Trump rejects proposal for Russia to interrogate US citizens

US President Donald Trump has rejected a proposal made by the Russian leader Vladimir Putin for Russia be allowed to question US citizens.

During the Trump-Putin Summit that took place in Helsinki (Finland), Putin suggested that he might allow access to 12 Russians indicted by the United States for hacking Democrats’ emails during the 2016 elections. Trump has rejected that suggestion.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said: “It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it.”

The White House was hoping that Trump will agree to Putin’s suggestion.

“Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt,” she said.

Putin said he would let US prosecutors interview the 12 Russians in exchange for Russian access to US nationals the Kremlin accuses of “illegal actions”.

Source: BBC

BRICS bank to boost South African loans by R8.1 billion

The New Development Bank (NDB) has intentions to loan approximately R8.1 billion more to South Africa, in a bid to attain symmetry among BRICS members.

The NDB, backed by BRICS, began operations in 2015 to aid infrastructure and sustainable development initiatives in emerging economies. The leaders of the fastest growing economies will be gathering in Johannesburg for the 10th BRICS Summit next week.

“Our aim is to be equitable among our five members,” NDB President KV Kamath said. “If you look at the $4 billion (R54 billion) we will be doing this year, we should be lending around $800 million” in each nation, he said. “I hope this year, we will hit that number.”

The formerly known BRIC Bank issued a statement in May saying that it loaned $200 million (R2.7 billion) to a state-owned South African ports and freight operator, Transnet to rehabilitate container terminals in Durban on the country’s east coast.
It will accelerate efforts to grow sustainable infrastructure in the continents most industrialised economy with two further loans, Kamath added. He said during an interview on Wednesday that one of the two loans will go to a bank, which will lend the funds for use in renewable energy developments. The other loan will be made available for critical infrastructure.

Separately, the NDB on Thursday activated a $180 million (R2.4 billion) loan to Eskom that had been dormant since 2016. The loan will be used to build transmission lines and a substation for the Soweto area to integrate renewable-energy projects from independent power producers, Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s Brics Ambassador told reporters in Johannesburg.

The Shanghai-based bank will also begin raising money and lending in South African rand to help insulate its clients from currency risk, Kamath said. It already does this in China.

Source: Money Web

Cyril’s $100billion target will be reached in a year – Prof Anil Sooklal

Professor Anil Sooklal, South African BRICS ambassador, speaking at a BRICS roundtable event at the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone this afternoon, 17 July 2018. Picture: ANA

A BRICS roundtable gathering heard that the President Cyril Ramaphosa is a South Africa’s greatest salesman and that his leadership style attracts investments.

Ramaphosa set a target of $100 billion in local and foreign investment in boosting the economy is modest said Prof Anil Sooklal.

Sooklal who is the South African ambassador of BRICS said “The $100 billion is a modest target. I believe we will reach that in a year,” He is also the deputy director-general for Asia and the Middle East at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco).

Sooklal spoke at a BRICS roundtable discussion with captains of industry at the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone this afternoon. The event was a precursor to the annual BRICS Business Council meeting taking place in Durban from July 22 to 23, hosted by South Africa.

It was reported last week that Ramaphosa on a state visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last week, he secured a $10 billion minimum investment from the Saudis and another $10 billion from the UAE.

“The Chinese ambassador has said he wants to bring at least $30 billion during the investment summit, and I am sure this will materialize,” said Sooklal. China’s president will be attending the BRICS summit in South Africa.

 

Source: The Citizen

 

 

India, Russia explore avenues to align SCO with UN, ASEAN to address key challenges

India and Russia are exploring avenues to align matters that take predominance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) with UN and ASEAN to target intercontinental challenges including the terror that is unfolding globally.

Growing the SCO’s global outreach was the subject matter of a recent Indo-Russian in Moscow held in the backdrop of India’s participation in the SCO summit as a member for the first time. SCO is seeking to build a relationship in addressing international terrorism, extremism, money laundering and illicit drug trafficking.

SCO plans to conclude an agreement with UN counter terror department later this year. This pact will further enhance India’s proposal for an UN comprehensive counter terror disposition presented by Delhi two decades ago.  India’s suggestion was backed by the SCO.

Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of SCO has been recognised as one of the successful multilateral counter-terror bodies which can support efforts of the UN to combat terror.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov referring to SCO’s global outreach said recently “Given the complicated, multi-directional and contradictory processes in global politics and the economy, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is gaining traction as a dynamically growing international organisation that is playing an increasingly important role in international affairs.”

Source: The economic times

US sanctions on Russia could harm India

 

The US congress is trying to find ways around the sanctions imposed on Russia by the US. This was done so that the sanction does not affect USA defence contracts with India and other Asian countries.

Members of the Trump administration are looking for loopholes so that Asian countries allied with the USA can still do business with Russia in certain areas.

Republican Senator Chuck Schumer has slammed the move and called for more sanctions to be placed on Russia. The sanctions were imposed because of Russia’s alleged interference in the US election.

The sanctions have the unintended consequence of harming US allies in Asia from accessing Indo-Pacific Defence markets. The US aims at helping India become a stabilizing force against China.

The Trump Administration is arguing that the sanction only help encourage US partners to deal more with Russia rather than the opposite. They also alleged that the sanction also have an impact on future American interests and future contracts.

Source: Defense News

Trump-Putin Summit

The highly scrutinized Trump-Putin Summit took place yesterday in Helsinki, Finland, with rebuilding Russia-US relations as the main item on the agenda. This was arguably one of the toughest presidential meetings between the US President and the Russian President since the Cold War.

