19 марта, 15:13

Unveiling the Future of Liberty

Earlier today, I was honored to join Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Deputy Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin to unveil designs for the 2017 American Liberty Gold Coin. The unveiling not only marked a historic milestone for the allegorical Lady Liberty, who has been featured on American coinage since the late 1790s, but also served to kick-off the Mint’s 225th anniversary—a year-long public awareness campaign about its mission, facilities and employees. I am very proud of the fact that the United States Mint is rooted in the Constitution. Our founding fathers realized the critical need for our fledgling nation to have a respected monetary system, and over the last 225 years, the Mint has never failed in its mission to enable America’s growth and stability by protecting assets entrusted to us and manufacturing coins and medals to facilitate national commerce. We have chosen “Remembering our Past, Embracing the Future” as the Mint’s theme for our 225th Anniversary year. This beautiful coin truly embodies that theme. The coin demonstrates our roots in the past through such traditional elements as the inscriptions United States of America, Liberty, E Pluribus Unum and In God We Trust. We boldly look to the future by casting Liberty in a new light, as an African-American woman wearing a crown of stars, looking forward to ever brighter chapters in our Nation’s history book. The 2017 American Liberty Gold Coin is the first in a series of 24-karat gold coins the United States Mint will issue biennially. These coins will feature designs that depict an allegorical Liberty in a variety of contemporary forms including designs representing Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Indian-Americans among others to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States.​ 2017 American Liberty Gold Coin obverse (left) and reverse (right). (United States Mint Photos)   Rhett Jeppson is the Principal Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint.    

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19 марта, 15:12

After meetings in Washington, Saudi crown prince will focus on business

On a coast-to-coast tour, Mohammed bin Salman will try to persuade U.S. businesses that his country is a worthy partner.

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19 марта, 15:12

Saudi Arabia's ambitious crown prince comes to a Washington in turmoil

Mohammed bin Salman brings his own baggage to a city reeling from Trump's scandals and outbursts.

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19 марта, 14:21

Saudi women should have choice whether to wear abaya robe: crown prince

RIYADH (Reuters) - Women in Saudi Arabia need not wear headcover or the black abaya - the loose-fitting, full-length robes symbolic of Islamic piety - as long as their attire is "decent and respectful", the kingdom's reform-minded crown prince said.

19 марта, 11:57

🇸🇦 Saudi crown prince: Iran's supreme leader is 'very much like Hitler' | Al Jazeera English

Saudi Arabia's crown prince has hit out at Iran, accusing it of wanting to expand its power in the Middle East. Mohammed bin Salman made the comments during an interview with the CBS news programme "60 Minutes," ahead of a trip to Washington this week. Bin Salman compared the supreme leader of Iran with Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany. Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan reports from Washington, DC. - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/

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19 марта, 10:42

Mohammed bin Salman: Only death can stop me from ruling

Saudi Arabia's crown prince describes accusations that Ritz Carlton detentions were part of a power grab as 'naive'.

19 марта, 09:18

Укропия: Доктор Смерть

Было бы большим заблуждением рассматривать работу команды изуверов под руководством Супрун как автономное иностранное вторжение. Типа навязали Порошенко свою кандидатуру, он и согласился. Нет, он соучастник. Он получает свою долю от этого «эксперимента». В этом я более чем уверен. Не случайно кандидатуру Супрун даже не вносят на рассмотрение Рады, как предусмотрено Конституцией. Ее никогда не утвердят. Да это, собственно говоря, и не надо. Сговор осуществлен на высшем уровне. Чем меньше людей участвует, тем больше прибыль. Да и «деятельность» е…нутой Ульяны является прямым нарушением Конституции, где предусмотрено право на бесплатную медицину. Все понимают, что придется отвечать. Поэтому у «Доктора Смерть» есть американский паспорт. Когда эксперимент станет необратимым, она спокойно уедет. Придет новый «Менгеле», который продолжит ее работу по уничтожению людей

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19 марта, 04:47

In '60 Minutes' Interview Saudi Crown Prince Boasts $100 Billion From Anti-Corruption Round Up

Asked about his $500 million yacht and $300 million French chateau, the prince said, “My personal life is something that I’d like to keep to myself."

19 марта, 03:30

Counting Down 7 Big Meetings Likely On Saudi Crown Prince's US Agenda

As Mohammad bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, arrives in the United States, here are seven important meetings we believe might be on his agenda.

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19 марта, 02:00

Saudi Prince Defends Yemeni Bombing Campaign as U.S. Tour Starts

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman defended his country’s bombing campaign in Yemen at the outset of a U.S. tour to generate good will for his nation, accusing rebel forces of exploiting the situation ...

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19 марта, 01:39

Saudi Fund Said to Take $400 Million Stake in Emanuel’s Endeavor

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is taking a $400 million stake in Endeavor, one of Hollywood’s biggest talent and event managers, as part of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s grand plan to diversify ...

18 марта, 19:31

Things About ‘Game of Thrones’ That Make No Sense, At All

Westeros has captivated 'Game of Thrones' fans for years. Sometimes, though, George R. R. Martin's world is incredibly confusing, too.

18 марта, 18:50

Popular TV Shows Audiences Can’t Believe Were Actually Canceled

Every show must come to an end, but that doesn't mean it's easy for fans. Here are the popular shows we really miss in 2017.

