Tag Archives: Middle East

Business will be booming

There are all kinds of settings in the tech industry, some we like and some we like a lot less. It is the most visible in the mobile industry, the clear discriminatory setting there is almost unheard of. No matter what the reason is, a person for the most is iOS (Apple) minded, or they tend to go the way of the Android (Google, Huawei et al). There is for the most no in-between there. The reasons are as wide as the drops of water in a lake on a rainy day and for some these reasons make sense, or they do not. Yet we all tend to have them. I have been and remain an Android follower. I have nothing against apple. The initial setting was done by their marketing departments. Where Apple gave us: ‘You can do all these things and it is a phone too‘ and Android gave us: ‘This phone can do all kinds of things, some you will not have believed was even possible‘. I went the way of Android. You see, they are stating the same thing, yet Android focussed on a phone that can do other things. Apple went towards the things they could do, including being a phone. So from my point of view, I needed a phone, so I went the non-iOS way.

I know that in the end the difference is negligible, but it did matter. So it is a little over three years when I got myself (because it was a bargain) the Huawei P7. The difference from the previous phone (Motorola) was so distinct I became a Huawei fan overnight. Now that it is time to put that phone to bed and switch it off for the last time, I find myself clinging onto the idea that I need a new Huawei. Let me be clear, apart from my distinct non liking Samsung (a past issue I had with them), I do think that the other brands are decent too. Yet, when you have the option for a Google Pixel 2 XL, or a Huawei P20 close to $500 cheaper, what will you choose? Let’s also consider that the difference is almost nil, well it is not nil but the real differences do not stand out too much, not worth $500 as I see it. For me, if I get that phone, it will be a 300% improvement of what I have now and I am not dissatisfied with what I have, it merely has been acting up and after 3 years of working 24:7, that makes perfect sense. The little workhorse has earned its retirement. So when I started to look around, and I took a new look at the P20 and P20 pro, which is a $300 difference, I wondered why I would want the P20 pro for the usage I have. I have been able to do everything I needed with 2 GB RAM, so the 4 GB and  6GB RAM issue is not one I need to worry about. Both come with 128 GB storage, which is 800% more than I have now and even as I ran out of storage merely once, it did not worry me to any degree. The camera options are not the same, yet the PRO has an additional 40 MP camera option, which is slightly over the top need for someone who uses an EOS 1 Camera. The only issue is the battery, it is 3400 mAh versus 4000 mAh and I am not sure that this constitutes the value of $300 difference, not on my budget. More important, the P20 holds its own against the $1500 phones out there and when you consider the fact that it is 30% cheaper, what would you choose? This constitutes a difference that is well over a week’s rent for some people, so there is that to consider as well.

Yet, it is not about that part, it is that Huawei has seen the light of opportunity in both Saudi Arabia and Egypt, so when we see (at https://www.albawaba.com/business/pr/huawei-announces-%E2%80%98vip%E2%80%99-service-p20-pro-saudi-arabia-1135384), the fact that branding is getting momentum in the Middle East with their Huawei Consumer Business Group and their “a ‘VIP’ service for its customers in Saudi Arabia through its authorized service centres for any customer buys Huawei P20 Pro with Huawei KSA warranty”. Some call it marketing, which in all fairness it actually is, yet with 95 million people in Egypt and 33 million in the KSA, the market could be booming for Huawei, even as an Apple store is coming in 2019, the Apple SA store is pointing towards “Apple-designed outlets located within selected Apple resellers and other retail shops. Many are staffed with Apple-trained experts who can help you to find the right solution for you“, which is a perfectly valid and acceptable text. Yet, when you can consider an ‘outlet’ versus “Huawei has announced “Huawei Flex” which is a free drop off service in which customer can drop his device for service in more than 300 locations across kingdom for Huawei device under Saudi Arabia warranty to be send for Huawei Authorized service centre for warranty repair and return“, we see that Huawei is on the ball (I am not saying that Apple is not), but the service minded sales pitch is clearly there and as we see: “Pablo Ning, President of Huawei Consumer Business Group Saudi Arabia said: “The Kingdom is a strategic market for us, and this announcement reflects our commitment to doing business in the region. It is our effort to always cater to the specific needs of the markets we operate in. Recognising the needs of our loyal customers in the Kingdom, we are very pleased to announce these services and we are looking forward to announcing many more unique offers for them in the future”“, we see that even as we realise that too is a marketing setting, it also states that Huawei means business. With a chunk of a 125 million customer base, these two alone could drive sales even further in the Middle Eastern nations; in addition, the Huawei centre is rumoured to be coming to Neom, which could drive the brand even further. Even Forbes was recognising the growth Huawei had in 2017, even though we do take notice of the fact that anti-Chinese sentiments in the US barred the phone from the US markets, we need to realise that the planet is a lot bigger than the 325 million in the US. Also consider the fact that Huawei does a lot more than merely smartphones and the opening of the market that is a third of the US population matters, in addition the 740 million Europeans are now more than ever looking for a good deal. So the group of people who have the cash to go all out and get a phone $500 more expensive is shrinking fast. Yet Huawei is not out of the woods there either. It is up against Samsung and Samsung is doing a good job of gaining ground. In there we see that Apple is losing their footing, losing sales share in the UK, France and Spain. So even as some had growth, iOS was merely growing at 0.1%, against Android 2.8%, that is a massive difference, and Huawei is tinkering very effectively on these two markets. Although, I have to admit (speculatively) that the largest growth was due to the release of the Google Pixel family. Still Huawei remains in the fight of growth and its setting in the Middle East is as assertive as it gets. I reckon that if Pablo Ning pulls it off, he might be looking forward to his new apartment overlooking Chaoyang Park in Beijing. It is that extreme because the market share that Huawei has to grow is pretty astounding. You see, not everyone is looking towards the coolest marketed phone that most cannot normally afford, in the Middle East revenue is often set towards pragmatism and that is a setting that Marketing on a global basis tends to be unfocussed on. It is in this setting that mobile phones will gain traction in sales. So when we consider the progress that Huawei is making towards growth by going via the support and customer care path, or as Pablo Ning phrases it “the needs of our loyal customers in the Kingdom“, we see not some message on selling a phone like ‘iPhone X, Say hello to the future‘ with after that ‘Sales, Apple Authorized Resellers‘ or ‘Sales, Apple Authorized Resellers‘ but with ““Huawei Flex” which is a free drop off service in which customer can drop his device for service in more than 300 locations across kingdom for Huawei device under Saudi Arabia warranty to be send for Huawei Authorized service centre for warranty repair and return“, we see that Huawei means business. It is not about the initial sale, it is putting to bed any worry the consumer has afterwards and the Huawei version sells much stronger than the other messages and that is how commercial traction leaps forward making it market share gain. The lower sales threshold only speeds it up. In that we see that “aiming of strengthening its business base, its operations and customer service in the Kingdom“, is not just vital for growth of Huawei, the commitment of 5G in Saudi Arabia as it is at present, will only fuel the need for the Huawei smartphone (and smart phones in general); with its upcoming Huawei Mate 30 (Q3 2019) Huawei could give a further boost, as those buying today would be ready for a new phone just as the Mate 30 will be released and it will drive it a lot faster if it is both 4G and 5G enabled (which is not officially confirmed), so as Apple and others are looking to open a shop at that point, we will see that if (consider that it is an ‘if) Huawei kept its services and exceeded the expectations of the consumer, they will have a much larger advantage and as such Google might profit with their own Android phones on the coattails of Huawei. This is shown in another way too. Statista (at https://www.statista.com/statistics/271774/share-of-android-platforms-on-mobile-devices-with-android-os/) gives a view that takes some mulling. When we consider the Android market share, we see that the largest part is owned by Marshmallow (v6) and Nougat (v7), so that means that those who update now to Oreo (v8) will be most likely to update the moment 5G is out, those who delay more than 6 months are not likely, or better stated less likely to update more than once, so either they miss out on 5G or are in a much smaller segment (not serious smartphone users). So they use it as a phone and that is it, which is fair enough, because a phone is a phone and for that 5G is not essential. Yet when we consider that this group is almost 37%, there is an option for smartphone sales everywhere to evolve those users towards a more smartphone driven use of apps and data, yet what are these consumers made of? There is no data that I had at my disposal, yet finding out is actually a lot more important here. If we know what the consumer needs, we can see if there is a better solution in new hardware, not merely because of the security risk that older phones hold, the fact that smartphone functionality is optionally missed out on is basically a sales opportunity missed and when it affects an optional 37% slice of smartphones it starts to matter as that involves a serious amount of cash. Now we need to accept that it is not merely the phone, for the larger places like the island of Australia mobile data was until last year pretty expensive, so why upgrade when the data used will monthly kill your budget? to go from 15GB a month for $65 in 2016 to 200Gb for $70 in 2018 is actually a massive leap and not all places have made such changes, so not everyone is on board yet, but with 5G that will change by a lot, not only will they drive down the 4G data prices, but the mobile setting in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia (outside of Cairo and Riyadh) will drive the need of people much larger. The fact that Egyptian TV outside of the large cities is not fabulous, for these people to suddenly get a clear reception of matches of Al Ahly SC or Zamalek SC could drive sales, so the larger the part of that 37% slice is actually found in the Middle East, the easier the upgrade sales will get; when we consider the joke (that is how I personally see the Vodafone Egypt site), as well as the clarity of http://www.egyptsim.com/, we see that there is still space to improve it all and Huawei is in an interesting place to make that happen. In addition, the Egyptsim site shows a setting that was almost the 2016 setting in Australia, so they are not that far behind, so when we see the evolution where the prices reflect 500% if what they offer now (which is what we can get in places like Australia nowadays), we see a more competitive setting where upgrading any smartphone will become the essential need of anyone wanting to use such amounts of bandwidth. Even a mere 50 GB at €15 could change the game, it will drive app use, phone use and more important, the need for phone upgrades and competitive phones will become more and more desired. This is shown in direct opposition to the anti-Huawei feelings that we see from America (at https://www.politico.eu/article/huawei-china-ghost-in-europe-telecom-machine/), a story from last January. So in all this when we see “The Chinese tech giant is banned from bidding for government contracts in the U.S. over concerns that its telecommunication equipment could be used for spying by Beijing“, that whilst it refers right next to it a story regarding ‘Mark Zuckerberg hearing: As it happened‘, in all this Huawei is a concern? As the US has not even got clear legislation on data and as we see the Facebook events, I can state that some people have their mindset in the wrong place. In addition, if we can believe the Daily Mail who gave us “Google caught using $580 million worth of Australians’ phone data to spy on them by monitoring their movements“, so in that, is Google getting government contracts? And if the second is true, why is there no outcry in that setting? Is it about the company, or where the revenue is going to? It is a multiple facetted setting of greed, technology and whose ego is the largest to present. How does that help the consumer who wants a good affordable phone, if the Google Pixel and Huawei phones offer the same thing, yet Huawei can do it 30% cheaper, why would we want the more expensive one, our privacy? Facebook gave that away and there is no actual act in place to thwart that, in addition, the US senate hearing gave more and more reluctance as we seem to get the impression that these senators do not even comprehend technology in its basic foundation. We merely have to look back at the moment with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who asks on: ‘how do you sustain a business model where users don’t pay for your services‘, the answer by Mark Zuckerberg was priceless: ‘Senator, we run ads!“. When we are confronted with such a level of what I regard to be ignorance towards business reality, that is the not party we should rely on when they state to us: “its telecommunication equipment could be used for spying by Beijing“, yet in that foundation, not one piece of evidence has been presented that this is actually the case. The “potential for secret ‘backdoors’” is astounding. Not one piece of evidence, not one setting that gives any level of reliability on ‘potential‘. I wonder how many of these gentlemen have been receiving calls from Cisco, Apple, IBM and other parties on their fear of China getting a slice of American business, or perhaps it is even more simple. With American firms the government of the USA can make tax deals, because the inability of paying invoices can always get bartered on a national level, not international. And there is where Huawei has its opportunity. As it grows its segments in both Europe and the Middle East it can potentially grow the services they offer as the reach of those services and in that light and the next level of growth towards 5G, we see that Huawei has a growing distinction against all competitors. It can offer a new price range, one that consumers have not had for the longest of times and it can place a setting where customer loyalty can grow towards Huawei as it offers something affordable, now when the providers think it is time, but when the consumers need them, which is always a war that works in favour of the consumer. It is a war of settings between optionally, actually, and eventually. The first one offering it has the benefit. Yet is Huawei ready to make that commitment? I do not know, yet should Huawei grace the settings and be announced as a participant of the new high tech city Neom, at that point you can be decently certain that Huawei will become a much larger player in the Middle East and from that, growth in Europe will be a near certainty. Business for Huawei will be booming and it all started by making high end mobiles an affordable item for those not in high paying jobs, or forced to get themselves chained to a two year contract with a telecom provider.

