Haile Gebrselassie breaks marathon world record in Berlin

BERLIN - Haile Gebrselassie broke the marathon world record Sunday, winning the Berlin Marathon in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 26 seconds. The 34-year-old Ethiopian was 29 seconds faster than the four-year-old mark of 2:04:55 set by Kenya's Paul Tergat, on the German capital's flat and fast course where six world records have been set. Gete Wami, also from Ethiopia, defended her title in the women's race in 2:23:17. ..The win helped him forget the torment of having to drop out of April's star-studded London Marathon, when he had breathing problems after about 30 kilometers (19 miles). Later, he was diagnosed with allergies. "That was very sad. I could not sleep at all the night after that and this experience still follows me until today," Gebrselassie said.

Climate change

Firms are coming under increasing pressure to say more about global warming

EARLIER this year an outfit called the Carbon Disclosure Project sent letters to 2,400 big firms around the world, asking them what they were doing about climate change and how big their emissions of greenhouse gases were. The inquiry presumably carried some weight, since it was signed by 315 institutional investors, with roughly $40 trillion at their disposal. The resulting report, the fifth of its kind, which will be published on September 24th, suggests that ever more firms are taking climate change seriously, and a growing number are trying to measure emissions. “The gap between climate concern and action continues to narrow,” it concludes.
But not everyone is happy with the pace of change. On September 18th a group of investors and NGOs petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission, America's stockmarket regulator, to clarify whether firms had an obligation under existing rules to disclose how climate change might affect them. The petitioners, who include officials from 11 American state governments, argue that firms should be telling investors more because both global warming, and regulations designed to curb it, could have a “material” (ie, big) impact on profits.
Mario Cuomo, New York's attorney-general, agrees. Two days earlier he began an investigation of five American energy firms he suspects of withholding information from shareholders about the risks associated with plans to build carbon-intensive coal-fired power plants, despite the likelihood of emissions curbs. Activists have also been asking companies how they will cope with climate change: 43 resolutions were introduced to the shareholders' meetings of American firms this year, according to the Investor Network on Climate Risk, a coalition of green investors. A motion calling for Exxon Mobil, an American oil giant, to set targets for emissions cuts, won the approval of 31% of shareholders. Faced with a similar proposal, managers at ConocoPhillips, another oil firm, agreed to set targets and to back a law to limit America's emissions. You could call it a change in the weather.

China’s New Economic Model

Joseph E. Stiglitz

Joseph Stiglitz is a Nobel laureate in economics. His latest book is Making Globalization Work.

Joseph E. StiglitzChina’s success since it began its transition to a market economy has been based on adaptable strategies and policies: as each set of problems are solved, new problems arise, for which new policies and strategies must be devised. This process includes social innovation . China recognized that it could not simply transfer economic institutions that had worked in other countries; at the least, what succeeded elsewhere had to be adapted to the unique problems confronting China.
Today, China is discussing a “new economic model.” Of course, the old economic model has been a resounding success, producing almost 10% annual growth for 30 years and lifting hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty. The changes are apparent not only in the statistics, but even more so in the faces of the people that one sees around the country.
I recently visited a remote Dong village in the mountains of Quizho, one of China’s poorest provinces, miles away from the nearest paved road; yet it had electricity, and with electricity had come not just television, but the internet. While some rising incomes came from remittances from family members who had migrated to coastal cities, the farmers, too, were better off, with new crops and better seeds: the government was selling, on credit, high-grade seeds with a guaranteed rate of germination.
China knows that it must change if it is to have sustainable growth. At every level, there is a consciousness of environmental limits and the realization that the resource-intensive consumption patterns now accepted in the United States would be a disaster for China – and for the world. As an increasing share of China’s population moves to cities, those cities will have to be made livable, which will require careful planning, including public transportation systems and parks.
Equally interesting, China is attempting to move away from the export-led growth strategy that it and other East Asian countries have pursued. That strategy supported technology transfer, helping to close the knowledge gap and rapidly improving the quality of manufactured goods. Export-led growth meant that China could produce without worrying about developing the domestic market.
But a global backlash has already developed. Even countries seemingly committed to competitive markets don’t like being beaten at their own game, and often trump up charges of “unfair competition.” More importantly, even if markets are not fully saturated in many areas, it will be hard to maintain double-digit growth rates for exports.
So something has to change. China has been engaged in what might be called “vendor finance,” providing the money that helps finance the huge US fiscal and trade deficits, allowing Americans to buy more goods than they sell. But this is a peculiar arrangement: a relatively poor country is helping to finance America’s War on Iraq, as well as a massive tax cut for the richest people in the world’s richest country, while huge needs at home imply ample room for expansion of both consumption and investment.
In fact, to meet the challenge of restructuring China’s economy away from exports and resource-intensive goods, China must stimulate consumption. While the rest of the world struggles to raise savings, China, with a savings rate in excess of 40%, struggles to get its people to consume more.
Providing better social services (public health care, education, and nation-wide retirement programs) would reduce the need for “precautionary” savings. More access to finance for small and medium sized businesses would help, too. And “green taxes” – such as on carbon emissions – would shift consumption patterns while discouraging energy-intensive exports.
As China moves away from export-led growth, it will have to look for new sources of dynamism in its growing entrepreneurial ranks, which requires a commitment to creating an independent innovation system. China has long invested heavily in higher education and technology; now it is striving to create world-class institutions.
But if China wants a dynamic innovation system, it should resist pressure by Western governments to adopt the kind of unbalanced intellectual property laws that are being demanded. Instead, it should pursue a “balanced” intellectual property regime: because knowledge itself is the most important input in the production of knowledge, a badly designed intellectual property regime can stifle innovation – as has been the case in America in some areas.
Western technological innovation has focused too little on reducing the adverse environmental impact of growth, and too much on saving labor – something that China has in abundance. So it makes sense for China to focus its scientific prowess on new technologies that use fewer resources. But it is important to have an innovation system (including an intellectual property regime) that ensures that advances in knowledge are widely used. That may require innovative approaches, quite different from intellectual property regimes based on privatization and monopolization of knowledge, with the high prices and restricted benefits that follow.
Too many people think of economics as a zero-sum game, and that China’s success is coming at the expense of the rest of the world. Yes, China’s rapid growth poses challenges to the West. Competition will force some to work harder, to become more efficient, or to accept lower profits.
But economics is really a positive-sum game. An increasingly prosperous China has not only expanded imports from other countries, but is also providing goods that have kept prices lower in the West, despite sharply higher oil prices in recent years. This downward pressure on prices has allowed Western central banks to follow expansionary monetary policies, underpinning higher employment and growth.
We should all hope that China’s new economic model succeeds. If it does, all of us will have much to gain.

