Sunday, March 14, 2010

All The World'S Estranged III

The United States consumes 22.5% of annual oil production and most of that oil comes from Africa- not the Middle East. China, the next largest consumer at 9.6% as of 2008 is on a path of relentless economic growth and has set it sights on Africa,specifically Ghana and Uganda, as a resource for oil among other things. In the past, there  have been many deterrents to {liquid}gold diggers who eyed African nations, however better drilling technology and current periods of dwindling conflict in some nations have revived the thirst for African oil once more. "Explorers salivate in particular at the prospect of peace in Somalia".

Niger is making  large strides (we hope) towards transparency  and independence in its elections, as supported by its declaration that yesterday , excluding many government officials who would otherwise have a conflict of interest, from running in state elections.

In anticipation of the celebratory activities soon to be beckoned by the 2010 World Cup, Britain has pledged £1,000,000 to the hosting nation of South Africa for the appropriation of condoms. South Africa is the continent's worst afflicted country in the fight against AIDS.

There is time to waste in what I call the Arctic race as proven by the unveiled plans to restore and activate the Polar Star by 2013, one of three icebreakers owned by the U.S. The Polar Star can pierce up to 21 ft of ice and will cost approximately $56 million for a 'fresh paint job'.

"You're one in a million"- says many a high school crush trying to express that immature albeit convincing phenomenon of puppy love. Perhaps the effect of uttering those words could be compounded by upping the stakes- "You're one in a zillion". While such statistics are difficult to prove, this penguin can enjoy the royalties of knowing that it is truly one in a zillion. The all-black penguin was discovered by Andrew Evans for National Geographic Traveler Magazine during a recent trip.

Google and China are on the cusp of a nasty breakup as China remains unyielding on its internet censorship policy.

This afternoon in Doha, {Qatar} ,Japan is ramping up to voice its opposition against the proposed ban on the cross-border trade of  bluefin tuna, of which it consumes 80% of the world's annual catch . The ban will be debated at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Japan consumes 80% of the species

Victorians have discovered that the Australian government in conjunction with the Victorian Police has contracted a private company AquaSure to gather "intelligence" on protesters during recent protests of the desalination plant project.

PM Tony Abott is {as usual} the subject on the lips of most Australians for his vague proposal to fund a  "fake" parental-leave policy by raising corporate taxes .

 British PM Gordon Brown stated during the Iraq Inquiry that the 2003 invasion "was the right decision and it was for the right reasons" while his Foreign Secretary John Milliband supposed that the result has been a positive Middle Eastern inclination towards during business with the UK, saying " “People in the region do respect those who are willing to see through what they say [they will do],".

The EU and Microsoft found themselves embroiled in another inevitable anti-trust spat over the packaging of IE with Windows OS as the default browser. The EU won, with Microsoft offering five browser options for install on the Windows 7 OS. The options are Safari, Firefox,Opera, IE and Google Chrome.

The largest of Canada's mining companies have been accused of staging a real-life version of the movie Avatar, facing allegations of human rights abuses in the name of retrieving natural resources in Guatemala.

Twenty-seven years into a class action suit by indigenous inhabitants of the  Ecuadorian Amazon against Chevron for pollution and death caused by the company's oil drilling in the 1960s, a US justice recently determined that the blame would be shared by both Chevron and the national company Petroecuador.

The U.S DOS- Bureau on Democracy, Human Rights and Labor released a 2009 report claiming that anti-Muslim sentiment is on the rise in Europe. The Bureau backed the claim by calling on the November 29 ban in Switzerland on building minarets as well as the continued ban on burqas and head scarves in France, Germany an the Netherlands.

In an absolute coincidence with the increased interest in African oil, Obama (buttressed by the opinions of some economists and health officials) has frozen US aid distributed from President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, (PEPFAR) to AIDS treatment projects in many African countries, stating that efforts should be redirected from treatment to prevention.

*Must Read
Geoffrey Garrett from the University of Sydney presented an interesting case for the G-2 comprising the US and China, within the global group of the G-20.

The post-global financial crisis world will be increasingly dominated by China and the United States. What the de facto G2 do, together, independently or in conflict, will increasingly define the global bounds of the possible. Both countries want to embed their bilateral diplomacy in the multilateralism of the G20. The problem for the emergent G2 in G20 global architecture is that economic relations between China and the US will be increasingly difficult to manage. The large economic imbalances between the two countries, in which China buys American debt and Americans buy Chinese goods, will endure. Before the crisis, the codependence these imbalances created was a source of stability in Sino–American relations. After the crisis, they will be a source of frustration and conflict, as the second half of 2009 showed. To manage economic relations between China and the US effectively, the G20 agenda will have to move from crisis management to strategic planning for the global economy. The G20 will also have to become more institutionalized, but in a way that resembles more a nonexecutive board of directors of a multinational firm than a management committee of C-level executives.

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