GOING GLOBAL EAST MEETS WEST - ARTICLES OF INTEREST
CURRENT ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL NEWS EVENTS: BRINGING OUR WORLD (EAST AND WEST) CLOSER TOGETHER TO FORM A GLOBAL SOCIETY ~ LOOK FOR GLOBAL CURRENCY NEWS AND UPDATES ON GLOBAL AND REGIONAL CURRENCIES: ASIAN, MIDDLE EAST, LATIN AMERICA, EMERGING MARKETS, ALONG WITH THE EURO AND THE U.S. DOLLAR ...
International Research Networks is proud to bring you the Iraq Infrastructure and Construction Summit 2013, taking place between 22nd – 23rd May 2013 at a 5* Venue in Dubai.
Iraq, also known as the ‘Land between two rivers’ is rich in its culture and resources. It is reported that Iraq’s economy is growing rapidly and with private investments reaching $7 billion it is fast becoming a very desirable country to invest in. The Iraq Industry Minister recently stated that Iraq requires investments in every sector, making it very much open to and in need of international business expertise in all sectors.
May 23, 2013 Exchange rate reform may take time The recent call by the State Council, China's cabinet, for "operational plans to achieve yuan convertibility under the capital account" confirms that there is now a mandate for moving on reforms in this area. With the recent appreciation of the yuan leading to speculation that the People's Bank of China is preparing for a more flexible exchange rate regime, it is worth revisiting what exchange rate flexibility is about, why it is useful for China, what are the possible challenges in attaining it and what that may mean for the time frame. At the moment, the yuan's exchange rate versus the US dollar is in the hands of China's policymakers. The PBOC intervenes to ensure the spot rate does not move outside the +/- 1 percent band around the "fixing rate". But, more than that, the PBOC intervenes to prevent any moves in the spot rate that it considers unwelcome. The management of the exchange rate notwithstanding, the yuan has moved in line with macroeconomic fundamentals in recent years. The 40 percent appreciation of the nominal trade-weighted exchange rate since 2005 was pivotal in reducing the current account surplus from more than 10 percent of GDP in 2007 to 2.5 percent of GDP in 2012. Indeed, RBS now considers the yuan broadly "fairly valued" from a macroeconomic perspective. However, broad "fair value" does not mean that there is no longer any pressure on the foreign exchange market. In early 2013, with renewed financial inflows on top of the surpluses in the current account and net foreign direct investment, overall inflows were sizeable again. While the yuan appreciated quite a bit against the dollar, the main response to the inflows has been intervention, with the PBOC buying on average $2.5 billion every business day in the first quarter. Making the exchange rate more flexible is about eliminating intervention on the foreign exchange market and introducing true two-way risk, with the exchange rate as likely to strengthen as to weaken. There are several reasons why more exchange rate flexibility makes sense for China. It is a condition for achieving more monetary independence, with monetary policy set with purely domestic considerations in mind. That is especially important now that China's business cycle is often not in sync with that of the US. It also fits in with the broader movement to more market-oriented economic policies. Financial and monetary reform includes opening up the capital account more fully to financial flows. As underscored by the lessons from emerging market crises in recent decades, the capital account can be fully opened up only after domestic financial reform has been mostly completed and the exchange rate made basically flexible. In addition, the internationalization of the yuan calls for exchange rate flexibility and a more open capital account. However, there are some challenges on the way to more exchange rate flexibility. Real flexibility means no intervention on the foreign exchange market and true two-way risk. While there is in principle no reason to delay the move to more flexibility, there is a practical issue. China is likely to continue to see sizeable net inflows in the coming years from the surplus in the current account and net foreign direct investment. On top of that, with a more convincing growth outlook than most other countries and substantially higher interest rates, China is likely to continue to face net financial inflows. With such foreign exchange pressures, the kind of appreciation that would bring the yuan to a point from where there is true two-way risk would be substantially larger than what we saw in recent weeks. Even though China seems to have become more tolerant toward exchange rate appreciation, there must be limits to the appreciation the government can accept given that China's trade-weighted real exchange rate is already 15 percent higher than what it was two years ago while global demand is weak. Another challenge is sequencing. Although countries should not open their capital account before making good progress toward exchange rate flexibility, some of the steps already taken toward the internationalization of the yuan and the role of Hong Kong have already created quite a bit of de facto capital account opening for many enterprises, especially Chinese mainland enterprises. The sizeable financial flows, outward in much of 2012 and inward so far in 2013, complicate progress toward more exchange rate flexibility - which is one reason why the government acted in early May to make it harder for China's banks to facilitate inflows and to clamp down on inflows apparently disguised as export revenues. Given these challenges, even though there is in principle no reason to delay more exchange rate flexibility, in practice it may take a while before the exchange rate can be brought to a level from which there is true two-way risk without damaging the real economy too much. And, since major capital account liberalization should await introduction of meaningful flexibility, hopefully the government can resist the calls for a quick move to full "yuan convertibility under the capital account". source