18 марта, 14:00

In Saudi War Room, Generals Grapple With Yemen Fight

Saudi Arabia’s three-year-old war in Yemen, with concerns about civilian deaths there, is a growing irritant in its deepening relationship with the U.S., as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visits the U.S. and the two countries move to challenge Iran’s expanding influence in the region.

18 марта, 10:59

From Ireland’s win to England’s loss, the Six Nations was settled in Paris | Paul Rees

Ireland and England’s campaigns were summed up by their final few seconds in the French capital, with Ireland surging to victory and England losing after a fumble at the breakdownThe outcome of the 2018 Six Nations was settled in Paris. It was where Johnny Sexton, on the opening weekend, delivered a precious away victory for Ireland four minutes after time was up with a 45-metre drop goal after his side had taken play through 41 phases, and it was where England surrendered their crown, fumbling at the breakdown in the last play of the game after France had wasted an opportunity to end the match. Related: Conor Murray gives Ireland reason to dream of making it big in Japan | Gerard Meagher Continue reading...

18 марта, 04:30

Trump Asked Saudi King For $4 Billion So US Troops Can Leave Syria

The Washington Post has revealed that President Trump attempted to extricate US troops from Syria by asking ally Saudi Arabia to foot the bill for postwar reconstruction and "stabilization" projects in the area of northeast Syria currently occupied by US coalition forces, to the tune of $4 billion. The deal would involve US allies like Saudi Arabia moving into a lead position regarding coalition policy in Syria, while hastening a US exit. Though the coalition continues to claim that its occupation of Syrian soil is toward anti-terror and humanitarian efforts, including the reestablishment of civilian infrastructure in a region previously controlled by ISIS, America's top general, CENTCOM chief Gen. Joseph Votel, admitted in congressional testimony this week that the Syrian government along with its Russian and Iranian allies have effectively won the war. General Votel's very frank admissions on Syria stunned hawks like Senator Graham, who were looking for more muscular policy goals. The Washington Post summarized this part of the exchange as follows:  [A]sked on Tuesday in a Congressional hearing if Bashar al-Assad had “won”, Gen. Joseph Votel, head of US Central Command, replied, “I do not think that is too strong of a statement. I think [Russia and Iran] have provided him with the wherewithal to be ascendant at this point.” Senator Lindsey Graham asked Votel, “And it is not your mission in Syria to deal with the Iranian-Assad-Russia problem?” Graham asked Votel. “That’s not in your ‘things to do,’ right?” The general replied, “That’s correct, senator.” Votel declined to say whether he believed the US military should pursue that broader objective. And asked whether it was still policy that Assad must leave power, Votel said: “I don’t know that that’s our particular policy at this particular point. Our focus remains on the defeat of ISIS.” However, US policy does remain fundamentally aimed at preventing Assad and his allies from reasserting control over oil and resource rich northeast Syria, and this is where Trump reportedly envisions the Saudis as having a greater role to play, taking the pressure off US forces. According to the Washington Post the deal was articulated by Trump directly to Saudi Arabia's King Salman in a December phone call. The Post reports: In a December phone call with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, President Trump had an idea he thought could hasten a U.S. exit from Syria: Ask the king for $4 billion. By the end of the call, according to U.S. officials, the president believed he had a deal. The White House wants money from the kingdom and other nations to help rebuild and stabilize the parts of Syria that the U.S. military and its local allies have liberated from the Islamic State. The postwar goal is to prevent Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian partners from claiming the areas, or the Islamic State from regrouping, while U.S. forces finish mopping up the militants. But missed (or more likely deliberately ignored) by the Post reporters is the central irony that Saudi Arabia could possibly "stabilize" anything in Syria at all. As the New York Times concluded in a lengthy investigation over the kingdom's role in fueling the rise of ISIS and directing the broader jihadist insurgency in Syria, the Saudis are "both the arsonists and the firefighters" in Syria and throughout the region. Revelation of the $4 billion proposed deal comes as Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is set to arrive in Washington on Monday for high level talks with US officials, including a Tuesday meeting with President Trump. The Saudi Embassy in Washington refused to comment on the offer, and neither side has yet confirmed or denied that a deal was reached or is in the works. Last month the US announced a mere $200 million pledge toward reconstruction efforts in Syria - a paltry sum (considering total rebuilding costs have been widely estimated at $200-350 billion) perhaps intended to highlight the need of other countries to share in the burden. The Washington Post continues: For Trump - who has long railed against insufficient burden-sharing by allies under the U.S. security umbrella - getting others to foot the bill for expensive postwar efforts is important. A $4 billion Saudi contribution would go a long way toward U.S. goals in Syria that the Saudis say they share, particularly that of limiting Assad’s power and rolling back Iran’s influence. By comparison, the United States last month announced a $200 million donation to the stabilization effort. The more simple translation of Trump's message to the Saudis seems to be something like this: "Our occupation of Syria is costly. If you don't want Assad and Iran to regain the whole country, then you're invited to take over the occupation yourselves."  Judging by Trump's recent maneuvers with the Saudis and CENTCOM chief Votel's congressional testimony, it appears we are in for more long, painful mission creep and perpetuation of the illegal occupation of Syria with no end in sight. 

