2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Released

Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) January 23, 2015

The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania today released its 2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report, the most comprehensive ranking of the world’s top think tanks. Simultaneous launch events were held by 81 organizations across 62 cities in 51 countries worldwide. The report will be translated into more than 20 languages.

As the premier database and measure of world think tanks, the Go To Index aims to increase the profile, performance and impact of think tanks, and to create a transnational and interdisciplinary network of centers of public policy excellence.

“In a world filled with tweets and sound bites that are often superficial and politically charged, it is critical to know where to turn for sound policy proposals that address our complex policy issues,” said James McGann, PhD, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. “This independent Index is designed to help identify and recognize the leading centers of excellence in public policy research around the world.”

The launch of the 2014 Go To Index in Washington D.C. was hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). A discussion was held about the challenges and opportunities for defense policy think tanks in the coming year. An afternoon session at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City focused on the connections between inter-governmental organizations and think tanks. The Index was also distributed through a network of global partners, giving institutions a chance to highlight the crucial role they play in building and maintaining civil society in their countries and regions.

The annual report, compiled with assistance from more than 1,500 peer institutions and experts from the print and electronic media, academia, public and private donor institutions, and governments around the world, ranks the top 150 global think tanks across four general categories:

1. Top Think Tanks in the World

2. Top Think Tanks by Region

3. Top Think Tanks by Area of Research

4. Top Think Tanks by Special Achievement

This year’s report also includes new Global Health and Domestic Health categories as well as a Global Trends feature, a detailed analysis of the biggest developments and challenges that think tanks have faced and will continue to face in the near future.

The Brookings Institution ranked first on the Global Think Tank list for the seventh consecutive year. The index report can be found at http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1008&context=think_tanks.

Below are highlights of the 2014 rankings:

Top Think Tanks Worldwide (U.S. and non-U.S.)

    Brookings Institution (United States)
    Chatham House (United Kingdom)
    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (United States)
    Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) (United States)
    Bruegel (Belgium)

Top Defense and National Security Think Tanks

    Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) (United States)
    RAND Corporation (United States)
    International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) (United Kingdom)
    Brookings Institution (United States)
    Chatham House (United Kingdom)

Top Foreign Policy and International Affairs Think Tanks

    Brookings Institution (United States)
    Chatham House (United Kingdom)
    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (United States)
    Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) (United States)
    Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) (United States)

The following regional launch partners will be hosting events in 62 cities around the world:

Sub-Saharan Africa

    African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), Harare, Zimbabwe
    African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), Nairobi, Kenya
    Center for Policy Studies (CERPS), Monrovia, Liberia
    Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Dakar, Senegal
    Development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC), Kano, Nigeria
    Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Accra, Ghana
    Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA), Johannesburg, South Africa
    Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Lagos, Nigeria
    REPOA, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Asia and the Pacific

    Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA), Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), and Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDCS) Canberra, Australia
    Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), Dhaka, Bangladesh
    Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD), Baku, Azerbaijan
    Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Jakarta, Indonesia
    Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China (RDCY), Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC), and China Center for

International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE) (TBC), Beijing, China

    Chula Global Network, Chulalongkorn University, and International Institute for Trade and Development (ITD), Bangkok, Thailand
    Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations, Mumbai, India
    Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) and Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), Tokyo, Japan
    Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP), East Asia Institute (EAI), and Korea Economic Magazine, Seoul, South Korea
    Observer Research Foundation (ORF), New Delhi, India
    Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), Shanghai, China
    Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA), Singapore
    Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Islamabad, Pakistan

Latin America

    Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI), Buenos Aires, Argentina
    CEDICE Libertad, Caracas, Venezuela
    Centro de Estudios Públicos (CEP), Santiago, Chile
    Ethos Public Policy Lab, Mexico City, Mexico
    Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (FUNGLODE), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
    Group for the Analysis of Development (GRADE), Lima, Peru

