On Mondays, as the week unfolds, Latitude News takes account of new stories generating buzz throughout the world. Here are three reports to consider in the week ahead.
German bankers have money
Everyone knows that a lot of money flows between Wall Street and Washington. Americans sometimes forget, however, that Frankfurt is also part of the nexus between high finance and the United States government.
Four of Germany’s largest financial institutions — Deutsche Bank, Allianz, Munich Re and Deutsche Börse —spent a total of $4.7 million lobbying the U.S. government in 2011, Deutsche Welle reported on Monday, June 4.
In comparison, Goldman Sachs spent around $6 million and Bank of America spent $3.7 million.
In 2010, Deutsche Bank, the largest German bank,by itself spent $3.4 million. “Deutsche Bank has extensive business activities in the US and is subject to the rules and regulations there,” a bank spokesman told the news service.
Those extensive business activities included 47 meetings between Deutsche Bank executives and officials from the U.S. Treasury, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, as well as the Federal Reserve and other agencies.
Of course, everyone knows Geithner needs to consult with bankers, including foreign bankers, to do his job. But it’s eye-opening to see how much those banks invest.
American Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s visit to Vietnam over the weekend was full of ironies.
The first was that Panetta visited Cam Ranh Bay, a headquarters for United States military forces during the Vietnam War, to seek closer relations, including closer military ties, between Hanoi and Washington. The second was that the unspoken rival of both the U.S. and Vietnam in the region today is China, the very same power whose influence the U.S. military sought to curb in the Vietnam War.
After Panetta’s visit, the Vietnamese government issued reassuring comments about how the defense secretary’s visit didn’t necessarily indicate a rise in tensions in the region. But the new alliances aren’t forming solely with peace in mind.
Easy time for arms dealer
More than a month after Russia complained of the treatment of arms trafficker Viktor Bout, American authorities are moving him to a medium-security prison in Marion, Illinois rather than a “super max” facility in Colorado, reports said.
Last fall, Bout was convicted of selling weapons to a terrorist group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The group was planning to kill Americans with the weapons. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison and has been in a New York prison since then.
On May 15th, federal authorities granted the request of Bout’s lawyer to go easier on the arms dealer, RIA Novosti reported on Monday, June 4.
Bout still had complaints, however. “The Marion prison was originally built as a high-security prison for dangerous criminals and was later modified into a medium-security penitentiary,” said one of Bout’s lawyers. “It is located in a hard-to-reach area, so it will be difficult to visit Viktor.”