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\r\n The old traders’ adage “better to travel than arrive” has been true in 2017. Last year wa...
\r\n President Donald Trump signed on 28 March 2017 an executive order to unravel former President B...
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  • SCIENTISTS PLAN CLIMATE CHANGE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

    Scientists are planning a march against President Donald Trump after his administration enforced what is said to be a temporary media blackout on the Environment Protection Agency; actually, the organization’s social media accounts have been silent since the President’s inauguration preventing them from publishing posts and publicizing any research.

    Scientists are viewing Trump’s attitude as a gag order on climate change information and censorship of scientific facts; this is the reason why they will start with a march on Washington hoping to use it as a starting point to take a stand for science in politics.

    According to them, this issue is a non-partisan one which reaches far beyond people in the political-scientific field and concerns anyone who believes in research. Politicians who devalue expertise risk making decisions that do not reflect reality and ignore science to pursue ideological agendas endanger the world.

    They are aware of fighting against a climate change sceptic. Trump considers global warming a Chinese creation so as to make US manufacturing non-competitive, a hoax which makes people lose their money.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Wednesday, 1 February 2017

    (source: The Telegraph)

  • ELECTRIC CARS AND CHEAP SOLAR COULD HALT FOSSIL FUEL GROWTH BY 2020

    According to the Imperial College and Carbon Tracker report, solar power and clean cars are game changers consistently underestimated by big energy. Actually, the falling costs of the projections for the green technologies and the countries’ pledges to cut emissions can halt the worldwide demand for oil and coal by 2020.

    Polluting fuels may lose 10% of market share to solar power and clean cars within a decade; this loss, between 2008 and 2013, was enough to cause the collapse of the coal mining industry in the United States and the loss of 100 bn of Euros in five major European utilities. These ones did not prepare for an increase in renewables.

    This happen because the big energy companies are underestimating the low-carbon transition by sticking to their “business as usual” scenarios, which expect an ongoing growth of fossil fuels and may, as a consequence, see their assets stranded.

    The cost of solar has fallen 85% in 7 years, panels can supply 23% of global power generation by 2040 and 29% by 2050, leaving natural gas with 1% share, and electric vehicles can make up 35% of the road transport market by 2035. Moreover, it will limit the global temperatures rises.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Wednesday, 1 February 2017

    (source: The Guardian)

  • RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT GLOBAL WARMING WILL CAUSE GLOBAL FOOD SHORTAGES WITHIN DECADES

    New research indicates that global warming could cut yields of crops, like maize, in half by the end of the century. Researchers in the US observed the effect that exposure to temperatures of between 30 and 36 degrees Celsius had on the growth of crops. It was observed that every day of exposure to such temperatures reduced harvest yield by around 5%. They indicate that without a reduction to greenhouse gas emissions, crop yields of Maize could be reduced by 50%, soybeans by 40%, and wheat by 20% by 2100. It is predicted that this will cause food shortages across the globe, which may result in forced migration and war.

    However, the damage to harvest yield was found by researchers to be substantially mitigated when the irrigation of crop fields was increased, and is highlighted as a promising means of adapting to the effects of global warming. The inability of certain regions to further irrigate crops, due to water shortages, is noted.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Friday, January 20 2017

    (Source: The Independent)

  • CHINA MAKES PLANS AT A PROVINCIAL LEVEL TO LIFT MILLIONS OF CITIZENS OUT OF POVERTY BY 2021

    Chinese provincial governments are making plans in order to implement the central policy of reducing povertyhighlighted in the National People’s Congress’ 13th five-year plan the most clear statement of China’s policy objectives for the coming half-decade.

    The province of Hunan, which is particularly poverty-stricken, has developed an initiative which has been emulated in other provinces like Sichuan and Shandong. The initiatives plan to spur growth in e-commerce and industry, improve access to financing, and pursue the construction of new infrastructure projects, in order to bring about sustainable and inclusive development. The initiatives are expected to bring millions of citizens out of poverty.

    Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang has supported sending a team of supervisory experts to ensure that provincial governments follow through with their commitments.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, January 18 2017

    (Source: The BRICS Post)

  • DID THE UK GOVERNMENT ATTEMPT TO REDUCE THE VISIBILITY OF ITS NEWLY PUBLISHED CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT?

    The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Report was recently published by the UK government. Laws require that an assessment be published every five years. This most recent assessment indicates that by 2050, developments in climate change could double the amount of heat-related deaths suffered in the country, bring about shortages to public water supplies, result in increased flooding, and degrade the natural environment.

    Certain commentators, like Greenpeace UK, argue that the report demonstrates the need to treat climate change as a matter of national security. Some who share this sentiment have therefore criticised the government for the lack of visibility provided to the report, noting that its publication was not covered by any major media outlet, or posted about via the Department for Food, Agricultural and Rural Affairs’ official twitter account.

    A government source has responded by stating that a news story about the publication was circulated on the Government website gov.uk, and that this is the standard practice for advertising of reports like the one in question.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Wednesday, January 25 2017

    (Source: The Independent)

  • TENSIONS BETWEEN CHINA AND THE USA INCREASE OVER THE SOUTH CHINA SEA DISPUTE

    White House spokesman Sean Spicer has addressed the South China Sea dispute,giving an indication of how America will handle the issue under a Trump administration. The dispute has arisen as a result of China’s construction of artificial reefs in the area, and conducting of naval patrols in parts of the sea claimed by other nations.

    Previously, the Obama administration had officially remained neutral, but did send military aircraft and naval destroyers through the area in 2016, and built relations with nations neighbouring China that also claim a right to use of the South China Sea. Spicer’s comments are more unequivocal. He states that if China is constructing islands in international waters, America will act to ensure that its interests are not taken over by another country.

    China, via foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, has responded by reaffirming the legality of its actions in the area, and claiming that the issue is not one that America is party to.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, January 25 2017

    (Source: BBC News)

  • TRUMP PREPARES FOR A BUSY MONDAY, PLEDGES NAFTA CHANGES, OTHER EXECUTIVE ORDERS

    President Donald Trump addressed future meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto and possible changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”). NAFTA came into force on January 1, 1994, creating a trilateral trade block in North America between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Although it eliminates many tariffs and was designed to create the freest possible trade, President Trump has not been on board with it since his original campaign speeches. However, if the agreement is reworked large companies such as GM may suffer.

    Many other executive orders have been discussed in relation to this; including shelving the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership with Asian nations. Discussions about changes to healthcare and national security are also on the horizon. Lastly, there is the issue of moving the U.S embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem which he has until the end of May to make a formal decision about.

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 25 January 2017

    (Source: USA Today)

  • TRUMP BANS EPA EMPLOYEES FROM GIVING SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATES

    With beginning executive tasks, President Donald Trump has banned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from giving any social media updates on contracts, grants, and inter- agency agreements as the policies stand under upcoming review. His hope is to lift policies for United States environmental regulations to enhance contracts of future pipelines.

    This ban is in hopes to keep future contracts and projects under wraps until further review. It has also been instilled to uphold agency policy that employees under the Department of Health and Human Services are not to speak about public officials. All EPA grants have been frozen until the review of funds and future allocations is complete.

    The gLAWcal Team

    Wednesday, 25 January 2017

    (Source: The Hill)

  • ISRAEL ANNOUNCES 2,500 MORE WEST BANK SETTLEMENT HOMES

    Israeli right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, have approved a new building program of Jewish settlement homes in the occupied Palestinian territories, the West Bank area, on the heels of the swearing-in of  U.S. President Donald Trump.

    The announcement of 2,500 new housing units is one of the largest in years, marking a comprehensive rejection of December’s UN security council resolution which described settlement building as a flagrant violation of international law and an obstacle to peace; and increases tensions with Palestinians and the wider Middle East, already high over the Trump administration’s proposal to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    Nabil Abu Rdainah, Palestinian President Abbas’s spokesman, said the move would hinder any attempt to restore security, reinforce extremism and obstacle the path to peace. According to him Israel is exploiting the US administration to escalate its violations and prevent the existence of a Palestinian State. The EU countries denounced the new units as well, while the US remained silent in front of the approval.

    Settlement construction has been a contentious area of disagreement during the Obama years, when the White House condemned it as an obstacle to peace, but Trump has signalled a softer approach closer to Israeli settlers’ plans during the electoral campaign. While now he is playing vague, Netanyahu is under pressure from all the internal and external political sides.      

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Tuesday, 24 January 2017

    (source: The Guardian)

  • FRAGMENTED AUTHORITARIANISM AND STATE OWNERSHIP

    Over the past 40 years, China’s private sector has emerged and become the leader of the world factory of manufacturing exports. Actually, the Third Plenum of the 18th Party Congress in 2013 already declared the PRC’s market a decisive player which has reasserted the dominant position of public ownership.

    The most visible manifestation of China’s public ownership is its state-owned enterprises (“SOEs”), which internally rule sectors such as energy and telecommunications, and externally are the vanguard of the Chinese direct investments. Some of these SOEs are under the administration of the State Council’s State Asset Supervision and Administration Commission (“SASAC”), some report to the Ministry of Finance and some depend from provincial and county-level governments.

    This fragmented model implies a flexible notion of ownership together with the omnipresent desire to consolidate employment/investment rights into an accountable single decision maker. As a consequence, both in private and public companies party cadres muddy any clear distinction between politics and business; companies have close relationships with government but if non-state companies lack formal ownership links to the state, the private ones need to keep the state/party on side.

    It is generally known that representative state-owned enterprises cannot cure Chinese economic maladies. While state ownership creates a conflict of interest between the state as owner and as regulator, turning state monopolies into private ones produces a force for political opposition outside the current political structure and leads to crony capitalism; privatization is not enough since the necessary condition for prosperity is not ownership but that Chinese state intervention proceeds according to a transparent rule of law. 

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Monday, 23 January 2017

    (source: EastAsiaForum)

  • DOES GDP MEASURES GROWTH ACCURATELY?