18 марта, 01:00

The Truth About Aramco's $2 Trillion Valuation

Authored by Irina Slav via OilPrice.com, Two trillion dollars: this was the price tag Riyadh put on the jewel in its crown, state oil and gas giant Aramco. This is how much the company was worth, officials said, if you multiplied its proven reserves by a factor of US$8, which is the figure used to value oil and gas reserves. There were doubts about that valuation from the start, and now these are deepening as the company crawls closer to the initial public offering. For starters Aramco’s opacity was very likely to make potential investors suspicious. Aramco has never published financial reports. Although there were assurances that it will start doing so ahead of the IPO, to date the latest entry on Aramco’s Corporate Reports page is from July 20 last year, and includes production figures for 2016. Last year, sources had told Reuters the company was planning to start publishing financial reports early this year, but this has not happened yet. Leaving these concerns aside, there is the bigger problem of the valuation methodology itself. In a blunt but very informative story for Bloomberg Gadfly, Liam Denning suggests that Aramco may need crude oil at US$80 a barrel to get the US$2-trillion valuation it claims it has. That’s in addition to making several wild assumptions along the way. The oil world today is different from what it was just five years ago. The oil price collapse taught oil producers to be more economical and to pick their projects more carefully to keep cash flows coming in and sharing them with shareholders. Yes, they had to sell additional stock, and some suspended dividends, but the lesson was learned, and the moment prices started perking up, dividends returned, and stock was bought back. Yields are what investors want when they consider whether to invest in a company, Denning says. They don’t care about proven reserves and production costs as such. Instead, they care about how these can turn into dividends. It’s as simple as that, but this is where it stops being simple. The average free cash flow yield of the global oil supermajors is between 5 and 7 percent. Russia’s Rosneft, while not a supermajor per se, sports the highest one, at 12.950 percent, while Exxon has the lowest at 5.194 percent. Based on these actual figures, Denning makes an entertaining set of calculations involving major assumptions about the price of oil, Aramco’s production and costs, and profit margins. The result is that to lure investors with a 5-percent cash flow yield (the minimum that would make it competitive), Aramco needs oil to sell for US$80 a barrel. This is the only scenario where it can be valued at US$2 trillion: the only scenario out of 35, all based on favorable assumptions. Oil is not going up to US$80 anytime soon unless something cataclysmic happens. Denning is also generously - and deliberately—not factoring in the inherent regional risk in the Middle East that is likely to act as a deterrent to potential investors. The publicity machine around the IPO has begun to creak already. Recently all those suspecting Aramco won’t make its own deadline for the IPO had to pleasure to be proved right: Saudi officials said it will be delayed until next year. Now, Bloomberg is reporting that U.S. investors have misgivings about the IPO. Citing sources wishing to remain unnamed, Bloomberg had this to say: “Among the issues raised were the $2 trillion valuation Saudi Arabia wants for the world’s largest oil producer, the scale of dividends Aramco’s prepared to pay and the impact of the shale boom on oil prices over the next few years.” Investors want cash, not massive reserves. Maybe this would prove a lesson Aramco has to learn the hard way.

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18 марта, 00:00

London will lose creative crown if rents keep forcing artists out

Head of Space network issues warning in book marking 50th year of studios set up by artists Bridget Riley and Peter SedgelyThe head of a leading arts organisation has warned that London’s status as a world-class creative city is at risk because artists are being forced out of the capital.Anna Harding, the chief executive of Space studios, which provides premises for nearly 800 artists including three Turner prize winners, blamed rising property prices and shrinking studios for dramatically squeezing the time and space available for creative activity. Artists now face a choice between working full time to pay the rent and fitting in a few hours in their studios at weekends, or giving up entirely, she said. Continue reading...