New Test Asks What 'American' Means

Patrick Henry and Francis Scott Key are out, but Susan B. Anthony and Nancy Pelosi are in. The White House was cut, but New York and Sept. 11 made the list.
Federal immigration authorities yesterday unveiled 100 new questions immigrants will have to study to pass a civics test to become naturalized American citizens.
David McNew, Getty Images As one of the qualifications to become a citizen, immigrants must answer 6 of 10 questions correctly. Click through the photos to try 10 of them on the list of 100. First question: Who is in charge of the executive branch?
The redesign of the test, the first since it was created in 1986 as a standardized examination, follows years of criticism in which conservatives said the test was too easy and immigrant advocates said it was too hard.
The new questions did little to quell that debate among many immigrant groups, who complained that the citizenship test would become even more daunting. Conservatives seemed to be more satisfied.
Bush administration officials said the new test was part of their effort to move forward on the hotly disputed issue of immigration by focusing on the assimilation of legal immigrants who have played by the rules, leaving aside the situation of some 12 million illegal immigrants here.
Several historians said the new questions successfully incorporated more ideas about the workings of American democracy and better touched upon the diversity of the groups — including women, American Indians and African-Americans — who have influenced the country’s history.
Would-be citizens no longer have to know who said, “Give me liberty or give me death,” or who wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.” But they do have to know what Susan B. Anthony did and who the speaker of the House of Representatives is.
Alfonso Aguilar, a senior official at Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that designs and administers the test, said it was not intended to be punitive.
“We don’t seek to fail anyone,” said Mr. Aguilar, an architect of the test.
Immigration officials said they sought to move away from civics trivia to emphasize basic concepts about the structure of government and American history and geography. In contrast to the old test, which some immigrants could pass without any study, the officials said the new one is intended to force even highly educated applicants to do reviewing.
“This test genuinely talks about what makes an American citizen,” said Emilio Gonzalez, the director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, speaking at a news conference in Washington.
The $6.5 million redesign was shaped over six years of discussions with historians, immigrant organizations and liberal and conservative research groups. The questions were submitted to four months of pilot testing this year with more than 6,000 immigrants who were applying for naturalization.
The agency will begin to use the revised test on Oct. 1, 2008, leaving a year for aspiring citizens to prepare and for community groups to adjust their study classes.
The overall format has not changed. Legal immigrants who are eligible to become citizens must pass the civics exam as well as a test of English proficiency in reading and writing. In a one-on-one oral examination, an immigration officer asks the applicant 10 questions of varying degrees of difficulty selected from the list of 100. To pass, the applicant must answer 6 of those 10 questions correctly. The questions released yesterday will remain public along with their answers.
Immigrants are eligible to become citizens if they have been legal permanent residents for at least five years (or three years if they are married to a citizen) and have “good moral character” and no criminal record.
In the pilot runs of the revised test, Mr. Aguilar said, the pass rates improved over the current tests, with 92 percent of participants passing on the first try, as opposed to 84 percent now. At least 15 questions were eliminated as a result of the pilot because they proved too difficult. For example, a question about the minimum wage was dropped because test takers were confused between federal and state rates, Mr. Aguilar said.
In the new test, the pilgrims have been replaced by “colonists,” and they are the subject of fewer questions, while slavery and the civil rights movement are the subject of more. A question was added asking what “major event” happened on Sept. 11, 2001.
The new test drops questions about the 49th and 50th states, but adds one about the political affiliation of the president. There are no questions about the White House. Instead, one question asks where the Statue of Liberty is.
In a statement today, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, one of the groups consulted in shaping the new test, denounced it as “the final brick in the second wall.” The group said the test included “more abstract and irrelevant questions” that tended to stump hard-working immigrants who had little time to study.
“People who take this seriously will have a good chance of passing,” said Gary Gerstle, a professor of American history at Vanderbilt University. “Indeed, their knowledge of American history may even exceed the knowledge of millions of American-born citizens.”
John Fonte, a senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, called the new test “a definite improvement.” But he said it should have included questions about the meaning of the oath of allegiance that new citizens swear. “I would like to see an even more vigorous emphasis on Americanization,” he said.
About 55 percent of the applicants who participated in the pilot test were from Latin American countries. Some Latino groups noted yesterday that no question on the new test refers to Latinos.
Mr. Aguilar said that the test was not intended to be a comprehensive review, but rather to include “landmark moments of American history that apply to every single citizen.”
Naturalizations have surged in recent years, to 702,589 last year from 537,151 in 2004, according to official figures. In July the fees to become a citizen increased sharply, to $675 from $405.

African governance

A new league table that names, shames and sometimes praises African countries

THE islands do rather better than the mainland. That is just one finding of an exercise to measure the performance of sub-Saharan Africa's 48 countries, judged by five sets of criteria that are totted up and averaged out to give each country an overall governance score. Mauritius and the Seychelles are run-away winners, with Botswana best of the mainlanders. The tiny Cape Verde Islands come fourth and mighty South Africa fifth. At the other end of the scale, war-smitten Somalia is worst, barely beaten by Congo, Chad and Sudan.
The league table is the idea of Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born British entrepreneur who sold his mobile-phone company, Celtel, to a Kuwait-based firm, MTC, for $3.4 billion (£1.8 billion) two years ago. Last year he said he would give a prize for “achievement in African leadership” worth $5m, plus $200,000 a year for life, to an African leader who “best provides security, health, education and economic development and who democratically transfers power to a successor.” A dozen retired African leaders hope to be considered as recipients.
Two scholars from America's Harvard University, Robert Rotberg and Rachel Gisselquist, are helping Mr Ibrahim assess the nominees and measure countries' performance—by such criteria as safety and security, rule of law and corruption, participation and human rights, economic opportunity, and human development. The “Ibrahim Index of African Governance” will, the tycoon hopes, come out every year—and prod African leaders into doing better.

Stronger China

Thanks to China, an American recession need not cause the whole world to crash
Illustration by Bill Butcher
ECONOMISTS have long warned that the world economy could not fly for ever on the single engine of American demand. A one-engined plane is more likely to crash. With its housing market blighted and its consumers growing fearful, America now faces a mounting risk of recession. The good news, however, is that the world has found some powerful new engines in China and other emerging economies. Even as credit markets seize up, a world economy that is less dependent on the United States is more likely to stay aloft.
The power of this new motor is startling. For several years, emerging Asian economies have accounted for more of global GDP growth than America has. This year China alone will for the first time accomplish the same feat all on its own (at market exchange rates), even if American growth holds up. American consumer spending is roughly four times the size of China's and India's combined, but what matters for global growth is the extra dollars of spending generated each year. In the first half of 2007 the increase in consumer spending (in actual dollar terms) in China and India together contributed more to global GDP growth than the increase in America did.
Of course, this silver lining has its cloud. A sharp slowdown in China now would have much nastier global consequences than in the past, and the Chinese economy has weaknesses. But it does not look like getting into trouble over the next couple of years (see article)—the period in which America looks as though it may be feeble. If China can keep flying high, it will help keep the world economy safe.
Of course, if America suffers a recession, then Asia's exports will weaken. But this should not hurt GDP growth too much because other factors should help offset the weakening. It helps that China and most other Asian emerging economies are now exporting more to the European Union than to America. China's exports to other emerging economies are growing even faster. It helps, too, that domestic spending has strengthened and is likely to stay strong: China, along with most of the rest of Asia, is one of few parts of the world without a housing bubble.
If emerging Asian economies start to look weak, their governments have some scope to strengthen them. Most, with the exception of India, have small budget deficits; some even have surpluses. So if exports collapse, governments also have ample scope to boost domestic demand.
Commodity prices, too, will continue to feel the effect of the emerging economies' increased importance. It is commonly assumed that an American recession would cause a sharp fall in the prices of oil and other commodities. But emerging Asia accounted for two-thirds of the increase in world energy demand over the past five years. So if Asia remains strong, commodity prices should too, and commodity-producing emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia and the Middle East will also continue to thrive.
Steady on
Emerging Asia cannot pick up all the slack if America goes into recession. Average world growth will slow—and, arguably, it needs to. But Asia can help to keep the world chugging along. Indeed, a modest slowing in the American economy could even help Asia in the long run if it forces governments to switch the mix of growth from exports to consumption and so make their future growth more sustainable.
Not so long ago, the rich world used to regard emerging economies as risky and unstable. That view needs to change: emerging economies now look like a force for stabilising the world economy.
Sep 27th 2007
From The Economist print edition

National leaders gather at UN for annual high-level debate

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is slated to open his first annual debate of the General Assembly this morning with an address leaders from across the world who have gathered at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Some 193 speakers are expected to participate in this year's general debate, including more than 70 heads of State and nearly 30 heads of government. The debate is scheduled to continue until 3 October.
Today's opening of the Assembly general debate takes place amid an intense period of diplomacy at UN Headquarters. High-level meetings on climate change, the Darfur conflict, Iraq, Afghanistan and the situation in the Middle East have been held over the past four days, and further meetings on critical issues, such as the permanent future status of Kosovo, are scheduled to be held this week.
The Secretary-General is also expected to conduct bilateral meetings with over 100 heads of State or government or ministers during the next two weeks.
Last week Mr. Ban told reporters that “as we move well into the 21st century, the United Nations is, once again, the global forum where issues are discussed and solutions are hammered out.”

Tackling climate change a moral obligation

In addition to the incontrovertible scientific data, there is an ethical dimension to combating climate change, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim said today in an address at the historic meeting on the issue at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
“The science is clear; it is unequivocal,” said Mr. Kerim, who has chosen “Responding to Climate Change” as the theme for this year’s general debate which kicks off tomorrow.
“Beyond the impact on ecosystems, economics and communities everywhere, we have a moral obligation to our fellow human beings,” he added.
Along with last month’s General Assembly thematic debate on climate change and the general debate, today’s landmark event – marking the largest-ever gathering of world leaders on the issue – will serve as a guide for the upcoming negotiations scheduled to take place in Bali, Indonesia, in December, Mr. Kerim noted.
That meeting seeks to determine future action on mitigation, adaptation, the global carbon market and financing responses to climate change for the period after the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol – the current global framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions – in 2012.
Solutions to the problem must be global in scope, with all countries, cities, towns and communities having a stake, the President said.
“What we need now is a stocktake, a clear vision of the way forward and a strategy to get us there together,” he said, proposing the creation of a comprehensive road map to lead the way forward for both the UN and its Member States in addressing climate change.
Beyond Bali, Mr. Kerim stated his intention to convene a General Assembly thematic debate early next year to reach a global consensus – bringing together the expertise of the UN, civil society, the private sector and academics – on how to stem climate change.
“We all agree that climate change is unquestionably the biggest challenge facing humanity in the 21st century,” he said. “There is no more time to waste. The momentum we have now must not be lost.”

