Cyber theft has long replaced the 'traditional' concept of bank robberies. A much more sophisticated method of attack that has been in use for years has accelerated of late as a slew of hacks across the world has proven. Recent international targets, including the US Federal Reserve, the Central Bank of the Philippines and Qatar National Bank (QNB) in Doha, have all been subject to notable security breaches. What's striking, however, is the fact that in some instances, no money is being stolen. In QNB's case it was a robbery of data - hundreds of customers account details, including their passwords, their social media profiles, were posted onto a whistleblower website. No one really knows what's behind it, but it proved that data is alomost more valuable that money these days. Where once the main purpose behind this activity was to make money, hacking and leaking information has now escalated into issues as prominent as state secrets, government intelligence and political gain as part of the 'hacktivism' movement. With safety of the consumer remaining an issue due to the slow-paced movements of the enterprise world versus that of the ever-evolving technological capacity of the hacking world, the public is forced to brace for further and harder hitting attacks in times to come. We talk to James Lyne, director at the London-based Sans Security Institute and the global head of Research of SOPHOS, about the impact of cyber theft and the future cyber crime. We also talk to Nourulddin Aulabi, a former professor of information security at Strayer University and a cyber security consultant, about the issues behind cyber attacks. Also on this episode of Counting the Cost: Automobile industry secrets exposed: Mitsubishi, the world's 16th largest car manufacturer, is now also owning up to cheating quality tests. The Japanese car giant has confessed to faking fuel economy tests for the last 25 years - a lie that affects over 600,000 cars sold in that period in Japan alone. Aside from a sharp fall in market value over the last week, notable repercussions on the tail of similar scandals courtesy of Volkswagen and General Motors include considerable brand damage and in effect, a dramatic loss in consumer trust. Ivory Coast: Africa's new foreign investment leader? The International Monetary Fund has highlighted the Ivory Coast as the fastest growing African economy for this year with a predicted growth of 8.5 percent, beating Nigeria as the top destination for foreign direct investment. The country continues to witness a period of relative calm since the end of the second civil war in 2011. Tractors for Cuba: For the first time in more than half a century, a US company is returning to Cuban soil. The small Alabama tractor factory, which is planning to build tractors for private Cuban farmers, is expected to begin operating next year - another sign of growing ties between the two countries. More from Counting the Cost on: YouTube - http://aje.io/countingthecostYT Website - http://aljazeera.com/countingthecost/
Qatar National Bank said it will buy National Bank of Greece’s Turkish subsidiary for $2.94 billion in one of the largest takeovers ever by a Persian Gulf lender outside its domestic market.
Qatar National Bank SAQ заключит сделку о покупке контрольного пакета акций турецкого Finansbank с National Bank of Greece на сумму порядка $3 млрд.
Qatar National Bank (QNB) объявил о намерении приобрести турецкую "дочку" National Bank of Greece за $2,94 млрд. Это одно из крупнейших приобретений кредиторами из стран Персидского залива за пределами национального рынка, пишет Wall Street Journal.
Qatar National Bank (QNB) объявил о намерении приобрести турецкую "дочку" National Bank of Greece за $2,94 млрд. Это одно из крупнейших приобретений кредиторами из стран Персидского залива за пределами национального рынка, пишет Wall Street Journal.
Qatar National Bank (QNB) объявил о намерении приобрести турецкую "дочку" National Bank of Greece за $2,94 млрд. Это одно из крупнейших приобретений кредиторами из стран Персидского залива за пределами национального рынка, пишет Wall Street Journal.
Катарский госбанк Qatar National Bank SAQ заключил соглашение о покупке принадлежащего National Bank of Greece (NBG) контрольного пакета акций в турецком Finansbank за 2,7 млрд евро (почти $3 млрд), сообщает Bloomberg.
Катарский госбанк Qatar National Bank SAQ заключил соглашение о покупке принадлежащего National Bank of Greece (NBG) контрольного пакета акций в турецком Finansbank за 2,7 млрд евро (почти $3 млрд), сообщает агенство Bloomberg.
Iran deal has put the spotlight on many corners of the investing world with investors keeping a close eye on them for the coming days.
Mohab Dahab is a 25-year old graduate in accounting from Helwan University in Egypt. After finishing school, he set his sights on an exciting career in banking. However, he found himself unable to find a job because what he learned in university was not what he needed for employment. "They weren't trying to prepare us for the job market. It was as though they said, 'Now you graduated, congratulations, goodbye, I don't want to see you here again,' he said. After great frustration and a feeling of helplessness, he found an innovative NGO called Education for Employment (EFE), a network of non-profits that create public-private partnerships to train youth. EFE provided skills training and job placement. Dahab eventually got a job as a corporate credit investigator at Qatar National Bank. It was a turning point for him. Fortunately, he is one of the lucky ones. However, for every one success there are millions of youth like him who fall through the cracks. They are the unemployed and unprepared youth in the Middle East -- college educated -- or not. The numbers are striking: almost 28 percent of youth in the region are unemployed, according to the International Labor Organization. In addition, more than 50 percent of the Arab world is under 25 years old. Youth unemployment may be the biggest challenge facing the region, due to a demographic "youth bulge." Surprisingly, a college education makes it harder to find work, as young people with more years of education are more likely to face a period of unemployment. "They want jobs that match up to their skill set, where it is hardest to find jobs," said Masood Ahmed, Director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia Department. Experts link a lack of opportunity to instability and social unrest. "The cause of the Arab Spring was unemployment, combined with corruption and demands for good governance," said Ahmad Alhendawi, UN Special Envoy on Youth. WASTED POTENTIAL Put simply, youth are not reaching their potential. "They are angry and frustrated. In the era of twitter and blogs, they understand that they do not have the same opportunities as others. They feel cheated. But if we can get them into the labor market, they make smart and very good employees. They are hungry and motivated," said Ron Bruder, Founder and Chair of EFE. The majority of youth in the region face "waithood," a term often describing a confusing, prolonged adolescence, when the most productive years are spent at a standstill. This halts progress in other areas of development, in marriage and home buying. Youth feel helpless and dependent. It doesn't have to be this way. Talented youth can infuse