Monday 1 September 2014

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Oil prices are down. What is going to happen next?

Posted by on 29/08/14

June 19th saw the price of Brent crude rise to a one-year high of USD 116 per barrel. A week later, the price began to drop, eventually reaching its lowest since April last year, at slightly below USD 102 on August 19th.And all of this in a time when armed conflicts, which are far from being resolved, ravage Ukraine, Iraq, Libya and Syria, while tensions between Russia, the European Union and the United States are second only to those at the time of the Cold War. The wars have caused oil supply from North Africa and the Middle East to shrink by more than 3 million barrels a day. Our safety cushion, Saudi Arabia’s untapped reserves, is slowly becoming dangerously slim, currently offering a daily capacity of 3.2 million barrels – 700,000 above the lower end of the market’s comfort zone. What is going to happen next?

It is much easier to explain what has already happened. Markets are driven by expectations, which are in turn formed based on past events and experiences. Underpinning the process is uncertainty, which in the case of such unique events as geopolitical conflicts is very high, although not so high as to deprive us of the expectations through which we perceive real-world developments. Let us then look at the oil market as it was seen in May, before crude prices began to rise. Late-May projections indicated that Brent prices were to decline gradually in 2014 and 2015, down to the region of one hundred dollars per barrel, and that this would happen amid considerable price volatility. The decline seemed likely considering that solid supply growth in the US and Canada, unfettered by geopolitical risks, was alone sufficient to meet the anticipated increase in global demand.

However, the balance between oil supply and demand was maintained, albeit only with a relatively thin safety cushion formed by Saudi Arabia’s crude reserves. The 700,000 barrels a day separating the market from its comfort zone could soon be in jeopardy if active conflicts were to escalate or new ones erupt. Any such event, which could occur in a multitude of possible locations, would send oil prices rocketing. Although the forecasts I saw in May predicted that the supply of crude oil from Libya and Nigeria (and to a lesser extent from Venezuela) would continue to decline, they also projected a significant surge in oil production in Iraq, Kuwait and, to a lesser degree, the United Arab Emirates. The conflict in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia were both taken into account as risk factors affecting future oil supplies. However, the projections concerning the oil balance in 2014–2015 did not factor in reduced production.

This time, the drop happened in Iraq, a key player on the global oil market. OPEC’s second largest oil producer (at some 3.3 million barrels a day), Iraq is also among the world’s top potential oil suppliers in terms of available reserves. When the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) carried out its offensive in northern Iraq in June, capturing the provinces of Nineveh and Saladin and their capitals of Mosul and Tikrit, panic spread through various markets, including that of crude oil. Prices went up.

The fear premium on crude is typically at its highest at the start of a conflict. If supplies remain uninterrupted, as was the case here, the market eventually diversifies, forming different perceptions as to a conflict’s potential developments and possible hedging strategies. When on June 29th ISIS announced the formation of the ‘Islamic State’ caliphate in the area controlled by the group, concerns that the conflict would spread to southern Iraq, where current production is based, temporarily abated and the oil price began to drop.

On the top of these circumstances, a rare situation could be observed last week when all available information favoured a decline in prices. The American Energy Information Administration agency (EIA) reported that the production of oil from unconventional deposits (tight oil) in the US was higher than expected, with individual well efficiency above projected values. At the same time, the agency adjusted its demand growth forecasts for 2014 and 2015 downward, anticipating a global economic slowdown. EIA projections were consistent with Europe’s estimated GDP growth figures published at that time, which turned out lower than originally forecast. Iraq’s production prospects also improved when Nouri al-Maliki stepped down as Prime Minister, thus removing the risk of a coup from the equation.

What is going to happen next? There is no good answer to that question as it is difficult to foresee how today’s conflicts will develop. What the recent situation in Iraq has shown us is that the risk premium on Brent crude anticipated in May’s projections was too low and that we should expect higher prices in 2014 and 2015.

Although Ukraine and Syria produce little oil, the effect of armed conflicts ravaging the two countries extends far beyond their geographical borders. Sanctions imposed in connection with the Ukrainian crisis will affect future oil supplies from Russia. Hampered access to Western technologies and capital will delay production from difficult and expensive oil deposits indefinitely, which will likely result in reduced production from 2016 on. At the same time, the war in Syria has set off intense hostilities in Iraq, prompting the United States to become involved again. Libya is in a state of complete anarchy. At 1.45 million barrels in 2012, the country’s daily oil production has now halved and is likely to fall to zero. The Israeli-Palestine conflict is yet another potential source of trouble.