UN general assembly in full swing

By Jonathan Marcus
While leaders call for climate action, convoys of vehicles idle outside
The United Nations General Assembly road show has arrived in New York, as it does every year.
Streets have been closed, security barriers erected on every avenue leading to the UN headquarters and summer temperatures are forcing the almost ubiquitous secret service agents, in their uniform dark grey suits, to wind down the windows of their black Jeep Suburbans parked on nearly every corner.
The ritual of the General Assembly allows each country's head of state or head of government - though some are represented by their foreign minister - to speak for 15 minutes.
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is first up, followed by his US counterpart George W Bush.
The speeches of key countries are closely watched for any evidence of an inflection or shift in their foreign policies
Nearly 200 speeches and several days later, the representative of Trinidad and Tobago will be the last to speak.
Each country determines the issues that it wants to raise.
There is no agenda as such, but obviously the speeches of key countries are closely watched for any evidence of an inflection or shift in their foreign policies.
Universal aspirations
The UN is a multi-faceted organisation that often comes in for more than its fair share of criticism and that is often poorly understood.
It is the first time this UN event has addressed climate change
It is the Security Council - in large part a club of its most powerful members - that often receives the most publicity.
But the General Assembly is an opportunity to highlight once again its universal aspirations.
Each leader gets the same amount of time and the same moment in the spotlight, whether it be Afghanistan or Russia, Cape Verde or the Marshall Islands.
People tend to forget that for all the focus on the Security Council and its important resolutions much of the UN's day-to-day business goes on far from the headquarters here in New York.
There are peacekeeping forces in many of the world's trouble spots. Major UN agencies such as the UNHCR help bring relief to distressed populations.
The IAEA oversees nuclear safety and promotes civil nuclear power (as well as its more familiar watchdog role).
And the World Health Organisation has an essential role in helping to stamp out disease and promote medical care around the globe.
Climate push
The role of the UN has been illustrated this year by a series of events that occurred even before the General Assembly began.
There have been high-level meetings on Afghanistan and Iraq helping to marshal support for their embattled governments.
The Middle East Quartet has met to bolster the chances of an Israel-Palestinian peace and there has been the one-day "high-level event" on climate change.
This is the first time such a gathering has addressed climate change, an issue that has risen high on the international agenda.
It fully illustrates the paradoxes of international diplomacy - while the leaders call for action and express lofty thoughts, convoys of gas-guzzling vehicles idle outside.
The seniority of their cargo is indicated by the number of vehicles in each line and their allocation of those black Jeep Suburbans.
For the local media, this year has once again been dominated by the "evil in our midst" story - the presence of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the invitation offered to him to speak and answer questions at New York's Columbia University.
his, however, is Mr Ahmadinejad's third visit to the UN - he is becoming something of a regular feature.
And he is just the latest in a long line of controversial leaders who may not be liked by the US administration of the day, but who must be let in to speak at the UN's annual event.

Legacy of the Little Rock Nine

Former President Bill Clinton will be in the Arkansas city of Little Rock on Tuesday to mark the experiences of a group of black students in 1957. The BBC's Nick Bryant examines events that still grip the American psyche.
Federal troops were dispatched to Little Rock's Central High
The Little Rock crisis of September 1957 pitted nine black schoolchildren against the brute force of southern racism, in one of the most climactic struggles of the civil rights era.
It came to symbolise not just the intransigence of white segregationists hell-bent on upholding their long-cherished "southern way of life" - as the region's system of racial apartheid was euphemistically known - but the willingness of young black activists to put their lives on the line to win freedom.
This three-week drama started on 4 September 1957, when a 15-year-old black schoolgirl named Elizabeth Eckford arrived at the gates of Little Rock's all-white Central High School.
17 May 1954: Supreme Court outlaws school segregation in Brown v the Board of Education
1 Dec 1955: Black woman challenges race law
5 Dec 1955: Black people boycott Montgomery buses
5 Mar 1956: US court victory for black students
22 Mar 1956: Martin Luther King convicted for bus boycott
25 Sep 1957: Troops end Little Rock school crisis
12 Aug 1959: Uproar as black students attend Little Rock
Like her eight cohorts, she was intent on becoming the latest beneficiary of the famed Brown ruling, the US Supreme Court decision three years earlier which paved the way for the integration of southern schools.
On reaching the school gates, she was blocked by a member of the Arkansas National Guard, carrying an M-1 rifle. He, like his fellow guardsmen, had been stationed there by the Governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, as part of the campaign of "massive resistance" mounted across the south in defiance of the Brown ruling.
Daring to dream
The stand-off on the streets of Little Rock quickly escalated into the most tumultuous showdown between a state and the federal government since the aftermath of the Civil War.
Terrance Roberts, one of the Nine, became a respected pscyhologist
The Little Rock Nine, as the group of schoolchildren became popularly known, had grown up in a region where the separation of the races was strictly regulated from the cradle to the grave.
Blacks were born in segregated hospitals and buried in segregated cemeteries. "Whites only" signs adorned restaurants, lunch counters, public toilets, swimming pools and water fountains.
Segregation was an idea carried to absurdity. In southern courtrooms, whites and blacks took oaths on separate bibles. In many southern hospitals, "white ambulances" were not allowed to come to the aid of black patients, however critical their condition. In North Carolina, it was illegal for a white student to use a textbook touched by black hands.
But the Little Rock Nine had also grown up in a post-war era in which:
segregation was increasingly discredited, both morally and intellectually
previously little-known young preachers, like the Martin Luther King, had started hammering at the walls of prejudice
black voters, especially in key northern battleground states like Illinois, Michigan and New York, were asserting themselves politically
Increasingly, blacks were no longer willing to be treated as second class citizens. They were daring to dream.
Eisenhower dealt a blow to the campaign of "massive resistance"
So, on 23 September, Elizabeth Eckford and her friends tried once more to gain entry to Central High. As ever, an unruly mob lay in wait, which turned ugly when they mistook a group of black journalists for the Little Rock Nine.
In the maelstrom of unchecked violence, the students slipped through a side door, and at 8.45 that morning the American flag was hoisted for the first time over an integrated Central High.
This experiment in integrated education lasted precisely three hours and 13 minutes. So gruesome was the violence outside that the city's reform-minded mayor ordered the black pupils' removal. He was afraid they were about to be lynched.
This proved the decisive moment in the whole confrontation, for it brought about the speedy intervention of the federal government.
On his way to the golf course when he learned about the riot, President Dwight Eisenhower decided he had no choice but to act. After all, the federal courts were being flagrantly disregarded.
Federal troops escorted the Little Rock Nine into the school
Within hours, the former supreme allied commander dispatched 1,000 paratroopers from the army's 101st Airborne - the famed Screaming Eagles.
It was the first time that federal troops had been dispatched to the south since Reconstruction, the troubled period in the aftermath of the Civil War. It was also the first time in the 20th Century that the US government had used military force to compel equal treatment for blacks.
Soon army jeeps were thundering through Little Rock carrying the Little Rock Nine to class.
This being the first civil rights crisis of the television age, disturbing pictures showing the spite and ugliness of southern racism were broadcast into people's living rooms. This created a groundswell of sympathy and hastened the quickening tempo of racial reform.
President Bill Clinton, himself a former Governor of Arkansas, understood its defining importance
By introducing troops, President Eisenhower also dealt a crushing blow to the campaign of "massive resistance" - an important lesson lost on his successor, John F Kennedy, who preferred appeasement in his dealings with recalcitrant southern governors.
President Bill Clinton, himself a former governor of Arkansas, more fully understood its defining importance. He returned to Little Rock on the 40th anniversary 10 years ago, to celebrate the students "who climbed these steps, passed through this door and moved our nation."
Such acts of public reconciliation helped cement his reputation among black voters, his most loyal constituency.
To this day, the Little Rock crisis has a powerful hold on the American psyche. Only three months ago, the US Supreme Court decided to limit the use of race by public school districts in determining the school students can attend.
The 5-4 ruling had the effect of rejecting affirmative action programmes designed to engineer more racially mixed classrooms. Opponents of the ruling complained it assaulted not just the Brown ruling but the spirit of the Little Rock Nine.
The members of that illustrious group are now in their mid-60s - heroes of the struggle for black equality, who braved hatred, violence and possible death to help prick the conscience of a nation.