    According to the World Economic Forum, GDP fails to measures accurately economic performances. In fact, it would be wiser for both developing and developed countries to measure growth through a thorough assessment of living standards.

    The forum representatives have pointed out that globalization and technological progress have fostered inequality and insecurity. This has resulted in a drastic decline of per capita income across advanced economies. The WEF claims that by focusing on “inclusive development”, countries should be able to boost economic growth on the one hand, and on the other they will also decrease social inequality.

    Countries should develop policies that address life expectancy, productivity, and poverty rates to escape a further deepening of social inequality. Such issues are of primary concern to the leaders participating in the 2017 World Economic Forum at Davos. Many of the participants will hold high the principle of “inclusive development,”which has been opposed by both Donald Trump and other European populist leaders. 

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 17 January 2017

    (Source: China Daily)

  • TURKEY LOSES ITS BRAINS

    In the course of the past year, thousands of Turkish scholars have been fired or suspended as victims of the government’s purge following last summer’s failed coup and a dozen universities have been shut down by decree. It is a repressive atmosphere which is eroding the academic independence of the country.

    Academics and intellectuals come to Europe, especially to Germany, complaining about the loss of their home and underlying their fear of a Turkey’s descent into autocracy where a critical mindset is impossible. Actually, before the attempted coup, President Erdoğan vilified the scholars who signed a petition calling for a halt to the government’s crackdown on the insurgency in the Kurdish-majority southeast as terrorist sympathizers.

    In 2002, when Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) rose to power, the country was modernized, the government repealed the campus ban on headscarves, the number of universities doubled and the spirit of democracy spread all over. Now, 15 years later, the same government is blocking every chance for an independent thinking.

    Academics are reported to be disappointed about the current situation; they are worried about their students repeatedly beaten up by ultra-nationalists but they still hope the Turkish academic community will work again as it used to do, without threats and suspensions.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 18 January 2017

    (source:  politico.com)

  • NIGERIA AIR STRIKE: DOZENS DEAD AS CAMP FOR INTERNALLY DISPLACED PEOPLE HIT BY MISTAKE

    Médecins Sans Frontières(MSF) staff reported that at least 200 people had been wounded and 50 people had been killed in Rann, Nigeria, after a Nigerianmilitary jet mistakenly bombed a camp where families displaced during the offensive against Boko Haram militants were sheltering.

    Two blasts are believed to have hit the site close to Nigeria’s border with Cameroon; according to its commander of counterinsurgency operations, Maj Gen Lucky Irabor, the mission was extremely difficult since the area is a very densely populated place hosting about 43,000 internally displaced people, aid workers and Nigerian troops who control people coming in and out the camp. 

    After the strike, on the one side the UN humanitarian air service dispatched a helicopter with four medical personnel and 400 kg of emergency medical supplies, and airlifted eight Nigeria Cross workers injured in the bombing, while, on the other side, MSF’s staff worked to evacuate the wounded.

    This tragedy is the latest to shake the region of Lake Chad which continues to be gripped by crisis. During the past six months 10.7 million people have been in need of humanitarian assistance, malnutrition and mortality have increased, and the war against terrorism has intensified; more and more people will die in addition to the 20,000 killed in the seven-year Islamic uprising which has already driven 2.6 million people form their homes and across Nigeria’s borders.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 18 January 2017

    (source: guardian.com)

  • INAUGURATION BOYCOTT GROWS AS DONALD TRUMP MEETS MARTIN LUTHER KING III

    Connections between president elect’s team and Russia, as well as the despairing remarks about civil rights and veteran John Lewis have left several boycotting Friday’s election. A meeting between president Elect Donald Trump and Martin Luther King III, the oldest child of Martin Luther King Jr. stated that his meeting with Trump was to make it “easier for everyone to vote”.

    Although the supreme court struck down the key elements of the 1965 Voting Rights Act it seems like Trump may be on board with going back to the spirit of it. However, Doris Crenshaw is well on board passing those who will not be in attendance of the inauguration saying that they are “making a true statement against his politics”.

    King’s statement that “things have been said on both sides,” and that “we have got to move forward,” will still not make Cornel William Brooks attend the inauguration. While Trump launched a fierce attack on Lewis saying he was “all talk.” On Monday, Lewis spoke in honor of the MLK holiday at a breakfast in Miami saying he would not be where he was in his career without Martin Luther King Jr.

    Many of those not attending the inauguration are going to the Women’s March instead in hopes to send a message for a bigger movement says Kaylin Whittingham. The idea is that if you are not siding with this movement you are indeed siding with what Trump stands for. On the other hand, many others, such as congressman Mark DeSaulnier, is not going due to his belief of Trumps conflict of interest with his business empire.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    (Source: The Guardian)

  • ARE BIG INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS CASTLES IN THE AIR OR BRIDGES TO NOWHERE?

    The big debate about whether infrastructure spending is a good or bad thing continues to haunt us into the 21-century. Infrastructure spending brings on many positives while bringing on negatives at the same time. We like to say that it improves economic efficiency in the large scale, however it often ruins the area in which the new structures are being built. They say that often the cost is short term, but the benefits are long term, yet political leaders face all the upfront heat and none of the aftermath benefit backlash.

    While private investors often fund projects the private sector only gets involved in large scale trends such as the 1840’s railway mania. This leaves the state to fend for their own projects. Private investors often push too far with one foot into the political field completing projects that fail despite ruthless power. Such as Robert Moses’s idea for public transport to the JFK airport.

    So how do we solve the “bridge to nowhere problem”? Maybe we just have to accept the fact that there will be a certain degree of unhappiness and delay with no infrastructure delivery. If the political heat soon disappears we can get rid of the problem of plans that fail to respond to changing economics.

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 18 January 2017

    (Source: Economist)

  • RADIOACTIVE CLOUD OVER BUDAPEST’S BUDGET

    Over the next few years Hungary is to start construction on a $12-billion-dollar (USD) project for new nuclear reactors. This project will be known as Paks II, and is leaving a lot to be questioned about its true final project cost. The EU has warned the country that they are close to breaking fiscal safeguards, however plans to begin the project in 2018 still stand.

    The EU currently sets a limit to spending at 3 percent GDP on the budget deficit, and a 60 percent cap on public debt for all EU countries named the Stability and Growth Pact. While Hungary is not as deeply scrutinize; being a member who currently does not use the euro; there are still some concerns.

    After some investigations by Hungarian MEP Benedek Jávor, the estimated cost of the final Paks project might even require another 10-billion-dollars of hidden costs. On December 6th it was decided to give the responsibility of oversight directly to the Hungarian state instead of the countries regulatory authority, but due to a special law further details on the projects final plans and costs cannot be given for 2018, 2019 or 2020.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Wednesday,11 January 2017

    (Source: POLITICO)

  • DIVIDING PERSPECTIVES ON CHINA’S GROWTH: THREAT OR BENEFIT?

    China’s development model has always stressed the importance of peaceful relations and international stability, yet there are some that perceive China’s growth as a menace to the current order. Both views fail to address the complex link between geopolitics and economic development. This lack of understanding and proper response to the ever increasing Chinese footprint on the global scene reflect an inadequate knowledge of how China’s economic growth is related to its political power.

    The most recent Chinese economic initiatives were received with skepticism and doubts. By emphasizing economic growth Chinese leaders are attempting to reassure their partners of their commitment towards domestic matters first. In fact, Xi Jinping’s policies have been presented as an organic attempt to promote global stability and prosperity. However, outside China, many accuse Xi’s government of using economic development as a mean to strengthen its leverage both domestically and internationally.

    Over the past few decades, China’s role and growth have progressed considerably. China’s economic development has been remarkable, and its role in international forums has only increased since it joined the World trade organization in early 2000s. It is true that China’s latest economic strategies, for instance the

    One Belt, One Road initiative, might increase the countries leverage over its neighbours. As it is true that countries around the world have started to take actions to counteract their dependency on China. However, researches show that China’s economy itself is still very much interdependent from the global market and the current international order. 

    China’s efforts to influence its neighbours through the strategy of peaceful development have not yet been completely successful, as the example brought by Myanmar’s recent policies towards Chinese investment have demonstrated. Moreover, there is concern towards the possible effect of the One Belt, One road initiative in terms of Sino-Russian and Sino-Indian relations. There are still concern over security matters that trumps the benefits of economic development. Moreover, in the West, some are speculating over China’s intention towards the liberal order – although there is no evidence that China’s threatening the current institutions.

    To deepen the understanding of China’s development and foreign initiatives, one should examine thoroughly the nexus between wealth and power, and development and security. Departing from the traditional focus on just one aspect. Actually, the relationship between Chinese domestic and international policies, as well as its challenges, are essential to unravel what impact China’s economic and political growth will have on the nation itself and the global order. Outdated and overly-formal ways of thinking might leave the world unprepared to face important challenges ahead.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    (Source: Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy)

  • IVORY COAST UNREST: CALM REPORTED AFTER TWO-DAY MUTINY

    According to residents and correspondents in Bouake, the second city in Ivory Coast, West Africa, the rebellion over national soldiers’ pay appears to have passed after troops seized the defense minister Alain-Richard Donwahi during negotiations and a deal between them and the government has been struck after two days of unrest.

    The mutiny began in Bouake on Friday, with some soldiers firing rocket-launchers and went on the day after when they took over the army headquarters in Abidjan, the economic capital and largest city of the country. Later, the protests took place in the cities of Man, Daloa, Daoukro, Odienne and Korhogo as well, and raised fears of a resurgence of the violence seen during Ivory Coast’s 10-year civil war which ended in 2011.

    The soldiers demanded bonuses and better working conditions through a rebellion, which has paralyzed the entire country for some days. Moreover, some of them are thought to be former rebels who joined the army after the Civil war and helped the President Alassane Ouattara take power in the same year.

