyagama tank.

The president has given instructions to the Resident Manager to take steps to provide solutions for the prevailing issues.

Minister S.M. Chandrasena and former Chief Minister of the Province, S.M. Ranjith were present on this occasion.
The President also joined the public gathering organized near Kala Wewa in support of the former Minister Duminda Dissanayake.

President Rajapaksa sought the views of the public regarding the current condition of the road construction activities as well as their agricultural activities.

The President also paid homage to the Kadawara Devalaya near the tank bund.

President Rajapaksa who visited the Kekirawa Town joined a public gathering held in Kumbuk Sevena area. That was organized in support of SLPP candidate Mr. Weerasena Gamage.

The Maha Sangha of the area, other religious leaders and people living in the area were in attendance. The President who was seen engaged in a very cordial discussion with them paid his attention to the issues faced by the farming community particularly the issue of water scarcity.

People in the area who represent a number of ethnic groups informed the President cultural issues they faced.

The Kekirawa Trade Association handed over a set of proposals relating to the development of the area, to President Rajapaksa.

The President also observed construction works of the Ganadevi Kovil.

The President joined in another public gathering held in Galkulama area Mihintale in support of SLPP candidate T.M. R. Siripala.

The President who engaged in a very cordial discussion with the Maha Sangha and the public drew his attention to the issues of area.

– Asian Tribune –

President at A’pura election campaign

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Special Indian repatriation flights from Colombo to Delhi scheduled for July 8 and 18


Colombo, July 3 (newsin.asia): One hundred and seventeen Indian nationals stranded in Sri Lanka because of the Covid-19 lockdown were repatriated by a special Air India (AI 0274) flight from Colombo to Chennai on Friday.

The flight was part of phase IV of the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’, a Government of India initiative to repatriate Indian nationals from all over the world to India.

Further special repatriation flights from Sri Lanka are:

AI 0282 – Colombo to Delhi 08 July 2020 and AI 0282 – Colombo to Delhi 18 July 2020

Based on the registrations received by the High Commission of India, a passenger manifest will be prepared for these flights. Priority will be given to compelling cases in distress, including migrant workers/labourers who have been laid off, short term visa holders faced with expiry of visa, people with medical emergency/ pregnant women/elderly, those required to return to India due to death of family member, and students as stated in the Standard Operating Procedure issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

The Indian nationals who were stranded in Sri Lanka due to restrictions on international travel because of COVID19 pandemic have expressed their happiness at the opportunity to return home. Over 1600 Indian nationals have been repatriated from Sri Lanka so far including this flight through three special Air India Flight on 29 May, 15 June and 22 June, 2020, Indian Naval Ship Jalashwa which made a voyage from Colombo to Tuticorin on 01 June and through various charter flights.

Those stranded Indian nationals who have not yet registered with the High Commission may kindly do so on the following link -https://hcicolombo.gov.in/COVIDhelpline . We urge all stranded Indian nationals to follow updates on High Commission’s website and social media.

 





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Telangana HC tears into govt for plan on online classes | India News


HYDERABAD: Questioning whether lawmakers in Delhi were losing sight of ground realities prevailing in rural India, devoid of internet facilities for online classes, the Telangana high court on Friday asked the Centre, CBSE and other central institutions to respond by July 13.
Reacting to pleas that the Centre was providing laptops at subsidised rates to provide online classes to children, the bench asked how many parents know about the existence of such a scheme.
“Leave alone two laptops for a tribal family, let it (the Centre) first think of providing two square meals a day to the impoverished families,” the bench said, making it clear that it wants to first hear from the Centre and its academic wings on why their guidelines don’t address the ground realities.
The bench, while hearing a PIL filed by Hyderabad School Parents Association (HSPA), sought action against the schools for collecting term fees, admission fees, developmental charges, library fees, extracurricular activity fees, and transportation fees, instead of collecting only monthly fees to access online classes.
The state’s special counsel A Sanjeev Kumar informed the court about how the TRS government has formed a sub-committee to study the issue after the Centre prohibited reopening of schools and colleges till the end of July 2020 and permitted online classes.
As school education falls under Entry 25 in List 3 of the Constitution, where the Centre’s word prevails over all the states, the state said they were in two minds.
“Take a firm stand, like Maharashtra which has banned online classes. Adjust Centre’s guidelines to local conditions. Unless there is an express prohibition dictated by law, you cannot control it. You say you are not permitting online classes. But you are not stopping coercive methods of private school managements either,” the bench said.



