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Afghan troops cross border as Taliban quickly win alarming offensive

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Keith Binns / iStock

(WASHINGTON) – Hundreds of Afghan soldiers have crossed the country’s northern border to safety, as the Taliban continues a swift offensive to seize districts as part of the US military withdrawal.

The rapidly deteriorating security situation has alarmed US officials in Washington, DC and Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, where the government of President Ashraf Ghani is trying to establish calm and regroup its forces.

But the Taliban, the militant group that has been at war with the US and Afghan governments since the 2001 US invasion, are gaining more and more territory by the day, ignoring calls for a ceasefire or resumption of negotiations.

President Joe Biden has also shown no hesitation over his decision to withdraw the remaining 2,500 American troops, except for the 650 soldiers who will remain to protect the American embassy and, at least initially, the Kabul International Airport.

That withdrawal is now 90% complete, according to the Pentagon. But although most of the troops have left, the Defense Ministry said the pullout would not be complete until the end of August.

Amid the Taliban offensive, there are growing concerns about the security of the US Embassy in Kabul, which said it had “well-developed security plans to safely protect our staff and facilities,” but had “no intention of closing”.

There is also deep concern for Afghan interpreters, guides and other entrepreneurs who have worked for the United States and now say their lives are threatened by the Taliban. The Biden administration has said it will move a group of them out of Afghanistan, but it’s unclear how many, when and where.

A US official confirmed to ABC News on Friday that the group could move to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – three of Afghanistan’s northern neighbors in Central Asia – but stressed that planning was still early and no decision had not yet been taken.

There are approximately 18,000 Afghans seeking a Special Immigrant Visa, which gives those who have worked for the US military or diplomatic mission in Afghanistan and Iraq the opportunity to relocate themselves and their families to the States. -United. The long backlog has put the lives of these Afghans at risk, according to US lawmakers and lawyers, who have called for an evacuation to a safe place while their claims are processed.

A senior US administration official declined to provide details on the numbers or schedule, but told ABC News on Thursday they had “identified a group of SIV candidates … to be moved to another location outside from Afghanistan before completing our military withdrawal by September “.

Before these plans materialized, however, more than 1,300 Afghan border police and soldiers crossed the border into Tajikistan to evade the Taliban in recent days, according to local Afghan security sources. The Taliban have taken dozens of districts since announcing Biden’s withdrawal in April, and their offensive in the northern provinces has resulted in the surrender or death of hundreds of Afghan forces.

In the past six days, the Taliban have taken control of nearly 10% of Afghan districts, with almost half of them now controlled by the Taliban and another third being contested between militants and the government, according to the Long War Journal.

Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib told a press conference on Tuesday that the Afghan forces that had fled “were returning and would once again be in the service of the people and in defense of Faizabad,” the capital of the country. Badakhshan province.

While some of these returns may begin, the stampede of refugees across the border has alarmed several governments in the region, who fear a refugee crisis and regional upheaval as the United States leaves and the Taliban take over. territory and eventually target Kabul.

Tajikistan has mobilized 20,000 military reservists to strengthen security on its southern border with Afghanistan, according to official media, while its president Emomali Rakhmon called Ghani and Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the “alarming” situation. Russia has pledged aid, according to the Kremlin, including from its huge, well-armed military base in Tajikistan.

Much of the Afghan-Tajik border is now controlled by the Taliban, who collect income from cross-border trade at their own mobile customs checkpoints on major highways, according to local Afghan security sources.

But despite the Taliban’s major gains on the battlefield, the Biden administration still refuses to deal with the deteriorating security situation.

Asked about a Taliban takeover, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday: “It’s a big ‘if’, it’s a guess and I don’t think it’s useful for anyone right now making assumptions about what might happen in months and years. “

At the State Department, spokesman Ned Price told reporters, “I’m not going to offer an assessment or feedback on our reaction from here.”

Price also declined to talk about contingency plans in place at the U.S. Embassy, ​​including shutting down the huge complex and evacuating its 1,400 U.S. employees. Two former U.S. officials told ABC News the embassy will re-examine its emergency evacuation plans with a daily review based on ever-changing intelligence assessments, especially as more U.S. forces are leaving the area. ‘Afghanistan and that the embassy with a smaller reactionary force to come and help them.

“The State Department, the Defense Department – these are planning organizations. We always anticipate any eventuality, ”Price said, declining to provide further details.

Despite the growing control of the Taliban, Price added that it seemed that the militant group “understands that it is only through diplomacy that they can gain any legitimacy, that they can expect to be accepted by the International community“.

But talks between Taliban and Afghan government delegations, which first met last September, have so far only resulted in a program. And while some meetings in Doha, Qatar, continue, the peace process is all but dead despite written statements made on both sides.

Pressed on this, Price said on Tuesday: “Believe me, I am not here to offer false hope as to what the Taliban may be looking for or what they are currently doing.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


E-merchants ask for more clarity on e-com rules


E-commerce companies are pushing for another consultation with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to understand in detail the proposed changes to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, which continue to confuse the retail industry retail online.

This comes after a series of discussions between industry players and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs on July 3.

E-commerce companies are calling on trade bodies to request a second round of consultations with the ministry as they seek clarification before sending out their suggestions, said two people familiar with the discussions.

Trade bodies including Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) and the US-India Business Council (USIBC) are gathering industry recommendations for submission by the proposed deadline.

The proposed changes to e-commerce rules are expected to call into question the intermediary status granted to online marketplaces, penalizing them for losses caused to consumers by sellers listed on their platform. The new policy also forces markets to offer national alternatives to products listed on their platforms, going against fair market rules, the e-commerce industry argued.

E-commerce companies will also send their suggestions directly to the ministry, in addition to participating in proposals with trade bodies, one of the people mentioned above said on condition of anonymity.

“Some players in the e-commerce industry through trade bodies should write to the government to request another consultation with the Department of Consumer Affairs, request a clause-by-clause explanation and seek clarification of the overlapping rules with other ministries and departments, including the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Department for Promotion of Industry and Industrial Trade, ”one person said on condition of anonymity.

“It is highly likely that another industry-wide consultation will take place in the next two weeks, as companies are still unclear on proposed amendments,” said an ecommerce official. asking not to be named.

Spokesmen for CII and Ficci declined to comment. Flipkart, Amazon India, the Internet and Mobile Association of India, and the National Association of Software and Service Companies did not respond to Mint-flavoured requests until time of printing.

E-commerce companies requested clarification on the new definition of e-commerce proposed in the draft rules and the clause that prohibits “related parties” from selling in their respective markets.

“If the government prevents related parties from selling in online marketplaces, it is slowing the growth of these ‘Make in India’ products offered by several large retailers such as Reliance and Tata, resulting in the loss of several livelihoods. It also takes away the choice from consumers. Because of the overlaps in foreign direct investment (FDI) policy, the definition of a market is confusing, ”an e-commerce official said on condition of anonymity.

The government did not respond to questions raised by industry stakeholders about the policy overlap on Saturday, another e-commerce official said.

“The government’s intention is in the right direction, but execution is the problem. It appears that different legislatures were borrowed from various ministries to craft these draft rules, completely mixing market definitions with inventory-based or purely game-based e-commerce models. This will lead to new misinterpretations and a whole new set of antitrust issues, ”the second e-commerce official said.

Suneera Tandon from New Delhi contributed to this story.

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By making reckless claims, Imran Khan’s ministers endanger Pakistan’s global interests

Foreign policy is serious business and rightly described as a country’s first line of defense. Both policy formulation and articulation require careful thought and judgment. The way the policy is articulated publicly can make it more or less effective and have an impact on relations with other countries.

Knowing when not to say something publicly and when to speak is essential in diplomacy. Words have consequences, intended or not. Words about foreign policy can affect – for better or for worse – Pakistan’s diplomatic relations, the way the world views the country and international opinion. Since no line separates what is said for domestic consumption and what is heard abroad, it is important to be careful with words and be judicious in foreign policy statements.

Public views

These considerations appear to have been ignored in foreign policy statements and interviews with key government leaders, causing unnecessary confusion and slippages that are of no use to the country. For starters, too many Pakistani ministers at Tehreek-e-Insaf, whose portfolios are unrelated to foreign affairs, express public opinions on international issues often at odds with what their colleagues say.

Consider the recent Financial Action Task Force meeting. At least three Pakistani ministers in addition to the foreign minister commented on his results. One minister even said that Pakistan’s keeping on the “gray list” was due to its nuclear status! This is not the only issue on which different voices have been heard. At a perilous time in Afghanistan whose fate has grave implications for Pakistan, some ministers have expressed views that do not necessarily correspond to official policy.

Consistency in official statements is essential so that policy clarity is conveyed that leaves no doubt about Pakistan’s interests and goals and its position on specific issues. But that goal is compromised when those with other wallets go on the airwaves with little knowledge and only to seek publicity.

Even those responsible for the articulation of foreign policy should ask themselves whether speaking too often – a press conference or an everyday television appearance – is prudent or productive. Making daily statements minimizes their importance.

It also increases the risk of making mistakes and goofs that lead to avoidable discomfort. This is evident from the frequency with which statements by certain ministers have had to be clarified or disavowed.

Savvy political leaders strike a balance between raising their profile and engaging in overexposure. This also applies to those with foreign policy responsibilities. It is preferable to leave certain explanations to the spokespersons.

At least three Pakistani ministers, including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, commented on the recent FATF meeting. Photo credit: Faisal Mahmood / Reuters

Populist approach

Another aspect of the Pakistani government’s foreign policy statement has to do with its populist policies and the seemingly overwhelming compulsion to play in the public gallery. This phenomenon is also evident in other countries where populism reigns supreme. Of course, it is important to explain the policy to the public and to build a national consensus on foreign policy goals and initiatives. But it’s quite a different thing from making bombastic or provocative statements aimed only at the local audience, which have direct implications for Pakistan’s ties with other countries.

Again, playing in the gallery is neither new nor exclusive to Pakistani rulers. But like elsewhere, it creates avoidable problems and complications. A populist approach to foreign policy that involves excessive reliance on statements designed to appeal to the emotions of people at home can result in the country being seen abroad as unpredictable and not serious in its international relations. Slandering or attributing malicious motives to former friendly countries does little to advance the country’s goals. What is said to a local audience resonates abroad and is consistent.

Another tendency of some ministers is to publicly criticize, or even castigate, an otherwise friendly country or a multilateral body when they do not support Pakistan’s position. Sometimes an assessment obtained through internal discussions – which should remain internal – is expressed publicly.

An example is public criticism of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation not so long ago. The question is whether a public attack, rather than privately conveying doubts and increasing pressure, will cause an organization or a country to change course? Or will a public reprimand further strengthen their position?

It also happened with a state with which Pakistan has a crucial relationship and resulted in a setback that took a year to rectify. The most recent case concerns a multilateral body, the FATF.

For high-ranking ministers, publicly denouncing it for its political motivation – an opinion which can be founded – is not the way to obtain a positive future result from this body. Not surprisingly, this prompted a European official (speaking anonymously) to warn Islamabad against such statements which “were not only counterproductive but also harmful to Pakistan’s interests”. This is not to say that disagreement with statements or reports should not be voiced, but it should be done in a thoughtful and measured manner.

Advertising weakness

The tone of foreign policy statements sends important signals abroad. Complaining is not a strategy. Complaining about a decision or the lack of an international response on an issue of importance to Pakistan will not change the minds of others. But it will expose the country’s frustrations and vulnerabilities to its opponents. In addition, a constantly plaintive tone is self-disparaging and annoying to others.

Whining only announces weakness and does nothing to improve Pakistan’s reputation. Worse still are the statements that give the impression of playing the role of victim – a helpless target of “international conspiracies” or the unjust policies of others. Again, such feelings, even if justified, are best expressed in private, as playing the victim shows a lack of self-confidence.

A penchant for continuing to invoke the past and lament the way the country has been (badly) treated in a relationship was also highlighted. This is fine for internal assessments of the historical context of a bilateral relationship, but it seems unnecessary to talk about it endlessly in public speeches.

It signals an inability to overcome the past and also a lack of meaningful thinking about the future. Stories based on public lamentations are neither helpful in rebuilding a relationship nor garnering public support for a reset.

The public expression of foreign policy in a consistent, confident and dignified manner is an essential part of the art of government. It should not be enslaved to populist politics or score political points at home at the cost of compromising Pakistan’s important relations with other countries or even with multilateral organizations.

This article first appeared in Dawn.

Saudi Arabia steps up efforts to replace UAE and Qatar as must-see regional hub

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BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 2,089, July 6, 2021

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Saudi Arabia has stepped up efforts to overtake the United Arab Emirates and Qatar as a commercial, cultural and / or geostrategic hub for the Gulf.

Riyadh recently extended its challenge to smaller Gulf states by seeking to position Saudi Arabia as the region’s premier sporting destination once Qatar has had its heyday with the 2022 World Cup. , it is trying to secure a stake in the management of regional ports and terminals currently dominated by the United Arab Emirates and, to a lesser extent, Qatar.

Saudi Arabia kicked off efforts to consolidate its position as the region’s giant by announcing in February that it stop doing business by 2024 with international companies whose regional headquarters were not based in the kingdom.

With the ranking of UAE 16 on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index 2020 Unlike Saudi Arabia at number 62, Freewheeling Dubai has long been the preferred regional headquarters for international trade.

The Saudi move “clearly targets the United Arab Emirates” and “calls into question the status of Dubai,” said a United Arab Emirates-based banker.

The port control game is dominated by Dubai’s DP World, which operates 82 marine and inland terminals in more than 40 countries, including Djibouti, Somaliland, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Cyprus. The kingdom’s expansion in the management of ports and terminals seems less motivated by geostrategic considerations.

Instead, Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT), which is backed by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, said it was targeting ports that would serve imports. vital Saudi Arabian policies such as those related to food security.

In January, PIF and China’s Cosco Shipping Ports each took a 20% stake in RSGT.

The Chinese investment is part of China’s wider Belt and Road strategy, which involves the regional acquisition of stakes in ports and terminals in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Oman and Djibouti, where China has a military base.

RSGT CEO Jens Floe said the company plans to invest in at least three international ports over the next five years. He said each investment would amount to $ 500 million.

“We are focusing on the ports in Sudan and Egypt. They were not chosen for this reason, but they are important countries for Saudi Arabia’s food security strategy, ”said Floe.

Saudi Arabia’s increased focus on sports, including a potential candidacy for the organization of the 2030 World Cup, serves several purposes: to provide Saudi youth, who represent more than half of the kingdom’s population, with an opportunity for leisure and entertainment; it stimulates the booming development of a leisure and entertainment industry by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman; it potentially allows Saudi Arabia to polish a national image tarnished by human rights violations, including the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi; and questions Qatar’s position as the face of Middle Eastern sports.

A recent report by Grant Liberty, a London-based human rights group that focuses on Saudi Arabia and China, estimates that the kingdom has so far invested $ 1.5 billion in organizing the several sporting events, including the final matches of the best Italian and Spanish footballers. leagues; Formula One; boxing, wrestling and snooker matches; and golf tournaments. Qatar is currently the Middle East’s leader in hosting sporting events, followed by the United Arab Emirates.

Grant Liberty said other offers for sporting events valued at $ 800 million had failed. That did not include an unsuccessful bid of $ 600 million to replace Qatari sports network beIN TV as the Middle Eastern broadcaster of the UEFA Champions League.

Saudi Arabia reportedly continues to ban beIN from broadcasting in the kingdom despite the lifting in January of the 3.5-year deal led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. diplomatic and economic boycott of Qatar.

that of prince Muhammad Vision 2030 plan to diversify and rationalize the Saudi economy and wean it from dependence on oil exports “made the creation of professional sports and a sports industry one of its objectives … The kingdom is proud to host and support various sporting and sporting events which not only introduce the Saudis to new sports and renowned international athletes, but also showcase the landmarks of the kingdom and the welcoming nature of its people to the world. “Said Fahad Nazer, spokesperson for the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington.

The increased focus on sports comes as the kingdom appears to be moving away from its intention to reduce the centrality of energy exports to its economy.

Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, brother of Prince Muhammad, recently ridiculed a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) that “there is no need to invest in a new fossil fuel supply ”as“ the sequel to the movie La La Land ”. The Minister then asked: “Why should I take [the report] seriously?”

Putting its money where its mouth is, Saudi Arabia intends to increase its oil production capacity from 12 million to over 13 million barrels per day assuming global efforts to replace fossil fuels with cleaner energy sources will lead to big reductions in the United States and Russia. production.

The kingdom’s operating assumption is that demand in Asia for fossil fuels will continue to increase even if it decreases in the West. Other Gulf producers, including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, are following a similar strategy.

“Saudi Arabia is no longer an oil country, it is an energy producing country… a very competitive energy country. We are low cost in oil production, low cost in gas production and low cost in renewable energy production and will certainly be the cheapest hydrogen producer, ”Prince Abdulaziz said.

He appeared to suggest that doubling the kingdom’s oil is part of a strategy to ensure Saudi Arabia is a player in all conventional and unconventional aspects of energy. By implication, Prince Abdulaziz said diversification was likely to expand the kingdom’s energy supply rather than significantly reducing its dependence on energy exports.

“Sports, entertainment, tourism and mining, along with other industries envisioned in Vision 2030, are valuable expansions of the Saudi economy that serve multiple economic and non-economic purposes,” an analyst said. Saudi. “However, it is becoming evident that energy will likely remain the real name of the game.”

View PDF

Dr James M. Dorsey, a non-resident Senior Associate at the BESA Center, is Principal Investigator at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and co-director of the Institute for Fan Culture at the University of Würzburg.


New Zealand’s Indo-Pacific Tilt Accelerates Thanks to Covid


Foreign Affairs

While Covid-19 still has a dramatic impact on the world, the pandemic has aggravated rather than altered the existing fault lines in the great power rivalry – and the government continues to adjust its outlook accordingly, reports Sam Sachdeva

As countries around the world grapple with variants of Covid-19 and hopes of a quick return to reality fade, Otago Foreign Policy School’s focus on foreign policy in an “era. post-Covid ”may seem a bit premature.

But in many ways, there was no better time to consider the way forward for New Zealand, as the world is sort of in limbo between the initial outbreak and the shift to a new normal. .

Addressing the University of Otago conference, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta painted a rather bleak picture of “an era of uncertainty and risk” with the global recovery unfolding against a backdrop of deteriorating stability and security.


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But as Mahuta said, Covid-19 is not the root cause of the situation the world finds itself in; instead, he simply “laid bare the challenges and exacerbated what was starting to happen long before Covid hit our world.”

Chief among these pre-existing challenges is the great-power rivalry between the United States and China, a topic that keeps coming up.

She had warm words for the United States, “an essential security and defense partner, an important economic partner and a major source of innovation and technology that we need to continue to improve the standard of living for all. the peoples “.

China has been called one of our most important relations, but along with predictable discussions on trade relations and human rights concerns, there has been the comment that bilateral relations are “Out of date with a relationship of firsts” and had become more mature.

Perhaps this is just a self-evident statement, that after being the first Western country to sign a free trade agreement with China and achieve other “firsts”, there is little new ground. to cross.

But it could also be read as a warning that New Zealand won’t jump into China-led initiatives as quickly as in the past (take the Belt and Road initiative, one of the ‘top five’ but which led to little obvious benefit for both parties).

Indo-Pacific in the spotlight

Another interesting element of Mahuta’s speech came from his references to Asia-Pacific – to be more precise, his absence.

The phrase received no mention in his remarks, while Indo-Pacific – a term that some say puts more emphasis on American security and worldview – has come up three times.

This focus is supported by his ministry: MFAT’s most recent budget allocations and strategic intentions define New Zealand’s work as taking place in the Indo-Pacific rather than the Asia-Pacific.

Speaking to Newsroom after her remarks, Mahuta noted that she inherited the new, larger view of the region from Winston Peters’ time in the hot seat and believed it wasn’t a bad thing given the need to work more closely with India.

“It does not deprive us of the opportunity to work with the ASEAN economies, it does not prevent us from working with China, but it broadens our ambition to the whole region.

On one level, focusing so narrowly on the four letters preceding the word “-Pacific” may seem needlessly pedantic, especially as the Indo-Pacific has become more commonly used in previously skeptical contexts such as ASEAN. .

But given that the MFAT found the issue important enough to issue a 2019 ministerial briefing on how and when to use which terms, after Peters initially indicated a preference for an Asia-Pacific framing, the fact that our foreign policy discourse has Leaning strongly in one direction is important.

Mahuta’s commentary is the strongest signal yet that New Zealand might be willing to join some sort of ‘Quad-plus’ arrangement – albeit given that it was the unscripted part. from its appearance, it remains to be seen whether this spills over into official government policy.

There is also the problem that there is no single vision of the Indo-Pacific, with perspectives ranging from an ASEAN-centric iteration to the “free and open Indo-Pacific” of the Indo-Pacific. America and more in between. Indeed, Indonesian Ambassador Tantowi Yahya made this point well when he asked a speaker at the school: “Which Indo-Pacific are you talking about?”

The government may need to define and further refine New Zealand’s own vision for the Indo-Pacific, with some first steps in that direction taken by Mahuta in a speech last month at the India Business Council summit. New Zealand.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to shed some light on the matter next week, when she delivers the keynote address at a New Zealand Institute of International Affairs conference specifically focused on the Indo-Pacific .

In the meantime, some ASEAN members may have raised eyebrows when Mahuta accepted a suggestion that New Zealand should work more closely with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad for short.

The regrouping of the United States, Australia, Japan and India is seen by many as an effort to counter China’s growing assertion in the region, and is causing unease with some countries such as Indonesia. .

Mahuta’s commentary is the strongest signal yet that New Zealand might be willing to join some sort of ‘Quad-plus’ arrangement – albeit given that it was the unscripted part. from its appearance, it remains to be seen whether this spills over into official government policy.

Trump diminished, American concern persists

The continued use of “Indo-Pacific,” a term popularized during Donald Trump’s presidency, also shows that while Trump’s influence may have waned after the election defeat, US concern about the growing power of China has endured.

Daniel Twining, president of the International Republican Institute and former foreign policy adviser to John McCain, told Newsroom that senior officials in Joe Biden’s administration told him they were okay with the security strategies and national defense of the Trump administration.

