UNODC and Siemens AG strengthen partnership for business integrity
UNODC and Siemens AG strengthen partnership for business integrity

Vienna (Austria), 2 August 2021 – The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Siemens AG signed a funding agreement worth US$ 4 million to strengthen business integrity.

The sum represents the largest single contribution by the private sector to UNODC’s anti-corruption work. It will be dedicated to funding a new UNODC project, called Global Action for Business Integrity, which aims to prevent and fight corruption by strengthening legal frameworks, helping small businesses identify corruption risks, and involving youth, civil society, and academia in developing anti-corruption responses. The scope of the project is global with a focus on seven countries: Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.

The Executive Director of UNODC, Ms. Ghada Waly, said: “To recover better from the COVID-19 crisis, businesses will need to recover with integrity. Thanks to the support of Siemens AG, UNODC will be able to help private sector companies build their capacity to play a bigger role in preventing and countering corruption, in line with the political declaration adopted in June by the UN General Assembly at its special session against corruption. I commend Siemens AG for its dedication to collective anti-corruption action, and I urge more companies to follow their lead.”

Sabine Zindera, Vice President, Siemens Legal and Compliance and head of Siemens’ global Collective Action activities and the Siemens Integrity Initiative added: “The fight against corruption is a clear business case for companies. What is more, Siemens has been constantly driving Collective Action over the past decade and has with a commitment of around 120 million US-dollars and 85 projects around the world strongly supported practical implementation on the ground. This is in our view indispensable for achieving lasting change and transforming the everyday into a true level playing field. We are very much looking forward to continuing our long-standing international cooperation with UNODC who is especially through the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) ideally positioned to engage and inspire many partners for practical implementation on the ground.”

The project Global Action for Business Integrity will mobilize stakeholders from the public sector, the private sector, civil society and academia to develop common responses:
• In Brazil, the project will conduct a youth hackathon to identify solutions to improve the dialogue between public sector, private sector and civil society on business integrity.
• In Colombia, the project will target civil society and academia and build their capacity to participate in collective action against corruption.
• In Egypt, the project will implement “On the Job Training” modules on business ethics for senior university students to build a culture of integrity among young professionals.
• In Ethiopia and in Saudi Arabia, the focus of the project is on training small- and medium-sized enterprises on corruption risk assessment.
• In Malaysia, UNODC will assist national authorities in the development and implementation of regulations on the liability of legal persons and beneficial ownership transparency.
• In Uzbekistan, the project will build the capacity of the public sector and civil society organizations in the area of strengthening anti-corruption components in legislation.

The project’s implementation is guided by the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument to prevent corruption and criminalize conducts such as bribery, trading in influence, abuse of functions and various acts of corruption in the private sector. In addition to the initiatives led in the seven focus countries, the project includes a global outreach component designed to identify good practices on business integrity and share them widely through publications and a global webinar series.

The project Global Action for Business Integrity is funded by Siemens AG under the Golden Stretch Funding Round, which builds upon the earlier three funding rounds. Siemens AG will now contribute US$ 4 million to UNODC over the next three years. Since the launch of the Siemens Integrity Initiative in 2009, Siemens AG has contributed over US$ 13.5 million to UNODC, enabling the Office to deliver nine projects in 17 countries.

Adidas presented the world’s first shoes made of mushroom‘ leather
Adidas presented the world’s first shoes made of mushroom‘ leather

Adidas are quite active in experimenting with new technologies. The company has now officially introduced Stan Smith Mylo. These are the first sports shoes to use Mylo – a material derived from mushrooms, which resembles natural leather. Its soft and elastic structure is a suitable solution for creating sneakers that are also more environmentally friendly.

Mylo is produced from renewable mycelium by means of highly efficient growth of the underground roots of the fungus, which takes about two weeks. Adidas specialists take advantage of modern vertical farming techniques that allow the mycelium to be grown in a system that increases production per square centimeter.

The conceptual model is another product that is being developed with the idea of ​​being harmless to nature. The use of Mylo material is possible in the outer upper part, the perforated stripes, as well as in the heel cover.

The midsole of the shoe is made of natural rubber, inform BusinessInsider and Digital.

The new concept is possible thanks to a unique and joint partnership with Bolt Threads – a biotechnology company committed to creating the next generation of advanced materials. The creation of Stan Smith Mylo is the best proof of a technology that is expected to be realized in many new products in the near future.

Cooperation is based on environmental commitments and demonstrates a long-term commitment to a more sustainable future, through serious investment in material innovation and creative solutions to ensure. In this way, companies ensure that the material is harmless to the planet, but contributes to the sporty look of the shoe.

Egypt has filed a lawsuit for millions of euros against the owner of Ever Given
Egypt has filed a lawsuit for millions of euros against the owner of Ever Given

Egypt has filed a multi-million euro compensation claim against the owner of a container ship that has blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week. Ever Given, owned by the Japanese company Shoei Kisen, got stuck in the Suez Canal on March 23 and was released six days later by a specialized rescue team.

The canal is the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia to date. Because of this mistake, about 400 ships were waiting in line, including container ships, bulk carriers and oil tankers. They had given up more waiting and were redirected to Africa, SkyNews reported.

Ever Given’s protection and indemnity insurer, UK Club, said several lawsuits had been received and one had been filed by Egypt for 766.3m euros.

About a third of it is for an “unlocking fee” and another third for a “loss of reputation,” the insurer said. The owners and their insurers are negotiating in good faith with the Suez Canal administration about the amount of the claim.

Bulgarian drones start transporting cargo in Europe for a German company
Bulgarian drones start transporting cargo in Europe for a German company

Unmanned aerial vehicles with a range of up to 2,500 km, created by the Bulgarian company Dronamics, will start operating flights from 2022 for the German logistics group Hellmann. In a statement from Reuters in London, executives of the two companies said that in this way they would try to build a model for bypassing complicated and too long supply chains.

This problem has been exacerbated particularly last year by the pandemic-induced reduced flights and large container-clogged ports. Hellmann Worldwide Logistics says the Dronamics drones are a “real change in the rules of the game.”

“This does not mean that we will be transporting 80% of our cargo by drone tomorrow, but it is an important addition for continental transport,” Jan Kleinelastyus, COO for air transport at Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, told Reuters.

According to him, drones do a good job for emergency supplies such as spare parts for machines, vaccines, blood plasma and pharmaceuticals.

Dronamics was founded by Svilen and Konstantin Rangelovi and today has an international team as well as contracts with 39 airports in 13 countries. According to Svilen Rangelov, the goal is to use 60 drones from next year for several customers, including Hellmann.

