Warlord Surrenders — The fugitive Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda has surrendered in Rwanda, reports the Guardian. Ntaganda’s whereabouts had been unknown after hundreds of his fighters fled into Rwanda or surrendered to U.N. peacekeepers at the weekend following their defeat by a rival rebel faction in eastern Congo, writes the daily. Officials were said to be “shocked” when Ntaganda walked into the U.S. embassy in Kigali on Monday and asked to be transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he faces charges for war crimes. Those relate to murder, ethnic persecution, sexual slavery, conscripting child soldiers, and rape during the 2002-03 conflict in the Ituri district of northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Russia Brain Drain — Despite economic growth, a growing number of elite Russians are leaving the country, reports the World Policy Journal. Data from Moscow’s Federal State Statistics Service shows that the total number of Russian emigrants hit 36,774 in 2011 — a 113% increase from 2009. All told, more than 1.25 million Russians left their country between 2000-2010 and the ones who are leaving are well-off, highly-skilled professionals. The brain drain is attributed to multiple failures by the current Kremlin administration, including a declining education system, cutbacks in public spending on social welfare and new restrictions on civil society, the media and the Internet, explains the Journal.
Hong Kong Democracy — Frictions between Hong Kong and Beijing are mounting as the semi-autonomous Chinese territory demands greater democracy, notes the New York Times. Hong Kong’s democracy advocates are planning a civil disobedience campaign but many of them, according to the Times, are worried about the prospects for change because of an increasingly assertive Beijing. In 2010, the Chinese government said it might allow Hong Kong’s entire population to pick the city’s chief executive in 2017, instead of just the 1,200 members of the Election Committee, most of whom generally follow Beijing’s instructions.
Crime in Geneva — Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Geneva is no longer the crime-free city it used to be. Switzerland joined the passport-free Schengen Area in 2009 and various sorts of crimes have swelled in the city. Genevan authorities said bag-snatching jumped by 28% and pickpocketing increased by 43% in 2011. Local residents believe open borders have made it easier for gangs from neighboring France to enter the city, pull off a robbery, and then escape unnoticed. City authorities are clamping down on crime with a new public information campaign and more police patrols.
HSBC Accused — Banking giant HSBC is accused of aiding tax evasion in Argentina, reports Reuters. Argentina’s tax agency said on Monday it has uncovered 392 million pesos (nearly $77 million) in fraudulent transactions by HSBC and said it has asked the judicial system to probe the bank for alleged tax evasion and money laundering. The alleged irregularities were detected over the last three years. “It’s clear to us that there was a conspiracy between HSBC and private companies,” Ricardo Echegaray, director of Argentina’s tax agency, told reporters in Buenos Aires, as Bloomberg reports. “The first thing they have to do is to pay the state what it’s owed and dismantle a gang of swindlers.”
Hollande Unpopular — French President François Hollande’s popularity levels are at a record low, reports the Daily Telegraph. A new poll, which comes just 10 months into his five-year presidency, indicates that some 67% of people disapprove of his efforts running the country. Support has dropped from the Right-wing electorate after a series of tax hikes, writes the daily. But there is also increasing dissatisfaction from Left-wing voters, who feel Hollande’s focus on debt and deficit reduction is reminiscent of the government of Nicolas Sarkozy, his predecessor. Unemployment in France is currently at a 13-year high of 10.6%, notes the Telegraph, and Hollande has also conceded he will not be able to meet a pledge to cut France’s deficit to 3% of GDP by the end of the year.