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Radiation Spread in Japan. Maybe the world?

Posted by: pjeanty

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Japanese radiation leakage is continuing to be a threat to the globe. Global markets have been witnessing days of ups and downs with a up day being a day when assurances are being provided and down days being when suddenly some news on leakage gets through. Today, the news was of Iodine being present in Tokyo Tap water. City officials have said that the levels of iodine in tap water exceeded the recommended level for infants. Globally, fears ran through. 

Last week, an email warning of possible contamination by one person caused a huge scare in China. Consumers bought nearly 370,000 tons of salt across China on Thursday, followed by 220,000 tons on Friday and 82,000 tons on Saturday against an average consumption of 15,400 tons of salt per day. Some newspapers report that radiation in Russia is within normal while others say that radiation has reached Russia and the West Coast of USA. 

The New York Times carried a article which said that evidence from Chernobyl and other nuclear tests has shown that radiation can travel very far.  Cesium 137 was found in boar in Croatia and reindeer in Norway even 15 years after Chernobyl.  Cesium 137 which has been released from the Fukushima Daiichi plant is long lived and can easily travel through the food chain. A week after nuclear tests in china, iodine 131 was found in deer in Colorado. Also Japanese officials have admitted that the water that they used to douse the nuclear reactors have reached the ocean, causing the world to approach the issue with caution. In a worst case scenario projected by Rutgers University, radiation can reach Alaska fisheries in months. 

Observing all the above, it is clear that the aftereffects of Japan will linger for a long time.


Posted by: pjeanty

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In less than 90 days of the murder of its Punjab Province Governor, Pakistan has added another martyr to the cause of religious tolerance.  Like Salman Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minorities was gunned down for speaking against the blasphemy law and supporting the cause of Asia Bibi, mother of five sentenced to death for blasphemy.

I absolutely don't get this.

Persecution of minorities under some pretext persists in Pakistan since its partition from India. For long it had been Hindus alone who bear the brunt of religious extremism. Now it is Christians who are facing retaliation against a power which is answerable neither to the army or to the government.

Is Pakistan's ill the rise of fundamentalist Islam or a largely confused population segment who despite the global outcry against the assassination, still march in support of the assassin?

A recent UN report stated that  youth forms 40% of the population and despite 58% literacy rate, are easily swayed by fundamentalist teachings.

The government has been trying to improve its economy so that people with steady income become less likely to move toward extremes.  Pakistan’s economy has been growing positively despite the internal strife. But is proactively protecting and insisting on justice for all, including minorities, part of its fundamental responsibility?

No major government official was present at the recent funeral. Does erosion of religious freedom mean there might be many more such martyrs subjected to the gun in the future if they open their mouth against the draconian laws of persecution against the minorities.

I absolutely don't get this.

Is it that hard to allow room for all and find a way to get along?
Intolerance is not just a "Pakistan" issue...

Global Poverty being driven by Food Inflation

Posted by: pjeanty

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Increasing Food prices are causing global inflation and are one prime cause for the current unrest in Middle East. World Bank’s recent report cited that 44 million people have additionally been pushed into poverty owing to historic food prices. Some reports suggest that US’s fiscal stimulus provided lot of liquidity which flew into emerging markets and caused inflation. The stimulus also created a stable dollar which created currency fluctuations globally. There are widespread concerns that food riots might emerge in several countries.  Wheat prices have more than doubled globally.

Countries that import food are facing huge deficits and staring at huge increase in public distribution budgets. Countries are shoring up their food reserves to avoid panic crisis. Speculation and hoarding by profiteers adds to the food price increase.  Climate changes have also caused shortage in food apart from the global trend of shifting from food crops to commercial crops like corn for ethanol production.

Rising food prices has also political ramifications as has been witnessed in Egypt and Tunisia. In Libya, the protests are still ongoing and in India, protestors have taken to the streets urging action against 10 yr high in food prices, this despite food export ban being applied in several countries ranging from India to Russia. The key question being asked globally is whether the common householder can withstand the exponential rise in Oil and Food prices. Already, many economies have been shattered by the recession since 2008. Added to this, the current food inflation crisis has been the last straw on the camel’s back in several countries.

