INTERNET FINANCE BOOM IN CHINA

Last 2013, online wealth management had made its advent in China. Ever since the world’s businesses have gone mobile, China’s investment has also made the same turn. What people need to know about it is that internet finance primarily encapsulates three things: (a) lending, (b) payment services, and (c) financial consultancies (Jingu, 2014).

According to experts, the reason behind the boom in internet finance in China is the list of deficiencies that can be encountered by a customer with traditional financing. Alipay, one of China’s payment services, was recently dubbed as the most popular online payment choice for the reason that it allows people to safely use their credit cards in purchasing products online. Unlike traditional banking, Alipay is so much easier to use since it does not complicate the procedures of shopping payment. Furthermore, it is complete with security guarantees unlike traditional banking. Because of the evident deficiencies in traditional financial products, more people now resort to using online internet financial tools. This, however, had put a lot of pressure on various Chinese banks as people decided to shift their deposits to online-based wealth management financial products.

In order to compete against the booming internet finance in China, a number of traditional joint-stock banks have decided to introduce money market deposit accounts which will allow several banks’ customers to withdraw their savings from automated teller machines (ATMs) and pay their debit cards through a money market account like a typical savings account.

The evident boom in the realm of internet finance in China can be credited to a subdued formal financial system. As what most people are aware of, China’s banking system is highly regulated, meaning interest rates and monopoly state banks are controlled. Because of this, most people are not able to receive favourable and real returns from the bank deposits they have made.

The formal financial system’s flaws are believed to be the chief reasons why shadow banking had managed to rise after the global financial crisis back in the year 2008; however, even though internet finance is obviously changing the landscape of the financial sector in China, this change will not permanent. Soon enough, banks will be able to compete with internet finance.

The Governor of People’s Bank of China, Governor Zhou Xiaochuan, aims to liberalize interest rates after 2015 in order to allow banks to compete with the flourishing internet finance. One principal reason why the boom in internet finance will not last very long is China is because Chinese traditional banks plan to adopt internet finance as they restructure their business operation. As a matter of fact, Ping An Insurance Group had already decided to launch its own Peer-to-peer business. Experts say that it is to be expected that others banks will soon follow to this trend and employ the same tactic internet finance private firms usually use. If banks will not adopt the said trend, it is very likely that they will lose higher rates of market share. In many ways, internet finance has proven its worth as an efficient tool in enhancing China’s financial system. It might even be the beginning of financial liberalization.

 

IMF POLICIES AND AFRICAN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

Ebola outbreak is a major health crisis which threatens most of the countries in the world at present. Thousands of people have already died, both medical practitioners and ordinary citizens, because of the Ebola virus. As of today, there are still plenty of discussions as to who or what should be blamed for the worsening of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, but people believe different things. As a result, up to this day, the public still has not reached any definite conclusion yet.

While it is true that the Ebola epidemic is political in nature, it would also be safe to conclude that it also poses a lot of economic threats for the countries affected by Ebola and those areas around it. As the death toll increases in West Africa, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea continuously face great revenue shortfalls and other financial difficulties.

According to the analysis of several researchers from Cambridge University, Oxford University, and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the worsening of the Ebola outbreak can be attributed partly to the shortcomings of the International Monetary Fund policies and programmes that have caused the financial immune deficiency of West Africa.

It has been found by the UK-based researchers that the rapid outbreak of Ebola is directly rooted from the policies of International Monetary Fund that have left healthcare facilities and systems in Africa underfunded. Because of this, health systems have not been able to cope with the Ebola outbreak effectively, resulting to the death of thousands of Ebola-stricken individuals.

The researchers claimed that the policies imposed by the International Monetary Fund have made it difficult to employ healthcare workers in West Africa. The study had mentioned that Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea were not able to employ doctors and pay them sufficiently, while the decentralised health systems made it almost impossible to put into action coordinated responses to the outbreak of the infectious disease. They also explained that the required economic reforms pressed by the Monetary Fund weakened the healthcare systems in the said three countries. As a response, IMF’s spokesman claimed otherwise by saying that it was all just a misunderstanding. He said that the mandate of International Monetary Fund did not encapsulate public health; therefore, it is not true that IMF policies have a link to the major health crisis in Africa. He further explained that the International Monetary Fund had provided $130 million dollars worth of financial assistance to the areas affected by the outbreak, and that IMF will give the same amount to the three areas in West Africa heavily affected by Ebola next year.

