Europe has been hit by one money-laundering scandal after another. The latest allegation is that the big and well-respected Swedish bank Swedbank has “handled €135 billion from high-risk clients.” This allegation follows the revelation that the Copenhagen-based Danske Bank carried out €230 billion in dubious transactions. Many more scandals involving more banks are likely to emerge. European Union authorities had better get ahead of the train to safeguard the European banking system.


The main source of these revelations of money laundering are the Panama Papers — documents  leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca that were made public in April 2016. The documents showed how Mossack Fonseca helped its clients to launder money. A number of investigative journalists, the investment banker Bill Browder, and the US Treasury keep digging, and they find ever more. As it is being laundered, money is increasingly funneled from illegal sources to banks with good reputations.

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A world capital got a new name this week and the United States made a bold declaration on territorial sovereignty in the Middle East. Take our quiz to prove you were paying attention to developments around the world.

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The spread of online disinformation during the 2018 election campaigns in Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil demonstrated to social media companies that they need to “make sure that we are not solving just the problems that we saw in the US in 2016, but that we are really thinking steps ahead,” according to Katie Harbath, public policy director of global elections at Facebook.


The three high-profile elections in Latin America made up “one of our very first big test cases” for new measures meant to limit the spread of false information on Facebook, Harbath said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on March 28. But while Facebook has had some success in limiting harmful activity on its platform, Harbath explained “we have to have different solutions for all of our different platforms.”

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Former US President Lyndon B. Johnson bequeathed two definitive political lessons: learn to count and don’t tell the world you’re quitting. British Prime Minister Theresa May sought to prove on March 27 that she had finally learned the first lesson, only to demonstrate she had palpably failed to understand the second.

She intimated that she would stand down as prime minister as soon as Britain left the European Union in a bid to win back support in her own fiercely divided Conservative Party, a last gasp gamble which, if it succeeds could see Britain leave the EU and May leave her office at No 10 Downing Street on the same day: May 22.

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US President Donald J. Trump created ripples when he said on August 30, 2018, that if the World Trade Organization (WTO) doesn’t “shape up, I would withdraw from the WTO.” Trump’s comments highlighted growing complaints against the WTO — voiced most loudly by the Trump administration, but shared to various extents by other countries. Eventually, the Group of Twenty (G-20) Summit in Buenos Aires agreed on December 1, 2018, to start discussing WTO reform, with progress to be reviewed at the next G20 Summit in Osaka in June 2019.

But significant differences remain in countries’ views of the WTO’s problems and the necessary remedies. Several reform proposals have been floated by various groups of countries, only to be promptly rejected by others. Since agreement is based on consensus of all 164 members of the WTO, progress is highly unlikely any time soon.

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The transatlantic alliance, a pillar of the post-World War II international order, is living through difficult times. Many of the current tensions between the United States and Europe — though certainly not all — have been caused by US President Donald J. Trump’s statements and policies. By considering the withdrawal of the United States from NATO, imposing tariffs on European imports, calling the European Union (EU) a “foe,” and reneging on his commitment to keep US troops in Syria, Trump has not only sparked tensions between the United States and its European allies, he has also triggered concerns over whether he would honor Washington’s security commitment toward them. At the very least, he lacks the trust of large parts of the European public to do the right thing on the international stage.

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The United States would need to “reconsider” how it shares critical information with its allies if they adopt fifth-generation wireless technology (5G) offered by Chinese telecom giant Huawei, US Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on March 25.

“If our allies and partners go with a Huawei solution, we need to reconsider how we share critical information with them because we want to make sure that that is secure information,” Lord said.

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The British Parliament has taken control of the Brexit process. Or has it? The result of a crucial parliamentary vote on March 25 is that Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has only temporarily been sidelined in its efforts to control the Brexit process, and that, in the long run, it may be up to the British people to determine the ending of the whole sorry saga.


The immediate result of the parliamentary votes on March 25 is that the House of Commons will debate a series of possible options for Britain’s future relations with the European Union (EU). These debates will start on March 27 and may well continue the following Monday. (It will not have escaped our keen-eyed readers that the following Monday is, of course April 1, better known as All Fools’ Day).

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On April 4, NATO will mark the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Washington Treaty, which laid the foundation for arguably the most successful alliance the world has ever seen. Yet despite all of its successes, many forget that NATO never had it easy. Throughout its long and venerable history, the Alliance not only had to address numerous external challenges and balance internal interests, but also take bold initiatives when the security of its member states was at stake. Therefore, at a time when some observers argue that the Alliance is facing various pressures, it is useful to put things into perspective, remember some of the earliest challenges NATO had to overcome, and draw some lessons from history.

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On March 22, instead of the usual festive mood in celebration of Nowruz, citizens of Kazakhstan were feeling disoriented and confused. The past week had been a politically turbulent one for this Central Asian nation.

Politics and people have existed in separate domains in Kazakhstan, but on March 19, politics made an unexpected return into the lives of ordinary people when Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev made a surprising announcement about his decision to resign with immediate effect.

While people were still processing this news (the seventy-eight-year-old Nazarbayev had ruled Kazakhstan for almost thirty years), they were informed that Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, was to be renamed Nur-Sultan in Nazarbayev’s honor. Parliament quickly approved the initiative put forward by acting President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who previously served as chairman of the Senate.

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