Sander’s Campaign Kicks it up a Notch

Bernie Sanders, the Democratic presidential candidate decided to take his fight with the party leaders to the next level when he backed a challenger to the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee and accused the party’s establishment of favoring Hilary Clinton as the presidential nominee of the party. Sanders adopted a defiant attitude in a series of television interviews, but he acknowledged that overtaking front-runner Hilary Clinton was going to be an uphill fight. Clinton has already asserted that she is the party’s de facto nominee and has focused all her attention on Republican Donald Trump.

On Sunday, Clinton said that the presumptive Republican nominee had a dangerous rhetoric. Talking to ‘This Week’, an ABC program, Sanders said that the November 8th elections was not for the purpose of letting Americans choose between ‘the lesser of two evils’. He asserted that if he became the President, his choice of the DNC chairwoman would definitely not be the reappointment of U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The Florida congresswoman is being challenged by Tim Canova, a law professor, in the August Democratic primary and Sanders endorsed him. Sanders told ‘Face the Nation’ of CBS that he didn’t believe her to be the kind of chair needed by the Democratic Party.

He said that all the Democratic Party does is go to rich people for raising huge sums of money, but what they really needed to do was to show the working-class people that they are truly on their side. Some Democrats have become worried due to the defiant tone of Sanders and they have become anxious to see Clinton unify the party and then direct her attention to a showdown in the election with Trump. Clinton gave an interview to ‘Meet the Press’ of NBC, which aired Sunday, and she identified Trump as a risk that voters hadn’t seen before.

She said that she didn’t want the American citizens, the independents and Democrats and also the good-thinking Republicans to be under the impression that this was a normal candidacy because it isn’t. As Republicans rally around him, Trump has begun to gain on Hilary in the opinion polls. In fact, the latest poll released on Sunday showed that he actually has a 2-point lead over her whereas in March, in the same poll, Clinton had been leading with 9 points. However, Sanders has ignored the growing calls of the Democrats to step aside and has vowed to stay in the race until the nominating convention of the party in Philadelphia from July 25 to 28 even though Clinton has an almost insurmountable lead in the delegates who would select her as nominee.

Sanders said that rather than focusing on the pledged convention delegates supporting Clinton, he was more interested in the superdelegates i.e. leaders who have the freedom to support any candidacy. The US Senator from Vermont said their rush to support Clinton even before the votes is an indication of ‘an anointment process’. He added that even if he wasn’t the nominee of the party, he would still try to influence the rules and platform. 

Afghan Taliban Meet to Select New Leader

After its commander was targeted by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan, the Afghan Taliban’s leadership council had a meeting on Sunday for discussing the succession, which is the strongest sign that the insurgency has accepted his death. On Saturday, the strike targeted Mullah Akhtar Mansour and was perhaps the most high-profile incursion made by the U.S. into Pakistan after the raid carried out for killing al Qaeda leader Osama bin Landen in 2011. A protest was sparked in Islamabad due to the strike as it claimed that their sovereignty had been violated. If Mansour’s death is confirmed, it could give rise to a succession battle in the Taliban insurgency.

U.S military deployments in Afghanistan have been ongoing for a decade and a half and still the Taliban insurgency has proven itself resilient. There hasn’t been official confirmation by the Taliban about Mansour’s death and there have been conflicting statements so far. While he was declared dead by the Afghan government on Sunday, Washington didn’t do anything of the sort. Jeh Johnson, the Homeland Security Secretary said they were not ready to confirm his death, although it was highly likely. According to the Taliban sources, the meeting of the Rahbari Shura or leadership council on Sunday including the discussion of possible leaders, one of whom is guerrilla commander Sirajuddin Haqqani.

With a bounty of $5 million on his head, Haqqani would turn out to be an even more implacable enemy for the Afghan government and its U.S. allies. Afghan officials and the U.S government widely accept him to be the Taliban insurgency’s most dangerous warlord. He is deemed responsible for the some of the bloodiest attacks included the one in Kabul last month that claimed the life of 64 people. If the decision is made purely on the consideration of hierarchy, Haqqani would be the top choice.

Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of the founder of Talibans, Mullah Mohammad Omar, is also being considered as his father’s name could be a political unifier. The sources stated that other possible successors included Mullah Sherin and Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir, former Guantanamo detainee. The government in Kabul has repeatedly accused Pakistan of sheltering the insurgents and the U.S official drone strike on Saturday proved that the United States is ready to go after the Taliban leadership in Pakistan. President Barrack Obama had authorized this strike. On Sunday, Pakistan protested and said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had not been informed by the US government beforehand.

It was acknowledged by a US official, who chose to remain anonymous, that Pakistan had only been informed after the operation. It remains unclear how long Mansour was in Pakistan before the strike. It was disclosed by the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan that a passport had been discovered at the site, which bore a different name, but had a valid Iranian visa. It added that the holder had returned to Pakistan from Iran on Saturday, when the drone strike targeted Mansour. The passport bore the name Wali Muhammad and photos resembled some old photos of Mansour. 

EU Countries Encourage Data Flow through Barrier Removal

On Monday, half of the member states of the European Union called for the removal of barriers for encouraging the free flow of data not just within, but also outside of the 28-bloc. This move is designed to ensure the continent can reap the benefits associated with the new data-driven technologies. In a letter to the EU and the Netherlands, which has the rotating European Union presidency, ministers from countries including Sweden, Britain, Finland and Poland urged Brussels to ensure that regulation doesn’t act as a barrier in the development of technologies driven by data and to avoid introducing one-size-fits-all rules for online platforms such as Facebook and Amazon.

The ministers from Luxembourg, Denmark, Britain, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, Ireland, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Belgium, Lithuania, Sweden and Ireland stated that taking a positive approach towards new advancements in business models and digital technologies is essential for European competitiveness. They said that there could be significant benefits to Europe from new data-driven technologies if they establish the right framework that’s future-proof. Last year, the Commission had unveiled its Digital Single Market Strategy, which is a wide-ranging plan designed to eliminate the barriers in the online world. The point is to enable Europe to compete in a better way with the US tech giants.

The results of the inquiry it conducted into online platforms will be presented on Wednesday and it will reveal where action is required. Andrus Ansip, the vice president of the Commission has ruled out the possibility of a single regulation for dealing with all online companies, it is probably going to deal with perceived problems in different areas such as telecoms and copyrights. Moreover, it will also look into the terms of use pertaining to various services such as the iOS mobile operating system of Apple Inc. and Google’s Android operating system.

There have been accusations of protectionism made against the strategy, but the Commission has declared them to be false and unfounded. Furthermore, the flow of data to the United States has gotten really tough since the mass snooping programs authorized by the United States government came to light. The strategy is being overseen by Ansip and he has been vocal about the limits that have been imposed on cross-border data flow. In April, he spoke in the European Parliament and said that allowing free data flow across the EU was of the utmost importance.

He also added that they were aware of the ideas of localizing the data flow in some of the member countries. He said that while these ideas were popular, they were nothing but a dead-end. It is expected that a proposal will be presented by the EU for enabling the free flow of data in the bloc later this year for countering the data localization initiatives in countries like France and Germany. The letter also called for the simplification of the EU telecom rules for giving a boost to investment in high-speed broadband, an area where they have been lagging behind South Korean, Japan and the United States. 

China Doesn't Seem Happy With Obama’s Recent Moves

China has clearly talked about Obama’s recent move in Vietnam and said that the US is playing the role of fire sparks in Asia by doing what it is doing. There was an embargo on Vietnam from the US for the sales of any arms but this embargo was lifted recently when Obama visited Vietnam. This move from Obama is something that China is not happy with at all.

Obama tried to clear things by saying that such a move from the US was not intended to cause any harm to China but Chinese newspapers and higher officials don’t agree with this. Many of the ideologies of China and Vietnam are similar to each other but the two countries have not been very friendly in the past. They fought a huge war in just 1979.

There are some small islands in South China Sea and these islands have become a huge bone of contention between the two countries. Both have been pulling the rope to their sides by claiming to have the sovereignty over the islands. China Daily is from where the unhappy response to US move was released.

It also has to be kept in mind here that the US has not been happy with how China has been dealing with the islands over which China and Vietnam have been fighting. The US officials say that China has been making barracks on those islands and strengthening grounds for its military. On the other hand, China responds by saying that it has sovereignty over the islands and the militarization is only a part of that.