With the Russians being accused of interfering with the US elections that got Donald Trump elected, as well as the disastrously outspoken and out of turn US President Donald Trump in general, Trump made it clear in the press conference after the meeting that he doesn’t believe in his own intelligence reports outlining Russia’s interference.

Putin also strongly denied any interference in US affairs or in the elections. The Trump-Putin meeting was an opportunity to rest the relationship again, as this was one of the failures of the Obama administration. Trump was quick to point out that things will be different this time that this was only the first meeting and that more will follow, he also stated after the meeting that US-Russia relationship has already improved just from yesterday.

Putin praised Trump for his honesty and Business acumen, and was pleased with the outcome of the meeting. One of the main discussions of the meeting was nuclear disarmament, where Trump and Putin called for both countries to work together to return to the original roadmap, decreasing the number of nuclear weapons that each country has.

Another topic was the global areas of conflict most Syria and Ukraine. Both Putin and Trump agreed to work together to bring about a ceasefire in Syria as well as tackle the Iran-Israel challenge together. Trump stayed quiet over the issue of Ukraine and Crimea, but didn’t call out Russia for what some in the West believe to be an illegal annexation of land by Russia. 

Trump did congratulate Russia on the hosting of a successful World Cup and said he hopes the USA can do the same in 2026.

Source: news24.com

 

Russia may borrow $1 billion from BRICS development bank – minister

 

Russia is in the process of negotiating a loan with the New Development Bank.

“With the New BRICS Development Bank alone we are now preparing four new loans,” said Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak, confirming that these loans would amount to slightly more than $1 billion.

The Russian Finance Ministry had set a target of raising around 1 trillion rubles ($16.08 billion) a year through selling OFZ treasury bonds in 2018-2020.

Storchak added that if Russia raises loans from foreign development banks, it may cut its OFZ treasury bonds programme in 2019, and that Russia would lower state borrowing via OZ bonds if it had an option to raise money for building roads and bridges from a development bank.
Russia has been raising funds for infrastructure.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said earlier this year that Moscow was creating a special fund worth 3 trillion rubles to finance the infrastructure projects over the next six years.

Source: Reuters Africa

Third Annual BRICS Games underway

South Africa’s Department of Sports and Recreation is hosting the third annual BRICS games from today, 17 July – 22 July at Wits University in Johannesburg. The BRICS member countries will be competing in 2 key sporting categories, namely Football U17 women, and Volleyball U21 men and women 6-aside teams.

The BRICS Games were established in 2016 and the inaugural tournament was played in Goa, 2016 which saw Brazil finishing as champions while South Africa emerged as runners-up. The games are set to help facilitate sports and cultural exchanges among BRICS nations.

This year’s BRICS games are in commemoration of the centenary of South African Struggle icons Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu. The South African women’s football team, Abantwana (U17) will use this as preparation for the U17 women’s World Cup to be held later on this year in Uruguay. During an interview with IOL, Abantwana captain, Simphiwe Dludlu said that they are looking at improving on defence more than anything.

The games serve as an opportunity for the South African team to study Brazil’s U17 as they will also be partaking in the World Cup.

They are an important part of association between BRICS countries. The BRICS Games sideline the upcoming BRICS Media Forum and 10th BRICS summit.

By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

Russia alternate internet could be a backup for an offensive attack: Cyber security experts

The Russian Security Council announced its ambition to create an independent internet for Russia and members of BRICS. 

The Russian government according to reports wanted to create an independent internet infrastructure to protect itself from American and Western manipulation of internet services and avoid “possible external influence”.

Russia is near to completing an alternate Domain Name System (DNS). The DNS means that Russia and its allies will be separated from the global internet connection. A senior member of the Russian Foreign Ministry said the DNS was ready and it will be used in “the worst case scenario”.  Security experts have since expressed their concerns saying the alternate internet could be a backup for an offensive attack.

“If they have their own DNS system that would make it easy for them to threaten or to actually attack our [internet] infrastructure,” said Mike Lloyd, a network security expert at RedSeal (an international cyber security organisation).

 

Source: New York Magazine

 

France crowned as the 2018 FIFA World Cup champions

The final whistle was blown on the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup. the winner France, runners-up Croatia and third place goes to Belgium. Russia has been congratulated on hosting a safe and successful World Cup, with only one game ending in a goalless draw.

The football tournament saw the whole world come to a standstill and will probably have many football fans going through withdrawal symptoms. In the end, the French were victorious winning their second World Cup and writing the players’ names into history books as legends.

The final match was not without controversy of course, as the first goal came in the form of an own goal from Croatian striker Mandzukic. But the Croatians being the fighters of the tournament, equalized in the 28th minute – only for their hopes and dreams to be shattered by a VAR penalty, which was smoothly buried by French forward Antoine Griezmann.

It seems as though after the penalty, the Croatians had lost their will to fight and went on to concede another two goals, the goals from Pogba and Mbappe sealed it for France, a conciliation goal from Mandzukic making up for his mistake unfortunately was not enough, and in the end the French won (4-2).

Eyes are now fixed on the the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which will not only be the first world cup in the Middle East, but also the first to be played in November to December.

Winners of the 2018 FIFA World Cup: France

Young Player of the Tournament: Kylian Mbappe (France)

Golden Ball Winner: Luka Modrić (Croatia)

Golden Boot Winner: Harry Kane (England)

BRICS Journals Player of the Tournament: N’golo Kante (France)

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka