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After Failed Hanoi Summit, U.S. Imposes First North Korea-Linked Sanctions

Trump and Kim have held two summits — the first in Singapore last June and the second in Hanoi this February. Trump has not ruled out a third such meeting.

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South Korea
Protesters march toward the U.S. Embassy during a rally supporting the U.S. policy to put steady pressure on North Korea, in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 3, 2018. VOA

With negotiations at an impasse, Washington has imposed additional sanctions on those assisting Pyongyang — the first such action since February’s failed summit in Hanoi between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“This is not really about intensification of pressure,” a senior U.S. administration official said. “This is about maintaining pressure as defined by the international community.”

FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2019, photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaks at a news conference in Hanoi, following talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump said he walked away from his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un because Kim demanded the U.S. lift all of its sanctions.
In this Feb. 28, 2019, photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaks at a news conference in Hanoi, following talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump said he walked away from his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un because Kim demanded the U.S. lift all of its sanctions. VOA

Thursday’s sanctions by the U.S. Treasury Department on two China-based shipping companies were the latest evidence of some “leakage” in the enforcement of sanctions by Beijing, but U.S. officials said that overall, China was abiding by the U.N. resolutions slapped on North Korea for its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs.

Washington wants Pyongyang to surrender its entire nuclear arsenal and other mass-destruction weapons before being granted any relief from sanctions. The North Koreans insist on sanctions relief before halting production of fissile materials.

“Insisting on unilateral North Korean disarmament upfront is pushing on the wrong door. We should be pushing to first slow the program, then cap it, and ultimately keep rollback and disarmament the long-term goal,” said Vipin Narang, associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “But every month that passes without a grand deal is one in which North Korea’s nuclear program continues to grow larger — increasing the risk of its own use and proliferation to other countries — and the chances of a deal grow smaller.”

 

FILE - In this undated image from video distributed Jan. 1, 2019, by North Korean broadcaster KRT, leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech in North Korea.
In this undated image from video distributed Jan. 1, 2019, by North Korean broadcaster KRT, leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech in North Korea. VOA

Analysts also worry Kim could grow impatient, turn away from diplomacy with Trump and look to China to provide sanctions relief that North Korea desperately needs.

“I’m not sure we can be confident that Beijing will uphold enforcement after Trump so abruptly walked away from negotiations with North Korea,” said Jean Lee, who directs the center for Korean history and public policy at the Wilson Center, a global policy research group in Washington. “I do hope North Korea sticks to negotiation and does not resort to provocation. If Pyongyang doesn’t get the response it craves and needs from Washington, North Korea may turn back to a tried and tested strategy: to get Trump, and the world’s attention, with another illicit missile launch or test.”

U.S. officials on Thursday, speaking to reporters on condition of not being named, expressed patience and confidence with their stance toward North Korea.

Patience

“What they’re facing now is unprecedented,” said one U.S. official of the sanctions on North Korea. “We’ll give it some time.”

Lee, currently in Seoul, told VOA she found it “interesting that we’re back to a form of strategic patience. There was high hope, especially here in Seoul, that Trump’s impatience and unpredictability would lead to fast movement on North Korea. But the Trump administration is finding that it’s much tougher than the president may have thought of simply bullying Kim into acquiescence.”

A prolonged lull in talks “could become risky, and maintaining maximalist positions will not be sustainable,” said Duyeon Kim, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a national security research group in Washington.

FILE - In this Dec. 21, 2018, photo, a North Korean woman walks outside Bugsae Shop, also known as the "Singapore Shop," in Pyongyang. Business is booming at such shops, which sell everything from Ukrainian vodka to brand-name knock-offs from China. The stores stock many of the very things U.N. sanctions banning trade in luxury goods are intended to block.
In this Dec. 21, 2018, photo, a North Korean woman walks outside Bugsae Shop, also known as the “Singapore Shop,” in Pyongyang. Business is booming at such shops, which sell everything from Ukrainian vodka to brand-name knock-offs from China. The stores stock many of the very things U.N. sanctions banning trade in luxury goods are intended to block. VOA

“They need to negotiate a denuclearization-peace road map soon and preferably an interim agreement on fissile materials. Rapid and complete denuclearization is not realistic. Denuclearization will have to occur in stages but in accordance with an agreed road map on how this all ends,” Kim told VOA.