“I think a lot of people are surprised at how the Biden team has taken, not just any Trump approach, just that we’ve had a national consensus emerge that China is a dangerous opponent… in largely because of China’s own actions. , not because somehow we did something that changed the way Americans think about it.

In his speech to the school, Twining said the region’s history as the site of the “greatest economic miracle in human history” after the end of World War II was threatened by a setback. democracy, territorial conflicts and growing power imbalances – driven by one nation. in particular.

“The China factor is really at the center of a number of growing instability factors, and thinking about what made this Asian operating system successful from an economic and security standpoint, one has to more and more the impression that China in particular is putting this system at risk. “

“As damaging as the trade war has been, and indeed wreaked great havoc, competition and technological restrictions are likely to have far greater consequences.”

Mireya Solis, director of the Center for East Asia Policy Studies, had an equally bleak outlook in her remarks on the state of world trade.

“I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that the open rules-based system is facing an existential crisis, and I don’t use those words lightly,” Solis began, saying that the US trade tensions -Chinese were showing no signs of slowing down and could in fact worsen as retaliation went beyond simple tariff increases.

“As damaging as the trade war has been, and indeed wreaked great havoc, competition and technological restrictions are likely to have far greater consequences,” she said, referring to US concerns. regarding intellectual property theft and national security risks. asked by Chinese telecommunications companies.

It’s no wonder then that the US-China tension is “a new structural reality for international relations,” as University of Waikato foreign policy professor Reuben Steff put it, with a kind of conflict. military which is no longer inconceivable.

“We have to keep in mind in 12 of the 16 cases of the past 500 years, when a rising power threatens to overtake an existing hegemon, it has led to conflict between them.”

With this dynamic set to last for the foreseeable future, Mahuta and the government will spend much more time contemplating its effects on New Zealand and the Indo-, or Asia-Pacific.


“Qatar is a strategic partner on issues of international peace and security” —John Deschent, charge d’affaires of the United States

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John Deschent, the new US charge d’affaires in Qatar, praised Qatar’s leadership and mediation in promoting peace and reconciliation in the region and beyond.

In an interview with the Arab daily Ar-Raya, Deschent pledged to continue to build bridges between Qataris and Americans in many sectors, including education, the military, trade and investment. Excerpts from the interview:

Q: You have a wide and deep knowledge of the Arab world and have served in Iraq, Egypt, Algeria. Can you tell us more about yourself, what was your impression on being appointed Chef de Mission in Qatar and how did you find him here so far?
A: Thank you for inviting me to speak with you on US Independence Day. While I have indeed served in much of the Arab world, my experience in Qatar has so far been limited to a short visit a few years ago. I am delighted to be able to return for a more substantial stay and to work with my Qatari counterparts on our many areas of common interest. I am grateful for the warm welcome I received from everyone I met.

What is your assessment of Qatar-US bilateral relations and what do you think is unique in these relations?
Bilateral relations between Qatar and the United States are strong. We work closely on many issues and appreciate Qatar’s constructive role in resolving regional crises and promoting regional stability. After nearly 50 years of friendship and partnership, the United States Embassy continues to build bridges between Qataris and Americans in many areas including education, military, commerce and investment. .

How strategic is the US-Qatari partnership for the maintenance of regional and international peace and security, the de-escalation of Gaza, dialogue with Iran, the fight against extremism and terrorism, as well as climate change?
The United States views Qatar as a strategic partner on a range of issues related to international peace and security. Just a few days ago, Secretary Blinken met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani in Rome. The two discussed regional security and strengthening international support for humanitarian efforts in Gaza. The United States applauds Qatar’s leadership and mediation in promoting peace and reconciliation in the region and beyond. On climate change, we are pleased that Qatar’s energy authorities have joined ours with the energy ministries of Canada, Norway and Saudi Arabia to launch the new Net Zero Producers Forum. , which is dedicated to developing long-term strategies for energy-producing countries to achieve global net zero emissions.

Based on your experience in international trade, how do you see the progress made in economic relations, the volume of trade and mutual investments between the two countries?
I have spent my career deepening economic relations between my country and partners around the world. In Doha, much of this work has already been done. Our countries have extensive economic ties, and trade relations between the United States and Qatar are developing. The annual trade between our two countries was worth more than $ 8 billion before the pandemic. American companies are the main partners of Qatar’s oil and gas industry. In addition to energy, American companies are active in defense, aviation, high tech, health, food and construction. We also import a lot from Qatar, but there is room to grow. Finding that growth will be the focus of my time here.

How much US investment in Qatar is and in what sectors, how many US companies are working here and how attractive are recent Qatari economic legislation, labor reforms to US businessmen?
The engagement of the American private sector in Qatar is considerable. The United States remains Qatar’s largest foreign direct investor and its main source of imports. There are over 120 US companies operating here.
Regarding labor reforms, a lot of work remains to be done, but we recognize the important reforms of recent years, including the creation of labor dispute resolution committees, the elimination of exit permit requirements for workers. migrant workers, the implementation of a minimum wage and the abolition of the No objection certificate. As recently as last week, my government honored Mohammed al-Obaidly, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Qatari Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs, with an award for his leadership in promoting reforms of the system. sponsorship and resolution of labor issues in Qatar.

What would you say to the American community here, how many are there, the areas of work and their role in improving relationships?
It is an exciting year for the nearly 17,000 Americans living in Qatar as we celebrate the Qatar-USA Cultural Year 2021. Big events are coming up in the fall to which we invite the American community and all residents of Qatar. Qatar to attend, for example, the Qatar-USA Festival, which will take place in November and will include live music, film screenings, cooking demonstrations and performance art. The past year and a half has been difficult for everyone. The American community here has been resilient. Our Embassy held a virtual town hall with US citizens in the spring, and we will continue to conduct this type of outreach. Our citizens and our institutions are the ambassadors of American culture and values, and they are the foundation of the close relations between our countries.


Nine companies join government investment plan


KEEP IT LOCAL:
Firms asked to invest NT $ 3.3 billion in program that attracted hundreds of applications to invest up to NT $ 1.26 trillion in Taiwan

  • By Chen Cheng-hui / Journalist

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has approved nine more applications from Taiwanese companies to join the government’s three-year action plan for national investments, he said on Friday.

The additions bring the number of approved applications to 927 since early 2019, when the program was launched in a U.S.-China trade dispute, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

55 other companies are waiting for their applications to be considered, he added.

Photo: Huang Pei-chun, Taipei Times

The newly approved applicants aim to invest a total of NT $ 3.3 billion (US $ 118 million) in Taiwan, he said.

The ministry has approved more than NT $ 1.26 trillion in investment, which is expected to create 106,490 jobs, he said.

Auto parts and green energy parts supplier World Known MFG (Cayman) Ltd (光 隆 精密), Superior Starch Co Ltd (優質 澱粉), building materials producer Road Applied Technology Inc (羅德 應用 材料), manufacturer of precision casting components Song Time Precision Industrial Co Ltd (松泰 精密), forgings supplier Kao Shang Industry Co (高尚 工業), foundry manufacturer Shin-Li Foundry Ltd (鑫 立 鑄造), table producer CNC rotary machines and components Tanshing Accurate Industrial Co Ltd (潭 興 精工), Caitao Motors Co Ltd (凱 桃 汽車) and a subsidiary of the seafood restaurant chain Hai Pa Wang (海 霸王) are the latest companies to join the program.

The government’s action plan on domestic investment provides businesses with assistance on taxes, financing, land, utilities and labor.

It includes three programs to attract investment from Taiwanese companies at home and abroad, and the number of companies applying to participate in the program has increased despite the effects of COVID-19, the ministry said.

Since the start of 2019, the action plan has encouraged 217 Taiwanese companies abroad to invest NT $ 823.4 billion in Taiwan, and potentially create 68,720 jobs, while 607 small and medium-sized enterprises have obtained approval. to invest NT $ 255.4 billion, which should 23,783 jobs, the ministry said.

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Pakistan rejects reports of closure of consulate in Kabul

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KABUL:

Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul on Sunday dismissed reports of the closure of the consulate and the relocation of some diplomats, calling them factually incorrect.

“The embassy has seen media reports regarding the closure of Pakistan’s consulate general in Mazar-e-Sharif and the relocation of its diplomats to Kabul,” said an official statement released by the consulate.

“The embassy wishes to state that these reports are not factual. Pakistan’s consulates general in Afghanistan, including Mazar-e-Sharif, are open and functioning normally,” he added.

The consulate further stated that “no diplomat from any of the consulates general has been relocated”.

However, he added that “due to the deteriorating Covid-19 situation in the country, the embassy and all consulates general in Afghanistan, including Mazar-e-Sharif, have temporarily closed their consular sections for the issuance of manual visas “.

“Online visa services are operational and issue visas daily,” the embassy said.

Lily WHO NEEDS TO DO MORE?

On June 28, the Foreign Ministry rejected a statement issued by the Afghan Foreign Ministry claiming that the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was not operating on Afghan soil.

Denying the allegations in a statement, the FO claimed that Afghanistan’s claim implicating the presence of the militant group in Pakisan was false.

Responding to this claim, FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said Afghan soil has always been used against Pakistan and there have been reports of terrorists along the Afghan border.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that the TTP was neither founded in Afghanistan nor operating on its soil.

“This movement, along with other terrorist groups, is recognized as the enemy of peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan and the region, and the Afghan government is fighting this terrorist group like any other terrorist group. without discrimination, “said the statement from the Afghan Foreign Ministry. .


Top 10 Best International Foreign Banks in India 2021

1) Best international bank: CitiBank

For the fifth year in a row, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance named Citibank the “Best Bank for Wealthy Families”, placing the Citigold option available to wealthy clients at the top of the list. Citibank India is a full-service onshore foreign bank operating in India. Its Indian headquarters are in Mumbai, in the Bandra Kurla complex in Maharashtra. It is a subsidiary of Citigroup, a New York-based multinational financial services company. Although the bank is headquartered in Mumbai, the majority of its employees are based in Chennai, Mumbai and Gurugram.

Citibank announced on April 15, 2021 that after 119 years in India, it will quit personal banking in 13 regions, including India, as part of a reorganization.

2) Best International Foreign Bank: Standard Chartered Bank

2) Best International Foreign Bank: Standard Chartered Bank

Standard Chartered plc, headquartered in London, England, is a British multinational banking and financial services company. It employs more than 87,000 people and has a network of more than 1,200 branches and points of sale in more than 70 countries. Standard Chartered is part of the FTSE 100 Index and is listed primarily on the London Stock Exchange. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India and OTC Markets Group Pink all have secondary listings. In 1858, Chartered established its first branches in Mumbai (Bombay), Kolkata (Calcutta) and Shanghai, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore in 1859. In 1862, the Bank began printing Hong Kong dollar banknotes. The bank offers exceptional credit card, private banking and wealth management services.

3) HSBC BANK

3) HSBC BANK

HSBC Bank India is a bank headquartered in Mumbai which is a subsidiary of UK company HSBC Holdings plc. The Reserve Bank of India regulates it as a foreign bank under the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. (RBI). HSBC Holdings is a multinational investment bank and financial services holding company headquartered in the United Kingdom. With total assets of US $ 2,984 billion, it is the second largest bank in Europe (as of December 2020). The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation established HSBC in London in 1991 to function as a new group holding company, tracing its origins back to a hong in British Hong Kong. In India, it has more than 50 branches and serves a customer base of over 1 lakh of people.

4) DEUSTCHE BANK

4) DEUSTCHE BANK

Deutsche Bank AG is a Frankfurt-based global investment bank and financial services company that is double listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange. The bank’s network spans 58 countries, with strongholds in Europe, the Americas and Asia of 5 lakh people. The bank employs up to 11,000 people in 18 branches and provides all basic financial services. On-shore investment banking, institutional equity brokerage, private asset and wealth management, retail banking and business processing outsourcing are some of the financial products and services it offers.

5) ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND

5) ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND

The bank currently has more than ten branches that offer services such as foreign exchange, corporate banking and insurance. It is believed to have over 700 branches and is one of the most reputable banks in the world. In India, the Royal Bank of Scotland was founded in 1921 with the aim of providing a full range of banking services. With the creation of its Microfinance activity in September 2003, RBS India started its activities. In disadvantaged areas, RBS has developed a three-year microfinance technical assistance initiative. RBS India started its activities in September 2003 with the launch of its Microfinance activity. RBS created a three-year microfinance technical assistance initiative in underserved communities.

DBS BANK

DBS BANK

DBS Bank Ltd, located in Marina Bay, Singapore, is a Singaporean multinational banking and financial services organization. Development Bank of Singapore Limited was the former name of the company before its current name was adopted on July 21, 2003, to represent the company’s evolving role as a global bank. DBS is Asia’s safest bank, and its global strength has earned it a high score among commercial banks and a place among the 15 safest banks in the world. These results demonstrate DBS’s reliability towards investors, corporate clients and retail depositors. Loans, credit cards and a plethora of NRI services are among the services provided by this world bank.

BARCLAYS BANK

BARCLAYS BANK

Barclays is included in the FTSE 100 Index and has its primary listing on the London Stock Exchange. The New York Stock Exchange has a secondary listing for this. The Financial Stability Board considers it to be a systemically important bank. Barclays plc, headquartered in London, England, is a UK global universal bank. Barclays is divided into two divisions: Barclays UK and Barclays International, with Barclays Execution Services as the service company. The bank, headquartered in Mumbai, has seven branches across the country. Commercial banking services, loans, credit cards and treasury solutions are just a few of the main services provided by the bank.

8) BANK OF AMERICA

8) BANK OF AMERICA

The Bank of America Corporation (often abbreviated as BofA or BoA) is a U.S. global investment bank and financial services holding company headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Bank of America was founded in San Francisco in 1998 following the acquisition of BankAmerica by NationsBank. The bank started operations in 1964 and currently has only 5 offices in India. With 4.9 million customers, it remains one of the largest banks in the world.

BANK OF BAHRAIN AND KUWAIT

BANK OF BAHRAIN AND KUWAIT

The Kingdom of Bahrain and the State of Kuwait founded the Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait on March 16, 1971. The people in general, the Government of Bahrain and Kuwaiti banks and investment companies are among its shareholders. BBK provides a variety of banking services and products through its branches in Bahrain, Kuwait and India, as well as its representative office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In India, BBK has four sites: Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Aluva. mbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Aluva.

DOHA BANK

DOHA BANK

Doha Bank is one of the best known commercial banks in Qatar. He conducted banking operations on March 15, 1979 in Doha, Qatar. On June 10, 2014, Doha Bank QPSC, Qatar opened its first branch in India in Mumbai, and now has three branches in India: Sakhar Bhavan, Nariman Point, Mumbai, Chennai and Kochi. The bank also has an extensive global network of correspondents to provide services related to trade finance and remittances. The bank offers credit and a variety of other services.

Based on their presence, functional branches or representative offices, clients and products and services offered, these are the leading international banks in India.

IAICC Delegation Meets Indian Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu To Discuss Ways To Strengthen Indo-American Partnership | Indian of the world

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A delegation of Indian-American International Chamber of Commerce board members met with Indian Ambassador to the United States Taranjit Sandhu on June 24 at the Indian Embassy in Washington, DC

The delegation, led by IAICC Chief Executive Officer KV Kumar, discussed strategies with Sandhu on ways to collaborate on issues important to the Embassy, ​​and the Indian government, a press release said, adding that the delegation appreciated his leadership in organizing and coordinating relief efforts. efforts of the US side to combat the second wave of COVID-19 in India.

Sandhu said the IAICC can help in areas such as healthcare, energy, digital computing, and knowledge and education partnerships, as these areas provide ample opportunities for US companies to partner with. India.

The Minister of Community Affairs Anurag Kumar, Suja K. Menon, Advisor (Policy) and SA de Sandhu, and Vasudev Ravi, First Secretary (Policy), were also present at the meeting.

The IAICC delegation included Glenn Falcao, Vice President and Secretary; Narasimhulu Neelagaru, vice-president; Gregory Newell, vice-chair of the IAICC’s International Business Advisory Council; member of the board of directors Anu Bhat; the Southeast Regional Vice-President, Subrahmanya Bhat; member of the board of directors Kinesh Doshi; Kumar Allady, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; Keth Ditthavong, Director and General Counsel; Nandini Selvam, President of the IAICC Forum on Women in Business and Leadership; and T. Vishnudatta, IAICC Communications Director and Liaison Officer with Embassy of India.


Arrivederci & Mille Grazie! • The Nob Hill Gazette

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As in all great Italian operas, there were tears and laughter on June 6 at the Italian Consulate in Pacific Heights where friends and fans greeted the Consul General of Italy. Lorenzo Ortona and his wife, Sheila Ortona.

Although the Ortonas will be sorely missed, they leave behind a legacy at the Consulate – a grand neoclassical mansion from 1920 topped with bricks – where they revitalized a historic courtyard with an outdoor kitchen, wood-burning oven, and a traditional Italian-designed edible garden. by the landscaper Planet Horticulture David McCrory.

To celebrate, McCrory and her husband, Andy Chen, hosted a rinascita evening in the garden with many of the city’s top doctors who dressed in opera costume to cheer the couple and welcome the new consul general Sergio Strozzi with a return to our post-COVID social life.

Guests were delighted with live performances by choir singers from the San Francisco Opera, Symphony and Conservatory of Music. And restaurateur A16 Shelley lindgren – ennobled by Ortona in 2019 as a cultural ambassador, a Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia – proudly served Italian wines and beer.

The Ortona are on their way to Rome, Lorenzo’s hometown, where he will then serve in the office of the Prime Minister‘s diplomatic advisers. International diplomats are usually assigned four-year assignments, which the diplomat says may seem too long.

But Ortona’s tenure was too brief: his ability to link San Franciscans and Italians, joyfully sharing the music, cuisine and culture of his native land, defines him forever as one of the best consuls general in the world. city.


No known Taiwanese victims in landslide in Japan: MOFA


Taipei, July 3 (CNA) The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said on Saturday that it had not received any news of any Taiwanese victims following a landslide in Shizuoka prefecture (central Japan) earlier today.

The MOFA said in a statement that although its diplomats in Japan have not reported any Taiwanese nationals affected by the landslide, they are still checking to see if any of the 20 people local officials fear may be missing could be Taiwanese.

Heavy rains triggered the landslide in Atami town of Shizuoka around 10:30 a.m. Saturday, sweeping up several homes and leaving 20 people missing, according to Japanese and international media.

With Japan being prone to flooding and landslides during its rainy season, MOFA said it was paying close attention to the situation and doing everything possible to ensure the safety of Taiwanese nationals.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳 釗 燮) said via Twitter on Saturday that Taiwan was ready to provide assistance to Japan.

“The images of mudslides caused by torrential rains in Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, are very distressing to the people of Taiwan,” Wu said, adding, “We conveyed our deepest condolences to the government of Japan.

(By Chung Yu-chen and Teng Pei-ju)

Final element / AW


History and significance of the occasion

The organization aims to eliminate single-use plastics from our daily use. According to Zero Waste Europe (ZWE), it was found that up to 92 percent of the total 95.5 billion transport bags in 2010 were single-use in the EU

Launched by Zero Waste Europe, International Plastic Bag Free Day is celebrated around the world on July 3. The purpose of observing this day is to raise awareness against the use of this often non-biodegradable material which harms our environment. The organization aims to eliminate single-use plastics from our daily use. According to Zero Waste Europe, (ZWE) it was found that up to 92 percent of the total 95.5 billion transport bags in 2010 were single-use in the EU.

History of the International Day without plastic bags

The day was launched in 2008 by a member of ZWE, Rezero. In the first year of its creation, the day was celebrated only in Catalonia. A year later, ZWE launched the International Day Without Plastic Bags in the European Union. Their campaign has grown over the years and the organization has been able to push several countries to take action to reduce the use of single-use plastics.

Importance of the International Day Without Plastic Bags

In a blog post on ZWE’s website by its executive director Joan Marc Simon said that the actions taken by the organization have given them significant results. The Plastic Bags Directive was promulgated in 2015 by the EU. The aim of the directive was to take measures that could reduce plastic consumption per person to 90 bags by 2018. It plans to further reduce consumption to 40 plastic bags per person by 2025.

New measure to reduce plastic consumption in India

In order to reduce the use of plastic water bottles, water boxes have been created by Suneeth Tatineni and Chaitanya Ayinapudi from Hyderabad. With the help of these water boxes, they aim to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles by 85%. The water boxes and bags they use are environmentally friendly and can be recycled.

US leaves key Afghan base; withdrawal target now ‘end of August’ | Regional

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Almost 20 years after invading Afghanistan to drive out the Taliban and track down al-Qaida, the US military has left its largest airfield in the country, advancing a final withdrawal which the Pentagon said on Friday will be completed by the end. August.

President Joe Biden had asked the Pentagon to complete the military withdrawal by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, but the Pentagon now says it can complete the withdrawal a little sooner .

In fact, much of the pullback is already complete and officials had said it could be wrapped up this weekend. But a number of related issues need to be addressed in the coming weeks, including a new US military command structure in Kabul and talks with Turkey on an arrangement to maintain security at Kabul airport, and therefore an end. official withdrawal will not be announced shortly.

“A safe and orderly withdrawal allows us to maintain a continued diplomatic presence, to support the Afghan people and government and to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a haven for terrorists who threaten our homeland,” the press secretary said. from the Pentagon, John Kirby.

Meanwhile, the administration is restricting options for ensuring the safety of thousands of Afghans whose special visa applications to come to the United States have yet to be approved. The administration has already said it is willing to evacuate them to third countries pending approval of their visas, but has not yet determined where. Officials said on Friday that one possibility would be to relocate them to neighboring Central Asian countries where they could be protected from possible reprisals from the Taliban or other groups.

The White House and State Department declined to comment on the number of people to be moved or their destination, but the foreign ministers of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan were both in Washington this week and the subject of Afghan security was discussed in meetings they held with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Kirby said Austin on Friday approved a new command structure in Afghanistan to shift the US military mission from the war to two new objectives – protecting a continued US diplomatic presence in Kabul and maintaining liaison with the Afghan military.

Austin’s plan calls on Commander-in-Chief in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Scott Miller, to hand over his combat authority to Florida-based U.S. Central Command Chief, Naval General Frank McKenzie, before relinquishing his command this month. In addition, a two-star Navy Admiral will head a US Embassy-based military office, dubbed US Forces Afghanistan-Forward, to oversee the new mission of ensuring the security of the Embassy and its diplomats.

A Qatar-based military satellite office headed by a one-star U.S. general will be established to administer U.S. financial support to the Afghan military and police, as well as maintenance support provided for Afghan aircraft outside the United States. ‘Afghanistan.

Kirby said Miller, who is already the longest serving commander of US forces in Afghanistan in the 20-year war, will remain in command for “a few more weeks”, but was not more specific. He said Miller would prepare for and complete the transfer of his duties to McKenzie and that he would also travel within and beyond Afghanistan.

Miller met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday and, according to a tweet in Dari from the presidential palace, the two discussed “continued US aid and cooperation with Afghanistan, especially to support the defense and security forces “.

Bagram Airfield was the epicenter of the war to drive out the Taliban and track down the al-Qaida perpetrators of the September 11 terrorist attacks on America. At its peak around 2012, Bagram Airfield saw more than 100,000 American troops pass through the huge complex located just an hour’s drive north of Kabul.

Meanwhile, the administrator of the Afghan district of Bagram, Darwaish Raufi, said the American departure took place overnight without any coordination with local authorities, and that as a result early on Friday, dozens of local looters broke through the unprotected gates before Afghan forces regained control.

“They were arrested and some were arrested and the rest were evacuated from the base,” Raufi told The Associated Press, adding that looters ransacked several buildings before being arrested and that Afghan forces took over. Control.

However, US Army spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett said the transfer was an “extended process” that lasted for several weeks and began shortly after Biden announced in mid-April that the America was withdrawing the last of its forces.

“All Resolute Support base and facility transfers, including Bagram Airfield, have been closely coordinated, both with senior government officials and with our Afghan partners in the security forces, including senior management. respective local units of each base. Colonel Leggett said.

The Taliban hailed the US withdrawal from Bagram airfield. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that Friday’s departure was a “positive step”, calling for “the withdrawal of foreign forces from all parts of the country”.

Since this week, most of the others NATO soldiers have already quietly exited Afghanistan. Announcements from several countries analyzed by the PA show that a majority of European troops have left unceremoniously – in stark contrast to the dramatic and public show of force and unity when NATO allies lined up in support the American invasion in 2001.

The United States declined to say when the last American soldier would leave Afghanistan, citing security concerns, but the future security and protection of Kabul International Airport are still being negotiated. Turkish and American soldiers are currently protecting the airport, still as part of the Resolute Support mission, which is the military mission being liquidated.

Until a new deal for the airport is struck by Turkey and the Afghan government, and possibly the United States, it looks like the Resolute Support mission will have to continue to be in charge of the installation.

———

Gannon reported from Kabul. Associated Press editors Lolita Baldor and Matthew Lee in Washington, Farid Tanha, in Bagram, Afghanistan, and Rahim Faiez in Kabul, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


Coronavirus LIVE: Ministry of Health approves vaccination of pregnant women


Corona Updates: India today recorded 46,617 infections and 853 deaths in the past 24 hours. The total number of coronavirus cases stands at 30,458,251, while deaths from Covid-19 in India topped 400,000. In just over five weeks, from May 23 to July 1, the country reported 100,000 Covid deaths even as the second wave dwindled. The World Health Organization has said the Delta variant of Covid-19 is now present in nearly 100 countries according to conservative estimates, and has warned that over the next few months, the highly transmissible strain will become the dominant variant of the coronavirus around the world.

Kerala reported 12,868 new infections, followed by Maharashtra (9,195), Tamil Nadu (4,481), Andhra Pradesh (3,841), Karnataka (3,203), Delhi (93) and Bengal western (1478).

The five states most affected by the total number of cases are Maharashtra (6,070,599), Kerala (29,937,033), Karnataka (2,847,013), Tamil Nadu (2,484,177) and Andhra Pradesh (1893354).

Global Coronavirus Update: Covid-19 continues to spread globally, with 183,389,411 confirmed cases and 3,970,616 deaths in nearly 200 countries recorded since China reported its first cases in December 2019. The United States remains the most affected with 34,560,716 cases, followed by India, Brazil, France and Russia.


United States supports Ghana’s aviation sector

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Accra, Ghana – On June 30, 2021, the United States Agency for Trade and Development announced a grant for a feasibility study to support the development of a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at the international airport from Kotoka (KIA) in Ghana. US Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie S. Sullivan presided over the ceremony and was joined by members of the Government of Ghana, beneficiary representatives from Ghanaian company Aerojet Aviation Ltd and US company Alton Aviation Consultancy , as well as industry leaders.

The feasibility study is an essential basis before the implementation of the project, which would establish the first full-service MRO facility in West Africa. It doesn’t matter if the repair is minor or complicated, airlines must repair their aircraft at a certified MRO so that the aircraft can be returned to service. In addition, scheduled preventive maintenance must be performed by a certified MRO installation on each aircraft in active service.

MRO installations on the African continent represent only about four percent of the global MRO market, with no MRO installations in West Africa. This study builds on the support of USTDA’s previous feasibility study in 2009, 2011 and 2012 to undertake improvements at Kotoka International Airport.

“Having an MRO at KIA offers Ghana the opportunity to propel itself into an even stronger regional and global leadership position in the aviation sector and to boost regional economic growth, safety, security and mobility” , said Ambassador Sullivan.

The grant is awarded to Ghanaian company Aerojet Aviation Limited, and US aviation experts Alton Aviation Consultancy LLC will carry out the feasibility study.
This activity supports the Prosper Africa Initiative, a US government initiative aimed at dramatically increasing two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa. He is also supporting President Biden’s Build Back Better World initiative to apply US technology and equipment to help recover from COVID-19.

###

About USTDA

The United States Trade and Development Agency helps businesses create jobs in the United States through the export of American goods and services for priority infrastructure projects in emerging economies. USTDA connects US companies with export opportunities by funding project preparation and partnership building activities that develop sustainable infrastructure and promote economic growth in partner countries.


US Consulate Partners With Igbinedion University To Launch Benin City Window On America

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For residents of Benin’s capital of Edo State, who want to learn more about the US government, history, culture, and education system, the US Consulate in Lagos has launched a center that will provide information free of charge.

Known as the Benin City Window on America (BCWoA), the center that has partnered with Igbinedion University (IUO), Okada, Edo State, has offered a space where visitors can learn more about the United States. United.

Consulate public affairs official Stephen Ibelli told Benin at the launch that Window to America, formerly known as the United States Information Service’s office, serves as a platform for the United States. United around the world in a mantra to engage, educate and empower.

Seeming optimistic, Ibelli said the window will expose visitors to many educational, research, funding and research opportunities in the United States from the best universities to study.

While commending the IUO for the partnership, the envoy said the country has over 4,000 universities.

IUO Vice-Chancellor Professor Lawrence Ezemonye noted that the partnership represents a strategic collaboration aimed at strengthening cultural integration, education, skills development and empowerment of young people, between others for the benefit of residents of Edo State and Nigeria in general to connect with the United States. States.

Represented by the former Governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, Chancellor of the University, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion said he was delighted that the university was chosen as the 13th Partner of the Window on Initiative. America in southern Nigeria.

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday at State House Abuja urged MTN Group to make premium service available to its Nigerian subscribers… US Consulate partners Igbinedion varsity to launch Benin City Window on America; US Consulate Partners With Igbinedion University To Launch Benin City Window on America; US Consulate Partners With Igbinedion University To Launch Benin City Window on America; The US Consulate is partnering with Igbinedion University to launch Benin City Window on America.


The Indians face serious threats of kidnapping in Afghanistan ”, warns the consulate; All you need to know

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In a 13-point advisory, the Indian embassy strongly warned of the threat of kidnapping, death and injury during terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, which is considered the most dangerous place in the world.

Indians in Afghanistan: India has issued a detailed and specific security alert for its nationals in Afghanistan. PA

The Indian Embassy in Afghanistan on Tuesday advised all Indians visiting, staying and working in Afghanistan to exercise the utmost caution regarding their safety and to avoid any type of non-essential travel due to the escalation of violence in various parts of the country.

According to official data, more than 3,000 Indians are currently residing in Afghanistan.

The majority of Indian nationals in Afghanistan are engineers and staff working on hundreds of development projects implemented across the country. India is the largest regional donor in Afghanistan, with pledges of around $ 3 billion.

What is the threat

In a 13-point advisory, the embassy strongly warned of the threat of kidnapping, death and injury during terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, which is considered most dangerous place in the world.

“The security situation in Afghanistan remains dangerous in several provinces. Terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan have stepped up their violent activities and carried out a series of complex attacks in various parts of Afghanistan, including targeting the Afghan defense and security forces and Afghan government institutions and even civilians, “he said. declared the embassy.

“Indian nationals are no exception, and they additionally face a serious threat of kidnapping,” he said.

  • The embassy said the The security situation in Afghanistan remains “dangerous” and that terrorist groups have carried out a series of complex attacks, including targeting civilians.
  • The embassy also warned that Indian nationals were also facing a “serious threat of “kidnapping.
  • In addition to this, the Taliban has also threatened journalists working or covering Afghanistan, whom they perceive to side with the West and the Afghan government.

What has the Indian Embassy advised its citizens?

  • The Embassy “strongly advised” all Indians to avoid all types of non-essential movements
  • The embassy advised people to avoid travel during rush hour.
  • Venture out outside the big cities should be avoided, he said, adding that essential travel must be done by air because many highways and roads are dangerous and prone to attack.
  • He urged them to keep essential movements like discreet as possible and avoiding following predictable routes or routines
  • The embassy also strongly advised Indian companies operating in Afghanistan to take the necessary security measures for their Indian employees deployed to the project sites.
  • When traveling on the roads, he advised Indians to maintain distance from possible targets such as military convoys, vehicles of government ministries / offices, senior officials, law enforcement agencies, and avoid visiting crowded markets
  • All Indian nationals arriving in Afghanistan have also been invited to register with the embassy / consulates on the website: https://eoi.gov.in/kabul/ or by email to [email protected] Those who are already present but have not registered or updated their contact details are also requested to do so immediately.

Afghanistan was in a state of almost constant war for over 20 years even before the United States got involved.

In 1979, a year after a military coup, the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan to support a friendly government. He fought a resistance movement – known as the Mujahedin – which was supported by the United States, Pakistan, China and Saudi Arabia, among other countries. In 1989, Soviet troops withdrew but the civil war continued. In the chaos that followed, the Taliban (meaning “students” in the Pashtun language) arose.

They had ruled the country since 1996, with the West living in oblivion of the harsh Sharia rule implemented by them, which included beheadings and public executions. But after the September 11 attacks in America killed nearly 3,000 people, the United States invaded Afghanistan as the Taliban supported and protected Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the main perpetrator of the American bombings.

After the American attack, the Taliban regime was quickly dismantled and its fighters and warlords quickly melted across Pakistan’s porous border, but they did not completely disappear.

What is happening there now?

  • In recent days, the Taliban have made rapid progress in northern Afghanistan, invading several districts, some of which would have barely had a fight, even as the United States and NATO continue their final withdrawal from Afghanistan. Clearly, their departure will be complete long before the September 11 deadline set by President Joe Biden when he announced in mid-April the end of America’s “eternal war”.
  • The Taliban’s gains are important because:
  • A) The transportation routes they provide to insurgents. With recent gains, the Taliban now control the main border crossing with Tajikistan, the main trade route. They also hold the strategic district of Doshi, critical because the only road connecting Kabul to northern Afghanistan crosses it.
  • B) Equally important is that the north is the traditional stronghold of Afghanistan’s ethnic minority groups, who aided the US-led invasion that ousted the Taliban from power nearly 20 years ago and are among the leaders in power since. The traditional stronghold of the Taliban, who are mostly ethnic Pashtuns, is in the south and east of the country.

As a result, a worried government this week launched what it called the national mobilization, arming local volunteers. Observers say the move only resuscitates militias who will be loyal to local commanders or powerful allied warlords in Kabul, who destroyed the Afghan capital in the factional fighting of the 1990s and killed thousands of civilians.

“The fact that the government has launched the call for militias is a clear admission of the failure of the security forces … most certainly an act of desperation,” said Bill Roggio, senior researcher at the Defense Foundation based in the USA. democracies. Roggio follows militant groups and is editor-in-chief of the foundation’s Long War Journal.

“The Afghan army and police have abandoned many outposts, bases and district centers, and it is hard to imagine that these hastily organized militias could outperform the organized security forces,” he said. he declared.

Meanwhile, as districts fell, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani swept his defense and interior ministries, appointing new top leaders, including reinstating Bismillah Khan as defense minister. Khan has already been dismissed from his post for corruption and his militias have come under fire for summary killings. They were also deeply involved in the brutal civil war that led to the Taliban takeover in 1996.

Afghan and international observers fear a similar conflict will resume. During the war of the 1990s, several warlords fought for power, nearly destroying Kabul and killing at least 50,000 people – mostly civilians – in the process.

These warlords returned to power after the fall of the Taliban and have gained wealth and strength since. They are jealous of their domains, deeply suspicious of each other, and their loyalty to Ghani is fluid. Uzbek ethnic warlord Rashid Dostum Uzbek, for example, violently ousted the president’s choice for governor of his Uzbek-controlled Faryab province earlier this year.

A former adviser to the Afghan government, Torek Farhadi, called the national mobilization “a recipe for future generalized violence”.

He noted that the government had promised to pay the militias, even as official security forces complain that salaries are often delayed by several months. He predicted that the same corruption would eat away at militia funds, and as a result “local commanders and warlords will quickly turn against him (Ghani) and we will have strongholds and chaos.”

With contributions from the Associated Press


UAE transports COVID-19 relief supplies to India free of charge



ANI |
Update:
June 29, 2021 6:49 PM STI

Dubai [UAE], June 29 (ANI): Dubai long-haul carrier Emirates said on Tuesday it had transported around 100 tons of COVID-19 relief supplies, free of charge to India to help the country fight the coronavirus pandemic .
“Emirates SkyCargo has sent 100 tons of free relief supplies to India to help the Indian community fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” Emirates SkyCargo airline said in a statement on Tuesday.
As part of the Emirates India Humanitarian Airlift, Emirates donated cargo capacity to transport essential supplies such as relief tents and thousands of oxygen cylinders and concentrators free of charge on flights to Indian destinations.

“Emirates is deeply connected and committed to India. The Emirates India Humanitarian Airlift has been our contribution to help the Indian community fight the second wave of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. We are encouraged by the fact may India overcome the virus and we are honored to have supported the efforts of partners by donating essential air cargo capacity for the rapid and reliable transport of essential goods to nine Indian cities ”, said Nabil Sultan, Senior Vice President of Emirates Division, Cargo.
“Emirates India’s humanitarian airlift confirms the important role played by the private sector around the world, in providing assistance to millions of people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This airlift with Emirates confirms the solid partnership and commitment of the two Dubai entities to facilitate humanitarian action by international organizations and United Nations agencies operating within the IHC. Together, we fulfill the mandate of the IHC and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vision of the Ruler of Dubai to support humanitarian needs around the world. IHC has embraced the Sustainable Development Goal “Partnership” and is very proud to have partnered with Emirates SkyCargo and the international humanitarian community for the extraordinary efforts being made to meet the demands of the pandemic in addition to other emergencies ” , said Giuseppe Saba, CEO of IHC.
“Tackling the COVID-19 pandemic is a race against time. It is also a complex logistics operation that works tirelessly to provide frontline health workers with the equipment they need and ensure equitable access to vaccines for all. From our warehouse in the United Arab Emirates, UNICEF can quickly deploy supplies to all continents. This capability would not have been possible without the support of our partners. Thanks to the solutions of Emirates SkyCargo, and as demonstrated by the airlift in India, we are able to deliver supplies quickly and efficiently, ”said Eltayeb Adam, UNICEF representative in the Gulf region.
Emirates set up the India Humanitarian Airbridge in early May 2021 to boost the transport of urgent medical and relief items to India by providing free cargo capacity on its flights from Dubai to India.
The first shipment under the Airbridge initiative flew from Dubai to Delhi on May 13 and included 12 tons of multipurpose tent equipment for field hospitals sent by the World Health Organization via IHC. (ANI)

Payday loan alternatives are becoming more widely available

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In perhaps the most unprecedented change, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, designed to provide financial relief during the pandemic, included $3 billion specifically for the CDFI Fund, which provides financial assistance to CDFIs and minority depository institutions (MDIs). That amount is nearly equal to what the fund has received in total since its inception in 1994. “There’s a lot of public investment in mission-driven institutions,” says Betty J. Rudolph, National Director of Development Banks. minorities and communities of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. .

Boosted by the 2020 national race reckoning, CDFIs and MDIs – institutions that are often also CDFIs but primarily serve minority communities and have minority leadership – have also attracted hundreds of millions of dollars from some of the largest major technology and financial companies in the country. This includes Google ($180 million), Bank of America ($150 million), PayPal ($135 million), and Twitter ($100 million). In late 2020, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott went public with her gift of more than $4.1 billion to 384 organizations, with particular attention to those operating in communities with “low access to philanthropic capital”, 32 of them being CDFIs.

The influx of funds means CDFIs will be able to reach and help more customers. “We’re working to position them to use these new resources to build and grow, to better serve their customers and create wealth in their communities,” Rudolph says.

In mid-June, the Treasury Department provided $1.25 billion in financing to 863 CDFIs; 463 loan fund organizations received awards, as well as 244 credit unions.

Capital Good Fund, a Rhode Island CDFI, says it will have a transformative impact on its ability to provide personal and other unsecured loans to its clients. Unlike banks, which, according to Capital Good Founder and CEO Andy Posner, review pay stubs, credit reports and 1099s to determine an applicant’s loan eligibility, Capital Good assesses bank history, examines letters from family or friends and grants allowances to immigrants which can be paid in cash. The process can be done entirely on a smartphone in about 10 minutes, and decisions are made in two days. CDFI Small Dollar Loans have a 5% APR, with no application, origination, closing or late fees.

In April, the CDFI Fund opened applications for its new Small Loans (SDL) program, designed to compete with payday lenders. Under the program, up to $13.5 million will be distributed to certified CDFIs to create loans of up to $2,500, to be repaid in installments with payments reported to at least one credit bureau. The program aims to provide opportunities for unbanked and underbanked people who traditionally do not have access to the mainstream financial system.

Mexican Consulate Officials Come To Nacogdoches To Help Mexican Nationals

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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) – The Mexican Consulate is in Nacogdoches this week. The consulate provides services and protection to Mexican citizens abroad, including identification and passports. On the first day there were long lines and some confusion in the schedules.

The arrival of the Mexican Consulate on this first day was set at one o’clock. But some customers had been waiting since six in the morning. By noon, about 80 were online.

Many did not know that the appointments were necessary. Others said phone and email check-in didn’t always work.

Nacogdoches ISD’s bilingual program director, Dr. Evelyn Sauceda, answered questions.

Roy Reyes of La Lengua newspaper does the same. The co-coordinators understand that passports and proper identification are important.

“They need it for different transactions, like opening bank accounts or paying taxes, for example,” Sauceda said.

It’s all the kind of papers a person needs, no matter where they come from.

“Birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates and they offer dual citizenship,” Reyes added.

The town of Nacogdoches also helped. SFA nurses were there to administer the COVID-19 vaccines. The NISD has registered kindergartens and kindergartens. And on Tuesday, NEDCO starts a three-day job fair.

It’s inclusiveness.

“A little bit to bridge the gap for families. We have this gap of not being able to provide information or sometimes they just don’t feel comfortable going and asking, ”Sauceda said.

“They are raising families here. They are next door neighbors. They use the services that everyone else is using, ”Reyes said.

This is the kind of service provided in Mexican consulate offices in Houston and Dallas without the hassle of travel.

The visit helps Dr Sauceda and his parents renew their passports.

“Even though we are US citizens, it’s still nice to have all of these documents when we travel to have this dual citizenship,” Sauceda explained.

The Consulate on Wheels will be encouraged to return for further visits to Nacogdoches. Based on today’s turnout, his services are needed.

Copyright 2021 KTRE. All rights reserved.


Technology is a critical enabler for a flexible hybrid work model: Upasna Nischal, Fidelity International

As organizations look forward to a post-pandemic work culture, many plan to offer a hybrid and flexible work environment for their employees in order to thrive in the new normal. In an exclusive interaction with Upasna Nischal, Head of Human Resources, India at Fidelity International, explains the exclusive benefits of their recently launched “dynamic work” model. Nischal also discussed the key multi-level challenges that HR managers face in establishing a flexible work culture and managing diverse teams.

1. What productivity tools are you using to thrive in the new era of performance management?

The new world order inaugurated by Covid 19 is hyper-distributed, fluid and without borders. The digital transformation initiatives that companies have embarked on will continue for years to come. Even though we as an organization were already on the path to digital transformation, the pandemic has dramatically accelerated the disruption. For us, it was important to ensure a balance between business continuity, employee engagement and well-being.

Over the past year, we’ve enabled remote working for all of our employees across the globe by accelerating collaboration tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Mural, Microsoft Whiteboard, etc., as channels for get our work done and stay connected. These widely used tools now help our staff become familiar with them by regularly sharing best practices and learning around their use, such as running effective virtual meetings, zooming in, online meeting labels, and more. In addition to these tools, our HR teams are also leveraging automation and data to reinvent and redesign talent management strategies for the new hybrid world.

2. Do you think technology can cover it all? What are the main multi-level challenges that HR managers would face in managing teams?

As we saw last year, technology has been the critical catalyst in helping organizations succeed in the flexible hybrid work environment, which we call “Dynamic Work” at Fidelity International. However, technology alone cannot be the panacea for success in the new world; we must also focus on creating the workplaces of tomorrow that are flexible and allow employees to collaborate and engage well to develop winning solutions.

