Opinion: BRICS is concerned about the money and not about the War in Ukraine

Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in China released the “BRICS Countries Clarify Common Position on the Ukraine Issue”. What was very clarifying about it… was their real issues and what was important for the BRICS countries.

The BRICS countries consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. I will first release the vital part of that statement and then dissect it into pieces, which is only fair.

The BRICS countries are highly concerned about the current situation in Ukraine, and reiterated respective national positions. The BRICS countries expressed their support for multilateralism, adherence to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respect for the legitimate security concerns of all countries, and support for continued dialogue and talks between Russia and Ukraine to seek a comprehensive solution to the Ukraine issue. The BRICS countries expressed concern over the humanitarian situation in and around Ukraine and supported all humanitarian assistance efforts to Ukraine, including the contributions of the International Committee of the Red Cross and UN agencies. The BRICS countries are particularly concerned about the serious impacts of unilateral sanctions on world economic recovery, stability of industrial and supply chains, energy and food security, as well as the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and call on great importance to be attached to and effective solution to the concerns of developing countries at large to ensure that their economies and people’s livelihood are not affected” (People’s Republic of China – Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 14.04.2022).

The first is just showing some sort of token of what is going on in Ukraine. As the Russian-Belorussian invasion are going and it has waged war soon for about 50 days in the whole Republic of Ukraine. So, the “highly concerned” is just empty posturing and nothing else. The speaking of UN Charter and legitimate security concerns are just boosting the ego of Moscow and Kremlin. That is not being said in concern to the legitimacy or the sovereign rights of Kyiv or Ukraine. No, that is just mention to cater to the ideals of the conflict in concern to Russia.

Neither is it hard to believe their true interests or support of the dialogue. When they are siding with Russia. That will be very clear later on, but not shocking, because of the tone of the Press Release or “Common Position” on Ukraine.

The concern for humanitarian situation is more just being diplomatic, but not taking a direct stance – here nor there. It just showing that they value life and don’t want people to suffer. Which is all good, but meaningless… when the BRICS are so on guard for the needs of Russia, which is the R in the BRICS.

The tone very swiftly changes, when it’s concerning the sanctions. That is very evident here. They are saying it is a reason for trouble in the energy market, food security and going against Sustainable Development. However, it is not considering the implications the war in Ukraine already has, neither that it should have consequences for Russia, which is the aggressor in this war. Nevertheless, of this alliance and coalition of countries. We wouldn’t expect it to counter or dismiss one of their own. That is not how the BRICS role and it would betray their alliance.

They are just against sanctions, because they are worried about livelihoods of the population in Russia. The BRICS is worried about the international trade and how it affects the powers within the alliance. Not about the reasons for the sanctions or why they have occurred. No, that is for someone else to be worried about. That is evident and we cannot expect anything positive or legit from the BRICS.

The strongest language was put on the sanctions and not on the war directly. That says it all about the priorities of the BRICS. These countries and clarification only shows that money and foreign exchange or export U.S. Dollars matters more than the illegal warfare in Ukraine. The world needs to know this and BRICS just show the world their heart at the very moment. Peace.

Russia: PepsiCo plans to expand their own “special operation” in Russia…

According to the newspaper Kommersant, whose journalists got acquainted with fragments of the company’s presentation, the organization wants to create new products with different names and packaging. In particular, the New Cola product was presented in various containers of different volumes. Under the Fruitz brand, orange and lime flavored drinks were introduced” (…) “In addition, the company wants to expand the local brand Russky Dar, which currently produces only kvass. However, PepsiCo plans to expand the range with carbonated drinks in different flavors” (Viktor Bazhenov – ‘PepsiCo plans to create special products for Russia’ 07.04.2022, Komsomolskaja Pravda).

