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September 24th, 2018

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Bright Ideas | Not again!

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published March 30, 2017

Bright Ideas <B>|</B> Not again!

The Immigrants Wanted to Believe: For about 10 years, organized crime rings operated a makeshift U.S. "embassy" in a rundown pink building in Accra, the capital of Ghana, issuing official-looking identification papers, including "visas" that theoretically permitted entry into the United States. The U.S. State Department finally persuaded Ghanian officials to close it down, but it is unknown if any purchasers were ever caught trying to immigrate. The "embassy," with a U.S. flag outside, had well-spoken "consular officers" who reportedly collected about $6,000 per visa. [Ghana Business News, 12-2-2016]

Zimbabwe's hyperinflation remains the most storied, but Venezuela is catching up. In mid-December, the government declared its largest-currency bill (the 100-bolivar note) worthless, replacing it with larger denomination money (after a brief cash-in period that has ended and which some drug dealers were likely shut out of). The 100-bolivar's value had shrunk to 2 cents on the black market. Stacks of it were required to make even the smallest food purchases, and since wallets could no longer hold the notes, robbers feasted on the "packages" of money people carried around while shopping. [Wall Street Journal, 12-13-2016]

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