Lunes, 16 de julio de 2012

Through the dust kicked up by passing cars on a remote road in southern Rwanda, a striking image became clear as we approached: Four men carrying on their shoulders a man on a stretcher. The hospital in Nyakibanda was still miles away.

It was not only the determination of the four strong men that struck me, but also the fact that a herculean effort was required to get care for their friend or brother.

Unfortunately, examples of such extraordinary efforts to secure basic needs are quite ordinary in many parts of Africa. My travels have taken me to the outback of many nations, and I have been humbled by how people live with hope despite lacking what many consider essential goods, services and freedoms.…  Seguir leyendo »

On July 1, Canada Day, Canadians awoke to a startling, if pleasant, piece of news: For the first time in recent history, the average Canadian is richer than the average American.

According to data from Environics Analytics WealthScapes published in the Globe and Mail, the net worth of the average Canadian household in 2011 was $363,202, while the average American household’s net worth was $319,970.

A few days later, Canada and the United States both released the latest job figures. Canada’s unemployment rate fell, again, to 7.2 percent, and America’s was a stagnant 8.2 percent. Canada continues to thrive while the U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

Most Americans think of the Arctic as an icy, distant place; beautiful, remote and teeming with wildlife, but unrelated to their daily lives. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This summer, big doings on America’s northern doorstep will have enormous consequences to the economic, strategic and environmental future of the nation. Yet we are unprepared for the challenges and opportunities.

What happens in the Arctic as ice melts there could soon cheapen the cost of the gas you buy and products you purchase from Asia. It could help make the nation more energy independent. It could draw our leaders into a conflict over undersea territory.…  Seguir leyendo »

The June summit of the eurozone was initially trumpeted as a decisive step towards resolving the crisis. Italy and Spain won agreement to allow European institutions to recapitalise banks and purchase sovereign debt directly.

But once financial markets had a closer look, it became clear that little of substance had been achieved, and the borrowing costs of Italy and Spain again approached forbidding heights. Meanwhile the Spanish government has imposed fresh austerity, breaking its promises to the electorate. And unemployment in the eurozone continues to rise, exceeding 11% on average.

It is now a fair guess that the European Monetary Union (or the eurozone) has crossed the Rubicon and is heading towards breakup or collapse.…  Seguir leyendo »

“The heart of our [Asia] strategy, the piece that binds all the rest of it together, is our support for democracy and human rights,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared last Monday. Two days later, the Obama administration lifted prohibitions on U.S. investment in Burma . American companies are now free to partner with the state-owned energy conglomerate — the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) — whose revenue has underwritten the military regime’s repression of its people and ongoing wars against ethnic dissidents.

Why now? Burma (also known as Myanmar) is undergoing a managed political opening designed to legitimize its regime, transform its growth prospects and enlist Western partners as a hedge against China.…  Seguir leyendo »

At the end of June, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, Petrobras, announced plans to invest $44 billion in the “pre-salt” oil fields in the country’s coastal waters, whose holdings of at least 50 billion barrels are one of the biggest oil finds of the past three decades.

Extracting this oil from its ultra-deep-water home will be a fantastic technological achievement — a tribute to how we can now harvest energy resources from the most extreme environments. From deep water drilling for oil to fracking for gas and arctic mining, there are no more limits.

This is astonishing. But it should also be alarming.…  Seguir leyendo »