“Our planes have a standard engine, they are already certified and the regulators know them well, so we reduce the risks as much as possible. We are also working on several issues, such as encryption, to protect them from hacker attacks and manipulation of GPS data, “he added.

It is a model called by the company “Black Swan” – “because at first it sounded like something impossible, but we persisted.” It can carry up to 350 kg of load at a speed of 200 km / h. A 400 m runway is enough for them to take off and land, and for now the drones will only fly between airports, but according to their creators, they can also land on short primitive runways. The latter means that they will be able to fly from point to point, delivering the cargo on the same day, which is not always possible on land and over water in the current organization of logistics.

Less than a week ago, the company announced that it had added three German airports to its network – Paderborn-Lipstadt, Rostock-Laage and Weeze – thanks to which it will be able to serve nearly 13 million people in a one-hour flight.

UPS was the first to receive permission for a “drone airline” in the United States and began deliveries. The United Parcel Service (UPS), based in Atlanta, Georgia, announced in 2019 that it had received from the US national aviation security regulator the first permit to use drone cargo airline.

Hospices are becoming more and more interesting to real estate investors in Europe
Hospices are becoming more and more interesting to real estate investors in Europe

Healthcare properties will find an increasing place in investment portfolios

Hospices as a share of investment volumes are displacing sales of homes for the elderly for the first time in five years in 2020 and in the first quarter of 2021, according to data from the consulting company in the real estate sector Colliers.

The growth in demand for more housing opportunities for older people will lead to a higher share of these assets in the investment market in the long run, experts say in a new report.

In the eight European countries included in the study – Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands and Denmark, the population over the age of 65 is expected to reach a quarter of the total population of the countries and number 21.7 million. people between 2020 and 2035. This is more than the combined population of London or Paris and the Ile de France.

This is also a significant market force that must be met in terms of housing assets, experts say.

Colliers’ latest global investor survey shows that 21% of respondents have expressed interest in adult housing as an investment asset in 2021.

Although volumes of around € 7 billion per year are small compared to other sectors, the non-transparent and still immature nature of health properties as an investment grade means that the reporting of transaction volumes is undoubtedly lower than what happens in place, the report states.

Although the investment demand of primary and secondary healthcare facilities is lower, the sector will benefit from strong growth factors. In most countries, the level of hospital beds and state-provided medical care has declined over the last decade, with the shortage being offset by private, profit and non-profit operators.

In the United Kingdom, Poland and Denmark alone, most hospital beds are provided by the state. In Germany, France, Spain and Italy, this percentage has dropped to an average of around 60%, and various investors and operators from these countries are clearly expanding their sphere of influence across the continent.

Rising consumer spending on private health and private health insurance will continue to stimulate the main demand for a wider range of health assets, as the expansion of public insurance will remain weak. This will create additional opportunities for investors, albeit with a more complex and niche nature.

The lack of freight containers in the world. And this is a problem for all consumers
The lack of freight containers in the world. And this is a problem for all consumers

Load the containers in the heart of the world trade. Every single product or component, part of the global economy, travels by road, by rail and by highway. However, these important containers do not reach this point.

Indian exporters in North America and Europe are complaining that they have to wait a few weeks to be able to find enough money. On the other hand, British exporters believe that the deficit is causing delays in supplies to Asia for up to two weeks.

Meanwhile, the prices of commercial containers are boldly rising and they are already doubly expensive, says the Quartz website in its publication.

Market failure is another symptom of xaoca, which is causing a pandemic in international supply chains. B pezyltat na nego pazxodite za tovap i doctavki napactvat, a chast ot tozi puc ce ce ppedava i ĸam ĸpainite klienti c povishavane na tsexite nie cite.

“This will have a significant effect in the short-term plan, because supply problems will have a direct impact on inflation,” the professor said.

In fact, the biggest problem at the moment is not that there are not enough freight containers, but that they are not located in the necessary places. “This is the result of at least 16 months of imbalance in the market,” explains Professor Willie Cix of the Xapped School of Business.

“We are witnessing the accumulation of containers on the ground, which should not be the case,” he added.

Basically, the citation can be promised at the beginning of the pandemic. Then the containers from China and Asia, traveling to America, have to stay in different ports there. The reason for this was that China was closing its borders to the west. In the meantime, the production process is also beginning to close in different parts of the world, which has led to a global upheaval.

In the last year, with the gradual opening of the economy, the peak reached a peak. From its point of view, this is very much in line with the big trade ports, and a lot of people are still moving with big signs. In order to get used to the deliveries, they leave the empty containers in different ports and do not wait for them to be filled up again, but for a long time.

The situation is getting worse with the blocking of the Cyecka channel. And many experts expect it not to change until the beginning of 2022.

Amazon will pay a bonus for newly vaccinated employees
Amazon will pay a bonus for newly vaccinated employees

Amazon will give $ 100 in return to its new employees, who will prove that they have vaccinated the Sov-19. The world’s largest e-commerce retailer is increasing the number of employees who plan to hire 75,000 new employees in the United States alone.

The number of initially hired employees in restaurants, factories and shops in Europe and America is increasing more and more, because more and more people. The number of candidates for the job, who are not from home, is increasing, according to the latest observations on the market in the USA and the EC.

Let’s go to Amazon. The company announced that it would pay its new employees an initial initial salary of over $ 17 per hour. Together with the same amount of vaccine, the technology giant will pay up to $ 1,000 in initial bonuses to its new employees.

The e-trader is seriously increasing its profits during the pandemic due to the huge increase in online sales. Amazon’s chief executive officer Jeff Bezoz added more than $ 70 billion to its net worth in 2020, up from $ 18 million today.

While the physical business is expected to rise, the levels of the electoral market remain high and stable, and this is unlikely to change.

Credit cards of antiquity
Credit cards of antiquity

In ancient times, international trade flourished. In Mesopotamia during the Neo-Babylonian (Chaldean) kingdom (626-539 BC), trade pervaded everywhere. Large merchants and moneylenders unite and create a kind of offices or trading houses. The larger ones are able to control economic life. In trade and usury, in the “banking” business, Jews resettled by Nebuchadnezzar were also included. In the Bible we have evidence of an increase in the number of people suffering from social injustice, as luxury and excess are accompanied by misery among the masses: silver and gold are piled up (Isa. 2: 7), deception and speculation are spreading (Hosea 12: 8; Mich. 2: 1ff .; Am. 8: 5), houses decorated with ivory are built (Am. 3:15), the wives of the rich are adorned with earrings, necklaces, bracelets (Isa. 3: 17-24) , house after house is added, level after level, so that in the words of the prophet “they leave no room for others”, as if only they were settled on the earth (Isa. 5: 8).

