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Timor-Leste Prime Minister to Face Corruption Investigation

The president and government ministers in Timor-Leste have voiced their support for Xanana Gusmão, the current prime minister accused of corruption. Opposition leaders have denounced Gusmão’s actions as “cronyism.” And, finally, Xanana Gusmão has spoken publicly on the allegations he faces. The PM’s first words: “I don’t want to explain any more…” Yesterday, Gusmão expressed…

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Washington Post Ombudsman Speaks Out on Salon Scandal

In his Sunday column yesterday, the Washington Post Ombudsman, Andy Alexander, found a steady tone, even as he characterized the paper’s recently proposed lobbyist-journalist salons as an “ethical lapse of monumental proportions.” Politico was the first to break news of these “salons” after reporters there got hold of an internal Post flyer advertising the policy…

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What Kenyan Ministers are Driving Now

With public pressure on to cut down on generous car allowances, Ministers in Kenya have been debating strategies to cut back… without compromising luxury. The 2009 budget sets aside 70 million shillings (US$ 914,434) for vehicle spending based on a long-standing practice of providing a Mercedes-Benz to go along with the title of minister. Anticipating…

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Governance Metrics: Why “Fictitious” Numbers Can Be Useful

What do Stalinist-era accounting practices in Hungary, financial reports, and post-WWII U.S. property tax assessments have in common with measuring governance/corruption? More than we think, if we take the argument advanced by a former professor of mine Martha Lampland seriously. In a working paper (PDF) published recently, Lampland (a historical anthropologist) suggests that numbers are…

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