China News

Mongolia boasts huge deposits of coal, copper, gold, uranium and many other rare minerals, and is opening up its vast resources to the world; this has however led to many diplomatic problems for the Asian nation.

Mongolia is unfortunately situated between Russia and China, and with no coast it relies on passing through these two countries; routes which Moscow and Beijing make Mongolia pay dearly for.

Currently the development of the world’s largest coal deposit at Tavan Tolgoi is being discussed, with international investors vying to get a share of the riches buried beneath the earth. One easy option would be to work exclusively with China on the mining of the coal, since nearly all of the coal will end up there anyway. However, Mongolia are reluctant to give China so much control over an important industry and revenue earner due to the fear that it will give the People’s…

View original post 487 more words

McCurry's Weblog

It is a long standing principle that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. However, this principle has been forgotten in recent years, as successive governments have sought to be friendly to business, without making the distinction between freedom of enterprise, and the commission of criminal acts.

View original post 785 more words

Mr Cameron asks good questions on welfare reform

Mr Cameron’s speech this week on welfare reform was a thoughful and important contribution to the debate about the future direction of welfare policy.

He acknowledges that welfare accounts for almost £1 in every £3 the government spends. He rightly wishes to be generous to those in need through disability or ill fortune. He also wishes to promote work as the best kind of welfare for most people of working age. He identifies many of the perverse incentives in the system.

There are 400,000 more people in work than in 2010 when the government was formed. This is good progress, against a difficult economic backdrop. The private sector has comfortably created many more jobs than the public sector has shed, despite all the dire warnings to the contrary when critics saw the forecasts for job reductions by government. Mr Duncan Smith’s programmes to help people back into work are having some favourable impacts. The numbers for both employment and retail sales also make one wonder how accurate the GDP figures are, as they tell a different story.

Mr Cameron says he wants to carry on with his welfare reforms to show he is on the side of “those who work hard and do the right thing” He wishes to end features of the system which trap people in poverty and “encourage irresponsibility”.

Read more….

When Centre Court served up a miracle

This admission will probably strike the Editor as yet another embossed invitation to give me the sack, but I am simply not up to the task of conveying, to the unsporty among you, the seismic nature of the earthquake generated on Centre Court on Thursday night. No non-sporting analogy is adequate.

Elfin Treasury minister Chloe Smith duffing up Paxo so viciously on Newsnight that he resigns on air, mid-interview, citing his own incompetence? Bob Diamond beating a flaxen-haired three-year-old who fought off a gang of armed robbers with her dolly on the very day she discovered the cure for cancer, to a Pride of Britain Award? Two Ton Tessie O’Shea edging out Angelina Jolie to become the first posthumous International Celebrity Rear of the Year?

None of the above comes close to matching the outlandishness of Lukas Rosol’s five-set defeat of Rafael Nadal. David and Goliath isn’t in it. David had a catapult, and Jehovah as his cornerman. But had this Czech of previously unimpeachable obscurity deployed a dozen AK47-armed Taliban snipers cunningly positioned in the players’ box, you still wouldn’t have given him an earthly. In the early rounds of major tournaments, after all, the Spaniard is as invulnerable as Achilles. Not Homer’s Achilles, mind – the other Achilles, whose mother had the wit to dip his infant heel in the Styx along with the rest of him. Only Novak Djokovic had a prayer of beating the Raging Mallorcan Bull in a grand slam, and only then after a monumental struggle in the final. Or so the received wisdom held.

Read more….

Briton on death row in Abu Dhabi is company director’s son

The judge in his case claimed that Lees was a hardened drug dealer who was also selling opium and heroin, although no evidence of this appears to have been produced in court.

Lees was born in Jeddah, where his father worked for the Saudi Yanbu Petrochemical Company, but has lived much of his life in the United Arab Emirates.

His mother, Abeba Gebebramlak, who is of Eritrean origin, was in court when the death sentence was imposed.

While Lees’s case file describes him as an “electrician”, he seems to have had no regular job and no education beyond secondary school.

Asked on the social networking website MySpace whether he wanted to go to college, he replied: “LOL [laugh out loud]. Just ask if I want to goto [sic] a 4 year party instead”.

Other than several shopping malls, Abu Dhabi offers few outlets for the young and is very different from its garish neighbour, Dubai. The sale of alcohol is tightly restricted and rigid social codes remain in force. A sign on the Corniche, a promenade beside the Gulf, reads: “Unruly behaviour will not be tolerated”. The accompanying picture shows a man and a woman holding hands, with a thick line drawn over them.

Read more….

David Cameron: We must clean up ‘shoddy’ banks

The Prime Minister expressed his anger after the four biggest high street banks — Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and the Royal Bank of Scotland — admitted culpability in the selling of punitive financial products to thousands of small businesses.

Sir Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, condemned the “shoddy treatment of customers” and “deceitful manipulation” which he said characterised the culture at leading banks.

Stephen Hester, the chief executive of RBS, agreed to waive his bonus for this year after customers were prevented from accessing their accounts last week.

Last night, Bob Diamond, the chief executive of Barclays, defied calls for his resignation after Mr Cameron again failed to back him. A major investor in Barclays threatened legal action against the bank’s board if Mr Diamond did not return bonuses.

On Wednesday, Barclays was fined a record £290 million after it admitted conspiring to fix global interest rates. The manipulation of the Libor rate is thought to have cost consumers, businesses and investors up to £30  billion.

Read more….

A Bad Day

There I was, sitting at the bar staring at my drink when a large, trouble-making biker steps up next to me, grabs my drink and gulps it down in one swig.                          

“Well, whatcha’ gonna do about it?” he says, menacingly, as I burst into tears.

 “Come on, man,” the biker says, “I didn’t think you’d CRY.

“I can’t stand to see a man crying.”

 “This is the worst day of my life,” I say.

 “I’m a complete failure.

 “I was late to a meeting and my boss fired me.

 “When I went to the parking lot, I found my car had been stolen and I don’t have any insurance.

 “I left my wallet in the cab I took to get home.

 “I found my wife with another man and then my dog bit me.

 “I came to this bar to work up the courage to put an end to it all.

 “I buy a drink; I drop a capsule in and sit here watching the poison dissolve. Then you show up and drink the whole thing down.

 “But hell, enough about me, how are you doing?”