|Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018"||Frontier Securities||Tokyo Japan|
|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A website launched on Wednesday seeks to track Russian-supported propaganda and disinformation on Twitter, part of a growing non-governmental effort to diminish Moscow's ability to meddle in future elections in the United States and Europe.
The "Hamilton 68" dashboard (here) was built by researchers working with the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan, transatlantic project set up last month to counter Russian disinformation campaigns.
The website, supported by the German Marshall Fund, displays a "near real-time" analysis of English-language tweets from a pool of 600 Twitter accounts that analysts identified as users that spread Russian propaganda.
The site was launched at a time when the Trump administration has shown reluctance to address Russian cyber attacks during ongoing investigations into whether his campaign colluded with Moscow during the 2016 election.
U.S. intelligence officials and lawmakers have warned that Russia will attempt to interfere in the 2018 congressional elections and the next presidential election in 2020.
Twitter accounts selected by the new website include those overtly involved in disinformation campaigns pushed by Russian propaganda outlets, such as RT and Sputnik, and users that share information promoting the Russian government.
It also includes automated bots and "cyborgs," or users identified as partially automated and partially human-controlled, that helped amplify Russian propaganda.
"We're not necessarily saying everyone in this list is getting a paycheck from the Kremlin," said J.M. Berger, a fellow at the German Marshall Fund, adding that the group had "very high confidence" accounts selected were spreading Russian disinformation.
U.S. intelligence agencies said Russia conducted a wide-ranging influence operation to discredit Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump, a Republican, win the 2016 election.
Russia has denied the allegations, and Trump has inconsistently embraced or challenged the assessment of his own intelligence agencies.
The research group is exploring ways to conduct similar analyses for other platforms, including Facebook, Alphabet's YouTube and Reddit, but such projects are more difficult because less data is openly accessible, Berger said.
Twitter said it was not involved in the project. It had no other comment.
The name for the website is taken from Federalist Paper 68, which was authored by U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton in 1788 as part of a series of essays anonymously published to defend the U.S. Constitution to the public.
Hamilton wrote of "protecting America's electoral process from foreign meddling" in Federalist Paper 68, Alliance for Securing Democracy wrote in a blog post. "Today, we face foreign interference of a type Hamilton could have scarcely imagined."
Japan's banks can't make money in a zero-rate world, so they're selling down their stock portfolios to meet profit targets. That's a gold mine for the lenders, and a bonus for governance.
For years, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged lenders to reduce their stakes in client companies. A bank that owns shares in a loan customer may be inclined to roll over debt indiscriminately. And the bank's own stock may be vulnerable to daily market moves if the institution holds a disproportionate amount of equity in its portfolio.
The big banks resisted these calls: Their stakes in other listed companies were little changed in the last three years, Nomura Securities Co. estimates. An extreme example is Bank of Kyoto Ltd., whose 682 billion yen ($6.2 billion) in stock holdings at the end of March exceeded its market cap. The bank, which owns hot technology shares such as Kyocera Corp., Nintendo Co. and Nidec Corp., told Bloomberg News in January 2016 that it had no intention of selling them. It's no surprise that the bank trades at only 0.5 times book value.
But a prolonged zero-rate policy is starting to bite.
Take Mitsubishi UFJ Finanancial Group Inc., the megabank that reported the best June quarter earnings of the group. The spread between its lending and deposit rates narrowed to 0.87 percent, from 0.92 percent a year ago, while the loan-to-deposit ratio was a paltry 60 percent. There's just no appetite for loans in Japan, even if corporations can borrow at less than 1 percent.
So share sales are doing the heavy lifting. The most striking case was Mizuho Financial Group Inc., which had a slight decline in net profit from a year ago. Without equity disposals, there would have been a profit warning -- capital gains from those sales accounted for more than half of income in the latest three-month period.
Thanks to those disposals, all three banks were on track to meet their guidance targets for the year that ends next March.
Even at this pace, these sales are just flakes of gold. After a 25 percent gain in the Topix Index in the last 12 months, the megabanks' portfolios are a mountain of wealth. Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. combined could have realized almost 7 trillion yen in capital gains had they sold their holdings at the end of June: That's more than 30 percent of their combined market cap.
