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Showing posts from April 1, 2018

Chinese financial technology companies leading in the world BUSINESS Chinese financial technology companies leading in the world Agencies APRIL 8, 2018 Having witnessed unprecedented boom in the recent years, China’s internet finance industry currently leads the world when it comes to total number of users and the market size, with the country making some of the world’s largest investments in the sector by adopting financial technology (fintech) faster than anywhere else. With four of top five companies in the world ranked in terms of market cap, China’s fintech industry is number one internationally and represents the global advanced productivity. A number of fintech companies such as Alibaba’s Ant Financial Service, Lufax, ZhongAn Insurance and JD Internet Finance are covering most aspects of domestic consumption through mobile and internet spending. As capital markets are aggressively pursuing the internet finance industry, Alibaba’s Ant Finan

A lesson from Baloch history A lesson from Baloch history Bibi Mahdim Baluch  6 April 2018   The leader of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) has issued statements in serious breach of the Baloch nationalist narrative and presented the world at large with an inaccurate understanding of Baloch history.   Balochistan had been a loosely knit tribal confederacy for centuries with major political activity and discussion being centered in and around Kalat or emanating from it. The very word Kalat was synonymous with Balochistan. The Balochistan Parliament with its upper and lower Houses, akin to the British parliamentary system, was located there and as such it acted as a central pivot holding jurisdiction for the Baloch nation. World political figures from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia attended the Darbar in Kalat as the symbolic heart of the Baloch tribal confederacy.   Officials and agents of foreign governments, including the British R

LIBYA: Will the real governor please stand up Will the real governor please stand up : Understanding local governance structures in Libya by Floor Janssen Because the country has three rivalling governments and ongoing armed conflict, international attention in Libya has turned to the support of local governance and security provision. But for those interested in supporting constructive forms of local governance and inclusive security provision, taking into account the  distinctiveness of local power arrangements  and the  needs and priorities of Libyans  is key. These are insights from ongoing research by the Clingendael Conflict Research Unit into local governance and security provision across Libya, as well as the interactive and KMF-supported Alignment for Libya Conference which was held on 11 and 12 February in Tunis. The event brought together a group of Libyan Mayors and Libyan and international CSO repres

TO RECONSTRUCT SYRIA AND IRAQ, FIRST REVISIT THE SCRIPT 27 MAR 2018 - 17:05 The civil wars in Syria and Iraq are coming to an end, or so it is believed. In line with common international practice and frames, the defeat of ISIS in Iraq and the de-facto victory of the Assad regime in Syria over most opposition forces will likely soon be seen as preludes to a new chapter for both countries, as well as starting points for European policy seeking to reestablish the core functions of the two governments. After all, what better way to build peace and consolidate the end of civil war than the reconciliation of communities and the reconstruction of their nation? However, viewing Syria and Iraq as civil wars that are coming to an end is inaccurate and, if left unquestioned, risks informing inadequate policy decisions. Not merely because neither country can be considered ‘post-conflict’, but also because the label of civil war falls short of encompassing the re


13TH COURSE FOR DIPLOMATS FROM BANGLADESH AND PAKISTAN 03 APR 2018 - 10:47 Clingendael Academy had the pleasure to receive the junior diplomats from Bangladesh and Pakistan for an intensive six-week course. This training marked the thirteenth year of cooperation in diplomatic training with the two countries. One of the diplomats (Mr. Mowahid Ali Kiani from Pakistan) noted at the end of the programme:  "Being at Clingendael felt like being in the heart of the city of peace & justice. Diversity of people, ideas and opinions, but all with a singular pursuit for a peaceful world defines the atmosphere at the Institute. The 6 weeks here have provided me with context to the chaos in the world and equipped me with the tools to navigate through the rough seas of international politics. Thank you for this amazing opportunity." During these six weeks, the  participants were given the opportunity to deepen their knowledge on current issues in international relations, security a

Iceland’s measures to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation

Iceland’s measures to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation Paris, 6 April 2018 –  Iceland needs better internal cooperation and coordination to effectively tackle money laundering and terrorist financing. The FATF   conducted an  assessment   of Iceland’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) system.  The assessment is a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of Iceland’s AML/CFT system and its level of compliance with the  FATF Recommendations . Between 2008 and 2015, Iceland demonstrated a high level of cooperation and coordination as they focused almost exclusively on the financial crimes and complex cases surrounding the 2008 banking collapse. But, this did not extend to anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing, which has not received sufficient attention as a result. Icelandic authorities have a fragmented understanding of AML/CFT risks, which is not used for further policy development.  Although sup