energy into the workforce, but they often don't have the correct training because the educational system has not kept up with the needs of the labor market. Millions of jobs remain unfilled due to a skills gap. Women are also left out. Gender inequality seriously impacts the economy. In fact, the number of young unemployed women is at 46 percent, according to the IMF. Involving more young women in the workforce has a direct impact fiscally. Raising female employment to male levels could have a direct impact on GDP of 34 percent in Egypt and 12 percent in the United Arab Emirates, according to Booz and Co. MIDEAST AT A CROSSROADS Youth require better prospects. The task is daunting: The Arab world must create 80 million jobs by 2020, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. How can it be done? "Government is responsible for creating the conditions that encourage the employment of its citizens. Government can itself employ young people, but only so many. The private sector is also the essential employer in any civilized community," said Sheikh Nahayan, UAE Minister of Youth, Culture and Community Development. The picture appears dire, but some argue there is unprecedented opportunity, especially in the digital sector. The Middle East is at a turning point, and there is a hopeful, underreported revolution taking root, said Christopher Schroeder, author of the book Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East. "The youth bulge is the most wired in their history. They are self-teaching, collaborating, and solving local problems and creating their own enterprises and jobs bottom up." Youth compete where top-down institutions such as government and large traditional businesses cannot. Schroeder adds that, "The question of our times is what our worlds will look like in five years when over two thirds of humanity will have a smart device -- the same computing power all of NASA had to put a man on the moon -- in their pockets? What potential problem solving through innovation will happen at scale and bottom up regardless of what governments believe or do?" The digital revolution has had a "tsunami effect" on the most basic way of life in the region, said Wael Fakharany, Google's Agency Lead for the Middle East and North Africa. "Today, everyone in MENA has the opportunity to express themselves creatively and share their work with the world," he said, adding that a young entrepreneur can develop cloud and mobile-based applications that can change the world and influence hundreds of millions of people. IS ENTREPRENEURSHIP THE ANSWER? The vision of entrepreneurship is not far off. CEO Sunil John of ASDA'A Burson-Marsteller, the public relations firm that recently published its 7th Arab Youth Survey with an accompanying white paper, said that youth are keen to start their own business. "There seems to be great optimism...Basically, how can governments talk more effectively to their constituents and how does youth play a role in this?" he said. In terms of numbers, the report goes on to state: "When asked to comment on how concerned they are about unemployment, the majority (81 pecent) say they are "concerned". Regional governments, also concerned about unemployment rates, are encouraging more citizens to enter the private sector or establish their own businesses. The survey sees positive trends in this area. Nearly two in five (39 percent) young Arabs are looking to start a business within the next five years, with technology and retail being the most popular sectors." FOSTERING A START-UP SCENE Several accelerators and incubators in the region are nurturing an entreprenurial culture. UAE's Rekha Setpal, Head of Community Services for Dubai Internet City, is part of the management team of innovation hub in5, which enhances start-ups and the ecosystem, taking entrepreneurs from idea to commercial launch. A few of the companies that have bloomed under in5's infrastructure include: Adhub, Invibe, Taskspotting, Teachmenow, Votek, ana, and Getmymessage. Setpal said that one of the most important questions all of the start-ups must answer: "What is the pain point you are serving?" Sirine Fadoul, manager of the Tech Startups Incubation Center of the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, says these centers are contributing to the economy and jobs in the region. "Every incubation that we do and new start-up we accept, that is at least one life that is significantly changed. Three to five jobs are created by each incubation...If people come on board successfully, there will be more people employed than unemployed in the region," she said. Mohammed Hamdy, the former Managing Director of Turn8, a start-up accelerator program in Dubai, noted the contribution that these programs make but said that closer effort was needed to unify innovation with private and public regulation. Berytech, a Lebanon-based incubator and accelerator, provides venture funding, technical assistance, and physical office space for startups. One of Berytech's entrpreneurs who received venture funding is Elie Khoury, CEO of photo startup Dermandar. His company has created an app called DMD Panorama, which "stitches" together photographs into one big picture. It has had millions of downloads on the Apple Store. Not bad, at $1.99 a pop. Berytech's mission is to nurture an entrepreneurial and digital class, said Executive Director Nicolas Rouhana. He has ambitious aspirations; "The goal is to stem brain drain, and in the next five years to continue growing, and build our venture fund." Astute watchers are encouraged by the emergence of a tech sector in the mideast. "Government backed incubators and start-up programs, particularly in the UAE and Jordan, are a promising sign for the region's commitment towards diversifying its GDP. There is a real need to create opportunities for the Arab nationals across the region," said Hayden Mollard, Managing Director of the Dubai office of Newhaven Group, which advises start-ups. IS ALL THIS ENOUGH? Positive change can happen rapidly, but a burgeoning digital sector cannot do it alone. Other things are needed: better school-to-work systems, entrepreneur training, and greater collaboration between the public and private sector. Basic skills training would also help. McGraw-Hill and EFE have created job training and placement, which includes a "soft skills" course taken by thousands of students. The curriculum includes critical thinking, work ethics, time management, and leadership. "The course teaches self-esteem. Youth believe they can make great things happen. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy" said Bruder. The question remains whether these and other initiatives are enough to change the game and push the GDP of these countries upward, but leaders working on the issue are hopeful. "Youth are our future," said Sheikh Nahayan, adding that: "There is no choice but to take all necessary measures to engage youth and make them active participants in creating prosperity in their country." -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com PIBOR, South Sudan -- “I’ve never been a soldier,” I say to the wide-eyed, lanky-limbed veteran sitting across from me. “Tell me about military life. What’s it like?” He looks up as if the answer can be found in the blazing blue sky above, shoots me a sheepish grin, and then fixes his gaze on his feet. I let the silence wash over us and wait. He looks embarrassed. Perhaps it’s for me. Interviews sometimes devolve into such awkward, hushed moments. I’ve talked to hundreds of veterans over the years. Many have been reluctant to discuss their tours of duty for one reason or another. It’s typical. But this wasn’t the typical veteran -- at least not for me. Osman put in three years of military service, some of it during wartime. He saw battle and knows the dull drudgery of a soldier's life. He had left the army just a month before I met him. Osman is 15 years old. Young people the world over join militaries for all sorts of reasons -- for a steady paycheck, to be a part of something greater than themselves, to measure up, to escape their homes, because they crave structure or excitement or adventure, because they have no better options, because they’re forced to. Osman joined a militia called the Cobra faction, he told me, after soldiers from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, or SPLA -- the national armed forces of South Sudan -- shot and killed his father. It seemed to be the only option open to him. It afforded him protection, care, a home. Osman was released from his military service in February and he wasn’t alone. In recent months, more than 1,700 children have been demobilized by the Cobra faction. But they’re the exceptions in South Sudan. Today, about 13,000 other children are serving with the SPLA or the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition, a rebel force at war with the government, or with other militias and armed groups jockeying for power in that civil-war-wracked country. Despite a law prohibiting it, the United States looked the other way while this went on, providing aid and assistance to the SPLA even as it employed child soldiers. Year after year, President Obama provided waivers to sidestep the 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act, by which Congress prohibited the U.S. from providing military assistance to governments filling out their ranks with children. It was just one facet of years of support, dating back to the 1980s, that saw the U.S. "midwife" -- as then-chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry put it -- South Sudan into existence. “For nearly a decade leading up to the 2011 declaration of independence, the cause of the nation and its citizens was one that was near and dear to the heart of two successive U.S. administrations and some of its most seasoned and effective thinkers and policymakers,” Patricia Taft, a senior associate with the Fund for Peace, wrote in an analysis of South Sudan last year. “In order to secure this nation-building ‘win,’ both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations poured tons of aid into South Sudan, in every form imaginable. From military aid to food aid to the provision of technical expertise, America was South Sudan’s biggest ally and backer, ardently midwifing the country into nationhood by whatever means necessary.” In the case of child soldiers, waivers were seen as a necessity when it came to helping build “an accountable and professional armed force,” in the words of Andy Burnett of the Office of the Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan; that is, an ethical, modern military that would ultimately eschew the use of children. The results were just the opposite. The SPLA fractured in December 2013 and was soon implicated in the commission of mass atrocities and increased recruitment of child soldiers. The war that has wracked the country since has been especially ruinous for South Sudan’s youth. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), around 600,000 children have been affected by psychological distress, 400,000 have been forced out of school, 235,000 are at risk of severe acute malnutrition, and more than 700 have been killed during a year and a half of civil war. Cobra Commander I meet Osman and a dozen other former child soldiers in an out-of-the-way town about 170 miles from South Sudan’s capital, Juba. The temperature seems harsher in Pibor, the air drier and dustier. The days leave you feeling sapped and shriveled. The sun forces your eyes into a perpetual squint and the wind blows hot -- unnaturally hot, blast-furnace hot. The ground in Pibor is parched to the point of cracking. The gray moonscape has shattered into a spider’s web of crevices, fissures, and clefts tailor-made for wrenching knees and toppling chairs when you shift your weight. Then there are the flies. Swarms of flies. Everywhere. I’ve experienced flies before, flies you can’t keep off your food, so many that you cease swatting and call a truce; so many that you agree to share your plate and your fork with them, so much sharing that they might become part of your meal if they fail to flit away fast enough. But the flies in Pibor are another matter: relentless, maddening, merciless, eternally landing on your sweaty hands and arms and cheeks and nose, on the goat meat being butchered nearby, on your water bottle. Swat one and four more seem to arrive in response -- until about 7:30 pm when, as if by magic, they simply disappear. Osman, a local kid, doesn’t seem bothered by the flies or the heat. Maybe that’s because this life beats the one he was living when he carried an assault rifle and served as a bodyguard for a high-ranking officer. It was a typical job for a child soldier in the Cobra faction, a rebel militia that was -- until last year -- at war with the government here. Korok, a baby-faced 16-year-old from Pibor, tells me he did the same thing during his two years of service. “They gave me a gun,” he says as his large, lively eyes dart about. “I followed big men around.” After his father was shot and killed and his mother died of malaria, Korok found himself alone. His brother was off serving in the SPLA when soldiers from that force rampaged through the area around Pibor, punishing the local population -- men, women, and children of the Murle tribe -- for an uprising by native son and recurrent rebel David Yau Yau. A former theology student, Yau Yau once served as the Pibor county secretary of the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, a federal agency devoted to the reintegration and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons. He has, however, spent the last five years forging a career out of anti-government uprisings. A young upstart from the Murle minority, Yau Yau bucked local elders and ran as an independent for parliament in April 2010. After losing -- he was reportedly trounced -- Yau Yau pursued another path to power, this time through an armed rebellion with 200 fighters under his command. Just over a year later, after some skirmishes with government forces and minor acts of banditry, he accepted an offer of amnesty and was reportedly made a general in the SPLA. In March 2012, the SPLA launched a “disarmament campaign” in Murle areas around Pibor marked, locals say, by rampant atrocities, including rapes and assaults. Soon, Yau Yau was again in revolt, attracting boys like Korok and Osman to his South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army also known as the SSDM/A-Cobra faction. With thousands flocking to his cause and armed with heavier weapons, Yau Yau launched his first major attack, an ambush that