North Korean Drone Considered a ‘...

According to Seoul’s Korean University Cyber Defense Professor Kim Hyoung-joong, the North Korean drones that crashed on a South Korean island on Mo...


Financial Ombudsman PPI Complaint V...

The Financial Ombudsman reveals that it had received 576,000 complaints last year, marking a 38% increase in claims from 2012. Around 76% of complaint...


Industrialist Ibrahim Mehlib Declar...

Departing Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi shocked the country upon his resignation of Prime Minister Tuesday. Egypt’s new Prime Minister wa...


Eruption of Violence Highly Likely ...

The People’s Democratic Reform Committee protest group had begun its “Bangkok Shutdown” protests, which would last a month to force out Thailand...

North Korean Drone Considered a ‘Toy’ By Military Specialists

According to Seoul’s Korean University Cyber Defense Professor Kim Hyoung-joong, the North Korean drones that crashed on a South Korean island on Monday was poorly-designed. He said that it functioned very simply like a ‘toy’ and its design had been outdated for many years.

Netizens who saw the image of the downed North Korean drone thought it looked like a model aircraft that most people created in their childhood rather than seeing an advanced military drone.
Kim points out that regardless of design, drones do not have to look like or function too high-tech. Their purpose is only surveillance, and if the design can fulfil this task, then it is useful for the North Koreans.
However, the drone only had a poor quality camera that cannot take a video and it had no way to broadcast images.
Observers said that North Korea’s drone shows how antiquated and outdated its military equipment and arsenal truly is. According to Centre of Korean Studies at the University of London Dr. James Hoare, many of North Koreas equipment had come from World War II. This is also the primary reason why they put so much in rhetoric when engaging countries they consider hostilities.
North Korea had not yet released an official statement regarding the crashed, antiquated drone.


Financial Ombudsman PPI Complaint Volumes on the Increase

The Financial Ombudsman reveals that it had received 576,000 complaints last year, marking a 38% increase in claims from 2012. Around 76% of complaints were attributed to payment protection insurance in the second half of 2013.

Tony Boorman, Chief Ombudsman, said that 56% of the complaints the previous year were upheld in favour of consumers. He said that the number of financial complaints in 2013 appears to drop in numbers slowly, but he warned that it is still a long way to go before UK’s PPI scandal finally comes to an end.

The Financial Ombudsman said that they are still receiving 1,000 claims daily from consumer with bank-rejected PPI claims.

In the last half of 2013, Lloyds, Barclays, RBS, HSBC and MBNA were the most complained about financial institutions in the United Kingdom. All have set aside a total of £22 billion for mis sold PPI.

Non-PPI related complaints fell down from 60,807 on the first half of 2013 down to 55,747 in the second half of the year.
Lloyds alone covers at least £9.8 billion of the entire PPI refund package, making it the largest mis-seller of payment protection insurance.

If you think you might have been mis sold PPI, it is advised that you seek the help of professionals such as those at the PPIClaimsAdviceLine.org.uk for more information about how to claim your money back.

Industrialist Ibrahim Mehlib Declared as New Egyptian Prime Minister

Departing Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi shocked the country upon his resignation of Prime Minister Tuesday. Egypt’s new Prime Minister was a former member of Hosni Mubarak’s regime. Ibrahim Mehlib had promised Egypt in his speech that he will build his own government within three to four days.

He said that he will be working together with the country to restore the safety and security of Egyptians and to continue to fight the upscaling Islamic militant action in all parts of the country. Mehlib said that it will restore order necessary enough for Egypt’s economy to rise once again.

Mehlib will remain as Prime Minister of the Interim Government until the public votes for a new president. Egyptian Army Chief Abdel Fatah al-Sisi , who was responsible for the topple of ousted President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013, had declared his candidacy for the position amid investigations regarding the Egyptian Army’s actions involving abuse of detainees and protesters during the Egyptian protests.

According to former Egyptian Finance Minister Samir Radwan, Mehlib is an effective leader because he gets the work done being a man of action.
However, he is still criticised for his connection to the oppressive Mubarak regime and its business elites. As he had been an industrialist during the era, he had gained wealth while the Egyptian public suffered.