May 22, 2013 IMF's Christine Lagarde to be quizzed in French arbitration case PARIS: IMF chief Christine Lagarde will be questioned by a French magistrate on Thursday over her role in a 285-million-euro ($366 million) arbitration payment made to a supporter of former president Nicolas Sarkozy. Lagarde risks being placed under formal investigation at the hearing for her 2007 decision as Sarkozy's finance minister to use arbitration to settle a long-running court battle between the state and high-profile businessman Bernard Tapie. Under French law, that step would mean there exists "serious or consistent evidence" pointing to probable implication of a suspect in a crime. It is one step closer to trial but a number of such investigations have been dropped without any trial. Such a move could prove uncomfortable for the International Monetary Fund, whose former head, Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn, quit in 2011 over a sex assault scandal, and for a woman who has been voted the most influential in France by Slate magazine. Lagarde is not accused of financially profiting herself from the 2007 payout and has denied doing anything wrong by opting for an arbitration process that enriched Tapie. However a court specialising in cases involving ministers is targeting her for complicity in the misuse of funds because she overruled advisers to seek the settlement. "The (IMF's) board is comfortable that she did not profit from this herself. For now it is not a concern," a source close to the board said, adding that it could reconsider that position if judicial procedures took Lagarde away from her duties. FORMAL INVESTIGATION THREAT Lagarde, herself a former lawyer and based in Washington since taking the IMF helm, said last month she was perfectly happy to go to Paris to answer questions about the Tapie affair. Her lawyer has played down the hearing as routine. The hearing, the first time Lagarde has been questioned over the affair, starts on Thursday and will likely run into Friday. A judge will either place Lagarde under formal investigation or give her the status of "supervised witness", which means she will have to answer questions as a witness accompanied by a lawyer. The case goes back to 1993 when Tapie, a colourful and often controversial character in the French business and sports world, sued the state for compensation after selling his stake in sports company Adidas to then state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais. Tapie, a one-time Socialist minister who later became a supporter of the conservative Sarkozy, said the bank had defrauded him after it later resold his stake for a much higher sum. Credit Lyonnais, now part of Credit Agricole, has denied any wrongdoing. CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING
May 22, 2013 BP to invest $2.85 billion in Iraq's largest oilfield Oil major BP has allocated $2.85 billion to develop Iraq's Rumaila oilfield in 2013, up from $2.2 billion last year, the head of the joint management committee for the field told Reuters On Wednesday. Boosting output from Rumaila, Iraq's most prolific oilfield is vital for the country to realize its ambition of raising oil exports to 6 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2017. Salah Mohammad said production from the field would rise to 1.450 million bpd by the end of 2013 from around 1.4 million bpd now. "The approved budget for Rumaila development plan in 2013 will be $2.850 billion," he said. In 2012, the approved budget for the development of Rumaila was $2.2 billion, of which around $1.9 billion was expended, Mohammed said. *CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE
May 22, 2013 Iraq's PM responds to security crisis
Al-Maliki orders reshuffle of top security commanders after country experiences worst violence since 2008.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered a reshuffle of his senior security commanders, including those in charge of the capital, Baghdad. A major escalation in sectarian violence has pushed the government deeper into a political crisis after months of protests by Sunni Muslims. Al Jazeera's Omar Al Saleh reports from Erbil. source
