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Indonesia’s fires have now razed more land than in the entire US state of New Jersey

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The fires in Indonesia that are creating hellish amounts of toxic smoke are also doing their job: clearing land. This year they’ve removed about 21,000 square kilometers (8,100 square miles) of forests and peatland, according to the country’s National Space and Aviation Agency (link in Indonesian).

For context, that’s greater than the land area of the US state of New Jersey, or of the nations of Slovenia, Kuwait, or El Salvador.

Set to inexpensively clear land for the palm oil and pulp-and-paper industries, the smoke from the fires have caused respiratory ailments in half a million people in Indonesia, and at least 19 have died (most from breathing in smoke, some from fire-fighting accidents). The fires have also cast a toxic haze over a large part of Southeast Asia, including Singapore and parts of Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. By some calculations the smoke has catapulted Indonesia to the top of the rankings of the world’s worst global warming offenders, just ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held next month in Paris.

The agency used satellite imagery and data collected from June 21 to Oct. 20 to make its calculations. It warned, however, that the final figure was likely to be higher. The fires are still raging, and there’s little hope of rain—delayed by El Nino—extinguishing the flames anytime soon. (Last week the Indonesian Red Cross extended its response period to the haze crisis until January.) And smoke still shrouding the land, it added, makes assessing the situation difficult for many areas.

Here’s the latest look at the first that were burning on Monday afternoon (Nov. 2) in Indonesia, according to Global Forest Watch, which is monitoring the situation in real time:

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(Globalforestwatch.org)

According to Indonesia’s space and aviation agency, about 6,180 square kilometers (2,390 square miles) of the land burned is peatland—highly toxic when drained and burned—and 15,000 square kilometers (5,790 square miles) is not. The fires have primarily hit Sumatra, Kalimantan, and the Indonesian side of New Guinea, which is considered the next frontier for Indonesia’s palm oil industry.

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More than 45 Venture Capital Backed Unicorns have been added in the last two quarters

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BROKERS ARE WELCOME & ARE 100% PROTECTED!! If you want to be our broker or company representative please contact us via email for more information.

We Offer Financial Instruments For Lease (BG, SBLC, DLC & LC)

GENUINE BANK GUARANTEE (BG) AND STANDBY LETTER OF CREDIT (SBLC) FOR LEASE AT THE LOWEST RATES AVAILABLE. OTHER FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS SUCH AS MTN, CD, DLC, PB ARE ALSO AVAILABLE.
We specialized in Loan, International Project Funding, Bank Guarantee {BG}, Standby Letter of Credit {SBLC}, Medium Term Notes {MTN} and Confirmable Bank Draft {CBD}.
All financial instrument is issued from AAA Rated bank such as HSBC
Bank London or Hong Kong, UBS Zurich, Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank E.T.C.
We offer certifiable and verifiable bank instruments via Swift Transmission.
Please contact us for procedure, terms and conditions.
LOAN & INVESTMENTS LIMITED has carved out a reputation for credibility, transparency and responsibility. We care about our customers and their money!
Contact Us today for all your funding needs, including Loans, Project Finance, BG, SBLC, L/C.
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FRESH CUT & SEASONED BG, SBLC, MTN, DLC, LC FOR LEASE

We are direct providers of both Fresh Cut and seasoned BG, SBLC, DLC and MTN which are specifically for lease. Our bank instrument can be engaged in Monetizing, Trading and Discounting of kind of projects. We do not have any broker chain in our offer neither do we get involved in chauffer driven offers. We deliver with time and precision as set forth in our Deed Of Agreement. Our terms and Conditions are reasonable, below is our instrument description.

DESCRIPTION OF INSTRUMENTS:
1. Instrument: Bank Guarantee (BG/SBLC)
2. Total Face Value: Min of 1M Euro/USD to Max of  50B Euro/USD
3. Issuing Bank: HSBC London or Hong Kong, Barclays Bank London, Deutsche Bank Frankfurt or any Top 25 Prime Bank.
4. Age: One Year, One Day
5. Leasing Price: 4.0% of Face Value plus 1+% commission fees to  brokers.
6. Delivery: SWIFT TO SWIFT.
7. Payment: MT-103.
8. Hard Copy: Bonded Courier within 7 banking days.

