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No-deal Brexit - the data dilemma

Two urgent questions - does your business move data across borders and if so are you prepared for what could happen if the UK leaves the EU at the end of March without a deal?The Direct Marketing Association (DMA), which represents a whole raft of data businesses, says any company that moves data between the UK and an EU country needs to be aware of what will change if we effectively sign out of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Europe's data protection regime.If we are going to continue to see data flowing freely across borders as now, we will need the EU to give us the kind of adequacy deal it has already granted to 12 other non-EU countries - but it isn't clear how quickly that would happen.And in the meantime, the DMA says, there would be severe uncertainty that "could potentially bring EU-to-UK data flows to a halt".A couple of examples:A large UK data processing company with EU-based customers and an EU data centre may find it can no longer move their data across borders to be processed in the UK. In the words of the DMA, "it would lose control of its own data"A small e-commerce company, perhaps selling Scottish knitwear, has some customers in France and stores their email addresses and previous orders in its database. To continue processing their data, it may need an EU-approved standard contractual clauseDMA chief executive Chris Combemale says many larger companies have already moved to open data centres in mainland Europe.He describes one major US financial technology company that had all of its servers in London but now has a duplicate operation in Amsterdam.He says large companies are prepared and will take things in their stride but the administrative burden on smaller businesses could be quite onerous."We're not disaster-mongers - things will carry on but with more cost," he says."The uncertainty, the extra cost, could reduce investment - companies could choose to do less business here."Image captionInformation commissioner Elizabeth Denham says companies need to consider "alternative transfer mechanisms"Lawyers too are warning that data-handling companies - and they account for an awful lot of businesses these days - face a mountain of work. "Preparing for a no-deal Brexit requires identifying current and future EU-UK data transfers and urgently ensuring that UK entities become 'safe importers' of data in Data Transfers Agreements," says Eduardo Ustaran of Hogan Lovells."A no-deal Brexit definitely means more bureaucracy, not less."The Information Commissioner's Office points out that there is comprehensive advice for businesses about the implications of a no-deal Brexit on its website.Introducing the advice, the commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, said: "Organisations will need to carefully consider alternative transfer mechanisms to maintain data flows and the guidance we have produced will help you weigh the options and take action if this proves necessary."Having read through this section, my head is spinning and I can imagine lots of smaller companies will still be struggling to work out exactly what they need to do.But with just 71 days left to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, any business that depends on data had better get their skates on. Otherwise, they could see a vital resource stuck in an endless tailback at the border.(BBC)

Firms fined, 15 people sentenced for fraud in China

Fifteen people were sentenced to jail and three companies were fined for fraud for illegally raising 43.4 billion yuan ($6.4 billion) by Shanghai No 1 People's Intermediate Court on Wednesday.Shanghai Kuailu Investment Group was fined 1.5 billion yuan and its two affiliated companies, East Hongqiao Microcredit and East Hongqiao Financing Guarantee, were fined 200 million yuan each.The companies' former executives, Huang Jialiu and Wei Yanping, were sentenced to life in prison. Another 13 people, including Xu Qi and Zhou Mengmeng, were sentenced to 9 to 15 years.The verdict said that from 2013 to 2016, Kuailu chairman Shi Jianxiang organized illegal fundraising through the affiliated companies and other financing platforms.Shi directed East Hongqiao Microcredit to forge fake credit materials and East Hongqiao Financing Guarantee to provide false guarantee materials, and then converted them into different wealth products that were sold along with unlicensed fund products by Zhonghai Investment to the public through conferences, internet advertising, phone calls and other channels. A total of 43.4 billion yuan was involved.The money was transferred to bank accounts controlled by Shi and Kuailu. While 28.2 billion yuan was paid to investors for principal reduction and interest, the rest of the money was used for purposes such as share acquisition and investment in film projects. Some of the money was misappropriated, the court said, as it was transferred overseas, ending with a loss of 15.2 billion yuan and nearly 40,000 victims.The court said the three companies, as well as 15 people who were directly involved in the fraud, caused huge economic losses and seriously damaged the nation's financial order and safety. Municipal justice departments will continue recovering the money and hunting for fugitives, including Shi, who fled China to the United States in March 2016 and is currently on the wanted list issued by China's anti-corruption authority.Around 300 people, including defendants' relatives, representatives of the victims and officials from the US consulate in Shanghai, were in the courtroom to listen to the case.(CHINA DAILY)

