Monday, March 31, 2008

The Prankster

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lesson in Political Geography

Tibetan Uprising Day

Prescient or what? I was unaware that March 10th is the anniversary of the 1959 failed uprising in Tibet against Chinese rule. Here in Canada and around the world I presume, Tibet and the Dalai Lama are top news stories. A previous item I posted, coincidentally on the very subject, was only a couple of weeks before. The above map (thank you Wikipedia) shows the distribution of Tibetan culture spread over several jurisdictions in modern day China. The map, from a political geographic perspective, also is noteworthy for its outline of the area of territorial conflict between the two regional powers China and India.
Double click map, or any image, to enlarge on screen.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spring on the Bund

Hope Springs Eternal

Toronto, Ottawa, even where I live which is known for snowfall, are approaching winter snowfall records. We had 30 cm the other day with 10 more expected to-night in Muskoka. Shanghai was in the news in late January for the snow that fell there, the first time it had snowed in fifty years. In November our walk on the Bund was in seasonal but mild temperatures. Well judging by this photo from Xinhua News (the Chinese equivalent to Reuters might one say?) yesterday the seasonal temperatures had resurfaced. Does that mean elsewhere in the northern hemisphere spring might also be just around the corner? Hope springs ..........

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Cuss-Free Zone Damn It

South Pasadena, California, by municipal decree is now a cuss free zone. What the hell? Who gives them the beejezus right.... If the little old lady from Pasadena cuts you off you still might get away with giving her the one finger salute but do not let any expletives pass between your lips or you might go to the clanger, which would doubtless be a source of new and refreshing swear words to last a frigging life time.

Amish Country Traffic Sign

Australia vs Canada

When in China last fall I was impressed by a doumentary I saw on CCTV Channel 9, the English language one, which outlined how deep the Chinese ties are becoming with Australia. Canada lags behind by comparison. The Australian tourism market is cashing in from relative proximity to the world's largest source of tourists and its commercial ties are growing as will be seen below. Whereas one third of China's energy needs are expected to come from Africa over the next 100 years, Australia is providing natural gas and other raw materials in large amounts. Here is an article from the website of The Australian, September 7th, 2007.

<< John Howard and Hu Jintao took the relationship between their countries to a new level yesterday ..........signing off on a gas export deal worth up to $45 billion and agreeing to a high-level annual security dialogue.

The Chinese President declared the Australia-China relationship "has a solid political foundation, profound popular support and huge potential for future growth".

The Prime Minister welcomed China's ascension as Australia's largest trading partner and nominated the project to supply liquefied natural gas from Woodside Petroleum's undeveloped Browse Basin, 400km north of Broome, and the 90,000 Chinese students studying in Australia as tangible evidence of a relationship whose "best years still lie ahead of us"....... Mr Howard was upstaged at his official welcome for Mr Hu when Kevin Rudd delighted and impressed the Chinese audience by welcoming Mr Hu in Mandarin, telling him he had "many, many real friends" in Australia.

"The growth in economic ties between Australia and China over the last 10 years has been nothing short of stunning."

Data released last week showed China had surpassed Japan for the first time to become Australia's largest trading partner. In the past financial year exports to China were $50.5 billion, compared with $49.7 billion to Japan.

The key trading agreements signed yesterday were the LNG project between Woodside Energy and the PetroChina company, and the joint development of the Karara iron ore project between Ansteel and Gindalbie Metals. Australia already supplies 40 per cent of China's iron ore imports.

The LNG project is believed to be Australia's biggest export deal. As the APEC summit has proceeded, a race has emerged between China, Russia and India to lock up supplies of Australian resources including gas, uranium and iron ore.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is poised to sign a deal to buy billions of dollars of uranium.

PetroChina, the listed arm of China National Petroleum Corporation, which includes billionaire investor Warren Buffett as its biggest shareholder, has agreed to buy up to three million tonnes of LNG a year from the Browse project for up to 20 years in a deal that would be worth between $35billion and $45 billion.>>