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China scored a diplomatic coup by enticing almost 50 countries including key US allies to join its new development bank. By Tuesday's deadline to seek founding membership of the $50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) a total of 49 countries and Taiwan had applied, the finance ministry and governments said. They include four of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, 18 out of 34 members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Conspicuous by their absence are the United States and Japan.
President Barack Obama ordered a new sanctions program Wednesday which could block assets of US and foreign hackers and of companies that seek to profit from cyberattacks. Obama said the threat from cyberattacks was a "national emergency" and the new sanctions could help strike back against those involved in attacks on US targets. "Starting today, we're giving notice to those who pose significant threats to our security or economy by damaging our critical infrastructure, disrupting or hijacking our computer networks, or stealing the trade secrets of American companies or the personal information of American citizens for profit," Obama said in a blog post released by the White House. The announcement comes amid an epidemic of incidents reported in recent months, including a devastating attack against Sony Pictures, and data breaches that stole credit card or health data on tens of millions of Americans.