Merck’s first innovation hub in China settles in Shanghai

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Merck’s first innovation hub in China settles in Shanghai

Merck's first innovation hub in China settles in Shanghai

Stephan Oschman, CEO of Merck, addresses the opening ceremony of the Merck China Innovation Hub.

A Merck Innovation Hub, the first in China, opened in Shanghai on Friday as Merck announced a 100 million yuan (US$14 million) seed fund injected into the China Innovation Hub, the first investment by M Ventures, the strategy investment arm of the Merck group.

Stefan Oschman, chairman and CEO of Merck said, “We always have faith in China, and the 100 million seed fund is our commitment to China.”

The innovation hub will serve startups, academic institutions and people with good idea mainly in biopharma and biotech, materials science and health care, the three business sectors of Merck.

“The innovation hub will accelerate Merck’s innovation in China and we hope to promote innovation and serve China together with partners,” Oschman added.

The hub is located in “Front Bund” (Qian Tan in Chinese) in the Pudong New Area, and covers an area of 1,000 square meters.

Merck's first innovation hub in China settles in Shanghai

Ti Gong

The hub is located in World Trade Center.

“When we decide to set up an innovation hub in China, without hesitation, we chose Shanghai because of its innovation ecosystem, especially in biotech and life sciences”, Oschman said.

Merck plans to open a second innovation hub in Guangzhou in November. The company set up hubs in Germany and the US in 2018.

Allan Gabor, president of Merck China Co Ltd said that, “China is not just a huge market, but also one of significant factors influencing global trend and strategy.”

Isabel De Paoli, chief strategy office of Merck, said, “The China Innovation Hub will play major role in the future development of Merck by connecting to the another two innovation hubs in Europe and in the US.”

Sophie Sun, director of Merck China Innovation Hub said, besides giving financial support for the potential programs, they will share Merck’s technology ability such as research team and labs.

Merck is a technology company focused on three fields: medicine and health care, life sciences and performance materials such as liquid crystal used in smart phone and flat screen television. It has 52,000 employees worldwide and in 2018 its sales totaled 116.9 billion yuan.

India: India seeks 10% advantage over China in tariff removal

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

At RCEP meet, India seeks 10% advantage over China in tariff removal

This advantage for India will mean that its exporters can access 10% more Chinese product lines without facing tariff barriers.

INDIA Updated: Oct 19, 2019 03:10 IST

Rajeev Jayaswal
Rajeev Jayaswal

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Farmers during a protest against the plan to join the Regional Comprehensive Economics Partnership (RCEP).
Farmers during a protest against the plan to join the Regional Comprehensive Economics Partnership (RCEP).(Sameer Sehgal/Hindustan Times)

India has bargained a nearly 10% advantage over China in tariff elimination during the ongoing Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) discussions in a move aimed to placate the domestic industry and pave the way for New Delhi to conclude negotiations ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangkok next month, three people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

This advantage for India will mean that its exporters can access 10% more Chinese product lines without facing tariff barriers

Indian negotiators and experts are stationed in Bangkok to fine tune commercial and legal issues pertaining to the RCEP, said an official with direct knowledge of the matter. They are expected to iron out key issues before commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal arrives in Bangkok early next month ahead of Modi’s scheduled visit on November 4, the official said.

The Indian leadership is determined to protect the interests of the domestic industry, agriculture and farm sectors before concluding any FTA (free trade agreement), according to the people cited above.

“India will not repeat the mistakes of the past. The Asean FTA has been tilted in favor of countries like Vietnam and Thailand. India’s trade deficit with Asean has soared since the FTA has become operative in 2010,” one of the officials said.

According to official data, while India’s exports to ASEAN grew 9.56% to $37.47 billion in 2018-19, imports surged to $59.32 billion in the same period, a whopping 25.87% growth.

India is determined to bargain hard on the principle of equity, which was perceived to have been sacrificed while signing the Asean FTA, the official said.

“India’s concessions to countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia are disproportionate under the Asean FTA, which is against the principle of equity. While India agreed to eliminate more than 74% of tariff lines, Indonesia agreed to about 50% and Vietnam 70%. Such tilts are the main cause of concern for the Indian industry,” the official added.

An agreement between India and China is the key for successfully concluding the RCEP because New Delhi already has FTAs with most of the other members.

