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Lebanon issues travel ban for ex-Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn, official says – The Globe and Mail

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Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn had escaped to Lebanon to clear his name.

MOHAMED AZAKIR/Reuters

Lebanese prosecutors issued a travel ban for fugitive ex-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn and asked him to hand in his French passport on Thursday, following an Interpol-issued notice against him, a judicial official said.

The travel ban comes after Mr. Ghosn was interrogated by prosecutors for nearly two hours over the notice about the charges he faces in Japan over financial misconduct.

The prosecutors also formally asked Japanese authorities for their file on the charges against Mr. Ghosn in order to review the case, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

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Mr. Ghosn said he wanted to stay in Lebanon and has no issues to hand in his passport. He was speaking on LBC TV after his questioning by prosecutors.

“I came to Lebanon and I will co-operate with the Lebanese state and judiciary to make sure that everything is done in a way that can’t be criticized, not for Lebanon and not for me,” he said.

Mr. Ghosn then added that he is “a lot more” confident in Lebanon’s judicial system than Japan’s.

He said Lebanese prosecutors questioned him on all the charges, adding that he was ready to hand in all the documents for his case.

Lebanon last week received the Interpol-issued wanted notice, which is a non-binding request to law-enforcement agencies worldwide that they locate and provisionally arrest a fugitive.

At the hearing, Mr. Ghosn was asked to provide an address he resides at in Lebanon and was banned from travelling out of the country, the official said. He was also asked to hand in his French passport. It was not immediately clear what legal procedures would follow.

Lebanon and Japan do not have an extradition treaty, and the Interpol notice does not require that Lebanese authorities arrest him. The authorities say Mr. Ghosn entered Lebanon on a valid passport, casting doubt on the possibility they would hand him over to Japan.

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Interpol cannot compel Lebanon to arrest Mr. Ghosn and it will be up to the local law-enforcement authorities to decide what to do.

On his first public appearance since he fled Japan, Mr. Ghosn on Wednesday railed against the Japanese justice system, accusing it of violating his basic rights and disputing all allegations against him as “untrue and baseless.”

He told a news conference in Beirut that he doesn’t trust he would have a fair trial in Japan, but said he was ready to face justice anywhere else.

Mr. Ghosn, a French, Lebanese and Brazilian national, showed up in Lebanon on Dec. 30, after an audacious and improbable escape from surveillance in Japan. Lebanese officials said he entered legally, with a French passport and a Lebanese identification card.

While a travel ban restricts Mr. Ghosn’s movement, it also offers him a degree of protection by Lebanese authorities, who would presumably ensure he complies with the ban. France also doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Japan.

According to the official, Mr. Ghosn was also interrogated on a separate report against him over a 2008 visit to Israel. Lebanon and Israel are technically at war. No decision was taken regarding this case, which, according to Lebanese law, can be punishable between one and 10 years in jail.

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Two Lebanese lawyers submitted a report to the Public Prosecutor’s Office saying the trip violated Lebanese law. The violation may not be prosecutable, given that it has happened 12 years earlier. A famous Lebanese director, who also carries a French passport and was questioned over the same violation in 2017, was not prosecuted because the visit was three yeas prior.

Mr. Ghosn’s lawyer, Carlos Abou Jaoude confirmed that his client was questioned in the two separate cases – the Interpol notice and the Israel trip. He told reporters Mr. Ghosn was confident in the Lebanese judicial system.

At Wednesday’s news conference, Mr. Ghosn apologized to the Lebanese, saying he never wished to offend anyone when he travelled to Israel as a French national after Nissan asked him to announce the launch of electric cars there.

Tokyo prosecutors, who arrested him in late 2018, said Mr. Ghosn had “only himself to blame” for four-month-long detention and for the strict bail conditions that followed, such as being banned from seeing his wife.

“Defendant Ghosn was deemed a high-profile risk, which is obvious from the fact that he actually fled,” they said.

Mr. Ghosn thanked the Lebanese authorities for their hospitality and defended its judicial system, which has long faced accusations of corruption and favouritism. He said he would be ready to stand trial “anywhere where I think I can have a fair trial.” He declined to say where that might be.

