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US Establishing ‘Tiger Team’ To Counter Chinese Influence; Aims To Expedite Arms Transfer Process To Key Allies

Madison Franz

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US Establishing ‘Tiger Team’ To Counter Chinese Influence; Aims To Expedite Arms Transfer Process To Key Allies
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While the US has constantly been arming its allies and partners to compete with China, Washington is reportedly planning to transform the complete arms transfer process.

To compete more effectively with China and replenish the arsenals of nations that have donated military hardware to Ukraine, the Pentagon has initiated a broad campaign to speed up the sales of American arms to friendly countries, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Pentagon established a task force of senior officials last month to look into persistent inefficiencies in the US sales of expensive weapons to other nations. According to SIPRI’s database, the country has retained its position as a top arms exporter for a decade, with China now trying to catch up.

According to a senior defense official, the “Tiger Team” task force will examine ways for the Defense Department to streamline specific aspects of the program to quickly transfer highly desired American drones, weapons, helicopters, tanks, and other equipment to partners and allies.

Most of the foreign arms sales program is carried out by the Pentagon. The State Department supervises it and uses the $45 billion in annual weapons sales as an instrument for foreign policy to expand American influence. Congress ultimately approves all foreign military purchases.

The officials working with countries with initial requests for armaments would be required to assist the countries in framing their requests in a way that removes any policy or security-related roadblocks. They would be tasked to ensure streamlining of the process and fast-tracking deliveries.

The foreign military sales (FMS) program has often been criticized for being sluggish. For instance, the FMS transaction value for 2021 was $34.8 billion, down by 31% from the fiscal year 2020, when the total value was $50.8 billion. The 2021 figures marked the lowest FMS sales since 2016.

A sale can be delayed owing to concerns about selling a piece of sensitive technology. To combat that, officials can examine a nation’s military to determine whether it has the personnel and security measures necessary to run the machinery.

With China emerging as an arms exporter and challenging US influence, the process has to be strengthened and expedited.

The US Wants To Keep China At Bay

By moving slowly, the US risks sending nations with whom it wants to maintain ties to look for arms elsewhere. The Wall Street Journal stated that some nations might question whether the US wants them as partners.

Washington officials claim they must strengthen their relationships to compete with China globally, frequently determined by who can sell the best, most advanced military equipment at the fastest and lowest price.

While the US provides arms support to partner countries worldwide under the FMS route for which finances are earmarked in advance, the current situation is unprecedented.

Several reports of the arms transfer to Ukraine have led to a weapon shortage in America’s arsenal. The US Congress passed a $40 billion spending package to replenish these stockpiles in May.

The crisis has also caused a backlog among European allies that gave Ukraine hundreds’ of millions of dollars worth of weapons in exchange for the assurance that the US would assist them in restocking. The need to expedite the arms sale and delivery, thus, has become more pronounced than ever.

While these are extraordinary circumstances, other problems are rooted in the US system and labor market issues. “The US defense industry isn’t designed like it was in World War II. They don’t produce things just because we ask them to. They have to have a contract in hand,” said a US official.

For instance, Qatar, an ally of the United States, has been waiting for approval to purchase sophisticated drones. According to people familiar with the negotiations, Washington hasn’t responded one way or the other.

Although Russia has long been a rival in the global arms trade, sanctions against its defense industry and companies that make chips for military equipment and its military campaign in Ukraine are increasing pressure on its armed forces. The primary competition, in that sense, is China.

China Is Fast Catching Up

According to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, China exported conventional weapons worth around $17 billion between 2010 and 2020, with more than 77% of that amount going to Asian nations and about 20% to Africa.

China is vying to offset America’s competitive advantage in the drive to arm friendly nations worldwide by producing sophisticated weapons at a lower cost. For international buyers, pricing and manufacturing capacity are major selling factors for Chinese weapons.

For instance, Chinese arms sales to Middle Eastern countries can help them become less politically reliant on the US and Europe while also giving them an affordable way to build their arsenals.

In two significant deals this year, China delivered Serbia its export-version HQ-22 air defense missile system and Pakistan’s locally produced Chengdu J-10C fighter fighters.

In addition to its low cost and massive supply chains, China has also exploited opportunities to fill the vacuum left by the US for its policy imperatives.

China stepped in and quickly sold armed drones to several countries, including the UAE after the US refused to export drones to close allies. In particular, Chinese-built Wing Loong II drones were used in the conflicts in Yemen and Libya.

Turkey had a $3-4 billion tender for a project with China to create a long-range missile defense system before it decided to purchase S-400 air defense missiles from Russia, which was finally canceled in 2015.

China is also making major inroads into the Middle East and North Africa.

On its part, the US has focused on arming countries that oppose China. It recently announced a new $1.1 billion package of arms to Taiwan in a new bid to boost the island’s defenses amid soaring tensions with Beijing.

