China’s Billion-Dollar Gateway To The Subcontinent: Pakistan May Be Opening A Door It Cannot Close

CPECBy Mahwish Chowdhary

Despite decades of mismanagement and a feeble socioeconomic infrastructure, one thing Pakistan benefits from is a strategic location—and China is taking notice.

More than 70% of China’s trade and energy imports travel through the Indian Ocean and the pirate-swarmed Strait of Malacca, both patrolled by the United States and Indian navies. But this possible chokepoint is a security issue for China, particularly in terms of oil (40% of its general consumption passes through the strait). Any sort of conflict could cut off the country’s energy supply, and ships would need to travel an extra 500 miles to avoid the strait, currently the fastest route from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. China, aware of this vulnerability, is looking to Pakistan to provide a shorter and safer alternative.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), first proposed in 2013, is a massive project of rail links, special economic zones, dry ports and other infrastructure projects across Pakistan allowing for direct access to the Indian Ocean. It would connect Gwadar to Kashgar, a major trading hub in China, and abbreviate the current route to the Persian Gulf by more than 10,000 kilometers. Instead of 45 days, it would take China a mere 10 days to get its imports—all while avoiding any potentially contested channels near Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and India, and eventually lowering shipping costs.

The CPEC would also provide China with an entry point to the Arabian Gulf, thus widening its geopolitical influence and possibly its military presence in the region. (Some Indian intellectuals suspect the Gwadar port will serve as a Chinese naval facility.) And it only comes at a cost of about $40 billion.

This isn’t the only investment China has planned in Pakistan. In fact, the money going to the country is double what Pakistan has received in foreign direct investment since 2008, and larger than any shape of assistance from the U.S. The list below (including CPEC) is just a snapshot of upcoming projects, likely funded by the Bank of China, the Export-Import Bank of China and the proposed Asian Infrastructure Development Bank:

  • $3.7 billion for a Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar rail line
  • $2.8 billion for developing four coal-fired stations with a capacity of 1,980 megawatts in Thar (Sindh)
  • $2.2 billion for two coal-mining blocks in Thar (Sindh)
  • $2 billion to build a natural gas pipeline between Gwadar and Nawabshah, then connecting to Iran
  • $2 billion to develop coal-fired generation plants at Port Qasim Karachi
  • $1.6 billion for a hydropower project in Karot
  • $1.2 billion for a solar power park in Bahawalpur
  • $930 million to link the Karakoram highway to Islamabad and Havelien
  • $260 million for a 100 megawatt wind farm in Jhimpir
  • $230 million to build the Gwadar International Airport

It is all part of China’s quest for influence throughout the continent via aid and investment. After decades of shying away from aggressive foreign policy moves, China now wants to play a much bigger regional role and is pushing plans for interconnected infrastructure networks to better link its economy with rest of Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Think of it as the new Silk Road.

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Aurangzeb Road Renamed After APJ Abdul Kalam, Arvind Kejriwal Tweets ‘Congrats’

Delhi’s Aurangzeb Road will be renamed after former president APJ Abdul Kalam, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Twitter.

Edited by Deepshikha Ghosh

Delhi – One of Delhi’s most elite addresses, Aurangzeb Road, will be renamed after former president APJ Abdul Kalam, and it was announced on Friday by someone who was not involved in the decision – Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

“Congrats. NDMC jst now decided to rename Aurangzeb Road to APJ Abdul Kalam Road,” tweeted Mr Kejriwal, who has been locked in a fierce turf war with the Centre over who controls the reins of the capital.

The decision was taken by the civic body in charge of central Delhi, after an all-clear from the union home ministry.

Within an hour, Mr Kejriwal’s comment had been re-tweeted over 900 times and favourited 600 times. Many comments accused him of taking credit for a BJP lawmaker’s proposal.

The BJP’s Mahesh Girri wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month suggesting that Aurangzeb Road should be named after Dr Kalam, who died on July 27.

“As a tribute to the People’s President, I propose to rename the ‘Aurangzeb Road’ in New Delhi to ‘Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Road’. In my opinion, this will be a great way of preserving his memories and legacy forever,” wrote Mahesh Girri.

Speaking to NDTV, Mr Girri said, “Do we ever name our children by the name of a devil? We can’t change history but we can try to correct some wrongs.”

