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A U.S. bipartisan commission called on Monday for Vietnam to be placed on a State Department blacklist of the world’s worst abusers of religious freedoms, noting that the country’s removal from the list 13 years ago has not eased violations under one-party communist rule.
Although the State Department removed Vietnam from its list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) in 2006 amid improving diplomatic relations, “the government of Vietnam has continued to persecute religious individuals and organizations,” the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said in an annual report.
Religious freedom conditions last year “trended negative,” USCIRF said, adding that 244 prisoners of conscience held in Vietnam’s jails at year-end included “some who advocated for freedom of religion or belief, and others who simply professed or practiced their faith.”
“Local authorities continued to seize property from Catholic churches, Buddhist temples, and other religious groups for economic development projects without providing just compensation,” USCIRF said, while police harassed religious leaders of different faiths for attending religious conferences overseas or for meeting with foreign diplomats.
“Based on these systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom, USCIRF again finds that Vietnam merits designation in 2019 as a ‘country of particular concern,’ or CPC, under the Religious Freedom ACT (IRFA), as it has recommended every year since 2002,” the rights monitoring group said.
Meanwhile, Myanmar and China, already listed as “Tier 1” Countries of Particular Concern at the commission’s recommendation, should be maintained in their positions on that list, USCIRF said in its report.
Religious minorities targeted
In Myanmar, called Burma in the USCIRF report, military and nonstate actors targeted religious and ethnic minorities including Rohingya Muslims and Christians for discrimination and violence, driving over 700,000 Rohingya across the border with Bangladesh in a “massive military crackdown” over the last three years.
Heavy weapons attacks in Myanmar’s Kachin state in recent years have destroyed Christian churches, while assaults by mobs including Buddhist monks in Rakhine have injured Christian pastors and parishioners, with community members in one case left too frightened to attend services.
The spread of hate speech on social media has meanwhile incited violence in the ethnically divided country, leaving victims of abuses with little hope for justice, USCIRF said in its report.
Noting that the State Department has designated Myanmar as a CPC since 1999, and most recently again in November 2018, USCIRF called in its report for the country to maintain its ranking, with existing arms embargoes punishing Myanmar’s military kept in place.
Uyghurs held in camps
In China, the introduction in February 2018 of new Regulations on Religious Affairs banned all “unauthorized” religious teaching, with laws already in place also banning religious organizations deemed “subject to any foreign domination,” a provision used especially to crack down on Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, and Uyghur Muslims.
Campaigns to “Sinicize” religious belief also put the cultural and linguistic heritage of ethnic religious communities under pressure and attack, USCIRF said.
“During the summer, reports emerged that the government had detained 800,000 to possibly more than two million Uighur and other Muslims in Xinjiang. It also deployed one million party cadres to live with Uighur Muslim families and report on any signs of ‘extremist’ religious behavior,” according to the report.
The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) has built a network of political “re-education camps,” where up to 1.5 million Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas have been held since April 2017.
Though Beijing initially denied the existence of re-education camps, it now describes the facilities as an effective tool to protect the country from terrorism and provide vocational training for Uyghurs.
Around 700 prisoners of conscience in China were detained as of October 11, 2018 for engaging in religious practices outside of state control, USCIRF said, citing reporting by the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
“Based on the Chinese government’s systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom, USCIRF again finds that China merits designation in 2019 as a ‘country of particular concern,’ or CPC, USCIRF said.
Vaguely worded laws
The Southeast Asian country of Laos meanwhile remains on USCIRF’s Tier 2 Watch List for continuing serious abuses of religious freedoms, the rights group said in its report. Countries on the Tier 2 Watch List have engaged in violations which, while not rising to CPC status, are still considered significant and serious.
Though the one-party communist state’s constitution “ostensibly protects its people’s inherent right to religious freedom,” regulations controlling religious observance in Laos are vaguely worded and open to interpretation by local authorities, USCIRF said.
“Some Lao authorities remained deeply suspicious of Christians, sometimes resulting in social exclusion, harassment, and arbitrary detention by law enforcement officials,” the rights group said, adding that it had continued to receive reports throughout the year of persecution of Christians in Savannakhet, “a province known for its religious intolerance.” “In 2019, USCIRF again places Laos on its Tier 2, where it has been since 2009,” USCIRF said. (RFA)
If the US loses Chinese companies, Wall Street will gradually alienate itself from the world's most prosperous market and the US will no longer be the true global financial centre, Chinese state media claimed.
Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing giant, announced on Friday that the company is starting the work of delisting from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and initiating preparations for listing in Hong Kong.
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One day before Didi made the statement, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a mandate requiring foreign companies listed in the US to provide audits for inspection. Otherwise, they could be delisted from NYSE and Nasdaq in three years.
"The new SEC regulation clearly targets Chinese companies listed in the US. Analysts believe that it could lead to more than 200 companies being kicked off US exchanges," Global Times reported.
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Didi is the first Chinese company, which announced that it would delist from the NYSE after the SEC issued its new regulation. The company got listed in the US in June without the approval of Chinese regulatory authorities, sparking concerns that the information of hundreds of millions of Chinese users would be leaked to endanger China's national security. More than 20 apps linked to the company were subsequently removed from mobile stores. The SEC's new regulation has compressed Didi's space for financing in the US from the other direction, the report said.
It will become more difficult for Chinese digital technology and application companies to get listed in the US in the future.Unsplash
There have already been voices in the US demanding most of the "China concept stocks" be removed from the US. Scrutiny of "China concept stocks" is expected to get stricter. The US provides various excuses such as "financial security" and "national security" for such scrutiny, the report said.
It will become more difficult for Chinese digital technology and application companies to get listed in the US in the future. This will cause losses to both sides. But the tendency shows that China has greater initiative to adjust and adapt to new conditions, the report said.
Global Times said Chinese companies have other alternatives, and if they go back to China, they will greatly enhance the attractiveness of the mainland and Hong Kong capital markets, creating the possibility of gradually changing the global financial landscape. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Wall street, China, stocks, companies, businesses, losses, regulations, prosperous, technology, authorities, delisting.)
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Sommet Education, one of the worlds leading hospitality and culinary education players, recently joined hands with the countrys premium hospitality institute, Indian School of Hospitality (ISH).
With this Sommet Education now own a 51 per cent stake in the ISH, a significant addition to the former's expansive global network. The strategic partnership allows Sommet Education to establish two of its prestigious institutions in India: Ecole Ducasse, a worldwide education reference in culinary and pastry arts, and Les Roches, one of the world's leading hospitality business schools. With this academic alliance, Ecole Ducasse will now have its first campus in India at ISH, and Les Roches will launch its undergraduate and postgraduate hospitality management programmes in the country.
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Sommet Education's belief in the Indian market and its potential to grow exponentially made the country the focal point of its development plans. As per the recent data, the Indian hospitality industry has shown a 122.9 per cent growth in RevPAR in Q3 2021 as compared to Q2 2021. The sector bounced back strongly with the relaxations in regulations over travel restrictions post the second wave of the pandemic.
During the recent meeting between Benoit-Etienne Domenget, CEO, Sommet Education and Dilip Puri, Founder & CEO, Indian School of Hospitality, both the leaders shared their future development plans for India. Two are exploring opportunities to launch a second campus, most likely to be located in Mumbai, Bengaluru, or Hyderabad. The duo also plans to set up a network of Ecole Ducasse studios in select cities across India, including New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. These studios institutes will cater to the needs of not only hospitality aspirants but also professionals, enthusiasts, and career changers for upskilling and acquiring new skills in line with changing dynamics of the industry. Besides setting Ecole Ducasse studios in India, the expansion of the current ISH Gurugram campus is also underway. The new campus will feature an additional 25,000 sq. ft of classrooms, training kitchens, and student experience areas. This expansion will comfortably stretch the current capacity of the campus to over 500 students.
Speaking about the entering Indian market, Sommet Education CEO, Benoit-Etienne Domenget, said: "India is one of the fastest-growing countries in the world, with hospitality and tourism contributing to a large share of economic growth and employment. As a dynamic young economy, India is the perfect development platform for international education brands to invest in and expand. We are happy to partner with ISH through which enables us to provide Indian students, within the country, with globally renowned standards of hospitality, culinary and management education.