reportedly killed more than 100 SPLA soldiers in August 2012, according to the Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based independent research group. Battles between the Cobra faction and the SPLA raged through 2013 and civilians around Pibor continued to suffer. SPLA court martial documents obtained by TomDispatch attest to the violence in the area. On July 31, 2013, for example, Sergeant Ngor Mayik Magol and Private Bona Atem Akot shot and killed two Murle women and injured a child in Pibor County. (Tried and convicted, they were ordered to pay “blood compensation” of 45 cows for each woman, sentenced to five years in prison, and fined 2,000 South Sudanese pounds each.) In fact, according to Human Rights Watch, 74 Murle civilians, 17 of them women and children, were killed between December 2012 and July 2013. In May 2014, several months after a full-fledged civil war erupted with rebel forces under the leadership of former Vice President Riek Machar, South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir and Yau Yau agreed to a peace pact. Later, the former rebel leader pledged to demobilize children from his forces. In January, the Cobra faction began releasing youths, ages 9 to 17, some of whom had been fighting for up to four years. In that first demobilization ceremony, overseen by the South Sudan National Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Commission with support from UNICEF, 280 youngsters turned in their weapons and uniforms. Since then, almost 1,500 others have been released. “These children have been forced to do and see things no child should ever experience,” said UNICEF South Sudan Representative Jonathan Veitch. “The release of thousands of children requires a massive response to provide the support and protection these children need to begin rebuilding their lives.” Zuagin tells me he’s 15, but he looks a couple years younger. His legs seem to be hiding somewhere inside his pants and his shirt is a size too big. Hailing from the nearby town of Gumuruk, he had served with the Cobra faction for about two years before being demobilized in February. Like the other boys, he now spends his days at “the ICC” or Interim Care Center in Pibor, a compound dominated by a mud-walled church with a crude likeness of Christ drawn on an exterior wall. “UNICEF builds and runs the centers with our partners -- they are providing temporary care and shelter to the children released while we trace their families,” UNICEF’s Claire McKeever explained to me. “We have also trained local teams of social workers, cooks, and guards who work at the centers. The children are provided with food, shelter, items like mosquito nets, mats, and soap, psychosocial support and recreation activities. This is a two-year program in Pibor, but the hope is that these centers can become youth centers once the last children return home.” The child veterans at the ICC are like kids anywhere. Some are curious but apprehensive, others wary and insecure; a few of the older ones act tougher and cooler than they are. They find themselves on either side of that ethereal adolescent dividing line -- some with the softer, rounder faces of little boys, others beginning to sport the more angular features of young men; some with tiny, falsetto voices, others speaking in tenor tones. As a group, they are, however, united by body type: uniformly skinny, swimming in their button-down shirts or soccer jerseys. Quite a few sport generic t-shirts emblazoned with the name “Obama.” Many have energy to burn and a hunger for something more. More than a few seem to delight in tormenting one of their caretakers, a man who wields a long thin branch that he brandishes in an attempt to keep the boys in line. He threatens them with it, swinging it at them, though without much chance of actually hitting the speedy, young veterans. They, in turn, mock him and when he sets his switch down, they steal it from him. He tells me that he likes the boys, that they are good kids. He also asks if I could help him get any other kind of job, anything at all. Zuagin was yet another Cobra faction bodyguard who spent his tour of duty toting a gun to protect an older man with a high rank. “He treated me well, with respect,” he says, but assures me that life is now much better than it was with the militia. He has big plans for the future. “I want to go to school,” he explains. “I want to be a doctor. We need sanitation. If I’m a doctor, I can help the community.” Zuagin has a ready solution to South Sudan’s bloodshed and the seemingly interminable civil war that goes with it. “To stop the violence, we need disarmament. All the guns need to be collected. After that, all the youths should go to school.” I listen and nod, thinking about how a disarmament campaign led directly to violence here in Pibor, the violence that Osman tells me cost his father his life, the violence that forced so many of Zuagin’s fellow child soldiers into the arms of the Cobra faction in the first place. I decide not to mention it. Osman has his own simple solution: full employment. “To have peace, they should give a job to everybody,” he says in a soft, raspy voice. “If they gave work to everybody, everybody would be busy and there would be no time for fighting.” Like the rest of the boys, Peter looks younger than the age he gives, which is 16. And like many of the others, it was abuse by the SPLA that, two years earlier, led him to flee his home and join the Cobra faction. “They were beating people. They even stole my clothes,” he tells me as we sit in the minimal shade of a tree near the church in the ICC compound. Life with the militia was tough: cooking, chores, bodyguard duties, combat. Now, the bright-eyed youth says that he has free time and his life is so much better. He was looking forward to school, too, but didn’t have the requisite 20 South Sudanese pounds needed for tuition. It’s the same story for Osman who longs for school, but says he lacks the funds to attend. “Getting all children in Pibor back to school is a priority and services are slowly being reestablished after many years of under investment,” UNICEF’s McKeever told me by email. “There are currently close to 3,000 children enrolled in Pibor [and nearby] Gumuruk and Lekuangule and one in three of the demobilized children from Pibor are in accelerated learning programs.” Veterans Day? The Interim Care Center is a spartan facility by Western standards and creature comforts are few, but these young Cobra faction veterans have it better than many of their peers who find themselves hungry, malnourished, displaced, homeless, and hopeless. “Life is very good here,” Osman told me. The freedom to come and go as he pleases and wear civilian clothes looms large for him. “Plus, I’m eating for free,” he adds. When I ask if he ever wants to be a soldier again, he shoots me a disgusted look, before cracking a big smile and laughing aloud. “No. I don’t like it at all. The worst part was fighting.” Zujian, who speaks some English, agrees. In a tiny voice that has yet to crack, let alone deepen, he swears that life now is so much better than when he carried a weapon and that he’s absolutely done with soldiering forever. All the boys I talk to tell me the same -- though it’s no guarantee that some of them won’t end up back under arms in the years to come. Above