Thursday, June 6, 2013

WORLD WAR 2013 | Large US force arrives in Jordan for deployment at Syria border amid Syria’s Qusayr victory

U.S. Marines landing in the Jordanian port of Aqaba

A large U.S. military force has reportedly arrived at a port in the south of Jordan, ready to be deployed at the country’s border with neighboring Syria.

The Israeli military intelligence website DEBKAfile has reported that 1,000 U.S troops from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Force arrived at the southern Jordanian port of Aqaba on Tuesday and made their way to the north of the country under heavy Jordanian military escort.

According to DEBKAfile, Washington imposed a blackout on the arrival of the rapid-response force as the Pentagon only reported the sending of a Patriot missile battery and F-16 warplanes to Jordan for a military drill.

On Monday, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command based in Tampa, Florida, Lieutenant Colonel T.G. Taylor, confirmed that Patriot missile launchers and F-16 fighter jets “were approved for deployment to Jordan”.

The U.S. has sent numerous ground troops to Jordan over the past few months, mainly for operating a training camp for militants fighting against the Syrian government.

The recent deployment of U.S. troops to Jordan’s border with Syria comes amid rising concerns over U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to appoint Susan Rice, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as his next national security adviser.

According to Antiwar, with Rice taking the reins of the national security machinery of the White House, the U.S. will keep “a keen eye on military intervention in Syria”.

U.S. Senator John McCain, who met with several leaders of the foreign-backed militants in Syria last week, urged Obama on Sunday for a military intervention in Syria as he acknowledged that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has the upper hand in the Syrian conflict.

The developments come as Syrian government forces on Wednesday regained full control of the strategic city of Qusayr after three weeks of fighting with the foreign-backed militants.

Damascus has repeatedly said that the crisis in Syria is being engineered from outside the country. On May 18, President Assad said militants from 29 different countries were fighting against his government in different parts of the country.

Last week, the FBI confirmed the death of a 33-year-old American woman who had been fighting along with foreign-backed militants in Syria against the Syrian government.

Syrian TV showed a black VW Golf car, belonging to the American female militant, identified as Nicole Lynn, along with three other foreign militants including a British man, from which several Kalashnikovs were retrieved.

Via|Presstv.ir

QUSAYR BATTLE | Syrian Government Regains Key Border Town

BEIRUT—Syrian government forces pushed rebels out of a strategic town after two weeks of grueling battles, marking the biggest rebel stronghold to be taken by the government during the Syrian war.

The battle for Qusayr, described by both rebels and the regime as strategic territory, came to symbolize transnational sectarian struggle after Hezbollah, the militant Lebanese Shiite group, sent hundreds of fighters to battle alongside government forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. Mr. Assad and his closest supporters belong to the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

ASIA POWER 2013 | Singapore “to Become New Switzerland”, as the biggest offshore wealth center

Singapore | The power of ASIA 2013
Singapore | The power of ASIA 2013

LUANDA - Wealth managers are stepping up their search for staff to expand in Asia as Singapore starts to overtake Switzerland as the world’s top private banking hub.

Singapore will overtake Switzerland as the biggest offshore wealth center in terms of assets under management by 2020, according to research firm WealthInsight.

A separate survey of advisers by PwC said Singapore would leapfrog Switzerland this year in terms of reputation. A broader survey by adviser Z/Yen in March named Hong Kong and Singapore as two of the world’s top four financial centers behind London and New York. Singapore was tipped for the top more frequently than any other city.

The business case for wealth management in Asia is clear: Singapore had the highest percentage of millionaire households in the world at the end of 2011, according to research from the Boston Consulting Group, and Hong Kong had the highest number of billionaires relative to the size of its population. While private wealth in the Asia-Pacific region ex-Japan increased by 10.7% to $23.7 trillion in 2011, private wealth declined in North America and Western Europe.

Advisers say Singapore’s low tax rate, stable currency, efficient corporate registration and clearly defined regulation have become more attractive than Switzerland.