Where MySpace and Facebook are headed

As social networks surge and new ones arise, the rivalry between the two biggest names is making the whole industry better.
By David Kirkpatrick
For all of Facebook's recent successes, MySpace continues to thrive. That's the theme of my recent big Fortune story on the MySpace/Facebook battle, "As Facebook takes off, MySpace strikes back." Meanwhile, innumerable permutations of the seductive social networking model continue to arise, because this is increasingly the kind of Internet that users are showing, with their behavior, that they want.
MySpace may remain social networking's giant - with 200 million members and expected revenues of $800 million this fiscal year - but it certainly has felt the impact of Facebook's big strategy shifts of the last year - both to open up its site to all comers and to turn itself into a "platform" on which other companies can deploy their own applications and Internet services.
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Play video
My Fortune article describes both a certain reflexive defensiveness at MySpace as well as a determination to improve. CEO Chris DeWolfe insists "MySpace has always been a platform," noting that it is by far the world's largest repository of "widgets," the small programs that users can import to show slideshows, create animations, or serve a variety of other purposes.
Even so, DeWolfe says he'll make the service a more welcoming environment for software partners. In a measured manner, MySpace will open up its site to the applications of others, depending on how members respond, he says.
Stanley Bing: Why I refuse to join MySpace
In an offhand manner, DeWolfe adds that he's noticed how useful Facebook's popular News Feed feature is. The News Feed, which generates bulletins about what your friends are doing all day long, is "pretty cool," he told me. I asked: "So would you want to have that kind of thing in MySpace?" "Yeah," he replied, "It makes sense to put all that in one place at some point." I believe he'll build one.
As social networks, Facebook and MySpace help you get different kinds of things done with people. MySpace puts a heavy emphasis on new media - especially music, video, and films. That has not been a big part thus far of the Facebook experience, which is more about communicating efficiently.
If e-mail was the killer app of the first era, social networking is for this one. It is, by the way, increasingly taking over where e-mail left off. Yesterday I was exchanging video messages with friends on Facebook, even though I was home sick wearing a grungy T-shirt. On a social network, you don't send e-mail to an address, you send it to a person. Just click on their name and create a message. That's a very different experience conceptually and emotionally from e-mail.
It still amazes me how many different forms this new online environment can take. In my own old-fashioned e-mail I'm finding more and more missives from solicitous PR people concerning social networks of various stripes. Here are a few topics I've been pitched about just in the past week:
"Gather.com is the hottest social media site for grown-ups...'a scholarly MySpace with less hook-ups and more intellectual stimulation.' "
'Competitor TeeBeeDee (http://www.tbd.com), "the place for people over 40 who believe that life is still to be determined." If I hadn't been sick yesterday I would have lunched with Robin Wolaner, who launched the site.
The "emo-social media site Respectance (http://respectance.com)," "a communal grieving space...[to] share memories of loved ones."
"Marketocracy (http://www.marketocracy.com) has built an army of tens of thousands of investing fanatics who trade stocks on their Website using virtual money."
LawLink (http://www.lawlink.com), described in a press release as "a new professional and social networking site for attorneys."
Reunion.com, "the leading web site...to reconnect and stay connected with family, friends, lost loves, and colleagues," brags that it has a "new Web 2.0-friendly redesign." Nielsen/Netratings says Reunion.com is the 6th-largest U.S. social network. Its competitor Classmates Online (http://www.classmates.com) is about three times larger, behind only MySpace and Facebook. (I always found Classmates annoyingly expensive for what it delivered - info about my high-school classmates.)
But I'm waiting for it all to go much deeper. My friend Scott Rafer (see "Riding the social networks wave" from August) e-mails about a company he's working with called Lending Club, which is a good pointer to how powerful social-network applications may eventually become.
Lending Club, which also operates its own site (http://www.lendingclub.com/home.action), created an application on Facebook in May. It already has 15,000 users there who loan and borrow money - over $1 million in transactions thus far. Lenders can make their own judgments about the creditworthiness of borrowers by using Facebook data about workplace, education, geography and other personal affinities.
Most loan amounts are under $500. While some might wonder about the risks lenders take on in such deals, the viral communication properties of Facebook will ensure that, if borrowers stop paying back their loans, word will spread quickly and the lending will almost surely stop just as fast.
As I wrote way back when Facebook launched its platform in May ("Facebook's plan to hook up the world"), I'm waiting for applications that allow me to find out in real time where all my friends are, or who they plan to vote for in a coming election, or what they think about the various products they own. Such services will surely come. There is very little that we do that we couldn't do better, more efficiently, and with more enjoyment if we could do it with our friends.

Iceland phasing out fossil fuels for clean energy

Iceland may be best known for world-famous musical export Bjork but there's a new star quickly gaining this island nation worldwide acclaim -- clean energy.
This hydrogen fuel cell car is leading an energy revolution in Iceland.
For more than 50 years Iceland has been decreasing its dependence on fossil fuels by tapping the natural power all around this rainy, windswept rock of fire.
Waterfalls, volcanoes, geysers and hot springs provide Icelanders with abundant electricity and hot water.
Virtually all of the country's electricity and heating comes from domestic renewable energy sources -- hydroelectric power and geothermal springs.
It's pollution-free and cheap.
Yet these energy pioneers are still dependent on imported oil to operate their vehicles and thriving fishing industry.
Iceland's geographic isolation in the North Atlantic makes it expensive to ship in gasoline -- it costs almost $8 a gallon (around $2 a liter).
Iceland ranks 53rd in the world in greenhouse gas emissions per capita, according to the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center -- the primary climate-change data and information analysis center of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Retired University of Iceland Professor Bragi Arnason has come up with a solution: Use hydrogen to power transportation. Hydrogen is produced with water and electricity, and Iceland has lots of both.
"Iceland is the ideal country to create the world's first hydrogen economy," Arnason explains. His big idea has earned him the nickname "Professor Hydrogen."
Arnason has caught the attention of General Motors, Toyota and DaimlerChrysler, who are using the island-nation as a test market for their hydrogen fuel cell prototypes.
One car getting put through its paces is the Mercedes Benz A-class F-cell -- an electric car powered by a DaimlerChrysler fuel cell. Fuel cells generate electricity by converting hydrogen and oxygen into water. And fuel cell technology is clean -- the only by-product is water. Watch the F-cell navigate through Reykjavik »
"It's just like a normal car," says Asdis Kritinsdottir, project manager for Reykjavik Energy. Except the only pollution coming out of the exhaust pipe is water vapor. It can go about 100 miles on a full tank. When it runs out of fuel the electric battery kicks in, giving the driver another 18 miles -- hopefully enough time to get to a refueling station. Filling the tank is similar to today's cars -- attach a hose to the car's fueling port, hit "start" on the pump and stand back. The process takes about five to six minutes.

Online music fees pose digital dilemma

By Robert Plummer
As record labels struggle to find new ways of selling music in the digital age, some companies are clearly more confused than others.
Even a dose of bling could not save Sony's Atrac format
Take Sony, for instance. It owns 50% of Columbia Records, the oldest and most venerable name in recorded sound.
Columbia's co-chairman, Rick Rubin, has joined the list of music industry executives who think that an online flat-rate subscription service is the way to combat digital piracy and file-sharing.
"You'd pay, say, $19.95 (£10) a month, and the music will come from anywhere you'd like," he told the New York Times earlier this month.
"In this new world, there will be a virtual library that will be accessible from your car, from your cellphone, from your computer, from your television."
Unfortunately, no-one shared this joined-up vision of the future with Sony Corporation bosses, who announced just days earlier that they were closing down the company's download store.
The decision comes as part of what is, in effect, the wholesale scrapping of Sony's entire digital music strategy.
Until now, Sony's digital players had been primarily designed around its proprietary Atrac audio format, although initial Atrac-only players were replaced three years ago by ones that would also play MP3 files.
Now it is getting rid of Atrac altogether and phasing out its Sony Connect music store from March 2008. Future Sony players will handle a range of formats, including Microsoft's Windows Media Audio (WMA).
But how likely is it that somone will realise Rick Rubin's vision of an all-embracing legal digital music service?
eMusic Basic: 30 song downloads a month; £8.99 a month
eMusic Plus: 50 song downloads a month; £11.99 a month
eMusic Premium: 75 song downloads a month; £14.99 a month
Well, there are currently two types of online subscription model on offer, neither of them exactly what Mr Rubin has in mind.
One is available from eMusic, the world's number two digital music service with 10-11% of the market.
For a monthly fee, customers have the right to download a certain number of songs in MP3 format without any digital rights restrictions.
Music lovers can choose from 2.9 million tracks owned by 20,000 independent labels.
The snag is that none of the Big Four major record companies - EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner - are included.
Napster PC music service: Unlimited protected downloads; £9.95 a month
Napster To Go: Also allows transfer to compatible players; £14.95 a month
The other is offered by a number of different firms including Napster, once a byword for illegal file-sharing and now one of the internet's best-known legitimate services.
Under this system, consumers essentially rent their music.
For a monthly fee, they can download as many tracks as they like, but the music sits on the computer's hard drive and cannot be transferred, although there is a more expensive service that allows copying to a compatible player.
The music lasts only as long as you keep paying the monthly subscription. After that, the licence expires and the tracks become unplayable - unless you can crack the Digital Rights Management (DRM) that controls them.
Celestial jukebox
The chief executive of eMusic, David Pakman, is understandably keen to exalt his company's system over any other possible kind of subscription. But he swiftly points out the flaw in the "Rubin model" of music service.
"Per capita spending on music in the US in 2005 was $24 a year," he says. "Music as a utility would pre-suppose that Americans are prepared to spend more on music than they did then, but speculation is that it's somewhat less than that now."
In other words, Americans probably spend in a year on music what Mr Rubin would like them to spend in a month - and there is no reason to believe that people in the UK or elsewhere are any different.
eMusic's boss says the world is not ready for music as a utility
In any case, as far as Mr Pakman is concerned, his customers simply don't want what he calls the "jukebox-in-the-sky" version of music subscription.
"We are a business that's really focused on customers who are 25 years and older," he says.
"We have a subscription-based system in that consumers pay monthly, but they are buying a pre-set number of downloads.
"Every song, you own and can keep forever. Our age group still thinks of music in an ownership capacity. They're not ready to think about a rental model.
"I think it's a long-term view. It's quite possible that music will be a service, but that's really a model that's not been adopted by consumers."
'Digital air'
The main problem with subscription-based services is that the leading name in music downloads, Apple's iTunes, has managed to corner two-thirds of the market without resorting to them at all.
With most tracks retailing at 79p each and albums at £7.99, Apple is doing so well selling digital music as goods that the idea of music as a service still seems a long way off.
But as sales of virtual music rise, traditional record shops are looking increasingly beleaguered.
David Killington calls virtual music "digital air"
In the UK, there are only two national chains of High Street record retailers left after a number of high-profile casualties. One of those, Virgin, has just changed hands and is to be rebranded as Zavvi.
Smaller shops, too, are going under - yet some store owners may still have the last laugh.
David Killington had to close his Mr CD shop in London's Berwick Street, as reported by the BBC News website in June.
But as he says, there are drawbacks to owning all your music as digitised information instead of physical artefacts.
"When [bad] times arise and you need to raise some cash, there is always a chance to sell off some rarely-played discs that can be sacrificed from your collection," he says.
"With buying downloads, you are purchasing digital air without any resale value whatsoever."
The idea of music subscriptions is not going to go away, and many in the music industry are hotly debating how to make it work.
The latest suggestion, from Universal Music Group, is to make people pay through their internet service providers for the right to swap music.
But pricing levels will be crucial - or else the cost of "digital air" could well leave consumers breathless.