 

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Tubing it along

There is news, news that has been about a few weeks and I have kept an iLook on it. In one part it is as techofreak as it gets, so I should be on board the moment it launches, it is so versatile that it has no other option than to change lives on a global scale, yet there is the issue that it is so new that it is a little scary. That is the reality of all new technology; consider the first 10,000 Facebook accounts, the first 100,000 internet users. It all starts in a small geeky way and this will be no difference. It had more presence in the Saudi Arabia Vision 2030, so that is why I took another look. You see, the entire matter is not merely where it is, but it is how the technology is adapted, that is the first part in all this. To set this in the proper light, we need to take a step back. In the UK they have the HS2. So when we see the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-16473296), we see “The initial plan is for a new railway line between London and the West Midlands carrying 400m-long (1,300ft) trains with as many as 1,100 seats per train. They would operate at speeds of up to 250mph – faster than any current operating speed in Europe – and would run as often as 14 times per hour in each direction“, so when we consider London – Birmingham we see ‘1 h 25 min’, as their fast option at present, which at 117 miles, makes the HS2 a 45 minute saving, so how many billions is that going to cost? Now consider that each one technical glitch will cut the 45 minutes. Now, I am all for progress, now when we go by two numbers we see “a projected cost of £56 billion, up from the initial cost of £32.7 billion in 2010“, we see that 8 years ago, they had it wrong by close to 100%, so we see a waste of £56 billion plain and simple. The UK could fix its schools for that amount of money and overall, there is absolutely no reason to go that distance, it is just too short. Now we get to the next stage of travel.

Welcome to Hyperloop!

Now as we see this in the Saudi Arabian setting it changes, you see when we look (at https://www.tahawultech.com/news/virgin-hyperloop-one-unveils-vision-2030-pod/) we see ‘Traveling from Riyadh to Jeddah would take 76 minutes (currently over 10 hours) utilising the land bridge for both passenger and freight movement, positioning KSA as the gateway to 3 continents‘ as well as ‘Traveling from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi would take 48 minutes (currently over 8.5 hours)‘, so here we see a clear forward momentum. Not merely 45 minutes gain, but gains that take away 90% of the travel time, now we are talking improvements! I never quite understood the HS movement, not in the UK (where there is some benefit) and even less in the Netherlands where the improvements are as shallow as it gets, all this ‘good for the economy‘ whilst I think it greased the careers of certain people, and in the end nothing for the citizens, and the less stated on the Dutch government joke called Fyra at a mere €11 billion loss, it is not a lot if you say the amount fast!

So even as we are burning ourselves all over Europe on high speed trains Hyperloop technology is different, you go by tube (as literally as it gets) and within that tube you have the option to truly accelerate, the nice setting that this will reflect on cargo and passengers alike, so it is also versatile. So when we read “The hyperloop-enabled transportation sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will stimulate economic growth and diversification of Saudi industries, according to Virgin Hyperloop One. It will also nurture the manufacturing and innovation sectors, and spur job growth in support of the country’s Vision 2030 plan increasing the GDP 1-2 percent across the Kingdom“, we are not seeing the whole picture. You see it is almost a lot bigger than that. The currently planned £380 billion mega city Neom would be an optional first as well, so Riyadh would be linked to Neom, which now is set to connect Egypt and Jordan, it also opens the doors almost directly to Sharm-El-Sheik as well as the Israeli city of Eilat, all golden opportunities which allows Saudi Arabia to grow the economy in Riyadh on a much larger foundation than ever before. In all this Cargo and passengers are set to near exponential growth, especially in the short term. So we have near direct connections between Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in the centre of all this. It will not take long for these nations to grow all kinds of alliances and commerce will flourish like nothing we have seen before and Virgin, with its Hyperloop One is in the centre of this growth. Even as Europe is trying to get something similar rolling, we see that France is alas out of cash for such an endeavour (at present) ‘Hyperloop gives cash-strapped French cities hope‘ (at https://www.thenational.ae/business/economy/hyperloop-gives-cash-strapped-french-cities-hope-1.726967), it is a stretch, but it makes a lot of sense for France to get involved in all this, in their setting Hyperloop makes sense, especially regarding cargo (cheese and wine settings anyone). So when I see “TransPod’s technology is based on magnetic propulsion and electrified tracks, moving pods through a vacuum tunnel designed to reduce friction. As with most Hyperloop projects, the bulk of the estimated costs are for deploying infrastructure. Co-founder Sebastien Gendron estimates his company needs €20 million (Dh88.1m) in financing to complete the Limoges project at the current stage, and says he’ll raise half of that from private investors“, in all this, I am surprised that no one there called Ubisoft (more specifically Christian Guillemot, Claude Guillemot, Gérard Guillemot, Michel Guillemot or Yves Guillemot), they have the cash and more important, to be the founders of something this futuristic that will be moving through France with the Ubisoft symbol would be worth its weight of a train in gold I’d imagine.

