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Nearly 1000 Activists Detained Outside Climate Talks

hosted.ap.org COPENHAGEN (AP) — Tens of thousands of protesters marched through the chilly Danish capital and nearly 1000 were detained Saturday in a mass rally to demand an ambitious global climate pact, just as talks hit a snag over rich nations’ demands on China and other emerging economies. The mostly peaceful demonstrations in Copenhagen provided the centerpiece of a day of global climate activism stretching from Europe to Asia. Police assigned extra officers to watch protesters marching toward the suburban conference center to demand that leaders act now to fight climate change. Police estimated their numbers at 40000, while organizers said as many as 100000 had joined the march from downtown Copenhagen. It ended with protesters holding aloft candles and torches as they swarmed by night outside the Bella Center where the 192-nation UN climate conference is being held. There have been a couple of minor protests over the past week, but Saturday’s was by far the largest. Police said they rounded up 968 in a preventive action against a group of youth activists at the tail end of the demonstration. Officers in riot gear moved in when some of the activists, masking their faces, threw cobblestones through the windows of the former stock exchange and Foreign Ministry buildings. A police officer received minor injuries when he was hit by a rock thrown from the group and one protester was injured by fireworks, police spokesman Flemming Steen Munch said. Earlier, police said

Roots of gamblers’ fallacies and other superstitions: Causes of seemingly irrational human decision-making

Roots of gamblers’ fallacies and other superstitions: Causes of seemingly irrational human decision-making
Gamblers who think they have a “hot hand,” only to end up walking away with a loss, may nonetheless be making “rational” decisions, according to new research.

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Command Change For Solomon Islands Contingent

Command Change For Solomon Islands Contingent
After a successful 13 month rotation, Lieutenant Colonel David Thompson has handed over Command of the 240-strong military security contingent in support of the Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands – known as Operation ANODE.

Read more on Scoop.co.nz

New city manager brings breadth of experience, success record to town

New city manager brings breadth of experience, success record to town
One thing to know about Jeff Pomeranz – who is leaving here as city manager to become Cedar Rapids’ – is he isn’t bashful behind the wheel.

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Explore a Bright Future for Your Child ? Top careers in 2020

As another year of rapid change passes and the shadow of recession lifts slowly, a slew of new careers are waiting to be explored in the new decade. How is it going to unfold for your children who will stand at important crossroads in 2020? What kind of career options will they have? As we grow into an information-driven society and technology advances, Generation 2020 will find itself caught in a brain race. The youth of the future are likely to consider becoming space architects or genetic counsellors, careers that we can only dream of at this point in time.

Let’s take a look at some careers of the future.

1. Healthcare:
Healthcare involves the diagnoses, treatment and care of people, whether newly born, terminally ill or the elderly. The scope of this field has remarkably evolved over the last few years due to increasing investments, growing hospital chains, changing lifestyles and longer life spans. Apart from the traditional areas of medical practice (physicians, dentists, ophthalmologists, cardiologists etc.), careers such as hospital administrators, health technologists and technicians and medical research will see a surge in the long term. Nursing as a profession, will also evolve owing especially to rising numbers of the aged population striving for a better life. The latest additions to the series of upcoming careers in this field are those in brain analysis and genetic counselling.    

2. Wealth-care:
Though the finance sector was badly hit by the recession, the clouds have slowly begun to shift and make way for new vistas. People’s earnings are on the rise and so is their willingness to take risks with their money. That being the case, there is a need for professionals who understand, explain, save and multiply people’s money for them. This opens up doors to careers in financial/investment advisory, risk management, wealth management, and corporate finance.

3. Engineering
With boundless innovation in technology, careers unheard of until now are being touted as options for the new generation. Move over computers and telecommunication engineers, your children will specialise in fields such as robotics, teleportation, simulation and space tourism.

4. Education:
Education is another field where investments are pouring in. Also, it is gradually taking a global as well as commercial avatar. As more foreign universities collaborate with Indian educational institutes and organisations, the latter have begun to move towards organised recruitments. Apart from the traditional positions such as chancellors and vice-chancellors, positions such as CEO and COO are also making way into the system.

As teaching methods continue to reform, the ‘e’ word has already made its way into teaching methods. Thus educational content developers will gain increasing importance in the years to come.

5. IT:
An intelligent network has become a necessity for any setup. Therefore web and system analysts, designers and developers will continue to remain in demand and will be required to undertake increasingly complex profiles. So will software designers and developers, web consultants and information mangers. Also, parallel programming is a relatively new career, likely to become popular in the years to come.  