The ancient big business tycoons had different categories of credit cards. These cards have played a vital role in various areas of application, such as gold card, silver card, platinum card. Cards with a relatively lower category such as, e.g. bronze, ivory and nickel were also a symbol of its status. All this reminds us of a world trade organization with its corresponding socio-economic structure and base.

This hypothesis is based on the analysis of certain seals with special characteristics. These seals have a number of common features, although they come from different parts of the world. Their homogeneous nature and universal role provoke experts to focus their opinions on the claim that their preparation and distribution was the responsibility of a controlling institution, which is due to the uniformity in their formation in every corner of the ancient world. Their commercial value and similarity, as well as their archaeological discovery in various parts of the world, support this theory.

Experts believe that such an organized body – a trade union – can be built on the basis of religion, as evidenced by the close links between merchants and the temples or monasteries that ensured the trade monopoly. This was a situation of mutually beneficial cooperation and interest of the state and the church. International trade, even when in transit, is a source of revenue for the royal treasury (as evidenced in the Old Testament books of 1 Kings 10:15; 1 Ezra 4:20). It is also a royal monopoly, dating back to the 3rd millennium BC. the Mesopotamian kings had their own trade caravans. A number of kings entered into contracts with large merchants for part of the profits (Babylon, Cyprus, Ugarit), and there was a group of “royal merchants” who carried out diplomatic orders.

In this context, experts accurately identify these stamps as the credit cards of man from antiquity and his trade. Their meaning was threefold: first, it was affirmative; second, they represented a kind of document; third, they were used as monetary means. After crossing dangerous roads and obstacles such as skirmishes with pirates and robbers, sales representatives showed each other their seals. This was considered a gesture of welcome and revealed the identities of both parties. Subsequently, these stamps were used as a means of authentication upon receipt of goods, a custom that is still preserved in the Middle East today. They were also given to traders as a token for the promised amount due for a transaction.

The seals were made mainly of precious and semi-precious stones. How exactly do minerals affect our body?

There are many controversies and opinions on this issue, but none of these opinions can completely deny their impact. The living organism (man) and the crystals (precious stones) are self-organizing systems, there are many similarities between them: the most important of them is that they react to external influences. Organisms receive energy from outside and transform it. Crystals also convert heat energy into electricity / tourmaline /, light – into coherent rays – a source of laser / ruby ​​/. Crystals constantly interact with the environment and send information. Ah, is there an information exchange between the crystal and man? Yes! And this is established through the phenomenon of biolocation / radioaesthesia /. Over 90% of people have biolocation abilities. Under strong pressure, the minerals from which the precious stones are made, emit an electric charge, and at not very high temperatures – and radiation; these are physical processes, and according to the experience of healers, the positive effect of crystals on humans is due to both these processes and their main mineral components. Gemstones are perceived as carriers of electromagnetic energy, which directly affects the processes in the body. Crystals create a balance of ions in the body and immediately around it, emit light frequencies and thus affect our body. Esoteric alternative medicine claims that gemstones interact with the body’s energy field through lasting contact with the skin. The importance of their color is added to the esoteric therapy with precious stones. It is perceived as the frequency of light, which directly affects the endocrine glands and biochemical processes in the body. At the same time, the colors, which are also the result of chemical processes, are attributed a reflex effect on the chemical metabolism in the body, and hence on the emotional states.

Putin Signs Law That Cause Moet’s Champagne Supply to Stop
Putin Signs Law That Cause Moet’s Champagne Supply to Stop

According to the adopted amendments, the concept of “champagne” is allowed to be used only in relation to champagne produced in Russia, and importers must rename the product to “sparkling wine”

President Vladimir Putin signed a law that led to the suspension of shipments of champagne from Moet to Russia. The document was published on the portal of legal information.

This document provides for amendments to 171-FZ “On the regulation of alcoholic beverages”, which clarify the definitions and introduce additional requirements for wine products.

In particular, the wording “sparkling wine (champagne)” was replaced by the category “sparkling wine, including Russian champagne”. At the same time, the classification of protected geographical appellation (PGI) / protected appellation of origin (PRO) wines is carried out on the basis of the Russian national system for the protection of wine products, which applies only to Russian wines. Thus, the concept of “champagne” was allowed to be used only in relation to champagne produced in Russia.

Moet Hennessy has already warned about stopping shipments of champagne to Russia.

In connection with the adoption of these amendments, one of the largest champagne producers, Moet Hennessy, announced that it was suspending shipments to Russia for an indefinite period. Changes in the legislation will require the distribution division of the company “Moet Hennessy Distribution Rus” to recertify sparkling wines in order to change the category to sparkling wine and change the product labeling. As stated in her letter to Russian partners, the champagne producers “did not confirm their readiness to change the category of champagne wines for the Russian market.”

According to statistics, Russia annually imports about 50 million liters of imported sparkling and champagne wines, of which 13% is champagne from France. Moet Hennessy accounts for less than 2%.

The amendments clarify definitions and introduce additional requirements for wine products. In particular, they exclude the use of the concept of “champagne”, allowing it to be used only in relation to “Russian champagne” produced on the territory of Russia. “And oblige the producers of champagne wines from the French region of Champagne to rename their products to“ sparkling wine, ”explains Moet Hennessy in a letter.

Changes in legislation will require Moet Hennessy Distribution Rus to recertify sparkling wines in order to change the category to sparkling wine and change the product labeling. According to the company, mesons (champagne producers) “did not confirm their readiness to change the category of champagne wines for the Russian market.”

The Ministry of Finance (oversees the alcohol industry) and Rosalkogolregulirovanie and explained that the amendments are changing:

1. In the definition of the types of alcoholic products, the wording “sparkling wine (champagne)” has disappeared – it has been replaced by the category “sparkling wine, including Russian champagne”.

2. The classification of wines with protected geographical indication (PGI) / protected designation of origin (PRO) is carried out on the basis of the Russian national system for the protection of wine products, which applies only to Russian wines, which means that importers will not be able to use it. Champagne is the name for a sparkling wine produced and marketed under the protection of the Champagne AOC French appellation. But based on the amendments, Russian legislation will not take this “protection” into account.