    The President Ouattara, on national TV on Saturday, announced that a deal had been reached since he has agreed to take into account the demands of the soldiers even if he has criticized the “inappropriate” manner of making demands.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Sunday, 8 January 2017

    (source: bbc.com)

  • IS VLADIMIR PUTIN A WAR CRIMINAL?

    Russia’s criminal behavior in Syria is the latest in a long string of crimes perpetrated by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. It may be unwilling to admit it, but Putin is largely considered as a war criminal, a butcher with whom it is essential to deal with.

    Putin has a long record of inhumanity. He has been an agent of the Soviet secret police, the KGB, a criminal institution which goes back to mass killings perpetrated by Lenin and Stalin; he approved the bombings of two buildings in Moscow in 1999 and used bombs to reignite the SecondChechen War where he launched an air and land campaign producing thousands of refugees; he let journalists and opposition leaders to be killed in mysterious circumstances; he supplied the pro-Russian terrorists in eastern Ukraine and his proxies shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight killing 298 people.

    In this sense, according to many Western leaders and human rights organizations, Russia’s bombing of Syrian civilian population and targets is the last criminal act of President Putin. He must be considered as a killer, no different in the breadth and depth of his criminality than the Serbian Slobodan Milošević.

    So, what should world leaders do? First, they should condemn Putin’s behavior and understand their moral standing since silence implies endorsement; second, they should refuse to create the impression they accept his behavior in public; third, they should avoid everything aids his criminal proclivities intensifying sanctions and, fourth, they should defend Russian democrats. One day Putin will be gone and Russia’s democratic opposition will be able to make the country a law-abiding state; otherwise, the world announces that butchery is the new normal.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Saturday, 7 January 2017

    (source: bbc.com)

  • THERE’S NO ‘ONE-CHINA’ ACCORDING TO TRUMP

    Note: This article delves into recent international news regarding the United States President-elect Trump’s denouncement of China’s ‘One-China’ policy, further increasing tension between the world’s two largest economies.

    In a little over a week, President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn into office to become the United States’ 45th President. Although the President-elect has yet to take office, he has been making international headlines since his electoral election in November 2016. First, President-elect Trump was declaring a possible trade war with the world’s second largest economy, China.

    During his campaign, the President-elect had accused China of manipulating the value of its currency and he also called for much steeper tariffs on products imported into the United States from China. Now, the President-elect has further targeted China with denouncing China’s ‘One-China’ policy concerning the often-disputed territory of Taiwan.

    China’s ‘One-China’ policy is the diplomatic acknowledgment of China’s position that there is only one Chinese government. What this means is that Taiwan is not recognized as a country, but rather a territory or a breakaway province of China. Although Taiwan’s government claims it is an independent country, officially called the “Republic of China,” any country that wants diplomatic relations with Mainland China must break official ties with Taipei, the capital and government headquarters of Taiwan. 

    The idea of ‘One-China’ first come into fruition in 1949, following the end of the Chinese civil war, with the United States recognizing this policy since 1979 under U.S. President Jimmy Carter. For nearly forty years, the United States and China have had stable political ties; however, with the new President set to take office shortly, and his remarks concerning this policy, the future political relationship between these two countries is uncertain.

    The dispute between the President-elect Trump and the Chinese government came about way back in November 2016 when President-elect Trump accepted a congratulatory telephone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen following the Presidential election in the United States. In response, China’s Foreign Ministry lodged a diplomatic complaint with the United States regarding this telephone call with President Tsai, which it claimed broke nearly four decades of United States foreign policy.

    President-elect Trump further began to upset the Chinese government when he began to question its ‘One-China’ policy stating. “I fully understand the ‘One-China’ policy, but I don’t know why we have to be bound by a ‘One-China’ policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.” The President-elect further stated that he would not hesitate to anger China until the country comes to the bargaining table on trade and severs ties with North Korea. Many view this as President- elect Trump’s way of holding this long-held policy hostage to future deals with China. These comments triggered numerous furious responses from China’s state-run newspaper, Global Times.

    A day following these remarks, the famous Global Times retorted by stating that the President-elect was as “ignorant as a child in terms of foreign policy” and warned that if President-elect Trump ditched the ‘One China’ policy, it would spark “a real crisis.”

    Additionally, China’s Foreign Ministry spoke out concerning the matter stating that it was “seriously concerned” by the President-elect’s remarks and that bilateral cooperation would be out of the question if the ‘One China’ recognition was “compromised or disrupted” by the United States. 

    More recently, President Tsai met with senior United States Republican lawmakers in Houston, Texas during her stopover this past Sunday en route to central America. During her stop over, President Tsai metwith Texas Governor Greg Abbott, spoke with U.S. Senator John McCain over the telephone, and me with Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

    This past week, Ted Cruz has been spilling details to U.S. media about his meeting with President Tsai. The Texas Senator stated that he and President Tsai discussed upgrading bilateral relations and furthering economic cooperation between the two countries, including increased access to Taiwan markets, which would explicitly benefit Texas ranchers, farmers, and small businesses within the state.

    China explicitly asked representatives in Washington, D.C. not to allow President Tsai to enter the United States and that she not have any formal government meetings under the ‘One-China’ policy. The Chinese consulate went as far as to send letters to Congress members asking them not to meet President Tsai during her stopovers in the Untied States.

    On Monday, January 9, 2017, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang urged “relevant U.S. officials” to handle the Taiwan issue appropriately as to avoid harming China-U.S. ties. Also speaking out on the matter is the Chinese state-run newspaper, whose stance does not equate with government policy, the Global Times.

    A day following this meeting, the Global Times warned the President-elect that China would “take revenge” if he reneged on the ‘One-China’ policy. The newspaper continued to threatened the President-elect by stating that “if Trump reneges on the ‘One-China’ policy after taking office, the Chinese people will demand the government to take revenge. There is no room for bargaining.”

    With a little over a week until President-elect Trump’s inauguration, many eyes are focused on what the then 45th President of the United States will do regarding China and the United States continued recognition of the ‘One-China’ policy. Depending on what the new U.S. President will do, the world could see a possible shift in international relations that will not only affect the United States and China, but the world as a whole.

     

  • Illicit Nuclear Trafficking

    ‘Illicit Nuclear Trafficking: States, Non-State Actors and the Quest for Criminalisation in International Law’, Oil, Gas Energy and Intelligence 11(1): Ricardo Tremolada

    Ricardo Tremolada of the University of Milan begins the following article by describing the reasons for the emergence of the black-market in nuclear materials, and their intended end uses, from commercial constructions to terrorism. It is noted that current deterrents on use of nuclear arms stemming from international treaties on non-proliferation do not hold weight on private non-state actors acquiring materials via black markets.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency is the principal multilateral authority for the handling of nuclear-related issues, including in relation to non-state actors, but its ability to act effectively is identified as hindered by the fact that some states do not recognise the Agency as an ultimate authority, funding issues, and a lack of consensus amongst IAEA member states as to how stringently the nuclear sector should be regulated.

    It is noted that persons cannot currently be convicted under international criminal law for nuclear trafficking, recognising nuclear trafficking as a crime against humanity under the International Criminal Court the ICC is supported since ICC judges may be less likely to submit to threats of retaliation from criminal actors in the event of criminalisation. The possibility of reclassifying all transnational crimes, like nuclear trafficking, as international crimes falling within the ICC’s jurisdiction is also considered. Alternatively, the ability to classify nuclear trafficking as a threat to the peace capable of justifying use of force by third-party nations under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

    Furthermore, the role of United Nations Security Council Resolutions in helping to combat nuclear trafficking is considered. It is noted that the UN mandates nations to enforce their domestic laws on nuclear weapons, but that states are not under binding mandatory obligations for transmitting reports on the issue.

  • A Comparison between Shale Gas in China and Unconventional Fuel Development in the United States

    ‘A Comparison between Shale Gas in China and Unconventional Fuel Development in the United States: Water, Environmental Protection, and Sustainable Development’, Brooklyn Journal of International Law 41(2): Paolo Farah and Riccardo Tremolada

    Paolo Farah of West Virginia University and Riccardo Tremolada of Shanghai JiaoTong University assess the role that shale gas might play in China’s move away from conventional fossil-based energy sources, noting their potential benefits as well as the dangers that come from a lack of strong environmental laws and regulations governing their extraction.

    The article begins by observing the current state of China’s shale gas reserves, potentially the biggest in the world, and the potential risks that extraction harbours- from the direct threat of contamination to freshwater aquifiers to the indirect threat posed to R&D into renewable energy technologies. The threat to water supplies is observed by the authors to be particularly objectionable in China’s context, given the nation’s already problematic clean water supply levels. In light of the risks, it is identified that regulations pertaining to environmental risk, relevant physical infrastructure and pricing mechanisms for the shale gas market should be introduced.

    No laws currently regulate the environmental risks posed by shale gas specifically. Current environmental laws which do apply to the protection of water supplies are regarded by the authors as arguably nontechnical, vague policy commitments rather than enforceable legal statements.

    Enforcement of existing regulations is identified as a pertinent issue. It is noted that many government agencies at a central and decentralised level may have authority over a particular issue and that these overlapping competencies may create friction between the agencies and ultimately render them slow to act. Furthermore, it is noted that regional governmental bodies are subject to lack of funding and incentivised to engage in corruption.

    Regarding reform, drawing from experiences in the USA, it is argued that China should move towards a free market pricing system for shale gas and that financial obligations imposed on foreign investors in the sector should be made less onerous. Furthermore, it is proposed that China’s obligations under the WTO compel it to increase competition between the major state-owned oil companies, observing that none exists between the top three, all of which are centrally controlled by the same body. Furthermore, it is suggested that the ownership rights attaching to underground minerals, which by default all belong to the state, should be reformed in favour of private ownership. It is also suggested that new pipelines will need to be built to meet projected shale gas production rates.

    The political benefits of undergoing said reforms, including reduced reliance amongst nations on oil reserves in the Middle East, is noted.