There is a tabloid called Global Times which is often considered the voice of Chinese people. According to this tabloid Obama has taken the steps to only weaken the position of China in Asia and on South China Sea. The claim that this move is not against China by Obama was called a lie by the tabloid.

According to the Tabloid Washington was only trying to be stronger in the region by weakening the presence of China.

As for now it is expected that Vietnam will not be importing a lot of arms from the US immediately because it already has a lot of arms that come directly from Russia. However, by accepting arms from the US the security policies of Vietnam will be very much under the influence of how America wants Vietnam to act in its matters of securities – this is what concerns China the most.

Chinese experts on the matter have shown their concerns about the US sending its warships to Cam Ranh Bay. According to the experts the US is going to use this port very soon as it used to be the port where the US parked its warships in the past when the Vietnam war was being fought.

Experts and professors from Renmin University of China, whose expertise are on international relations of China, have said that such steps are not pleasing from the US. However, they believe that it is not going to change how China has been militarizing in South China Sea.

While Chinese government officials have tried to be as quiet as they could be on the matter, the reaction on social media on the removal of embargo was very clear. People have shown their concern about the matter and reacted very angrily on the move from the US.

According to many social media users the US was only trying to create another of its puppets in Asia now. Many other users warned Vietnam by saying that Vietnam did not know it was only giving way into the house to a wolf. 

Why Western Countries Find It Hard Doing Business With The Middle East

When you run a company, you will spend time looking for new markets to sell to. While many firms sell to domestic customers, more businesses wish to sell abroad. Europe and the Far East are ideal locations for companies wishing to expand. But, few have the same success rate when approaching Middle Eastern markets.

One might assume that may have been commonplace forty years ago. But, it's a problem that businesses face in 2016, believe it or not. So, why do these companies find it hard to sell to customers in the Middle East? What stops them from achieving their growth potential in that market?

It turns out there is quite a few reasons. We recently surveyed a variety of firms from different industries on this subject. Here are the issues they all seem to face the most:

Middle-Eastern companies mix friendship with business

If you approach a business owner out of the blue, they are seldom going to take an interest in what you have to say. Why? Because company bosses in the Middle East only do business with friends.

In that part of the world, friendship before business is important. Company owners want to know that you are trustworthy. To them, small talk isn't just about passing the time. It's a way for them to gauge what sort of person you are.

One way to approach prospective new firms in the Middle East is through an intermediary. That is, someone that knows both you and the third party. They can introduce you both to each other. And, from that moment, you can break the ice and forge a new friendship. Only then will you have a serious chance of doing business with them.


The West has recently done a deal with Iran in exchange for the lifting of trade sanctions. That means there is now a new market in the Middle East and Western Asia to work with.

Unfortunately, the West is still quite weary of doing business with Iranian companies. Iran has a bad rap sheet. Prominent political figures like Mark Dubowitz are unlikely to recommend doing business with Iran.

Corruption, sponsored terrorism, and non-democratic ideals are just some of the red flags. Western banks are hesitant to deal with Iranian ones for fear of funding terrorism.

Arabs have little concept of time

In the West, people are all used to working to schedules and tight deadlines. But, in the Arab world, things get done a little different. Time is important, yes, but it's not essential for day-to-day business. Many Western firms find it frustrating they must wait a long time for things to happen.

It might sound like a stereotypical view. But, it's one frequently encountered by foreign firms.

A little Arabic goes a long way

Arabic is the universal language spoken across the Middle East and all the Gulf states. Middle-Eastern bosses don't expect their Western counterparts to be fluent in Arabic. But, knowing just a few words and phrases can make all the difference.

The trouble is, Arabic is a hard language to master. For a start, Arabic doesn't use Roman letters and numerals. Plus, the written language gets read from right to left!

Trump Gives Fiery Anti-Clinton Speech

On Friday, gun owners were assured by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that he would be protect their constitutional right of bearing arms. He said that if he was elected, he would eliminate the gun-free zones and accused Democrat Hilary Clinton of trying to weaken the rights of gun owners. It is almost certain that Trump is going to be the presidential nominee for the Republicans and he managed to convince the National Rifle Association to endorse him. This is a very powerful lobbying group, which is known to have approximately 4 million members. Trump gave these remarks at the national convention of the NRA in Louisville, Kentucky and they didn’t come off as a surprise.