Besides Taiwan, it is also in various phases of negotiations with countries like Japan, Australia, and other Indo-Pacific states for several weapon systems.

 

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Effective Employee Training and How It Helps Your Business

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Your employees are one of the most important factors that can determine the success or failure of your business. So, if you are looking to improve your business in a meaningful way, then taking the time to boost your employee training can be a great way to get the job done.

Fortunately for you, this article aims to highlight some of the best steps that you can take to help your employees engage with training effectively.

Provide the Right Motivation

One of the best things you can do to help your employees engage with the training process is to provide them with the right motivation that can help to encourage the kind of learning that they need to do.

Motivation is a vital resource to effective education and, unfortunately, it can be hard to come by. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that your business could potentially do to help encourage your employees to engage with the learning process and develop the skills that they are going to need to succeed.

For example, one of the best things you can do to encourage your employees to develop their skillsets is to provide financial incentives for training. In short, if you offer incremental pay rises to employees that boost their skillset – given that they would be more valuable to your business – then you will help to encourage the workers already engaged in skill training. Plus, this would likely help to motivate those still on the fence to dive in and give this kind of enhanced education a shot.

Supply Learning Resources

Once your workers are properly motivated, you should consider what is most likely to impede their progress in effectively building their skills. For the most part, this would generally come down to a lack of effective learning supplies.

Access to the right tools and information is vital to success in any kind of skill development, which is why you should consider the methods by which you can supply your employees with the learning resources they need.

Everything from courses at Washington University to access to digital learning platforms – like LinkedIn Learning – will be sure to help your employees engage more effectively with the training process.

Know Which Skills to Encourage

Of course, you will also need to provide your employees with the right direction in their efforts to effectively learn skills that will benefit your business.

After all, you want your employees to spend their time learning skills that will bring additional value to your company, rather than simply learning anything and everything that seems vaguely interesting.

A great way to encourage the development of certain skills is to tie those skills directly to the incentives you are offering to boost motivation for training. Alternatively, you might want to offer your employees access to training courses that specifically focus on the topics that you want your workers to develop their skills.

By working to direct employee skill development, you can ensure that your worker training programs remain a win-win for your business and your employees.

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Are You Looking to Open a Bank Account in UAE

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a hub for international businesses, finance, and tourism. Opening a bank account in this country is a crucial step for both individuals and businesses looking to establish themselves in the UAE. Having a local bank account will not only simplify your financial transactions but also make you eligible for various financial services and benefits. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of opening a bank account in the UAE, with a special focus on the online platform Mayak.ae.

Step 1: Choose the Right Bank

The first step in opening a bank account in the UAE is to choose the right bank. There are numerous banks in the UAE, each offering different services and fees. You need to consider your financial needs and choose a bank that suits your requirements. For example, if you are a tourist visiting the UAE for a short period, you might want to choose a bank that offers a temporary account. On the other hand, if you are a business owner, you might want to opt for a business account with additional services and features.

Step 2: Gather Required Documents

Once you have chosen the right bank, the next step is to gather all the required documents. The list of documents varies from bank to bank, but typically you will need:

  • Passport and visa
  • Emirates ID
  • Proof of residency, such as a utility bill or rental agreement
  • Initial deposit (varies from bank to bank)

It’s important to check with the bank you have chosen for their specific requirements, as they might ask for additional documents or information.

Step 3: Apply for an Account

Once you have gathered all the required documents, you can apply for an account. You can do this either by visiting the bank in person, or by using the online platform Mayak.ae. Mayak.ae is an online platform that allows you to open a bank account from the comfort of your own home, without having to visit the bank in person. The platform is easy to use and offers a wide range of banking services, including account opening, money transfers, bill payments and more.

Step 4: Complete the Application Process

Once you have applied for an account, the bank will process your application and verify the information you have provided. This process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the bank. If the bank requires any additional information or clarification, they will get in touch with you.

Step 5: Activate Your Account

Once your account has been approved, the bank will provide you with the necessary details and instructions to activate it. This will typically involve visiting the bank in person to sign the necessary agreements and complete any remaining formalities. You will also receive your debit card, which you can use to access your account and make transactions.

 

Navigating the Steps for Relocation, Business Establishment, or Investment in the UAE

 

Moving to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or starting a business or investing in the country can be a great opportunity. With its favorable business environment, strategic location, and attractive tax policies, the UAE has become a hub for international trade and investment.