So back to Saudi Arabia, the one part I do disagree with is ‘in support of the country’s Vision 2030 plan increasing the GDP 1-2 percent across the Kingdom‘, you see, once the line is in place, it will spur the economy in more ways, beyond tourism and beyond cargo, for close to double that prediction. A system that far ahead will also spur infrastructures growth as the rest of the world will be lagging behind, especially where engineering is concerned. They all claim they have ‘the technology‘ yet at present there is a lot more reliability that under these settings it will only be running in the KSA in a more serious setting in the foreseeable future and that is where the advantage grows, in addition, when the travel times are shifted to those degrees, emergency surgeries, medical disasters when Hyperloop technologies transfers and adjusts in more than one perk, we will see both the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centres in Riyadh and Jeddah grow abilities to attain options because they are now less than 2 hours apart. That transfers to all manner of services, when they are no longer separated by time to that degree, it will drive a lot more than the ones we see at present. and let’s not forget, this is merely the first degree of Hyperloop, as the engineers figure out a lot more than is currently possible, the growth will blossom further, and as we see forward momentum on this scale, we understand that there are risks, you when the gain is not 45 minutes, but 90% travel time is reduced the picture shifts a lot further on a larger scale. Even as we were introduced to ‘tube’ transport in Logan’s Run in 1976, we never imagined that it would be an actual solution, not until now do we see that there are places where it is more than a solution, it is the drive to move forward on nearly every field.

So even as I accept that we are not there yet and there are all kinds of issues down the line, movement is now a given, and even a some used the London underground map and added some Hyperloop fun to it, the setting is not that impossible on some part of those tracks. It is a part where all technology can move forward, we merely have to adapt parts of it. Consider that change as new venues of technology open will up, and there is serious cash to be made for all the players in this field, you merely have to find the niche where your solution fits.

That is where Vision 2030 is now becoming a driving force, not merely because there is $500 billion to be found, but because those who do get their working solution in place, for those there is a lot more to be made over time, Saudi Arabia is merely the pilot, it is the global setting where profit becomes a very serious opportunity, it will drive the now nearly born new Nouveau Riche generation to a very new level with amounts the previous generation never ever dreamed of.

When you sit down and consider the map, we do not merely see Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, we see that Saudi Arabia has the opportunity become the axial for those three continents, an option we never would considered as realistic when Vision 2030 launched 10 years ago, now that picture is shifting and with the growing technologies as Saudi Arabia is embracing these new opportunities we see a shifting picture, even as oil might be funding this, the reliance on it is fading a lot faster than we thought possible, not merely through Hyperloop, but through the changes all the technologies enable one another with and that also gives new directions, because it is no longer about volatility  (as Saudi Arabia was accused of by others in a previous blog), it is about stability and the enabled stability that these solutions bring.

For in the end making money will always win over waging war, that has been proven for the longest of times.

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Poly….what? Politics!

It is almost a week ago, yet the news is still rustling through the Middle Eastern meadows. The news is partially all over it. Yet, it is the Business Insider who gave us ‘a plot to shore up the country’s depleted coffers’ (at http://www.businessinsider.com/saudi-arabia-corruption-crackdown-looks-like-a-plot-to-plug-deficit-2017-12), Ambrose Carey makes an interesting point here. The beginning quote “Now a more probable motive for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s unprecedented detention of members of the country’s rich elite is emerging. Reports suggest that detainees are signing away cash and assets to secure their freedom in what looks like an unorthodox bid to plug the kingdom’s gaping budget deficit” could be a given truth. When we consider the Guardian last week with ‘Saudi prince Miteb bin Abdullah pays $1bn in corruption settlement‘, some of us thought that it was interesting not just that the counts of corruption had already been investigated, the idea that there was a ‘get out of jail card‘ for a mere $1,000,000,000 is equally stunning, that I beside the fact that the sum has been agreed upon and that the head of the Saudi National Guard is apparently still smiling after having paid the amount. In light of one of the accusations “awarding contracts to his own firms, including a $10bn deal for walkie talkies and bulletproof military gear worth billions of Saudi riyals” we could see that the price is interestingly light. So does the Business insider have a case?

Well, when we consider how the oil prices have slumped from the almighty $135 to $58 we all have to wonder how the impact on the long term has been. pumping oil might be like printing money at your own convenience, but once the spending spree and the high rises are there, the long term issue is that oil is at 42% of what was and upping production by 193% is just not realistic in the long term. Yet there is another worry. the quote “a huge budget deficit, which stood at $79 billion in 2016. The government has had to use foreign reserves to help cover the revenue shortfall, with the former shrinking by about a third over the last three years. The recession has forced MbS to rein back public spending, alarming cosseted Saudis long accustomed to cradle-to-grave subsidies” does not give it. Even as that is merely the deficit, that and the selling of domestic debt in July gives rise to thoughts, yet we need to wonder how inflated this issue is, as it seems to be presented. Lets not forget that it is less than 10% of the Greek debt and unlike Greece, Saudi Arabia is still getting income from the oil fields. So the need to panic should not be there. And lets face it, who is actually panicking?

Even as the Business Insider is making a nice case. I fear I cannot agree on some of the ‘findings‘ and ‘assumed speculations‘ that they offer. With “So, in all likelihood, MbS will struggle to generate the money he needs. Worse still for him, his actions could have deleterious consequences for the economy. While the acquisition of assets and cash is likely to play well with ordinary Saudis weary of corruption amongst the royals and the business elite, it may unnerve already jittery foreign investors whose engagement is critical to the Crown Prince’s economic plans. Though allies have sought to portray the detentions as an anti-graft campaign aimed at cleaning up the corporate landscape, its apparently arbitrary nature and disregard for property rights and due process will worry the investment community“. You see, it might be correct to some extent, but knowing the greed that some have for mere millions, roughly 99.32554% of that population will not run away from optional billions, that is a given you can take to the bank. From my own point of view, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman can still have it all, the timeline might slip a little, but there are clear signs that there are options to grow opportunity within Saudi Arabia. They still have options to rival Al Jazeera if certain censoring is changed, By investing into tertiary degrees for Saudi’s its dependency for foreign workers will go down, which would be a massive boost for Saudi Arabia and as Saudi Arabia grows its entertainment network it can start opening doors on setting a 5G environment which will have them being amongst those leading the charge in the next mobile evolution which will enable a lot more industry all over the Middle East. In this aging day, pharmaceutical options seem to be the next step. There is no way it can compete with India, but in partnership with India they will have options to grow this industry internally. It seems like that need is too small for Saudi Arabia, yet with 28 million people it could profit by having an industry that is mainly for export within the Middle East that is comprised of 410 million people. That is still a large market that cannot be ignored and as the quality is proven and the export grows, Saudi Arabia could see a drastically reduced need for oil soon thereafter. There are more technology options for Saudi Arabia to enjoy, but the clear path of larger growth has been proven on several counts in several nations to be within the mobile and pharmaceutical industry and that could be the growing start for an entire next generation, because these two fields will have an almost exponential need for Patent lawyers, which means that the legal field will be pushed into revolutionary growth soon after that. Mind you, not merely a local growth, the IP field would enable global growth for Saudi Arabia as well and as this field is set in stone (or marble) it will attract even more foreign investors and opportunity seekers. All issues clearly set in this field and in this the Business Insider is still on the horse that states “The Crown Prince has staked his reputation on the success of an ambitious economic transformation plan, Vision 2030, to wean the country off its dependence on oil, but he needs to fund planned reforms and projects. He was banking on a part-floatation of the national oil company Aramco, which appears to have been postponed for at least a year. The ruthless purge and financial strong-arming could now deter the very western investors and regulators needed to move forward with the sell-off“, yet there is no given that other fields need to stop getting a foothold and as these two (or three) elements are grown within Saudi Arabia, other players will find options to get their own kind of fuzzy drink labelled ‘profit’ in their hands and as such they will still be fighting for a seat at this table called vision 2030. Even as the venue per plate is much higher than expected, the long terms gains are beyond what they are able to make now. With US deficits on the rise, the EU currently has 6 nations that are at risk of breaking the deficit rule (France, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Portugal and Slovenia), so there will be consequences there too, which would imply diminished profit, so those players are looking for seats at tables with loads of gain and that is where Saudi Arabia is one of the few that would accommodate their needs. So as such, Saudi Arabia has options if they have optional controls for greedy mobs. And even as there will be good news stories coming from Strasbourg, there will be eyes on the EU as it will likely dial down the consequences for these six nations. In addition with the Mario Draghi stimulus game where we will see a likely extension into 2018 yet at a lessened 30 billion a month implies that Europe will be diving into close to half a trillion of additional debt, with the likely result that there will be nothing to show for it, no actual economic growth, so in all this debt driven society, Saudi Arabia could have a larger windfall if it plays its cards right. Once certain plays are in place, Saudi Arabia would be more and more primed for export and exporting opportunities to places that ignored and neglected its own infrastructure. In this the US would have to cut costs and corners to a level never seen before as it optionally faces the ridicule for being at best at par and more likely to stray behind Saudi Arabia in the 5G mobile networking, a field they were once the only one dominating in. What a massive set back that will be for the old USA. In this Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could have the forefront by preferring the Polytechnic sciences over Politics. In his role he cannot avoid politics, but by focussing on Science and technology he has the option to propel Saudi Arabia beyond what others thought possible. So even as it has its issues with deficits and treasury needs, can we rely on the Business Insider that it is so much worse than we expect? I for one am not convinced that this is the case. I might be wrong, but the fact that the larger players are still willing to sell their first born for a seat at that table makes me think that there are a lot more opportunities for investors than many perceive. the question becomes does the House of Saud feel safe letting these opportunities go beyond the national borders to other players? It is always a rocky road to travel. In the end I do believe that it is more about the speed of growth and less about who owns the growth. that should keep plenty of investors tallying their optional profits for some time to come.