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GoGet to represent Malaysia at the AIM 2020 Global Startups Champions League


  • Represent Malaysia at all-expense trip to Dubai to compete for US$50k grand prize
  • Part of roadshows in over 100 countries to discover startups with global potential

You can’t deny that GoGet is a go-getter. The on-demand work app has been announced as the National Champion for the RHL-MDEC: AIM Startups Virtual Pitch Competition 2020 (Malaysia Roadshow), which will see them representing Malaysia at the AIM 2020 Global Startups Champions League.

The Malaysia competition was held on 1 July 2020, which saw 10 contestants shortlisted to represent Malaysia’s startup ecosystem. This was done based on the competition’s pre-determined criteria. Each contestant pitched their respective proposition to a jury comprising representatives from RHL Ventures, MDEC (Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation), SME Corporation Malaysia, the Islamic Development Bank and the IE Business School.

The competition is part of a series of global roadshows under the AIM event, a global stage that takes place across more than 100 countries to discover startups that have potential in expanding and penetrating global markets.

GoGet, with Francesca Chia as cofounder and chief community manager, is a marketplace for on-demand errands and deliveries that is powered by a community of runners. Prior to this, the startup had won the UNCDF B40 Challenge at MyFinTechWeek 2019, which was held in Kuala Lumpur.

As the national champion, GoGet will be representing Malaysia in an all-expense-paid trip to Dubai to compete against other National Champions at the final AIM 2020 Global Startups Champions League for a chance to win the grand prize of US$50,000.

GoGet to represent Malaysia at the AIM 2020 Global Startups Champions LeagueIn consideration of the ongoing pandemic, the event is tentatively set to take place at the fourth quarter of this year.

“We believe it is essential to closely collaborate with domestic and global strategic partners to discover competitive local talent and disruptive Malaysian companies as we work towards developing our Malaysian startup ecosystem and launching them to the international arena,” says Raja Hamzah Abidin (pic), RHL Ventures managing partner.

“As such, we are pleased to partner with the UAE’s Ministry of Economy and the AIM Congress in supporting its mission of enabling economic growth for emerging economies, in particular for the startups pillar.”

In its 10th year, AIM – dubbed the World’s Leading Investment Platform in the Middle East and North Africa – was initially scheduled to take place in March at the Dubai World Trade Centre, but has since been rescheduled to the fourth quarter of the year due to Covid-19.



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France’s Emmanuel Macron picks Jean Castex as PM in major reshuffle




French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday named a senior bureaucrat to replace Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, whose government resigned after a poor local election showing for the ruling party.The new premier, Jean Castex, officially a member of the right-wing opposition but in charge of overseeing the country’s progressive emergence from coronavirus lockdown, is taking over as Philippe leaves the post after three years, the Elysee Palace announced.Macron has said he will set a “new course”…



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Won’t allow provisional recognition of NSFs without adherence to sports code: HC to Sports Ministry | More sports News


NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday said the practice of granting provisional recognition to National Sports Federations (NSFs) in the country without ascertaining whether they are following the sports code cannot be allowed to go on.
“We won’t allow the provisional system to go on without the NSFs following the sports code. That is not going to happen. Ask the NSFs to put their house in order,” a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Najmi Waziri said.
The observation by the bench came while hearing a plea moved by the Sports Ministry seeking permission to grant provisional annual recognition to 57 NSFs so that they can commence training of sportspersons for the Olympics next year.
It, however, issued notice to advocate Rahul Mehra and sought his stand on the application which has been filed in his petition moved in 2010 for probe into various sports bodies.
It was on his petition that the high court had directed in the past that all the NSFs have to adhere to the National Sports Code.
The high court also asked Mehra to indicate in his affidavit which of the 57 NSFs were not adhering to the sports code and which are, so that provisional recognition may be granted to those complying with the code.
Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma and central government standing counsel Anil Soni, appearing for the ministry, urged the bench for an interim order granting permission to provisionally recognise the NSFs in view of various sporting events, including Olympics, which are scheduled to occur in the next several months.
They said it would allow the NSFs to prepare and train the players for the various sporting events.
The bench, however, said it would not pass any order without first hearing the other side.
The high court also said that when the process for grant of recognition commenced in January this year, the ministry did not come before it and now it cannot ask for an urgent interim order.
It gave Mehra three weeks to file his reply and listed the matter for further hearing on August 7.
The high court on June 24 stayed the June 2 decision of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) to provisionally renew the annual recognition of the NSFs and had directed it to “maintain status quo ante”.
The bench had said that the ministry proceeded to take the decision, even if it is provisional in nature, without first approaching the court and seeking its consent as per its February 7 order in the main petition.
On February 7, the court had directed the Indian Olympics Association (IOA) and MYAS to inform the court in advance while seeking to take any decision in relation to the NSFs.
However, on June 24 the high court was informed through an application of the ministry that it has proceeded to provisionally renew the annual recognition in respect of the NSFs for the year 2020, till September 30.
The high court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by Mehra in 2010 which had initially sought a probe into the functioning of various sports bodies, including Hockey India and Indian Olympic Association.



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India’s Modi visits Ladakh amid tense border standoff with China


NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday paid a surprise visit to Ladakh to take stock of the situation on the ground, weeks after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in violent clashes with Chinese troops in the Himalayan region along the disputed border between the two countries.

The visit is significant as it will not only boost the morale of Indian soldiers posted there but will also send a strong political message to Beijing that New Delhi is serious about resolving the issue.

Modi has come under criticism from opponents over his handling of the border standoff with China. His latest move also sends a message to Beijing over what is seen in India as a Chinese incursion into its territory.

Modi was accompanied by chief of defense staff Gen. Bipin Rawat and army chief Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane, and briefed by senior officers at Nimu in Ladakh, local ANI news agency reported. The region is 11,000 feet (3,335 meters) above sea level, in rough terrain on the banks of the Indus river.

India and China have been working through diplomatic and military channels to ease tensions, but no major progress has been reported so far. The two sides have blamed each other for the deadly June 15 clash, the first fatal confrontation between the two countries in 45 years.

India says there were casualties on the Chinese side as well, but Beijing has not released any figures. The 3,500 km Line of Actual Control serves as the de facto border, over which the two countries fought a war in 1962.

Modi’s visit comes a day after the Defense Ministry approved procurement of fighter jets, missile systems and other military equipment at a cost of 389 billion rupees ($5.2 billion).





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National Security Act’s Details Outline HK Stranglehold


The imposition late June 30 by Beijing of a National Security Law on Hong Kong has destroyed the key elements of the One Country Two Systems principle which had ruled the territory since 1997 and which were supposed to survive till 20147.

The law was greeted in sullen silence by the majority, who are known to oppose it, and by many thousands of demonstrators who (technically illegally) took the streets on July, 1, a holiday when people are supposed to celebrate the 1997 handover. A succession of businessmen, professional and other interests widely praised its implementation, purportedly because they believe that it would bring peace and stability to a city which has seen a year of major public protest.

In the first instance, pro-democracy politicians, journalists, religious and social workers, academics in some areas of politics, history, and law are most obviously at risk. However, the law is so sweeping, its procedures so modeled on those of the mainland and the definitions of “national security” potentially so wide that quietly many rich people (not least those from the mainland who saw Hong Kong as a safe haven) have been shocked into reconsidering their dispositions. Local Chinese with foreign passports or rights of abode also have cause for concern.