Europe

    Adam Smith Institute (ASI), London, United Kingdom
    Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB) and Fundación Alternativas, Barcelona, Spain
    Carnegie Moscow Center, Moscow, Russia
    Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Copenhagen, Denmark
    Ecologic Institute, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Berlin, Germany
    EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, Prague, Czech Republic
    Fundación Alternativas, Madrid, Spain
    Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI), Milan, Italy
    Institute of International and Strategic Relations (IRIS), Paris, France
    Institute of World Economics, Budapest, Hungary
    Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM), Warsaw, Poland
    Populari, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Razumkov Centre, Kiev, Ukraine

North America

    Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington D.C., United States
    Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Chicago, United States
    Fraser Institute, Vancouver, Canada
    Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP), Montreal, Canada
    James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Houston, United States
    United Nations, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, UN Regional Commissions New York Office (RCNYO), and International Peace Institute (IPI) New York, United States
    University of Pennsylvania, Lauder Institute, Perry World House, Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, and Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), Philadelphia, United States

Middle East and North Africa

    Al Jazeera Center for Studies (AJCS), Doha, Qatar
    Association for Liberal Thinking (ALT), Ankara, Turkey
    Center for Strategic Studies (CSS), Amman, Jordan
    Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA), Cairo, Egypt
    Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Istanbul, Turkey
    Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Tel Aviv, Israel
    International Strategic Research Organization (USAK), Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey
    OCP Policy Center, Rabat, Morocco
    Regional Center for Strategic Studies (RCSS), Cairo, Egypt

About Penn’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP):

The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the International Relations Program, University of Pennsylvania, conducts research on the role policy institutes play in governments and civil societies around the world. TTCSP was established in 1989. The Program maintains a database and network of more than 6,600 think tanks in 152 countries. Often referred to as the “think tanks’ think tank,” TTCSP examines the evolving role and character of public policy research organizations. The Index is supported by Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences, global.upenn.edu and the Lauder Institute at the Wharton School.







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Mining, Oil & Gas Machinery Manufacturing in Canada in Canada Industry Market Research Report from IBISWorld Has Been Updated


New York, NY (PRWEB) December 20, 2014

Canada is one of the world’s largest energy producers, and the country’s standing in global energy markets has greatly benefited the Mining, Oil and Gas Machinery Manufacturing industry. The mining sector in Canada is significant; however the growing oil and gas sectors are the primary drivers industry performance. Vast oil and gas reserves in Canada have become increasingly economical as technology has improved. In addition, industry operators, along with their downstream counterparts, are heavily investing in research and development to develop equipment that is economical, safe and effective to extract unconventional resources. However, the industry is at the mercy of both global commodity markets and regulators, as demand is largely driven by oil and gas production. Consequently, industry revenue has grown in the five years to 2014. Nevertheless, revenue is anticipated to fall in 2014, as downstream operators’ surge of investment in 2011 have satiated demand for new machinery during the period, and falling oil and gas prices in 2014 have curtailed exploration and production projects.

Greater investment in unconventional oil and gas deposits will bolster industry performance over the next five years. IBISWorld Economic Analyst James Crompton says in the updated report “participation of international oil companies in Canada’s oil and gas sector will drive demand for industry products, as foreign operators have been investing in Canada, most notably in Alberta, to gain expertise in unconventional extraction techniques.” This trend will persist in the five years to 2019, despite regulatory hurdles for downstream operators. IBISWorld expects that industry revenue will expand in the five years to 2019. The environmental impact of unconventional oil and gas extraction techniques, which require the use of this industry’s products, has been widely debated, and this debate is expected to continue through the five years to 2019.

While the industry’s downstream customers encounter an array of challenges on a yearly basis, this industry will experience less volatility due to the high level of demand for its products over the next five years. “There are no substitutes for industry products, which has benefited the industry’s operators in the form of healthy profit margins,” Crompton says in the updated report. IBISWorld anticipates investment in the industry will continue to be strong.

For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Mining, Oil & Gas Machinery Manufacturing in Canada industry report page.