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Stupid after the fact

We have always heralded stupidity, some in their work sphere, and some in the private sphere. It happens. Yet, when we are lucky we get to see the rarest of events, ‘greedy and stupid’ in one neatly wrapped package. That is the view we need to take when we see the Associated Press give us the events of ‘Carlos Nuzman, president of the Brazilian Olympic committee‘. So as we are treated with “In total, 11 detention warrants were issued for people in both Brazil and France in what police dubbed “Operation Unfair Play.”” we need to wonder how this came about. Now, there is the non-existing reality of ‘honour amongst thieves’, yet when it comes to the corrupt that rule will never exist. Most of these people are merely one skip away from being a target themselves. So when we see that the associated press gives us not a lot to go on (most merely circumstantial facts). The NY Times (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/08/sports/olympics/whistle-blower-says-he-told-of-rio-olympics-corruption-years-ago.html), has a lot more. With “Mr. Maleson, an outspoken critic of Mr. Nuzman, made accusations about Olympic projects and asked the I.O.C. why it had not prevented Mr. Nuzman, 75, from occupying the dual roles of leader of the Rio 2016 organizing committee and chief of Brazil’s national Olympic committee. “This is a clear conflict of interests, and the I.O.C. should never have allowed this to happen,” Mr. Maleson wrote in a Sept. 6, 2014, email to the I.O.C.’s president, Thomas Bach, and the organization’s judicial body. He contacted the I.O.C. in 2012 to accuse Mr. Nuzman of corruption and election fraud“, here we see systematic failures of organisations that grew beyond their means of comprehension. Consider the time-line. When we consider the Oxford Olympics Study 2016, with: “the outturn cost of the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics at USD 5 billion in 2015-dollars and cost overrun at 90% in real terms. This includes sports-related costs only, that is, (i) operational costs incurred by the organizing committee for the purpose of staging the Games, e.g., expenditures for technology, transportation, workforce, administration, security, catering, ceremonies, and medical services, and (ii) direct capital costs incurred by the host city and country or private investors to build, e.g., the competition venues, the Olympic village, international broadcast center, and media and press center, which are required to host the Games. Indirect capital costs are not included, such as for road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or for hotel upgrades or other business investment incurred in preparation for the Games but not directly related to staging the Games“, The paper by Bent Flyvbjerg, Allison Stewart and Alexander Budzier (The Oxford Olympics Study 2016) shows levels of failure. The mere realisation of cost overruns that goes into multiple editions of 100% makes it a multi-billion dollar cash cow and there are too many players eager to dip their private (or is that privacy) parts into the golden troth of exploitation. Now, this does not state that Carlos Nuzman is corrupt; it merely gives us the setting. With the NY Times, we see that there is a much larger issue. The fact that there are clear records that there were issues and oppositions, whilst we now see that nothing was done, shows larger levels of failure that seem to be more about not rocking the boat, than to stop hurting the utterly broken image of the Olympics. When we consider the person linked to this, we see that Eric Leme Walther Maleson is the founder and former president of the Brazilian Ice Sports Federation has a long lasting life in sports and winner of three bronze medals in the sport, so we have a winner. This man seems to have been devoted to sports for most of his life. So it is a voice the Olympic committee should not have ignored. You see, the broken image of the Olympics, an image that went from excellence in sports towards the need for big business to promote their products under the guise of media exploitation is utterly void of spirit. Coca Cola, Dow, Intel, Samsung and Visa have changed that landscape. Agreeing to a situation that shows a growing curve of getting it all (namely the infrastructure) in place. You see, the earlier mentioned paper is important, even as we see “cost per athlete has been increasing for both the Summer Games and Winter Games, driven mainly by London 2012 and Sochi 2014. Overall, however, the changes over time are statistically non-significant for both Summer Games“, it is important as we know, or should know that the Olympics are set in three parts: ‘The event, the players and the cost of the location’. If the increase of cost per athlete had been significant, we would have had a less to go on, so with them out of the equation (and take the massive cost for Sochi 2014 away) we now have two elements: ‘The event’, which gives rise to internal corruption of stakeholders and sponsors; with the internal corruption of sponsors not in the mix (at present). We are left with the location and the stakeholders. Now, we all agree that the cost of everything goes up, but consider “15 of 19 Games (79 percent) have cost overruns above 50 percent and 9 of 19 Games (47 percent) have cost overruns above 100 percent“, now we can accept that such events will always come with the cost of business, we need to consider that ‘cost overrun‘ is merely a motto for political downplay of elements in their moment of national pride. I personally see it as an optional place where you can soften opposition with parked billions!

I believe that the paper has cornered certain Olympic elements and it cannot prove it, yet by exposing other parts as non-factorial we now see that the Olympics are a much large mess than the media is making it out to be. Even as we are focused on Carlos Nuzman, we are ignoring the elements that are part of the machine behind it. So when we see USA Today “French and Brazilian authorities said Nuzman brought together businessman Arthur Cesar de Menezes Soares Filho, and Lamine Diack, the former head of track and field’s governing body who at the time was an IOC voting member. Soares Filho’s company, Matlock Capital Group, allegedly paid Diack $2 million into a Caribbean account held by his son, Papa Massata Diack. Authorities said Lamine Diack, an influential African member from Senegal, was instrumental in organizing the African bloc of votes. The widening case implicated four-time Olympic medallist Frank Fredericks. The former sprinter from Namibia has said a near-$300,000 payment he received via Diack’s son on the day Rio won the vote was for legitimate consultancy work. Still, Fredericks lost his place leading an IOC inspection team to visit Paris and Los Angeles” these all seem legitimate elements in all this and it is not part or regarding ‘Frank Fredericks‘, I wonder how and what work he did to get the $300,000. I and many others have never been offered $300K for a consultancy job, so what does ‘legitimate’ entail? The element in this is ‘an IOC inspection team to visit Paris and Los Angeles’, you see, what would they have been privy to and exposed to? The USA today gives us that in the very last line. With “dozens of top politicians implicated in a sweeping judicial corruption investigation in which construction giant Odebrecht illegally paid billions to help win contracts” we are exposed to the cost of doing business. Paying 2 billion to gain 11 billion in contracts is merely good business and the locations still need to be constructed, the untold part in all this. Odebrecht is present in South America, Central America, North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. They have been stepping on large toes and as such certain French players are eager to see it stop. Construction is the largest unmonitored Wild West industry remaining on the planet. Odebrecht with a value now approaching 42 billion is an issue for many players. Even as we are confronted in the US with “Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, reckoned Friday’s economic data indicated UK GDP growth may likely be limited to just 0.3% for the third quarter, he also acknowledged the disappointment in trade and construction output“, which might not be anything worth mentioning, unless you see it next to Odebrecht and the currently unsubstantiated channels towards a multiple billions (read: expected 2.08 billion) to get 11 billion in extra jobs, now it becomes something the American players (as well as the European ones) are getting huffy and puffy about, because if Odebrecht is getting it, they are not and that is where investigative parties get creative. So when we see “They emerged with suitcases, documents and a computer“, we need to wonder. Was the taken away party actually that stupid, or are we witnessing a new Flim Flam visitation of: watch ‘here’ whilst out of view certain deals are brokered. In all this the sponsors are still part and equally guilty. You see the sponsors let cost overruns of over 100% go and not give proper light to EVERY element in this. Merely that the local political engines were sorting it out for them (and those political players get to live with the consequences), the sponsors merely move on. As I personally see it, these sponsors are supposed to be intelligent, so this is happening with their silent approval, only when they fail to meet the targets that is set towards the costs, only then will we hear them loudly. This is exactly why Qatar 2022 remains in the news, again and again. The media is already kicking up stinks because they aren’t getting anything out of it, they are merely in a place to either accept it or move out. The Daily Mail is giving us more and more allegations and even as some smile because Qatar did not qualify for the world cup 2022, we see “Qatar’s elimination will be enjoyed by its many critics in the West who claim the emirate should never have been given the chance to host the World Cup, pointing to a lack of footballing pedigree as well as corruption and labour abuse claims“, how about these critics in the west shut up as continue to suck the tits of corruption they are currently sucking on? I am more lenient towards Christopher Davidson, who with ““Having never qualified for a World Cup before, I don’t think Qatar should have ever made the claim that it was a genuine footballing nation,” Christopher Davidson, a Middle East expert at Britain’s Durham University, told AFP” we might accept their words, yet when we consider the Jamaica bobsled team, ending up ahead of United States, Russia, Australia and France. Should we take bobsleighing away from the USA or France? We have heard 2 years of utter bullshit of these critics with supposedly showing all air and no evidence? In that same light, should we dissolve the Sunday Times this coming Monday? Remember the claim of “obtained millions of secret documents – emails, letters and bank transfers – which it alleges are proof that the disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totalling US$5m (£3m) to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid“, so if they do not go public with all the evidence, can we force closure of the Sunday Times? Personally I find the existence of Rupert Murdoch and Martin Ivens offensive. They represent what is wrong with media today, so if they are gone, I will feel happiness. They are going with alleged and proclaimed, whilst the construction levels of corruption are happening at their front door and at that point they remain really really silent. In light of FIFA, we have seen levels of failing where the press was eagerly not rocking any boats at all, merely when big business saw it was losing out, at that point everyone screamed murder and mayhem.