The 61 articles of the law aim to address threats to national security from “Subversion, Secession, Terrorism” and “Collusion with a foreign country or external elements.” Secession applies not merely to those who advocate independence for Hong Kong but the separation of “any part of the Peoples Republic of China.” The latter thus includes not only Taiwan, Tibet, and Xinjiang but the seas and islets which China claims throughout most of the South China Sea, despite those being comprehensively rejected by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016.

Subversion includes any actions towards “undermining the basic system of the Peoples Republic of China” or “the body of power of the HK Special Administrative Region.” This could be taken to mean any suggestion that, for example, the power monopoly over state institutions of the Communist Party of China be reduced, or that, in the case of Hong Kong, representative government should be increased by a reduction in the number of Legislative Council sears held by business groups promoting their interests.

The Articles on collusion with External Elements go far beyond active engagement with foreign governments against China. “State secrets and intelligence” can be applied to almost anything in a country where large businesses are largely partly state-owned or have corporate information deemed a security issue. It also applies to providing individuals with information.

Watch out not just whistleblowers but, for example, any securities analyst writing negative research about companies with political connections. NGOs that raise or bring in money for social welfare purposes may also be at risk.

The law includes minimum sentences of three years in prison for several offenses, with bail under the law in the most exceptional circumstances. In practice, it may be used sparingly, at least initially. It will be aimed at removing the most obvious and radical anti-government elements from the political and media scenes and those with US connections in particular.

However, the broader purpose is to make all more aware and fearful of the power of Beijing mostly acting through its agents, notably the Chief Executive, the Liaison Office of the CPG and soon too the Office for Safeguarding National Security, which will have an office and staff in the territory.

Foreign organizations will have to decide whether to guard their actions or actions or move on. For international media, there are no obvious alternatives. Singapore in many ways is more restrictive in covering domestic issues. But Singapore is a small story that the international media rarely bother with.  China – and its regional and international relations – must be covered. But from where now?

The law comes down heavily too on organizations or individuals receiving funds from abroad which are deemed dangerous to some element of national security. Beijing failed to spot the irony that the same day the law hit Hong Kong it was celebrating the 99th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party, whose early years were largely financed and directed by Stalin’s Comintern agents from Moscow.

The procedures for investigating and enforcing the new law cut across all existing Hong Kong institutions. The Hong Kong government will set up a Committee for Safeguarding National Security which will have an adviser from the CPG and report to the Office for National Security of the CPG. The Hong Kong police will set up a special unit for monitoring national security (as though they didn’t already) and a special fund for national security set up by the Financial Secretary which would not be subject to other laws (presumably including budget oversight by the Legislative Council).

Any notion of an independent judiciary is swept away. The Secretary of Justice can deem security cases to be determined without juries, and the Chief Executive can choose the magistrates and judges to hear such cases. If it wants, the CPG’s Office for Safeguarding National Security can take over Hong Kong cases. All procedures are subject to the Supreme People’s Court.

More broadly, specific groups are directly threatened. Those “disrupting the formulation and implementation of law or policies” can be disbarred from election to public office – clearly aimed at elected politicians or try to hold the passing of laws or releasee or budget funds for dubious projects.

The law also demands that the government “strengthen public guidance of schools, universities, media and the internet” and “ strengthen the management of and services for the organs of foreign governments and international organizations as well as Non-Governmental Organisations and news agencies from outside HK, Macau and the mainland.”

The survival of many academic posts and courses – such as in journalism and politics – is now at risk. Foreign media and news agencies will also need to reexamine how they can continue to cover even regional issues such as Taiwan and the South China Sea, let alone the mainland and Hong Kong, without falling foul of the police and other authorities now encouraged to witch-hunt supposed security risks.

However, don’t expect any sudden exit of money from Hong Kong or a threat to its dollar peg. Money will flow out but Beijing will continue to ensure through state companies and a slew of listings on the HK stock exchange that money flows in. Now that the mainland has taken control of the legal system the change in asset ownership will follow.



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