While other Western Companies and Brands are suspending their operations in Russia. As the sanctions and outrage of the Russian-Belorussian invasion of Ukraine is ongoing. There are about 200 companies that has either ceased, suspended or stopped to invest in the Russian market. That has been done as a result of the brutal war in Ukraine. This is being done because of the issues of transactions, lack of business opportunities or to get positive publicity in the West.

That’s why it’s very interesting that the soft-drink maker and conglomerate Pepsi Corporation who earlier this year suspended their production of Pepsi, SevenUp and Mirinda. Now has other plans and creating a new strategy. That is clearly to circumvent and get a bigger market share in the Russian Federation. As other Western soft-drink makers like Coca-Cola and others stopped producing sodas and beers in Russia.

After the other corporations and businesses has ceased or suspended their operations in Russia. There will be openings and possibilities from a business stand-point. In a way of filling the gap and finding new parts of the beverage market that PepsiCo can fill. From a direct business view it makes sense, but from a publicity angel it sucks.

The Pepsi Corporation is trading, earning profits and ensuring a bigger tax-base, which is good news for Kremlin and President Putin. This is supporting and making sure the Russian economy is going. That there is products to trade, people is getting salaries and such. This is a dream for a dictator to have a company of this stature to do this.

Yes, they did suspend the production of the world-wide famous soft-drinks, but they plan to make other special ones for the Russian market. That will be in addition to the Kvass. This is an deliberate attempt to get a bigger profits and ensure viability in the Russian Federation. That is really it and it’s being a token soldier of the Russian war-machine. They are trading, investing and finding ways of profiting in a marginal space without any preconditions.

PepsiCo is by doing so. They would stand up to huge scrutiny, as they are willing to earn blood money by association and by their decision to not only uphold certain products, but to add and create new ones. This is creating own products and soft-drinks catering to the Russian market. Securing them a vast market and huge profits in the middle of a war. That is it really and what they are willing to do.

The PepsiCo will be renowned by many. Their legacy of these drinks will be in the letter of “Z” and the association will be looked that way. The Ukrainian war and the lack of solidarity there will also be seen. As the corporation only dipped a minute and later found new avenues for furthering their business operation in Russia. The PepsiCo is more into long term gains than the dwelling into the problematic ideals of doing this.

The yellow and blue colours of Ukraine will clearly not matter to PepsiCo. They rather have a “special operation” of their own in the Russian market. Peace.

Russia: Putin warns the oligarchs

They are trying to bet on a so-called fifth column, on traitors of the nation, on those who earn money here but live over there. And live there not just in a geographic sense, but in their minds and their consciousness which is that of slaves. I don’t judge those with villas in Miami or the French Riviera. Or who can’t get by without oysters or foie gras or so-called ‘gender freedoms.’ The problem is they mentally exist there, and not here, with our people, with Russia. They think this places them in a higher caste” – President Vladimir Putin (16.03.2022).

This is striking, unique and shows how his state of mind is these days. As the sanctions are hitting the economy hard. The wealth of the oligarchs is at stake and their foreign assets is ceased. Their investments, companies and all things are crashing. Not only the opportunities to have visa abroad, but all the money cannot buy them a life there now.

This means the wealth generated by the businesses and transactions in Russia. Cannot by the hegemony or lavish life in the West. We know Londongrad has been an issue, but Russian oligarchs has been involved in all parts of the West. That has been issue for a long time and the Russian money has funnelled across the continents.

It is really striking that Putin says this. We wouldn’t be shocked, if he has estates or assets across the globe. We wouldn’t be shocked, if he has vast accounts filled with massive amount of wealth in tax-havens like Switzerland or anywhere else. That would just make sense after all of these years in office.

President Putin and the Oligarchs has been a marriage of convenience. Where the oligarchs has enjoyed massive profits on the industries and resources of Russia. While they have supported and ensured the stability, which has been a needed political currency that Putin has thrived on. Now the sanctions are biting and the rich backers of the regime is hurting. They are losing stocks, estates and assets all over. Their riches is withering away and lost because of the invasion of Ukraine.

