How to broadcast live video over the Internet
Information provided by the alert systems As we have already advanced in the previous section, crypto currency signals are trading alerts, which means that they will also offer us all kinds of information so that we can carry out our movements in this market. So that...
We each, most probably, have our own perception of the purpose of flowers in our lives. One could bring out an uncountable number of reasons this natural beauty exists for. Purchasing the Flower bouquet for all occasions we wish, and how we wish, is not that simple as...
What does SERP mean? SERP means in English Search Engine Result Page or Search Results Page. It is neither more nor less than the page resulting from a search performed in a search engine such as Google, Yahoo! or Bing. This local rank tracking service is use is to...
THE United States is at a crossroads over the production and use of rare earth elements (REE). The 17 minerals, essential for products and processes from cruise missiles to smartphones, are widely used in the US defence industry, but this represents only a fraction of...
A TOP priority for US President Barack Obama is to get his national security cabinet confirmed by the Senate. There has been a good deal of controversy over the President’s nominees for Secretary of Defence, Secretary of State, and Director of the Central Intelligence...
THE geopolitical relationship between China and North Korea is starting to show subtle but significant signs of change. China’s vice president, Li Yuanchao, on a visit to North Korea on July 27, 2013, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice day,...read more
Belarus is Europe’s last dictatorship. And despite Brussels’s steadfast concern over the harsh repression meted out by its president, Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus stands defiant in the face of Western pressure for change. Europe’s ambitions to encourage...
AZERBAIJAN can be seen as the biggest winner in the race to decide the route for the final leg of the trans-European pipeline from the Caspian Sea to Italy. It cooperated with Turkey in building the TANAP pipeline and made the supply of Caspian gas to Europe...
THE geopolitical relationship between China and North Korea is starting to show subtle but significant signs of change. China’s vice president, Li Yuanchao, on a visit to North Korea on July 27, 2013, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice day,...
MAJOR oil exporters are warned they could see a significant deterioration in their balance of trade if they fail to develop their own shale oil resources. Countries such as Russia and the Middle East could see a drop of around four to 10 per cent of GDP, according to...
THE 28 countries in the European Union form the world’s largest energy importer with Russia its biggest supplier of oil, gas, uranium and coal, as well as the third-largest electricity exporter to the EU. The EU is Russia’s largest trade partner, accounting for more...
COLOMBIA has been undergoing an economic transformation in the last few years. It has now become an attractive place for foreign investment in the energy sector after a series of reforms which relaxed labour laws. Since then, there has been a dramatic increase in...read more
IRAQ'S officially proven oil reserves are approaching 115 billion barrels. In 2013 the Iraqi Ministry of Oil reported an increase to 143 billion barrels. If this is correct, Iraq is the fifth biggest producer in the world. Most of the oil is in the Shi’i south – Iraq...
INDIA is set to launch more of its own rockets in 2013 than it has in any previous year. Its budget is less than a tenth of NASA’s US$17.7 billion, but it has increased every year since the early 2000s, jumping from US$591 million in 2004-2005 to US$1.3 billion in...
Belarus is Europe’s last dictatorship. And despite Brussels’s steadfast concern over the harsh repression meted out by its president, Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus stands defiant in the face of Western pressure for change. Europe’s ambitions to encourage...
AZERBAIJAN can be seen as the biggest winner in the race to decide the route for the final leg of the trans-European pipeline from the Caspian Sea to Italy. It cooperated with Turkey in building the TANAP pipeline and made the supply of Caspian gas to Europe...
MAJOR oil exporters are warned they could see a significant deterioration in their balance of trade if they fail to develop their own shale oil resources. Countries such as Russia and the Middle East could see a drop of around four to 10 per cent of GDP, according to...
IRAQ'S officially proven oil reserves are approaching 115 billion barrels. In 2013 the Iraqi Ministry of Oil reported an increase to 143 billion barrels. If this is correct, Iraq is the fifth biggest producer in the world. Most of the oil is in the Shi’i south – Iraq...read more
AZERBAIJAN can be seen as the biggest winner in the race to decide the route for the final leg of the trans-European pipeline from the Caspian Sea to Italy. It cooperated with Turkey in building the TANAP pipeline and made the supply of Caspian gas to Europe...read more
MAJOR oil exporters are warned they could see a significant deterioration in their balance of trade if they fail to develop their own shale oil resources. Countries such as Russia and the Middle East could see a drop of around four to 10 per cent of GDP, according to...
THE 28 countries in the European Union form the world’s largest energy importer with Russia its biggest supplier of oil, gas, uranium and coal, as well as the third-largest electricity exporter to the EU. The EU is Russia’s largest trade partner, accounting for more...
YEARS of corporate rivalry in the energy industry and international competition has ended with the decision to award a contract to build a pipeline to take gas from the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan to Europe. The BP-led Shah Deniz Consortium selected the 876km...
THE FINAL choice of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), from the Caspian Sea to Europe, by the Shah Deniz Consortium (SDC), was no big surprise. But many experts had still expected the Nabucco-West pipeline to be selected because of its important strategic advantages....
DEFENCE & SECURITY
THE traditionally pro-nuclear Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) has regained control of both Japanese Houses of Parliament, but the government remains cautious and non-committal about a return to nuclear power. Japan has recently succeeded in selling nuclear technology...
PAKISTAN’S first democratic transition from one elected government to another marked a significant milestone in its democratic development. But the elections are unlikely to herald significant changes in Pakistan’s foreign policy, which means relations with the US are...
THE Russian Navy is staging a spectacular comeback, following a long period of severe neglect. The State Armament Programme (SAP) for 2011-2020 includes up to 100 new ships by 2020, submarines as well as other surface vessels. And the first half of 2013 has seen a...read more
CYBER attacks and cyber crime have become a massive threat to industry and governments across the globe. Dozens of American online banks were attacked by a state-sponsored hacker group in 2012. The attacks, which are presumed to have come from Iran, showed an...
BRAZIL has several reasons for wanting more submarines. A larger, modern submarine fleet would be a strong deterrent to protect Brazil’s extensive coastline and its offshore and onshore resources, including oil, wood and uranium. A nuclear-powered submarine, which...
At the time of live transmitter from our phone there are several options, and here we present the best that there is currently …The live broadcast has become something every day, and this was obvious after they placed this possibility of content sharing in our hands. Today I want to talk about the best applications that there are to transmit life, the best tvad.me pair Kodi. For some people, radio is more than entertainment, a form of distraction or of ‘killing time’. Radio is magic, with which you can explore, learn, have fun, get excited, and learn. It is a passion for those who seek by all means to realize their dream of having their voices heard by hundreds, thousands or millions of listeners on the other side of the microphone. The truth is that it is a medium from which very few people live professionally. Access and get to earn money on the radio is achieved by very few.
With Streaming today you can create your own radio on the Internet. You do not need a lot of money to put it online and feel the satisfaction of dedicating yourself to what you like most. Even you can be your boss, plan your music, news or content programming that will be attractive to your audience. With the talent and effort that will surely accompany you, you will be able to monetize the emissions of your online radio.
What do you need to achieve tvad.me pair Kodi?
Only acquire access to an online radio server with a player or audio player that can embed in your website or in the main applications that play radio stations from anywhere in the world and start broadcasting with your own radio on the Internet. Remember that before starting this project it is suggested to choose a theme in which your online radio specializes to make a difference in a spectrum of thousands of signals that exist today. It is not impossible!.
Another alternative to creating diverse content, rich in quality and of interest to audiences is to invite groups of friends on social networks to participate in their online radio, either live or in the podcast recording that they can then broadcast. The immediacy of Internet radio also allows you to link, in real time, participants from anywhere in the world with the use of tools such as Skype, WhatsApp, Hangouts or Messenger, among other applications.
The impact of video streaming by tvad.me pair Kodi
While it is true that radio is the means of communication with more reach, now the roles begin to be reversed and with the use of mobile the video acquires more power. At the moment, television on the Internet is the medium that attracts the most audiences. A PwC report indicates that video advertising grows 46 percent a year, plus more than 50 percent of Google and Facebook earnings come from advertising. HubSpot, meanwhile, estimated that 43 percent of people want to see more content on video, while 52 percent of marketing professionals in the world believe it is the most effective method to get a return on investment. (ROI)
At this moment, in which audiences are migrating from traditional TV to online TV or streaming video, a business opportunity is opened for associated or independent producers who have the freeway to flood the web with live audiovisual proposals. In Streaming, tvad.me pair Kodi are willing to strengthen your video streaming project with the provision of servers and players or video players for the transmission of your content anywhere in the world. This is an effective way to take advantage of the moment of weakness through which traditional media and communication channels go through. They work in migrating to new digital platforms, but you can start from scratch adapting to the new demands that society has when it comes to consuming television.
At present we are already used to live broadcasts on Facebook and Twitter through Periscope. In fact, Twitter has just added a new feature in which you no longer need to open the Periscope app to transmit on your platform, just press the option to publish a multimedia file and there you will find that function. Despite its many benefits, live broadcasts also have some limitations. Without the opportunity to edit the content before making it public, the limited distribution control can be detrimental to a brand or celebrity (as was the case with footballer Serge Aurier). Issues of subjectivity can also be problematic, especially if transmissions cover more controversial issues, such as political or religious debates.
Benefits of a live broadcast
These new tools for distributing live images address multiple needs for business. Internet streaming opens the door for consumers to see a “behind the scenes” of corporate operations. This more personal communication can help a company create loyalty in its subscribers or fans by offering an interactive experience. In addition, the use of this technology has a greater appeal in those born during the digital era, as they are very active in these live transmission channels. Transmissions are a good way for brands to achieve greater visibility and position themselves as “innovative”.
How to create a live broadcast
The list of applications to transmit live every time is longer. The most popular platforms include Periscope, Meerkat and Facebook Live Video, but other tools to broadcast live, such as Livestream and Ustream, offer the possibility to broadcast live to more specific audiences. Here’s a list of some tools you can use to stream live video.
How to broadcast live on tvad.me pair Kodi?
tvad.me pair Kodi is an application that allows users to broadcast live videos to their subscribers, as well as watch live webcasts. Presenters have the option to publicly broadcast or limit their broadcasts to a more specific audience. Periscope videos are available for 24 hours after they are released. In August 2015, just four months after its arrival on Twitter, Periscope announced that it had reached 10 million users worldwide.
Information provided by the alert systems
As we have already advanced in the previous section, crypto currency signals are trading alerts, which means that they will also offer us all kinds of information so that we can carry out our movements in this market. So that we know better what is all that we have available in these signals, we are going to see some of the elements that cannot be missing in these alerts so that they really are beneficial for us. Have a look at the Bitmex.com.
Data necessary to carry out operations
Whenever we choose a system of cryptocurrency signals, we must take into account that Bitmex.com provides us with exhaustive information about this market and provides us with the necessary data to be able to carry out trading operations. This information has to do with the state in which the market is located (bitcoin quote, there, market trend, etc.) and, above all, what data we need to be able to carry out successful operations. The basic data would be the following:
- Active: the asset with which we must operate in the cryptocurrency market (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc.).
- Entry price: it is the price at which we must buy said asset.
- Take profit: used to define an order to close the transaction when the value reaches a price (in which we are making money with the operation) determined.
- Stop loss: used to define a closing order for an operation when the value falls to a price at which we are losing money.
- Expiration date: the date on which the signals issued ceases to be valid.
Something that we must take into account when contracting a service of signals of trading in cryptocurrencies, is that the majority of services usually use automatic software that emit the signals but some (the really good ones) employ professionals and specialists in the matter. Therefore, if we give with one of these systems we have a more added guarantee. since we will have complete signals and we will know that they have been elaborated by experts who have a great knowledge within this sector.
Where can we get these signals?
After knowing all the advantages that we have if we work with cryptocurrency signals, without a doubt, the next thing to do is to know where we can acquire this type of alerts, in order to obtain the best information about this market and also, about the digital currencies we want to work with. That said, we have to say that the signals to operate in cryptocurrencies can be obtained through two main routes.
Our trust broker
Increasingly, traditional brokers are including the possibility that we can make use of these alerts, since, as we have already mentioned, the cryptocurrency market is booming and has a greater popularity, due to all the profits that we can obtain thanks to these digital currencies. In the case that we use this type of alerts through brokers, it is important to mention that, as a general rule, these services are usually included for free, so we will not have to pay anything to use it.
In any case, Bitmex.com also has the possibility to consult these signals through different channels. Thus, if we work with these alerts we can obtain all the information about the cryptocurrencies we want, directly from the broker’s platform. Also, if we prefer, we have the opportunity to receive these signals using an email address and if we need to know all these data more immediately, we can also ask to send us these signals through a text message to reach us to our mobile phone.
Providers (free and paid) of live signals
In addition to being able to obtain these signals with our usual brokers, in the market, there are other ways through which we have the possibility of being able to do with this type of Bitmex.com. Thus, if the broker we have chosen does not offer this kind of service, we can always hire them through specific suppliers that are exclusively dedicated to issuing these alerts. We can find a large number of them on the Internet although, unlike the signals that brokers give us, in the case of suppliers we will have to pay for these services. The usual thing is that they offer us the possibility of being able to make monthly or quarterly payments, although also, for the large investors who are professionally engaged in this activity, the option of being able to hire these services for a year is available.
Also, some of these platforms also offer the opportunity for us to test the system for free for a limited time, which is usually around two weeks. Taking into account all the things we have said, it is clear that cryptocurrency signals are fundamental tools to be able to obtain the best benefits in this market and work with these digital currencies. The market of virtual currencies is growing by leaps and bounds, for this reason, it is essential that we can have a tool of this type that will provide all the information we need to carry out all the operations we want with cryptocurrencies. As Bitmex.com have seen throughout this analysis, within the sector, every time we have more services in relation to these digital currencies, since they are presented as the currencies of the future, according to some experts.
For all these reasons, it is clear that having such signals in order to make our investments in cryptocurrencies is fundamental. Since Bitmex.com is a complete tool so that we have all the necessary information and also perform our operations in a more secure way. In addition, we must bear in mind that these signals are included within an exclusive system or platform, which also provide us with other types of services in relation to these alerts. Taking all this into account, we are clear that the trading signals are fundamental for our investments and within this context; they will also be for the operations in crypto currencies.
