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9/2/14

European Ports: Euro mega-hub yet to emerge as big ships maintain port rotations - by Bruce Barnard

The surging number of ultra large container ships has failed to create a European mega-hub with ocean carriers still operating multi-port rotations, according to Drewry Maritime Research.

“Despite container ships doubling in size in the past 10 years on the Far East-North Europe route, there has not been a reduction in the number of North European ports called by each service,” the London-based consultancy said.

“None of the major North European ports has become dominant or displaced competing ports,” it noted.

The average number of calls per loop has remained largely unchanged at four per service, typically including Antwerp or Rotterdam, a German and a UK port, and either Le Havre or one of the second-tier European ports.

And since 2009 carriers have started calling at additional European ports that they did not previously serve directly, such as Gdansk in Poland.

“This confirms the old shipping adage that the mother ship must go as close as possible to the final destination or origin of the cargo – where the market is a large one,” according to Drewry.” This is also advantageous for shippers because direct calls avoid the risk of missed feeder connections.”

Read more: Euro mega-hub yet to emerge as big ships maintain port rotations | JOC.com

Tourism: The 10 top boat trips to take around the world

Some of the world’s most scenic boat rides are simple water taxi or ferry rides.

Whether it’s an extravagant cruise holiday or a quick island hopping experience you’re after, this list of the world’s top scenic boat rides is bound to provide a little inspiration.

Here are 10 ways to take in breathtaking views and popular destinations from the water:

1. Golden Gate Ferry — San Francisco to Sausalito, California, US
2. Star Ferry — Hong Kong, Hong Kong
3. Venice Vaporetto — Venice, Italy 
4. Cruising Milford Sound — South Island, New Zealand  
5. Washington State Ferries to the San Juan Islands — US
6. Cruising Halong Bay — Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam
7. Block Island Ferry — Newport, Rhode Island, US
8. Rhine River Cruises — Throughout European Union
9. Ferry from St Thomas to St John — Virgin Islands
10. Circular Quay to Manly — Sydney

Read more: The 10 top boat trips to take around the world | Travel | Travel News and Holiday Deals | | Herald S

ISIS Terrorists - Calgary Kurds rally at City Hall against ISIS brutality

Members of Calgary's Kurdish community gathered Sunday at City Hall to protest the brutal massacres of Yazidis, Christians and Arabs by the terrorist group ISIS and called for greater international support for Kurdish fighters battling the group.

ISIS, or the Islamic State, militants have captured vast swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria over the past several months with the goal of establishing an Islamic caliphate. Just this week, the group captured nearly a dozen towns and villages in Syria's Aleppo province and is currently engaged in a battle with Kurdish forces over the strategic Mosul Dam in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Read more: CBC News - Calgary Kurds rally at City Hall against ISIS brutality

9/1/14

Internet: Is the Cloud one-stop shopping for hackers? — by Bob Sullivan

Consumers who have been lulled in to a false sense of security over credit card fraud could be in for a rude awaking. That was the message delivered at Visa’s Global Security Summit held in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

Disclosure last week of a serious data theft involving some of the nation’s largest data brokers hovered over the conference, and some experts suggested it signals a new wave ofsophisticated identity theft.

A gang of criminals had long-term access to Social Security Numbers, dates of birth and a treasure trove of other non-financial information stored by Lexis Nexis and about a dozen other data brokers, security expert Brian Krebs reported last week.

The data was often used to defeat so-called Knowledge Based Authentication, in which banks and other institutions ask personal questions to verify identities.

The incident shows that criminals trying to steal money from banks are using more sophisticated methods now, said , a security expert with Kaspersky Labs.

EU-Digest

Terrorism: ISIS is eyeing U.S. and Europe, say lawmakers

Cities in the United States and Western Europe are being eyed as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants’ future targets and President Barack Obama needs to take action, two U.S. lawmakers are warning.

Without offering specifics on any threats or suggestions on how to confront them, the leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees on Sunday prodded the White House to work to prevent the ISIS extremists from launching attacks on U.S. soil. The bipartisan pair of lawmakers shared a dire warning against the Islamic State group, which now has control of vast swaths of Syria and Iraq, has killed civilians from that region and beheaded American journalist James Foley

“This is a group of people who are extraordinarily dangerous,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who leads the Senate intelligence panel. “And they’ll kill with abandon.”

In a separate TV interview, the leader of the House Intelligence Committee warned the leaders of the IS, sometimes called ISIL or ISIS, are looking for a spectacular attack that would help them raise money and recruit more fighters.
 
