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ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing

May 19, 2011

ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing
Kristen Gillespie


*The Syrian Revolution Facebook group posted what looks like a 3-D movie trailer for the revolution and a call to protest this Friday. "From the first drop of blood that fell from our martyrs, the legitimacy of the Assad regime fell apart with it," the opening message to viewers reads. A man clad in dark clothes holding a gun stands in front of a 3-D protester holding a hand-written sign reading "the people want the regime to fall" and a pin espousing the revolution. The armed man, labeled "Assad's thug," opens fire on the protester.

*In a video shot in Daraa that was uploaded on May 18th, live sniper fire hits unarmed civilians in the street as they chant, "the people want the regime to fall." Four minutes in to the clip, snipers open fire on an empty ambulance. A few seconds later, a man is down in the street, trying to roll himself to safety. More sniper bullets hit him, and the man filming shouts in panic, "they finished him off – God save him."

The scene shifts to a different street, where an ambulance is trying to pull out from a small alley into the street. Snipers hit the passenger side at 5:05 minutes in. The glass shatters, and a man in the street, crouched close to the ground, tentatively reaches up and tries to open the passenger-side door, but it is locked. At 5:34, the camera films the inside of the ambulance, where the medic is slumped to the side. They unlock the door to try to get medical help for the man, but he appears to be dead.

Libyan government spokesman Khaled al-Kaeem denied a persistent rumor in the Arab media that Muammar Gaddafi's wife and daughter Aisha have fled to Tunisia. "The Gaddafi family is still in Libya," al-Kaeem said, adding: "Where else would they be?" The spokesman also rebuffed media reports that Oil Minister Shukri Ghanem defected to Tunisia, saying "he was out of the country on official business and will return."

Immediate reactions from the Twittersphere to President Obama's speech on the Middle East:

*Samih Touqan tweets, "nothing new in Obama's speech except that the Arab people and their revolutions are in control and settling old accounts."

*Shady al-Mahmoudi says, "A summary of Obama's speech: love, longing, revolution, money and Salam Alaykum good-bye."

*Jad Hammoud heard in Obama's speech that "we America are with Assad forever. We are with the man who kills people in the streets."

May 19, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

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Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

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