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“LOS COLOMBIANOS VEN LAS NOTICIAS Y SALEN A VENDER SUS ACCIONES A PRECIOS QUE NO DEBERÍAN” – Y llegó la crisis – Las señales de recesión en Estados Unidos tienen temblando al mundo. Mientras los índices de las bolsas de valores caen estrepitosamente, las economías emergentes se preparan para el chaparrón

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Sábado, 15 de Nov de 2008 – 21 Ene 2008 – 4:32 pm

Por: Angélica Gallón Salazar

Esta semana, la información económica estuvo en la primera página de todos los diarios y logró que muchos desprevenidos que suelen cambiar de canal cuando empiezan las noticias económicas, se llevaran las manos a la cabeza ante los graves anuncios. Los medios llamaron la atención del mundo entero con el aviso de que Estados Unidos oficialmente había entrado en la tan temida y anunciada recesión.

La actual crisis económica estadounidense empezó a fraguarse justamente después de las medidas de ayuda que tomó la Reserva Federal para superar la crisis de 2001, cuando reventó la burbuja de las empresas de internet. Con unas tasas de interés por el suelo y con el repunte histórico de los precios de la finca raíz, varios bancos empezaron a prestarle dinero a gente que no tenía historia crediticia o que estaba reportada.

En medio de la confianza y la tranquilidad, los bancos financiaron hasta el 100% de las hipotecas a cambio de unos puntos más de intereses con los que podrían cubrirse los riesgos. “Los bancos decidieron sacar bonos sobre esos créditos y así obtener una rentabilidad extra, que a la vez los habilitaba para seguir prestando”, explica el analista Álvaro Camaro, de la comisionista de bolsa Stanford.

Camila Pérez, analista de Valores Bancolombia, complementa: “Lo novedoso fue que esos créditos se empaquetaron y se emitieron papeles que con una calificación triple A se ofrecieron como una inversión con un retorno muy bueno”.

El problema empezó a vislumbrarse cuando la gente se atrasó en sus pagos porque la burbuja de la construcción (que hizo que muchos se volcaran a adquirir vivienda alentados por la idea de que al mes siguiente iban a venderla por un 20% más) empezó a desinflarse y los precios a estancarse. “Adicionalmente, el Banco Central había subido las tasas de interés y encareció las hipotecas y la gente tuvo menos posibilidad de refinanciar a menores precios”, asegura Camaro.

Empezó así una gran bola especulativa. La gente no pagaba, y si había un retraso en la cartera, los títulos que se habían emitido sobre esos prestamos empezaron a no poder responder. Pero además, como el riesgo se había transferido de tal manera que, por ejemplo, un crédito que valía un dólar lo convirtieron un papel de 4 ó 5 dólares, no se pudo cuantificar exactamente el monto de las pérdidas. “Hasta ahora empezamos a saber cuáles son los castigos en los balances de los bancos, se habla de US$100 billones”, añade el analista.

Con los precios de la vivienda cayendo, con una pérdida de liquidez del sistema financiero y con una tasa de desempleo del 5%, se terminaron de prender las alarmas, que además, coincidieron con el negro panorama mundial de los precios del petróleo, que llegaron a los US$ 100 por barril; eso, sin contar con la alta devaluación del dólar frente a otras monedas.

“Toda esta coincidencia, más el inicio de reporte de utilidades de los bancos que empezó esta semana, es lo que causa la crisis. El mercado está esperando que se reúna la Reserva Federal a finales de mes y recorte las tasas mínimo en 50 puntos básicos, pero podría ser más agresivo. Eso aliviaría un poco la situación de los mercados”, puntualiza Pérez, de Valores Bancolombia.

El gran dominó

Uno de los primeros efectos visibles ante la inminencia de que Estados Unidos decrezca es que los norteamericanos, por el efecto pobreza, se van a mostrar más austeros y van a consumir menos (el 70% del PIB de EE.UU. está sustentado en el consumo). Si eso sucede, consecuentemente el país empezará a importar menos y, teniendo en cuenta que Estados Unidos es uno de los grandes compradores del mundo, “los precios de las materias básicas como el oro, los alimentos y el petróleo van a bajar; las exportaciones van a valer menos y el nivel de las ventas al exterior de los países emergentes decaerá. Es el gran dominó”, explica Juan Carlos Echeverri, de la firma EConcept

Camaro, por su parte, asegura que en la medida en que países como Colombia empiecen a exportar menos hacia su gran socio estratégico, el déficit de la balanza comercial va a ser cada vez más grande, “con un agravante: que este año el Gobierno colombiano va a hacer una importación de tipo militar de US$ 1.600 millones; luego el hueco se va a hacer gigante y, de ser prolongada la crisis, el déficit de la cuenta corriente en la balanza comercial va a hacer que el tipo de cambio explote”.

El efecto de la recesión sobre los mercados bursátiles también se ha dejado sentir con fuerza. Las GLOBAL MELTDOWNbolsas de Tokio, Australia y Singapur han mostrado números en rojo, igual ha pasado con bolsas como las de Perú y Colombia, que registran caídas del 10% en lo corrido del año. “El efecto en el mercado bursátil colombiano es completamente de contagio psicológico”, explica Camila Pérez, “porque los flujos de los mercados extranjeros hacia Colombia son mínimos en la bolsa (menos del 2% de las transacciones diarias), pero la gente se asusta. Los colombianos ven las noticias y salen a vender sus acciones a precios que no deberían”, explica la experta.

“En Colombia tenemos un entorno muy ridículo”, asegura tajantemente Camaro, porque “tenemos acciones cayendo estrepitosamente, la deuda pública desvalorizándose y la plata yéndose quién sabe para dónde, porque a diferencia de Brasil y México, acá nadie está comprando dólares”. Lo que el analista de Stanford ve que se está dando en el país, es una preferencia por liquidez. “Cuando la gente tiene miedo, se dedica a tener la plata en los bolsillos, en las cuentas de ahorros o corrientes, pero la consecuencia de esto es una devaluación del tipo de cambio”, vaticina Camaro.

Mientras se espera que el Banco Central de Estados Unidos baje las tasas de interés, el analista Juan Carlos Echeverri prevé dos efectos. “El primero es que como en Colombia la inflación va para arriba y las tasas han subido, es posible que los capitales extranjeros busquen tasas de interés más altas y en esa medida migren con fuerza hacia el país”. Pero también se puede dar el efecto contrario, que en teoría se conoce como ‘escape hacia la calidad’, “que consiste en que en los momentos de recesión e incertidumbre, los inversionistas mundiales buscan estar en sitios seguros, y los más seguros, paradójicamente, son los bonos del tesoro americano. Eso implicaría que los capitales salen de los países emergentes para posarse en Estados Unidos”.

Blindaje, ¿efectivo?

Ante la inminencia de la crisis, que sin duda tiene la potencia de afectar a todas las economías del mundo, el Gobierno colombiano ha tomado algunas prevenciones, como la colocación que hizo hace algunas semanas de US$ 1.000 millones a través de bonos, con lo que consiguió, sumado a las US$ 300 millones que traía del año pasado, financiar el 50% de sus necesidades externas para 2008. “En la medida en que el Gobierno tenga menos necesidades de financiar su déficit con requerimiento del exterior, va a ser menos vulnerable a las hostiles condiciones externas”, asegura Álvaro Camaro. Adicionalmente, el Gobierno viene sustituyendo la deuda externa por deuda interna, lo que permitirá que “el día que haya una devaluación muy grande su contribución no se dispare de una manera incontrolada”, añade el analista.

Otra de las estrategias es la consecutiva alza en las tasas de interés, que busca tener un efecto de enfriamiento en el loco consumismo en el que ha entrado el país. Sin embargo, y a pesar de todas estas medidas, los analistas consultados hacen un llamado al Gobierno para que equilibre sus cuentas fiscales (todavía el déficit del Gobierno central es de más de tres puntos del PIB) y promueva la libertad de comercio con otros países. Aunque algunos expertos, menos ortodoxos, le sugieran que “aguante el chaparrón y rece, porque todos dependemos de que China no caiga y Venezuela no nos castigue más”.

¿Qué es una recesión?

“Técnicamente, una recesión es una corrección de las decisiones que se tomaron con base en unas expectativas muy altas que no resultaron tan buenas. También se corrigen las pérdidas que trajeron los riesgos que se tomaron con esas falsas expectativas”, explica Juan Carlos Echeverri, analista de EConcept. La recesión también está ligada a las continuas caídas de los indicadores de crecimiento económico y cuando los empresarios y las familias pierden confianza en el país, lo que afecta las inversiones, el gasto y la demanda.

La Bolsa, en picada

Según los analistas, la precipitada caída de la Bolsa en Colombia no sólo está afectada por el difícil panorama internacional. Además del efecto causado por los continuos aumentos de las tasas de interés, otro de los grandes agravantes tiene que ver con la cantidad de acciones que se han comprado a crédito. “Ahora muchos compradores de acciones a crédito ven que no tienen con qué pagar o muertos de pánico están saliendo a vender acciones como las de Ecopetrol a precios ridículos”, señala el analista Álvaro Camaro.

Los nuevos dueños del mundo

La gran crisis económica de Estados Unidos ha despertado un interesante fenómeno. Los pocos países que tienen capital de sobra para prestar, como Arabia Saudita, Corea del Sur, Singapur y Kuwait, “están comprando por la puerta de atrás a las empresas norteamericanas insignias”, dice el experto Álvaro Camaro.

Ante la inminente necesidad de capitalización de las empresas norteamericanas (Citigroup recibió US$ 14.500 millones de varios inversionistas; Merrill Lynch, la mayor casa de corretaje, recibirá US$ 6.600 millones), los países árabes y asiáticos están encontrando un destino muy atractivo para sus recursos. “Lo que vemos es que los ricos orientales terminaron siendo socios capitalistas de las empresas occidentales a mucho pesar de todos. Habrá que ver el impacto en el manejo de la propiedad de las empresas norteamericanas en unos años”, expresa el analista.

Contra la recesión

El ministro de Comercio, Industria y Turismo, Luis Guillermo Plata, hace un diagnóstico sobre las consecuencias de la crisis estadounidense.

¿Cuáles son las estrategias del Gobierno para afrontar la recesión en Estados Unidos?

La primera estrategia se concentra en la oferta exportable, buscando el aumento de exportaciones con mayor valor agregado y el aprovechamiento del acceso preferencial que se logra con los acuerdos comerciales (se espera culminar las negociaciones de Canadá y EFTA y lograr una implementación de los TLC con Chile y el Triángulo Norte Centroamericano). La segunda estrategia busca el desarrollo de sectores muy dinámicos en los mercados internacionales.

¿Las crisis afectarán la meta de crecimiento del 5% para este año?

Justamente las estimaciones están recogiendo el menor crecimiento de economías como Estados Unidos y el menor crecimiento de las exportaciones a Venezuela. Sin embargo, no podemos predecir de qué tamaño sean las coyunturas que se registran en el mundo, pero sobre el terreno el Gobierno Nacional irá aplicando los correctivos necesarios.

¿Qué estrategia deben seguir los exportadores para enfrentar la coyuntura?

Es un tanto irreal pensar que se debe reorientar el 50% de nuestras exportaciones. De hecho, sería una tarea imposible de lograr en un corto plazo. En el caso de Estados Unidos se prevé una reducción de la tasa de crecimiento en este año, y no un cierre del mercado; por lo tanto, es posible que se reduzca temporalmente la demanda de algunos productos y que ella se recupere posteriormente.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘EL ESPECTADOR’ (Colombia)

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UN GIGANTE EN RECESIÓN (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

15 de Noviembre del 2008

Hedelberto López Blanch

Mientras los servicios, las finanzas y el consumo sufrían enormes dificultades en Estados Unidos a lo Oh no !!!largo de los últimos meses, los discursos oficiales como los del presidente George W. Bush aseguraban que no existían problemas porque la economía del país era muy fuerte y podría resistir cualquier embate

“No se puede tapar el sol con un dedo”, este viejo adagio refleja perfectamente la situación que atraviesa Estados Unidos pese a que sus principales figuras políticas y económicas no quieran reconocerlo.

Mientras los servicios, las finanzas y el consumo sufrían enormes dificultades a lo largo de los últimos meses, los discursos oficiales como los del presidente George W. Bush aseguraban que no existían problemas porque la economía del país era muy fuerte y podría resistir cualquier embate.

El primer reconocimiento de que las cosas no marchan lo realizó recientemente el presidente de la Reserva Federal (FED) o Banco Central de Atlanta, Dennis Lockhart, quien manifestó que “la economía entró realmente en recesión”.

Las declaraciones de Lockhart fueron hechas en un discurso pronunciado en una conferencia ante empresarios en Palm Beach, Florida, horas después de la publicación de la tasa de desempleo, que alcanzó 6, 5 % en octubre, nivel no registrado desde marzo de 1994.

El funcionario señaló que la primera estimación oficial indica que el Producto Interno Bruto (PIB) retrocedió 0, 3 % en el tercer trimestre de 2008 en relación con el anterior y que los datos de octubre sugieren un descenso más fuerte para el cuarto trimestre. La recesión se define tradicionalmente cuando en dos trimestres consecutivos se produce un retroceso del PIB.

“La economía estadounidense se debilitó dramáticamente y las perspectivas a corto plazo no son alentadoras. Los factores de esa contracción provienen de los gastos de consumo, de las inversiones de las empresas, de la producción industrial y de la demanda externa de productos estadounidenses que cayeron fuertemente”, subrayó el también integrante del Comité de política monetaria de la FED estadounidense.

Son muchos y disímiles los enredos que padece Washington desde la llegada en 2001 de Bush y su equipo a la Casa Blanca.

Aunque heredó de su antecesor William Clinton un superávit presupuestal de 128 000 millones de dólares, el déficit alcanza al cierre fiscal del 30 de septiembre pasado, 483 000 millones de dólares, según la Oficina de Presupuesto del Congreso (CBO).

La cuenta corriente de la balanza de pago que contabiliza los intercambios de mercancías y servicios con el exterior alcanzó en 2007 un déficit superior a 750 000 millones de dólares, o sea, 5, 6 % de su PIB.

La deuda nacional se ha incrementado en los últimos ocho años, en más de 65 % hasta casi 9 billones de dólares, sin agregar las deudas de las gigantes hipotecarias financieras Freddie Mac y Fannie Mae.

La deuda total (pública, empresarial y personal) llegó este año a los 48 billones de dólares, 3, 4 veces el PBI norteamericano que es alrededor de los 14 billones.

En sentido general, los indicadores son negativos como la inflación anual que cifra el 6 %, su mayor nivel en 17 años. El desempleo se disparó oficialmente a 6, 5 % que afectan a unas 10 millones de personas, de las cuales 2, 2 millones perdieron sus trabajos en el último año.

Las automotrices General Motors, Ford y Chrysler anunciaron que cesarán a más de 6 000 A rusty and old Chevrolettrabajadores, la farmacéutica Merck dijo que eliminará 7 200 empleos, 12 % de su nómina. Yahoo informó un recorte de por lo menos 10 % de sus trabajadores y Xerox, unos 3 000 y la mensajera DHL a otros 3 000, junto con una larga fila de empresas que están haciendo lo mismo.

Asimismo, el Instituto de Políticas Económicas (EPI) calcula que el subempleo llegó a 17, 1 millones de trabajadores, un incremento de 21 % desde el inicio del año. Además, unos 2 billones de dólares en fondos para pensiones de jubilados se perdieron en el último año y medio.

Con las quiebras de las inmobiliarias solo en el tercer trimestre de 2008 se efectuaron 765 568 juicios hipotecarios donde familias completas pierden sus hogares, un 71 % comparado con el mismo periodo de 2007. Desde la crisis hipotecaria, 3 600 000 personas han sido desalojadas de sus casas.

En una espiral demoledora, continúan cayendo los precios de las viviendas, los bancos reportan pérdidas récord pese a los rescates financieros gubernamentales y se han reportado 800 000 casos de bancarrota en compañías y negocios individuales.