Inflation, Unemployment and Social inequity- a Global Problem

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From USA to India, countries globally share three issues which are all in a northern trajectory - Inflation, Unemployment and Social Inequity. Rising commodity and food prices are hitting the poor and middle class globally while the gap between the haves and have not’s has been increasing steadily across the globe.

Developed countries are predicted to grow only between 1-5% over the next few years while developing countries are predicted to grow between 5-10%. Still unemployment is a common problem among all the countries. In the developing countries, it is primarily because there has been a generational shift from unskilled labor to skilled labor and migration from rural economies to urban economies, causing stress on the workforce.  In a booming period, there were enough jobs for everyone and hence the transition could be sustained, but recession has caused a strain on this transition. A recent Ipsos/Reuters survey of 18,676 adults in 24 nations in Asia, Africa, Europe and North and South America revealed that only 1 in 3 people globally believe that their country is headed in the right direction.

Surprisingly it is the lack of jobs that is impacting the youth more than corruption or other scandals in most countries.  Reuters forecast 2011 to carry the same concerns that reigned high in 2010.   Recent reports suggest that the borderline countries in Europe might take around 10 years to return to normal growth rates.  The Reuters survey indicated a high level of pessimism among citizens in Italy, Japan, France, Belgium and Spain. The current uprising in Tunisia and the domino effect in other countries is also being attributed to Inflation, growing inequity and unemployment. Stoked by social media, people are seeking a change and freedom from the three factors. Global reports point to a period of high food and commodity prices for some time indicating that inflation will continue for some more time.

I Told You So...

Posted by: pjeanty

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Inspired by Tunisia and Egypt, Yemenis join in anti-government protests. Thousands of Yemenis took the streets Thursday demanding an end to the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled this impoverished Middle Eastern nation for more than three decades. The rally--one of the largest demonstrations this capital has seen in recent memory-- unfolded in four different neighborhoods and was inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. The unrest here represented a widening of the upheavals unfolding across the Arab world, and poses yet another threat to the stability of this U.S. ally, which Al Qaeda militants are using a base to target the West and its allies. "Look at Tunisia with pride," the crowds chanted. "Yemen has strong people, too."

But unlike the protests in Tunisia and Egypt, Thursday's rally here was peaceful, fueled by boisterous opposition party members, from socialists to Islamists, and youth activists. Protesters shut down streets, sang songs and shouted patriotic slogans, as soldiers and riot police wearing helmets and carrying batons and shields watched. Security was tight around the capital. "The people want the president replaced," the crowds chanted. "Live free, Yemen." 

The poorest country in the Middle East, Yemen is struggling with many of the same problems faced in other Arab nations, including high unemployment, low wages, rising prices and widespread corruption. In addition to the threat posed by Al Qaeda, the weak government is grappling with a rebellion in the north and a secessionist movement in the south. 

In the wake of the Tunisian rebellion and growing tensions here, Saleh raised the salaries of the army and denied accusations that he was trying to anoint his son as his successor. He also ordered income taxes cut in half and sought adequate controls on inflation. But despite his efforts to defuse the unrest, Yemenis from all walks of life have taken to the streets over the past two weeks, calling for Saleh's removal--a demand that few citizens in the past would have dared to utter.

Lessons for both the Ruler and the Ruled

Posted by: pjeanty

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Both the rulers and the ruled in the Arab world are carefully observing the revolution in Tunisia. For the ruled in countries like Egypt, Libya, Algeria, etc.,  it gives hope of achieving what the Tunisian people did in their countries while for the rulers, it brings fear of getting their dictatorships coming to an end. 

Most Arab citizens are young and many of them are well educated as well and conversant with social media like Twitter which was extensively used during the revolution to share info among themselves with action from the field.  The youth crave for a change to democracy across Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Libya and Morocco.