All relevant information will be provided upon request.
If Interested kindly contact us via below Emails:

 
 

ICBPO is illegal because it has been Banned

ICBPOs Illegal

ICBPO (Irrevocable Conditional Bank Pay Orders) are now banned and have been made illegal by most governments. BG and SBLC Issuers that continue to ask for ICBPOs as payment are completely out of touch by seeking a form of financial payment that has been made illegal in most countries. Any supplier that requests payment by ICBPO clearly doesn’t understand the Bank Guarantee Industry and is an amateur not a professional. You cant be a credible financial supplier and request your customers pay you using illegal means eg ICBPO.

So why have most governments banned and made ICBPOs illegal?

Answer: When an ICBPO (Irrevocable Conditional Bank Pay Orders)  for 500 Millions Dollars is lodged with a Bank in Country A to “Irrevocably” pay a Bank in Country B. The National Balance of Payments Accounts in BOTH Countries is immediately effected!

Country A incurs a 500 Million Dollar Balance of Payments Debit (Deficit) and  Country B receives a 500 Million Dollar a Balance of Payment Credit. This immediately affects BOTH countries National Debt Balance Sheets and can also have an affect on the countries exchange rate because of the sheer size of the transaction.

The the above action occurs immediately when the Bank Pay Order is written because the Bank Pay Order is “Irrevocable” meaning it cannot be cancelled.

The situation gets worse when Bank A issues the ICBPO for 500 Million but Bank B doesn’t deliver the Bank Guarantee and defaults on the transaction…. This leaves Bank A unable to cancel their ICBPO or recover their 500 Million Dollar payment for a transaction that did not occur. AND Leaves Country A with a 500 Million Dollar Deficit when no goods or services were transacted!

ICBPOs Illegal

Most Governments have now recognized the extreme risk and effect ICBPOs have on their economies and as a result they have banned them and made ICBPOs illegal for all parties except for very large specially licensed financial institutions that have been given direct government approval. Those institutions are few and far between and rarely operate in the Bank Guarantee Industry.

So ICBPOs are well and truly off the Bank Guarantee menu! Normal BG and SBLC Payment Guarantees of MT799 have replaced them.

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One of America’s premier research institutions was hacked—and the signs point to China

Tech companies, healthcare giants, defense contractors, top universities, the US government—you name it, Chinese cyber-spies have probably hacked it. And now, it seems likely, we can add one of the world’s preeminent marine research groups to the list.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution sustained a “sophisticated, targeted attack” that looks to have originated from China, according to Christopher Land, the organization’s general counsel and leader of its internal investigation.

If the perpetrator is indeed from the People’s Republic, it marks the latest in a series of high-profile hacks that US officials say has resulted in theft of US commercial secrets, potentially sensitive government information, and military data. With the US threatening sanctions, Chinese president Xi Jinping recently vowed not to commit commercial cyber-espionage—a pledge US officials are watching closely for signs of follow-through.

WHOI isn’t a company or a government agency, but given its close ties with the US military and the National Science Foundation, it’s not exactly a regular research institution, either. Its vast cache of research holds data on everything from bowhead whale habitats and plankton to hydrographic surveys and oceanic oxygen levels—as well as classified work WHOI does with the Navy and the US defense department.

The organization’s cyber-security team first noticed suspicious activity in late June of this year. But the breach turns out to have started back in February 2013, based on what Land learned from Mandiant, a cyber-security firm that WHOI brought in to investigate the attacks and help plug the breaches.

The attack bears the hallmarks of an APT group—that stands for “advanced persistent threat,” meaning, a long-term, covert hack—based out of China, according to Mandiant’s report to Land. Though the forensic investigation is still underway, it appears that the hackers focused on data and emails, and not personal information.

So far, there’s no sign that the hackers stole any datasets, Land says, adding that the classified research WHOI does for the Navy and the US defense department was stored on a different network from the one that was breached.

Still, the question remains: If Chinese hackers were rummaging around WHOI, what would they have been looking for? Land declined to speculate, and the breadth of WHOI’s marine-science research makes it hard to narrow things down.