Para el premio Nobel de Economía Joseph Stiglitz, los rescates contribuyen a los déficit crecientes a corto plazo, y a incentivos perversos a largo plazo. Los directores generales, inversionistas y prestamistas se marchan con sus millones, mientras que se pide a los contribuyentes norteamericanos pagar la factura.

Al señalar que el presidente de Freddie Mac, Richard Syron, ganó 14, 5 millones de dólares en 2007 y el director general de Fannie Mae, Daniel Mudd, obtuvo 14,2 millones ese mismo año, Stiglitz puntualizó que “estamos presenciando una nueva forma de sociedad entre la inversión privada y el estado, en la cual el público soporta sobre sus espaldas todo el riesgo, y el sector privado se lleva toda la ganancia”.

Los vientos huracanados continúan soplando sobre Estados Unidos. Tras alcanzar la crisis a compañías de la aeronáutica como Continental Airlines, American Airlines y United Airlines, ahora el turno le ha tocado a las compañías automotrices.

Los gigantes General Motors y Ford reportaron pérdidas de 4, 200 millones y 2, 980 millones de dólares respectivamente durante el tercer trimestre de 2008.

GM dijo que eliminará la mayoría de su personal de oficina y reducirá el gasto en 2. 500 millones en 2009, mientras Ford recortará en 10 % los salarios en Estados Unidos.

La GM, Ford y Chrysler, antes conocidos como “los tres grandes” pidieron al sector un paquete de medidas de rescate para enfrentar los problemas de liquidez y continuar sus operaciones en una “situación económica difícil”.

En definitiva, las malas noticias sobre la economía brotan por doquier en Estados Unidos y ya sus directivos no pueden negar la indeseable recesión.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘OPCIONES’ (Cuba)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INFLATION, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, TRADE DEFICIT - USA, USA | Leave a Comment »

NUEVAS DENUNCIAS EN BOLIVIA CONTRA AGENCIA ESTADOUNIDENSE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

15/11/2008

Mario Hubert Garrido

La Paz, 15 nov (PL) El gobierno boliviano reiteró acusaciones contra la Agencia Central de Inteligencia (CIA) de Estados Unidos y afirmó que su presencia está prohibida en el país, destacan hoy medios periodísticos.

Supera Bolivia los 800 mil alfabetizados

Los principales rotativos impresos, entre ellos La Razón, La Prensa y El Diario, reflejan declaraciones del viceministro de coordinación con los movimientos sociales, Sacha Llorenti, quien aseveró la víspera que esa postura gubernamental defiende la soberanía nacional.

También el Ejecutivo denunció que otras instituciones como la Agencia de Estados Unidos para la Cooperación Internacional y la agencia antidrogas (DEA) se dedicaban a conspirar contra el proceso de cambios y ordenó el cese de sus operaciones.

En septiembre pasado, por los mismos motivos, el gobierno central declaró persona non grata al embajador estadounidense, Philip Goldberg, lo que es visto por analistas como el peor momento de las relaciones bilaterales.

“No existe ninguna norma que habilite la presencia de esos agentes (CIA) en el territorio nacional y de verificarlo sería un gravísimo atentado a nuestra soberanía”, afirmó Llorenti.

Según el viceministro, el gobierno está investigando la actividad en el país de “agentes externos o de bolivianos que sirvan a agentes externos”.

En ese sentido, remarcó que el Estado boliviano está decidido, y en esto no va a dar un paso atrás, en la dignificación nacional y de sus instituciones.

El pasado 5 de noviembre el Ejecutivo anunció la creación de una unidad de inteligencia para reemplazar a la DEA, que deberá abandonar el país en enero próximo.

jf/ga PL-21

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PUBLISHED BY ‘PRENSA LATINA’ (Cuba)

Posted in BOLIVIA, BOLIVIAN CIVIL STRIFE, HATE MONGERING AND BIGOTRY, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, USA | Leave a Comment »

CRECERÁN FERROCARRILES URBANOS EN CHINA EN 3 MIL KILÓMETROS – Hacia 2015, unos mil 700 km de líneas adicionales de trenes urbanos operarán en 15 ciudades del país asiático

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

12/11/2008 04:31

PL

Las líneas de trenes urbanos de China crecerán en los próximos años en unos tres mil kilómetros en las redes de casi 40 ciudades de todo el país, de acuerdo con un estudio difundido hoy.

El Centro de Investigaciones del Desarrollo del Consejo de Estado (gabinete) analizó los sistemas de metro y ferrocarriles suburbanos que están en ejecución o en fase de proyecto, y los consideró como una obra a escalas sin precedentes.

Dicho estudio concluyó que el conjunto de todos los proyectos tendrá un costo de alrededor de 88 mil millones de dólares, aunque esta cifra podría elevarse en el futuro por el incremento de los costos.

Hacia 2015, unos mil 700 kilómetros de líneas adicionales de trenes urbanos estarán operativos en 15 ciudades chinas, en tanto otras esperan la luz verde del gobierno central para iniciar las obras.

Algunos especialistas vaticinan un precio mayor de estos proyectos durante la próxima década.

Ya en la actualidad un kilómetro del metro en Beijing tiene un costo de 120 millones de dólares, en comparación con 15 millones de dólares años atrás.

En la medida en que los costos suben en espiral se hace más urgente que las ciudades de más de cuatro millones de habitantes emprendan la construcción de metros o trenes ligeros a la mayor brevedad, dijo una fuente del Ministerio de Vivienda y Desarrollo Urbano y Rural.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘TRABAJADORES’ (Cuba)

Posted in CHINA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INTERNATIONAL, RAILWAY TRANSPORT, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, TRANSPORT INDUSTRIES | Leave a Comment »

ZAFRA CAFETALERA MANTIENE UN RITMO POSITIVO EN LA PROVINCIA DE HOLGUÍN (Cuba)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Jueves, 13 de noviembre de 2008

por Yanela Ruiz

La zafra cafetalera en la provincia mantiene un ritmo positivo, a pesar del déficit de fuerza de trabajo, ocasionado por la desmovilización de unos 2 mil estudiantes, a causa de la amenaza del huracán Paloma.

“Los municipios más afectados fueron Mayarí y Sagua de Tánamo. No obstante la respuesta positiva que dieron las fuerzas internas, se necesita del importante aporte de los educandos en la recogida del aromático grano.

Para suplir esta insuficiencia, se reinicia, en las próximas horas, la subida de estudiantes a las montañas. Ya hoy se deben incorporar dos escuelas”, informó Raciel Aguilera, subdelegado de Café y Forestal.

Puntualizó que se trabaja en la recolección del café Arábigo, que ya termina la cosecha, pero no se cumple el rendimiento planificado. De 205 mil 735 latas sólo se recogieron 184 mil 798.

Sin embargo, con la variedad Robusta, que ya comienza su producción, se mantienen las expectativas, lo cual permitiría llegar al plan. De un estimado de 242 mil 824, ya se han recogido unas 194 mil 239 latas, subrayó.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘AHORA’ (Cuba)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, COFFEE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CUBA, ECONOMY, INTERNATIONAL | Leave a Comment »

REFLEXIONES DEL COMPAÑERO FIDEL – LA REUNIÓN DE WASHINGTON (Cuba)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Sábado 15 Noviembre 2008

Fidel Castro Ruz

Noviembre 14 de 2008

5 y 35 p.m.

Algunos de los gobiernos que nos apoyan, a juzgar por declaraciones recientes, no dejan de incluir en FIDEL CASTRO BY PEPITO JUNIOR CARLOSlas mismas que lo hacen para facilitar la transición en Cuba. ¿Transición hacia dónde? Hacia el capitalismo, único sistema en el que religiosamente creen. Ni una sola palabra expresan para reconocer el mérito de un pueblo que, sometido a casi medio siglo de crueles sanciones económicas y agresiones, defendió una causa revolucionaria que, unida a su moral y patriotismo, le dio fuerzas para resistir.

También olvidan que, después de las vidas ofrendadas y tanto sacrificio defendiendo la soberanía y la justicia, no se le puede ofrecer a Cuba en la otra orilla el capitalismo.

Le hacen guiños a Estados Unidos, soñando que los ayudará a resolver sus propios problemas económicos inyectándoles sumas fabulosas de monedas de papel a sus tambaleantes economías, que sostienen el intercambio desigual y abusivo con los países emergentes.

Sólo de esta forma pueden garantizarse las ganancias multimillonarias de Wall Street y los bancos de Estados Unidos. Los recursos naturales no renovables del planeta y la ecología ni siquiera se mencionan. No se demanda el cese de la carrera armamentista y la prohibición del uso posible y probable de armas de exterminio masivo.

Ninguno de los que participarán en la reunión, convocada precipitadamente por el actual Presidente de Estados Unidos, ha dicho una palabra sobre la ausencia de más de 150 Estados con iguales o peores problemas, que no tendrán derecho a decir una palabra sobre el orden financiero internacional, como propuso el Presidente pro tempore de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas, Miguel D’Escoto, entre ellos la mayor parte de los países de América Latina, el Caribe, África, Asia y Oceanía.

Mañana se inicia la reunión del G-20 en Washington. Bush está de plácemes. Proclama que de la reunión espera un nuevo orden financiero internacional. Las instituciones creadas por Bretton Woods deben ser más transparentes, responsables y efectivas. Es lo único que admitiría. Para señalar la prosperidad de Cuba en el pasado, habló de que una vez estuvo sembrada de campos de caña de azúcar. No dijo, por cierto, que se cortaba a mano y el imperio nos arrebató la cuota establecida durante más de medio siglo, cuando la palabra socialismo no se había pronunciado todavía en nuestro país, aunque sí las de ¡Patria o Muerte!

Muchos sueñan que, con un simple cambio de mando en la jefatura del imperio, este sería más tolerante y menos belicoso. El desprecio por su actual gobernante conduce a ilusiones del probable cambio del sistema.

No se conoce todavía el pensamiento más íntimo del ciudadano que tomará el timón sobre el tema. Sería sumamente ingenuo creer que las buenas intenciones de una persona inteligente podrían cambiar lo que siglos de intereses y egoísmo han creado. La historia humana demuestra otra cosa.

Observemos con atención lo que dice cada cual en esa importante reunión financiera. Las noticias lloverán. Estaremos todos un poco mejor informados.


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Posted in AFRICA, ASIA, CENTRAL AMERICA, CUBA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, G20, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LATIN AMERICA, OCEANIA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

ERICSSON REPORTA FUERTES RESULTADOS FINANCIEROS EN TERCER TRIMESTRE DEL 2008 – Ericsson, compañía líder mundial en telecomunicaciones, dio a conocer este 20 de octubre, lo que se considera un positivo y fuerte reporte de ingresos en su tercer trimestre del año.

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Año 2008 Edición 625 del 3 al 7/11/08 Centroamérica, 11/15/2008

Ericsson registró ventas en el tercer trimestre por aproximadamente US $6.6 billones y un acumulado durante los primeros nueves meses del 2008 de US $19.17 billones. Las acciones de Ericsson subieron en un 17% a primera hora de este lunes.

“Durante el trimestre, las ventas crecieron un 13% con un fuerte desarrollo en todas las regiones excepto en Europa Occidental”, afirmó Carl-Henric Svanberg, Presidente de Ericsson.

“Nuestro negocio no ha sido impactado por la situación financiera mundial. En general, nuestros clientes son económicamente fuertes. Además, las redes están cargadas y el tráfico muestra un fuerte crecimiento. Sin embargo, en el actual panorama mundial es difícil predecir cómo actuarán los operadores y en qué grado el gasto de los consumidores de telecomunicaciones podría verse afectado”, agregó Svanberg.

Las ventas en América Latina aumentaron un 43% año sobre año y un 31% en este año. El desarrollo fue particularmente fuerte en Brasil, liderando actualmente la expansión de banda ancha móvil en la región. América Central y México también contribuyeron en este crecimiento positivo.

Ericsson es el proveedor líder a nivel mundial en tecnología y servicios dirigidos a operadores de telecomunicaciones. Siendo el líder de mercado en tecnologías móviles de 2G y 3G, Ericsson ofrece servicios de comunicación y maneja redes que dan servicio a más de 195 millones de abonados. El portafolio de la compañía incluye redes de infraestructura móvil y fija, así como soluciones multimedia y de banda ancha para operadores, compañías y desarrolladores. La empresa conjunta Sony Ericsson ofrece a sus clientes aparatos móviles de gran riqueza en aplicaciones y contenidos.

Ericsson está llevando adelante su visión de “comunicación para todos” por medio de la innovación, la tecnología y soluciones comerciales sostenibles. Con sedes en 175 países, más de 70.000 empleados generaron ingresos por USD 27.9 billones (SEK 188 billones) en el 2007. Fundada en 1876, y con sus oficinas centrales en Estocolmo, Suecia, Ericsson está en la lista de las bolsas de valores de Estocolmo y NASDAQ.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘MONEDA’ (Guatemala)

Posted in COMMUNICATION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009 | Leave a Comment »

ESTUDIO DE VISA REVELA QUE EL E-COMMERCE EN GUATEMALA ALCANZÓ LOS US$ 58 MILLONES

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Año 2008 Edición 625 del 3 al 7/11/08 Centroamérica, 11/15/2008

La bancarización, el aumento de banda ancha y el dinamismo de la oferta son las áreas de oportunidad para fortalecer el comercio electrónico en la región. De acuerdo al estudio de comercio electrónico de empresas a consumidores (B2C) presentado por Visa y desarrollado por AmericaEconomia Intelligence el comercio electrónico en Guatemala alcanzó los US$ 58 millones en 2007. Este incremento se debió, en gran medida, a un sostenido crecimiento económico, avances en la tecnología, aumento en la penetración de las tarjetas de crédito y cambios positivos en el comportamiento del consumidor.

“La oportunidad de crecimiento del canal de Comercio Electrónico en Guatemala radica principalmente en que los comercios cuenten con una mayor oferta en línea, en que se habiliten los productos de débito para realizar pagos en línea y en que logremos convertir a más usuarios de Internet en e-Compradores,” señaló Jurgen Wassmann, director ejecutivo de Comercio Electrónico y Nuevos Canales de Visa América Latina y el Caribe.

El estudio confirmó que las tarjetas de crédito desempeñan un papel central en la expansión del canal de e-Commerce ya que más del 70 por ciento de los consumidores encuestados en América Latina prefieren esta forma de pago al momento de comprar en línea.

El objetivo de la investigación es mostrar la situación actual y las tendencias del e-Commerce en América Latina. Adicionalmente, presenta el primer índice “e-Readiness B2C”, que compara la capacidad, preparación y madurez de las economías de la región para desarrollar la demanda por el comercio electrónico. En este sentido, el indicador e-Readiness de Guatemala se ubicó en 21.2 puntos en 2007. De acuerdo al estudio, el indicador refleja el rezago en las variables de acceso a Internet y banda ancha así como en el nivel de ingresos y el proceso de bancarización.

El estudio destaca que el 9.4 por ciento de los guatemaltecos tiene una computadora, 13.3 por ciento son internautas y solamente 0.33 por ciento de la población tiene acceso a banda ancha. Este último elemento es vital para fomentar el crecimiento del comercio electrónico. En la medida que haya más conexiones de banda ancha y mientras mejor sea la calidad de esa conexión, habrá más internautas dispuestos a realizar compras en línea.

La penetración de tarjetas de crédito en Guatemala alcanzó al 9.9 por ciento de la población, distante de la media regional de 17.2 por ciento.

Las tarjetas de crédito son el medio de pago preferido en estas transacciones ya que representan el 72 por ciento del total de los pagos en línea. Mientras más internautas posean una tarjeta de crédito, más usuarios estarán en capacidad de comprar por Internet.

El estudio recalca que el 3.3 por ciento de la población guatemalteca compra por Internet, distantes de los mejores casos en la región donde los e-Consumidores superan el 12% de la población.

