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Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

India Opens Gates to More Retail

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm

In India, stores like Wal-Mart and Tesco were not allowed to sell directly to consumers, but only wholesale or over the internet. Indian cabinet moved to allow such companies to open retail stores in India, allowing 51% foreign direct ownership of said stores. However, this movement is an executive decision, and does not need permission from Parliament to move forward with it. Like all bills, there are definite pros and cons to this decision. On one hand, it will “increase competition and quality while reducing prices.” These prices are near double-digit inflation, and are a big red flag for a sinking economy. On the other hand, critics say this movement will “squeeze out India’s smaller and poor traders, driving down prices paid to India’s farmers.” Also, refrigeration, preservation, and distribution is still developing in India, and 50% of fresh produce is often lost before it can even reach retail. Are opening all of these jobs worth losing the agricultural community, while risking extreme nationwide famine? However, they do plan to regulate the system and amount of retail stores across the nation. For example, a plot can only qualify for a retail store if it is located in a city of 1 million residents or more. This helps prevent stores like Wal-Mart wiping out all local businesses, keeping jobs plentiful.

For more information, check out the article from BBC News. 

 

New Transitional Cabinet of Libya

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Influenced by the Arab Spring, Libya has an intense revolution too.  Libya was known by the world because of its previous official ruler, Muammar Gaddafi and the intense situation he caused by not letting go the authority which also had a significant influence to the world during that time.

Recently, Gaddafi was killed by NLA fighters and his family and chiefs were mostly captured. In the BBC post “Libya’s Col Muammar Gaddafi killed, says NTC” in 10, October, 2011, it tells that Gaddafi had been killed in a crossfire between Gaddafi loyalists and fighters from the transitional authorities. The ruler who once erupted so many violent protests and national danger, has died after an assault on his birthplace of Sirte. Moreover, 24, October, 2011, as BBC “Bodies of Gaddafi supporters ‘found executed’ in Sirte” reported, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the bodies of 53 Gaddafi loyalists have been found at a hotel in the Libyan city of Sirte after apparently being executed by the NTC troop. In 19, November, 2011, “BBC Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam captured in Libya” reported Gaddafi’s son has been captured. And in 22, November, 2011, as the Washington Post said, “International Court prosecutor in Libya for talks on Seif al-Islam Gadhafi trial”. Furthermore, the BBC report in 20, November, 2011 announced “Gaddafi’s spy chief Abdullah al-Sanussi ‘captured’”.

At the same time, in 22, November, 2011, Libya’s interim PM has named a new transitional cabinet, which symbolized their first step to forming an elected government. The democratic election will occur in next June.  The National Transitional Council (NTC) has elected Libya’s interim Prime Minister, Abdurrahim al-Keib last month. (The NTC is a coalition of rival factions that came together to oust Col Gaddafi) reported by the BBC report “Libya’s interim PM unveils new government line-up’.

I think Libya was one of the most intense countries who were involved in the Arab Spring. People in Libya fought determinedly with their long-ruled ruler, which was a dangerous action. I think the civil war part was a hard part, so does the repair part too. Yet the countries have been stabilized. Also, in the report in the Washington Post “For Women in Libya, a Long Road to Rights”, connecting it to our units for this week, which was women rights, I think as the freedom and the natural rights have been held by the people in those Arab countries, the women will soon have higher position and equality if they maintain the passionate spirit.

Egypt revolution

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Egypt was one of the earliest nations where one of the biggest revolutions in this century, Arab Spring occurred. The Egypt revolution started from January and had reached a point after their previous president gave up his authority. However, Egypt still has chaos and clashes happening; and waiting for their first parliamentary election, hoping Egypt’s future will be bright.

In northern Egypt, in the report of BBC “Deadly protest over chemical plant in northern Egypt” in 14, November, 2011, it talks about the clashes in northern Egypt between army and protesters. They were fighting for the pollution from a fertiliser plant which has left one man dead and at least 11 people injured. They protested for six days and Egypt’s ruling military council has announced that the fertiliser plant is to be closed.

In November 18, in BBC “Egypt: Thousands protest in Cairo against military”, it writes about the protesters who hold a rally in Cairo. The Egyptians were protesting against the military ruler, which they feared the military is trying to entrench its power. Moreover, there was also a protest in Alexandria, which was demanding the withdrawal of proposals for constitutional change by the military authorities.

19, November, 2011, the BBC report “Egypt protests: Deadly clashes in Cairo and Alexandria ” reported the people died or injured in the protests. In the chaos, the most common weapons were rubber bullets and harsh beatings. As a consequence, two people have been killed and more than 600 injured in those violent clashes of Egypt.

