Global Recap: Pandora Papers, Scandal in the French Catholic Church, Czech Republic’s new defense system


Michael Crimmins, News reporter

There is no shortage of newsworthy topics here in the United States. At times it is easy to get lost in it all, but equally crucial things happen all over the world. They can shed light on political relationships, on humanitarian issues and can keep you up to date on global events.

Here is a quick look at some global events that made the news last week. These headlines are complex in nature, and this column is merely an overview of the topic. It is highly encouraged to follow the links to the stories provided and read the story in its entirety. 

Many political officials have offshore accounts, Pandora Papers reports

The Pandora Papers have linked 35 former, and current leaders with offshore financial accounts, according to Reuters.

CNN reports that 600 journalists from 150 outlets from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists investigated over 12 million documents to compile the Pandora Papers, the collective name for the report.

“Many of the power players who could help bring an end to the offshore system instead benefit from it — stashing assets in covert companies and trusts while their governments do little to slow a global stream of illicit money that enriches criminals and impoverishes nations,” the International Consortium of Investigative Journalist said in their opening statement.

According to the report, it reveals how widespread the use of offshore finance accounts have become in global politics. 

In the Reuters article, the Russian government said there was no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Vladamir Putin or in his entourage. 

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a Washington, D.C. based network of reporters and media organizations, said about 35 current and former national leaders, and more than 330 politicians and public officials in 91 countries and territories are linked with the release of this extensive report.

Reuters makes it clear that the existence of offshore accounts is not illegal or implying any wrongdoings, but such accounts could be used to hide wealth from other officials and because of that the accounts bear further investigation.

To read the report from the ICIJ and to see who was linked to offshore accounts click here.

Minors sexually abused by French Catholic Church over 70 year time period

An independent report filed last Tuesday claims that around 216,000 minors have been sexually abused by French Church staff and clergy over a period of seven decades, according to CNN.

The commission compiled their report at the request of Church officials. According to CNN, the Church has prioritized the institution over the wellbeing of the victims.

“Faced with this scourge, for a very long time the Catholic Church’s immediate reaction was to protect itself as an institution and it has shown complete, even cruel, indifference to those having suffered abuse,” according to the report.

According to a similar Reuters article, it is estimated there have been 3,000 pedophiles in the church over the past 70 years.

French Church officials declined to comment until the entirety of the report was published.

According to the same article, since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has made major steps to wipe out sexual abuse. In 2019 the pope issued a major decree making bishops directly accountable for abuse or for covering it up.

The report made 45 recommendations to the Church including reviewing canon law.

“This isn’t about handouts or rescuing victims. It is simply about repairing the … damage that the Church has a responsibility in,” Jean-Marc Sauvé, head of the commission, said. “It is in fact a debt the Church owes victims.”

Czech Republic buys new defense system from Israel 

The Czech Republic signed a deal for a $630 million defense system from the Israeli government this past Tuesday, according to AP news.

The SPYDER system can defend against aircraft, helicopters, bombers, cruise missiles and other weapons.

It will replace the outdated Soviet system used previously. According to DefenceNews, the contract stipulates that the Czechs will supply goods and services equal to more than 30% of its value.

“I appreciate the willingness of the Israeli government to share with us a state-of-the-art defense system that will move our military towards 21st century capabilities,” Czech Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar said, as quoted in the statement. “Finally, we will get rid of our dependence on the Soviet Kub [systems] from the 1970s which do not meet the current requirements for airspace protection.”

Russia become the first nation to film in space

According to AP news, on Tuesday Russian actors and a director went to space to shoot scenes for a new film. Making them the first nation to shoot a movie in space.

The three Russian astronauts docked to the International Space Station to film scenes for their upcoming movie “Challenge” about a doctor who must perform surgery on the station, AP reports.

“I feel like I’m dreaming,” Peresild, one of the actors, said

According to CNN, the three underwent rigorous training in preparation for the take off.

Also in the article, in 2020 Tom Cruise was working with NASA and companies such as SpaceX to be the first to film in space. A goal supplanted by the Russian launch. 

News reporter Michael Crimmins can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @michael_crimm