Category Archives: Politics

27Jul/17
grab tackles uber

Things are Moving as Grab Tackles Uber

As a beleaguered Uber deals with internal issues at its headquarters in the US, they find themselves facing a competition in many parts of Southeast Asia. Enters Grab.

Founded in 2012, Grab has quickly established itself as a viable opponent in the car/ride services industry. The company is currently operating in countries such as Malaysia and the Philippines.

In order to go after an opponent such as Uber, Grab’s executive has come to recognize that first and foremost, the company needs to offer more value for the customer. The company’s success is clear based upon the fact they occupy the spot as the region’s top-rated ride-sharing company.

With designs on continuing its dominance in Southeast Asia with and eye for reaching out into parts of the world, Grab chief executive officer Anthony Tan was thrilled to announce the firm has raised $2.5bn (£1.9bn) in fresh funds from two primary foreign investors.

China’s Didi Chuxing will reportedly be investing up to $2.0bn to top the list. The next largest investor will be Japan’s software giant Softbank, coming in with as much as $400 million, followed by a mixed group of investors that will be covering the other $500 million.

According to Tan, “With their support, Grab will achieve an unassailable market lead in ride-sharing, and build on this to make Grab-Pay the payment solution of choice for Southeast Asia.”

In other Grab news, Grab and Uber have both been under pressure from the Philippines’ LTFRB for not having its drivers properly registered. After reportedly threatening to shut down both operations in the Philippines as of July 26 if the proper paperwork wasn’t submitted, the LTFRB was forced to suspend such sanctions as both ride-sharing companies paid the required 5,000,000 PH Peso fine and subsequently applied for “reconsideration” of the LTFRB’s ruling.

11Jul/17
President Trump G-20 Question Russian Meddling US Election

President Trump Uses G-20 to Question Russian Meddling in US Election

While questions are still left unanswered about Russia’s alleged meddling in the U.S. election process, U.S. President Donald Trump finally got the opportunity to meet face to face with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

In an early morning tweet from the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, Trump tweeted, ““I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I’ve already given my opinion…..” In fact, Trump claims to have pressed Putin twice over these allegations.

Earlier in the week, Trumped stated that Russia could have interfered in the US election process during the 2016 Presidential election cycle. He also stated that other countries and special interest groups could have been just as involved. In his opinion, “nobody really knows for sure.”

At a separate briefing, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that he believed the US’ investigation into Russia’s alleged election interference was “strange and bizarre”, considering that thus far, “not a single fact has been presented” to support the allegations. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was present during President Trump’s meeting with Putin, confirmed that the President had indeed pressed Putin on the subject.

Not everyone was satisfied with the cordial meeting between the world’s top two leaders. On this past weekend’s “Meet The Press,” former CIA Director John Brennan expressed his displeasure with how the meeting went down.

“He said it’s an honor to meet President Putin,” Brennan said. “An honor to meet the individual who carried out the assault against our election? To me, it was a dishonorable thing to say.”

Fortunately, President Trump and Putin had the opportunity to address more urgent matters. The two men were able to successfully negotiate the initial parts of a proposed cease fire in Syria. They also discussed the prospects of establishing a co-managed cyber security unit as a means of stopping hacking issues in the future.

03Jul/17
china maritime rights south china sea

China Continues to Wrongfully Claim Maritime Rights

Much of the world is familiar with China’s illegal claims to many of the islands in the South China Sea. These islands have long been a source of dispute between China and the Philippines with the United States States offering support for its Filipino allies.

While the dispute continues long after the international ruling bodies of the Hague disavowed China’s claim, tensions have been running high between the world’s two biggest military powers, China and the US.

This past week, a US Naval destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of one of the contested islands. After placing air navigation and weaponry on several of the islands, China has been increasingly more sensitive about intruders on territory they assert is theirs. With the US Navy running routine exercises in the area, tensions are on the rise again.

