The world's tallest building, Burj Khalifah or Khalifah Tower, was unveiled in Dubai on Monday: Dubai is a finance hub, the bubble of which has burst, so the building's opening now seems a critique of past excesses more than the triumph originally dreamed of. Now that Dubai is having to be bailed out by its oil-rich sister emirate, Abu Dhabi, the tower had to be named for its ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, rather than retaining its original name, Burj Dubai. Many critics have seen it as a monument to hubris likely to remain mostly empty, as the 21st century Tower of Babel. As you can see, Dubai nevertheless went all out to celebrate the opening. The Burj Khalifah is a symbol of everything wrong with our present moment. Rooted in a finance and real estate bubble, planned as big for the sake of bigness, opulent, now saved from disaster by Abu Dhabi's unsustainable oil revenues, it casts its shadow on a nation of guest workers, many impoverished and exploited. If global warming proceeds at the pace some climate scientists fear, and the seas rise substantially, it may, ironically enough, be all that is visible of the low-lying United Arab Emirates a century from now.
Tag Archives | Globalization
Mike Adams for Natural News:
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In its supposed efforts to improve food safety, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced the opening of its third Latin American facility located in Mexico City. Since an increasing quantity of fruits, vegetables, and medical devices are being imported into the U.S. from Mexico, FDA officials believe setting up outposts there will improve the food safety process.
Throughout the past year, FDA has opened ten facilities around the globe. Because of numerous recent contamination outbreaks, regulators claim that establishing permanent international offices will improve their ability to operate effectively.
The agency plans to work collaboratively with international governments and food regulators to harmonize regulatory standards, establish new food safety guidelines, and improve product handling safety protocols.
U.S.-based staff is now working in FDA facilities in China, India, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, and several European countries. Native regulatory agencies in these countries are still said to be in charge of monitoring food safety, but FDA is there to provide an additional point of control for helping these agencies meet U.S.
Tom Simonite writes in New Scientist:
Imagine what browsing the web would be like if you had to type out addresses in characters you don’t recognise, from a language you don’t speak. It’s a nightmare that will end for hundreds of millions of people in 2010, when the first web addresses written entirely in non-Latin characters come online.
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Net regulator ICANN — the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — conceded in October that more than half of the 1.6 billion people online use languages with scripts not fully compatible with the Latin alphabet. It is now accepting applications for the first non-Latin top level domains (TLDs) – the part of an address after the final “dot”. The first national domains, counterparts of .uk or .au, should go live in early 2010. So far, 12 nations, using six different scripts, have applied and some have proudly revealed their desired TLD and given a preview of what the future web will look like….
Where Can I Get a Drink Here? Okay, this one is a bit on the light side, but I found it quite interesting as an illustration of the unintended consequences (sometimes really unintended) of introducing non-native species in foreign ecosystems. The video below shows alcoholic monkeys on the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean. They were brought there from West Africa 300 years ago by slave traders back when the island was a rum-producing colony, and apparently they developed a taste for alcohol from eating fermented sugarcane left in the fields. Nowadays, they satisfy their liquor habit by stealing drinks from tourists:
Paul Joseph Watson for PrisonPlanet.com:
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Lord Christopher Monckton warns that the secretive draft version of the Copenhagen climate change treaty represents a global government power grab on an “unimaginable scale,” and mandates the creation of 700 new bureaucracies as well as a colossal raft of new taxes including 2 percent levies on both GDP and every international financial transaction.
Speaking with The Alex Jones Show, Monckton, who is in Copenhagen attending the UN climate summit, said that when he attempted to obtain a copy of the current draft of the negotiating text agreement, he was initially rebuffed before he threatened an international diplomatic incident unless the document was forthcoming.
“I insisted and it took about 10 minutes and they consulted each other with three or four of them arguing over it – none of them would produce the document….I said I know this treaty exists because this is what the conference is all about,” said Monckton.
Of the many economies that gorged on debt in the boom years, Dubai stood out. In the space of a few years the emirate’s investment arm, Dubai World, racked up $59 billion in debt, borrowing to build lavish developments like a giant island shaped like a palm tree to entice celebrities like Brad Pitt, and to invest in glittery properties like the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas. Now that the boom has gone bust, both in Dubai and in the United States, Dubai is stuck with a glut of real estate that no one wants to buy or rent. Creditors and markets had always assumed that when push came to shove, its oil-rich neighbor Abu Dhabi would bail out Dubai. But that assumption was called into question this week, and the resulting fear that Dubai might not be able to pay its bills sent a wave of uncertainty rippling through markets just as investors thought the worst of the global financial instability was over. The anxiety reached Wall Street on Friday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 150 points, as investors worried about hidden debt bombs in other countries and institutions — heavily indebted nations like Greece and even Britain, high-flying emerging markets and even European and American banks that had lent Dubai money...
Laurie Cunningham writes on GlobalPost:
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If you tend to pack on a few pounds over the holidays, blame it on globalization. As the world has grown smaller, we’ve all grown larger — alarmingly so. In countries around the world, waistlines are expanding so rapidly that health experts recently coined a term for the epidemic: globesity.
The common fat-o-meter among nations is body mass index (BMI), a calculation based on a person’s height and weight. The World Health Organization defines “overweight” as an individual with a BMI of 25 or more and “obese” as someone with a BMI of 30 or higher. (To see how you weigh in, use this calculator by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.)
Today, one in three of the world’s adults is overweight and one in 10 is obese. By 2015, WHO estimates the number of chubby adults will balloon to 2.3 billion — equal to the combined populations of China, Europe and the U.S.
Giles Foden writes in the Guardian:
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In October last year, an item appeared on an authoritative Russian studies website that soon had the science-fiction community buzzing with speculative excitement. It asserted that Isaac Asimov’s 1951 classic Foundation was translated into Arabic under the title “al-Qaida”. And it seemed to have the evidence to back up its claims.
“This peculiar coincidence would be of little interest if not for abundant parallels between the plot of Asimov’s book and the events unfolding now,” wrote Dmitri Gusev, the scientist who posted the article. He was referring to apparent similarities between the plot of Foundation and the pursuit of the organisation we have come to know, perhaps erroneously, as al-Qaida.
The Arabic word qaida — ordinarily meaning “base” or “foundation” — is also used for “groundwork” and “basis”. It is employed in the sense of a military or naval base, and for chemical formulae and geometry: the base of a pyramid, for example.
Women in Niger produce an average of 7.19 children each. And interestingly, India accounts for 21% of all children born.
A fascinating article on world demographic trends notes that Afghanistan has the third-highest population growth in the world. (“Bloody, poor, sick nations often reproduce the faster,” notes Hank Hyena, adding “Poverty + War + Disease = Booming Population.”) Partly because of this trend, the only populations assured of expansion in 2050 are Africa, the Middle East … and the United States.
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