  • CHINA HAS MORE HIGH-SPEED RAILWAY THAN THE REST OF THE WORLD COMBINED

    Within the span of a couple of decades, China has constructed 20,000km of high-speed railway, and plans to have constructed another 15,000km within the following decade. However, questions have been raised about the distribution strategy of the railways.

    It appears that railways built around current financial hubs have been unquestionably good for the economy. Data suggests that over half of people using high-speed trains to access cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing from nearby, less costly cities would not have made the commute using normal trains, suggesting that they have been highly mobilising for China’s workforce and a creator of opportunity. It has become newly feasible for millions of people to get jobs in these economic megacenters.

    However, concerns have been raised regarding the efficacy of constructing high-speed rail in the more remote parts of China. It is hoped by advocates that construction will result in the emergence of towns around the railway lines, creating new economic hubs.

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, January 11 2017

    (Source: The Economist)

  • EXXONMOBIL MUST RELEASE SECRET DOCUMENTS WHICH MAY DEMONSTRATE KNOWLEDGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE

    Decades ago, ExxonMobil may have had gathered substantive knowledge of climate change and the potential effects of the company’s actions on the surrounding environment, due to an order made by America’s Suffolk County Superior Court. These documents have been kept away from public scrutiny and if true, may lead ExxonMobil to incur liability for consciously damaging the environment.

    ExxonMobil’s planned course of action, and whether the decision will be appealed against, currently remain unclear.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Wednesday, January 11 2017

    (Source: RT News)

  • CHINA PURSUES WEAPONS TESTING IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA

    A fleet of warships, accompanied by China’s aircraft carrier, is scheduled to conduct tests to assess the performance of weapons and equipment. China claims that the planned tests are in accordance with international law.

    Neighbouring nations are more sceptical, and have expressed deep concerns about the implications of the tests on regional politics and freedom of movement within the surrounding vicinity.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, January 4 2016

    (Source: Reuters)

  • CHINA’S POLLUTION CRISIS SPARKS FIRST EVER CODE RED WARNING

    The Chinese government issued a red alert on Wednesday in response to critical levels of pollution affecting northern China.This is the highest level of alert that can be issued under a system introduced in 2013 as an acknowledgement of China’s pollution problems.

    Pollution levels have become so high, that thousands of schools have closed, flights have been delayed, and drivers have been advised to navigate roads with caution.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Wednesday, January 4 2016

    (Source: Daily Mail)

  • China’s Water Environmental Management Towards Institutional Integration

    China’s Water Environmental Management Towards Institutional Integration. A Review of Current Progress and Constraints vis-à-vis the European Experience, Journal of Cleaner Production 113 (2016), Yixiang Deng, Daniele Brombal, Paolo D. Farah, Angela Moriggi, Andrea Critto, Yun Zhou, Antonio Macromini

    Deng et al. provides an overview of the regulatory and administrative structure pertaining to the management of water in China. A lack of coordination between relevant government institutions, and an overlapping of competencies, is identified.  Limitations of government measures to introduce public participation into the forum on water management reform are also considered.

    The authors then outline water management requirements in the EU, as stated under the EU Water Framework Directive. The extent to which these requirements are met under China’s amended Environmental Protection Law. Ultimately, it is concluded that comprehensive environmental protection policies should be implemented into water management laws, that public participation should be enhanced, and that coordination between relevant government bodies should be bolstered. It is also acknowledged that China’s governmental structure renders strict emulation of the requirements set out in the EU Directive unfeasible and undesirable.

  • WHY ISIL FIGHTS IN EUROPE?

    The Islamic State rushed to claim responsibility for the Christmas market attack in Berlin on 20 December 2016 and this eagerness to cash in the propaganda chips is only one indication of how important it is for ISIL to score a hit against Germany. The country stands at the core of ISIL’s strategy for Europe and, so as to think about possible remedies, it is essential to understand why.

    ISIL’s terror campaign in Europe began on 24 May 2014 with the attack against the Jewish Museum in Brussels, before al-Baghdadi proclaimed himself “caliph” and before the US-led coalition started bombing ISIL positions in Iraq and Syria. Actually, there are bigger reasons why ISIL focuses on Europe which go beyond the explanation of bombings and truck attacks as a response to Western strikes in Syraq.

    First, to ISIL Europe is a pool of potential recruits and a dangerous counter-model of enduring coexistence; in this sense, terror attacks are intended to generate internal strife and societal tension so as to encourage young Muslim men to join the Jihadist cause in Syraq and to demonstrate the failure of the democratic alternative to caliphate. Second, Europe shows how communities can live side by side thanks to open door policies to refugees; these ones are betrayers of their countries since they left the true path of the caliphate.

    In the larger picture, the last attacks are part of a new wave of global terror which is bound to the fall of insurgent-held Aleppo. Actually, ISIL is the winner of this turning point in the Syrian war for three reasons: (1) the regime of al-Assad liquidated the forces which had driven ISIL from Aleppo, (2) ISIL took back Palmyra and (3) the international passivity during the siege of Aleppo field jihadist propaganda about an international conspiracy against Muslim civilians.

    As long as Raqqa stands as the operational command center for ISIL terror attacks, Europe will be struck again and again; with the US stuck in Mosul and the Russians mopping up Aleppo, it seems that ISIL could sit comfortably for some time more in Raqqa.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Tuesday, 3 January 2017

    (source: politico.eu)

     

  • TRUMP DERIDES NORTH KOREA

    The US President-elect Donald Trump has dismissed North Korea’s claim to be developing missiles capable of striking America through a tweet, which has derided Kim Jong-un according to whom his country is close to testing long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Moreover, Kim has added that North Korea is a military power of the East, which cannot be touched by even the strongest enemy.

    North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests over the last year, raising fears that it has been making significant nuclear advances. However, the country has never successfully test-fired long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and the country is still a long way off to field a missile capable of reaching the US.

    It is not sure if President-elect Trump is expressing doubts about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities or if he is planning some preventative action, but the President-elect has berated China for failing to help rein in its ally North Korea. The US President-elect’s tweet “It won’t happen” may mean that he believes that North Korea will fail to make the technological progress, that the regime will collapse or that he will be able to persuade the North Korean President to renounce his nuclear program. 

    The President-elect Donald Trump seems to not take into consideration the military action since neither bunker-busting bombs nor Special Forces operations would be certain to destroy the program. On the contrary, the most likely counter-measures would be infecting computers with disruptive viruses.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Tuesday, 3 January 2017

    (source: bbc.com)

     

  • WTO and Renewable Energy: Lessons from the Case Law

    ‘WTO and Renewable Energy: Lessons from the Case Law’, Journal of World Trade 49(6), 2015

    Authors: Paolo Farah, Elena Cima

    Authors Paolo Farah of West Virginia University and Elena Cima, PhD candidate at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, examine and outline the details of WTO cases within the renewable energy sector which address the issue of what constitutes a government subsidy subject to the WTO’s subsidies discipline under the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (ASCM). A measure may be a government subsidy if a financial contribution is provided and confers a benefit to a recipient. These two conditions are described and examined by the authors. Subsequently, the authors consider whether government subsidies pertaining to the renewable energy sector should be permitted, and argue that relevant WTO agreements do not give due consideration to the particular issues faced by renewable energy consumers, or the importance of their cause. It is argued that the provisions of WTO agreements should be interpreted flexibly to optimally promote the development and protection of the environment.

  • NETANYAHU AIMS TO DISCUSS “VARIOUS WAYS” TO UNDO IRAN DEAL WITH TRUMP

    The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told CBS he hopes to discuss with the US President Trump five different ways, which have not been publicly declared yet, to undo theJoint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known also as Iran nuclear deal, after the president-elect moves into the White House next month.

    The international agreement was signed in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran and the P5+1, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - China, France, Russia, the UK, the US plus Germany - and the EU, and its main points are: the reduction of the Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity and of the stockpile of LEU, the limiting on the R&D work Iran can do on centrifuges, the removal of the Arak reactor, the IAEA’s access to all Iranian nuclear sites for inspections and its investigations in Iran past activities, and the suspension of the financial sanctions and the oil embargo against Iran.      

    Netanyahu has criticized and rejected the agreement because it provides for the monitoring of Iran’s nuclear development in return for a loosening of sanctions related to the program; the deal does not prevent Iran from acquiring and building nuclear weapons within the next decade but paves its path to the bomb, and he has added that President Trump has the right attitude to support the Jewish state and people in this fight.

    Internationally, the support for the deal is strong. US Democrats are urging Trump not to renege on the deal, while the major EU’s leaders keep praising the agreement as useful to neutralize Iran’s aggressive actions in the Middle East. Lastly, Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani has stated he will not let anyone dismantle the deal.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Sunday, 11 December 2016

        (source: The Guardian)

  • SUPREME COURT TO HEAR GOVERNMENT APPEAL OVER BREXIT POWERS

    The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union by a margin of 51.9% to 48.1% in a referendum in June and the prime minister Theresa May intends to notify of the intention to leave beginning the two years of talks over the terms of separation by the end of March. Notwithstanding, some campaigners claimed that the government needs Parliament to trigger the process for the UK to leave the EU and appealed to High Court.

    On 3 November the High Court ruled that the government did not have the power to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - that is the one which sets out the constitutional basis of the EU- without an act of Parliament, using its executive powers. As a consequence, the government appealed to the Supreme Court arguing that using its prerogative power is necessary to give effect to the will of the British people and that EU rights and obligations may not only be altered or removed with acts of Parliament.

    It is an unprecedented case since, for the first time, the 11 Judges will decide about the lawful process under the British Constitution for leaving, taking into consideration the Scottish and Welsh governments’ positions, in accordance with the High Court, and that of Northern Ireland which supports the UK government.

    If the Supreme Court will need clarification on the meaning of Article 50 in order to decide the case and refer the matter to the EU’s Supreme Court, there might be public discontent since this one would have great influence on the UK’s future; if the government will lose, it will be necessary to introduce a bill in Parliament and the timetable for Brexit will be blown off.

    The court judgement is expected to be reserved in January. 