By comparison, the banks' holdings of domestic bonds and other readily sold assets, such as foreign securities, represent hardly any upside.
Japan's banks are in a difficult place. While the rest of the G-10 countries are moving toward higher borrowing costs, the Bank of Japan is spinning its wheels, with little sign of improved lending rates.
A happy unintended consequence of that stasis, however, is that the megabanks are unwinding cross-shareholdings, and improving their governance.
The company reported revenue of almost $2.8bn (£2.1) in the three months to 30 June, up from $1.3bn during the same period last year.
Losses increased to $336m, compared with $293m last year.
But investors were encouraged by the firm's prospects and shares rose by more than 8% in after-hours trading.
Tesla, which also has a solar energy division, said about $2.3bn in revenue during the quarter came from the firm's automotive unit - roughly the same as in the previous quarter, but 93% higher than the same period in 2016.
However, the company's costs, including for research and development and sales, also rose contributing to the 15% rise in its losses for the quarter.
Tesla is preparing to ramp up car production, as it rolls out its most affordable car yet for the mass market.
Tesla told shareholders it expects revenue to grow "significantly" in the second half of the year, while expenses hold steady.
The firm delivered more than 47,000 of its earlier high-end Model S and Model X cars in the first half of 2017, growth of more than 50% from the prior year.
Since it rolled out its latest car, Model 3, last week, it is averaging more than 1,800 reservations for the car a day, it added.
The firm hopes to make 5,000 of the Model 3 cars per week by the end of 2017. The firm hopes to eventually make more than 500,000 a year at its Fremont factory - or almost 10,000 per week.
ULAANBAATAR, Aug 3 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said Mongolia's banks are preparing for a regulatory overhaul as the government introduces policies aimed at restoring economic growth following a $5.5 billion bailout the IMF granted in May.
Resource-dependent Mongolia was forced to seek IMF assistance when a collapse in foreign investment and a slump in commodity prices left it struggling to pay debts and sent its currency, the tugrik, into a tailspin.
The IMF deal required Mongolia to make a "comprehensive effort to rehabilitate the banking system" and to strengthen the central bank's independence.
Reforms are already at the drafting stage and are designed to improve supervision and regulation in the banking system, the IMF said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Mongolia will also conduct an "asset quality review" to evaluate credit risks at commercial banks, it said.
The precise impact of the reforms will depend on how quickly banks will be forced to respond, and how the central bank enforces the asset quality review, said Tomas Bravenec, deputy chief executive officer at Mongolia's Golomt Bank, one of the country's biggest private banks.
"A banking sector with a health certificate would definitely help improve Mongolia's image as an investment destination," Bravenec said.
The IMF recently held its first quarterly review meeting with Mongolian officials since agreeing the $5.5 billion extended funding facility in May.
It said changes to Mongolia's tax administration were also being planned, and would include the creation of a fiscal council to strengthen tax policy and budgetary controls.
The IMF is providing Mongolia with three years of credit worth about $434.3 million. The bailout package also includes soft loans from Japan and South Korea and an extended currency swap agreement with the People's Bank of China.
The IMF said Mongolia is using the funds to bring a "return to confidence", noting the country's economy was now rebounding, helped by strong coal exports. Coal export revenues grew more than fourfold in the first half of 2017.
The IMF predicted Mongolia would see growth of 2 percent in 2017 versus 1 percent last year. The figure pales in comparison with 2011, when growth reached an all-time high of 17.3 percent, driven by a surge in foreign mining investment and rising Chinese commodity demand.
The IMF agreement also imposed austerity measures on Mongolia, including a commitment to introduce means tests to reduce welfare spending, which became a bone of contention during the presidential election in July.
The election was eventually won by populist former martial arts star Khaltmaa Battulga of the opposition Democratic Party, who was critical of the IMF deal. (Reporting by Terrence Edwards; Editing by David Stanway and Eric Meijer)
Koshy Mathai, Head of IMF staff team briefed the President on the agreement between the IMF and Mongolia, expressing his view that it is impractical to calm down even though the economy is recovering.
