Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2009

links for 2009-10-27

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

links for 2009-10-26

  • "The IMF /World Bank 2009 Annual meetings were, as every three years, held outside of Washington, this time in the city of Istanbul. The meetings came on the heels of the recent summit of the Group of 20 in Pittsburgh, giving follow up to several of its decisions.

    Some of the outcomes were perplexing. Around this same time last year, the world was grappling with the potentially catastrophic consequences of a crisis in which developing countries had no responsibility but that would significantly set back their progress towards the MDGs. Several leaders spoke of a New Bretton Woods, anticipating a shake-up of global governance structures. But to take the global governance results from Istanbul as a benchmark, there is little progress and, some might say, even some signs of retrogression. "

  • "A new study has revealed that Ali is [..] one of many of poor Egyptians who have been shut out of the countrys economic revival. The boom, spurred by private and foreign direct investment, has paid off primarily for the countrys richest, according to the new report by the General Authority for Investment (GAFI).

    [..The] GAFI board of trustees, the independent body that issued the report and sets the strategic direction of Egypts investment authority.
    [..]
    Between 2005 and 2008 a red-hot investment climate drove GDP growth rates to over 7% annually. But the overall poverty rate increased as inflation drove down the purchasing power of most Egyptians. About 44% of the people in this country live on less than $2 (LE 11) a day as of 2008[..].
    The GAFI report blamed official corruption, underdeveloped infrastructure, low literacy levels and lack of professional training for the shortfall.

  • The Gamal Show aired online tonight, and I watched it live with loads of people on Twitter. Was fun.

    The Gamal Show is Gamal Mubaraks attempt to convince us that hes Barack Obama. He appears in a studio with a load of hand-picked young people in a dialogue, on this occasion moderated by Lamis El-Hadidy, a television presenter married to Amr Adeeb, brother of Emad Adeeb, head of the executive board of newspaper Nahdet Misr, which recently published a story in which it stated that all Egyptian Bedouins (except direct descendents of the Prophet Mohamed) are criminals.

  • Aliens peering down on Earth yesterday would have possibly thought humans collectively worship the number 350. Indeed, the figure was at the heart of over 5000 events in 181 countries. What these curious aliens might not have known, however, was that 24 October is the International Day of Climate Action.
    In the case of Cairo, 24 October saw Rawabet Theater present a sci-fi/documentary called The Age of Stupid, as well as several speakers discussing climate change. The event drew some 150 of Egypts youth and kicked off with a short stand-up comedy gig where [..].
    The highlight, however, was The Age of Stupid, an hour and a half long film meshing documentary elements with potentially non-fictional science fiction. It starts 13 billion years ago and quickly fast forwards through the history of the universe and life on Earth, finally stopping in the freshly post-apocalyptic year of 2055 AD.
    "

Read Full Post »

links for 2009-10-25

  • "A group of rich Germans has launched a petition calling for the government to make wealthy people pay higher taxes.

    The group say they have more money than they need, and the extra revenue could fund economic and social programmes to aid Germany's economic recovery.

    Germany could raise 100bn euros (£91bn) if the richest people paid a 5% wealth tax for two years, they say.
    [..]
    The man behind the petition, Dieter Lehmkuhl, told Berlin's Tagesspiegel that there were 2.2 million people in Germany with a fortune of more than 500,000 euros.

    If they all paid the tax for two years, Germany could raise 100bn euros to fund ecological programmes, education and social projects, said the retired doctor and heir to a brewery. "

Read Full Post »

links for 2009-10-24

  • "A group of rich Germans has launched a petition calling for the government to make wealthy people pay higher taxes.

    The group say they have more money than they need, and the extra revenue could fund economic and social programmes to aid Germany's economic recovery.

    Germany could raise 100bn euros (£91bn) if the richest people paid a 5% wealth tax for two years, they say.
    [..]
    The man behind the petition, Dieter Lehmkuhl, told Berlin's Tagesspiegel that there were 2.2 million people in Germany with a fortune of more than 500,000 euros.

