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Friday, 08 June 2018
Philippine police arrested an entire call centre it says was run by Israeli citizens involved in running a stock market scam – including on South Africans.
One of the complaints that led to the raid came from South Africa, others from Australia.
The company, International Branding Development Marketing, has been linked to iTrader, a foreign-exchange broker shut down in Israel.
Heavily armed members of the Philippine National Police stormed a call centre in a free-trade zone and arrested 482 people on Wednesday, then paraded the Israeli 'managers' at a press conference.
Police said it had caught the company, International Branding Development Marketing, in the act of transacting with clients in various countries, including South Africa.
But the clients were investing in shares in a fake UK company, police allege, in a scam that has cost victims dearly.
"Recent investigation revealed that the fraud has already reaped hundred millions of dollars from its foreign clients through online trading," the police said in a statement.
Philippine authorities are due to reach out to Interpol to help identify victims.
A search warrant was obtained based on the complaints of several Australians, and one South African.
Police told journalists that one part of the scam involved getting credit card information, and later access to bank account details, from victims.
The operation had used "several different names" over the years, according to police.
CNN Philippines aired police footage of the raid in the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.
In late 2016 the company raided, IBD-M, was linked to iTrader, a foreign-exchange trading operation that had been raided by Israeli authorities. The two companies were apparently also interlinked with a third named FM Trader.
Police said the Philippine call centre had been operating for about 30 months.
A job posting from late 2017 suggest that it was rapidly growing recently; at the time it was looking for 50 call centre agents, no experience required.
In a lengthy press conference, police paraded the supposed Israeli masterminds behind the scheme, and translated testimony by an Australian victim.
Extremely dubious foreign exchange and binary option providers based in Israel have targeted customers around the world to such an extent that political leaders last year warned it was leading anti-Semetic sentiment because Israel was seen as complicit.
The Philippines, supposedly a fallback favourite location since an Israeli crackdown, has vowed to deal harshly with cybercriminals found on its shores.
Source: Business Insider
Published in Telecoms
A former Israeli special forces soldier has been offering special close combat and hand-to-hand training for South African farmers – and he says business is doing well.
Idan Abolnik has developed his own style of Krav Maga, a self-defence system developed for the Israel Defence Forces. He has been using it to train people for 15 years.
Abolnik's system, called the "Kalah combat system", has become popular with South African farmers, who, because of an intense campaign by conservative and right-wing groups such as AfriForum and Die Suidlanders, believe they are under attack.
He said his system teaches a variety of self-defence techniques. He has a special package developed for farmers.
"It's open to everyone and anyone who wants a specially designed system for farmers. We train them to deal with a variety of different attacks," Abolnik said.
"We teach them hand-to-hand combat, bush warfare, semi-bush warfare, urban warfare and how to collect information."
Abolnik said training also involves the simulation of a range of weapon attacks to prepare those who attend his course to defend themselves, their families and their properties.
It costs about R20 000 per person for an intensive two-week course. The trainees live on or near the locations where the training takes place in and around Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Abolnik said he had seen growing interest in his courses designed for farmers as well as those for general self-defence.
Last week, News24 reported that farm attacks and farm murders were not nearly as widespread as some groups would make it appear.
AgriSA released a report last week which showed attacks were nowhere near the record high seen in 2001/2002, when 1 069 farm attacks were recorded. Farm attacks increased from 478 in 2016/2017 to 561 in 2017/2018.
According to AgriSA's statistics, farm murders decreased from 66 recorded incidents in 2016/2017 to 47 in 2017/2018. This was less than a third of the record highs of the late 1990s. In 1997/1998 153 murders were recorded.
However, AfriForum called the figures into question, with the organisation's head of community safety Ian Cameron quoted on the group's website saying its statistics showed an increase in attacks.
AfriForum said it would be releasing its own statistics at the end of July.
Published in Agriculture
Three officials from the SA Revenue Service were offered a bribe of US$30 000 - about R390 000 - by a passenger they had apprehended at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday.
In a statement on Friday, SARS said the passenger, who was travelling to Dubai, was removed from his flight before take-off for questioning after he was flagged by the tax agency's risk unit. 
"On the way to the customs search area, he repeatedly offered the two customs officers 'bundles of currency' in return for allowing him to leave with his backpack. Both refused this request."
After they were joined by a customs manager in an interview room, the passenger "again offered them all bundles of currency in order to secure his release".
The entire interaction, including the searching of his bag which contained R4m, was captured on CCTV cameras.
A criminal case has been lodged with police for attempted bribery, false declaration and failure to declare. The passenger was remanded into custody.
SARS said in a second incident on the same day, two additional passengers bound for Dubai were intercepted at the same airport for being in possession of undeclared currency.
A search of one of the passengers uncovered the equivalent of more than R600 000 in US dollars and Pakistani Rupees hidden in his laptop bag. A case has been opened with police. 
Source: News24.co.za
Published in Bank & Finance

Not for the first time, the 2018 World Cup Finals will take place without the Chinese national team. In fact, China’s World Cup record is abysmal (and I say this as a Scottish football fan).

The team has qualified only once for the final stages – in 2002 when it played three games in South Korea, failed to score in any of them and was eliminated without securing a single point. On a more positive note, losing only 4-0 to Brazil was an achievement of sorts, given that the Brazilian goal scorers were Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo.

Apart from this short-lived foray into the finals, China did not enter the competition between 1930 and 1954 or between 1962 and 1978, failed to qualify for the finals in 1958 and again between 1982 and 1998 and from 2006 to the present.