However, they could definitely go a long way in solidifying Trump’s status amongst conservatives who consider it a top priority to protect the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. According to a source close to his campaign, on Monday, Trump is also going to meet with U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee. They will be consulting on foreign policy and the source said that Corker’s name was on Trump’s list of potential vice presidential mates. While Clinton hasn’t yet managed to become the presidential nominee for the Democrats in the November 8th election, she is very close to doing it.

She has promised to take on the gun lobby and work on the gun control measures by including comprehensive background checks performed on gun buyers, both online and at open-air gun shows. After a brutal and difficult primary battle, Trump is trying to unite the Republican Party behind him and has accused the former secretary of state of trying to finish the 2nd Amendment. In part, the Amendment declares that the right to keep and bear arms by the people should not be infringed. Trump stated that Clinton is not trying to change the Amendment, she is trying to abolish it.

Maya Harris, the senior policy advisor of Clinton’s campaign said that Trump was doing nothing but peddling falsehoods and denounced his conspiracy theories. She asserted that Clinton believes there are ways of protecting the Second Amendment and also ensuring that guns don’t end up in the hands of criminals. Trump noted that the shooting deaths of four US Marines in 2015 had occurred in a gun-free zone at an armed force recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tennessee and said that he would eliminate these zones.

He said that the November election would actually decide the fate of the Second Amendment and they should vote for Donald Trump to ensure it remains protected. The convention of the NRA took place on the same day that a gun was brandished by a man at a checkpoint close to the White House before a law enforcement officer shot and wounded him. The NRA speech of the New York billionaire was another move in his aim to put more conservatives at ease with his presidential candidacy. A list had been released earlier this week by Trump, which named 11 potential Supreme Court nominees who are all conservative jurists. 

FBI Planning Next Move in the Encryption Battle

The next avenue in the battle between the technology companies and the FBI over encrypted communications is going to be a lot more messy and legally complicated than trying to get into a terrorist’s iPhone. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, messaging tools such as Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp and other similar internet services that encrypt the content of phone calls, texts and other data automatically while they are being sent has become an increasingly difficult problem for criminal and national security investigations. The agency says that it is essential for them to capture the information during transit. However, privacy advocates believe this is too quick whereas companies completely oppose this idea.

The Justice Department is being sued by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco over whether any secret orders have been used by the government for forcing technology companies to decrypt the private communications of their clients. A staff attorney of the foundation, Andrew Crocker said that they were simply waiting for the next big case that would bring up the issue. Also, the threat posed by encrypted applications cannot be deemed as theoretical even though legal strategies are developed in the US. Supporters of al-Qaeda and Islamic State in Arabian Peninsula have already found a way to potentially limit intelligence gathering on terrorist plots by using alternatives of US-based apps.

Although the FBI was able to figure out a way to resolve the locked iPhone issue it was facing in two high-profile cases, law enforcement agencies have to deal with unique and complicated legal challenges for compelling companies to let them access encrypted communications. These barriers also pertain to the laws that were written nearly two decades ago when the concept of internet had just emerged. The players involved in this debate are outlining their position and the results of these cases is going to define the rules for digital rights for years to come.

While law enforcement agencies such as the FBI are free to obtain court orders to compel companies to accept wiretap orders, there are still two issues remaining, which make it difficult for the agencies to get their hands on the data they are after. First, the investigators are far behind the rapid technological advancements. For intercepting any communications, they have to resort to laws that restrict their reach like the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. Secondly, there is the issue of encryption as users now have the ability of protecting their data with it.

Only the user knows the secret key to unlock the data and even companies cannot provide it to law enforcement agencies because it is scrambled. Michael Hayden, the former CIA and NSA Director said that the US intelligence and law enforcement agencies will have to deal with the fact that strong encryption will protect the content of their communications. He said that instead of trying to prevent it or slow it down through legislation, it is better to find other ways to do their jobs in the absence of information collection.