Follow IBISWorld on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/IBISWorld

Friend IBISWorld on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/IBISWorld/121347533189

IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

This industry manufactures oil and gas field equipment and underground mining machinery. Products include rotary and portable drilling rigs and parts; crushing, pulverizing, screening and mineral processing machinery; and derricks, substructures and related accessories. The following are excluded: machinery with dual construction and mining uses; conveyors for coal and ore; underground mining locomotives; and offshore drilling production platforms.

Industry Performance

Executive Summary

Key External Drivers

Current Performance

Industry Outlook

Industry Life Cycle

Products & Markets

Supply Chain

Products & Services

Major Markets

Globalization & Trade

Business Locations

Competitive Landscape

Market Share Concentration

Key Success Factors

Cost Structure Benchmarks

Barriers to Entry

Major Companies

Operating Conditions

Capital Intensity

Key Statistics

Industry Data

Annual Change

Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.

Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US and Canadian industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.ibisworld.com or call 1-800-330-3772.







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Women Infertility – Pipeline Review, H2 2014: Latest Market Research Available online at MarketResearchReports.Biz


(PRWEB) November 25, 2014

The global women infertility market provides for the growing need of fertility treatments and drugs for women who face the problem of infertility. Almost 10 percent of couples in the United States have a problem with conceiving a child after a year of unprotected intercourse. While both male and female partners can be infertile, a third of the total is women. While most infertility related problems can be cured with modern scientific methods and drugs, a small percentage of women cannot be treated.

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Women can be infertile by natural reasons. After 20, a woman’s already finite numbers of eggs starts withering and deteriorate in quality by almost 3 percent to 5 percent per year. The rate increases exponentially after 40. Other reasons for infertility may vary from person to person. Some of the most common reasons include damage to fallopian tubes due to infections, endometriosis, or scars due to surgery, hormonal causes that change the way an egg is released, uterine causes such as fibroids or polyps, or cervical causes such as abnormal mucus production. Almost 20 percent of the female infertile population becomes so due to indeterminable reasons.

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Spine market is the largest segment of the global orthopedic industry. Spine disorders are categorized in four sections: degenerative conditions, deformities, tumor and trauma-based disorders. Spinal implants include both fusion and non-fusion devices: devices associated with vertebral compression fracture (VCF), interbody devices, cervical, thoracolumbar, and spinal stimulation devices.

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Spine industry has witnessed myriad technological advancements over the past two decades and it is expected that this trend will continue in future to solve the present challenges and fill the unmet needs of the market. It is expected that new innovations in the field of minimally invasive surgeries will continue to have a positive impact on the market as the new and improved surgical tool will make complicated spine surgeries easier than before. The principal advantage of these procedures over traditional surgery is short recovery time, short length scars, low risk of infection, less bleeding, and shorter hospital stays. Spine market is expected to show growth over the long term because of the driving factors such as increasing demand for motion preservation techniques, favorable dynamics, increased usage of implants in surgeries, and growing presence of new companies in the market every year. These small companies enter with their own unique and innovative products to address the various areas of spine industry.

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Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty Launches Asia Desk with Opening of New Affiliate Office in Mainland China; Joins Grand Opening Events in Beijing


Kirkland, WA (PRWEB) October 14, 2014

Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (RSIR), the Pacific Northwest’s largest affiliate for the fast-growing global real estate network, formally announced today a new “Asia Desk” – a network of bilingual real estate brokers fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese or Korean who are experienced in working with the unique demands of overseas home buyers. Anticipating the addition of new brokers, the firm is expanding its Eastside flagship branch office in downtown Kirkland, which will soon feature an authentic Asian-themed tea room to host private meetings with international guests.

“Having witnessed the impact of Asian homebuyers in my hometown of Vancouver in British Columbia, I understand the exponential growth prospects of this foreign buyer segment,” said Dean Jones, President & CEO of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty. “International is our middle name and so we’re playing a pivotal role in building out networks between the Pacific Northwest region and Asia. This is just the beginning.”

