Business

EU Should Push to Protect Rights in Diamond Trade

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Next week (June 18-22) the European Union hosts governments, the diamond industry, and nongovernmental groups in the diamond-trading city of Antwerp to take stock of the Kimberley Process, the certification process set up nearly two decades ago to end the trade in “blood.. Juliane Kippenberg HRW But the Kimberley Process is not up to the task. The European Union-currently the chair of the Kimberley Process-should push for change to improve the protection of human rights starting with mining and throughout ... Read More »

Real Estate Shopping on Someone Else’s Land

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At an informational session in the Israeli settlement of Alfei Menashe in the West Bank, a real estate agent engages in sales patter with house hunters for a new development of penthouses and 3- and 4-bedroom apartments: “breathtaking views,” “the highest standards of construction,” and… Sari Bashi HRW Two potential home-buyers, Israeli men in their 30s, flip through brochures showing high-rise buildings built on open land that had formed part of the neighboring Palestinian… “The view is spectacular,” says the ... Read More »

How Beijing is winning control of the South China Sea

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Erratic US policy and fraying alliances give China a free hand SINGAPORE — Even by his outspoken standards, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s account of a conversation he had with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, was startling. Simon Roughneen Nikkei . Asia Review During a meeting between the two leaders in Beijing in May 2017, the subject turned to whether the Philippines would seek to drill for oil in a part of the South China Sea claimed by both countries. Duterte ... Read More »

US sees TANAP ‘universally’ good for Turkey, Europe

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The United States has expressed very strong support for the trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP) that will carry natural gas from Azerbaijan to the European continent via Turkey, describing the $8.5 billion-worth project as a… Serkan Demirtaş – ANKARA Hurriyet “TANAP is pretty much universally good. It’s good for Azerbaijan, good for Turkey. Once the TAP [Trans Adriatic Pipeline Project] is built, it will also be good for Europe,” Sandra Oudkirk, the deputy assistant secretary of the… She came ... Read More »

How Asian crypto traders leverage the ‘Kimchi Premium’

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The price of Bitcoin is often substantially higher in South Korea than elsewhere, which is leading many investors to turn to arbitrage trading Luke Thompson Asia Times Aside from the futures markets, it is difficult to go short on crypto-currencies. Big gains are made in bull markets and panic selling occurs when the bears have control, such as at the moment. There is, however, another way of leveraging a profit out of crypto markets and Asian traders have found this ... Read More »

New Strategic Dimensions of the Eastern Mediterranean

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For the first time since the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, the Eastern Mediterranean is in the midst of a tectonic shift. Dr. Spyridon N. Litsas BESA The region presents all the required attributes to function as a distinct sub-regional system in the 21st century’s international environment. The Eastern Mediterranean holds the interest of the great powers (the US, Russia, and China); it contains resolute regional actors that influence the sociopolitical orbit of the region (Israel, Egypt, and Turkey); and ... Read More »

Vietnam protesters clash with police over new economic zones

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Protests have broken out in Vietnam against plans for new economic zones, amid fears that Chinese investors will dominate the areas. BBC Police reportedly detained more than a dozen people in the capital Hanoi and halted demonstrations in other cities. Some carried anti-China banners, including one reading “No leasing land to China even for one day”. The government proposed a law last year that would give foreign investors a 99-year lease on Vietnamese land. The bill offers… Vietnam protesters clash… Read More »

Typhoon Trump blows G7 off course

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Other leaders thought they’d kept the club together — until the US president tweeted his fury. David M. Hersenhorn Politico LA MALBAIE, Canada — As host of this year’s G7 summit, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seemed to have just one over-arching goal: to get through the gathering without U.S. President Donald Trump blasting it to pieces. Trudeau succeeded — for all of about 90 minutes. Just an hour and a half after Trudeau finished his concluding news conference, an ... Read More »

Is the global economy just a giant debt scam? What the financial elite doesn’t want you to know

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Yanis Varoufakis saw power up close. He says capitalism is dead, democracy is crumbling and we’re ruled by debt Andrew O’Hehir Salon Why is the world the way it is, and how did it get that way? One book I read in the past year explained more about that question than any other, and it wasn’t about Donald Trump or the rise of the far right or the endangered state of democracy — or at least not directly. Beneath the ... Read More »

Turkey’s currency turmoil and upcoming election – what you need to know

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The Turkish lira has dropped more than 15% this year against the US dollar and the government is doing all it can to stem the flow. Gulcin Ozkan The Conversation Turkey’s central bank just raised the country’s main interest rate by 1.25 percentage points (to 17.75%) in a bid to stabilise the lira and halt surging inflation. This follows an emergency rate rise on May 23 of three percentage points. With elections on the horizon, this is a trying time ... Read More »

Israel’s Navy Trains to Defend Mediterranean Gas Rigs from Hezbollah Attack

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The Israeli Navy has successfully completed a military drill that simulated two possible ways Hezbollah might attack gas exploration and extraction systems in Israel’s Exclusive Economic… Sputnik The Israeli Navy’s first scenario included a drone simulating a cruise missile fired by the enemy at a gas rig. According to the Jerusalem Post, the airborne target was successfully discovered and destroyed by the… The ship has reportedly been upgraded with new detection, observation and electronic warfare systems, including a new radar which is said to greatly improve ... Read More »

Are You a Tax Time Donor?

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Tax time is an opportunity to consider what you have done for others in the last year, writes Sally Cunningham from Frontstream. ProBono If you have seen any commercial TV lately you’ll know it’s close to tax time. Car dealerships are having run-out sales, department stores are slashing prices and charities are asking you to dig deep this winter and give to people in need. I can’t advise you on a new car or other luxury goods, but I have ... Read More »

Norwegian PM to UK: Why would you want our EU deal?

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‘It’s quite frustrating to find the way through and find solutions’ for Brexit, the prime minister added. By ANCA GURZU AND JAMES RANDERSON Politico The prime minister of Norway asked why the U.K. would want a relationship with the EU that’s similar to the one her country has with the bloc. Supporters of a soft Brexit often cite a version of the “Norway model” — with close regulatory alignment with Brussels and membership of the single market — as a less economically damaging ... Read More »

From coffee house to White House?

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Could Howard Schultz be the next Democrat candidate for the Presidency of the United States His resignation as Executive Chairman of Starbucks has fuelled speculation that he’s planning to run in 2020. EuroNews Schultz built the famous coffee chain up from 11 cafés in Seattle in 1982 to today’s 28 000 stores in 77 countries. He’s never been shy of intervening in political debate – last year in response to Donald Trump’s anti-immigration push he promised that Starbucks would hire ... Read More »

Politics is broken because the whole system is broken

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Sometimes when things break, it’s a mystery. But even when we can’t figure out what went wrong, we understand that something did fail. John Birmingham Brisbane Times A critical component or an essential process wore out, or overloaded or somehow reached the limits of its design. If a dishwasher has a drainage problem it’s probably a blocked outlet. If a printer just stops printing, either the ink ran out, or the small time bomb the manufacturer placed deep inside the ... Read More »

7 Reasons US Should Not Ratify UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

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President Donald Trump recently proclaimed June 2018 to be National Ocean Month and stated his support for better utilizing the vast resources contained in America’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the 200-nautical mile zone off U.S. coasts over which the U.S. has jurisdiction.j Authors: The Daily Signal There are now sure to be renewed calls for the United States to accede to the United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea—also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty—as a useful ... Read More »