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Monday, 5 December 2016

    (Source: bbc.co.uk)

  • CHINA’S ROLE AND CONTRIBUTION IN THE GLOBAL GOVERNANCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE

    Haifeng Deng, Paolo Davide Farah and Anna Wang – ‘China’s Role and Contribution in the Global Governance of Climate Change: Institutional Adjustments for Carbon Tax Introduction, Collection and Management in China’ – Journal of World Energy Law and Business 8(12) 2015. Online: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2695612

    Haifeng Deng, Associate Professor at Tsinghua University, Paolo Davide Farah, Principal Investigator and Research Scientist at gLAWcal, and Anna Wang, PhD Candidate at Tsinghua University, provide a summary of China’s Tax Laws, their relationship with environmental policy, and make proposals for future reform.

    The authors begin by noting how different types of taxation might promote environmentally friendly policies. It is noted that taxes on oil consumption, and, on the other hand, preferential tax policies for use of clean energy sources might incentivise use of said cleaner energies and thus assist in the fight against climate change. Meanwhile, resource taxes on commodities like metals and salt might promote efficient use of said resources.

    The authors comment on the new Draft Environmental Tax Law promulgated in 2015, which imposes new tax reforms which promote environmentally friendly behaviour. It is observed that there is a lack of stipulated supervision procedures regarding the responsibilities which the Draft Environmental Tax imposes upon environmental authorities, leading the authors to doubt whether its implementation will be practically significant. Thus, it is suggested that future reform efforts involve the construction of an overarching committee tasked with handling issues pertaining to environmental tax, and that improvements be made to the transparency of and integration between relevant institutions.

    Furthermore, it is suggested that local governments in China have a strong tendency to pursue maximisation of economic growth, with little concern for how this pursuit may affect environmental interests. However, it is noted that certain developments, such as the implementation by the State Council of an evaluation system that measures provincial governments according to their compliance with air pollution targets, may help to achieve an arguably more appropriate balance between the consideration of economic and environmental concerns.

    The authors note that failure to comply with tax laws in China may result in an offender being subject to penalties of a reputational, financial and/or business-restricting nature. It is argued that the revenue collected from financial penalties should be used by the government to fund environmentally-friendly projects.

  • CHINESE GOVERNMENT RESTRICTS THE FREE MOVEMENT OF XINJIANG CITIZENS

    A recently implemented government policy required local authorities to collect the passports of many citizens residing in China’s Xinjiang province.This measure, which authorities were required to implement by the end of October 2016, is likely to greatly impede the ability of many of Xinjiang’s citizens, many of whom belong to the minority Uighur community, from leaving the province and travelling abroad. Officials have stated that the recall is part of an ‘annual review’ process.

    Local authorities tasked with the recollection of the passports note that whilst they have been given instructions on how to obtain the passports, they have not yet been made aware of how the passports should be returned, and no schedule for their return appears to have been publicised. Some have been instructed to ask citizens who request the return of their passport about why they want the passport to be returned. The implementation of the policy across the Xinjiang province has been inconsistent, and has been viewed as an unnecessary and disproportionate measure by onlookers.

    Human Rights Watch argues that the recall lacks a legal basis, observing that Art.2 of China’s Passport Law prohibits passport recollection by police authorities except where necessary for handling a legal case.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 25 November 2016

    (Source: Human Rights Watch)

  • WTO Law and the Canadian Legal Order

    Paolo Farah and Giacomo Gattinara – ‘WTO Law and the Canadian Legal Order’ – in ‘The Absence of Direct Effect of WTO in the EC and in Other Countries’, 2010. Online: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2695612

    Paolo Farah, Research Fellow at the University of Milan, and Giacommo Gattinara, Assistant Professor of EU law at La Sapienza University, describe the way in which WTO law was implemented in the Canadian legal regime.

    The authors explain how treaty implementation is affected by Canada’s federal governance structure, and it is observed that controversy sometimes arises when federal institutions purport to implement treaty provisions.

    It is noted that WTO law was incorporated into the Canadian legal system via the World Trade Organisation Agreement Implementation Act, and the structure of the Act is summarised. Also, it is observed that the consent of the Attoney-General of Canada is required if a private party is to be permitted to enforce rights or obligations under the Act.

    Finally, the authors observe that WTO case-law does not have direct effect in the Canadian legal system, but that it might nevertheless be indirectly effective, given that some have argued that the courts have a duty to interpret domestic legal decisions in accordance with Canada’s international obligations as per the WTO.

  • TURKEY: THOUSANDS PROTEST AGAINST PROPOSED CHILD SEX LAW

    Thousands of people protested in Istanbul, Izmir and Trabzon, Turkey, against a bill that would release those men who assault underage girls, without force, threat, or any other restriction on consent, in case they later marry their victims. The bill has been introduced by the President and AKP party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan who underlined the legislation was aimed at dealing with the widespread custom of child marriage.

    More specifically, the government stated that the bill was not an excuse to rape but an attempt to rehabilitate those men who might not have realized their sexual relations were unlawful and to prevent girls who have sex under the age of 18 from feeling ostracized by their community. It can help couples who engaged in consensual sex and want to marry, or children who are born from non-official unions.    

    The protesters claimed that rape could not be legitimized and that minors had to be always protected against any sort of abuse. They are supported by the UN children’s fund, which considers all forms of violence against children as crimes which should be always punished in the best interest of the child, and by the parliamentary opposition, the Republic People’s Party.

    The bill, that follows a controversy after Turkey’s constitutional court in July 2015 annulled part of the criminal code which classified all sexual acts with children under 15 as sexual abuse, has been approved in an initial parliamentary reading and has to be voted on again in a second debate before the Members of Parliament cast their final vote.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Saturday, 19 November 2016

    (Source: bbc.co.uk)

  • The Implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

    Paolo Davide Farah and Elena Cima, ‘The Implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) in China - Tsinghua Law Review (2:317), 2010. Online: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1679999

    China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2002 has been regarded as a pivotal milestone in the nation’s transition from a planned economy to a “socialist market economy” that began after 1978. However, authors Paolo D. Farah, Visiting Scholar at Tsinghua University, and Elena Cima, Visiting Researcher at Harvard University, observe that the extent of China’s adherence to the terms of its accession to the WTO have disappointed onlookers in the international community. During the negotiations that led to China’s accession, it was agreed that China would be subject to a more intensive review of its policies pertaining to the economy and trade than members of the WTO are typically subject to under the standard WTO Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TRPM) which all members of the WTO are party to. It is suggested that subsequent failures by China to fully comply with these requirements can be attributed to China’s discontentedness with being the subject of specific non-reciprocal requirements, the lack of harmonisation between many domestic Chinese laws and WTO requirements at the time of China’s accession.

    Transparency requirements were introduced upon China’s accession to the WTO which apply to equally to all regions in China, and necessitated structural changes to the country’s administrative law procedures. However, regional governments have proven hesitant to comply with these requirements, and it is suggested that this may be due to fears that said requirements would reduce their ability to control local business deals. Furthermore, it is noted that whilst developments regarding China’s administrative law processes are indicative of progress, transparency issues remain pervasive in practice due to the fact that regional governments are bound to follow a wide range of often conflicting bodies of rules, from “normative documents” which exist outside of the traditional legal and administrative framework, to unpublicised regulations and circulars. Thus, foreign investors into China will typically be uncertain about what rules will apply to them.

    To help improve transparency, the National People’s Congress (NPC) implemented a procedure requiring that local governments provide the public with notice and opportunity for comment on draft laws. However, the authors observe that whilst these requirements have spurred positive developments like the holding of open hearings on draft legislation in municipalities like Beijing and Shanghai, in general comments often only be solicited from specially selected persons or groups. Furthermore, the practices of various government institutions continues to vary significantly, with some publishing all draft measures and regulations, and others failing to make any disclosure whatsoever.

    Farah and Cima provide an overview of the Chinese legal regime for the protection of copyright, patent and trademark laws, and the extent to which they can be regarded as conforming with international requirements that China is bound to comply with by virtue of being party to the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). Regarding interpretation of the TRIPs agreement, the authors present a case-study of a WTO dispute between the US and China, in which it was alleged that China was failing to satisfy its enforcement obligations as per the agreement. The case was ultimately decided in China’s favour.

    The authors find that after China acceded to the WTO, significant developments have been made regarding China’s intellectual property right (IPR) legal enforcement system. IPR rights are now potentially protectable via administrative, judicial or civil remedies, as well as via border enforcement. Administrative remedies are identified as the most commonly sought, but it is noted that protectionism and China’s large size and decentralised governance structure impede the effectiveness of this avenue of protection for claimants. Meanwhile, it is argued that civil remedies are often unsatisfactory and require the claimant to satisfy an overly onerous burden of proof. Criminal sanctions are similarly regarded as inadequate, and that criminal law enforcement institutions do not coordinate sufficiently with administrative and judicial bodies.

    In light of all of the above findings, the authors conclude that reform is necessary in order to bolster China’s multilateral relations with other WTO members, and to reduce increasing the risk of future disputes.

  • NEW DELHI CONFRONTS DEADLY AIR POLLUTION LEVELS

    Air pollution levels in New Delhi have reached dangerously high levels, resulting in the closure of schools across the city. Citizens have likened their homes to gas chambers, and families are resorting to spending their day in rooms with air purifiers and wearing gas masks outside of this room. The necessity of staying indoors to mitigate exposure to the air pollution has evoked the feeling that the public is ‘under siege’. Even in rooms with air purifiers, it is reported that levels of PM2.5 (the most deadly type of particulate matter) remain five times higher than the level deemed safe by the World Health Organisation. The health implications are serious- it is noted that single isolated cases of bad air pollution have historically been capable of causing of tens thousands of premature deaths. Citizens in New Delhi are currently complaining about irritable eyes, sore throats, breathing difficulties and dizziness.