Here are some of the key steps to consider when moving to the UAE or starting a business or investment in the country:

  1. Choose the right visa: If you plan on moving to the UAE, you’ll need to obtain a visa. The type of visa you need will depend on your purpose for being in the country, whether it’s for work, study, or retirement.
  2. Set up a business: If you plan on starting a business in the UAE, you’ll need to choose the right legal structure and register your company with the relevant authorities. The most common business structures in the UAE are the limited liability company (LLC) and the free zone company.
  3. Open a bank account: You’ll need a local bank account to handle your financial transactions in the UAE. To open a bank account, you’ll typically need to provide proof of identity, residency, and a minimum initial deposit.
  4. Find a place to live: The next step is to find a place to live in the UAE. You can either rent or purchase a property, depending on your budget and preference.
  5. Register for health insurance: Health insurance is mandatory in the UAE, and you’ll need to register for it as soon as you arrive. You can choose from a range of health insurance plans, including those offered by private insurance companies and those provided by your employer.
  6. Explore investment opportunities: The UAE offers a range of investment opportunities, including real estate, stocks, and bonds. You can consult with a financial advisor to determine the best investment strategy for your needs.

Conclusion

In conclusion, moving to the UAE or starting a business, or investing in the country can be a great opportunity, but it requires careful planning and preparation. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure a smooth transition and set yourself up for success in this vibrant and dynamic country.

Opening a bank account in the UAE is an essential step for anyone looking to establish themselves in this country. Whether you are an individual or a business owner, having a local bank account will simplify your financial transactions and provide you with a range of financial services and benefits. The process of opening an account is straightforward, and using an online platform like Mayak.ae can make it even easier. Simply follow the steps outlined in this article, gather the required documents, and apply for an account, and you will be on your way to having a fully functioning bank account in the UAE.

 

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20 Businesses You Can Start on the Cheap

Madison Franz

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You don’t need a ton of cash to get a business up and running. Opportunities abound to become a business owner with less than $500. Here’s a look at 20 of them.

Whether you want to be your own boss or just to shore up some extra cash, there are several cheap businesses you can start with little in the way of money. Sure, you may not become the next Facebook or Apple overnight with just a business idea and $500 or less, but there are plenty of opportunities to launch a small business on the cheap.

“The tools and technology available today make it really easy to get a new business up and running quickly and affordably, even with as little as a few hundred dollars,” Meghan Stabler, vice president of global product marketing at BigCommerce, told business.com. “It’s important to remember that starting a business with little cash does not also mean you jump in recklessly – every  entrepreneur should take a measured approach to selling and invest the time upfront to understand their market and their consumer.”

How to find a business to start

Business opportunities abound, even if you only have $500 or less, but before you make the leap, you have to ensure you have a sound business idea. That doesn’t mean you need a 20-page business plan, but you should have a passion or interest in the enterprise you’re starting. It’s the reason so many people become business owners.

You should also do your research about the industry, the market, the potential for growth and the initial investment needed. If you plan to start an online business, Stabler said, you need to find a niche or need in the market and start there. If you try to ride a trend, you’ll face a crowded market, and demand for the product could quickly fizzle. It’s also important to understand the shopping habits of your customers and what makes them want your products or services over a rival. Finally, Stabler said to know your “four P’s” – price, product, placement and promotion.

Now that you know the rules of engagement for taking a small business idea to the next level, here’s a list of 20 businesses you can start with an initial investment of $500 or less.

20 businesses you can start with $500 or less

1. Online seller

graphic of a person sitting next to an oversized computer screen filled with products

Whether you want to sell apparel, collectibles, or whatever, you can easily get up and running online on the cheap. Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay will let you sell your products for a cut of the sale, while e-commerce platforms charge you a low monthly fee to hawk products over the internet.

It doesn’t take too much money to purchase your initial inventory. You can buy bulk items online or at a local discount store, or tap the inventory you have at home. The idea is to sell the products for more than you purchase them, taking into account any marketplace or e-commerce platform fees.

2. Virtual educator/trainer

One of the cheapest ways to start a business is to provide your own services if you have a talent or skill. Melissa Schneider, vice president of product marketing at GoDaddy, pointed to a chef in Nashville, Tennessee, who was laid off during the pandemic. He used his love and knowledge of cooking to start offering online cooking classes. The startup cost wasn’t too much, amounting to a computer and internet connection.

“He was able to sell his service in a completely different way,” Schneider said.

3. Dropshipper

Cash-strapped would-be business owners can start a dropshipping business. With this business model, you build a storefront or use an e-commerce platform, but you don’t hold the inventory. The products are shipped directly from the manufacturer after a customer makes a purchase from your online store. To get a store up and running using this method, all you need to pay for is the domain subscription and the fees associated with using an e-commerce or dropshipping platform.

“The beauty of the dropshipping model is you don’t have to actually manufacture any products to get started,” Stabler said. “Rather, you partner with a manufacturer that makes your products and ships them directly to your customers, freeing you up to focus on the fun part: the marketing and customer experience.”