Read more: ISIS is eyeing U.S. and Europe, say lawmakers - Al Arabiya News

Sea Food: 91 percent of US seafood comes from abroad.

Set against the backdrop of the larger American food system, the seafood deficit, is, well, fishy. Many of the US most important landfoods are trending in the opposite direction. Corn, anybody? Plenty of it — surpluses of it, in fact. Beef? Enough domestic production to supply every American with around eighty pounds a year — five times the national per capita rate of seafood consumption.

Meanwhile, the paucity of domestic fish and shellfish in our markets and in our diets continues even as foreign seafood floods in at a tremendous rate. In the last half century American seafood imports have increased by a staggering 1,476 percent.

It gets fishier still. While 91 percent of the seafood Americans eat is foreign, a third of the seafood Americans catch gets sold to foreigners. By and large the fish and shellfish we are sending abroad are wild while the seafood we are importing is very often farmed. Two hundred million pounds of wild Alaska salmon, a half billion pounds of pollock, cod, and other fish-and-chips-type species, a half billion pounds of squid, scallops, lobsters, and other shellfish is, every year, being sent abroad, more and more often to Asia; untold tons of omega-3-rich seafood are leaving our shores to help other countries lower their rates of heart disease, raise their cognitive abilities, and lengthen their life expectancy.

American consumers suffer from a deficit of American fi sh, but someone out there somewhere is eating our lunch.

How did we land ourselves in such a confoundingly American catch?

Read more: American catch: The fight for our local seafood | GreenBiz.com

Global Shipping: Kaliningrad Branch of Baltic Sea Ports Authority commences operation

Kaliningrad Branch of FSBI Baltic Sea Ports Authority commences operation on September 1, 2014, IAA PortNews has been informed by Peotr Parinov, head of FSBI Baltic Sea Ports Authority . Former federal state institution Kaliningrad Sea Port Authority had been reorganized. Port dues are now collected by Kaliningrad Branch of FSBI Baltic Sea Ports Authority.

According to Parinov, personnel of FSI Kaliningrad Sea Port Authority had been employed by FSBI Baltic Sea Ports Authority (90 employees). Valery Bodryakov is appointed as the Acting Harbour Master of port Kaliningrad. Earlier he held the position of the first deputy to the head of Kaliningrad Sea Port Authority.

Before the reorganization procedure is completed, Aleksandr Shevtsov will act as the head of Kaliningrad Sea Port Authority. According to Parinov, Aleksandr Shevtsov will later be appointed as the Harbour Master of port Kaliningrad. The reorganization is to be completed by October 1, 2014. 

Read more: Kaliningrad Branch of Baltic Sea Ports Authority commences operation

EU-US Trade Deal Lets Corporate Interests Steamroll Food Safety, Groups Warn - by Andrea Germanos

An EU-U.S. trade deal currently being negotiated behind closed doors puts corporate profits and trade interests above fair and safe food for consumers, a trio of groups charged Wednesday.

Friends of the Earth Europe, Minnesota-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), and UK-based Compassion in World Farming outline their concerns in a letter (pdf) sent to EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht because, they write, “the European Commission has failed fully to appreciate European and US civil society concerns.”

The letter begins:
We are writing to respond to claims by the European Commission (EC) that there is “no contradiction” in the US – EU trade talks with the “enforcement of high safety standards” in food. We disagree. Fair, sustainable and safe food could permanently be damaged by the transatlantic trade deal on the table.
Sparking their warning was a draft (pdf) of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) chapter on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) issues, which covers food safety measures and animal welfare in the trade deal, leaked last month by IATP.

In his analysis of that leaked text, IATP’s Dr. Steve Suppan wrote that though the chapter “doesn’t tell us everything about where negotiations are headed on food safety, [...] it tells us enough to raise serious concerns.”

Among these concerns is that if the TTIP is implemented, the import re-inspection at port of entry would no longer happen because the U.S and EU food safety systems would be recognized as “equivalent,” which, for example, could inadvertently allow genetically modified agricultural products into the EU food supply.
Read more: EU-US Trade Deal Lets Corporate Interests Steamroll Food Safety, Groups Warn

Germany: Saxony's election: Another little piece of Europe shifts right

As one the supporters of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), founded only last year, cheered into the echoing vault they had rented for their election-night party next to the river Elbe in Dresden. The evening's first projection on August 31st had just put the AfD near 10% of the vote in Saxony, clearly above the 5% threshold to enter that state's parliament. Moments later, Frauke Petry (pictured), the party's boss in Saxony, entered and was mobbed as though she were a rockstar. Great work, she beamed back at her fans, but the real effort only starts now: In two weeks, the Alternative also wants to enter the state parliaments of Brandenburg and Thuringia.