I think even though Arab Spring is a positive revolutionary wave which brings the world of people’s rights more advanced, there are still some negative consequences. The protests’ goal may be to let people have more rights and live a better live, but i hope they won’t lose control and have more people injured or dead. I think they should know that if they want a tranquil society lead by government, they need to have social contract, which is to give up some rights to satisfy the majority and let government to build the country. I hope after their first election,  Egypt will be less violent and have a peaceful nation.

Behind the Scenes of the Trans-Pacific Trade Pact Talks: China and the U.S.

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm

A hot topic in the East Asian world right now is the trans-Pacific free trade agreement. Naturally both the U.S. and China were a part of these talks, but unlike the usual talks in which the United States caters to China because of the huge trade deficit and delicate trade agreements between the two countries China and the United States butted heads. When President Obama and President 胡锦涛 (Hu Jintao)words flew across the table; Obama told President Hu that it was time they acted “grown up” and President Hu told Obama that the restrictions on American technology needs to be lifted so that it will be easier to import into China. In fact, President Hu suggested that it would benefit the United States and may lessen the trade deficit between the two countries. The article goes on to talk about how the meetings are being held so that the conflicts do not have to be taken before the World Trade Organization.

The article sheds some light on the unseen tensions between the United States and China. Most of the time people hear how close China and the U.S. are, but it is articles such as this that remind us that there are conflicts going on behind the scenes that an informed citizen has the right to know. In addition, United States economists should research China’s theory on lifting restrictions for the U.S.’s technology export to China. If there is any merit to this statement and the effects are not negative now or in the long run, then what is the issue? The only thing that the article needs to elaborate more on is how China is not acting “grown up” (President Obama). What have they done? To learn more about the Chinese-American meetings and the Trans-Pacific Trade Pact check out these sites:

http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20111115000049&cid=1101

http://www.industryweek.com/articles/u-s-_to_move_quickly_on_south_korea_trade_pact_26066.aspx?SectionID=3

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hhHXAmnWtWABFfq1ZkiFOu31D_VA?docId=9ed6be4e4c52425fb4298ac5d3d0b30c

http://www.freshplaza.com/news_detail.asp?id=89138

Here is the article: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/20/us-china-usa-trade-idUSTRE7AJ07U20111120?feedType=RSS&feedName=politicsNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FPoliticsNews+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Politics+News%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

MLA:

Buckley, Chris. “China, U.S. Grapple with Tensions at Trade Talks.” Business & Financial News, Breaking US &      International News | Reuters.com. Reuters, 20 Nov. 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. <http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/20/us-china-usa-trade-idUSTRE7AJ07U20111120?feedType=RSS&gt;.

China’s Andrew Jackson

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Prime Minister Noda recently announced his intention to sign the pan-Pacific free trade agreement between Japan, Singapore, Australia, the United States, and other countries. Prime Minister Noda was swiftly met with opposition from farmers, traditionalist, and surprisingly his own political party. Farmers are worried that Japan will start importing food from the United States and Australia leaving the farmers without a job. While Mr. Noda assured the agricultural people that farming was a part of his childhood and he intends for it to be a part of future generations’ childhoods he believes that by adding global competition agriculture can flourish in Japan. Mr. Noda’s party argues that “strong nations only become stronger and weaker nations only become weaker in free-trade” and threatens to no longer support Mr. Noda as Prime Minister. Mr. Noda and others such as Professor Yoko Ishikura believe that creating a free trade pact will be a major turning point in Japan’s history and will put them back into the competition with South Korea.

While it is harder to gain ground in a free trade pact than a fair trade one, as an American (with my can-do spirit) I believe it is possible to gain ground in a free trade pact. Japan will have to struggle to gain ground and come into this agreement with a well laid out plan of action, but it is possible. What is surprising is the determination of Prime Minister Noda when it comes to this agreement. I do not know whether to admire him for his strong unchanging beliefs or pity him for the effects that are sure to come from going ahead with his plan (losing his party’s support) (he sort of reminds me of Andrew Jackson- going ahead without approval from his party or his Congress). The article does not talk much about the details of the pact, but anyone who wants to know more about the agreement can check out this site: http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/145583.pdf

MLA:

Hiroko Tabuchi. “Japan Joining Talks on Trans-Pacific Partnership.” New York Times. 11 Nov.      2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2011

Fake

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2011 at 2:41 pm

This giant is one of the biggest industries on the planet and rakes in over 20 billion dollars in the United States alone. The giant is plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is a trend that is growing at an alarming pace in places, most of all South Korea. One in five women from the ages of 14 to 49 has undergone plastic surgery in South Korea (Sang-Hyun). In fact, according to the article plastic surgery is seen as a reward for women. Some parents will promise their daughter a surgery to make her face more V-shaped or make her eyes bigger if she does well on her high school entrance exam. The article goes on to talk about how women in Korea view plastic surgery and how much growth the industry has grown in the past decade.