17 марта, 23:00

The Kingdom On The Brink - An Interview With Dr. Ali Alyami

Authored by Erico Matias Tavares via Sinclair & Co., Dr. Alyami is a native of Saudi Arabia and a citizen of the US for the past four decades. From an early age he has been advocating for political, economic and social reform in his native homeland. He is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Democracy & Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, a Washington D.C. based non-profit tax exempt organization. Previously, he was a Senior Fellow at the Saudi Institute in Washington, D.C., Director of an educational peace program for the American Friends Service Committee in San Francisco and a Representative for the Arab Organization for Human Rights (a Cairo based group) in North America. Dr. Alyami has spoken at conferences throughout the US, Egypt, Sudan, Israel, France, Belgium, Spain and the UK, has offered expert testimony before Congress and has advised senior officials at the Pentagon, the National Security Council and the Department of State. E Tavares: Dr. Alyami, thank you for your being with us today. We have spoken on several occasions in the recent past and your views on what is currently unfolding in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (“KSA”) have proven to be extremely accurate. Its new leadership has announced a range of social liberalization measures, including letting women drive at long last and even creating a whole new area in Saudi Arabia outside of strict Islamic law to attract tourists. Given your efforts to liberalize your motherland, are you pleased with these developments? Ali Alyami (AA): Despite the fact that the embryonic social initiatives you listed are decades (and in some cases centuries) overdue, their psychological and practical impact on Saudi society cannot be underestimated. However, it’s important for your readers, business CEOs and politicians to keep in mind that the recent administrative rearrangements in Saudi Arabia were not designed to alter the absolute monarchical system or to abandon the Saudi’s zealot brand of Islam, Wahhabism (as has been misleadingly reported), but rather to ensure the royal family’s continued iron-fisted rule, a cherished life-long commitment held by King Salman. Thus, he chose his most trusted novice son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (“MbS”) to implement his wish. By arresting and detaining a handful of corrupt royals and prominent commoners, MbS gave many Saudis a flicker of hope for better things to follow. For the first time in their history, some Saudis felt that the state's draconian policies and practices are being applied to a selected number of the ruling elites who have been spared the severe social injustices, political repression and economic hardships inflicted on the subjugated population. If MbS continues to apply the state’s rules to all segments of society, including all members of the parasitical royal family, he will go down in history books as a liberator. While many Saudis and others have welcomed MbS’s initiatives, they expressed a great deal of cynicism about his real motives for arresting a handful of powerful and influential princes, businessmen and officials. Many people feel that MbS and his father are more concerned about securing MbS’ future than they are about eradicating corruption, especially where it’s most rampant, within the ruling family. Additionally, many Saudis and others feel that allowing women to drive and introducing entertainment are designed to divert public’s attention from their current severe economic privations, increased repression and lack of citizenry enfranchisement.  ET: Those detentions, reversed under duress and after payments were made in many cases, sounded almost like a purge. Is this an accurate description? AA: It is a purge. Elevating 32-year-old MbS from obscurity to the status of a de facto absolute ruler alienated a large number of powerful princes, many of whom are older, more experienced, educated, influential, popular and pragmatic than MbS. They pose potential political threats to MbS, thus King Salman wanted to discredit them and make sure they are out of the way, especially when he no longer can protect his son. ET: Crown Prince Mohammed is visiting the US this month (March 2018) and on the agenda is convincing American investors and technological developers to buy into his economic reform program for the KSA, Vision 2030. What are your thoughts on this? AA: MbS’s ambitious economic reform plan, Vision 2030, would require about $4 trillion investment in eight sectors: mining and metals, petrochemicals, manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade, tourism and hospitality, healthcare, finance, and construction. He and his hordes of expensive consultants underestimated Saudi Arabia’s lack of credibility, tarnished image and heightened reservations among potential investors in the US and in Europe, regarding the country’s instability and its unpredictable future under his management. They miscalculated investors’ lack of trust in the Saudi government, its rampant corruption, lack of accountability and transparency, as well as severe social taboos, religious extremism and lack of a well-trained workforce and work ethics. These are some of the reasons that contribute to a noticeable lack of global investors’ interest to take risk in investing in MbS’ economic reform since it was announced in December 2015. MbS is touring Europe and the US in March in the hope of convincing investors to finance his economic project upon which his future hangs. It’s interesting that President Trump fired Secretary of State Tillerson on the eve of MbS’s visit. Saudis and Emirates never liked Tillerson because he stood up to them, especially when they tried to invade and take over Qatar. In fact, they are not only celebrating his dismissal, but bragging about their role in having him fired. ET: But if the Saudis fail to attract any investment, surely this can’t be a financial problem for them? Even with low oil prices the Crown Prince was able to pay $450 million, a record in the art world, for a da Vinci painting of Christ. AA: As mentioned above, investors are leery of rampant corruption at the top. MbS has acquired a chateau in France for $300 million, a yacht for $500 million and the painting you mentioned for $450 million since he started his economic reform plan. This is happening while the disenfranchised population is being burdened with new taxes, elimination of subsidized social programs, and price increases in water, electricity and other public services. In addition, an estimated 40 to 50% of the Saudi youth, especially women, are unemployed. This is a ticking bomb. ET: Let’s focus on regional tensions. What do you make of the very visible spat with Qatar? Was that really about support for terrorism? AA: Due to historical tribal wounds, the rulers of Saudi Arabia and of the scattered desert villages of which the current United Arab Emirate, UAE, consists have had designs on Qatar long before its independence from Great Britain in 1971. They had hoped to make Qatar a region of the UAE after its independence. However, after 1971, the Emir of Qatar under the British mandate was overthrown by his son who initiated progressive social, political, economic and educational projects and established independent regional and global relations with some countries and groups, some of whom, like Iran and the powerful pan-Arab political party, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudis consider formidable competitors for Sunni Muslim leadership. This spat is hardly about support for terrorism as stated by Senator Corker, the chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who said that “The amount of support for terrorism by Saudi Arabia dwarfs what Qatar is doing.” ET: There is a brutal war going on in Yemen and it’s the civilian population of that country who is paying the heaviest price. What are the Saudi’s objectives there? And why has the media been so silent on those