Over the past 18 months, we’ve learned that we can adapt brilliantly as individuals and teams and run our business in ways we never imagined possible. In addition to providing tools, technology, resources and best practices, we ensured regular communications with all of our employees as we transitioned to the new remote working model – this has helped them stay in touch with the strategy and plans of the organization. We have also focused on providing strong training and development materials for managers to prepare them for conversations with their teams about work arrangements, performance expectations, well-being, collaboration and leadership. engagement in a flexible hybrid world.

The pandemic has presented interesting challenges to the corporate world – HR teams collaborating with other functions have successfully led strategic changes to meet rapidly changing expectations. In addition, we have worked on defining and building skills and capacities for the future, strengthening organizational values ​​and culture, and going the extra mile to ensure that we include every team member, whether on site or online. This is an evolutionary process that would require us to be nimble and to make conscious efforts on an ongoing basis.

Going forward, the physical infrastructure of our offices will play an equally vital role in our success in the new world – we must design them in such a way that our employees feel included and connected, regardless of their physical location. We need to make room for virtual collaboration, brainstorming rooms, caucuses, performance management discussions, informal discussions, etc. There is also a need to provide tools and technical resources for a seamless transition to the hybrid world.

Finally, our values ​​must become the golden thread that binds our people and perpetuates our culture while working in the hybrid model.

3) What is your prediction for the future of work?

In the future, as organizations move towards hybrid work, they will evolve and shift their work strategies from traditional to digital. Based on technology and digital transformation, organizations may also wish to revisit their operating models to create a flexible division of labor to maintain continuity and reduce dependency on any group or location of business. talent. Technical advancements are also helping the organization on the hiring front, as they now have much better access to a wider

talent pool. Employees also have greater opportunities to apply for positions beyond their immediate area with flexible business models. We are already seeing that employees appreciate the vitality of their careers at Fidelity.

4) Tell us more about “DYNAMIC” FLEXIBLE WORK? What are the exclusive initiatives on which the company is working?

We regularly survey all of our employees to get an idea of ​​what they think and feel. This is a real positive change for our business and our entire Fidelity family.

Our vision is to be a truly flexible employer, encouraging and trusting all employees around the world to fulfill their roles in the way that works best for them, our company, our colleagues and our customers. Dynamic Working will be exactly that: a flexible combination of work at home and in the office. Finding the right balance is essential to make sure it works for our employees, colleagues, businesses and customers. We encourage our employees to think about planning their pace of work in order to optimize connectivity with key stakeholders and to take personal ownership of their career development at Fidelity.

Our dynamic work model is based on three essential principles:

1. We provide maximum flexibility for employees to work from home and office, given their role in working effectively with teams and delivering for our clients.

2. We measure performance by what employees provide and contribute, not when and where they perform their contractual hours.

3. We hope that everyone will make wise choices about how they work and collaborate effectively with their colleagues.

The dynamic work is effective immediately, but our offices around the world are still in various stages of return due to the pandemic. Therefore, this policy is only in its early days of implementation, and we will learn and repeat as we go.

5) What is the main thing that keeps every employee connected or gives that sense of belonging in this hybrid working model?

The only thing that kept us going last year and will continue to be an inspiration to us is that we are all strongly linked to our common goal of creating a better future for our colleagues, clients. and customers. Guided by this common goal, we constantly strive to be there for each other when needed, whether for their well-being or professional support. The past year has witnessed how our values ​​of trust and integrity came to life as we moved into the new world of work and demonstrated extreme resilience. Our purpose and values ​​will continue to guide us as we embark on our exciting new journey of dynamic work.

Is an invisible weapon targeting American diplomats? – 60 minutes

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Catherine Werner, Commercial Officer of the Department of Commerce, promoted American companies from the American Consulate in Guangzhou, China. Today she says she suffers from nausea, dizziness and headaches. She says her sense of balance is off.

Robyn Garfield, also a Commercial Officer in the Department of Commerce, was stationed in Shanghai. In addition to nausea, dizziness and headaches, he says he has trouble remembering words.

State Department security officer Mark Lenzi worked at the Guangzhou Consulate. When he did, he said the gut-wrenching pain in his head was debilitating. He couldn’t sleep. “I was thinking, ‘What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong,'” he said.

The three are among at least 15 US officials in China who say they suffered unexplained head trauma after being attacked by a mysterious weapon. Previously, at least 25 Americans who worked at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba said they had also suffered a stroke and had similar symptoms. And the Americans are not the only ones who have been attacked. According to the Canadian government, 15 Canadians were injured in Cuba, including diplomats and their families.

This week on 60 Minutes, correspondent Scott Pelley reports on the consequences of the attacks. Producers Michael Rey, Bob Anderson and Oriana Zill de Granados worked with Pelley on the report, which originally aired in 2019, for about a year, gathering evidence of what appears to be a hostile government plan to target Americans. abroad. In the video above, they told 60 Minutes Overtime’s Ann Silvio that they wanted to hear from victims directly.

ot-targetingamericanse.jpg
State Department security officer Mark Lenzi worked at the US Consulate in Guangzhou, China. He says he and his wife started to suffer after hearing strange noises in their apartment. Today, Lenzi wears prescription glasses as sensitivity to light is one of her persistent symptoms.

“It’s gone from being sort of a James Bond spy thriller to real victims – people who are really hurt, kids who have been hurt,” Rey said.

With so many unanswered questions, the producers say they approached the story with a sense of skepticism and admit that there may still be a cause for the symptoms they haven’t yet addressed. But they say they’ve been very careful to check everything they’ve reported and be clear about what they don’t know yet.

“Their stories are incredibly compelling,” said Zill de Granados. “And their medical records are incredibly convincing.”

ot-targetingamericansd.jpg
Robyn and Britta Garfield say their family suffered a stroke while Robyn, a commercial officer with the Department of Commerce, was stationed in Shanghai. In addition to their symptoms, they say their children suffered from blurred vision and loss of balance

Government employees were not the only ones targeted. Their spouses, children and pets also exhibited neurological symptoms after hearing strange sounds in their homes.

While some reports have claimed the victims were suffering from mass hysteria, not some kind of attack, the producers say their own reports do not confirm this.

“There are a lot of elements here that just rule out the idea that this is mass hysteria,” Zill de Granados said.

In addition to the victims who worked in China, the 60 Minutes team also spoke with a diplomat who said she was assaulted while working in Cuba. The producers say his description of the attack closely matches the stories they heard from government employees in China.

ot-targetingamericansh.jpg
This diplomat asked 60 Minutes not to reveal her identity. She was stationed in Cuba, where she says she too was attacked. Now she wants Americans to know what happened to their diplomats posted abroad

This diplomat asked 60 Minutes not to reveal her identity. She was stationed in Cuba, where she said she too was attacked. She wanted Americans to know what happened to their diplomats posted abroad

The woman, who asked 60 Minutes not to reveal her name, was the first Cuban victim to tell her story on camera. She told Pelley that she wanted Americans to know what happened to diplomats posted overseas. She also wanted to encourage other injured people to come forward and seek treatment.

“It’s not something you should have to live and suffer with on your own,” she said. “So it’s important that everyone hears this.”

In July 2019, a medical team from the University of Pennsylvania published a study on the brains of U.S. government personnel who developed neurological symptoms in Cuba. The study used advanced brain imaging and found “significant differences in brain tissue and connectivity” in the brains of diplomats. It was the first scientific evidence showing that diplomats had physical damage to the structure of their brains.

To watch Scott Pelley’s 60-Minute Report on Targeting Americans, click here.

The above video was produced by Ann Silvio and Lisa Orlando. It was edited by Lisa Orlando and Sarah Shafer Prediger.

The above video was originally posted on March 17, 2019 and was produced by Ann Silvio and Lisa Orlando. It was edited by Lisa Orlando and Sarah Shafer Prediger.


Forging a future with rather than against Iran – Analysis – Eurasia Review

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The rise of President-elect Ebrahim Raisi has prompted some analysts counterintuitively suggest that this could pave the way for a reduction in regional tensions and potential talks over a revamped Middle East security architecture, but going from A to B will likely prove easier to say than to do.

The hope that an uncompromising endorsement of a return to the 2015 international agreement that limited Iran’s nuclear program will pave the way for broader security agreements rests on the belief that Iranian domestic politics give Tehran an interest direct in reducing tensions. They are also rooted in a regional record of hawks rather than doves making the painful decisions that in the past have paved the way for an end to hostilities and the signing of agreements.

Analysts who see a glimmer of hope in Iran’s harsh electoral takeover compare Mr. Raisi’s rise to the late 1980s, when Iran’s revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini accepted a ceasefire in his country’s eight-year war with Iraq at a time when then … President Ali Khamenei was prepare to succeed Ayatollah as Iran’s supreme leader.

It was then that Mr Raisi, one of the favorites in an undeclared race to succeed Ayatollah Khamenei, 82, was accused of his worst human rights violations, arousing fears that he is presiding over a new period of transition marked by a brutal purge of suspected opponents.

Likewise, hard-line supporters in Israel were the leaders who struck peace accords with Egypt and Jordan and peace initiatives like the 1993 Oslo Accords with the Palestinians. They included Prime Ministers Menachem Begin, a leader of the right-wing Likud party, and Yitzhak Rabin, who has often been described as the voice of Likud in the left-wing Labor Party.

Speaking at his first press conference after his victory in what was widely seen as an artificial election, Mr Raisi insisted that Iran was “determined to strengthen relations with all countries in the world. and in particular neighboring countries. Our priority will be to strengthen relations with our neighbors.

Echoing his predecessor, outgoing President Hassan Rouhani, Mr. Raisi advocated a restoration of diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, interrupted when protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran in 2016 following the execution by the kingdom of a prominent Shiite cleric. “We are ready to engage in dialogue and strengthen relations with the Kingdom again,” said Mr. Raisi.

Iran said ahead of the election that talks between the Islamic republic and the kingdom mediated by Iraq, the first since the breakdown of diplomatic relations, took place “in a good atmosphere”.

Mr Raisi needs a lift of US sanctions and regional calm to consolidate his credentials in keeping his election promise to stimulate the economy – the main concern of ordinary Iranians.

Iranian state media this week quoted Mahmoud Vaezi, Mr. Rouhani’s chief of staff, as saying that the United States has agreed to lift “all sanctions in matters of insurance, oil and navigation”, imposed by the administration of former President Donald J. Trump, as part of an agreement to revive the nuclear deal.

Mr Raisi’s comments followed a conciliatory note in April by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “We don’t want Iran to be in a difficult situation, on the contrary, we want Iran to prosper and grow. We have interests in Iran, and they have interests in the Kingdom to propel the region and the world towards growth and prosperity, ”Prince Mohammed said.

Winding up belligerent rhetoric and engaging in a dialogue that helps frame issues is one thing. Another is to agree on lasting regional security agreements that will allow the parties to manage their differences, even if they cannot be resolved.

This will ultimately require a paradigm shift in thinking that addresses the deep-rooted mistrust, fears and perceptions on both sides of the divide.

Iran’s ballistic missile program and its support for proxies in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen and President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, seen by Tehran as a defense strategy in an open and secret war spanning four decades, are seen by Saudi Arabia and its allies as an effort to interfere in the internal affairs of others and export the Iranian revolution.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud suggested so in his first response to the election of Mr. Raisi. Prince Faisal insisted that “the outstanding issues be treated and dealt with seriously and that we hold Iran accountable for its activities and honor its commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and its commitments to the IAEA “, the International Atomic Energy Agency, as part of the ongoing multilateral talks to revive the nuclear deal.

The Trump administration’s abandonment of the nuclear deal in 2018 and the “maximum pressure” policy was the latest unsuccessful attempt in the past four decades to pressure Iran to change its policy. Iran has proven to be more resilient than expected, even though it has paid a heavy political, economic and social price, including the election of a leader, Mr. Raisi, who lacks popular legitimacy.

True, Iran initially invited international isolation and sanctions with the 444-day occupation of the United States Embassy in 1979 and the Islamic republic’s initial revolutionary zeal to export its revolution to the countries of the Gulf.

The Iran-Iraq war with the Iraq war effort funded by the Gulf states and ultimately backed by the United States turned revolutionary zeal into a battle for survival and a defense strategy that relied on proxies in Arab countries and sought to move the battlefield away from Iran’s borders. This cemented the belief that Iran had no friends and that its enemies were seeking regime change.

The perception of the intentions of the United States and Saudi Arabia has been cemented by Saudi Arabia’s massive investment since 1979 in the global promotion of Wahhabi ideology with its prejudiced and discriminatory attitude towards Shia Muslims.

Saudi measures since the advent of Prince Mohammed to combat the sharp spikes of Wahhabism, the ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam that has long shaped the kingdom and improve the social and economic conditions of its Shiite minority long deprived of its Rights haven’t done much to convince Iranians that Saudi attitudes have changed.

There are also no anti-Shiite incidents in other Gulf states. Human Rights Watch this week accused authorities in the United Arab Emirates of forced disappearance of at least four Pakistani Shiites since October 2020 and deportation of six others without explanation, “apparently based solely on their religious origin”.

Expert in conflict resolution Ibrahim Fraihat argues that Saudi Arabia and Iran need to recognize the real issues fueling their conflict rather than focusing on narratives designed to justify their entrenched positions. “What both sides refuse to acknowledge is that this conflict is about … a sine qua non mechanisms.


Concerns over controversial Water Ministry have been brushed aside from Cabinet and Veterans Minister dumped as royal commission looms


The federal opposition has accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of being beholden to the political whims of the Nationals after the water portfolio was removed from Cabinet.

New Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce unveiled his new top roster on Sunday following the bloodshed inflicted on Michael McCormack last week.

National MP Keith Pitt retained his ministerial responsibilities for resources and water, but lost his seat at the Cabinet table.

This followed an attempt by the nationals, breaking with their liberal coalition partners, to tear apart key elements of the Murray Darling Basin plan.

The failed plan would have privileged access to water for upstream farmers over environmental flows.

“The National Party cannot pretend that water is essential for farmers and the growth of agriculture and then reject this Cabinet portfolio as an internal political return,” said shadow Minister of Water Terri Butler in ABC’s AM program.

“It’s just ridiculous.

“What should have happened is that Scott Morrison should have taken the National Party’s water portfolio and kept it in Cabinet, but instead it does not belong to Cabinet and remains in Party hands. national.”

The attempt by the nationals to force far-reaching changes at the basin level met fierce resistance within the coalition.

Liberal members and Senators from South Australia, including Cabinet Ministers Simon Birmingham and Anne Ruston, wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to stand up to the Coalition Junior Party, fearing for their political fortunes if the nationals got what they wanted.

“The Liberals are lions in their letters and mice when it comes to Canberra,” Ms. Butler said.

Queensland Nationals Senator Susan McDonald, who has taken on a new role outside the ministry as envoy to northern Australia, disagreed with Ms Butler’s suggestion that the portfolio of the water was diminished.

“I don’t think we take anything as serious as water,” she told AM.

“Without water, we all dry up and blow.”

Minister of Water Keith Pitt, Barnaby Joyce.  June 2021.
Keith Pitt retains the resource and water portfolios, but has been demoted from Cabinet.(

ABC News: Matt Roberts

)

Mr Pitt tweeted on Sunday evening that it has been a privilege to serve as a Cabinet minister.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the resource and water sectors which are both crucial to the national economy,” he said.

The new frontbench team is without former leader Mr. McCormack, who will remain in the backbench.

He will be joined by Mark Coulton, who has been demoted from his portfolios, including regional health and communications, after supporting Mr McCormack in the leadership spill.

Bridget McKenzie takes over most of Mr. Coulton’s former roles, as well as additional drought and emergency management responsibilities.

She occupies Mr. Pitt’s Cabinet seat after having served 18 months of penance, forced to resign from her ministerial post at the height of the so-called “sports rorts” saga.

Veterans Affairs Minister Darren Chester has been kicked out of the ministry, with Barnaby Joyce replacing him with Andrew Gee as a reward for the NSW MP’s loyalty during the party’s internal cutbacks.

“Unfortunately, not everyone can be included in these appointments,” said Senator McDonald.

“Politics is a difficult game … that’s how it is.”

Barnaby Joyce, National Championships Leader-Elected with Bridget McKenzie
Bridget McKenzie returns to Cabinet after 18 months of penance, resigning during the so-called “sports rorts” saga.(

ABC News: Matt Roberts

)

‘He was not listening’: defenders of veterans welcome new minister

Some members of the veterans community had expressed concern over Mr. Chester’s loss of his post as Minister of Veterans Affairs, just months before the launch of a royal commission on veterans suicides.

But others have welcomed his departure, including longtime activist Julie-Ann Finney.

Ms Finney had called for a royal commission since her son Dave committed suicide in 2019, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after two decades of service in the Royal Australian Navy.

“I think asking for continuity is not the right thing to ask for right now,” she told AM.

“It would be like putting back Christian Porter as attorney general or Linda Reynolds as defense minister.”

“Darren Chester is a very nice man and I think he does a good job for Gippsland – but he hasn’t listened to the veterans when it comes to their business.”

A gray haired man wearing a dark suit and a red tie sitting on a gray blue bench
Concerns had been raised over Darren Chester being emptied from the Veterans Affairs portfolio with an imminent royal commission.(

ABC News: Ian Cutmore

)

In a statement, Mr. Chester paid tribute to the veterans community.

“I have been incredibly touched by the support expressed both publicly and privately over the past few days by veterans organizations and individuals,” he said.

“I urge the veterans community to provide the same constructive comments, practical advice and contributions that my team has benefited from.

“The Royal Commission is a chance to unite the veterans community and everyone has a chance to have their say. “

He said there was a silver lining in his demotion.

“Ministerial responsibility takes hours away from family life and the biggest benefit of being sacked from Cabinet for the second time is that we can spend more time together in the place we love,” Chester said .

“I love Gippsland and I’m not going anywhere.”

His successor, Mr. Gee, took up the challenge entrusted to him.

“I recognize the exceptional dedication and hard work that Darren Chester has brought to his role as minister,” he said in a statement.

“I really look forward to working with all of the veterans and making sure that their service to this nation is recognized and respected and that their voices are heard.”


Forging a future with rather than against Iran

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The rise of hard-line president-elect Ebrahim Raisi has prompted some analysts to suggest counterintuitively that this could pave the way for a reduction in regional tensions and potential discussions over a Middle East security architecture. revamped, but going from A to B will probably be easier said than done. .

The hope that an uncompromising endorsement of a return to the 2015 international agreement that limited Iran’s nuclear program will pave the way for broader security agreements rests on the belief that Iranian domestic politics give Tehran an interest direct in reducing tensions. They are also rooted in a regional record of hawks rather than doves making the painful decisions that in the past have paved the way for an end to hostilities and the signing of agreements.

For all the latest news, follow the Daily Star’s Google News channel.

Analysts who see a ray of hope in Iran’s tough electoral takeover compare Raisi’s rise to the late 1980s, when Iran’s revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini agreed to a ceasefire -fire in his country’s eight-year war with Iraq at a time when Ali Khamenei was preparing to succeed Ayatollah as Iran’s supreme leader.

That’s when Raisi, one of the first in an undeclared race to succeed Ayatollah Khamenei, 82, is accused of his worst human rights abuses, raising fears he is presiding over a new period of transition. marked by a brutal purge of perceived adversaries.

Likewise, hard-line supporters in Israel were the leaders who struck peace accords with Egypt and Jordan and peace initiatives like the 1993 Oslo Accords with the Palestinians. They included Prime Ministers Menachem Begin, a leader of the right-wing Likud party, and Yitzhak Rabin, who has often been described as the voice of Likud in the left-wing Labor Party.

Speaking at his first press conference after his victory in what was widely seen as an artificial election, Raisi insisted that Iran was “determined to strengthen relations with all countries in the world and in especially neighboring countries. Our priority will be to strengthen relations with our neighbors. “

Echoing his predecessor, outgoing President Hassan Rouhani, Raisi advocated the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, which were severed when protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran in 2016 following the execution. by the kingdom of an eminent Shia cleric. “We are ready to engage in dialogue and strengthen relations with the Kingdom again,” said Raisi.

Iran said ahead of the elections that talks between the Islamic Republic and the kingdom mediated by Iraq, the first since the breakdown of diplomatic relations, were “in a good mood”.

Raisi needs a lift of US sanctions and regional calm to solidify his credentials in keeping his election promise to boost the economy – the main concern of ordinary Iranians.

Iranian state media this week quoted Mahmoud Vaezi, Rouhani’s chief of staff, as saying that the United States has agreed to lift “all sanctions on insurance, oil and shipping,” imposed by the administration of former President Donald J Trump, as part of a deal to revive the nuclear deal.

Raisi’s remarks followed a conciliatory note in April from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “We don’t want Iran to be in a difficult situation, on the contrary, we want Iran to prosper and grow. We have interests in Iran, and they have interests in the Kingdom to propel the region and the world. towards growth and prosperity, ”said Prince Mohammed.

Winding up belligerent rhetoric and engaging in a dialogue that helps frame issues is one thing. Another is to agree on lasting regional security agreements that will allow the parties to manage their differences, even if they cannot be resolved.

This will ultimately require a paradigm shift in thinking that addresses the deep-rooted mistrust, fears and perceptions on both sides of the divide.

Iran’s ballistic missile program and its support for proxies in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen and President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, seen by Tehran as a defense strategy in an open and secret war spanning four decades, are seen by Saudi Arabia and its allies as an effort to interfere in the internal affairs of others and export the Iranian revolution.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud suggested so in his first response to Raisi’s election. Prince Faisal insisted that “the outstanding issues be treated and dealt with seriously and that we hold Iran accountable for its activities and honor its commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and its commitments to the IAEA “, the International Atomic Energy Agency, as part of ongoing multilateral talks to revive the nuclear deal.

The Trump administration’s abandonment of the nuclear deal in 2018 and the “maximum pressure” policy was the latest unsuccessful attempt in the past four decades to pressure Iran to change its policy. Iran has proven to be more resilient than expected, even though it has paid a heavy political, economic and social price, including the election of a leader, Raisi, who lacks popular legitimacy.

