Movie review: With a deadly nightclub fire at its center, Romanian documentary 'Collective' is an eerily prescient investigation of political corruption surrounding health care crisis
There’s a quiet, breathtaking power to Alexander Nanau’s documentary “Collective,” Romania’s official Oscar entry this year. A propulsive urgency propels the film along, derived not from manipulative storytelling techniques, but simply facts, information carefully observed, imparted plainly and with such a lack of melodrama, you could miss something crucial if you aren’t paying attention to every word. Because what’s at stake in “Collective” are facts themselves, in the wake of a deadly 2015 nightclub fire in Bucharest, Romania, a crisis that revealed entrenched corruption at every level of th...
Tribune News Service
'Living like a king': Navy officer who demanded bribes from 'Fat Leonard' gets prison
SAN DIEGO — Brooks Alonzo Parks, a naval logistics officer serving in the western Pacific, was often quite specific about what he thought he deserved in exchange for the insider information he was leaking to military contractor Leonard Francis.One time, it was a case of Hennessy Pure White cognac.Another, it was a $4,000-a-night room at the Ritz-Carlton in Singapore.“It feels good living like a KING on an E-6’s salary!!!” Parks wrote in one email to Francis’ company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, or GDMA, referring to his military pay grade.Parks admitted back in 2007 that he’d been bitten by the...
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Former Venezuelan treasurer charged with accepting millions in Miami corruption case
A former Venezuelan national treasurer and her husband accepted massive bribes from a politically connected billionaire who paid them through U.S. bank accounts so he could gain access to the government’s lucrative currency exchange system, according to a new federal criminal case filed in Miami.Former Venezuelan treasurer Claudia Patricia Diaz Guillen, a former naval officer, and her husband, Adrian Velasquez Figueroa, a former presidential security guard, were charged Friday with accepting tens of millions of dollars from the billionaire, Raul Gorrin, in a foreign corruption and money launde...
Judge tells Rochester mayor she'll get no special treatment if convicted on campaign finance, fraud charges
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, a onetime rising star in the Democratic Party who faces corruption charges that could end her career — and land her behind bars — appeared in a Monroe County courtroom Monday to plead not guilty to all charges.Warren, 43, is accused of bypassing campaign contribution limits when she successfully ran for reelection as mayor in 2017.Cayuga County Judge Thomas Leone will preside over her case in Monroe County to possibly avoid any judicial ties to the mayor.“In my 14 years on the bench, I’ve never told my administrative judge ‘no,’ so here I am in ...
New York Daily News
Disgraced ex-UAW President Williams pleads guilty in corruption saga
DETROIT — Former United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams pleaded guilty Wednesday to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the union, giving federal prosecutors a second landmark conviction in a years-long crackdown on auto industry corruption.Williams, 67, of Corona, Calif., pleaded guilty nearly four months after Gary Jones, his successor, admitted to helping steal more than $1 million from rank-and-file workers. They are the highest-ranking union leaders convicted in a corruption scandal that has pushed one of the nation’s most powerful unions to the brink of federal takeov...
The Detroit News
Medtronic product removed from market in Australia, which is now investigating its use
Medtronic has pulled one of its most controversial products, Infuse Bone Graft, off the market in Australia as regulators there investigate why the company was widely selling it without a required safety component.The market withdrawal happened after a former Medtronic employee told regulators that the Minnesota-run medical device company sold Infuse’s bone graft component without the titanium LT-Cage cage designed to hold it in check.Medtronic spokesman Ben Petok said the company’s withdrawal of Infuse from Australia in March had nothing to do with safety issues. The company hopes to return w...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Trump administration sanctions Russian agent for pushing 'false' Biden smear with Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani has apparently been in cahoots with a full-blown Russian spy this whole time.A KGB-trained Russian agent was slapped with U.S. sanctions on Thursday for allegedly orchestrating a baseless smear campaign against Joe Biden — an effort that Giuliani was intimately involved in coordinating and amplifying for President Donald Trump’s benefit.In a statement, the Treasury Department said Andrii Derkach, a pro-Kremlin member of Ukraine’s parliament, has since late last year pushed “false and unsubstantiated” corruption accusations against Biden and his son, Hunter, as part of Russia’s il...
New York Daily News
R. Kelly asks again to be released from jail after inmate says he beat the R&B singer
CHICAGO — Lawyers for indicted singer R. Kelly filed a motion Friday seeking to question under oath a reputed gang member who said he violently attacked Kelly at the federal lockup in Chicago because he wanted to expose government corruption.Jeremiah Shane Farmer, a convicted member of the Latin Kings, outed himself as Kelly’s attacker in a court filing earlier this week in Hammond, where he’s facing a mandatory life sentence for racketeering conspiracy involving a 1999 double murder.Farmer, 39, claimed he attacked Kelly “in hopes of getting spotlight attention and world news notice to shed li...
Commentary: Donald Trump, the immoralist
In June 1954, Army counsel Joseph Welch galvanized our country when he turned to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the notoriously corrupt crusader against alleged Communists, and declared, “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” McCarthy had falsely claimed that Welch’s young colleague was a Communist traitor. Welch went on: “Until this moment, senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.”Welch’s moral summing up came after 30 days of the McCarthy investigation hearings. It has taken longer to bring moral judgment to bear on President Donald Trump. Of course, ...
New York Daily News
Former Venezuelan official surrenders to feds in $1.2 billion money-laundering case
MIAMI — After two years under U.S. indictment, a former top lawyer in Venezuela’s oil ministry surrendered Monday in Miami federal court for his alleged supporting role in a massive corruption and money-laundering scheme to steal $1.2 billion from the Venezuelan government, authorities said.Carmelo Urdaneta Aqui, the former legal counsel to the Venezuelan Ministry of Oil and Mining, agreed to turn himself in and was escorted by federal agents on a flight to Miami over the weekend. Urdaneta is accused of accepting bribes along with other officials in the state-owned oil company known as PDVSA f...