The Tunisian revolution may also be a warning/reminder to the West to not continue supporting political repression anywhere. Algeria and Jordon had allowed democracy for some time and finding the system to be a threat to their power, pulled back from democracy.

What needs to be seen is if those who have overturned the last government succeed in ensuring stable, progressive and corruption-free governance. Inflation and weak economy have also been among the reasons for movements rising in the Arab world.

Europe’s Crisis Still Alive in 2011

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Recovery in Europe might take longer than expected. The stability perceived in December 2010 no longer seems to be visible, if the events of the first 7 days of the New Year are taken into consideration. There is political crisis in Belgium amidst high indications of slowing growth in European economy and a falling euro currency.  Belgium’s failure in having a government since june has raised concerns that the debt might go out of government control. The government bond markets have slumped and the insurance cost of most western European bonds have hit record highs. 

Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and now Belgium- Risk seems to be rising gradually in Europe despite emerging consensus in the response to the debt crisis. European Commission’s new framework making bondholders share the burden of failure seems to have triggered the new fear. Also, the commission wants to strengthen the hands of the national regulators in times of economic crisis, over-riding the bank’s leadership. Current liquidity may not support the faltering governments for long.

Portugal’s auction next week would determine whether the country needed IMF to come in or not. 10 year yields at spain, Italy and Ireland were higher on Thursday while credit swaps in Belgium hit record highs.

The Debt status in some key European nations:

Hungary - 120.6%
External debt (as % of GDP): 120.6%
Gross external debt: $224.36 billion
2009 GDP (est): $186 billion
External debt per capita: $22,650

Italy - 141.3%
External debt (as % of GDP): 141.3%
Gross external debt: $2.456 trillion
2009 GDP (est): $1.74 trillion
External debt per capita: $42,267

Greece - 167.2%
External debt (as % of GDP): 167.2%
Gross external debt: $557.4 billion
2009 GDP (est): $333.4 billion
External debt per capita: $51,916

Germany - 176.8%
External debt (as % of GDP): 176.8%
Gross external debt: $4.97 trillion
2009 GDP (est): $2.81 trillion
External debt per capita: $60,357

Spain - 176.9%
External debt (as % of GDP): 176.9%
Gross external debt: $2.40 trillion
2009 GDP (est): $1.36 trillion
External debt per capita: $59,459

Norway - 208.8%
External debt (as % of GDP): 208.8%
Gross external debt: $558.4 billion
2009 GDP (est): $267.4 billion
External debt per capita: $119,805

Finland - 215%
External debt (as % of GDP): 215%
Gross external debt: $383.7 billion 2009
GDP (est): $178.8 billion
External debt per capita: $73,082

Portugal - 231.2%
External debt (as % of GDP): 231.2%
Gross external debt: $537.85 billion
2009 GDP (est): $232.6 billion
External debt per capita: $50,230

France - 244.3%
External debt (as % of GDP): 244.3%
Gross external debt: $5.23 trillion 2009
GDP (est): $2.09 trillion
External debt per capita: $79,982

Austria - 251.4%
External debt (as % of GDP): 251.4%
Gross external debt: $809.2 billion
2009 GDP (est): $321.8 billion
External debt per capita: $98,554

Sweden - 269.7%
External debt (as % of GDP): 269.7%
Gross external debt: $893.86 billion
2009 GDP (est): $331.4 billion
External debt per capita: $98,664

Denmark - 307.3%
External debt (as % of GDP): 307.3%
Gross external debt: $607.818 billion
2009 GDP (est): $197.8 billion
External debt per capita: $110,502

Belgium - 326.7%
External debt (as % of GDP): 326.7%
Gross external debt: $1.253 trillion
2009 GDP (est): $383.4 billion
External debt per capita: $120,267

Netherlands - 369.6%
External debt (as % of GDP): 369.6%
Gross external debt: $2.44 trillion
2009 GDP (est): $660 billion
External debt per capita: $145,928

Switzerland - 378.6%
External debt (as % of GDP): 378.6%
Gross external debt: $1.191 trillion (2009 Q3)
2009 GDP (est): $314.7 billion
External debt per capita: $156,694