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With big gestures and a five-part slide presentation, Mr. Ghosn brought his case to the global media in a performance that at times resembled a corporate presentation. Combative, spirited and at times rambling, he described conditions of detention in Japan that made him feel “dead … like an animal” in a country where he asserted he had “zero chance” of a fair trial.

He said he was held in solitary confinement for 130 days, was interrogated day and night for hours, appeared in handcuffs and a leash around his waist and was denied rights to see his wife for months.

In his 150-minutes conference on Wednesday, Mr. Ghosn attacked Japanese prosecutors, saying they were “aided and [abetted] by petty, vindictive and lawless individuals” in the government, Nissan and its law firm. He said it was them, not him, “who are destroying Japan’s reputation on the global stage.”

In Thursday’s interview with LBC TV, Mr. Ghosn said his case highlighted the thousands of unfair trials in Japan. “It has become now my duty to defend all those people to change this regime that the Japanese are hiding and they claim is a democracy,” he said.

On Tuesday, Tokyo prosecutors obtained an arrest warrant for Mr. Ghosn’s Lebanese wife, Carole, on suspicion of perjury, a charge unrelated to his escape. However, Japanese justice officials acknowledge that it’s unclear whether the Ghosns can be brought back to Japan to face charges.

Nissan has said it was still pursuing legal action against Mr. Ghosn despite his escape.

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Fugitive ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn made on Wednesday his first public comments since fleeing Japan for Lebanon, accusing Japanese prosecutors of brutal treatment and naming Nissan execs he said conspired against him. Reuters

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Goldman Sachs moves to full ownership of China securities JV

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Goldman Sachs said on Sunday it received approval from China’s securities regulator to take full control of its mainland securities business.

The U.S. bank said it would buy the remainder of Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities Company Ltd (GSGH), and rename it as Goldman Sachs (China) Securities Company Ltd.

The migration of its onshore business units to GSGH from Beijing Gao Hua Securities was underway, it added.

“This marks the start of a new chapter for our China business following a successful 17-year joint venture,” Goldman Sachs said in a statement.

It becomes the second Wall Street firm to be granted approval to shift to full ownership of its securities business after JPMorgan Chase & Co moved to 100% in August https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/jpmorgan-gets-beijings-approval-first-fully-foreign-owned-brokerage-2021-08-06.

Securities businesses in China typically house investment banking, research, equities and fixed income businesses.

Unlike most of the other China JVs, Goldman had day-to-day operational control of its business even with its minority ownership.

Lucrative underwriting fees on equity and bond transactions – especially initial public offerings (IPOs) – in China’s expanding capital markets has been the driving force for Western banks to increase stakes in their mainland business.

Full ownership could allow foreign banks to expand their operations in the multi-trillion-dollar Chinese financial sector, and better integrate them with their global businesses.

Morgan Stanley currently owns 90% of its securities joint venture with partner Shanghai Chinafortune Co Ltd after increasing its stake https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/morgan-stanley-nears-full-ownership-china-ventures-with-stake-buys-2021-05-28 in May.

China’s regulators had examined Goldman Sach’s application to move to full ownership https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/goldman-sachs-signs-pact-wholly-own-china-joint-venture-2020-12-11 since the bank flagged its intention to buy out its partner in December.

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong and Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V and Stephen Coates)

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From Canada? Want to go to the U.S.A.? Better have the right vaccine – Boing Boing

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The last couple of years have been hard on Canadian Snowbirds. Many of us, myself included, are used to heading south in the fall, to escape the icy bullshit of a Canadian winter. Unfortunately, thanks to COVID-19, a lot of us have been trapped, north of the wall, since March 2020. 

I’ve been fine with this. 

When the land border was closed down to everyone but essential travellers, my mindset was that if I was going to get sick, I’d just as soon do it in my own nation where healthcare is free (yeah, we pay our taxes, but still.) Then, last winter, the vaccines started to roll out. By early spring, both my wife and I had been injected with two doses of Pfizer’s version of the brew. We breathed a sigh of relief and began to hope that we might, one day soon, be able to start our travels again. I’m sure that lots of other folks did too. Unfortunately, depending on where in Canada they live, it wasn’t a sure bet that they’d wind up with two doses of the same vaccine. In the rush to get as many Canadians vaccinated against the plague as possible, many provinces started mixing and matching whichever vaccines that they had on hand.