Ethiopian Millennium as a Signifier of Long Historical Journey

Ayele Bekerie, PhD
Cornell University

Hulet Sheh Amet. Kileetu Amaat. Ezra Me’et. Two Thousand Years. Second Millennium. Twenty First Century. These are terms that we have heard or read about for over a year now. They have dominated the air, print media, Internet outlets, blogs, or social conversations among Ethiopians, at home and abroad. No other event has attracted our attention, for an extended period of time, as much as the new Ethiopian New Year.It is perhaps the most singular event that brings Ethiopians together, if not in one place,but in spirit as we celebrate our Amaat all over the world, from Melbourne, Australia,Toronto, Canada, Seattle Washington, London, England, Geneva, Switzerland, Dallas,Texas, New York City, New York, Jimma, Ethiopia, Jijiga, Ethiopia, Mekele, Ethiopia,Bahr Dar, Ethiopia, Awasa, Ethiopia, Nekempt, Ethiopia, Harar, Ethiopia. Our new reality is certainly contrary to Edward Gibbon’si view of Ethiopians. The Ethiopians are awake in a thousand places fully aware of the world. Amaat or Isra Meet is terms that signify our temporal literacy and long historical journey.We are indeed lucky to have had the opportunity to celebrate such a unique historical event; after all it happens once in every eighty generations. I sincerely wish Happy New Amaat and Happy New Year to all Ethiopians. I am hopeful that we mark the event by getting involved in chosen activities, for the good of our motherland, in the New Year.Amaat or Isra Meet further signifies the ability of a people to define and control their time. And as one historian puts it, those who control time, control their past. And those who control their past control the present and have vision for the future. Our festive gathering here and everywhere to mark September 12, 2007 is our way of affirming the need to define and control time. The date is a great milestone in our reckoning of time.We enter into a new century, with confidence and hope, to build a better future.
As a result of our ability to create and maintain our own calendar, domesticate, cultivate or pastoralize a great many plants and animals, formulate and build institutions of power,learning, society and religion, invent and develop their own writing systems and numbers, and set aside their differences to defend their country from external enemies, it is appropriate to salute Ethiopians as Persons of the Millennium.At the beginning of the first millennium, the Aksumites, our ancestors, were busy dressing their monolithic stelae, the largest Aksum stela was the tallest and heaviest monolithic structure in the world, with distinct architectural narratives signifying remarkable achievements in governance, agriculture, trade, literature, aesthetics, religion,numismatics, diplomacy, and arts. Our ancestors carved their sense of home, small or big, private or public on the monument so as to distinctly define us as free people.
According to historical accounts, the Aksumites made a religious breakthrough by
synthesizing the traditions of the Old Testament and the New Testament into a unique
and dynamic tradition of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The tradition of the
Old Testament was a tradition of our great legendary Queen Makeda and her son Menelik
I. It was a tradition that dominated part of our history some three thousand years ago.
In our long history, faith is a constant factor that informs our continuity and sense of identity. As we celebrate, the end of the second millennium, we give thanks to our ancestors who developed a reliable and unique way of time reckoning. We are grateful to our ancestors, who gave us a calendar not only to control our own time, but also to frame the meanings of our Ethiopian identity. Looking back two thousand years, we recognize that our ancestors achieved great deeds, from which we draw our strength as a people and continue to use as guiding light and inspiration for our future. We may draw the following seven principles from their immortal deeds: Power, Peace, Prosperity,Plurality, Purpose, Piety, and Perseverance.
At the beginning of the second millennium, on the other hand, the Agaus and the Lastas,another ancestral Ethiopians, were busy chiseling another set of architectural narratives,informed by the Aksumite narratives, into a mountain of solid rock. The great rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, recognized by many as the eighth wonders of the world, are lasting examples of St Lalibela and Queen Meskal Kebra’s visionary leadership. In fact, Bete Medhane Alem, one of the twelve rock-hewn churches, is the largest rock-hewn church in the world.
In the east, in Harar, at the beginning of the second millennium, our Muslim brothers and sisters were busy constructing urban narratives greatly enhanced by surrounding walls and the seven heavenly gates. Local and foreign traders freely traded their goods and services in this magnificent city with several mosques, shopping centers and other urban attributes. Later on the city also welcomed the building of churches and other governmental institutions. It was the vision of the founders of Harar city that ultimately resulted into an internationally recognized designation of Harar as a City of Peace.At the end of the second millennium or at the beginning of the third millennium, we have
the Ethiopian people who successfully retained the rich traditions of the past. They are striving to build their own modernity informed by the rich traditions of the last 2000 years. Upon reflection, we realize that we are endowed with rich and diverse traditions. It is our duty in the twenty first century to root out poverty, injustice, diseases and hunger, informed by historical and cultural legacies and by tapping into the lessons of economic achievements by the peoples of Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Who are the Ethiopians who claim ownership of the New Millennium?
The Ethiopians are the people who trace their human ancestry to Dinqnesh (Some like to call her Lucy).
The Ethiopians are the people of the Bible and the Holy Q’uoran. The Ethiopians are the faithful who stretch their hands unto God. The Ethiopians are the people who welcomed and protected the followers of the Prophet Mohammed at the formative period of Islam.
The Ethiopians are the people of dega, woina dega and qolla as well as islands and
foreign lands. The Ethiopians are the people associated with major and minor rivers.
The Ethiopians are the people who invented agriculture by domesticating a variety of
plants and animals. They are the people of Inset and Teff and Long Horn Cattle.
The Ethiopians are the people who introduced coffee to the whole world.
The Ethiopians are the people who carved and dressed monolithic stones so as to
permanently display the blueprints of their homes, palaces, churches or temples. The
Ethiopians are the people who re-created the holy city of Jerusalem by turning a
mountain of rock into a mountain of faith. The Ethiopians are the people who
transformed a long winding limestone cave into a sacred site of Islam.
The Ethiopians are the people of pastoral egalitarian democracy, as in the Oromo Gada
system, in which leaders are elected and serve only one term.
The Ethiopians are the people who invented a common language through their culinary
arts. Injera bewot, qochona kitfo, yetsom wot, qurt sega, yegebs qolo, dabo qolo, katikala,tej, ambasha are universally cherished legacies. The people of the world, through Ethiopian restaurants, enjoy these culinary traditions, thanks to the works of enterprising Ethiopians.
The Ethiopians are the people who know how to close ranks against external enemies.
The Ethiopians are the people who invented social networking in good and bad times via as Zemma, Qene, and Semena Worq. Ethiopians are also the people who are deeply
immersed in their oral traditions.
The Ethiopians are the people who inspired movements against colonial and racial
oppressions. They are the people who transformed their capital city into the capital city of Africa and the African Diaspora.
The Ethiopians are the people who are known for their diverse songs and dances. The
measure of a good singer is his or her ability to sing the great cultural song called Tizita (memories). In fact, Tizita captures the moods, aspirations, tribulations and joy of Ethiopians. Ethiopians love the Iskista of Gojam, Gondar or Menjar. We adore the rhythmic high jumps of the Oromos or the circular moves of the Tigres. We swear by the speedy cheferas of the Gurages. We delight ourselves by watching the hip-centered sensuous movements of the Wolaitas.
The Ethiopians are the people who practice their artistic talents and aesthetic expressions by painting, tattooing, piercing their god-given bodies. The Ethiopians are endowed with sene qal, sene tsehuf, kine tibeb, sene zema. And sene akal.
The Ethiopian people are chosen Persons of the Millennium because they passed to us a
tradition by defeating their enemies, by defending their values, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We salute our mothers who supplied qolo, dabo qolo, besso, and other logistics in all the battlefronts. In some instances, they have pulled the swords, fired the guns in defense of their country.
We salute our religious leaders who always council for religious tolerance and mutual
respect among all beliefs and denominations in the country. It is our duty to visit sacred sites throughout the country.
We salute the Ethiopians in the Diaspora who maintain their ties to the motherland by
sharing their fortunes and skills with families, institutions and various civic or charity organizations. We also salute those who make regular trips to our motherland. We congratulate those who returned back and get involved in the development of our
In the last 2000 years, history has recorded ups and downs, victories and tragedies, hopes and despairs, rule of law and lawlessness, tolerance and cruelty, human elevation and degradation, achievements and disappointments, feasts and famines, as well as discoveries and destructions. Given the richness of our immensely long past, our timetested desire to live free, our sense of spirituality and philosophical conviction of unity in diversity, it is our hope that we pledge to mark the third millennium by fulfilling the seven principles extracted from the deeds of our ancestors.
We believe that the people of Ethiopia are poised in the new millennium to make a
breakthrough with regard to food security, participatory democracy, cultural plurality, individual opportunities and peaceful coexistence with all our neighbors.
September 8, 2007
Source: The original article was published by the Ethiopian American magazine and it
has been further modified for the Millennium Symposium.