The Asia Desk operations are directly networked with Beijing Sotheby’s International Realty, which Jones referred to the franchise system and helped to establish over the past three years. RSIR owners Dean and Stacy Jones attended the October 10th Grand Opening in Beijing and were joined by several other RSIR brokers including Lili Shang, a Beijing-born immigrant to the US who now specializes in assisting Chinese home buyers establish residency in the Puget Sound region.

“Sotheby’s International Realty is an incredibly powerful brand throughout Asia, which has opened many doors for me to expand my business into China,” said Shang. “I am returning with many opportunities and a heightened awareness of just how attractive the Seattle/Bellevue metro area is to Mainland Chinese.”

According to international home buyer research provided by the National Association of Realtors, Canadians still buy more homes in the US but the Chinese spend more in aggregate. International sales in the US are expected to represent $ 92.2 billion in 2014 and Washington State is among the fastest growing markets for foreign buyers. Census data reveals Asians are the fastest growing demographic in Washington. In many Eastside communities, including the City of Bellevue, Asians now comprise 30-percent of the population spurring a rise in Mandarin-speaking businesses specializing in international relocation services. Recently the New York Times estimated that 40% of the Eastside homes valued above $ 1 million were sold to Chinese home buyers.

“For Chinese, the real estate axiom is not Location-Location-Location,” adds Jones. “It’s Location-Education-Environment. We are finding favor given our close proximity to Asia, renowned schools and pristine natural environment. The American Dream is simply more attainable here versus the traditionally targeted markets like Vancouver, San Francisco or Los Angeles, which can cost a third more or even twice as much for a similar home. Besides, I think our propensity for capital appreciation is higher in the Seattle/Bellevue metro area, spurred in part by the foreign buying trends but also given favorable economic growth forecasts.”

It helps too that the box office hit movie “Beijing Meets Seattle” promotes relocation to the area. Visit Seattle predicts that Chinese tourists will soon become the highest volume international visitor to Seattle and likewise, air carriers such as Hainan Airlines and Delta Airlines have expanded routes direct to Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.

Jones says other trends have played an active role in the discovery of the Pacific Northwest area by Asians. Earlier in 2014, the Canadian government reset its policies on foreign direct investment and immigration programs returning some 60,000 applications and causing many Asian consumers to seek alternate solutions such as the USCIS EB-5 “Green Card” program. This event has allowed many Seattle-area projects funded by this program to break ground in recent weeks. Furthermore, the passing of Proposition 30 in California (making it the most heavily taxed state in the union) contrasts sharply to Washington State where there is no income tax.

To be sure, RSIR is doing its part to increase the visibility of Puget Sound lifestyles by participating in various international networking events like the recent Nan Hai Biz-Tech Summit in Bellevue, The Beijing Luxury Property Show in Beijing, The Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) Global Summit in New York City and representing the region during the Grand Opening of Beijing Sotheby’s International Realty also in Beijing. The firm is also publishing featured articles in targeted magazines overseas and manages a dedicated website comparing gateway markets in the US for overseas consumers at DragonandthePearls.com.

On October 15, RSIR will host the Pacific Rim Real Estate Summit entitled “Emerging Gateways” at the Connoisseurs of Life Showroom located at 15 Lake Street in downtown Kirkland. Title sponsor Merrill Lynch welcomes keynote speaker Mauricio Umansky, CEO of Los Angeles-based The Agency, to present trends on international home buying, global citizenship and emerging gateway markets such as the Seattle/Bellevue metro area. Dean Jones will moderate an expert panel on real estate, immigration and finance including guests from Manhattan and Vancouver. For more information and to purchase tickets visit: http://www.AREAA.org/GreaterSeattle.

The Puget Sound Business Journal recognizes Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty amongst the top 100 “Fastest Growing Private Companies” in 2014 for the third year in a row. Collectively, the Sotheby’s International Realty network is now comprised of more than 15,000 brokerages in 720 offices operating in 52 countries and territories around the world.

About Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (http://www.RSIR.com) – Artfully uniting extraordinary homes with extraordinary lives, Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty is a leading global sales and marketing brokerage firm in the Pacific Northwest. The Puget Sound Business Journal recognizes RSIR among the top ten largest brokerages in the region by total dollar volume. The boutique real estate firm of 120+ brokers and employees consistently ranks among the top producing within the markets that they serve with branches in downtown Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Kirkland and coming soon to Issaquah.

For high resolution of persons or branch offices, contact Andrea Savage at 206.448.5752 or Andrea(dot)Savage(at)SothebysRealty(dot)com.







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38th GRC Annual Meeting & Expo Attracts International Geothermal Industry


Davis, CA, USA – (PRWEB) October 20, 2014

The Geothermal Resources Council (GRC), one of the world’s premier geothermal associations, has completed a successful 38th GRC Annual Meeting at the Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon, USA.

At the Opening Session, GRC Annual Meeting Chair Alex Sifford welcomed the attendees from 39 different countries and introduced an array of speakers from the regional, national and global energy communities.

Pat Reiten, CEO of PacifiCorp, one of the leading utilities in the western US, spoke of the exciting opportunities for geothermal energy in Oregon. Although there is only 33 MW of geothermal energy online at present there are 19 projects in development of 500 MW of discovered and 1,800 MW undiscovered potential resources in the state.

Rachel Shimshak, Executive Director of Renewable Northwest noted that a lot of coal power plants in the region were being retired and need to be replaced by low-carbon-emitting resources. Geothermal energy could be the answer.

There was an overwhelming consensus that the event was a great success. The numbers tell the story. 844 attendees registered with the GRC for the Annual Meeting, more than last year’s meeting in Las Vegas. This included 81 students who attended for just $ 5. The GRC registration also included entry to the GEA Geothermal Energy Expo.

Over four days attendees were treated to nearly 135 technical presentations totaling 45 hours, bringing the latest research from around the world. On display were over 50 posters, including the winners of the US Department of Energy National Geothermal Student Competition and the Geothermal Case Study Challenge. The winners of the 34th GRC Photo Contest were showcased in a public area of the convention center.

One hundred attended the pre-meeting workshops on Introduction to Hydrothermal Systems and Geothermal Exploration and Geothermal Leasing, Unitization and Water Use Legal Issues. Nearly 125 set out across Oregon and south Washington State on GRC Fieldtrips to view some superb geology and geothermal features and enjoy useful networking.

A highlight of the Annual Meeting, the Student Leadership Luncheon attracted more than 60 students and geothermal leaders to discuss job opportunities in the industry. In addition, the second annual GRC Scholarships were awarded to Megan Dewit of Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada; Paige Granneman of the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA; Nastaran Arianpoo of the University of British Columbia, Canada; Joseph Batir of Southern Methodist University, Texas, USA; Maciej Lukawski of Cornell Energy Institute in New York, USA, and Holly McLachlan of the University of Nevada, Reno, USA.

Demonstrating the focus on international involvement at the meeting the GRC hosted the 7th International Luncheon with representatives from Ethiopia and Kenya reporting on the exciting developments in geothermal power in their countries. This popular event attracted 166 attendees.

A special technical session brought together a collection of people and work inspired by geothermal pioneer David D. Blackwell of Southern Methodist University.

The second Women in Geothermal meeting attracted over 60 professionals in the geothermal energy industry, eager to share their knowledge and experience.

The climax to the GRC Annual Meeting is the Annual Membership Meeting & Awards Luncheon where the GRC recognizes individuals for outstanding contributions to the Geothermal Resources Council and to the development of geothermal resources. The Joseph W. Aidlin Award was presented to Marilyn Nemzer for her long‐term commitment to the Geothermal Resources Council and extraordinary devotion to the promotion of geothermal energy through education. The Geothermal Pioneer Award was given to Joseph LaFleur for lifetime achievement in the exploration and development of geothermal resources worldwide. Other awards were presented to individuals for a variety of achievements in the field of geothermal energy.

A popular networking opportunity, the annual GRC Charity Golf Tournament was held at the Heron Lakes Golf Club in north Portland. Over 50 golfers played for charity with proceeds going to the local chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the GRC Student Scholarship program.