A basic list of issues with plastic surgery: feminism, beauty standards, social pressure, monetary value, and medical side effects. Let’s start with feminism, beauty standards and social pressure since those relate to each other. If children are told from a young age they are not pretty enough or they need surgery to be accepted then those children will grow up with a messed up set of mores. In fact suicide levels will increase with the rising beauty standards because they can no longer deal with the social pressure of not being perfect or the same as everyone else. Also what about the focus on education? As the article points out most women who come into have plastic surgery believe they will be more successful if they are prettier? Is that what the future of the country is coming to? Another issue with plastic surgery is the cost. It is not covered in the South Koreans’ health insurance, so people are spending more and more on beauty when they should be investing their money in something else. Lastly, the biggest issue with plastic surgery is the medical side effects. Besides the usual risk of being put under anesthesia, plastic surgery could lead to other medical complications especially if it is a huge surgery. For example the women in South Korea who change their whole face structure from round to V-shaped- they must face further complications as they age. People who undergo the eyelid surgery risk damaging their vision and increase their risk of having a heart disease! Will plastic surgery really as the woman in the article said “[m]ake [your] future much brighter” when it causes you to be plagued with a lifelong disease?

The article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/world/asia/in-south-korea-plastic-surgery-comes-out-of-the-closet.html?_r=3&adxnnl=1&partner=rss&emc=rss&pagewanted=1&adxnnlx=1321988470-R7R/5YloABCikvYaRkhvxA

More websites to check out:

http://www.plasticsurgeryportal.com/articles/blepharoplasty-risks/159

http://www.plasticsurgeryportal.com/articles/plastic-surgery-risks-side-effects/155

http://www.ehow.com/about_4827336_complications-side-effects-cosmetic-surgery.html

http://thebodyproject.bradley.edu/industires/index.shtml

MLA Citation:

Sang-Hyun, Choe. “In South Korea, Plastic Surgery Comes Out of the Closet.” New York Times. 3 Nov. 2011. Web. 7 Nov. 2011

What Is Microfinance?

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Microfinance is the lending of money from one individual to another. It is prevalent and most useful in instances where banks are not available or are not willing to make loans. Also, microloans are most often made to low-income individuals who are self-employed entrepreneurs. Organizations like Kiva (http://www.kiva.org/), Vittana (http://www.vittana.org/), and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (http://www.uncdf.org/) collect money from donors and distribute it among entrepreneurs in developing countries. This allows those individuals to build up credit by repaying their loans within a certain amount of time, and greatly improves quality of life for those individuals. Microloans stimulate the local economy also, by allowing people to create new businesses and employ local workers.

Kumari

Kumari lives in Sri Lanka with her husband and her son.  She recently received her second microloan and now supports her family by growing vegetables, rice, vanilla and tea leaves.  Photo by Laura Sheahen/CRS

Daya rolling incense

Daya is 41 and also lives in Sri Lanka where she began an incense company with the help of a microloan.  She now employs many people from her village.  Photo by Laura Sheahen/CRS

For more microfinance success stories, go here: http://crs.org/microfinance/stories/.

Climate Change in South Asia Affects the Poor

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2011 at 8:37 am

As Al Gore constantly lets us all know, climate change is no laughing matter. It is not a problem that we can continue to put off, because the effects of climate change are happening now, especially to those who live in already harsh conditions in South Asia. Higher temperatures, undulating periods of rain, intense natural disasters, and the rise of the sea level are all tragic occurrences, which are putting more and more pressure of the poor citizens in South Asia (WorldBank.org).

A steady climate is ideal because it is workable and predictable. But what are the people supposed to do when during one season they are trying to manage floods, while during another they try to strive through an extreme drought? This back and forth is causing problem after problem for South Asia, especially the poor.

Water is now unavailable during the entire year, creating a high demand and lowering the quality of this water in the areas that experience the drought more intensely. Regulation is being forgotten about because people are more concerned with just getting water, regardless of the water. With this comes the onset of disease — malaria, dengue, and cholera to name a few. The constant flooding followed by droughts is leading to “decreased agricultural productivity,” effecting the economy and widening the gap between the rich and poor as the poor farmers lose their sole source of  income.