Ethiopia’s economic growth, challenges, globalization in the eyes of Stiglitz

Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz
The Ethiopia’s economy has been doing well over the last few years is not that disputable. In fact, it has got recognition both from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.Recognized around the world as a leading economic educator, Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz on Monday also seemed impressed by Ethiopia’s economic growth, although he was as well concerned on the challenges ahead to keep that growth sustainable for a longer period.
Invited by the Ethiopian Economic Association and the Ethiopian Development Research Institute to give a lecture on growth and globalization at the headquarters of Economic Commission for Africa, Stiglitz says, “It has been impressive to see Ethiopia’s growth being sustained for the last four years by some ten percent.”
According to him, most of the rest of the East African countries and other developing nations have also been doing well.
What, however, struck Stiglitz about Ethiopia’s growth seemed the source of it. “Some of the growth these developing countries registered over the last several years is a result of increase in commodity prices, particularly in the case of China. The success in Ethiopia is clearly far more than that. It has got to do with an increase in production output, diversification, and going into new areas,” says the professor.
According to Stiglitz, the main challenge will be keeping that growth for a longer period. “The question everybody is asking is how to make that growth sustainable and how to ensure that the benefit of that growth is widely shared.”
The Professor says that Ethiopia was lucky given its recent history and the difficulties it had come through. “At least, Ethiopia has one of the most egalitarian distributions of income in the world,” he says.
In contrast, in much of the developing world, not only are there high levels of inequality, but also the level of the inequality has been increasing very dramatically, according to the professor. Even in China, which has been very successful in reducing poverty, the level of inequality has reached alarming point, he says.
According to the professor, this increase in inequality both within and between countries is providing a real challenge for anybody concerned with egalitarian growth. And the notion that as long as there is growth everybody benefits in what is termed as a “trickle-down economy,” has, in fact, proved wrong, says the world-renowned economist. “There was no good economic theory behind a trickle-down economy and the evidence that support it.”
“The US current GDP is 20 percent higher than it was in 2000 and yet most Americans are poorer than they were six years ago. The number of people living in poverty in the US has increased. All that growth has gone to the people at the very top and the growth registered was pro-rich,” Stiglitz says. “This phenomenon is worrisome and is happening in many parts of the world.” Globalization is partly a cause of this, according to the professor.
While the debate in Ethiopia and in Africa is part of the broader argument on developmental strategy that has been going on for a long time, Stiglitz suggests a number of ways and means that Ethiopia and other African countries could do in order to help keep up their growth.
One important aspect that Stiglitz suggests is an effective role of the state in the developmental processes of African countries. “Market failure is one area where governments can play an important role,” he says. Although there is governance problem, “no country has been successful without having an important role from the government.” At one time or another, the government has played an important role in the US as well as Europe, according to stiglitz.
The professor also notes that developing countries should identify and focus at their comparative advantages in global economy.
Stiglitz suggests that access to finance is another area developing countries should consider. “Access to finance is essential for the long-term growth of especially small and medium enterprises, while these businesses are the source for more jobs.”
The professor also indicates how knowledge would help the growth of developing countries.
Commenting on globalization, the professor would not deny that Africa was at disadvantage. “Many people had said that Africa had benefited from globalization probably because it has been least integrated into the global economy,” Stiglitz says. “That may not be an accurate description because Africa has, sometimes alarmingly, been affected in many ways by what has been going in the world economy.” According to the professor, the global rules of trade are unfair to the poorest countries. “Not only are the US and Europe the major beneficiaries of globalization, but the benefits they gain come also from the expense of the poor countries of the world.”
While globalization has its ups and downs in the countries’ economy, the concern growing with it is growing inequality within and between countries.
“If you see a world in which water flows uphill, you would say something is very weird about that world. Money should be flowing from the rich to the poor. But within this anti-gravity financial market, money has been flowing from the poor to the rich,” Stiglitz says. According to him, some USD 500 billion last year went from poor countries to rich nations.
The good news is, says Stiglitz, that there was a growing recognition of many of these problems. “We can shape globalization to work. There are ways that could make globalization work for both the developed and developing countries.”
“It is a time of change in Ethiopia and in Africa,” the professor says. Given the growth that has been experienced, the challenge will be how to make that sustainable, according to Stiglitz. “I think there are some real opportunities with globalization, particularly if we can shape the way it is working now.”

Nokia introduces Amharic-pad feature to mobile phones

The mobile phone giant Nokia, launched the first mobile handsets that feature Amharic.
The company displayed new products - Nokia 1200, 1208, 2630 and 2760 - which have features and applications specifically designed for markets such as Ethiopia. The products will give customers an option to operate the features written in Amharic the language. The five products are equipped with an Amharic keypad.
Levi Girma, Nokia accounts manager, told journalists that customers who would use the new products could exchange text messages written in Amharic. Levi said users could also write text messages in other local languages by using Amharic alphabets. "We are working with the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation to interface the new service with the existing system of the local operator. We are testing the system," he said.
The price of the new handsets is between 35 and 90 dollars excluding customs duty, transportation and other costs. The new handsets would soon be available for sale through Nokia's authorized distributor in Ethiopia, Glorious PLC. All handsets purchased from the authorized distributor will have a 12-month warranty.
Pioter Labuszewski, area manager for Nokia in East Africa, said that Nokia was the first handset manufacturer to launch local languages in countries like, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Mozambique, adding that the launch of the Amharic based devices will further enhance the convenience for the Ethiopian market. "We have seen the benefits of adding local languages across the continent and we expect similar results in Ethiopia," he said.
Established in 1865, Nokia has a 38 percent market share in the global market. Its annual sales amount to over 41 billion euro.

Bill Gates leads Forbes rich list

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has been ranked as the wealthiest person in America for the 14th year in a row.
Forbes magazine put Gates' fortune at $59bn, with investment guru Warren Buffet in second place with a net worth of $52bn.

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and software tycoon Larry Ellison remained at third and fourth place on Forbes' list of the 400 richest Americans.

It took a net worth of at least $1.3bn to earn a spot in the rankings.

Google founders fifth

For the first time since 1989 there were no members of Walton family, which established Wal-Mart Stores, in the top 10.

They were displaced by Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who came in joint fifth place, with fortunes of $18.5bn apiece.

Investor Kirk Kerkorian was the biggest gainer on the list, his fortune rising by more than $9bn in the past year to $18bn, putting him in seventh place.

"Wall Street really led the charge this year," said Matthew Miller, editor of the Forbes list. "God only knows if they'll be on it next year. It really just depends on what the market does."

The collective net worth of the 400 billionaires totalled $1.54 trillion - more than Canada's GDP.

