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September, 2017


Is China Abandoning North Korea?

Female soldiers in North Korea military parade (15452372509)
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North Korea’s nuclear antics have rattled its alliance with China to the point that Beijing is allowing the previously unthinkable to be discussed: Is it time to prepare for the renegade regime’s collapse? While China’s official goal is to bring Washington and Pyongyang to the negotiating table, it is also permitting once taboo debate on contingencies… Read More

Iraq And Iran In Joint Opposition Against Kurdish Independence Vote

Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution troop marching with gun and headband
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Iran will hold a joint military exercise with Iraq in response to the Iraqi Kurdistan region’s “illegitimate” independence referendum, an Iranian military official announced on Saturday. Iran, which borders Iraq and the autonomous Kurdish region, strongly opposed the vote held Monday, fearing it would provoke separatists among its own Kurdish population. Iraq’s central government has demanded… Read More

Deadly Form Of Pneumonic Plague Is Spreading Rapidly In Madagascar

Aye-aye at night in the wild in Madagascar
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The World Health Organization warns a highly infectious, deadly form of pneumonic plague is spreading rapidly in Madagascar and quick action is needed to stop it. Pneumonic plague, which is transmitted from person to person, has been detected in several cities in Madagascar. This worries the World Health Organization as the disease is highly contagious and… Read More

Fans Are Fed Up With The NFL

NFL Sideline Television Coordinators
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Millions of fans are unhappy with the current trend of national-anthem kneeling by NFL players — and they’ve expressed their anger and disgust over the last few days in a number of “we’re-not-taking-it-anymore” moves. Here is a look at five of the biggest backlashes against the NFL’s kneelers this week. 1.) Fans burn their memorabilia. Jersey… Read More

Europe – Some Countries Have Set Travel Alerts For Catalonia

Catalonia Blanes Senyera
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Several European countries urged their nationals in Catalonia to exercise caution ahead of the slated weekend independence referendum that has been banned by Madrid. In an updated advisory for Spain posted on its website, the German foreign ministry told travellers that major demonstrations could be expected at the weekend, particularly in the regional capital Barcelona. “An… Read More

Pakistan – Police Kill Five Suspected Terrorists In Karachi Shootout

Flag of Pakistan
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Pakistan’s Sindh province police on Thursday killed five suspected terrorists who had ties to al-Qaida and Islamic State terror groups in the southern port city of Karachi, according to provincial law enforcement officials. Rao Anwaar, a senior provincial police official, told local media that the suspects were gunned down in a shootout with police who raided… Read More

Philippine President Duterte Praises The US For Help In Fighting Radical Islamic Terrorists

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, a fierce critic of the United States, is now singing Washington’s praises for helping him fight pro-Islamic State group militants. “There are so many factors involved. But I’d rather be friendly to them now,” Duterte told residents of the central town of Balangiga during a visit, according to an official transcript released… Read More

“Impeachment Does Not Require A Crime” – What!, Who Said That?

Oval Office Exterior
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File this one under Crazy Democrats. Rep. Al Green, yes a Democrat, actually said during an interview on SiriusXM that the president doesn’t actually have to commit any type of crime in order to be impeached. That explains a lot, actually. For instance: It explains why Democrats have troubling connecting politics with the Constitution. It explains… Read More

Cameroon – Several Of Its Citizens Have Been Kidnapped And Taken To C.A.R. By Armed Groups

Atrium Mall Douala
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Business activity has come to a standstill as Cameroon has sealed its northern border with the troubled Central African Republic following escalating violence in the neighboring country. Cameroon says several of its citizens have been kidnapped and taken to C.A.R. by armed groups. Hundreds of villagers in the Cameroon northern town of Mayo Rey celebrated the… Read More

‘Mastercard Cities Index’ – Dubai Is The Fourth Most Popular City In The World

Dubai fourth most popular city in the world: Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2017

Dubai Wingsuit Flying Trip (7623583596)

Dubai has retained its ranking as the fourth most popular travel destination in the world, according to the ninth annual Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index. The emirate welcomed 14.87 million international overnight visitors in 2016, with an expected continued growth of 7.7 percent for 2017.

Dubai continues to be the city with the highest international overnight visitor spend, amounting to US$28.50 billion in 2016. Abu Dhabi, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate, CAGR, of 18.9 percent between 2009 and 2016 in its growth of visitors, also retained its position as the fastest growing city in the Middle East and Africa, and is the fourth fastest growing city globally.