Sebastian Dovey, managing partner of advisory firm Scorpio Partnership, said: “Whichever year you want to choose, Singapore is on a trajectory to get to the top.”

Chris Wheeler, senior analyst at Mediobanca Securities, said: “If you want to be anywhere in the international wealth advisory business, you need to be in Singapore.”

For advisers based in Switzerland, the move’s not a cheap one.

Mr. Dovey said the war for talent in Asia and real estate costs made Singapore one of the world’s most expensive places to set up a wealth advisory business. The ratio between costs and income in Europe averaged 73%: “But the ratio is 10 percentage points higher in Singapore,” he said.

An executive at a large wealth advisory firm said he knew of advisers “working at a loss in the hope of getting market share”.

Even so, BNP Paribas Wealth Management plans to add 200 private bankers in Asia over the next three to five years, the firm told Financial News, MoneyBeat’s sister journal. Rory Tapner, chief executive of private bank Coutts, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.LN -2.09%, said he wanted to double his client-facing staff in Asia in the next two or three years.

Swiss bank Julius Baer calls Asia its “second home market” after buying Merrill Lynch’s international wealth business. Chief executive Boris Collardi has said the deal doubles Julius Baer’s market share in north and south-east Asia and told a Chinese newspaper that the firm would more than double its staff in Asia by 2015.

First-quarter results from banks with large wealth businesses have illustrated how capital investment in Asia can pay off. Asia-Pacific flows were up 11% year-on-year at Swiss bankUBS UBSN.VX -2.28%, representing a third of the bank’s Sfr15bn ($16.05bn) in net new wealth assets. Inflows from clients in Europe were lower at just Sfr 1.1bn.

At Credit Suisse CSGN.VX -2.37%, assets under management for wealth clients in Asia were up 21% year-on-year, the strongest growth of any region.

And  banks on both sides of the Atlantic are pruning their wealth-management businesses: Morgan Stanley MS -1.26% last month sold its European arm to Credit Suisse, while Lloyds Banking Group LLOY.LN -0.88% is said to be considering selling some international wealth operations.

By Sarah Krouse and Mike Foster | Wsj

SEX NOW | Experts Respond to Douglas Throat Cancer Comments

Actor Michael Douglas's comments about throat cancer have thrown a spotlight on risks from HPV, a virus spread through sexual contact. Experts say HPV is a growing cause of certain types of oral cancer. (Photo/Video: AP)

PEACE & MONEY | Hydropower megaproject to dam River Congo

Africa's greatest river is about to be tamed. The River Congo is set to succumb to a series of giant hydroelectric dams with twice the generating capacity of the world's most powerful hydro-plant, the Three Gorges in China.

Last weekend, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Africa announced a treaty to develop a giant hydroelectric project at Inga Falls, just downstream of the DRC's capital Kinshasa. The $9-billion first phase, with a capacity of 4800 megawatts (MW), will generate more power than Egypt's Aswan High Dam, currently Africa's largest-capacity hydropower dam.

Construction will start in late 2015. South Africa will take half of the power, with most of the rest earmarked for Congolese copper mines.

But the eventual aim, say the two governments, is to generate more than 40,000 MW by fulfilling the dreams of engineers since colonial times to harness the full power of the world's second largest river, after the Amazon. At Inga Falls, some 42,000 cubic metres of water rush down a series of giant rapids every second. With the right infrastructure, the force of the River Congo could supply electricity to Nigeria, Egypt and even Europe.

Good news, bad news

The project will not require a large reservoir to store the water needed to turn its turbines, because the river flows unceasingly at high volume. This is good news as it means that land will not need to be cleared and flooded.

The bad news, say opponents such as the California-based NGO International Rivers, is that few Congolese will get any electricity, since they are generally far from any power grids. "The majority of Africa's poor will remain without power, at a time when better solutions are available," says Rudo Sanyanga of International Rivers, who instead backs investing in local solar power and small-scale hydro schemes.