Estas cifras demuestran las importantes oportunidades para Guatemala y Centro América en general para potenciar el canal de comercio electrónico como un canal de compras conveniente y seguro.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘MONEDA’ (Guatemala)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, E-COMMERCE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL MARKETS, GUATEMALA, INTERNATIONAL | Leave a Comment »

ERNST JANOVSKY SEES LIGHT FOR AGRICULTURE ON LONG TERM

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Tuesday 28th of October 2008

NAMIBIA PLUS

The well known economist, Mr Ernst Janovsky was the guest speaker at the recent LPO congress and Ernst Janovskyspoke about the challenges of new economic realities for sustainable production. Mr Janovsky said that agriculture on long term will experience an approximate 3% cost curve per annum where the prices of farming requirements will increase faster than producer prices. The outlook for the 2008/2009 season is a cost curve of more than 30%. This means that producers will have to get 30% more productive and savings on overhead costs should be the first saving actions (improvement of production effectiveness / value adding) as no savings should be done on input costs (quality of product).

Mr Janovsky predicts that agriculture will enter a new phase which might get much bigger than colonialism and industrialism. The net effect thereof will be that production volumes will continue to increase and thus will improve the survival potential of agriculture in general. Global warming and the demand for food and energy will drive world agriculture commodity prices further over the medium term.

Due to the problems in the American financial mar-kets, the world economy decreased whilst the South African performance also weakened due to rising interest rates. In general pressure was put on agri-cultural commodity prices which was caused by a further decrease in consu-mers demand due to the delay in the economy. In order to make debt with bank accounts, producers need political stability / good fiscal policy where concessions are made with the aim to get investments. The importance of markets and market forces were emphasized and that nothing is bigger than market forces. Markets have tendencies to always correct themselves.

Summarising, Mr Janovsky expects that agriculture will be under pressure for the next few years due to high input costs. However, on the long term and with the food shortages world-wide, it seems to be the right time to invest in agriculture and more specifically in agriculture in Africa.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘NAMIBIA PLUS’

Posted in AFRICA, AGRICULTURE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INTERNATIONAL, MACROECONOMY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

FBI ESTÁ A DAR APOIO À ÁFRICA DO SUL NA LUTA CONTRA O CRIME

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Sábado, 15 de Novembro de 2008

Pretória (Canal de Moçambique) – O Federal Bureau od Investigation (FBI) está a dar apoio à polícia sul-africana para combater o crime com mais eficácia, revelou quarta-feira na Cidade do Cabo o embaixador norte-americano na África do Sul Eric Bost, citado pela LUSA.

O representante diplomático de Washington referiu que a nova era de cooperação entre as polícias dos dois países se iniciou com a recente visita do presidente do Congresso Nacional Africano (ANC), Jacob Zuma, aos EUA. Zuma teve encontros de trabalho com o Conselho de Relações Exteriores, em Washington DC, membros do governo e organizações diversas, durante os quais teria discutido a urgência de reduzir os níveis de criminalidade violenta no seu país, tendo a administração americana disponibilizado treino, equipamento e recursos para o efeito.

O embaixador Eric Bost salientou, refere a LUSA num despacho de Cape Town, que a criminalidade representa um enorme perigo para o futuro da África do Sul, particularmente quando se aproxima um Mundial de futebol, uma vez que prejudica várias indústrias, como o turismo e muitas outras. Bost O embaixador Eric Bostrevelou que o seu governo fez oferta semelhante ao ex-ministro da Segurança, Charles Nqakula (que serviu na administração do ex-presidente Thabo Mbeki), salientando que o treino de forças policiais e todas as suas necessidades não custariam um cêntimo ao país, mas que o governante nunca aceitou a oferta. O embaixador americano revelou também e estamos a LUSA, que o FBI já começou a treinar polícias sul-africanos nas áreas do combate ao terrorismo, lavagem de dinheiro e delitos financeiros, em preparação para o Mundial FIFA 2010.

“Os Estados Unidos vêem a África do Sul como um importante parceiro estratégico e o presidente do ANC tem a mesma perspectiva”, acrescentou Bost. Quarta-feira no parlamento sul-africano, na Cidade do Cabo, o recém-empossado ministro da Segurança, Nathi Mthethwa, reafirmou a disposição do novo executivo, liderado pelo presidente Kgalema Motlanthe, em combater energicamente e com novas estratégias a criminalidade. Admitindo que os sul-africanos e os agentes de segurança vivem num “campo da morte”, Mthethwa disse que o governo tem a obrigação de lidar de frente com o problema, reforçar e rearmar as forças policiais e “combater o fogo com o fogo”. Os serviços de polícia têm uma nova abordagem relativamente à criminalidade desde a remodelação governamental que provocou a demissão do presidente Mbeki, que passa, entre outras vertentes, pela cooperação com agências privadas, melhor formação profissional, colaboração com polícias europeias e o FBI e melhoria geral da eficácia das unidades no terreno. Confrontado com

uma situação em que mais de 18 mil pessoas são assassinadas por ano e as reduções dos níveis de criminalidade são, desde 1994, pequenas e a um ritmo lento, o ex-ministro Nqakula sempre optou pela negação da realidade e pelo confronto com a oposição e todos aqueles que, na sociedade, se manifestaram contra as suas políticas.

Há dois anos o antigo ministro provocou uma onda de indignação ao afirmar no Parlamento, em resposta a uma questão da oposição, “estar farto de ouvir os brancos choramingarem contra o crime” e aconselhando os que não estão satisfeitos “a emigrarem”. O novo ministro anunciou também a sua disposição de “remover rapidamente” do seu posto o suspenso comissário nacional dos serviços de polícia, Jackie Selebi, um aliado do ex-presidente Mbeki, que está a aguardar julgamento por corrupção e ligação a figuras do mundo do crime.

(Rdacção / LUSA)

2008-11-14 04:53:00

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CANAL DE MOÇAMBIQUE’

Posted in CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, SOUTH AFRICA, USA | Leave a Comment »

DURANTE O PRIMEIRO SEMESTRE DO CORRENTE ANO INVESTIMENTOS NO TURISMO ATINGIRAM 168 MILHÕES DE USD – Apesar do “ligeiro aumento” nos investimentos verificados no sector, os operadores consideram que tais deixaram a desejar, tendo em conta as reais potencialidades que o país tem para atrair mais investimentos, dizem os agentes económicos – Governo dúvida do que está a fazer para levar avante o turismo na óptica dos operadores e das comunidades locais “Polícias de Trânsito e Municipais de Maputo, Matola e Xai-Xai, são os principais empecilhos ao desenvolvimento do turismo no sul do país” – acusa José da Cunha, da Associação do Turismo em Inhambane (Moçambique)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

2008-11-14 05:09:00

por Bernardo Álvaro

Maputo (Canal de Moçambique) – Os investimentos no sector do turismo em Moçambique, totalizaram durante o primeiro semestre do presente ano, os cerca de 168 milhões de dólares norte-americanos, mercê do registo de um ligeiro aumento em cerca de 5 por cento de chegadas de turistas internacionais, segundo dados da «Terconsult», uma empresa nacional de consultoria.

De acordo com Rui Monteiro, da Terconsult, o consumo médio a nível nacional por pessoa, tem-se situado em 130 dólares numa estadia média de 1,7 dias (um dia e sete horas), o que é irrisório. Por isso entende que devia-se aumentar a receita média para 305 dólares por pessoa.

Apesar da ligeira subida, alguns operadores do ramo, consideram que os investimentos neste sector estão longe do que seria de desejar, se tivermos em conta as potencialidades turísticas que o país tem para atrair mais investimentos, mas que não tem conseguido devido a vários constrangimentos e alguma falta de capacidade por parte do Governo, através do sector de tutela para chamar mais investidores, bem como os próprios turistas.

Quando aproveitado, a turismo segundo Monteiro seria um instrumento chave para o tal almejado alivio (não combate como se costuma dizer por aí) da pobreza absoluta e da promoção socioeconómica, uma vez que “cruza muitas das necessidades primárias” da população.

Como o turismo instiga a procura de produtos locais, o responsável da «Terconsult», entende que tal poderia contribuir para a propagação do emprego, bem como a criação de uma cultura de turismo doméstico como estratégia de aumentar o rendimento integral.

Considera-se que em Moçambique, os preços dos transportes aéreos que deveriam ser catalizadores do turismo, são ainda proibitivos, sendo que, fraca é também a divulgação da gastronomia nacional, do património histórico-cultural e a locação de serviços complementares nos locais turísticos como o desporto, por parte do Governo ou seja o ministério de tutela, segundo observou Rui Monteiro. Outrossim há falta no país de restaurantes com comida típica da região austral de África onde estamos localizados.

Para Rui Monteiro, pequenos projectos de turismo bem planificados e organizados, poderiam melhorar a governação local, os recursos naturais, a conservação da biodiversidade e outros objectivos importantes para o desenvolvimento.

“Na verdade quando operamos legitimamente, somos penalizados pelo permanente escrutínio que é imposto e as inúmeras inspecções, ao invés de uma inspecção única que seria benéfico para a classe empresarial”, lamenta Monteiro.

Aliás, até o próprio Governo reconhece as suas fraquezas no desenvolvimento do turismo no país, a avaliar pelas dúvidas que a vice-ministra da Agricultura de Moçambique, Catarina Pajume, levanta quando considera que o Ministério do Turismo deveria garantir que os produtos consumidos nas estancias turísticas sejam sobretudo nacionais.

“O Ministério do Turismo devia garantir que os produtos consumidos nas instâncias turísticas são sobretudo nacionais. Não sabemos se faz isso ou não, porque o que assistimos é que muitos estrangeiros entram no país com produtos estrangeiros para consumirem aqui no nosso país”, afirmou Pajume, acrescentando que também cabe ao Ministério das Obras Públicas e Habitação garantir infra-estruturas como estradas por exemplo, para o melhor acesso as zonas turísticas, bem como para o escoamento de produtos, o que parece não vem acontecendo com alguma eficiência.

Mas também o fornecimento da industria agrícola, que seria um dos principais sectores de suporte na operação da indústria hoteleira em Moçambique, “actualmente é de fraca qualidade, inconstante e inadequado aos volumes requeridos”.

Por isso Monteiro propõe a necessidade de capacitar a industria agrícola para as actuais exigências do turismo por forma a que se possa começar por consumir produtos nacionais nas estâncias turísticas e noutros serviços conexos.

Entretanto José da Cunha, da Associação do Turismo de Inhambane, considera que nas cidades de Maputo, Matola e Xai-Xai, os grandes obstáculos ao desenvolvimento do turismo um pouco por toda a região sul do país, são os agentes das Polícias de Transito e Municipais das três cidades que se constituem corredores de passagem de turistas. Isso devido à sua “ desonrosa actuação”, para com os turistas quando vão com destino aos locais turísticos, quer para lazer, como para explorar oportunidades de investimentos.

Segundo Da Cunha, os turistas sempre que passam da Matola, ou chegam a Maputo como ponto para alcançarem outras regiões ou zonas turísticas como Inhambane, uma das províncias da região sul com mais potencialidades, correm sérios riscos. Os Polícias em referências tudo fazem para intimidar, extorquir, revistar e pedir subornos, através de várias artimanhas. Envergonham o País e fazem com que se passe para o exterior uma imagem péssima das instituições. Fazem autênticas emboscadas aos turistas para lhes extorquirem dinheiro e valores. Uma vergonha que o ministro do Turismo conhece, os governadores provinciais conhecem, os comandantes das corporações de polícia conhecem, os chefes de esquadras conhecem, os comandantes das brigadas de trânsito conhecem, há anos, mas se têm revelado incapazes de por termo a tais práticas desonrosas.

Em 2007, as chegadas internacionais a Moçambique atingiram cerca de 1.100.000 (um milhão e cem mil), dos quais 650 mil foram chegadas turísticas, resultando em receitas provenientes do turismo internacional, que totalizaram 163,4 milhões de dólares norte-americanos.

Moçambique tem uma área de conservação de 252.535,4 Km2 (duzentos e cinquenta e dois mil, quinhentos e trinta e cinco) quilómetros quadrados, o equivalente a 31,6 por cento da superfície total do país em território nacional.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CANAL DE MOÇAMBIQUE’

Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INTERNATIONAL, MOZAMBIQUE, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, TOURISM INDUSTRIES | Leave a Comment »

BUSINESS SECTOR GEARS UP FOR DIVERSITY AWARDS (Malawi)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

11:15:27 – 14 November 2008

by Kandani Ngwira

Local companies, institutions, and business trend setters are expected to reap results when Incmedia honours top performers in the socio-economic sector at a Diversity Leader Gala Awards ceremony on November 28, at Sunbird Mt Soche Hotel.

Incmedia Executive Director, Denis Mitole said this year about 15-20 individuals and institutions that have made a huge impact in the socio-economic sector would walk away with the Diversity Leader 2008 awards.

“Through Diversity Leader, we have been inspired by those that have excelled in their sectors, contributed immeasurably to the country’s growth, economically and socially, we have seen the rise of revolutionaries that have taught us that we can achieve anything and we want to recognise them.

“The function has also proved to be a perfect platform for institutional heads, government, business and non-governmental organizations to exchange business cards and to open up further avenues for networking,” he said.

Mitole said preparations for the gala have been finalised and that they are expecting not less than 350 guests to attend the function.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY TIMES’ (Malawi)

Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INTERNATIONAL, MALAWI | Leave a Comment »

MALAWI IDENTIFIES NEW EXPORT MARKET

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

11:12:34 – 14 November 2008

by Caroline Kandiero

Government has secured an outright order of 15,000 metric tons of red beans to export to Cuba as RED BEANSsoon as possible.

Minister of Industry and Trade Henry Mussa said this on Wednesday on his arrival from the country’s 26th International Trade Fair which was held in Havana.

According to Mussa, the hurricanes that were experienced in Cuba destroyed nearly one third of the crops in the country.

“We have been given an outright deal to export to Cuba about 15,000 metric tons of red beans, which is translated to nearly US$12million (K1.9bn),” said Mussa, adding that there is a big export market in Cuba.

He further said apart from the beans export, there was also an agreement that Cuba would assist Malawi with expertise and knowledge to process fruits to improve shelf life after harvest.

Mussa therefore urged all beans farmers to come forward so that government can arrange logistics for the exportation of the beans especially on transportation.

The Minister also said that Cuban government has also offered technical support on the Shire Zambezi water corridor, and the technicians are expected in the country next year.

Principal Secretary in the trade ministry Nebert Nyirenda said Malawi has the capacity to export the beans at the same time have surplus.

“Beans are early maturing and we are not going to export the whole lot at once. We will be exporting in tranches and that will give us room to plant more,” he said.

According to Nyirenda, experts from Cuba are expected in the country to select a variety of their choice.

As a country, Malawi showcased several agricultural commodities which included groundnuts, tea, and coffee among others.

Statistics from the Ministry indicate that the country produces about 34,000 metric tonnes of beans annually.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY TIMES’ (Malawi)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, BEANS, COFFEE, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CUBA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, GROUNDNUTS, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MALAWI, TEA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

LIBYA, EU LAUNCH LANDMARK NEGOTIATIONS – Elobeidi: Tripoli will Contribute to a Partnership as Much as EU can be Useful to Libya – Negotiations started in Brussels on Thursday on the EU-Libya Framework Agreement

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

15/11/2008 – 15:34:00

LIBYA, EU LAUNCH LANDMARK NEGOTIATIONS – Elobeidi: Tripoli will Contribute to a Partnership as Photo - EU Commissioner for External Relations Benito Ferrero-Waldner, right, addresses the media together with Libya's Secretary for European Affairs Abdulati Elobeidi at the EU Commission in Brussels, Thursday Nov. 13, 2008. Ferrero-Waldner launched negotiations for a Framework Agreement between the EU and Libya to strengthen the political, economic, commercial, social and cultural relations between both parties.(AP Photo)Much as EU can be Useful to Libya – Negotiations started in Brussels on Thursday on the EU-Libya Framework Agreement

European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, joined by the EU Presidency, formally launch the negotiations in a meeting with the Libyan representatives led by Abdulati Elobeidi, Secretary for European Affairs, and Mohamed Tahar Siala, Deputy Secretary at the General People Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of Libya.

The future agreement will establish the framework of the relations between the EU and Libya.

Mr. Elobeidi, said Libya would “contribute definitely to an efficient partnership with the EU, as much as the EU on its side can be useful for Libya.

“We are very pleased with this beginning and we are very much aspiring to the future,” he added.

The accord will cover political, social, economic, commercial and cultural relations, between the European bloc and Libya.