However, the range of China’s commercial and strategic interests in the ocean is no less extensive—and is growing fast. China’s leaders are increasingly intent on making the nation a “maritime power” capable of defending its “maritime rights and interests.”

In June, China’s cabinet broadened the focus of its naval strategy to include not only territorial waters but also “open seas protection.” Meanwhile, a new “Maritime Silk Road” plan is meant to facilitate regional maritime economic development.

China’s high-seas fishing fleet is the planet’s largest (paywall), making international waters a source of increasing strategic importance, according to a recent World Bank report (pdf, p.42). Far to the north, China seems to view the Northern Sea Route—the shipping shortcut to Europe via the Arctic that global warming has helped open up—as a strategic priority. China now boasts the world’s biggest conventionally powered icebreaker (pdf, p.36); a second is under construction. Those will also be of use at the opposite pole—China now has four Antarctic stations and is investing rising sums into research there (paywall).

Then, of course, there are the country’s territorial claims—notably China’s claim to more than four-fifths of the South China Sea, water that teems with valuable fish and is thought to sit atop even more valuable deposits of oil and natural gas.

Interestingly enough, recent reports of a cyber attack on an international court in The Hague came in the midst of a hearing on the Philippines’ contest of China’s South China Sea claim. As you might have guessed, security experts are saying the attack came from China.

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China and Africa’s most unscrupulous middleman has been detained

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A secretive Hong Kong tycoon that has been at the forefront of China’s push into Africa’s resource markets has been detained in Beijing, according to the Chinese business news magazine Caixin.

Sam Pa is the mysterious founder of a complex corporate network known as “the 88 Queensway Group” or “the Queensway syndicate,” after the office address of its main companies in Hong Kong. Pa, a stocky, bespectacled man who uses at least seven aliases—most of his business associates refer to him as just “Mr. Sam”—is believed to have forged ties with African elites while working in Chinese intelligence.

Analysts say that the Queensway companies, connected to China’s ministry of foreign affairs, operate in politically isolated, resource-rich African countries (pdf) like Angola and Zimbabwe where business and government dealings are more opaque. Pa has been accused of bribing African officials, smuggling diamonds, and trafficking illegal arms. He was sanctioned last year by the United States for allegedly supporting Zimbabwe’s long-time ruler Robert Mugabe.

Pa’s detention may be linked to the investigation of the governor of Fujian province, Su Shulin, according to Caixin. Su is the former chairman of the state-owned oil company Sinopec. He has been detained for “serious violations of discipline” as part of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s sweeping anti-corruption crackdown. Su was the head of Sinopec when it partnered with a Queensway company to develop its oil business in Angola.

It’s not clear how closely Pa is still linked to Queensway or how its operations in Africa will be affected if he is felled by the Chinese communist party. (The company says that he is now only an adviser.) JR Mailey, an analyst who has been tracking the company for over seven years, told the Financial Times (paywall) that the sprawling corporate empire remains “dependent upon Sam Pa and his connections in Beijing and other capitals.”

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Labor groups say H&M is lying about its progress in improving factory safety in Bangladesh

After a garment factory collapse at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh killed 1,133 people in 2013, H&M was among the first of many international clothing brands that agreed to signthe binding Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, to prevent such a tragedy happening again.

It was a significant moment: The fast-fashion retailer is one of the largest buyers of garments from the country, which gives it considerable leverage in Bangladesh—and also makes it a symbol of the Western fashion brands doing business there. Many other companies followed suit.

But despite touting its progress in accordance with the agreement, H&M is now defending itself against a damning report  by the Clean Clothes Campaign and other labor groups that advocate for workers’ rights. The report, based on public information released by the Accord organization, accused H&M of being “dramatically behind schedule” in making factory-safety improvements it had committed to. In reply, H&M issued a press release and statements to the media explaining the delays (among the problems: Not all of the technology needed for the upgrades is available yet in Bangladesh), and reiterated that it had made “good progress” in some regards.

But the groups behind the report have now issued a rebuttal claiming that H&M’s statements are misleading, and in some cases, just plain wrong.