In USA cleaners paid like sport stars: $ 1,000 bonus
In USA cleaners paid like sport stars: $ 1,000 bonus

In USA cleaners paid like sport stars: $ 1,000 bonus for starting work is the new norm

Usually, when signing a contract, professional bonuses and a small number of privileged employees with white jackets are received when signing the contract. He and this summer, writes The Wall Street Journal.

The unusual situation, which caused the pandemic, created a shortage of work, especially in production, logistics, healthcare. Because of this, truck drivers, hotel cleaners and staff can already get a bonus when they start working on the road.

Usually, when signing a contract, professional bonuses and a small number of privileged employees with white jackets are received when signing the contract. He and this summer, writes The Wall Street Journal.

The unusual situation, which caused the pandemic, created a shortage of work, especially in production, logistics, healthcare. Because of this, truck drivers, hotel cleaners and staff can already get a bonus when they start working on the road.

Almost 20% of all job offers published on the ZirResruiter website in June offer additional information. For comparison, in March this year. this share was only 2%. The United States, where the largest share of the proposals include bony, ca Iowa, Mitsypi, Bepmont, Wyoming and Apkansa, according to the economist from Zirérérèrès.

Offers start at $ 500 and are fast. For employees who will be paid an initial salary of between $ 16.50 and $ 25 per hour (officially, the minimum is $ 7.50, but some states and companies are already over 15 years old). to start work. This type is included in the proposals for citizens for apartment complexes in Tekac, tovapachi in Florida, housewives in Wisconsin, Hatchina, Chicka.

Rilgrim Pride, one of the largest poultry owners in the United States, offers $ 1,500 per position, which costs between $ 13.55 and $ 18.55 per hour. Or about half a month’s salary. At 50 kilometers from there, the second poultry farm offers a bonus of $ 500 for the first year of the contract for a total value of $ 2,500 for a position of up to 20 people. The popular Vürger King chain also offers $ 1,500 for new employees – including 15-year-olds. Amazon also offers $ 1,000 for the price. In some cases, they can reach as much as $ 3,000.

Bonuses are used in an attempt by employers to attract employees – and to retain them. Phil Cyton, Cuba’s vice president, said the $ 2,000 bonus, plus $ 1,000 for employees who attract their friends, is trying to keep them going. In the company, the new employees receive 25% of the additional payment after the first 30 days of work, another 25% after 60 days, and the remaining after 90 days.

The bonuses are paid to the companies and why they are a one-time expense, which avoids the long-term increase in wages or other benefits. Potential employees are also happy, as it is usually the case for so-called graduate students or low-paid workers who have to pay for it.

For some of the more qualified employees, the payments are skyrocketing. For medical reasons, they can reach $ 30,000. For truck drivers in the company, they pay between $ 66,000 and $ 98,000 a year, $ 10,000.

Elon Musk joked about the invasion of Russia
Elon Musk joked about the invasion of Russia

American entrepreneur, founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, ridiculed Napoleon Bonaparte’s attempt to invade Russia in 1812. On his Twitter account, he posted another meme.

In the picture, the French emperor tells his first wife Josephine Beauharnais about his desire to invade the territory of Russia and seize the country. She, in turn, asks Napoleon if he is going to do this in the summer. The emperor is meaningfully “silent” to this question, and his wife asks: “In the summer, right?”

Elon Musk signed his post: “Timing (meeting deadlines – Profile) is everything.” So he made a reference to the French army freezing in Russia in winter.

Recall that the army of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded the Russian Empire in June 1812, but was defeated. According to one opinion, the winter cold was the decisive factor in the failure of the French.

Some of the businessman’s followers asked for an explanation of the tweet, while others began to accuse Elon Musk of losing money invested in Dogecoin cryptocurrency. The businessman often jokes on Twitter, but some of Musk’s “funny” tweets seriously hit the wallet of millions of people. For example, in early June, he joked about cryptocurrency and parting, after which the value of bitcoin fell by more than $ 1,000.

Cash remains in vogue in Switzerland
Cash remains in vogue in Switzerland

Cash remains the preferred method of payment in Switzerland, although during the pandemic wealthy citizens increasingly turned to card payments and payment applications. That’s according to a study by the Swiss Central Bank, quoted by Reuters. About 43% of one-off payments for purchases in supermarkets and restaurants are made in cash, which remains the most popular payment method in Switzerland, according to the study. However, cash has lost its position, as its share amounted to 70% in 2017.

“In terms of the number of payments made, cash continues to be the most commonly used payment instrument by the Swiss population,” said Fritz Zurbrug, vice president of the Swiss Central Bank.

“Compared to 2017, their share has decreased significantly. The pandemic has given additional impetus to this transition from cash to cashless payment methods,” he added.

One third of the payments are made by debit cards, which is an increase compared to the situation four years ago, when 22% of payments in the country were through this method. Credit cards have also increased in popularity over the period. The increase in contactless payments contributes to the rise of card payments.

Mobile payment applications such as Twint and Paypal account for 5% of transactions in Switzerland, while in 2017 their share was almost zero.

“Cashless payment methods have begun to be considered, at least in part, as easier to use than cash,” according to a study conducted in August-November 2020. The growth in online shopping has fueled the popularity of maps and apps during the pandemic, as well as the fact that consumers are shopping more from grocery stores during the pandemic.

As the Swiss slowly withdraw from cash, banknotes in circulation are growing. This suggests that cash is used to store value, according to the Swiss central bank.

The report states that people in the country have stored about 10 billion francs or 12% of banknotes in circulation on rainy days.

Nearly 70% of the population keeps cash at home or in a safe, with most (77%) holding up to 1,000 francs to meet unforeseen expenses or to store value in the long run.

Negative interest rates of the Swiss central bank are not a factor, as most people are not directly affected by them.

The founders of а cryptocurrency exchange disappeared with 3.6 billion dollars
The founders of а cryptocurrency exchange disappeared with 3.6 billion dollars

They initially announced that there was a hacker attack

Investors in one of South Africa’s most popular cryptocurrency exchanges are likely to have lost $ 3.6 billion after the platform’s founders disappeared. In April this year they announced that the stock exchange was the victim of a hacker attack, Bloomberg reports.

It’s about the Africrypt platform. In April, she sent a message to investors informing them of the hacker attack, but asked no one to inform the police, as this would “slow down” the process of recovering the stolen money.

Subsequently, some of the investors hired a law firm to investigate the situation. However, it turned out that the founders of Africrypt, who are two brothers, could not be found.