Held in tandem with the GRC Annual Meeting, GEA’s Geothermal Energy Expo featured 112 exhibits showcasing the latest in geothermal technological advancements. The GEA reports around 600 attendees, including booth staff, guests and registrants, signed up for the trade show only.

For more information about next year’s 39th GRC Annual Meeting & Expo in Reno, Nevada, USA, visit http://www.geothermal.org/meet-new.html or call (530) 758-2360.

##

About the Geothermal Resources Council:

With the experience and dedication of its diverse, international membership bolstering a more than 40-year track record, the Geothermal Resources Council has built a solid reputation as one of the world’s preeminent geothermal associations. The GRC serves as a focal point for continuing professional development for its members through its outreach, information transfer and education services.

For more information, please visit http://www.geothermal.org.

Get your daily geothermal news at Global Geothermal News [globalgeothermalnews.com]. Become a fan on Facebook [ Facebook.com/GeothermalResourcesCouncil]. Follow GRC on Twitter [@GRCAM2014 & @GRC2001]. Check out GRC’s YouTube Channel [ youtube.com/GeothermalCouncil]. See geothermal photos on GRC’s Flicker page. [ flickr.com/photos/geothermalresourcescouncil]

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US Department of State Brings Israeli and Palestinian Youth Coaches to United

US Department of State Brings Israeli and Palestinian Youth Coaches to United
Through the State Department's sports diplomacy programs, 30 Israeli and Palestinian youth basketball coaches will connect with each other and their American peers on and off the court October 5-19. This exchange program is part of the U.S. Government …
Read more on US Department of State (press release)

US Department of State: Minsk agreements are not implemented
This was stated by the United States State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, as Espresso TV informs. "From the American point of view, Minsk peace treaty about the pacification in Donbas was a good bargain. However, the question on its …
Read more on Charter 97


Check out this illuminating Polymer Bank Note infographic from the Bank of Canada:


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Canada's New $50 and $100 'Indestructible' Bills Can Melt

In Nov. 2012 and earlier this year, the Bank of Canada released new $50 and $100 Canadian bills.  The key differences:  These bills are forged from polymers, not paper.  (I, foolishly, assumed polymer was just fancy code for plastic--but was wrong.)

But now in circulation, some Canadians are finding one flaw with these super tough, environmentally friendly bills.  


From TheStar.com:
Under certain conditions they will curl up like bacon in a frying pan.
“The Bank of Canada cannot rule out that polymer notes may be damaged under certain extraordinary conditions,” Julie Girard, a currency spokesperson for the Bank of Canada, told the Star Thursday.
According to various reports, the so-called indestructible polymer bills will shrink under intense heat, be it the inside of a car or placed next to a heat source.
...
The new $100 bills cost 19 cents each to produce — almost twice that of paper bills — but are said to last 2.5 times longer, or about 19 years, than the paper cousin and are resistant to tearing and water damage. The new bills also have hidden security features, including transparent holograms, making them difficult to counterfeit.
Check out this illuminating Polymer Bank Note infographic from the Bank of Canada:


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What...My Verizon Phone Will Work on Both Sides of the Canada-U.S. Border? Verizon May Enter the Canadian Marketplace, Ending One of the Most Recognizable Canada-U.S. Digital Border Barriers

One of the most recognizable Canada-U.S. border barriers may soon fall.

So, are you one of the many cross-border travelers who detests either (a) having two phones or (b) adjusting to life without your Verizon cell phone?

Well, your stress may soon be over. (Oh, also, Canadians may see more options for watching NHL and NFL games.)

From Michael Geist TheStar.com:
Reports that U.S. telecom giant Verizon may be preparing to enter the Canadian market has sparked considerable speculation on the likely impact of a company with a market cap greater than Bell, Rogers, and Telus combined. While much of the discussion has centered on wireless pricing, the more significant development may be the shift toward a single North American communications market.

...