Rest assured, none of this is to say that the International Monetary Fund is wholly responsible for the outbreak. Various factors also need to be taken into account in examining the causes of the worsening of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa; but although the political and socioeconomic aspects are to be paid much needed attention to in examining this issue, the international community also have to recognize the need for the revision of the IMF fiscal and its monetary policies.

 

Source:

AFP. (2014). IMF Policies blamed for weak Ebola response.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/ebola/11307252/IMF-policies-blamed-for-weak-Ebola-response.html

LOOM BANDS POSE DANGER TO CHILDREN

Loom bands are one of today’s most popular toys. As a matter of fact, the Duchess of Cambridge even wore one loom band bracelet on her last trip to New Zealand. Even a legend such as David Beckham had done the same. In this highly modernized era filled with so many gadgets like iPads, smartphones, laptops, and tablets, it is incredibly fascinating to find a new trend which seems to be catching up with people of all ages who are supposed to be breathing nothing but social media by now.

Despite the craze people have over rubber bands, it has been found that loom bands can prove to be fatal once inhaled by children. According to the Journal of Laryngology and Otology, loom bands can choke children and cause their death once they are not brought to the medics immediately. This is why many medical practitioners worldwide are warning their adult patients to supervise their children while playing loom bands.

It has been reported that most foreign bodies can be easily removed from children once tiny objects have been stuck in their nose; however, once extremely small objects like loom bands have been inhaled, it can cause cardio respiratory arrest, and even death. Dr. Iain Bohler, a surgical registrar, has reported that he had experienced a situation where two children put the s-shaped hooks that come along with loom band bracelets into their nose. One of the two even choked and swallowed the hook. On another scenario, two children got loom bands stuck inside their nasal passages. It was extremely dangerous, so it demanded “local anaesthetic and crocodile forceps” in order to get the toys out. (Wilkinson, 2014)

In addition to this, it has also been reported that the plastic trinkets that come along with loom bands have cancer-causing chemicals that may lead to negative effects on children’s health. In Midlands and the South, The Entertainer had pulled out loom band charms from their eighty stores after the test results confirmed that some of the loom bands have high levels of phthalates (Harley, 2014). For toy stores all across the globe, children’s safety is always of paramount importance, this is why The Entertainer, a famous independent toy store, made the decision to value the demands of their customers and remove all loom bands from sale as they initiate full investigation regarding the matter.

RMS International Ltd., in response, clarified that not all loom bands pose cancer risks to its users. According to their spokesperson, only a number of PVC loom bands have phthalates that can potentially put people, especially children with weak immune system, in danger. In fact, after discovering that there are PVC loom charms that are dangerous to children, RMS International Ltd. automatically suspended all of its imports of loom bands into the United Kingdom to prevent bigger problems to arise.

Loom bands are still being continuously imported and exported until today. The best thing that parents can do as their children play with the colourful rubber bands and the charms that come along with it is to make sure that their children will not put it in their ears, nose, and mouth. Furthermore, it is almost important to ensure that the toys they buy for their children are safe and PVC certified.

 

Source:

Harley, N. (2014). Loom band charms removed from sale over cancer fear. Retrieved from

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/11064396/Loom-band-charms-removed-from-sale-

over-cancer-fears.html

Wilkinson, E. (2014). Loom bands ‘inhalation danger’ to young children. Retrieved from

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-30582551

NORTH KOREA’S INTERNET OUTAGE

North Korea’s internet has been restored after almost ten hours of internet outage. Despite the fact that it is no longer down, many netizens are still bothered after having found that North Korea’s internet is still intermittent. What makes this issue more controversial than it should be is that it happened in the wake of the contentious Sony network breach.

As what most people know, the entertainment industry and a number of political institutions, even the White House have been alarmed because of the recent cyber attack initiated by a group of hackers called Guardians of Peace against Sony’s network. The ‘Guardians of Peace’ claimed that they will immediately release more private documents and files that belong to Sony if the studio will release the movie, The Interview, on theatres at the 25th of December.

Many, of course, suspected that North Korea was behind it since it is quite obvious how offended the Pyongyang government had been over Seth Rogen’s upcoming film; and true enough, the FBI found out that North Korea was the country responsible for hacking into Sony’s computer network. The opposing party, however, claimed that they were just framed by the United States for the crime and what ought to be done is to investigate the cybercrime in depth. What is intriguing is that after a few days, North Korea made a statement saying that they have a clear and strong evidence that the United States’ administration is behind the creation of a ‘dishonest reactionary movie’. President Barack Obama made clear on Sunday that the act committed by North Korea was not anything which signifies war but an act of cyber vandalism which is very expensive. He confirmed that U.S. will respond to the security breach at the right time in its own terms.

