A new survey by the anti-corruption group Transparency International finds that companies from Russia and China are most likely to pay bribes, and that they pay them most frequently to win government contracts for public works and construction. Those two countries also figure as corruption hot spots on Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index. Neither Russia nor China typically prosecutes companies that bribe foreign officials.
“Doesn’t this sort of thing happen in America?” the Ugandan taxi driver asks the writer Lawrence Weschler. A few minutes earlier, the cabbie had had to retrieve Weschler’s iPhone with a $20 bribe to the soldiers who had seized it. Weschler initially dismisses the question out of hand, then gets to thinking about the legal forms of bribery and corruption back home, that go by another name.
In Mexico, people are using the dark arts to fight the dark side, asking warlocks for spells against extortion, kidnappings, and violence. It’s a sad sign of desperation, when charms are seen as more powerful than police, prosecutors or the courts. Most disturbing is the witch holding out on the kidnapped girl’s whereabouts.
And finally, great to see Mom and Frank Capra prevail. Dr. Gabriel Ethan Feldman — still single at 50, to his mother’s chagrin — just won $14.7 million in a whistle-blower suit over Medicaid fraud. The state was billing for three shifts of home care workers to care for elderly people who needed round-the-clock care, when a single live-in aide could have done the job at much lower cost. The settlement totaled $70 million.
Feldman says his parents’ strong sense of integrity and all those Capra movies about unsung heroes, little guys of firm beliefs, inspired him to blow the whistle on fraud. Mom can relax. We think a good woman just got a lot easier to find