These players have been stupid after the fact for much too long and as such we need to consider whether we need to overhaul the Olympics in ways never conceived before. Perhaps it will downgrade those events for the much larger extent. It will no longer be about drugging, about substance abuse or about the next mobile phone that works better when you drink Coca Cola. It will be about athletes competing for the title of who is actually the best, no sponsors, no advertisements and no billboards.

This is all still ongoing, with Qatar finishing Hamad port, we will see more and more issues rise, but as the stream for completing the WC 2022 event going straight into Qatar, we see that some players will take other venues to see what stink they can kick up. We can see the validity of France trying to aid in resolving the issue. An opportunity Turkey let fly by is now in the hands of Bertrand Besancenot, diplomatic adviser to the government. As France has close ties with Egypt and the UAE while also being a major arms supplier to Qatar and a key ally of Saudi Arabia, we see a player that is eager to find a solution for all as they greatly benefit any solution. If there is one issue, then it is the one that the UAE edition of the National brings us. With “Despite its claims of being ‘under blockade’, Qatar has also expanded shipping routes to India, Oman, Turkey and Pakistan and announced plans to raise its liquefied natural gas (LNG) output by 30 per cent in an effort to weather the boycott“, we see a dangerous turn as there is an actual danger in pushing to raise output towards 30%, as I see it, it requires certain players to circumvent larger safety settings, which could be the start of a very different disaster in Qatar. In addition, who in Al Jazeera will be part of the committee in charge for building and setting up the media centre during WC2022? It could potentially become a new Al Jazeera building merely months after the event and as such, it is an opportunity for Al Jazeera to set the bar for their competitors in the Middle East even higher. There is nothing like raising the output of your own station by 300% to truly get more visibility. In that view, as we will soon hear on how Qatar has optionally additional satellites available for all reporting parties, has anyone considered the impact of government fuelled competition? So when we are stupid behind the fact, were we not looking on what is additionally provided for? So when we are watching Tokyo bring live every match and event in hi-res to our G5 phone free of charge, has anyone considered the fact that we spend an additional $400 to get that phone ahead of schedule? So with 3-5 players getting an additional share of $20 billion for 5G on the initial launch, what is the part we were not looking at? Until the moment is there, we can understand that players like Apple, Google, Huawei and Samsung are quiet as a mouse, but all that ‘bedazzling entertainment‘ represent additional construction billions, additional satellites and longer terms benefits not charged or taxed, all under the guise of: ‘sports’. If it is true that we see the first pilots go live during Pyeongchang, and we will all readily accept that this will be the shining moment of Samsung (the local player there) as it shows what more we can expect from becoming the mobile entrepreneur, what do you think that Tokyo (2020), Qatar (2022), Beijing (2022) and Paris (2024) will bring? These 4 will have a growing infrastructure need which means that construction will grow even further. Four events that can only be done and almost literally set in stone by the strongest and largest players in construction, the instant moment to make several billions merely by being at the right place. That is what others fear Odebrecht could do. Larger players that are at present not ready to the extent that they needed to be for the upcoming considerations. Even as we see the South American headlines regarding Odebrecht, we need to realise that Odebrecht is everywhere. In that, it is: ‘who’s who in Legal’ that brings the ending gem to all this. With “Big-ticket cases involving the likes of Rolls-Royce, Petrobras, Odebrecht and Barclays remain at the forefront of the international corporate crime market, encompassing both corporate and individual defence and therefore keeping a vast number of lawyers across the world exceptionally busy. It is a trend that the majority of lawyers canvassed during our research see no sign of abating, as the fight for transparency and the activities of enforcement agencies intensify” we are shown to the cost of doing business and Odebrecht is not alone and it is not evil, the world changed yet the players on other sides remains stoic and unmoving, now that they are no longer regarded as people who matter, they now shout foul and demand action. So as we see the greedy idiots trying one more tantrum to get the WC away from Qatar, we need to see that the foundation of sports have become rotten and corrupt, the foundations are falling because the structure were never adhering to the reality of doing business. Merely a presentation from an outdated PowerPoint shows that what we saw and what we believe was never a reality. So as the media hides behind claims and allegations stating that the entire system is corrupt and sick, we might argue that the media has labelled themselves as healers seeing what is wrong whilst they are merely the hypochondriacs in this game; seeing and reporting on sickness whilst they have no medical degree or knowledge of the symptoms, or claiming to have the results but are unwilling to make them public. Hiding behind documents that never see the light of day, they proclaim exist, whilst not presenting the evidence, all whilst they herald politicians who in the same air and at that same moment present the acceptance of the ‘invoice of buildings’ that ended up being 100% more expensive as it was for the good of sports. Only after the fact, when the dust settles will some ask questions and do we see that people like Carlos Nuzman, guilty or not being towed away, that whilst questions were asked years before the event. With 5 large events coming up, with close to a trillion at stake, sponsors and stakeholders will not ask questions until targets are not met, or are close to being a risk of not making it. The media will remain on the foreground silent ‘awaiting‘ evidence, merely speculating at times, whilst shouting on behalf of others when those ‘friends’ (read: advertisers) have too much to lose. Greed driven media, this is exactly why people like Rupert Murdoch and Martin Ivens should be discontinued. In the end they are merely in it for the circulation at best and personal greed at worst.

We can all be stupid after the fact, which includes me. Yet when I am I will be in a state of ‘Wow, I so did not see that coming!‘ and I will to improve the way I see things, whilst the others are playing another iteration of ‘the next wave’ to fill their pockets. It sets me apart as I want improvements to a system that could be good and they merely want continuation of their luxurious way of life.

I still believe that certain players will push for the change of Qatar 2022. Yet after that, after it happens, when evidence lacked, we should demand their mandatory retirement from income and public life, and those sponsors should be barred from global sport sponsoring events forever. I wonder how many politicians will turn out to be a mere representation of cowardice at that point in time, trying to find some compromise that their way of life finds acceptable?

 

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Those dodgy numbers

We knew it was going to happen, we knew that there would be some term of hardship, everyone knew this. So when the media is lashing all out whilst they know that they are misinforming the people intentionally. We have to wonder why we are not making short work of the media as a whole. So as the Independent gave us (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/eurozone-gdp-growth-rate-uk-second-quarter-2017-eurostat-ons-eu-brexit-a7870811.html), ‘Eurostat’s ‘flash’ estimate for growth in the single currency bloc was 0.6 per cent, double the 0.3 per cent estimate for the UK from the Office for National Statistics last week‘ we have to start asking questions. You see, the numbers are correct, they are all about the correct numbers, yet the clarity that is also behind it, mainly what Forbes and a few others tell us with: “We have the results of the composite PMI for the Eurozone and this is showing that the economic growth in the region is slowing. This really is not quite what is desired, especially as we’ve still got the ECB going all out on quantitative easing” we need to wonder what the game of the Independent is. In addition there is from that same Forbes piece: “in this day and age, people tend not to order the parts to make something until they’ve committed themselves to actually making it. So, what people are ordering to make things from is a really good guide to what is going to be made in the immediate future. We then standardise the measures so that we’ve an index, anything above 50 indicates expansion, below contraction. The one really great joy of PMIs is that they are a very good guide to what is about to happen” and that part of the equation is a slowing economy. Even as we see “A falling Eurozone PMI isn’t a disaster but it’s not exactly what we want either” we see what matters, in the age of 60 billion a month QE, we see in equal measure that the economy is slowing down, so in all this, did the independent give us that, or are they in a ‘lashing mode’ on how the EU is at twice the presented strength? And the term ‘presented strength’ is actually a lot more important than you think.