However, with the crude oil supply from the US increasing, there is also some good news. Rising dynamically since 2008, the country’s oil production has already more than offset the slumps in North Africa and the Middle East, ensuring relative tranquillity on the oil market. Compared to May’s forecasts, the US is now projected to produce an additional 300,000–400,000 barrels of oil a day in 2014 and 2015. In combination with global oil demand forecasts adjusted down by some 200,000 barrels a day, the new figures somewhat improve the global oil balance. In these circumstances, the price of Brent crude may stay in the region of one hundred dollars per barrel for some time or even drop below that threshold if oil prices prove especially volatile. Will this happen? Only time will tell.

 

 

 

 

Escalation lurks in Eastern Ukraine

Posted by on 29/08/14

If earlier, the Russian government has tried in every possible way to disown the gravity of the situation in Eastern Ukraine and conceal the supply of arms and ammunition, as well as involvement of Russian military specialists and special units, now apparently Moscow decided to change tactics.

Elena Vasilieva, chairman of the ICC “Forgotten Regiment”, in her article titled “cargo – 200” (coffin with military) from Ukraine to Russia” yesterday on the air to the Moscow radio station “Echo of Moscow”, causing heated debate, stated the whole blogosphere about a funeral of Russian paratroopers of Pskov Division.

“Members of the ICC” Forgotten Regiment “are combatants of various local and international wars and conflicts. However we do know what it means to get a cargo – 200. We still honor the memory of those killed fighting brothers. And it is unacceptable that soldiers sent to fight in another country have been forgotten relatives” – Mrs.Vasilieva says.

“The most difficult thing for the relatives of the dead – is to find and bring home to bury their bodies. No one knows where the military unit shall be redeployed, where his or her son, husband or brother may serve.

Therefore we publish an information about troops pulled back into combat areas in Ukraine. We hope this will become a reference point for certain family members who are worried about the fate of their relatives serving in the army.

This information is for obvious reasons can not be absolutely 100% accurate. But it confirmed fragmentary statements coming from the Ministry of Defense and publications of journalists.”

Russian troops in Ukraine:

From South Military District, ground forces and artillery:

- task force battalion from the 18th motorized Brigade / Chechnya Hankala / Kalynovska (the so-called Chechen battalion);

- task force battalion from the 17th motorized Brigade / Chechnya;

- task force battalion from the 136th motorized Brigade / Botlikh, Dagestan;

- task force battalion from the 205th motorized Brigade / Budennovsk, Stavropol Territory;

- task force battalion from the 19th motorized Rifle Brigade / Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia;

- task force battalion from the 7th military base from the occupied Abkhazia, Georgia;

- task force battalion from the 33th mountain infantry brigade / Maikop, Adygea;

- mixed division from the 291st Artillery Brigade / Trinity, Ingushetia.

- mixed company from the 78th brigade logistics / Budeonovsk, Stavropol region.

From Airborne:

- task force battalion from the 76th Division of Pskov;

- task force battalion from the 98th Division, Ivanovo;

- task force battalion of the 45 separate regiment Specialty / Kubinka;

- task force battalion from the from the 247th Regiment of the 7th Division of Novorossiysk.

- task force battalion and divisions of the Land Forces and artillery units South Military District – from the 20th Motorised Brigade / Volgograd,

- 34th mountain infantry brigade / Karachay-Cherkessia;

- division from the 943rd Artillery Regiment / Krasnooktyabrskoe Adygea (MLRS “Hurricane”)

- division from the 1st Missile Brigade / Krasnodar (PTRC “Tochka-U”, “Iskander-M”).

- 23 th motorized infantry brigade Samara;

- task force battalion from Airborne – from the 56th Air Assault Brigade / Volgograd,

- from the parts of the GRU (General Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Russia) stationed in the South of Russia – the 10th brigade of special operations / Molkino Krasnodar region,

- 22th special operations brigade, Aksai, Rostov region,

- 100th special operations brigade, Mozdok,North Ossetia,

- 346th special operations brigade, Kabardino-Balkaria,

- 25th special operations brigade, Stavropol;

- 2nd special operations brigade, Pskov,

- 16th special operations brigade, Tambov,

- 3rd special operations brigade, Ulyanovsk.

