Friday, January 25, 2008

Hungry Planet - Threat to Global Food Supply

Food prices are skyrocketing. Arable land is becoming scarce. And forests continue to disappear across the globe. The world must decide between affordable food and biofuels

At the Global Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which began on January 23, the world's elites have identified the scarcity of agricultural commodities as a critical global risk. "The world's food production system," say the forum's organizers, "is about to face a true test." The United Nations has already warned that food shortages could lead to unrest in some countries. In Mexico, for example, tens of thousands of people took to the streets a year ago to protest the explosion in the price of corn meal, a staple of the Mexican diet. This "tortilla crisis" signaled the beginning of the distribution battles the planet is about to face - struggles over the most productive farmland, the most favorable supply contracts and the best seed… To read more at SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL

Sunday, January 20, 2008

OPEC and the International Oil Companies

In an exclusive SPIEGEL interview, OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla Salem el-Badri discusses the dangers of a further dramatic rise in the oil price, the failures of multinational oil companies and considerations within the cartel of oil-exporting nations to trade in euros rather than dollars. ... Excerpts:

El-Badri - We are currently able to increase production by 3.5 million barrels. And we have also invested up to 2012 in new projects at a total cost of $150 billion, which will give us additional capacity of 6 million barrels in four years. However, we have to know how high the demand for oil will be in the future, so that we can plan our investments accordingly. …

I have visited China and spoken with the political leadership there. We are in talks with the EU and I am going to visit Japan. The most important thing for us is dialogue. The individual countries do not provide us with exact demand figures for the future, but at least they give us some indication of how much oil will be needed. Complete interview at SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL

Monday, January 14, 2008

Michael R. Bloomberg for US President? [Report]

Nearly every day a tiny new development trickles out from the stealth presidential campaign of Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of New York... He has delivered a tart critique of the presidential field and is conducting intricate polling to test his appeal in all 50 states.

Bloomberg’s dalliance with the idea of running for president has stretched on and on, with his enthusiastic approval despite the public denials. But even before actually entering the contest, he may have already risked losing something: people’s patience... More at The New York Times

Monday, January 7, 2008

Outside Winners in Iowa: OBAMA and HUCKABEE

The winners in Iowa are named Obama and Huckabee. One used chutzpah and charm to defeat the Clinton machine; the other pitched his warmth and Baptist faith against big-money Republicanism.

The race for the White House is on

All Barack Obama has to do now is stand there. He doesn't really need the giant sign with his campaign slogan "Change" that someone has draped behind him. He just has to stand in place to exude a sense of change. He doesn't need to say anything in the giant conference center in Des Moines. His thousands of supporters gathered here would cheer him anyway.

But then Obama speaks: about a magic moment in history, and the dream of uniting America. Black and white, red and blue… By Gregor Peter Schmitz; to read more at SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL