World
Meet the Panama Papers Editor Who Handled 376 Reporters in 80 Countries
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists' Marina Walker Guevara joined ProPublica podcast, talking about how they handled such a big leak and why some big US outlets passed
 
As the Panama Papers continue to embarrass leaders across continents, one thought has kept occurring to me: How the hell did the organizers pull it off? I mean, how did they corral hundreds of reporters? How did they make sense of so many documents? And, most importantly, how did they stay sane during it all?
 
So I spoke with Marina Walker Guevara, who helped shepherd the project. Walker is deputy director of the International of the Consortium of Investigative Journalism, which has a long history of collaborating with many, many far-flung partners. In early 2015, Walker and ICIJ were finishing up work on another big leak. “We’re never going to do this again,” Marina recalled thinking. “It’s great. But we’re exhausted and we need a vacation.”
 
Then ICIJ got a phone call from the German paper Süddeutsche Zeitung about a way bigger file they wanted to share…
 
 
Some tidbits from our conversation:
 
The New York Times blew its chance on the Panama Papers, and, and so did CNN and 60 Minutes…
 
Walker Guevara: We approached the Times twice in the past. The first time was in 2012 and that was the first offshore investigation we did, it was called Offshore Leaks and there were many meetings in New York where [ICIJ director] Gerard Ryle went and pitched the story and then in the end it looked like we were getting nowhere. There were just too many questions, it proved to be too complicated, and we didn't proceed. Then we went back to them again in the Swiss Leaks investigation in 2014 and in that case we were not as insistent. We sent emails but when we didn't hear back we didn't try harder.
 
For the Panama Papers, we were approached by McClatchy. They have a very good reputation and were eager to work with us.
 
We also pitched it to CNN. They said yes, but then they said no. They decided to pursue their own investigation rather than join ours. We were a little disappointed, but we understood. Then we pitched the story to 60 Minutes and this time they said no as well. In the end we had Univision and Fusion. We had worked with both of them in previous investigations.
 
Walker had to push often-secretive investigative reporters to share.
 
Walker Guevara: When it's been a week or two and I haven't seen them in our encrypted forum, I ask them and they usually are like, "Well I just found this, I wasn't sure what to do." Then I encourage them to share it because Süddeutsche Zeitung was sharing all 11.5 million records with all of us. That's how generous they were.
 
It's just having these conversations and making them understand you cannot treat this data as your own property. Sometimes they called me a "cat herder.”
 
They all decided to ignore news along the way.
 
Walker Guevara: When news on FIFA was breaking, well we had a ton of information on FIFA. But we didn't publish of course. There was also the huge corruption scandal in Brazil. We had more than 100 offshore companies linked to the biggest characters in that case and we couldn't publish.
 
Because part of our model is that we all publish together. That’s because we want to create a commotion when we publish. We want to have global impact. We don't want the story to drip and to start turning out in little pieces that make the news for one day or two in a country and then go away.
 
Some of these journalists sometimes had to keep details quiet from their own bosses because to make sure that nobody got too excited and would be under pressure to publish.
 
Correction, April 11, 2016: Due to a transcription error, an earlier version of this article said Walker Guevara's team called her “The Godfather.” What she said was “a cat herder.”
 
Listen to this podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher. For more, read the Panama Papers investigation at ICIJ.org, and listen to On the Media's interview with the consortium's director, Gerard Ryle.
 
Courtesy: ProPublica.org

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Present economic scenario to persist awhile

On the macroeconomic front, the economy is expected to grow at 7.6 percent

 

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on April 5, released its first bi-monthly monetary policy statement and with it, the monetary policy peport for April 2016. While the statement detailed some of the decisions, the policy report has an in-depth assessment of the current economic scenario and what to expect in the months ahead.
 
The primary decision in the statement was to reduce the repo rate by 25 basis points from 6.75 percent to 6.5 percent. The move is seen as following the broad principles of stabilisation within the economy and the RBI is accordingly seen as normalising the policy rates to banks so that they can lend to push for growth.
 
