Haiti Presidential Assassination Stirs International Attention

Gunmen killed Jovenel Moise in his home on July 7, 2021. The attack wounded his wife when it was carried out around 1 AM.

According to reports, the gunmen first tied up the housekeeping staff and the Presidential guards. Once they got to the President, they shot him a dozen times with high-caliber bullets, including one directly into the forehead.

Investigators report that the assailants even gouged out one of the President’s eyes. The first lady was flown to Florida for treatment and recovery, but she returned to Haiti ten days later.

It has become an international story because over 30 people in Haiti, Colombia, and the United States are implicated in the conspiracy to assassinate Moise. 

International Officials Suspect Drug Networks

The original explanation for the assassination was an elaborate plot to seize office. As international investigators dug into the case, even that story doesn’t add up. The true motive might not ever be uncovered.

What we do know is that Haiti serves as a significant transit point for illegal substance movement into the United States. 

Current and former officials discovered that one of the Presidential guards was heavily involved in trafficking behavior. The DEA in the United States reported that Dimitri Herard was suspected of removing up to thousands of pounds of heroin and cocaine only hours before law enforcement was set to seize them. 

Haiti is a nation in turmoil. The people detained or arrested in Moise’s death met several months before the killing to discuss rebuilding the country once he was out of power.

Could one of the Presidential guards be responsible for the assassination because of drugs? Further investigation is necessary to determine if that would be the case. 

Historic Wildfires Continue Raging in Turkey

When we look back at 2020, we’ll think about the start of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, we may remember it for all the wildfires that occurred.

Forest fires raged throughout the Mediterranean during the summer, burning fiercely enough in some areas where entire areas were lost. Numerous firefighters gave their lives to prevent its further spread, and thousands have lost homes. 

Scientists have even found that breathing in the smoke from wildfires adds susceptibility to Covid infections.

Over 200 Wildfires Started in Turkey

The 2021 Turkey wildfires saw a series of over 200 events that would eventually burn more than 1,700 square kilometers of forested land. It would be the worst season in the country’s history, with the first fires beginning in Manavgat on July 28.

Since the 1940s, the number of reported fires in the Mediterranean has increased from about 1,000 per year to over 3,500 annually. With warmer and drier conditions becoming frequent, Turkey expects to see more droughts and longer fire seasons.

The season has been made more difficult because of how fast the fires move. In the first week alone, over 160,000 acres fell victim to these events.

Although rare summer rains in Antalya helped calm some of the problems, firefighters were active throughout August to prevent more structures from burning. 

If there is any good news from the historic wildfires in Turkey, almost all the burnt forests are Turkish pine. It typically regrows naturally, which means these areas can eventually return to their former glory. Numerous news sites are tracking developments.

How Hong Kong Changed After China Took Control

When China received Hong Kong from the British government in 1997, the Communist government agreed to let the city have considerable political autonomy. 

It was called “one country, two systems.” Beijing said this structure would last for 50 years.

A new national security law was imposed in 2020 that gave the Chinese government broad powers to silence dissenters and punish critics. It’s a change that will alter life for those who live in the city for good unless those freedoms are restored. 

The Concept Hasn’t Worked as Expected

When China adopted the idea of “one country, two systems,” the goal was to bring the territories it lost over the years back into the country’s fold. Portugal returned Macau, Great Britain sent back Hong Kong, and there was an internal hope that Taiwan would also return.

Since Taiwan continues to be independent with global support to stay that way, China looks to change the dynamics of its promises. By stamping out capitalism, the argument that a more mixed economy is better can potentially disappear.

Beijing maintains the authority to interpret Hong Kong’s Basic Law, which is a power the government rarely used until recent years. Although Communist officials don’t preside over the city as they do the other municipalities and mainland provinces, the shift in attitude is profound. 

Since the handover, there have been no free votes for the chief executive that leads Hong Kong’s government. In 2017, only candidates vetted by a Beijing nominating committee were allowed to run.

The risks that Hong Kong faces are many right now. China seems committed to a path of bringing the city into Beijing’s governing structure. Only time will tell what that means for its residents.

The Market for Chinese Tractor Parts in the US

The majority of used tractors in the US and around the world originate from China. Because American farmers cannot get their hands on new or domestically manufactured parts, they are forced to buy them online, directly from China.

For years now, Chinese tractor companies have been investing more into modernizing their production lines in order to meet the demands for parts. Some companies now produce American-style brands such as Farm Pro and John Deere. However, there is still a large market in selling imported Chinese parts to American buyers because of the quality and price difference.

This demand is met by a thriving Chinese parts business, run mainly from Beijing. The parts are transported to America mainly by sea containers, which means that the cargo ships have to sail for about 30 days across the Pacific Ocean until they arrive at their destination.

“There is basically no other way than sending them via sea because air freight is extremely expensive,” says Liu Yongjing of Beijing-based company Sino-Agri Trade.