4. Social media marketer

Social media has become a powerful tool to get the word out. If you are social media savvy, there are tons of businesses looking for your expertise to help them develop marketing strategies, set up and post on their social media accounts, and increase their number of followers and thus sales. Knowledge, not money, is the key to getting this low-cost business up and running.

5. Freelance writer or editor

graphic of people near a large scroll of paper

If you have a knack for editing and/or writing, you can turn your expertise into a small business. With the proliferation of online content and social media, there are tons of opportunities to get paid for writing and editing. It takes little money to get up and running, but you will have to prove your worth to clients.

6. Sales consultant

graphic of people near a large briefcase

Whether you want to sell makeup or cookware, there are many low-cost businesses you can start by selling products for companies. Take the skincare company Rodan + Fields as an example: It costs just $45 to start selling the products. Avon charges you $5, while Beachbody costs $39.95 for the initial investment and then $15 a month.

7. DIY crafts and treats

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that Americans are resourceful and innovative. Scores of people took advantage of the pandemic by starting businesses selling crafts, food and desserts, and other items that proved popular. The only costs were for materials. Facebook has been a successful place to market these products locally.

8. Lawn care

The equipment is the biggest outlay for starting a lawn care business, and if you start small, you’ll only need a lawn mower and leaf blower. Depending on where you live, this might be a seasonal business, but one that can easily expand. Besides the equipment, all you need are flyers and a Facebook page.

9. Pool cleaning and maintenance

Another seasonal business that doesn’t require high startup costs is a pool cleaning and maintenance service. You can start small and expand as your customer base grows.

10. Repair service

graphic of a repair person holding a wrench outside of a house

People are spending more time than ever in their homes and, as a result, are more focused on home improvement projects. If you have skills in this area, it’s easy to become a repair person without a lot of capital.

11. Pet sitter/walker

This business costs nothing more than the costs associated with marketing – and you need to have a lot of patience and a love of pets. It’s another one of those enterprises that can easily expand with little overhead.

12. Virtual assistant

Business owners need help with everyday tasks, from organizing the books to responding to customer emails. As a virtual assistant, you’ll perform all these tasks from the comfort of your home, and you can take on multiple clients. All it takes is a computer and internet connection to start a virtual assistant business.

13. Delivery/errand runner

In the same vein as a dog-walking service, a delivery- or errand-running business doesn’t require a lot of upfront cash. You’ll just need to print out some flyers, get business cards, and promote your service on social media and other online channels. Demand for errand runners has risen during the pandemic. With people sheltering in place, many of them are hiring others to venture out and run their errands for them.

14. Tutor

Are you a math expert? Do you play an instrument, or have great computer skills? Then you can become a tutor, and all it costs is your knowledge. You can conduct tutoring sessions in person or virtually, charging by the hour or half-hour. Your level of experience and client base will determine how much you can charge for your services.

15. Consultant

Businesses need advice, but not all of them want to hire a full-time employee to get it. That is where consultants come in. Use your background and expertise to find the areas where you would bring the most value. That may be marketing, accounting, engineering, information technology or any other skill set you can find demand for.

If you provide good service at a reasonable cost, your reputation will grow, allowing you to expand your business. To get up and running, you’ll need a website or social media presence and the ability to network.

16. Professional organizer

People looking to declutter often turn to a professional organizer for help. Customers pay around $80 to $140 an hour and more than $1,000 for an entire home. The overhead costs to become a professional organizer are very little at the onset: You just have to invest in training and education, create a website, and land your initial customers.

17. Translator

If you are fluent in another language, you can easily launch a translation service. There is demand from the medical, legal, publishing and small business communities for people who can translate information into English. A freelance translation business won’t cost you anything in startup expenses and can easily expand as your customer base grows.

18. Mobile public notary

Certain documents require approval from a public notary, including wills, loan paperwork, power of attorney, property deeds and other court papers. A mobile public notary visits clients at their homes or places of business.

Depending on where you live, it can cost $50 to $150 a year to become a public notary. Some states require training courses in addition to those fees. Volume is the key to making money as a public notary: You can charge anywhere from 25 cents to $20 a document.

19. Laundry service

If you have a home washer or dryer or access to a laundromat, you could offer washing, drying, ironing, and pickup and delivery services to people in your community. Before you get started, figure out if you will use your own equipment or bring it to the laundromat. After that, the only costs are detergent and laundry bags or baskets.

20. Cleaning service

graphic of a perosn vacuuming a living room

Americans are busy, and the last thing many of them want to do at the end of a week is clean their home or apartment. That is where a cleaning service comes in. According to FreshBooks, the average cost to clean a home is $90 to $150, depending on the size of the property. Launching a cleaning service won’t break the bank; all you need is a good vacuum, cleaning supplies and a positive attitude.

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