6. Green Jobs:
The pressure of demand on depleting resources is only likely to increase manifold in the future. In such a scenario, we will need people who can come to our rescue; people who specialise in ‘resource recycling’ and ‘intelligent infrastructure’. So when your children grow up, you may see them working on jobs involving renewable energy, biogas, solar and wind power systems, environmental products and services and so on. Other areas include research and development, manufacturing, consulting, energy generation, energy efficient buildings and construction and project design and implementation. Sustainable environment-related fields are expected to lure future job seekers in huge proportions, akin to what IT did a decade ago.

7. Biotechnology Jobs:
Another sector likely to see high growth is biotechnology, which will also create several jobs in the fields of manufacturing, sales, research, development and so on. Careers options in this area include drug discovery, cell therapy and tissue engineering, bioinformatics, clinical research, intellectual property, bioanalytical chemistry, plant engineering etc.  

8. Agriculture and other Agro-based careers:
Despite making progress in several sectors, agriculture continues to be an important source of income in India. The advent of agricultural technology is expected to foster growth in agriculture and other agro-based sectors. There is and will continue to be ample scope for making successful careers in floriculture, spices processing, pharmaceutics, dairy, fruit and vegetable, meat and fish and other food processing sectors. Also, several job seekers are expected to opt for the relatively less explored organic food and beverages industry.

9. Nanotechnology:
Nanotechnology is fast becoming popular and offers plenty of career options in fields as varied as medicine, engineering, cosmetics, computer hardware and software, robotics, defence, research and development and so on.

10. Other Opportunities:
a) Experimental Petrologist: These are people who study the evolution and formation of rocks on other planets.  
b) Realiser: A realiser creates real versions of virtual objects.

c) Weather Modification Police:  These people supervise over those who produce iodine induced rainfall from passing clouds. They are responsible for controlling the iodine quantities used for weather modification.
d) Unplugger: This is a mental health professional responsible to help wean people from excess technology dependence.

These are the promises that the future holds for today’s children. It seems like a difficult path to tread, but then it always is and cannot be any different. One thing is for sure though, given the immense scope for exploring a wide array of career choices, providing your child the space for self exploration is imperative.

Also your child’s future education and success depends on how well you plan today.
Be prepared and everything will fall into place. One such device that can help you get started is the Aviva Educost, which enables you to calculate the cost of future education and know the amount you would need to invest today for achieving required corpus.

Thanks & Regards,
Education is Insurance

Entrepreneurship and MSME – The Engine For Economic Growth and Wealth Creation

With a population of 148 million and the second largest economy in the continent after South Africa, the state of Nigeria’s economy is a bundle of extreme contradictions. The US sources 10% of its crude imports from abundant oil fields in the Niger Delta, a region that is also home to one of the largest know natural gas reserves in the world. Despite these natural endowments, Nigeria is crippled with rampant poverty and depressing macroeconomic indicators and human development indices. Unemployment is endemic and more than 54% of its population lives on less than $1 per day. Decades of political turmoil, civilian unrest and large scale government mismanagement are largely to blame for this state of Nigerian affairs.

The return of democracy in 1999 paved the way for economic reforms and the adoption of an ambitious plan to take Nigeria to the top 20 world economies by 2020. A massive subsequent reprioritisation of economic policy initiatives has brought home tangible results: currency reserves grew fivefold between 2003 and 2006, while GDP growth averaged more than 7%. However, and because of long-standing systemic imbalances, per capita GDP dipped from $444 in 1997 to $430 in 2004, even as poverty levels actually increased.

The bulk of the problem has been Nigeria’s overdependence on oil and gas exports that fetched it an estimated $600 billion in the last five decades, but made little difference to the non-oil sector, which floundered in a climate of policy negligence and inadequate financial and technical support. The thrust of Nigeria’s renewed economic objectives must be on entrepreneurship development, taking into account its mammoth human resource capability, and in a manner that makes inclusive yet rapidly accelerated economic growth possible. Weaning away dependence on non-renewable resources with the simultaneous promotion of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) is crucial to achieving both the 2020 objective and Nigeria’s Millennium Development Goals.

