Obama is rightly emphasizing the reality that electricity is an input into nearly every good and service in households, villages, towns and national economies. A region in which 600 million out of 960 million are without power cannot possibly ignite, expand or sustain economic growth and development.
The Chinese have been pushed around a lot over the years, most notably by Britain, Japan and the United States. That isn't likely to continue as China develops. Middleweights can put on a lot of muscle in a hurry when they have money, determination and technical skills. China has all three in spades.
What does this mean for Canada? First and foremost, it means a reinvigorated green crusade for renewables, which can only harm Canada's economy, as we showed when Ontario took this path. In addition, the green movement will likely use this agreement to push for other harmful policies such as a national carbon tax. The U.S.-China agreement will also reinvigorate green opposition to Canadian fossil-fuel production of all sorts: the no coal, no gas, and especially the no oil sands people will be using the new announcement as a cudgel with which to demonize anyone who opposes them.
In a word, Dr. Wang's and Dr. Liu's continuing detentions are case studies of the Chinese government's massive repression of human rights defenders and violations of their own undertakings to us to respect their domestic and international legal obligations. Regrettably, the Chinese government has succeeded in having the narrative focus on the regime's openness to trade, technology, and business, and away from justice, democracy, and human rights.
If you build it, he will come. In this case, "it" is not a baseball diamond, but a renminbi (RMB) hub, and "he" is not Shoeless Joe Jackson, but rather a business community eager to trade and invest in RMB. So far, the "build-it first" approach has paid dividends for Hong Kong, London, Taipei, and Singapore. Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Seoul, and a host of other jurisdictions are also showing initial promise after recently signing hub agreements. But will this approach work for Canada?
In an article entitled "Why Canada And The U.S. Are On The Wrong Side Of Democracy", I describe the shocking downward spiral of Honduras since the illegal coup, and the concurrent loss of economic and political self-determination. This, then, is the consistent pattern when Empire intervenes in the internal affairs of other countries.
China's recent ruthlessness has shocked many including Emily Lau, a long-standing Member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council. In a recent interview, she said: "These demands are modest and reasonable and protesters are peaceful. There is no compromise. The ball is now in China's court. Promises were made."
Seventy per cent of illegal ivory ends up in China -- the world's largest ivory consumer, as the insatiable demand for the "white gold" is surging with the growing middle class populous. The root cause of this insane craving for ivory is ignorance. According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), more than 70 per cent of Chinese don't realize that elephants are being killed for their ivory.
When considering civil society organizations, there are few things to which government officials are more sensitive than political activities. It is doubtful that the activities considered unacceptably political by the Communist Party of China are any more overtly political than the impugned activities of charities in Canada.
One of the important figures in the democratic movement in Hong Kong is Joseph Cardinal Zen, the retired Catholic Bishop of Hong Kong. Cardinal Zen, aged 82, attended the recent demonstrations. He told Reuters that "It's high time that we really showed that we want to be free and not to be slaves...we must unite together."
The number of foreign students has doubled since even 2000. Some 265,000 go to Canada, over 200,000 to Australia, and more than 420,000 to the UK. While the American empire may be in decline, its universities still hold a great allure for the youth of the world for their academic leadership, freedom to explore and create and share, and their inviting and equitable atmosphere.
China has quietly developed the world's first land-based missile system -- Dong Feng 21Ds -- capable of sinking aircraft carriers from a long way off: to wit, more than 1,500 kilometers, or a bit more than the distance between Winnipeg and Vancouver. That's a long way out into the East and South China Seas.
As America is the world's growth engine, it's critical to know what its buyers are saying. The news is not just good; it's great. Manufacturers were discouraged by the poor winter weather, but they got over it; the index is now back to the heights seen last fall, and rising. New orders are leading the charge, up sharply in the last three months.
The tech wreck, the thickening border with the U.S. and the soaring loonie in the mid-2000's turned the attention of Canada's exporters to fast-growing emerging markets. In a relatively short time span, our trade with this rapidly-rising part of the global economy has risen from less than 5 per cent to almost 13 per cent of our merchandise exports.
In China, crooks don't have to go to the casino because intermediaries called "junkets" will swap Yuan for gambling chips that can be cashed into Hong Kong or Macao currency at the casino then wired by Hong Kong banks to tax havens or accomplices offshore. The goal is to buy a condo or luxury goods with funds from a trust managed by a shell company in Grand Cayman, owned by another trust in Guernsey with an account in Luxembourg managed by a Swiss banker who doesn't know who the owner is.