Khalid Elgibali, Division President for Middle East and North Africa, Mastercard, said, Dubai’s top rankings in the ninth Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index reaffirms the strength of the emirate as a leading global travel, tourism and shopping destination.

With its relentless focus on continuously innovating its business and leisure infrastructure and offerings, Dubai continues to reinforce its position on the world map as a highly attractive destination for visitors of all ages and nationalities.

The city’s retail sector coupled with its year-round calendar of festivals, events and a wide range of shopping experiences, also continues to be a huge draw for international visitors as supported by its ranking as the top global destination in terms of visitor expenditure.

Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, DCTCM, said, “Travel and tourism are among Dubai’s key economic contributors and the city’s strong rankings in the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2017 confirm the effectiveness of partnerships between the government and private sector in driving growth.”

“Dubai continues to be a must-visit and must-return destination for both business and leisure travellers, and the opening of world-class attractions and venues such as IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai Parks and Resorts and Dubai Opera in 2016 enhanced the offering for all visitors, including families.”

“With new offerings in 2017 including La Perle, the city’s first permanent theatrical show, and hotels such as Dukes Dubai and Address Boulevard taking the total number of rooms to over 105,000, Dubai has something fresh to offer visitors each time.”

“The retail sector, with festivals, promotions and events throughout the year, is also enhancing this appeal even further with visitors to Dubai presented with the opportunity to discover an extensive and ever-growing range of shopping activities for all budgets.”

[Source: Emirates Government News Agency/WAM/Nour Salman -/- Media Relations]
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‘Women In Business Program’ Launched In Tajikistan By EBRD

New Business Opportunities And Expert Advice For Female Entrepreneurs

Tajik girls on holiday Navruz

Tajikistan has become the latest EBRD country of operations to join the Women in Business programme, which promotes women’s entrepreneurship through access to finance and know-how in order to stimulate business growth. This is made possible by a generous contribution from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs through the EBRD’s Small Business Impact Fund.

The launch event, which took place in Dushanbe on 25 September 2017, brought together female entrepreneurs from various parts of Tajikistan and was attended by the Tajik authorities, the Swiss Government and local banks. The program is unique for the country, where 42 per cent of women are self-employed and are increasingly looking at entrepreneurship as a viable source of income.

Under the program, the EBRD will seek to provide up to $8m to partner financial institutions for on-lending to women-led businesses as well as business advice. Risk-sharing and technical assistance offered by the EBRD will seek to make loans more accessible for female entrepreneurs. In addition the Bank will provide women entrepreneurs with access to mentoring, entrepreneurship training courses, and know-how from local consultants and international experts to grow their businesses.

Two partner-banks, Bank Eskhata and MDO Imon International, became the first Tajik financial intermediaries to receive sub-loans of US$ 1 million each (equivalent in Tajik somoni) for on-lending to women-owned or managed businesses across the country. It is expected that more local financial institutions will join the Women in Business program over the next three years.

In Tajikistan, women-led businesses face additional constraints because of the lack of dedicated financing products and customer service. Women are 3.5 times more likely to borrow from family and friends. Low financial literacy and insufficient business skills also leave women with less exposure to business opportunities and knowledge networks. As a result, women-led businesses remain concentrated at the micro business level of patent-holders.

Ayten Rustamova, EBRD Head of Tajikistan, said: “We are very happy to launch the Women in Business program in Tajikistan, which is the first of its kind in Tajikistan. The program aims to support female entrepreneurs, increase access to both finance and advice for women-led enterprises. This program increases lending to the real economy, provides business advice and will also help banks and microfinance institutions analyse what can be done to further support female entrepreneurial talent.”

To date, the EBRD has invested over €608 million (US$ 700 million) into various sectors of Tajikistan’s economy and provided over 650 SMEs with access to business advice.

[Source: By Elena Akhmedova  / European Bank  for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
-/- Media Relations]

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Las Vegas Golden Knights, The Latest NHL Expansion Team, Take To The Ice

Nicolas Hague - Mississauga Steelheads
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The Vegas Golden Knights have molded a rag-tag bunch of experienced veterans and promising picks from two drafts into the NHL’s first expansion team in 17 years. And while wins might be in short supply at times in their debut season, the Knights are not going to roll over and play dead for their opponents either,… Read More