atrocities? AA: The carnage in Yemen has been described by the UN and other human rights groups as genocide, among other painful labels. The Saudis have long considered Yemen their backyard and have indirectly controlled it by bribing Yemeni tribal chiefs, politicians and businessmen to do their bidding. That has worked for many decades until the Arab people’s mass uprising in 2011 which brought down former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Saudis mediated a transition after Saleh’s misfortune and helped install a pro Saudi President, Abed Rabu Hadi, who was not accepted by many Yemenis, especially the Zadiz (the Houthi) minority. In September 2014, the Houthis moved north and captured the Yemeni capital of Sanaa. Hadi escaped to Saudi Arabia, where he is residing now. One of the Saudis’ main objectives in Yemen is to control the strategic Aden region for economic and political reasons. Aden controls the Strait of Bab Al-Mandeb, through which most of the Persian Gulf oil is shipped to international markets, especially to Europe and Asia. There is also oil in Southern Yemen. Controlling the shipping oil routes and Yemeni oil would give the Saudis strategic influence, regionally and globally. This is the reason the Saudis and the UAE are establishing Aden as the new capital of Yemen. This is also the region from which the exiled Yemeni president Hadi came. The reason the media hardly mentions the carnage in Yemen is because it’s not a profitable business and there is no politically active Yemeni community in the US, despite the fact that there are a large number of Yemenis, most of whom work on farms, and in services and small businesses, like grocery and liquor stores. ET: Iran’s influence is growing steadily across the Middle East, taking advantage of many foreign policy blunders in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and other countries across the region. In response, the Saudis seem to be aligning closer to Iran’s #1 foe, the Israelis, which would be very contentious in the Arab world. Is this a sign of desperation or “realpolitik”? AA: A sign of both. The Saudis are no match for the 80 million technologically more advanced Persians. The Saudis reached out to the Israelis because they realized that Western societies are becoming increasingly critical of their governments’ and businesses’ support for the Saudi regime, which many people and media in the West, especially in Europe, consider a major violator of basic human rights, an oppressor of women and religious minorities, intolerant of non-Muslims and incubators of Muslim extremism which inspires terror groups like Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS, Jama’a Islamiyah, Boko Haram and Abu Sayyaf, among others. Furthermore, the powerful Iranian theocracy has repeatedly said it will wipe the Israelis from the surface of the earth. The Saudis see an opportunity to work with the Israelis to destroy Iran’s military capabilities. However, the Israelis do not seem to be in a hurry to make the anti-Jewish Saudis the dominant power in Middle East, especially when the Saudi regime has not even recognized Israel as a legitimate sovereign state.  ET: The previous US administration seemed extremely keen to get a nuclear deal done with Iran, sending money in pallets to the Mullahs there and even supposedly turning a blind eye to Iran-linked terrorists who were smuggling drugs into the US. The official line was to stop Iran from getting the bomb - while at the same time very little to nothing was done as Iran’s North Korean allies were close to getting it. Why do you believe the Obama administration was so vested in doing a deal with Iran? How did the Saudis perceive all this? AA: It’s difficult to sort out President Obama’s motives, but people close to some high-ranking officials in his administration believe Obama felt the US policy toward the Middle East has been dominated by the Saudis for a long time, especially regarding US relations with Iran. According to these sources, Obama and John Kerry felt they did not have to cater to the Saudis’ wishes before dealing with governments group in Arab and Muslim regions. Thus, Obama decided to take direct charge of the US policy toward the region and do what he felt was in the best interests of the US. While the Iranian theocrats have not promised to wipe the Saudis off the surface of the earth as they have said about Israel, the Saudis consider the Iranian regime a dangerous and fierce regional competitor. Thus, they reached out to the Israelis after giving up on the US “to cut the head of the snake” in the hope the Israelis would destroy Iran’s economic and military infrastructures. This may still happen if the Iranian Mullahs continue to develop their nuclear program, which they have said they would use to destroy Israel. ET: Given your lifelong efforts to bring democracy and freedom to the KSA, are you frustrated that so many Western countries - that should ideologically be in your camp - give the Saudis so many free passes on human rights issues, including the US under President Trump? AA: I am more mystified than frustrated as to why Western democracies continue to unconditionally support and protect a regime and a system that promote destruction of democracy and its empowering values, such as freedom of expression, freedom of choice, equality for women, respect for human rights and the rule of law. As has been abundantly documented, lucrative economic gains are the primary motives for the US and other Western governments’, businesses’ and educational institutions’ support for the Saudi and other anti-democratic wealthy Arab dynasties, as recently exemplified by President Trump’s decision to make Saudi Arabia his first choice to visit four months after he was elected President. Continuing to support the absolute Saudi monarchy at a time when an aspiring generation of Arab women and men are paying the ultimate price to be free from political and religious oppression, poverty and lack of economic opportunities is not only immoral, but could potentially result in turning the West into police states, especially if Wahhabi-doctrine- inspired Muslim terror groups and their financiers continue to massacre Western and others’ innocent citizens. Saudi Arabia is considered the epicenter of extremism and terrorism by Muslims and non-Muslims, including increasing number of Saudis, especially women. On that note, looking at Western societies more broadly it would be very positive if Women’s Marches could be organized during MbS’s visit to the US demanding that their Saudi counterparts enjoy similar rights, which should be universal in the 21st century. But unfortunately this does not seem to be a priority for the feminist movement. The consequences of sacrificing the values of Western Civilization, the greatest and most successful in human history, for profits can damage the institutions that made America, specifically, the envy of the world populations. ET: Some commentators have compared the current situation in the KSA to Syria pre civil war, in that there is an authoritarian regime trying to rigidly impose power on a largely young, disgruntled and at times disenfranchised population. The risk of a sudden discontinuity event occurring is quite high as a result. Do you agree with this analysis? AA: To circumvent the potential occurrence of the scenario you correctly stated, the Washington-based Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, CDHR, was established fourteen years ago to promote peaceful democratic reforms to enfranchise the Saudi people to participate in the decision-making processes and inspire them to shoulder some of the state’s daunting economic, social and political responsibilities. As you alluded, the ingredients for violent upheaval in Saudi Arabia are not an illusion, farfetched or reformers’ conspiracy to overthrow the Saud monarchy. About 70% of the Saudi population is under the age of 30. Unlike their traditional forefathers, they are the social media and smartphone generation. Most of them