Instead, the investigation found that someone had withdrawn cryptocurrencies from shared resources and passed them through a series of virtual accounts to make it difficult to track them. The law firm also found that the employees of the exchange themselves were without access to the control modules a week before the possible hacker attack.

All this raises doubts whether the two brothers did not steal the money. Another problem is the fact that South Africa cannot conduct an investigation because cryptocurrencies are not considered a financial product in the country. And if no one finds and recovers the money, it will be the biggest loss of cryptocurrencies so far.

More than 5 million people became millionaires during the pandemic
More than 5 million people became millionaires during the pandemic

More than five million people worldwide became millionaires in 2020, despite the damage COVID-19 has done to economies. That’s according to a study commissioned by Credit Suisse and published by the BBC.

Statistics show that despite the impoverishment of most people, more than 1% of the world’s population earned its first million just last year.

Researchers conclude that the acquisition of wealth appears to be “completely detached” from the economic problems caused by the pandemic.

Billionaires have also increased – 9 new ones are just vaccines!

Covid-19 vaccines alone created 9 new billionaires, it became clear in May. Almost all the super-rich are scientists from the big pharmaceutical companies. Their total financial situation is nearly 19 and a half billion dollars. They were called “health billionaires.”

The ranking is headed by Stefan Bansel – CEO of the pharmaceutical company “Modern”. According to Forbes magazine, his financial situation is already 4 billion and 300 million dollars.

Second on the list of $ 4 billion in wealth is Bayontek founder Ugur Shahin.

Third on the list of new billionaires are the three founders of the Chinese vaccine company CanSino Bio. Each of them already owns over $ 1 billion.

There is also an increase in the income of the main investors of “Modern” – the immunologist Timothy Springer and the scientist Robert Langer.

Bayontek founder Ugur Shahin is already among the 500 richest people in the world. In a year, his wealth has jumped by nearly 250 percent.


One April afternoon in 1897, thousands of women gathered at the Boston Theater to see the most captivating lady entrepreneur in the United States, a 45-year-old former housewife whose personal branding talent could rival that of any celebrity on Instagram today. . Her name is Madame Yale. For several hours and numerous dress changes, she preached her “Religion of Beauty”, telling the audience about the most beautiful women in history – a group that includes Helen of Troy, the Roman goddess Diana and apparently Madame Yale herself.

This event is her 11th public appearance in Boston in recent years, and in addition to words about beauty, it also includes various lotions and decoctions – products that Yale, of course, sells – which she says have turned her from a fat and exhausted woman in the beauty of the stage. And indeed: her tall, hourglass-shaped figure is dressed in white silk, and her blond curls fall around her heart-shaped pink-cheeked face. The applause is thundering. The Boston Herald praises her “proposal for health and beauty” in a country where “every woman wants to be good and look good.”

Madame Yale has been making similar public presentations about beauty throughout the country since 1892, presenting herself in a way very familiar to consumers today. She is a true pioneer in what business gurus call wellness – which costs about $ 4.5 trillion worldwide today – and this achievement alone is enough to draw her attention.

Day after day, online, in the press, on television and on social media, women are flooded with ads for wellness products that promise to fix the skin and digestion, hair and mood seemingly at once. Madame Yale, born Maude Mayberg in 1852, used the same techniques more than a century ago. In fact, she is the spiritual godmother of Gwyneth Paltrow, who founded the $ 250 million Goop Corporation.

Like other gurus, Madame Yale is an attractive blonde woman – “as beautiful as a woman can be,” says New Orleans Picayune and “the most beautiful woman known on Earth since Helen of Troy,” according to the Buffalo Times. Madame Yale became famous during a boom for women entrepreneurs in the field of beauty, shortly before Elizabeth Arden and Estee Lauder, whose makeup empires are still alive today. But Madame Yale differs from these tycoons by promising to transform women from the inside out, instead of helping them hide their imperfections on the façade. This in itself is a genius trick: Since wearing visible makeup remains a questionable moral choice during this period, many women flock to Yale’s product offerings in hopes of becoming so naturally flawless that they don’t need to paint their faces. In the 1990s, her business was valued at $ 500,000 – about $ 15 million in today’s money.

In the archives of the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, among yellowed ads for cocaine-soaked toothache drops and opium-soaked tampons, we find a worn-out promotional brochure about Yale’s core business, Fruitcura, the product she advertises most widely. . Madame Yale says she came across the elixir during a dark period in her life – when “my cheeks were sunken, my eyes were hollow and expressionless, and my complexion looked hopelessly pale. Her clients make “sincere and casual” comments in the brochures. One woman wrote that “I suffered from women’s troubles for more than 10 years, was in the hospital and was treated by some of the best doctors, but I did not receive constant relief until I started taking your medication.”

In the late 19th century, medical experts – almost exclusively men – were largely helpless in what could only be described as an epidemic of acute malaise among women, according to Complaints and Disorders: Sexual Policy in Sickness, a story published by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English in 1973.

Especially wealthy women complain of endless malaise, seizures and inability to eat, loss of femininity with advancing age, marriage and childbirth. In response, doctors often attribute their physical complaints to psychological illnesses and say that too much activity in a woman’s mind can lead to uterine dysfunction. They are prescribed endless bed rest.

Ukraine decided to destroy Gazprom with 20 billion claims
Ukraine decided to destroy Gazprom with 20 billion claims

This week, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal announced his readiness to file a lawsuit against Gazprom for refusing to transit gas. “In case of non-fulfillment of the contract, we will again go to arbitration and will again” overpower, “Shmygal said. Gazprom worth $ 12.2 billion.

As they say, this has never happened – and here it is again! Why all of a sudden not the last people in Ukraine were excited about possible disputes over a transit gas contract, which Gazprom is scrupulously fulfilling, we can only guess. Perhaps this is an attempt to feed fellow citizens at least some kind of “win” against the growth of energy tariffs, with the lost war against the completion of Nord Stream 2, etc.

But it is not worth completely dismissing the possible prospects of new disputes. Last time, Naftogaz’s position in the dispute with Gazprom seemed to be unambiguously losing. But in the end it was not even Naftogaz itself that won. The collective West won, whose “impartial” justice gave victory to Naftogaz, eventually forcing Russia to participate in the maintenance of Ukraine. It seems that it is not worthwhile to completely rule out the West’s attempt to turn this trick a second time – through arbitration or in another way.

Today, Gazprom is transporting gas through the Ukrainian gas transmission system (GTS) to Europe in accordance with a transit contract dated December 2019, which is valid until the end of 2024. This contract was concluded on the “pump or pay” principle: Gazprom pledged to pump at least 60 billion cubic meters of gas in 2020 and at least 40 billion cubic meters each in the next four years. In the case of smaller volumes of pumping, he is still obliged to pay the minimum contract volume.

This contract is inherently enslaving for Gazprom. The “download or pay” principle is mainly applied in countries with Anglo-Saxon law. In Europe, however, it is practically not used. The same “Gazprom” pumps gas through the Yamal-Europe pipeline through Poland without any long-term contract, simply by booking the required volumes. The Polish side, for the money received, ensures the operability of the pipeline and the actual gas pumping.

Ukraine received a privileged contract. And it is worth recalling: in the appendage – almost three billion dollars in a fine, which was sucked out of the finger by the Stockholm arbitration. Indeed, the previous contract between Gazprom and Naftogaz (both on the purchase and on the transit) directly indicated the take-or-pay principle and Naftogaz’s responsibility for incomplete selection of the minimum volume. While the “download or pay” principle was not established – and, of course, there was no responsibility for not pumping any volumes. However, it was enough for the arbitration to mention in the contract the approximate volumes that Gazprom was going to transport.

Last year, Gazprom pumped less than 56 billion cubic meters through Ukraine under a new contract, but paid for the entire 60 billion. And he paid not even at the minimum price, which is provided precisely for the minimum pumping volumes. The special Jesuitism of the transit agreement lies in the fact that the minimum volume of pumping in it is also distributed by day. It turned out that in the first half of the year Gazprom did not choose the minimum volume, but paid for it. And in the second, he often supplied gas more than the minimum and paid additionally for exceeding the minimum supply, and at a higher price.

This year “Gazprom” transits a little more than the established minimum. If the current delivery schedule is observed, the transit volume should reach 43 billion cubic meters by the end of the year. But, most likely, it will be 46-47 billion.

However, there is never too much good, so in Ukraine today there are demands to extend the onerous contract for another ten years. In parallel, a delegation led by Yuri Vitrenko, chairman of the board of Naftogaz, is now in the United States, trying through Congress to achieve the restoration of sanctions against the SP-2 operator and other sanctions that will block the operation of the pipeline after its completion.

In Kiev, at this very moment, they suddenly announce a possible trial with Gazprom over non-fulfillment of the contract. At the same time, it is clear that non-fulfillment of the contract will only be a simultaneous refusal to pump gas through Ukraine and pay for the minimum volume of pumping. No one has ever even stuttered about the possibility of something in Gazprom.

In addition, an interesting amount of claims is announced – $ 7.2 billion. In fact, this is the sum of all transit payments made by Gazprom for five years when transporting the minimum agreed volumes of gas.

A year and a half out of these five years has passed, and calculations have already taken place on them. For the remaining 3.5 years, Gazprom is obliged to pay a minimum of 4.5 billion.

But that’s not all. Naftogaz is also trying to pull out of its sleeve a claim for $ 12.2 billion, which was withdrawn as part of the signing of a five-year transit contract in 2019 and Ukraine’s receipt of $ 3 billion by the decision of the Stockholm Abitrazh.

Let us recall what this is about. Even Ukrainian experts back in 2019 admitted that this lawsuit was a bluff aimed at forcing Gazprom to conclude a transit contract. The logic of this lawsuit was as follows: if Russia does not pump a sufficient volume of gas through the Ukrainian GTS, then Ukraine will have losses and a simple GTS. This will require money for the technical decommissioning of it. For all this, Gazprom must pay. And in some absolutely incredible volumes. It was a bluff or not a bluff, but when faced with the “impartiality” of the Swedish arbitrators, Gazprom probably took this idea of ​​their Ukrainian colleagues seriously. Another thing is how it is possible to raise an issue that has already been settled by the parties!

It’s time to remember how the citizens of Ukraine, in a single impulse for several years, were rooting for the “override” of Naftogaz over Gazprom in Stockholm. The point was not only the desire to wipe the nose of the “damned Muscovites” The then head of Naftogaz, Andriy Kobolev, with whom the current head Yuriy Vitrenko worked, directly promised the Ukrainians: in the event of a victory over Gazprom in Stockholm, gas prices for the population would be reduced. That is, he promised personal material benefits to everyone. In fact, personal material benefit (and considerable – in the amount of tens of millions of dollars) was really received – however, not by everyone, but only by Kobolev, Vitrenko and members of the Naftogaz board in the form of cash bonuses.

And at the same time, the government, which has dropped a three-billion dollar resource for development from the sky (Naftogaz transferred almost all of the received fine to the budget).

There is no doubt that Shmygal, Vitrenko and other comrades are going to “push” their fellow citizens in the same way this time too. But at the same time, the goals of forcing Russia to further participate in the maintenance of the state of Ukraine both for these comrades and for a number of “Western partners” are, of course, quite serious.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba demanded to exchange Nord Stream 2 for Crimea

As RIA Novosti reported on Monday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba put forward a condition for Russia to launch Nord Stream 2.

“We are against this project. The condition for its launch should be the liberation of our territories and the energy security of Ukraine. This is fair compensation for the threats,” Kuleba tweeted.

He noted that he raised this issue at the talks in Berlin.

Nord Stream 2 envisages the construction of two lines of a gas pipeline with a capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea to Germany. The project is opposed by Ukraine, which fears to lose revenues from the transit of Russian gas, as well as the United States, which is actively promoting its liquefied natural gas to the European Union.

The construction of the gas pipeline is already nearing completion: the first string of Nord Stream 2 is being prepared for launch. The second branch is planned to be completed in one and a half to two months.

Russia has repeatedly stressed that the gas pipeline to Germany is a commercial project that has nothing to do with politics. Moscow recalled that the pipeline is beneficial to the European Union. Berlin, in turn, is in favor of completing the construction of Nord Stream 2 and rejects unilateral extraterritorial US sanctions.

Make good money on Vladimir Putin
Make good money on Vladimir Putin

Putin as a “subject of commercial use”

It is known that the creation of a pseudo-religious movement is a very profitable business, only slightly inferior in profitability to the trade in drugs and pornography, the organization of prostitution and the like. Of course, this industry is being heated up in a certain way. It is known that one of the best ways to promote a new religious movement is to associate it with famous names. So, Rastafarianism was twisted around the names of Bob Marley and the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I, in Kenya there is a pseudo-Catholic sect that declared Bark Obama saints, in Russia they exploit the name of Putin. There is nothing original in this approach.

