Saturday, October 29, 2011

Comics this week

FF #11- Writer Jonathan Hickman is one of those writers that is either hit-or-miss. He set-up these layered plotlines that not only tell the story but also setup further stories down the road. If the stories he lay down works, it’s beautiful. If it does not, it’s a waste of space. This issue is a setup issue with Reed gathering all his contacts for battle against the Inhumans. Annihilus and his Cult of the Negative Zone, Ronan and the Kree are also all in the mix. How would all this pan out? Frankly I have no idea but currently it’s not very exciting.

Green Lantern: The New Guardians #2- When this series was announced, I dug the idea of a group with members of all 7 Corps together. So I am currently not that impressed with this series thus far because the focus has been too much on Kyle Rayner. Yes, I know the main plot of the series is on how a wayward ring from each of the colored corps has somehow chosen him as their bearer but what about the rest of the cast? Enough about Kyle already! I want more Murk, Saint Walker and Arkillo. And could DC please get their artists in line on how to draw the Guardians. They look like comedians in this issue.

I, Vampire #2- Now this is a surprise! After the debut issue where the action and focus was on the goody, goody vampire Andrew, this issue the focus is on Mary, the Queen of Blood. And I mean this issue was told from the POV of Mary. That is both surprising and bloody great! Personally I find it ironic that for a revamp that was meant for its main superhero lines, the best series coming out of the 52 are series like Demon Knights and I, Vampire which you can’t see a superhero anywhere on the pages.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Not So Fast

As news spread of European leaders sealing a deal to fix its debt crisis, stocks throughout the world rose. Europe has put together a deal that would shored up its bailout fund, pledged new funds for Greece and persuaded/forced banks to take a 50% loss on Greece's debt. As expected, stock markets rose on the back of this grand deal.

The stock markets are counting their chickens before they hatched.

I am not convinced that this “grand deal” will fix Europe’s debt crisis because the deal is missing one key ingredient of solving the crisis. It didn’t say how they Europe intend to deal with the problems facing Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Spain.

Greece might be the biggest problem facing Europe currently but they are not the only one in trouble. In fact, if things come to a head, the debt crisis of Italy and Spain will dwarf Greece by a hefty margin. How does Europe intend to deal with the potential debt crisis of Italy and Spain?

Keep in mind that under this current deal, they are already forcing banks to take a 50% loss on Greece. I doubt they would be able to get the banks to take any more pain for Italy and Spain. Even if the banks want to, the size of Italy and Spain might make that impossible!

So…what’s the strategy to deal with Italy and Spain? Until they answer those questions, don’t expect the European debt crisis to go away anytime soon.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Alibaba & Yahoo

For years Yahoo has been overshadowed by Google and, to a lesser extent, Facebook. For when I heard that China’s internet giant Alibaba Group is trying to buy over Yahoo, I wasn’t that surprised. However Yahoo! Inc. co- founder Jerry Yang quietly came out to say his company isn’t necessarily up for sale but is “merely” looking at all options.

Frankly, it doesn’t matter. To me, the big news is how a well-known American internet company is being looked at as a takeover target by a Chinese internet company. Both are well known internet giants but it says a lot for China economic growth (and potential) that the Alibaba Group is a potential buyer of Yahoo Inc., not the other way around.

So in more ways than one, whether it happens or not, the potential takeover of Alibaba of Yahoo is a watershed event. Not just for the internet, but for the whole of the business world as well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thailand Floods

Since the flood in Thailand started 2 months ago, it had killed 356 people in the country and caused about $6 billion worth of damage to the country. But sometimes words can only say so such, while pictures can say everything. Here are some pictures of the devastation;



Monday, October 24, 2011

So He Was Killed...So What?

Days after Muammar Gaddafi's death, the international community (aka NATO) still claims that there is a lack of an account about how he died. Now I haven’t been paying that much attention to NATO’s war on Gaddafi, but even I know how he died.

We have all seem the video which a wounded but still alive Muammar Gaddafi was captured by rebels forces. Next thing we know, he was dead. It ought to be obvious what happened! He was killed by the Libyan rebels who captured him! Same thing happened to his son Mo'tassim Gaddafi.

I fail to understand why the international community are refusing to admit this pretty obvious scenario. Muammar Gaddafi was killed by the Libyan rebels. It was always going to happen because civil wars are nasty zero-sum game. So what? Admit it and move on. What’s so difficult about that?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Canadians, Canadians, Canadians...

You know I read on Yahoo news that the majority of Canadians believe that their Prime Minster, Stephen Harper, is vastly overpaid. As a Singaporean, I can’t help but think; “Are you Canadians insane?”

For those people who do not understand why I feel this way, maybe this list can help you.

Top 10 Political Leader's Salary by Country (2010):
1. Lee Hsien Loong (Singapore): $2,183,516
2. Donald Tsang (Hong Kong): $513,245
3. Raila Odinga (Kenya): $427,886
4. Barack Obama (United States): $400,000
5. Nicolas Sarkozy (France): $302,435
6. Stephen Harper (Canada): $296,400
7. Mary McAleese (Ireland): $287,900
8. Julia Gillard (Australia): $286,752
9. Angela Merkel (Germany): $283,608
10. Yoshihiko Noda (Japan): $273,676

That’s right! In the list of Top 10 leader’s salary, Canada ranked just 6th on the list. Now for people who think that is still very high, remember I am from SINGAPORE! My Prime Minister is paid 7 times more than the Prime Minister of Canada. Hell my Prime Minister is so far ahead of everyone, I won’t be surprised if Barack Obama or Angela Merkel got red eyes just reading this list!

So for Canadians who believe their Prime Minster is overpaid, remember this; At least you are not a Singaporean!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Australian woman survives attack by large kangaroo!

Let's see if you can understand this? A woman in Australia was walking her dogs when they came upon a big kangaroo.

One of her dogs (who was not leashed) chased after the kangaroo who fought back with its claws. Seeing the dog in trouble, the woman used a stick to attack the kangaroo to save her pet. The kangaroo naturally defends itself against the dog owner, leaving the woman with cuts to her neck, ears and back before hopping off.

The headlines in Australia; Australian woman survives attack by large kangaroo!

Yes, in this whole incident the fault lies not with the woman or her stupid dog but the kangaroo for “attacking” the woman. Not defending itself but “attacking” the woman!

Thanks goodness something like this does not happen in Singapore (cough…monkeys in Telok Blangah…cough).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupy Raffles Place?

I can understand what the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in America is about. Big banks got huge corporate bailouts, their CEOs got massive bonuses, but it has failed to get the economy going and now the corporate bigwings refused to pay higher taxes despite getting the bailouts. So I do understand the movement.

And I also understand that the “Occupy Wall Street” movement in America has shown surprising strength. However, anyone who believes there is even a remote chance of it happening here in Singapore needs his head checked.

I don’t know what was funnier; the call by some people to “Occupy Raffles Place” or the police reaction to it. The police quickly issued a statement stating that any gathering at Raffles Place is unlawful and they will be label as anarchists by the mainstream media.

Why bother? I ask that because the majority of Singaporeans are not interested in social causes. We are a money-making, money-grabbing, money-everything capitalist society. We are infamous for this; our people are ranked right up there with people from Hong Kong for god sake and you think Singaporeans will “Occupy Raffles Place” like in America?

Dream on people! I have a better chance of hitting Toto than that happening. This is Singapore!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review of Real Steel

When I read the premise of “Real Steel”, I wasn’t really that impressed. A film about boxing robots sounds like a second-rate Transformers movie to me. And I wasn’t really a fan of the Transformers movies.

After seeing the movie, I’m not actually wrong. In some ways, “Real Steel” is a little like the Transformers movies where robots go out and destroy each other. However, in many other ways, it is not.