Triton Island was the target of the US Navy’s routine right of passage exercise. China, Vietnam and Taiwan have all laid claim to this particular island. According to a Navy representative, who asked to remain anonymous, these passage exercises are used to make clear that no one has the right to request prior notice before a ship of any kind is allowed to freely pass through the area.

In a written statement issue by China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, he stated, the U.S. action constituted “a serious political and military provocation.” He further asserted that such operations “violate China’s sovereignty and threaten China’s security. The Chinese side will continue to take all necessary means to defend national sovereignty and security.”

In the coming months, more of these types of confrontations should be expected. The Chinese government has made clear its decision to ignore the ruling set down by the Hague while the United States and other Asian countries have made clear their intention to continue using the South China Sea passage way as they see fit.

26Jun/17
US president trump concern democrat resistance

US President Trump Expresses Concern About Democrat Resistance

While admitting that he likes the call for resistance as an election battle cry, US President Donald Trump went on to say resistance is not a good thing after an election has been completed.

Speaking in an interview of Fox and Friends this past week, President Trump was asked what the biggest obstacle to his Presidency has been to date. In reference to the complete resistance being levied by House and Senate Democrats on issues like the new health care bill, he stated, “I think it’s a terrible theme for the people of this country – resist, obstruction. That’s not what they want.”

In hopes of trying to establish some form of bipartisan cooperation related to healthcare over the next 43 months, Trump stated, “It would be so great if the Democrats and Republicans could get together, wrap their arms around it, and come up with something that everybody’s happy with. It’s so easy, but we won’t get one Democrat vote – not one.”

As the Democrat party’s leader for 8 years and someone who still has a great deal of influence, former President Barack Obama was out front criticizing the “new” healthcare bill long before any details about the bill had been released. This is a level of organized resistance that seems more mean-spirited that it does constructive.

Across the world, there is a growing concern that the US and its government are going to remain in some type of stalemate. Anything that needs to get done has to be rammed through a GOP controlled Congress, which only serves to upset people sitting on the other side of the isle.

Trump was particularly critical of people like Senator Elizabeth Warren, who decries “resist” as a normal course of action. When asked about Warren’s opposition to the current healthcare bill, Trump said, “She’s a hopeless case. I call her ‘Pocahontas, and that’s an insult to Pocahontas.”

21Jun/17
civil war republicans democrats

Is a Civil War Coming to the US?

After the last weeks shooting of GOP Congressional members, there’s an air of urgency rising on the streets of America. Much of the prior politically motivated violence had been isolated to rallies and protests, but now things are becoming personal.

While preparing for the annual baseball game between Republicans and Democrats, shots rang out, striking six different individuals. Among those who sustained injuries were GOP Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Congressional staffer Zack Barth (works for Rep. Roger Williams of Texas) and GOP Representative Roger Williams of Texas. All of the victims are expected to survive.

The only fatality was the shooter, one James Hodgkinson, who died after the shootout at the hands of law enforcement. Prior to the shooting, witnesses stated that Hodgkinson was very agitated and spouting out angry opposition to GOP policies.

This is not the first time violence has been perpetrated against members or supporters of the Republican party. Throughout the election cycle in October of last year, there were many occasions when President Donald Trump supporters were confronted going in and out of political venues. Notable attacks were reported in San Jose, California in June of last year and in areas of Berkeley.

It was October of 2016 that the firebombing of Republican Party headquarters in Orange County was reported, promting North Carolina. Gov. Pat McCrory to comment that the attack was a pure “attack on our democracy.”

While differing sides have certainly had their issues throughout the years, it’s hard to recall when such a level of violence was used to deliver a message. As the popularity of President Trump continues to wane and violence continues between supporters of differing ideologies, one can only be concern that things will soon hit critical mass. For now, the recent shooting only served to bring all Congressional leaders together, at least for the time being.

05Jun/17
london tragedy trump travel ban support

As London Deals With Tragedy, Trump Takes to Twitter for Travel Ban Support

Being a leader that never misses an opportunity to take advantage of a tragedy, United States President Donald Trump used the recent terrorist act in London, England to create support for his now defunct travel band.