According to a rough estimate size of the Russian group (which they cynically called “peacekeeping”) on the eastern border of Ukraine is about 12-15 thousand personnel, which, if necessary, in the shortest possible time can be multiplied by 2. Also, large groups of Russian troops are concentrated in the south of the occupied Crimea and the North-Eastern border of Ukraine “, – reported the ICC” Forgotten Regiment. ”

These forces can severely complicate the situation of Ukrainian troops. Although with all the confidence we can say that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are ready to continue protecting the territorial integrity of its country and repel the aggression. It would be difficult not to agree that Ukraine has little chance of winning in the full military conflict against Russia.

As time has shown it us mistake to think that economic sanctions against Russia can really stop its aggression against Ukraine. It is needed more effectively methods. In this situation, the West must show Moscow that such aggressive policy in the 21st century will not succeed. It would be logical to declare an extraordinary session of the UN Security Council, as well as to provide financial and material assistance to Ukraine for protection against the ENEMY of RUSSIA.

Ukraine: Building up to a regional clash?

Posted by on 28/08/14
By Dimitris Rapidis A couple of months ago, the crisis in Ukraine could look like a common escalation between the Ukrainian and the Russian forces. Today, the escalation has taken a structural turn both in terms of army mobilization, diplomatic intervention, and timing, possibly leading to a regional war in Ukraine.

European Council defies Ombudsman over rigging of EU Fiscal Pact

Posted by on 28/08/14

The European Ombudsman has strongly condemned the European Council for unscrupulously rigging the Irish referendum and parliamentary votes around the EU on the Fiscal Compact that controls the European economy. By withholding crucial documents, the European Council has deceived both the public and parliaments in Member States who passed the Pact as law. The Fiscal Compact is in reality an undemocratic Con-Trick. It violates basic principles of national and European democracy and law.

  • How can parliaments judge whether the Pact is fair, if the European Council hides the facts?
  • How can a referendum decide, if the European Council rigs the evidence?
  • How can the public interrogate their parliamentary representatives if the flawed legal basis for taxation and expenditure is locked away in the Council’s safe?
  • Can European institutions such as the Community’s civil service be exploited as a skivvy for the politicians’ own non-Community Pact?
  • The euro violates rules for a Community monetary system. Dishonest book-keeping and fraud reduced the Euro’s real value by 75 percent. Politicians refused to follow the Founding Fathers’ supranational economic and monetary principles.

The Pact makes Council the supervisor of fraud! After the Ombudsman condemned the European Council’s maladministration, the same document was requested AGAIN. The European Council again defied the Ombudsman. It refused to provide the document. A further appeal was made to the Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, that the European Council should respect her judgements and basic democratic principles.  The Ombudsman metaphorically threw up her hands. She confessed that the Ombudsman could do nothing to make the European Council follow the rules except the European Court of Justice.

She replied to me on 26 August 2014 that

‘I believe that a new inquiry into the Council’s recent refusal of disclosure would be repetitive, since there is no new element that would distinguish the new case of the one which I already inquired into. Moreover, the follow-up mentioned above (where the European Council again reiterated its own position) shows that the Council has no intention to change its position in this regard. It follows that a new inquiry into the same matters would, in all likelihood, lead to a new critical remark, which would neither be helpful to you, nor would trigger any positive follow-up from the Council.’

What is this crucial document? The European Council produced an analysis on the Pact’s flaws in terms of EU law. For European citizens it covered whether within the Pact they could take the Council and Commission to Court for abuse and criminality associated with it. That is a fundamental democratic right of all citizens. This key analysis is vital for understanding the basis on which the European Council is attempting to control the lives of 500 million citizens and multiple trillions of euros.

The document analyzing the insecure legal basis of the Fiscal Pact was circulated secretively to some EU delegations. It was never rendered public, in spite of national parliamentary debates and a referendum. Yet it is crucial for Europeans to protect the nascent European democracy that has been so abused by the European Council fraud in the past.

In this Pact the European Council gave itself unprecedented powers over national budgets and imposed controls and reviews on government spending. The measures were forced through national Parliaments. Some national leaders refused to sign up to the Fiscal Pact. Thus the Pact cannot be regarded as EU or Community law. At best it is an international agreement masquerading as European law. Obfuscation.