    Many are angry at the situation, but governmental action is regarded as slow. This perceived slowness is attributed to the fact that dozens of governmental institutions have overlapping authority to take action - which impliedly creates inefficiency- and it is suggested that institutions tend to shy away from being the one who does take action by delegating tasks to other bodies.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Friday, 18 November 2016

    (Source: New York Times)

  • Desirability of Commodification of Intangible Cultural Heritage: The Unsatisfying Role of Intellectual Property Rights

    Paolo D. Farah and Ricardo Tremolada – ‘Desirability of Commodification of Intangible Cultural Heritage: The Unsatisfying Role of Intellectual Property Rights’ – Transnational Dispute Management 11(2) 2014. Online: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2472339

    In this article, Paolo D. Farah (West Virgina University, USA; and gLAWcal, UK) and Ricardo Tremolada (gLAWcal, UK) begin by explaining what is capable of classifying as intangible cultural heritage (ICH). Definitional issues, such as the potential for cultural heritage classified as intangible to also classify as tangible, are explored.

    Subsequently, the difficulty of protecting ICH via a regime of intellectual property rights (IPRs) is assessed. It is noted that conventional IPR regimes, including copyright laws, may be ill-suited for this task since their general objective is to protect and reward individual achievements and innovations, whereas protection pertaining to ICH would necessarily be enjoyed by a larger community consisting of all of the individuals who have helped develop and maintain the ICH in question. Furthermore, since ICH is inter-generational in nature, conventional IPRs may provide inadequate protection since they are generally temporal. Copyright laws generally expire subsequent to the passing of a fixed period of time after the death of the right-holder, and patent laws tend to provide protection up to two decades. Additionally, since ICH has typically been developed over a long period of time, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to identify an individual author for the purposes of copyright law, or satisfy the novelty and/or innovation requirements of patent laws.

    Given the apparent inadequacy of conventional IPRs as sources of protection for ICH, the authors explore the possible ways in which Sui Generis systems of protection might fill the void. For example, communities who consider the publication ICHs pertaining to them which they regard as sacred should, according to the authors, be protected under privacy laws. The possibility of relying upon trade secret laws is also considered, but the authors observe that the fact that knowledge constituting ICH tends to be shared amongst various members of the relevant group, making it difficult for protection under trade secret law to be achieved. Also, unjust enrichment laws might be appropriately apply in cases where information is provided confidentially to a third party who then exploits said knowledge to gain undue commercial advantages. If a Sui Generis system is implemented, it is suggested that communities should be able to control access to and use of their traditional knowledge and other ICH.

    The authors conclude by noting that any sui generis legal protection regime should take due account of the fact that the ICHs to which it pertains are part of a continuous, ongoing development process. Supporting the case for providing additional rights attaching to ICH, it is noted that the individualistic roots which underpin traditional IPRs are not consistent with the traditional practices and conventions of some countries across the globe.

  • COP22 in Morroco

    Marrakech the capital of Morroco is hosting the COP of 22, the conference of the parties. The U.N. is talking about climate change. Particularly the conference focuses her attention on the agriculture production in Africa that employs around 40% of population.

     In the high mountains for example it has been reduced the period of the year when the snow is present, consequently has been reduced also the underground water sources. In the last 27 years the rains has taken place 15%-20% than previously.

    When the rain comes, comes in showers and breeds flood. The initiative proposes measures such as improved soil management, water and irrigation management and better weather forecasting and insurance programs for farmers affected by drought.

    The initiative proposes measures such as improved soil management, water and irrigation management and better weather forecasting and insurance programs for farmers affected by drought

    Sources: The Guardian, The World Bank

  • “AMERICANISM, NOT GLOBALISM” – Donald J. Trump

    Mr. Trump’s electoral victory may signal America’s resignation from its position as a leader in furthering global development initiatives.Donald Trump surprised pollsters by securing a comfortable victory in the US presidential elections. State leaders from around the globe have been quick to send their congratulations to Mr. Trump, but many foreign spectators are anxious about the practical implications of the President-Elect’s views towards foreign policy.

    Mr. Trump’s promise to renegotiate the USA’s obligations under the UN Paris Agreement on climate change, and vow to cut tens of billions of dollars in contributions to international global warming initiatives, sharply contrast with the proactive, leading role assumed by the Obama administration during the last two electoral terms. The status of the USA’s defence pact with other parties to NATO has been called into question over concerns that certain states are not providing sufficient economic contributions to the union. Previous attempts to resolve conflicts in the middle-east via primarily political means will be replaced by a series of more hostile, violent actions against Islamic State. These policies, like several others made by Mr. Trump, send a clear message: that America’s foreign policy will be strictly geared towards the promotion of ‘Americanism, not globalism’. Humanitarian projects which do not directly benefit the self-interests of America may no longer be supported.

    Ultimately, it remains to be seen which policies amount to mere “campaign talk” from Mr. Trump, as opposed to policies which his administration will in fact implement.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Thursday, 10 November 2016

    (Source: BBC News)

  • Analysis of the Impact on Sustainable Developments by Investment Regulations in the Energy Charter Treaty

    Qinglin Zhang: ‘Analysis of the Impact on Sustainable Developments by Investment Regulations in the Energy Charter Treaty’ - Journal of World Energy Law and Business, 2015, Vol. 8, No. 6

    Online: http://jwelb.oxfordjournals.org/content/8/6/542.full.pdf?keytype=ref&ijkey=CQd14CZkstoPt3q

     

    In an energy-related legal dispute between a foreign investor and a host state, in which the parties involved are bound by the Energy Charter Treaty 2004, due consideration must be given to both the need to promote the interests of the investor, and the goal of facilitating sustainable development. Qinglin Zhang, Professor in International Economic Law at Wuhan University, argues that these two interests have not been satisfactorily balanced in practice.

    It is noted that energy-related disputes are most commonly resolved via international arbitration. This is often because foreign investors fear that the contracting party in their host state will benefit from protectionism by local courts. However, Zhang suggests that a similar degree of protectionism, this time in favour of the investor and at the expense of host states which are developing countries, is experienced when disputes are resolved via arbitration proceedings.

    This is argued to be the case because arbitrators tend to be trained in developed Western jurisdictions, and are thus arguably predisposed to favour the arguments of investors from developed countries. Case-law supporting this finding is provided. Additionally, Zhang states that arbitrators tend to be accustomed to handling disputes between two private parties, but are generally less experienced and less equipped to adjudicate upon matters concerning public state entities. As a result, Zhang suggests that arbitration panels lack the requisite expertise to provide a fair decision. To the extent that developing countries are the victims of such prejudice, it is suggested that their ability to pursue sustainable development is undermined.

    To resolve this problem, Zhang proposes several solutions. Zhang argues in favour of providing financial assistance to the state via money raised from other member states, so that the state can adequately represent its interests and better position itself to avoid being advised by incompetent lawyers. Furthermore, it is suggested that a special team of arbitrators, who are experts in the fields of both sustainable development and investments disputes, should be made readily available to prospective disputants. Additionally, Zhang concludes that it is necessary for the state of an investor to better supervise their conduct, and take measures to prevent them from avoiding legal obligations or bribing officials in the host state. Finally, it is suggested that the confidentiality which is characteristic of arbitration proceedings should not necessarily apply to energy-related arbitration proceedings involving a state entity. It is implied that the public should be able to access such information so that they can hold the state accountable for its dealings with the foreign investor.

  • Powered by Expertise: Selecting Arbitrators in Energy Disputes

    Fernando Dias Simoes: ‘Powered by Expertise: Selecting Arbitrators in Energy Disputes’ - Journal of World Energy Law and Business, 2015, Vol. 8, No. 6

    Online: http://jwelb.oxfordjournals.org/content/8/6/501.full.pdf?keytype=ref&ijkey=5H7hAAeohsC0cdK

    Arbitration has traditionally been regarded as a relatively niche and uncommon form of alternative dispute resolution. However, its use by parties in disputes has risen dramatically in recent years. Fernando Dias Simoes, Assistant Professor at the University of Macau, documents this trend. Arbitration in energy-related disputes arbitration is particularly attractive to disputants, since courts are generally perceived as lacking the industry-specific experience and knowledge that is required to make an informed and fair assessment of the dispute.

    Professor Simoes explores the problems that parties face during the process of finding suitable arbitrators to preside over their dispute. For the prospective disputant, the ability to select an arbitrator is regarded as one of the key attractions of pursuing arbitration over court proceedings, but it is noted that information about qualified arbitrators and their relevant characteristics is not easily attainable. It will tend to be sourced from small group of knowledgeable persons who provide endorsements for a fairly small circle of arbitrators with extensive previous experience. Since this prior experience is often regarded as one of the key indicators of an arbitrator’s suitability for selection, the circle of recommendable arbitrators can be difficult for newcomers to penetrate. As a result, the author observes that the market for arbitrators is relatively closed and not optimally structured to ensure that disputes are presided over by persons with the highest quality of expertise in relation to a given case.

    The current sources of information which are available to prospective disputants are analysed, and the existence of energy-specific arbitrator lists is highlighted. It is suggested that as informational problems are resolved, the current monopoly on clients that is held by a few arbitrators will be dismantled, and that as a result disputants will be able to utilise the services of the most qualified arbitrators in a particular case.

  • Offshore natural gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean in relation to the European Union

    P. D. Farah, Riccardo Tremolada: Offshore natural gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean in relation to the European Union: a legal perspective through the lenses of Medreg, 8 Journal of World Energy law and Business 6 (2015) 559-580. 

     

     

    The recent offshore natural gas discoveries in Levant Basin, located in the Eastern Mediterranean, constitute a new input towards the establishment of a Mediterranean Energy Community by 2020; since they significantly impact the energy landscape in that region in terms of allocation of gas resources, regional energy production, consumption and trade, and threaten the feasibility of several infrastructural projects which are essential for further efficient exploitation. Indeed, the new energy resources have the potential to alter energy supply dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean region and might lead to a redefinition of the objectives of the European Union’s (“EU”) external energy security by diversifying its supplies, due in large part to the fact that natural gas has a strategic value as alternative to Russian and North African imports. Therefore, a new energy market will require an innovative legal framework for balancing competition and regulatory requirements. However, first, the concerned countrieshave to intensify negotiations to ratify border and maritime delimitation agreements, which are not straightforward.