You see, this is important when we consider Mehreen Khan’s article in the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/edd41c68-76a4-11e7-a3e8-60495fe6ca71). Here we see: “Separate figures from a business survey showed the Eurozone’s manufacturing sector is in the grip of a jobs boom. Factories in France are hiring at their best pace since 2000 and in Spain at a rate not seen since before the start of monetary union in 1998, according to IHS Markit’s purchasing managers’ index“, interesting that both are referring to the PMI is it not? Another article in the Financial Times is giving us ‘Spain unemployment rate has fallen to a 9 year low’, which is great for Spain, yet again, it is merely part of the issue. The fact that it is over 17% is still an issue. Even as there is a drop, it is August, the tourist season is starting to peak this month and that is good for Spain, I am happy for them, I actually am. Yet, the issue is that the drop of 26,000 claims is merely a temporary one, because as tourist season winds down in 8 weeks, these people will get back on the unemployment books, so it is merely a very short term benefit. In addition, it might be better than another time, yet when we consider that the increase started in 2007 doubling the amount in 26 months is another given missing. In addition, there is still the issue not merely of the unemployed, but the internal drain it causes to the coffers (source: Statista). So in my view any benefit Spain gets at present is merely setting the clock forward a mere quarter. Unless an actual economic improvement comes to Spain, we see mere posturing through ‘presented strength‘, not by actual growth or gaining actual strength. It takes three quarters to get a true visible growth to show and the newspapers are keeping silent on that, they hide behind ‘but that is tomorrow and this is now‘, which for the most is correct, yet as they know from various sources that there is already a visible slowdown, the presentation they give is a fake, it is presented fake optimism, some might refer to it as ‘fake news‘.

The fact that the BBC gave a similar view (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-40774654) does not make any of them a liar, they spoke the truth with “The rate dropped to 9.1% last month, from a downwardly revised 9.2% in May” the fact that France, Spain, Italy and Greece are dealing with global tourism that brings them money, so they need staff is perfectly valid, yet here too is the missed information that is not shown. These nations depend on Tourism. In France and Italy we might see the year round tourism for Paris and Rome, but those two parts are extremes. What is not an extreme is that all three rely to a part on tourism, a valid dependency. Now we consider two sources, the first (at https://www.imtj.com/news/european-tourism-figures-show-growth-2017/), gives us “Several destinations report a rebound in arrivals from Russia -Iceland (+157%) Cyprus (+122%) and Turkey (+88%)-. Overall, outbound travel from this market is projected to improve in 2017“. Now, we need to remember that this was a June article, part of it was expected growth, which is fair enough. The second source Statista (at https://www.statista.com/statistics/186657/travel-and-tourism-scores-of-countries-from-europe-in-2011/), gives us a chart with Spain, France and Germany showing a rise beyond 5% and training Italy with 4.99%, a decent growth all perfectly valid, so when you realise that, and when you see that the impact was a dropped from 9.2% to 9.1% in unemployment rate, is that still a good thing? The rise of these three nations alone (others nations all have tourism, yet not that high), consider the tourism needs; how come that the drop for the short term was not stronger to let’s say 8.7%? That would have been a clear indication of progress, 9.1% even in the short term is not progress and that part remains undiscussed by the media, is that not strange? They have been slamming Brexit through speculations in dozens of articles, and the reality of this so called double economic growth versus the UK is not set into a complete proper context. Even as several sources show the European slowdown. The EU has 8 more weeks until summer is over, what happens then? Will we see the message of a non-anticipated slowdown, or will we see that the slowdown was larger than anticipated? When you see that part, could you decide to trust the media you rely on?

However the independent also gives us “However, the UK economy has grown faster than the Eurozone’s since the 2008 financial crisis, reflecting the single currency’s multiple crises between 2010 and 2013“, which is true yet in this, they also fail to mention that there will be some level of slowdown and the Eurozone will make some level of temporary improvement, the question is for how long this happens. I am slightly less optimistic, yet also hesitant to be too negative. When the dust settles in the Middle East, we know that the Netherlands have two massive opportunities and a few other options through the large projects in Oman and the UAE, those large projects are the kind of solutions that put the Netherlands in the engineering top of the planet. The options could propel that small nation with most of it below sea level in scale and equality to Germany which is roughly 900% the size of the Netherlands. As Germany is one of the large 4, the Dutch achievement would be close to a legendary one. And if there is a large boost to the EU economy it will not be less likely to come from Germany than it will more likely to come from the Netherlands in both 2017 and 2018. This was always a reality that the EU and Germany faced, things will turn around, yet for the short term the EU numbers would probably boost. What is important is that it would not have impacted the UK in any way other than the presented numbers of difference. In this the UK is not on par with the EU on the short side, yet as European tourism falls in autumn, the numbers will no longer look against the UK to that degree and we will suddenly see different mentions, in this some of them are already a near given, so when we see “The single currency zone has now seen 17 successive quarters of growth. The unemployment rate in the Eurozone currently stands at 9.1 per cent, down from 12 per cent in 2013, but still double the UK’s current rate of 4.5 per cent“. OK, I will accept that, yet what I miss is the part that needs to be given with the quote ‘17 successive quarters of growth‘, so how much were these quarters of growth and how did they compare to the UK? It seems that this part is equally missing. In addition there is another part missing, this related to the final quote in the article. With “Other data last week showed that, within the Eurozone, France’s GDP expanded by 0.5 per cent in the second quarter and Spain’s by 0.8 per cent” you might wonder, yet when we look at Statista (at https://www.statista.com/statistics/263008/gdp-growth-in-eu-countries-compared-to-same-quarter-previous-year/) we do not see the same part. We see the Q1 numbers where France and the UK are on the same foot, Italy trails by 0.1% and Spain is ahead by a fair bit, which is the part that impacts and matters, yet the high note comes from Ireland, Estonia, Malta and Romania, which seems like a powerful impact, yet they are together a mere fraction of the EU output, which is why France, Spain and Germany are so important, they are the lion share together with the UK. Only when we look at the last 8 quarters can we see numbers that make actual sense to some and whilst the future is not a given, the knowledge that there is a slowdown coming, there we see that the hyped EU numbers are slightly over the top in my view. So as we accept that the 2 of the large 4 would have much better numbers in tourism season, the fact that the unemployment numbers were projected down by 0.1% is still a much larger issue than most people realise. What is phenomenal is the fact that the impact on tourism is better for Greece. They reported yesterday that the number of international arrivals in the first half was up by well over 10%, which is awesome, as the Greeks should be getting loads of good news after all the garbage they went through. The two sources, the first (at http://www.tornosnews.gr/en/tornos/trends/26630-greek-minister-spectacular-tourism-figures-in-2017.html) gives us: “there is a huge increase in overnight stays and hotel occupancy, ranging from 80% to 95% in most tourist destinations, as well as record arrivals in some of them. The Minister also referred to important economic benefits from the tourism industry, particularly from non-Schengen countries“, which means that the local Greeks will get a relief from the pressure they have had for the longest of times. The small issue that temperatures are up to 41 Celsius might not be the best thing to be confronted with, yet over all they heatwave will give the sun the hours of baking that the tourists love so much, it would also increase the need for windy trips (on boats with sails) and those enjoying places like the caves of Lasithi (in this, I have personal experience that visiting Knossos is a really bad idea, but several museums in Iraklion tend to be nice and cool. another source is giving us (at http://greece.greekreporter.com/2017/08/05/a-record-3-2-million-tourist-arrivals-expected-in-august/). This gives us “Russia and the Netherlands have marked the greatest rise in seats by 25.8% / 46,000 and 18.3% / 26,000 seats, respectively. Top Greek destinations include islands of Crete, Rhodes, Zakynthos, Kerkyra, Mykonos, Santorini and Halkidiki. Tourism professionals are forecasting the same performance in September, citing a total of 2.73 million seats booked for the month after“, implying that it will be a much better year than hoped for, and good for them I say!

Yet in the back of our minds will be not just for the European zone, more precisely, what will Greece do next? In this day and age tourism is great for them, yet they still have the other three quarters to deal with and in this they might have options and opportunities, it merely becomes the view on how to address it and which model to change so that it becomes a benefit.