United Kingdom - 428.8%
External debt (as % of GDP): 428.8%
Gross external debt: $9.12 trillion
2009 GDP (est): $2.128 trillion
External debt per capita: $149,281

Ireland - 1,305%
External debt (as % of GDP): 1,305%
Gross external debt: $2.25 trillion
2009 GDP (est): $172.5 billion
External debt per capita: $535,529


Source: US Treasury, US Federal Reserve, US Office of Debt Management

Jobs Scarcity in Asia for Skilled Graduates

Posted by: pjeanty

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China is producing around 6 million graduates every year but is finding it hard to provide employment to them. The reasons are varied because there is a supply glut and there are not enough jobs for professionals. In contrast, there are many jobs for less skilled labor. Forced to survive, the highly skilled workforce is making do with whatever jobs they can lay their hands on in the urban centers.

Higher Education has been an aspiration zeal in Asia, be it in India or China. Families want their children to have the best possible education and spend a lot, depleting even their last savings to ensure good education for their children. They do not want their children to struggle like they did and this develops high expectations. It is not just the recession that is the dampener; it is that the jobs for the engineers in India or China are not sufficient to meet the ever increasing supply of engineers coming into the market every year.

In contrast, the blue collar wages have been rising in both the countries since the younger generation has preferred to move into the high skills area. Hence even for those who have retired, there is still plenty of work in manufacturing and other less skilled areas. These people are in more demand in the two nation’s factories, farms and other labor oriented vocations.  In both countries, while the salaries for the professional class has not risen in double digits over the past 5 to 6 years, the daily wages for the blue collar workers have increased tremendously.

This is harder for the youth who come in from rural backgrounds or whose parents are semi-skilled or less skilled. Because of the cultural differences in their upbringing and the lack of standards in their local schooling, they lose out in the competitive race for jobs against urban born youth. In India, reservations based on caste help these youth gain government jobs and this mitigates the problem to some extent, but these youth fail to replicate the same success with private companies.

"You've got to use what your mama gave you!"

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Welcome to

"You've got to use what your mama gave you!" I am sure you've heard that before (maybe in a different context). Your heritage and family life experiences will become a plus in your eyes and in today's world

In the United States, as well as many other parts of the world, demographics are changing:

• By 2025, more than 50% of the population of Hawaii, California, New Mexico, and Texas will be from a minority group

• By 2050, the average U.S. resident will be from a non-European background.

• U.S. Hispanic purchasing power is growing at triple the rate of the overall U.S. population.


President Barak Obama declared during a trip to Asia in November 2010: "India has emerged". A powerful statement by the son of an African immigrant, who also lived in Asia, and today is the "most powerful man in the world" as was often projected on the office that he now holds (President of the United States Of America).

At this time in the human experience, the world is getting much smaller, more competitive and moving at supersonic speed. Information management, technology, cross-cultural communication, multilingual skills, a global experience and perspective, adaptability along with a strategic academic edge backdrop are rapidly becoming prerequisites for individuals who want to thrive and profit in this new environment.

Change is no longer something to adapt to. It is something we have to offensively seek. Whenever possible become the agent of change in a world that is on the move and taking no prisoners.

You can reach in your close heritage experience bank and find the tools you need to compete and lead in that game. What an advantage! We levereage that strength and opportunity at gen321. We also need that place where we go and stop the clock for a moment, look inward and inside out along the line of what Dr. Wayne Dyer talks about in making "The Shift" from Ambition to Meaning. We regroup there too at gen321.

"Perspective, Progress, Profit" - that's the gen321 advantage to you, encapsulated in each of the topics you told us matter to you.

"Son/daughter of an immigrant" is a plus. You've accomplished a lot already thus far. Join us. Engage with us. Make this community your own. It was designed with you in mind.

I look forward to reading your comments or joining your Entrepreneurship, Education or Travel group.

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Hello World My First Blog Article

Posted by: cnielsen

Tagged in: Music , Culture , Business


Wow this is a great place to blog!!!