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Showing posts from December 16, 2018

Iran oil exports: 8 waivers and the OPEC meeting

Sara Vakhshouri 17th December, 2018 Anadolu Agency  - © Iran’s oil exports are likely to remain limited in 2019, with significant negative impact on Iran’s economy Last month, the Trump administration reimposed sanctions on Iran’s energy sector as part of its ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran. But it nevertheless sought to prevent an unhelpful spike in oil prices ahead of the midterm elections. As a result the United States issued eight waivers to importers of Iranian oil: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Taiwan, Italy, and Greece. The waivers allow these countries to import a limited amount of oil from Iran without falling foul of US sanctions. The ‘waiver effect’ was visible from the outset: oil prices dropped the day the waivers were announced. At the same time the market expected other oil producers – particularly Saudi Arabia and Russia – to cut back their temporary production, which had increased over the previous few months to cover Iran’s drop in

Trade war, day 168: Fresh accusations of stolen technology, but no sanctions (yet) Trade war, day 168: Fresh accusations of stolen technology, but no sanctions (yet) The U.S. Justice Department has, for the fourth time in three months, unveiled a significant indictment ( press release here ; full  charging document here ) against Chinese actors for alleged technology thefts. Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong  are two computer hackers, the U.S. government says, who “compromised...clients in at least a dozen countries,” and accessed computer networks in “banking and finance, telecommunications and consumer electronics, medical equipment, packaging, manufacturing, consulting, healthcare, biotechnology, automotive, oil and gas exploration, and mining.” They operated under China’s Ministry of State Security,  like the hackers in previous indictments, the Justice Department says. Their actions violate a 2015 pledge by China to not use computer hacking “with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors,” the Justice Department sa

Belt and Road and military jets in Pakistan

The New York Times has a scoop: Since Trump announced ( via Twitter , of course) on January 1 that the U.S. would “No more!” give aid to Pakistan, China has unsurprisingly swooped in to help out its “ all-weather friend .” But that help wasn’t just economic, but military-related. And it was formally identified as part of the  Belt and Road initiative , which is supposed to be purely an economic project of building roads and bridges and more harmonious trading relationships across Asia and beyond.  The Times reports  (porous paywall): According to the undisclosed proposal drawn up by the Pakistani Air Force and Chinese officials at the start of the year, a special economic zone under CPEC [the  China-Pakistan Economic Corridor , officially part of the Belt and Road] would be created in Pakistan to produce a new generation of fighter jets. For the first time, navigation systems, radar systems and onboard weapons would be built jointly by the countries at factories in Pakistan. The pr

Inside Russia's playbook

AXIOS MEDIA Trends Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios   The biggest takeaway from the new Senate-commissioned research reports on Russian social media propaganda is that bad actors specifically go after vulnerable people who are more susceptible to radicalization. Why it matters:  Policymakers have failed to address how systemic problems that exist within society, like tensions around race and immigration, make the U.S. an easier target for online election meddling and propaganda campaigns. Be smart:  They've also failed to address the scope of these campaigns beyond Google, Twitter and Facebook. As the reports show, the Russians operated on nearly every social media platform, from Reddit to Pinterest to even PayPal. This could be because the Trump administration hasn't made this type of research a priority,  notes  Joshua Geltzer, executive director of Georgetown University's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection."It took a congressional committee

Pakistan: CPEC And Escalating Threat In Balochistan – Analysis

Map of the China-Pakistan CPEC roadway network. Credit: Government of Pakistan, Wikipedia Commons. 1   Analysis   Business    December 18, 2018   SATP    0 Comments By  SATP By Tushar Ranjan Mohanty* On December 10, 2018, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Cell, in its briefing to Balochistan Cabinet, revealed that Balochistan’s share in the USD 62 Billion CPEC project was a miniscule nine percent, about USD 5.6 Billion. It was also disclosed that, out of this committed sum, less than USD one Billion had been spent in over five years, since May 22, 2013, when CPEC was launched. The stunned Cabinet members reportedly described CPEC spending in Balochistan thus far, as “a joke”. In its briefing, the CPEC Cell also disclosed that the current shortfall of 700MW in the Province meant that all the new power injected into the grid as a result of CPEC power projects had not found its way to Balochistan. On October 23, 2018, China engaged the World Bank to undertake a study on

How Britain stole $45 trillion from India

OPINION  / COLONIALISM And lied about it. by  Jason Hickel 14 Dec 2018 GMT+3 There is a story that is commonly told in Britain that the colonisation of  India  - as horrible as it may have been - was not of any major economic benefit to Britain itself. If anything, the administration of India was a cost to Britain. So the fact that the empire was sustained for so long - the story goes - was a gesture of Britain's benevolence. New research by the renowned economist Utsa Patnaik -  just published  by Columbia University Press - deals a crushing blow to this narrative. Drawing on nearly two centuries of detailed data on tax and trade, Patnaik calculated that Britain drained a total of nearly  $45  trillion from India during the period 1765 to 1938.  It's a staggering sum. For perspective, $45 trillion is  17 times more  than the total annual gross domestic product of the  United Kingdom  today. How did this come about? It happened through the trade system. Prior to the co

CHINA: Party Watch Weekly Report

 Party Watch Weekly Report 2|10 12.8.2018-12.14.2018 By David Gitter, Julia Bowie, Nathanael Callan, Brock Erdahl, and Sandy Lu   Highlights The Politburo convened to discuss economic work in 2019 and to hear the work report of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (see Senior Leaders section).The highly authoritative People’s Daily  pen name, Ren Zhongping, was used to issue perspectives on the 40th Anniversary of Reform and Opening Up. The commentary emphasized that the success of reform is due to Party leadership (see Propaganda Work section). Senior Leaders Xi Jinping Sends Congratulatory Letter to Universal Declaration of Human Rights 70th Anniversary Symposium Xinhua   12.10  Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to a symposium in Beijing commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the letter, Xi emphasized that “the greatest human right is the people’s right to a happy life” and that “Chinese people are willing to w

Is Pakistan Breaking from Within

The newly formed Pakistan Government has  sought  out a bail-out package from International Monetary Fund (IMF) to steer through the looming Balance of Payment (BOP) Crisis. Prime Minister Imran Khan has reportedly  asked  for Pakistan’s largest bail-out package of $8 billion from IMF. It is already under the ‘debt-trap’ of China for building its part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), China has reportedly  lent  $5 billion to Pakistan in 2017-18 which Pakistan has failed to payback as yet. When these economic woes are seen in conjunction with the internal instability in Pakistan and its relations with its neighbours, they become all the more troublesome. Most worryingly for Pakistan, ever since India has shifted its defence policy from ‘defensive offense’ to ‘offensive defence’, many significant changes have been taking place in Pakistan in the last 4 years. In this article, all these changes have been discussed in detail. Before we delve into an in-depth analysis, let us