True, Iran initially invited international isolation and sanctions with the 444-day occupation of the United States Embassy in 1979 and the Islamic republic’s initial revolutionary zeal to export its revolution to the countries of the Gulf.

The Iran-Iraq war with the Iraq war effort funded by the Gulf states and ultimately backed by the United States turned revolutionary zeal into a battle for survival and a defense strategy that relied on proxies in Arab countries and sought to move the battlefield away from Iran’s borders. This cemented the belief that Iran had no friends and that its enemies were seeking regime change.

The perception of the intentions of the United States and Saudi Arabia has been cemented by Saudi Arabia’s massive investment since 1979 in the global promotion of Wahhabi ideology with its prejudiced and discriminatory attitude towards Shia Muslims.

Saudi measures since the advent of Prince Mohammed to combat the sharp spikes of Wahhabism, the ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam that has long shaped the kingdom and improve the social and economic conditions of its Shiite minority long deprived of its Rights haven’t done much to convince Iranians that Saudi attitudes have changed.

There are also no anti-Shiite incidents in other Gulf states. Human Rights Watch this week accused the UAE authorities of forcibly disappearing at least four Pakistani Shiites since October 2020 and expelling six others without explanation, “apparently on the sole basis of their religious affiliation.”

Conflict resolution expert Ibrahim Fraihat argues that Saudi Arabia and Iran need to recognize the real issues fueling their conflict rather than focusing on narratives designed to justify their entrenched positions. “What both sides refuse to recognize is that this conflict is about … at least in part, the survival of the regime, the legitimacy and desire of the governments of the two states to play a leading role in the Muslim world.” , which makes the institutionalization of conflict management. mechanisms a sine qua non.

Dr James M Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and senior researcher at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore, as well as an honorary member principal non-resident at Eye on ISIS.


Foreign Minister says “no room” to keep Pakistan on FATF “gray list”


Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Saturday there was “no room” to keep Pakistan on the FATF’s “gray list” as it has implemented 26 of the 27 action points of the global body against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Qureshi’s comments came a day after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), at its June 21-25 plenary meeting, put Pakistan on its “gray list” for failing to control money laundering. money, leading to the financing of terrorism.

He also called on Islamabad to investigate and prosecute senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups, including Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar.

He said all measures taken by Pakistan were in its own interest and added that it is in the country’s interest to end money laundering and terrorist financing.

Qureshi said that “some powers” wanted to keep Pakistan on the FATF’s “gray list” and that it was necessary to examine whether the global forum is being used for political purposes.

However, he did not specify.

He said the FATF itself has agreed that Pakistan has implemented 26 of the 27 action plans while significant progress has been made on the 27th.

There is no place to keep Pakistan on the gray list after implementing 26 of the 27 FATF action plans, he said.

He said it must be determined whether the FATF is a technical or a political forum, Radio Pakistan reported.

Addressing a virtual press conference, FATF President Marcus Pleyer said on Friday that the Pakistani government had failed to verify the risk of money laundering, leading to corruption and terrorist financing.

“The FATF encourages Pakistan to continue making progress to address the remaining Counter Terrorism Financing (CFT) issue as expeditiously as possible by demonstrating that the investigation and prosecution of Terrorist Financing (TF) target senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorists. groups, ”said a statement from the FATF.

Pakistan-based UN-designated terrorists include Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) leader Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Saeed founder and his “operational commander” Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.

Noting that Pakistan has now completed 26 of the 27 measures entrusted to it in 2018, Pleyer said the FATF had called on Pakistan to take action against UN-designated terrorists.

Pakistan has been on the FATF gray list for weaknesses in its anti-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering regimes since June 2018.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Mayo student leads University of Limerick team to national Enactus success

Katie McNicholas, a former student of Craggagh National School and St. Louis Community School, led the University of Limerick Enactus team as they faced off on the national stage against nine other colleges to win the coveted title of Irish Champions Enactus, the first ever victory for UL.

Enactus is a global organization that helps postgraduate students build social enterprises to tackle social issues in local and global communities.

The organization is active in 35 countries and within Enactus Ireland there are 10 participating colleges.

The UL team is made up of 143 students from different courses and year groups, all united by their passion to make a real difference in Ireland and abroad.

This year, Enactus UL has developed and expanded six social enterprises to levels never before achieved by the team, directly impacting the lives of over 2,000 people through their initiatives.

Anytime of the Month and Moyo Nua were the two Enactus UL social enterprises that were entered in the national competition.

Anytime of the Month tackles poverty and period stigma through its network of friendly strangers and positive rules workshops.

Moyo Nua created a portable seeder for farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate back pain caused by hand farming.

After three days of fierce competition, the judges crowned Enactus UL Irish Champion, recognizing their social innovation, leadership and commitment to positive change.

Katie is the team leader for 143 Enactus UL students and leads one of their flagship projects, Anytime of the Month.

She said: “All Enactus UL projects are carried out throughout the academic year on a 100% volunteer basis by the students.

“We are extremely proud of the entire team involved in driving these initiatives, all the hours spent zooming together at night have really paid off.

“To be the very first UL team to win the national Enactus Ireland competition is a great achievement that we will celebrate for a long time to come.

“It always seems surreal to say that we are now Team Ireland and taking our projects to the international stage.”

As national Enactus Ireland champions, the UL team will represent Ireland at the Enactus World Cup from October 14-21.

Each of the 35 Enactus countries is represented by their national champion at the World Cup in the hope of being recognized as the best Enactus team in the world.

Travel of Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland to Paraguay, Panama and El Salvador

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Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland to visit Asuncion, Paraguay; Panama City, Panama; and San Salvador, El Salvador, June 27-30 with an interagency delegation to engage with senior leaders, government officials and civil society across the region. Other high-ranking members of the delegation include Acting Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere Julie Chung, Assistant Assistant Secretary for Defense for the Western Hemisphere Daniel Erikson, Director of the National Security Council for Central America Megan Oates and the Director of Policy and Planning for the Brigadier of United States Southern Command. General Rick Uribe.

During their trip to Paraguay, Under Secretary Nuland and the US delegation will meet with Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez to discuss cooperation in addressing the challenges posed by the global pandemic and ways to strengthen democracy in our hemisphere. Under Secretary Nuland and Foreign Minister Acevedo will co-chair the second US-Paraguayan strategic partnership dialogue on regional democracy and security, trade and investment, governance development and cooperation, and relations bilateral.

In Panama, the delegation will meet with President Cortizo and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Carrizo. They will also visit the Panama Canal to speak with the administrator of the Vásquez Canal. The meetings will focus on protecting citizens from the pandemic and its economic devastation, mitigating climate change, deepening trade ties, addressing regional migration challenges and enhancing security in the region. Under Secretary Nuland and the US delegation will also meet with environmental NGOs and innovation leaders.

During their trip to El Salvador, the US delegation will meet with President Bukele and other political leaders to discuss migration, democracy and regional goals. They will also meet with members of civil society and the private sector to discuss the key role these groups play in creating an environment in which all Salvadorans can thrive.


City reaffirms commitment to conserve monarch butterflies through international effort

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On Thursday, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, in collaboration with the Consulates of Mexico and Canada, unveiled the North American Friendship Garden in Confluence Park, in the south of the city, reaffirming the city’s commitment to preserving the monarch butterflies.

The North American Friendship Garden, believed to represent the ecosystem links between the three countries, is a pollinator garden and will primarily serve as a sanctuary for monarchs on their international migration. The area measures approximately 2,500 square feet and includes native vegetation such as Gregg’s Blue Mistflower and Brazos penstomen, as well as native trees and shrubs like the Anacacho orchid, Texas lantana, Mexican plum and more.

Officials from the Consulate of Canada in Texas and the Consulate of Mexico in San Antonio join officials from the City of San Antonio, the San Antonio River Authority and the San Antonio River Foundation in Confluence Park to commemorate the opening of the North American Friendship Garden. The Pollinator Garden is designed to provide a sanctuary for monarch butterflies during their international migration, as well as crucial habitat for a myriad of other pollinators and migratory species. Pictured: District 3 Councilor Phyllis Viagran (left to right), Frates Seeligson, Executive Director of the San Antonio River Foundation, Rachel McCormick, Consul General of Canada, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Ruben Minutti, Consul General of Mexico and Derek Boese, San Antonio Director General of the River Authority.

Kin Man Hui / Personal photographer

The space lies on the way to the central flyway, which serves as a passageway for monarchs and other pollinators that pass through Mexico and Canada.

“By working collaboratively, the San Antonio partners can be proud of a legacy of conserving and protecting natural resources. From the Edwards Aquifer to the Bracken Cave Preserve, to the Hardberger Park Land Bridge and now the North American Friendship Garden, we are investing in natural solutions that support our native wildlife, ”Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in a statement. Press.

“I am grateful to our neighbors who join us in this effort to ensure a sustainable future for all. “

The idea for the garden first sprouted through San Antonio’s links with UNESCO, after the city was officially designated as a city of gastronomy. Since pollinators play such a crucial role in growing the food we eat, the garden was a natural choice. In 2015, the city also signed the National Wildlife Federation’s Monarch’s Pledge to Mayors, making San Antonio the first city in the country to become a “Monarch Champion” as part of a national effort to create habitats for pollinators.

Butterfly is seen in Confluence Park as officials from the Canadian Consulate in Texas and the Mexican Consulate in San Antonio join officials from the City of San Antonio, the San Antonio River Authority and the San Antonio River Foundation to commemorate the opening of the North American Friendship Garden on Thursday, June 24, 2021. The Pollinator Garden is designed to provide a sanctuary for monarch butterflies during their international migration, as well as crucial habitat for a myriad of other pollinators and species migratory.

Butterfly is seen in Confluence Park as officials from the Canadian Consulate in Texas and the Mexican Consulate in San Antonio join officials from the City of San Antonio, the San Antonio River Authority and the San Antonio River Foundation to commemorate the opening of the North American Friendship Garden on Thursday, June 24, 2021. The Pollinator Garden is designed to provide a sanctuary for monarch butterflies during their international migration, as well as crucial habitat for a myriad of other pollinators and species migratory.

Kin Man Hui / Personal photographer

RELATED: New Monarch Butterfly License Plates Float In Texas

The garden eventually came to fruition with the help of organizations such as the San Antonio River Authority, which developed the garden itself, and the San Antonio River Foundation, which brought in local artist Gary Sweeney to furnish the space with colorful benches.

“The mission scope of the San Antonio River Boardwalk is a shining example of urban ecosystem restoration made possible through the successful collaboration of several entities and the North American Friendship Garden is another example of the great things that can be accomplished. when we work together for a common goal, ”River Authority chief executive Derek Boese said in a press release.

The two consuls of Mexico and Canada expressed enthusiasm for the collaboration and commitment to invest in pollinators that impact all of North America’s biodiversity.

The new garden is now open to the public at Confluence Park, located at 310 W. Mitchell Street.


RELATED: San Antonio offers 500 trees this Saturday at Confluence Park


Matt Hancock ‘Affair’ Live News: PM has’ full confidence ‘in Minister after’ photo with Gina Coladangelo


Matt Hancock accused of having “an affair with a close collaborator” Gina Coladangelo

Boris Johnson said he continued to have “full confidence” in Matt Hancock after the Health Secretary was accused of having an affair with one of his close associates and breaking the rules. Covid.

The Prime Minister‘s spokesman said Mr Johnson had accepted his minister’s apology and considered the matter “closed”.

Mr Hancock said on Friday he was “very sorry” for violating social distancing guidelines, but made it clear he had no intention of resigning on the matter.

“I let people down and I’m so sorry. I remain focused on the work to get the country out of this pandemic and I would be grateful for my family’s confidentiality on this personal matter, ”said the Secretary of Health.

The sun claimed Mr Hancock was filmed kissing Gina Coladangelo, the newspaper publishing security photos allegedly taken on May 6.

It was revealed in November that Ms Coladangelo had been given a post of non-executive director at the Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC), although there is no public record of the appointment.

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What do you think should happen after the social distancing breaks in this photo?

We at The independent I want you to tell us what you think should happen in light of the footage allegedly showing Matt Hancock kissing a close associate.

Let us know if you think Mr Hancock should be fined, should resign or should be sacked.

If you also consider that the matter is closed after his apology and you don’t think any of the above events should happen, please let us know as well.

You can leave your comments at the bottom of the article below:

Chiara GiordanoJune 25, 2021 6:34 PM

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How did Matt Hancock and Gina Coladangelo meet?

My colleague Matt Mathers examined how Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Gina Coladangelo met as students at the University of Oxford:

Chiara GiordanoJune 25, 2021 6:10 PM

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Health secretary post has become ‘hopelessly untenable’, says Labor

Labor said the health secretary’s position had become “hopelessly untenable” while calling for his dismissal if he was not prepared to step down voluntarily.

Shadow Minister of Health Justin Madders said: “Matt Hancock’s failures continue to pile up.

“This latest blog post from Mr Cummings reveals that the Prime Minister lacked confidence in Hancock’s handling of the crisis, and yet, surprisingly, Boris Johnson kept the Health Secretary in office.

“He left care homes exposed, admitted to breaking his own Covid rules and failed to provide Test and Trace when it was needed most.

“The indictment against Hancock continues to grow – so why didn’t the Prime Minister have the confidence to fire him?”

Chiara GiordanoJune 25, 2021 5:47 PM

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“Great Britain gets ‘hancocked’ every week”

“Britain is ‘Hancocked’ every week,” Dominic Cummings joked in his latest blog post.

Kate plummer has more on this story on our sister site:

Chiara GiordanoJune 25, 2021 5:25 PM

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Hancock’s actions raise ‘serious concerns’ and should not be ‘passed under the rug’, says Sadiq Khan

The mayor of London has warned that Matt Hancock’s actions in violation of coronavirus rules make it harder for the public to trust those in power.

Sadiq Khan said he was concerned the fallout could lead to a similar “sense of discontent” following Dominic Cummings’ revelations last year.

Mr Khan said the actions of the health secretary raise “serious concerns” and should be investigated rather than “passed under the rug”.

When asked if it is now more difficult to ask people to follow the advice of senior politicians regarding the coronavirus, he told PA: “I was told today that in fact, you go to all of that effort to get more people to get the jab – it’s a lot harder for people to trust people in positions of power and influence when these kinds of allegations are made. “

Chiara GiordanoJune 25, 2021 5:10 PM

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Sean O’Grady: How long can Boris Johnson hang on to his Health Secretary?

The independentassociate editor of Sean O’Grady Take a look at how long Matt Hancock could hang on to his role after the latest revelations about his alleged affair with an assistant during Covid:

How long can Boris Johnson hold on to his health secretary?

The Prime Minister has made a habit of keeping ministers in the spotlight, writes Sean O’Grady. But will the latest revelations about Matt Hancock, who has survived a longer stint in frontline politics than many of his colleagues, be a step too far?

Chiara GiordanoJune 25, 2021 4:56 PM

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More than half of UK public think Hancock should step down, Savanta ComRes poll suggests

More than half of the British public believe Matt Hancock should step down as health secretary following allegations of an affair with a close associate, according to a snapshot poll.

The Savanta ComRes survey found that 58% of those polled believed Mr Hancock should step down, while 25% believed he shouldn’t.

However, another poll found that nearly half – 47% – believed Prime Minister Boris Johnson would be a hypocrite if he asked Mr Hancock to resign.

Chiara GiordanoJune 25, 2021 4:27 PM

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Opinion: “What could be more appropriate than if Hancock is shot by a snog”

After helping lead a response to a pandemic that has left tens of thousands of people dead, it’s disappointing that Matt Hancock’s career is somehow taken to pieces by an (alleged) office affair, according to our political sketch editor. Tom peck.

“Maybe, when you are Secretary of State for Health in the midst of a pandemic; when you’ve been on TV telling people that they can only have sex in an “established relationship”; and when you also publicly called on the police to investigate a government scientist who broke Covid rules to have an affair – maybe you should know it’s wrong to have an old friend as a salary adviser taxpayer and start kissing her at the office mid-afternoon.

“But, you know, maybe he knows it’s wrong.” Maybe knowing it’s wrong, that you really shouldn’t, is part of the fun.

You can find its entirety below:

Conrad DuncanJune 25, 2021 4:00 PM

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Majority think Hancock should resign over affair allegations, YouGov poll shows

A majority of the British public believe Matt Hancock should resign as Health Secretary following allegations of an affair with a close associate who allegedly broke Covid rules, a snap poll has suggested.

YouGov found that 49% of those polled believed Mr Hancock should resign, compared with 36% who said he should resign in May.

Only 25% said he should stay in his ministerial post, up from 31% last month.

You can see the full results below:

Conrad DuncanJune 25, 2021 3:39 PM

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ICYMI: Earlier today, our reporter, Adam forrest, took a look at what Matt Hancock said in May 2020 when Professor Neil Ferguson resigned as government science adviser after breaking lockdown rules:

Conrad DuncanJune 25, 2021 3:24 PM


IOSCO President: Global investors need global comparability on climate regulation

Resisting the fragmentation of climate norms between jurisdictions is “absolutely essential” to ensure that organizations are “fully engaged,” according to Ashley Alder, president of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).

Speaking at this year’s City & Financial Global City Week event, Alder, who is also CEO of the Securities and Futures Commission in Hong Kong, said the regulation should be “consistent enough” because “investors global companies need global comparability “.

“We cannot simply work in jurisdictional silos when the climate emergency does not respect national borders and where emissions in my part of the world are half of the global total.

“The degree of cooperation we have around a […] a sufficient level of consistency, overall around standards, is important, ”Alder added. “The worst outcome will be a totally different approach, creating huge amounts of additional noise in the system. So different frameworks operating in different ways.

Tim Adams, President and CEO of the Institute of International Finance, described the current climate regulatory space as “a patchwork of approaches.”

“At the end of the day, we have to land all these planes in one place at the same time. It will take years, but we need leadership, cooperation, coordination, […] stronger institutions and a shared vision.

Additionally, Dr Steve Waygood, director of responsible investment at Aviva Investors, said that a disconnected approach to climate-related disclosures causes “different information at different times.”

As a result, this causes the data to be viewed as discrete, isolated clusters instead of being able to form a cohesive overall picture, Waygood added.

Emma Rachmaninoff, a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, argued that the energy spent within organizations to differentiate disclosures between jurisdictions could be better spent.

“What is quite difficult is […] the different levels, the reporting frameworks, the adjustments you need to make, as it doesn’t quite match the reporting you already do or the way you apply your clients.

“The energy that is expended on very prescriptive implementation is energy that could be better deployed to put in place a framework that is perhaps more consensual in the markets, or perhaps created internally to fulfill these obligations. in a less prescriptive way. “

However, Anthony Belchambers, chair of the industry advisory group to the APPG on wholesale markets, stressed that global standards are “difficult to achieve because they are always nuanced in their interpretation and always modulated by regional rules. “.

#COVIDCrew Partners with Mexican Consulate to Bring Vaccines to the Latinx Population

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Nevada Public Health Training Center’s #COVIDCrew and Mexican Consulate are hosting a joint COVID vaccination clinic and document renewal for Mexican nationals. The El Vacunatón Clinic will be held at the Neil Road Recreation Center, 3925 Neil Road in Reno, on Saturday June 26, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., in collaboration with Community Health Alliance, REMSA Health, City of Reno and Immunize Nevada. Masks will be compulsory for everyone present.

To date, #COVIDCrew and collaborators have assisted with more than 2,500 vaccinations in the Latinx population throughout Washoe County, with plans continuing for Carson City and rural communities over the summer.

#COVIDCrew’s guerrilla-style social marketing led them to raise awareness in the Latinx community to identify the need to bring immunization clinics to places that are convenient and where they feel safe.

“Continuing partnerships with religious leaders, community centers and the Mexican consulate will help increase immunization,” said Diana Sande, communications manager at the School of Community Health Sciences.

The first vaccination clinic held in Sainte-Thérèse de la Petite Fleur on Memorial Day weekend saw more than 650 Latinx people vaccinated. An additional 300 people were vaccinated at a follow-up clinic in Little Flower on Wednesday, June 23.

Watch the first public health message in Washoe County, “Take Care” video on YouTube in Spanish and the “Take Care” video on YouTube in English. Follow the campaign on social media on Instagram and Twitter @EffingCOVID as good as Instagram @PcheCOVID. Questions can be directed to Diana Sande at [email protected].



Minister Logar presents the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union


The Presidency will be based on four substantive pillars, united under the slogan “Together. Resilient. Europe. “Slovenia gave priority to strengthening the resilience, recovery and strategic autonomy of the Union. Minister Logar underlined the need for the Union to actively build on the lessons learned. as we strive for a recovery that covers all sectors of the economy and all parts of society as quickly as possible, special attention will be paid to the recovery mechanism and the stimulus package of the New generation EU, which builds on green and digital transitions.

Together with the three key European institutions, Slovenia will have a unique opportunity to lead the debate on the future of Europe. Most of the Conference on the Future of Europe will take place during the Slovenian Presidency, when Slovenia will also co-chair the Conference on behalf of the Council of the European Union. The debate on the future of Europe will also be at the center of the 16th edition of the Bled Strategic Forum, where European leaders will address the main strategic challenges for Europe and discuss the future evolution of European values. “We will invest our efforts in promoting the debate on the type of Europe in which we want to live in the future”, underlined Minister Logar.

Strengthening European values ​​which form the basis of mutual cooperation and our understanding of common challenges will be at the heart of Slovenia’s third objective. The rule of law and its strengthening are the values ​​on which the European Union is founded and solid. Therefore, the Slovenian Presidency will strive to establish synergies between the different EU rule of law mechanisms and a better understanding of the different systems in the Member States. In this context, Minister Logar said that “we believe that a good understanding of the constitutional, socio-economic, political, historical and other similarities and differences between the Member States can help to strengthen the rule of law in the EU ”.