One of the statements they point to (link in Swedish) is the assertion by H&M’s press chief on Oct. 2 that all of H&M’s supplier factories have emergency exits. They label this “an outright falsehood,” based on the standard for an emergency exit laid out by the Accord.

“By definition, any building that does not have enclosed stairwells, protected by fire-rated doors, does not have fire exits (or emergency exits, to use H&M’s terminology),” the analysis states. “As H&M admits, more than two years after it signed the Bangladesh Accord, ‘some’ (actually, most) of its supplier factories still lack proper fire doors, and therefore do not have fire exits.”

Members of the police inspect a garment factory after a devastating fire in Savar November 25, 2012. A fire swept through Tazreen Fashion factory in the Ashulia industrial belt of Dhaka, on the outskirts of Bangladesh's capital killing more than 100 people, the fire brigade said on Sunday, in the country's worst ever factory blaze.The aftermath of the fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh.

H&M also said that it is only producing in factories that meet the Accord’s requirements for operation. Of the 5,000 or so garment factories in Bangladesh, it sources from fewer than 300. But the groups suggest that H&M’s phrasing is misleading.

“According to the Accord’s published reports, there is not a single H&M supplier factory in Bangladesh that meets the building safety standards of the Accord,” they state. “We presume that H&M, in making this claim, is referring instead to the fact that the factories it is using, though clearly unsafe, have not been ordered to shut down due to risk of imminent structural collapse.”

Other claims they call out include H&M’s assertion that it has completed 60% of the remediation work in factories where it holds the lead role in overseeing renovations, and that lockable doors in its factories aren’t ever locked, which the groups say H&M can’t possibly know.

H&M tells Quartz that the labor groups’ complaints are misleading. “We do not recognize ourselves in the picture given in the report, nor in the recent analysis that you refer to,” spokesperson Elin Hallerby said. “For example, basic safety equipment such as fire exits is a fundamental requirement for a supplier in order to be allowed to produce for H&M. Also, there have always been clear escape routes in our supply chain, although many of them will be improved in accordance with new standards.”

Even though the Accord has more than 200 signatories, the labor groups focused on H&M in their report because it was a leader in signing the Accord.

“H&M gained significant credibility as the first signer (rightly at the time) and have also communicated to consumers through their sustainability report that all significant repairs are complete,” a representative for Labour Behind the Label, one of the groups that collaborated on the report, has told Quartz previously.

The groups say H&M hasn’t followed through, and that after two and a half years to make the improvements it agreed to, there are no excuses for the lack of progress.

H&M maintains that its commitment to Bangladesh’s garment industry is long-term, and that its work in the country “is not only active but also genuine and honest.”

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Pictures: Investigators piece together the wreckage of MH17, and blame a Russian-made missile

The Dutch National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) has published conclusions from its investigation of the crash of MH17, the Malaysia Airlines flight that went down in eastern Ukraine in July 2014 on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The report (PDF) confirms what was suspected already: that a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile hit the plane and caused it to explode in midair.

The surface-to-air missile system the NLR says was used in the attack. The surface-to-air missile system the NLR says was used in the attack.

The missile impacted the left side of the Boeing 777’s cockpit, instantly killing the three crew members inside. Investigators say that bow-tie-shaped pieces of shrapnel, consistent with what would have come from a Buk missile, were found inside those crew members’ bodies.

The right side of the MH17 cockpit, as reconstructed from found wreckage. The right side of the MH17 cockpit, as reconstructed from found wreckage.

According to a Dutch Safety Board brochure about the investigation (PDF), a digital simulation of the impact showed that after the warhead detonated on the upper left side of the cockpit, the pressure wave that followed the explosion destroyed the front section of the aircraft, at which point the plane broke in half as “the cockpit and the floor of the business class tore away from the fuselage almost instantly and crashed.” Over the next 60 to 90 seconds, the rest of the plane continued flying for about 8 kilometers, breaking apart as air currents tore off the wingtips and tail.

From page 13 of the Dutch Safety Board brochure on the MH17 crash.From page 13 of the Dutch Safety Board brochure on the MH17 crash.