So, you could wind up with Pfizer for your first jab and Moderna for your second. It’s cool, they told us. Mixing vaccines affords tons of protection, we were assured. Why, we’d all be able to get back to our lives in no time… provided said life doesn’t include travelling to one of many countries where vaccine mixing is considered to be a dangerous load of bullshit. You may have guessed by now, that America is one of those countries.  

From The CBC:

…at the same time the U.S. reopens the land border, it will start requiring that foreign land and air travellers entering the country be fully vaccinated.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently doesn’t recognize mixed COVID-19 vaccines — such as one dose of AstraZeneca, and one dose of Pfizer or Moderna — and hasn’t yet said if travellers with two different doses will be blocked from entry when the vaccine requirement kicks in.

So that sucks. 

According to the CBC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention might soon consider changing their stance on mixed vaccines. I’d like to think that a crap load of data on the effectiveness of mixed vaccine dosing will play into such a decision. No matter how badly folks might want to head south for the winter, Americans deserve to be as safe as they can be. 

In the meantime, I suspect that, just like last fall, many snowbirds will wind up on Vancouver Island, where I hang my hat, these days. It’s warm enough here that living in an RV is both possible and comfortable.

But I’ll tell ya, it’s a far cry from kicking back in the trade winds on the cusp of Texas’ southern border.

Image via Wikipedia Commons

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Travel industry, health experts applaud U.S. decision to allow travellers with mixed doses – CTV News

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TORONTO —
The organization representing Canada’s tourism industry is applauding the U.S. government’s decision to allow Canadian travellers with mixed vaccine doses once the border opens in November.

On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that travellers with “any combination” of two doses of vaccines approved by the World Health Organization or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “are considered fully vaccinated.”

Beth Potter, who is president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, says the announcement is “really good news.”

“What it does is it provides a little bit more clarity, and this is something that we’ve talked about a lot. We know now that if you’ve got that mixed dose, as of November you’re going to be able to enter into the United States,” she told CTV News Channel on Saturday.

Infectious disease expert Isaac Bogoch of the University Health Network in Toronto says allowing mixed dosed travellers is “a smart and data driven approach.”

“This will be a huge relief to many Canadians who did the right thing and got vaccinated and even took those mixed and matched vaccine approaches. It’s safe, it’s effective, and now there’s a recognition of this,” Bogoch said in an interview with CTV News Channel on Saturday.

“I’m really happy to hear this. It’s about time.”

This announcement came after the White House confirmed that the U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico would be open to fully vaccinated tourists by Nov. 8.

On the American side, the U.S. Travel Association also applauded the Biden Administration’s plans to reopen the border.

“Reopening to international visitors will provide a jolt to the economy and accelerate the return of travel-related jobs that were lost due to travel restrictions,” said association president and CEO Roger Dow in a statement on Friday.

“We applaud the administration for recognizing the value of international travel to our economy and our country, and for working to safely reopen our borders and reconnect America to the world.”

But while the U.S. won’t require Canadians to show proof of vaccination to cross, returning to Canada requires a negative PCR test conducted at most 72 hours before crossing the border.

PCR tests can cost upwards of $200. The Canadian government does not accept rapid antigen tests, which can be had for only $40.

Brian Higgins, a New York congressman whose district includes the border cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, wants to see Canada drop the COVID-19 PCR test requirement.

“I think that the U.S. decision to allow Canadians coming into the United States without a test again underscores the potency of the vaccine,” Higgins told The Canadian Press on Friday. “I would like to see that reciprocated by our Canadian neighbours.”

However, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said that Canada will continue to require PCR tests so long as the Public Health Agency of Canada advocates for it.

“We’ve seen throughout the pandemic that advice has evolved as new evidence and new data is available. We’ll continue to follow the advice in the Public Health Agency Canada​,” he said in an ​interview with CTV’s Question Period on Sunday.

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