The cost of corruption in Afghanistan has risen sharply and half of all citizens paid a bribe to public officials last year, a new United Nations study said.
More than 11 years after a US-led invasion led to billions of dollars in aid flowing into one of the world’s poorest countries, Afghanistan ranks among the most corrupt nations on earth.
And Western nations due to pull their troops out next year have linked future financial support to a crackdown on graft.
The report by the UN office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Afghanistan’s anti-corruption unit says that while there has been “some tangible progress”, the total cost of corruption increased to $3.9bn (€2.9bn) in 2012 — 40% up on 2009.
“The bribes that Afghan citizens paid in 2012 equals double Afghanistan’s domestic revenue, or one-fourth of the Tokyo pledge,” the report says, referring to the $16bn promised by donors at a conference in Japan last year.
More than 68% of those surveyed considered it acceptable for a civil servant to top up a low salary by accepting small bribes — up from 42% in 2009.
A New Jersey student who says her parents abandoned her when she turned 18, lost the first round in the lawsuit she filed against them for school costs and living expenses, a case that could set a precedent for a family's obligation to support a child who has left home.
As his girlfriend lay dying, a weeping, praying Oscar Pistorius knelt at her side and struggled in vain to help her breathe by holding two fingers in her clenched mouth, a witness told a South African court.
Ferry and freight services company Irish Continental Group (ICG) has reported a solid set of figures for 2013, but has also noted a slight drop in business in the early part of this year, due to bad weather.
The Ennis Book Club Festival (March 7-9) is a reader's delight. "Other literary festivals are about writing skills and getting published. Our workshops are different. One of our really popular events is called 'Ten Books You Should Read'," says chairperson, Ciana Campbell.
Ryan Tubridy has posed for a new photograph for schoolgirl Sarah Ryan to sketch — after the photographer responsible for the picture on which Sarah's original drawing was based objected to her use of the image.
Alan Shatter has said that 11 out of 12 cases in a dossier of whistleblower claims are 'groundless' on the basis that alleged Garda malpractice had been investigated by the gardaí. But how thorough were these investigations, asks Michael Clifford.
For most Irish sport lovers, probably the most romantic story of 2013 was the All-Ireland senior hurling championship win by Clare, a precocious and mercurial side guided by a precocious and mercurial management team, led by Davy Fitzgerald.