Posts tagged ‘Business and Economy’

June 5, 2011

It’s hot, it’s kewl – new ‘Solar Bikini’ can charge your iPhone

[Sandi Kleera, Science News Contributor]
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MailOnline:  A Solar Bikini created by the New York-based designer, Andrew Schneider, is the newest craze for keeping your iPhone  topped up continuously whilst you are on the beach via your bikini.
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Its not cheap – at £120 per shot, it is certainly a rich girl’s trinket.  Is it safe?  Well, Mr. Schneider says: ‘of course’!
March 26, 2011

International Times of Dominica – recruiting now

International Times of Dominica is looking for a Classified Ads. Manager. The position is based online and your duties will be to source local and international advertisements for the portal.  Remuneration is negotiable and the position starts immediately.

We are also looking for experienced moderators and features contributors – worldwide applications are welcome.

To apply, send us your CV and a covering letter.

March 17, 2011

Real Estate boom in Australia – opportunities for international investors

G’day, yes its official, Australia’s city of Sydney is now the fourth most popular city in the world for international investment according to News.com.au.

2011 has seen money is coming in thick and thin from Asia and Europe and the inward cash surge is stoking up demand for properties in the stylish CBD, North Shor and Eastern Suburb of the city.  Real estate agents are reported to be doing well and are feverishly advertising Australian real estate in Asia and Europe promising investors great deals with built-in security.

News.com.au says that according to CBRE senior managing director of international investments Rick Butler: “…the foreigners are there because they see Australia as safe, secure and actually having growth, which puts us in a much better position than old Europe and the US.”.

[International Real Estate Contributor]

March 8, 2011

Russia is St. Lucia’s newest best friend

So it seems, as from yesterday, Russia became the Caribbean island of St. Lucia‘s newest best friend. Why, you might be asking? Well, this seems to be a case of love of the purest sort as the countries have signed a ‘Protocol of Intention‘ whereby Russia has agreed to ‘open its doors’ to St. Lucians and the delighted islanders can now expect science and technology scholarships at Russian universities and other such gifts.

As reported by Caribbean 360, the island’s Minister of External Affairs, International Trade and Investment, Rufus Bousquet said: “This protocol of intention allows us to move in the multilateral arena and to hold discussions in terms of improving our bilateral relations…of course it also includes a clause which allows us to put high level experts to hold discussions on matters of mutual interest…..We understand that Russia has a very strong academic record in the areas of engineering and I am sure that there will be many St Lucians who would like to take advantage of that expertise”.

Caribbean 360 reports that Russia’s Ambassador designate to St Lucia, Victor Zotin, had responded: “I hope very much that the other steps will follow this document and we shall develop a relationship between our two states.  We are interested in developing all round relations with your country: education, investments and tourism which is very important for your country. I hope very much that more and more Russians will come to your beautiful island of St Lucia”. He also said that Russia will co-operate in initiatives to increase tourist visitors from Russia to the island.

Russia and St. Lucia has entered into diplomatic relations in 1979 after the island declared its independence from Britain. Saint Lucia is an independent island on the eastern side of the Caribbean Sea boundering the Atlantic Ocean.[3] It is near the other Caribbean islands of St. Vincent, Barbados, Martinique and Dominica.  It is around 238 square miles wide and has a population of around 174,000.  It is a former British colony. It’s main industry is tourism and over 1 million tourists visit it each year, most of them American.

[Caribbean Affairs Contributor]

March 2, 2011

Aliens have landed in Sao Paolo, Brazil?

If you are concerned about life outside earth, Sao Paulo, Brazil is the place to be right now. Why? Well, according to the Telegraph’s report (click on picture to see video), aliens may well have landed in that city.

A video showing the arrival of the aliens was reported on Brazilian TV station G1 and showed a fuzzy view of an ‘alien’ craft which hovered, then beamed lights to earth and then disappeared. The video was taken by helpful motorists (who were human it seems) as they were driving on the outskirts of the city.

The city remains braced to hear the alien’s demands. Will they be friendly? And if they ask the question that aliens must ask: ‘..will you take me to your leader?’, will the Sao Paoloans automatically direct them to Mr. Obama, or the local mayor?  Let’s wait and see and hope for the people of Sao Paolo that the video is a hoax as it is most likely to be.  Anyway, watch the vid and see and let us have your views.

[UFO Contributor]

February 17, 2011

Sovereignty for sale – $27 million China loan for Dominica’s Presidential Palace

So why is a country which has 40% of its citizens living below its poverty line, has a growth of less than 3% with exports of around $94 million against imports of over $300 million and an external debt of more than $220 million, seeking to borrow $27 million from the Chinese government for the building of a Presidential Palace for the country?