Long Live the Spirit

Early on September 11, two friends who met at Wollo Sefer on Bole road were greeting each other.
That they had spent the whole night celebrating the New Year and the Ethiopian Millennium was very obvious. One of them was draped in the Ethiopian flag and the other had it wrapped around his head.
“Happy millennium my friend! Insh Allah, our country will have another blessed two thousand years,” one of them said as they hugged each other.
Beginning Tuesday, Addis truly was the “new flower”.
All over the city the red, gold and green national flag was placed on most of its buildings. The streets were adorned with lights of the same color.
“This is a special day. Imagine, it comes once in a thousand years. I have not only put up our flag on the gates of my company but I have also put it up outside my home and on my car,” one resident of the capital told The Reporter.
Beginning late Tuesday afternoon, people flocked to the three concert areas in the city - the national stadium, Jan Meda, and the 10 million birr Millennium Concert Hall on Bole road specifically built for the occasion by the Saudi-Ethiopian tycoon, Mohamed Al-Amoudi.
Mesqel Square was packed with revelers who came from all over the country to follow the celebrations in the Millennium Concert Hall as it was being televised on an LED screen.
By 9:00 in the evening the city was filled with the sound of music; fireworks began well before midnight.
But this was not just a mere celebration to welcome the third Ethiopian millennium which is based on the country’s unique calendar that is approximately seven years and four months behind the rest of the world.
Officials as well as organizers of the millennium celebration had been making deliberate efforts to stress the point that this was to be an occasion marking an important milestone in the history of this country as well as the whole continent.
“Beyond just a new year and a century's end, the year 2000 will also be a millennium's end and as a threshold, it will be significant because it marks our entry into the third millennium. It would also compel us to re-examine our values, our institutions and us. Our vision is to celebrate the new millennium as the millennium of Love, Peace and Prosperity by promoting it through our unity in diversity. We have dedicated the Ethiopian millennium celebration to create an urge and a common platform among our future generation and the general public on the importance of peace and development by innovating new thinking patterns suitable to each segment of the society based on their needs and desires,” Mulugeta Asrate, Director General of the Millennium Secretariat, said during Africa Day on May 25 this year.
Mulugeta, who was addressing African heads of state and other senior officials added, “An integral element of our millennium celebration is that we should feel the greater need, now more than ever, to educate ourselves and the world about what amalgam of historical events has given birth to our collective African experience.”
A week before the celebrations Prime Minister Meles, who gave an interview to the Time Magazine, touched on the point saying that he hoped that the coming millennium would be one “as good as the first and not as bad as the second.”
Meles spoke of this in more detail during his speech at the openin
g of the Ethiopian Millennium Celebrations on Tuesday.
“After centuries of repeatedly aroused and dashed hopes, this generation of Ethiopians is turning a new page. A glorious new page of our history where poverty will merely be a footnote in our long history is being written with the sweat and toil of millions of farmers and pastoralist, businesspersons - both small and big - and workers and the intelligentsia, a glorious new page of our history where our diversity becomes a source of strength through tolerance and democracy rather than a source of problems, through the patient and methodical efforts of all our nationalities, followers of all the great religions of our country, men and women, young and old,” Meles said.
“A thousand year from now, when Ethiopians gather to welcome the fourth millennium, they shall say that the eve of the third millennium was the beginning of the end of the dark ages in Ethiopia. They shall say that the eve of the third millennium was the beginning of Ethiopian renaissance.”
Special on the occasion was also the attendance of heads of state from neighboring countries.
Present on the occasion were Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, Djibouti's Ismael Guelle, Kenya’s Mwai Kibaki, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President Abdullahi Yusuf of Somalia.
Addressing the gathering on Tuesday, Secretary of General of the African Union Alfa Oumar Konare also spoke of the importance that the Ethiopian Millennium had for the rest of Africa.
“Today, dear brothers and sisters, there is reason for hope, if despite the difficulties, democracy, a guarantor of pluralism, and good governance are implemented in non violence, but we need peace. We need peace at home, peace with our neighbors, peace in Somalia, peace in Darfur, Sudan, peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea. We need to fight violence and terrorism. We need to renew this commitment on this September 11- a September 11 for life.”
The concert hall resounded with applause as Konare continued: “We thank Ethiopia for Adwa, for 1932, for the symbol of the independence of Africa. We thank Ethiopia for keeping up the flame of African Unity. We thank Ethiopia for being the home of all Africans in Africa and the Diaspora. Thank you Ethiopia for resting us and giving us a home.”
Konare closed his remark by expressing his wish that the Ethiopian millennium would be the millennium for African renaissance, and of the United States of Africa.
“The new Ethiopia is moving ahead. Long live Ethiopia, long live Ethiopia. Africa for Africans!” Konare said.
The spirit of the Ethiopian millennium is not only shared by Ethiopians and Africans but also foreigners who came to celebrate it here.
“My sister and I have come to realize that Ethiopia is different. Where would you find people who run after you when you have forgotten your expensive property somewhere? And this actually did happen to us when we forgot a camera in a taxi here. In Ethiopia, there is the spirit of aliveness, the spirit of kindness and compassion to others,” a visitor from Switzerland told The Reporter.
Despite some events being cancelled for security reasons the millennium festivities were held without any disturbances.By Namrud Berhane

Google calls for web privacy laws

Search site Google has called on governments and business to agree a basic set of global privacy rules.
Without global standards the health of the internet was at risk, the firm's privacy chief Peter Fleischer told a UN agency conference in Strasbourg.

He said that the rise of the net meant vast amounts of personal data was now regularly shipped around the globe.

That information often passed through countries with insufficient or no data protection laws, he said.

"Every time a person uses a credit card their information may cross six or seven national boundaries," Mr Fleischer said before the event.

Hostile past

Three quarters of countries have no privacy rules at all and among those that do, many were largely adopted before the rise of the internet, he said.

Europe, for example, has strict privacy regulations, but these rules were set out in 1995, largely before the rise of the commercial internet, he said.

In contrast, the United States has no country-wide privacy laws, instead leaving them to individual states or even industries to set up.

"The minority of the world's countries that have privacy regimes follow divergent models," a copy of his speech said. "Citizens lose out because they are unsure about what rights they have given the patchwork of competing regimes."

Google has previously come under repeated fire about its own privacy policies.

In June, rights group Privacy International rated the search giant as "hostile" to privacy in a report ranking web firms by how they handle personal data.

A month later, the firm said it would change its policies so that its cookies, tiny files stored on a computer when a user visits a website, would auto-delete two years after a user's last visit to its site. Previously they were set to delete in 2038.

Speaking at the Strasbourg Unesco conference, Mr Fleischer called for countries to adopt principles agreed by some Asia-Pacific nations.

The APEC guidelines have nine principles that aim to protect the individual and safeguard data collection.

They have been accepted by countries ranging from Australia to Vietnam.

"If privacy principles can be agreed in such divergent countries, then we think that is a model for the rest of the world," Mr Fleischer said before the speech.

A timely and well-done "thank you"

Addis Ababa, September 14, 2007 (Addis Ababa) - Prime Minister Meles Zenawi awarded Sheik Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi, the renowned tycoon, late Thursday with the ‘first special millennium golden medal’ for his exemplary deeds for the development of Ethiopia and its people.

During the awarding ceremony, Meles said Sheik Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi is elected as “Special Millennium Person” since the businessman has practically proved his love and sympathy for Ethiopia and its people.

Meles said the sheik has been launching various investment projects in Ethiopia, even without proving the profitability of the projects, due to his love and sympathy for the country and for the peoples of the nation.

He also contributed a lot for the success of the celebration of the new Ethiopian millennium, according to Meles.

The honorable businessman becomes the first to be awarded with the medal, he said, other personalities would also be awarded for their exemplary deeds for the development of the country over the coming one year.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Agriculture and Rural Development, Addissu Legesse said on his part that Sheik Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi is named as “Special Millennium Person” for his extraordinary deeds for the benefit of Ethiopia and its people.

Addisu, who is also head of the national millennium celebration council secretariat, said the national council is jubilant over the celebrations of the millennium through public participation.

“I was awarded and honored when the Ethiopian government allowed me to invest in y country”, the sheik said, “Let’s work together to pull this country out of poverty within the coming five years”.

The awarding ceremony followed by a banquet attracted senior government officials, diplomatic corps, and other invited guests.

A documentary film featuring the upbringing of the renowned tycoon was screened after the awarding ceremony.

Happy Ethiopian Millennium

Editorial Ethiopian Observer
not for only for celebrations but for transformation of our Ethiopian society into an overall development in all spheres of life. This is an occasion, which comes once in thousand years and we hope that this and the coming generations look forward for a strong and prosperous Ethiopia both living in mutual understanding and harmony.

Everybody has to pledge to work harder for the benefit of oneself and the society, safeguard the interests of Ethiopia and strengthen both the rule of law and democratic institutions. Instead of dwelling on and spreading parochial outlooks, extremist ideas and animosities, let’s assure ourselves to be civilized in dealing with political views, discourse, disagreements and play by the rule of the game and comply with the laws of the country. Let’s abandon violence, serve as proxies of external forces or hate mongers from far away and find common solutions to our problems with firm basis and arguments. Futile attempts by trying to implicate other third parties to meddle within the internal affairs of Ethiopia, not to cancel debts, not to give aid to the poor or to pass Acts that contravene the very interests of Ethiopia have to be abandoned if these groups are to be reckoned with by Ethiopians. Reconciliation should not be one-sided as the government did by releasing the convicted leaders of the CUD but should be wholeheartedly extended over by the other groups. It needs two to tango, as they say.