Investigators briefed the relatives of the 298 people who died in the crash, many of them Dutch citizens, ahead of releasing their report. The relatives were told that their loved ones were likely knocked unconscious or killed on impact. As The Guardian notes, the NLR report does not include any findings of liability or blame; the Dutch criminal prosecutor’s office is currently preparing a report, due in 2016, for that purpose. It is widely believed that the missile was fired by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine, but Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement.

The Dutch Safety Board (DSB), which commissioned the NLR report, discussed the findings at a press conference in The Hague today. DSB chairman Tjibbe Joustra said that the airspace where MH17 was brought down should have been closed, but officials had failed to recognize the risks posed by the armed conflict on the ground there. “Nobody gave a thought to a possible threat to civil aviation,” Joustra said (video).

On stage behind Joustra, there was a 20-meter-long partial reconstruction of the aircraft. Guardian journalist Luke Harding said it was “haunting”:

The inside of #MH17 cockpit eerie: two empty pilots’ chairs, mangled and tilting left and right; a crumpled metal base with shrapnel holes

— Luke Harding (@lukeharding1968) October 13, 2015

The glass from the cockpit looks like an ice-sheet, patterned with dark holes; more damage on left side than right. Haunting

— Luke Harding (@lukeharding1968) October 13, 2015

The reconstructed cockpit, as presented by the Dutch Safety Board today.The reconstructed cockpit, as presented by the Dutch Safety Board today.

Hours earlier, in Moscow, Almaz-Antey, the maker of Buk missiles, held its own press conference about the crash. The defense contractor conducted its own simulation of the event, in what the Kyiv Post called a “sloppy, pre-emptive measure” against the Dutch report. Almaz-Antey sought to prove that the missile must have been fired from ground controlled by the Ukrainian army, not by pro-Russian separatists. Almaz-Antey also argued that the plane was hit by a Buk model that is no longer used by Russia but that the Ukrainian army may be using. The presentation, during which Almaz-Antey representatives referred to a grade-school geometry textbook to explain their theory, was not very convincing.

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Aston Martin is working on an electric supercar with double the horsepower of its gas-powered cars

One of the most quintessentially British cars will soon be driving into the 21st century. At a Bloomberg conference in London Monday (Oct. 12), Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said that the car company is working on an all-electric version of its Rapide sports car, which it plans to have available by the end of 2017. And it’s going to be a beast.

“We’re talking about an electric Aston Martin with between 800 and 1,000 horsepower—imagine having all that torque on demand,” Palmer told Bloomberg. (For reference, the 2015 gasoline-powered Rapide model has 552 horsepower, whereas a Tesla Model S can have up to 691 horsepower.)

The company wasn’t immediately available for comment on how the electric Rapide will differ from the current model, but Palmer said onstage that the new car will be based on the existing model. After that, the company plans to put out an electric crossover vehicle. The company showed off a concept car earlier this year, called the DBX—the first crossover the company has made—and Palmer said this would be the basis for the company’s second electric vehicle.

The DBX concept crossover car.The DBX concept crossover car.

While Tesla currently has the luxury electric sports car market wrapped up with its Model S and recently announced Model X vehicles, the company will soon be facing increased competition. Audi, Mercedes, and Porsche have all announced their intentions to have electric vehicles on the road by the end of the decade. Tesla is likely to increasingly go after the rest of the market, however: CEO Elon Musk has said that the company’s next car—the Model 3—will be more affordable, starting at $35,000. Palmer said that Aston Martin has no intention to leave the luxury market, whether it’s electric or gasoline-powered, telling the conference he wants to avoid the “vanilla in the middle.”

James's new Aston Martin DB10, next to the classic DB5. Up next: Electric Bond?James’s new Aston Martin DB10, next to the classic DB5. Up next: Electric Bond?

For years, James Bond, the protagonist of the British 007 spy films, has driven an Aston Martin. He’s experimented over the years with Germans and Italians over the years, but seems to always find himself back behind the wheel of a British classic. In the upcoming Bond film, “Spectre,” James will be driving the new Aston Martin DB10. And Palmer said there’s a chance that an electric vehicle could make it into a Bond film in the future (assuming there’s another one): “It’s an awfully good getaway vehicle,” he said. “I don’t think James really cares what the power train is as long it’s fast and beautiful.”

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