“We cannot ignore the active and visible role of the Union in the international community“, underlined the Minister. Slovenia will pay particular attention to the situation in the immediate neighborhood and to the development of transatlantic relations. “The European future of the countries of the Western Balkans and the continuation of the enlargement process must become the strategic interest of the Union”, declared the Minister.
“Our roadmap is focused on the socio-economic recovery and integration of the Western Balkans in different European policy areas, ranging from infrastructure, transport and energy connectivity to research and innovation, decarbonization, digitization and cyber resilience. All of this is crucial for a credible and secure European Union, which we would like to stress at the EU-Western Balkans summit, hosted by Slovenia this autumn. ”

On July 1, Slovenia will take EU leadership for the second time. “The success of the Slovenian Presidency, as well as of the European Union as such, depends on the joint efforts of Member States and European institutions to seize the opportunity and improve the functioning of the Union before future crises. At the same time, let us ensure that we can successfully meet the current economic, social but also geostrategic challenges ”, urged Minister Logar.


Congress focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on liver disease around the world

Experts from the University of Birmingham are among leading liver disease researchers who are meeting online at the 2021 Virtual International Liver Congress this week to discuss developments on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people living with liver disease.

Summoned by the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), the congress will take place from June 23 to 26 and will see the presentation of more than 1,500 abstracts of research studies examining the impact of COVID-19 on people with liver disease.

Research presented by researchers around the world includes new data indicating that people with advanced liver disease are extremely vulnerable to the novel coronavirus, and the results of a study indicating that the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV vaccine- 2 confers low immunity. in people with advanced liver disease.

Other announcements include new information on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the incidence of alcohol-related liver disease and death rates for people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and encouraging data on tenofovir in the prevention of severe COVID-19 disease. in people living with chronic hepatitis B.

Philip Newsome, EASL Secretary General and Professor of Experimental Hepatology and Director of the Center for Liver Research at the University of Birmingham, said: “Since 1966, the International Liver Congress has helped answer questions from most urgent research in hepatology, and this year is no different.

“We are starting to understand more clearly how disproportionately COVID-19 has an impact on people living with liver-related illnesses and the studies presented at ILC 2021 advance our knowledge on several fronts, knowledge that can potentially help to inform policy responses to the current pandemic. before.”

Notes to Editors:

  • For more information, contact Emma McKinney, Communications Manager, University of Birmingham, +44 7815607157. You can also contact the after-hours press office on +44 (0) 7789 921165.
  • For more information on the Congress, contact Michael Kessler, EASL Media Relations, tel. +34 655 792 699
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked among the top 100 institutions in the world and its work brings people from all over the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from almost 150 countries.
  • the International Liver Congress ™ is EASL’s flagship event, attracting scientific and medical experts from around the world to learn about the latest liver research and exchange clinical experiences. Specialists in attendance present, share, debate and conclude on the latest science and research in hepatology, working to improve the treatment and management of liver disease in clinical practice. This year the congress is taking place entirely digitally due to the global health situation.
  • Since its founding in 1966, the European Association for the Study of the Liver – a nonprofit organization – has more than 4,500 members from around the world, including many leading hepatologists in Europe and beyond. EASL is the leading liver association in Europe, having evolved into a major European association with international influence and with impressive experience in promoting liver disease research, supporting wider education and promoting promotion of changes in European liver policy.

US bans imports of solar panels from Chinese company

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June 23 (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Wednesday ordered a ban on U.S. imports of a key solar panel material from Chinese company Hoshine Silicon Industry Co (603260.SS) over allegations of forced labor, have said two sources informed about it.

The US Department of Commerce has separately restricted exports to Hoshine, three other Chinese companies and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), claiming they were involved in the forced labor of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang.

The other three companies added to the US economic blacklist include Xinjiang Daqo New Energy Co, a unit of Daqo New Energy Corp (DQ.N); Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals Co, a subsidiary of Shanghai-based manufacturing giant East Hope Group; and Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Co, which is part of GCL New Energy Holdings Ltd (0451.HK).

The Commerce Department said the companies and XPCC “have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-tech surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups. in “Xinjiang.

At least some of the companies listed by the Commerce Department are major manufacturers of monocrystalline silicon and polysilicon used in the production of solar panels.

The companies or their parent companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment or could not be immediately contacted. XPCC could not immediately be reached for comment.

The immediate effect of the restrictions would be limited because the named companies do not have “broad contracts” with US-based wafer companies, said Dennis Ip, regional head of electricity research, utilities. , renewable energies and the environment (PURE) at Daiwa. clients.

“However, we see the possibility of gradually extending the ban to include restrictions on all solar modules containing polysilicon produced in Xinjiang,” he said.

Chinese module producers could still use polysilicon from Inner Mongolia and Yunnan for their module shipments to the United States, he added.

About 45% of all polysilicon used in solar module production is produced in Xinjiang, with 35% produced in other parts of China. The rest come from outside of China.

The global solar energy supply chain has been strangled by record polysilicon, labor and freight costs. Read more

When asked to comment, the Chinese Embassy in Washington on Tuesday referred to remarks by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who dismissed charges of genocide and forced labor in Xinjiang as “nothing but rumors with ulterior motives and outright lies”.

The US Customs and Border Protection Wayhold Release Order only blocks imports of material from Hoshine. A source close to the order said it had no impact on the majority of U.S. imports of polysilicon and other silica-based products.

A second source said the move did not conflict with President Joe Biden’s climate goals and his support for the domestic solar industry.

The Biden administration announced in March a goal of reducing the cost of solar power by 60% over the next 10 years. President Biden has set himself the goal of a 100% clean electricity grid by 2035.

The sources said the United States is continuing to investigate allegations of forced labor by Chinese companies that supply polysilicon.

The Xinjiang region accounts for about 45% of the world’s supply of solar-grade polysilicon, according to a report by solar industry analysts.

Both sources close to politics said the White House saw the actions as a “natural sequel” to the G7 deal earlier this month to remove forced labor from supply chains.

“We believe that these three actions put this commitment into action,” said one of the sources. “We believe these actions demonstrate a commitment to impose additional costs on the PRC for engaging in cruel and inhumane forced labor practices.”

The XPCC, a paramilitary organization sent to Xinjiang in the 1950s to build farms and settlements, remains powerful in the region’s energy and agricultural sectors, functioning almost as a parallel state. Read more

Foreign governments and human rights activists say he has been a force in suppressing and monitoring Uyghurs in the region, running some detention camps. The US Treasury Department sanctioned the XPCC last year for “serious violations of the rights of ethnic minorities.”

Reporting by Karen Freifeld and David Shepardson Editing by Chris Reese

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Three-day whirlwind: my enlightening mission in Israel to show my solidarity for a shared society

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Arab Mulsim fourth grade students. In the background on the right is the school principal, Dr Sirin Magli-Knana.

Rabbi Asher Lopatin writes about his quick trip to Israel to show solidarity and show that we in Detroit care about our Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel and everyone in Israel.

Just days after the rockets stopped hovering over our brother and sisters in Israel, I got a call from the Israeli consulate in the Midwest asking if I could possibly go to the Holy Land to show solidarity. The Israeli foreign minister called the consulate to ask as many federation and JCRC leaders to show that America’s Jewish community supports Israel.

After giving a thumbs up, I booked my flight. Didn’t know there were COVID PCR tests to take, forms to fill out and an antibody serology test in Israel that would have to be positive to avoid a two-week quarantine.

With Yuval Bedolah and Sharon Avis from Totzeret Haaretz.
With Yuval Bedolah and Sharon Avis from Totzeret Haaretz.

I actually booked the trip for one day at first, but my wife Rachel persuaded me to extend it, and I changed my booking for three days: arriving on Monday morning – in order to test and quarantine until results come back – then have two days to explore my second reason to go beyond solidarity: to determine for myself that Israeli society is shared – between the Jews of Israel and the Arabs of Israel – was alive and well and meeting the challenges of riots in mixed towns all over Israel.

Hamas said: “The shared society and coexistence in Israel has been destroyed. I went to prove them wrong.

A thousand-year-old hotel in Lod.
A thousand-year-old hotel in Lod.

We are fortunate in Detroit to have the perfect partnership region to explore coexistence – the Central Galilee: Israel’s largest Arab city, Nazareth, nestled in the Galilean hills right next to Nof HaGalil, Migdal HaEmek and a crowd of other small Jewish and Arab towns, villages and kibbutzim in the Jezreel Valley.

We are also fortunate to have the most incredible leadership in the Israel office and Jewish Federation oversight: Jennifer Levine as head of the Detroit department, and our people on the ground, Yoav Raban, Naomi Miller. Rockowitz and Noa Noff. Together, this amazing team organized a miracle trip for me for my two days in search of a shared society.

With Eyal Betzer from the Jezreel Valley Regional Council and his wife, and Yoav Raban from the Federation.
With Eyal Betzer from the Jezreel Valley Regional Council and his wife, and Yoav Raban from the Federation.

I am also deeply grateful to Consul Daniel Aschheim of the Israeli Consulate in the Midwest, who helped organize a great meeting with the mayor of Umm al-Fahm, the third largest Arab city in Israel.

I came to Israel to show solidarity; show that we in Detroit care about our Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel and everyone in Israel – Jews, Muslims, Christians or Druze – who together are building an incredible state.

With the mayor of Nazareth, Ali Salam, and Eli Barda, mayor of the neighboring Jewish town, Migdal HaEmek.
With the mayor of Nazareth, Ali Salam, and Eli Barda, mayor of the neighboring Jewish town, Migdal HaEmek.

What I found in Israel was an inspiration: people who did not abandon the shared society in Lod, despite the violence and collapse; mayors, teachers, school principals, community activists, high tech specialists and entrepreneurs, all committed to Jews and Arabs to make the modern Jewish state work.

I came back energized and inspired by the fact that we too in Detroit can work with diverse communities and build a shared society right here in Motor City. Israel is a land of miracles; Galilee is a land of wonders – from the days of Elijah until today.

In front of the Israeli Arab Primary School, Al-Qastal in Nazareth with Samia Basul, Head of the Department of Education of Nazareth;  Samia Abu-Alrab, Deputy Mayor of Nazareth;  Lior Scher, programming director for
In front of the Israeli Arab Primary School, Al-Qastal in Nazareth with Samia Basul, Head of the Department of Education of Nazareth; Samia Abu-Alrab, Deputy Mayor of Nazareth; Lior Scher, programming director for “A New Way,” which sponsored the shared company; and Noa Noff, Director of Partnerships, Central Galilee.
Adorable children from Al-Qastal school.
Adorable children from Al-Qastal school.

May the great achievements of shared society and mutual respect that I have found among the students of the Al-Qastal Arab Primary School in Nazareth, towards the high school students – Arabs, Jews and Christians – of the Givat Haviva International School permeate our divided world and teach us how people can work together despite different narratives and different stories.

Israel with all of its challenges, external and internal, will always be the land that inspires us to be better, to dream bigger, and to be proud of who we are as Jews – Jews who are a light to the whole world.

Rabbi Asher Lopatin is Executive Director of JCRC / AJC.

15 cities; 3 days

I went to 15 cities in three days: My quarantine day in Jerusalem; Netanya and Ramat poleg; then Tel Aviv (meeting with the mayor of Umm al-Fahm); Lod: where I saw a torn and dilapidated city that has not given up on the 70% Jewish and 30% Arab goal of building a thriving city together – with the help of years of philanthropists in Detroit; Kfar Kassim – a charming Arab town that tried to help me find my destination, Givat Haviva International school; Tel Aviv – the Namal, the Old Port – one of the coolest places in the world; night in Hadera and then to Nazareth, meet the mayors of Nazareth and Migdal HaEmek; then at the Migdal HaEmek restaurant “Shehechiyanu” to meet activists from the local community – Jews and Arabs – working in Nof HaGalil, and small Bedouin and Jewish towns to build a shared society for all. Then in the small Arab town of Manshiya Zabda meet local leaders – Jews and Arabs – from all over the Jezreel Valley, in the Al-Roaa Arab school with special needs. Of course, how could I go to Israel without visiting relatives in Modiin, then to Ben Gurion airport.


Emirates news agency – United Arab Emirates, Korea hold first round of Joint Consular Committee meetings


ABU DHABI, June 23, 2021 (WAM) – The United Arab Emirates and South Korea today held the first round of their Joint Consular Committee meetings, to strengthen their consular cooperation.

The first meeting followed their signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Joint Consular Committee, which was signed by Faisal Lutfi, Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Consular Affairs. , and Lee Heon, Deputy Minister of Consular Affairs and Overseas Koreans.

During the meeting, Lutfi conveyed to the Korean delegation the greetings of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and praised the close relations between the two countries, especially in the consular affairs.

Lutfi stressed the importance of coordination on consular matters to strengthen their bilateral relations, and praised the steady progress of consular cooperation over the past two years, despite the global challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lee praised the UAE’s leading regional and international stature and underscored his country’s concern to strengthen consular cooperation between the two countries to serve their citizens.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed several consular issues of common interest and ways to enhance their consular cooperation.

Lutfi stressed the UAE’s concern to develop bilateral relations between the two countries, on the directives of its leaders, adding that relations between the UAE and South Korea have been developing steadily since the start of the pandemic.

Lee praised the development of bilateral relations between the two countries, especially in consular areas, while commending the UAE’s experience in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and its support for its Korean community.

The meeting brought together representatives of the relevant departments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Interior and the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, as well as representatives of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. .


Malta, first EU Member State to be registered on the FATF gray list

Malta became the first European Union member state to be graylisted by the International Financial Action Task Force, in what is a shocking move for labor administration.

Malta was placed on the gray list for money laundering today when 39 FATF members decided its fate, in a consensus marked by stiff resistance from the US, UK and Germany.

The decision was taken around 2:30 p.m., after Malta failed to secure the necessary support from FATF members. Romania, another EU member state, was also on the gray list.

The decision comes despite Malta joining a Moneyval assessment in which it achieved a high compliance rate on various recommendations.

But this decision comes at the end of the years during which the Malta labor administration presided over a weakening of anti-money laundering rules: from the sale of citizenship to wealthy individuals, criticized by the European Commission; in the harsh light of its Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit and the inaction of the Panama Papers when it was revealed that the prime minister‘s right-hand man had created a secret offshore company, Malta has never been too far removed from international scrutiny .

Under the German chairmanship of Marcus Pleyer, delegates representing 205 members of the FATF global network and observer organizations, including the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units took part in the virtual meeting of the FATF plenary.

For five days, they discussed key issues to strengthen global action against the financial flows that fuel crime and terrorism.

The wording of the recommendation on which FATF members were to vote was not made available to MaltaToday by the international organization, which said its internal discussions were confidential.

The organization, which serves as a watchdog against money laundering and terrorist financing, is currently headed by the German Presidency.

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana expressed disappointment earlier this week that despite the approval of the Moneyval anti-money laundering test last month, “some countries” were still pushing for Malta to be on the gray list.

A high-level source within one of the island’s regulatory authorities said it was “unfortunate that the decision-making process has taken a political turn.” He insisted that Malta had implemented all technical and legal recommendations made by Moneyval.

The sentiment was reflected by financial services practitioners. In a statement released on Monday, the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners (IFSP) said Malta had made substantial progress in recent years to address concerns about the effectiveness of its anti-money laundering regime.

“The IFSP and its members expect the demonstrable improvements made by the country to form the basis for all decisions taken by the FATF as it deliberates on whether to place Malta under increased surveillance (the gray list ) or not, ”the organization said.

An initial reaction came from Nationalist MP David Casa, said the decision was the result of years of high-profile corruption and money laundering accusations. “Members of the government have been caught stealing from people and laundering money: Panama, Montenegro, 17 Blacks, Electrogas … and yet no action has been taken by the authorities. Instead of taking action against the powerful, the lives of ordinary people have been made miserable just to open a bank account. “

The Saudi murderer of Jamal Khashoggi was trained in a paramilitary organization in the United States a year before the murder.

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Saudi journalists Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who have written critically on the kingdom’s policies, were killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say a team of 15 tortured, killed and dismantled the writer, and Saudi Arabia said he died in a “fight”.

Here are some of the key moments that killed the Washington Post columnist:

Before it disappears

September 2017: The post publishes Khashoggi’s first column in the newspaper. In this column, a former court insider and longtime journalist wrote about voluntary asylum in the United States following the rise of Prince Mohammed. His next column criticizes the leadership of the prince and the kingdom.

September 28, 2018: More than a year after publishing his first column by the article, Khashoggi visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to search for documents to get married. She was then told to return on October 2, says her fiance Hatis Senzis. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that during this period a plan or “road map” was drawn up to kill Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia.

September 29: Khashoggi travels to London and speaks at a conference.

October 1st: Khashoggi returns to Istanbul. According to Prime Minister Erdogan, around 4:30 p.m., a team of three Saudis will arrive in Istanbul on a scheduled flight, check in at the hotel and then visit the consulate. The Turkish president said another group of consulate employees would travel to the forests outside Istanbul and the nearby town of Yalova on a “reconnaissance” trip.

Jamal Khashoggi arrives at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 (right)

The day of his disappearance

2 October 3:28 am: A private jet arrives at Istanbul Atatürk International Airport, carrying 15 members of the Saudi Arabian “assassination squad” reported by Turkish media. Other team members will arrive on two commercial flights in the afternoon. Prime Minister Erdogan said the team includes Saudi security and intelligence authorities and forensic experts. They meet at the Saudi consulate. One of the first things they do is take apart the hard drive connected to the consulate’s camera system, the president said.

11:50 am: Khashoggi is called later today to confirm his appointment at the consulate, Erdogan said.

13:14: Surveillance footage later leaked to Turkish media shows Khashoggi entering through the front door of the Saudi consulate. No footage has been released showing he is gone. Her fiancé is waiting for her outside for hours to walk.

3:07 p.m .: Surveillance footage shows a vehicle with a diplomatic license plate leaving the Saudi consulate and heading towards the consulate general about 2 km (1.2 miles) away.

5:50 p.m .: Khashoggi’s fiancé warned authorities, saying he could have been forcibly detained at the consulate, or that something serious had happened, according to Erdogan.

7:00 p.m .: Private Saudi planes will transport six members of the Saudi troops from Istanbul to Cairo and return to Riyadh the next day.

11:00 p.m. Seven members of the so-called Saudi team depart for Dubai, United Arab Emirates, aboard another private jet and return to Riyadh the next day. The other two depart on a commercial flight.

Erdogan confirmed reports that a man wearing Khashoggi’s clothes, glasses and beard, “Body Double”, left the Riyadh consulate with another on a scheduled flight later that day. ..

CCTV footage shows a private jet allegedly used by a group of Saudi men suspected of being involved in the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

CCTV footage shows a private jet allegedly used by a group of Saudi men suspected of being involved in the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Initial reaction

October 3: Khashoggi’s fiancée and post make his disappearance public. Saudi Arabia says Khashoggi visited the consulate and left shortly after. Turkish officials have suggested Khashoggi may still be at the consulate. Prince Mohammed told Bloomberg:

October 4: Saudi Arabia is a state news agency and the consulate “is coordinating follow-up procedures and with the Turkish municipality to clarify the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi after leaving the consulate.” ..

October 5: The post, in solidarity with Khashoggi, printed a blank column in the newspaper and titled it “Missing Voice”.

October 6: An article quoting unnamed Turkish officials reports that Khashoggi may have been killed at the consulate in a “pre-planned murder” by the Saudi team.

October 7: Khashoggi’s friend told AP authorities told him the writer was killed at the consulate. The consulate rejects what is called an “unfounded complaint”.

October 8: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Turkey has been summoned for Khashoggi’s disappearance and murder.

Leaked video

October 9: Turkey says Khashoggi will search the Saudi consulate like a photo of him walking on the surface of a diplomatic post.

October 10: Surveillance footage of Khashoggi and a Saudi squad who allegedly killed him has been leaked. Khashoggi’s fiancé asks for help from President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.

October 11: Turkish media explain that the Saudi Arabian team includes guards, intelligence personnel, soldiers and autopsy specialists. Trump calls Khashoggi’s disappearance a “bad situation” and promises to go back to his roots.

October 12: Trump promises to know again what happened to Khashoggi.

October 13: The pro-government newspaper reports that Turkish authorities have audio recordings of the alleged murder of Kashoghi’s Apple Watch, but details of the report have been questioned.

International tumult

October 14: “We will reach its roots and be severely punished,” Trump said when Saudi Arabia was involved. The director of a Saudi-owned satellite news channel suggested the country could retaliate through oil exports, and the kingdom will respond with a violent attack on those who threaten it. The Saudi Stock Exchange will temporarily collapse to 7%.

Khashoggi (pictured) disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Khashoggi (pictured) disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

October 15: A Turkish forensic team enters the Saudi consulate and searches. These diplomatic posts have experienced extraordinary development because they are considered the soil of sovereignty. After calling Salman, King of Saudi Arabia, Trump suggests that “illegal murderers” could be the cause of Khashoggi’s murder. Trump has said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit the Middle East following the incident. Meanwhile, business leaders say they will not attend the Kingdom’s economic summit, which was inspired by Prince Mohammed.

October 16: Turkish officials told AP that “specific evidence” was found at the Saudi consulate to prove Khashoggi was killed. Pompeo arrives in Saudi Arabia for a meeting between King Salman and Prince Mohammed. Meanwhile, Trump compared the case to Brett Kavanaugh’s current Supreme Court appointment in a confirmation hearing, saying:

October 17: Pompeo will meet with the Turkish president and the foreign minister in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. Turkish police will search the official residence of the Saudi Consulate General in Istanbul and carry out a second search of the consulate.

October 18: The leaked surveillance photo shows a member of Prince Mohammed’s aide entered the consulate just before Khashoggi disappeared.

October 20: Saudi Arabia initially admitted that Khashoggi was killed at the consulate and claimed he was killed in a “fight”. This assertion is immediately skeptical of the Kingdom’s Western allies, especially in the US Congress.

October 22: By the time Khashoggi was assassinated, members of Prince Mohammed’s aides reportedly called the royal family four times. Police search for a vehicle at the Saudi consulate parked in an underground car park in Istanbul.

CCTV appears, showing Saudi intelligence personnel wearing fake beards and Jamal Khashoggi’s clothes and glasses on the day they went missing.

October 23: Prime Minister Erdogan said Saudi authorities planned Khashoggi’s death for several days, then killed Khashoggi and demanded that Saudi Arabia identify everyone involved.

25 october: Turning their story around, Saudi prosecutors say Khashoggi’s murder was a deliberate crime.