all, however, every one of them wants something more. All are looking for some way out. Peter bluntly requests that I take a couple of the boys back to the United States so they can tell their stories in person. He strongly hints that he would like to be one of them. In the meantime, he says, he will “pray for peace.” Korok, it turns out, is praying too -- for peace and better leadership for the country. “Is there a possibility,” he asks, “for the American people to set up schools, so the children could go to class instead of becoming soldiers?” “South Sudan needs development. It needs hospitals, not fighting,” Zujian tells me with a thoughtful smile. True enough, but I wonder if there is any chance of it. Recent, full-scale military offensives are wreaking havoc, killing and injuring civilians, and accountability is nearly nil. The government derives more than 90% of its revenue not from citizens to whom it must provide services and transparency, but from foreign oil firms. It is now also indebted to the Qatar National Bank, to whom the future of the nation has been mortgaged. Its military has been consistently implicated in mass atrocities, as has the rebel force opposing it. Both continue to employ child soldiers. The country sits atop the Fund for Peace’s 178-nation list of the world’s most fragile nations, ranks exceptionally high in terms of poverty and corruption, and low when it comes to education, infrastructure, press freedom, and human rights. It’s one of the worst places on earth to be a mother or a child. Its economy is in shambles and nearly five million people are expected to face severe food shortages in the months ahead. And given the fact that southern Sudan has, for the better part of 60 years, been embroiled in war -- a series of conflicts that have upended, wrecked, or taken the lives of millions, sown bad blood, and stoked the fires of vengeance -- the future looks grim. At the end of our interview, Zujian stares into my eyes, squinting as if looking for something, and then begins interviewing me. What am I up to, he wants to know. Why have I traveled all this way to the ICC to talk to the other boys and him? I try to explain how my country helped facilitate the recruitment of child soldiers in his, despite international condemnation of the practice and the fact one of our laws forbids it, as does South Sudanese law. I say that people in America know little or nothing about the global scourge of child soldiers. It’s important, I add, that they hear what boys like him have to say. I had come, I explain, to hear his story and I will do my best to tell it. I can feel Zujian’s disappointment. Like a number of the children, he clearly hoped for more from me -- maybe even tangible assistance of some sort. He manages to look skeptical and remain silent until we reach the outer edge of awkward. Then, suddenly, he breaks into a wide grin and gracefully lets me off the hook. Clearly, U.S. assistance and nation-building efforts in South Sudan have had anything but the desired effects either for Washington or South Sudan. No less clearly, President Obama’s gamble that looking the other way when it came to child soldiers would, in the long run, facilitate the end of their use imploded in 2013 with devastating results. Despite this, Zujian refuses to sour on the United States or at least its citizens. Somehow, in spite of all the disappointments, including me, he continues to have faith. “I’m happy to have talked with you,” he says with a nod, still smiling as we sit in the fading afternoon sun at this parched, uncertain way station, a literal no man’s land located somewhere between war and peace, youth and adulthood. “If the American people read about us, maybe it will lead to something good.” Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch.com and a fellow at the Nation Institute. A 2014 Izzy Award and American Book Award winner for his book Kill Anything That Moves, he has reported from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa and his pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, and regularly at TomDispatch. His latest book, Tomorrow's Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, has just been published. Reporting for this article was made possible by the generous support of Lannan Foundation. [Note: In this piece, names have been changed to protect the privacy of the children at the request of UNICEF.] Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
The foreign direct investment in Saudi stocks will provide boost to Middle East ETFs.
Государственная энергетическая компания Qatar Petroleum наняла два банка для проведения первичного публичного размещения акций одного из своих подразделений. По сведениям из осведомленного источника, компания может привлечь 3,2 млрд риалов ($880 млн) путем IPO. Сообщается, что Qatar National Bank займется проведением сделки, в то время как Deutsche Bank выступит в роли финансового консультанта. Qatar Petroleum не прокомментировала данную информацию.
Following Barroso's State of the EU speech, we thought it useful to reflect on the true state of the EU. Nigel Farage's recent tirade slamming "Communist" Barroso's pro-bureaucrat policies are poignant as he exclaims the "disaster" that the EU has become for the poor and unemployed. To further color this rant we note Charles Gavekal's recent note on why Europe's still broken as worthless IOUs are 'transferred' around the union and "no one really knows who is going to take the final loss." Perhaps it is The Hamiltonian's summary of the structural problem (an interlocking set of European political, bureaucratic, media, academic and financial elites) and the sad fact that history suggests a crisis deferred is a crisis magnified. The first few minutes of Farage's speech focus on the real-world problems that his peers "are in denial" over... (the rest is global warming related) But to provide more specific reasons for why Europe's still broken, here is Charles Gave (of Gavekal Research), ... The interesting thing is that the median cost of capital across the eurozone has not changed significantly during the crisis period; what has shifted is the dispersion around that median. And the countries which are on the wrong side of the spread have seen interest rates remain above their economies’ structural growth rates. The result is a massive deleveraging of the private sector, offset by a huge increase in state spending in the likes of France, Italy, and Spain, etc. The logic of the system is inherently at odds with the budgetary stipulations set within the Maastricht criteria. Hence, so long as interest rates are set way above the growth rate, “austerity” must fail miserably. This system is inexorably causing the destruction of the industrial bases in Italy, France, Spain and the others. The lost revenues from productive activity is for the moment offset by Germany (together with the likes of Japan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia) accumulating financial assets issued by the governments of those nations that face slow strangulation. It can’t last. A while ago, I argued that Germans might as well load much of their auto exports headed to eurozone countries on to a boat and sink it outside of Hamburg. It would do as much good as selling Audis in exchange for IOUs issued by bankrupt countries. But no