This is because “Real Steel” actually has a story in it.

Directed by Shawn Levy, “Real Steel” is the story of Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) a former boxer who now fights with boxing robots because boxing is the only thing he knows how to do. However Charlie isn’t a very successful robot boxer and owns various people a lot of money due to his own failures.

However things begin to look up when Charlie is informed that his ex-girlfriend has died, leaving behind his son Max (Dakota Goyo). Max's aunt Debra (Hope Davis) and uncle Marvin (James Rebhorn) want full custody, and Charlie offered a deal to Marvin to give them full custody in exchange for $100,000. Marvin added a condition that Charlie would need to take care of Max for three months while he and Debra went on a vacation. Both men shook hands on the deal.

You can probably guess the story from there. Father and son hates each other at first before bonding as they rebuild a robot called Atom that brings them to the big leagues. Well, actually Max built the robot while Charlie fights it but you get the idea.

In many ways, “Real Steel” is Rocky meets Transformers. To the credit of director Shawn Levy, this is a movie that works despite the clich├ęs. Silly premises aside, this movie has a heart as the story is focused on the father-son dynamic of Max and Charlie. The movie is also anchored by solid performances from its actors. Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo were good but I think special mention need to be given to Hope Davies and Evangeline Lilly who both made the most out of their limited appearances.

I especially enjoyed the robots in the movie. Each was distinct and you can see that the designers put some effort in making different from one another. Unlike the Transformers movies, when the robots in “Real Steel” fight, you can easily tell them apart. That makes the fight scenes much more exciting.

Of course there were some sore points for me. It was hinted several times in the movie that Atom was more than just a normal boxing robot, that there might be some intelligence and soul behind him. However this was never expanded on and it was a plotline that was left dangling at the end of the movie.

Also the 2 main villains of the movie were well…kind of weak. I know Tak Mashido (Karl Yune) is supposed to be a genius and Farra Lemcova (Olga Fonda) is supposed to be rich, but they both did nothing in the movie. Almost every single time you see them in the movie, they were being interviewed. It’s hard to be fearful of villains when that’s the only thing you see them doing! We never got to see how much of a genius Mashido is or how rich and powerful Lemcova truly is. They were more like arrogant sport-stars than villains and even then we never got to see just how good they are at the sport of robot boxing.

“Real Steel” is one of those movies that did nothing great, but everything well. There is robot fighting, a love story, a father-son relationship, and redemption; all in the movie. Overall, I have to say “Real Steel” is a surprising good and enjoyable movie.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Listening

In the recent Presidential Election, former People’s Action Party (PAP) backbencher Dr Tan Cheng Bock caused a stir by coming within a percentage point of defeating the preferred PAP candidate Dr Tony Tan. As Singapore's 12th Parliament kicks, the former PAP MP (Member of Parliament) is not going into the shadows as he urged current PAP backbenchers to “stand up for their beliefs”.

The former presidential candidate has said during the Presidential Election that many of his former backbenchers have refused to help him with his campaign as they do not wish to cross the party. This is something Dr Tan obviously does not agree with as he was known as a backbencher who has no bones about publicly disagreeing with the government. When he was a PAP MP, he spoke out against certain policies like foreign talent intake and the Nominated MP scheme. He is now urging others to take up his place.

Now I’m sure the party elites of the PAP are not happy about his call, but I do feel that there’s a good reason for them to allow the backbenchers some leeway. The PAP backbenchers need to do this to appease the grassroots. For many years now, the PAP had parachuted candidates into safe seats and let them win on the backs of their grassroots movement. That can no longer be counted on.

Basically the grassroots are no longer convinced that it is worth having PAP backbenchers who do not listen to them. Dr Tan’s presidential campaign was a grassroots movement and as the results showed, they are an important and big part of the PAP machinery. The PAP needs the grassroots on their side if they intend to win the next election and that means the PAP backbenchers need to listen to their grassroots more. More importantly, they need to publicly go against the PAP elites on behalf of their grassroots if push comes to shove.