The AfD began as a single-issue party, calling for an orderly unravelling of the euro. In the past year, it has added piecemeal other positions, from an increase in direct democracy to a return to conservative economics. At times--as in Saxony, where it is strongest--it has also mixed xenophobic innuendo into its messages. Although it pulls voters from all the other parties, it is most successful on the right.

The Alternative's newest success, coming hard on the heels of its entry into the European Parliament earlier this year and representing its first participation in a state parliament, had a contrast in the failure of the liberal party, called the FDP. It was ejected from Saxony's parliament, just as it was thrown out of Bavaria's and the federal Bundestag last September. The FDP thus appears dead, perhaps gone for good from German politics. In effect, it has been replaced by the Alternative.

Read more: Saxony's election: Another little piece of Europe shifts right | The Economist

8/31/14

Global Economy: 8 Reasons Why A New Global Financial Crisis Could Be On The Way - by Arturo Bris

We are now in a post-crisis period. Yet, looking back to between 1945 and 2008, we see that the frequency of financial crises and recessions is quite high: on average, there is one crisis every 58 months (using data from the US National Bureau of Economic

Research). In other words, statistically speaking we should expect the beginning of the next crisis in April 2015, which would end by March 2016. So are we in a post- or a pre-crisis period?

I do not want to be the bearer of ill tidings, but I think we should always wonder what the cause of the next crisis will be. There is no single episode of financial panic in the last 50 years that could not have been prevented. This time, let us look ahead, not react after the crisis.

The world economy is now more interconnected than ever. Financial markets are heavily regulated while capital markets are expanding in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The banking sector is going through a concentration process with fewer and fewer players left. Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey (the MINT countries) are coming into focus after Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (the BRICS) have disappointed.

 Europe seems to be back in the game, with Germany leading the recovery of the continent.

The US is still the world's most competitive economy, according to the IMD World Com­petitiveness Ranking

The process of deleveraging the balance sheets of governments and com­panies is under way. Interest rat­es and government bond yields are at historical lows and stock markets have recovered to pre-crisis levels.

So what is there to worry about? There are eight possible scenarios that could cause the next crisis, none more important or likely than the others. For some, prevention is straightforward. For others, I am not sure there is much we can do. Some of them represent imminent threats. A few are more long-term, less dramatic sources of instability.

Ukraine: European leaders warn Russian invasion of east Ukraine at 'a point of no return' - by Bruno Waterfield

EU leaders warned Russia’s invasion of east was at a “point of no return”, risking a “state of war” with Europe and instructed officials to prepare new sanctions to hit the Russian economy.

A summit in Brussels on Saturday gave the green light to toughened economic sanctions, targeting Russia’s finances, oligarchs linked to the Russian president and the country’s vast mineral wealth.

Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, said that the EU was prepared for new sanctions against and pleaded with Mr Putin to step back from the brink of outright war between Russia and the Ukraine.

Read more: European leaders warn Russian invasion of east Ukraine at 'a point of no return' - Telegraph

The Netherlands: Turks mark 50th anniversary of Netherlands migration

In 2012, the Netherlands were represented at the Eurovision Song Contest by a Rotterdam-born singer, from a Turkish father, Joan Franka. Joan’s

In the end, Joan, whose birth name is Ayten Kalan, didn’t win the Eurovision competition which gathers artists from various Eurasian countries each year.

Still, she is a prime example of a Turkish community that has immensely contributed to contemporary Dutch society.

As model Deniz Akkoyun before her. Born and raised in the central province of Utrecht in Holland, of Turkish parents, she was elected “Miss Nederland” in 2008.

Or Izmir-born actress Elvan Akyildiz, who had a key role on the children’s show, Sesamstraat, the Dutch co-production of Sesame Street, still a reference to children around the world.

Turkish people have played a crucial role in the cultural and economic development of the Netherlands, according to Dutch Consul General in Istanbul, Robert Schuddeboom as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Turkish migration to one of the European Union’s founding countries.

Indeed, many Turks swarmed to Western Europe after a “Labor Export Agreement” was signed between Turkey and the Netherlands in 1964, along with Belgium and Austria, following a similar deal with Germany in 1961.

Read more: Turks mark 50th anniversary of Netherlands migration | Europe | Worldbulletin News