The RCEP is a proposed FTA covering 16 countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and its six FTA partners — China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. India has FTAs with Asean, Japan and South Korea. FTAs are arrangements between two or more countries that primarily agree to reduce or eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers on substantial trade between them.

The RCEP will not be fully successful without India’s participation, which is one of the main reasons why other members agreed to allow time for further negotiation even as the last ministerial (October 11-12) was expected to conclude the deal before the 3rd Leaders Summit scheduled on November 4 this year in Bangkok, an official said.

According to the domestic industry, the FTA with Asean did not bring the desired gains for the Indian industry in terms of enhanced exports.

“India’s trade deficit with Asean, which was approximately US$12 billion in 2010-11 jumped to over US$22 billion in 2018-19,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, director general, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

A NITI Aayog report that reviewed various FTAs, including the one with Asean countries said India has been a net loser in almost all, except with Sri Lanka. The report, ‘A Note on Free Trade Agreements and Their Costs’, said the Asean FTA saw the greatest reduction in Indian import tariffs.

“FTA covers 75% of the two-way trade. India offered around 9,000 products for tariff elimination out of about 12,000 tariff lines, 1,800 lines in sensitive track and almost 1,300 lines in exclusion. Thus India kept around 10% of their tariff lines in exclusion, Thailand, Philippines, Myanmar, Brunei and Vietnam kept more number of tariff lines under exclusion compared to India,” it said.

India’s stand on “free” but “fair” trade has been reinforced recently at a high-level internal meeting on the RCEP in New Delhi. The meeting took place ahead of Goyal’s vist to Bangkok to attend the ministerial (October 10-12).

“The government is also conscious of the fact that the RCEP agreement would be fully operative some time around 2021-22 and its impact will be felt in 2023-24, which will be the time when the government would be seeking a fresh mandate. Hence, it cannot afford to sign a hasty deal as was done in the past,” the second of the people cited above said.

“The industry is opposing the RCEP because of historical blunders in FTA negotiations. For example, India gave more than proportional access to some of the member countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia,” said Ram Singh, professor, Delhi School of Economics. “Now India should negotiate trade deals in favour of its industry and extract more concessions from countries like China before signing the RCEP. This will win the confidence of Indian industry and improve balance of trade for the country.”

Sharad Kumar Saraf, president, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), said, “When you go to negotiate any FTA, there is always some give and take. Important is to strike a balance. A 10% edge is reasonable. It will help India’s exports.”

“Some local industry could feel the heat. But, the government can help them by providing assistance, such as duty-free imports of components that can make them competitive,” he said.

First Published: Oct 18, 2019 23:57 IST

Lebanon’s anti-austerity protests enter fourth day

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF AL JAZEERA NEWS)

 

Lebanon’s anti-austerity protests enter fourth day

Demonstrators are protesting against dire economic conditions in the heavily indebted country.

Lebanon's anti-austerity protests enter fourth day
Tens of thousands have taken to the streets across Lebanon since Thursday to protest against tax increases and political corruption [Andalou]

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have gathered in Lebanon‘s streets on Sunday for a fourth day of anti-government protests that have led to the resignation of a Christian party from the government.

Demonstrators, who have been on the streets since Thursday, have pledged to continue marching despite the resignations late on Saturday of four government members from the key political party, Lebanese Forces.

Labour Minister Camille Abousleiman, one of the four to quit the government, told Al Jazeera shortly after the decision that they had “lost faith in the government’s ability to effect change and address the problem”.

READ MORE

Lebanon protests: Five things you need to know

Lebanese citizens have been suffering from tax hikes and dire economic conditions in the heavily indebted country.

Lebanon’s public debt stands at around $86 bn – more than 150 percent of gross domestic product, according to the finance ministry.

The grievances and anger at the government’s lack of solutions erupted into protests on Thursday, sparked by hikes in taxes including a proposed $0.2 tax on calls via messaging apps such as WhatsApp.

Such calls are the main method of communication for many Lebanese and, despite the government’s swift abandonment of the tax, the demonstrations quickly swelled into the largest in years.

“It is day four and protesters are back on the street. It’s not just in the capital Beirut, but across the country. The message they [protesters] are giving is of defiance and that they will continue to demand the resignation of the government,” said Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from Beirut.

