Taliban Response — The Taliban has condemned Prince Harry’s comments, in which he compared fighting in Afghanistan to playing computer games, reports the Daily Telegraph. “To describe the war in Afghanistan as a game demeans anyone – especially a prince, who is supposed to be made of better things,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, adding that Harry’s comments were indicative of the caliber of forces at NATO’s disposal. Sharifullah Kamawal, a member of the Afghan parliament, warned that the comments had handed the Taliban a propaganda victory, reports the Telegraph, and could speed up the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan.
Financial Tax — Some members of the E.U. have agreed to introduce a financial transactions tax to discourage speculative trading, reports the BBC. The move comes after European governments blamed speculators and excessive trading for the 2008 financial meltdown and the recent eurozone crisis. France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Belgium are among the 11 nations that will introduce the tax, which will be charged at 0.1% of the value of any trade in shares or bonds or at 0.01% of any financial derivative contract.
Bank of Japan — The Quartz reports that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) is one of the only central banks in the world that is publicly traded (the others are in Belgium and Switzerland). The BoJ is listed on the Jasdaq under ticker 8301 and the cost of a share as of Jan. 22 was ¥45,850 ($517), up nearly 30% from a year ago. While most other central banks do not buy equities outright, according to the Quartz, the BoJ purchases exchanged-traded funds, corporate bonds, foreign mutual funds and real estate securities. Shareholders, however, have no voting rights and do not receive dividends.
India’s Police — The police force in India is generally poorly organized and ill-equipped to deal with serious crimes, especially those against women, according to the New York Times. “In many rape cases, the police spend more time seeking reconciliation between the attacker and the victim than investigating the facts,” writes the daily. Long-standing corruption, political interference and the shortage of officers are major obstacles to reforming the country’s police force.
Falklands Warship Sinks — A warship which was used to land the first Argentine forces in the Falklands War in 1982 has sunk while moored at a port, reports the AFP. The Holy Trinity – which authorities had planned to turn into a museum – took on water after a six-inch pipe burst. Arturo Puricelli, the Argentine defence minister, said the loss was due to “negligence in the best-case scenario, or an attack” designed to embarrass the government. He expressed surprise that the ship sank so quickly and speculated that someone may have opened a valve to sink the ship, which only dates back to the 1970s and was retired from active service in 2004. Puricelli ordered the navy to launch an investigation, reports the AFP.
Sarkozy Rumors — There is speculation in France that former president Nicolas Sarkozy is planning a move to London to avoid his country’s 75% tax on the rich, reports the Evening Standard. It is claimed that Sarkozy plans to set up a £800 million ($1.27 billion) private equity fund in the U.K. Investigative news website Mediapart claims the first draft of Sarkozy’s plan was discovered by detectives examining his computer files, reports the Standard. If the rumors are true, the resultant conflict of interest between business and politics would almost certainly end any ambitions he has of seeking re-election, notes the Telegraph.