Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tensions Rise With Moscow

Ukrainain President Viktor Yuschenko has been bitterly criticized by President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia.Mr.Yuschenko was endangering Europe's natural gas supplies,President Medvedev wrote in an open letter to the Ukrainian leader.Russia is also unhappy with Mr.Yuschenko's desire for Ukraine to join NATO,and his support for an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church.The Russian Orthodox Church only accepts a Ukrainian church under its jurisdiction.
The conflict between Gazprom,the Russian natural gas monopoly,and Ukraine over Ukraine's payments to Gazprom has become an annual ritual-even to the point of interrupting the flow of gas to Europe through a pipeline transiting Ukraine.President Medvedev threatened to delay posting a new Russian ambassador to Ukraine unless the issues were resolved.

Himalayas Under Threat

The World Wildlife Fund,which sponsors a Living Himalayas Intiative,is warning that the cultural and biological diversity of the Himalayas is threatened by global warming and development.The Himalayas,stretching from Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia,southeastward to China and Bhutan,are home to some 350 species discovered just in the past decade.They include the world's smallest deer,catfish that stick to rocks,and a flying frog.Unless climate change is reversed,the WWF says,this richness could be lost forever.Perhaps the snow leopard is the most spectacular of the mountain range's wildlife.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

IMF Takes Helpful Steps

The International Monetary Fund is providing special assistance to poor countries struggling through the financial crisis.Interest payments on outstanding loans will be waived through 2011.As well,up to 17 billion dollars in emergency aid will be granted through 2014.About half of that will be paid out through 2011.IMF gold sales will generate some of the funding.The IMF,based in Washington,D.C.,is an autonomous U.N. agency that is prominently involved in development issues along with The World Bank.

Nature Note:The Wasp Nest

I noticed that common paper wasps were building a nest under a second storey window,but I decided to leave them alone.Instead of spraying poison under that window,I let the docile insects be.Now the nest is very active,measuring about 5 inches across,or 13 cm.Some would disagree with that decision,but I felt there is enough poison in the environment,especially near a stream,where the poison would have ended up.These wasps have harmed no one,and will be finished within a few weeks,their breeding cycle completed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

High Level Exchanges Begin

The U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue began at the end of July.The dialogue had been planned during the George W. Bush presidency.It encompasses both economic and political matters.On the economic front,the two countries agreed to continue working for global economic recovery by easing their trade imbalance and revising financial regulations.They will also correct protectionism and climate change,while working to reform the World Bank and International Monetary Fund,so that China's rising status in the global economy is more fairly represented.
For its part,the U.S. reassured China that it has a exit strategy from deficit spending and monetary easing,which China fears may harm its 801.5 billion dollar investment in U.S. Treasury securities.Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the U.S.-China efforts were vital,not only to the well-being of the two nations,but also to the health of the global economy.

Nature Note:A Big Crop

It looks like we're getting a bumper crop of acorns this year.That will be welcomed by the blue jays,who feast off the pin oaks from late August to early September.The eastern chipmunks will also have some,but 90% of the acorns seem to be gathered by the blue jays,who bury many of the acorns around the area,to provide some winter food for themselves.The acorns they don't eat over the winter will produce oak seedlings in the spring.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Where Sam Zell Invests

Sam Zell,Chairman of Equity Group Investments,says that Brazil is his number one country in the world for investing.It's energy and commodity self-sufficient.China isn't as transparent,but I'm just as enthusiastic about it,Mr.Zell professed,adding that they have a few companies there.As for The Tribune Company,publisher of The Chicago Tribune,The Los Angeles Times and The Orlando Sentinel,which Mr.Zell also owns,he said he thinks it will solve its problems without destroying itself.Sometime between now and the end of the year,it will emerge from bankruptcy.It's naive to think that the print business as we know it will disappear completely,Sam Zell believes.

Nature Note:Summer Concert

A free summer concert was heard this morning.Performing were mourning doves,field crickets,tree crickets and a Carolina chickadee.The summer seemed more complete with this avian music.The Mid-Atlantic region was being itself through its hot weather and melodious wildlife.Growers could feel themselves to be at home.