Frankly you can’t argue with numbers. Like I said earlier, I’m sure the party elites of the PAP are not happy about Dr Tan’s call but for the good of the PAP, PAP backbenchers need to listen to him. As the results of Dr Tan’s presidential campaign showed, he is on to something.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Be Very Sure

When I read that the United States say that they had stop an assassination plot by Iranian agents to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States, my reaction was, “So what?” Intelligence agents killing people is hardly unusually, so this is hardly new.

However the United States seems determined to make a big issue out of this and go to the United Nations Security Council on this. I will tell them this; better make sure you got good evidence to back you up!

The reason is simple; everyone (and I mean everyone) still remembers then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech in February 2003 to the Security Council where he present U.S. “intelligence” on Saddam Hussein's nuclear program. I don’t think I need to say what happened after that.

So if the United States wants to go to the U.N., they better make doubly sure everything is on the up and up. This is because the accusation are…well, kind of preposterous. I mean if the Iranians want to kill someone, why get Mexican drug cartels to do it? I’m sure they can do it themselves without the help of drug-dealers. Also why the Saudi ambassador? If the reason is to cause trouble for Saudi Arabia and Washington, why go for a figure like an ambassador? Surely there are better targets.

These are questions that people will be asking so if the United States wants to go to the U.N., you better have good answers to them. You can get away with shouting about the “plot” to reporters without evidence but not at the U.N. and not to people of the world. The United States say they got strong evidence against the Iranians, for their sake, I hope so.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Comics this week

S.H.I.E.L.D #3- S.H.I.E.L.D thus far has been a wordy confusing series with plots within secrets within plots within secrets etc, etc, etc. If you are confused by that, don’t feel too bad because that has been the series so far. Most of this issue however was packed with action as S.H.I.E.L.D threw everything including the kitchen sink at the Star Child and…nothing works. We also get to see just how powerful Da Vinci and Leonid are and how they pale in comparsion to the Star Child. Yes, the Star Child is just a baby but it is a Celestial baby so that is still something. This issue is a surprise as it has very little dialogue and it is also the best issue thus far in this new “volume”. If this issue is any guide, we need less of Jonathan Hickman’s writings and more of Dustin Weaver's art. Maybe that way, this series can still be saved.

Green Lantern #2- When Hal Jordan lost his position as Green Lantern, everyone knew it was just a matter of time before he got his ring back. I’ll give this to writer Geoff Johns; this is a strange, surprising way to give Jordan his ring back. The backdoor deal Sinestro offered Jordan is in line with his character and not for the first time, I do wonder if it would be better if Sinestro held on to the green ring for awhile longer. Let’s admit it; everyone knows it’s just a matter of time before he loses it. Still the way Sinestro dealt with his return to the GL Corps shows that he is a different GL from everyone else in the Corps and why he was once considered the best GL in it. His return as a GL might/will be more interesting than Jordan’s eventual return so why not run with it?

Demon Knights #2- I always had a hard time getting into the character of Vandal Savage. I mean this is an immortal guy who has been alive since the caveman era and usually he walks around in a business suit. That just doesn’t gel for me. Writer Paul Cornell thinks so too because his Vandal Savage, in the Dark Ages, is perfect! The way Savage tore into the dragons, actually dinosaurs, with gusto was marvelous. I have to give special mention to artist Diogenes Neves as well on the excellent art in this issue. The kinetic action was never confusing as Neves spaced his work beautifully. This is a tag-team that is made for this book and I would go as far to say Demon Knights is the most entertaining books of all the New 52.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2 Years and Counting!

One of the things I truly dislike about cinemas nowadays is how fast they pull movies from the theatre. Films will have 1 week, maybe 2 weeks to prove their worth after which they will be pull from the screens unless they are smash hits.