Syria war: 'IS suicide bomber' kills US troops in Manbij

US soldiers have been killed in an apparent suicide bombing in northern Syria claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group, the US military has said.IS said a militant had detonated an explosive vest next to a US patrol in the Kurdish-held town of Manbij.Two US soldiers, a civilian employee at the defence department and a contractor died, US Central Command said. Another three US soldiers were wounded.US forces are in Manbij to back Kurdish and Arab forces.IS fighters have been driven out of almost all of eastern Syria.Wednesday's attack took place at a restaurant near Manbij's main market.The US troops were at the restaurant to meet members of the Manbij Military Council, a witness told Reuters news agency.CCTV footage from a nearby shop shows a large fireball engulfing several people standing on the street outside.The US soldiers were subsequently evacuated by a helicopter that landed on a playground, the Syrian Kurdish Hawar News Agency reports.It cited the head of Manbij's health committee as saying that 18 people had been killed, including the US soldiers, and that another 18 had been wounded.Image copyrightAFPImage captionUS troops used armoured vehicles to patrol the centre of Manbij following the attackUS Central Command later confirmed that four Americans were killed."Two US service members, one department of defence (DoD) civilian and one contractor supporting DoD were killed and three service members were injured while conducting a local engagement in Manbij," it said in a statement.Last month, President Donald Trump announced that the US would begin pulling out all its 2,000 troops from Syria because IS had been "defeated".Opponents of the withdrawal stressed that although IS now controlled only 1% of the territory they overran five years ago, the group had not disappeared entirely.Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has previously criticised Mr Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria, said on Wednesday that the move could encourage IS attacks and "set in motion enthusiasm by the enemy we're fighting".Later, US Vice-President Mike Pence said he and President Trump condemned the attack in Syria but reiterated that the withdrawal plan would continue."We have crushed the [IS] caliphate and devastated its capabilities. As we begin to bring our troops home... we will never allow the remnants of [IS] to re-establish their evil and murderous caliphate."A recent US report said there were still as many as 14,000 IS militants in Syria and even more in neighbouring Iraq - and that they were expected to shift to guerrilla tactics in an attempt to rebuild their network.Syrian Kurds also fear that Manbij and other towns they control near the border with Turkey might come under attack by the Turkish military, which wants to clear them of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia.The Turkish government considers the YPG an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for three decades. However, it denies any direct organisational links to the group.(BBC)

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The Belt and Road

2018 Silk Road Business Summit to be held in Zhangjiajie City on October 16, 2018

On September 29, the press conference of 2018 Silk Road Business Summit in Zhangjiajie city was successfully held in Changsha, Hunan Province. Leaders from the China Association for Friendship, Hunan Sub-council of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Zhangjiajie Municipal Government, Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce (SRCIC), and more than 30 mainstream media representatives attended the press conference. The announcement was made for the summit to be held in Zhangjiajie city on 16-17 October 2018. The summit is to actively respond to the Belt and Road Initiative, to build a multilateral economic and trade platform, to promote the formulation of international standards and the building-up of the Belt and Road brands, to explore the new mode of cultural exchange, to create the international tourist attractions, to facilitate the synergy of cultural industries, cultural undertakings, and cultural tourism as contribution to the development of a shared future for the world. The abundant resources of SRCIC will uplift Hunan province in its advantages in the Belt and Road construction and in its strategy of “Innovation Leads and Open Policies for Rise” to expedite Hunan province as an important inland hub of the Belt and Road.  The Zhangjiajie Summit is the 3rd silk road business summit organized by SRCIC, following the successful summits in 2016 and 2017. It’s the first summit with its venue in a city away from Xi’an. The summit in Zhangjiajie city will give a full play to the city’s unique natural resources, ecological culture, and its tourist economy.By report, Silk Road Urban Alliance Roundtable: Belt and Road International Cooperation on Tourism is scheduled at the summit. Themed with strengthening the tourist cooperation and facilitating the Belt and Road construction, the participants are expected to share views on setting up mechanisms for the Silk Road Urban Alliance and have in-depth discussion on promoting tourist and economic development. The summit will release consensuses, international standard proposals and tourist destination development strategies.Over the five years, the Belt and Road Initiative has gained strong support from the Belt and Road countries. International commercial associations and enterprises are important participants in the Belt and Road construction. SRCIC, one of the summit organizers, is the first transnational business confederation named after the Belt and Road and mainly composed of national chambers of commerce from the Belt and Road countries. Since its establishment in 2015, SRCIC is devoted to narrating the Belt and Road stories, initiating the Belt and Road voices, and facilitating the cultural exchanges in building up pragmatic platforms for win-win cooperation. Currently SRCIC has 129 organizational members from 79 countries, including state-level business organizations and millions of affiliated enterprises. SRCIC serves as a bridge connecting enterprises and governments, providing a cooperative platform between business associations and SRCIC members. It plays a vital role in advancing economic and social development with an emphasis on international collaboration and global governance.According to the plan, the annual silk road business summits are to be held in different SRCIC member countries for bigger influence and popularity, and for building up more cooperative platforms to benefit SRCIC commercial association members and enterprise members. (ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)


Belt and Road Initiative paves way for win-win cooperation between China and Czech

By APD Writer He WeiIn July last year, the first China-EU freight train departed from Prague, captial of Czech,to Yiwu, a city in east China’s Zhejang Province. The new cargo train service marked the official launch of “the Belt and Road Initiative” in Czech. Thanks to joint efforts of both sides, the economic and trade ties between China and Czech Republic is heading for a bright future.During the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May 2017, two months before the opening, China signed the Memorandum of Understanding to Jointly Coordinate and Promote Cooperation and Project Implementation with Czech. According to the memorandum, more efforts will be made to set up a China-Czech Cooperation Center under the Belt and Road initiative, a key project bank and a cooperation platform, integrate domestic and foreign resources, as well as adjoin and implement projects On the sidelines of the The Working Conference of China-Czech Jointly Coordinating and Monitoring Cooperation Plan and Projects under the Framework of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, Liu Jielei, vice chairman of the Czech-China Friendship Association, told the Asia Pacific Daily (APD) that besides geographic advantage, Czech enjoys a sound investment environment because of its stable domestic policies, friendly policy toward China, lower business taxes and labor cost than that of in other European countries.The "Yixin’ou (Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe) cargo train, which began in Yiwu, was hailed as an important bridge linking Asian and European continents and a signficiant achievement in the early stage of the initative by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Xu Jie, general manager of Rongsheng Travelling (Czech) Investment Co., Ltd., said because of its important location, they have launched two projects including the Czech-Chinese Technology Business District (CCTBD) project and the South Moravia Chinese Herbal Spa Project in Prague during the past two years, stressing that initial success has been achieved thanks to the initiative.Transalated by Hu Yahui(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)