    The EU has officially recognized energy as a sector to support Euro-Mediterranean cooperation by Directives 2003/54/EC and 2003/55/EC. The model of coordination, while already working for electricity companies through common regional regulators, is still absent for the gas sector. In this complexity, the Association of Mediterranean Regulators for Electricity and Gas (“MedReg”) is viewed as a key actor for energy cooperation in the Mediterranean region and, gradually, for energy market integration of Eastern Mediterranean countries within the European Internal Energy Market (“EIEM”). Founded by the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (“ENPI”), which is a leading financial mechanism giving to European Neighbourhood Policy (“ENP”) countries, it represents an informal tool of networking and cooperation. A close synergy between EU and Eastern Mediterranean countries would be more than beneficial, not only for the energy market, but also for any sustainable development and environmental protection concerns.     

    In this vein, it is necessary to assess the relevance of the EU’s energy policy and its regulatory framework in order to evaluate the suitability to extend Europe’s approach on tackling energy issues in the Mediterranean. Indeed, the Energy Charter Treaty (“ECT”) mainly emphasizes investment protection and does not include Mediterranean countries as full members. Given that, the Authors believe that it is fundamental to look for a much faster integration and cooperative agreements to prevent geopolitical, social and economic conflicts in the Mediterranean region, despite some critics highlighting the need of a step-by-step integration process, starting first with internal agreements and then to neighbouring ones.

    EU practice has delivered a regulatory framework based on directives and recommendations shifting towards a market-based paradigm. In fact, competition rules are recently used to accelerate the transformation of the energy market, since they have not been limited to their traditional ex post corrective role, but have converged with regulatory law. Energy regulation is particularly central to tackle these challenges and to foster socio-economic development. Hence, MedReg is primarily aimed to promoting a transparent, stable and harmonized regulatory framework in the Levant Basin, though Mediterranean countries are not legally bound to apply the EU energy aquis. Its “Concept and Strategy Paper” underlines the parallel between the Energy Community (“EC”) and the MedReg itself. However, the approach adopted is substantially different from the EC’s one, which is mainly “top-down” and widely institutionalized. And in addition to the “bottom-up” approach, MedReg enacts self-regulatory strategy, despite serving as a platform for cooperation with other energy organizations and reflecting most of the EU external energy policy objectives.

    One of the main objectives of MedReg’s efforts is the establishment of independent regulatory authorities in all Mediterranean countries to guarantee stable and transparent administrative procedure and licenses according to the best international standards and practices, implement Third-Party Access (TPA) to energy networks, which is an essential precondition for opening the European Energy Market to competition and creating a non-discriminatory energy infrastructure, and enhance the harmonization of technical rules and advances in technology. Finally, an Ad Hoc Group on Gas is intended to draw up recommendations, guidelines and requirements, in line with EU energy market framework principles, that could lead to the development of an integrated and competitive gas market in the Mediterranean region, clearly demonstrating the relevance of the Levant Basin in this market integration.            

     

  • BRITAIN COULD RISK LOSING ITS STATUS AS A HUB FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES

    Open Europe, a leading European Think Tank, has warned that Britain could risk losing its status as a hub for financial services, unless a deal aimed to maintain UK-based banks rights to sell services freely across the European Union is reached. Thus, “pass-porting rights” have to be made Britain’s top priority in negotiations with the EU, since their failure could have repercussions on the continent; specifically,  “[n]on-EU financial centres are just as well placed to reap the benefits” and banks could decide to move their business from Britain to New York or Singapore. Moreover, the UK’s financial services sector only employs 1.9 million people.

    The Financial Times reported that the British government is currently considering proposals that could see billions of pounds paid into the EU budget in exchange for giving the financial sector continued access to the single market. Indeed, the Think Tank, whose Co-Director, Raoul Ruparel, who recently joined David Davis’s Brexit advisory team, said the government should aim to offer the maximum industry certainty as early on as possible, because some firms may start implementing their contingency plans even earlier than the UK formally exits the EU. Vincenzo Scarpetta, Open Europe’s Senior Policy Analyst, said firms were planning in case the UK was to leave the single market without any kind of regulatory equivalence.

    Calls have come from the City for a transitional deal to be put in place if the UK does not retain single market membership, warning food prices will see a steep hike if the UK reverts to World Trade Organisation tariffs. Under WTO rules, tariffs will also have to be applied to all imports into the UK until a trade deal with the EU is struck. On the other hand, a new poll, commissioned by the Open Britain Campaign, shows that nearly three-quarters of the public thinks the government should seek parliamentary approval for their Brexit plans before Article 50 is triggered. An attempt has been made by a powerful cross-party group of MPs to force a parliamentary vote on whether the government should reveal its plans for the UK’s future outside the EU before negotiations start.  

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 17 October 2016

    (Source: The Gardian)

  • CLIMATE CHANGE IS THE NEW NAZISM TO BE FIGHT

    Professor Hugh Rockoff imagines a scenario where USA establish political actions to fight the climate change similar to those which effected the victory of the Second World War.

    Climate change is a very dramatic problem that impact all the world and it need to be fought.

    The new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper from Hugh Rockoff (economics professor of the Rutgers University) draws parallels between the effects of global warming and the supply shortages during World War II.

    According to the Author what the US policy makers should do today is to set some similar policies to the 1945 ones. This means achieves a massive government spending on infrastructure and technology.

    During the WWII the US economy has been completely converted to satisfy the need of the army. Science has been focused on develop new weapons (such as the Manhattan Project which developed the first atomic bomb).

    Tackling climate change will involve similarly ambitious projects, government could prioritize certain type of production and perhaps support a large-scale solar power installations or reset whole communities away from environmentally-vulnerable areas.

    Even though the WWII lasted only four years, for the US, the fight against global change should be longer and a maybe harder one.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday , 8 September 2016

    (Source: Bloomberg)

  • NEW PRIORITY FOR OCEAN RESORTS: RESTORING REEFS

    Caterina Fattori, a resident marine biologist at Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort, is heading the resort’s collaboration with a local dive team and the German Museum of Oceanographic and Fisheries in an initiative called Outrigger Ozone, a program aimed at rebuilding and re-growing damaged coral reefs off the property’s island.

    In April 2015, the Maldives’ coral reefs started bleaching, thus turning into a ghost reef with pale and stressed corals. This was the latest phenomenon in a series of global warming and human related assaults such as the building of large structures on the beaches, the heavy fishing and the land-based pollution.

    The program, which began in June 2015, has been a joint collaboration by other resorts, such as the Wakatobi Dive Resort in Southeast Sulawesi, the Andaman in Malaysia, Alila Manggis in Bali and Taj Exotica in the Maldives; these ones share the common sentiment that, since beach and island resorts have contributed to erosion and environmental destruction as well, their action is extremely urgent.

    The coral restoration process is similar across all the resorts: broken but still-living coral fragments are attached to a frame, either metal or concrete, and the whole system is secured underwater. They believe that being good neighbors and showing that there is sustainability in tourism is a key point so as to protect the environment and its beauty for the future generations; it does not matter if it is a slow process, with care the reef will regenerate itself on the frames.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday, 2 March 2017

    (source: The NewYork Times)

  • AMAZON DEFORESTATION, ONCE TAMED, COMES ROARING BACK

    A decade after the “Save the Rainforest” movement forced changes that slowed deforestation, activity is roaring back in some of the biggest expanses of forests in the world; this resurgence is rising the specter of a backward slide in efforts to preserve biodiversity and fight climate change. In 2015, for the first time in a decade, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon and across the border in Bolivia, where there are fewer restrictions on land clearance, rose. 

    According to the organization Mighty Earth, in the Brazilian savanna areas called the Cerrado, operates Cargill, an American agricultural giant, that is responsible for 321,000 acres of deforestation between 2011 and 2015; moreover, some months ago the company traveled to Bolivia’s lowlands in the reaches of the Amazon River basin with the offer to buy soybeans from the Mennonite residents, peasants who have been carving settlements for 40 years, so as to increase its purchases of local soy and enhance the bonds with local producers.

    Although a supply-chain mapping is not available in Bolivia, reporters and environmentalists have been witnesses of the severe deforestation which is taking place; the reports come despite the New York Declaration on Forests signed in 2014 by Cargill that aims at eliminating deforestation from the production of agricultural commodities like soy by 2020.

    The company stated that if reports were accurate, it would intervene honoring the obligations and punishing the guilty employees; notwithstanding, it added that it could not solve the issue of deforestation alone, especially if Bunge, the American competitor of Cargill, does not have any commitment at ending deforestation. The world is everybody’s bond and everybody should contribute to safeguard it.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday, 2 March 2017

    (source: The NewYork Times)

  • HOW TO INSTALL SOLAR PANELS AT HOME - TO SAVE THE EARTH AND YOUR BANK ACCOUNT

    The US, and the rest of the world, is facing the challenge of climate change and thinking of the related dangers and solutions. With solar energy becoming cheaper and cheaper, and the state authorities offering tax credits and other incentives, now may be the right time to install solar panels.

    According to some experts, installing solar panels on the roof of a house has some obvious environmental benefits and can make people save money on electric bills. An average, 5-kilowatt system costs about $15,000/20,000, depending on where someone lives and if there is any incentive; in any case, the federalgovernment offers a 30% tax credit and has created some lists with all the policies for renewable energy by state so as to get the information a citizen needs.

    Some states, such as California, have created websites listing incentives, financing options, and tips so as to hire a contractor and install the panels; a good contractor is crucial since a trustworthy installer secures the necessary permits and properly connects the solar energy system to the house and the local electric grid.

