Asia, Africa The Worst To Be Hit By...

The poorest, impoverished communities will contribute to the rapid spread of infections in Asia and African communities, leaving the countries vulnera...

Markets Are Fearing Iran’s Ec...

For many investors, oil makes up a big chunk of their investments. Oil recently fell in value due to overproduction. Iran's re-entry into the global o...

Middle East Tensions Spark Sunni-Sh...

For thousands of years, Sunni and Shia Muslims have failed to find a compromise between their beliefs. Most forces behind the Arab Spring have stemmed...

Law Society Responds To Autumn Stat...

The Law Society has condemned the Autumn Statement's proposals as it would undermine the right of personal injury claims victims to get proper compens...

Asia, Africa The Worst To Be Hit By Zika Virus Outbreak

The poorest, impoverished communities will contribute to the rapid spread of infections in Asia and African communities, leaving the countries vulnerable to the disease when it arrives.

Zika, a disease that is believed to cause microcephaly among unborns and newborns, is transmitted by mosquito bites. Lately it has been proven that blood transfusion and sexual intercourse could also spread the disease. A Texas patient contracted the disease through sexual transmission.

Thailand was the first Asian country to confirm a man who contracted the virus. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, a domestic case of the virus had been reported.

WHO Expert Anthony Costello said that the disease born in South America can leave the country and travel to other countries. According to him 25 countries have already reported Zika Cases.

Zika was first found in Uganda in 1947, causing mild flu-like symptoms and a rash. The WHO suspects the virus as responsible for the rapid rise of microcephaly many regions. The disease halts the brain development in unborns and newborns, causing their heads to shrink in size.

Meanwhile, previous pandemics, including MERS that killed 36 people and a few hundred more in the Middle east is declared officially ended.

Markets Are Fearing Iran’s Economic Return

For many investors, oil makes up a big chunk of their investments. Oil recently fell in value due to overproduction. Iran’s re-entry into the global oil market spells doom for Saudi Arabia, Dubai and other oil producing countries.

Investors both rejoiced and feared at the less-than-$30-a-barrel of oil.

Oil isn’t the biggest issue for many analysts. The country’s vast natural resources and a huge population of young consumers would upset the balance of supply and demand in the global market today.

On Wednesday, oil had extremely dropped in value upon the opening of the market. The US Dow Jones industrial average closed down by 1.56% after it failed twice earlier the same day.

Analysts view the US energy industry is the one to suffer heavily from the oil price drop from Iran. North Dakota and Texas are to suffer immensely with companies making u-turns in investments and costs as overproduction bears down on the industry.

However, lower oil prices could mean US consumers’ activities may increase. Consumer spending increases can help propel the US economy at a significant but limited rate.

Iran’s 30% population of investors ranging from 65 dollar-millionaires to 4 dollar-billionaires may also contribute to the US luxury properties market. As they are expected to improve the value of London’s properties, analysts said that for the US and Europe, property markets may improve the same manner Singapore and Hong Kong investors improved real estate in many Western countries.

Middle East Tensions Spark Sunni-Shia Historic Conflict in Region

For thousands of years, Sunni and Shia Muslims have failed to find a compromise between their beliefs. Most forces behind the Arab Spring have stemmed from oppressed Sunni or Shia Muslims ruled by opposing parties. The revolutions have swiftly returned to a certain normalcy, only replaced by the majority party that won during the Arab Spring.

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a driving force behind the Arab Spring of 2011, was executed by Saudi Arabian Authorities. The Sheikh was a Shia Muslim, which Iran strongly upholds. Iran had condemned the execution. Meanwhile, Sunni Muslims in Saudi Arabia support its decision to execute the Sheikh.

The sectarian division has the same single God named Allah. Both use the Quran and have similar verbal records of the Prophet Muhammad’s teachings. however, due to believers’ disagreements to the successor of Prophet Muhammad in the 7th Century, conflict broke out between the two Muslim parties.

Shia Muslims are only 10 per cent in the Middle East and are about 100-250 million in the world. Shia came from the shi’atu Ali, who believed Ali ibn Abi Talib, Mohammed’s cousin and son-in-law is eligible for leadership.

Sunni Muslims believe that Ahl al-Sunnah belive the caliphate should succeed Muhammad’s bloodline. Sunni Muslims have a bigger population in the world with 1.5 billion, making up 90 per cent of the religion.

Religious belief and sectarian divide is stronger than a country’s borders in the Middle Eastern region. This was proven by sectarian tension in the 70s with the Iranian revolution and the Afghan War.

The sectarianism, according to analysts would only worsen in the coming years.

Law Society Responds To Autumn Statement Proposals on Personal Injury Claims

The Law Society has condemned the Autumn Statement’s proposals as it would undermine the right of personal injury claims victims to get proper compensation.

According to Law Society President Jonathan Smithers:

“The Law Society is gravely concerned that these proposals will completely undermine the right of ordinary citizens to receive full and proper compensation from those that have injured them through negligence.

“These proposals will stop people obtaining legal advice for all personal injury claims below £5,000 and stop people claiming for often debilitating injuries arising from road traffic accidents if these injuries are considered minor.