Meanwhile, it seems to me, attempts to use the brand “Vladimir Putin” clearly record a cardinal shift in the degree of people’s love. To attract believers, the sect of Mother Photinia the Light-bearing in the Nizhny Novgorod region declared Vladimir Putin its saint, and his icon – streaming myrrh. In a word, everyone who could and who had enough intelligence tried to “weld” on the name of Vladimir Putin and his nationwide popularity. The proof of this almost axiom is at least the fact that such stories with enviable regularity became the property of the public.

The founder of the sect is the former occult healer Svetlana Frolova, who declared herself an Orthodox “mother” and founded her own “church” on the basis of occultism disguised as Orthodoxy.

The center of the sect is located in the village of Bolshaya Yelnya near Nizhny Novgorod.

The sect’s teachings are disguised as Russian Orthodoxy. Sectarians worship the Mother of God. The “mother” Photinia herself dresses in the priestly garments and censes before the icons in her church. According to Photinia, the second coming of Christ has already taken place. Now there are seven “Sons of God” and seven “Antichrists” on earth.

The sect gained fame due to the fact that it proclaimed V.V. Putin the reincarnation of the Apostle Paul. At the same time, the anniversary of the second term of the President was celebrated in the sect as a great religious holiday. A portrait of Putin hangs in the church next to the iconostasis. Fotinia says: “Putin, like the Apostle Paul, came into the world to convert as many people as possible to the true faith” (see the Metro newspaper April 12, 2005, p. 2).

Patriarch Alexy II is considered in the sect by Pontius Pilate, his role is to prevent the new crucifixion of Christ.

However, in order to understand the logic of the cult, it is necessary to turn to the history of the “mother” herself and her organization. At first glance, we are talking about crazy Putin fans who yearn for eschatology in the Hollywood style here and now. But, I’m afraid to disappoint, speaking of Mother Fotinier, we are dealing not so much with an abnormal person as with a very enterprising person.

In the nineties, Svetlana Robertovna was the head of a large section of the railway. As part of her activities, she carried out “barter transactions” with foreign entrepreneurs. In fact, she exchanged state property for clothes. She was selling these clothes.

In 1996, the court proved that the damage caused to the state by her “business” totaled several tens of millions of rubles. The future “messiah” had to spend a year and a half in prison.

After leaving the places not so distant, the future mother went to Moscow. From this moment, her activity as a healer begins. Svetlana Fedorovna healed only for money. Moreover, she even had a license “for entrepreneurial activities in healing and cosmoenergy.” By the way, Svetlana Robertovna also has no medical education.

As time went on, my mother wanted more. Simple healing was not enough. So, in fact, her “church” appeared. By the nature of the doctrine, photinism is a typical New Age approaching Russian realities. Mother Fotinha has her own “temple”, made “for Orthodoxy”, where she herself serves. As part of the service, Svetlana Robertovna, for example, throws photographs of those who wish under the “altar iconostasis”. There, according to Svetlana Robertovna, grace descends on these photographs. The iconostasis itself is also interesting, since there are “icons” of Patriarch Alexy II and Vladimir Putin there.

In addition, in the “temple” there is a non-canonical icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Resurrection Russia”. “Water charged by Mother Fotinya” is sold in the temple.

Actually, the attributes of magic, witchcraft, extrasensory perception, jingoistic patriotism and ardent love for the president mixed in this “church” into an unthinkable mess. Svetlana Robertovna took several popular brands in the mass consciousness and completed them into a kind of religious doctrine. And on this doctrine makes money. Basically, these are donations, the sale of “charged water”, payment for “casting out demons” and other rituals that mother conducts with enviable consistency. It should be especially noted that from a legislative point of view, everything looks clean. People donate large sums of money to Svetlana Robertovna without any coercion. Fotinha does not use hypnosis or drugs. Just a gift of persuasion and a commercial streak allow her to receive good dividends. Quite good enough that the self-proclaimed “messiah” has his own home, and she is going to open a second branch of her religious organization in Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhniy Novgorod, in sectarian terms, is generally an amazing place. In addition to the “Church of Mother Fotinya” there is also such a cult as “space communists”, the guru of this sect considers himself to be the embodiment of the Mother of God.

Well, if you take a closer look at Russian realities, it becomes completely sad. Sectarian chaos is going on in the country, and Matushka Fotinya, with her ideas of apostolic-presidential reincarnation, is not yet the most difficult version of religious madness.

Putin will meet with Kurz at SPIEF and launch the Aurus plant
Putin will meet with Kurz at SPIEF and launch the Aurus plant

During the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with representatives of the world’s media. This was announced by the TV channel “Russia 24”. The Forum this year will be held on June 2-5.

The President is also expected to meet with Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who will also take part in the forum.

During the SPIEF, the President will talk to business representatives and investors.

Putin to take part in the SPIEF 2021 plenary session in person

In addition, next week Putin will take part in the launch of the Aurus automobile plant and will meet with families awarded with the Orders of Parental Glory. The event is timed to coincide with the Children’s Day.

Last year, SPIEF was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. In March, Roscongress announced that the decision to hold the forum this year was made taking into account the conclusions of experts that Russia and the world are “at a post-pandemic turning point”, and universal vaccination and the formation of herd immunity make it possible “to stabilize the epidemiological situation.”

This year, among businessmen, the forum will be attended by the chairman of the French oil company Total, Patrick Pouyanne, and the president and chief executive officer of the German conglomerate Siemens Energy AG, Christian Bruch. In addition, Chief Executive Officer of German oil and gas company Wintershall Dea Mario Mehren and President of Huawei Eurasia Zhou Daniel will come to the forum.

At the same time, the Foreign Ministry promised to help Minsk in case of new European sanctions. The Russian Foreign Ministry assured that in the event of the introduction of sanctions that affect the transit of gas through Belarus, they will first find out how this will affect the economy.

Russia will help Belarus in the event of the introduction of European sanctions against this country, but will not take impulsive measures. Dmitry Birichevsky, Director of the Department for Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, told RIA Novosti agency about this.

“I think that we will protect our partner Belarus, we will help our allies. And what the Westerners come up with against Belarus evokes absolutely negative emotions. Because first of all it is necessary to investigate what happened, and then think about how to react to it, and not make hasty statements, ”said the official of the Foreign Ministry.

Birichevsky noted that it is not worth saying that Moscow, for example, will respond in a mirror-like manner if sanctions are imposed against Belarus, affecting the transit of Russian gas to Europe. “We need to calculate how this will affect the economy and existing contracts. We cannot react to the measures that have been introduced in relation to another country, we need to discuss this with partners and see what we can do, ”he added.