We each, most probably, have our own perception of the purpose of flowers in our lives. One could bring out an uncountable number of reasons this natural beauty exists for. Purchasing the Flower bouquet for all occasions we wish, and how we wish, is not that simple as one may think. After all, the delivery of products (and even services), and in this case of flowers, presents a risk of deterioration on the way to its recipient. Natural flowers, which is the domain of interest of this article, are equally exposed to this delivery matter. Therefore, knowing and understanding the delivery aspects of flowers, is a crucial part in the acquisition of the precise flowers we desire. Hence, the words that follow, aims at providing a brief insight on the points to consider, whenever one will wish to deliver or be delivered a handful, or a quantity of flowers.
So, to begin with, three elements of flower delivery, shall be considered; the sender, the recipient and the reason of the delivery. In the case of the sender, the following should be thought of;
- Who is the sender? Individual or an organization?
- What does it cost the sender?
- The best means to send the flowers, congruent the sender’s options (conditions).
For the recipient;
- Is it an Individual, an organization, or animal?
- Location of the receiver.
- The conditions in which the flowers should be delivered, like; in the hands of the recipient, or will it be in front of the recipient’s door?
Then, the reason.
- Is it for a special day, like Valentine’s Day or a birthday?
- An event such as; marriage, awards or graduation celebration?
- Particular condition, for example, when hospitalized in the hospital, or going through a depressive therapy?
Those three elements mentioned above will considerably affect the rate of a flower delivery. Why? Because of its perish ability. However, the predominant factor among the three listed above, will always be, the reason of the flower bouquet for all occasions delivery. Whoever the sender or recipient is, the most important element to consider is, the why.
One may need to get the flowers on the same day, in some hours, or it may be for next week or month. It might be because, the sender has a limited budget, or he or she doesn’t want to forget the sending date, and schedules for the delivery before D-day. It might be because the recipient wishes to add a card, bouquet or gift to the flowers. Maybe that type of flower is particular, it’s highly perishable, and needs to be sent as fast as possible. It might be because, the person desires to travel with the flowers, during a long period. Wit forints online, théière many categories of the flowers as per various occasions like wedding flowers, birthday flowers, valentine’s day flowers, mother’s day flowers, flowers for love and lots more.
Whatever the situation is, the reason will always be the prime element to consider when delivering flower bouquet for all occasions. Generally in life, it’s the why that makes the difference. This exactly holds for flower delivery. To get the best rate from flower delivery, consider the why. Sheer mention of the flowers brings some of the beautiful emotions to people minds. Flowers are well known to please any moods of the people. Flowers also make your atmosphere pleasing and you’re your atmosphere with fragrance and freshness. Gifting beautiful flowers to your friends or relatives is the old practice. Even now, no function or occasion is done without presence of the flowers. You may see flowers at the death ritual as well. However, kinds of flowers are quite different at the celebration and mourning. Flowers are said as a living art creation. It takes plenty of effort and planning to create these beautiful flowers in the garden.
You may enjoy beauty of the flowers even though you don’t have the garden. You may buy them from the florist and then arrange it in the vase. You may place this vase on a centre table or on corner table. Everyone of us generally go to florist shop to buy some unique and beautiful flowers. However, at this age, shopping online has provided huge convenience even though you wish to buy some of the fresh flowers for the home and for gifting this to the friends. New age technology has offered plenty of methods to shop for saving your effort and time of buying the flowers.
It is a miracle of technology, fast transport and communication that you may purchase and get the exotic flower; suppose growing it in Mexico and you are having in India and at minimum time. Obviously travelling part of flowers requires huge care in order to keep it in shape and fresh.
What does SERP mean?
SERP means in English Search Engine Result Page or Search Results Page. It is neither more nor less than the page resulting from a search performed in a search engine such as Google, Yahoo! or Bing. This local rank tracking service is use is to abbreviate the word “search results page” or “search results”. It can be used, for example, in the following way:
- My page appears well positioned in the SERPs
- Google made a change in the way to show the SERPs
- I want to measure the ranking in the SERPs of my site before keywords.
SERPs are the abbreviation of “Search Engine Results Pages” and means Searcher Result Pages. It is neither more nor less than what results from having done a search in a search engine, such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. However, nowadays the search engines have been perfecting their results and the text links are only a small part of the SERPs, because after conducting a Google search, we obtain a variety of types of results, among which we find pages web, videos, images, local pages and social networks. This combination of content is what we call Blended Search or Universal Search (also called “Google everything” by Google).
Types of page results
There are different types of content that you can see in the SERPs, here are the most important:
To be in the top positions you must do a good job of Search Engine Optimization and optimize the Page Title and Meta Description since it will be what users will see. On the other hand, rich snippets are also an important element when talking about this type of content. These are the lines of text and images that appear below each of the search results, as a brief summary of what is inside that website and service to give users an idea of what they will find when doing click on it
You can also see some news related to the topic you have searched. In fact, this is one of the few, if not the only, ways to reach the top positions of the search engine in a matter of hours and without paying for it.
In the event that your search is related to a local business, such as a hotel, restaurant or any type of physical business located in a city, you will see results related to it, in the Google Maps service. These results get great visibility and a very high percentage of clicks … so if you have a local business, I recommend that you create a Google Plus account to start out with this type of SERPs.
The images play a very important role in the search engine, since you can position with them, and thanks to it, get new visitors to your website. But for Google to take your images and index them into the search engine, it is important that you include the ALT attribute in each of them.
It is common for Google to include Youtube videos in search results, in fact, they are taking more and more prominence in Google searches. It is the best local rank tracking service. I will recommend an article for you to read, which explains how to do SEO for YouTube.
Types of SERP
Although sometimes it is difficult to differentiate them, there are two types of SERP or search results. On the one hand, there are the organic results, and on the other the results paid. Organic results work through SEO (Search Engine Optimization), while paid results or paid advertising work through the SEM (Search Engine Marketing).
As you can see in the image above, the paid results are located at the top and bottom of the SERP. They are managed through the advertising platform Google Adwords, which as we have seen is known as SEM. These results look very similar to organic ones but differ from them because they are accompanied by the word “ad” next to the destination URL. It is difficult to explain briefly how advertising works in Google , but for you to have a general idea, you should know that it is managed through an auction system where the positions (SEM) are decided by two general criteria: the quality level of the ad that you have written and the economic aspect, the CPC (Cost per Click) that you are willing to pay for your keywords.
The organic results, as we have said before, are governed by SEO. SEO is a discipline in constant change and movement since the criteria that govern it, besides being many; they change constantly. Despite this, we could say that two of the fundamental factors that positively influence the SEO of a website is its relevance and authority.
Rich Snippet or rich formats
The Rich Snippet, also known as enriched formats, appears on some occasions highlighted in the SERP on organic results, to give a direct response to specific queries. They are a relatively new and untapped format since they were introduced by Google in 2013. Since then they have not stopped evolving and their importance has not stopped growing. Through Rich Snippets, Google highlights one of the results above the rest and offers detailed information on various topics such as recipes, people, articles, mathematical formulas, products … offering in each one different information. The plugin ” All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets ” will help you implement the Rich Snippets in your WordPress because for Google to interpret the content and highlight it as such, it needs special labelling and marking; known as structured marking.
In case you use a different CMS and want to try to highlight part of content through an enriched format to your web, Google has a guide on the structured markup that you must make and also a test tool so you can check that the data is correctly structured. If you are one of those people who prefer to avoid code, Google also has a data highlighter so you can enter structured tags from Search Console without typing a single line of code.
Buying a car is an idea that appeals to a greater number of young people, because it represents the beginning of a stage of personal independence, at least to what is in comfort. Being honest, everyone has ever thought about having a car, and it is not for less, because it offers the possibility to avoid the annoying lines to wait for the mass transit system, in addition to going safe and confident without needing to run from a whereabouts to another not to be late to class, however, there are also other reasons, financial for example, which indicate that this is a good time to take the step.
Within the framework of the entry there have been many speculations that have been generated about the probable price decrease in the lines of cars produced by used cars in fontana, despite the real advantage of this panorama falls in the competition between firms and the financing and credit plans that target the consumer of the decade, the university students. Most people do not have enough funds to buy a cash vehicle, which is why they resort to one of the financing methods available in the market, traditional loan or sign a lease or finance lease.
For those who like to have and keep their cars for long periods, the purchase may be the best option. The purchase transfers the ownership of the automobile with a pledge guarantee in favour of the financier, which will allow the latter to repossess the car in case of non-payment. This guarantee is lifted at the time the entire vehicle is paid. It does not present any limitation on the miles travelled annually.
In addition to being more economical, used vehicles have the advantage that depreciation is lower compared to a new car. However, being a car that had one or more owners previously, it may come with some faults or marks. Therefore, when choosing between several options you have to be clear that a perfect vehicle is simply impossible.
In this situation, we give you tips that will help you used cars in fontana.
The idea is to be able to test the car on the street and on the road. It is important to be attentive to be able to listen or observe strange noises or behaviours in the vehicle.
Check the upholstery, the plastics inside and the bodywork well. Look for marks, scratches and defects, but always keep in mind that, as we said previously, the chances of there being no damage is negligible.
Leasing makes sense to people who buy a new car every few years because the payments are lower, repairs are usually covered under the warranty, and the value of the car depreciates quickly in the first few years it is under your property. Because luxury cars depreciate so much, it usually makes sense to rent them!
On the other hand, the decision to buy favours more someone who keeps a car enough to finish paying, and then continues to handle it for years without making payments. To clear your doubts and help you create your individual argument, at used cars in fontana.
- ECONOMY – Taking out accounts, investing in the purchase of a car equals the sum of the daily expenses for transportation that you must cover, modest fees that do not exceed the amount of a legal monthly minimum wage in force, are those that you can choose to build your own payment plan, it is a matter of financial order, not the amount of the budget.
- PUNCTUALITY – Having your own means of transport avoids depending on the route of other passengers and expedites the arrival at your destination, which decreases the time of transfer from one place to another.
- BUSINESS – If you have an entrepreneurial project in mind, this is a way to start the constitution of your idea, depending on the nature that you have.
- FACILITIES – Both in the social, as in the family, gives you the advantage of being able to collaborate if an emergency arises.
- PROFITABILITY – Creating routes between neighbours and classmates, you can earn a daily amount that helps you afford gasoline or parking.
- TRAVEL – Setting up a walking plan and being able to enjoy the landscapes, travelling by road from one city to another, is easier in your own car. Share expenses with your friends.
Benefits of buying a used car at used cars in Fontana
The market for the purchase and sale of the user has become one of the main business options, however, it is important to remember that you should seek the support of trusted entities and agencies, which allow you to analyze in depth all the variables. If you are thinking about making this important investment, we bring you a list of the benefits of buying used cars:
- Greater access to different models of high-end vehicles, such as BMW, Mercedes, Audi, among others at used cars in fontana are available.
- It is the best option if you do not have enough money, you can also buy a full risk policy to cover the initial investment and so the car does not lose value before any damage you may suffer.
- Less time for payment of fees, it is cheaper to buy a used car, than to pay a new one on credit, with higher fees and also interest.
- It is a more rational than emotional purchase, which will represent great advantages.
- A good option against little-known brands and that does not generate confidence.
- Option to be able to go to service and spare parts outside the official network, which for many people is something attractive due to the reduction in costs.
It is advisable if you plan to buy a used vehicle, have it checked by a trusted mechanic and seek a guarantee. Do not forget to ask each of the important details such as mileage, mechanical history, affiliation or coverage of insurers or even if you have suffered an accident.
Have you decided to hit a change and improve your body? Great! Is it frustrating to think that in a week of training you have not achieved much? You can pass. But you should not give up so fast. You will need hard work, motivation and time. Keep reading and discover how you can achieve your goals step by step. Having a varied training routine is essential. And that’s what the new feature of the fat decimator review offers you: the option to change and add a cardio goal. All the activities that you register with your fat decimator review will be synchronized automatically. This will give you the perfect combination of strength and cardio.
When the bull has been taken by the horns and it has been decided to carry out the exercise in order to meet the established objectives, the path is taken to achieve them depends. Regardless of what the sport, exercise, competition or any process is, the steps to follow will be decisive to achieve success. Nothing is random or magical. The fundamental thing is to establish the goals for oneself and stay on that line to reach them. With these simple tips, you will increase the chances of drowning yourself in the Fitness objectives. Meeting objectives depends mainly on the path taken to achieve them. The steps programmed or see the fat decimator review to reach the goal are those that determine success.
In the same way, it happens in the world of sports. Nothing happens at random or by magic, and the best way to achieve the goals is to fulfil a plan. It does not matter if the steps are well detailed or only serve as a guide, the fundamental thing is to set goals for oneself and stay on the path to reach them. With these are 7 steps you will increase the chances of reaching your fitness goals:
- Know your long-term goals
Thinking about the future is essential to be active and committed. If you want to lose 30 kilos in the next twelve months, a good method is to write it on a piece of paper and place it in a visible place so as not to forget it. It is important to maintain the pact with oneself and be responsible to achieve that goal.
- Establish short-term objectives
Detailing the long-term goals makes it easier to reach them. The short-term objectives are those steps that will help you lower those 30 kilos gradually. An example is to create monthly and weekly calendars detailing guidelines such as “download 1-2 kilos per week”, always being reasonable with the metabolism and physical conditions of each.
- Maintain measurable goals
The best way to be able to verify that the objectives are met is through goals with measurable results. One of the keys is to do it from the weight. Carrying weekly or monthly weighings and keeping a record ensures that goals, both short and long-term, remain active and standing. Carrying out a registration allows you to evaluate the process. If the short-term objectives are not being achieved, it is possible to adjust the diet or increase the exercises that are being carried out.
- Set achievable goals
Unrealistic goals only lead to failure and rapid frustration, which deviates from your long-term goal. Aggressive goals can be counterproductive. It is necessary to be logical when considering them, to remain realistic but at the same time patient and committed.
- Follow specific plans
A correct plan of action is all you need to achieve short-term objectives. This includes planning a workout and nutrition that will help you lose 1-2 kilos per week or adapt to your needs. It is important to be specific and responsible when choosing schedules and training days so that later it is feasible to do it. For the nutritional plan, it is possible to consult a specialist and keep a register of calories and food consumed weekly.