    If they all paid the tax for two years, Germany could raise 100bn euros to fund ecological programmes, education and social projects, said the retired doctor and heir to a brewery. "

Read Full Post »

links for 2009-10-23

Read Full Post »

links for 2009-10-22

  • Charles Kenny says TV variety changes the world, citing the effects of TV on birth and divorce rates among other stats. Don'e fully buy it, but it's interesting

    "It's not Twitter or Facebook that's reinventing the planet. Eighty years after the first commercial broadcast crackled to life, television still rules our world. And let's hear it for the growing legions of couch potatoes: All those soap operas might be the ticket to a better future after all."

  • Egypt's own Onion!
  • Today, there is a crying need for a new such socially conscious novel to shake up the complacent public about the high risk of an imminent, serious pandemic. While the world media has obsessed, and rightfully so, about this [Swine Flu] fast-spreading illness, I'm worried about the next crisis, something much deadlier and much more catastrophic, indeed the kind of crisis most people wrongly believe could not happen in this day and age.
    [..]
    Such complacency can be dangerous, and that is the case with influenza A. What the world needs [..] is a real plan for rapid expansion of its ability to produce vaccines against influenza A, so that output at any given time can be quickly ramped up to meet the sudden need associated with the appearance of a truly dangerous, new subspecies like our might-be novelistic killer H5N1/H1N1. [..] Although vaccines are a 20th-century technology, they remain the most powerful weapons we have for the very real 21st-century threat of influenza A.
  • nternational law is unfit to deal with the millions of people expected to flee their home countries to escape droughts and floods intensified by climate change, a group of lawyers said on Thursday.

    Under existing laws, host countries must protect and care for cross-border refugees, who are defined as those forced to migrate because of violence or political, racial or religious persecution.

    There are no such provisions for so-called climate refugees. Yet by 2050, between 200 million and 1 billion people could be forced to leave their homes because of global warming, said the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development, which advises vulnerable countries and communities

  • Saudi Arabia has led a quiet campaign during these and other negotiations demanding behind closed doors that oil-producing nations get special financial assistance if a new climate pact calls for substantial reductions in the use of fossil fuels.

    That campaign comes despite an International Energy Agency report released this week showing that OPEC revenues would still increase $23 trillion between 2008 and 2030 a fourfold increase compared to the period from 1985 to 2007 if countries agree to significantly slash emissions and thereby cut their use of oil. That is the limit most countries agree is needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

    The head of the Saudi delegation Mohammad S. Al Sabban dismissed the IEA figures as "biased" and said OPEC's own calculations showed that Saudi Arabia would lose $19 billion a year starting in 2012 under a new climate pact.

Read Full Post »

links for 2009-10-19

  • [A]s the Princeton economist Hyun Song Shin pointed out in a prescient 2005 paper. Most of the time, financial markets are pretty calm, trading is orderly, and participants can buy and sell in large quantities. Whenever a crisis hits, however, the biggest players—banks, investment banks, hedge funds—rush to reduce their exposure, buyers disappear, and liquidity dries up. Where previously there were diverse views, now there is unanimity: everybody’s moving in lockstep. [..] And the process is self-reinforcing: once liquidity falls below a certain threshold, “all the elements that formed a virtuous circle to promote stability now will conspire to undermine it.”
    [..]
    [T]he real causes of the crisis [..] have to do with the inner logic of an economy like ours. The root problem is what might be termed “rational irrationality”—behavior that, on the individual level, is perfectly reasonable but that, when aggregated in the marketplace, produces calamity.
  • ig Zamore, a Massachusetts environmental activist who was recently recognized for his work by the Environmental Protection Agency, is working with IKEA and supports some of the company’s regional green initiatives. But as he put it, “IKEA is the least sustainable retailer on the planet.” And in real costs—the kind

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »