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Ukraine On NATO's Mind, Tesla "Gigafactory," No Visa For Dalai Lama

Cameron and Obama together penned a op-ed for Thursday's edition of "The Times" about evolving global challenges.
Cameron and Obama together penned a op-ed for Thursday's edition of "The Times" about evolving global challenges.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Western and NATO leaders are meeting in Newport, Wales, for what the military alliance’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen described as “one of the most important summits in the history of our alliance” because of Russia’s incursion in Ukraine. Calling on Moscow to “stop the flow of weapons and fighters” into eastern Ukraine, Rasmussen once again accused Russia of “attacking” its neighbor.

At the summit, NATO members are expected to approve the creation of “high-readiness military units” that will cost “several hundred million euros” per year, a NATO general told AFP, saying that it was a worthy “investment.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday outlined a seven-point plan for peace in Ukraine, which Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk later dismissed as a trap, opting instead for the building of a wall on the border, The Guardian reports. In the meantime, France announced it would halt the planned delivery of warships to Moscow amid increasing pressure from its allies not to fulfill the $1.6 billion contract.

Also high on the agenda at the NATO summit is the threat of ISIS, as President Barack Obama seeks to build a broad anti-jihadist coalition. The meeting comes after reportsfrom Matthew Olsen, a senior U.S. counter-terrorism official, that the jihadist group now controls a territory equivalent in size to the UK, has 10,000 fighters and has made $1 million a day from oil sales, smuggling and ransoms.

“Those who believe in stepping back and adopting an isolationist approach misunderstand the nature of security in the 21st century," British Prime Minister David Cameron and Obama wrote in a joint column published in The Times. Read more here.

The New York Times has posted a short film telling the story of Ali Hussein Kadhim, an Iraqi army recruit who survived an ISIS massacre in Tikrit in June. The film comes two days after Human Rights Watch reported that as many as 770 Iraqi soldiers have been executed there, three times more than previously estimated.

Meanwhile, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri announced in an online video the formation of a new branch in the “Indian subcontinent,” where it vowed to “raise the flag of jihad.” Indian authorities ordered several states to be on an increased state of alert, Reuters reports.

Tesla Motors has chosen Nevada as the location for what it calls its “gigafactory,” where the company hopes to produce enough batteries to power 500,000 cars every year by the end of the decade, AP reports. The $5 billion facility slated to employ 6,500 people will be located outside Reno.

In a desperate attempt to put an end to months of civil war, South Sudanese rights groups have urged the international community to set up an arms embargo for the country, AFP reports. With thousands dead and more than 1.8 million people displaced, the report says that both sides have received weapons from Sudan while China is believed to have provided the South Sudanese government with $38 million worth of weapons.

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Targeting the office of the country’s spy agency and a police compound, the Afghanistan Taliban carried out its biggest attack in recent weeks, detonating two suicide truck bombs in the central city of Ghazni. At least 18 people died and some 150 were injured, Reuters reports. The attacks come as the political deadlock between the two presidential candidates continues, with the sides unable to agree on the formation of a national government.

Andrew Madoff, the last surviving son of convicted conman Bernard Madoff who helped blow the whistle on his father's massive Ponzi scheme, has died of lymphoma at 48.

The Dalai Lama has been forced to cancel a visit to South Africa after he was denied a visa for the third time in the last five years,The Cape Times reports. The Tibetan spiritual leader was invited to Cape Town for the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates next month, and other guests have threatened not to attend if the Dalai Lama is not permitted in the country. According to news website Eyewitness News, South Africa’s close relationship with China is the main reason why the Dalai Lama was denied a visa.

For lovers of Paris and abandoned railways, we point you to this collection of stunning pictures from the French capital.

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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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