In the two years since a junta launched a coup in Myanmar, some of the world’s biggest oil and gas service companies have continued to make millions of dollars from operations that have helped prop up the military regime, tax documents seen by the Guardian suggest.
The Myanmar military seized power in February 2021 and according to the United Nations special rapporteur, it is “committing war crimes and crimes against humanity daily”. More than 2,940 people, including children, pro-democracy activists and other civilians have been killed, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
Amid this violence, leaked Myanmar tax records and other reports appear to show that US, UK and Irish oil and gas field contractors – which provide essential drilling and other services to Myanmar’s gas field operators – have continued to make millions in profit in the country, wrote Dominic Rushe and Nick Mathiason.
The documents were obtained by the transparency non-profit Distributed Denial of Secrets and analyzed by the Myanmar activist group Justice For Myanmarinvestigative journalism organization Finance Uncovered and the Guardian.
What else is happening? The UK, US and Canada have imposed fresh sanctions against Myanmar’s military, including measures from some aimed at stopping the supply of aviation fuel to its air force, which is accused of indiscriminately bombing civilian areas. Australia has also announced sanctions.
What did US secretary of state Antony Blinken say about the sanctions? He said in a statement that the coup had put Myanmar on “a disastrous path that has killed and displaced thousands”, and fresh sanctions would be imposed in conjunction with Canada and the UK.
California police kill double amputee who was fleeing: ‘Scared for his life’
A southern California police department is facing a national backlash after footage reveals that officers fatally shot a double amputee and wheelchair user who appeared to be hobbling away on the ground before he was killed.
Anthony Lowe, 36, was killed by officers in Huntington Park, a city in southern Los Angeles county, last Thursday. Cellphone footage captured part of the incident, showing Lowe on a sidewalk next to his wheelchair appearing to try to flee as two officers approach him with weapons drawn. More police cars arrived as the officers followed Lowe, who seemed to be limping away, but the video did not capture the shooting.
Lowe’s family is calling for officers to be sacked and face murder charges.
“I’m heartbroken, and filled with anger and rage,” Tatiana Jackson, his younger sister, told the Guardian yesterday. “I just can’t understand why they would do that to someone in a wheelchair. I want somebody to explain to me what was the reason that you had to gun down a guy who has no legs.”
What did the police say they were trying to detain him for? The circumstances preceding the killing are unclear, and officials have faced scrutiny as their narrative has appeared to shift. The Huntington Park police department said in a statement that officers were responding to reports of a stabbing allegedly committed by someone in a wheelchair at about 3.40pm on Thursday, and that they encountered Lowe, who was in a wheelchair and who they believed was the suspect .
Zelenskiy signals ‘reforms’ ahead of the EU summit in Kyiv
Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in remarks last night that his administration was planning to introduce changes as part of attempts to proceed with unusually rapid and complex negotiations to secure European Union membership. Ukraine is holding “summit” talks with EU officials on Friday.
“What is very important is that we are preparing new reforms in Ukraine,” he said. “These are reforms which in many aspects will change the social, legal and political realities by making them more humane, more transparent and more effective.”
Zelenskiy’s latest dismissals included one deputy minister accused of taking a bribe and a second implicated in allegations that officials paid inflated prices for food for soldiers.
Meanwhile, the US is readying a $2.2bn package of military aid for Ukraine that is expected to include longer-range rockets for the first time, and other munitions and weapons, two US officials briefed on the matter told Reuters yesterday.
Is Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, going to serve as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine? it’s possible. He said yesterday he would be willing to consider serving as if asked by both warring countries and the US. “If asked by all relevant parties, I’ll certainly consider it, but I’m not pushing myself in,” Netanyahu told CNN in an interview. He added it would have to be the “right time and the right circumstances”.
What else is happening? Here’s what we know on day 343 of the invasion
In other news …
Dr. Phil, the US talk show in which Dr. Phil McGraw divvies out life advice to individuals and which became a regular on daytime television around the world, is set to end later this year after 21 seasons. Broadcast since 2002, he has advised the show’s guests on their finances, weight, addictions and marriages.
Kamala Harris, the US vice-president, will attend the funeral of Tyre Nichols, the black man who died three days after Memphis police officers savagely beat him following a traffic stop earlier this month, the White House has said. Nichols will be eulogized by the Rev Al Sharpton at a service in Memphis today.
A Washington official has made the most direct comments by a US authority to date acknowledging the existence of a deal with Japan and the Netherlands for those countries to impose new restrictions on exports of chipmaking tools to China. Bloomberg reported on Friday an agreement had been finalized.
Four key suspects in the killing of the Haitian president Jovenel Moïse were transferred to the US for prosecution, according to officials, as the case stagnates in Haiti amid death threats against local judges. The men are scheduled to appear in federal court today in Miami.
Prisoners in Massachusetts may soon have the option to get their sentences reduced in exchange for donating their organs or bone marrow if a proposed law is passed in the US state. A new bill with the aim of establishing an organ and donation program has been proposed by two Democrat lawmakers.
Stat of the day: Trump pleaded the fifth more than 400 times in fraud deposition, video shows
The video released yesterday showed Donald Trump answering questions from the New York state attorney general, Letitia James, in a deposition in a civil fraud case late last summer. Questioned about his financial affairs, the former president repeatedly invoked his fifth-amendment right against self-incrimination – part of a refusal to answer he repeated more than 400 times. “Anyone in my position not taking the fifth amendment would be a fool, an absolute fool,” Trump said. On the advice of counsel, the former president said, he “respectfully declines[d] to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States constitution”.
Don’t miss this: The secret life of André Leon Talley –what an auction reveals about the late fashion legend
If you’re in the market for a size 13 pair of Manolo Blahnik snakeskin evening slippers edged with crimson satin ribbon, then 15 February could be your lucky day. At an auction at Christie’s in New York of the personal estate of André Leon Talley, the former American Vogue creative director who died last year, they might be yours for a guide price of £400 ($500). A Chanel navy silk faille opera coat could be snapped up for about £3,000 (scattered “sun damage” is noted), while two extra-large Birkin bags look a steal at £4,000. From monogrammed luggage to unerring faith, a sale of Talley’s belongings shows the caring, complicated man behind the unforgettable image.
Last Thing: British Navy orders investigation into nuclear submarine ‘repaired with glue’
The Royal Navy has ordered an urgent investigation amid claims that workers on a Trident nuclear armed submarine fixed broken bolts in the vessel’s reactor chamber using glue. The faulty repairs on the cooling pipes onboard the HMS Vanguard were found after one of the bolts fell off during an inspection, the Sun reported. The bolt heads originally came off due to over-tightening. But, rather than replacing the damaged shafts, the staff at the defense contractor Babcock implemented a quick fix and glued them back on. The glued bolts held insulation in place on the coolant pipes in the nuclear reactor and were found just as workers were set to fire it up to full power for the first time, the newspaper reported.
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