MSMEs have been responsible for the rapid growth of a multitude of economies around the world, historically beginning with the UK and America to gradually Europe, Latin America and lately in considerable parts of South and East Asia. Currently, more than 90% of all enterprises in the world are estimated to be MSMEs, accounting for up to 80% of total employment prospects. In OECD countries, the MSME component is as high as 97% of total business activity, contributing between 40% and 60% of GDP1 in member countries. These statistics hide a wealth of ideas for Nigeria, in the context of its economic development targets.

First among them is the fact that wholesome MSME growth is fundamental to the expansion of rural economies as part of sustained macroeconomic development. MSMEs comprise a diverse mix of agriculture-based, production, services and trade sectors; classified on the basis of asset value and employee base on a given scale of maximum and minimum scores for both counts. They often represent an extreme variety in terms of size and structure, right from rural artisan guilds, through small machine shops to emerging software and IT firms. They are by definition dynamic and comprise a wide range of growth-oriented skill sets, with special needs in terms of innovative solutions, technology and equipment and knowledge up-gradation. The central requirement in promoting them, however, is the development of a viable microfinance industry with built-in ease of access for small and medium enterprises.

At the policy level, Nigeria has taken proactive steps to promote MSME initiatives, the most notable being a legislative amendment that requires commercial banks operating in the country to set aside 10% of pre-tax profits for investment in smaller businesses. Both the IMF and World Bank currently run separate outreach programmes to aid Nigerian micro-financing through tailored procedures for streamlining credit evaluation and monitoring micro-loans. The effectiveness of these measures has been borne out to some extent by recent developments.

In June this year, the Nigerian government announced the disbursement of $20 million2 in small-scale industry loans. This is a significant achievement considering it multiplied out of the $8.4 billion initial World Bank grant to the sector in 2006. Policy makers negotiated the habitually poor access to loan and equity capital in Nigeria with the introduction of new micro-financial institutions that afforded wider and deeper funding solutions.

Despite this initial euphoria, the overall Nigerian MSME productivity and growth potential remains acutely constrained. Business development services continue to be generally underdeveloped in terms of projected potential, and especially poor in rural areas outside the major urban focus centres. Besides inherent infrastructural deficits, MSME growth rates are being further affected by lack of entrepreneurial knowledge, especially the ability to identify rewarding business opportunities.

In view of Nigeria’s past and present ground realities, an appropriate environment for rapid growth in this key sector calls for certain basic enforcements, including:

* Effective government regulation and oversight of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and operations.
* MFI reinforcement through constant evaluation of best practices and sustainability.
* Capacity enhancement of loan disbursement schemes for wide-area applicability.
* Greater coordination between the various agencies involved – public, private and donor.

There is for sure no short cut or panacea to the enterprises endeavour. The World Bank outlines the broader perspectives of the MSME development programme in Nigeria with five priorities3: enhancing the breadth and depth of finances available to MSMEs, creating markets for business development services, providing technical and capacity building support, resource allocation for access to global best practices, and lastly, funding for execution, review and monitoring of individual projects.

The existential value of MSMEs derives from the fact that they provide products and services that their larger counterparts do not or cannot do. Recognising and leveraging this potential is only half the job. The real challenge for Nigeria does not end at achieving the fullest prospects of MSMEs, but on then integrating their success to create a more inclusive economy that is without the flaws that have nagged the widest majority of its populace for the better part of half a century.

Peter Osalor is a multi-skilled director, chairman of trusts, proprietor and consultant. Peter Osalor has been a successful entrepreneur since 1992 when he formed Peter Osalor & Co and which has since grown to a very large client base with a turnover of millions. He is currently a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Nigeria (ICAN). Peter is also a member of the Chartered Tax Advisors and the Chartered Institute of Taxation in Nigeria (CITN).

Is this a good way to make the economy grow?

I have noticed a lot of middle eastern countries right now are going through aggressive construction projects. I happen to run into this one in saudi arabia called “king abdullah economic city”

I will post a quote about it

With a total development area of 173 km² (66.8 sq mi), the city is located along the coast of the Red Sea, around 100 km north of Jeddah, the commercial hub of the kingdom, the city is also going to be approximately an hour away from the holy Islamic cities of Mecca and Medina by car. And as reportedly an hour away of all Middle Eastern capital cities by plane. The total cost of the city is $80 billion (around SR 300 billion), with the project being built by Emaar, The Economic City. A Tadawul-listed company created from Emaar Properties, a Dubai-based Public Joint Stock Company and one of the world’s largest real estate companies, and SAGIA (Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority) which is the main facilitator of the project.
The city, along with other five economic cities, is a part of an ambitious “10×10” program to place Saudi Arabia among the world’s top ten competitive investment destinations by the year 2010, planned by SAGIA. The first stage of the city is planned to be completed in 2010, while the whole city is going to be fully completed by 2020. The city will help diversify the oil-based economy of the kingdom by bringing direct foreign and domestic investments. The city also will help create up to one million jobs for the youthful population of the country, where 40% of the population are under 15.

