Pandora in Greek mythology - “the first mortal woman: out of curiosity she opens a box, letting out all human ills into the world”.
The Pandora papers - the undoubted top story this morning - lifts the lid on the secret wealth of hundreds of public figures - including 30 world leaders.
ON TODAY’S AGENDA
A Metropolitan police officer is due to appear in court via video link today, facing charges of rape. PC David Carrick is accused of raping a woman while off duty on September 4 of last year. Some tabloids are reporting Carrick and Wayne Couzens - who is serving a whole-life sentence for the murder of Sarah Everard - served in the same unit.
*Here is a link to a very informative piece by Nicole Jacobs, the domestic abuse commissioner for England and Wales.
“The Bureau of Investigative Journalism uncovered nearly 700 reports of domestic abuse by police officers across the UK in the three years to 2018 – averaging more than four a week. Fewer than one in 10 reports resulted in a dismissal or warning.” - Nicole Jacobs
- In Manchester, the Conservative Party conference is underway. The Chancellor of the Exchequer (like a Finance Minister), Rishi Sunak, is expected to commit £500 million “to renew job support programmes” during a speech later today.
THE PANDORA PAPERS
There is one top story on nearly every media outlet this morning - the Pandora papers.
It has been described as the “biggest ever leak of offshore data,” involving financial information relating to hundreds of public figures, including 30 world leaders.
What does it involve? Around 12 million documents from 14 different “offshore service firms”. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists worked with roughly 140 media organisations on this - including BBC News and The Guardian.
“It’s a two-tier system. One for the ordinary, who play by the rules, and another for the wealthy, who sometimes legally - sometimes not legally - essentially cheat.” - Luke Harding, Guardian foreign correspondent
Who is mentioned the most?
- King Abdullah of Jordan reportedly amassed a property portfolio of more than $100 million, mostly in the US. Though articles on this have allegedly been blocked in Jordan, the king’s legal team said “he had not misused aid or public money”. Bigger picture: Jordan is considered a relatively stable country in the Middle East, but one that has been economically stretched in recent years. As The Financial Times reported, it received $1.5 billion in US aid in 2020.
- A Russian woman - believed to be President Putin’s mistress - has owned a “luxury apartment” in Monte Carlo since 2003. Media reports suggest she became the owner weeks after giving birth.
- The President of Azerbaijan allegedly has a UK property portfolio worth £400 million.
- Singer Shakira and model Claudia Schiffer were also linked to offshore assets.
WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte made the surprise announcement that he is going to retire from politics at the end of his term. Remember: Duterte has been quite a controversial figure, particularly because of his “war on drugs”. The country’s constitution means he cannot seek a second term in office, but he was accused of trying to get around that by saying he would run for vice president in the election next May.
Who is expected to run for president? There is a lot of speculation around Duterte’s daughter, Sara. Also, boxer Manny Pacquiao has thrown his hat in the ring.
- A French inquiry found evidence there was between 2,900 and 3,2000 pedophiles in the Catholic Church since 1950. The full report will be released on Tuesday, but the head of the investigating body has been quoted as saying the number represented “a minimum estimate”.
Model Emily Ratajkowski accused singer Robin Thicke of groping her while drunk as they filmed the music video for his hit song, Blurred Lines. The allegation was made in a book to be published next month. The claim is corroborated by the music video’s director, who said she screamed at Thicke - who is yet to address the accusations.
Remember: The song was as controversial as it was popular when it was released in 2013. Blurred Lines was accused of glorifying rape culture and being dismissive of the idea of consent.
Japan’s parliament has elected Fumio Kishida as the country’s next prime minister, days after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party voted for him to become leader of the party. Kishida has the responsibility of holding a general election before November 28.
Reuters reported Kishida is now Japan’s 100th prime minister.
KEEPING AN EYE… 👀
Adele might be about to release a new album, but her team has not confirmed the rumours.
So, why the speculation? Because a number of mysterious billboards saying ‘30’ have been spotted around the world in recent days.
Adele’s previous albums were called 19, 21 and 25 - named after the ages she was when she wrote the albums.
As Sky News pointed out, the 33-year-old was 30 when she separated from her ex-husband.
- BBC News: Muhammad cartoonist dies in car crash - reports
- The Guardian: Pandora papers: Biggest ever leak of offshore data exposes financial secrets of rich and powerful
- The Financial Times: Payday for US college athletes rattles $14 billion industry
- Al Jazeera: Jordan king exposed over tax havens and luxury homes
- The Irish Times: Pandora Papers: Ireland used as de facto ‘offshore’ location
ON A LIGHTER NOTE…
An oldie, but a goldie! As speculation mounts that new Adele music is on its way, here is a look back at the singer’s best prank. It has 76 million views for a reason.