Catering For The 21st-Century Customer: Tips To Modernize Your Business

The world of business is changing at lightning speed. With customer demands and consumer habits evolving continually, modernization is key. If your business is lagging behind, and you’re keen to ensur...

News Company - avatar News Company

Treating suspected autism at 12 months of age improves children's language skills

The theory is that if therapies are started early enough, it might be possible to alter the trajectory of autism.ShutterstockTherapies given to infants before they receive a diagnosis of autism may le...

Andrew Whitehouse, Bennett Chair of Autism, Telethon Kids Institute, Univeristy of Western Australia, University of Western Australia - avatar Andrew Whitehouse, Bennett Chair of Autism, Telethon Kids Institute, Univeristy of Western Australia, University of Western Australia

Team-building exercises can be a waste of time. You achieve more by getting personal

The key to an effective team-builiding exercise is understanding a team is a social network built on connections between individuals.www.shutterstock.comSomeone we know recently told us about a team-b...

Julien Pollack, Associate Professor, University of Sydney - avatar Julien Pollack, Associate Professor, University of Sydney

Changing the Australian Constitution was always meant to be difficult – here's why

Debates about constitutional change in Australia inevitably raise the poor success rate of referendums. Only eight out of 44 attempts have ever succeeded and there has not been a successful constitut...

Anne Twomey, Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Sydney - avatar Anne Twomey, Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Sydney

Lights out! Clownfish can only hatch in the dark – which light pollution is taking away

Some 22% of the worlds' coastlines are exposed to artificial light at night. Emily Fobert, Author providedClownfish achieved worldwide fame following Finding Nemo, but it turns out these fish don&rsqu...

Emily Fobert, Research Associate, Flinders University - avatar Emily Fobert, Research Associate, Flinders University

An electronic chip that makes 'memories' is a step towards creating bionic brains

Researcher Taimur Ahmed holds the newly designed chip.Author providedWhat better way to build smarter computer chips than to mimic nature’s most perfect computer – the human brain?Being ab...

Sumeet Walia, Senior Lecturer and Vice Chancellor's Fellow, RMIT University - avatar Sumeet Walia, Senior Lecturer and Vice Chancellor's Fellow, RMIT University

As the federal government debates an Indigenous Voice, state and territories are pressing ahead

The Queensland treaty process is still in the early stages and negotiations will not begin for several years. But it's still a historic step forward for Indigenous communities.Tracey Nearmy/AAPQueensl...

Harry Hobbs, Lecturer, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Harry Hobbs, Lecturer, University of Technology Sydney

Your body as a weapon: the rise of the 'revenge body' online

A 'revenge body' is built to show someone how well you are doing without them. With the advent of social media the phenomenon is increasingly popular.ShutterstockMonths after a public breakup with her...

Mair Underwood, Lecturer in Anthropology and Sociology, The University of Queensland - avatar Mair Underwood, Lecturer in Anthropology and Sociology, The University of Queensland

Stop worrying about screen 'time'. It's your child’s screen experience that matters

Guidelines advise children under two shouldn't have any screen time, but most do anyway.Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on UnsplashMost (80%) Australian parents worry children spend too much time with sc...

Brittany Huber, Postdoctoral researcher, Swinburne University of Technology - avatar Brittany Huber, Postdoctoral researcher, Swinburne University of Technology

Finally, the NDIS will fund sex therapy. But it should cover sex workers too

Whether sex therapy should be a funded disability support has been controversial since the NDIS was rolled out.From shutterstock.comThe Administrative Appeals Tribunal recently granted a woman with mu...

Matthew Yau, Adjunct professor, College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University - avatar Matthew Yau, Adjunct professor, College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Megan Davis on a First Nations Voice in the Constitution

Last week on this podcast we talked to Ken Wyatt about the government’s plan for a referendum – hopefully this parliamentary term – to recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constit...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Team-building exercises can be a waste of time. You achieve more by getting personal

The key to an effective team-builiding exercise is understanding a team is a social network built on connections between individuals.www.shutterstock.comSomeone we know recently told us about a team-b...

The Conversation - avatar The Conversation

Americans focus on responding to earthquake damage, not preventing it, because they're unaware of their risk

Heavily built-up areas can experience more disastrous damage in an earthquake.AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezOn July 4 and 5, two major earthquakes, followed by several thousand smaller ones, struck Sout...

