Should big money give poor nations debt relief to fight COVID-19?

On May 1 G20 nations gave debtors a payment holiday until the end of the year, giving developing nations more time to pay for healthcare during the pandemic. Despite more than 100 countries applying to the International Monetary Fund for emergency aid, the IMF and World Bank have not been so generous, insisting nations keep repaying interest on debt. Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said private institutions are owed $18bn by the world's poorest nations this year. If they were to suspend half that amount, that would provide an additional $9bn to fight COVID-19.

Let's end this madness in the global debt system

Argentina's debt default imposed by US Judge Thomas Griesa and his earlier court rulings will have enormous ramifications for the global debt system. The ruling effectively declares that the rights of few wealthy investors supersede those of a sovereign nation to protect its citizens under international law. However there are two emerging avenues which may end this relationship of dependence and provide new-found economic sovereignty for such countries. The first involves significantly reducing reliance on western lenders by pursuing alternative and ostensibly less-harmful sources of finance. The second option is to press for the establishment of an International Debt Court under United Nations auspices, with a specific brief to regulate against harmful speculative practises.

HSBC to pay $1.9bn money-laundering fine

HSBC will have to pay $1.9bn to US regulators after admitting its faults. The money-laundering probe of the bank focuses on the transfer of billions of dollars on behalf of nations under international sanctions such as Iran. Also, through the US financial system, money from from Mexican drug cartels was transferred. HSBC admitted its control was not strong enough and made an apology in a statement. The bank further announced that it had reached a deferred-prosecution agreement with the US Department of Justice.

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