As to why North Korea had its internet down for several hours can be attributed to many possibilities. The first possibility is that the United States might be involved in the said act. Obviously, this is a conclusion many people will swiftly jump into. Many people claim that North Korea’s internet outage may be a form of revenge by the U.S. against North Korea for the highly disputed Sony breach; however, this is yet to be proven. The next possibility as to why the internet outage occurred in North Korea could be because of the poor maintenance of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s infrastructure. This may be one of the reasons why the internet service has been disrupted all of a sudden. One router could have broken down and it might have caused the entire internet disruption. The third possibility is that China got involved in the drama of the whole thing by taking advantage of its role as North Korea’s internet access manager and gatekeeper. On the other hand, China is North Korea’s major ally, so it would not make much sense if the Sleeping Giant will do such thing. Lastly, it is also possible that North Korea shut down their own internet access to keep the public’s attention away from the controversies involving their country with the widely talked about Sony breach.

Whoever is to be blamed for the internet outage in North Korea remains unknown, but as far as damages go, North Korea’s netizens have not been bothered as much as those who had their files stolen from them by a group of hackers. North Korea’s citizens do not use internet as much as other countries. As a matter of fact, according to CloudFlare’s CEO, Matthew Prince, North Korea is among the countries that are least connected to the world.

Sources:

Feinberg, A. (2014). So Who Shut Down North Korea’s Internet? Retrieved from http://gizmodo.com/so-

who-shut-down-north-koreas-internet-1674589139

Wagstaff, J. (2014). Downing North Korea’s Internet not much of a Scalp.

Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/23/us-northkorea-cyberattack-outage-idUSKBN0K10HN20141223

THOUSANDS OF WOMENS AND YOUNG GIRLS REMAIN AS SEX SLAVES FOR IS FIGHTERS

For the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), both rape and women trafficking are not solely forms of crime but calculated tactics meant to explicitly show the militant group’s superiority and power over others. As a matter of fact, the militants are not just merely displaying their heinous crimes to the majority of the public; instead, they are boasting about it as well.

Thousands of Yazidi women have been taken by ISIS members over the past few weeks, and this abduction has already led to a massive number of deaths of young girls and women in Iraq. Females as young as ten years old have been abducted by ISIS members and after being kidnapped, they would be raped and sold at the slave markets the ISIS militants have created on their own to attract new recruits to their terror group.

Thankfully, some women, despite being gang raped by the members of the ISIS, have been able to flee their captors with the aid of some local residents in the area where the cruel militants have been keeping the 3,500 women they have abducted. It has been shared by escapees that those who spoke against the ISIS group were killed immediately and other women were constantly harassed by the IS fighters. According to some of the women who have been interviewed by Amnesty International, most of the abducted women wanted to kill themselves while they were held as captives by the militants but could not find a way to do so. One girl named Jilan, however, had managed to kill herself in the bathroom by cutting her wrists and hanging herself. Another story which was shared by the Yazidi women who were interviewed by Amnesty was the story of two sisters who tried to strangle each other in the hopes of killing one another so that they can escape their seemingly inevitable future of being ISIS sex slaves. Those whose families that have been able to pay the ransom set by the IS fighters have been freed while those who came from poor families remain captives by the terror group.

Because of the increasing rate of abduction in the IS-controlled areas in Iraq, early marriages have already become a trend because parents fear that their daughters will be forced by the terror group’s members to enter into marriage with ISIS militants. Females, both old and young, have no genuine freedom anymore because of the rise of the militant group. Furthermore, they are not the only ones being deprived by the Islamic terror group. Schools are also highly controlled by the ISIS when it comes to their curriculums. Academic syllabi have been changed completely and are now designed to teach Sharia law. If teachers will choose not to teach the said law, schools that have been shut down by the militant group will never again reopen.

According to the United Nations, around 5,000 men have already been executed and about 7,000 women have already been sold as sex slaves by ISIS fighters at present. Females who have been sold as sex slaves are usually brought back to the Islamic State’s location only to be sold again after they recover from the injuries and bruises they have acquired from the beatings they have received from the men who bought them.