- Find personal motivation
What is really intended with the long-term goal? While some objectives are more accessible than others, the final goal will only be achieved if you are working for yourself. Putting the heart and self-interest in the struggle to achieve success is essential so that discouragement does not have space and the fire stays on.
- Reward and have fun
The road to travel can be long and not all the objectives are pleasant or of our preference. If reaching goals becomes a constant effort, with no activities that you like, success is likely to be more difficult to achieve. It is important to practice sports that seem more attractive to you and avoid those that bother you. If you like basketball, your cardio exercises should focus there. It is also possible to modify certain vegetables or foods in the diet for others that are healthy but do not dislike eating. Have fun and reward yourself for the effort is the best key to avoid failure or fatigue.
Feeling stuck or on a plateau is a very common feeling to travel this path of long-term goals. The important thing is to remain patient, be constant and responsible in the established plans. Continue forward and be creative when it comes to innovating meals and workouts to not get tired or annoyed. Rewarding yourself when you achieve your goals is also an interesting incentive to feel comforted and motivated.
This can be as simple as buying a new shirt to train or change shoes. The important thing is to be able to enjoy the process of reaching your goals. The feeling of pride and satisfaction for having achieved your goals and doing something to improve your life is worth all the time and effort committed. All that remains is to have patience, be constant and responsible in the established plans; the feeling of pride and satisfaction to achieve each of the objectives to stay fit and healthy, worth all effort and time. So the fat decimator review, is a must see.
It is not easy to choose lighting for fish tank but it is not difficult either. You just have to know what to look for , and that’s what we’re going to see.
How to choose lighting for fish tank?
Today, there is a wide variety of led light for fish tanks available in the market. It is normal that initially the LED lighting for aquariums is quite confusing. But if you know the right questions, it will not be a difficult road to travel. If you have doubts, you can consult aquarium lighting, our special on the subject of the use of light for aquariums. There is one thing that you have to have clear, not any led lamp for aquarium DOES NOT work for all types of tanks. You should also look if you want that elegant black light for fish tanks that is also called UV , or if in the mounting system you will prefer suction cups, whether it is clamp or any other installation mechanism.
It is crucial that you know if your species are fish of light , such as the so-called light bulb fish or if they prefer darker areas, if you want a marine environment , if it is freshwater and if you prefer white or yellow light . As you can see, buying an aquarium is not a song, but we will help you to make the best selection.
Size of the aquarium
The first thing you should keep in mind to select the best LED aquarium lighting is the size of your aquarium. Logically, depending on the size of the tank, the right type of LED will vary. The bigger the fish tank, the more amount of light it will need. If you have a very large aquarium, and you want to illuminate it in its entirety, you will need lighting for fish tank with LED whose light coverage is wide and its intensity is very widespread. When you go to buy an aquarium lamp, keep in mind the width of your aquarium. LED aquarium light lamps come in a variety of standard lengths. This is especially important when selecting a LED fish tank light that sits on top of the aquarium’s frame.
Type of plants in the tank
The type of plant life you have in your aquarium is the second factor, and very important. If your plants and corals are in their growth phase, you will need a different level of light intensity than you will need in other cycles of your life. The different types of plants have different light requirements, so there are different LEDs for planted aquariums. Therefore, you have to know how to choose an appropriate one for the plants of your aquarium.
Intensity and light spectrum for lighting for fish tank
Exploring in the market the different options of led lighting for aquarium, you will see that there is a wide range of intensities and spectra of colors to choose from. This is very useful when you have to provide optimal lighting levels for a wide range of plants. Also, when it is necessary to provide all of them with a variety of biological phases, or in the case of corals, with their specific living conditions! The different intensities and different colors of the led fish tank light are suitable for several plants and their individual growth phases.
Budget – lighting for fish tank
The last factor is the budget for lighting for fish tank. But there is no need to worry, since the price range of aquarium led lights on the market is huge. That’s why everyone can find what they need within their budget. The LED lights for aquariums provide wonderful and efficient functionality for your aquarium at a very affordable price. The best part is that the range of features and prices makes this excellent product available to everyone in a way that fits every budget.
Benefits lighting for fish tank:
If you ask yourself: What is good about LED lighting for aquariums? Continue reading because here we expose the main advantages of using LED in the aquarium.
Benefits of led lighting for aquarium
Let’s see now the benefits of the aquarium led lamp , and why you should use it to light up your aquarium. Here are some points that will help you understand why:
- These LED lamps for fish tanks use much less energy. They are extremely energy efficient, and will save around 30% in energy costs compared to traditional aquarium lighting.
- The lifespan of each LED for aquariums is quite high compared to the other available lighting systems. The LED aquarium lamp lasts at least 80,000 hours compared to 20,000 hours for fluorescent lamps. Because of this, LED aquarium lights are very profitable in the medium to long term.
- The LEDs for fish tanks do not waste energy in the form of heat, so they do not alter the temperature of the aquarium water.
- LED lights can be programmed to produce specific lighting for a marine tank, or for a freshwater aquarium.
- The LED lamps for aquariums and are easy to use, also are friendly to the environment. They do not produce toxic gases in the lighting process, which keeps the overall environment and aquarium environment clean.
- These LED aquarium lights have been manufactured water resistant and compact for a perfect use as an aquarium light.
- The LEDs for aquarium of good quality can produce light of different intensities and colors. This produces an optimal environment for growth in the aquarium, whatever its type and stage of growth.
- Some automatic LEDs also have the ability to find out the different growth phases of the plants in your aquarium. This fantastic LED lighting for aquarium can be adjusted accordingly, and produce required wavelength and color intensities.
- Several small LEDs are what make up the complete unit, therefore, there is no possibility that the entire device stops working at the same time.
There are many features that these hearing aids incorporate today, based on the continuous improvement of sound perception. The manufacturers present innovations that go from the technical to the aesthetic. For now, we will look for best earbuds under 50 of the market tailored to your expectations and budget.
Best earbuds under 50:
Have a look at the best earbuds under 50:
- T450 JBL Supraaural Headphones
- Bass of great depth
- JBL T450 – Supra-aural headphones for cable
- Pure Bass JBL Sound
- Control music playback with the remote control with just one
- Thanks to its lightweight materials, these headphones are comfortable
- Durable flat cable that does not get tangled
Listening to music with clear sounds and powerful bass is possible with this model of the JBL brand, which among its main attractions highlights the comfort offered by its internal padding helmets with great insulation capacity. The cable it has is long and flat, perfect to avoid entanglements. It has a button for remote volume control and selective playback of tracks. Fits most player and PC devices folding and compact and are the best earbuds under 50.
- Sennheiser HD 206 Stereo Headset
- They effectively isolate environmental noise
- Sennheiser HD 206 – Stereo headphones, color …
- Powerful and sharp bass response
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear
- Good attenuation of environmental noise
- Extremely resistant
When you want the maximum bass amplification you need a good pair of headphones, and in this case Sennheiser offers a product that is well worth it. Its power is relative, according to the device it is connected to. The cable is long enough to move freely. Its materials are strong and of great resistance. The outside noise does not overshadow the listening experience, thanks to its efficient insulation properties. The best earbuds under 50 comes with padded and adjustable helmets for long sessions.
- Sony MDR-XB550APG Headphones Headphones
- High strength materials
- Sony MDR-XB550APG – Extra Headband Headphones
- Extra Bass for deep and powerful sounds
- Microphone with integrated control compatible with Smartphones
- Adaptable metallic headband for a perfect fit
- Padded cushions for extended comfort
- Choose one of the 5 colors that best suits your style
The best earbuds under 50 has a comparison option that stands out for its manufacturer, and with the advantage of an opportunity price. The Extra Bass function gives power to the bass sounds, and its built-in knob will allow you, among other things, to answer the calls when connecting it to your Smartphone. The headband is metal adjustable to the size of the head. You can get them in 5 different beautiful colors to choose. The best earbuds under 50 is ideal for lovers of loud music.
- Sennheiser CX 300-II in-ear headphones
- With asymmetrical cable
- Sennheiser CX 300-II – In-ear headphones
- Dynamic speaker system
- Extremely durable structure
- Optimized for professional monitoring
A simple system headphone earpiece or ” in-ear “, as they are called, which have the quality of noise reduction. This condition gives us the possibility to enjoy our favorite melodies without sound pollution from the outside. Its structure is strong and comes with replacement suction heads. They come in a convenient bag to store them. Best earbuds under 50 are a perfect alternative to recreate while you exercise or in outdoor activities. It is recommended for use in mobile phones and portable players.
- COWIN E7 Wireless Headphones
- Realistic and clean sounds
- COWIN E7 Bluetooth Wireless Headphones
- High quality built-in microphone and NFC technology
- Patented 40 mm wide opening conductors
- The professional protein earphone and 90 ° rotating headphones
- 30 hours of playback time per charge in Bluetooth mode.
- Remote microphone control on board to take calls, and volume control
The technological advantages and advances in data transmission are evident in Cowin’s E7 model. Get rid of cables with this wireless version, which relies on your Bluetooth system with a stable connection to listen to good quality sounds. It incorporates a microphone to increase its functionality. Charging your batteries via USB allows continuous enjoyment of up to more than 30 hours. Its adjustable helmets and its modern design make it very attractive.
- Philips Wireless Headphones SHB3075RD
- So far the best earbuds under 50 and a powerful sonority at low cost
- Philips SHB3075RD – Wireless Headphones
- Bluetooth wireless technology
- The rechargeable battery offers up to 12 hours of playback
- Comfortable hands-free calls
- Sound isolation for a better audio experience
- Included: USB cable, quick start guide
If you want to buy more affordable headphones with all the benefits of wireless devices, you can consider this offer. Of minimalist design but current, it has on its helmets the buttons for ignition control, volume levels, track selection and activation of the Bluetooth connection. The built-in battery can provide average charge duration of 12 hours. You can choose between 4 colors which is best for you. The level of the bass is quite optimal.
- Headphones for video game V3 Micolindun
- Quality stereo sound
- Gaming Headset Gaming Headset Gamer for PS4 PC
- Extreme Comfort- Professional gaming headphones with super design
- Unique Game Style- First Micolindun gaming headset that looks
- Extraordinary Sound Effect- Tuned strictly by the technician
- Omnidirectional microphone Updated-The soft omnidirectional microphone
Live all the realism of your favorite video games with these built-in microphone headphones. With excellent performance and sound quality, it is remarkable the futuristic design of this model, which adds lights on its helmets and front, to integrate the emotion in each play. The best earbuds under 50 are a modern device for young people who combine all their activities of entertainment and contact in social networks, being perfect for chatting and videoconferences. It is compatible with the main consoles of today. They are light and easy to carry, just by hanging around the neck, magnetically joining both ends. They withstand sweat and moisture. Bring a microphone to allow you to answer calls. The volume and selection of tracks are controlled by buttons on its cable.
So what have you planned are you planning to get the best earbuds under 50 or not!
If you have e commerce site and you are looking for the Ranking an eCommerce Site, then you are the right place, through us the Ranking an eCommerce Site is very easy! You are looking for the main objective of getting your site classified in the search engines more important as are Google and Yahoo. To achieve this, the first thing you need is to focus on in-situ SEO, which consists of simple adjustments made within the pages and the general structure of your website. One thing to keep in mind is that SEO on site requires the optimization of each page of your website, not just the landing page or the home page, so it is always easier to optimize your website successfully. during the initial phase of development, instead of having to go to each page after having created it.
These Ranking an eCommerce Site and simple improvements will directly influence the overall ranking within the search engines and help your website to appear more frequently with relevant keywords that are entered by people searching for information within the search engines directly. To help you optimize your website, we will break the most important elements of any optimization strategy, this includes: Tags or tags title Tags of the title are those that appear at the top of your browser every time you visit a website. Typically, title tags include a snippet of information about the website, including a description of each web page on the site.
To optimize this tag to the maximum and for ranking an eCommerce Site, it is necessary to focus on the integration of your primary key phrase in the title of the page, varying the keywords used in each page of your site. For example, if your homepage offers information about “how to train your dog,” your title tag should include the keyword “train your dog.”Make sure that you focus on incorporating different keyword phrases into each individual page on your website. You can edit the title tags within your HTML editor. Search for support, and insert your keyword phrase within that area. (Most HTML editors, such as Dreamweaver, offer a simple method of adding title tags and keywords by simply navigating the “Properties” tab in your editing program.)
Tags or tag header
Header tags are very easy to integrate into your pages, and each time the text is inserted inside the header tags, the font size is larger and sometimes appears in bold.
This does two different things: I0 t first tells the search engines or crawlers that the text that is inside the H tags must be identified as more important than other text that appears on the page, and secondly, it also helps draw attention to a specific text every time a real person arrives at ranking an eCommerce Site. So be sure to use the header tags wisely, and include your primary keyword phrases or keywords within the tag
Websites are not able to identify the text that is inside the images themselves. Since you want to optimize your website to the maximum, by including images and graphics that appear on your pages, you must insert “image tags” that provide a description of keywords related to what the image actually is, as well as the text anchor for each link that is included both internally and externally. The prominence of keywords and proximity of the keyword in relation to one another is very important. Look for the Ranking an eCommerce Site.
In keyword research, a Google search of the phrase is done in quotes to know exactly the number of pages with a phrase in the exact order, because those are the pages that usually classify well by a search of the phrase without quotes. This is due to the proximity of keywords and the actual order of your keyword phrases is very important. For this reason, it is important to make sure that you put your key phrase in the exact order you want to be found on the internet and also use it in your title, header tags and content. An important keyword is displayed at the beginning of a text. When creating your pages you must ensure that they include a simple navigation menu that links the pages and subpages.
A common way of building navigation systems is by using what is known as a “sitemap”. A map is just a file that details all the different areas of your website, including the inside pages. Anchor text Anchor text is the text that is used to link to a web page from another page. There are two types of anchor text in any web page, the text you link to other pages on your own site (internally), and the text you link to other sites (externally). Instead of connecting directly, use the anchor text to describe the relationship and help the search engines identify key phrases that you are interested in positioning.