23/05/2013 UNSC approves Ban''s plan for Kuwait-Iraq border deal UNITED NATIONS, The Security Council approved Secretary-General's proposal to conclude an agreement with Iraq in order to transfer the Kuwaiti funds contained in a UN Trust Fund to the Iraqi Government so that it distributes appropriate amounts on the Iraqi private citizens who remained on Kuwaiti territory following the demarcation of the international boundary between Iraq and Kuwait. Ban had informed the Council in a letter that "given the Iraqi requests to transfer the funds and the fact that no objections were raised by the State of Kuwait, -- I intend to conclude an agreement with the Government of Iraq whereby the United Nations will transfer the funds contained in the Trust Fund, less applicable administrative costs, to the Government of Iraq." He did not specify a date when the transfer will take place. The Iraqi Government will assume "full responsibility for identifying the beneficiaries, determining the amount of compensation to be paid to each beneficiary and disbursing the corresponding amounts The agreement will also provide for the Government of Iraq to inform me on a regular basis of the progress achieved in identifying and making payment to the beneficiaries and on completion of the process," Ban's letter added. Kuwait had trusted the compensation money - 1,438,718 - with the UN and said in a letter dated February 2009 that "Kuwait had fulfilled all of its commitments relating to the issue of compensation of the Iraqi farmers and that the subject 'now remains between the United Nations and Iraq. The Kuwaiti letter outlined no conditions or specific demands, Ban told the Council in his letter. Earlier this month, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari requested Ban to transfer the Kuwaiti compensation funds to the farmers, in US dollars, to the Ministry's account number 2 at the Rasheed Bank. "Should the Council agree ... my responsibilities ... will have been discharged upon transfer of the funds to the Government of Iraq. The Governments of Iraq and Kuwait have been consulted on and agree with the course of action," Ban said. Council President Kodjo Menan of Togo told Ban in a response letter distributed on Wednesday that the Council "has decided to approve the proposal contained in your letter." (end) source
Iraq to be represented in WTO by Ministry of Trade
Khair Allah Hassan Babekir, the minister of Trade of Iraq, will move forward with a team of delegation for representing Iraq in the world of Trade Organization. In a statement, the ministry of trade reported that Iraqi delegation team will participate in a negotiation session for associating Iraq within the World Trade Organization. The Iraqi delegation team will be formed with representatives of the Iraqi concerned ministries and private sector commissions. The statement has also added that Iraqi delegation will negotiate with (159) States and will discuss the files which Iraq has accomplished within its strive to join the global organization. Previously, Iraq joined two negotiation sessions and discussed over many topics. Now it will join a third negotiation meeting and this session is dedicated for the file related to the first presentation for goods after accomplishing it by Iraq. source
May 22, 2013 SEC. LEW MEETS WITH HOUSE MEMBERS ON FINANCIAL STABILITY AND IRS SCANDAL Treasury Secretary Jack Lew defends his handling of the IRS targeting scandal, saying he is prepared to hold officials accountable. Mr. Lew testifies for the first time as Treasury Secretary before the House Financial Services Committee. CLICK HERE FOR 2 HOURS AND 55 MIN. VIDEO
May 22, 2013 Dollar Gains as Bankers Speak The dollar rallied against major currencies as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke discussed rolling back bond buying even as central bankers elsewhere reiterated the need for loose monetary policy. Mr. Bernanke told lawmakers the Fed could reduce asset purchases in its next few meetings if U.S. economic data improve. Investors are betting that the U.S. economy will continue to recover faster than other developed countries, allowing the Fed to retreat from its stimulus measures before other central banks. Earlier Wednesday, central bankers in Switzerland and Japan outlined plans to ramp up efforts to stimulate growth *CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE
May 22, 2013 Syria Chemical Weapons: U.N. Warns Of 'Mounting Reports' UN - The United Nations is receiving increasing reports of the use of chemical weapons in Syria's 2-year-old civil war as the violence escalates, a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday. The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebels who have been fighting to oust him accuse each other of using chemical weapons in Aleppo in March and Homs in December. "The Secretary-General (Ban Ki-moon) remains gravely concerned about the allegations of the use of chemical weapons," Robert Serry, the U.N. Middle East peace envoy, told the U.N. Security Council. "Amid mounting reports on the use of chemical weapons, we once again urge the government of Syria to allow the investigation to proceed without further delay," he said. A team of U.N.-led chemical weapons experts has been ready for more than a month to enter Syria to investigate the allegations, but has been held up by diplomatic wrangling and safety concerns. *CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE
Exercise may improve mental health by helping the brain cope better with stress, according to research into the effect of exercise on neurochemicals involved in the body's stress response. Preliminary evidence suggests that physically active people have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people. But little work has focused on why that should be. So to determine how exercise might bring about its mental health benefits, some researchers are looking at possible links between exercise and brain chemicals associated with stress, anxiety, and depression. So far there's little evidence for the popular theory that exercise causes a rush of endorphins. Rather, one line of research points to the less familiar neuromodulator norepinephrine, which may help the brain deal with stress more efficiently. Work in animals since the late 1980s has found that exercise increases brain concentrations of norepinephrine in brain regions involved in the body's stress response. Norepinephrine is particularly interesting to researchers because 50 percent of the brain's supply is produced in the locus coeruleus, a brain area that connects most of the brain regions involved in emotional and stress responses. The chemical is thought to play a major role in modulating the action of other, more prevalent neurotransmitters that play a direct role in the stress response. And although researchers are unsure of exactly how most antidepressants work, they know that some increase brain concentrations of norepinephrine. But some psychologists don't think it's a simple matter of more norepinephrine equals less stress and anxiety and therefore less depression. Instead, they think exercise thwarts depression and anxiety by enhancing the body's ability to respond to stress. Biologically, exercise seems to give the body a chance to practice dealing with stress. It forces the body's physiological systems - all of which are involved in the stress response - to communicate much more closely than usual: The cardiovascular system communicates with the renal system, which communicates with the muscular system. And all of these are controlled by the central and sympathetic nervous systems, which also must communicate with each other. This workout of the body's communication system may be the true value of exercise; the more sedentary we get, the less efficient our bodies in responding to stress. source Body Shape, Fat Distribution May Be Best Predictor of Health Risks Excess body fat is a health hazard, but the distribution of that fat may be the best predictor of future health risks. The results of a new study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicate that how much fat a person has is less important than the location of fat when it comes to determining risk for cardiovascular disease. For the study, researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center evaluated body fat distribution in nearly 400 adults between the ages of 47 and 86. They found that the amount of non-subcutaneous fat — the fat deposited around organs and between muscles — was directly correlated to the amount of hard, calcified plaque present in the body. Calcified plaque is associated with the development of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, a condition that increases the risk of developing heart disease. Among American men and women, heart disease is the leading cause of death. Over the past decade, dozens of studies have demonstrated the importance of body shape and body fat distribution in determining a number of health risks. Individuals who tend to store body fat around their waists are considered to be apple-shaped because, like the fruit, they're largest around the middle. Pear-shaped individuals, on the other hand, store more of their excess body fat around their hips, buttocks and thighs. How do you know which fruit you most resemble? The answer lies in a measurement called the waist to hip ratio (WHR). To determine your WHR, all you need is a tape measure and a calculator. Start by standing erect, and measuring your waist at a point about one inch above your navel. Next, measure your hips by placing the tape measure around your buttocks. To determine your WHR, divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. If your WHR is 0.8 or less, your body can be classified as pear-shaped. If your WHR is higher than 0.8, your body shape falls into the apple category. To a large degree, the shape of your body determines which type of fat you'll accumulate most when you gain weight. Body fat comes in two main varieties: subcutaneous fat, which lies just under the skin, and non-subcutaneous fat, which is stored deep in the torso and the muscles of the body.
The most clinically significant type of non-subcutaneous fat appears to be visceral fat, which surrounds the organs, including the heart and liver.
While pear-shaped individuals tend to have more subcutaneous fat, people who are apple-shaped tend to have more visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is close to the surface of the body. It's the visible fat you can pinch with your fingers. While this type of fat may be cosmetically unappealing, it typically doesn't represent a significant health hazard. Excessive visceral fat is considered far more dangerous. Packed away in the abdomen, it isn't always visible from the outside, but this type of fat is far more metabolically active than subcutaneous fat, and most of its actions are harmful to the body.
21/05/2013 The session was held and the twenty-first regular Council of Ministers in Baghdad on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki issued by the Board the following decisions: 1. To approve the allocation of a percentage (3%) of the grades in the ministries and departments not related to the Ministry all set to people with special needs and the application of Article (49) of the Social Welfare Act No. 126 of 1980, which obliges the state departments run with special needs them.