“This was a long awaited moment since the 2004 EU’s decision to lift the sanctions against Libya and to start a policy of engagement with this country. I am pleased that we can finally launch these negotiations,” Ms Ferrero-Waldner said.

The future agreement, if concluded in line with the level of ambition currently stated by the parties, will have a high potential for the development of deep cooperation, opening the way to a strong political partnership and to the increase in trade and investments between Libya and the EU.

“Libya is the last south-Mediterranean country with which the EU has no contractual relations and we are keen to establish a clear, long-lasting legal framework in order to strengthen dialogue and cooperation with Libya. The Commission has received from the Council a broad negotiation mandate that proves the EU’s aims at concluding with Libya an agreement as ambitious as Libya is prepared to consent, covering areas such as political dialogue, trade, energy, migrations and environment,” Ferrero-Waldner said.

The Commission’s negotiations mandate was adopted on July 24, 2008 by the Council. The objective is to conclude a broad agreement providing for political dialogue and cooperation on foreign policy and security issues, for a free trade area which is as deep and comprehensive as possible, for cooperation in key areas of common concern such as energy, transport, migration, visa, justice and home affairs, environment and other topics like maritime policy and fisheries, education and public health.

At present, Libya benefits from an EC medical and technical cooperation program in the area of HIV/AIDS for a total allocated amount of €8 million, as part of the EU Action Plan for Benghazi.

In the field of migration the EU and Libya are already cooperating since 2004. Two projects have already been financed under the thematic program “Migration and Asylum” one concerning the control of the borders with Niger and one on assistance to voluntary return of migrants, while a third project should start in early 2009.

The EU statement also said fundamental principles underpinning the agreement would be respect for human rights and democracy, the non proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and commitment to the rules of the market economy.

(agencies)

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OPEC REDUX: RESPONDING TO THE RUSSIAN-IRANIAN GAS CARTEL

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Published: November 14, 2008

Ariel Cohen (Middle East Times) by Ariel Cohen (Middle East Times) (*)

MOSCOW – Steadily and stealthily, a natural gas cartel has emerged over the last seven years. On Ariel Cohen, the usually obnoxious 'scarecrow' with a PhD ...Oct. 21 in Tehran, the Gas Exporting Countries’ Forum (GECF) agreed to form a troika which will direct the future cartel. Russia, Iran, and Qatar announced they will form a yet-unnamed group “to coordinate gas policy.” The troika will meet to coordinate and control close to two-thirds of the world’s gas reserves and a quarter of its gas production.

Russia prefers to coordinate energy policies with Tehran, recognizing that together they control roughly 20 percent of the world’s oil reserves and about half of global gas reserves, offering tremendous geo-economic power.

The United States should create an international coalition of energy consumers to oppose energy cartels. The U.S. Congress should also allow energy exploration in the Arctic, the Rocky Mountains, and along the continental shelves and expand cooperative gas ties with Canada.

Russia’s Global Gas Strategy

In the tight global energy market, Russia clearly appreciates the bargaining power that its energy resources provide, as it attempts to control energy exports from the New Independent States, such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Russia also has strengthened its ties to Iran, Venezuela, Libya, and other energy exporters. Recently, Moscow also launched a “charm offensive” on OPEC.

Russia is playing a sophisticated game to maximize its advantage as the leading gas producer with the largest reserves on the planet as well as the second largest oil exporter.

Russia’s approach was gradualist. Moscow had never openly shown enthusiasm about a gas cartel but waited for an opportunity to launch one. Yet, the cartel reportedly was a brainchild of the Russian prime minister and former president, Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s approach was also stealthy. Instead of announcing the cartel prematurely and spooking consumer countries, it quietly put the component parts into place. Until the Tehran declaration, Russia was able to appear reasonable.

At the Doha meeting in April, members of the GECF agreed to discuss dividing the consumer markets between them, particularly in Europe. Russia and Algeria are already major players there, and Iran may join them in the next decade. This will clearly challenge the European Union’s energy liberalization and gas deregulation policy, which took effect on July 1.

Geopolitical Clout

The troika and GECF members are planning to “reach strategic understandings” on export volumes, schedules of deliveries, and the construction of new pipelines. They plan to explore and develop gas fields and coordinate startups and production schedules. Despite protestations to the contrary, the GECF has all the trappings of a nascent cartel, and the troika includes its founding members. These founders will expand cooperation beyond their relationship through the GECF and drag other gas producers with them.

The new group will provide its three leaders with greater geopolitical advantage. If this new cartel expands, Russia and Iran will gain clout over Eurasian gas suppliers, such as Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

Major gas producers such as Iran, Russia, Qatar, Turkmenistan, Brunei, and Venezuela have one feature in common: a democracy deficit. All three members of the new cartel share this dubious quality. Just like OPEC, the gas cartel will be a force that can be used to challenge and possibly weaken market–based democracies through energy prices and wealth transfer. Such a cartel may cut deals with undemocratic large-scale consumers, such as China, while forcing the West to pay full price.

Coordinated Global Action Needed

The U.S. George W. Bush administration barely reacted to the Tehran and Doha meetings. Officials express concern, but only in private. The European Commission merely stated that it opposed price-fixing cartels in principle.

As the case of OPEC demonstrates, closing markets to competition, promoting national oil companies, and limiting production results in limited supply and higher oil prices. Gas will not be different.

What the U.S. Can Do

The United States should open its vast natural gas resources onshore and offshore to further exploration and production and encourage its neighbors in Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean to do the same.

The next administration should work with the European Union, Japan, China, India, and other countries to prevent the cartelization of the gas sector. This can be accomplished through cooperation with the International Energy Agency, which China and India should be invited to join, and by applying anti-trust legislation worldwide against state-owned companies that are actively involved in cartel-like behavior in energy markets.

Finally, the United States should work closely with those within GECF who oppose Russian-Iranian domination, including Azerbaijan, Canada, the Netherlands, and Norway. The National Security Council and the National Economic Council should take the lead in developing this policy. Unless buyer solidarity is translated into action, energy consumers and economic growth will suffer worldwide.

(*) – Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., is senior research fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.

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Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FUELS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRAN, LYBIA, NATURAL GAS, OPEC, PETROL, QATAR, RUSSIA, THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, VENEZUELA | Leave a Comment »

RIGHTS GROUP ASKS WHY EGYPT’S POLICE ARE GUNNING DOWN MIGRANTS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Published: November 14, 2008

by Joseph Mayton (Middle East Times)

CAIRO – African migrants trying to sneak into Israel from Egypt along the lengthy Sinai border, often THE LUCKY ONES - Sudanese refugees walk to a garden in Jerusalem after illegally crossing the border from Egypt into Israel to seek shelter and safety. (UPI)with little more than the clothes on their backs, are being gunned down by Egyptian police carrying out a new “shoot-to-kill” deterrence policy, a human rights group says in a damning report that also claims Israel may be involved.

The Egyptian government has defended its use of force in the Sinai Peninsula as a critical part of a counter-terror strategy against smuggling.

But Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in its 90-page report titled, “Sinai Perils: Risks to Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Egypt and Israel,” that the migrants who were killed on the 266-kilometer (130-mile) border posed no threat to the border guards who opened fire.

“The Egyptian government should send a clear message to stop shooting the defenseless, harmless and [non-threatening] people on the border,” HRW researcher Bill Van Esveld told journalists at Cairo’s Press Syndicate during the release of the report.

“[But] unfortunately, it does not seem that Egyptian officials here recognize the seriousness of the problem,” he said.

Israel has long told Cairo to do more to inhibit the movement of people across their border. But the rights organization was also critical of the Jewish state, saying that it should not immediately return to Egypt potential asylum-seekers where they could face deportation to nations with well-documented human rights violations.

“Despite the violations of refugee rights on the Egyptian side, Israel had returned many people back into the custody of the Egyptian border police,” Van Esveld said.

Some activists in Israel have started questioning their government’s policy of return, suggesting that as Jews themselves they should consider giving those who are seeking a reprieve from genocide the opportunity to remain.

“Both Egypt and Israel have responded to this cross-border flow with policies that violate fundamental rights,” said the report.

Many Africans in Cairo boast of friends who have succeeded in running the border gauntlet into Israel.

“I have a number of friends who told me of the joy they are having in Israel, where they work and have a life again,” said Somali refugee Ali, who did not want his surname to be published.

But that hope has been dashed for dozens of Africans who have been wounded and sometimes killed by bullets at the border.

One of the reasons Africans seek to go to Israel is to escape the poor conditions they are experiencing in Egypt. Ranging from unemployment, racism and lack of funds, the Africans are distraught and unable to find a niche where they are.

“Many Sudanese said that attitudes among ordinary Egyptians were racist and frequently spilled over into violence,” the report said.

“My choice was to stay in Cairo, go through Libya [to Europe] and maybe die at sea, or go to Israel and die by a bullet. I preferred to die by a bullet,” it quoted an asylum-seeker from Sudan’s Darfur region as saying.

Some 13,000 Africans have made it into the Jewish state since 2006, while 33 people have been killed since June 2007 and scores of others injured along the border, highlighting the ongoing struggle that rights groups have with Cairo and Israel.

Although the report does not go as far as to claim Israel demanded that Egypt begin the “shoot-to-kill” policy that is applied throughout the border area over the past year, HRW does allude to a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2007.

At the meeting, the two leaders discussed new measures designed to deter refugees from seeking to enter Israel via Egypt.

“We are not saying that Israel ordered Egypt to kill people; there is no evidence of that,” explained Van Esveld, “but what we are saying is that it seems that Egypt has responded to Israeli pressures with this policy of lethal force.”

No matter what, the reality on the ground is that Africans continue to be gunned down by Egyptian border police, despite not posing a threat to the well-armed guards. The rights organization has called on both Israel and Egypt to investigate the deaths of Africans and they demand a change in policy that does not infringe upon the rights of migrants.

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Posted in AFRICA, EGYPT, HUMAN RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, ISRAEL, POLICE BRUTALITY, SUDAN, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

INVESTOR LAWSUIT CLOSES KUWAITI BOURSE, GULF MARKETS PUMMELED

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Published: November 14, 2008

by Sana Abdallah (Middle East Times, with agency dispatches)

AMMAN – The global financial crisis continued to pummel the oil-rich Arab Gulf markets this week, Panic-stricken Kuwaiti traders have been demanding a halt to trading for weeks, demonstrating outside the stock market (Kuwait's bourse shown here) and the Kuwaiti parliament, and seeking the emir's intervention - Sipa Press via Newscomprompting an unprecedented and controversial court order that closed down the Kuwaiti bourse after an investor sued government and finance officials for compensation for his heavy losses.

The seven markets of the Gulf states closed on Thursday, the last day of the trading week in most of these countries, with a total loss in excess of $100 billion in share values in just one week, to about $650 billion, or 42 percent down from $1.116 trillion last year.

The administrative court in Kuwait on Thursday morning ordered the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) to shut down until Nov. 17 in an attempt to curb the hemorrhaging of the market, which has seen a $100 billion loss, or 44 percent, since June 24.

The court justified its ruling, the first of its kind in the Gulf, as an intervention on behalf of investors, it said, after the market’s management failed to take measures to boost the declining bourse.

The court said it would convene again on Nov. 17 to continue looking into the case, in reference to a lawsuit filed on behalf of an investor seeking compensation for his heavy losses incurred at the Kuwait market. He filed the lawsuit against the prime minister, the commerce minister, who heads the bourse committee, and the director general of the KSE.

The bourse abided by the verdict and stopped trading as soon as it received the order, drawing cheers from investors gathered on the trading floor, but warnings from the government and lawmakers that shutting down the market was more detrimental to investors.

The unusual verdict came as a relief to panic-stricken traders who have been in recent weeks demanding a halt to trading, demonstrating outside the market and the Kuwaiti parliament, and sought the emir’s intervention.

The government has tried, but failed, to deflect the domino effect of the international financial crunch and curb the meltdown at home.

The central bank injected billions of dollars into banks last month after the near-collapse of the Gulf Bank, Kuwait’s fourth-largest lender. Parliament passed a bill to guarantee deposits at national and foreign banks. The emirate’s Investment Authority, Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund with foreign investments of $300 billion, pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into buying stocks.

The government is still working out a rescue plan, but Kuwait became the first Gulf state to announce it would set up a fund to buy assets from investment firms.

Some Kuwaiti financial analysts said while suspending trade in the KSE was unorthodox, there was no other choice at this point when there are desperate sellers and no one wants to buy shares until they drop far enough.

But some Kuwaiti politicians saw the court order as setting a bad precedent that further weakens confidence in the stock market.

All other Gulf bourses have also taken a strong beating from the international financial fallout, and this week was no exception, owing to panic over the proliferation of the global crisis and ensuing plunge in oil prices.

Although the governments of the world’s other oil-rich nations have announced measures to prop up their respective markets and financial systems, they have not yet found the need for a bailout or to resort to the drastic measure of suspending trade, as in Kuwait.

The Dubai Financial Market dropped to its lowest point in more than four years on Thursday, down 4.9 percent in the day’s trading, and 24.7 percent over the week in its worst losses ever. Its share values fell 56 percent in the past three months, and 64.5 percent on the year.

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange index slumped 16.8 percent over the week, and 45 percent since June.

The financial markets in Qatar, Oman and Bahrain also had their share of heavy losses during the week.

The largest Arab market, Tadawul in Saudi Arabia, closed its week on Wednesday with a 10 percent drop, with its index down 44 percent since June.

Analysts predicted the financial downward spiral in the region will continue as huge losses in the United States, Europe and Asia plunge the world’s economies into recession.

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HELPING HUSSEIN – A Muslim campaigner reflects on the need to defend Barack Obama’s Christianity to American voters

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

October 2008

by Neal Hussein (*)

My name is Neal Hussein, and I have worked for Senator Barack Obama’s campaign for US President. I BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA - IN CAMPAIGN - 2008have had the unique — and at times unsettling — opportunity of being a Muslim named Hussein trying to convince American voters that Barack Hussein Obama is a Christian with no Muslim sympathies.

Obama’s father was born Muslim but later renounced Islam. As the senator chronicled in his first memoir, Obama’s parents separated when he was two, and he was raised by his agnostic mother and his grandparents. Obama’s father was mostly absent from his life; nevertheless, Obama’s association with Islam has persisted because of his middle name, internet-based rumors and the several years he spent living in Indonesia as a child.

Twenty-four hour news stations exploded with the ‘breaking news’ last fall: “As a child, Barack Obama attended a madrasa!” After several days of talking heads discussing the story at length, a reporter finally sent back footage of the school in session. The students wore western uniforms in integrated classes. American late-night comedy shows had fun, showing the hysteria of the cable news channels, followed by The Daily Show host Jon Stewart whispering conspiratorially to viewers, “psst, somebody tell them madrasa means ‘school.’”

While the furor died down, the stigma remained in the electorate’s minds

One day, while canvassing door to door in New Hampshire, my partner and I were invited in by a likely Democratic voter. Upon learning our names, she was quite excited by the novelty of having a pair named Neal Hussein and Benjamin Jacobs come to her door. That was probably the one moment when the diversity I added to the campaign was an asset in talking to voters.

Every other time I introduced myself as simply Neal, and never mentioned my ethnic origins or religious affiliations. Doing so might negate all the benefits that my knowledge of foreign affairs brought to the campaign.

In the New York campaign office, a co-worker named Hani Khalil was talking with a potential voter who had called to check if Obama really was a Muslim. After several minutes of refuting it, Hani got off the phone and said to me, “what I really wanted to tell him was ‘I am a Muslim from Chicago and would probably know if he was one too.’”

Political campaign work requires us to grin and bear it, no matter what comes your way. For example, on Super Tuesday I did visibility work in downtown Manhattan when a woman approached me and asked, “what does Obama think about white people?”

I politely pointed out that Obama’s mother was white.

“His mother’s dead!” she snapped.

Still grinning, I pointed out that Obama had many white friends and worked closely with the other 99 members of the Senate, where he was the only black man.

Obama was asked about the rumors directly, and with a seemingly patient smile he responded with the facts: He is a Christian and was sworn into the Senate with his hand on the Bible, not the Qur’an.