“While there are tens of thousands on the street protesting, there are still people who are backing the political parties, so it is not going to be easy to bring a change. These people out there want a nationalist leader whose loyalty is to Lebanon and not a political party.”

In an attempt to appease demonstrators, Lebanon’s finance minister, following a meeting with Prime Minister Saad Hariri, announced that they had agreed on a final budget that did not include any additional taxes or fees.

READ MORE

Lebanon reforms ‘must start from politicians’ bank accounts’

“We want everybody to join us on Sunday and also Monday to topple the government,” one protester said.

On Friday, Hariri gave a 72-hour deadline to his partners in government to agree on a solution to the country’s economic woes without imposing new taxes.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, whose movement is part of the government, warned on Saturday that a change in government would only worsen the situation.

The army on Saturday called on protesters to “express themselves peacefully without harming public and private property”.

What is the solution to Lebanon’s economic and political crisis?

On Saturday evening, thousands were packed for a third straight night into the Riyadh al-Solh square in central Beirut, despite security forces having used tear gas and water cannon to disperse similar crowds a day before.

Amnesty International said the security forces’ reaction was excessive, pointing out that the vast majority of protesters were peaceful.

“The intention was clearly to prevent protesters gathering – in a clear violation of the right to peaceful assembly,” it said.

Small groups of protesters have also damaged shop fronts and blocked roads by burning tyres and other obstacles.

The Internal Security Forces said 70 arrests were made on Friday on accusations of theft and arson.

But all of those held at the main police barracks were released on Saturday, the National News Agency (NNA) said.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

The 10 Countries With The Most Billionaires

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

The 10 Countries With The Most Billionaires

 

Countries With the Most Billionaires

The world is home to about 2,754 billionaires who together control $9.2 trillion in wealth, according to the 2018 Billionaire Census, compiled annually by Wealth-X.

While billionaires are spread out all over the globe, that wealth is concentrated in a small handful of countries. As it turns out, 40 percent of the world’s billionaires reside in the countries below.

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10. United Arab Emirates

Credit: DieterMeyri / iStock

The United Arab Emirates, or UAE, is an oil-rich Arab nation on the Persian Gulf. It’s also home to 62 billionaires who together have a total wealth of $168 billion.

Dubai, the capital city, is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, thanks to architectural wonders like the Burj Khalifa — which is currently the tallest building in the world. Dubai is also home to 65 percent of the nation’s billionaires, according to Wealth-X data.

9. Saudi Arabia

Credit: jamjoom / iStock

Saudi Arabia is a mecca for billionaires, literally and figuratively. The country ties its neighbor for the total number of billionaires with 62, but it’s got the UAE beat in terms of shared wealth. Saudi billionaires hold a total of $169 billion, $1 billion more than their Emirati counterparts.

Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Middle East, thanks to the more than 266,000 barrels of untapped oil lying beneath its desert sands. The nation exports more oil than any other country, and the size of its reserve is second only to Venezuela.

8. United Kingdom

Credit: Daniel Lange / iStock

The United Kingdom is home to 90 billionaires at last count, who together hold $251 billion.

You might be surprised to learn that Queen Elizabeth II isn’t among them; she’s worth only half a billion. The U.K. billionaire club includes a diverse list of business people such as steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal ($18.9 billion), bagless vacuum inventor Sir James Dyson and family ($12.3 billion), and Virgin Atlantic founder and space cowboy Richard Branson ($4.1 billion).

But you’ve probably never heard of the U.K’s richest man: Jim Ratcliffe, CEO of London-based chemical manufacturer Ineos. Ratliffe is entirely self-made, mortgaging his house to buy his first chemical assets.

7. Hong Kong

Credit: Nikada / iStock

We know, we know. Hong Kong isn’t really a country, per se. It is a semi-autonomous region of China. But its high concentration of billionaires makes it worthy of distinction. The city-state has a total of 93 billionaires worth a combined $315 billion.

In terms of billionaire cities, Hong Kong is ranked second, nestled between New York (#1) and San Francisco (#3). Hong Kong owes its wealth to more than a century of British rule, which came to an end in 1997. Possessing one of the world’s busiest shipping ports, Hong Kong became a manufacturing powerhouse.