Each article within one of these categories has greater relevance. Each category will have a directory on the server, and all the items would be collected in that category. The index file for each category will be a list of all the items in that category. You can set up a SILO-based system easily with WordPress themes, since WordPress. For Ranking an eCommerce Site visit the Google Keyword Tool and perform a keyword search using your word as your primary keyword. This will show you a list of related words. Analyze the results and write about 10 words that relate to the theme of your website. It is very favourable if you get those words have a low competition and a good number of searches per month I recommend at least 2000 searches per month. Once you have that list, you can use the words as categories within your website or you can use them to create content relevant to that word.
Everybody loves to enjoy a good literary work, but do you have any idea about the 10 most read books in the world? Hundreds of thousands of books have been amazed us so far, but very few have the status of most read books around the world. Here in this article, you will go through an elite list of the greatest pieces of literary work by world-renowned authors.
The Bible By Various Authors:
The Bible as we know is about God’s action in this world and his actual purpose with all the creations we see. This holy book saw its writing accomplished over 16 centuries and is an astonishing collection of 66 books depicting God’s own messages.
Quotations from the Works of Mao Tse-tung By Mao Tse-tung:
The Quotations from the Works of Mao Tse-tung, or as it is widely known, the ‘little red book’ written by Mao Tse-tung, teaches the people of China about the ideology and history of the Chinese Communist Party.
Harry Potter By J. K. Rowling:
The famous Harry Potter books include a fantasy series of 7 novels which are British writer J. K. Rowling’s masterpiece as we know. Most of these 7 masterpieces have been made into action-packed adventure movies in Hollywood. Not only children, adults have also heartily accepted this fiction character like their own family member.
Lord of the Rings By J. R. R. Tolkien:
Another epic fantasy book and its tipped to be philologist J. R. R. Tolkien’s best literary work. The novel initially began as a sequel to his earlier, far less appealed children’s fantasy book The Hobbit, but later emerged as a much larger creation depicting the human civilization.
A film trilogy of three live action fantasy epic Hollywood movies was made inspired by this book; namely The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and the last one is The Return of the King.
The Alchemist By Paulo Coelho:
This literary work was actually published in 1987 and quickly became a Brazilian bestseller. You would be amazed to know that this book has sold a staggering 65 million copies around the world. The Alchemist was translated into more than 67 languages according to its demand and even won the Guinness World Record for the most translated book.
The Da Vinci Code By Dan Brown:
This fiction novel is another classy literary work by influential American author Dan Brown. The story is based on the thrilling investigations of Professor Robert Langdon following a murder in the Paris Louvre Museum. He finds out a controversial fact that Jesus Christ may have married Mary Magdalene and was even a father of a child.
Twilight: The Saga By Stephenie Meyer:
Twilight happens to be the first book from a famous young adult series written by American author Stephenie Meyer. The story follows a young girl who eventually falls in love with a vampire facing a constantly changing society. The beautiful girl says “First, he was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him”.
Gone With the Wind By Margaret Mitchell:
It is a romantic drama from Margaret Mitchell that remained best seller on the market for months. The story will lead you to Georgia during the American Civil War and tells an intriguing story of Scarlett O’Hara, who was the daughter of an Irish immigrant plantation owner.
This romantic piece grabbed the prestigious Pulitzer Prize and was even adapted into a Hollywood movie of the same name to win an Academy Award.
Think and Grow Rich By Napoleon Hill:
This is one of the best motivational books you would come across. It helps you to understand the basics of personal development and self-improvement which the author learned from the Scottish-American billionaire Andrew Carnegie.
Diary of Anne Frank By Anne Frank:
This best-seller is based on the writings from a diary that was written by Anne Frank while she was in a hiding place for more than 2 years during the Nazi infiltration of the Netherlands. Expert termed this book as one of the vital literary artworks of the twentieth century.
There are a variety of suits available in the market with a broad range of prices. Spotting the difference between a cheap and costly suit depends on your expectation and budget. Expensive suits do not mean that the quality of cloth is good or better than the cheaper ones. The material may be valuable because of its brand name. The cloth may or may not be of high quality, but it is not necessary that the quality of the fabric must be better than the cheaper material.
If you pay may more and expect to get more than you might not always get more, so you must make up your mind on what suit you need to get for your appropriate occasion for the budget you have planned out.
The following are some of the major difference:
- The fit.
- The Build Quality.
- The Fabric.
- The Service.
A cheaper suit gets designed with the aim that it should fit everyone who is a bigger size and everyone who are smaller in size. The suits get designed in a box shape that fits everyone. But expensive suits are designed with the aim that the suits must fit everyone perfectly. The expensive suits give you a correct fit, and it is intended based on everyone’s body shape and size. Even if you give the cheaper suit to your tailor and get it altered, it would not give you the fit the expensive suites provide.
The Build Quality:
The quality of the cloth and the materials used in the suit is not very good. Say for example you are buying a $200 suit from a retail store, imagine that the retailer would have bought it from the manufacturer for about half the price and the cost of manufacturing the suit can get very low. So you might get the quality of the price you pay. But then again this case may not be right in all cases.
If a suit has hand work in them, then it is going to cost you more money because hand work is art and artwork are something which you need to pay.
The material milled from a cheaper suit is made from recycled wool in most of the time. While an expensive material gets made out of high-quality wool that lasts for a longer duration. Again this is not the case in all suits. Some suits are expensive, but they do not provide you with a good fabric so make sure that you get a good material for the price you buy.
The cheaper suits usually purchased from a cheaper store, and you might not get a tailored service there exclusively for you. You need to buy the suit and take it out to your tailor to get it altered. When you buy an expensive suit the shop, you buy the suit from might offer you a great personal tailor who might fix your buttons or any damages caused to the suit.
COLOMBIA has been undergoing an economic transformation in the last few years.
It has now become an attractive place for foreign investment in the energy sector after a series of reforms which relaxed labour laws. Since then, there has been a dramatic increase in exploration and production of oil and gas.
There also has been some extraction of shale gas by US giant energy company, Exxon-Mobil. The estimates of reserves are highly optimistic.
The government has, for the first time, also started to auction potential oil and gas zones offshore for exploration, with the hope that it can match the huge success Brazil has enjoyed
The mining sector is also experiencing a boom, most notably in the production of gold.
On the political front, the government of President Juan Manuel Santos has balanced the country’s budget and eased tensions with Venezuela. But crucially, it has started to try to end internal conflicts with guerrilla groups which have lasted for more than half a century.
Peace negotiations started in November 2012 in the Cuban capital, Havana, with the largest guerrilla group, known as the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). This has been a major step in the peace process.
It also marked the biggest move in decades by the Colombian state to reclaim control over the nation’s territory and to bring peace to the country.
Colombia has also signed a number of free trade agreements with the United States, the European Union and its neighbours.
If there is progress in the peace talks, however slow, Colombia should be able to play a major role in the global energy market in the next few years. But the guerrillas are not the only armed group operating outside the law in Colombia. For the past 20 years, paramilitaries have operated with government acquiescence to fight the guerrillas in places where the country’s armed forces could not operate.
This has been carried out in some cases with vast financial support from the United States via Plan Colombia, which supports various activities in the country, such as the training of armed forces.
When President Santos distanced his government from that of his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, by declaring that he would do everything possible to make amends for the atrocities of the paramilitaries, tens of thousands of refugees sued the government for compensation and the return of their land.
But as the paramilitaries are demobilised, many of their members are forming organised crime groups, which are responsible for widespread violence in several regions.
Colombia continues to be the principal hub of the massive trade in illegal drugs for the United States. Nothing the Colombian government has donehas succeeded in reducing the illegal trade to any significant degree.
Estimates within the World Bank during the 1990s showed that the laundering of money from the illegal traffic in drugs exceeded 10 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product.
Yet in spite of this knowledge, the government and the bank published reports each year indicating that the Colombian economy was growing.
Colombia’s other problem is diplomatic. After 10 years of deliberation, the International Court of Justice at The Hague has issued its findings in the dispute between Colombia and Nicaragua over the San Andres island chain, just off the coast of Panama.
The judges confirmed Colombia’s sovereignty over the islands. But, in recognition of Nicaragua’s maritime rights and the extension of the continental shelf off the coast of Nicaragua, it has granted sovereign rights to Nicaragua to waters just to the north and to the south of the islands.
The judgment has infuriated Colombian public opinion. The Santos government, in response, has denounced the court, rejected its judgement and announced that it was withdrawing from the Treaty of Bogota, under which Colombia and all Latin American countries agreed to resort to the International Court of Justice to resolve territorial disputes.
The Colombian reaction to the court decision comes at an unfortunate time when President Santos is trying to reposition Colombia as a loyal and cooperative player in the international community.
IRAQ’S officially proven oil reserves are approaching 115 billion barrels. In 2013 the Iraqi Ministry of Oil reported an increase to 143 billion barrels. If this is correct, Iraq is the fifth biggest producer in the world.
Most of the oil is in the Shi’i south – Iraq is led by Shi’i Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who seems irresponsive to the grievances of his country’s Sunni population as it edges slowly towards a civil war.
In the Kurdish autonomy in the north of the country, where Western companies are signing deals, proven oil reserves are estimated at 11 billion barrels.
In 2012 Iraq’s oil production was around three million barrels per day (b/d), some 75 per cent of which came from the south. However, by the end of 2012 production had reached 3.2 million b/d, the highest since the early 1980s.
By the end of 2013 Iraqi Kurdistan will probably produce 400,000 b/d; by 2015 Kurdish leaders promise to bring production to one million b/d and that will be doubled by 2019. By 2012 oil represented between 93-95 per cent of total government revenue. However, development is slow.
ExxonMobil decided in 2012 to give up its contract over the huge West Qurna field in the south in favour of developing oil fields in the Kurdish autonomy.
Kurdistan’s infrastructure is healthy, electricity supply is adequate and there is little corruption involved in signing contracts.
If Iraq repairs all or even most of its oil pipelines and prevents sabotage it will be able to market much larger quantities than it does today.
Between late April and early July 2013, the Iraqi dinar lost about 10 per cent of its value because of the sharp spike in sectarian violence. Otherwise inflation is low.
Iraq’s oil revenues are substantial even now. According to a UN Joint Analysis Policy Unit (JAPU) report in January 2013 the annual budget for 2013, approved in March and based almost entirely on the expected oil revenues, is US$118.5 billion (ID 138 trillion).
The expenditure of the central government in Baghdad – defence, the central bureaucracy etc – is US$34.6 billion or about 30 per cent of the total budget. The regions are demanding a higher share, but provision of funds is already quite high. The problem is that the spending rate for provincial development is low and most provinces cannot spend all the cash allotted to them by Baghdad.
One reason for that is the deterioration in security that slowed economic activities, including those of foreign companies.
There are also local inefficiencies. As a result, in 2011 less than 60 per cent of the substantial allocated provincial budgets was used.
The infrastructure development needs are very high. Some 32 per cent of households still lack safe drinking water and 25 per cent receive less than 12 hours of uninterrupted electricity per day from public networks.
Education, too, is in poor shape – 23 per cent of the population is illiterate and although 90 per cent of school-age children are enrolled in primary schools, the figure for secondary schools is only 49 per cent.
Iraq is a rich country. This, however, is not benefiting most Iraqis, whose income – the equivalent of US$3,900 a year in 2011 – and standard of living, are low because of a slow rate of development.
Foreign entrepreneurs will find attractive opportunities in Iraq. Official corruption can be circumvented if entrepreneurs approach the provincial authorities and local sheikhs (elders). If they can employ local workers, the regional leaders will use their electoral power to get the needed approval from Baghdad. Substantial funds are available.
INDIA is set to launch more of its own rockets in 2013 than it has in any previous year. Its budget is less than a tenth of NASA’s US$17.7 billion, but it has increased every year since the early 2000s, jumping from US$591 million in 2004-2005 to US$1.3 billion in 2012-2013.
India now has one of the world’s top six space programmes. But its record year for space launches marks a ratcheting up of the Asian space race.
India’s year in space opened with the launch of its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) ferrying six foreign satellites to orbit .
The PSLV has launched 28 Indian and 35 foreign satellites since 1999.
Another PSLV mission planned for the end of 2013 will carry France’s Spot 7 Earth observation satellite into orbit, demonstrating the inroads made by the commercial division of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in marketing Indian rockets for the launch of foreign satellites.
The PSLV launched, on its 23rd flight on July 1, 2013, the first of seven of India’s new navigation satellites – IRNSS-1A – which will form the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).
The successful deployment of IRNSS-1A marks a new era of space application for India where it could benefit marine traffic, response times for emergency services, mobile communications and mapping.
Each satellite cost around US$27 million (Rs 125 crore) and is expected to operate for at least 10 years.
Before the end of the year the Indian space agency plans to launch its first mission to Mars using its PSLV. The US$ 75 million (Rs 450 crore) Mars Orbiter Mission will carry imaging cameras and atmospheric sensors.
Apart from India’s primary aim to demonstrate they have the capability to go to Mars, it also plans to study the Martian surface and atmosphere, map mineralogy and attempt to detect methane. On Earth, methane results primarily from biological or active geological processes, and could indicate the presence of living organisms on Mars today.
NASA will provide deep-space navigation and tracking support services for India’s Mars orbiter mission as part of expanding cooperative ties with the United States.
The two space agencies are also exploring the possibilities of a joint Earth observation satellite, by looking at the compatibility between the US Global Positioning System and the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System.
The new IRNSS satellite system will remove India’s reliance on GPS, allowing it to acquire accurate positioning data independently.
Navigational independence gives nations daily control over satellite navigation for civilian use, such as transport, aviation, banking and communication.
But it can also be vital during military conflicts when the use of foreign GPS systems may not necessarily be guaranteed.
India already has one of the largest civilian remote sensing satellite systems in the world and the largest domestic communication satellite systems in the Asia-Pacific region.
Sectors within India which have benefited from remote sensing include agriculture and natural resource management.
Monitoring water levels and the spatial extent of surface water during rainy periods has helped scheduling for irrigation, while longer-term studies provide feedback on crop rotation and estimates of the quality and quantity of annual crop yields. Satellite data has also been used to identify sites for drilling wells to give access to drinking water for deprived villages.
India’s new advanced weather satellite INSAT-3D was launched on July 26, 2013, by Europe’s Ariane 5 ECA rocket, sharing the ride into space with Europe’s Alphasat telecom satellite.