problem—now those IOUs are held by the European Central Bank as shown by the still high Target 2 balances. Of course, what this really means is that no one really knows who is going to take the final loss and so the game continues (and this is the difference with a gold standard where cycles end with a simple depletion of the gold inventory). The end game will come when sovereign nations inside and outside Europe stop accepting this rotten paper. This denouement will ultimately be a political decision which is hardly my area of confidence. What I would say to those tempted by Europe’s “attractively valued” markets, is look elsewhere... and From The Hamiltonian, Europe - Crisis Deferred Is Crisis Magnified, In the current period of surface calm in [Europe] it is more necessary than ever to point out the structural phenomena which mean that a crisis is bound to re-emerge. ... The structural problem... is an interlocking set of European political, bureaucratic, media, academic and financial elites. King said there are four possible resolutions to the crisis. One is continued mass unemployment in the cads in order to produce deflation; the second is inflation in Germany; the third is giving up on adjustment and instituting a perpetual transfer union (and, implicitly, German rule); the fourth is a change in euro area membership. King, although he was not explicit, seemed to have grave doubts about the feasibility of the first three possible solutions (he would no doubt also rightly have major worries about the possible financial implications of the fourth possibility; but if nothing else is feasible, the authorities should be planning to mitigate the financial consequences of that possibility – but that would mean admitting that entering into monetary union pre-programmed some sort of financial crisis, something the progenitors of monetary union, and even some of their successors, will never admit). ... Ponzi games are sometimes excused, or even lauded, on the grounds that a crisis deferred is a crisis resolved. Sadly, history suggests that crisis deferred is a crisis magnified. Can one justify the creditstimulation ambition on the slightly more respectable argue that time is being bought? Well, one might – if it were clear what exactly the time being bought was expected to produce and if the price at which time is bought were specified. The second condition has never as far as we are, been fulfilled. What about the first condition? Two main possibilities are mooted by the proponents of buying time. One is that underlying structural improvement in the cads will allow structural adjustment without a need for deflation. The second is that the passage of time will allow the third of the possible resolutions outlined by King – a perpetual transfer union – to become more feasible politically. And of course the two arguments are linked: the greater an improvement in the structural performance of the cads, it is claimed (though often sotto voce), the more likely it will be that Germany will accept a transfer union and the more likely it is that cad societies, having already by hypothesis become more “Germanic”, will be able to accept the imposition of German rules (and, in effect, German rule) in return. ... Barroso’s comments last night, in which he claimed that any “rowing back” from “Europe” would re-create conditions like those which led to the First World War, are not just ludicrously wrong – wrong by 180 degrees – but frankly obscene. But apart from that, PMIs tell us all is well, right? (well, no!)
Follow ZeroHedge in Real-Time on FinancialJuice Wealth has besotted people since time immemorial. It’s accrued, amassed, hidden, stolen and we would even die sometimes for it, or at least knock someone off more than likely to get what they have. Wealth: the abundance of valuable assets and material possessions, the mainstay today of our consumer societies. Wealth became a target when we left nothing untouched by consumer valuing of resources. Everything has a price today in the world. Everything can be bought and sold, whatever it is; and it doesn’t just come out of factories or from the fields, it could be you or me that have a price on our heads. Wealth Measures Wealth of a country is measured in two ways. The first is the Gross Domestic Product of a country. But, the problem with that is that it only measures the size of the economy. Per Capita Gross Domestic Product can give us an average of what that wealth works out to per person in the population. Again, however that is inadequate, since averages are just that. They don’t give us the full picture of what the country is actually experiencing. They are just half-way lines that give some gauge of the situation. Anyhow, using GDP per capita or GDP alone means that currency fluctuations will always come into play as they will be shown in the currency of the country in question. But, Gross Domestic Product at Purchasing Power Parity (GDP PPP) will take into account the standard of living of a population and the relative cost of living in a country. A hypothetical international dollar known as the Geary-Khamis Dollar is therefore used as the unit of comparison, with the same purchasing power as the US Dollar and the year 2000 is the benchmark year for that comparison. Wealth Ranking – TOP 5 So here are the rankings. The world’s top 5 countries according to data compiled by the International Monetary Fund. 1. Qatar GDP PPP per capita of Intl. $102, 211. Just 250, 000 Qataris and the rest of the 1.8-million population are immigrant workers. Oil accounts for 60% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product today. Qatar Petroleum, the state-owned and run oil company is currently the third largest company in the world that exploits, produces and refines oil as well as transporting and storing it. Qatar has the third largest natural gas reserves today in the world. The country has attracted major investors. US investment alone there has exceeded $100 billion. Branches of 6 US universities (Weill Cornell Medical College, Carnegie Mellon and Georgetown University amongst others) are located there. Public-sector Qatari workers got pay increases of 50-120% in 2011. 2. Luxembourg GDP PPP of Intl. $79, 785. Half a million people in terms of population. Thanks to the fact that it had secret banking laws and was able to transform itself into a tax haven in the world. But, for how long will that last as the US starts putting pressure on Swiss banks for doing exactly that (making it illegal now for a US citizen to open an account in the country without having had the US authorities informed prior to it). But, despite their apparent wealth, the country still had a budget deficit of 5% in 2009, reduced to 1.4% a year later. In 2009 Luxembourg had nearly 30, 000 people working in the banking sector and there were 152 different banks located in the country. It was added to a list of ‘grey’ countries in the world by the G20 concerning worries over secrecy laws. 3. Singapore GDP PPP of Intl. $60, 410. The country has the lowest tax rate (14.2% of GDP) in the world. The Singaporean economy is largely considered as the most open economy in the world (also the least corrupt). Perhaps there is food for thought as to opening up economies and doing away with corrupt administrations and authorities. The Singaporean economy depends on exports (electronics and semiconductors (11% of the world’s output)). It also produces 10% of foundry wafer output in the world. 