 

SOURCE:

Wood, P. (2014). Islamic State: Yazidi women tell of sex-slavery trauma. Retrieved from

http://bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30573385

Steinbuch, Y. (2014). Sister entered suicide pact rather than become ISIS sex slaves. Retrieved from

http://nypost.com/2014/12/23/sisters-entered-suicide-pact-rather-than-become-isis-sex-slaves/

SPIRITUAL ALZHEIMER’S

Many people today are too caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life so much so that they feel like they do not have any other option anymore but to hold onto their faith so that they can feel a sense of comfort despite the daily challenges that come their way, may it be at work, business, household, and so on; however, it cannot be denied that at this point in time, there are lists of problems that face even those individuals who belong in the religious community; hence, if a person will make the decision to depend purely on something or someone, it is very likely that his expectations will not be met since no organization, community, or person is perfect.

Pope Francis, the first non-European papacy holder after almost a millennium, criticized the officials who belong in the Curia, the administrative body that oversees millions of people who observe the Catholic Faith, through his speech. The officials whom he was meant to speak in front of for the annual Christmas greeting in the Vatican were described in his strong and fascinating speech as people who deem themselves superior over other people and officials who were obsessed in loving their own images.

The Pope’s moving message was delivered inside the Clementine Hall in the Vatican where he accused the Curia, despite being the pinnacle of the Catholic Church as an administrative body suffering from ailments that he aims to cure by next year as the reigning pope. Upon listening to his speech, it can be inferred that Pope Francis seeks to reform Curia since it is evidently being negatively affected by what he refers to as “Spiritual Alzheimer’s” – one of the fifteen ailments Pope Francis believes to be prevailing in the aforementioned administrative body. Based from his explanation, spiritual alzheimer’s is the ailment which is possessed by those who have already long forgotten their personal encounters with God and those who have chosen to depend to their idols instead to their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In addition to this, Pope Francis also criticized the desire of certain groups in the Curia to be stronger than the whole body. Although it could have started because of good intentions, he believes that once individuals become enslaved to their own desires, the groups they have formed can grow as closed groups that will threaten the whole governing administration.

One of the solutions he proposes is for the Catholic bishops all across the globe to be granted a bigger opportunity to voice their thoughts and opinions regarding doctrine-related activities and decision-making processes as opposed to their current condition wherein they have no bigger say than those in the Vatican. Another is to change the self-serving ways of those who desire to claim authority and power over everyone and everything.

Despite the fact that he seeks reform, it still remains a question to many as to why Pope Francis was motivated to deliver such type of message. Most likely, it could be because he is disappointed with the slow pace of Vatican bureaucracy. As what most people know, Pope Francis is a Vatican outsider and he has not experienced to work in Rome prior to his election as the Catholic Church’s pope. Clearly, Pope Francis longs to reform the bureaucracy of the Vatican with the aid of his new circle of cardinal advisers.

SOURCE:

AP News. (2014). A list of Pope Francis’ 15 “Ailments of the Curia”.

Pope Francis Criticizes Vatican Bureaucracy. [Video file]. (2014). Retrieved from

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJOnm7e7SVg

 

LEADING SENIOR PHYSICAN DIES OF EBOLA

Author and lecturer Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”. It is indeed a glorious endeavour to put other people’s welfare before one’s self; but what if this venture reaches the stage where a strong pull between life and death takes place? Can helping people still be considered as a noble cause worthy of all the sacrifices?

Doctor Victor Willoughby, one of Sierra Leone’s top physicians, has recently become the 11th doctor who had died because of the dreaded Ebola virus. Doctor Willoughby, after being diagnosed with Ebola on December 13, died on Thursday, December 18. Many volunteers and healthcare workers, especially those whom the senior physician had mentored, grew disappointed upon the doctor’s death hours before the ZMAb, an experimental drug developed in Canada, had arrived in West Africa. Few weeks ago, two doctors from the United States who have showed symptoms of Ebola have been responsive to the experimental drug, and so, most healthcare workers stationed in West Africa hoped that this could increase Willoughby’s chances of survival. Many hoped that the 67-year-old doctor would actually be able to survive had the experimental drug arrived sooner. Unfortunately, before the dose of ZMAb could be administered, the doctor had already died.