The Fiscal Pact measures are so radical and further distort the Community method for European democracy that referendums in all Member States should have been mandatory. Only one country, however, was able to force a referendum about this measure. That was Ireland. Its constitution requires such matters with major democratic consequences be subject to a vote. Other Member States railroaded the measure through their parliamentary system. A bare majority sufficed. There was minimal or no public debate about it. In Cyprus, which was hit by a euro banking disaster that shook the rickety foundations of the euro, it was passed simply by governmental Decree thus bypassing parliament.

The European Council’s imposition of the Fiscal Compact bypassed all the usual democratic control of the European system such as the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and proper public debate, The European Council has consistently blocked the legally required elections for these bodies. In this case they just ignored them.

Are the Pact’s measures legal? Have Europeans lost their democratic rights? The Court has yet to pronounce.

Robert Schuman, the initiator of the European Community, defined democracy by the goals the European peoples define for themselves, not politicians. He said that all measures must be ‘in the service of Europeans and acting in agreement with the European peoples.‘ In this Pact, the people were left out of the loop in one of the most important measures in recent European history.

A key issue of this Pact is whether Europeans will be able to take legal action against politicians’ abuse or criminality spawned by these ‘closed door’ measures. Were the people consulted? No. Did they call for it? No. Did they agree? Hardly.

The European Council is acting to prevent democratic control of its new powers. Specifically it has thumbed its nose at the Ombudsman in refusing to release documents of primary interest. It did the same to the citizen who pay their salaries and the cost of the legal document in question.

Who are these people who are refusing democratic control over taxpayers money?

The Fiscal Compact was brought in because of corruption of politicians who not only overspent their countries’ budget, but used national budgets in voter bribes to sections of the public while giving ‘tax breaks’ to party supporters. Then they cooked the books. The national statistics were bent, twisted and contorted to cover the fraudulent activity.

If this had happened in a commercial company the perpetrators would now be in prison.

But they are politicians. Now they have a Pact that puts them in the judge’s seat.

 

Angela Merkel believed in the EU Primary elections – and won!

Posted by on 28/08/14
Recently Jean-Claude Juncker was officially elected President of the European Commission. One year before the European Elections were scheduled, even the most fanatical federalist did not believe that the Primaries could really nominate the EU chief executive. It’s paradoxical, but even after the European elections of 25 May 2014, chances were over 50% for the [...]

UEFA award for child protection in sport

Posted by on 28/08/14

UEFA President Michel Platini will present the 2014 UEFA Monaco Charity Award cheque for €1m to Anne Tiivas from the UK National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

The 2014 UEFA Monaco Charity Award will support crucial work in child protection in sport as UEFA President Michel Platini presents a €1m cheque to Anne Tiivas, the director of the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) at the UK National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).

The NSPCC’s CPSU works to ensure children understand their rights in sport. The issues sport has to deal with range from serious cases of sexual abuse to day-to-day poor treatment of children that happens through a culture that does not listen to their voices and prioritise their interests.

Mr Platini said: “Every year the Monaco Award donates €1m to a deserving sporting organisation or charity in order to help support and advance their mission. UEFA believes all children, no matter what their social status or where they live, should have a chance to play football. The important work by the NSPCC guarantees the basic requirement for this: a safe environment to allow children to enjoy sport.

“The NSPCC has worked tirelessly to end cruelty to children and hopefully this donation will help their cause significantly. Congratulations; we are sure their work will continue to make a difference to the lives of many children.

The UEFA Monaco Charity Award will be used to increase the availability and awareness of the services the NSPCC’s CPSU provides to children and parents. It will also disseminate the NSPCC’s campaign with European and international sports organisations and advise on good practice and effective approaches to keeping children safe in sport.

Anne Tiivas said: “We are immensely pleased to receive this. The UEFA Monaco Charity Award will allow us to build on the work we have done with children, parents and everybody involved in football to create the best possible environment for our children.

Graeme Le Saux, inclusion advisory board member at the Football Association (FA), added: “Being able to play football in a safe environment is a fundamental right for a child. In football we all have a responsibility towards children, whether it be at grassroots level or all the way up into the elite game.”

The NSPCC’s CPSU works with 200 national sport governing bodies and county sports partnerships in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This has led to a change in culture with policies and procedures to ensure children are protected and their voices are heard in the organisation.