“This is a fivefold increase in the present level of cases currently within the small claims procedure, benefiting those who have negligently harmed people and will result in more people trying to work their way through a complex court system without any legal advice.”

“People recovering from their injuries will have to bring claims as litigants in person (without any legal advice) and this can be very unfair because those defending the claims can often afford to pay for legal advice.”

UK Chancellor George Osborne proposed to increase the small claims court’s limit from £1000 to £5000 to decrease the number of personal injuries and address the compensation culture.

EAD Senior Partner Steve Cornforth criticised the Chancellor for addressing a fictional issue such as the “mythical compensation culture”. He claims the culture was created by the media and insurers to “alarm us all without having substantial evidence of its existence.

Southeast Asian Aviation Industry Heads For Recovery From Latest Blow

A flight crash caused by a pilot error is the main culprit of the recent Air Asia A320-200, which immediately killed about 200 passengers. . Last Tuesday, a faulty component caused the pilots to restart the system, disengaging autopilot while in the middle of a storm, leading to the crash.

Air Asia Flight 8501 was found in the waters of Surabaya, Indonesia and Singapore on December 2014.

Despite the FAA lowering Thailand’s aviation sector’s safety rating to category 2 from the top category 1 rating, Southeast Asia’s aviation industry continues to grow with increasing investor interest.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha vowed that aviation authorities will quickly address the FAA’s recommendations and warnings.

Thai Airways President Charamporn Jotikasthira said the US FAA decision will have minimal commercial or customer impact.

The FAA’s re-classification of Thailand-based airlines will not mean they are unsafe. However, it calls on aviation regulators to provide better insight in the industry, particularly safety regulations.

According to Pacific Asia Travel Association Bangkok CEO Mario Hardy:

“Even though there are currently no Thai carriers flying to the U.S., Thailand aviation authorities have to take this warning seriously and urgently develop a plan to improve its safety rating as soon as possible.

“The implications from the possibility of a similar review from Europe would be disastrous to Thai carriers and tourism in the country.”

The Epidemic of Homeless Veterans

When people encounter a homeless person in parks or on the streets, they may be shocked to learn that the person they are looking at may have actually served their country in the Armed Forces. In the US, according to the homeless advocacy organization Green Doors, although only eight percent of the American population qualifies for veteran status, as much as 17 percent of the homeless population is made up of veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reported that as many as 76,000 veterans were homeless and living on the streets in 2010.

Statistics on Homeless Veterans

Statistics show that veterans are 50 percent more likely to become homeless than the rest of the American population. Veterans often lack support and suffer from social isolation after being discharged from the service. The divorce rate among veterans is very high so that many veterans live alone. Many veterans are living below the poverty level and paying more than 50 percent of their household income on rent, making them more at risk for homelessness. The incidence of homeless female veterans is also rising. In 2006, there were 150 homeless female veterans and, in 2011, that number rose to 2011. Half of the homeless veterans suffer from mental illness and two-thirds suffer from substance abuse. Many homeless veterans suffer from what is known as dual-diagnosis where they have been diagnosed with both mental illness and substance abuse. Veterans spend, on average, six years homeless compared to four years for non-veteran homeless.

1Department of Veterans Affairs

The VA offers many specialized homeless veterans services, such as healthcare and job training. The department provides services to more than 250,000 veterans throughout the country. However, it is difficult for the VA to manage all the factors that can cause a veteran to become homeless, which is why they enter into partnerships with other organizations to provide assistance to those who have served the country but are now living on the streets.

Non-Profit Organizations

There are many  available that provide assistance to homeless veterans. Volunteers for these organizations work with the veterans to help them find jobs, get transportation and eventually find housing that they can afford. Some of the organizations who provide these services include:

The Bob Parsons Veterans Center – created by the founder of GoDaddy, this center offers academic advising, guidance on financial aid and counseling to veterans at the University of Baltimore. Parsons created the center at his alma mater in an effort to repay the Marine Corps for what they did for him as a young man.

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans – a network of community-based service providers at the local, state and national level that provide housing, food and other services to homeless veterans.

Volunteers of America – since World War I, this group has provided direct services to veterans while also providing them with resources that can help them get back on their feet.

Volunteering for one of these worthwhile organizations offers individuals a way to repay a service man or woman for their service to the country. By providing veterans with the tools they need to succeed, the homeless veteran population can be reduced significantly.

World Anti-Doping Agency Boss Praises Organisation For Results On Russian Probe

Sir Craig Reedie, President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, praised his organisation after it discovered the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was non-compliant with the international sport”s anti-doping code. Russia is indefinitely suspended from all international athletics competitions by the IAAF last Friday after WADA confirmed the state-sponsored systematic doping practices.

3

Reedie said:

“The message is clear – there will now be greater focus on strengthening compliance work so all anti-doping organisations worldwide are held accountable to deliver robust anti-doping programs.

“Our priority is now on ensuring all our partners are fully compliant and have watertight anti-doping systems that protect clean athletes and reassure sports fans worldwide.