4. Norway GDP PPP of Intl. $55, 009. Largest natural gas reserves in Europe and also oil reserves. Petroleum accounts for nearly 50% of the exports of the country and it is a major component of the GDP of the country (21%). One of the world’s biggest exporters of gas (2nd largest after Russia). Although oil was only discovered in 1969. They produce 2 million barrels per day on average. They set up a unique system to ensure that there was management of the revenue from oil and in 1990, for example, the Government Pension Fund was established (Global (GPFG)) for surplus oil revenues. It is worth$700 billion at least today. Oil profits get taxed at a rate of 78%, bringing in $36 billion in 2011. 5. Brunei GDP PPP of Intl. $54, 389. Cashing in on natural gas and the benefits of petroleum. The 3rd largest oil producer in Southeast Asia. Brunei produces 180, 000 barrels per day. 4th largest natural-gas producer in the world. Mean wages in Brunei stand at US $25.38 per man-hour. New companies (that meet regulations) are exempt from income tax for five years. The energy sector brings in 94% of government revenue. It also accounts for 96% of exports from the country. But, by 2045, those oil reserves and natural gas reserves will have run out completely. The other countries are as follows in the ranking: 6. Hong Kong GDP PPP of Intl. $51, 494. 7. United States GDP PPP of Intl. $49, 922. 8. United Arab Emirates GDP PPP of Intl. $49, 012. 9. Switzerland GDP PPP of Intl. $45, 418. 10. Canada GDP PPP of Intl. $42, 734. 11. Australia GDP PPP of Intl. $42, 640. 12. Austria GDP PPP of Intl. $42, 409. So, the wealth of the world is concentrated in the Gulf, Europe and North America which seems of little surprise when it boils down to it. Luxembourg is way behind the State of Qatar and yet is in second position. Norway is in 4th place but still has just a little more than half of the GDP PPP of Qatar. But in the top countries it’s natural resources that are exploited to make it to the highest echelons of the ranking for the main part. Really Rich? Without the poor, the rich wouldn’t be rich and those poor countries are maintained in their positions some might say of inferiority to make sure that those at the top are there to stay. Money can buy everything. It can even by exploitation and it can certainly buy poverty somewhere else to be used and abused. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the poorest nation in terms of Gross Domestic Product at Purchasing Power Parity per capita in the world with only$369 for 2012 When we look at the list of the world’s top wealthy countries are we proud of finding our place on that list? Do we have the impression that we are that rich really in the world. The US is 7th in the list, but how many of the 7.4%-unemployed actually believe that they are living that dream of wealthy abundance and opulence. How many of the people that are nearing 15% that are either unemployed or are on contracts that see them working for just a few hours a week and that are underemployed actually participate in that wealth that has made the US get to the top ten of the richest nations on the planet? Few of them it would seem. The thing with averages that are calculated is that they are not true when the majority of the wealth of a nation is held in the hands of the minority few. Wealth distribution is concentrated wherever that may be and being the richest nation means very little else than the fact that the few have even more than others. Wealth and income are concentrated not just in the top 1% of the country, but mainly in the top 0.1% of the United States. The top 1% of households owns roughly 35% of all private wealth. The next 19% hold 53.5% of US private wealth. 11% of the wealth only is owned by the rest of the 80% of the population of the country. In a study carried out in 2010 (Norton & Ariely), 90% of US citizens believed that the top 20% of the US own just60% of the private wealth in the country, whereas it is closer to 80% or more. They had no idea either that the bottom 40% of the country owns nothing more than 0.3% of private wealth. Wealth needs an overhaul and needs to be redistributed from the eager tops somewhere down the scale to those that surely need it more. Being in the 7th place in terms of GDP PPP might well mean something for the guys at the top, but for the rest of the populations of those countries in the list, it’s nothing more than marketing to show the others that we can do what we want if needs be. Don’t mess with rich countries. They have the economic power and clout to knock you for six. Septaper Will Open Floodgates | How Sinister is the State? | Food: Walking the Breadline | Obama NOT Worst President in reply to Obama: Worst President in US History? New Revelations: NSA and XKeyscore Program | Obama's Corporate Grand Bargain Death of the Dollar | Joseph Stiglitz was Right: Suicide | China Injects Cash in Bid to Improve Liquidity Technical Analysis: Bear Expanding Triangle | Bull Expanding Triangle | Bull Falling Wedge | Bear Rising Wedge | High & Tight Flag
Follow ZeroHedge in Real-Time on FinancialJuice Imagine the scenario. You drive to work this morning and you spend all day slogging away at the office, with sweltering temperatures of 50° C to boot. The only bonus that you have is that you are grinding away in luxurious surroundings. But, when it comes to leaving, the doors are locked, bolted and barred. You can’t get out of the place and nobody gives a damn anyhow. That’s exactly what it’s like at the moment for expats living and working in Qatar. They are at the mercy of their business partners in order to be able to live the country and are to all intents and purposes being held hostage, complacently acceptably condoned by the governments, with little being done by the Western states where those visiting business people come from. Qatar: Doha Wealthiest State Qatar has enough natural gas to make every citizen of the country wealthier than any other in the world. Sheikh Tamim bin Khaifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar is a new ambitious determined leader that plans to make Qatar a prominent country in the world. It has close ties with the US since the US Central Command’s Forward Headquarters are located in Qatar along with the Combined Air Operations Center. It has a population of 250, 000 citizens and the rest of the population is made up of Arab nations (13%), Indian subcontinent (24% from India and 16% from Nepal, amongst others) andSoutheast Asia (11% from the Philippines). There are a total of 1.87 million people currently residing in the country, with 65% that are immigrant workers. It’s the home of Al Jazeera and it tops the list of the richest nations in the world today. Qatar had a Gross Domestic Product of $91, 600 per capita in 2010. It increased to $100, 600 in 2011. It reached $102, 800 in 2012. By comparison, the USA had a per capita GDP of $50, 700 in 2012. 