The Duke of Westminster has been knocked off his perch after more than a decade as the richest investor in UK property.
He’s taken the top spot in the Estates Gazette Rich List since it began in 2002, comfortably surpassing billionaires such as the pharmaceuticals scion Ernesto Bertarelli and the Swiss-based investors and private equity players, David and Simon Reuben.
Notice anything about this list? Like the two Chinese men that came out of nowhere to occupy first and second place? Neither of them appeared in the top 250 UK property investors last year. The third Chinese member of the top 10, Joseph Lau, is £550m richer than he was last year. But the wealth of the top 250 is so much greater – up 60% on 2012 – that he has fallen three places. Continue reading
The European Common Security and Defence Policy is an attempt to protect Continental industrial interests from US competition
The UK government likes to pretend that EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) is harmless inter-government cooperation, which has no access to money, or legal sanctions, and is therefore a federalist paper tiger. These draft European Council Conclusions give the lie to that. Any Conservative prime minister should be wholly opposed to what these Conclusions so clearly intend. To sign the UK up to this programme is not just another step towards a Euro-Army, which has always been a dream of the federalist nations like Germany, but another blow to the UK’s already beleaguered defence industries, and another nail in the coffin of Nato, in order that Continental defence industries should not be exposed to US competition. Continue reading
DEBKAfile was the first to report that a secret deal was for months already in the works, and it has come to pass. Now, here what we see is how much of a deal the Iranians get as opposed to what the US and Israel get, which is nothing out of it.
The first preliminary nuclear deal the six world powers (US, Russia, China, UK, France and German) signed with Iran before dawn Sunday, Nov. 24, at the end of a four-day marathon, failed to address the most questionable aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, i.e. its clandestine military dimensions. The accord confined itself to aspects of uranium enrichment and stockpiles. UN inspections were expanded – but not applied, for instance, to Iran’s concealed nuclear sites – or even the Parchin military base where Iran is suspected of having tested nuclear-related explosions. Continue reading
Switzerland, the world’s largest offshore wealth center, worth an estimated $2.2 trillion in assets, has signed an agreement to share financial information with nearly 60 other countries, which could completely change the country’s financial landscape.
The country has made a giant leap towards banking transparency after it signed a convention with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) agreeing to exchange data with 60 member countries. Continue reading
Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas together with other representatives from EU member states attended the seminar on European Burden Sharing and the Role of EU Battlegoups on 15 October in London (UK), Defence Ministry has informed.
“I believe the European Council in December will express its position on the future of EU Battlegroups. I expect strong political message that will echo the current level of ambition in committing to use EU Battlegroups,” the Lithuanian Minister of National Defence said. Continue reading
Only days after the authorities gave UK-based banks a time limit to come up with cyberattack defence plans, details have emerged of a major stress test of current financial systems set for next month.
Dubbed ‘Operation Waking Shark 2′, according to The Daily Telegraph the test day will simulate a “severe” attack on payment providers, banks and markets to sniff out weaknesses in defence strategies, communications, and procedures. Continue reading
Dubai: Since the election of US president Barack Obama, concern has been raised repeatedly in Gulf states about the US’ commitment to the security and the strategic importance of the region. More recent US positions however have sounded alarms in Gulf capitals that America may be abandoning its Gulf allies.
The US and the Gulf states’ very publicly diverging positions on the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, its reluctance to go to war with Syria and its most recent attempt at a rapprochement with Iran is likely to evoke fears of an American “grand bargain” with Iran at the expense of the Gulf.
Professor Tim Niblock of the University of Exeter, a leading academic of Gulf Studies, says the Gulf fears are there and they are well founded. Continue reading
European countries are losing out to China in their quest to source natural gas from the Central Asian states.
Moving away from dependence on Russia and Middle East hydrocarbons was a key energy objective of European countries in the 1990s, and the oil and natural gas resources along the Caspian Sea was seen as a vital alternative.
Instead, European oil dependence on Russia and the Middle East has grown from 75% in 2000 to 84% by 2010. In addition, EU reliance on gas imports has also risen from 49% to 62% during the period. Continue reading
GCHQ facilities in Cyprus are expected to play a key role in collecting intelligence which will inform any military strike against Syria despite Parliament last week voting against the UK joining in with any potential attack.
The Cheltenham-based listening post has a presence on the island which is used to intercept messages from across the Middle East. Continue reading
The nation’s electronic espionage agency, the Australian Signals Directorate, is in a partnership with British, American and Singaporean intelligence agencies to tap undersea fibre optic telecommunications cables that link Asia, the Middle East and Europe and carry much of Australia’s international phone and internet traffic.
Secret information disclosed by United States intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden has revealed that the British Government Communications Headquarters is collecting all data transmitted to and from the United Kingdom and Northern Europe via the SEA-ME-WE-3 cable that runs from Japan, via Singapore, Djibouti, Suez and the Straits of Gibraltar to Northern Germany. Continue reading
UK and US military chiefs are drawing up a list of targets for precision-guided bombs and missiles to strike at the heart of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. Defence correspondent Ian Drury looks at the options.
WHAT TARGETS WOULD THE COALITION HIT?
The favoured option among top brass is for limited Western action using ‘stand-off’ weapons from long distance to disrupt Assad’s ability to carry out chemical attacks and damage his military machine.
Intelligence on targets would come from pilotless drones patrolling the skies above Syria and special forces on the ground.
Military analysts believe an attack could last between 24 and 48 hours and would target key regime installations. Continue reading
It doesn’t take a political genius to see how US Secretary of State John Kerry’s arrival in Amman Tuesday, July 16, for his sixth bid to bring Israelis and the Palestinians to the table, ties in with the new EU anti-Israel funding guidelines published on the same day. To avoid a head-on clash with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the US president has loosed the Europeans in full cry against Jerusalem and its policies. European Union foreign affairs executive Catherine Ashton chairs the international negotiating forum with Iran. And so, the EU has given Tehran a broad wink that it is worth its while to come to a fresh round of nuclear diplomacy while Israel is kept on the run in the settlements-cum-borders dispute.
Israel is further weakened by its own internal political difficulties. Continue reading