Diplomacy as Strategy Diplomacy as Strategy Remarks to the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (USFS, Ret.) Senior Fellow, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University Providence, Rhode Island, 19 March 2018 This is the first of three lectures on diplomatic doctrine.  It was prefaced by an earlier lecture, titled “ Diplomacy: A Rusting Tool of American Statecraft .”  This lecture constructs an analytical framework to consider diplomacy as strategy.  The second will use historical examples to explore diplomacy as tactics.  The third will consider diplomacy as risk management. I am far from the only American to be deeply concerned about the consequences of the ongoing gutting of our diplomatic establishment.  I anticipate that once we Americans have destroyed the Department of State and related agencies as well as the Foreign Service of the United States, we will have to reinvent th


PUBLIC DIPLOMACY FOR LOSERS Mar 26, 2018   by   Nicholas J. Cull One of the most striking elements of the public discourse of President Donald J. Trump is his loud love of winners and his equal and opposite disdain for losers. His merciless dismissal of public figures such as Senator John McCain for having been captured during the Vietnam War or Arnold Schwarzenegger for failing to attain good ratings as his replacement host for the Celebrity Apprentice TV show are two of the most famous cases of this. In the field of public diplomacy, the management of victory and defeat on one’s own side and in the society with which you are engaging are two complex tasks. The twists and turns are instructive.  The first step in working with defeat in public diplomacy is to be honest about one’s own defeats. Having lost is not necessarily a negative element in one’s reputation; rather, having experienced and overcome hardship is a vital element in the profile of the most admirable public figu

Iranian missiles in Yemen

Washington Post Iranian missiles in Yemen Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels are continuing to obtain surface-to-surface missiles covertly from Iran in violation of U.N. sanctions. The missiles have been fired at targets in Saudi Arabia, most recently a salvo of seven missiles launched last week. At least one of the missiles was intercepted by U.S.-made Patriot anti-missile interceptors. Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, said the use of Iranian missile strikes against Saudi Arabia represents a dangerous escalation of the Yemen conflict. “When this war started three years ago, much of the fighting was confined into the mountainous terrain of Yemen,” Mr. Cotton said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. “And now, long-range missiles are being fired at King Khalid International Airport outside of Riyadh.” Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of the Central Command, agreed that the use of missiles by the Houthis represents a significant increase in the Iran-backed conflic

Key Taliban agent in Pakistan

. Washington post Key Taliban Agent in Pakistan An intelligence source in Southwest Asia has identified a Taliban agent in Pakistan with links to Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service. The facilitator was identified as Mossa Mengal and the source states that he is typical of the covert support being provided indirectly to the terrorists in Afghanistan by Islamabad’s spy service. Mr. Mengal lives in the Qaziabad area of Nushki, a Pakistani town close to the Afghan border, in an ISI safe house and is protected by a security detail. “Mossa Mengal is a very important asset of the ISI and he was involved in abduction and killing of pro-freedom Baloch activists,” the source said. “He also does kidnapping for ransom and he pays some of the money which he obtains from ransom to an ISI colonel.” Mr. Mengal’s support for the Taliban was exposed after an attack on a jihadist residence in Quetta in December 2011. According to the source, Mr. Mengal’s current residence and operating base is lo

CHINA WELCOMES ITS NEWEST ARMED FORCE: THE COAST GUARD CHINA WELCOMES ITS NEWEST ARMED FORCE: THE COAST GUARD LYLE MORRIS APRIL 4, 2018 COMMENTARY  There is no consensus on the missions and organizational structure of coast guards around the world. Most countries conceive of them as actors under civilian control deployed to maintain good order at sea, save lives, and protect the environment. There are outliers, of course. The United States Coast Guard, under the Department of Homeland Security, is one of America’s five armed forces and has an explicit defense readinessmission. The French have the Maritime Gendarmerie — a paramilitary police force under the operational control of the chief of staff of the French Navy. These are the exception rather than the rule. But China appears to have seen merit in the latter model, having recently transferred administrative control of its coast guard from civilian to military authority. The decision may hav