"Together, we will be able to address the industry's need for specialised talent and expertise in a better and more organised manner. Hospitality management and culinary arts aspirants in India and neighbouring countries will now be able to benefit from our combined expertise and explore international career opportunities."
The mutually benefitting collaboration aims to offer a global standard of education to a larger number of hospitality and culinary arts aspirants in the years to come in India and the neighbouring countries. While ISH has set benchmarks with its cutting-edge pedagogical approach, updated curriculum, learning techniques, faculty base, and state-of-the-art infrastructure, expansion of the campus will lay grounds for more talented students to set foot into the exciting field of hospitality and culinary arts and become future leaders who will steer the industry towards success. New facilities are under construction and will be operational by early 2022.
Commenting over the new partnership and expansion plans, ISH Founder and CEO, Dilip Puri, said: "ISH and Sommet Education joined hands for the two share similar belief system and vision of establishing entrepreneurial and developmental mindset among learners. The higher education landscape in India is rapidly transforming. In order to elevate the same to the global standards, ISH, with the help of its new partner, intends to be the pioneer of this transformation, bringing the best of industry education and opportunities from across the world to our students.
Industry demands for hospitality leaders by bringing two of the world's best brandsUnsplash
"Partnering with Sommet Education will also enable us to strengthen our academic offerings and expand our presence pan India, and in neighbouring countries, as now on we will be part of Sommet's prestigious network of 18 campuses across eight countries. We will also be able to further support industry demands for hospitality leaders by bringing two of the world's best brands in hospitality management and culinary education to India."
The current transition in the hospitality and services sector requires future leaders to be well-prepared to take on global opportunities emerging in India and abroad. This tie-up will help ISH to further expand its portfolio of programs with opportunities for students to study semesters abroad and benefit from various pathways within undergraduate and post-graduate programs throughout the Les Roches network of institutions. Students can access opportunities, including pursuing a part of the select course at Les Roches campuses in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, Marbella, Spain and Shanghai. Together the two hold a common vision of empowering learners with new-age skills to stay ahead in the robust and fast-evolving industry and aim to become the country's largest hospitality and culinary arts education player in the next three years. (IANS/PR)
Keywords: hospitality management, culinary education
'Web 3.0' envisions a decentralised future where users and machines are able to interact with data via asmart, digital contracts' over peer-to-peer networks, without the need for Big Tech.
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According to the report by crypto and digital asset exchange CrossTower in partnership with US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), the digital asset economy's value to India's GDP will grow at 43.1 per cent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) -- from $5.1 billion in 2021 to $261.8 billion over an 11-year period, resulting in a $1.1 trillion contribution to India's GDP. Digital asset market capitalisation was nearly $1.5 billion in 2013, and stands at about $3 trillion today.
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According to the report, most of $1.1 trillion in the total economic growth in the next 11 years can come from ancillary digital asset-related businesses that are yet to be invented.
"India is poised for growth to become a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25. Digital assets are expected to have tremendous potential in the next 11 years across countries, due to their rapid adoption. They are expected to help India achieve the $5 trillion economy goal," said Dr Mukesh Aghi, President and CEO of USISPF.
According to the findings, the adoption rate of digital assets (as reflected by accounts opened on centralised cryptocurrency exchanges) is growing nearly twice as fast as that of the Internet.
The report projected that digital identity could contribute $8.2 billion to India's GDP in 2032.Unsplash
It took the Internet approximately 7.5 years to go from around 100 million users to one billion users. "The same growth at cryptocurrency exchanges will take about four years. From digital art to ticket sales, music, collectables, luxury items and gaming, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) could transform the way people interact day-to-day. While still nascent, NFTs are projected to emerge into a market of $1 trillion or more," the report mentioned.
"With the right policies and regulatory framework, India's regulators can bring safety, combined with hope and prosperity to India," said Kapil Rathi, Co-founder and CEO, CrossTower.
The government-related Blockchain projects are estimated to drive close to $0.1 billion of GDP to India in 2021, ramping up to $5.1 billion in 2032. The report projected that digital identity could contribute $8.2 billion to India's GDP in 2032. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : blockchain, India, GDP, technology, economy, growth, future, machine, data, crypto, asset, US, partnership, NFT, million, billion, dollar.)
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