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Test: WordPress (Press This) /Hash tag – #SierraLeone

Twitter / Search – #SierraLeone.

Posted in Sierra Leone | Leave a comment

State sponsored Iranian hackers suspected of eavesdropping on encrypted e-mail and chat communications

Iranian Hackers Suspected in Recent Security Breach – NYTimes.com.

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Chavez, Reuters and Life on Mars

Chavez says capitalism may have ended life on Mars | Reuters.

To add to the absurdity, the article closes with references to various Mars related snippets…Is the story about Mars or Chavez? I don’t know which to be more amused by, Chavez or Reuters. -RM

 

 

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FT.com / Commodities – Cocoa traders ready to pay Gbagbo

Former president Laurent Gbagbo has demanded taxes be paid on cocoa exports by the end of the month threatening confiscation of $1.3bn worth of crops. In an effort to remove Gbagbo, who has held on to power after losing elections late last year, president-elect Alassane Ouattara requested the international community cease importing cocoa from Cote d’Ivoire. The government is reliant on export revenue and payment by importers may prolong Gbagbo’s stay. -RM

FT.com / Commodities – Cocoa traders ready to pay Gbagbo.

Posted in Cote d'Ivoire | Leave a comment

Lambo demo and the wealth divide

There is something not quite right about the reasoning of the car owner in this story…I can’t put my finger on it…but, as a protest on National Consumer Day, destroying a $250K car ($500 – $750K according to this report) because you’re pissed off about poor service, that luxury brands aren’t providing adequate support, when children are being killed by tainted baby formula and houses made uninhabitable from contaminated drywall seems over the top.

Qingdao man unhappy with his Lambo, destroys it on National Consumer Day with sledgehammer team.

Posted in @Opinion, China | Leave a comment

Deep Dive – Foreign Policy and Brookings Institute Joint Project

Deep Dive – A Special Joint Project with Foreign Policy and The Brookings Institution | Foreign Policy.

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Saudi Intervention in Bahrain | STRATFOR

Saudi Intervention in Bahrain | STRATFOR.

Posted in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia | 1 Comment

Comfy with Kazakhstan, “Prince of Sleaze” Eyes Azerbaijan | EurasiaNet.org

Last year, the Daily Mail reported that Timur Kulibayev, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s son-in-law had paid Andrew some $5 million above the asking price for the prince’s former home.

An interesting window into how things get done behind the scenes. -RM

via Comfy with Kazakhstan, “Prince of Sleaze” Eyes Azerbaijan | EurasiaNet.org.

Posted in Central Asia, Kazakhstan | Leave a comment

Production v. Innovation ~ VHS v. Betamax redux?

When I saw this title from the Foreign Policy journal, Production, not innovation, will win the future, I was immediately reminded of the classic Betamax / VHS video format war – Betamax boasted higher quality, VHS lower cost and capacity – VHS won. Unless innovation produces a sea change in technology or is at least 10x better than the existing technology uptake is unlikely – leaving the market to the affordable (aka cheap import).

And there is a very real limit to what any given generation of consumers can absorb. Unless, like China, you increase your consumer base by building a new middle class  – and tackle the thorny social issue of wealth distribution in the process.

Where the US really has a competitive advantage is in large scale ‘quality of life’, which isn’t something that can be pirated and resold at a cheaper price on Canal Street. It’s a precious commodity that could easily come under threat if we try to compete blindly. Perhaps we should consider raising the standards on imports as well as wages. -RM

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