They are all issues people want to address, yet in this we need to realise that the dodgy numbers are not a help. They are merely the approach towards undesired thoughts and in the end presented strength is no strength, it becomes strength when it is acted upon and results in a positive outcome, this is why quantative easing is never an actual solution. It is merely an option for those who are paid and reflected on the presented result with quarter on quarter growth. The fact that there is a new multi trillion debt is not what their bonus is balanced on. That is the part that people forget. I state to you here that I can go into the USA tomorrow and get a firm with $2 billion if revenue within a week. I have access to all the materials. I merely want 1% of that revenue as a bonus. Now consider that I am selling Official US currency $20 bills for $9.99. I get the bonus because I made my revenue, yet the fact that there is a $1 billion loss is not my issue, it will be for the registered owners of the business and if I set up an LLC with my finding founders, go bankrupt after the exercise one week later, I am still entitled to my $20 million severance package. This is the reality of quantative easing. People like Mario Draghi will not call it like that (and in equal measure find my example way to simplified, which is partially true), but it is the reality that they face in Europe. So as we see the reported news on how the UK is merely 50% of the Eurozone, we need to realise that there is a blowback from the actions that they are taking and in the long run only the bankers and the top of the ECB will be smiling enjoying life in the luxury estates that they own. I feel that we will see a strong impact of what happened before on the 26th October in Oslo Thursday. On that day we will see

  • Norway Central Bank announces interest rate decision – 0800 GMT.
  • Stockholm – Swedish Central Bank announces interest rate decision. Monetary Policy Report will be published – 0730 GMT.
  • Frankfurt – ECB Governing Council meeting, followed by interest rate announcement
  • Frankfurt – ECB President Mario Draghi holds a press conference, after the interest rate meeting Monday, October 30th

The press conference comes three days later, so after the 3 day speculation there will be the press meeting with even more speculation all that as the Christmas temporary need for short term staff is announced in several global places. I will let you work out what speculation will be offered. I am not having too much faith in the upcoming actions. Merely an anticipation of a media assisted manipulated bad news through overly optimism. It is merely my speculation on the matter.

 

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The hard-line path

Over the last days we have seen an increased voice of extremist call by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran. The question now becomes, how will the internal struggle change the game for Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran. The NY Times gives us (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/20/world/middleeast/iran-election-hassan-rouhani.html) the issues that play. “He badly needs to demonstrate progress on overhauling the moribund economy”, which is just one of several quotes. Yet the danger is not in the achievements, the issue now is that someone else will get the seat to the presidency in less than 4 years. The optimism could go straight out of the window sooner than we think. The hard-line of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen everywhere and even as President Rouhani is on his last term, the ayatollah is not. The news we see now, the beats and shouting of ‘Saudi Arabia’s rulers faced “certain downfall” for aligning themselves with the US‘, as well as ‘Saudi Arabia is a ‘cow being milked’ by US, says Iran’s supreme leader‘ is now getting a louder view and voice, whilst they are positioning Saudi Arabia as the oppressor of Islamic faith, whilst he throws Bahrain and Yemen into the mix. As we see the news, the issue that President Trump remains in opposition of Iran, causes additional worries. Unless the US is willing to go into a direct war with Iran, the only thing their diplomatic corps is achieving is to set the population against the US, in this what was regarded as a moderate, President Rouhani is now on the edge of finding a moderate continuation through a successor, whilst the Ayatollah is finding new ways to instil conservative values, undoing what President Rouhani has achieved. In all this the ‘progressive’ approach of Europe, with their nuclear program for Iran, lifting all sanctions and other ‘path improvements’ are soon to be a new cause for concern. I made that point 2 years ago in my blog when I mentioned the need for caution as the world was still getting past the idea of a post-Ahmadinejad era. I was clear in my warning that no matter how moderate the new president is, the hardliners might get another Ahmadinejad into play, that would change the status by a lot.

In addition, Forbes gave us the following a mere 4 days ago.

  • Sent over 3,000 to the gallows and escalated domestic crackdown,
  • Increased its export of terrorism through Shiite proxies across the Middle East,
  • Boosted the Levant dictator Bashar Assad in his massacring and displacing millions of innocent Syrians,
  • Supported the IRGC in test launching a significant number of ballistic missiles in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and harassing US Navy vessels in international waters,
  • Increasing Tehran’s support for the Afghan Taliban, according to the The Washington Post,
  • Made having dual nationality a threat, as experienced by too many hostages

In addition, we get “For hard-liners and their affiliates — including the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Basij, the judiciary and the Intelligence Ministry — Rouhani is more helpful in achieving their major objectives“, which is given by Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, a leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy and president of the International American Council.

The question becomes, on how Iran sees facilitation and how they consider it is used by Iran in Europe, because the limitations that hindered serious facilitation by Iran in the past are all but gone. The overly optimistic people (called politicians with a personal agenda), have paved a very dangerous path. They will be in denial, yet the parts that are clearly showing is that President Rouhani has been more and more outspoken in certain regards, which as the president of Iran he should be allowed to do, yet it is an extremely outspoken anti-Saudi Arabia view. This is happening whilst the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has now finished a third underground missile production factory. And whilst I note upfront that I have no ballistic experience, which means that I am not an Aussie electrician (jab at: ‘Aussie electrician charged with helping IS develop missile capabilities’), yet what some sources have not mentioned is that the commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, is the very same person who boasted rocket aid to Hezbollah as well as the mention that the Iranian missiles can reach Israel. In addition, we have the threat: “Hajizadeh explained that if the Zionist regime attacks Iran, it will be destroyed. He said, “If those people make a move, it will hand us a justification to wipe them off the face of the earth“, this part actually needs additional footnotes. The link is at https://www.juancole.com/2012/07/hajizadeh-if-israel-attacks-iran-it-will-be-destroyed.html, and it is good to read as it addresses a few issues. In all this Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh gives a clear address to a reaction, with the reinforced ‘when Israel attacks’, so the General states to only act in retaliation, he states he would not act in a first strike. I can accept that, although my rusty Arabic is set at 0%, so if the original text was a recipe to make spicy lamb, I would not be able to tell the difference. Yet in all this, the subterfuge will be missed. Even as we accept that the General is a devoted Muslim with a love for his country and a devotion to live to highest standards, how many hard-line Iranians would it take to create the wrong intelligence and the missiles would get fired towards Tel Aviv anyway? Do not even consider that this cannot happen, with a closed system and with Iranians that have the mental drive that Ahmadinejad had, how many would it take to set the system to give the decision makers the wrong intel? America has had its share of miss-presentations. Perhaps some of you remember Colin Powell and his suitcase with evidence of weapons of mass destruction in 2003. How did that go over? The reality is that Iran has an environment where the hardliners get to be in power again and again. Whenever that is not the case, there is enough time to debunk and diminish the work that moderate minded Iranians achieve. As there is a military power core, a religious power core and a political power core, it requires only two hardliners too grab the power via elections. We already know that the Ayatollah is a devout hardliner, which means that they are one step away from another hard-line elected rule. This is the reality that was and Europe has opened up additional paths for that future to return in the future, intentional or not does not matter.