The FA has worked with the NSPCC for 15 years. The cooperation has resulted in a specific safeguarding course, approved by the NSPCC and CPSU and mandatory for people who work in football with the FA. Since 1999, 450,000 people have been trained through FA safeguarding children programmes.

 

For more information visit: www.nspcc.org.uk and www.thecpsu.org.uk

 

The ‘European University’ campuses

Posted by on 28/08/14

Glimpse of Commencement Ceremony

European University (EU) is a private multi-campus university with facilities in Barcelona in Spain; Geneva and Montreux in Switzerland; and Munich in Germany. Since 1973, EU has been a leader in offering international business courses and with all subjects taught in English, students from around the world chose EU for their higher education needs. Will some of the campuses presented bellow make your new learning home?

Barcelona campus

EU’s Barcelona campus classrooms are equipped with SMART boards, an integrated online library and university-wide WiFi service. The Barcelona campus has a population of over 500 undergraduate and graduate students and over 30 full time employees. Students will love the vibrant Mediterranean culture, palpable throughout the city. Barcelona’s international presence, important standing in the business world, food, weather, culture, history, architecture and affordable lifestyle are some of the reasons why students should study in Barcelona for at least one semester. EU Barcelona is the second largest and most cosmopolitan, edgy and modern city in Spain. Bloomberg credits Barcelona as Europe’s fourth-best city for business. It is home to Vueling, FCB, Estrella Damm, Abertis, Eurostars Hotels, Gas Natural, La Caixa, Mango, Puig and SEAT. Many students graduate with internship experience under their belt from the Barcelona campus.

EUBarcelona guest speaker Explore the Campuses of European University
Session with guest speaker at the EU’s Barcelona campus

Geneva campus

The Geneva campus is located in the heart of the city with views of the surrounding mountains. The city is an international business hub on the south-east side of Lake Geneva in French-speaking Switzerland. Geneva students are able to easily take advantage of city’s diversity and established business community. Many students decide to call Geneva home after graduation, finding work with local international businesses and organizations. The International Labor Organization, the World Health Organization, the World Economic Forum, the European headquarters of both the United Nations and the Red Cross as well as companies such as Procter & Gamble, Rolex, IBM, Ernst & Young and JP Morgan all call Geneva home.

Looking for an ‘early career grant’?

Posted by on 28/08/14

RSA Early Career Grant Scheme

Who is it for?

This award is open to single applicants in their early career (five years maximum between the date showing on the certificate and the application deadline). Applicants must be based within an eligible higher education institution (HEI) and must be a current, early career member of the Regional Studies Association and throughout the duration of the grant (please note that applicant may apply for membership at the same time as applying for the grant).

How does it work?

The RSA Early Career Grant is provided to support a discrete piece of regional studies and/or regional science research. The value of the grant is up to £10,000 (or its equivalent in dollars or euros depending upon the agreed exchange rate at the time of the award). The grant has a maximum time span of 18 months and reporting conditions apply. Only one grant will be made to any successful applicant.

Award

The Regional Studies Association has earmarked up to £40,000 for the RSA Early Career Grants in 2014. This will be distributed across the one round of the competition but the allocation of monies will be determined by the quality of applications. The Association may choose to release further funds. The Scheme is expected  to continue in 2015 and more details will be announced in due to course.

The full Terms and Conditions governing the grant will be provided to successful applicants as part of the formal offer, based on the general terms and conditions set out below.

Candidates should ensure that their application:

  • Is ambitious in their scope and have a clear international impact;
  • Includes the full research specification within the main application document instead of an attached document;
  • Includes a CV that lists only the top 5 relevant publications to the research proposal;
  • Includes a copy of the PhD certificate showing the date of the award;
  • Asks why the RSA should fund the research and how the research fits within the Association’s themes of development.

 

The next submission deadline is Monday 8th September 2014, 10am GMT.
 http://www.regionalstudies.org/funding/p…

 

Understanding the Google Antitrust Case: Horizontal vs Vertical Search

Posted by on 26/08/14

In various conversations over recent months, I have noticed that a lot of people don’t understand the difference between general, or horizontal search on the one hand, and specialised, or vertical search on the other. Understanding the differences is crucial to understanding how Google abuses its dominant position, because Google systematically describes a vast “search” market that denies any meaningful differences.