Now, he who has needed them and gotten support of them. Now, he tells them not to be associated or worried about the West. A life and an aspect, which has enriched the oligarchs. Where they could spend on lifestyle goods, enjoy holidays in sunny areas of Europe and spend time in skiing resorts in the alps. The oligarchs could taste Hollywood, BAFTA sand Cannes without any issues, as they we’re living lives that no one else could.

That’s why Putin is afraid that the luxurious VIPs feels touched by the sanctions and don’t want to live in micro-USSR issues in Moscow. Where they cant’ drink Coke or have a latte at Starbucks. He is afraid that Western companies leaving Russia and the losses will be a burden to many for the oligarchs. That’s why he speaks of dogma and ethics. Because, of nationalism is now supposed to be more valuable than wealth. This is rich coming from a power-hungry man who has used all means to stay in power. That has changed the laws to ensure his longevity. This is another sort of greed, which he has filled his heart and mind with.

So, when he tries to teach a lesson to the oligarchs. It says something and should be worth to note. As the oligarchs and Putin has all thrived on a beneficial relationship together over the years. They have all traded and it has been profitable. That is the truth.

Putin continued where Yeltsin’s privatization left off and the oligarchs became a class on their own. Now he has to either reign them in or in fear of what they will do, as they are losing their wealth. They are losing their businesses and privileges, which they have become so accustomed too. Peace.

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Brexit: The HGV driver shortage was warned about years ago…

The driver shortage has resulted in a dependence on agency and particularly foreign drivers that goes beyond what is needed to cope with seasonal variations and is now necessary to sustain normal operation. The dependence on agency staff means that operators in the sector are probably not investing enough in their staff. We think this creates two risks that need to be managed. First, if the UK becomes relatively less attractive as a place for foreign drivers to work, as it may do as the consequences of Brexit play out, the shortage could become much more acute, possibly quite rapidly. Second, the longer-term sustainability of the UK’s road haulage sector could be undermined if there is not a steady stream of people through the sector gaining the skills and experience that they need to become transport managers and operators” (…) “Both the industry and Government have taken steps to address the shortage. None of these are on a scale likely to deliver the number of drivers needed. The road haulage sector, supported by the Government, needs to take further steps to:

meet any shortage and reduce dependence on foreign drivers (about 60,000 drivers);

meet any predicted growth in demand; and

deal with the demographic time-bomb (about 75,000 drivers by 2020)” (Parliament.uk – ‘Skills and workforce planning in the road haulage sector’ 27.07.2016).

Sometimes you wonder if the Tories and the Cabinet Secretaries are so forgetful. You can wonder, if they care about warnings and red signs. The Brexit referendum would clearly target the haulage industry. As it is dependent on European Union citizens with license and ability to drive heavy-goods driver (HGV).

The Tories have offered a three month visa parley to everyone they sent packing after the Brexit was issued. The European Union Haulage Unions have dismissed this offer. They are saying they can easily be used, but sent straight back without any consideration for work. Therefore, the EU HGV drivers will not return to save Christmas in the United Kingdom.

Yes, the government gave this “amnesty” or ability during the weekend. At the same time it has put in regulations that all vehicles and lorries who is going into EU from the UK has to take-off their stickers with GB and change that to UK. That is actually something they have done. Just like changing colour on the passport. It is symbolic changes, but not what industries need in these dire times.

The Tories and the Downing Street needs to focus on. They are not securing the livelihoods of the HGV drivers. Neither has it made efforts or done anything for the foreseeable future. They are instead trying to patch up the hurt without any real reform for the transport sector. Which is needed to cope with the lack of trained personnel, salaries or even long-term prospects to work in the haulage industry.