are unemployed, thus, they spend most of their time on modern technology devices rather than reciting the Quran, going to mosques or reading nomadic poetry. They compare themselves with their female and male counterparts regionally and globally and are discovering that they are among the most disenfranchised and oppressed people in the world. They are becoming increasingly resentful of their culture, lifestyle, idleness and more so, of the Saudi ruling family and its anti-basic human rights and -social justice religious establishment. The idle Saudi youth, male and female, are a ticking bomb. ET: So is the KSA on the brink? What could unfold from here? AA: Domestically, Saudi Arabia is facing precarious domestic economic and political predicaments. This is mostly due to a lack of modern management, utter lack of public participation in the decision-making processes, marginalization of women, lack of investment in human development and in modern education, and to the systematic siphoning of the state’s vast oil revenues (rampant corruption) by an incredibly backward-thinking constellation of princes who consider the country their private property by birthright. This practice was and still is the foundation upon which the state was established nine decades ago. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. To save the state from collapsing, prudent and effective measures have to be taken to rectify the damage the country has endured since its inception. Instead of establishing collective, balanced, experienced, lucid and well-informed and trained leadership to veer the country away from its current domestic instability and external threats, a 32-year-old novice prince was designated de facto ruler, primarily because he is the king’s favorite and most trusted son, to insure the perpetual rule of the Saudi ruling family. The question is: can the inexperienced saber-brandishing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman handle the daunting responsibilities bestowed on him by his father, not by the more balanced traditional succession process? While predicting the fate of the state and the prince’s success or failure remains unclear, however, thus far MbS seems to be focusing on becoming an absolute ruthless dictator, the only form of governance the population has endured for decades. Despite being an absolute dictator, MbS might succeed in moving the country forward if he embarks on genuine inclusive political, economic, social, religious, educational and administrative reforms. So far, there is no sign of any political inclusion that is needed to give people hopes and incentives to support him and his ambitious economic reform plan, Vision 2030. Enfranchising the young Saudi population, most of which is the same age or younger than MbS, will increase his chances not only to succeed, but to save himself from a large number of marginalized princes, their business partners and the mildly muzzled zealot clerics who have had a free hand to terrorize the population since the formation of the Saudi/Wahhabi alliance almost three centuries ago. Externally, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed piloted a dangerous and costly foreign policy, which none of their predecessors has done. They formed and led a military coalition that invaded Yemen two years ago, ostensibly to ensure that the Iranians do not expand their influence to the Saudi borders. Regardless of the Saudis’ motives, Yemeni infrastructure is being pulverized, millions of Yemenis have been displaced, starved and killed without anything to show for the devastation of the Saudis’ neighbors, 26 million poverty-stricken Yemenis. As has been documented, the only beneficiaries of the devastating war are Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Iran. Al-Qaeda has conquered large areas of prime and strategic lands in Southern Yemen, the Bin Laden family’s motherland. It’s also reported that thousands of Yemeni women, men and children are volunteering to join Al-Qaeda.  MbS, in collaboration with his mentor the vice president of the UAE, hired the same coalition they mobilized to invade Yemen to blockade Qatar, a GCC member state, staunch US ally and possessor of the largest gas reservoirs in the world. The Saudis are still occupying Bahrain and threatening to fight Iran directly instead of through proxies. This is a suicidal path to contemplate. Based on what King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed have done and continue to do since they inherited the crown in 2015, it is safe to assume that the worst for MbS and the country is shaping up. ET: Switching gears closer to home, it was recently reported that a court ruled New York City will have to pay three Muslim women a total of $180,000 as compensation for being forced to remove their head cloth for a police mugshot. One of them had been detained because of a physical assault charge, a possible crime, and yet this was the outcome. Are you concerned that the repressive principles you have fought against for so long in your home country are now being enforced by courts in the US? Where will this lead? AA: I am totally opposed to man-made and -imposed women’s covering in this country or anywhere in the world. I am puzzled by Muslim women who escape to this country and other Western societies to seek emancipation from their oppression and marginalization in their homelands, imposed especially by the men and cultures that coerced them to be camouflaged in stifling black garments, to cling to the same signs of oppression here. This country’s tolerant population consists of different ethnic, religious and cultural groups. If we give every group special treatment, the system will break, and the results could be catastrophic. Of all Americans, Muslims, especially women, should be leading the way in the fight against the reasons that drove them out of their homelands, the Shariah law and its well-known misogynistic content. Even the extremist Saudis are saying that women’s coverings are not Islamic. One should ask, if that’s the case, then why are women in Saudi Arabia still forced to hide themselves behind layers of suffocating black cloth in a 120-degree environment? Obviously, God has nothing to do with it, but man does. ET: How can people who are concerned with these issues and want to see the adoption of human rights – especially women’s rights – in the KSA and beyond help your organization? AA: The Washington-based Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, CDHR, is an American 501 (C) 3 tax exempt educational organization focusing on Saudi Arabia, a longtime ally of the US. I am originally from Saudi Arabia, but am now a citizen of the US, the greatest nation on earth. I have civil and moral obligations to highlight the plight of the oppressed people of my motherland and to defend our liberties from the enemies of democracy and freedom of choices. As has been abundantly documented by Muslims and non-Muslims alike, Saudi Arabia is described as the Fountain of Extremism and Terrorism and is the largest exporter and funder of extremism throughout the world. Concerned Americans of all political, ethnic, religious, race, gender and cultural background have a huge stake in protecting our liberties from internal and external enemies, as enshrined in our second-to-none Constitution and Bill of Rights. This is what CDHR was established to promote. People can help by making tax-deductible donations, by inviting us to speak the truth to power, by organizing in their communities and working with people who know and have the vision to put the interests of this land of freedom before personal gain, fame and safety. People can also send donations via PayPal, the details of which are available on our website www.cdhr.info. Freedom is fragile and not free. ET: Thank you for being with us today. Great as always to get your views on all this. All the best  AA: Thank you for your efforts to alert your readers and society in general to the Islamists’ ideological threats to our liberties and way of life.

