The three-star commander was responsible for the US 7th Fleet based in Japan.
Washington - The United States said Tuesday it is seeking forfeitures of $11 million from companies that allegedly laundered money for North Korean banks that are subject to US sanctions. The Justice Department's complaints, filed against Singapore-based Velmur Management Pte Ltd and Transatlantic Partners Pte Ltd., and China-based Dandong Chengtai Trading Co. Ltd by the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, represent two of the largest North Korea-related seizures the government has ever pursued. The government is also seeking a civil penalty against the firms over alleged sanctions and money laundering violations. The actions by the Justice Department came on the same day as the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) separately imposed fresh North Korean sanctions against a string of Chinese and Russian firms for supporting Pyongyang, including the companies at the heart of the Justice Department's case. The Justice Department said it is seeking a forfeiture of nearly $7 million from Velmur Management and associated Transatlantic Partners over allegations they laundered money for sanctioned banks that were trying to procure petroleum from JSC Independent Petroleum Company. JSC Independent Petroleum Company, a Russian company, was designated by OFAC in June. The Justice Department accused Dandong Chengtai, which is also known as Dandong Zhicheng Metallic Material Co. Ltd, of conspiring to evade US economic sanctions on behalf of the North Korean Workers' Party. It said that the company helped facilitate the trade of North Korean coal, and proceeds from the coal sales are used to fund the country's missile weapons programs. An FBI investigation into the company found that Dandong Chengtai is one of the largest importers of North Korean coal in China. "These complaints show our determination to stop North Korean sanctioned banks and their foreign financial facilitators from aiding North Korea in illegally accessing the United States financial system to obtain goods and services in the global market place," US Attorney Channing Phillips said in a statement.
It's 2017 and the retail landscape is quickly evolving. To combat the "death of retail", retail giants are increasingly being forced to revamp their online and offline strategies as a whole, instead of treating them as individual business units. Local conglomerate CapitaLand announced on Wednesday (Aug 23) new strategic alliances with e-commerce giants Alibaba Group and Lazada Singapore to advance what it calls its "omni-channel strategy". CapitaLand, which currently manages 109 shopping malls across 54 cities, will be managing a new shopping podium and one office tower at Alibaba’s new 80,000 sq m Shanghai headquarters. As a partner, CapitaLand will also be responsible for the pre-opening of these spaces. Founder of popular e-commerce site Taobao, Alibaba is one of the world's largest retailers. While it is mainly an e-commerce company, the Chinese group with over 50,000 employees started dabbling in physical retail stores earlier this year. Mr Wang Tao, Head of Intelligence Building at Alibaba Group, hopes that the firm's partnership with CapitaLand will chart “new frontiers in integrating online, offline, logistics and data across a single value chain to meet the needs of consumers”.
Singapore - Seven major drinks companies including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo will limit the sugar content of drinks they sell in Singapore, as part of the city-state's campaign to fight diabetes. Singapore is one of the first countries in Asia to target sugary drinks, bringing it in line with many Western nations that have sought to mitigate the health risks associated with sugar through measures such as taxes and warning labels. Globally, beverage firms have been reworking recipes, racing to cut sugar and introduced more options to cater to increasingly health-conscious consumers. On Tuesday, Singapore's ministry of health said the seven firms had signed an industry pledge to remove by 2020 drinks that contain more than 12 per cent sugar from their portfolios of sugar-sweetened beverages. As well as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, the companies include F&N Foods, Malaysia Dairy Industries, Nestle, Pokka and Yeo Hiap Seng. "In addition to this industry commitment, Coca-Cola Singapore is making an additional commitment to reduce the sugar content in our portfolio of sugar-sweetened beverages by 10 per cent by 2020," Coca-Cola said in an email to Reuters. It said it had been reducing sugar and calories across many of its brands, and offering more new drinks with low sugar content or no added sugar. Daily sugar consumption per capita from soft drinks has risen since 2010 to 6.08 grams in Asia-Pacific in 2016, with Singapore at 11.99 grams, according to market research firm Euromonitor. Consumption has been trending lower in Europe and the United States, but it is still higher than in Asia-Pacific. "Governments in Asia are actively promoting healthy consumption, such as Malaysia which launched its Healthier Choices Logo in April 2017," said Euromonitor International analyst Nathanael Lim. "Consumers also have an increasing preference for beverages containing natural ingredients with zero sugar." The World Health Organisation said last year drinking fewer calorific sweet drinks was the best way to curb excessive weight and prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, although fat and salt in processed foods were also to blame. Among Asian countries, the Philippines has slapped levies on sugar-sweetened beverages, while Indonesia and India have been considering similar taxes. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mentioned the drinks makers' agreement in a speech on Sunday, in which he also urged people to drink water, eat wholemeal bread and brown rice, but did provide details.
Chinese visitors surprised by Singapore’s ‘backward’ transactions: Here’s why we need to adopt e-payments
a total of $8.8 trillion (S$12 trillion) flowed through Chinese mobile wallets in 2016, and this number is expected to grow massively over the next couple of years. Singapore, in contrast, still relies heavily on cash and cheques. Although e-payment systems have been introduced here for some time, most people and businesses prefer to transact using real money because e-payments are seen as cumbersome and costly to maintain. "We have too many schemes and systems that don't talk to each other. So people have to carry multiple cards and businesses have to install multiple readers," PM Lee said. "It's inconvenient for consumers, (and) it's costly for businesses. And the result is most of us still prefer cash and cheques. Six in 10 transactions are cash and cheques." This often surprises visitors from countries where e-payments have become the norm. "When visitors from China find they have to use cash here, they ask: 'How can Singapore be so backward?'," PM Lee said. The Prime Minister's concern is not a new one. In the past year, a number experts in Singapore have voiced concern over the city's less-than-enthusiastic reception of e-payments. When Business Insider spoke to Google's head of marketing solutions for Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Emerging Markets in July, he told us that Singapore's reliance on cash is a major factor delaying the rise of e-commerce here. Rahul Shinghal, general manager of PayPal in Southeast Asia told Business Insider on Monday that there is a need for Singapore to stay ahead of the curve - especially in the realm of technological innovations - if it wants to remain economically viable and relevant on the world stage. "Digitalisation of payments and processes will go a long way in improving systems and productivity, enabling our Singapore SMEs to stay ahead. Hence innovations in these areas must be able to identify and address gaps and pain points, not just innovate for the sake of innovation," he said. In a similar vein, Jayajyoti Sengupta, Cognizant's head of Asia-Pacific, called PM Lee's message "very timely", adding that Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative "must inspire bold decision-making on part of business leaders to drive digital innovation". Mobile e-payment systems bring with them a number of benefits for both consumers and businesses, ranging from convenience to lower operating costs. But with new technology comes new risks, and FinTech providers in Singapore must be equipped to deal with a new type of cyber risk. "Cashless payments no doubt deliver convenience, ease of transaction and allow individuals to better keep track of spending. At the same time, we’ve seen a rise in text message scams called 'smishing,' which can infect smartphones and result in the theft of personal information," Sanjay Aurora, managing director of Darktrace in Asia-Pacific said. While there are many cyber threats out there today, solutions are also on the rise, Mr Aurora said. Governments around the world, including Singapore's, are now focusing on how AI can be used to halt novel attacks. If Singapore wants to move forward in its Smart Nation initiative, it is imperative that the government, businesses, banks and consumers are all on the same page. The technology is already here. The only question now is: How do we move forward and embrace it in a way that benefits us? It looks like Singapore is on track to becoming a cashless society, but a lot needs to be done to get the movement going at a faster pace.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk reportedly break their days down into five-minute slots.