President Kh.Battulga inquired if the IMF conducted an economic assessment on Mongolia. He also said that he doesn’t see the increase of budget revenue following the rise of coal price on global markets as an achievement for Mongolia. “Increase of raw material price is a temporary phenomenon”, he said, expressing concerns over the IMF’s stance on this matter.
He continued, “Mongolia’s child benefit isn’t welfare, but a policy to increase its population”. He also addressed the use of livestock as credit collateral in Mongolia, an issue the IMF is against, and said, “Livestock is the main resource Mongolians own”.
The sides exchanged views on diversification of Mongolia’s economy and export of value added goods.
BANGKOK -- Shoppers in Southeast Asia have long been wondering when Amazon.com will start offering its e-commerce services in their region.
Local and regional e-tailers have been wondering the same thing. Taking the U.S. giant's eventual arrival as a given, they have been racing to fortify their own positions, none more so than Alibaba Group Holding. The Chinese internet behemoth has been stepping up its offensive since 2016, when it became clear that Amazon was on its way.
Amazon finally landed in Southeast Asia on July 27. For many market players and analysts, this signals the start of a long and fierce battle between the Eastern and Western champions of e-commerce. But the arrival is likely to have repercussions far beyond Amazon and Alibaba, changing the fundamental dynamics of competition for players in every market in the region.
Amazon has begun its foray by dipping its toe in the small but dense urban market of Singapore, bringing its Prime Now service, which is tailor-made for urban residential areas.
According to the company, the service offers two-hour delivery on tens of thousands of items, including groceries, daily-use goods such as shampoo and diapers, and home electronics. Prime Now is offered only through a dedicated app, however. The company stopped short of opening a full-service website for Singapore, a move that has drawn some complaints on social media.
Limited though this first sally may be, Amazon has faithfully replicated its signature asset-heavy "click-and-mortar" business model in Singapore, setting up its own massive warehouse, or "fulfillment center," as the company calls such facilities.
"We use advanced techniques and algorithms to fulfill orders as quickly and efficiently as possible with processes such as random stow, batching and machine learning," said Ivan Lim, Amazon's Singapore logistics site leader, at a launch event held inside the new center.
S. Iswaran, Singapore's trade minister, was also in attendance. He said he expects Amazon's technologies to produce "significant gains in labor productivity and infrastructure utilization, as well as near real-time delivery of goods in the city." The Singapore government is also happy with the arrival of a new large-scale employer. According to Lim, the site already employs hundreds of workers.
Regarding plans to expand the geographic scope of service in Southeast Asia, Henry Low, director of Prime Now for the Asia-Pacific region, said in an interview with Bloomberg: "I am super-excited about prospects in Southeast Asia, with its burgeoning [middle-class] population. This is a great place for us to be in." Many took this as a declaration that Amazon is eager to enter other Southeast Asian markets and will use Singapore as its base camp for regional expansion. The company declined to elaborate on Low's remarks.
Some employees at an IT company in the US state of Wisconsin are having a microchip that contains personal information implanted in their hands.
The chip allows employees to open doors and log onto computers by simply waving their hand.
Workers can also buy products from in-house stores.
About half of the company's 80 employees agreed to voluntarily implant the microchip with the prick of a needle.
Officials at the firm say this is the first such endeavor in the US.
Some employees were reluctant about implanting a foreign object in their hand and wanted to know more about the long-term health effects.
Experts in the information security field are also worried the technology could be used to track and monitor people in the future.
Kiev has significantly increased natural gas purchases from Europe this year. These are reverse supplies of Russian gas purchased by European countries from Gazprom.
Through July, Ukraine imported 8.14 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas. 6.3 bcm from Slovakia, 1.58 bcm from Hungary with the rest from Poland.
Ukraine stopped buying directly from the Russian energy firm Gazprom in November 2015 and now buys the gas at its Western border.
In July, Oilprice.com reported that buying reverse gas from Europe is more expensive than buying it from Russia. This costs Kiev an additional $35-40 million a month, the media reported.
The Russia-Ukraine gas transit contract expires in 2019 and Moscow has repeatedly said Ukraine will lose its status as a key transit hub.