City Components
Industrial Zone
The Industrial Zone is estimated to cover 63 million m². The 4,400 hectares of land will be dedicated to industrial and light manufacturing facilities – identified as key growth drivers for the Saudi economy – and can now host 2,700 industrial tenants. The jobs created estimated to be in industrial and light industries (330,000); research and development (150,000); business and office (200,000); services (115,000); hospitality (60,000) and education and community services (145,000). The “Plastics Valley” planned within the zone will use raw materials readily available in Saudi Arabia to produce high-end plastics used in automotive, biomedical, construction and food packaging industries.

Sea Port
The Sea Port is estimated to cover 13.8 million sq meters, it will be the largest in the region with a capacity of over 10 million*twenty-foot equivalent units*(TEU) of containers per year. The port will have facilities to handle cargo and dry bulk, and will be equipped to receive the world’s largest vessels. Another key component of the Port will be a custom-built Hajj Terminal with a capacity to handle up to 300,000 pilgrims on their way to Mecca and Medina, the holy Muslim cities.

Residential Areas
The residential area is planned to include 260,000 apartments and 56,000 villas. It will be divided into smaller residential, commercial, and recreational areas. Parks and green spaces will be used extensively throughout the residential area. The area is estimated to be home for around half a million residents, and another ten thousand tourists. Each district would feature its own public amenities, such as mosques, shops and recreational venues.

Sea Resort
The Resorts Area will be designed to feature services and amenities, hoping to draw both local and international tourists. Set to become a major destination on the map of Saudi Arabia and the map of the Middle East as a whole. It will include hotels, shopping centers and other recreational facilities. The number of hotel rooms and suites are proposed to be 25,000 hotel rooms in more than 120 hotels. Among the tourist draws at the resort is an 18-hole golf course, with training facilities and driving range. An equestrian club, yacht club and a range of water sports will also be constructed.

Educational Zone
The Educational Zone is a part of plan to bring the Saudis capabilities and aspirations in technology to globally competitive levels. The Educational Zone is planned to consist of multi-university campus flanked by two Research & Development parks. The multi-university campus is designed to accommodate 18,000 students, and a 7,500 faculty and staff members.

Central Business District
The Central Business District (CBD) is planned to offer 3.8 million m² of office space, hotels and mixed-use commercial space. The Financial Island, within the CBD, has now been doubled in area to cover 14 hectares of land, which will be the largest regional financial nerve center for the world’s leading banks, investment houses and insurance groups.


This project cost 80 billion dollars! That is a lot of money. Do you guys think this is a good way to make the economy grow

Bjørn Yesterday: Climate Skeptic Reverses Course, or Something

Bjørn Yesterday: Climate Skeptic Reverses Course, or Something
The Danish academic Bjørn Lomborg is infamous as a climate change doubter. In 2001, his book, The Skeptical Environmentalist , catapulted him into the public realm as the guy who thinks climate change isn’t as serious as all that, and we probably can’t do anything cost-effective about it anyway. In 2004, at an event he organized called the Copenhagen Consensus , a group of economists was asked …

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100+ Upcoming Social Media & Tech Events

100+ Upcoming Social Media & Tech Events
Every week, Mashable puts together a calendar of upcoming social media and web events, parties and conferences. Would you like to have your conference or event listed here? If so, please contact us at least one month before your event…

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Sustaining Natural Resources and Environmental Integrity During Response to Crisis and Conflict

Featuring Charles Kelly, Affiliate, Benfield Hazard Research Centre at the University College London. In this video from the Environmental Change and Security Program, Charles Kelly, discusses the importance of carefully planning and executing post-conflict environmental assistance. In his presentation, Kelly emphasizes that environmental issues cannot be solved without competent governance, and discusses ongoing post-conflict and disaster management operations in Haiti and the Sudan and offers suggestions for the way forward. To learn more about the November 12, 2008, Wilson Center event, “Sustaining Natural Resources and Environmental Integrity During Response to Crisis and Conflict,” visit: www.wilsoncenter.org Or to learn more about environmental security, visit: www.wilsoncenter.org