The country’s richest person is 90-year-old entrepreneur Li Ka-shing. A high school dropout, Li made his fortune in plastic manufacturing, port development, and retail.

6. Russia

Credit: Mordolff / iStock

Russia is home to 96 billionaires worth a combined $351 billion. That number doesn’t include the net worth of President Vladimir Putin, who is rumored to be the world’s richest man with $200 billion in secret assets. But according to documents filed with the Russian election commission, Putin only claims to earn an average annual salary of $112,000.

Officially, Russia’s richest man is Leonid Mikhelson at $23.6 billion. Mikhelson is CEO of Novatek, Russia’s largest independent natural gas company. He’s among the politically powerful Russian oligarchs who rose to power after rapidly gobbling up assets when Russia’s state-owned companies went private.

5. Switzerland

Credit: AleksandarGeorgiev / iStock

Switzerland has 99 billionaires worth a total of $265 billion. That’s a high concentration of billionaires for such a small country, and once a year it gets even more concentrated. CEOs and heads of state from all over the world descend upon the snowy ski-town of Davos at the beginning every year for the World Economic Forum.

Many Swiss billionaires owe their riches to the banking and financial industry. Provided the country’s neutral status during both World Wars, and its centuries-long tradition of secrecy, Swiss banks became a global favorite. In 2018 it was estimated that Swiss banks held $6.5 trillion in assets, which is a quarter of all global cross-border assets.

4. India

Credit: Leonid Andronov / iStock

India is a country of extremes. About 58 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty, surviving off less than $3.10 a day. It is also home to one of the fastest-growing economies and 104 billionaires in total. Together India’s billionaires are worth $299 billion.

The country’s richest man is Mukesh Ambani, who is worth an estimated $49.6 billion. He owns 43 percent of Reliance Industries, which owns a little bit of everything: energy, oil, textiles, retail stores and telecom. Ambani also owns a professional cricket team, the Mumbai Indians.

3. Germany

Credit: bkindler / iStock

With 152 in total, you might be asking why Germany has so many billionaires. The answer is cars, machines, chemicals, electronics and groceries.

As it turns out, that “Germany engineering” you always hear about is a real thing, and it’s worth a lot of money. German billionaires control a total of $466 billion in assets, much of it earned from industrial and chemical manufacturing companies.

But the country’s richest person is Dieter Schwarz, whose company owns Europe’s largest supermarket chains, Lidl and Kaufland. At 79, Schwarz is worth a whopping $24.9 billion.

2. China

Credit: bjdlzx / iStock

At 338, China is home to 12 percent of the world’s billionaires who together possess $1 trillion in total wealth. Deng Xiaoping, who served as leader from 1978 to 1989, paved the way for the country’s growth by drastically reforming the economy. Flash forward to today where China generates a new billionaire every two days, according to UBS. The richest among them is Alibaba founder Jack Ma, with a net worth of $40.1 billion.

1. The United States

Credit: FilippoBacci / iStock

The United States is far and away the leader when it comes to billionaires with a total of 680. That is 25 percent of all billionaires in the world. U.S. billionaires have more than $3.16 trillion in assets combined.

America’s four richest billionaires are household names: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ($120 billion), Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates ($95.5 billion), investing genius Warren Buffett ($82.5 billion) and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg ($65.9 billion).

 

 

Iran Says to Use Every Mean Possible to Export Its Oil

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Iran Says to Use Every Mean Possible to Export Its Oil

Sunday, 6 October, 2019 – 11:30
FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh listens to journalists at the beginning of an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, July 1, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Asharq Al-Awsat
Iran will not succumb to US pressure and will use every possible way to export its oil, Iranian Oil Ministry’s website SHANA quoted Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh as saying on Sunday.

Iran’s crude oil exports were reduced by more than 80% when the US re-imposed sanctions on the country last November after President Donald Trump pulled out of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

“We will use every possible way to export our oil and we will not succumb to America’s pressure because exporting oil is Iran’s legitimate right,” Zanganeh said, Reuters reported.

In response, Iran has gradually scaled back its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal, under which Tehran accepted to curb its nuclear activities in return for lifting most international sanctions.