The prospect of a Verizon entry into Canada would put a single communications market into overdrive. On the telecom side, Verizon could use its Canadian network to change the approach to roaming in North America altogether, since it would be uniquely positioned to offer a single U.S. and Canadian network. 
The company could move to eliminate roaming fees for U.S. and Canadian customers, while offering cost-competitive U.S. and Canadian roaming together for international providers establishing wholesale roaming agreements. Such a plan would obviously be attractive to the corporate sector as well as regular cross-border travellers, leading to the gradual elimination of roaming and long distance charges for calls throughout North America.

On the broadcasting side, Verizon holds exclusive U.S. rights to both the National Football League and the National Hockey League. Those rights are currently held by BCE in Canada, but a Verizon entry into Canada could shake things up. Verizon could presumably complicate the BCE rights by offering free access to NFL and NHL games to Canadian customers when they travel to the U.S. More interestingly, it could make a play for joint U.S.-Canada rights in the future, moving closer to an elimination of the geographic divide on content rights.

...

With satellite radio and Internet video already close to a single market, regulatory reform to longstanding policies such as simultaneous substitution a possibility, and the geographic lines on telecom, content, and broadcast distribution all increasingly blurred, the big question may be whether Canada is closing in on a common North American communications market.

Friday, June 28, 2013

RIP RIM's Blackberry Playbook; Update on RIM's Non-Demise Demise

By Keith Edmund White
Editor-in-Chief

Canada's tech-juggernaut, Research in Motion ("RIM"), now trading as Blackberry, is still adapting to the new world of mobile devices, but its still on path to release a new generations of devices--which can hopefully return this company to premier status.

(Check out Justin McNeil 2012 post The Decline and Fall of the Blackberry Empire.)

First, WSJ reports on Blackberry's 1st quarter loss (and likely 2nd quarter loss), because of Venezuelan foreign currency restrictions.  

(Learn more about Venezuela's long-standing currency issues in this handy Economist article.)

And, yes, Blackberry continues to lose subscribers, but it has the cash to push out its new generation of phones.

But, even when Blackberry does stuff right, that doesn't mean success in this heavily competitive global marketplace for mobile devices.

From Lance Ulanoff's excellent op-ed in today's Mashable, Blackberry PlayBook Is as Good as Dead:

Today, BlackBerry (the company formerly known as RIM) essentially put a nail in the PlayBook coffin by announcing that it would not be converted to the new Blackberry 10 OS. That mobile OS is clearly the future of the company. QNX, though, bought and now developed by BlackBerry, is the past. 
In a Q1 2014 earnings press release, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins outlined the company’s near-term strategy: “Throughout the remainder of fiscal 2014, the company will invest in BlackBerry 10 smartphone launches, and the roll out of BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, to continue to establish the new BlackBerry 10 platform in the marketplace.”
...
Will Blackberry ever build another tablet? If Heins can turn BB10 and its flagship phones into a success, then yes. But the signs are not promising. From the earnings statement:
“The smartphone market remains highly competitive, making it difficult to estimate units, revenue and levels of profitability ... Based on the competitive market dynamics and these investments, the company anticipates it will generate an operating loss in the second quarter.”
With this kind of fiscal outlook, it’s unlikely the company will invest heavily in new initiatives like rebooting its 7-inch tablet product line. 
So, PlayBook, it was nice knowing you. You were, in fact, impressive and innovative for your time. Your features like cards (at least on a tablet), swipe from bevel, true multitasking, wireless content sharing and more have all been copied by more successful mobile companies.
I guess you can take solace in that.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Video: Yesterday's WWC Cyber-Security Event Featuring U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security

Watch yesterday's Woodrow Wilson Center event on on Cyber-Security and public-private partnerships.

For a good, if now out-dated, recap on public-private partnerships & cyber-security, check out this Feb. 2011 article by Lawrence P. Farrell Jr.

