News In Focus: A Look at the World’s Most Interesting Stories


Panama: More than 11 million confidential files were leaked from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm.

Who first obtained the documents from the law firm is not known, but they found their way to the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Guardian, the BBC and other media organizations.

The documents show how rich and powerful people evade taxes using offshore tax regimes.  Those involved include national leaders, politicians, and their family members.

Among the subjects of files: Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and the father of British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The revelations led to a mass protest in Reykjavik, Iceland on Tuesday evening against Gunnlaugsson, who shortly stepped down.

For more we go to the BBC:


France: It is now illegal to pay for sex in France.

The new law passed last Wednesday says that anyone caught purchasing an act from a sex worker will be fined €1,500 (US$1,700) for a first offense.

If caught a second time, the penalty will rise to €3,750 (US$4,300), with the culprit possibly needing to attend classes on the harm of prostitution.

The bill has been a subject of debate lasting nearly two and a half years.

The National Assembly, France’s legislature, voted 64 to 12 for the bill, with the vast majority of the 577 Assembly members not voting.

Proponents hope the new legislation will reduce prostitution and protect prostitutes who “want to leave it and to change mentalities,” whereas opponents warn that the law might push sex workers further underground and into vulnerable situations with less protection, according to the Guardian.

Here’s another BBC News report:


Myanmar: With a new government in place, Myanmar began releasing political prisoners, including students, political detainees, and jailed activists.

On Friday, 69 activists imprisoned in the Burmese town of Tharrawaddy were released after more than a year of detention for an education protest in March 2015, the Guardian reported.

And according to the Wall Street Journal, the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said by Saturday, 113 political detainees were freed across the country.

Myanmar is holding more than 500 people who are considered political prisoners, most of whom have not faced trial. Special Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, one of the faces of the new government, said that the Burmese New Year, which starts this week, would be “an appropriate time to release political prisoners.”

For more, we go to euronews:


Science: Earth’s rotation axis is tilting as a result of global warming, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) warned last week.

In a paper published on Friday, NASA scientist Surendra Adhikari and colleagues at Jet Propulsion Lab suggest that the melting of ice at the North and South poles as a result of global warming is changing the distribution of weight on Earth.

And that has caused the North Pole to shift.  But the shift is harmless, scientists suggest.

Since 2003, Greenland has lost on average more than 272 trillion kilograms of ice a year. West Antarctica loses 124 trillion kilograms of ice and East Antarctica gains about 74 trillion kilograms of ice yearly.  They all combine to pull polar motion toward the east.

For the story, we go to ARIRANG NEWS:


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Lead-In Stock Image: “President Roosevelt discussing America’s task with workmen at Bas Obispo, Panama Canal, on November 31, 1906;” Everett Historical /