The current primary point of pressure on Pyongyang by the international community is on entities, including their ships, involved with illicitly exporting North Korean goods, such as coal, and taking products — especially petroleum — into the impoverished country in violation of U.N. sanctions.

Unless North Korea denuclearizes, “we’re going to maintain that pressure,” a senior U.S official said.

Daily monitoring

A coalition of countries — using their vessels, aircraft and classified intelligence means — are daily watching the movement of ships involved in the illegal trade.

North Korea and those helping it are trying to obscure identities of ships and cargo by disabling or manipulating systems that identify the vessels for safety and navigation, physically altering vessel identifications and making ship-to-ship transfers to avoid ports, according to a sanctions advisory jointly issued Thursday by the U.S. Treasury and State departments and the Coast Guard.

Neither the United States nor any other country has moved to interdict the offending ships.

FILE - This photo released by Japan's Ministry of Defense shows what it says is the North Korean-flagged tanker Yu Jong 2, left, and the Min Ning De You 078 lying alongside in the East China Sea, Feb. 16, 2018.
This photo released by Japan’s Ministry of Defense shows what it says is the North Korean-flagged tanker Yu Jong 2, left, and the Min Ning De You 078 lying alongside in the East China Sea, Feb. 16, 2018. VOA

“I don’t want to talk about potential steps we may or may not take,” replied a senior administration official when asked by VOA whether there was discussion here about using the U.S. Navy or Coast Guard in international waters to take such action.

Also Read: “Saw Blood Flowing Like A River”: Survivor Recounts New Zealand Mosque Attacks

Trump and Kim have held two summits — the first in Singapore last June and the second in Hanoi this February. Trump has not ruled out a third such meeting.

“The door is wide open to continuing the dialogue with North Korea. The president wants to see progress at the working level, and he’s engaged as well,” a senior administration official said. (VOA)

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61% Indian Business Leaders Fear Cybercrime Risk During Covid-19

61% of Indian business owners think their business may experience cybercrime during Covid-19

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cybercrime
SMBs believe that cybercrime is more likely to occur during Covid-19 situation than before. Pixabay

About 61 per cent of Indian business leaders and decision-makers think their business is more likely to experience a serious cybercrime during the Covid-19 situation as opposed to 45 per cent globally, said a survey on Tuesday.

About a third of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) believe that cybecrime is more likely to occur during Covid-19 situation than before, showed the study by US-based cybersecurity company CrowdStrike.

From February to March alone, CrowdStrike found that there was a 100x increase in Covid-19 themed malicious files.

Interestingly 62 per cent of Indian businesses surveyed, the highest among all the countries surveyed, provided additional training for their staff to learn how to avoid threats and Cybercrime while working from home.

The “CrowdStrike Work Security Index” surveyed 4,048 senior decision-makers in India, Australia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, and the U.S across major industry sectors.

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62 per cent of Indian businesses surveyed provided additional training for their staff to learn how to avoid threats while working from home. Pixabay

The survey looked into the attitudes and behaviours towards cybersecurity during the Covid-19 situation.

Also Read: Indians Watch 54% Online Videos in Hindi: Youtube

It included responses from 526 Indian decision-makers across small, medium and large business enterprises.

The survey revealed that a large majority of respondents around the globe are now working remotely, with more than half of them working remotely directly as a result of the pandemic.

This, in turn has given rise to the use of personal devices, including laptops and mobile devices, for work purposes, with 60 per cent of respondents reporting that they are using personal devices to complete work — with countries like Singapore and India even reaching 70 per cent or higher in personal device usage. (IANS)

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Reimagining Business Models for a Post-Pandemic World

The idea is suggested by a book named "It's Logical: Innovating Profitable Business Models"

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The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will cause a drastic reimagining of business models in going forward. Pixabay

The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will entail a drastic reimagining of business models in going forward says a new book on the subject that proposes frameworks with Design Thinking as the backbone for creating win-win situations.

“Today, more than ever, there is a strong need for re-imagining the way business needs to be conducted through deep empathy and exploring win-win situations for all stakeholders involved,” writes Kaustubh Dhargalkar, an entrepreneur-turned-academician, innovation evangelist and start-up mentor, in “It’s Logical: Innovating Profitable Business Models” published by Sage and which is available as an ebook on Amazon.

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The book is available as an ebook on Amazon. Wikimedia Commons

To this end, the book proposes “frameworks (with Design Thinking as the backbone) for creating win-win situations to visualize sustainable business models in times to come, which should prove useful in the prevailing, unprecedented circumstances”.