2. Approval of the disbursement of pensions for members of municipal councils after the BSA audit in accordance with the law and regulations and on the basis of the exact number of each province.
3. Approval of the Ministry of Finance Credit and the Ministry of Education the amount of 50 billion dinars to pay the salaries of teachers of literacy and being settled savings derived from cash savings as you stated the budget law. source
May 21, 2013 Remember theUrgent Warning dream by T.D. Hale? The one where he saw devastation and ruin, even the White House was in tatters. And then he saw obama with a shotgun, he had shot the American Eagle, and said, ‘There, that’s done, I don’t have to deal with that anymore.’ Well that’s what I feel like we’re witnessing. He has torn our constitution to shreds, and is in the process of burning the pieces. With overturning the DOM, (I know it’s in the supreme court, but he has in effect made that useless with his praise and backing of gay marriage), doing away with Mother’s day and Father’s day for the politically correct ‘Family Day.’ So as not to offend gay parents. His blessing abortion, the military threatening to court-martial anyone sharing their faith in the military. His pushing the arab spring and the muslim agenda. His appointing members of the muslim brotherhood to our government. His backing of the Syrian Rebels, you know the ones that cut the hearts of their enemies out, and eat them! Then there’s the scandals of all the cover ups from Benghazi to the IRS targeting conservative Christians. Every time he speaks evil comes out of his mouth. Then he has the nerve to joke and say, ‘Hey I’m just the president nobody tells me anything.’ I’m sorry Mr. president, the buck stops with you, I think you even said that. The flotus is not any better. Remember she said at his first campaign ‘Barack will not let us go back to the old.’ Evil has indeed infiltrated our country, and the icon of America, the White House, and the American Eagle is quickly losing it’s flight. He is ‘fundamentally transforming’ this country into something unrecognizable. It’s in tatters. *CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 Oman to host conference "Friends of Syria" Convene a meeting of the so-called "Friends of Syria" in the Jordanian capital Amman on Wednesday with the participation of 12 foreign ministers, including the United States, France and the European Union and Arab countries. The conference will discuss the possibility of collecting the Syrian opposition and the authorities in the "Geneva 2". For its part, the State Department announced that the National Coalition Jordanian opposition will participate in the meetings of the core group of "Friends of Syria." The Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, said earlier that his country for hosting meetings of the core group of "Friends of Syria" is ready and pave the way for the Geneva meeting 2. source
Vice: The government will send a supplemental budget to the House of Representatives .. And voted upon subject بالتوافقات of political Most likely a member of the Finance Committee MP / National Alliance / Abdul Ameer Mayahi, the preparation of a supplemental budget by the Council of Ministers for the purpose of meeting the request of the Government of the Kurdistan region, stressing rated subject بالتوافقات of political get inside the House of Representatives. The Kurdistan delegation headed by Nechirvan Barzani visited Baghdad to discuss with the federal government on the outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad, and offered a range of applications including amend the law on the federal budget or send a supplemental budget. Mayahi said (of the Agency news) on Tuesday: that the federal government continues to prepare a supplemental budget to be converted to the parliamentary Finance Committee in order to be studied in detail and the agreement is submitted to the Presidency of the Council of Representatives for the purpose of voting. He added: that there is a difference in views between the parliamentary blocs on the preparation of a supplemental budget, so the rated subject بالتوافقات of that get between the political blocs, in the case of most of the parliamentary blocs objection will not pass the budget, as happened in the last year. source
May 22, 2013 Economic centre: the low price of gold doesn't affect the Central Bank's reserves The economic information center said Muhammad Ali Dergham, the causes of declining demand for buying gold locally to increase its price in the domestic market, despite the low price in world markets, was affected by the low price global Central Bank gold reserves. He said that lack of buying gold in the domestic market due to the increased price in unprecedented during the current period, noting that the low price in the world market is relative, it is caused by the recovery of the dollar and financial speculation in the world markets. He added: the gold dropped its appeal in the world market due to its high price over the past two years, but this does not mean abandoning it as a safe haven, it remains a candidate to restore its price globally. He said: the CBI retains large quantities of gold it came as most global central banks to keep the national currency, adding there was no fear of the impact of the low gold price in world markets for Central Bank reserves, the fact that gold is a long-term investment and the current decline is that I am not in the long term. source