Matt Motta, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Oklahoma State University - avatar Matt Motta, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Oklahoma State University

Did we mishear Neil Armstrong's famous first words on the Moon?

It's the case of the missing 'a.'Nick Lehr/The Conversation via NASA, CC BY-SAOn July 20, 1969, an estimated 650 million people watched in suspense as Neil Armstrong descended a ladder towards the sur...

Melissa Michaud Baese-Berk, Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of Oregon - avatar Melissa Michaud Baese-Berk, Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of Oregon

imageEyes open: a French anti-piracy unit in the Gulf of Aden.EPA/Dai Kurokawa

The UK home secretary, Theresa May, has introduced the new Counter-terrorism and Security Bill, which will be considered by a committee of the whole House by mid-December. Alongside the new powers it will hand to UK police and security services, the Bill will ban insurance companies from covering ransom payments to terrorist organisations.

The UK already refuses to pay terrorist groups ransoms and prohibits individuals and companies from deliberately doing so; the Bill’s new provision will close a loophole which may mean insurance companies are reimbursing illegal payments to groups.

So far, so good. But the Bill leaves another major loophole wide open: since 2010, millions of dollars in ransom have been paid for the release of vessels and crews hijacked by Somali pirates – who, while not terrorists per se, may be tightening their links with major terror groups.

Maritime disaster

According to research by the think tank One Earth Future Foundation and its project “Oceans Beyond Piracy”, the estimated total of ransom money paid to Somali pirate groups was an astonishing $21.6m in 2013 – and that is a major decrease from the days of 2010, when it was as much as $238m. These figures do not include the costs of negotiations and the physical delivery of the ransom money – often done by helicopter or private plane – or ransoms paid in other piracy hot spots, such as the Gulf of Guinea.

Terrorism and piracy are, on the face of it, very different beasts, with contrasting motives and objectives. Whereas terrorism is principally a political act, piracy is a criminal activity. In its developed form, it is organised crime employing a structured business model and is usually the work of armed non-state groups. In general, it is focused on material and monetary gain for the pirate groups, while violence and killing are secondary.

But of course, piracy and terrorism are hardly mutually exclusive – and this, above all else, is why the supply of ransom money to pirates must be choked off.

Unholy alliances

There may well be indirect links between terrorism and organised piracy, whether that takes the form of mere exchanges of money and goods or full co-operation in joint ventures. What we can be certain of is that the success of maritime piracy is attracting the attention of terrorist groups around the world as a potential source of finance for their activities.

The millions of dollars already earned through piracy ransom receipts could go a long way towards supporting terrorist activities around the world. And while there seems to be no solid evidence of a terrorist connection there is a growing concern that some of the money given to Somali pirates by way of ransom payments regards to even a partly financing of the notorious Somalia-based terrorist group al-Shabaab, which has recently shown signs of a major upsurge despite the death of its leader.

To make matters worse, the huge amount of money paid for ransom to Somali pirate groups could have very effectively enhanced this financial relationship. Because the ideologies driving the two forms of criminality differ, if the two merge – or even if a link is made and terrorism becomes more closely aligned with piracy – it is very likely to further complicate the strategy needed for dealing with the already fiendishly resilient al-Shabaab.

A terrible cost

Banning insurance companies from covering ransom payments to terrorist organisations, as this forthcoming Bill will dictate, makes perfect sense in itself. But the government has to re-consider the potential of the discussed links between modern piracy and terrorism – and the frightening prospect that the latter may well have started funding itself via the taxation of the former.

Somali piracy’s current period of decline is a good opportunity to reconsider our approach to paying ransoms. That’s not just a matter for governments, but for the shipping industry and insurance companies – who will, of course, have their own stance on any law that bans them from giving pirates money. That will be a big ask, especially if piracy shows any sign of a resurgence.

But if we don’t act, everything the UK is trying to achieve with the new counter-terrorism Bill could be easily cancelled out. If we keep paying we continue to run the risk ransom money will flow through already-established links between terrorist organisations, organised crime networks and piracy groups – and the knock-on effects for an incredibly fragile region could be catastrophic.

image

Ioannis Chapsos works for Coventry University in the UK. He receives research funding from NATO SPS programme.

Read more http://theconversation.com/were-banning-paying-ransoms-to-terrorists-but-what-about-pirates-34996