November 2: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government. On the same day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling adviser Yasin Aktai said he believed the body should be dissolved in acid.

November 4: Khashoggi’s sons Sarah and Abdullah Khashoggi have called for their bodies to be returned for burial in Saudi Arabia.

November 10: President Erdogan says Turkey has provided “Saudi Arabia, Washington, Germans, French, British” with tapes related to the murder.

November 13: Turkish media report that the luggage carried by the Saudi “strike team” included scissors, defibrillators and syringes that could have been used against Khashoggi.

November 15: Saudi prosecutors have announced that they are seeking the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects charged with murder. Shalaan al-Shalaan said it was the head of the negotiating team sent to repatriate who ordered the murder and accused Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. On the same day, the US Treasury announced sanctions against 17 Saudi officials, including Turkish Consulate General Mohammed Arotavi.

November 16: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination, according to a CIA assessment published in the Washington Post.

November 18: Germany has banned 18 Saudis suspected of being involved in a murder from entering the Schengen area, which has no European borders. Berlin also announced that it had stopped exporting previously approved weapons to Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi murderer of Jamal Khashoggi was trained in a paramilitary organization in the United States a year before the murder.

Source link The Saudi murderer of Jamal Khashoggi was trained in a paramilitary organization in the United States a year before the murder.


Rickford leads new ministry bridging natural resources and northern development


Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford has been appointed Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, but Gravelle is concerned the department will accommodate competing priorities.

The return of former Finance Minister Rod Phillips may have made headlines in a provincial cabinet reshuffle announced on Friday, but the creation of a new ministry bringing together natural resources, forestry and mining with the development of the North could prove to have more important implications.

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford is now the new Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, in addition to his role as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

This merges the former Department of Natural Resources and Forestry with its previous oversight portfolio of the Department of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith takes on a new Ministry of Autonomous Energy).

The government and its critics agree that the creation of the new consolidated ministry could have major impacts.

Rickford said there are synergies between all of his current responsibilities and argued the province could better advance resource development by bringing mining and forestry under one roof with northern development.

“I think this is a great consolidation of what I would otherwise call the Ministry of Natural Resources, something akin to what I was when I was federal minister,” he said on Tuesday. , referring to his tenure as Minister of Natural Resources in the Harper government.

Thunder Bay-Superior North MPP Michael Gravelle, who oversaw both the northern development and mining file and the natural resources file under the leadership of Kathleen Wynne, said he had serious concerns as to the possibility of bridging the two.

“The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is one of the largest in the province and certainly deserves to have its own independent ministry,” he said.

Although he said Rickford could be a suitable minister, Gravelle said the new structure places a large number of potentially competing priorities under one ministry.

Specifically, he expressed concern that the new ministry might see the economic development mandate accentuated over what he said was the more traditional regulatory role of the MRNF.

Rickford, for his part, said it could be a good thing.

“The reason we haven’t made significant progress across our resources in Northern Ontario is that in 15 years we have put in place a regulatory machine that most accounts say forestry and mining in particular said it was not a place to do business. . “

“Everywhere you go, we’ve worked in northern development and mining to cut red tape – twice a year it’s part of our legislation.

Although Aboriginal Affairs remains a stand-alone ministry also under Rickford’s tutelage, Gravelle argued that it should be a “strongly independent” ministry with a dedicated minister.

It was first established as a provincial ministry in 2007, in response to the recommendations of the Ipperwash Inquiry.

Just having two portfolios under one minister doesn’t mean they’re less important, said Rickford, adding that he spent as much or more time on the Indigenous Affairs portfolio than anything else.


USAID Seeks Concept Papers From National Private Companies To Boost Agribusiness Development In Uzbekistan

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its agribusiness development activity established the “Agribusiness Development Fund” and announced a request for concept papers from the United States. ‘national private agribusinesses to strengthen the value chain of agricultural products, increase sales, create new jobs and access new markets.

The fund aims to help agro-industries introduce new technologies to promote the growth of their businesses. Supporting these businesses will help Uzbekistan diversify its economy and increase regional and international trade. USAID hosts concept papers for qualified / eligible agro-industries and in particular women-owned and youth-owned businesses and businesses employing women and youth.

This initiative is implemented through USAID’s Agribusiness Development Activity, a five-year activity, implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan, which supports the growth led by the private sector in the agricultural sector of Uzbekistan by introducing new value-added technologies and management practices across the entire value chain of targeted agricultural products. These efforts will focus on increasing value-added production in Uzbekistan, engaging women and youth, connecting educational institutions with private sector demand, and promoting policies conducive to education. Agriculture.

The deadline for submitting applications is July 16, 2021. The announcement and concept document templates are available for download here.

USAID partners with the government of Uzbekistan to diversify the country’s economy and increase regional trade, address serious health threats – including COVID-19 – and strengthen government capacity to respond to needs Population. For more information, please visit: https://www.usaid.gov/uzbekistan.


PM Modi will interact with Toycathon-2021 participants on June 24


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with participants of Toycathon-2021 on June 24 via video conference, an event aimed at boosting the toy industry in India to help it capture a greater share of the toy market.

The meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. The Union Minister of Education will also be present on the occasion.

Toycathon 2021 was jointly launched by the Ministry of Education, Ministry WCD, Ministry MSME, DPIIT, Ministry of Textile, Ministry I&B and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on January 5 of this year. to search for ideas for innovative toys and games.

About 1.2 lakh of participants from across India registered and submitted over 17,000 ideas for the 2021 Toycathon, of which 1,567 ideas were shortlisted for the three-day online grand finale of the Toycathon, to be held from June 22 to 24. Due to Covid- 19 restrictions, this grand finale will have teams with digital toy ideas, while a separate physical event will be held for non-digital toy concepts.

India’s domestic market as well as the global toy market provide a huge opportunity for our manufacturing sector.

–IANS

rak / skp /

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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USAID AND CARICOM DEVELOPMENT FUND SIGN MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING TO STRENGTHEN COOPERATION

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Regional Representative, USAID / ESC, Clinton White (left) and CEO, CDF, Rodinald Soomer show signed copies of the MoU which provides a broad framework for cooperation between the two entities.

June 21, 2021—The United States Agency for International Development / Eastern and Southern Caribbean Mission (USAID / ESC) and the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday, June 21. The signing of the MoU took place at the CDF offices in Barbados. The MOU provides a general framework for cooperation between the two organizations and the strengthening of institutional links between them. The MoU also serves as the basis for USAID and CDF to collaborate in the provision of services to selected CARICOM member states as the Caribbean seeks to forge closer economic integration within the framework of the market and CARICOM’s Unique Economics (CSME).

Reaffirming USAID’s commitment, USAID / ESC Regional Representative Clinton White said, “In a region with huge funding needs, a large youth population, and some of the most expensive energy in the world. , among other development challenges, USAID is pleased to work with CDF to resolve these issues and build a better Caribbean for all. “

CDF supports its member states through a framework known as the CARICOM Cohesion Policy and Country Assistance Programs (CAPs). Under the MOU, activities will align with the CAPs and will focus on three main themes:

  1. Improve energy efficiency and renewable energy capacity among CARICOM member states
  2. Improve access to finance for sector and community infrastructure projects and medium-sized enterprises
  3. Promotion of youth entrepreneurship in the CARICOM region

Commenting on the signing of the MoU, CDF CEO Rodinald Soomer said: “This partnership with USAID will bring great added value to CDF support programs to disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors in CARICOM, enabling them to take better advantage of the growth and development opportunities in the CSME, by helping to improve the competitiveness of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and by strengthening the sustainable energy capacity and resilient infrastructure of the region in the face of climate change.

The United States and the Caribbean form a community with many common values ​​and interests. Together we can make communities more vibrant and expand economic opportunities in the Caribbean – we are neighbors, partners, friends.


Jamaican Consulate in New York Donates Over 1,400 Computing Devices to Jamaica

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Consul General Of Jamaica in New York, Alsion Wilson standing with a shipment of computer devices in his office.

On June 17, the Jamaican Consulate General in New York shipped over 1,400 computing devices to Jamaica in support of the government’s One Device Per Child initiative.

This was the fourth shipment of tablets and computers offered by the consulate. Friday’s expedition now brings the total number of devices donated by the New York Consulate to 4,600, worth $ 539,646.80.

Consul General Alsion Roach-Wilson said that “empowering our students and helping them achieve their full potential continues to be high on the agenda of the Jamaican Consulate General in New York”.

She added that “this initiative would not have been possible without the support of our corporate sponsors – our #dearfriendsofJamaica and our #JamaicanDiaspora, who have generously donated to ensure that this vision of ‘leaving no Jamaican students behind’ is a reality.

Consul General Wilson said plans were already underway to ship the fifth shipment within the next three weeks.

The Jamaican government launched the One Laptop or Tablet Per Child program in October 2020, which aims to provide needy students with the tools to function in the online teaching and learning environment.

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Biden Can Keep the Two-State Solution Alive


President Joe Biden and his team came into office understandably hoping to deprioritize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They saw Washington-led negotiations as a trap that had ensnared previous U.S. administrations, and the prospects for progress looked bleaker than ever.

But some issues can’t be ignored. As last month’s escalation between Israel and Hamas underscored, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires regular U.S. engagement to avoid spasms of violence that sap Washington’s ability to deal with other priorities.

The Biden administration isn’t wrong to eschew yet another round of high-profile negotiations. The conflict isn’t ripe for resolution. But Biden does need a concerted strategy to improve the trajectory of the conflict—and to prevent periodic flare-ups—while still preserving the possibility of a two-state solution. The surprise ouster of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, and the inauguration of a new Israeli government led by the conservative Naftali Bennett and the centrist Yair Lapid, offers Biden a unique opportunity to do just that.

HARD LESSONS

Although it was an unwelcome distraction, the recent conflict holds important lessons that should inform the Biden administration’s approach to managing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Among the most important is that small details matter a great deal—and they have the potential to become big international headaches. This latest round of violence began with a local dispute over the potential eviction of four Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem but soon exploded into an international crisis that absorbed hours of Biden’s time. In part because the Trump administration closed the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, which since 1994 had functioned both as a de facto embassy for the Palestinians and a vital early-warning system for Washington, the Biden administration missed the initial signs that a conflict was brewing. Of course, the president and secretary of state should not be paying attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a daily basis, but the United States needs seasoned diplomats on the ground who can quickly raise the alarm at the highest levels of government.

Another important lesson is that while the United States remains a central player in the conflict, it cannot solve problems on its own. Once the crisis erupted, the Biden administration helped de-escalate the violence. Rather than openly call for a cease-fire, which Israel would have resisted for at least a few days, Biden pushed for it privately while publicly aligning himself with Israel. As a result, he was able to help end the bloodshed in just 11 days. But he had some help: Biden relied on Egypt to mediate between Hamas and Israel, leveraging its deep relations with both parties and its strong interest in swiftly ending a conflict on its border.

Biden’s options were also shaped by shifting domestic politics in the United States. The old Democratic playbook of unquestioningly supporting Israel has become untenable. When Biden traveled to Michigan to promote electric cars last month, the news cycle was overtaken by protests by Arab American organizations angered by the deaths of Palestinian civilians and children. In the past, it might have been possible to shrug off such demonstrations. No longer: partly because Netanyahu spent years aligning himself closely with the Republican Party and partly because of the parallels many progressives see between the Palestinian cause and the challenges that minority groups face in the United States, the Democratic Party has grown more sympathetic to Palestinian rights. Biden has so far pursued a traditional U.S. policy of support for Israel, which still has plenty of backing in the party. Going forward, however, mounting pressure from congressional Democrats to acknowledge the Palestinian perspective will limit his room to maneuver. On the other hand, it will also increase his leverage to push Israel to refrain from provocative actions such as evictions in Jerusalem or home demolitions in the West Bank.

Israeli and Palestinian politics are too dysfunctional for a high-profile peace initiative to have any chance of success.

The final lesson of the most recent flare-up is that Israeli and Palestinian politics are too dysfunctional for a high-profile peace initiative to have any chance of success. In the run-up to the conflict, Netanyahu was so concerned with his own political survival that he allowed right-wing extremists in his coalition to fan the flames of resentment by, among other things, refusing to intervene when Israeli police took increasingly provocative steps in Jerusalem. The new Israeli “change” coalition spans the political spectrum and includes the first Arab party to join an Israeli government. It represents a major improvement over Netanyahu’s corrupt and antidemocratic government. But all eight parties in the coalition essentially hold veto over important issues, making it impossible to take big steps of any kind on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This means the United States should aim to discourage Israel from making things worse by continuing the current pace of settlement construction in the West Bank and instead work quietly to advance practical, nonideological issues such as improving access to electricity and water in Gaza and granting building permits to Palestinians in parts of the West Bank that are currently under full Israeli control. 

On the Palestinian side, the political terrain is even more fraught. The latest explosion of violence came only weeks after President Mahmoud Abbas canceled what would have been the first elections in Palestine in 15 years. Hamas had seen those elections as an opportunity to assume a bigger role in Palestinian politics; with elections out of the picture, the militant group instead opted to increase its influence by cynically using the tensions in Jerusalem as an excuse to launch rockets at great cost to both Israeli and Palestinian civilians. The Palestinian Authority came out of this conflict significantly weakened: it proposed elections only to cancel them and then appeared irrelevant and detached during the subsequent fighting. Until the deadlock between Hamas and Fatah—the political party that controls the Palestinian Authority—is broken, Palestinian politics will remain divided, corrupt, and authoritarian, making it extraordinarily difficult to achieve serious progress toward an agreement with the Israelis.

In both Palestine and Israel, talk of a two-state solution has all but ceased. For the Palestinians, a state of their own seems like a pipe dream. They are focused on preserving their homes and winning or maintaining basic rights, such as freedom of movement and ballot access. Israelis, meanwhile, believe that they lack a negotiating partner on the other side. Many prefer to pretend that the Palestinians do not exist, until every few years rockets temporarily force them to recall otherwise.

A PATH FORWARD  

To improve the trajectory of the conflict and enhance its ability to manage future outbursts, the United States should start by reopening its consulate in Jerusalem. With its deep contacts not just to the Palestinian leadership but to the broader Palestinian society, the consulate for years helped the United States monitor the delicate situation on the ground and raise the alarm in Washington when things became dangerous, giving senior officials time to intervene and press all sides to back down.

During his recent trip to the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced plans to reopen the consulate. Doing so will require cooperation from the Israelis, however, some of whom say the consulate should go elsewhere now that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But relocating the consulate would anger the Palestinians, undermining U.S. efforts to deepen ties with them and ensure a clearer window into the conflict. U.S. officials must work with the new Israeli government to manage the delicate politics around this issue, especially since Netanyahu—now the opposition leader—is the loudest voice demanding the relocation of the U.S. consulate. At the same time, however, they must stress to their Israeli counterparts that this is an issue not of ideology but of practicality: getting eyes on the ground. As Israel’s closest and most important partner, the United States should be able to count on Israel’s full cooperation, especially given that a number of European countries have consulates in Jerusalem that serve a similar function.

The Biden administration should also prioritize improving the terrible conditions in Gaza, where 75,000 families are newly homeless after the most recent spate of fighting. The 2.2 million Palestinians who live in Gaza can rely on only around eight hours of electricity per day; just ten percent of them have access to safe water. But the United States cannot address this humanitarian crisis alone, because it has no presence on the ground in Gaza and will not engage with Hamas. Instead, the United States must work closely with Egypt and the UN Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace on a joint plan for Gaza reconstruction. The United States should play the role of coordinator and enforcer in such an effort, leaning on regional players—especially the Gulf states—to make the needed investments in a coordinated fashion and encouraging Israel to remain cooperative.

Once aid begins to flow to Gaza, the biggest challenge will be to avoid empowering Hamas.

Israel has said that it will allow aid for reconstruction to flow into Gaza only after Hamas returns two Israeli citizens currently being held in the strip as well as the remains of two Israeli soldiers. The Biden administration should privately communicate to Israel that the living conditions for 2.2 million people cannot be held hostage to this issue. But it should also elevate its public support for the release of the hostages and the soldiers’ remains and press other international players to speak out more forcefully on this issue.  

Once the aid begins to flow, the biggest challenge will be to avoid empowering Hamas. After the last conflict in Gaza in 2014, the UN Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace developed a complex mechanism for vetting all aid delivered to Gaza. But within a few years, aid from Qatar was allowed to bypass this mechanism and wound up going straight to Hamas with the full consent and cooperation of Netanyahu’s government. In part because of these funds, Hamas was able to rebuild its military capability.

The new reconstruction effort should include a refined system for vetting aid recipients, based on lessons learned over the last seven years. But it should also place a much greater emphasis on delivering resources and opportunities that Hamas will struggle to control or siphon off. For example, upgrades to Egyptian and Israeli power lines that feed into Gaza’s grid could dramatically expand the amount of electricity available to Gazans without requiring much direct investment in Gaza itself. Israel could also grant Gazans permits to work in Israel, which would increase remittances to the impoverished strip. Since Israeli authorities would vet anyone applying for a permit, they could ensure that these funds would not reach Hamas. The Israel Defense Forces have in the past supported this idea, but politicians have rejected it because of security concerns. Yet Israel grants thousands of work permits to residents of the West Bank, who travel back and forth to Israel every day. Certainly, allowing Gazans to do the same would make more sense than simply sending cash to Hamas.

NEW GOVERNMENT, NEW OPPORTUNITIES

The dawn of a new political era in Israel gives the Biden administration an opening to contribute to some limited progress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Because the new coalition government is so diverse, it will not be able to agree on major policy changes and will be highly motivated to avoid major conflagrations. This gives Washington an opportunity to quietly press the Israeli government to eschew further evictions of Palestinians in Jerusalem, halt the announcement of new settlement construction, and avoid clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli police at holy sites such as the one known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif.

The Biden administration also has an opportunity to engage with—and empower—more constructive voices in Israel. Lapid, a centrist who under the terms of the coalition will be foreign minister for two years and then prime minister, is now possibly the most powerful politician in Israel, having forged the political alliance that toppled Netanyahu and that holds the most seats in the Knesset. Lapid has prioritized repairing relations with Jordan, a key partner on Israeli-Palestinian issues whose relationship with Israel suffered under Netanyahu. Biden’s team should work closely with Lapid at the Foreign Ministry to reestablish the long-agreed status quo on the Temple Mount, which allows Jews and Muslims to visit the site but only Muslims to pray at it and is critically important to Jordan as the custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. The Biden administration should also try to build a cooperative relationship with officials in Israel’s Transportation Ministry, which is responsible for road construction and as a result plays a critical role in expanding settlements in the West Bank. The Transportation Ministry is now controlled by the left-wing Labor Party, which also holds the Public Security Ministry that oversees the police, whose heavy-handedness helped stoke tensions in recent months. Quiet cooperation with Labor leaders on both sets of issues could yield positive results.

U.S. officials should also reach out to Arab citizens of Israel, who for the first time are represented by an Arab party—the United Arab List—in the coalition government. Arabs make up 20 percent of the population of Israel, and their inclusion in government could have profound long-term implications for Israeli politics. In recent years, Arab parties have won anywhere from ten to 15 seats in the Knesset, making them a potentially influential bloc, but they always refused to join the government. If that taboo has been broken, the Arab Israeli community could gain significant leverage over social and economic policy in Israel that could even have spillover benefits for Palestinians in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza. For the moment, simply taking more meetings with representatives from these communities and elevating their voices would be a positive first step for the Biden administration.  

On the Palestinian side of the conflict, the United States and its partners should encourage Fatah and Hamas to pursue a power-sharing arrangement that would break the current deadlock. Elections would have been one way to achieve such an arrangement. But because Hamas’s popularity has surged in the wake of the recent fighting, Fatah will not agree to elections anytime soon. The United States should therefore support the indirect negotiations between Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Hamas that recently began in Egypt. These talks aim to achieve a more durable cease-fire but could expand to explore a possible Palestinian unity government that would include both Fatah and Hamas. 

Such a unity government could work only with Israeli acquiescence and would thus require a three-way deal. Hamas would have to make major concessions to both Israel and the Palestinian Authority: it would have to acknowledge that the Palestine Liberation Organization is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, agree to abide by a long-term cease-fire with Israel in both Gaza and the West Bank, cede control of key ministries in Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, halt expansion of its military capabilities, and start a gradual process of disarmament. In exchange, it would receive a formal role in Palestinian governing institutions, accepted by the international community and by Israel. It would also receive a gradual relaxation of, and eventual end to, the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza. 

At the same time as it recalibrates its engagement with both the Israelis and the Palestinians, the Biden administration should rethink how it talks about and seeks to support a two-state solution, an outcome that none of the parties believe to be possible in the near term. Biden should not walk away from two states, which remains the most viable way to ensure freedom, prosperity, and security for Israelis and Palestinians. To preserve that possibility, his administration should increasingly emphasize the importance of Palestinian rights and freedom. Washington should take a stronger stand against Israeli policies that limit where Palestinians can live or move to, unequal legal practices that ensure Israelis in the West Bank get due process while channeling Palestinians through military courts with conviction rates of nearly 100 percent, and the travesty of Israel’s policy of arresting and detaining young children for throwing rocks. Shining a light on these practices and pushing the Israelis to change them is the best way to restore faith in the two-state solution and to uphold American values.

None of these steps would immediately move the Israelis and the Palestinians closer to the ever-elusive solution of two states. But they would put the conflict on a better trajectory, preserving the possibility of a just peace sometime in the future and improving the United States’ ability to intervene and prevent unnecessary bloodshed in the meantime.

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International Yoga Day 2021: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches the mYoga app

On the occasion of International Yoga Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the MyYoga app in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).
This app comes preloaded with lots of yoga training videos based on a common yoga protocol and in multiple languages.
Calling it a great example of the fusion of modern technology and ancient science, the prime minister said the my yoga app will help spread yoga around the world and contribute to the efforts of “One World One Health”.
Android and iOS users can download the app from their respective app stores.
The mYoga app was developed by WHO in collaboration with the Morarji Desai National Yoga Institute and Ayush Ministry.
“It is an app for the general public and for yoga teachers to use in their daily life and teaching. It includes WHO-approved yoga teaching and practice sessions of varying lengths, developed through extensive consultation with international experts, ”says the app’s description on Google Play Store.
At the time of filing this report, the mYoga app has over 100 installations and is rated 4.5 on the Google Play Store. The app was last updated on June 17th and the size of the apps listed at 42MB.
The app description also claims that mYoga does not collect any user data and is recommended to use it as a “daily yoga companion for ages 12-65”.
The theme for International Yoga Day 2021 is “Yoga for Wellness” which, as developed by PM Modi, focuses on “The practice of yoga for physical and mental well-being”.