The UK needs the EU HGV drivers to be able to cope. That is why we are seeing again the possibility of the army to do logistics in the Kingdom. Since, the Tories haven’t secured or made it possible for others to cover needs, which is clearly there. The Tories cannot even come with sound judgement or policies, which will make it feasible for the grandstanding departure of previous drivers to return. These will not return when they are getting pennies on the pound and working in crappy conditions while staying in UK. It is not like Boris Johnson or any of his cadre will humiliate themselves in the same regard. No, they rather spend vacations in Caribbean and hope someone else fixes the problems they created.

The Tories haven’t secure the basics. That’s why the supermarkets lacks produce and commodities, why farmers lack’s personnel to pick and secure their produce to market and finally lack of drivers to deliver the needed things across the Kingdom. The Tories haven’t given incentives or prospects for anyone then themselves.

The lack of drivers isn’t only the fault of Brexit alone. It is a systemic fault of a incompetent government. Who is all about publicity, but not about proper policies. This is why it is happening. The fuel-shortage and the empty shelves in the supermarkets says it all. It is not the fault of the public, but the politicians that promised heaven. However, they haven’t delivered the golden gates, but instead showed a little piece of hell.

Kudos to the Tories for failing in such a manner. They will blame anyone else and even say it’s the public own faults for buying petrol. The Tories will go after the companies itself, than look into own misgivings. Because that’s what they do.

What is extra tragic here is that they knew this could be amplified and gotten worse by the efforts of Brexit. However, the state didn’t act upon or take in-consideration the needs of the haulage industry. Therefore, the Tories who was in power the whole time could have made things possible, but clearly they never did. Peace.

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Somalia: The FGS is fishing for khat

BREAKING Ethiopia & Somalia sign a trade agreement that would see Mogadishu export fish to Addis . Ethiopia in return will import Khat. Somalia’s Minister of Fisheries Bidhan & Addis envoy Abdifatah Hassan signed the deal on Sunday” (Dalsan TV, 20.06.2021).

The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) have secured a deal to trade fish, which seems like a good deal. However, it falls flat when it gets Khat in return. If you don’t know what Khat is, I will take a paragraph from the U.S. Department of Justice – National Drug Intelligence Center, which describes it as:

Khat (Catha edulis) is a flowering shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The term khat refers to the leaves and young shoots of Catha edulis. The plant has been widely used since the thirteenth century as a recreational drug by the indigenous people of East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Middle East. Individuals chew khat leaves because of their stimulant and euphoric effects, which are similar to, but less intense than, those resulting from the abuse of cocaine or methamphetamine” (U.S. Department of Justice – Khat – Fast Fact, 01.01.2011).

Should we be worried? That this will ensure the continued usage and destroy people’s lives? That they get sedated and gets the side-effects of its usage. This shows the priorities of the state. As they value the ability to trade and buy khat. Than do other things the state should do.

They are importing a substance, which is harmful and dangerous. Yes, it has been used in the region historically. Still, the state is directly supporting it. They are letting the Ethiopian traders earn fortunes on fish in Ethiopia. While selling narcotic leaves. That says a lot. Both governments are legitimizing this trade.

This trade has been going on for years. There been informal trading between Somali merchants and Ethiopian and Kenyan counterparts. This is making it formal and legalizing it. They are trading fish for khat. Which in itself is a trade-off and an exchange of goods. However, that doesn’t make it look good for the administration in Mogadishu.

Mogadishu is accepting and is willing to buy khat for its public. They are willing to sell and contribute to the usage of it. That should worry people. Because, of the side-effects and the dangers of the usage. That’s what the Ministry of Health and the addiction of it.

We should worry about the youths and older generations who is chewing khat. They will be used and become damaged by this. The state is clearly wanting this effect and they are promoting it.

So, now the government is fishing for khat. That says it all about their priorities and what they are willing to do. They are no issues and does this for cheap popularity. Nevertheless, the state should worry about the long-term effects and how this can destroy livelihoods. As people will get addicted to it and hurt communities. That is clearly what this government will do.

They save the fishermen to make people addicted to khat. That is such a fairytale of doom. Peace.

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