The reverse repo was adjusted to six percent, down 25 basis points. Apart from this, the minimum daily maintenance of cash reserve ratio (CRR) is also adjusted to 90 percent from the present 95 percent. The RBI has also indicated in the statement that a fresh discussion paper would be put out on how large borrowers are meeting a part of their funding requirements from markets by April 30, 2016. Apart from this, a draft circular on large exposures framework will also be issued for public comments in June 2016.
 
The underlying rationale for the decision has been the contents of the monetary policy report for April, which broadly speaking, looks at four factors the macroeconomic outlook inflation and prices, aggregate demand and supply, financial markets and liquidity conditions and external environment.
 
On the macroeconomic front, the economy is expected to grow at 7.6 percent. Inflation has been in check due to sound fiscal and monetary policies. Apart from this, two other developments will have a bearing on targeting inflation. One of these is the adoption of the flexible inflation targeting (FIT) framework which positions maintaining inflation between 4 ± 2 percent. The other is the adoption of the monetary policy committee for a decision on the monetary policy of the country which is at present taken by the RBI governor.
 
The outlook for growth remains upbeat but some factors can impinge on growth. These include lower investment demands due to corporate debts and tepid global output and trade growth leading to a fall in exports. On the positive side, the RBI mentions the government's Start-p initiative as well as strong commitment to fiscal targets, and a thrust on boosting infrastructure which could brighten the growth prospects going ahead.
 
On the aggregate demand and supply front, according to the report, domestic activity seems to have slowed in the second half of 2015-16. Aggregate demand was restrained due to a combination of stalling of fixed investment, weak rural consumption and ongoing fiscal consolidation. Aggregate supply seems to have moderated with the impact of deficient monsoon on agriculture. Similarly, GVA (gross value added) in industry benefited from a decline in input costs while the services sector remained in an expansion mode.
 
Different markets experienced different things ranging from insulation to bouts of volatility. Money, credit and bond markets were relatively well-insulated while foreign exchange and equity markets experienced bouts of volatility. Liquidity conditions tightened in the second half of the year. However, the flow of resources to the corporate sector remained buoyant. The overall conditions in the markets remained robust.
 
On the external environment front, the report noted that global economic activity slackened further, and international trade remained subdued while downside risks have increased. Weak demand and low commodity prices have rekindled fears of deflation in some advanced economies which have led to divergence of policy stances. The emerging markets remain vulnerable to swings in sentiments and capital outflows going ahead.
 
What the report seems to be suggesting is that the present economic situation of weak global growth with low global commodity prices and subdued trade growth is going to persist for some time in the future.
 
Overall, the statement and the report do well to explain the global and Indian economic scenario at present and the monetary policy response to the overall situation. In the coming months, all eyes will be on the global economy and the monetary policy stances of various central banks across the world.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Kerala fire tragedy: Six Puttingal officials arrested

Officials are being questioned by the crime branch team led by Deputy Superindent of Police Radhakrishnan Pillai at the Kollam Crime Branch office

 

Two days after the fireworks tragedy at Puttingal Devi temple in Paravur in Kollam that left 109 people dead and more than 350 injured, police on Tuesday recorded the arrest of six temple officials.
 
Five officials who surrendered before police late Monday night include P.S. Jayalal (president), Krishnankutty Pillai (secretary), J. Prasad, Somasundaram Pillai and Ravindran Pillai -- all top office bearers of the temple. The sixth official - Surendran Pillai, was arrested on Tuesday morning. 
 
They are being questioned by the crime branch team led by Deputy Superindent of Police Radhakrishnan Pillai at the Kollam Crime Branch office.
 
Paravur police had earlier charged around 30 people including the temple committee members, the contractors of the fireworks display and his workers under charges of culpable homicide.
 
Five workers of the fireworks contractor Surendran are already in the custody of the police team and they have confided to police about the nature of the firework display.
 
The temple officials, after the tragic incident that occurred around 3.30 a.m. on Sunday, had gone into hiding.
 
On Sunday, the Kerala government had ordered a judicial probe and a crime branch probe.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

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