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Panama Papers provide insight into Russian government; Egyptians should welcome suggestions from foreign residents; How Singapore could be affected by Islamic State; High property costs in Auckland; Addressing crime in Jamaica

A roundup of global commentary for the May 9, 2016 weekly magazine. 


Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters
Protestors hold posters reading 'Out' during a demonstration calling on Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to resign after two members of his government were named in the Panama Papers leak scandal, outside the office of the Prime Minister in Valletta, Malta.

The Moscow Times / Moscow

Panama Papers provide insight into Russian government

“While ordinary Russians were being instructed to tighten their belts in the ideological battle with the West, their rulers were employing Mossack Fonseca to infiltrate their money into enemy territory,” writes Oliver Bullough. “It is of course not a secret that Kremlin insiders run Russia for their own enrichment, but this barrage of revelations provides extraordinary levels of detail, and lays bare the nature of how Russia is governed in ways we have not seen before.... It is customary at this point to state that there is nothing illegal in any of this, and of course there isn’t (necessarily). But offshore bandits are a very long way from the dictatorship of the law that Russia was promised a decade and a half ago. And pointing this out is not Putinophobia.” 

Daily News Egypt / Cairo

Egyptians should welcome suggestions from foreign residents

“Living here for years, foreigners often develop a natural desire to see Egypt become a better place...,” writes Mohammed Nosseir. “The Egyptian state needs to ... capitalise on the many foreigners, living in Egypt or abroad, who have an interest in helping our country. While the state is not obliged to accept every view or idea they express, a constructive dialogue with our foreign friends is certainly beneficial to Egypt. If the state were smart enough to capitalise on their contributions, these ‘Friends of Egypt’ could become our best ambassadors, helping to effectively fix things internally and to better convey a positive message about Egypt. Harassing the messenger, evidently, will not help Egypt to move forward.” 

The Straits Times / Singapore

How Singapore could be affected by Islamic State

“[Prime Minister] Lee [Hsien Loong] warns that it is no longer a question of whether, but when, an attack happens here...,” writes Lim Yan Liang. “In such an event, the damage will be measured not only in lives lost but also whether Singapore’s social fabric remains intact. As terrorism today is largely perpetrated by those claiming to represent Islam, the question is whether trust and solidarity between communities can weather such an atrocity. Or will society succumb to anger and retaliation? The litmus test of whether Singapore can withstand any attack will be what happens the day after: Will Singaporeans be able to rise above ethnic and religious divides to pick up the pieces together, or will a rift open that makes healing impossible?” 

The New Zealand Herald / Auckland, New Zealand

High property costs in Auckland

“We can choose to open up more land on the city fringe and allow more intensive development in the central suburbs,” writes Liam Dann. “We can choose to invest in transport solutions to make new housing zones work. We could invite private investment in that infrastructure and soak up some of the capital that is heading into residential property. We could tax property investors on an equal basis to sharemarket investors and drive more money into the productive economy to create more jobs and boost wages. We can further restrict bank lending or increase banks’ capital requirements to limit their ability to lend on housing.... What we lack is the political motivation to enact the right combination of these solutions with the kind of urgency that will have an impact.” 

The Jamaica Observer / Kingston, Jamaica

Addressing crime in Jamaica

“With the competing demands of unemployment, high cost of living, inadequate health care, education, shoddy infrastructure in terms of water, housing, roads, et al, crime – enormous problem though it is – sometimes gets short shrift in election campaigns...,” states an editorial. “A primary aim should be to present a united face against crime and antisocial behaviour. It’s self-evident that communities which are so mobilised will reap benefits not just in fighting crime, but in other areas of socioeconomic life.” 

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