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Project Syndicate: resource discoveries in Central Africa offer risky investments. NYT: Obama is waffling dangerously on Sudan. The Telegraph: China and India exploit a green-tech loophole to produce a banned chemical.
Obama’s waffling Sudan strategy could lead to disaster
Nicholas D. Kristof writes in the New York Times that President Barack Obama’s strategy on Sudan is unclear and inconsistent, a fact that will not help the country avoid a new round of civil war, and perhaps genocide, next year.
QUOTE: …the problem isn’t that the administration is too busy to devise a policy toward Sudan but that it has a half-dozen policies, mostly at cross-purposes.
Saudi Arabia prohibits Moroccan women from taking Mecca pilgrimage
Nesrine Malik writes in The Guardian of Saudi Arabia’s decision to block all Moroccan women of certain age groups from pilgrimage to Mecca, out of fear that the woman will engage in prostitution.
QUOTE: The francophone Maghreb, especially Morocco, is stereotyped by wealthier and more outwardly conservative Arab nations as louche in cultural disposition and morally lax through poverty.
The EU’s future becomes uncertain as nationalism rises
Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes in the Washington Post that many Europeans have begun to wonder what benefit the European Union brings, and deem that they’d be better off without.
QUOTE: From London to Berlin to Warsaw, Europe is experiencing a renationalization of political life, with countries clawing back the sovereignty they once willingly sacrificed in pursuit of a collective ideal.
A carbon market loophole proves lucrative
Christopher Booker writes in The Telegraph that certain companies in China and India have taken advantage of the Clean Development Mechanism – the basis for the global carbon trade – to generate income through the production of CFC’s, whose production is banned in developed countries.
QUOTE: Easily the largest and most lucrative component in the [Clean Development Mechanism] market is a peculiar racket centred on the manufacture of CFCs, chlorofluorocarbons, classified under Kyoto as greenhouse gases vastly more damaging than carbon dioxide.
UK’s Tories plan to cut international aid
John Hillary writes in The Guardian of the Tory’s lack of commitment to international aid. Cuts are planned for the government’s Department for International Development, while the department’s director recommends that the majority of anti-poverty programs be dropped.
QUOTE: Indeed, the government announced the first cuts to the UK's international development programme within days of taking power.
Central African discoveries present risky investment options
Business risk consultant Hannah Kope writes in Project Syndicate that newly discovered resources in Central Africa are creating investing opportunities in the region. Due to widespread corruption, however, investors should use caution.
QUOTE: There are significant political risks related to the overlapping political and business interests of the region’s entrenched ruling elites, presenting headaches for investors concerned about their reputations.
Mosques in the U.S. face false stereotypes
In the Washington Post Edward E. Curtis IV dispels stereotypes of Muslim communities, and mosques in particular, in the United States. Rather than breeding grounds for extremism, mosques should be seen as centers for American assimilation.
QUOTE: No doubt, some mosques have encouraged radical extremism…But after the 2001 attacks, such radicalism was largely pushed out of mosques and onto the Internet, mainly because of a renewed commitment among mosque leaders to confront extremism.
A new Taiwan city looks for a name and an identity
As Taipei County prepares to gain status as a city within Taiwan, the China Post writes of controversy surrounding its new name. A variety of standards have been used when Romanizing mandarin names in the past, causing confusion among foreigners. The Post argues that it’s time to adopt a unified standard so that the new city will have a clear international identity.
QUOTE: The argument over which romanization system to use has always been hindered by the age-old Taiwanese political tussle between independence advocates and those seen as pro-Beijing.
China is a country of energy superlatives
Benjamin K. Sovacool, a professor of public policy at the National University of Singapore, writes in the China Post that when it comes to energy China is a country of paradoxes, being both the world’s leading polluter and its largest consumer of clean energy. The dichotomy reflects China’s larger struggle to balance development with environmental concerns.
These trends show a contrast between “two future Chinas” - one seeking sustainable economic development through energy efficiency, frugality and renewable energy resources, and the other overwhelmingly dependent on pollution, waste and non-renewable energy sources to drive economic growth.
Mobile phones bring banking to the globe’s poorest regions
Jamie Zimmerman and Jamie Holmes of the New America Foundation write in Foreign Policy that mobile phones have given the world’s poorest citizens access to banking as well as a means to circumvent loans and corruption that often accompany financing in the developing world.
QUOTE: By 2012, mobile banking operators could see nearly $8 billion in revenue just by expanding their services to the currently unbanked.