Sequester's Bite: House Dem. Report Details U.S. Cutbacks to Critical Canada-U.S. Spending Priorities

BTBObserver shines light on a recent report documenting sequestration's impact on federal agencies, highlight cuts that affect the Canada-U.S. bilateral relationship:
The House Committee on Appropriations Democrats released a report detailing the considerable impact sequestration is having on important federal programs
Below are excerpts from the must-read report pertaining to the Canada-U.S. relationship:

Airport safety and wait times: …Sequestration reduced Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) FY 2013 appropriated dollars by approximately $600 million, which required CBP to reduce overtime for CBP Officers (CBPO) beginning in early March. These cuts have already led to significant increases in wait times at air ports of entry. (Page 5).

Overall, USCG expects to have approximately 20-50 percent fewer assets in the offshore patrol areas for migrant and drug interdiction at various times over the next several months. The Coast Guard expects to submit a reprogramming request in the next few weeks that will mitigate some of the impacts, but will likely not completely restore planned interdiction patrols. (Page 6).

Ports of Entry: As noted above, sequestration reduced Customs Border Protection Officer (CBPO) overtime availability at the Nation’s ports. This slows the movement of goods across the border and impedes U.S. capacity to facilitate and expedite cargo, adding costs to the supply chain and diminishing global competitiveness.

Land border truck wait times have increased significantly.
  • Del Rio and Mariposa both reported wait times of 120 minutes; normal wait times average 15 minutes for both locations.
  • Pharr Cargo reported wait times of 105 minutes; normal wait times average 15 minutes.
  • Detroit Fort Street Cargo reported wait times of 60 minutes; normal wait times average 5 minutes.
  • Other POEs with wait time increases: Nogales, Peace Bridge, Progreso, and Rainbow Bridge. (Pages 18-19).
Maritime cargo also faced delays: LA/Long Beach reported container release delays of 144 hrs (6 days) and Port Everglades and Miami Seaport reported container delays up to 48 hours. And cruise ships saw the effects of reduced CBPO overtime. Los Angeles and Port Everglades reported increased processing times of 6.5 hours; normal processing time is 4 hours.

Sequestration will also affect Border Patrol coverage between ports of entry, but DHS is still attempting to find additional savings. CBP expects to submit a reprogramming notification soon to mitigate some of these impacts and to prevent the need to furlough CBPOs for an estimated 3-4 days. (Pages 18-19).
Read the entire report here.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Canada Needs Three Arctic Ports - Fmr. Canadian Northern Forces Commander

The Hill Times offers this editorial from Pierre Leblanc, former Canadian Northern Forces commander and current President of Canadian Diamond Consultants, Inc., urging Canada to construct three Arctic ports:
Canada needs three ports in the Arctic: on its West Coast, in the centre of the archipelago, and on the East Coast.

There is near-unanimous agreement that the Arctic is warming at about twice the rate of global warming elsewhere. There is also clear evidence that the arctic polar ice cap is fast disappearing. Human activity in the Arctic is increasing exponentially as the Arctic becomes increasingly accessible. Maritime traffic has grown significantly.


The U.S. Coast Guard has reported that commercial maritime traffic through the Northern Sea Route along the Russian Coast increased tenfold between 2010 and 2012. Canada’s Northwest Passage was free of ice in 2007, years ahead of scientific predictions. It has been free of ice every summer since.

There is growing interest in harvesting the natural resources that have been shielded by the permanent polar ice cap. This will naturally lead to further increases in human activity and a greater incidence of search and rescue operations and maritime accidents. Such incidents could lead to an environmental catastrophe, in what is recognised as a very fragile environment with a short vertical food chain. Almost any major accident in the Arctic will affect the “human security” of its inhabitants.

...

Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak has stated that one of the anchors of sovereignty in the Canadian Arctic is having healthy communities. By investing and developing ports such as those proposed, the federal government could put concrete action behind Minister Leona Aglukkaq’s stated desire to develop the Arctic during Canada’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council. It would create a significant number of long term well-paying jobs for the communities in and around those ports. “Build a road and they will come” it is said. In the Canadian Arctic, ports will attract business. In so doing, Canada would also improve greatly its ability to deal with SAR [search and rescue] and marine pollution and meet its international commitments.