So it is gratifying (and slightly embarrassing) to hear that a local Singapore film "Money No Enough 2" has been showing at a 70-seater cinema in Taiwan for the past 2 and a half years! A small cinema in the city of Taichung has shown the local movie since May 2009 and the cinema owner, Huang Ping-his, told reporters that he will continue showing it as people are still seeing it and because he loves it!

In Singapore where almost all the cinemas are owned by chains, you will never see this. Oh, the joys of a private cinema owned by a movie-lover!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Internet Election

The General Election (GE) earlier this year was touted as an "Internet election" as parties used it to released information and raised their profile. Online blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube; you can easily find info of the parties during the GE.

However a study by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) found that new media may not have as much an influence as many believed. The most telling of the findings is that the two least active parties online, the People's Action Party (PAP) and Workers' Party (WP), emerged with the most votes at the polls whereas the most active party online, National Solidarity Party (NSP), had a poor outing at the polls.

My view on the study is mixed.

Although I agree that the internet was not a decisive factor at the polls, I do believe that it can still be called an "Internet election". The main reason I say this due to the massive advantage the PAP has over the mainstream media. News coverage during election time via television or newspaper had extensive coverage of the PAP but had much less on the opposition. Without the internet, opposition parties would have almost no chance of delivering their message to the Singapore public.

However I do feel that studies like this are important to the political parties of Singapore. Parties should look at the study by the IPS to see what kind of online service is most suitable in reaching Singaporeans. Personally I feel that some internet activities like Twitter are useless in elections. I mean you are not going to convince anyone to vote for you in 160 characters or less so there’s no need to have so much updates on Twitter.

Studies like the one by IPS are useful as they can be used to help parties see what works and what didn’t in the last GE. With information like this, I fully expect the internet to play an even bigger part in the next GE. The internet might not be a decisive factor this round, but this is just the first time the internet played any factor in a GE. As such, I do believe you can still call the recent GE an “Internet election”.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Peace?

Considering that the Nobel Committee once awarded its annual Peace Prize to U.S. President Barack Obama just 3 months into his presidency for doing…well, nothing, I guess the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to 3 women for promoting women’s rights is to be expected. However that still doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

Now I have nothing against Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee or Tawakul Karman, but there is a huge difference between women’s rights and promoting world peace! By their own definition, the Nobel Committee admitted that the 3 women are promoting women’s rights. So how in the world can they justified awarding them the Noble PEACE Prize?

That makes no sense! Women's rights is women's rights; there is a lot of difference between promoting that and promoting world peace. A hell lot of difference!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Monkeys and Humans

One of the joys of the joys of walking at the Forest Walk in Telok Blangah is that at times you can see a band of macaque monkeys walking along the trail. I must have walk along that trail over 50 times and I’m always on the lookout for the monkeys.

To me, it’s a joy to see them. Unfortunately, that does not seem the case for some Singaporeans. National Parks Board (NParks) officers say that they are looking for a monkey who is attacking people along the park. To me, they should be looking out for the humans along the trail, not the monkeys.

I must have jogged past those monkeys 2 dozen times by now and not once did I ever have any problems with the monkeys. The problem lies not with the monkeys but with the idiot humans on the trail. Basically Singaporeans are city people and most of us are extremely uncomfortable with wild animals. I have seem people screaming their lungs the moment they see the monkeys. FOR NO APPARENT REASON!

The monkey will just be sitting there on the metal railings of the skywalk, the humans are the ones walking past and the moment the monkey look at them, they will start screaming. I even once saw a girl going close to take a photo of a monkey but the moment the monkey turned its head and looked at her, she backpedaled screaming. And she was the one who got close to the monkey!