“It is easy for me to sell tons of products to American buyers, but it’s really impossible for me do the same in China because of the tight competition here,” he adds.

The fact that Chinese-made parts can be sold much more easily in America than domestically is a result of the high tariffs imposed on foreign parts by federal authorities. For more specialized tractor manufacturers, like Jimna tractor parts, often need to be ordered directly in the US.

On one hand, American farmers benefit from this because they gain access to cheaper parts. However, the Chinese companies that produce these parts suffer as a result of the low demand at home and the loss of potential revenue.

“We set up our factory in America instead of exporting parts to China because it is much more profitable for us,” says Jack, a manager from Munich Machinery, an American company that manufactures giant bulldozers. “There are many factories here in the US that manufacture small tractors, so we can provide customers with after-sale services. We can even sell our spare parts to American buyers.”

“We are still expanding our business in the US because that is where the money is,” adds Jack, who asked not to be identified by his real name. “But it’s really hard for us to find distributors in China due to the fierce competition.”

The lack of demand for Chinese parts in the domestic market, the high tariff on foreign parts, and the popularity of expensive American tractors are all major factors that help to shape China’s tractor industry. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

France Fines Google for Ad Dominance

France levied a massive fine against Google for “abusing its dominance in the online advertising market.” The settlement, which is a total of £189 million, comes as French competition regulators work to rebalance the relationship between digital publishers and tech giants.

The French competition authority found that Google unfairly favored its tools for buying and selling online advertising over its rivals.

It is the first time that Google and its parent company, Alphabet, have agreed to make changes to its practices from the outcome of an investigation.

Google Used Its Integrated Business Model to Its Advantage

Google said that it would make changes to Ad Manager as a result of the settlement. Large publishers use this platform to handle their buying and selling activities for online advertising and marketing.

Another change involves the AdX exchange, which is where Google auctions online ad space. According to French authorities, Ad Manager shared price information from rival providers to give AdX an unfair advantage.

The decision is expected to open more doors for publishers who feel that Google’s dominance has disadvantaged them over the years. This investigation proves that it is possible to seek damages from this behavior.

A complaint from News Corp in 2019 is what started the initial investigation. In February of this year, the organization struck a deal with Google on a global news deal through an exclusive commercial agreement.

This incident isn’t the first time Google breached European advertising rules. The company has been fined over £5 billion since 2017.

FBI Uses Smartphone App in Global Raid on Organized Crime

An encrypted app that criminals have been using since 2018 was supposed to be the most impenetrable communication tool available. It was seen as a safe place to plot activities, manage illicit drugs, or even talk about murder without law enforcement getting involved.

It turns out that the ANoM app, which is a black-market only product accessible on prepared mobile devices, was being covertly monitored by Australia’s Federal Police (AFP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for almost the entire time.

Australia announced that the intelligence gathered from the messages sent across the app led to over 220 arrests and more than 500 charges. The AFP seizes 3.7 metric tons of illicit drugs and about $35 million in cash during that time. Most of the individuals have links to the Italian mafia, Asian crime syndicates, and even motorcycle gangs.

The FBI Got the App from Its Developer

According to court documents released by the United States, the ANoM app was given to FBI agents in the San Diego office by the developer who made it. Officials haven’t released the person’s identity, but they did state that the individual was helping with ongoing investigations in return for a reduced sentence.

The top five countries where the app was used were Germany, Spain, Australia, Serbia, and the Netherlands.

People using the ANoM app were so confident in its security that they didn’t use pseudonyms or codes when communicating with others. Their brazen conversations would become the foundation for many of the charges levied as officials took down the organized crime network.

Over the three years the investigation was active, over 9,000 police officers in 18 different countries helped maintain the operation. Numerous news sites can help you to stay in touch with investigations like this.

Volkswagen’s “Voltswagen” April Fool’s Stunt Creates SEC Inquiry

Volkswagen admits that the rebranding comments and statements made in 2021 were only an April Fool’s joke. Some marketers are wondering if the gimmick did more harm than good to the brand.

Media and auto industry experts were buzzing at the news that the German automaker was changing its American division to “Voltswagen.” It was even seen as a nod to the company’s commitment to developing electric vehicles.

It was even thought of as a fun way to promote the Volkswagen ID4, which is an EV SUV.

The problem is that the company claimed it was real when journalists started asking if this name change was an April Fool’s joke. It wasn’t until later in the day that the company decided to come clean.

The SEC Has Stock Price Manipulation Concerns

Although it is unlikely that Volkswagen will have anything remotely close to the diesel cheating scandal fines to manage with the Voltswagen stunt, the SEC isn’t laughing. An investigation was launched at the end of the month to determine if the “joke” was a ploy to influence the brand’s stock price.

This investigation isn’t without precedence. The SEC did something similar when Elon Musk tweeted “Funding Secured” a few years ago with Tesla.

It might be a silly joke, but there is still the fact that the company lied to the press when asked if the concept was a joke. They pretended that it was real, which is what drove lots of excitement for the company. That’s why an investigation is merited.