While some of the details may still be unclear, it appears that a series of knife and track attacks may be related to recent terrorist activities in Europe. As Trump continues to pursue support for a travel ban he has been trying to get through the court systems, he is again calling for passage of temporary laws that would prohibit immigration from as many as six different Muslims countries.

The tweet from President Trump came at 7 p.m. Eastern Time this past Friday: “We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” The tweet hit Twitter while the details of event were still being sorted out.

The dispute over the proposed travel ban relates to an assumption being made based on some of President Trump past rhetoric. While the President has the power to implement some emergency laws aimed at protecting the country, the courts have determined he has submitted the travel ban order based on religious affiliations, which violates certain rights listed in the Constitution of the United States.

As seven innocent dead victims and three suspects were being pulled from the carnage related to a van being driven into a large group of pedestrians, followed by series of fatal stabbings, Trump immediately assumed it was the work of terrorists and went to work on his message.

The above incident also resulted in another 48 people being injured. The final body count could have been much higher had London police not arrive quickly on the scene to shoot and kill the suspects.

22May/17
North Korea missile May 20 2017

North Korea Continues Missile Launches

As tensions continue building over North Korea’s build up in nuclear arms project, another missile launch as confirmed on May 20 by representatives from South Korea. The statement issued by the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff read as followed:

“North Korea launched an unidentifiable projectile to the East Sea from Bukchang area in South Pyongyang Province at 16:49 today.” (The East Sea is also referred to as the Sea of Japan.) The South Korean statement later added, “The projectile flew 500 km [310 miles] and ROK and U.S. are now analyzing its details [sic]. ROK military is closely monitoring North Korean provocative trends and maintaining highest military readiness.”

After the South Korean statement, Commander David Benham, a U.S. Pacific Command spokesman, issued the following statement on behalf of the White House: “U.S. Pacific Command detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch at 09:59 p.m. Hawaii time May 20. The launch of a medium range ballistic missile occurred near Pukchang. The missile was tracked until it landed in the Sea of Japan. We are working with our Interagency partners on a more detailed assessment. We continue to monitor North Korea’s actions closely. U.S. Pacific Command stands behind our ironclad commitment to the security of our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) assessed that the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.”

While North Korean leader Kim Jong-un continues to taunt the US and neighboring South Korea, the international community continues to levy sanctions on Jong-un and his people. While the sanctions are creating issues, nothing seems to be deterring North Korea from further missile launches. To date, this is the 7th recorded missile launch in 2017. As long as Jong-un acts with defiance, there seems to be little chance of mediation.

16May/17
laptop ban us homeland security

US Homeland Security Looking at Wider Laptop Ban

With terrorists threats increasing throughout the air travel industry, The United States Department of Homeland Security is looking at a total ban on in-cabin computers (tablets, laptops) on designated flights. The proposed flights affected originate from 10 countries from within Europe and Africa. The ban would require all computing devices to be checked through as luggage.

If this policy is put in place, frequent travelers are going to face a major change in the way they travel. Not only will they have to endure long flights without any form of distraction, sans the airline’s movie list, but they run the risk of having their devices damaged or stolen by baggage handlers. Flight insurance would most likely cover the cost of such an incident, but who wants to get off a flight and have to head to the nearest mall for a new computer? Never mind that important data could be lost.

While the ban would only affect airlines originating in those 10 countries into the US, the likelihood the ban would eventually be expanded to include other countries would increase. There’s even a possibility Homeland Security could impose the ban on domestic flights should even one threat be exposed.

When contacted for a comment, several major US airlines (United Airlines (UAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) nor American Airlines (AAL)) could not be reached. In anticipation of this type of ban throughout the world, several proactive airlines are allowing travelers to gate-check their devices, lowering the risk of theft and damage. There’s even a possibility the items could be stored in the cabin under lock n’ key with the airline staff. Among these airlines, which include Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines, efforts are being made to offer loaner laptops, which would be controlled as the airlines property.

Stay tuned for more information on this proposed ban.