To me, Nparks are looking at the wrong species. To me, the monkeys are okay because even if they follow you, after awhile they would tail off. The main problems on the trail are humans who visit a 9km chain of green open spaces and, for some reason, are afraid of seeing monkeys! To me, the problems between monkeys and humans on the trail are more due to humans than monkeys.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The “New 52"

It has been a month since DC launched their titles under the “New 52” logo. As a marketing tool, the “New 52” is a clear success but are the titles worth the hype? It’s still early days but read on and find out my views on the “New 52”. (Now there’s no way I am going to write 52 reviews on all the #1 so I am splitting the titles under the different lines they are under.)

Justice League- DC has openly said that Justice League will be the new flagship of the DCU. Geoff Johns and Jim Lee say they have a plan for JL but it may be a standalone plan because thus far there has been little to connect the various JL titles. I know it’s just #1 but I really can’t see any connection whatsoever between Justice League, Justice League International and Justice League Dark. All 3 titles seem more interested in showing how the different teams came together which I think is a waste. DC should get its gears in order and show why all 3 teams have the Justice League name on them.

Batman- Last I checked, Bruce Wayne was globetrotting around the world putting his Batman Inc. together but under the “New 52”, he is back as Batman and struck in Gotham. Frankly I prefer him going around the world, leaving Gotham to Dick Grayson. Of all the lines, I find the Bat titles having suffered the most under the revamp. Before the revamp, the various titles have ongoing stories that were both intense and interesting. Although not much have changed under the revamp, the writers are going to have to waste a few issues to state the new status quo instead of pushing on with the stories.

Superman- Unlike the Bat titles which underwent minor changes, the Superman titles underwent massive changes in an effort to spruce things up. Sadly I found that most of the changes missed the mark. Splitting the titles to show Clark Kent as a young Superboy and as Superman is in my view a bad move. The revamp is supposed to make things easier for readers and having 2 titles showing Clark Kent in 2 different ages is just confusing. Worse, there is a separate Superboy title showing Conner Kent! Good luck trying to keep the timeline in order as the titles goes on!

Green Lantern- Unlike the changes that the rest of the DCU have undergone, the GL titles have came through the revamp untouched. It is a smart move by DC as there’s no reason to fix something that’s not broken. I’m a little worried about the new “The Red Lanterns” series as the first 2 issues have not been impressive but I feel good for the overall health of the various GL titles. No need to change a good thing.

History- Yes, I know there’s no such thing as the “History Line” in DC but there should be! I have always enjoyed history and I love the fact that DC is trying to fresh out the history of the “New 52”. Between I,Vampire, All-Star Western, Stormwatch & Demon Knights, DC is showing that although superheroes are new to the public of the DCU, there always had been beings with superpowers throughout its history. This is something DC should continue with because the potential is incredible. They could have series set in the 1930s (Justice Society), Victorian England (Batman by Gaslight) or anytime in the past and it would make perfect sense. The writers are also having a blast as they are having fun filling in the background of the new DCU. I,Vampire & Demon Knights are 2 of the better series in the revamp and we need more!

Verdict
The “New 52” had been sold out but overall I feel that they were more due to a marketing success than a creative one. Creatively there has been some success on certain titles but if the reason for the revamp was to streamline the DCU to make it more accessible to new readers, I don’t think I can call the revamp a success. Personally, I don’t think new readers will find the “New 52” any more accessible than the old DCU. I mean the “Huntress” series isn’t even set in the “New 52” DCU.
However what the “New 52” did managed to do was to get readers to pick up the books due to all the hype. On that front, on the commercial and marketing side of the business, the “New 52” can be called, yes, a success.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Comics this week

DC Universe Online: Legends #15- After a hiatus due to the New 52, the surprise hit of the old DCU continues. #15 picks up where the last issue left off with Lois Lane dead at the hands of Superman. Wrecked with guilt, Superman went off looking for Brainiac and managed to find him. He killed a robot clone of Brainiac and then flew off. Reading this issue, I get the feeling that everything is coming to a head but I also feel that writers Marv Wolfman and Tony Bedard are writing themselves into a corner. DC Universe Online: Legends is based on the online game which start with Lex Luthor and the heroes of the DCU is a fight to the death. At the end of this issue, it seems that Lex and the JLA are going to be allies! However, as this is by far one of the better series on the stands right now, I have confidence that the writers would make things right by the end.