 

I think of these differences from four perspectives:

  1. Operators (like Google) that offer both general search and vertical search services;
  2. Vertical search providers, including Google Shopping;
  3. Websites and advertisers;
  4. Users and consumers.

 

Natural vs Vertical: Differences in the way search results are selected for display by Google

  • Whereas horizontal search results are selected on the basis of an algorithm that is applied to the entire Web and primarily designed to provide the most relevant pages, vertical search results are selected from a smaller group of sites, often listed in a database that is separate from the index of the Web from which horizontal search results are selected, and that Google deems capable of fulfilling a consumer need that it infers.
  • Google Shopping’s competitors in the vertical product search market, including Allegro’s Polish (ceneo.pl) and Czech (heureka.cz) comparison shopping services, similarly select sites for display from a subset of product provider sites and not from the entire Web.
  • Websites seeking to be found in horizontal search results need only to ensure that they can be indexed by web crawlers, whereas those seeking to be included in vertical search results must gain access to distinct databases or other data infrastructure operated by the vertical search provider.
  • Consumers experience horizontal and vertical search results differently. Horizontal results provide an overview of the most relevant places on the Web – an information experience akin to getting directions, while vertical results are a consumption experience.

Passive vs Active, Unstructured vs Structured: Differences in the way the content of the search results is provided

  • Whereas the content of horizontal search results is actively collected, at intervals, by Google’s crawling and indexing technology, and whereas sites appearing in search results have autonomy with regard to the way they design their pages, sites selected for display in vertical search products typically have contractual relationships with Google and actively provide data to Google via a feed – a permanent connection to Google’s systems. This data must be structured according to criteria determined by Google.
  • This is also the case for Allegro’s comparison shopping sites, which require partners to provide product listings in a structured format, and do not collect the data themselves from the Web.
  • Partners of Google’s vertical search services make a clear internal distinction between the activity of building their web pages with a view to their inclusion in natural search results (Search Engine Optimisation or SEO) and that of sending Google structured data for inclusion in vertical search services.
  • Consumers experience passively provided information drawn from web sites as a view (such as a snippet) on what is actually present on a given page (horizontal search results), while they experience vertical search results as product or service offerings.

Open vs Closed: Differences in the way advertisements and other commercial placements are selected for display

  • Whereas AdWords ads are selected by Google from among all bidders in an open auction to respond to a search query, the product or service providers that Google selects for promotion in a vertical search service are drawn from a restricted pool of partners defined by Google. For example, Google might allow bids for AdWords on the keywords “yellow mac” from fashion retailers (yellow raincoats), electronics retailers (yellow Mac computers), and others, but in the Google Shopping product, bids from only one of these categories will be allowed.
  • Similarly, Allegro’s comparison shopping services organise listings according to product categories.
  • AdWords advertisers have a great deal of freedom to purchase the opportunity to be found according to key words they deem likely to drive traffic to their sites, while vertical search partners are purchasing a sales lead that the vertical search service (e.g. Google Shopping or one of Allegro’s comparison shopping services) is qualifying for them. Google’s role as an intermediary is much more active in vertical search than in AdWords.
  • Consumers experience AdWords as a collection of links that a potentially large group of advertisers hope they will find interesting, whereas they experience vertical search results as product or service offerings that the vertical search provider hopes will interest them.

 

To people who manage web sites, or are in the vertical search or advertising businesses, these distinctions are very clear. Although there are also clear differences for consumers, Google’s practice of tying its vertical search services to its horizontal search results pages often leads to a blurring of the lines in consumers’ minds. That is why both industry and consumers are actively supporting the Commission’s investigation into its practices.

 

Maternity leave reform: a Neverland

Posted by on 26/08/14
By Alessandra Flora In July the European Parliament announced to open talks over the maternity leave reform. In 2010 the EP approved in first reading the draft proposal, but it never came into force. More and more women are forced to leave job and stay at home. How long can we tolerate this unjustice?

Will the economic sanctions of US and the EU against Russia fail?

Posted by on 26/08/14
By Tyszecki The harsh economic sanctions against Russia demonstrated the unity of the European Union and the United States on the issue of stopping the bloody war, unleashed and supported by Russia, as well as their full support for Ukraine. The stakes are high...