The World Bank said in a statement that the project would "catalyse large-scale benefits to improve access to infrastructure services" in Africa.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Angola’s economy outlook 2013 | Economic growth projected to reach 8.2%

Angola’s economy rebounded strongly after experiencing slow growth due to oil and financial crises. Economic growth is expected to reach 8.2% in 2013, and 7.8% in 2014, driven by the expansion in the oil and gas sector and a public expenditure programme designed to encourage economic diversification.

The government has embarked on ambitious reforms to improve governance but the business environment remains challenging in terms of institutions and infrastructure settings. Nonetheless, the creation of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) will help insulate the economy from volatile oil prices.

The country has made significant strides in a variety of human development indicators, including poverty, health and education but still ranks low in the Human Development Index (HDI) at 148th place out of 187 countries surveyed and continues to provide only a rudimentary social safety net in the form of fuel and utility subsidies.

 

Overview

The Angolan economy rebounded strongly after several years of low growth attributable to the lingering effects of the global financial crisis. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an estimated rate of 7.9% in 2012 (up from 3.9% in 2011) on account of the strong performance of the energy, transportation and construction sectors. The outlook for 2013 and 2014 remains positive, with economic growth projected to reach 8.2% and 7.8%, respectively. This will be driven by a combination of continued expansion in the oil and gas sector and a public expenditure programme designed to encourage economic diversification.

The implementation of the 2009-12 Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) programme of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) helped the country to regain macroeconomic stability, achieve an improved fiscal position, more comfortable level of international reserves, a stable exchange rate, and lower inflation. Furthermore, large domestic arrears were settled, and progress was made in strengthening fiscal transparency and accountability. However, the country continues to face massive developmental policy challenges, including the reduction of the dependency on oil, the diversification of the economy, the rebuilding of the economic and social infrastructure, the improvement of the institutional capacity, governance, public financial management systems, human development and living conditions of the population. These factors are constraining the pace of diversification of the economy and preventing small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development and job creation. Unemployment remains significant at about 25%, and the incidence of poverty remains high at 36.6% of the population.

Much of the country’s growth over the past decade can be directly attributed to the exploration of natural resources. Oil still accounts for nearly 80% of government revenue, 90% of exports and 47% of the country’s GDP. This makes the economy heavily dependent on oil revenues and vulnerable to oil price shocks. In an attempt to further diversify the economy, a 5 billion US dollars (USD) Sovereign Wealth Fund (Fundo Soberano de Angola) was created in October 2012. The fund was endorsed by the IMF, which had long advocated such an instrument to help insulate the economy from volatile oil prices. Nonetheless, the main challenge rests on the government’s ability to ensure transparency, accountability and equitable distribution of the country’s natural resource earnings. Moreover, as Angola continues to access non-concessional financing to meet its development needs and expands the exploration of its natural resources, the government will need to guarantee the preservation of the country’s debt sustainability, while ensuring greater transparency and accountability in the management of oil revenues.

Figure 1: Real GDP growth 2013 (South)

Real GDP growth (%)Southern Africa - Real GDP growth (%)Africa - Real GDP growth (%)20042005200620072008200920102011201220132014-5%0%5%10%15%20%25%Real GDP Growth (%)

Table 1: Macroeconomic indicators 2013

  2011 2012 2013 2014
Real GDP growth 3.9 7.9 8.2 7.8
Real GDP per capita growth 1.1 5.2 5.5 5.1
CPI inflation 13.5 10.3 8.7 9.3
Budget balance % GDP 10.2 7.8 4.8 3.5
Current account % GDP 9.6 8.2 8.1 7.6

Monday, June 3, 2013

ANGOLA XYAMI | Notícias de Angola, de África e do Mundo - BUSINESS | José Eduardo Paulino dos Santos e Até ao Fim do Mundo compram Lux

José Eduardo Paulino dos Santos “Zedú” “Coreon Du”

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