As a Muslim listening to the debate, it was hard to not hear Obama ask, ‘Why would it matter if I was?’ I had to remind myself that he wore the same patient face when accused of being too black, then not black enough, or too diplomatic, or any of the other distractions he has had to push past to remain on message. While some are upset that by his campaign’s distance or seemingly mild reaction to these ‘smears,’ Obama still enjoys a large amount of support from Arab and Muslim communities. These groups have even been surprisingly patient with his ‘disappointing conventional’ statements on Israeli-Palestinian matters.

“Arab and Muslim Americans are almost whole hog (even though it’s haram) behind this campaign,” Khalil explains. “And many, including myself, still see this as a useful starting-off point for more organized efforts at civic engagement in our communities.”

Perhaps voters’ fears that Obama is Muslim stems not from actual suspicions, but instead is a convenient pretext for not voting for a black candidate, without having to admit to racism. While mistrusting someone for being black is unacceptable in most parts of the country, voting for religious reasons remains widely tolerated.

This problem cannot be seen in a vacuum. Many less educated, rural voters hear much of what they understand about politics through religious figures, and the idea of America as a Christian nation has been reinforced over decades and generations. The current administration has exacerbated the problem through continuous references to ‘Islamo fascism’ and ‘Islamic extremism.’ As Muslim Americans become a larger, more integrated part of American society (by recent estimates there are currently two to six million Muslim Americans) this mentality is likely to slowly morph or evaporate, but probably not by November 4.

Ironically, one of the campaign’s bigger public relations problems was not big enough to save us from the religion issue. Midway through the Democratic primary race, the fiery rhetoric of Jeremiah Wright, long-time minister at Obama’s church, became the rage on all the 24-hour cable news channels. Suddenly the candidate who was struggling to prove he was not too soft was having to prove he was not too extreme.

A co-worker who worked Muslim outreach in several states during the primary lamented the fact that Obama’s participation in Wright’s church for 20 years might become a big enough issue to cost him the primary election, but would never be large enough to wipe away rumors of him being a Muslim. A Pew Research Center study shows 13 percent of registered voters currently believe he is a Muslim, up from 10 percent in March.

That Obama’s religion is still a central issue in the campaign seems to indicate that the senator has done well selling his economic plans and dealt with many of the questions surrounding his foreign policy experience — issues of actual substance. Perhaps voters have not been fooled by the persistent rumors. Because of this and because we believe our own message of hope, we will keep smiling until November 4. Until then though, I don’t think we will exhale. et

(*) – Neal Hussein is an Arab American who worked for the Obama campaign in three states during the primaries. He currently works as a risk analyst in Cairo and is an organizer with Democrats Abroad.

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Posted in EGYPT, ELECTIONS 2008 - USA, HATE MONGERING AND BIGOTRY, HUMAN RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, USA | 1 Comment »

SMOKE SCREEN – Economist Nader Fergany has a bone to pick with those who see a rosy fiscal future – There is no development in a country like Egypt. The attempt to use the claim of development and reform is an attempt to cover up an ugly reality,” says Dr. Nader Fergany, a top regional expert on development and all that is attendant to it.

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

October 2008

by Manal el-Jesri

Fergany, a professor who has taught at Cairo University, the American University in Cairo and the Professor Nader FerganyUniversity of North Carolina, was also the lead editor of the UNDP’s first four Arab Human Development Reports between 2002 and 2005. He has since excused himself from continuing the journey.

“I stopped for many reasons,” he explains. “It was time for a change. I think with the completion of the first four reports, a complete intellectual project for development in the Arab world had been formulated. It was a point at which change was due. There were also changes in the leadership at the UNDP and in the Arab bureau of the UNDP that would not allow the same level of courage and critical assessment that we enjoyed in the first four reports.”

Today, these four reports are considered an important reference for anyone interested in studying human development in the Arab world. On the eve of the economic turmoil that rocked global and regional markets last month — turmoil that will certainly curb even the most optimistic forecasts for growth in Egypt — Egypt Today spoke with Fergany about development, growth and the future of the economy. Needless to say, his views diverge rather sharply from those of other economists and the government alike. Edited excerpts:

I think the major contribution of the four reports is that we managed to break new ground in issues that were rarely discussed. Perhaps the most important of these is that we introduced the concept of freedom and good governance as a major element of human development. We also elevated the importance of knowledge acquisition and the empowerment of women, but I think introducing the concept of freedom in a very comprehensive manner and good governance as a requirement for the enjoyment of freedom was the major contribution of these four reports.

Manal el-Jesri – But do all governments adopt the same definition of ‘development?’ In Egypt, we find that the word ‘development’ has become a catchword that is inserted into any headline to lend it importance.

Nader Fergany – It is even worse than this. I think it is an act of deliberate deception because no matter how you define development — especially if you define it as we did in the Arab report, to link it to freedom for the country and all its citizens — then there is no development in a country like Egypt.

Manal el-Jesri – Yet the term is used repeatedly. It is even used in conjunction with another favorite word, ‘growth.’ In Arabic, the two words (tanmiya [development], nomow [growth]) sound very similar to the layman.

Nader Fergany – This is another aspect of deception. First of all, the figure of seven percent [the growth rate of Egypt’s gross domestic product in 2007] is not that high. There have been much higher levels of growth in India and China, for example. Secondly, this figure comes after a period of very low and sometimes negative growth for almost 20 years. And thirdly, seven percent for two or three years is not a major achievement.

However, the most important issue [] is that using GDP growth [as a standard] has a major flaw because it ignores the distribution of income. In Egypt, the case is seemingly that whatever growth takes place goes into the pockets and the bank accounts of a very small clique, while the vast majority of the people continue to face economic misery through unemployment and poverty.

The major contribution of the Arab human development report is defining development as inseparable from the total respect of freedom, especially the key freedoms of opinion, expression and association. Egypt is a very clear case where you might have growth that is on the one hand badly distributed, and on the other hand is coupled with a very severe restriction of freedoms.

Nader Fergany – You also believe there is another aspect of cheating regarding the process of computing the seven percent growth rate.

Nader Fergany – In computing the seven percent, the government puts in the revenues of privatization. This is not really growth, which means an increase in the production of goods and services, additional job creation and hopefully a rise in the standards of living. This aspect of the revenues of privatization is nothing but a transfer of ownership from public hands to private hands — it does not result in a contribution to the production of goods and services in the society. Actually, in many cases, privatization has resulted in the destruction of job opportunities and in mass unemployment.

Manal el-Jesri – If the people are being deceived, are they aware of this?

Nader Fergany – They are becoming increasingly aware because all these bogus claims of growth and reform and so on are not translated into effective, good job opportunities and a rise in the standard of living for the people. The contradiction is so stark that people are coming to realize that they are being taken for a ride.

Manal el-Jesri – You graduated from university in 1963. How has the opposition’s situation today changed from what it was back in the 1960s?

Nader Fergany – On the internal front, in the 1960s of course there was oppression, but at the same time there was a rising national project and there was a sense of dignity deriving from the presence of a national project for development. You may have your views about this, but there were facts on the ground, in terms of an industrialization process and a very clear rise in national income. There was essentially no unemployment, despite the problems with the unemployment schemes that were adopted. You did not see people languishing in the streets for lack of jobs as we have today.

On the whole, there was a lower level of economic misery. At the time, Egypt played a prominent role in the so-called liberation movement, which by definition meant a rather tense relationship with the West, especially the dominant powers and especially the American administration.

Now we are in a totally different situation. Internally, we have a failed development process that is being covered up by an act of deliberate deception. They think that slogans and multi-colored posters can change a very ugly reality, which is not true.

Manal el-Jesri – You believe that all regimes who have depended on a foreign power for their own empowerment have been eventually let down.

Nader Fergany – This is the rather sinister tragedy of the authoritarian governance regimes that bank on the support of the United States and Israel when their time comes, and their time will come. My prime example is the Shah of Iran, who was the most important agent for the American enterprise in this part of the world. He was extremely rich and was the most despotic in terms of oppressing his people, but nevertheless he fell and when he did he could not even find a place to live or to be buried in.

[History is alive with similar examples,] but the leaders do not read. And if they read they do not understand. Of course, it is a case of halawet el-rouh (last throes of death). Have you ever seen a chicken being slaughtered? After the head is separated, it keeps fluttering, obsessed with excess vitality.

Manal el-Jesri – One outstanding difference between the 1960s and today could be the fact that in the 1960s, these elites were a force for change, and hence were feared by the regime. Where are these elites now?

Nader Fergany – Of course, there are very prominent cases of wonderful members of the elite, but the elite at large has betrayed its historical mission to act as the conscience of the people.

Manal el-Jesri – Despite the so-called betrayal of the elite, a group of leftist groups, together with Al-Tagammua’ party, tried to form a coalition a couple of years ago, in an attempt to be an active force for change.

Nader Fergany – I think nothing of value will come from the so-called political parties in this country. They are either useless or are in the pockets of the regime. That is why the real political vitality of the country is coming from outside the parties. It is coming from the extensive protest movements that essentially show the newly acquired vitality of the Egyptian people.

I am not talking about Kifaya, but about the so-called social protest movements, which I do not think are solely social. I think they are political at heart. Even if they concentrate at present on union demands like salaries and benefits, they have a political vision behind that. Movements like Doctors Without Rights, or workers and so on. They have been expanding, mushrooming at a very fast rate and becoming much more effective than they used to be. I think they are the most important source of political vitality in Egypt now.

It is actually taking the political parties by surprise. They are forging a new conscience for the Egyptian people, and in Egyptian politics that is working for freedom and justice, in my opinion. We are not yet there, but we have some very clear examples in Latin America in the last 20 years, where there was a great rise of so-called social protest movements that over time transformed into major political change, essentially leaning towards higher levels of social justice and freedom for the people.

I think we are at the beginning of such a process in Egypt and in other Arab countries. In some Arab countries, the process is even taking a violent turn, as in Algeria, Morocco, and also in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, but even in some smaller Gulf states.

Manal el-Jesri – Are these social movements a sign that the middle class is rising up again to assume its historical role as a force for change?

Nader Fergany – It is not mostly middle class — it is extending throughout society. Actually in many of these protest movements you see a cross-section ranging from the upper sections of the middle class down to the poor. It is cutting across class, and this is a major change and innovation. This traditional dream of the middle class leading change is not valid here.

I think what we will see is active segments of all classes banding together in protest movements, leading to political change in the future. Take the example of Doctors Without Rights: When you think of medical doctors, you think of the upper middle class. This is not true anymore [] Many doctors have been reduced to poverty in this country so they are not middle class anymore.

Manal el-Jesri – If the protest movement is cutting across class boundaries, where will the leadership come from?

Nader Fergany – The standard worry in traditional political circles is that the protest movements will not have a leadership or a unified vision, and I think this is very unfair and inappropriate. You cannot try to impose a traditional type of a hierarchy on protest movements. People are preoccupied with a traditional pattern that, in my opinion, no longer works. This is part of the weakness and tragedy of political parties in this country.

I think we are at a stage in human development where you have to accept that the new forms of organization that will be effective in political change are not the hierarchical forms of organization. We need to be open-minded and accept forms of organization based on network. They will not necessarily be chaotic in a destructive sense, but susceptible to horizontal linkage rather than the traditional vertical hierarchy of leadership. We are already witnessing the beginnings of such protest movements, especially among young people who are reaching out to each other in this kind of horizontal linkage, which is being facilitated by modern technologies such as the internet and mobile phones.

Manal el-Jesri – So you think it will be impossible for any regime to put a muzzle on this process, simply because the modern technologies available are impossible to control.

Nader Fergany – They are trying to disturb it, but try as they may they will not succeed. This is the beauty of expansive protest movements. You cannot round them all and lock them up: You end up having to lock up every Egyptian worker.

Manal el-Jesri – Apart from the technology, what do you see as unique about these protest movements?

Nader Fergany – For the first time, you see women and children playing a very integral role in protest movements. Follow the sit-ins and sleep-ins of many strike movements, and you will see children among them. And the women are there not merely as part of families — they are often leaders. This is especially true in situations where the vast majority of the workforce is made up of women, such as in textile factories or the real-estate tax department.

This is a movement that extends beyond the traditional confines of political thought. It is a movement that extends to every nook and cranny of Egyptian society, because every nook and cranny of Egyptian society is being negatively affected by the poisonous combination of impoverishment and oppression.

Manal el-Jesri – And the lessons learned?

Nader Fergany – Protest does work. Most of the protest movements have attained their declared objective. You must have seen the arrogant initial responses of the government regime being overtaken by the protest. The most important thing is the demonstration effect — it tempts others to wage protest movements. This has been very effective in the Egyptian case.

Manal el-Jesri – But we continue to hear pessimists warning against the infiltration of Islamist forces, which are strong enough, they claim, to take over.

Nader Fergany – Political parties are in the throes of death, so do not worry about them. The protest movement has not fallen prey to any political party, including the Muslim Brotherhood. Through direct contact I can vouch that the leaders of the protest movements are extremely solid social visionaries. They are leaders of the first order, in my opinion.

et

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PUBLISHED BY ‘EGYPT TODAY’

Posted in EGYPT, HISTORY, HUMAN RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, RELIGIOUS FANATICISM | Leave a Comment »

CE APADRINHA ACORDOS DE MUNICÍPIOS CABO-VERDIANOS COM AUTARQUIAS PORTUGUESAS (Cape Verde)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

15-11-08

A Comissão Europeia aproveita as Jornadas de Desenvolvimento, que se iniciam hoje em Estrasburgo (França) para dinamizar parcerias com os países do Sul. Nessa perspectiva, a CE vai apadrinhar acordos de geminação de seis municípios cabo-verdianos com autarquias portuguesas durante o encontro cujo tema é “O Poder Local e o Desenvolvimento”.

A ideia da Comissão Europeia é que se cada autarquia da zona euro decidir lançar-se numa geminação com uma cidade, um concelho, um distrito, uma província ou uma região do Sul, o mundo transformar-se-á e a pobreza diminuirá rapidamente.

No que diz respeito a Cabo Verde, essa proposta começa a concretizar-se com a ligação de seis autarquias a homólogos portugueses. Em concreto, a cidade da Praia vai ligar-se ao concelho de Covilhã, Santa Catarina irmana-se com Trofa, Ribeira Grande de Santiago com Guimarães, São Lourenço dos Órgãos com Anadia, Santa Catarina do Fogo com Miranda do Corvo e S. Filipe com Cinfães.

No caso de Cinfães, a autarquia portuguesa explica que o acordo com São Filipe faz todo o sentido por causa da “ligação de Serpa Pinto, explorador africanista e cinfanense, a Cabo Verde”. Aliás, neste arquipélago existem dois monumentos erigidos em honra a Alexandre Alberto da Rocha Serpa Pinto: um em S. Filipe e outro na cidade da Praia.

A Câmara Municipal de Cinfães sublinha que os programas de geminação baseiam-se na associação e no trabalho conjunto de questões comuns aos municípios e constituem um instrumento importante na procura de soluções e na formação de solidariedades estratégicas, cooperação e troca de informação relevante.

A edilidade portuguesa tem como objectivos contribuir para a redução da pobreza no país, fomentar a confiança mútua, a amizade e compreensão a um nível pessoal e cívico, além de celebrar e reforçar os fortes laços históricos e culturais que unem os dois povos. Os cinfanenses pretendem também promover iniciativas de intercâmbio e de animação entre jovens estudantes portugueses e de São Filipe.

Em termos gerais, a Comissão Europeia aproveita as Jornadas deste fim-de-semana, cujo tema é “O Poder Local e o Desenvolvimento”, para dinamizar parcerias da Europa com os países do Sul. A ideia é que se cada autarquia da zona euro decidir lançar-se numa geminação com uma cidade, um concelho, um distrito, uma província ou uma região do Sul, o mundo transformar-se-á e a pobreza diminuirá rapidamente.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘A SEMANA’ (Cape Verde)

Posted in CAPE VERDE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PORTUGAL, RELAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, THE EUROPEAN UNION | Leave a Comment »

ANGOLA EM DIAS DE ESPERANÇA

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

by Revista Horizonte On Line (Media Quatro)

Depois de 41 anos de guerra, o país se abre ao mundo com expectativa de dias melhores.