“Make no mistake, we will not rush this process of compliance, we will do it right – the integrity of sport is under threat.

“Anti-doping in sport is under the spotlight today like never before, and WADA, along with our partners, have begun the work needed on the road to recovery for Russia. The world is watching and we have acted.

“We will conduct the necessary meetings with the Russian authorities in respect of the non-compliance status of RUSADA that tests athletes in all sports within Russia.

“A WADA expert team will then meet with the task of ensuring the continuation of testing in Russia. Any information brought forward to me as a result will allow me to make a considered decision on whether or not to extend the independent commission”s mandate.

“The theme of the day has clearly been investigations. I will now write to all public authority stakeholders and ask them to make further contributions specifically to fund anti-doping investigations. Following any commitments made, I will then immediately approach the International Olympic Committee to seek matching funding.”

WADA’s requests for information were repeatedly turned down by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency. This automatically merits RUSADA’s non-compliance, which disables Russian athletes from participating in international competitions.

The Costings of British Justice

The recent recession and its consequent slow economic recovery has affected near enough every area of government spending. The Justice system is no exception: the past two years have seen many changes to cut costs: legal aid has been cut back hugely, arbitration and mediation are to be used wherever possible instead of court time, and there have been changes to the contracts of police station solicitors, to name but a few. The changes came into effect in April 2013 from Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. The people in power call them ‘reforms’.

1The number of civil cases granted funding for legal advice and representation have dropped massively, with the sectors most dramatically affected being family law and social welfare. It is estimated that around two thirds of cases in the family court now feature somebody representing themselves.

Many, in the legal sector included, see the changes as flawed as they in essence limit access to justice to thousands of ordinary people. The European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998 give the right to a full and impartial trial, with proper legal representation for any proceedings. The reforms, it can be argued, are breaching those human rights.

For some areas of law like personal injury compensation, the only chance of justice for an ordinary person is through private solicitors own Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs). Litigants only have to pay their lawyers if and when they win their case, from the money they receive in compensation for their injury. If someone has been injured at work, for example, where there might have been a clear breach of an employer’s duty of care under Health and Safety laws and regulations, the injured party still has to resort to making an injury at work claim privately as this is not covered by state funding. If it were not for CFAs, many people would not be able to afford to seek justice for the wrongs they have suffered.

The legal sector have voiced many concerns over the changes to legal aid etc, before the bill was passed and still after. However the government has its economic targets to focus on instead, and are also busy trying to change human rights legislation… the new British Bill of rights anyone?

Bomb The Possible Culprit Of A321M Crash

US and UK intelligence both point to a bomb on board the MetroJet flight A321M that exploded before it was sent hurtling down the province of Sinai in Egypt. The suspicion had seen the ban of flights from the US and UK to the Sharm el-Sheikh resort.

Egyptian officials said the cockpit voice recorder of the MetroJet was badly damaged in the crash. Investigators are currently analysing the flight’s black box.

The flight came from St. Petersburg to the province after taking off from the Sharm el-Sheikh on Saturday. Most pilots were Russian.

No passenger survived the Sinai crash

Stuck

About 3,500 Britons in the Sharm el-Sheikh resort rescue planes from EasyJet would return to the United Kingdom. However, Egyptian authorities barred the exit for reasons security checks are to be made.

The UK government first announced that Britons would all be returned to the UK by the end of Friday while their heavier luggage stayed for more than seven to 10 days for intensive security checks.

The plane would only allow hand-carried or laptop-sized luggage to be carried with the holidaymakers.

Terrorism Unlikely

While an ISIS representative said the A321 “bombing” was their work, Egyptian authorities were highly sceptical.

The US and the UK suspect the use of a bomb.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the UK’s response to the crisis was premature and unwarranted. Egypt said the airport security had enhanced new measures to handle the situation more effectively.

“Northern Powerhouse” Deals To Come After China-Britain Talks

According to Prime Minister David Cameron, China is a crucial trading partner for the United Kingdom.

“.. the partnerships being made today will see real investment going into the north.”

The “Northern Powerhouse” deal is a government economic plan to open investments to Chinese investors to help the UK push forward economic growth to its maximum.

The North East Combined Authority will transfer powers over transport, strategic planning, employment and skills from the UK central government devolving to the region. In turn, it would build an investment fund with an initial allocation of £30m every year.

China-UK Relationship

As the UK and China are to agree on a number of partnerships to unlock Britain’s potential, China will assign a Beijing firm as a contractor for educational, infrastructure and public works development projects.

Included is the Middlewood Locks regeneration project in Manchester.

Xi and Cameron will attend the Hainan Airlines direct flight route from China to Britain.

Many described the leader of China’s first visit since 2005 monumental as it will bring about the “golden era” of Chinese-British diplomatic relations.

Breaking The Old Model

The devolution of powers from Whitehall England Chancellor George Osborne says is a solution to the broken model of “running everything” from central London.

“It has led to an unbalanced economy and made people feel remote from the decisions that affect their lives.”

He added: “I am determined to end this situation and I want to thank those civic leaders who want to work with us to achieve it.”