INSAT-3D will advance India’s capability in weather forecasting and disaster warning.
The satellite is also equipped with a search and rescue payload which will help coastguards, fishing and shipping services, and air traffic control over much of the Indian Ocean region.
Two more Earth-orbiting Indian satellites are expected to launch during August 2013: the GSAT-7 communications satellite intended to serve the Indian Navy will launch on an Ariane, while GSAT-14 will launch on India’s largest rocket, the GSLV.
The launch of IRNSS-1A puts India on its way to becoming part of a select group of nations which can offer independent navigation services that would give it the potential to expand civilian applications and to explore a new niche for its economy.
Belarus is Europe’s last dictatorship. And despite Brussels’s steadfast concern over the harsh repression meted out by its president, Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus stands defiant in the face of Western pressure for change.
Europe’s ambitions to encourage liberalisation in the country of 9.5 million have not met with success. Moscow too has grown tired of constant resistance from Minsk.
But where some experts believe the country’s economic crisis and increased military cooperation may be about to bring Belarus firmly into Moscow’s orbit, past performance demonstrates 59-year-old Mr Lukashenko has an ability to play Moscow and Brussels off each other.
Alexander Lukashenko, a former farm manger and KGB guard, is dismissive of Western democracy. He was first elected in 1994 in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse and has, controversially, remained president ever since.
Mr Lukashenko is unconcerned about his reputation as the ‘last dictator in Europe’. Nor is he concerned over general incredulity that he is grooming his pistol-carrying nine-year-old son Kolya to succeed him.
During his years in office, the Belarusian president has ensured his country remains a replica of the old USSR. Elections are charades. Parliamentary elections in September 2012 did not return a single opposition candidate.
Though the streets are clean and safe, the authorities keep a close watch. The security service – as in the USSR – is still known as the KGB. All opposition is dealt with harshly via intimidation, beatings, arrests, and disappearances. Belarus is the only European country that continues the practice of execution.
Mr Lukashenko irritates Brussels. Although a Partnership and Cooperation agreement was signed in 1995, Belarus remains the only country in the region that has not even applied for EU membership. Neither is Minsk – considered too undemocratic – part of the European Neighborhood Policy.
Following the violent crackdown on demonstrators protesting over widespread fraud in the December 2010 presidential elections, the EU slapped a visa ban on members of the ruling elite and froze their assets in Europe – to little effect.
In the spring of 2012, a European Dialogue on Modernisation was introduced, but civil society in Belarus is too weak to constitute a partner.
Brussels insists political prisoners are released and worries Belarus will succumb to complete dependence on Russia. Minsk suspects that the EU’s real objective is regime change.
Much presently depends on Lithuania – the first Baltic state to hold the rotating chair of the EU. Lithuania maintains a lucrative trade with Belarus, in potash and petrochemical products, and its capital city, Vilnius, is home to a Belarus free university.
The Lithuanian city will host the third European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) summit on November 28 and 29, 2013. But few believe that any breakthrough in relations with Belarus is imminent.
Moscow too finds the self-proclaimed dictator troublesome. Although Belarus has, since 2000, been treaty-joined with the Russian Federation in a ‘Union State’ to provide greater political, economic, and social integration, the proposals have never been seriously pursued. While Moscow would like to see Belarus as little more than a subject of its own federation, Belarus demands to be treated as a sovereign state.
Some believe, however, that a combination of economic crisis and increased military activity may end Belarus’ standoff.
As a result of joining the Customs Union with Russia and Kazakhstan, firms in Belarus have had to compete on equal terms with those in Russia and Kazakhstan, and are ill-equipped to do so.
And Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has added pressure on Moscow to remove subsidies which will have a major effect on Belarus.
While increased economic control would be in Russia’s interest, the true value of Belarus lies in the territory itself, which borders NATO member states Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania.
American plans to deploy missile defence in Europe have been met by threats to deploy missiles in Belarus.
Russia now intends to base fighter jets at a military airbase in Belarus by 2015. It also plans to deliver four battalions of long-range surface-to-air missiles in 2014. And in September 2013 the two will hold a joint military exercise, Zapad-2013.
It may look as though Moscow has its troublesome neighbour over a barrel, and that Brussels may have missed its final opportunity to support Belarusian independence from Russia. But one should not discount the ability of Mr Lukashenko to continue his long-successful game of playing Moscow and Brussels off each other.
AZERBAIJAN can be seen as the biggest winner in the race to decide the route for the final leg of the trans-European pipeline from the Caspian Sea to Italy.
It cooperated with Turkey in building the TANAP pipeline and made the supply of Caspian gas to Europe ultimately realistic, while undermining Russia’s monopoly as the only Caspian gas supplier in central and south eastern Europe (CSEE).
It also raised Azerbaijan’s future geo-economic and geopolitical influence in the Eurasian energy and pipeline game, as well as boosting its commercial interests by expanding its downstream business projects in Europe.
Turkey is becoming an increasingly important oil and gas hub for importing European supplies, but it is Azerbaijan which is sitting in the driving seat by controlling the TANAP consortium and 80 per cent of the European supplies from the Caspian region.
Any Caspian gas supplies to Turkey and Europe can only be implemented as a continuation of the Azerbaijani-controlled TANAP project.
Azerbaijan is already expanding the annual capacity of the transit pipeline in Georgia and Turkey to equal the presently planned TANAP.
The European Commission, Turkey and Azerbaijan had favoured the Nabucco-West project until the beginning of 2013.
Azerbaijan and Turkey had expressed frustration at the slow progress of the Nabucco-West project and its financial support since 2012.
Italy and Greece, in addition to Albania, backed the TAP project once the ITGI pipeline had been removed from the competition to take Caspian gas to Europe. The TAP project requires no government subsidies, EU grants or other contributions from European taxpayers so far.
The rival Nabucco-West pipeline depended on loans from international financial institutions and only 30 per cent from shareholders’ equity.
The original TAP pipeline route was to start near the Turkish-Greece border at Komotini and run across northern Greece and Albania to Fier on the Adriatic coast and then, as a sub-sea pipeline, to the outermost point of the Italian peninsula’s heel.
Confronted with a saturated Italian gas market, TAP has been re-configured since 2012. It will now use the Italian south-north transmission pipeline network onward to the Swiss transit pipelines and connect with the German grid system, with a newly-adapted reverse-flow use in the future.
From there, further multiple opportunities for transporting natural gas to Austria, France, Belgium and even the UK would become available.
The Belgian energy company Fluxys, a major operator of gas transmission pipelines and storage sites in six countries, decided in June 2013 to join the TAP consortium.
The scalable TAP project will also allow extra volumes of gas to be transported from the Caspian region and other areas such as Israel’s large Leviathan offshore gas deposit in the east Mediterranean.
The TAP consortium has also proposed installing reverse flow capabilities for gas into Bulgaria and creating natural gas markets from scratch in Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro.
TAP is considering using connections to regional bilateral pipelines such as the planned 500 km-long Ionian Adriatic Pipeline (IAP) traversing Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia.
Leaders from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia signed an international goodwill agreement in May 2013 for the westbound IAP to overcome regional gas disparities and to reduce their gas dependence on Russian energy giant Gazprom.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro also supported TAP and the IAP-project in June.
Another plan, the Western Balkan Ring (WBR), would allow Caspian gas supplies to Macedonia and Serbia. Bosnia and Herzegovina are planning a joint 200 km-long gas interconnector, which the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD) has already said it is willing to finance.
Azerbaijan is still considering other gas supply options to south eastern Europe and Ukraine.
Azerbaijan’s original strategic preference for the Nabucco project changed finally with its acquisition of the DESFA pipeline network in June 2013 shortly before the Shah Deniz Consortium made its decision.
The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) acquired a controlling share of 66 per cent in the privatised Greek natural gas transit firm DESFA on June 21, 2013. As the fully-owned subsidiary of DEPA (Public Gas Corporation), DESFA not only operates the Greek gas transmission pipelines and distribution networks, but also the Revithoussa LNG terminal. It is also a shareholder in the planned Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnector (IGB).
It was strategically essential for Azerbaijan to acquire the DESFA majority stake given its strategic interests for a direct continuation of its TANAP project to Europe.
It also allows Azerbaijan much greater opportunity for future investments in Europe to enlarge its foothold in the European energy markets.
THE geopolitical relationship between China and North Korea is starting to show subtle but significant signs of change.
China’s vice president, Li Yuanchao, on a visit to North Korea on July 27, 2013, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice day, referred simply to ‘The Korean War’ rather than using the emotive phrase, ‘The war to resist America and aid Korea’, which is how the Chinese people have been brought up to regard the conflict.
He also said, ‘The Korean peninsula must be nuclear free; problems must be solved by dialogue.’
It is the first time the people of China have heard such a tough tone used by one of their leaders towards a North Korean leader.
China is North Korea’s most important economic and political supporter. It provides its neighbour with an estimated 80 per cent of its oil and up to half its imported food.
But North Korea’s nuclear ambitions are causing China increasing frustration and embarrassment, particularly as the international community believes China can shape North Korea’s actions.
When North Korea conducted its third nuclear test in February 2013 in defiance of UN resolutions, it drew condemnation from the world, including China.
Beijing summoned the North Korean ambassador to protest over the test which had been carried out in spite of China’s call on North Korea to avoid escalating tensions. Previous tests were staged in 2006 and 2009.
China agreed to a UN Security Council resolution in March 2013 which expands sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapons programme.
But it is not just the leadership in China which is reconsidering its relationship with North Korea. There is growing disquiet among Chinese people as they discover more about their neighbour.
The Chinese believe that North Korea owes a great deal to China because of the help it gave North Korea in the 1950-1953 Korean War. Near half a million young Chinese lives were lost fighting for North Korea.
Memories of the war run deep and have lingered, sometimes bitterly, in the minds of millions of Chinese to this day.
My mother ran away from school and joined the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army when she was 12. She was told by her teachers that ‘American devils killed many Korean and Chinese soldiers’, and that North Korea needed more soldiers to fight back otherwise the Americans would ‘occupy our country and everyone would be a slave to the capitalists’.
I asked her whether she would allow me to join the army if this type of war were to happen again in China. Her reply was a firm, ‘Never’.
When I asked her if she regretted taking part in the bloody war in which she won two medals, she kept silent. Until her death at the age of 55, she never talked about the war she had experienced at such a young age, but we know that the illness she suffered was related to it.
China shares an 800-mile border with North Korea. Many analysts say that China’s leadership does not want to abandon North Korea, no matter how badly behaved it is. This is, in part, because China would not want the regional instability and potential refugee crisis that would follow regime change in North Korea.
MAJOR oil exporters are warned they could see a significant deterioration in their balance of trade if they fail to develop their own shale oil resources. Countries such as Russia and the Middle East could see a drop of around four to 10 per cent of GDP, according to a study by accountancy firm PwC.
The United States, the largest oil consumer in the world, is leading the shale revolution. But while it enjoys many economic benefits, the shale revolution has several geopolitical implications.
The US is not the world’s largest holder of shale oil resources – Russia is. However, there are doubts over whether other countries can successfully replicate the US experience.
It remains uncertain what impact the shale oil boom will have on the price of oil. Experts expect a drop in oil prices. However, adverse political developments can change all this.
In 2009, US oil production reversed its declining trend. Within four years, production of shale oil or – more accurately – tight oil increased by 217 per cent, reaching 2 Mb/d by the end of 2012 and accounting for more than 30 per cent of the country’s total production. US production grew more in 2012 than in any year since the beginning of the domestic industry in 1859. Compared to 2011, production in 2012 increased by 15 per cent, 92 per cent of which came from shale oil.
The direct economic benefits to the US include job creation; additional taxes paid by upstream producers; improvement in the balance of trade as oil imports slowed; and an improved sense of energy security. Between 2008 and 2012, US oil imports from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) declined by 26 per cent.
Experts argue that, geopolitically, as the US becomes less dependent on oil imports especially from the Middle East, it will become less involved (directly and indirectly) in that region. However, unrest in the Middle East can cause spikes in the price of oil – which will be felt globally. Self-sufficiency does not mean independence from international oil prices. The difference, however, is that the redistribution of wealth in the US would flow from consumers to domestic producers instead of to foreign suppliers.
According to shale resource estimates by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in 2013, global resources of technically recoverable shale oil are estimated at 345 billion barrels (bnbls), adding approximately 11 per cent to the 3,012 bnbls of technically recoverable oil resources.
Although the US, the largest oil consumer in the world, is leading the shale revolution, it is Russia which is sitting on the largest resource base. China too holds substantial resources.
What spurred activity in the US, apart from its resources, was a combination of factors – including high oil prices, advances in technology, private ownership of below ground mineral rights, well established service industry and infrastructure, water availability, competitive fiscal terms and an overall investment friendly environment. Experts argue that other countries do not possess a critical mass of these qualities and as a result they doubt that the US experience will be fast replicated elsewhere.
Production of shale gas has significantly reduced domestic gas prices in the US. In the case of oil, the US consumer will still face a price set in a global market, i.e. through the interaction of global supply and demand.
On the supply side, OPEC’s decisions on output will have a major impact on the oil price, since the organisation accounts for 43 per cent of world oil production. Traditionally, OPEC cuts production to support prices. This might become more challenging as new unconventional oil resources are brought on stream.
The PwC study concludes that the increase in shale oil production could reduce oil prices in 2035 by around 25-40 per cent (US $83-100/barrel in real terms) relative to the current baseline EIA projection of US $133/barrel in 2035.
If this materialises, OPEC members and other oil exporters will face a challenging environment.
THE 28 countries in the European Union form the world’s largest energy importer with Russia its biggest supplier of oil, gas, uranium and coal, as well as the third-largest electricity exporter to the EU.
The EU is Russia’s largest trade partner, accounting for more than half its foreign trade, 45 per cent of its imports and 55 per cent of its exports. The EU takes 88 per cent of Russia’s total oil exports, 70 per cent of its gas exports and half its coal exports. Seventy-five per cent of cumulative foreign investments in Russia are from the EU.
Thirteen European countries relied on Russia for more than 80 per cent of their total gas consumption in 2010 and 17 depended on Russia for more than 80 per cent of gas imports.