“Estávamos todos cansados da guerra, mas se o Savimbi não tivesse morrido ela não teria acabado. Agora com a Paz tudo será diferente”. As frases acima, ditas por um motorista em nossos primeiros dias em Angola, refletem bem o sentimento atual da população e seriam repetidas inúmera vezes em nossa viagem. Carismático e controlador, Jonas Savimbi, o líder da guerrilha de direita UNITA (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola), não deixou sucessores. Com sua morte, parece que o processo de paz tantas vezes ensaiado finalmente pode se instalar. O trabalho de reconstrução será longo e custoso, mas a esperança de dias melhores está por toda a parte.

“Como a expectativa de vida de um angolano é de apenas 40 anos, a maior parte de nós nunca teve um dia de paz”, explica Paulo Mandavela, secretário do GBECA – Grupo Bíblico de Estudantes Cristãos. “Seis meses atrás não conseguiríamos reunir metade dos estudantes que temos aqui hoje”, diz apontando para os quase 100 jovens vindos de todas as províncias do país e que já podem cruzar as estradas, ainda esburacadas e algumas até minadas, sem medo de emboscadas e franco atiradores da guerrilha.

A capital é uma metrópole com 5 a 7 milhões de pessoas e uma inegável “cara de Brasil”. Do avião, a Baía de Luanda se parece muito com Salvador ou mesmo Rio de Janeiro. Mais de perto, entretanto, a realidade é mais dramática. O desemprego geral faz com que haja ambulantes por toda parte. Vendedores nos sinais oferecem água, cerveja, biscoito, e também ferramentas, ventiladores e todo tipo de bugiganga. O transporte público ineficiente dá espaço a milhares de lotações irregulares que disputam as ruas mal cuidadas com velhos carros soviéticos e brasileiros caindo aos pedaços. E nas esquinas as mulheres trocam o desvalorizado Kawnsa por dolares a taxas melhores do que nos bancos.

No centro de Luanda, o casario em estilo colonial está decadente e normalmente abriga cortiços. Os prédios do período socialista também, com dezenas de parabólicas penduradas nas fachadas. Mas existem “ilhas” de excelência, afinal não há uma classe média, apenas os muito ricos ligados ao governo ou às indústrias de petróleo e diamantes, e os muito pobres que vivem como podem. A chamada Ilha de Luanda, na verdade uma restinga, reúne por exemplo boa parte das residências de funcionários de embaixadas e organismos internacionais.

A ilha tem um pequeno parque e as melhores praias urbanas de Luanda, voltadas para o oceano e opostas à baía que abriga o porto onde nasceu a cidade. Existem ainda os bairros de classe alta e condomínios fechados de excelente padrão, cercados por muros e com guardas armados. É o caso da vila onde mora o pessoal da Odebrechet, empreiteira baiana responsável por grandes obras em Angola como a hidroelétrica de Capanda que deverá abastecer todo o país e até vizinhos. Nas periferias, por outro lado, o cenário é dominado pelas favelas, com minúsculas casas construídas com tábuas ou tijolos de adobe. Como não cai uma gota de chuva entre maio e outubro em Luanda, também é grande o número de pessoas vivendo nas ruas.

A influência brasileira é imensa: o futebol é paixão nacional, a MPB é hit nas rádios, o carnaval tem desfiles de escolas de samba e são comuns boates com nomes como Copacabana e Brasília. As novelas brasileiras então são uma febre em Angola, que batizou seu maior mercado a céu aberto sintomaticamente de Roque Santeiro. Em setembro de 2002, a TPA (Televisão Pública de Angola) exibia a interminável Malhação, a “italiana” Terra Nostra e a memorável O Bem Amado.

Ouvindo diariamente sotaques carioca, italo-paulistano e baiano, até mesmo o acento lusitano do idioma falado nas ruas vem pouco a pouco perdendo intensidade e ganhando gírias brasileiras. É a retro-alimentação de um fenômeno que trouxe para a língua falada aqui palavras africanas em Umbundu e Kimbundu como samba, bunda, capoeira e quizumba. Fora as produções brasileiras, o maior sucesso da TV angolana atualmente é o programa Nação Coragem. Baseado no já quase secular serviço de reunificação familiar desenvolvido pelo Comitê Internacional da Cruz Vermelha, o Nação Coragem abre semanalmente suas câmeras na Praça 1º de Maio, para que as famílias perguntem por parentes desaparecidos nos 41 anos de guerra. “Desde a assinatura do novo acordo de paz em abril de 2002, estamos vendo uma aumento de pelo menos 25% nas reunificações familiares”, conta Caspar Landolt, delegado de comunicação do CICV. O programa já foi alvo de matérias em veículos por todo o mundo, incluindo o New York Times e Jornal Nacional no Brasil. “

Não existem números exatos porque muitas vezes as pessoas se encontram na praça e os nomes continuam nas listas, mas a tendência de crescimento é clara e atinge o país inteiro”.

Longe da capital, a vida segue outro ritmo. Em Huambo, por exemplo, não existe uma única casa que não apresente centenas de buracos de bala nas paredes. A população, entretanto, é ainda mais simpática. As crianças riem fácil, pedem fotos e brincam de bola exatamente como qualquer moleque no interior do Brasil. A província de Huambo, por ter sido muito afetada pela guerra, também é um importante centro de ONGs que mantêm campos de deslocados, de distribuição de alimentos e hospitais que atendem toda a região. O CICV, por exemplo, reformou e re-estruturou o hospital da cidade. “Tivemos que montar um sistema alternativo de água e treinamos o pessoal para quando sairmos do país”, conta Sylvana Rugolotto, delegada de saúde. “A entidade atua apenas em países que estão em guerra e a idéia é torná-los auto-suficientes para tempos de paz”. Já em Kaála, a mais de uma hora de carro da capital da província, são os Médicos Sem Fronteira que mantém um hospital de campanha.

Mesmo ainda dependendo da ajuda internacional para sobreviver, é difícil encontrar em Huambo alguém que não esteja otimista em relação ao futuro do país. Eles comentam sobre os tempos de grande produção de frutas, o agradável clima de planalto da região que está a 1700 metros de altitude, e a vocação da cidade para centro educacional, turístico e, porque não, administrativo da nação. Afinal, já foi chamada de Nova Lisboa.

Com um litoral equivalente ao que vai de Vitória no Espírito Santo a Recife em Pernambuco repleto de praias de águas mornas; planaltos de vegetação abundante; uma das maiores bacias hidrográficas da África; recursos minerais que podem gerar o dinheiro necessário para o investimento na reconstrução das estradas e infra-estruturas de água e energia; e principalmente uma população gentil e hospitaleira, Angola tem tudo para se tornar um grande destino turístico num futuro não muito distante.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘REVISTA HORIZONTE ON LINE’

Posted in ANGOLA, HISTORY, INTERNATIONAL | Leave a Comment »

EQUIPAMENTO PARA A MONTAGEM DA UNIDADE COMEÇOU A CHEGAR – Fábrica de tijolos no Luena começa a produzir para o ano (Angola)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Sábado, 15 de Novembro de 2008

Ano 9 – Edição Online nº 4651

por Cândido Bessa I

Uma cerâmica com capacidade para produzir 400 mil tijolos por dia será erguida na cidade do Luena, ESCALA INDUSTRIAL DA PRODUÇÃO DE TIJOLOSprovíncia do Moxico, até Outubro do próximo ano. O investimento está avaliado em 36 milhões de dólares e pertence ao grupo empresarial liderado por Bento Kangamba.

O equipamento já começou a chegar ao país e prevê-se que o empreendimento, o primeiro do género no Leste do país, sirva de pólo dinamizador para a construção civil na região, segundo o empresário.

Além de contribuir para o processo de reconstrução de Angola, o empresário pretende com o investimento participar na reabilitação das infra-estruturas básicas na região. O empreendimento deve criar centenas de postos de trabalho directos e indirectos na região Leste.

“Estamos a responder à abertura que o Governo nos tem dado, no sentido de levar os investimentos A PRODUÇÃO ARTESANAL DE TIJOLOS EM ANGOLApara todo o país e, assim, contribuir para a redução do desemprego. É assim que vamos desenvolver Angola, com o contributo de cada um ”, afirma o empresário.

Bento Kangamba elogia o Plano do Governo para 2009 e o Orçamento Geral do Estado, onde o Executivo garante apoios para fortalecer o empresariado nacional. “Foi este programa em que os angolanos votaram e nós, os empresários, estamos satisfeitos com as ideias contidas nele”, afirma.

Para a província do Moxico, o empresário tem ainda em carteira um programa de construção de moradias, que também deve arrancar no próximo ano.

Já em Luanda, Bento Kangamba, através da empresa Organizações Beja-construção civil, vai construir 800 residências de média renda. As infra-estruturas já estão montadas e as primeiras casas serão entregues em Dezembro do próximo ano.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘JORNAL DE ANGOLA’

Posted in ANGOLA, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

UMA SOLUÇÃO RÁPIDA PARA A CRISE NA REPÚBLICA DEMOCRÁTICA DO CONGO

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Sábado, 15 de Novembro de 2008

JORNAL DE ANGOLA – Ano 9 – Edição Online nº 4651

O conflito na República Democrática do Congo está no centro das atenções da comunidade A CRIMINOSA GUERRA CIVIL DO CONGOinternacional e diferentes fóruns têm discutido questões relativas às melhores vias para a solução dos problemas daquele país da África Central.

A situação no Congo Democrático é de tal gravidade que preocupa instituições africanas e de outros continentes, nomeadamente da União Europeia.

A comunidade internacional continua a protelar a tomada de acções firmes para acabar com os conflitos que assolam África. Angola sofreu na carne do seu povo os efeitos nefastos da ambiguidade de países e instituições que, em vez de agirem, fingiam que actuavam. Em vez de porem fim às aventuras criminosas de “rebeldes”, davam-lhes tempo para se armarem.

As guerras só atrasam o desenvolvimento económico e social dos povos e só causam desgraças, muitas vezes difíceis de reparar. Mas as instituições internacionais que têm a obrigação de acabar com elas, actuam como se desconhecessem esta realidade. Os países que têm influência no mundo e até desencadeiam guerras sem mandato da ONU, em África dão passos tímidos e refugiam-se na falácia do diálogo.

A guerra desencadeada por um exército ilegal na RDC já causou a fuga de milhares de pessoas dos seus locais de residência para outras paragens, nomeadamente para países vizinhos, na esperança de encontrarem condições de segurança.

Numa região onde a existência de refugiados ou deslocados já significa um terrível desastre humanitário, permitir que o general Nkunda agrave este quadro, é seguramente um crime sem perdão.

Quem assiste ao evoluir do exército ilegal no terreno, não pode, hipocritamente, fazer votos de que a agressão armada não evolua para cenários que resultem em graves violações dos direitos humanos. Nem pode manifestar preocupações pouco sinceras sobre a paralização da actividade económica nas áreas fustigadas pelo exército de Nkunda .

A experiência do passado em África, marcada por genocídios, aconselha a que os políticos do continente e as organizações internacionais, nomeadamente a ONU, se mobilizem de forma célere para a resolução do conflito na RDC. O general Nkunda só dá uma garantia: ele é capaz de transformar a agressão armada num genocídio.

As “forças de alerta” da SADC podem ser chamadas a intervir no conflito. A organização regional sabe que no Kivu-Norte é preciso acabar com a presença de um exército ilegal que põe em causa um Governo eleito. Angola foi o último país da região a sofrer uma agressão armada deste género. Todos os governos da SADC aprenderam a lição.

A partir de 2002, ano em que foi assinada a Paz de Luena, aventureiros como o general Nkunda já não têm espaço na África Austral. Os angolanos mostraram à África e ao mundo que se não tivessem contado com as suas próprias forças, ainda hoje estavam a dialogar com quem só tinha ouvidos para os beneneficiários directos do conflito armado que devastou o país, durante décadas.

A RDC está a ser vítima de uma agressão brutal de um exército ilegal. É preciso pôr fim à aventura, por muito que custe aos países que por trás da cortina manobram a soldadesca de Nkunda.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘JORNAL DE ANGOLA’

Posted in AFRICA, CIVIL WAR - CONGO, CONGO, HUMAN RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL, WARS AND ARMED CONFLICTS | Leave a Comment »

MELROSE TOUTS ACTIVE DRILLING PROGRAM IN EGYPT, BULGARIA & US

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Melrose Resources plc

MELROSE RESOURCES

Melrose Resources has issued its Interim Management Statement to cover the period July 1, 2008 to September 30, 2008 (“the Third Quarter”) and up to date. This information is provisional and unaudited and may be subject to further review.

Exploration

In October Melrose announced the success of the Kavarna No.1 exploration well, which was drilled approximately 7 km to the east of the Melrose-operated Galata gas field, offshore Bulgaria. The well

was drilled to total depth of 2,899 feet and encountered the top of the Paleocene reservoir target at a depth of 2,628 feet. The mud log obtained while drilling established that the reservoir formation was well developed and gas-bearing and the initial reserves estimate for the discovery is 24 Bcf.

The new discovery is located between the Galata field and the Kaliakra discovery which was announced earlier this year and which is estimated to contain reserves of up to 47 Bcf. Three future prospects exist on the same geologic trend and are candidates for drilling in 2009 and 2010.

Prior to completing the well, a strong gas influx occurred in the Kavarna No.1 well and for safety reasons it was necessary to plug the well which will now be redrilled. Subsequently an appraisal well will be drilled on the Kaliakra discovery to test for the significant reserves upside in the structure. First production is expected from the two discoveries in the second half of 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Development

Melrose is continuing with its active development program in Egypt. The West Dikirnis Phase II development project is progressing well with all initial design work complete and all major procurement contracts placed. The project is on schedule for the delivery of first LPG and gas reinjection in mid 2009. Also in Egypt, production was re-instigated from the Qantara field in October and the development projects at East Abu Khadra, North East Abu Zahra, South Zarqa and Damas are ongoing with planned first production on dates between December 2008 and September 2009.

In the USA, Melrose has continued with the development project on its fields in the Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico. A total of 42 new wells have been drilled to date and injection of water as part of the secondary recovery project in the Jalmat field has commenced.

In Bulgaria, the project to convert the Galata gas field to a gas storage facility is moving forward and discussions are continuing with the Bulgarian authorities to define commercial terms. First injection in the facility is expected in mid 2009.

Production and Product Prices

Melrose’s net entitlement production in the Third Quarter totalled 6.0 Bcf of gas and 357 Mbbls of oil and condensate, representing an increase of 6% compared with the same period in 2007. Average daily net entitlement production in the quarter was 14.8 Mboepd (88.9 MMcfepd). On a working interest basis average daily production in the quarter was 34.6 Mboepd.

Financial Position

Total capital expenditure in the Third Quarter amounted to $55.4 million, of which $41.7 million was spent on development and $13.7 million on exploration activities. In the period January 1, 2008 to September 30,2008 capital expenditure amounted to $147.4 million, of which $94.4 million was spent on development and $53.0 million on exploration activities.

Melrose remains in a well funded and sound financial position and there have been no major changes in its balance sheet since the publication of the 2008 Interim Results. Group net debt at 30 September was $407.0 million. Increased bank facilities were put in place in June 2008 with the IFC and a syndicate of eight commercial banks. The senior facility has a facility amount of $440 million and the subordinated facility has a facility amount of $70 million. Both facilities remain fixed until 2012 and then amortize with final repayment due in December 2014. Availability under the borrowing base calculation for the senior facility currently exceeds the facility size and Melrose would be in a position to consider increasing the size of the senior facility in the future if required.

The existing loan facilities, coupled with good levels of cash generation from the business, will ensure that the Company is able to finance its planned investment programme going forward. The fall in the oil price has resulted in a decrease in revenue in the Third Quarter compared with the second quarter of the year. Melrose benefits from a number of advantages in the current lower oil price environment. Firstly, approximately 74% of Melrose’s net production in the Third Quarter was gas which was sold at fixed contracted prices. Secondly, under the terms of Melrose’s production sharing concessions in Egypt Melrose has a higher entitlement to production at lower oil prices. Thirdly, and most importantly, Melrose is the operator of its major properties. This gives Melrose the ability to determine the amount and timing of its capital expenditures in the light of available resources.