The Nord Stream pipeline is already delivering Russian gas directly to Germany, bypassing Ukraine. A second pipeline will double the annual capacity of 55 bcm of gas per year.
However, Gazprom has faced obstacles from the United States, Poland, and the Baltic countries.
Even without Nord Stream-2, Ukraine is likely to be left with a fraction of the gas transit it is used to. In 2017, Gazprom plans to export 90 bcm through Ukraine, and the volume is expected to drop to 15 bcm after the contract expires. Russia is the only country likely to use Ukraine's transportation system.
The meeting on promoting Mongolia-India trade and transportation logistics was held www.mongolianbusinessdatabase.com
According to the joint initiatives of Indian Embassy in Mongolia and Mongolian Business Database (MBD), “Mongolia-India trade & transportation: challenges and opportunities” consultative meeting was held today at Indian Embassy in Ulaanbaatar.
Mr.V.Enkhbold, Head of Foreign trade and economic cooperation department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr.Ravi Shanker Goel Charge’d Affairs of India to Mongolia, I.Ser-Od Founder and CEO of MBD, B.Ganzorig CEO of the Federation of Mongolian Freight Forwarding, U.Gerelmaa Advisory Board member of the Federation, the top managers of the Mongolian freight forwarders including “Tuushin”, “Mon Logistics”, “SBL”, “Landex” companies and related officers of the Ministries are took a part of this event.
The participants discussed the key obstacles and challenges of the trade barrier, opportunities to reduce the transportation cost, generate B2B relations of two countries and agreed to follow up the concrete actions for the mission.
Mr.Ravi Shanker said “Mongolia and India have a historic long term friendly relations however our trade and business cooperation is not really satisfactory enough. We wish that Mongolian businesses take a part of one of the leading economy in the world which is attracting 50-60 bln USD amounted annual FDI that has 500 mln middle class buyers which definitely can be assumed the potential market for Mongolian exporters”
Mr.Enkhbold said “We do pay a serious attention to Mongolia-India partnership however the geographical condition and distance between us makes a barrier to improve the trade. We need develop the cooperation by businesses in mutual countries like say for example the transportation logistics companies need to have a load on both ways etc. We as a Ministry of Foreign affairs working with the neighbor countries in order to facilitate the transit load for reducing the cost of actual products and expecting to have a concrete result in the near future”
For the first half of 2017, the trade between China and Mongolia reached $3.1 billion, an increase of 44.2 percent year-on-year, Qian Keming, vice minister of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), told a press briefing.
As of June 2017, China's non-financial direct investment (FDI) in Mongolia totaled $4.1 billion. Contributing to 30 percent of the country's FDI, China is the second biggest foreign investor in Mongolia, official data also showed.
To take China-Mongolia commercial cooperation to a new high, China will work with Mongolia to synergize the Belt and Road initiative and the Development Road strategy, tapping into respective comparative advantages for strengthened cooperation in infrastructure, agriculture, mining, resources and people's livelihoods, Qian said.
The second China-Mongolia Expo is scheduled to be held in Hohhot, capital of North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, from September 26 to 30 to function as a new platform for China and Mongolia relations, MOFCOM announced on Tuesday.
The theme of the expo is "Building China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, Embracing Global Cooperation and Win-win Results", Ai Lihua, Vice Chairperson of Inner Mongolia, told a press briefing. Both countries believe this is an optimistic platform that will enhance trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges and cooperation in Northeast Asia.
China has been Mongolia's largest trading partner for a dozen or so years. In 2016, their bilateral trade stood at $4.61 billion, accounting for 60 percent of Mongolia's total foreign trade, according to official data. The two countries' economic and technical cooperation keeps deepening. To continue advancing the development of the ties, China has made efforts in assisting Mongolia in infrastructure, people's livelihoods and consumer goods as well as training over 3,600 people across the sectors.
"Our bilateral cooperation mechanisms see continuous innovation. The two sides have actively leveraged the Mongolia-China Joint Committee on Economic and Trade Cooperation," Qian also said. "The two countries are also exploring the Erlianhot-Zamyn-Uud Cross-border Economic Cooperation Zone. The feasibility of a China-Mongolia free trade agreement will also be determined shortly," Qian continued.