Laced with multiple real life studies, the book advocates that innovation is not about flash in the pan ideas; it is driven by pure logic. It further explains how to map the ecosystem to understand synergies for creating innovative offerings.

In his foreword, Sudhakar Nadkarni (Founder, Industrial Design Centre at IIT-Bombay; Founder, Department of Design at IIT-Guwahati) writes: “It takes great effort and a long time to develop an innovative culture. Innovation, as is often said, does not fall from the heavens. It takes vision and a strong commitment to the objective.”

Also Read: Alarming Rate of Deforestation Threatens Biodiversity

Noting that he has “some reservations” about the “fashion” that innovation centres have become, Nadkarni says: One cannot innovate in the absence of an ecosystem that drives innovation. This book, supported by deep research and many case studies, shows that it is possible to come up with an innovative business model that does not stick to conventional paradigms.”

Drawing an analogy with cricket, Nadkarni says that creating a good business model involves “searching for gaps, angling the bat and caressing the ball in the desired direction. It requires a creative yet trained mind. This book tells you exactly how to spot those gaps in the field and train your creative muscle.” (IANS)

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How to Build the Ultimate Ecommerce App with Builder.ai’s Studio Store

Businesses all over the globe have gone digital during the Coronavirus pandemic

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ecommerce
The world of e-commerce is growing fast and businesses need to catch up. Pixabay

Not too long ago, NASDAQ predicted that by the year 2040, as much as 95% of shopping will be facilitated by ecommerce. Similarly, Shopify Plus estimates that by the year 2021, worldwide retail ecommerce sales will reach $4.9 trillion – a number that will now be amplified as a result of the recent events. The world of e-commerce is growing fast and businesses need to catch up.

For good or for bad, the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns have left businesses little choice but to go digital. Gone are the days when goliaths like Walmart would build ecommerce apps just to indulge a handful of customers. Today, it is either go digital or go home.  So, for all businesses looking for an ecommerce mobile app builder, Studio Store could be an interesting option.

Launched recently by Builder.ai with the goal of helping businesses directly impacted by COVID-19, Studio Store is a new range of pre-packaged apps – beginning with e-commerce and delivery – designed to bring businesses online faster and at a fraction of the cost of building from scratch. With Studio Store, Builder.ai is furthering its mission to democratize the software market by offering pre-built software for a fraction of the price, giving more companies than ever the opportunity to use technology to grow their business.

online-ecommerce
Here’s how you can get an ecommerce website to flourish your website. Pixabay

So, if you’ve been wondering how to build an ecommerce app, then here are the key problems Studio Store solves with features that are most noteworthy:

  • Most apps take 6-9 months to develop, depending on the complexity. 

Unlike most ecommerce app builders, Studio Store ecommerce app by Builder.ai will serve the specific needs of businesses across e-commerce – such as flower shops, grocery stores and clothiers – and be delivered to customers in eight weeks.

  • Most app development journeys are complicated and take months of back and forth to just nail down basic feature sets. 

The Studio Store’s e-commerce app makes selling to an ever-mobile customer effortless, and retailers can showcase their goods with a scrollable carousel and offer a wide range of secure payment methods. The app includes features that will handle the soup to nuts of most e-commerce experiences.

  • For most ecommerce app builders, their job ends as soon as an app is handed over to the customer, with little to no customer service after. 

Studio Store by Builder.ai offers 3 months of free aftercare that keeps the app thriving and the cloud needed to run the app and scale the business.

  • App developers charge hefty down payments even before a project begins.

Studio Store is priced at a reasonable $500 per month and Builder.ai does not take any cut of sales or transaction fees (so you’ll only pay those charged directly by a payment gateway). Builder.ai only requires a one-month deposit at the beginning of the engagement.

ecommerce
Studio Store is priced at a reasonable $500 per month and Builder.ai does not take any cut of sales or transaction fees. Pixabay

Also Read: US White House Releases Report Announcing Onset of Cold War With China

  • With SaaS app builders, each customer gets complete ownership of their code.

The biggest drawback of SaaS applications is that the source code remains the same for all customers. In cases where new features are rolled out, they’re rolled out universally. But with Studio Store, the customer gets a copy of the code after 24 months.

All in all, if you are looking to build an ecommerce app online, then Builder.ai could be the best choice. You can check out the Studio Store for yourself by clicking here.

[Disclaimer: The article published above promotes links of commercial interests.]