17 марта, 16:54

England v Ireland: Six Nations – live!

Six Nations updates as Ireland bid for a third grand slamRobert Kitson: Ireland face cornered foes with slam in sightAnd email Niall here or tweet him with your thoughts 4.44pm GMT 78 mins: England ramp up the pressure to turn the ball over, but Farrell’s pass sails into touch. The hosts have rallied, but as against Scotland and France, it’s come too late. 4.42pm GMT 77 mins: Robshaw sidles through as Ireland switch off for a split-second. Danny Care passes out wide to Mike Brown, who looks to have touched down - but he’s forced into touch! More exceptional last-ditch defending. Continue reading...

Выбор редакции
15 октября 2012, 11:40

15 громких примеров, которые изучают в бизнес-школах

Если вы учились в школе бизнеса, то наверняка рассматривали примеры ведения бизнеса в крупных компаниях. Реальные истории помогают студентам лучше понять успешные и неудачные стратегии. Имеются классические примеры, в число которых входят решение Apple сменить название и победа Ryanair над более мощными конкурентами. Интернет-издание Business Insider с помощью преподавателей из американских школ бизнеса составило список 15 примеров, которые должны знать студенты программы MBA. Почему Apple сменила название Пример: Apple Inc. Основной вывод: иногда невозможно в лоб одержать победу над конкурентом, не изменившись самому. Что произошло: Apple сменила название Apple Computers на Apple Inc. в 2007 г. Этот шаг отразил фундаментальное изменение приоритетов: от культовых компьютеров Mac к принципиально новым видам электроники iPod и iPhone, которые сегодня приносят американской компании более половины прибыли. Трансформация компании произошла вовремя и чрезвычайно успешно. Как Lululemon сохранила репутацию культовой компанииПример: менеджмент, культура и изменения в Lululemon. Основной вывод: вместо вражды найти возможность объединить основателей компании. Что произошло: в середине 2008 г. управление компанией перешло от ее основателя Дениса Уилсона к новому президенту Кристине Дэй. Тогда же Уилсон высказал тревогу по поводу угрозы традициям и стоимости фирмы в связи с новым руководством. Между тем Дэй унаследовала массу проблем, в том числе плохие результаты сетевых кафе, неудачную стратегию в недвижимости и плохую коммуникацию между подразделениями компании. Используя свой опыт и новую стратегию, она сделала все, чтобы расширить присутствие Starbucks в мире. Более того, она убедила основателей компании пройти курс управления в Гарварде и Стэнфорде, чтобы лучше понимать необходимость перемен. За 4 года стоимость компании выросла с $350 млн до $10,59 млрд. Как Cisco вновь стала конкурентоспособной Пример: Cisco Systems - развитие стратегии человеческого капитала. Основной вывод: выращенные внутри компании таланты могут помочь пережить трудные времена. Что произошло: Cisco развивалась чрезвычайно быстро в период пузыря hi-tech, купив в это время 70 фирм и увеличив в 2 раза численность сотрудников корпорации. После того как пузырь лопнул, Cisco пришлось изменить стратегию развития и вместо быстрого роста заняться воспитанием собственных талантов. Для наиболее перспективных специалистов компания создала университет Cisco. В течение трех лет ситуация в корпорации кардинально изменилась, что позволило ей вновь стать лидером на рынке. Как газета USA Today вновь стала прибыльной Пример: развитие новой стратегии в USA Today Основной вывод: иногда старые лидеры не могут успешно руководить компанией в новых условиях. Что произошло: когда тираж газеты резко пошел вниз, президент USA Today Том Кюрли решил интегрировать различные подразделения компании, в том числе интернет-сайты, телеканалы и печатные издания, и эффективнее использовать содержание новостей. При этом многие старые руководители в его команде выступали против новой стратегии. В итоге Кюрли пришлось заменить пятерых из семи высокопоставленных менеджеров. Как Dreyer пережил катастрофу Пример: сеть кафе-мороженых Dreyer Основной вывод: не пытайтесь вводить в заблуждение сотрудников. Что произошло: многочисленные проблемы, в том числе высокая стоимость сырья, падение продаж и завершение контрактных отношений с Ben & Jerry's, заставили компанию провести срочную реструктуризацию. Во время ее проведения руководители лично встречались с каждым работником и обсуждали предстоящий план действий, а также внимательно слушали их советы. Стратегия доверия, открытости и веры в собственных сотрудников помогла компании в течение двух лет вновь стать прибыльной. Как Microsoft решила конкурировать с Google Пример: поисковик Microsoft Основной вывод: нет чудесных методов, необходимо вовлекать всю компанию и все ее ресурсы. Что произошло: через 10 лет после своего основания Google смогла стать ведущим поисковиком в интернете. Microsoft занимала третью строчку, уступая даже Yahoo!. Но компания мобилизовалась и решила кардинально изменить ситуацию, создав в 2009 г. поисковик Bing!, который смог бросить серьезный вызов лидеру рынка. Как Ryanair обошла более крупных конкурентов Пример: Ryanair - борьба за небо Европы Основной вывод: ограниченная в ресурсах компания может мобилизоваться и обойти более богатых конкурентов. Что произошло: в 1986 г. два брата Райан объявили о