X-Men: Schism #5- The finale of Schism is here and I find myself mixed on the results. Issue #5 doesn't hold any surprises as it show mainly the brawl between Cyclops and Wolverine and the defeat of the super-Sentinel. Writer Jason Aaron did a competent job lying down the groundwork for the spilt between Cyclops and Wolverine but I find it very hard to align their positions to their personalities. Mainly I have problem with the way Wolverine was portrayed in this series. Logan has always been the most world-weary of the X-Men and the one the X-Men look to if there is something off-the-book they need to do. For him to be the one who refused to send youngsters to war, when the mutant race was on the brink of extinction, seems totally out of character. I would have a much easier time if Scott was the one who refused to send kids to the frontline but Logan…? However the spilt isn’t really what this finale is about. Schism is mostly about introducing new reader to X-Men: Regenesis and the 10+ X-titles that will flood the market after this series. On that front, as an introduction to the X-Men, I feel the series mostly succeed. If nothing else, Schism would streamline the X-titles into titles new readers could get into and that is a good thing.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Once Bitten, Never Again

The air strikes in Libya continue to have wide ramifications far beyond the fighting in Libya. Amid a crackdown in Syria by the ruling Assad regime on protestors, Western countries tabled a UN Security Council resolution threatening action against Syria.

As expected, Russia and China vetoed the resolution.

The resolution on Libya calls only for a no-fly zone but NATO used “the protection of civilians” small-print and launched air-strikes against Libyan forces. It was an incredible overstep of the Libyan resolution which changed the course of a civil war that is still ongoing.

Worse for countries like Russia, China, India and Brazil, all the oil deals they signed with the previous government are now up in the air as no one is actually sure who is in charge in Libya right now. As they say; once bitten, twice shy. No way is any resolution on Syria is going to pass the Security Council.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An Expected Fall

World stocks fell to a 15-month low and the Euro fell off a cliff as reports came that Greece would, once again, miss its deficit target of 7.6% this year. This increase worries that a Greek default is inevitable.

Of course it is!

Although I am no longer in the finance sector, from the outside looking in, I am not surprise that Greece missed its target. This is not the first target Greece has missed and surely it comes as no surprise that Greece continues to have problems paying its debts. A Greek default was always on the cards because try as they might, European policymakers have been unable to find a solution to the Greek crisis.

Personally I have to say this is a piece of news that everyone should already had expected. The admission by the Greek should not come as any surprise and the only surprise I have is that the market has not factor in the default already.

In my view, a Greek default should have been factor in already by the markets as the Euro's downside risk easily outstripped the potential upside. However market players seem to have hope that the politicians can pull a rabbit out of the hat and prevent a default.

However as they say; hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. So if you were by this latest downturn of the market; I’m sorry but you really should have known better.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Allergic To The Truth

A report I read a few weeks ago complain that Americans are about the only people in the world who refused to accept the fact that the world is warming. The report said that Americans were “allergic to the concept of global warming”.

Americans should just take a look north of them into Canada as global warming as done a number on the ice shelves there. This summer 2 ice shelves that existed for thousands of years has diminished significantly with one almost disappearing altogether. Canadian scientists using satellite imagery said that the ice shelves has been steadily disappearing for years but this is the first time in thousands of years that one has almost disappear completely.

The loss of the ice shelves isn’t just a problem for scientists. Floating icebergs that have broken free of the ice shelves are posing a danger to offshore oil facilities and the shipping lanes in the area. In the long run, the disappearing ice shelves will also change the look of the Canadian coastline.

To anyone who still thinks that there’s no such thing as global warming, I don’t think you are “allergic to the concept of global warming”; I think you are “allergic to the truth”.