Read more » NDTV
See more » http://www.ndtv.com/delhi-news/delhis-aurangzeb-road-to-be-named-after-president-apj-abdul-kalam-tweets-arvind-kejriwal-1211984

China launches Yaogan-27 remote sensing satellite

By Xinhua

A Long March-4C rocket carrying the Yaogan-27 remote sensing satellite blasts off from the launch pad at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Taiyuan, capital of north China’s Shanxi Province, Aug. 27, 2015. The satellite will mainly be used for experiments, land surveys, crop yield estimates and disaster prevention. (Xinhua/Yan Yan)

TAIYUAN, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) — China’s Yaogan-27 remote sensing satellite was sent into space on Thursday at 10:31 a.m. Beijing Time, from Taiyuan launch site in Shanxi Province, north China.

The satellite will mainly be used for experiments, land surveys, crop yield estimates and disaster prevention.

Yaogan-27 was carried by a Long March-4C rocket, the 207th mission for the Long March rocket family.

China launched the first “Yaogan” series satellite, Yaogan-1, in 2006.

News courtesy: People’s Daily
Read more » http://en.people.cn/n/2015/0827/c90000-8942511.html

China finally wins Thailand railway project

(Photo/Xinhua)

By Kong Defang (People’s Daily Online)

After many ups and downs, China has finally won the railway cooperation project with Thailand. Zhu Xijun, general manager of the Southeast Asia Company of China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), said on Aug. 26 that after six rounds of negotiation,both sides plans to sign the inter-governmental framework agreement on the China-Thailand Railway project in early September, and the commencement ceremony of the project is expected to be held in the end of October, Xinhua reported.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China-Thailand diplomatic ties and the first yearof implementation of the “One Belt and One Road”initiative proposed by China. The China-Thailand Railway, which has a historical significance, has attracted tremendous attention.

According to Zhu Xijun, the project, which will be completed in 3 years, will bring actual benefits to the socioeconomic development of Thailand. After the railway puts into use,people will enjoy a much more convenient and cheaper transportation between China and Thailand. The price of a railway passenger ticket between Kunming and Bangkok will be about 3600 Thai Baht or 700 yuan, which is about a half or a third of an airline ticket, and the railway freight cost is only one ninth of the air freight.

The railway is estimated to add 2 million more Chinese tourists to Thailand every year andwill provide further convenience to its agricultural product export. With this railway,Thailand will be a new transportation hub of ASEAN countries.

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Pakistan’s federal anti-corruption court issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of Gilani, the former prime minister of Pakistan

A federal anti-corruption court here on Thursday issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders Yousuf Raza Gilani and Makhdoom Amin Fahim.

A federal anti-corruption court here on Thursday issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders Yousuf Raza Gilani and Makhdoom Amin Fahim.

Arrest warrants issued for senior PPP leaders Gilani, Amin Fahim

BY ISHAQ TANOLI | SHAFI BALOCH

KARACHI: A federal anti-corruption court here on Thursday issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders Yousuf Raza Gilani and Makhdoom Amin Fahim.

The order against the former prime minister and the senior PPP leader was issued after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) presented achallan (charge sheet) with 12 new cases — relating to multi-billion rupee scandal in the Trade Development Authority (TDAP) — registered against the two before the court.

Cases against the two PPP leaders, some former and serving senior officials of the TDAP and others were registered by FIA for their alleged involvement in approving and disbursing fraudulent trade subsidies of billions of rupees to several fake companies through fictitious claims and backdated cheques.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1203171/

Largest Military Satellite Successfully launched by India

A file photo of GSLV-2 at Isro’s launching pad in Sriharikota. (HT Photo for representative purpose)

Isro launches communication satellite GSAT-6

By Vanita Shrivastava, Hindustan Times

New Delhi – Isro’s large GSAT-6 communication satellite which has several strategic applications was on Thursday placed in orbit by a rocket powered by a home-made cryogenic engine.

The Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D6) rocket lifted off from Sriharikota spaceport at 4.52pm on Thursday carrying the satellite. This was the ninth flight of the GSLV and the third development flight using a cryogenic engine.

Just after the lift-off the second stage  was ignited successfully, followed by the crucial third stage of cryogenics. After some time the   GSLV-D6 with indigenous cryo engine successfully placed  GSAT-6 in orbit.

Isro chairman Kiran Kumar told Hindustan Times: “One of the advanced features of GSAT 6  satellite is its S Band unfurlable  antenna of 6 m diameter. This is the largest satellite antenna made by our space agency. The antenna will be utilised for five spot beams over the Indian main land.”

GSAT-6 is the twenty fifth geostationary communication satellite of India built by ISRO and twelfth in the GSAT series. Five of GSAT-6’s predecessors were launched by GSLV in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2014 respectively.

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India Rising: Do people feel the economy picking up? – BBC report

Ease of doing business, red tape, shoddy infrastructure and archaic labour laws are all concerns for big companies who want to invest in India

India and the economy: Your questions answered

Is India really rising? How is the China devaluation affecting it? Is the country wasting money on space programmes when such a high percentage of its population lives in poverty?

These are among the many questions on India and the economy we answered on our Facebook page on Wednesday morning.

Questions came in from across the world on a range of economic areas, all of which can be found on the BBC News page.

Here are a few examples:

Ram Chandra: Miss Vaswami, What is it about India that the country is not attracting big enterprises like China did. Is globalisation dead?

A lot of the complaints I hear from foreign investors who want to invest here are the same ones that used to crop up five years ago when I was last reporting for the BBC here.

Issues such as ease of doing business, red tape, shoddy infrastructure and archaic labour laws are all concerns for big companies who want to invest in India – but it IS getting better.

Manufacturing companies are looking more closely at India as an alternative base to China – as wage growth there has made it more expensive for companies to do business.

What India needs to show the foreign investment community and its critics is that it serious about taking on painful but crucial economic reforms – many in the business community have told me they’re disappointed with the lack of progress on passing important bills during the last parliamentary session

Sendoi Likwasi: Does the devaluing of China’s currency positively or negatively affect India’s economy in terms of trade?

Predicting what might happen in the currency markets is very difficult.

The Indian currency has depreciated against the US dollar since the devaluation of the Chinese yuan earlier this month, but not by as much as other currencies in the region.

One argument is that emerging market currencies like the rupee must adjust to a lower yuan in order to make their exports more competitive and compete with Chinese goods.

For India, a weaker currency means its goods are cheaper overseas – but it also means the cost of raw materials – like oil – goes up. Currently India is enjoying the benefits of a low oil environment and it looks like it will stay that way for some time to come, but the bigger concern is over what the impact of a weakened Chinese currency might do in the longer term, and whether its devaluation may trigger the start of a global currency war.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34063747

Pakistan embassy staff in Kabul limits movement

By Tahir Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani diplomats and staffers of the country’s embassy in Kabul have been forced to restrict their movement following an alleged kidnapping bid and growing incidents of harassment, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Sources said some unidentified men tried to abduct an official of the Pakistani embassy in the Shehr-e-Nau area of Kabul on Tuesday, forcing him to postpone a meeting scheduled for the day and return to embassy premises.

“Embassy officials have spotted some people taking videos of the normal movement of Pakistani diplomats entering or exiting the embassy as well,” a source said. A senior Pakistani embassy official was also recently stopped at a police check post for two hours allegedly by agents of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan’s premier intelligence agency.

“The Pakistani embassy will not be able to continue to function in such a situation,” the source said.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/945500/growing-harassment-pakistan-embassy-staff-in-kabul-limits-movement/

Pakistan-China railway to extend Beijing’s influence, says scholar

raily routeChina should give its full effort to develop the China-Pakistan railway to extend China’s economic and political influence in the region and even to Africa, China’s state-owned Reference News cites an expert as saying.

China pledged US$4 billion to upgrade Pakistan’s rail network during President Xi Jinping’s visit to the country last week. A railway project that connects Kashgar in northwestern China’s Xinjiang region to the Pakistan port of Gwadar is also underway and is expected to play a major role in the economic corridor that the two nations have agreed to establish.

Gao Bai, a professor of sociology at Duke University in the United States and director of the National Research Center on Strategic Development of High-Speed Rail at Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu, has been a keen advocate of the China-Pakistan railway. In a 2013 article, Gao suggested that the railway could be a pillar for the expansion of China’s influence over land and could fundamentally impact the economic and political development of the region.

Gwadar Port, constructed by a Chinese firm, is now operated by a state-run Chinese company under contract for 40 years. The port sits on the western end of the Balochistan coast on the opposite end of the Gulf of Oman which is an important route for oil tankers from the Persian Gulf. It is also an important point that handles goods flowing out from western China and Central Asia to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

The Gwadar-Kashgar railway is thus strategically significant as a shortcut for China to the Indian Ocean, said Gao, who believes that its construction may lead to the establishment of the Kashgar-Andijon railway via Kyrgyzstan and further facilitate the connection between Central Asian countries and India and the Indian Ocean.