    In terms of payment for the equipment and services, a citizen may pay upfront and enjoy its system for the following 20 years. As a owner, he may get a bonus incentive if the state allows him to sell the excess solar electricity to his utility; the money earned shows up as a credit on the bills. On the contrary, the alternative option is to leave the ownership and maintenance of the panels to the installer and pay only for the electricity produced.  

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday, 2 March 2017

    (source: The Guardian)

  • CLIMATE SCIENTISTS SAY LIKELIHOOD OF EXTREME SUMMERS SURGING DUE TO GLOBAL WARMING

    According to a group of Australian climate scientists, New South Wales, which has just experienced its hottest summer on record, is 50 times more likely to experience another similar hot summer and 10 times more likely to experience hot days under climate change.

    At the beginning of 2017, the mean temperature in Sydney has been 2.8C above the average and the three-day heatwave from 9 February 2017 to 11 February 2017 has been the hottest on record from Sydney to Brisbane, breaking the record of 1939. This is the kind of weather event that should be considered a one in 500-year occurrence but, because of the impact of global warming on climate system, has now become a one in 50-year event.

    The weather may make cities like Sydney less livable and unprepared for the knock-on effects of a significant increase in temperatures such as the building codes, the insulation, the double-glazing or the energy regulators which are not equipped to supply enough power to cover the demand from air conditioners. However, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull links the blackouts to renewable energy which, according to him, is unable to hit the country’s energy targets.

    People have already experienced hot days decades ago but these incidences are different since they are getting more and more frequent. For this reason, it is necessary to raise awareness that climate change is impacting in Australia so as to motivate some action by the government.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday, 2 March 2017

    (source: The Guardian)

  • CHINA TAKING CONTROL OF A BIGGER PORTION OF THE WORLD’S SUPPLY CHAINS

    China is taking control of a bigger portion of the world’s supply chains, causing a shift throughout China’s vast manufacturing sector and consequently in the global trade patterns by buying more than 70% of row materials and components from local suppliers and less from abroad. Those supply flows made China one of the top export destinations for years.

    The push to use local inputs for manufacturing is spreading to higher-tech items and contributing to slower global trade growth. Now exports to China, which have risen nearly every year since the 1990s, fell 14% last year, representing the largest annual drop. According to Chinese trade data, the proportion of foreign-made inputs in Chinese exports has been shrinking by an average of 1.6 percentage points a year over the past decade, and last year fell to 19%, from more than 40% in the mid-1990s. 

    To build domestic capabilities, the Chinese government last year announced a plan to raise the domestic content of core components and key materials to 40% by 2020 and 70% by 2025. Indeed, according to national media reports, the country has been spending large amounts on research and development: $213 billion last year, or 2.1% of gross domestic product. As a result, biotechnology, aerospace and other high-tech-related exports to China fell 5% this year through September, while in specialty or higher-end chemicals the amount China’s imports from the U.S. fell 8% in the first seven months of this year.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Monday, 31 October 2016

    (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

  • COLOMBIA PRESIDENT GETS NOBEL PEACE PRIZE FOR FARC DEAL

    The peace deal was voted down in a referendum this week in which a narrow majority of 50.2% to 49.8%, a difference of fewer than 54,000 votes, rejected the plan.

    Santos and the leader of the FARC rebel group, Rodrigo Londoño, known as Timochenko, were both considered leading contenders for the prize after signing the peace deal last month to end 52 years of war.

    The aim of this Noble Prize, according to the Norwegian Nobel committee, is to encourage all parties to continue working towards peace.

    President Santos spoke to the press, after winning the Nobel Prize and referenced being “infinitely grateful for this honourable distinction” and he dedicated the prize to “the millions of victims of the conflict which we have suffered for more than 50 years.”

    The award of the prize to Santos comes as a surprise to many Colombians who believed his chances had been scuttled by the rejection of the peace deal.

    Nonetheless, the two sides, after having recognized the outcome of the referendum, which rejected the deal they had finalised in August, have indicated that the negotiating teams were open to studying other proposals.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    Friday, 07 October 2016

    (Source: The Guardian)

  • UNIVERSAL EDUCATION GOAL WILL FAIL UNLESS 69 MILLION NEW TEACHERS WILL BE RECRUITED

    UNESCO figures have shown that nearly 69 million new teachers must be recruited and trained in order to achieve the global universal primary and secondary education demand.

    According to these estimates, the ambition of Universal Education, outlined in the Sustainable Development Agenda, will need 24.4 million primary school teachers and 44.4 million secondary teachers to be recruited.

    Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are the most affected areas for a lack of education.

    Indeed, in order to meet the sustainable development goal,Sub-Saharan Africa would need an additional 17 million teachers within the next 14 years, while South-Asia, which faces the second largest teacher shortage, would need an additional 15 million teachers.

    Giving children the possibility to go to school is the first step, but it will not be enough. A big issue concerns how to keep them at school and how to guarantee them a high level of teaching.

    “Without highly-trained teachers, children will go to school but they won’t have the skills to write, read or add up,”said UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director, Justin Forsyth.

    In order to instruct other educators in a better and more efficient way, the Varkey’s Foundation delivered a project founded by Dubai Cares, which consisted in training teachers through interactive distance learning.

    “The original 40 connected schools allow us to reach 5,000 teachers from our studios in Accra, and the project can be expanded by installing the technology package in further schools,”said the Varkey’s foundation CEO, Vikas Pota.

    “Thanks to this,” he said, “training teachers costs less, and it allows to improve the training and professional development of teachers.”

    A high level of teaching is important, but it is not the only tool to guarantee that a child stays in school; other issues are strictly related with education, such as poverty or lack of appropriate toilets, which is one of the reasons why many girls stop attending schools.

    Summing up, there are a lot of issues, which must to be taken into account in order to meet the 2030 education targets set forth by the Universal Education goal.

     

    gLAWcal team

    LIBEAC project

    5 October 2016

    (source: The Guardian)

  • IS THE UNITED STATES ABLE TO MEET THE TARGET AGREED IN THE PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD?

    According to a scientific study, the United States, which has been a leader in the achievement of the Paris Climate Accord, could miss its’ 2025 target on climate change.

    The Paris Climate Accord, which Trump has promised to exit should he win the presidential election, sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.

    The United States has been recently overtaken by China as the world’s largest emitters, but it still expels more than 6.8bn tonnes of greenhouse gases a year.

    Even if the United States has made strong efforts to be a leader in this agreement, it apparently does not currently have the right policies in place to meet the target.

    If it really failed, this could have huge consequences on its position as a climate leader, as well as for the global efforts to fight the damages of climate change.

    Jeffery Greenblatt, scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, stated, “I wouldn’t disparage the US’s efforts so far, but we need to do more as a nation and globally to reduce emissions. However we splice it, that’s hard to do. We can’t make small alterations to our economy – we need fundamental changes in how we get and use energy.”

    The targets are ambitious but not impossible; they are just not likely to be achieved with current policies, but the United States could meet them by taking additional measures.

    “The problem is a political problem and an implementation problem. The US, and the world, needs deeper and sooner cuts,” said John Sterman, director of the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative.

    In the past years, cheap gasoline and natural gas prices have been the cause of an overconsumption of fossil fuels, and this has slowed efforts to improve energy commitments.

    “Putting a price on carbon,” Mr. Sterman  said, “would be an efficient measure to meet the 2025 target.”

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Thursday, 29 September 2016

    (Source: The guardian)

  • THE SIDE EFFECTS OF GROWTH IN PASSIVE FUNDS

    In the recent financial capitalism, passive investment vehicles have soaked-up enormous amounts of cash. Since 2008, in America, about $600 billion in holdings of actively managed mutual funds have been sold off, while $1 trillion has flowed into passive funds. And now these funds hold ownership stakes in large American firms. A number of critics argue that the outcome of this phenomenon derives from  a centrally planned economy.  

    The big problem with concentrated ownership may be that firms are too mindful of the interests of their biggest shareholders. Martin Schmalz, of the University of Michigan, and other authors have investigated the anti-competitive effects of concentrated ownership. A fund with a stake in just one firm in an industry sector wants that firm to out-compete its rivals, while big asset managers, which take large stakes in nearly all of the dominant firms in an industry sector, will probably not adopt the same perspective. In theory large asset-management firms might be quietly instructing the firms they own not to undercut rivals, boosting profits across the portfolio as a whole.

    Such findings should alarm regulators in the authors’ view. Limiting the ownership stakes of the large, passive asset managers might boost competition, but it would undercut the cheapest and most effective investment strategy available to retail investors. Indeed, common ownership is not the only barrier to competition in the American economy.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Tuesday, 29 September 2016

    (Source: The Economist)

     

  • THE CRISIS OF THE SHIPPING BUSINESS

    After the failure of Haijing Shipping, the world opens its eyes to the crisis of the shipping business
    On August 31st 2016, the colossus Hanjin Shipping, a South Korean container line, filed for bankruptcy leaving 66 ships, carrying goods worth $14.5 billion in the sea.
    This  is not an isolated instance, since of the biggest twelve shipping companies that have published results for the past quarter, eleven have announced huge losses. And even the strongest, likeMaersk Line, is suffering.
    The reason  for this great loss of profit lies in the ebbing of world trade since the financial crisis and in the overcapacity of the container market that creates a huge reduction of shipping costs.
    Eyes are trained on the industry leader Maersk Group. In June, Maersk Group’s chairman, Michael Pram Rasmussen, fired Nils Smedegaard Andersen, its CEO, and replaced him with Soren Skou. Mr. Skou seeks for a review on the company on how to rule the Maersk Group’s subsidiaries.
    Maersk Group’s big new idea is to make its existing ships smarter and more technological. The Danish firm’s three-year-old analytics team has also worked on discovering the optimal speed and course for its ships to save money and fuel.
    What Maersk is doing in digitalization his business is likely to be followed by its’ competitors. It is true that this digitalization alone won’t save the industry from the crisis of the sector, but it may prepare it better for the next one.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 30 September 2016

    (Source: The Economist)