In the Asia qualifying stage of the 2018 World Cup, China received a bye into the second round where they came second in a group headed by Qatar. Following the third qualifying round, China was eliminated, having been placed in its group below – among others – war-torn Syria, which is currently obliged to play “home” games abroad.

Xi has a dream

It is against this dismal backdrop that we must try to interpret Chinese president Xi Jinping’s vision for the future of Chinese football. In 2011, Xi confessed that he had three World Cup dreams for China: to participate once again in the World Cup finals, to host the World Cup finals and to be World Cup winners.

There can be little doubt that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will host the World Cup finals at some point in the not-too-distant future. With the Summer Olympics already under China’s belt and the Winter Olympics to come, the country has already shown itself to be willing and able to host sporting mega events.

The FIFA World Cup would present greater logistical challenges than the Olympics but no more so than in Russia. China’s massive cities would be happy to stage matches and, where suitable venues do not yet exist, they would be built. The Chinese team would, of course, qualify as hosts, perhaps its best chance of repeating the achievement of 2002.

But what of Xi’s third dream? Here Xi and, by extension, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) face a much greater challenge. It is true that host countries have often done well. However, it has proved impossible to date to prevent a European or South American team from winning the World Cup. Although in the past there have been high hopes for an African victory, hosting the finals did not mean success for the South African team.

Moreover, we should not forget that football has been the number one sport in most African countries throughout the period in which football’s significance in China has been dwarfed by that of badminton and table tennis.

A run on goal

A further obstacle to the realisation of Xi’s third dream stems from the contradictions that are inherent in his country’s ruling ideology of which he is now the unassailable guardian.

Socialism with Chinese characteristics has come to mean the combination of a strong state and an increasingly liberal market economy, the differences between which can be seen in the relationship between the CFA and the Chinese Super League (CSL). Founded in 2004, the latter has attracted the interest of some of the richest companies in China, eager to own a football club and gain the additional benefits that this can bring.

These owners provide live football entertainment to fans whose engagement would otherwise would be restricted to watching televised games from the major European leagues – hence their investment in bringing star players from Europe and South America to play for their teams. Their primary interest is securing the best return for their investment – not in creating a successful national team and thereby helping to fulfil Xi’s dream.

These owners are capitalists but of a distinctly Chinese type, subject to considerably more surveillance and interference than their Western counterparts. The CFA is even more closely tied to the state, the interests of which it has a far greater obligation to serve than equivalent organisations in the West.

Thus, almost certainly because of state pressure, the CFA’s latest ruling on the use of foreign players decrees that CSL teams can use three at most in a match and that the number of foreign players on the field must not exceed that of domestic players under the age of 23. The battle for the soul of Chinese football is likely to continue.

But it’s not this conflict of interests alone that threatens Xi’s dream. A lucrative, entertaining national league does not guarantee a successful national team – you only have to look at England’s track record to see this. Nor does a league which offers limited opportunities for local hopefuls to play alongside foreign talent (see Scotland, for example).

The real key may be having the capacity to select players for a national team who have experience of playing in overseas leagues in France, Spain Portugal, Germany, Belgium and elsewhere). With that in mind, the time has come perhaps for the CFA, the CSL owners and Xi to consider exporting China’s football talent to fulfil the dream.

More articles about China and Xi Jinping, written by academics:

Alan Bairner, Professor of Sport and Social Theory, Loughborough University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Published in World

With over 85 percent of consumers taking to online search engines to find the service they’re looking for, just having a website is no longer enough. With more leads than ever being generated online, your business needs to act smarter and faster to pick them up. Google Search Ranking

According to a HubSpot study, 75 percent of internet users never scroll past the first page of the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). Other than first page ranking, how else can Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) benefit your business?

  1. It increases the reach of your business

A by-product of increased visibility online is increasing the reach of your marketing efforts. SEO allows you to target a wider audience that is actively looking for your products or services and are therefore more likely to be converted into genuine sales or leads.

  1. It’s good for visibility and branding

Most searchers are likely to search once, click on a couple of websites, re-evaluate their search terms and repeat again until they’ve refined their search for their exact terms. In this, there is a massive amount of value in simply appearing in search terms that are directly related to your business. If you continually appear in all of these search results, then you are gaining more and more mindshare, or association, with each potential customer.

  1. It provides you with valuable insight into your customer’s behaviour

The data and metrics Google Analytics stores can give you an essential insight into your customer’s behaviour online; how they search, how they browse, the language they use, the technology they use, the region they live in, the days they are most active, the times of day they are most active. By collating and comparing customer data, you can gain a full picture of who exactly your primary customer is, which can inform your business messaging both on and offline.

  1. It has one of the best ROI’s in advertising

Unlike many forms of traditional marketing, SEO is not static. It requires constant adjustment in order to stay in compliance with Google updates and a competitive market. The hard data SEO rewards you with can be used to modify your approach immediately. It is measurable and flexible, allowing you to target new demographics and rectify weaknesses.

  1. It complements and integrates with other forms of marketing

Whether it is digital or traditional marketing, SEO can perfectly integrate with your other marketing strategies. Linking your efforts with content generation, social media, and PR, can boost your reach, and their market power, even further.

Now more than ever, being findable is as important as being visible, especially in an emerging market where Google and other search engines are fast becoming the first port of call for consumers. Multifaceted and complementary advertising strategies will matter most when re-evaluating advertising budgets in order to engage with the modern consumer. 


By: Samantha Victor, Digital Account Manager at FleishmanHillard

Published in Telecoms
  1. Opinions and Analysis


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