(Divanee.com)

So what is the World Bank striving to do to fix these problems in South Asia and how can we help? They have acknowledged that they cannot move forward in the fixing South Asia’s economy until these problems have all been addressed. They are hoping to start regulating water supply and sanitation, boosting trade a tourism, installing constructing and mining in order to lower the dependence on agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.

Growing Gap

In Uncategorized on November 7, 2011 at 9:49 am

The article discusses the attitude of China’s consumers. Many consumers in China are saving more than spending, and while that sounds good in theory it has created a setback in the Chinese economy. The author, Barboza, highlights the differences between two cities, Jilin and Beijing. In Beijing, any global company can prosper, but in cities like Jilin people do not like to pay the full price because they do not have the spending power to do so. With a country that lacks in spending power, China’s economic power is not able to grow to its full potential, and as a result inflation is on the rise. As the article continues the reason behind the bargaining is revealed. The Chinese people are not earning enough money to pay their bills and have a little left over. In fact, the family in this article, the Wangs, earns an average of $16,000 a year. And the Wangs are considered a middle class family! As the article comes to a close, the author points out that the only way to fix the consumption problem, or lack of, is to stop taking money from the households and instead focus on companies and the government.

Over the past few weeks I have been reading about this sector of the world, China in particular, and I have seen an alarming pattern. The gap in China between the rich and the poor seems to grow every day. This article is a fine example of the problem. It talks about the middle class families of China and the difficulties and strain they receive from China’s newer economy. They are the ones to suffer because as the title of the article says, they are being left behind while China’s economy and upper class reaps in the profits of the middle class hard work. If the gap continues to grow at the rate it is and the middle class does not receive some relief or some of the benefits that the upper class enjoys then China is in for more than just experiencing a pitfall in their economy: they will experience another rebellion. To read more about the Chinese middle class setbacks check out these links:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/business/global/households-pay-a-price-for-chinas-growth.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/11/01/is-china-facing-a-health-care-crisis/chinas-health-costs-outstrip-gdp-growth

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/11/01/is-china-facing-a-health-care-crisis?partner=rss&emc=rss

Arab Spring still in Yemen

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=yemen&aq=&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=39.86519,78.662109&vpsrc=6&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Yemen&ll=15.552727,48.516388&spn=12.130375,19.665527&t=m&z=6&output=embed
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Most people must be familiar to Arab Spring- the revolutionary waves occur in the middle – east Arabic countries. The revolution
included many chaos and protests. In addition, the Arab Spring has the aid of
the technology, especially the internet. The act of reform started in Tunisia
and Egypt, and soon spread out. Most of the revolution has generally completed,
but not Yemen.

Yemen’s protests have been continued in the past nine
months, yet it is finish. The government is using violence and the army to quell
the protests. However, the protestant and Yemenis are not giving up too. Therefore
the protestant –which includes the tribe soldiers and citizens- are having
intense conflicts with the army. Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president of Yemen,
had claimed he was going to leave the position soon before months ago.

“It’s not because I crave power, I reject power and I will leave it in the
coming days and leave it behind,” Mr Saleh said.

However, he didn’t. The act enraged the protestant even more. See more
information in BBC.

At the latest clash of the government troops and pro-opposition
militia, at least nine protestant were killed, reported by the Washington Post.
The people don’t know when will be the end of this bloody reformation. Moreover
the hospitals are starting to have lack of medicine for the wounded.

“The city’s hospitals, both public and private, are suffering from acute shortages of medicine,” the rights group said in a statement (by the Washington Post)

Furthermore, the reformation has also brought up the conscious of women. According to  CNN, in 26 Oct, 2011, thousands of women gathered in the capital, Sanaa with carring banners that read: “Saleh the butcher is killing women and is proud of it” and “Women have no value in the eyes in Ali Saleh.” The women piled their veils and burnt them infront of the government building.  That was an act highly symbolic in the Islamic tradition, where women use their veils to cover their faces and bodies. It’s the first time in the nine months of Yemen’s uprising that such an event has occurred. Such an act was inspired by Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman, who just won the Nobel Peace Prize.

As a reflection, Yemen’s reform are helping the society evolving in a way; but also destructing the nation. The people against the government are brave but should be more rational. The government and the troops should not only try to suppress the protest but actually think about the reason that those citizens chose to be against the powerful society and governement. Furthermore, I think the president needs to examine himself too. A president should be protecting and helping the country, not only gaining benefits from it. If the people disagree with you, strive to have positive changes or quit. I hope the violence can be soon ended and let peace arrives.

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