The increasing US pressure on Iran has scared away foreign investors from doing business in the country.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation (AEOI) reiterated on Sunday that the country would reduce its commitments under the deal further if the European parties to the pact did not meet promises to shield Iran’s economy from US sanctions.

“We will go ahead with our plans to decrease our commitments to the nuclear deal if other parties fail to keep their promises,” the Students News Agency ISNA quoted AEOI’s spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi as saying.

Stockton California giving 125 people $500 a month in 18 month experiment

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SACRAMENTO BEE NEWS PAPER)

 

Stockton is giving people $500 a month, no strings attached. Here’s how they’re spending it

 

New data released as part of Stockton’s closely watched universal basic income experiment offer a first glimpse into how an extra $500 a month affects the spending habits and quality of life for those receiving the no-strings-attached funds.

The 18-month study — the first of its kind led by a U.S. city — aims to see whether a guaranteed income can reduce stress and, in turn, unlock new opportunities for people struggling to make ends meet. Tracking and analyzing the spending habits of the 125 individuals currently receiving the stipends, the program will also provide greater insight into the viability of long-term basic income models more broadly in the United States.

In Stockton, a city once known as “America’s foreclosure capital” where one in four residents currently live below the poverty line, the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, or SEED, is a kind of safety net that can empower residents financially, said Mayor Michael Tubbs. For people scraping by to pay rent or put food on the table, “something as small as $500 has been enough to allow them to breathe,” he said.

“There’s an ethos of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps,” Tubbs said. “Well, we’re providing the floor to put their feet on to put the boots on, and the cash to buy the boots.”

Nearly half of the recipients reported they’re just managing to get by financially, and one in five said they are going into debt to take care of themselves and their family, according to the newly released SEED data.

The recipients — full-time workers, stay-at-home caretakers, disabled individuals, students — overwhelmingly use the money to feed, clothe and house themselves. The median monthly income among the participants is $1,800, compared to the median household monthly income in the city of about $3,500.

“We heard a lot about, ‘Can $500 even make a difference in California?’” said Stacia Martin-West, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee who is one of the study’s lead researchers. “When we know the median household is making $1,800 a month, we can see there’s a 30 percent increase in income.”

WHO’S GETTING MONEY? WHAT ARE THEY BUYING?

The data are averaged from monthly purchases between February, when the program began, through the end of July, said Amy Castro Baker, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania who is also helping lead the study.

About 43 percent of participants are working full- or part-time, according to Baker. Additionally, 20 percent have a disability that interferes with their ability to work, 11 percent are looking for work, 11 percent work as caretakers for aging parents or young children, 8 percent have retired and 5 percent are students.

Only about 2 percent are not looking for work, busting the myth that anyone who receives free money will stop working or “aren’t deserving” of the funds, Tubbs said.

“The story line of giving people cash is … are they going to be rational with that?” Baker added.

The answer, based on initial results, is yes, she said: For spending, about 38 percent of purchases each month go toward food, and 25 percent on sales and merchandise such as clothing, home goods and items from discount stores such as Walmart.

Gas, electric and telecommunication bill payments make up the third largest spending category, about 11 percent. Less than 1 percent of total money tracked has been spent at alcohol or tobacco retailers, according to SEED spokeswoman Amanda Blanton.

“These folks are just like you and me,” Tubbs said. “There’s nothing crazy about their choices.”

About 47 percent of recipients are white, 28 percent are African American, 13 percent are Asian and 12 percent identified as other. About 37 percent also identified as Hispanic.

SEED will continue to release data on how participants are spending their money on an online dashboard, which will go live Saturday at http://www.stocktondemonstration.org/dashboard.

UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME PROGRAMS NATIONWIDE

Guaranteed or universal basic income programs to address wealth inequality and complement existing safety net systems in the United States have become an increasingly popular policy idea.

California Sen. Kamala Harris and Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib have both recently proposed bills offering tax credits for working and middle class individuals and families that could be accessed as a monthly check.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has focused his campaign on a universal basic income proposal he calls a “Freedom Dividend.” And cities such as Chicago and Newark, New Jersey, have begun exploring the possibility of starting similar pilot programs.

“We’re in a space where we’re just trying to figure out what is the most ethical, humane way that we can implement a new way of looking at the social contract and economic justice,” Martin-West said.