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These 11 Females From Pakistan Are Breaking More Stereotypes Than You Can Imagine

By Zermina Naveed

1. Zahra Afridi

This hard-core Interior Designer runs her own company with her latest project being the Classic Rock Coffee Café in Islamabad. She also happens to have kick-boxing training, which is a very unconventional field for Pakistani women to be in. Are all the Afridis this talented?

Read more » PHRHLO
See more » http://www.parhlo.com/10-females-pakistan-breaking-stereotypes-can-imagine/?track=facebook
Via Facebook

Global shares nosedive on China woes

FTSE 100 and European markets rattled by losses in China

Stock markets in London, Paris and Frankfurt have fallen sharply as fears of a Chinese economic slowdown continue to haunt investors.

London’s FTSE 100 index was down by 4% in early afternoon trade, with major markets in France and Germany down by 4.6% and 4.4% respectively.

Shares in Asia were hit overnight, with the Shanghai Composite in China closing down 8.5%, its worst close since 2007.

Global investors worry about growth in the world’s second largest economy.

China’s central bank devalued the country’s currency, the yuan, two weeks ago, raising fresh concerns that a slowdown in the country’s economy was worse than originally feared.

Currencies and commodities are also falling sharply, because those markets rely heavily on strong demand from China.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34038147

Bernie Sanders Takes Aim At ‘Greedy’ Koch Brothers

SCOTT OLSON VIA GETTY IMAGES

“For the life of me, I will never understand how a family like the Koch brothers, worth $85 billion, apparently think that’s not enough money.”

By AP

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is making the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch the face of a “corrupted” political and economic system that the Vermont senator wants to upend.

Sanders delighted a South Carolina rally of more than 3,000 people Saturday with his assertions that the Kochs and other “greedy” billionaires are destroying American democracy by infusing huge sums of cash into campaigns and election.

The Vermont senator, who is pushing former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton from the left, called for publicly financed elections that would allow “anyone” to seek public office without “begging from billionaires.”

Read more » Huffington Post
See more » http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-koch-brothers_55d9ca6ee4b0a40aa3ab3642?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013&section=politics

World’s largest solar power station to come up in Madhya Pradesh

Solar energyBy PTI

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh will house world’s largest 750 Mega Watts(MW) solar power station in Rewa district, state’s energy minister Rajendra Shukla said today.
“Global tenders for commissioning the solar power station in an area over 1,500 hectares at Bandwar region in Gudh tehsil of Rewa, will be invited shortly,” Shukla told PTI.
He said that if all goes well, the plant will start generating solar energy by March 2017.

Read more » The Economic Times

The Tesla battery heralds the beginning of the end for fossil fuels

The new Tesla Energy Powerwall Home Battery during an event at Tesla Motors in Hawthorne, California, April 30, 2015. Tesla unveiled Tesla Energy — a suite of batteries for homes, businesses, and utilities — a highly anticipated plan to expand its business beyond electric vehicles.

BY JOHN MATTHEWS, THE CONVERSATION

While wind and solar power have made great strides in recent years, with renewables now accounting for 22% of electric energy generated, the issue that has held them back has been their transience. The sun doesn’t shine at night and the wind doesn’t blow year-round — these are the mantras of all those opposed to the progress of renewables.

Now the renewable-power billionaire Elon Musk has just blown away that final defence. Last Thursday in California he introduced to the world his sleek new Powerwall — a wall-mounted energy-storage unit that can hold 10 kilowatt hours of electric energy, and deliver it at an average of 2 kilowatts, all for $3,500.
See more » Business Insider
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-tesla-battery-heralds-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-fossil-fuels-2015-5#ixzz3jeRuPDIx

Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting ‘foreigners out’

BY SHEHAB KHAN

Up to 1,000 protesters have clashed with police in eastern Germany in riots reportedly sparked by the arrival of 250 migrants.

Police said protesters shouting “foreigners out” and carrying banners against the “asylum flood” threw bottles and stones at busloads of asylum seekers arriving in Heidenau, near Dresden.