Russia’s export capacity to Europe will increase to 250 bcm a year by 2020 and more than 300 bcm by 2030. But Russia only has gas contracts for 158 bcm a year to Europe.
The recession in Europe since 2008 and America’s shale gas revolution have led to a global gas glut.
These, combined with a decline in Russia’s long-term contracts based on oil-indexed prices and its controversial ‘take-or-pay’clauses – which lock in customers to specific quantities – have undermined Russia’s traditional business strategies and price models.
The EU’s gas demand decreased by about 10 per cent – the largest recorded decline – in 2011 and by a further 2.3 per cent in 2012.
Russia’ supplies declined in 2011 and Norway overtook Russia as the EU’s largest gas supplier for the first time in 2012. Gas imports from Norway to the EU rose 12 per cent while imports from Gazprom fell 10 per cent.
Gas is taking the role of a swing fuel to guarantee the base-load stability of European countries as a back-up to renewables. Gas-fired power plants across Europe are struggling to make a profit.
This has decreased the overall European gas demand growth. It has resulted in Gazprom’s European gas partners demanding a gas price decrease and a new price-setting mechanism based on spot-market gas prices.
In the future, Russia will have to compete with Azerbaijan’s growing gas exports of up to 60 bcm to the Turkish and European gas market and new gas supplies from new sources and producers which exploit Europe’s own shale gas resources, America’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, and new conventional off-shore gas resources in Romania, Bulgaria and the east Mediterranean Sea.
Turkmenistan, with its fourth largest conventional gas reserves in the world (17.5 trillion cubic metres), is also still interested in exporting gas to Europe.
The EU also wants to expand its LNG share in the next decade to increase its diversification of gas imports away from Russia.
The Kremlin and Gazprom have seemed more interested in maintaining the highest gas price linked to oil prices rather than defending their share in the European gas market.
Russia’s share of EU gas imports has fallen from almost half in 2000 to 31.8 per cent in 2010 and to a quarter in 2012. The EU share of Russia’s total gas sales revenue has dropped from 60 per cent to 40 per cent in the last decade to 2010.
Russian pipeline gas has become the most expensive option for European gas importers and Gazprom’s main gas buyers as a result of changing conditions in global and European gas markets.
While Russia may benefit from high oil prices – and its resistance to give up its oil indexed gas price system – it may further undermine its own future gas market share.
Other competitors, like Statoil, have renegotiated many of their long-term contracts to spot price indexation.
The European Commission is not only concerned about its gas supply security, but increasingly by the rising gas price difference between the US and the EU.
Gas prices in the US industry sector reduced by 66 per cent between 2005-2012, primarily due to America’s shale gas revolution, but they rose by 35 per cent over the same time in the EU.
Disputes over natural gas prices forced Gazprom to cut them by an average of about 12 per cent in 2012. But only 20 per cent of Gazprom’s gas exports to Europe in 2012 were spot-market deals, and the remainder were fixed formulae
THE Russian Navy is staging a spectacular comeback, following a long period of severe neglect.
The State Armament Programme (SAP) for 2011-2020 includes up to 100 new ships by 2020, submarines as well as other surface vessels. And the first half of 2013 has seen a flurry of unprecedented activity:
• In January 2013, Russia staged a major exercise in the Mediterranean and Black Sea
• In March, President Vladimir Putin ordered a large-scale surprise exercise in the Black Sea, involving dozens of ships and an estimated 7,000 troops from different services
• In early June, Russia said that from 2014 it will to expand its strategic nuclear submarine patrol area to include both the northern and the southern hemispheres
• And in early July, Russia and China staged their largest joint naval drills in the Sea of Japan.
The transformation is striking. During the decade after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Russia’s main naval bases were transformed literally into scrapyards.
The message was driven home in August 2000 with the accidental sinking of the submarine Kursk. To newly-elected President Putin, it was an ordeal.
Initial navy denials of the event and Russia’s refusal to accept help from Norway and Great Britain caused the rescue to be bungled and all 118 crew members perished. Mr Putin was blamed for lack of empathy and for ineffectual leadership.
The disaster caused severe dislocation of plans for naval renewal. But that is now long forgotten.
During a meeting in July 2012, convened to discuss the SAP, Mr Putin emphasised the importance of naval shipbuilding. The audience was pleased to hear that although fiscal problems had forced the government to reduce spending on state defence contracts in 2013-2015, the navy would be protected.
The SAP includes building eight Borei-class nuclear powered missile submarines, eight Yasen-class nuclear powered multipurpose attack submarines and eight diesel-electric submarines. In addition, 51 modern surface warships will be built.
The showcase project is the Borei-class missile boat, designed to carry 16 sea-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The lead boat – the Yury Dolgoruky – was laid down in 1996, launched in 2008 and formally introduced into the navy in January 2013, following extended sea trials.
All told, it appears that the Russian navy is well on track to recapture its past glory. But there are important snags.
The Borei-class boats are designed to carry the Bulava SLBM, held by some as the only truly modern component of the ongoing modernisation of the military as a whole.
The Bulava is designed to carry 10 manoeuvrable and independently targeted (MIRVed) nuclear warheads. But its track record has been troubled.
The Borei was originally intended to carry the Bark SLBM, which ran into technical trouble and had to be abandoned. As the replacement is much smaller, the boat had to be re-designed.
By 2009, when the Yury Dolgoruky began sea trials, there had been six failures in 13 flight tests and one failure during a ground test.
The first launch of a Bulava from its intended platform took place on the Yury Dolgoruky on June 28, 2011, and was declared a success. Following two further successful launches on December 23, then President Dmitry Medvedev announced that the Bulava would be adopted for service.
The wisdom of this decision has been questioned. Only one of the Bulava’s first 12 test launches was entirely successful, according to Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer.
And Russian military analyst Viktor Baranets said commissioning the SLBM was ‘reckless’ and ‘dangerous’ because the missile remains underdeveloped.
‘In its current form the missile could be even more dangerous for the (Russian) navy than for an enemy navy.’
For all its apparent technological sophistication, the Russian navy still has some way to go before it has completely shed its legacy of the Kursk disaster.
YEARS of corporate rivalry in the energy industry and international competition has ended with the decision to award a contract to build a pipeline to take gas from the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan to Europe.
The BP-led Shah Deniz Consortium selected the 876km Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), to take the gas as far as Italy via a 105 km sub-sea-trans-Adriatic section. It beat the 1,300 km Nabucco-West pipeline proposal, which was a more expensive project and would have taken a longer route through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.
Nabucco was favoured by the European Commission because it passed through southern European countries which are almost completely reliant on Russian gas via its state-owned company, Gazprom.
But the strategic profiles of Nabucco-West and TAP changed at the end of 2012. While Nabucco-West originally had a larger strategic impact because of the route, TAP had larger commercial advantages for the consortium in terms of the relative cost of each venture, the price the developers were able to procure for Azerbaijan’s gas and the operating cost over the life of the project.
TAP will be the westward extension of the Turkey-Azerbaijan project, TANAP (Trans-Anatolia Gas Pipeline), which will take gas from the Shah Deniz offshore field in the Caspian Sea.
The European link will only provide 10 billion cubic metres (bcm) or two per cent of total European gas demand of 500bcm.
But the opening of TAP will represent a milestone in European efforts to create a new southern supply route because it opens up a fourth gas corridor for Europe in addition to Norwegian, Russian and North African gas supplies. It will also break the Russian pipeline monopoly of supplying Caspian gas to Europe.
Russia, through state-owned company, Gazprom, exported 130bcm of gas to Europe in 2012. It amounts to 26 per cent of Europe’s gas or 13 times the projected quantity of TAP’s supplies.
The pipeline extension will be particularly important for the southern EU countries Italy, Spain and France, which depend on gas imports from increasingly unstable regions in North Africa. TAP will also provide 6bcm to Turkey, which as one of the world’s fastest growing gas markets, also wants to reduce it gas import dependence on Russia and Iran. Demand for power in Turkey is increasing by seven per cent annually. The gas market is expected to grow by four per cent in 2013r and by five per cent a year thereafter.
Plans for TANAP to boost the EU’s southern corridor project emerged in 2011 between Turkey and Azerbaijan in response to a perceived threat from Russia’s planned rival South Stream gas pipeline.
The South Stream pipeline would have allowed Russia to dominate and monopolise gas exports from central Asia to Europe.
The decision to build the US$10 billion TANAP pipeline was also driven by concerns from the Azer¬baijan government and its state oil and gas producer, SOCAR. They were concerned at plans by British Petroleum (BP), a 25.5 per cent shareholder in the Shah Deniz consortium to build its own South East Europe Pipeline (SEEP) as a cheaper alternative for transporting Azerbaijani gas to Europe.
BP abandoned its SEEP pipeline proposal in June 2012.
Statoil and BP have been mostly interested in small scale, low fixed infrastructures with minimal investment risks and maximum short-term returns. But Azerbaijan and SOCAR want to acquire new upstream and downstream assets in Turkey and Europe, by implementing new export projects from additional gas fields beyond their borders.
SEEP had been one of the reasons why the Nabucco consortium submitted new plans for a shorter route from 3900km to 1300km in May 2012. But Nabucco also cut the route because of uncertainties in the Europe gas market.
The 2,000 km-long TANAP pipeline route was approved in June 2012. It will mirror the original route planned by the Nabucco consortium through Turkey from its eastern border with Georgia to its western border with Greece and Bulgaria.
The pipeline will have a capacity of 16bcm. Construction is due to start in 2014 and is expected to be completed in 2018. The costs of TANAP have increased by US$3 billion to around US$10 billion. It is expected to boost Azerbaijan’s total investments into Turkey’s economy by up to US$20 billion by 2020.
The new pipeline will make the EU much more dependent on Azerbaijan, which has an 80 per cent stake in TANAP, and Turkey, an increasingly important transit state and hub for gas from central Asia.
THE FINAL choice of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), from the Caspian Sea to Europe, by the Shah Deniz Consortium (SDC), was no big surprise. But many experts had still expected the Nabucco-West pipeline to be selected because of its important strategic advantages.
The Nabucco pipeline was the only strategic project regarding capacity, intercontinental scope and the market impact of breaking Russia’s gas exports monopoly in central and south eastern Europe (CSEE).
It was the ‘flagship of the EU’s Southern Corridor’ and was much more challenging to Russia’s energy giant Gazprom for market share in Europe.
But the original Nabucco project faced financial problems and difficulties in finding sufficient gas to fill the pipeline.
Nabucco’s committee appealed to the European Union to support the project’s goals when the final pipeline selection decision was made in June 2013. It asked for Nabucco’s strategic advantages to be considered:
• The shortest route for Caspian gas to lucrative European gas markets
• Direct interconnection to CSEE gas markets and supports one of the major strategic objectives of the EU’s Southern Corridor project and European gas supply security
• Direct gas transportation for Greek, Albanian and Italian companies because of existing or planned gas interconnectors from Bulgaria or Greece
• Countries along its route need extra gas supply volume and supply diversification options.
• It would function as the backbone for numerous planned bilateral gas interconnectors as part of the EU’s strategically planned North-South Corridor
• Many existing and planned gas storage sites along its route
• Full backing from the EU, with EU energy regulators and host-country governments exemptions and 200 million euros of funding earmarked from the European Parliament.
It is difficult to understand, with these facts, how the TAP project beat Nabucco on seven out of eight evaluation criteria – market opportunities, timing, scalability, management operability, funding availability, project quality and transparency.
The Nabucco consortium’s biggest failure was that it drew up a gas pipeline infrastructure without including the Azerbaijan government, gas supplier the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) or other members of the consortium as strategic partners from the start to ensure it had the gas supply.
The TAP consortium re-defined its pipeline route and from 2012 targeted European gas markets by developing a more strategic profile to get more support from the European Commission and EU member states.
Other reasons favouring TAP included:
It appears to have had support from two major members of the Shah Deniz Consortium (SDC) from the beginning.
Norway’s Statoil, a member of the SDC, with 25.2 per cent of shares, is the only consortium member with a major stake in the TAP project itself.
Both BP and Statoil opted for the TAP pipeline’s limited capacity for commercial reasons.
TAP’s original costs have been estimated at 4.4 billion euros compared with 6.6 billion euros for Nabucco-West.
Both Statoil and, in particular, BP are still very dependent on other oil and gas projects in Russia. This is often overlooked. The Russian government and its energy companies, Gazprom and Rosneft, have made it clear that they view the Nabucco pipeline project as dangerous to Russia’s future commercial and geopolitical influence in CSEE.
The chosen TAP pipeline appears to have fewer risks for Russian gas exports. Russia has warned Statoil and BP repeatedly of the repercussions in future energy cooperation with Russia, such as the Barents Sea and the Arctic, if they backed the Nabucco project.
TAP received Third Party Access (TPA) exemption for the initial capacity of 10 bcm from the EU before the final decision of the SDC in June 2013. The commission also approved exemptions from regulated tariffs on both TAP’s initial and expansion capacity, as well as from ownership unbundling, for 25 years on the grounds that the project will enhance security of supply.
But legal experts have questioned these exemptions.
The TAP consortium has not made public a detailed cost investment overview of its re-defined project. The available cost and investment overview covers only the original TAP project which targeted Italy as the main final gas market for Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas supplies. It appears questionable whether the new reconfigured TAP project, still based on the more costly 105 km long sub-sea interconnector between Albania and Italy, will be less costly than the Nabucco-West pipeline.
Commercial concerns have grown in Switzerland about the new investment needs for the reconfigured US$5.3 billion TAP pipeline and its economic efficiency.
THE traditionally pro-nuclear Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) has regained control of both Japanese Houses of Parliament, but the government remains cautious and non-committal about a return to nuclear power.
Japan has recently succeeded in selling nuclear technology to Turkey in a joint venture with a French firm, but at home, the situation at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant remains uncertain.
The plant is not under control almost two and a half years after the catastrophic events of March 2011.
Japanese media report almost daily on the technical problems that plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has in dealing with toxic groundwater that is believed to be spreading at the site and leaking into the sea.
After months of denial, Tepco admitted on August 2, 2013, that an estimated 20 to 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritium from the plant may have flowed into the Pacific Ocean since May 2011. A becquerel is a unit of radioactivity, the quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second.