Ebola is a highly infectious and fatal disease which can be acquired through human-to-human interactions. This acute illness spreads through direct contact from one person to another through blood, bodily fluids, mucous membrane, secretions, and clothing contaminated with infected people’s fluids. It is for this reason why many health-care workers and volunteers have died days after assisting and treating people infected with EVD. Most people also refer to Ebola as the “caregiver’s disease” due to the fact that it is commonly transmitted to those individuals who care for those who suffer from the disease’s symptoms.

It is, indeed, incredibly depressing and frustrating how those people who are helping those individuals who are Ebola-infected are the ones suffering the symptoms of the said disease.

This death of one of Africa’s health workers is not something new for it is something which has actually been happening for quite some time ever since the Ebola outbreak has started. Over 350 healthcare workers have died because of the said virus, and up to this day, the number of victims who belong in the medicine industry is still increasing. In this case, it is important to note that if West Africa citizens are falling as victims of the virus as fast as health practitioners because this implies that the outbreak of Ebola is far worse than what most people know.

Being a healthcare worker is a demanding yet rewarding task. At present, many healthcare workers sacrifice their own health and safety to help those in need. What the international community ought to do now is to aid them in addressing Ebola and give much needed help to all the people suffering because of the Ebola virus.

 

United States Unhappy About ISIS Beheadings

Muslim rebel with AK assault rifleFormer soldier and diligent American aid personnel, Peter Kassig aged 26 was beheaded, U.S.A confirmed, after video claiming to expose the vile act surfaced on the internet. ISIS held the victim and in earlier videos, they threatened to kill him if their demands were not met. The gross video is an aftermath of the beheading of Kassig, an innocent American citizen caught up in political trifles he was unaware of. The president of the United States of America, was empathetic with Peter’s family, saying ‘’Peter was killed in pure evil and that was inhumanity by the terrorist group ISIS. In captivity Peter had converted his faith to Islam and was also called Abdul-Rahman Kassig.

Initially, he first moved to the Afghanistan to join the U.S, soldiers restore calm and later become a zealous medical worker, helping victims of the brutal war that took innocent lives. He had worked in Syria and this is where he met his bad fate. He stayed in captivity for more than a year by the terrorist group ISIS.

‘’We are sad to find out that our beloved son, Peter Kassig Abdul-Rahman, has been killed because he loved the Syrian and wanted to help ease their transgressions and suffering, Peter’s parents, Paula and Ed, said. Later on, the parents made public an unpublished audio tape their son had recorded before he was held captive by the terrorist group ISIS.

“You know we would have a chance here to make up for a lot wrong that we did in this part of the world if we stepped in, in the right way,” Peter Kassig says in the recording. “If we just as a country did what other people helped me to do in that hospital. How much did I impact the political situation inside Syria? None. How much did I impact the political situation back home? None. But what I did do is that over period of time in that hospital I was able to share a little bit of hope and comfort with some people.”

The family was heartbroken over the killing of other Americans that were held captive before Peter, and prayed for their safe return.

‘’While this group detests the slaughter of innocent people and is armed to create destruction and death, Peter was only a humanitarian keen to help the millions of Syrians dying in the conflict,’’ said Obama. The Islamic state, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is the name of the terrorist group.

A man who resembles Peter was seen in the Sunday video dressed in black and was audibly speaking English with an America accent. A man with similar fitting was seen in the videos of the beheadings of Peter Kassig.

 

The recording is brutal as it show the graphical details of other people who are said to have betrayed the Syrian Government. The dead figure mocks Obama and the narration dwelt on the ISIS history, saying Obama has to withdraw from Syria. The person narrating names the location where the victim can be found, a small town in Aleppo province.

The fifth American

After Kassig was killed, the total number of Americans beheaded is five. All five beheadings have appeared on video. The first American was James Foley. His video was posted on the internet in August after the United States Government approved ‘’airstrikes’’ against the terror group. Afterwards on early September, the ISIS Released another videos that showed the beheading of the second American journalist Steven Sotloff’s. In a span of a few days, ISSS announced the death of David Haines, a British health worker. Later October, the beheading of Alan Henning was announced by the terrorist group ISIS. John Kerry was quick to praise Peter’s compassion in helping the Syrian people.

‘’He was only a young man that travelled to the world’s worst places to take care of victims of the Syrian war, and boldly worked to helping the needy,’’ said Kerry. You can never compare Kassig’s generosity to the bad spirit of the terrorist group.

Plea for freedom

Peter’s dear life was boldly threated before Henning’s was killed. After the release of the video when he was threatened, Peter’s family also released a video on YouTube to beg the captors to free their only son.