Eruption of Violence Highly Likely With Bangkok Shutdown

The People’s Democratic Reform Committee protest group had begun its “Bangkok Shutdown” protests, which would last a month to force out Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from her position. Human rights groups ask authorities to respect human rights at all times due to the higher likelihood of violence.

The protesters plan to close seven main intersections in Bangkok, surrounding the houses of the Prime Minister and ministers part of the current government, and cutting off the electricity and water supplies at the locations and government offices.

The conflict in Thailand that started in November 2013 had killed eight people and injured 470 people. According to human rights groups, violence could erupt again in the city as the shutdown.

Amnesty International Asia-Pacific deputy Director Isabelle Arradon said, “The situation in Thailand is tense, volatile and unpredictable, there is a real risk of loss of life and injury unless human rights are fully respected.”

She added that “Security forces should ensure that the right to peaceful protest is upheld – however, they also have a duty to protect the safety of the public. When carrying out their work, law enforcement officials should apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and always exercise restraint in its use.”

Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved the nation’s parliament in December and had called for fresh elections in February 2. She recently survived a confidence vote in Parliament and her call had done little to cool down the situation.

The protests began after the Prime Minister made a law that would allow her exiled brother to return to the country without any trouble, sparking the ire of the opposition and the public.


Natalie Ceeney Quits Financial Ombudsman After Millionth PPI Claim

Financial Ombudsman Chief Natalie Ceeney declared her resignation after the FOS received its one millionth PPI complaint in the last four years. Chairman of the Ombudsman Nicholas Montagu said that Deputy Chief Ombudsman Tony Boorman will be replacing Natalie Ceeney on a temporary basis.

According to the Chairman, Natalie felt that it was time to move on after the Financial Ombudsman received its millionth complaint. He said that as the FOS sets to provide solutions to new challenges, most of the solutions will be founded on the contributions of former Chief Natalie Ceeney.

Ceeney said that she had been privileged to have worked with a greatly-talented group of people in the FOS. She said that she was very proud with the service because of the great difference she and its people have contributed to society in improving the consumer confidence in the financial industry.

PPI makes up the majority of complaints the Financial Ombudsman receives on a regular basis. In 2013 alone, the FOS had received over 265,000 cases of PPI refund claim back from RBS, HSBC, Lloyds and other financial institutions.

The FOS recently said that the PPI crisis is far from ending. This is in contrast to the figures shown by the Financial Conduct Authority that show PPI complaints have dropped in number in the last few quarters of 2013.

France Adds Hundreds of Military Support to Curb Impending Central Africa Crisis

The French government pledged military support to help in stopping the descent of the war-torn Central African Republic after UN observers warned that the country was slowly descending into chaos as violence, executions and widespread rapes circulated in the country.

The CAR’s Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye said on Monday that French support may consist of an additional 800 troops. Currently, there are 410 French soldiers in the CAR’s capital Bangui.

Currently, the CAR is struggling against coups and uprisings, which date back from 1960 and still exist on the present day as a rebel group called Seleka forced the former CAR President Francois Bozize away from office in March. He was replaced with a Muslim rebel leader Michael Djotodia. This incident had the transitional Government lose control of a 4.5 million population.

According to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, it is highly likely that the violence from Central Africa could spread to neighbouring countries if it is not stopped at once.

Fighting still continues between former Muslim rebels and militia groups to protect Christian communities that make up 80% of the population. However, skirmishes between Muslims and Christians in the area continue despite French military presence.


Syria Chemical Weapons Disarmament Continue Despite Blackout

A Syrian rebel attack triggers a widespread power outage in the country yet the disarmament of Syrian regime chemical weapons continues. The Syrian government hands over a detailed plan for destroying the chemical arsenal Thursday according to the United Nations.

Rebels and regime forces continue battle across the country despite disarmament of chemical weapons as agreed by Syria to the UN deal. The rebels had struck a pipeline that caused blackouts across the country.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Damascus power outages, along with Aleppo and Homs continued. According to the group, it was most likely a large -scale operation planned by the Syrian rebels.

Diplomatic efforts in resolving the Syrian crisis continues to look dim as the Friends of Syria and Arab nations fail to persuade both Syrian opposition and regime to participate in the talks.

The declaration about the status of Syria’s chemical arsenal will be reported in the next 24 hours according to the UN weapons inspection team.