The company emphasised that the release is roughly within the allowed range of 22 trillion becquerels a year but admitted it was not happening in a controlled manner.
This news presents a huge obstacle for the plans by the government and the utility sector to re-start nuclear reactors slowly over the next months, for three reasons.
First, the mere fact that the Fukushima Daiichi plant is still not under control undermines trust in the technology itself.
Second, Tepco’s belated method of communicating the issue indicates that the company is dealing with bad news in the same way it has always done: sweeping it under the carpet.
Third, the excuse Tepco used for the belated announcement is alarming. The company said: ‘The staff on the ground had the data, but the HQ was not informed.’
Tepco’s handling of the Fukushima Daiichi crisis will influence the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s decision on re-starting reactors.
Four utilities applied in July 2013 to get 12 of the 50 functioning reactors back up. Separately, Tepco said it would seek to re-start two reactors at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, the world’s largest by capacity, in Niigata Prefecture along the coast of the Sea of Japan.
Currently, two reactors are online. These will be switched off soon for a regular inspection and Japan will be nuclear-free again.
The fact that the country will continue to function without the slightest restriction in day-to-day life will prove the technocratic doomsayers wrong once more.
Accordingly, the key arguments of the pro-nuclear camp have shifted towards economic issues: the high cost of electricity, which gives Japanese companies a competitive disadvantage, and the record trade deficit, largely caused by huge gas and oil imports.
The outcome is uncertain. A slow, modest return to nuclear power over the next five years remains the most likely scenario.
Japan will shift towards a rather small but highly advanced nuclear sector with a focus on exports.
Domestically, about 10-20 reactors will be re-started. Those currently under construction will be finished.
The technological know-how gained from dealing with the threat of tremors will be a key selling point in the global market for civil nuclear technology.
PAKISTAN’S first democratic transition from one elected government to another marked a significant milestone in its democratic development. But the elections are unlikely to herald significant changes in Pakistan’s foreign policy, which means relations with the US are likely to remain fraught with tension.
The elections demonstrate that the Pakistani military is staying out of internal politics for the time being but the army will continue to dominate decision-making when it comes to core national security issues like Afghanistan, the India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir, and the nuclear weapons programme.
Nawaz Sharif, who was sworn in as Prime Minister on June 7, 2013, for an unprecedented third time, faces significant challenges in reviving a faltering economy and stemming rising terrorist violence and sectarian strife.
One of Mr Sharif’s first accomplishments at the helm was to negotiate a three-year loan package worth US$5.3 billion with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). To meet the IMF loan obligations, the Sharif government must reform tax policies and control fiscal deficits. Less than one million Pakistanis – out of a population of around 180 million – currently pay taxes and the fiscal deficit stands at an unsustainable eight per cent of GDP.
The new government’s laser-like focus on the economy brings some hope that it will make a serious attempt to implement much-needed economic reforms.
Prospects for Mr Sharif’s government to deal effectively with the burgeoning terrorist threat seem less certain. The Pakistani Taliban terrorist group (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP) has killed hundreds of Pakistani security forces and civilians in attacks throughout the country since its formation in 2007. Most recently, the group conducted a string of targeted assassinations against Pakistani election workers, candidates, and party activists in the run-up to the May 2013 elections. Prime Minister Sharif’s offer of talks with the TTP during his election campaign have not stemmed the terrorist onslaught.
Drones will continue to be a point of contention in relations between Islamabad and Washington, but is unlikely to derail ties altogether. Nawaz Sharif made a campaign promise to curb the use of US drones on Pakistani territory.
There has been a sharp reduction in the number of drone attacks conducted in Pakistan in 2013 compared with the previous three years. But until Islamabad cracks down more aggressively on the plethora of Islamist terrorist groups operating on its territory, drones will remain an essential tool for the US to fight terrorists hiding in Pakistan.
It is no secret that some drone strikes benefit Pakistan, as in the May 29 strike which killed the number two leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Waliur Rehman. The extent to which the US will continue to rely on drone strikes ultimately depends on Islamabad’s willingness to develop more decisive and comprehensive counterterrorism policies which include targeting groups like the Haqqani Network.
A major issue threatening to disrupt the Sino-Pakistani alliance is the rising influence of Islamist extremists in Pakistan. China is particularly concerned that Uighur separatists in western China receive training at militant camps located in Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.
If the new Pakistani government wanted to get a better handle on the terrorist threat, it would shun the idea of talks and instead carefully develop a plan in coordination with the military that cuts off TTP financing and supply-lines and delegitimises the group’s cause. The Pakistani goverment’s past attempt to negotiate with militants in the Swat Valley in 2008-2009 failed miserably.
The most likely scenario is that the Sharif government will try to ignore the terrorism issue and when there is an attack, blame it on US policies in the region. This approach will only perpetuate the problem and fuel tensions in US-Pakistani relations.
CYBER attacks and cyber crime have become a massive threat to industry and governments across the globe.
Dozens of American online banks were attacked by a state-sponsored hacker group in 2012. The attacks, which are presumed to have come from Iran, showed an unprecedented level of sophistication, scale, scope and effectiveness, far beyond that of amateur hackers.
The aim was to disrupt online banking rather than steal money or blackmail for ransom. No bank accounts were breached and no customers’ money was stolen. Attackers also hijacked computing clouds and used computing power to disrupt US banking sites.
Another new trend has been the increase in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Rather than data theft, the attackers bombard computer servers with so many requests that they ultimately collapse and can no longer be accessed by customers. These kinds of cyber attacks are only halted by payment of a ransom.
Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) has, in the past, been largely confined to government and military targets. But ultra-sophisticated threats have evolved and been defused throughout critical infrastructures (CI) in the last two years. Infrastructure operators are often at least one generation behind the attackers, even in advanced Western countries.
Cyber attacks have caused worldwide losses amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars. The Bundeskriminalamt (Federal Criminal Police Office) estimates that cyber criminals caused losses of US$92 million (70 million euros) in Germany in 2011, but the real figure has been estimated to be up to US$65 billion (50 billion euros).
The Russian Business Network (RBN) is believed to be one of the most powerful and dangerous cyber crime organisations, and the only one that Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) has rated a major threat.
The organisation is accused of being responsible for 40 per cent of the world’s cyber crime. The US Treasury has reportedly estimated that RBN’s global cyber crime activities could amount to more than US$100 billion a year – more than the global illegal drugs trade.
Security experts consider critical infrastructures to be at particular strategic risk because they are essential for a state’s survival. They include information systems, telecommunications, transport and traffic sectors, energy supply, healthcare, financial services and other sensitive services.
A recent report by the security company, Solutionary, concluded that American organisations are at greater risk from domestic threats than they are from foreign threats.
Eighty-three per cent of cyber attacks against US organisations came from US-based IP addresses – 23 per cent of the organisations were US government agencies.
All industrial sectors are believed to have been targeted, particularly for espionage purposes, and will become more vulnerable as they grow increasingly dependent on digital technology and the strategic information of the data they manage.
Emerging threats are becoming more multifaceted and have moved ahead of adequate measures to protect against them.
The arms race between attackers and defenders has shifted from exploitation to disruption.
Cyber criminals are finding new methods to circumvent protection systems, making it increasingly difficult for defenders to monitor them and keep them out.
New cyber attack trends expected to emerge in the years up to 2020, particularly of transnational cyber crime, have been set out by McAfee, other private security companies and cyber experts who have based their prediction on attacks since 2011.
• More attacks against critical infrastructure and strategic financial, socio-economic and other services, using vulnerable relays or active groups to disrupt and paralyse systems, and black out communications or power grids, especially at times of diplomatic conflicts;
• Attacks against power distribution networks, transportation networks, and communication networks which could cause unprecedented crises to a country’s economy, safety, health, sanitation and civil peace.
Resilience concepts for security against cyber attacks are being broadened from just being reactive to become more comprehensive, deeper, resilient and integrated.
But finding sufficient financial resources to implement concrete solutions will be one of the greatest challenges for companies and governments.
BRAZIL has several reasons for wanting more submarines. A larger, modern submarine fleet would be a strong deterrent to protect Brazil’s extensive coastline and its offshore and onshore resources, including oil, wood and uranium.
A nuclear-powered submarine, which Brazil plans to have built by 2025, would have worldwide reach, deep-water stealth, and strike capability.
The hope is that this would deter any possible foreign invaders after Brazil’s abundant natural resources and gain the country military prowess to match its economic status. This would elevate the country’s position on the world stage.
The shipyard which will build Brazil’s new submarines is south of Rio de Janeiro and was inaugurated in March 2013.
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said: ‘This facility allows our country to affirm itself on the world stage and, above all, develop in an independent sovereign way.’
She said Brazil, which is one of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) group of emerging national economies and Latin America’s largest nation, was a peaceful country but a defence industry was needed to deter and prevent violent conflict.
The plan is to build four conventional diesel-electric Scorpene attack submarines and then a fifth nuclear-powered submarine. The first conventional submarine is due for completion by 2015. The nuclear-powered submarine is due to be commissioned in 2023 and enter operation in 2025.
Brazil’s motivations are as much economic and industrial as they are military.
The technology, infrastructure, and human capital required to build modern submarines and to design and operate small nuclear reactors can contribute to numerous other industries and scientific projects.
Yet the nuclear submarine programme is not without risks. The costs are estimated at up to US$4 billion or more over 15 years.
Brazil’s experience with its aircraft carrier is not encouraging. The carrier Sao Paulo, purchased from France in 2000, has been plagued with mechanical problems and has been deployed only a few times for training purposes.
Such investment in naval assets with no clear purpose is questionable for a nation that still struggles to provide critical services such as education, healthcare, electricity and police for millions of its citizens.
If Brazil’s economy continues to slow, and state revenues fall, the continuation of popular anti-poverty and education programmes could require cuts to the submarine project and other expensive security programmes.
These projects would supply aircraft and ships to Brazil’s armed forces and generate opportunities to export.
Brazil aspires to export submarines and other warships, unmanned aerial vehicles or drones, and other defence equipment.
These projects would like to emulate the success of the Super Tucano fighter jet, made by Brazil’s aerospace conglomerate, Embraer. The small, durable jets have sold around the world, especially in Latin America and Africa. The US has bought 20 of the jets for use by the Afghan military.
Brazil’s new state-driven efforts to build submarines and other warships are a gamble. If they are to compete globally, these projects must weather the financial winds from slowing gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates, and the mismanagement that frequently comes with state involvement.
Transport ships, small-deck amphibious ships and frigates with helicopter pads are useful for important missions in the South Atlantic such as humanitarian assistance, disaster response, and stopping drug traffickers and pirates.
Aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines are designed chiefly for war, particularly to give a country the ability to wield force far from its own territory.
According to some military analysts, the UK’s nuclear submarine was a deciding factor in the Falklands/Las Malvinas conflict, one for which Argentina had no answer.
Brazil has always been a vocal advocate of Argentina’s claim to the Falklands in 1982. If Brazil successfully produced a nuclear-powered submarine and was capable of operating it effectively, its navy would be the pre-eminent power in the South Atlantic.
JAPAN has voted to return to the past.
The outcome of its general election implies four things:
First, the election was primarily a defeat of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) under former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. The electorate voted the DPJ out of power overwhelmingly due to zero achievements, lack of strategy, and broken promises.
The winning Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP), under the leadership of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, had based its election strategy and positioned itself as the political force with more than 50 years of government experience.
The LDP is well aware of the fact – and has acknowledged publicly – that it won the election on December 16, 2012, because none of the other parties really caught on.
The winning formula for the LDP was a strict focus on their core supporters – the elderly in the regions and economic players who tend to profit from the old ways and exporters who seek to take advantage of a weaker Yen-Dollar exchange rate.
Second, a large group of the electorate has turned its back on the Tokyo-based political system which is widely seen as dysfunctional and self-serving. The election turnout at 60 per cent was the lowest on record.
Non-voters have been unable to find a political force to represent their views. The turnout among the young was particularly low.
Third, the LDP has benefited from the constitutional architecture of Japan’s political system: the heavily gerrymandered constituencies, which give, mostly elderly, voters in the countryside between two and three times more voting power than those in large cities, and the mix of seats in the Lower House where among 480 members, 300 are elected from single seat constituencies by simple majority, and 180 are elected by proportional representation.
The LDP has learned from the tactical mistakes it made before it lost power in 2009. But it has not renewed its political personnel or agenda.
The two key players in the new government – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Taro Aso, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance – actually led the party into the crushing defeat of 2009.
Both men stand for the past – Mr Aso announced plans on January 11 to spend an additional 10.3 trillion yen (US$116 billion) on a stimulus package during the current financial year ending on March 31, 2013.
The entire amount will be debt-financed and the debt will be bought by the Bank of Japan (BoJ) and paid for by simply printing money.
Neither Mr Aso, 72, or his backers, seem to care about the potentially disastrous consequences of aggressively increasing public debt, which is, as a ratio to GDP, already among the highest in the world.
Similar stimulus packages have failed completely in the past two decades.
Mr Abe and Mr Aso indicate that their planned ‘quantitative easing’ (QE) follows the American example. However, the context of aggressive QE in Japan is very different from the United States.
Fourth, the election has shown that neither the electorate nor the political establishment has a recipe for the future of Japan in the era of globalisation.
The LDP merely reflects the dominating sentiment in a country which has not yet made its peace with globalisation. Japan has not developed a consensus on how to position itself in a world that will be dominated by the Asia-Pacific region very soon.
Japan is geographically almost perfectly located in the middle between America, China, Russia and the Southeast Asian boom region comprised of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.
But Japan keeps losing Asia-Pacific headquarters and research facilities of foreign companies to Singapore and other locations in the region.
It has outstanding companies, infrastructure and beautiful land, but it does not capitalise on it by inviting international investors.
It had a chance to be a key player in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the projected free-trade area in the Asia-Pacific region including the United States, and it seems it is going to abandon the opportunity under pressure from the agricultural lobby.
THE United States is at a crossroads over the production and use of rare earth elements (REE).
The 17 minerals, essential for products and processes from cruise missiles to smartphones, are widely used in the US defence industry, but this represents only a fraction of their overall consumption in America.
The defence sector is not facing any shortages, but the US manufacturing supply chain has increasingly been seen as vulnerable to disruptions caused by a lack of domestic resources.