Read more » The Independent
See more » http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/dresden-riots-protesters-in-germany-attack-refugee-buses-shouting-foreigners-out-10467287.html

Four Pakistani soldiers killed in Afghan rocket attack: ISPR

talibanKARACHI: At least four soldiers of the Pakistan Army were killed and four others were injured on Sunday as militant groups fired rockets from across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Khyber Agency.

“Four Pakistan Army soldiers were killed and four others were injured due to rocket fire,” an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/943312/four-pakistani-soldiers-killed-in-cross-border-shelling-ispr/

China to Build Pipeline From Iran to Pakistan

Iranian workers weld two pipes together in 2013, at the start of construction on a pipeline to transfer natural gas from Iran to Pakistan in Chabahar, Iran. PHOTO: VAHID SALEMI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Iranian workers weld two pipes together in 2013, at the start of construction on a pipeline to transfer natural gas from Iran to Pakistan in Chabahar, Iran. PHOTO: VAHID SALEMI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Long-thwarted project gets go-ahead as Islamabad anticipates lifting of sanctions on Iran

By SAEED SHAH

ISLAMABAD—China will build a pipeline to bring natural gas from Iran to Pakistan to help address Pakistan’s acute energy shortage, under a deal to be signed during the Chinese president’s visit to Islamabad this month, Pakistani officials said.

Read more » THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Learn more » http://www.wsj.com/articles/china-to-build-pipeline-from-iran-to-pakistan-1428515277

Pakistan Warms Up to Russia With Helicopter Deal

helic$2 billion natural-gas pipeline also in the works as political tensions with U.S. mount

By SAEED SHAH in Islamabad, Pakistan, and JAMES MARSON in Moscow

Russia has agreed to sell military helicopters to Pakistan and is poised to build a $2 billion natural-gas pipeline in the South Asian country—its biggest investment there in decades—as Islamabad turns toward a former adversary and away from the U.S., its longtime ally.

Islamabad has been weighing its strategic options amid rising tension with Washington, which views Pakistan as an unreliable ally in combating Islamist militants in the region, including neighboring Afghanistan.

On Thursday, Pakistan said it would buy four Russian Mi-35 attack helicopters for an undisclosed price, after a spate of high-level visits between the two countries.

In the Russian city of Ufa last month, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Russian President Vladimir Putin and declared that he wanted a “multidimensional relationship” encompassing defense, commerce and energy.

That represents a major shift for both countries, in response to a changing geopolitical dynamic. Pakistan worked alongside the U.S. to defeat Soviet forces that occupied Afghanistan in the 1980s, while Russia built close ties with India, Pakistan’s estranged neighbor and rival.

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The World Is Experiencing the Worst Refugee Crisis Since World War II

By

Hoppers Way in Singleton, Kent, is a quiet suburban cul-de-sac of red-brick detached houses, each with its own garage and driveway. Parked outside No 8, there is often a large white-and-grey camper van—a luxury Swift Kon-tiki 679 model, with a double bed in the back and another over the cab. Singleton is a suburb of Ashford, the last big town on the M20 as it approaches the Channel Tunnel entrance at Folkestone and a stopping point for Eurostar train services between London and the Continent. That makes it a convenient location for the rental business run by Teresa and Stephen Tyrer, who hire out the motor home for £1,000 a week to people wishing to travel to Europe.

Read more » NEW REPUBLIC
See more » http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120553/refugee-crisis-calais-example-world-wide-problem?utm_content=buffer72d7f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Expanding quality education is the only way to generate long-term economic growth

Why the UN Sustainable Development Goals Should Focus on Education

By and

September the United Nations will finalize a new package of development goals that will guide the efforts of its member states to improve living conditions around the world. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are long on ambition—they intend to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere” by 2030—but short on substance. Most importantly, the SDGs’ approach to education is insufficient.

Expanding quality education is the only feasible way to generate long-term economic growth, which is why a strong and coherent emphasis on education is central to the success of the global development agenda. Unfortunately, the current SDG goal to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education” is too vague and provides no guidance for measuring increases in cognitive skill levels. The global development community can do better.

COUNT WHAT COUNTS

A growing body of research has emphasized the importance of cognitive skills, or knowledge capital, in driving economic growth. Over time, the knowledge capital of the nation improves as better-educated youth enter the labor force. A more skilled workforce leads to increased economic growth.

Read more » FOREIGN AFFAIRS
See more » https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2015-08-20/teach-world

Canada’s retail exodus: Here’s who’s closed stores in Canada

By The Canadian Press | January 15, 2015 | Last Updated: Jan 15 4:35 PM ET More from The Canadian Press

Target Canada isn’t the only retailer closing its doors in Canada. On Thursday, Sony announced it was shuttering stores in the country. They add their names to a growing list of retailers who have recently closed some stores or are closing altogether in Canada.

Here is a list of recent notable closures:

Target Canada isn’t the only retailer closing its doors in Canada.

Target Canada
— Target Corp. announced its decision to close all its stores on January 15.
– Shuttering 133 stores, affecting 17,600 employees
– “We were losing money every day,” chief executive Brian Cornell said in a corporate blog post. The company had racked up over US$2-billion in losses in its less than two years in Canada

Sony
— Sony Corp. announced January 15 it’s closing all 14 of its stores in Canada over the next six to eight weeks
— Closures will result in 90 layoffs
— Currently has stores in Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Vancouver, Toronto and Alberta
— Company facing US$1.9 billion loss when its fiscal year ends in March

Mexx Canada

– Dutch-based retailer declared bankruptcy in December 2014
– Liquidating 95 stores in Canada by the end of February
– Mexx has 315 stores around the world

Smart Set
– Parent company Reitmans announced in November 2014 that it would close 107 Smart Set stores
– Will convert 76 locations into other banners, including Reitmans, Penningtons, Addition Elle, RW&Co. and Thyme Maternity
– Smart Set banner was created in 1945, with the first location opening in Ontario in 1970
– First Reitmans store opened in Montreal in 1926

Jacob is closing 92 stores.

Jacob
– Womens’ retailer was founded in 1977 in Montreal
– Announced in October 2014 it would abandon restructuring efforts and close 92 stores across the country
– Company under creditor protection since November 2010

Holt Renfrew
– Luxury retailer closing stores in Ottawa and Quebec City at the end of January 2015
– Will undertake a $300 million expansion in key markets such as Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal

Sears Canada

– In October 2014, parent company Sears Holding Corp. announced it would sell most of its stake in the struggling Canadian unit to raise as much as US$380 million
– In January 2014, Sears Canada announced it was cutting 2,200 employees from its payroll. It had already laid off thousands of employees in 2013
–  Sears Canada has sold leases to some of its most prominent locations, including its flagship location at the Toronto Eaton Centre

Zellers
– In 2011, parent company Hudson’s Bay Co. sold its leasing rights for its nearly 200 Zellers locations to U.S. retailer Target for $1.83 billion

Courtesy: FINANCIAL POST
Read more » http://business.financialpost.com/news/retail-marketing/canadas-retail-exodus-heres-whos-closed-up-shop-in-canada

Asian shares continue global downward trend

Asian stocks saw sharp falls on Friday as mounting concerns over China’s slowing economy continued to affect global markets.

It follows big falls in US and European markets on Thursday, with the Dow Jones dropping more than 2%.

China’s Shanghai Composite index closed down 4.27% at 3,507.74 points.

Data released on Friday morning showed Chinese factory activity falling to its lowest level in more than six years.

The private Caixin/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) dropped to 47.1 from 47.8 in July. A figure below 50 shows contraction in the sector and one above means growth.

As domestic and export demand dwindle, Friday’s data is likely to add to global worries that the Chinese economy is set for a continued slowdown.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index followed the mainland’s trend and was 1.53% lower at 22,409.62 points.

Global market woes

Asia’s largest stock market, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, dropped sharply, finishing 2.98% down at 19,435.83 points.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34013405

Syriza split as elections loom

By

Alexis Tsipras has become another austerity politician. Once the expression of the hopes of workers across Europe- Syriza have now joined the austerity consensus. Therefore the announcement that the left of Syriza are splitting to form a new party, Popular Unity, is to be welcomed.

Syriza were elected on a platform of reforms- promising to end the humanitarian crisis in Greece. But the leading members of Syriza believed that it was possible to both end austerity and save Greek capitalism- and this miracle was to be performed while remaining in the Eurozone.

The bullying of the EU exposed this political weakness and laid the basis for a complete capitulation by Tsipras. Syriza labour minister, George Katrougalos, said the government needed to “reconfirm its mandate” to implement austerity in the form of the third Greek bailout and that the party is “crippled by a number of dissident MPs”.