Peskov forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus the question of “provocations of oligarchs”

Last week, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell admitted that new sanctions against Belarus could affect the export of potassium carbonate and the transit of Russian gas. “We believe that gas that enters Europe through Belarus will still go to Europe, but via a different pipeline. Importantly, Belarus will lose the right to transit, ”Borrell said.

The EU is discussing sanctions against Belarus after the incident on 23 May. Then the plane of the Ryanair airline made an emergency landing in Minsk, allegedly due to the threat of a terrorist attack. The Belarusian special services detained two passengers – the founder of the opposition Telegram-channel Nexta Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend, a citizen of Russia Sofya Sapega.

“Russian roots” of Elon Mask: why he breathes unevenly towards Russia
“Russian roots” of Elon Mask: why he breathes unevenly towards Russia

The billionaire’s friend knows Russian thanks to her Ukrainian grandmother

American billionaire Elon Musk, speaking on Friday at the Russian educational marathon “New Knowledge”, supported the strengthening of the dialogue between the United States and Russia, confessed his love for Tsiolkovsky and announced the possibility of building a Tesla plant in our country. Where does the head of Space X have an interest in our country – let’s try to figure it out.

Earlier this year, Elon Musk tweeted an invitation to Vladimir Putin to join him on the Clubhouse social network and talk. The Kremlin expressed interest in the entrepreneur’s initiative, but, as far as is known, that was the end of it.

Meanwhile, for several years, Elon Musk has been pleasing the Russian-speaking part of the Internet with tweets in Russian. And this despite the fact that Russians were not seen in Musk’s South African and Canadian relatives.

In the year before last, a businessman-inventor, to the words of one of the users about whether he is mastering space in order to bring aliens to Earth, answered in Russian with a question to the question: “Where are the aliens?”

When another user shared his opinion that aliens on Mars live underground, Musk responded with the Russian phrase: “This is where the dog is buried.”

And Elon commented succinctly on the remark of another of his subscribers: “They say that chickens are milked.” Commenting on the publication about the old Lada model, Elon Musk also wrote in Russian: “Ha-ha, awesome.”

Even the American ex-Minister of Labor Robert Reich, Musk “ran over” in Russian too, calling him a “boring idiot” – after Reich reacted to an article in The Washington Post, which spoke of Musk’s threats to move production from California to Texas and Nevada, as Alameda County authorities banned companies from operating due to coronavirus restrictions.

But what is Musk himself – even his girlfriend, the Canadian singer Grimes, congratulating Ilona on his birthday, left a comment in Russian “My demon, happy birthday” under her Instagram post – accompanied by an emoji in the form of a black heart and flying saucer.

Social media users even suggested that Russian hackers must have infiltrated Grimes’ brain. However, with Grimes, everything is more or less clear: in an interview with Exberliner in 2012, she said that she spent her childhood with her Ukrainian grandmother, who, of course, knew the Russian language and instilled in her love for Dostoevsky, Bulgakov and Nabokov.

And, as they say, she consolidated knowledge in the language of Pushkin and Tolstoy at the university. The same Grimes even released her album Visions with a cover with a quote from Anna Karenina.

Musk’s interest in Russia is largely due to his respect for our country’s contribution to space exploration. It is no coincidence that he quoted Konstantin Tsiolkovsky at the educational marathon, whom he calls one of the founding fathers of space engineering. Of course, Musk also admires Yuri Gagarin. He also highly appreciated Sergei Korolev, whom Elon called “the best”.

But, of course, the American billionaire sees the Russian space industry as a competitor for his extraterrestrial projects – and a competitor needs an eye and an eye. In the end, a competitor – like an enemy – must be known by sight …

However, in the rather distant past, invisible threads stretched between Mask and Russia. In the early 2000s, young and not as famous as now, Elon Musk came to Russia with the intention of buying converted ICBMs, in which he was going to launch mice to Mars.

According to the biography of the billionaire, written by journalist Ashley Vance, Musk did not bargain with Russian partners, who did not take him seriously, and flew home without missiles. And as if on the way from Russia, he decided to build missiles on his own.

China rejects human rights plea during ‘intense’ EU trade talks
China rejects human rights plea during ‘intense’ EU trade talks
“Europe needs to be a player, not a playing field,” he said.Xi rejected criticism by Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel of his country’s human rights record, arguing there was no universal path to human rights, while accusing the EU of having its own issues to deal with.

“China does not accept human rights proselytisers and opposes double standards,” he said according to Chinese state media service Xinhua.

Von der Leyen said the talks, originally marked as a key event on the road to a bilateral free trade treaty between the block and the Asian giant, were “frank and open, constructive and intense”.

Germany has long maintained a policy of quiet diplomacy with China but has become more assertive in 2020, releasing its first Indo-Pacific strategy last week and laying out its principles for increasing European action in the region to guard against “significant shifts in the balance of power”.

China banned German pork imports on Saturday. The Chinese customs office said the decision was based on cases of African swine fever. The Chinese government has this year issued trade infringements on Australian wine, barley, wheat and beef after disputes over the coronavirus, Hong Kong, the South China Sea and Xinjiang.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne used a virtual speech to the United Nations on Tuesday to say human rights must be central to debates and decision making as the world grapples with the coronavirus.

“Australia firmly believes that nations that uphold principles domestically are more likely to cooperate in ways the promote the common good, respecting fundamental human rights and freedoms,” she said.

State media service Xinhua reported Xi firmly opposed any country’s interference in China’s internal affairs.

“The essence of Hong Kong-related and Xinjiang-related issues is to safeguard China’s national sovereignty, security and unity, and to protect the rights of people of all ethnic groups to live and work in peace,” he said.

Hours after the meeting, US Assistant Secretary of State David Stillwell pushed for greater cooperation in the Indo-Pacific to counter China’s growing influence in the region.

“We are joining a chorus led by Australia for a while now,” he said.

The US announced new trade measures on China on Tuesday, blocking products that it claims are made by forced labour in Xinjiang where the Uighur Muslim minority has been sent to “re-education camps”.

The move will ban cotton, electronics and hair products from specific manufacturers in Xinjiang. China is the world’s largest cotton producer and more than 80 per cent of it comes from the semi-autonomous region.

“This is not a vocational centre, it is a concentration camp, a place where religious and ethnic minorities are subject to abuse and forced to work in heinous conditions with no recourse and no freedom,” US Homeland Security acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli said.