American experts have warned that ‘the US has gone from the world’s top producer and supplier of rare earths to being completely dependent on one country – China – for its supply’.
China controls world REE supply, accounting for about 95 per cent of output.
A US government report warned in April 2010 that despite having one-fifth of the world’s known commercially available rare earths reserves, it could take the nation 15 years to break its dependence on Chinese REE supplies because of the lack of either expertise to turn the elements into metals and alloys, or a supply chain that connects the production with the end use of those products.
The imminent re-opening of Mountain Pass, the California mine owned by Molycorp, the largest producer of REE outside China, may not necessarily mean that the full supply chain will be in place.
The supplies of the middle and heavy rare earths dysprosium, terbium, neodymium, europium and yttrium, coming almost exclusively from Chinese mines, have been seen as critical in particular because they are absolutely important to the manufacture of small powerful electric motors, energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs and other clean energy technologies.
These Chinese ‘technology minerals’ may have profound implications for US national security, even though the Pentagon only uses five per cent of the world’s REE supply.
From the mid-1960s to the early 1980s, 70 per cent of the world’s rare earths supply came from Mountain Pass, south of Las Vegas. In the mid-1980s, it guaranteed 100 per cent of the US demand and simultaneously supplied 40 per cent of universal demand.
With significant increases in the production in the late 1970s, China’s growing rare earths exports caused a price depression that forced many existing US mines to close.
By 2003, Mountain Pass had shut, leaving no production capacity in the US, although it still has plenty of rare earth elements left to mine.
Molycorp is restarting the mine and expanding its capacity of light rare earths. It plans to become a ‘mine-to-magnets’ producer that both extracts and processes the materials, with an annual target of 40,000 metric tonnes of rare earths oxides.
Although the US has the world’s second-largest deposit of rare earths metals (around 13 per cent of worldwide reserves, compared with China’s 36 per cent), its plans for increasing production will not solve all the supply problems.
In 2010, the US Department of Energy published its first ‘Critical Materials Strategy’. It highlighted the importance of substances such as REE for wind turbines, electric vehicles, photovoltaic thin films and energy-efficient lighting.
The updated 2011 strategy also included criticality assessments and market and technology analysis to identify challenges to the provision of the critical raw materials for the US industries and supply chains.
It identified five REE used in magnetic wind turbines and electric vehicles or phosphors for energy-efficient lighting as critical in the short-term (2011-2015).
The report also highlighted growing worldwide competition for REE supplies, as many other governments have recognised the growing importance and demand growth of critical raw materials to their economic competitiveness.
It also analysed three in-depth technologies and their dependence on a stable supply of REE: petroleum refining, manufacture of wind power and electric vehicles, and energy-efficient lighting technologies. To cope with these manifold supply challenges, it recommended a three-pillar strategy:
(1) diversifying global supply chains by multiple sources of materials and imports
(2) developing substitutes by expanding research and development of those critical materials
(3) expanding recycling, re-use and more efficient use to lower the overall demand as well as the imports of REE from foreign producers.
THE Lebanese government has, for the first time, announced a timetable for the first stage of a bidding process for offshore oil and gas exploration contracts.
The launch of the pre-qualification round is expected to be on February 1, 2013.
Some companies have been waiting for this opportunity for up to a decade – even though Lebanon has no proven gas or oil fields in its territory.
Seismic surveys have indicated the possible presence of offshore hydrocarbon accumulations but, until a hole is drilled, the existence of oil or gas is theoretical.
If a discovery is made, there is no guarantee that oil or gas fields will be developed because it may not be commercially viable to do so.
The decision to develop will depend on technical considerations such as the cost of extracting the oil and how much can be produced; future oil and gas prices, which remain volatile; commercial factors, such as taxation; and political and legal considerations.
Several features distinguish natural gas from oil and require investors to give additional considerations before committing capital for some years.
Investment in gas is more capital intensive and expensive than for oil. Investors need to guarantee a long-term market for their gas before committing to expensive infrastructure, such as building pipelines and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals. LNG terminals require the presence of significant reserves which can delay the decision for development for many years.
The value of the gas reserves off Lebanon’s coast has been estimated at between US$300 billion and US$700 billion. But there is a danger that estimates can create unrealistic expectations on the government’s side and impose additional challenges on companies if they fail to meet those expectations.
Cost overruns and project delays are common in the oil and gas business, especially in deep water, while geology and prices are well beyond the control of governments and companies. The risks are highest for companies during the exploration phase.
But in Lebanon, they are compounded by regional and domestic political instability. Syria’s prolonged civil war risks spilling over into localised areas of Lebanon and causing outbreaks of violence.
Tripoli, in northern Lebanon, is being considered as a suitable location for a future LNG plant. But the city has witnessed armed clashes between forces who are anti- and pro- Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.
There is also a dispute over the maritime borders with Israel. Conflicting delineations between Lebanon and its southern neighbour have left a triangular overlap of some 854 square kilometres in the Mediterranean Sea.
The dispute is also having an effect on Cyprus, on the other side of the sea, which shares maritime borders with both countries.
Cyprus has already made discoveries in its waters and carried out licensing rounds, but it cannot fully begin its own oil and gas exploration activities until the matter between Israel and Lebanon is resolved.
Maritime boundaries disputes are common. But strong exchanges between Lebanon and Israel – two countries that remain officially at war – will increase the perception of risk for investors.
Lebanon’s economy suffers from a large public debt, which accounted for nearly 134 per cent of its GDP (US$54.2 billion) at the end of October 2011. It is among the highest in the world.
Lebanese officials hope that the oil and gas sector, which could dwarf any other sector in the country, will generate the necessary finances to tackle the debt problem. It will also alleviate the large fuel import bills and the chronic problem of electricity shortage.
The sector could completely transform the economy but only if sizeable oil and gas reserves are found, and if petroleum revenues are managed properly.
In many developing, particularly post-conflict, countries, such revenues have been a curse, fuelling corruption and domestic conflict, and increasing poverty. The risk of this happening in Lebanon is high.
A TOP priority for US President Barack Obama is to get his national security cabinet confirmed by the Senate.
There has been a good deal of controversy over the President’s nominees for Secretary of Defence, Secretary of State, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The US Senate reconvened in January 2013 following Mr Obama’s inauguration for his second term as president. President Obama has begun his four-year term by choosing nominees for these three most important positions in the federal government for managing foreign policy and national security – a new cohort which is expected to continue on the foreign policy course the White House set in the first term.
President Obama put forward former US Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of the Defence Department; sitting-Senator John Kerry to serve as Secretary of State, and he has tapped John Brennan from his National Security Council Staff to become the head of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Each of these must be confirmed by a majority of the 100-member Senate.
Chuck Hagel, nominated as Secretary of Defence, is a Republican, who served as the US Senator from Nebraska from 1997 to 2009. He is a Vietnam-era combat veteran with a long career in politics, public service, and business. He served as co-chairman of President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board and a member of the Defence Department’s Defence Policy Board Advisory Committee. He also has a reputation for bipartisanship.
Despite his credentials, Mr Hagel has also proved to be a controversial nomination. Much press attention has focused on statements he made in the past on subjects such as his support for 80 per cent reduction of US nuclear weapons, and what many see as his anti-Israel views, and his past opposition on sanctions against Iran.
But unless Mr Hagel makes a major misstep during the nomination process he will probably be voted in.
John O. Brennan served 25 years in the Central Intelligence Agency rising to Deputy Executive Director. He established the National Counter Terrorism Centre. President Obama appointed Mr Brennan as chief homeland security and counterterrorism advisor on the National Security Council Staff.
Mr Brennan is the architect of President Obama’s counterterrorism strategy – and the White House’s expanded strategy of using targeted drone strikes – which has engendered criticism from both the right and the left.
As a former presidential candidate and current head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry had extremely strong credentials to take over at the State Department. Mr Kerry served as a senator representing the state of Massachusetts since 1985. Of all the picks, Mr Kerry was the least contentious – as was shown when, on January 29, 2013, senators voted overwhelmingly (94-3) to confirm him to replace Hillary Clinton as the country’s top diplomat.
If all three are confirmed they will likely endorse the President’s current foreign and defence policies.
There will be continued enthusiasm for relying on international organisations like the United Nations and active support for UN-peacekeeping missions. There will be a renewed push to press the Senate to ratify treaties such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Likewise, US policies toward major powers such as China, Russia, and Europe will largely see more continuity than change. Major US initiatives such as the withdrawal of US combat troops from Afghanistan; heavy reliance on the use of armed drones as the cornerstone of US counterterrorism strategy; and the duel use of sanctions and negotiations with Iran and North Korea will likely stay the course.
The US may face significant challenges in protecting its interests in East Asia where conditions could bring a new round of troubles in a region where the President had hoped to devote less focus in his second term.
While President Obama has clearly mapped out his foreign policy and national security game plan for the second term, new problems and a new team may mean that the White House 2.0 that is less effective at managing international affairs.
MANY Israeli Jews view the Syrian government and the country’s Sunni radical movements as bitter enemies – an attitude further exacerbated following the eruption in March 2011of the Syrian civil war.
Frosty relations and periods of hostility have punctuated Israeli and Syrian relations since the signing of the Armistice Agreement in 1949 which ended the Arab-Israeli war. Border disputes, including disputes over the Golan Heights, have left the two nations perpetually on the brink of conflict.
Israel’s leaders have largely reached a consensus that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s departure from power is preferable. But there are concerns about what government would take his place.
A secular regime would gain Israel’s support. But due to limited influence – and the fact that Israel’s views gain little credence in the Arab world – Israel is maintaining a passive stance.
Since the establishment of their state in 1948, Israeli Jews have considered Syria to be their most bitter Arab enemy.
There is concern that should the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood defeat the Assad regime and assume power, it would then adopt a more aggressive strategy against the Jewish state.
Until recently, many Israeli officials believed President Assad’s survival would better serve Israel’s interests, in accordance with the notion: ‘better to work with the devil we know’.
Examining Israeli’s attitudes and concerns, it can be seen that a significant number of the population do not distinguish between the various Sunni radical groups nor understand their various attitudes toward Israel. The most extreme groups are Salafis, Jihadists, and al-Qaeda elements such as Jabhat Al-Nusra (The Front of Support/Help).
These Sunni Muslim elements infiltrated Syria during the ongoing civil war, taking part in the fight against Assad’s troops. They are certainly enemies of Israel and Jews, but are unlikely to take over Syria.
This is not only because they are small in numbers, but because they are also considered dangerous, both ideologically and politically, by the majority of Sunni Muslims in Syria, including the Ikhwan, the Muslim Brotherhood.
The latter are more likely to participate in a future Syrian Muslim government, and possibly adopt pragmatic attitudes toward Israel. But this is not how it is seen by most Israelis.
In considering a future role of the Syrian Ikhwan, compared with the more radical Sunni movements, most Israeli Jews are not aware of the following:
a) The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood make up a small part (between 15-20 per cent) of the Sunni community, which is largely secular
b) Prior to the Ba’th party rule in Syria (1963-present), Muslim Ikhwan participated in democratic elections and served in Syrian parliaments and cabinets
c) They struggled for years against the autocratic and oppressive Ba’th regime
d) Their leaders have called for the establishment of an Islamic-democratic, pluralist regime in Syria (perhaps similar to Turkey, revolutionary Tunisia, Libya, and possibly Egypt), but under religious supervision
e) The Muslim Brothers, as well as other Sunnis, oppose Shi’ite Iran and Hezbollah – the staunch allies of President Assad. Some Israeli analysts and politicians believe Israel must publicly support the Syrian Muslim rebels, including the Ikhwan (though not the Salafists/Jihadists).
This would signal to the Sunni-Muslim countries that Israel supports not only a regime change in Damascus but to help destroy the Shia axis and weaken Iran and Hezbollah.
The Syrian conflict has the potential to bring the damaged Israeli-Turkish relationship closer to normalcy – which in itself would create a new configuration of regional security. If the two nations could resolve their dispute over the Mavi Marmara incident – the deadly raid on the Turkish boat as it tried to break the blockade of Gaza in 2010 – they could foster a stable post-President Assad government in Syria.
It would serve Israel well to re-engage with Turkey and earn goodwill in the Arab world by restarting the Palestinian peace process.
THE winter of 2011/12 will long be remembered as the time when Russian society was mobilised in earnest, demanding regime change and showing little fear of repression.
For some time, it looked as though Russia was heading for serious change.
But a year later the opposition is faltering and the regime is displaying restored confidence.
The tens of thousands who took to the streets of Moscow and other major cities in anti-regime demonstrations which became known as the Snow Revolution were clearly elated by the experience.
Early indications also suggested that the government was truly shaken. But in retrospect we may conclude that there never was much of a risk of a true retreat.
The reason is that those who demanded change had so very little in common. They made up a ‘negative coalition’, united in anger but deeply fragmented on what should be done.
The anger was certainly real. Dissatisfaction had been building for some time, fuelled by revelations of massive corruption within the elite.
When it was made clear that a brazen deal had been made for President Dmitry Medvedev to step down and for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to replace him, it was as if something had snapped.
And when it transpired that national elections to the lower house of parliament, the Duma, in December 2011 had been rigged, massive protests followed.
On March 4, 2012, seven months before his 60th birthday, Mr Putin was duly elected to his third, non-consecutive, term as President of the Russian Federation.
On May 6, the day before his inauguration, a rally in central Moscow disintegrated into street fighting.
The momentum of protest was maintained for some time. On June 12, tens of thousands again took to the streets. But then came the long summer holidays.
When the political season resumed, the momentum had been lost. A rally on September 15 did attract tens of thousands, but it would prove to be the last.
The reason could be found in an incendiary speech by Aleksei Navalny, the designated icon of the early protest movement.
‘We must come to rallies to win freedom for ourselves and our children, to defend our human dignity,’ the anti-corruption blogger said to cheers of support.
‘We will come here as to our workplace. No-one else will free us but ourselves.’
Mr Navalny’s vision of people attending rallies like going to work was self-serving, if not outright naive.
The main challenge to the opposition leaders had been to come together on a constructive agenda on what should be done.
By failing to do so, they gradually allowed the initiative to slip into the hands of the regime.