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Month: February 2019

Escobar: How New Silk Roads Are Shaping Southwest Asia

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times, Businesses in the Middle East have begun to think ‘Make trade not war’ and being part of China’s Belt and Road scheme Singapore, aiming high for the status of Asia’s unofficial capital, seems like the ideal venue for a conference to discuss how the Middle East could learn a few lessons from ASEAN’s multi-layered relations with China, especially involving partnership in the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But first, let’s get things straight. The “Middle East” is, of course, a Eurocentric, Orientalist denomination. From Asia’s – and China’s – cultural and geographical point of view, the “Middle East” is correctly seen as Southwest Asia. It’s enlightening to evaluate two Chinese informed perspectives on how China is deploying its geopolitical soft power across Southwest Asia in contrast to the Trump administration’s immensely muddled strategy. Duke University professor Bai Gao, also a visiting professor at Peking University, stresses how ASEAN privileges “a stronger regional identity that often unites these countries together to pursue their common interests when they deal with external great powers.” That’s in sharp contrast with Southwest Asia, where nations, geopolitically, are extremely selfish and eschew aligning on common interests. Peking University Professor Wu Bingbing, also Qatar Chair Professor in Middle Eastern Studies, for his part, stresses how “China believes in partnerships and does not take sides with any...

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Visualizing The 7 Major Flaws Of The Global Financial System

Since the invention of banking, the global financial system has become increasingly centralized. In the modern system, central banks now control everything from interest rates to the issuance of currency, while government regulators, corporations, and intergovernmental organizations wield unparalleled influence at the top of this crucial food chain. There is no doubt that this centralization has led to the creation of massive amounts of wealth, especially to those properly connected to the financial system. However, as Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins notes, the same centralization has also arguably contributed to many global challenges and risks we face today. FLAWS OF THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM Today’s infographic comes to us from investment app Abra, and it highlights the seven major flaws of the global financial system, ranging from the lack of basic access to financial services to growing inequality. Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist 1. Billions of people globally remain unbanked To participate in the global financial sector, whether it is to make a digital payment or manage one’s wealth, one must have access to a bank account. However, 1.7 billion adults worldwide remain unbanked, having zero access to an account with a financial institution or a mobile money provider. 2. Global financial literacy remains low For people to successfully use financial services and markets, they must have some degree of financial literacy. According to a recent global survey, just 1-in-3 people show an understanding...

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GE, Boeing, T-Mobile Among Latest Victims Of Chinese IP Theft

As US and Chinese negotiators prepare to begin their seventh round of trade talks this week, more reports are being leaked to the media about China’s efforts to steal trade secrets from US companies via “Operation Cloudhopper”, the Ministry of State Security-backed infiltration campaign that used service providers in the US and Europe to infiltrate the systems of their clients. According to a report in the New York Times that detailed how China and Iran have ramped up their hacking efforts since 2015, when the now-abandoned Iran deal was initially struck, and China promised the Obama administration that it would pull back on its cyberespionage efforts. After an 18-month lull, China’s 10-year-long commercially motivated campaign was revitalized in the midst of growing trade tensions between the US and China (tensions that predated Trump’s trade war). Among the latest targets of China’s hacks, according to the NYT’s military and private sources, were GE Aviation, Boeing and T-Mobile. A summary of an intelligence briefing read to The New York Times said that Boeing, General Electric Aviation and T-Mobile were among the recent targets of Chinese industrial-espionage efforts. The companies all declined to discuss the threats, and it is not clear if any of the hacks were successful. Offering some background on China’s hacking strategy in recent years, sources described how China has managed to carry out more sophisticated attacks that have...

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The ‘Disappearing Democrat’ Scandal – Part 2

Authored by Tim Donner via Liberty Nation, This is the second of a two-part series on a massive scandal which has gone largely unreported, based on an interview on Liberty Nation Radiowith Luke Rosiak, author of Obstruction of Justice: How the Deep State Risked National Security to Protect the Democrats. In part one, Mr. Rosiak described how the scandal unfolded and jeopardized the security of more than two dozen Democratic members of Congress. The media, the DOJ, and the Democrats: A powerful axis with the ability to shape what we perceive as the issue of the day… It was a scandal that threatened to metastasize and blow up in the face of Democrats in a presidential election year like no other. But with the Hillary Clinton email scandal growing by the day, Democrats willing to do almost anything to avoid the specter of a Donald Trump presidency, the FBI burying their findings and a drive-by media behaving with a distinct lack of curiosity, few people took notice. Imram Awam, an IT specialist and Pakistani national with a checkered past, yet unvetted by the many congressional Democrats who employed his services, took advantage of the unfettered access he was granted to their computer files to hack, steal, blackmail – and even threaten to kill his wife’s family – in the process placing national security in distinct jeopardy. We were joined on Liberty Nation Radio by Luke Rosiak,...

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The Wealthiest And Poorest County In Every U.S. State

Submitted by Visual Capitalist The average U.S. state is made up of 62 counties. With so many counties spread throughout each state in the nation, it’s not surprising that we can find counties that exemplify almost any part of the American experience. In this case, we’re comparing county-level data to look at the differences in economic opportunity within each state. More specifically, we are looking at the range of median household income, which is one proxy for the difference in economic status between counties. Disparity By State Today’s infographic comes to us from TitleMax, and it looks at the wealthiest and poorest counties in each individual U.S. state based on the measure of median household income. Here are the five states with the biggest disparity between rich and poor counties: 1. Virginia: $102,800 Loudoun is about an hour’s drive to D.C., and it also happens to be the richest county in the U.S. in terms of median income. Further west in the state, bordering Kentucky and West Virginia, lies Buchanan County, which has a median household income of just $31,800. 2. New Mexico: $86,500 In Los Alamos, known as the birthplace of the atomic bomb, median household income has exploded to $114,700 – meanwhile, along the Mexico border lies Luna, the poorest county in the state. 3. Colorado: $85,200 Just like the Colorado has a difference in elevation, it...

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