25 left MPs have quit to form the new party. The anti-capitalist coalition, Antarsya, of which the Greek SWP is part, has called for a united movement to oppose the bailout deal and the cuts. It’s vital that the new party links up with the anti-capitalists and helps to focus the battles ahead.

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US Set to Suspend Military Aid to Pakistan

The U.S. government will withhold certification of Pakistan’s counter-terrorism operations against the Haqqani network.

By Ankit Panda

The United States government will not certify Pakistan’s counter-terrorism operations in North Waziristan over recent months as adequately damaging to the Haqqani network, a U.S.-designated terror group. The U.S. Department of Defense has reportedly notified the Pakistani embassy in Washington of the development, according to a report by Dawn. The non-certification of the Pakistani counter-terror campaign, known as Operation Zarb-e-Azb, will block the release of a new tranche of U.S. financial assistance for the Pakistani military from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). CSF support had been extended for a year with a specific stipulation that the U.S. Department of Defense would certify the effectiveness of Pakistani military operations in North Waziristan against the Haqqani network.

The development would drive a major wedge between the United States and Pakistan, two allies who have grown apart over their divergent interests and priorities in stabilizing the broader Afghan-Pakistan border. Beyond the financial implications of the blocked CSF tranche, the development will deal Islamabad a politically damaging blow. As the Dawn report notes, given the recent deterioration in ties with Kabul amid allegations from the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, that Pakistani has inadequately reigned in cross-border terrorists, including militants affiliated with the Haqqani network, the U.S. government’s decision to withhold certification vindicate Afghan perceptions.

Read more » The | Diplomat
See more » http://thediplomat.com/2015/08/us-set-to-suspend-military-aid-to-pakistan/

Russia agrees to sell Pakistan four MI-35 attack helicopters

Russian MI-35 military helicopter. -Reuters/File Photo

Russian MI-35 military helicopter. -Reuters/File Photo

By Kamran Yousaf

Pakistan on Wednesday signed an agreement with Russia to purchase MI-35 ‘Hind’ attack helicopters.

“An agreement was signed between Pakistan and Russian authorities in Rawalpindi for the purchase of four MI-35 helicopters,” said a senior military official on Wednesday.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/941225/russia-agrees-to-sell-pakistan-four-mi-35-attack-helicopters/

Islamic call on rich countries to end fossil fuel use

Islamic environmental and religious leaders have called on rich countries and oil producing nations to end fossil fuel use by 2050.

The Islamic Climate Declaration says that the world’s 1.6bn Muslims have a religious duty to fight climate change.

It urges politicians to agree a new treaty to limit global warming to 2C, “or preferably 1.5 degrees.”

The Declaration asks Muslims, in the words of the Koran, “not to strut arrogantly on the Earth”.

Drafted at an international symposium in Istanbul, the Declaration calls for “all people, leaders and businesses …to commit to 100% renewable energy”.

It also argues for increased financial support for communities vulnerable to climate change.

The main focus though is on “well-off nations and oil-producing states,” who are urged to lead the way in phasing out greenhouse gases, no later than the middle of this century.

The Declaration calls on the rich countries, to recognise their “moral obligation to reduce consumption so that the poor may benefit from what is left of the Earth’s non-renewable resources”.

“People need to be told and politicians need to stop misleading their people, in telling them they can go on increasing their standards of living for ever and ever and ever,” Fazlun Khalid, a long time Islamic environmentalist involved in drawing up the Declaration, told BBC News.

“Someone should be articulating this because it’s an impossibility, they can’t do it – And this applies not just to Muslim countries.”

The call has been supported by religious leaders including the Grand Muftis of Uganda and Lebanon, the president of Indonesia’s major body of religious scholars as well as environmental groups and government officials from Morocco and Turkey.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-33972240

An Unworthy Ally – Time for Washington to Cut Pakistan Loose

pak_usBy and

er since 9/11, the United States has provided Pakistan with a steady supply of security and nonsecurity assistance. U.S. officials have justified these generous transfers—worth more than $30 billion since 2002—on the grounds that they secure Pakistan’s ongoing cooperation in Afghanistan, bolster Pakistan’s ability to fight terrorism, and give the U.S. government influence over the country’s ever-expanding nuclear weapons program. Failing to deliver this support, the argument runs, could dramatically weaken the will and capacity of Pakistan’s security forces and possibly even lead to the collapse of the Pakistani state. In that event, Pakistan’s nuclear know-how, material, or weapons could well fall into the hands of nefarious actors.