Go Viral Network Announces Next30 Emerging Leaders Competition

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June 21, 2021 – To mark the 30th anniversary of Central Asia’s independence, the five American diplomatic missions in Central Asia and the Go Viral network have launched a regional campaign: Next30 Young leaders from Central Asia, to identify 30 emerging leaders in Central Asia, born in 1991 and later.

Registration for the The Next30 campaign is open to the public from June 20e to July 20e. Next30 Central Asian innovators from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in the fields of business, media, culture, technology and civil society will have the opportunity to share their achievements , their successes and contributions, and identify their vision for the future of Central Asia.

“The United States is proud of our partnership with Central Asia and joins every country as they celebrate their 30th anniversary. With this initiative, we want to support the young leaders of Central Asia, who can inspire others to create innovative ideas and collaborative projects, support the efforts of local entrepreneurs and promote cooperation in the world ”, mentionned Eric Meyer, United States Consul General in Almaty.

Finalists will will be announced on August 13, 2021 and the the winners will be announced on September 17, 2021. According to the selection criteria, all applicants must be at least 18 years old (as of July 20, 2021) and be born no earlier than 1991. Applicants must complete the registration forms in English and write a 300 word statement describing contributions they have made to the future of Central Asia through innovation in their field.

“Young people in Central Asia are innovative, talented and ambitious. US diplomatic missions across Central Asia are proud to support Go Viral’s Next30 initiative to promote the new generation of leaders, born since independence, who represent a future full of opportunities and new ideas ”, mentionned Charles Martin, director of the Go Viral Tajikistan program and founder of Go Viral.

Next30 winners will have the opportunity to meet, network at regional Go Viral events as well as travel to the United States in a group next year meet American experts and innovators in the fields of media, business, culture and technology.

To find out more, consult the Go Viral social networks: Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, and Youtube.

Downloadable visuals, photos and videos here. Hashtags: # Next30GV #GoViralCA

Go Viral 2021 press center

Dalida Nakupova, tel. : +7 701 222 2850; [email protected], [email protected]



How to get out of payday loan debt now

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The key is to shop around and find a loan at the most affordable rate and with the most favorable terms possible.

If you are able to get a personal loan, you can significantly reduce the interest rate and borrowing costs you pay compared to payday loans. More of your money will go towards paying off your main balance, so you can actually reduce your debts.

And personal loans come with fixed repayment schedules that usually give you several years to pay off your loan. This extended repayment period can make your monthly payments more affordable. This way, you won’t have to borrow more money when your paycheck doesn’t stretch far enough to pay for everything you need plus cover expenses.

You can also use other types of loans, such as home equity loans, to consolidate your debt, but these can take longer to qualify, come with higher closing costs, and put your house at risk as collateral.

Commit to no longer borrowing

Once you’ve borrowed with a payday loan, the high fees and short repayment time associated with your loan can sometimes make it difficult to stop borrowing. In fact, many people end up taking out one payday loan after another or even taking out multiple payday loans at the same time. This can quickly lead to financial disaster when a large portion of your salary is promised to lenders before you even receive it.

Unfortunately, the bottom line is that you can’t borrow to get out of debt, especially with high-interest loans like payday loans. We must break the cycle by no longer taking credit. However, this can be very difficult if your paycheck doesn’t stretch far enough due to payments you’re already obligated to make.

The best way to make sure you don’t borrow anymore is to make a detailed budget that you live on. Figure out what your income is each month and add up all your essential and discretionary expenses. You will need to ensure that your outgoings and outgoings do not exceed your income. If they do, you will have to keep borrowing forever and never be able to get out of payday loan debt.

If your income doesn’t cover your expenses, start looking for places to reduce your expenses. That might mean cutting coupons to reduce your food budget or finding a roommate to make rent more affordable. If you have a drastic shortage in the amount of cash available to cover expenses, you may really need to cut expenses to the bone – but it is necessary to do so at least in the short term so that you can get out of your debts.

If you really want to pay off your debt as soon as possible, making extra payments is essential. When you make additional payments, it will cost you less in total to pay off your debt, as well as reduce the time it takes to become debt free.

Paying extra on your loan will reduce the balance faster because all the extra money will go towards the principal. And the more you reduce your balance, the less interest you will pay since interest is charged on a lower amount.

You can make extra payments by living on a prudent budget that keeps expenses down. You can also seek additional cash to increase your payout. To find extra money to pay off your payday loans, consider:

  • Doing overtime
  • Work a side gig
  • Selling things you don’t need

Consider bankruptcy

Sometimes you might not be able to agree on a repayment plan that makes payday loans affordable for you, and you might not be able to get a new loan that makes paying off payday loans affordable.

If you find yourself unable to make payments while covering your essential monthly expenses, you may have no choice but to try to pay off your debt or file for bankruptcy.

Debt settlement involves making an agreement with creditors to repay less than the total owed and have the rest of your debt forgiven. Debt settlement lawyers or debt settlement companies can negotiate this type of agreement with payday lenders, but you will have to pay a fee.

You can also try to negotiate this type of agreement yourself by informing the payday lenders that you are unable to pay as promised. If you can offer a lump sum payment of a portion of your debt in exchange for canceling your debt balance, this approach often works best.

Just be aware that lenders generally won’t accept a settlement unless you’ve missed payments – and debt settlement hurts your credit score. You will also want to get your agreement in writing before you pay anything.

If debt settlement isn’t working and payments are unaffordable, bankruptcy may be your only answer. Bankruptcy will allow you to discharge eligible debts, including payday loan debts.

The process by which debts are discharged varies depending on whether you are filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Chapter 7 requires you to assign certain assets to the bankruptcy estate so that creditors can be partially paid. Chapter 13 requires you to make payments on a three to five year payment plan before the remaining debt balance is forgiven.

Bankruptcy hurts your credit score, but it can get you out of a deep hole if you have a lot of payday loans and other debts you can’t afford to pay. Once your debt has been discharged and is no longer collectible, you can begin to rebuild your credit. This can be done over time by living within your means and getting a secure credit card that you pay on time to develop a positive payment history.

How can you repay your payday loan?

Ultimately, there is no one right approach to getting payday loan debt paid off.

Entering into a repayment plan makes sense if your state requires lenders to authorize them or if your lenders are willing to work with you. Taking out a new loan at a lower rate to pay off payday loan debt can work if you are able to qualify or if you have a loved one who will allow you to borrow. It is possible to pay extra on your loans if you can work more or sell additional items to get more money.

But if none of these options work for you, debt settlement or bankruptcy may be the only way to finally free yourself from your payday loan debt.

Carefully consider each possible option, weigh the pros and cons, determine which solutions are viable, and then act. Start working on your approach today because you absolutely want to get your payday loans paid off ASAP before they cost you even more money.

Alternatives to payday loans | The Motley Fool

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How does an alternative payday loan work?

Alternative payday loans (PAL) are low value loans offered by federal credit unions. PALs are permitted by the National Credit Union Administration as long as certain guidelines are followed.

First and foremost, you must be a member of the credit union and you must have been a member for at least one month before applying for an alternative payday loan. Therefore, if you think you can rely on payday loans in the future, you may want to join a credit union in advance. Credit unions have varying rules and membership fees, but they often offer a range of affordable banking products. So there might be other benefits to joining one as well.

For eligible members of credit unions, alternative payday loans are for amounts between $200 and $1,000 and have repayment terms between one month and six months. This is usually a longer repayment term than most payday loans. This means you’ll be less likely to have to borrow again immediately to pay off your loan balance, as you’ll make smaller payments over time.

Where alternative payday loans really stand out is the cost. The application fee will be capped at $20. And the maximum interest rate on these small loans is 28%. Although this rate is higher than what you would pay with most standard personal loans, it is still well below the effective rate for payday loans, which could exceed 400%.

Borrowers can take out up to three PALs in a six-month period, but cannot switch between them. If you are struggling financially and need to borrow a small amount of money for a short period of time, this might be the perfect answer for you.

Of course, just because these loans are cheaper than payday loans doesn’t mean they’re cheap. You should only borrow if you need to and borrow the minimum required to cover essential expenses.

Once you’ve paid off your loan, try to start saving an emergency fund so you don’t have to take out a loan to cover unexpected expenses in the future. Ideally, your emergency fund will have enough money to cover three to six months of living expenses. But it doesn’t matter if it takes time to get to that level. Saving even a small emergency fund with a few hundred dollars could help you cover unexpected costs so you don’t have to borrow with an emergency loan in the future.

Perfect Payday Loan Review

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Are you in financial difficulty?

If you are having financial difficulty and would like to speak to someone for free financial advice, information and assistance, you can call the Financial Advisors Hotline on 1800 007 007 (open 9.30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday) . If you are having financial problems related to the coronavirus pandemic, you may be eligible for additional help.

⚠️ Borrowing Warning

Do you really need a loan today?*

It can be expensive to borrow small amounts of money and borrowing may not solve your money problems.

Check your options before borrowing:

  • For more information on other bill and debt management options, call 1800 007 007 from anywhere in Australia to speak to a free, independent financial adviser.
  • Talk to your electric, gas, phone or water provider to see if you can set up a payment plan
  • If you receive government benefits, ask if you can receive an advance from Centrelink: Telephone: 13 17 94

The government’s MoneySmart website shows you how small loans work and suggests other options that might help.

* This statement is an Australian Government requirement under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009.

How it works?

Perfect Payday connects borrowers to its network of lenders. Perfect Payday works by evaluating applications submitted by potential applicants and finding them a suitable loan. Borrowers must meet the loan terms and repayments set by the lender.

What are the types of payday loans?

The loans offered by Perfect Payday are small, short-term loans. Candidates can borrow between $100 and $2,000 depending on their financial situation. As stated on its website, these payday loans may be an option if any of the following apply:

  • Financial emergency. If unexpected expenses arise, such as medical needs or an impulsive event that they have to pay.
  • Needing money before getting paid. If clients have not budgeted properly and find themselves without enough money to cover them.
  • Car repairs. If they have a car accident or their car breaks down and they need money to fix it.
  • Invoices and payments. If they forgot to pay a bill or make a payment and won’t have enough money to pay it until payday.

Costs

Perfect Payday does not charge applicants a fee, these fees are charged by the individual lender. For an average payday loan, they can expect to pay $24 for every $100 they borrow. So, for example, if customers borrow $400, they will repay $496, and if they borrow $750, they will repay $930. The $24 is made up of:

  • Monthly fee – 4% of the principal amount.

If clients apply and are offered a loan, they should check whether set-up fees, monthly fees and default charges apply and whether they can afford them before signing the contract.

How to register

Potential applicants can apply for a perfect payday loan online. The form will be assessed and they will start finding lenders for them. They can then electronically sign the loan agreement and receive the funds.

The application process requires customers to provide personal information and also mention if they have experienced financial hardship in the past six months. Perfect Payday does not perform credit checks, although some lenders they work with do. Customers can still apply if they have a bad credit history because they work with lenders who lend to those with bad credit histories.

Eligibility

The eligibility criteria for these loans vary due to the wide range of lenders they work with and the different loans they offer. Generally, borrowers must:

  • Be an Australian resident
  • Be over 18 years old
  • Have an active bank account
  • Be able to provide proof of your identity
  • Have a regular source of income paid into your bank account (not cash)

Best Payday Loan Alternatives for Military Personnel – The Dough Roller

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MMilitary members and their families do so much to serve our nation that it is surprising to find that they are being unfairly targeted by predatory moneylenders. But it is in fact the case. The Consumer Federation of America recently published a report which noted that predatory lenders target service members and their families.

Predatory lending is a huge problem because it can lock individuals and families into a cycle of borrowing at very high interest rates. Payday loans are the worst kind of predatory loans. They usually charge excessively high interest, start accruing interest immediately, and often force people to borrow again and again to keep paying off these short-term loans.

But they can seem very tempting if you’re in a tight spot and need some quick cash. Fortunately, there are other alternatives available for private citizens and the military. Here are 7 payday loan alternatives to check out:

Alternatives accessible to all

Whether you are in the military or not, you have alternatives to payday loans. Here are some options to consider:

1. Get a personal loan

Personal loans can take a little longer, but with today’s technology, you can have money within business days. Check personal loan aggregation sites like [wp_shortcode_95]Where Monevo to compare the loans you may be eligible for.

Some personal loans will have a fairly high interest rate, especially if you don’t have a good credit rating. However, they will almost always have a better interest rate and better terms than a payday loan. And you can usually deposit money into your personal bank account within two to three business days.

Find the best personal loan for you

2. Look at introductory APR credit cards

If you have decent credit and are in dire financial straits, consider credit cards with a low initial APR. These cards often come with an introductory APR of 0% for the first few months of card ownership. You can use this card to bill your emergency expenses and then pay them off without having to pay interest.

Some of these cards are available to those with medium to high credit. So it’s worth looking into even if you don’t have great credit.

Again, however, accessing this money can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. So, if you need cash immediately, consider one of the other options on the list. Then, if you qualify for a 0% introductory APR, you can transfer the outstanding debt onto it so you can pay it off without paying as much interest.

3. Get a credit card cash advance

If you already have a credit card with available credit, consider getting a cash advance on your card. A cash advance will have a higher interest rate – often much higher – than your standard APR. And it will usually charge a fee of $5-$10 to withdraw money. However, it gives you quick access to cash at an interest rate that’s likely lower than what you’ll get with a payday loan.

And, again, if you then qualify for a card with an introductory APR of 0%, you can consider transferring your balance to it to ultimately save big on interest.

Related:Best Cash Advance Credit Cards

4. Look into alternative payday loans

As payday loans have become increasingly problematic, payday loan alternatives (PAL) have emerged. These loans are often available from credit unions and allow you to borrow a small amount of money for a short time at a much lower interest rate than payday loans. If you are already a member of a credit union, find out if you can access a program like this.

Some companies also specialize in alternative payday loans for military members and families, in particular. These companies are often backed by nonprofits seeking to tackle the payday loan crisis in low-income areas or around military bases.

Related: Apps that lend you money now Alternatives to payday loans

5. Get an advance on your salary

Finally, you can check with your employer if you can get a salary advance. You can often repay payday advances over time and you probably won’t have to pay much interest, if any. If you qualify, a payday advance may be the ideal alternative to a payday loan.

Military Specific Alternatives

The options above are available to everyone, military or not. But if you’re in the military, you may have access to some even better options.

6. Review military-specific personal loans and SCRA benefits

Some military-specific entities offer personal loans that are often available at a lower rate. For example, USAA offers personal loans specifically for active duty military. The loans have flexible repayment terms and generally low APRs. And they have no origination fees, which means the money you borrow is all you have to pay back. Military branch credit unions typically offer similar deals.

Other traditional lenders also offer Military Civil Aid Act (SCRA), which can cap interest rates on personal loans at as low as 6%. That’s a lot less than what you’ll find with payday loans! Many traditional lenders, including OneMain Financial, Capital One, and Discover, offer SCRA benefits to eligible members.

However, the typical application process for these loans may not include SCRA information. If not, you should call the lender directly to find out how to get a low interest personal loan as an active duty military member. The savings are well worth the extra phone call it takes to get these benefits.

Again, remember that the personal loan application process can take longer than getting a payday loan on the same day. One option here is to charge your emergency expenses to a credit card and then pay them off with the personal loan. Or if you absolutely need to get an emergency payday loan, apply for a personal loan right away to pay it off. Then you can quickly break the cycle of short-term, high-interest borrowing.

7. Check out military aid groups

Finally, each branch of the military has its own relief or aid group, and many of these entities offer quick alternatives to payday loans. Here’s what you can expect from each group:

  • Army Emergency Relief – Service members and immediate family members can apply for interest-free loans from Army Emergency Relief for emergency travel, healthcare expenses, essential furniture, minor home repairs, appliance maintenance and other urgent expenses. There is no maximum amount for these loans and you can get help the same day you apply.
  • Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society – This company offers a variety of rescue and assistance options to members of the Navy and Marine Corps. But the fastest option is the Rapid Assistance Loan, which is an interest-free loan of up to $500 that must be repaid within 10 months.
  • Air Force Aid Society – AFAS has a variety of emergency assistance options. Standard assistance may include a loan or grant in tandem with financial counseling and budgeting assistance for emergencies. Falcon Loans are accelerated interest-free loans of up to $1,000.
  • Coast Guard Mutual Assistance – Coast Guard members can access a variety of financial aid, including financial counseling and adoption assistance. But if you are in an emergency, the quick loan program is probably the best option. It offers an interest-free loan of up to $1,000.

Alternative options for payday loans are available to everyone. And service members — active duty, retired, and their families — have access to even more and better options than most people. If you need cash fast, skip the payday loan store and try these alternatives instead.

Russia’s delinquent payday loan portfolio hits new high

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The number of overdue payday loans in Russia hit a record 5.4 million in February, according to credit rating agency Equifax.

In total, Russians owe 172 billion rubles ($2.2 billion) to microfinance organizations – very short-term loans that usually come with high interest rates and are designed to keep borrowers going for a few weeks. or a few months – the agency Recount the public news agency RIA Novosti.

But more than a third of the total outstanding amount – 60 billion rubles ($790 million) – is currently held by borrowers who are more than 90 days behind schedule. That figure rose 2.2% in February alone, bringing the volume of overdue payday loans, as well as the number of troubled borrowers, to an all-time high.

Russia’s Central Bank said last week that borrowers’ average indebtedness – the amount of their monthly income that goes to repaying debts – had increases during the pandemic due to declining income.

For years of declining and stagnating living standards, regulators have long watched Russia’s bloated payday loan portfolio and borrowers’ ability to repay, fearing it could be a source of broader economic instability. . Rights groups have also been concerned following several reports during the last Russian economic crisis on the violent methods used by debt collectors to recover loans from heavily indebted borrowers.

The overall outstanding amount of Russia’s loan portfolio, including payday loans, personal loans and business loans, has increased by 10% during the coronavirus pandemic, the rating agency Fitch has calculated. About one in eight loans had to be restructured, although this was most often done by small businesses, with only 5% of retail loans needing review.

Nevertheless, the Central Bank is optimistic on the health of the country’s banking sector and did not sound the alarm about growing corporate or household indebtedness. He believes a much lower share of lending is set to go bad than previously thought, and growth in the personal debt burden has also been lower than feared at the start of the pandemic.

Why payday loan use is on the rise during the pandemic and how you can avoid it

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Payday lenders targeting low-income people are nothing new. Short-term, high-interest loans which are often intended for minorities in rural areas, have the potential to create a spiral of debt from which many find it difficult to break free.

In 2018, for example, more than 33,000 payday loans were taken out each week in Alabama, according to Alabama Appleseed, a Montgomery-based social justice advocacy group. This represents 1.7 million loans per year, generating more than $100 million in fees. The situation is similar in the rest of the South. In South Carolina, nearly 700,000 loans were taken out in 2018 by 86,000 different borrowers.

the Consumer Finance Bureau found that 1 in 4 payday loans are borrowed nine times and borrowers take five months to repay loans, resulting in an average of $520 in finance charges per client.

And this trend has only gotten worse during the pandemic. Amid levels of unemployment not seen since the Great Depression, regular use of payday loans tripled while people with few other banking options scrambled to cover basic needs, such as food utilities and rent, according to Gusto, a national human resources company.

Loans have historically and disproportionately targeted low-income workers, people of color and women, according to a Pew study. The problem is exacerbated by the lack of traditional financial institutions for African Americans neighborhoods, where people have among the lowest credit scores, highest debt collection rates and highest subprime credit ratesand the use of high-cost payday loans and other alternative financial services (AFS) loans.

Currently, few Southern states offer protections for people taking out loans, and the interest charged is among the highest in the country. Lenders in Texas can charge up to 664%, the highest rate nationally, while similar companies in Florida charge 304%the lowest of the southern states.

Georgia, Arkansas, and North Carolina do not allow payday loans, but do allow title loans and small consumer loans under certain conditions.

And despite high interest rates and increased business over the past year, payday loan companies have taken $500 million in federal pandemic assistance.

While low-income people may feel trapped by their situation and the lack of traditional financial institutions, there are alternatives to borrowing from a payday lender.

Consider researching local charities and nonprofits to help you get things like groceries or gas. Or maybe you just need help with a bus ticket to get to a job interview. You can use this link to search for a charity or nonprofit based on your needs.

If you’re willing to wait a few days for a decision on a traditional loan, credit unions can be a helpful low-cost alternative. Some credit unions even offer products similar to payday loans. These have higher interest rates than regular loans, but are much cheaper than the predatory high-interest alternative. You can search for credit unions here.

Loans for bad credit are also a much better option and the financial institution may allow you to repay the loan over several years. You can also pre-qualify without hurting your credit score and you may be able to deposit the money into your account within hours. Here is a list of current bad credit loan providers.

If you have an eligible car, consider Uber or Lyft. You can also join one of the many grocery services, where you shop and deliver groceries to customers for pay and tips. Instacart and Shipt are among the most popular services. Also, some thrift stores will pay you cash for unwanted clothes and shoes.

A Lending Circle may not meet your short-term needs, but can be a good choice as long as you are also willing to help people financially when they need it. Usually circles are formed with people you trust and can work in different ways. Some lending circles raise funds for one person each month, helping pay for an unexpected expense. Others require everyone to contribute a percentage of their salary each month which is then placed in a fund. The fund can be used as needed by members. Lending Circles can also help build credit when done through a financial services website. Visit Mission Asset Fund for moD on how circles work.

Medical debt can be costly and overwhelming. Most doctors’ offices and hospitals are willing to structure a payment plan, and some even offer credit cards with interest-free promotional periods. This gives you time to repay the money. Finding a medical bill advocate could also help cut costs. They typically help negotiate bills and spot costly mistakes.