This all matters in a second phase too. Even as we see news by tabloids and not by actual newspapers, the news given is that Jeremy Corbyn, the man who wants to be in charge of Labour UK and is electable, that person attended a ceremony honouring terrorists, the wreath was laid at the grave of one of the PLO terrorists that killed the 11 Israeli Olympic athletes, all killed during the 1972 Olympics at Munich. The fact that it is in several tabloids is why i am mentioning it. The issue in addition is why the actual newspapers have no mention of it. The sun gives us ‘FRIENDS LIKE THESE Jeremy Corbyn called banned terror group Hamas ‘serious and hard-working’ after admitting attending wreath-laying ceremony for Palestinian killer‘, so as I am in some confusion on why anyone wants to be that stupid, the fact that multiple sources are making mention on it, the larger danger becomes on why anyone would allow Jeremy Corbyn to get elected, especially as he gives ‘value‘ to a terrorist organisation, so as we now wonder who is briefing him and who would be this stupid. I am trying to make very sure that I am not facilitating fake news. There is additional evidence as he the Telegraph gives additional links to Channel 4 news (2015 event). Whenever I try to go deeper, they seem to refer to the 2015 event. This now calls to question on how Corbyn got to be in charge of the Labour in the first place. It should make the party feel really happy. The fact that it now reaches the limelight again seems to be political gaming, yet the worry is real, do you want someone in charge who gives voice to a group that is regarded as a terrorist group in several nations. Even as MI5 is looking into the events before the Manchester bombing and what signals are missed, the UK is now contemplating setting the person who put a wreath at the grave of one of the Munich murderers at the helm of Britannia. it is like making Alex DeLarge minister of Justice (Clockwork Orange reference). It seems like really not the best way to go about making Britain stronger. Yet in all this, there is an underlying pressure. You see, these elements unite as there is a push to find a way to make the UK-Iran link a stronger one. As the UK peers urge to make these policies stronger and better, the report gives within the title ‘Time for New Realism‘, in this as additional ties to Palestine are called for, the UK is setting the unique part in distancing itself more from the US in an anti-Trumpism move, yet in addition, it will create a wall between the UK and Israel. The report has loads of wisdoms, and even propagates my own view in different words. As they state: “We have a new and uncertain American policy in the region…We can no longer assume America will set the tone for the West’s relationship with the Middle East“, which was voiced by me differently as I stated in the past: “The United States is no longer a superpower, with the national debt (now at $20 trillion) setting the stage of labelling the United States as a bankrupt nation“. Its inability to set a proper economic stage has left the United States with a lack of options. there is little cause to take notice on what the United States administration shouts as it cannot afford any actions, this is also what North Korea seems to realise as it commences missile test after test, with test missiles entering Japanese territorial waters (Sea of Japan). As Japan urges China to act, which we could consider to be an act by a nation as bankrupt as the United states are, we need to also realise that China is an actual superpower and Japan is not. As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed actions, we will need to see what actions the Japanese will actually take, the 3rd US nuclear aircraft carrier now entering North Korean waters, we also see that the US is opting for sanctions and diplomatic pressures. We can assume that this is the best way to go about it and the question is for how much longer, the second speculated reason is that the US has no other options available. With the Syrian escalations still in place, getting into any war on multiple fronts is something only Napoleon succeeded in. Oh wait, no he did not, it was the end of Napoleon, having a theatre of war on multiple shores is a really bad idea, so that is also a thought to consider, but that realisation comes with the premise that unless China acts, North Korea can do whatever it wants (for now). So as we see several nations play what we call the hard line, the UK is setting the stage but is wisely playing a cautious game until after the elections, in addition, the UK peers are giving out a report that requires a shift in actions and thinking. We can oppose this, but as this report comes from the 0.1% most intelligent persons of the UK, ignoring that report is a really bad idea (read: utterly stupid path to follow), so as we get to know that report better and better, my initial thought is on how to create a really strong bridge with Israel, because if pro-Palestinian dialogues begin, there will be the need of diplomatic handholding (not in a romantic way). It is not merely because this world is not as small as we sometimes think it is. So as we see that the Brexit path is opening new terrain and in addition new paths to grow economies, we are left with the notion that as some think that the hard-line is the best path, we must realise that it is not the only path and there is much work that could be achieved, it remains a question how far it gets us all, but that is usually the notion of another path, it could open new terrain for all and in addition, there is an upside as the EU is following the US path for however long they can the others can look and evolve new options never before offered. I am still hesitant to consider any connection to Iran, yet the letting that fear stopping me from seeing where that could get us all is equally stupid. the power of fear is for many just too overwhelming. The problem then becomes, especially in light of Manchester, is the move a wise one?

Time will tell! Sometimes it is just that simple!

 

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Si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more

It is an old saying that still applies today. It reflects on two events, two that show that the events we see escalating have a profound impact on choices, those in the past and in the future. When we consider the events (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/18/synagogue-murders-binyamin-netanyahu-despicable-murderers) of slaughter, we see two sides of the same equation, on one side can we hold a group accountable for the action of a few people. Can Palestine be held accountable for the events of two Palestinians? The UN is so eager to add Palestine and give them loads of options, yet the massive amount of events going on form 1946 gives clear way that many have been on track and remain on track to eradicate the Jewish population. There is something entirely wrong about that, yet we must accept that Palestine has genuine grievances; however these are completely ignorable towards the fact that genocide should not be condoned, the Israeli state, which seemingly became the quick solution for governments after the WW2 massacre. As I personally see it, the powers that be who were in charge in 1945 required a solution for giving the Jewish population a solution and made their dream come true of the start of the state of Israel. Was this wrong? I am not wise enough to have the answer to this, yet what is a certainty is that, if it had not happened, Europe would have been confronted with a population bend on revenge after what was done to them. Consider the danger of death squads getting even with the Dutch, German and French population for what was done to them. Even if we consider legal events (at http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/jewish-family-in-restitution-standoff-with-german-city-of-teltow-a-939659.html), ‘A German-American lawyer and his family have been fighting for over two decades to reclaim lucrative properties lost under the Nazi regime‘ is only one of millions. Consider when massive chunks of Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Koln, Leiden, Utrecht, Paris, Reims, and that list goes on. Creating the state of Israel was the easy way out. Even though Historically, that part would have been even larger than what it is now. Yet, the issue does not stop here.

When we look at the second news story we see that the US has been kind enough to leave some hardware for Isis (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/18/un-report-isis-enough-weapons-carry-on-fighting-two-years). The four bullet points are:

  • Arsenal is sufficient enough to threaten region ‘even without territory’
  • Much of Isis’s weapon stocks were stolen from US-backed Iraqi military
  • Report recommends sanctions including seizing Isis oil tanker trucks
  • Foreign jihadis flocking to Iraq and Syria on ‘unprecedented scale’

The first issue shows that ISIS has enough power to be a clear threat, this leaves the indication that the initial US strategy of bombing was never a true option. I never believed it to be and several deeper into military knowledge and strategy had the same idea on this. The term ‘no boots on the ground’ was not realistic from day one. To be honest, it would be realistic if other nations had stepped up to the plate for this, which would not be a unacceptable idea, as America is both financially and economically in a state slightly lower than the average basement. It is not unrealistic to let other nations step up to the plate, but that would leave it all in the hands of politicians, which gives the reader an idea of how much is unlikely to happen.

The second issue is twofold, either the Iraqi military is strategically inapt to deal with the situation, in the second it is not impossible that part of the Iraqi military is on the side of ISIS and they military is to some extent the eyes and ears of ISIS. The last part is clear speculation by me, but overall is that such a stretch? ISIS is making massive stride all over the middle east, there is additional clear indication that ISIS has reached Gaza and moreover, Hamas is losing more and more control of the west bank. These escalating issues are now becoming a worry on several fields. West Bank, Sinai and they are gaining visibility in Jordan.

The third issue is about recommendations. It sounds nice in theory, but what will be done when they only deal with Islamic partners like Pakistan, Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine, Senegal and others, how much confiscation will there be? More important, the recommendation ignores the biggest danger. What if ISIS locks down on the oil, they got by without it easy enough, but when the lock down starts, how long until most nations go into a lock down? Consider the barricading of oil transport to US and Europe for two weeks, how long until that powder keg paralyses nations and economies? Frank Herbert wrote it about it in his book Dune: ‘He who can destroy a thing, controls a thing‘, that is a truth we ignored. The tactic (seen as ‘scorched Earth‘) has been employed by Stalin during WW2, Sherman in the American civil war, Lord Kitchener in South Africa and by the Russians against Napoleon. The tactic was to some extent banned under Article 54 of Protocol I of the 1977 Geneva Conventions, which is only nice if ISIS would respect that, but we can definitely rule out that chance.

The fourth one is the nightmare many government face, not as they go there to fight, but what happens when these people return, which allows ISIS to place lone wolf terrorists, with massive amounts of options to damage the nations that gave them a life and future in the first place. Now we get to the title!

si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi

If you are elsewhere, live as them there (rough translation), yet the second part is not exactly happening, yes they start like that, then they take over and others convert or die. This is at the core of the issue, and as we speak, there is intelligence out there that is confirming (actually they are not denying, which is not the same) that ISIS is growing its numbers from the refugee camps, camps with over 2 million people. If only 1% joins, they will have enough troops to change the face of the Middle East.

We can debate on legitimacy of Iraq all we want, but in the end does it truly matter? The events that changed the map are now at the centre of the moments that shape the new Middle East. The question becomes who wins? It is clear that the winner will have a foundation of support all over the Middle East, yet where will that leave Israel and America? Soon they will be forced down a path of war that none considered to the extent that anyone envisioned. It will be the first war that might have the blessing of the Arabian states, as it seems decently clear that they have enough worry from ISIS as well. If ISIS grows beyond a certain point, we will see a change in Jordan and Syria first, after that the tinderbox will truly light up, with threats to Egypt and the nations surrounding the UAE and Saudi Arabia, then what will we do? Consider ISIS not just with troops and arms, but with access to the oil wells and they decide who gets delivery. Then we end up with the nightmare scenario, just because it was left to the politicians.

So as we now consider the fullness of the text: “si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more; si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi“, those in charge need to consider who they are dealing with and throw out the play book they used for too long a time without ANY results, consider who these Romans are and deal with them, because if we don’t they will hand out the dealings of portions of grief none will survive, which will be extremely uncomfortable for all of us.

 

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