In praise of Anne Glover

Posted by on 26/08/14
As activists along the halls of the Mundo-B building smell blood and put their PR machines into high gear, a bit of rationality should be restored to the question of the role of the Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission. It is high time to acknowledge the great work that Dr Anne Glover has done. In short, high-level advice must be given to the president in confidence by a single individual.

Berlin – The Heaven of Internship Opportunities

Posted by on 26/08/14

Author: Jana Balusikova
Edited by: Ana Alibegova, Stefan Alijevikj

“I regret not the things I’ve done, but those I did not do”, said the American actor Rory Cochrane.  Namely, this quote inspired young Jana Balusikova from Slovakia to write down her thoughts and to share her experience with all of you who are doubtful to make a step out of the comfort zone. This is her story about the big step to live abroad and about the amazing time she spent in the German capital:

Few months ago I faced a tough decision about doing an internship in Berlin – on one side it sounded like fulfilling a dream, but I knew that would also mean that I should soon leave the place where I have lived all these years, the place that I know well and I find it convenient. In spite of the mysterious future, my decision was positive and now I know it was the best thing I could have ever done.

The first time I visited Berlin was two years ago, together with my classmates. As students of photography and media we decided to make an excursion, visiting Berlin’s numerous galleries. This city has a multicultural spirit, it is full of different nationalities, ideas and its pure freedom is felt on every corner. Here, whenever you want, you can express yourself freely and it feels absolutely natural. “These vibrations are those I am looking for” – I noted to myself, and felt that one day, I would come back to Berlin again. The truth is: I didn’t expect it would be so soon!

Few days ago I finished my 6-month internship in a company based in Berlin where I got an insight into marketing field and work in an international team. I could cooperate with nice colleagues from more than 40 different nationalities. Surprisingly new for me, culture differences exist not only in gestures, temperament or way of life, but in work strategies, as well. It is fascinating to see how different working styles are present at different markets. None of them is wrong – all of them are unique and adjusted perfectly for the target audience. But still, there is one thing we all have in common: we love cakes! Every person who has a birthday has to prepare a birthday cake for their co-workers. Having 180 employees it means: an amazing and delicious cake every second day of the year.

Nonetheless, Berlin is a dynamic city full of possibilities. At the moment, I cannot imagine a better place for an internship, especially for those who want to learn both German and English and who are eager to experience numerous cultures from many corners of the world. If you want to join the Berlin’s club, here are few tips for you:

EU voted with its feet – it chose to put them up in front of the TV!

Posted by on 25/08/14

Despite much hyped reports in May that turnout in the European Parliament elections had increased compared to the previous elections, the truth has now been revealed – the opposite is the case.

The updated numbers, published on the Parliament website, show that turnout across the EU struggled to reach 42.54% in 2014, well below the 43.1% initially announced, making it a new, all-time low for the democratic credibility of the European Parliament itself. It also makes many political pundits and academics who rushed to be quoted on the “increased” original statistics look foolish.

Frankly, the entire European project now lacks a meaningful electoral mandate. The “citizens” of Europe are voting with their feet – putting them up in front of the TV rather than bothering to trek to the polling stations to vote in elections which increasingly make little or no difference to the policies pursued by the “political elite” in Brussels. In the United Kingdom, polling levels were even worse, at a staggeringly low 34%, suggesting that the British electorate, as its national politicians are starting to realize, treats the whole EU construction with increasing contempt. If it is to survive and earn public respect, fundamental reform will indeed be necessary.

The Whitehouse Consultancy is one of Europe’s leading public affairs and communications agencies.

Ebuzzing: International´s Top blogs

Posted by on 25/08/14

Ebuzzing publishes monthly a ranking blog. This list organizes in a “General” section (integrated by 300 blogs) and others almost forty sections of very varied subject matter that goes from ” Animals and pets ” up to “Video games”, happening for ” Art and culture “, “Cinema”, “Photography”, “Environment”…

 

Today we go away to stopping in the “International” section:

1. The first thing that calls the attention is the shortage of blogs of Internationally. While in other sections (Gastronomy, cinema or video games …) we find a list of hundred blogs, in Internationally, the list does not come not to twenty-five.

There are few people interested in reading, writing and commenting on Internationally or the blogs are small interested in taking part in this list?.

In October, 2010, Foreign Policy (FP) was selecting approximately forty blogs ” that contribute a more exhaustive analysis of the international relations in the current world “.

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