создании новой компании, которая не побоится бросить вызов таким гигантам индустрии, как British Airways и Aer Lingus, на маршруте Лондон – Дублин. Предложив билеты по рекордно низким ценам, Ryanair смогли привлечь пассажиров, которые раньше пользовались поездом или паромом. Этические вопросы воспринимаются по-разному в мире Пример: Merck Sharp & Dohme Argentina, Inc. Основной вывод: этические решения не всегда бывают легкими. Что произошло: новому президенту аргентинской "дочки" Merck была поставлена задача сделать компанию современной и профессиональной. Через некоторое время у него возникла этическая дилемма. Один из кандидатов на престижное место в программе стажеров был сын высокопоставленного чиновника в Министерстве здравоохранения Аргентины. Президенту недвусмысленно дали понять: если студент будет взят в компанию, то лекарства Merck будут включены в государственную программу распространения, что, безусловно, приведет к росту продаж. Это был реальный конфликт между желанием Москера реформировать компанию и реальностью ведения бизнеса в развивающейся стране. Почему Cirque du Soleil решил отказаться от привычного комфорта Пример: Cirque du Soleil – новое здание привело к новому партнерству Основной вывод: иногда следует отказаться от старых партнеров для роста Что произошло: Cirque du Soleil имел взаимовыгодные отношения с казино MGM Mirage. Казино сделало значительные инвестиции в специально построенное здание для уникальных выступлений цирка. Но появившиеся возможности в Азии и на Ближнем Востоке заставили президента Cirque du Soleil Даниэля Ламэрра начать переговоры о новых партнерских отношениях. Почему Airborne Express проиграл конкуренцию Пример: Airborne Express Основной вывод: узкая специализация может дать преимущество, но только на непродолжительное время. Что произошло: Airborne Express, небольшой конкурент FedEx и UPS, смогла добиться значительных результатов, несмотря на свой размер. Успех объясняется продолжительной забастовкой сотрудников UPS, чем умело воспользовалась Airborne Express. Новая компания решила стать узкоспециализированной, предлагая сервис по низким ценам лишь в больших городах. Однако эта стратегия оказалась малоуспешной, и компанию в итоге приобрела DHL. Как плохая коммуникация чуть не уничтожила менеджера Пример: Эрик Петерсон Основной вывод: порой трудно преодолеть бюрократические барьеры Что произошло: недавний выпускник школы бизнеса был назначен директором региональной "дочки" крупной телефонной компании в конце 1980-х гг. Фирма под управлением Петерсона начала масштабную работу по развитию мобильного сервиса в штатах Вермонт и Нью-Гемпшир. Однако новый проект отставал по срокам, и Петерсон предложил руководству пересмотреть даты. Но он не смог быстро и своевременно связаться с начальством, что в итоге привело к многочисленным проблемам. Как Уильям Авери стал легендой Пример: Crown Cork & Seal в 1989 г. Основной вывод: не бойся думать о себе Что произошло: Уильям Авери стал президентом Crown в 1989 г., когда на рынке появились новые конкуренты, а подразделение по выпуску металла становилось все более убыточным. Первое, что Авери сделал, – начал разработку долгосрочной стратегии развития компании, которая включала в себя покупку конкурентов и освоение производства новых упаковок. Успех не заставил себя долго ждать: сегодня компания выпускает одну из пяти банок/бутылок для прохладительных напитков по всему миру. Почему Cisco решила играть по-крупному Пример: новые приобретения Cisco Основной вывод: компаниям нужны разные вещи в разное время Что произошло: примерно в 2006 г Cisco решила отказаться от стратегии приобретения небольших инновационных стартапов, концентрируя внимание лишь на редких покупках больших игроков. Старая стратегия была оптимальной на фоне быстрого развития интернета. Но ситуация на рынке изменилась, а значит, стали необходимы и новые модели ведения бизнеса. Как Lincoln Electric добилась успеха с необычной стратегией Пример: Lincoln Electric Co Основной вывод: делай все просто Что произошло: это один из классических примеров американского бизнеса. Крупнейший производитель изделий электродуговой сварки с 1975 г. не имеет профсоюза и не предлагает дополнительные бонусы сотрудникам. В то же время Lincoln Electric гарантирует каждому сотруднику пожизненное трудоустройство и возможность стать акционером компании. Размер зарплаты напрямую зависит от уровня прибыли фирмы. Столь необычные методы до сих пор не мешают Lincoln Electric оставаться конкурентоспособной и прибыльной компанией. Стратегия Lincoln убедительно подтверждает важность мотивации сотрудников. Почему Nucor Steel решила рискнуть Пример: Nucor на распутье Основной вывод: инвестиции определяют размер нового проекта Что произошло: в 1986 г. перед президентом Nucor Кенес Иверсон был непростой выбор: принять или нет новую технологию отливки стали. Технология позволила бы компании получить много преимуществ, в том числе значительное снижение расходов. Но для ее внедрения необходимы значительные инвестиции, а технология не была еще одобрена контролирующими органами. В итоге Nucor все же решила построить в 1989 г. первый завод с использованием новой технологии. С тех пор компания остается крупнейшим производителем стали в США.