The US-Russia brokered treaty indicated that no outside interference will be involved in the Syrian conflict once Syria had disarmed its chemical arsenal. It had submitted its list of chemical weapons sites in Syria to the UN weapons inspection team. Around 18 out of 23 weapons sites had been disarmed today.

Syrian Rebel Groups Break Away from Syrian Coalition Opposition

The Syrian opposition continues to divide deeper and deeper as 13 rebel groups have broken away from the Syrian National Coalition backed by western-countries. The 13 rebel groups include an al-Qaeda linked faction, reflecting a lack of solidarity in the Syrian National Coalition.

The rebel groups said that the Syrian National Coalition does not reflect their interests anymore. The rebel groups called on people to unite under a “clear Islamic framework”, which reflects the interests of the Al-Qaeda faction in Syria. According to the rebel groups, the only good government in Syria would only come from those who made sacrifices and fought battles inside the country, not those fighting outside.

They referred to the Syrian National Coalition being based on Turkey instead of inside Syria.

However, even the separatist rebels are divided amongst themselves. Many rebels blame the involvement of jihadists and the al-Qaeda for the reluctance of western support in the Syrian conflict. Islam extremists also tear away at the image of the Syrian rebel faction.

At the UN General Assembly, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan ask the United Nations to take action, their long-time problems with millions of Syrian refugees and are deeply disappointed with the community’s lack of action in the Syrian crisis.

US Fed Up With UN’s Inaction on Syrian Chemical Attack

The US had expressed its frustration for the UN’s inaction to resolve the crisis in Syria and other western countries find a similar view as many called for reforms. The UN was considered “antique” by some political experts, namely because it falls short on fulfilling its role as the “guardian” of the world.

The G20 had been split to two sides during the meeting. Russia and China will not see the United States lead a military strike that would probably alter the situation in the Middle East. The United States and France are willing to make a strike to prevent a great catastrophe in Syria.

The European Union had endorsed support for the military strike, but had told the US and other supporting countries to go by UN procedure. A strong but non-violent approach was necessary in any military strike.

Iraq, a country that a US-led military strike had also forged, said that it would also be harmed should the strike take place. While Iraq will remain neutral on any side of the conflict, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said that Syria’s neighbours would also be involved in the attack. Unresolved sectarian conflicts may be re-opened by the attack.

Iraqi Shiite volunteers have increased in number volunteering to fight for the Syrian regime and a regionwide conflict could start if the US will finally conduct its attack.

Iconic War Office To Be Sold To Private Sector

An iconic building, known as the War Office, where British leaders made plans during the two world wars and the Cold War, is being put up for sale by the government. This is the same building in which the likes of Winston Churchill and David Lloyd-George once had offices. Ministers hope the Whitehall building, with its great historic value, will sell for more than £100m. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said civil servants would move to the main Ministry of Defence (MoD) building, and added that having defence staff under one roof would save £8m a year.

The War Office had its first brick laid in 1901 and, by the buildings completion, the Edwardian Baroque building had used 25 million bricks and many thousands of tonnes of Portland and York stone. The roof of the historic building has been host to grand sculptures symbolising Peace and War, as well as Truth and Justice – and Victory. In April 1910, as part of a parliamentary answer, the full cost of the “new” War Office was calculated as over £1.2m. There are many famous secretaries of state for war who worked there in its early years, including Lord Haldane, Lord Kitchener and Winston Churchill, while Lawrence of Arabia was also employed there to create maps of the Sinai region based on his earlier travels to the area.

A former civil servant in his younger days posted to the War Office in 1940 remembered being told there had been friction between the armed forces and civil servants in the same building. The War Office had been hit by German bombs during the Second World War several times, killing one person, but the building remained relatively unscathed. The War Office was refurbished in the mid-1980s, and was duly reopened in 1992, as the new headquarters of the defence intelligence staffs. The civil servants currently stationed in the building will move across the road to the MoD’s main building next year, after which the historic building will be sold.

With over 1,000 rooms, 2.5 miles of corridors and a central London location, it will most likely attract interest from prominent property developers and big hotel chains, who are no strangers to buying government property that’s being sold off as the coalition attempts to cut costs. The MoD is also planning to sell the abandoned Brompton Road Tube station, which, during World War II, was used as a command bunker for anti-aircraft defences.