Yet that logic is fundamentally flawed. Many of the weapons Washington gives Islamabad are ill suited to fighting terrorism, and continued transfers will do nothing to convince the Pakistani government to end its long-standing support for terrorist groups. In fact, U.S. assistance gives Pakistan an incentive to foster a sense of insecurity concerning its nuclear arsenal and expanding ranks of jihadists.

Since the current approach has little chance of aligning Pakistan’s interests with those of the United States, the time has come for Washington to change course. If Washington cannot end Pakistan’s noxious behaviors, it should at least stop sponsoring them.

OLD HABITS DIE HARD

Pakistan’s reliance on militant proxies is as old as its very existence as an independent state. As early as 1947, when Pakistan was emerging from the collapse of the British Raj, the new government was backing anti-Indian tribal militias in the disputed territory of Kashmir. In Afghanistan, meanwhile, by 1950, Islamabad was promoting a Pakistan-based Islamist party known as Jamaat-e-Islami. Members of that party would later become prominent mujahideen who, with the backing of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), would go on to fight both Afghanistan’s pro-Soviet leaders and Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1970s and 1980s. After 1989, Pakistan redeployed these battle-hardened fighters to Indian Kashmir, where they displaced indigenous secular nationalist insurgents in their battle against Indian rule in the province.

Read more » Foreign Affairs
Learn more » https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/pakistan/2015-08-18/unworthy-ally?cid=soc-fb-rdr

Russia, China and Pakistan: An Emerging New ‘alliance’?

pak-chinaRussia, China and Pakistan: An Emerging New Axis?

Regional realities are shifting fast, with some significant ramifications for India.

By Joy Mitra

In geopolitics, strategic realities can change with surprising speed, and even before countries realize it decisive shifts occur that shape the future for the years to come. That seems to be the case with traditional Cold War rivals Russia and Pakistan, which have of late seen a gradual warming of ties. Traditionally an ally of India and hitherto supportive of India’s stance on Kashmir, Russia has shown clear signs of cozying up to Pakistan.

Having earlier lifted its self-imposed arms embargo on Pakistan, in November 2014 Russia signed a landmark“military cooperation” agreement with Pakistan, which spoke about “exchanging information on politico-military issues, strengthening collaboration in the defense and counter-terrorism sectors, sharing similar views on developments in Afghanistan and doing business with each other.” There have been reports that Pakistan may purchase Mi-35 combat helicopters apart from directly importing the Klimov RD-93 engines from Russiarather than via China for its JF-17 multi-role fighters. This could also mean a significant role for Russian equipment and spares in future development of the fighter. In addition, Russian state-owned firm Rostekh Corporation is planning to build a 680 mile gas pipeline in Pakistan in 2017 at an estimated cost of $2.5 billion.

The mutual overtures between Russia and Pakistan are part of a greater shift in international relations. In Europe, Russia is embroiled in a showdown with the West over Ukraine, with Moscow’s military adventure in Crimea being followed by Western sanctions. In the Asia-Pacific, China’s encroachments in the South China Seahas inflamed tensions with other Asia-Pacific countries allied with the U.S. These developments have forced Russia and China to look for allies, which explains the bonhomie between the two powers of late. Some analysts question whether a partnership motivated by external factors could lead to an alliance of countries that formerly distrusted each other. But the old adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” fits perfectly well here; the single most important factor that overrides all others is their concurrent perception of the U.S. and its “policy of containment” towards them. China needs allies to change the world order and it begins with Asia.

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Pak-China to cooperate in space as part of Karamay declaration

Photo credits: AFP

By APP

PESHAWAR: The Chinese government has agreed to a proposal by the Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, initiating the collaboration between Pakistan and China in space technology as part of the Karamay declaration under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

At the Pakistan-China forum meeting held in Karamay-Xinjiang last week, Ahsan Iqbal, proposed space technology collaboration between China and Pakistan, an official of the forum told APP.

His proposal was approved and made a part of the Karamay-Xinjiang Declaration. The declaration was later approved unanimously after the two-day meeting.

At the concluding session, Ahsan Iqbal said that bilateral collaboration on space technology would take Pakistan-China relations to new heights. He stressed upon a joint launch of space missions which would consist of astronauts from both countries.

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