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The files are linked to about 35 current and former national leaders, and more than 330 politicians and public officials in 91 countries and territories. PHOTO: AFP

Pandora Papers: Rich and powerful deny wrongdoing after dump of purported secrets

The Czech prime minister, the king of Jordan and the chairman of a well-known Indian conglomerate were among global figures denying wrongdoing on Monday after the leak of what major news outlets called a secret trove of documents about offshore finance.

India said it would investigate cases linked to the data dump, known collectively as the Pandora Papers, while Pakistani Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said officials named in the documents would be investigated - including himself.

The Kremlin said it had seen no evidence in the leak of hidden wealth among Russian President Vladimir Putin's entourage, after the Washington Post said the documents showed Putin's mistress had used offshore funds to buy a flat in Monaco.

The dump of more than 11.9 million records, amounting to about 2.94 terabytes of data, was five years after the leak known as the Panama Papers exposed how money was hidden by the wealthy in ways that law enforcement agencies could not detect.


Biden says Republicans being 'reckless' over debt limit increase

US President Joe Biden urged congressional leaders to raise the debt ceiling Monday, excoriating Republicans for what he said was "reckless" and "disgraceful" obstruction ahead of a default deadline later this month that he warned would amount to "a self-inflicted wound that takes our economy over a cliff."

Biden, trying to convey the risks to everyday Americans, warned that they could see the effects as early as this week if Senate Democrats were not able to vote to raise the debt ceiling.

The debt ceiling controls the amount of money the government can borrow to fulfil its financial obligations, including Social Security checks, salaries for military personnel and other bills.


Facebook crippled by global outage across apps, employee systems

Social media giant Facebook suffered a devastating outage on Monday that shut out many of its 2.7 billion global users, idled some of the company's employees and prompted a public apology from the chief technology officer.

Users around the world were unable for hours Monday to access Facebook's family of social-media apps, including the main social network, photo-sharing app Instagram and messaging service WhatsApp, in one of the longest failures in recent memory.

Downdetector, which monitors Internet problems, said the Facebook outage is the largest it has seen, with more than 10.6 million reports worldwide.


EU regulator backs mRNA Covid-19 vaccine booster for people with weak immunity

The European Union's drugs regulator said on Monday people with weakened immune systems should get a third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, but left it to member states to decide if the wider population should get a booster.

The long-awaited guidance comes after several EU member states pre-empted the European Medicines Agency's opinion and launched their own booster campaigns, although they vary widely over who is eligible.

The EU joins the United States, Britain and Israel where regulators have approved the use of Pfizer boosters, although there is no consensus among scientists about how broadly they should be deployed.


Son of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan in custody in drugs probe

A Mumbai court sent the 23-year-old son of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan to three days' custody on Monday, a lawyer said, after he was arrested in a drugs investigation that has captivated India's broadcast media.

Aryan Khan was arrested on Saturday night after police raided a ship off Mumbai and found narcotics, local media said.

The court remanded Khan and two others in custody with the Narcotics Control Bureau, the federal agency that is investigating the case.


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