Sounds fishy, or as they say in Dominica, is there ‘bobol’ about? Well fishy it seems to be and as for bobol, read on.

1) The Caribbean islands and Dominica, in particular, are in dire straits. They are quite frankly desperate for money as foreign aid has practically dried up. Former aid partners – USA, UK and the EU – are struggling to contain their own problems which have been brought about by the global financial crisis. The islands need investment from anyone willing to give it and the Chinese are well aware of that.

2) But why a loan for the building of a Presidential Palace?  Well, Dominica is one of Caribbean islands which has recognised China‘s ‘One China’ principle vis-a-vis Taiwan. As such, it has been rewarded with an aid package from the Chinese of more than $122 million. The public package is for the building of a new stadium, roads, schools and hospital, but the private package could be worth a lot more to the government it is rumoured.  The Dominica government argues that borrowing millions of dollars from China for construction of a new Presidental Palace will not indebt Dominica as if it can’t pay the debt back (which is more or less certain), the Chinese will write it off, which is their custom.

3) The Caribbean islands and Dominica, in particular, are no-hopers economically.  All of the islands have trade deficits that are getting bigger and bigger year by year and as such they can be easily persuaded by generous grants, some might say ‘bribes’,  to back China’s ‘One China’ principle with regard to Taiwan. The Chinese offer lending conditions which are perceived to be not too onerous as the Chinese are aware that their ‘loans’ are practically grants as they are very unlikely to be repaid and the agreements’ texts normally state no conditions.  Furthermore, there are various fringe benefits for Dominica government officials like fully paid official visits to China etc.

China’s ‘economic evasion’ and the rise of democratic unrest and corruption in Dominica

Prime Minister Skerritt of Dominica is a controversial figure. He is staunchly pro-China on the island and has angered locals by his failure to explain how he became a millionaire from his time in office when his state salary is around $5000 per month.  Also his ex-lawyer, Stephen Isidore is under investigation and a court case is pending for him to explain how $6 million disappeared from the accounts of his former partner’s firm, Mr.G.O.N. Emanuel. Furthermore, Mr.Emanuel, was subject to a hitherto unexplained murder attempt via firebombing of his house last December. So far no arrests have been made and there is concern on the island with regard to the deafening silence from Mr. Skerritt on the matter and the lack of action by the police, especially as Mr. Emanuel is a distinguished lawyer and former Chief Magistrate of Dominica.

Mr. Skerritt has also initiated prosecutions of members of the opposition and a former prime minister of Dominica for public order offences during peaceful protests voicing concern about the rule of law and democracy on the island. In addition, Mr. Skerritt is currently taking libel proceedings against a journalist who had asked him to explain his sudden rise to wealth. Sounds familiar?

As no strangers to autocratic rule, the Chinese are sure to be heartened and not frightened by such bold actions from Mr.Skerritt.  However, they should tread carefully as dictatorial rule historically does not sit well in the Caribbean and the wave of ‘people power’ taking place in other troubled economies could filter though to the Caribbean and upset the apple cart for a smooth ‘economic’ invasion.

So apart from a most likely increase in state corruption on this island, is there much more that Dominica needs to fear from trading its sovereignty for Chinese cash?  The African experience of China’s economic ‘invasion’ is instructive.

The Chinese reached Africa around 600 years ago with the most significant ‘invasion’ happening during the early 1900s when more than 60,000 Chinese miners worked in the South African gold industry. Fifty years later, thousands of Chinese were sent by their government to Africa to be engaged in  agricultural and construction work so as to improve ties with the former colonies.

In 1999, China-Africa trade rose from $6bn to over $90bn (£56bn) in 2009 and was split more, or less equally between  imports and exports with Africa’s natural resources – oil, iron, platinum, copper, and timber – moving east to fuel China’s factories and production back to Africa. In 2010, China’s trade with Africa was at a high of $100bn. Each year, China gives billions of pounds in grants and loans to African governments as inducements for raw material and/ or the financing of  infrastructure projects that could benefit Chinese companies.

So is Africa any worse off after the Chinese economic invasion? Perhaps Dominica should look at the African’s experience more carefully before wading into deeper waters. But at the moment, this kind of decision is not one for Dominican’s to make, it is up to their government and the Chinese know how to motivate governments to do the right thing as Mr. Skerritt and Dominicans are finding out.

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