During the Third Quarter, the Company announced a maiden interim dividend to shareholders of 1.2 pence per share which was paid on October 17, 2008.

Outlook

In Bulgaria, pending receipt of the final approval from the Bulgarian authorities for the conversion of the Galata gas field as a gas storage facility, the Company has reduced the Galata production rate to around 11 MMcfpd and expects to cease production from the field at the end of this year to ensure sufficient gas is left in the reservoir to implement the project.

Because of this and some minor operational delays in Egypt, the Company previously announced last month that it believes it is prudent to reduce its 2008 net entitlement production guidance from 19.2 Mboepd to 18.3 Mboepd. The revised 2008 production guidance equates to 36.3 Mboepd on a working interest basis.

The result of the exploration programme in Bulgaria and reserve additions in the USA put Melrose on track for a strong performance in reserves replacement in 2008. The development projects which comprise the majority of Melrose’s capital expenditures are on schedule which is positive for production expectations in 2009 and beyond.

In the coming few months Melrose has an active drilling program. In Egypt the North Dikirnis No.1 exploration well is currently drilling and an exploration well at East Dikirnis (also known as North Tariff) is planned before year-end. In Bulgaria the re-drill of the Kavarna No.1 will be followed by an appraisal well on the Kaliakra structure. In East Texas, the Nunan No.1 well, which has multiple pay targets, is expected to spud later this month and will be followed by the Ramsey No.1 well which is twinning a well drilled by the previous operator and which discovered the target formation.

Commenting on this report, David Thomas, Chief Executive, said, “Melrose continues to make good progress in all three of our principal areas of operation. In the current environment we are seeing the benefit of our solid production base and of the established development upside in our properties. Drilling success has again demonstrated our ability to add value for the Company through exploration and with our current resources and asset portfolio we are well positioned to provide value growth for our shareholders.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘RIGZONE’

Posted in ALGERIA, BULGARIA, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EGYPT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FRANCE, FUELS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, PETROL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

MELROSE TOUTS ACTIVE DRILLING PROGRAM IN EGYPT, BULGARIA & US

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Melrose Resources plc

MELROSE RESOURCES

Melrose Resources has issued its Interim Management Statement to cover the period July 1, 2008 to September 30, 2008 (“the Third Quarter”) and up to date. This information is provisional and unaudited and may be subject to further review.

Exploration

In October Melrose announced the success of the Kavarna No.1 exploration well, which was drilled approximately 7 km to the east of the Melrose-operated Galata gas field, offshore Bulgaria. The well

was drilled to total depth of 2,899 feet and encountered the top of the Paleocene reservoir target at a depth of 2,628 feet. The mud log obtained while drilling established that the reservoir formation was well developed and gas-bearing and the initial reserves estimate for the discovery is 24 Bcf.

The new discovery is located between the Galata field and the Kaliakra discovery which was announced earlier this year and which is estimated to contain reserves of up to 47 Bcf. Three future prospects exist on the same geologic trend and are candidates for drilling in 2009 and 2010.

Prior to completing the well, a strong gas influx occurred in the Kavarna No.1 well and for safety reasons it was necessary to plug the well which will now be redrilled. Subsequently an appraisal well will be drilled on the Kaliakra discovery to test for the significant reserves upside in the structure. First production is expected from the two discoveries in the second half of 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Development

Melrose is continuing with its active development program in Egypt. The West Dikirnis Phase II development project is progressing well with all initial design work complete and all major procurement contracts placed. The project is on schedule for the delivery of first LPG and gas reinjection in mid 2009. Also in Egypt, production was re-instigated from the Qantara field in October and the development projects at East Abu Khadra, North East Abu Zahra, South Zarqa and Damas are ongoing with planned first production on dates between December 2008 and September 2009.

In the USA, Melrose has continued with the development project on its fields in the Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico. A total of 42 new wells have been drilled to date and injection of water as part of the secondary recovery project in the Jalmat field has commenced.

In Bulgaria, the project to convert the Galata gas field to a gas storage facility is moving forward and discussions are continuing with the Bulgarian authorities to define commercial terms. First injection in the facility is expected in mid 2009.

Production and Product Prices

Melrose’s net entitlement production in the Third Quarter totalled 6.0 Bcf of gas and 357 Mbbls of oil and condensate, representing an increase of 6% compared with the same period in 2007. Average daily net entitlement production in the quarter was 14.8 Mboepd (88.9 MMcfepd). On a working interest basis average daily production in the quarter was 34.6 Mboepd.

Financial Position

Total capital expenditure in the Third Quarter amounted to $55.4 million, of which $41.7 million was spent on development and $13.7 million on exploration activities. In the period January 1, 2008 to September 30,2008 capital expenditure amounted to $147.4 million, of which $94.4 million was spent on development and $53.0 million on exploration activities.

Melrose remains in a well funded and sound financial position and there have been no major changes in its balance sheet since the publication of the 2008 Interim Results. Group net debt at 30 September was $407.0 million. Increased bank facilities were put in place in June 2008 with the IFC and a syndicate of eight commercial banks. The senior facility has a facility amount of $440 million and the subordinated facility has a facility amount of $70 million. Both facilities remain fixed until 2012 and then amortize with final repayment due in December 2014. Availability under the borrowing base calculation for the senior facility currently exceeds the facility size and Melrose would be in a position to consider increasing the size of the senior facility in the future if required.

The existing loan facilities, coupled with good levels of cash generation from the business, will ensure that the Company is able to finance its planned investment programme going forward. The fall in the oil price has resulted in a decrease in revenue in the Third Quarter compared with the second quarter of the year. Melrose benefits from a number of advantages in the current lower oil price environment. Firstly, approximately 74% of Melrose’s net production in the Third Quarter was gas which was sold at fixed contracted prices. Secondly, under the terms of Melrose’s production sharing concessions in Egypt Melrose has a higher entitlement to production at lower oil prices. Thirdly, and most importantly, Melrose is the operator of its major properties. This gives Melrose the ability to determine the amount and timing of its capital expenditures in the light of available resources.

During the Third Quarter, the Company announced a maiden interim dividend to shareholders of 1.2 pence per share which was paid on October 17, 2008.

Outlook

In Bulgaria, pending receipt of the final approval from the Bulgarian authorities for the conversion of the Galata gas field as a gas storage facility, the Company has reduced the Galata production rate to around 11 MMcfpd and expects to cease production from the field at the end of this year to ensure sufficient gas is left in the reservoir to implement the project.

Because of this and some minor operational delays in Egypt, the Company previously announced last month that it believes it is prudent to reduce its 2008 net entitlement production guidance from 19.2 Mboepd to 18.3 Mboepd. The revised 2008 production guidance equates to 36.3 Mboepd on a working interest basis.

The result of the exploration programme in Bulgaria and reserve additions in the USA put Melrose on track for a strong performance in reserves replacement in 2008. The development projects which comprise the majority of Melrose’s capital expenditures are on schedule which is positive for production expectations in 2009 and beyond.

In the coming few months Melrose has an active drilling program. In Egypt the North Dikirnis No.1 exploration well is currently drilling and an exploration well at East Dikirnis (also known as North Tariff) is planned before year-end. In Bulgaria the re-drill of the Kavarna No.1 will be followed by an appraisal well on the Kaliakra structure. In East Texas, the Nunan No.1 well, which has multiple pay targets, is expected to spud later this month and will be followed by the Ramsey No.1 well which is twinning a well drilled by the previous operator and which discovered the target formation.

Commenting on this report, David Thomas, Chief Executive, said, “Melrose continues to make good progress in all three of our principal areas of operation. In the current environment we are seeing the benefit of our solid production base and of the established development upside in our properties. Drilling success has again demonstrated our ability to add value for the Company through exploration and with our current resources and asset portfolio we are well positioned to provide value growth for our shareholders.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘RIGZONE’

Posted in ALGERIA, BULGARIA, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EGYPT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FRANCE, FUELS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, PETROL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

CHÁVEZ REITERA LLAMADO A OPOSICIÓN A RECONOCER RESULTADOS ELECTORALES

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

14/11/2008

CARACAS, 14 de noviembre (PL).— El presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez, reiteró hoy su llamado a la HUGO CHÁVEZ VISITING BRAZILoposición a que reconozca sin actos violentos los resultados de los comicios regionales y municipales del próximo 23 de noviembre.

Ante la derrota que se les avecina a los contrarios están diciendo que habrá fraude, es el mismo cuento de siempre, apuntó el gobernante durante un acto con seguidores del Partido Socialista Unidos De Venezuela (PSUV) en el estado Anzoátegui.

Les hago un llamado a los partidos opositores a respetar la decisión de la mayoría pues nadie podrá contra la carga del pueblo, subrayó el jefe de Estado.

Puntualizó que sus adversarios están desesperados y quieren cantar fraude, desconocer los resultados de los comicios y desestabilizar al país.

Sostuvo que hace unos meses la oposición, la contrarrevolución y el pitiyanquismo decían que ganarían 15 gobernaciones, pero ahora, añadió, el panorama es muy diferente.

En ese sentido, recalcó que los candidatos del PSUV pueden ganar en todos los estados, pero seríamos los primeros en reconocer si algún opositor vence.

Chávez también exhortó a todos sus seguidores a votar el venidero 23 al recordar que el abstencionismo fue la principal causa de la derrota en la consulta popular para reformar la Constitución en diciembre pasado.

Patria, socialismo o muerte es nuestro grito de batalla, y nada ni nadie nos van a apartar de este camino, resaltó el también máximo líder del PSUV.

Casi 17 millones de venezolanos están convocados para seleccionar 22 gobernadores, 328 alcaldes, 233 miembros de consejos legislativos, 13 concejales al Cabildo Metropolitano de Caracas y siete al Ayuntamiento Metropolitano del Alto Apure.

El estado Amazonas no elige gobernador pues pasó a ser considerado como tal en 1992 cuando transcurría el período presidencial 1989-1993, lo cual mantiene desfasado su ciclo de sufragios en relación con el resto del país.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘GRANMA’ (Cuba)

Posted in INTERNATIONAL, VENEZUELA | Leave a Comment »

THE MAN WHO SOLD HOT DOGS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Published: 14.11.08

Larry Moon, CEO of Sandstone Group in Milwaukee, WI shared this timely story with us recently.

There once was a man who lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs. In fact, he sold very good Selling Hot-dogshot dogs. He put up signs on the highway telling people how good his hot dogs tasted. He stood by the side of the road and called out, “Buy a hot dog, mister.”

And people bought his hot dogs. They bought so many hot dogs, the man increased his meat and bun orders. He bought a bigger stove, too, so that he could meet his customers’ demands. And finally, he brought his son home from college to help out in the family business.

But something happened. His son said, “Father, don’t you watch television or read the papers? Don’t you know there’s a big recession going on? The European situation is terrible. The domestic crisis is even worse!”

And the father thought, “Well, my son’s a smart boy. He’s been to college. He ought to know what he’s talking about.” So, the man took down the signs he had put by the road, cut down on his meat and bun orders, and no longer bothered to stand out by the side of the road to promote his hot dogs.

And sales fell almost overnight. “You’re right, son,” said the father. “We certainly are in the middle of a recession.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘ TradersGroup’

Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, RECESSION, USA | Leave a Comment »

HARPER CALLS FOR GLOBAL SCRUTINY OF COUNTRIES’ BANKING SYSTEMS (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

November 14, 2008 at 2:51 PM EST

by Steven Chase

Globe and Mail Update

WINNIPEG — Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he wants countries such as the United States to Prime Minister Stephen Harper - by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaasagree to subject their financial systems to “peer review” by other countries – comments made as he heads to a key economic summit on tackling a global crisis triggered by an American banking and lending meltdown.

“I do think it’s incumbent on the United States and others – that as they make regulatory reforms – that we allow peer review mechanisms,” Mr. Harper told reporters in Winnipeg before leaving for the Group of 20 meetings in Washington, D.C.

“[There must be] allow accountable and transparent international peer review mechanisms of our financial systems: to give us evaluations and suggestions. Not to impose solutions – we want to respect national sovereignty – but that we get good objective evaluations that we are able to act on.”

He said however he remains opposed to any push for global governance of financial systems and believes those won’t gain traction in Washington.

“Our position is [not] one model of compulsory global governance that I think is unrealistic and will never be accepted. But I think on the other hand if we’re going to work on this together, there has be some willingness to be transparent and open to peer review,” Mr. Harper said.

The Prime Minister noted that Canada has previously submitted to international reviews of its financial system and it has been helpful. Canada, he noted, has been praised by the International Monetary Fund as having the soundest financial system in the world right now.

“We have received comments [from past reviews]. Those comments and criticisms have been helpful in making reforms. And we think that’s a reasonable part of being part of a integrated global financial market.”

Mr. Harper said that Canada does not agree with the two extremes of debate heading into the G20 meetings.

He said some countries are isolationist on reforms and believe they “should strictly keep their own house in order and that’s really their own national business” while others “are seeking wide ranging global governance of financial markets” to come from the meetings.

“I believe the government of Canada’s position is in neither of these camps. We actually believe that neither of these positions is feasible and realistic,” he said.

“First of all I don’t think the major economies of the world will obviously consent to have external control over their regulatory systems. But at the same time I think we do need – to the extent we have global capital flows – we do need something where all of us can give each other a significant reassurance about the nature of our system.”

Mr. Harper said he hopes the G20 meeting doesn’t get bogged down in a debate about how to restructure international organizations amid calls from some developing countries – also referred to as emerging market economies – for permanent seats at the table.

He said Canada’s open to giving emerging market economies more of a voice but said it’s a long-term discussion.

“What I hope though is that … we don’t get too lost in them at the meeting,” he said.

“I think quite frankly if we went to this meeting and ended up discussing – our discussions being dominated – by international economic institutional architecture, that would be equivalent to me meeting with the premiers last week and discussing the constitution as a solution to the economic problems.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE & MAIL’ (Canada)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKING SYSTEMS, CANADA, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, G20, INTERNATIONAL, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA | Leave a Comment »

OTTAWA CONTEMPLATING JOINT CANADA-U.S. AUTO BAILOUT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

November 14, 2008 at 8:10 PM EST

by Steven Chase and Karen Howlett and Greg Keenan

From Saturday’s Globe and Mail

WINNIPEG AND TORONTO — Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement said Friday he was investigating Workers install rearview mirrors onto the doors at the General Motors Canada assembly line in the Oshawa Truck Assembly Plant. The plant's 3,500 workers produce Chevrolet Silverados, GMC Sierras and GMC Sierra Denalis. (Norm Betts - For The Globe and Mail)the feasibility of a joint Canada-U.S. bailout of the auto industry.

“That’s the $64 question, or something slightly higher than $64,” he said during a Conservative Party policy convention in Winnipeg.

His comments came amid brewing fears that U.S. president-elect Barack Obama will force the Detroit Three auto makers to repatriate jobs by pulling production out of Canada and Mexico in return for American financial aid.

Mr. Clement said he was looking at setting up “direct information-gathering meetings in both Detroit and Washington, D.C., in the upcoming few days” to probe whether a joint bailout would work.

“One of the things I want to do in my information gathering is to see how viable that theory is because people talk about … the need to have an integrated solution,” Mr. Clement said. “From a theoretical point of view that makes sense, but how viable is it? When you drill down on that, what exactly does that mean?” he said.

The Harper government is coming under mounting pressure to provide financial support to the Canadian auto sector, because every other region that produces cars and trucks, including the United States, the European Union and Australia, is putting up billions of dollars to get the industry back on a sound footing.

Mr. Clement said there appears to be growing agreement on the conditions of assistance to the Detroit-based auto sector and its Canadian subsidiaries.

“There is certainly what I am observing is a consensus of views both in the government of Canada and in the Ontario government and also from what president-elect Obama has been stating … it has to be about long-term solutions, not short-term cash infusions,” he said.

The heads of the Canadian subsidiaries of the Detroit Three made their case for financing directly to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty Friday during a one-hour meeting at the provincial legislature.