WHO’S PAYING FOR THIS?

The Stockton program is partially paid for by a $1 million grant from the Economic Security Project, an organization that has raised millions to fund and explore universal basic income programs. Another $2 million comes from foundations and individual donors, according to ESP spokeswoman Saadia McConville. The city of Stockton is not financing the program, Tubbs said.

The program will run through July 2020.

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Turkish Govt Shocks Citizens with Electricity Prices

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Turkish Govt Shocks Citizens with Electricity Prices

Wednesday, 2 October, 2019 – 10:30
A worker performs checks at Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, which is run by state-owned Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS), some 70 km (43.5 miles) from Adana, Turkey, February 19, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo
Ankara – Saeed Abdelrazek
A new increase in electricity prices in Turkey for the second consecutive time in three months has enraged citizens.

The Turkish Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK) announced Tuesday raising consumer electricity prices by 14.9 percent, knowing that the prices witnessed an equal raise in July.

After the new increase, users would pay starting October TRY71.22 (around USD14) for 100 kilowatt-hours. EPDK said, in a statement, that a key factor for increasing prices was the Electricity Distribution Co. changing its wholesale prices with the unit-cost of electricity inching up to 35 kurus.

The new move caused a withering criticism of the government on social media, with citizens expressing anger expressed anger at the power price rises which would increase burdens on Turkish households.

Earlier, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development issued a report pointing out that the electricity prices in Turkey rose by 307 percent since 2003, when the government of Justice and Development Party became in charge under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Last August, the government imposed a new increase in natural gas prices for the fourth time in less than one year by 15 percent for houses and 14 percent for industrial usage.

Economists criticized the new roadmap to implement the economic program, adding that the three goals announced by Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak are “unrealistic”.

Albayrak laid out on Monday Turkey’s targets in the New Economic Program (NEP) covering the 2020-2022 period. He stated that they trimmed the inflation forecast for the end of this year to 12 percent, from the current year’s predictions of 15.1 percent, and to 8.5 percent for 2020, 6 percent in 2021 and 4.9 percent in 2022.

“Growth in 2019 will be 0.5 percent…After closing 2019 with an unemployment rate of 12.9 percent, we aim to reduce the figure to 11.8 percent next year, 10.6 percent in 2021 and 9.8 percent in 2022,” the minister said.

Economist Ugur Gurses commented on Albayrak’s roadmap, saying that he presented it to persuade his father-in-law (Erdogan) and not the people. The official target of growth is 5 percent by 2022 but the presented target for inflation is 12 percent for 2019, 8.5 percent, 6 percent and 4.9 percent for the three coming years respectively.

Former Turkish Central Bank Governor Durmus Yilmaz said that the budget deficit estimates in 2020-2022 of 2.9, 2.5, and 1.5 percent are based on taxes collection, which in their turn will be provided by an anticipated growth of 5 percent in the coming three years.

China wows the world with commerce, trade leaps over 70 years

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS)

 

China wows the world with commerce, trade leaps over 70 years: official

SHINE

70 Years On

China has made solid development in commerce and trade during the past seven decades, impressing the world with investment, consumption and foreign trade hikes.

China is now the world’s second-largest consumer market, with its retail sales of consumer goods at around 38 trillion yuan (US$5.4 trillion) in 2018, up from 27.7 billion yuan in 1952, Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan told a press conference Sunday.

Compared to US$1.13 billion in 1950, China’s foreign trade volume in 2018 topped the world at a whopping US$4.6 trillion, among which US$2 trillion came from imports, said Zhong.

As an increasingly favorable destination for foreign investment, China came in second in the world with US$138.3 billion in foreign direct investment in 2018, with 960,000 foreign-invested companies by the end of last year.

China’s outbound direct investment also snowballed over the past decades to rank second worldwide at US$143 billion in 2018, contributing to the economic growth of local communities around the world, Zhong said.

China: 250,000 Tibetans relocated to new homes in anti-poverty fight

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

250,000 Tibetans relocated to new homes in anti-poverty fight

Xinhua

Nearly 250,000 people in Tibet have moved into 910 new settlements as part of poverty alleviation efforts by August, according to the region’s poverty-relief headquarters.

China has planned to invest 19.78 billion yuan (US$2.8 billion) in a relocation program to build 60,931 houses in around 970 settlements for 266,000 poverty-stricken citizens in the southwestern autonomous region of Tibet.

By the end of August, 93.6 percent of the investment fund had been used and 56,000 houses had been completed.

Tibet seeks to lift 266,000 residents out of poverty by relocating them from harsh living conditions and ecologically fragile areas, of whom 3,359 from 939 families originally lived at an altitude of over 4,800 meters.

Tibet has been using relocation as a means of poverty reduction. By offering job opportunities in industrial parks and cities, the relocated residents are ensured ways to make a better living.

5 largest employers in the world

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

5 largest employers in the world

Unless you’re a trust fund baby, you probably work for a living. We go to a place of business on specific days and earn a wage so that we can afford to live. In the United States, many people are employed by small businesses, which according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, can range from a staff of one to as many as 1,500 employees. But many firms employ an international workforce or have so many employees that they are considered some of the largest employers in the world. From smallest to largest, these are the five largest employers in the world according to the World Economic Forum.

5. China National Petroleum Corporation – 1.7 million employees

Credit: Piotr Swat / Shutterstock.com

Regardless of your feelings about oil discovery and production, it’s a major industry with activity around the world. You might think that a multinational company like Royal Dutch Shell or British Petroleum would make this list, but they don’t. China National Petroleum Corporation is a state-run organization that operates rigs and refineries in 30 countries around the world, even north of our border in Canada.

The organization employs roughly 1.7 million employees, making them the fifth largest employer worldwide. Additionally, they’re also the third largest incorporated energy production firm in the world that specializes in oil and gas. Not only do they explore for new deposits, but they also focus on refining and marketing their products beyond their home country.

4. McDonald’s – 1.7 million employees

Credit: Ratana21 / Shutterstock.com

Even if you’re not a big fast food fan, you’re familiar with the Golden Arches, Ronald McDonald and his wacky crew of friends, and iconic sandwiches like the Big Mac and Fillet ‘o Fish. McDonald’s makes the list as the fourth largest employer; they operate in over 100 countries and serve over 69 million customers. Between franchise and corporate employees combined, the eatery employs 1.7 million people. If you narrow the criteria to private companies, the burger chain rises higher as the second largest employer in the world.

3. Walmart – 2.1 million employees

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Depending on who you talk to, Walmart is either the savior of budget-focused families or the bane of small business owners. Either way, there’s no denying that the big box conglomerate is a major employer in the United States and abroad. Often, they replace positions lost when factories and manufacturers move production elsewhere. Because of this, they are the third largest employer in the world.

Walmart also beats out McDonald’s as the largest private employer in the world. The retailer isn’t limited to the United States: The family-owned firm also has subsidiary locations in the United Kingdom under the supermarket name Asda and South Africa as Massmart. Across all of its verticals, Walmart employs 2.1 million employees worldwide.

2. People’s Liberation Army of China – 2.35 million employees

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War is big business, which explains why the second runner-up and leader of this list are two major military operations. China holds the title for the largest population at 1.42 billion people. So, it makes sense that they have a fairly large army. The People’s Liberation Army employs 2.35 million active military personnel or 0.18% of the nation’s population.

Just like in the U.S., China’s army is segmented into branches: Support Force, Navy, Air Force, Ground Force, Rocket Force, and a reservist branch. While the U.S. still has the largest military force in the world, China is quickly ramping up its assets. The nation’s military is currently classified as the fastest growing military outfit in the world thanks to numerous technological advances.

1. United States Department of Defense – 3.2 million employees

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We round out this list with the United States Department of Defense. At 3.2 million employees worldwide, they eclipse China’s army by nearly 1 million. However, the U.S.’s figure doesn’t just refer to active duty military and reservists of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard or National Guard. This also includes members employed by the other 38 critical agencies that fall under the Department of Defense.

So why does the Department of Defense have such a huge workforce? This is because the U.S. has the largest military budget in the world and eclipses any other nation in money allocated toward technological defense advancements.

The above list might be a big surprise if you were expecting only Fortune 500 firms. This top five list reflects the fact that China’s influence as a nation and economic force continues to grow while the U.S. is able to maintain a strong presence since more than half of the countries with the largest work forces are headquartered in the United States.

Linda Tauhid

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