Our Ethiopia can only exist through a scrupulous and inclusive policy, where the nations and nationalities are all recognized as representatives and stakeholders in nation building. The marginalized groups of people living at the peripheries have come to the center stage, where all kinds of development are taking place. Ethiopia with the current pace of development in the fields of education, health, trade, agriculture, etc., we are absolutely confident it will reach the MDG (millennium development goals).

We wish all Ethiopians a Happy Millennium Year and coming bonanza years!

We wish also all forces of good and our contributors and authors, who have untiringly provided us with their high quality analyses and well written articles.

Happy Millennium and Enqutatash!

Ethiopian Observer

Ethiopia: Country, EU, U.S. Agree on Coffee Trademarks

European and American coffee roasting and distribution companies have signed an agreement to use Ethiopia's coffee specialty trademarks.
The Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office (EIPO) made this announcement on Wednesday.
This week's agreements follow legal battles with large coffee distributors, such as the Starbucks chain in the US, over Ethiopia's rights to trademark its indigenous coffee, which would give the country a larger share of revenue from the industry.
Wondwossen Belete, a representative of the EIPO Director General, told Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) Wednesday that the companies which signed the agreement included some of the biggest coffee companies in Europe and the United States.
Some 24 coffee roaster and distributor companies in the US have signed the agreement, while one company in Holland has already put signature to the agreement, he added.
The trade of coffee is Ethiopia's largest export, and generates 60 percent of its total export earnings, while employing about 12 million people.
The best Ethiopian coffee may be compared with the finest coffee in the world, and premium washed Arabica beans fetch some of the highest prices on the world market
The EIPO Director General last week held discussions with 18 British coffee companies on the licensing agreement, he said.
Similarly, two British companies have signed the agreement to use Ethiopian coffee specialty trademarks, Mr Belete said, adding that discussions would be held to reach agreement with the remaining British coffee companies.
He said the Director General had also held discussions on the matter with 20 German coffee companies, out of which 10 are expected to put their signature on the agreement.
Discussions are underway with a renowned Japanese coffee company on the licensing agreement, he added. - BuaNews-NNN
Angola to co-ordinate region's coastal transport
Luanda - Angola has been elected co-ordinator for the African Central-South Coastal Zone at the Fourth Session of Bureau of Transport Ministers of the Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa (MOWCA).
The Secretary-General of MOWCA, Magnus Teye Addico, announced this to the media, at the end of the two-day session held at the Talatona Conventions Centre here Wednesday.
At the session, it was unanimously agreed to reduce the African maritime coastal zones, previously divided into four co-ordination centres -- at Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Dakar, Senegal; Lagos, Nigeria; and Pointe-Noire, Congo-Brazzaville -- to two main zones.
The first zone, for which Angola will be co-ordinator, covers the centres at Lagos and Pointe-Noire, and the second, which will come under the responsibility of Ghana, covers the north which includes the centres at Dakar and of Abdjan.
The two main centres at Luanda and Accra will be in charge of co-ordinating all matters relating to the problem of marine communication, pollution, armed robbery, piracy, among others, and will also be responsible for deciding about acting against the above-mentioned crimes, within their respective areas of jurisdiction.
Magnus Addico said that in the framework of the proposal made by the African Union in Abuja, Nigeria, in February this year, the organization would be the basic element of contact for co-operation between continents.
Regarding the two maritime academies located within member states of MOWCA, at Accra and Abidjan, the ministers decided to attribute to the first the status of Regional Maritime University, which will contribute to the raising of the level of its cadres within the organization.

The academy will be inaugurated by the President of MOWCA, Andre Luis Brandao, who is the Angolan Transport Minister, in Accra on 25 October this year.

During the session, MOWCA member states debated about maritime safety, maritime transport services, co-operation with international organizations and partners towards development and the Maritime Action Plan of the African Union, among other topics.
Founded in 1975, MOWCA mainly aims at promoting inter-regional co-operation for the development of the maritime transport industry, port management, and navigation security, protection of the marine and fluvial-lacustrine environment.

The Bureau of Ministers, one of the organization's main structures, is made up of Angola (president), Senegal (1st vice-president), Democratic Republic of Congo (2nd vice-president), Nigeria, Gabon, Mali, Ivory Coast.

MOWCA's 25 member countries are Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo Brazzaville, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Gabon, Ghana, Gambia, Guinean Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Chad, Togo, Central African Republic, DR Congo, San Tome and Principe, Nigeria and Côte d'Ivoire.

Profile of Honorable Dr. Sheik Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi

Africans in general and Ethiopians in particular have produced one of the richest persons in the world. Sheik Dr. Mohammed Al-Amoudi is the richest man in Africa and one of the richest people in the Middle East. This by all standards is a remarkable and extraordinary achievement for the great son of Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia.
Mohammed Al-Amoudi and Oprah Winfrey are the only Black People on the list of billionaires. BET founder Bob Johnson is not even on the list. That makes Al-Amoudi the Richest Black Man on the Planet.
According to Forbes Sheik Al-Amoudi is worth 6.9 billion dollars. Nevertheless, according to some analysts the Sheik who is known for his extreme modesty is estimated to be worth more than double that amount which would put him on a much higher rank than is suggested by the magazine.
In fact, some people who are close to him estimate the wealth of the Saudi-Ethiopian tycoon at around 20 billion dollars.
2005 and 2006 were great years for Sheik Mohammed Al-Amoudi. In 2005 alone his net worth had increased by an impressive 4.4 billion dollars. Could it be the oil boom? 20 billion reasons to smile.
Ethiopia should be proud of not only as the home of Lucy and cradle of humanity but also as a home and birth place of the richest black human being in the world whose multi-faceted investments are found in not only Africa (Ethiopia, Morocco, Libya, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, Uganda etc.) but also in Europe (Sweden, Norway, the UK etc.). The sheiks investments are also to be found in North America, Asia and in virtually every nook and cranny of the world.
Born in Ethiopia but raised in Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia, Al-Amoudi made his fortune in construction and real estate before betting on Swedish and Moroccan oil refineries. His Svenska Petroleum conducts oil exploration from the Nordic shelf to the Ivory Coast. He is the largest private investor in Ethiopia, putting money into such diverse assets as hotel, gold mines and food processing plant.
Forbes pinned down 946 billionaires, including 178 newcomers and 17 who climbed back into the ranks after being absent for a year or more. Two-thirds of last year’s billionaires are richer. Only 17% are poorer, including 32 who fell below the billon-dollar mark. The billionaires’ combined net worth climbed by $900 billion to $3.5 trillion. Russia now has 53 billionaires (2 shy of German’s total), but they are worth $282 billion ($37 billion more than Germany’s richest).
Sheik Mohammed Hussein Ali Al-Amoudi is also leading investor in Ethiopia. He leads the pace not only in terms of a massing wealth, but is also armored with the conviction stamp out the deep rooted and centuries old poverty from his beloved, Country. He once said,” I am the son of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is unique for me. And Mother needs special care.”
True to his words, he is doing all that he can for his country. He has over 30 companies which have transformed the lives of many Ethiopians. 15,000 Ethiopians and their families have got job opportunities.
Sheik Mohammed Al-Amoudi is a very generous and visionary person. Apart from running the aforementioned companies, he does many gracious activities aimed at changing the lives of people not only in Ethiopia, but also in the continent of Africa and the World at large. He has multi-billion dollar investments in Saudi Arabia and in Sweden, which testify to his profile as one of the world’s leading black billionaires and entrepreneurs.
As mentioned above, Sheik Al-Amoudi has opened job opportunities for 15,000 citizens by investing in many segments of the Ethiopian economy. His investment in the county of his birth covers a number of sectors including trade, agriculture, manufacturing, health, construction, infrastructure development etc. His involvement in business is based on healthy competition in the private sector so as to ensure a well phased out knowledge-based economic development in Ethiopia.
Sheik Mohammed Hussein Ali Al-Amoudi, chairman and owner of MIDROC Ethiopia, and lover of his country and his people, has received numbers awards for his super achievements in investment throughout the world.
His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden bestowed, the ‘Insignia of commander, First class, of the Royal, order of the polar star upon Sheik Mohammed or April 10, 2007, in Stockholm, Sweden. MIDROC
The Sheik also received a leading investor Medal from His majesty king Carl XNI Gustaf of Sweden renamed as “Insignia of commander, First class, of the Royal Order of the polar star’ in 2002
The Sheik is also a winner of many international recognitions and Doctoral Degrees.
Over the past ten years, MIDROC has been expanding its investments in Sweden and many parts of the World.