The executives did not attach a dollar figure to their request, Economic Development Minister Michael Bryant told reporters following the meeting. But he made it clear that the province’s taxpayers will not tolerate a bailout of the sector and that any financing will come with strings attached.

“Governments are not the bank of last resort,” Mr. Bryant said.

Reid Bigland, president of Chrysler Canada Inc., said that both the federal and Ontario governments need to step in because the auto industry is such a significant player in the Canadian economy.

“I think [the Premier] fully understands the predicament we’re in,” he said.

Mr. Bigland, the only executive who talked to reporters after the meeting, refused to say what kind of assistance his company, Ford Motor Company of Canada and General Motors of Canada Ltd. are seeking.

The presidents of Honda Canada Inc. and Toyota Canada Inc. were also at the meeting. Mr. Bryant stressed that those companies are not facing a liquidity crisis but wanted to ensure that any aid provided to the Detroit Three does not leave Honda and Toyota at a competitive disadvantage.

Mr. McGuinty said his government won’t provide auto companies with any assistance unless they guarantee that they will maintain operations and jobs in the province.

“We are running a $500-million deficit [and] revenues are shrinking,” he said Friday before the meeting. “If we are going to come to the table in a way that is meaningful to the sector…, they’re going to have to demonstrate to us that that somehow serves the greater public interest.”

Mr. Bryant said the fact that the fact that all the executives met with him and Mr. McGuinty attests to the urgency of the situation. But no decisions were made, other than to keep talking and monitor actions being taken by the U.S. government to bail out Detroit.

Asked about whether a speedy package is necessary, Mr. Clement said it looks like the U.S. is running into stumbling blocks in assembling its auto package –suggesting it may take longer for the American government to put forward aid.

He declined to say how soon the Harper government might cobble together aid for the auto industry.

“The worst thing to do is to make a quick decision that is the wrong decision.”

The industry minister declined to say whether Canada could afford to see the Big Three automakers go bankrupt.

“I think the last thing Canadians need from a government minister is to run around with our hair on fire.”

Mr. Clement said the auto sector will need to be drastically transformed as a result of deliberations currently underway.

“That means some things that are being done now won’t be done in the future and other things that we can only barely contemplate now are going to be the driver, so to speak, of new jobs, new opportunity in the auto sector of the future.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE & MAIL’ (Canada)

Posted in AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, CANADA, CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORKERS, TRADE DEFICIT - USA, USA | Leave a Comment »

CHINA’S JOURNEY TO THE DARK AGES – Biggest cities becoming murky as smog clouds block up to 25 per cent of sun, UN study finds

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

November 14, 2008 at 4:28 AM EST

by Geoffrey York

From Friday’s Globe and Mail

BEIJING — In the skies over China and South Asia, the sun itself is disappearing. The biggest cities are SMOG IN BEIJINGbecoming darker as they fall beneath a vast brown cloud of soot, and even North America is vulnerable to the drifting toxic cloud.

That’s the conclusion of a new United Nations study: that warns that the smog clouds have become so enormous they could kill 340,000 people annually in China and India.

The study says the toxic clouds – more than three kilometres thick – are contributing to a huge range of dangerous effects: extreme weather; damage to crops; melting of glaciers; the dimming of big cities; shifts in rainfall; massive economic losses; higher food prices; and a growing number of human deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Up to 25 per cent of the sunlight has disappeared in Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, India’s New Delhi and Karachi, Pakistan, the study concluded. In India, the dimming of cities has more than doubled since 1980, it said.

Although the clouds of haze are worst in China and South Asia, there are also “regional hot spots” in Southeast Asia, Southern Africa and the Amazon Basin of South America, the study found.

The smog clouds are also found in North America and Europe, but those are less dangerous because they tend to be removed or reduced by winter precipitation. The clouds from Asia, however, have drifted as far east as California.

The clouds, known as “atmospheric brown clouds,” are filled with ozone, black carbon, and soot particles. They are caused by a “soot stream” of fossil-fuel and biomass burning, deforestation and other man-made factors. Coal-fired power plants and rising auto traffic are among the chief causes.

A team of scientists, commissioned by the UN Environment Programme, has been studying the toxic brown clouds since 2002. Their first reports met with considerable cynicism and criticism, but their latest report is much more detailed, prompting the scientists to issue a stronger warning of the importance of the issue.

Achim Steiner, the UNEP executive director, said he expects the phenomenon of toxic brown clouds to be “firmly on the international community’s radar” as a result of the latest study, which was released yesterday. The clouds need “urgent and detailed research,” he said.

In China alone, the clouds have cost an estimated $82-billion in losses to the national economy, he said.

One of the most disturbing problems is the impact of the smog clouds on global warming. This happens in two ways. By absorbing sunlight and heating the air, the clouds are aggravating the effect of greenhouse gases. But at the same time, the clouds can be “masking” the global-warming trend, since they contain sulphates and other particles that can reflect sunlight and cool the Earth’s surface. So any action to eliminate the brown clouds would trigger a dramatic rise in global warming, the study warns.

The clouds could be dampening the rise of global temperatures by 20 to 80 per cent, the study said. “Simply tackling the pollution linked with brown-cloud formations, without simultaneously delivering big cuts in greenhouse gases, could have a potentially disastrous effect,” the UNEP said in a statement yesterday.

It also warned that the clouds are reducing rainfall in India and South Asia, which could “further aggravate the recent dramatic escalation of food prices and the consequent challenge for survival among the world’s most vulnerable populations.”

In parts of India, for example, the brown clouds – combined with global warming – have slashed the rice harvest by 6.2 million tonnes annually, which is enough to feed 72 million people, the study found.

Another dramatic result is the melting of glaciers, partly due to the toxic clouds. The latest study found “substantial soot concentrations” in the Himalayan mountains, even up to an altitude of five kilometres. And this soot, along with greenhouse gases, is a major cause of the melting and shrinking of glaciers.

“If the current rate of retreat continues unabated, these glaciers and snow packs are expected to shrink by as much as 75 per cent before the year 2050, posing grave danger to the region’s water security,” the study concluded.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE & MAIL’ (Canada)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, CHINA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INTERNATIONAL, RICE | Leave a Comment »

INDIAN IMPACT PROBE LANDS ON MOON

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008 9:52 PM (Bangalore)

by Pallava Bagla

India marked its presence on Moon on Friday night to become only the fourth nation to scale this INDIAN IMPACT PROBEhistoric milestone after a Moon Impact Probe with the national Tricolour painted successfully landed on the lunar surface after being detached from unmanned spacecraft Chandrayaan-1.

Once Chandrayaan-1 reached the designated lunar orbit, it re-oriented itself for this special task.

An instrument, about the size of a computer monitor and so far carried piggyback by the Chandrayaan-1, was released from 100 kilometres above the moon.

The instrument struck the moon’s surface at a designated spot in 25 minutes. During the journey it took images of the moon and sent back data to the mother ship before it crashed into pieces.

But before that, the probe symbolically placed the Indian flag on the lunar surface making history.

The moon probe landed in the Shackleton crater named after Ernest Shackleton, a noted explorer of the Antarctic. It lies at the south pole of the moon.

The peaks along the crater rim are exposed to almost continual sunlight, while the interior is perpetually in shadow.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV),’ (India)

Posted in INDIA | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

MOVIMENTO DE MOBILIZAÇÃO PELO REGISTRO CIVIL COMEÇA NA SEGUNDA-FEIRA (Brasil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Sexta-feira, 14 de Novembro de 2008

Começa na próxima segunda-feira (17/11) o Movimento Nacional de Mobilização pelo Registro Civil de A PRESIDENTE DA COMISSÃO DE ACESSO À JUSTIÇA, JUIZADOS ESPECIAIS E CONCILIAÇÃO DO CNJ ANDRÉA PACHÁNascimento, coordenado pelo Conselho Nacional de Justiça (CNJ), e que será realizado até o 17 de dezembro em todo o País. O objetivo é garantir, gratuitamente, o registro civil a todas as pessoas que ainda não possuem o documento, inclusive adultos. A mobilização, que estava prevista inicialmente para acontecer em uma semana, foi estendida para um mês com o objetivo de atender um maior número de pessoas em todo o Brasil.

A idéia partiu da conselheira Andréa Pachá , presidente da Comissão de Acesso à Justiça, Juizados Especiais e Conciliação do CNJ, tendo em vista o grande número de crianças que ainda não possuem o registro de nascimento. Um dos coordenadores da Mobilização, juiz Ricardo Chimenti, da Corregedoria Nacional de Justiça no CNJ, destacou que, “sem registro civil, as pessoas não tem acesso à escola pública e outros documentos que garantem a cidadania”.

Segundo dados da Secretaria Especial de Direitos Humanos (SEDH) da Presidência da República, 12,7% das crianças nascidas vivas não são registradas, o que representa um contingente de 212.844 crianças sem certidão de nascimento. O Estado campeão é Roraima, com 42,8%, seguido do Piauí, com 33,7% e Alagoas, com 31,6% de crianças sem registro civil.

Campanha – Em todo o Brasil, os Tribunais de Justiça estarão participando da Mobilização pelo Registro Civil de Nascimento, fazendo contato com os cartórios, mobilizando os juízes e conscientizando a população, cada um de acordo com a realidade de cada região. . Durante a campanha, o expediente nos cartórios de Registro Civil nos Estados será de 8 às 17 horas.

Para facilitar o trabalho, o CNJ encaminhou a todos os tribunais do país, o layout da campanha publicitária, elaborada pelo Tribunal de Justiça de Mato Grosso do Sul, que poderá ser adotada pelos demais tribunais que ainda não criaram as peças de divulgação.São folhetos, cartazes e convites, que poderão ser utilizados pelos Tribunais de todo o país. A impressão ficará a cargo de cada tribunal.

No folder, é explicado que o registro de nascimento é o documento essencial para oficializar a existência do indivíduo, pois a partir dele as pessoas passam a ser reconhecidas socialmente, funcionando como a identidade formal do cidadão. Ele explica ainda que a certidão de nascimento é importante para receber as primeiras vacinas, matricular-se na escola, tirar outros documentos e garantir benefícios do governo.

Registro gratuito – Outra importante observação que consta no material publicitário é o alerta de que o registro civil de nascimento é gratuito para todas as idades, mesmo para os adultos que ainda não possuem o documento. O objetivo da campanha é sensibilizar as pessoas que ainda não possuem o documento para que procurem os cartórios e garantam o seu registro.

EF/SR

Agência CNJ de Notícias

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CLARIM DA AMAZÔNIA’ (Brasil)

Posted in BRASIL, CIDADANIA, COMBATE À DESIGUALDADE E À EXCLUSÃO - BRASIL, EDUCAÇÃO - BRASIL, ENSINO FUNDAMENTAL - 1° e 2° GRAUS, MINISTÉRIO DA JUSTIÇA, O PODER EXECUTIVO FEDERAL, O PODER JUDICIÁRIO, OS JUDICIÁRIOS ESTADUAIS | Leave a Comment »

JUROS SOBEM E RETORNAM AO PATAMAR DE 2003, APONTA PROCON-SP

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

14/11/2008

São Paulo – Os juros de empréstimos pessoais e do cheque especial subiram mais uma vez em novembro e retornaram ao mesmo patamar das taxas verificadas em 2003. A informação consta da pesquisa mensal realizada pela Fundação Procon-SP em dez instituições financeiras do país. A entidade recomenda cautela aos consumidor e sugere que esperem momentos mais favoráveis para contrair empréstimos.

Segundo o estudo divulgado hoje (13), o juro médio cobrado nos empréstimos pessoais subiu para 6,15% ao mês – 0,11 ponto percentual maior do que verificado em outubro. Já o juro do cheque especial chegou a 9,24% – 0,28 ponto percentual a mais do que a taxa média do mês anterior.

De acordo com comunicado do Procon-SP, “não há dúvidas de que para o tomador de crédito, a situação piorou muito”. “As instituições financeiras decidiram apertar o crédito e as taxas de juros voltaram a subir de maneira expressiva.”

Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Caixa Econômica Federal, HSBC, Itaú, Nossa Caixa, Banco Real, Banco Safra, Santander e Unibanco foram consultados para a pesquisa do Procon-SP. O levantamento foi realizado no último dia 4.

A Federação Brasileira de Bancos (Febraban) foi procurada para comentar os resultados do levantamento. A entidade, entretanto, preferiu não se pronunciar sobre o assunto.

Fonte: Agência Brasil

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PUBLISHED BY ‘PORTAL DO CONSUMIDOR’ (Brasil)

Posted in BRASIL, CIDADANIA, DEFESA DO CONSUMIDOR - BRASIL, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, JUROS BANCÁRIOS, O MERCADO FINANCEIRO, O SISTEMA BANCÁRIO - BRASIL | Leave a Comment »

CHINA SAYS IT MIGHT WORK WITH IMF ON GLOBAL CRISIS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 15, 2008

Published: Nov 14, 2008 12:31 AM – Modified: Nov 14, 2008 04:52 AM

by Joe McDonald – AP Business Writer

BEIJING – China said Friday it could work with the International Monetary Fund to help countries hurt by the global financial crisis, suggesting it might heed appeals to contribute to a bailout fund.

As President Hu Jintao prepared for a Washington meeting of leaders to discuss a response to the crisis, Vice Finance Minister Yi Gang sounded constructive, saying China was prepared to work with other countries. But at the same time, Yi reiterated that the most important step Beijing can take will be to keep its own economy stable.

“We are positively taking part in rescue actions for this international financial crisis,” Yi said at a news conference. “There are many ways to do this. We can do it bilaterally, such as currency swaps. And we can do it multilaterally, such as taking part in activities on the platform of the IMF.”

Hu is expected to come under pressure at the weekend meeting to use China’s $2 trillion in reserves to help expand an IMF stability fund. Beijing has yet to respond directly to such suggestions but says Hu will press Western leaders to give developing countries a bigger role in such global financial institutions, a measure that analysts say might be a condition for a Chinese contribution.

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso said Friday that Japan is ready to lend up to $100 billion to the IMF to support nations reeling from the global financial crisis. The IMF has dipped into its reserves fund to provide emergency loans to Iceland, Hungary and Ukraine worth more than $30 billion.

Yi repeated Beijing’s insistence that keeping its economy growing will be an important contribution to global stability. China announced a nearly $600 billion package on Sunday to boost economic growth through higher spending on construction and social programs.

“We have worked to stabilize the growth of China’s economy. We believe this will be our biggest contribution to the international response to the financial crisis,” Yi said.

Also Friday, another official said weakness in China’s economy is worsening and the government faces a severe challenge as it tries to avert a sharp downturn.

“The downturn trend in our economy is more obvious, especially since September. We hope a rapid downturn in growth will not occur,” Mu Hong, a deputy chairman of the nation’s main planning agency, said at the news conference with Yi.

Mu expressed confidence the stimulus package would help the country weather the global downturn. But he said, “This international financial crisis is a new challenge for us. It is a severe challenge.”

Beijing is moving quickly to launch the package and will distribute most of a planned 100 billion yuan ($15 billion) in additional government spending within the next two weeks, Mu said. He said the money will be spent on housing, rural development, highways, public health and environmental protection.

The government says the total stimulus – which also calls for higher investment by state companies – will be worth 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) over the next two years.

China’s economic growth fell to 9 percent in the latest quarter after a stunning 11.9 percent expansion last year. Exporters say foreign customers are canceling orders, which has led to layoffs and factory closures.

Mu blamed the weakness on the global downturn. But data released Friday showed domestic investment – a key force driving China’s rapid expansion – is also cooling as companies cut back or put off spending on real estate, factories and other assets.

Investment in assets grew by 27.2 percent in the first 10 months of this year over the same period of 2007, the National Bureau of Statistics reported. That was down from the 27.6 percent growth reported for the first nine months of the year. Such investment is estimated to account for one-third of China’s economic growth.

“China’s pace of economic growth will reflect the extent to which accelerated infrastructure spending will be able to offset a slowdown in the property and manufacturing sectors,” said a report by Jing Ulrich, JP Morgan Chase & Co.’s chairwoman for China equities.

“Further fiscal and monetary easing may be called for as growth moderates,” Ulrich said.

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