This ploy, although creative, also brings into question the intelligence of approaching something risky. Volkswagen has spent years trying to restore its reputation after dealing with the diesel engine issues. Why risk it over a joke?

The SEC investigation is still in its early stages. Findings should be released by the late summer or early fall if penalties are considered justified.

How Coronavirus Spiraled Out of Control in India

It seemed like India had COVID-19 controls in place that limited the spread of the coronavirus. While the United States, Brazil, Italy, and other nations faced staggering infection and death numbers in 2020, the country of more than one billion people was barely a blip on the radar.

That changed in 2021. While other developed countries were distributing vaccines, India started begging for basic health supplies.

At the peak of the pandemic in the fall of 2020, India topped out at nearly 100,000 daily cases. On April 27, 2021, over 360,00 cases were reported. The crisis was past the scale of anything the world had ever seen.

During that fateful last week in April, over 1.8 million new COVID-19 cases were registered. Health experts believe that the actual numbers were probably twice that amount.

What Caused the COVID-19 Spike in India?

Although the scale of the April outbreak in India could be driven by a more transmissible version of the coronavirus, several other factors create a perfect storm for infections to rise.

About 40% of the households in India have a multigenerational structure. That fact alone increases the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

India also has chronic underfunding of its healthcare system, which is only 3.5% of its GDP. France spends about 11% in comparison, while the United States reaches close to 20% in some years.

There was also a recent religious holiday where people came out by the thousands to celebrate. Many of them didn’t take personal precautions to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

It would be fair to say that there are equal parts of incompetence and complacency when looking at how India ran into this crisis. People ignored the warning signs, and the government didn’t take steps to mitigate the issue. Leaders even said on April 17, just ten days before the massive infections, that they were pleased to see large crowds.

As of May 31, the number of new cases was down to a 7-day rolling average of 175,000.

Biden Declares Mass Killing of Armenian People a Genocide

When Turkey was still the ruling seat for the Ottoman Empire, the 1915 massacre of Armenians was seen by officials at the time as a necessity to prevent future problems during the first World War.

President Joe Biden became the first US president to describe this act as genocide in a formal state issued in 2021.

Turkey rejected the term immediately. Although they acknowledge that the atrocities took place, the current government disagrees with the damaging label. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu retorted that his government “entirely rejects” Biden’s words.

“We will not take lessons from anyone on our history,” Cavusoglu stated on his social media account.

Previous Presidents Have Not Used the Term

Turks accused the Christian Armenians of treachery. The Ottoman Empire suffered a massive defeat to the Russians, so they started deporting the Armenians to the Syrian desert.


When that option wasn’t handling the situation as well as they hoped, the outright massacres began in some communities. Diplomats, missionaries, and journalists all witnesses the killings.

Between getting stranded in the desert or murdered directly, hundreds of thousands of Armenians lost their lives because of the government’s actions.

Biden’s words in 2021 followed a bill passed by the US House of Representatives in 2019 that recognized the mass killings as genocide.

The only other president that took a similar step was Ronald Reagan. He referred to the Armenian genocide during a Holocaust proclamation in 1981. As for the Trump administration’s view on these actions, they chose to call it one of the “worst mass atrocities” of the 20th century.

The reactions from other places in the world have been largely positive. Nikol Pashinyan, who serves as the Armenian Prime Minister, said that Biden’s words honored the memory of those who died.


Turkey continues to say that America’s actions are opening a “deep wound” that might not get healed. Stay connected with top news sites for updates.

Putin Signs Law Allowing Him to Stay in Power Until 2036

With a new law that allows Vladimir Putin to remain in power until 2036, the stage is now set for the leader to run for two more terms. That move, which was made possible from a constitutional amendments referendum in 2020, enables Putin to become the longest leader in the country since Peter the Great.

Critics and opponents of the new legislation say that it allows him to become president for life.

Although Putin puts on an outward appearance of being a democratically elected leader, it would be fair to call him more of an authoritarian president. He’s already been in power for 20 years, and now he could be in office until the age of 83. He assumed to the role of the presidency in 1999 after serving as a KGB operative.

Putin Has Becoming Increasingly Aggressive on Multiple Fronts

Although Putin has made headlines in 2021 because of the country’s treatment of Alexei Navalny, Russia’s government has been more aggressive on multiple domestic and international fronts.

They have been waging interference campaigns in American elections, actively involved in conflict with Kremlin-backed separatists in Ukraine, and even built-up military assets along the border.

There’s an active effort to reinforce the Arctic region as global warming brings the potential for opening new sea lanes.

Biden called Putin a “killer” during a March interview, to which Putin said that when someone calls you a name, that’s really who they are.”

The 1999 Russian bombings of an apartment complex were what brought Putin to power initially. Although his role has changed over the years, he has remained in power throughout the entire time.

With this new law, there is nothing that stands in the way of Putin staying in charge for at least two more six-year terms.