14% of households are millionaires. Go to Qatar with the fervent desire to earn bundles of cash from the richest nation in the world and you risk losing your dignity, your freedom and even all sense of humanity. Qatar is described as the El Dorado, the Vegas of the Middle East, the place where you can strike it rich in one fell swoop. But, there’s a price for everything; nothing comes free. The propaganda is intensely maintained in the media through the channels that the state of Qatar has managed to get its hands on. People should think twice before being attracted by the Midas touch; they might not turn into very much at all and certainly not gold. The state of Qatar is organizing the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and as such a hoard of immigrant workers have been taken on in a vision of times gone by with slave drivers forcing the workers to build , unbuild and rebuild. Those workers are driven like slaves and have their basic rights taken away from them. Qatar might be at the top of the list of richest nations in the world, but it’s pretty damn poor with regard to workers’ rights and even human rights. But, what can be expected from a country that has a ruling family that has a hereditary title and has had its country in their grasp since the mid-nineteenth century? What can be expected from a country that has the major and most important key positions in the country and the government handed out in true fashion of nepotism to family members of the ruling Al Thani dynasty? The only time privileges are changed and old orders knocked out is when there is a coup d’état (a peaceful one is de rigueur); wars and revolts cost money and that would be a waste, so the ousted Emir usually goes peacefully and anyhow he’s your father usually (Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani overthrew his own father and took the country in 1995). Kafala The workers have their rights taken away and they are trapped in a Kafala from which there’s no possible escape. Kafala is literally a procedure of adoption in Muslim law that allows someone to be adopted but to maintain their own name as full adoption is legally impossible. The adopted person will not have the full rights regarding inheritance as a legitimate child that is born to the family. The adoption procedure has been extended to business and any foreigner that wishes to work in Qatar must be ‘adopted’ and surrenders all rights to their sponsor. The Kafala allows workers to be maintained in servitude to an employer or to a business partner, with passports that are confiscated to stop them leaving the country and with courts that are banned so they have no access to legal recourse. If your sponsor does not provide the visa to allow you to exit the country, then you end up staying put until he allows you to, or until you give him what he wants from you. More than a million workers are forced into labor by slave-drivers with immense wealth. Their salaries are unpaid or paid late, they are denied basic freedoms and yet they are building the multi-billion dollar World Cup 2022infrastructure of luxury hotels and football stadiums. Qatar: World Cup 2022 There was already great controversy over the granting of the World Cup to Qatar since it was amidst accusations of corruption, underhand tactics and bribery as well as pressure on certain people. A secret meeting between the Emir of Qatar and the French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2010 ensured that the French would vote for Qatar. One French footballer got $15 million for his support (Zinedine Zidane) and Michel Platini was told to vote for Qatar by the French President. Qatar bought the French football team Paris Saint Germain in return. Just last year a prominent US businessman (Nasser Beydoun) in Doha was held hostage in economic slavery and indentured servitude for 685 days. He had been trying to get out of Qatar ever since he resigned from his job in 2009 as CEO of a group of restaurants in the country. The exit visa was refused by the group Wataniya Restaurants that had sponsored him to work there. He was sued for $13 million and detained in the country. He was found innocent and allowed to leave after 685 days. He stated: “Though this battle is over the war has just started. The people who held me hostage have a profound immorality, cold egotism and an utter disregard of justice and humanity.” Beydoun is not the only one that is making the economic slavery hot the headlines in the media these days as more and more cases come to light. There is the case of the Belgian, Philippe Bogaert, that went to Doha to work as a TV producer and that has been refused an exit visa for the past two years. If a project fails, then it’s the foreigner that is considered to be responsible and he is sued to pay the money back, holding the visa as ransom to get exactly what is wanted. Boagaert is being sued for over $4.2 million. Without your sponsor’s say-so it is impossible to do anything in the state of Qatar. You can’t drive a car, you can’t rent or buy a house and you can’t even open a bank account. Other countries have adapted the work laws in their countries and Bahrain has done away with the Kafala, for example. The United Arab Emirates has a free zone that doesn’t apply the Kafala to attract foreign business people to work in Dubai. But, have things changed there? In Bahrain for example the Labor Market Regulatory Law came into force in April 2009. But, essentially very little has changed. The migrant workers are still expected to have a sponsor. The only gain that they have made is to be able to change employer much more easily than before (i.e. without the consent of the employer a worker can change jobs today). The governments of these countries do very little to protect migrant workers and they do even less to apply and implement the changes in the law when they have been made. Withholding salaries is widespread. Forced labor without payment has transformed these people into economic slaves for the sole benefit of accruing more wealth and yet we do nothing. Western governments sit complacently and forget the workers that are in these countries slaving away. Qatar has enough money and has enough investment in our countries for the governments not to rock the boat. If it rocks too much, the oil will spill and we wouldn’t want that, would we? Al Jazeera makes sure that the Western governments do little else than look on and watch. 220 million people watch Al Jazeera English alone in more than100 countries. It is watched 2.5 million times on YouTube and is the most watched TV channel there. That’s a powerful tool to be reckoned with. In the meantime, the economic slavery continues and Qatar is a five-star oil-rich state as a result of the masses grinding away of those held hostage Septaper Will Open Floodgates | How Sinister is the State? | Food: Walking the Breadline | Obama NOT Worst President in reply to Obama: Worst President in US History? New Revelations: NSA and XKeyscore Program | Obama's Corporate Grand Bargain Death of the Dollar | Joseph Stiglitz was Right: Suicide | China Injects Cash in Bid to Improve Liquidity Technical Analysis: Bear Expanding Triangle | Bull Expanding Triangle | Bull Falling Wedge | Bear Rising Wedge | High & Tight Flag
CEO крупнейшего по рыночной капитализации в Персидском заливе кредитора Qatar National Bank (QNB) Али Шариф аль-Умади (Ali Shareef Al Emadi) был назначен министром финансов страны. Стоит отметить, что на фоне данных новостей акций компании выросли на 1,9% до 159 реалов на торгах в Дохе, достигнув максимального с июня 2003 года значения.