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The Western World Is ‘Finished Financially’: CIO

Source: CNBC

The Western world has run out of ideas and is “finished financially” while emerging economies across the world will continue to grow, David Murrin, CIO at Emergent Asset Management told CNBC on the tenth anniversary of coining of the so-called BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India and China, by Goldman Sachs’ Jim O’Neill.

“I still subscribe and I’ve spoken about it regularly on this show that this is the moment when the Western world realizes it is finished financially and the implications are huge, whereas the emerging BRIC countries are at the beginning of their continuation cycle,” Murrin told CNBC.

Murrin added he believes the power shift from the West to emerging economies beyond Europe and the United States was “unstoppable” and he blamed a lack of ideas from Western leaders on how to stimulate growth together with contracted demographics and rising inflation as catalysts for Western decline.

“We suffer from no growth and we suffer from imported inflation… that means we have negative real growth and societies fracture when you have negative real growth and quite simply our society faces fractures for trying to stick Europe back together again is not going to work with that underlying paradigm, unless you can create five percent growth to overcome that imported inflation,” Murrin explained.

Murrin said that the East was depending less on the West and the rise of a consumer society was the first step in the expansion of an economic empire.

“If you look at the cycle of an empire system from regionalization to expansion to empire, the first phases of that catalyst are when you have a self fuelled consumer society and so actually that process of building your consumer base which is really what’s going on in China, day by day their consumer base increases and the dependence on the West decreases,” he said.

Containing China

Murrin added that while China is by far the biggest emerging economy and would be at the center of a new economic order, other emerging nations were set to join the BRIC countries and new political orders and alliances would come about as a result.

“This isn’t just a BRIC story, this is the end of the Christian Western Empire versus the rise of the whole emerging world led by China as the foremost and most powerful,” Murrin told CNBC.

“I think it’s going to be the whole world trying to contain China’s growth and there’s going to be completely new alliances that take place… between Australia, Japan and India and America and possibly Russia if the foreign policy is expansive enough, there’s going to be a ring of containment trying to hold this bulging entity which is like no other nation we’ve ever seen coherently challenge for control of world commodities and resources,” he added.

Intervention Not the Answer

Finally, Murrin stressed that Europe in particular was set to experience a rapid and deep decline and intervention by the European Union and its financial institutions was not a solution to stimulate growth.

“I think there’s a real reality amongst investors and just taxi drivers, that without growth, the system’s not sustainable, so intervention is just a drug and we all know that the more drugs you put into someone, the more the system becomes immune to their response and so I don’t see this as a solution,” he said.

Pointing to previous economic downturns, Murrin said the West was much less equipped than the emerging world to deal with its current decline.

“In all our examples of disastrous events, Argentina, Russia, the Asian crisis, they’re not good references for us in the West because they take place in countries with good demographics, good commodity stories and essentially underlying tides which lift them away from their problems,” he said.

“We in the West have none of those, we live in a world where resources are increasing in prices, where we’re a consumer society, we’re an old society, we’re not innovative, we’re not expansive, so we don’t have any of those natural lifting qualities to actually pick us out of the mire which is what decline is really about,” he added.

Canada will not renew Kyoto commitment, despite latest Chinese offer

An activist wears a mask depicting the face of Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, during a protest in Durban, South Africa

Source: Canadian Press

Canada will not renew its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, despite a tempting climate-change offer from China, Environment Minister Peter Kent said Monday.

Kent said Canada will not sign on for a second Kyoto phase, even if doing so meant top polluter China would agree to targets to cut its own greenhouse gases.

China has long refused to adopt binding treaty commitments to lower its greenhouse-gas emissions. But this weekend, China’s top negotiator signalled that Beijing would consider a target if the European Union and developed nations — including Canada — first agreed to extend their Kyoto commitments.

China’s olive branch did not sway Kent. When asked if the offer might get Canada to reconsider signing on for a second phase of Kyoto after it expires next year, the minister simply said No.

He said Canada’s “fixation” is on sealing a deal made two years ago at a United Nations climate-change conference in the Danish capital of Copenhagen.

“Canada has made clear this year that Canada will not make a commitment to a second Kyoto period,” Kent said.

The NDP’s environment critic, MP Megan Leslie, said China’s move puts Canada in a tough spot.

“The argument that China isn’t doing anything, well, that’s gone,” she said.

“I’m left to ask, ‘What is Canada’s excuse now?'”

Jean Chretien’s Liberal government joined Kyoto in 1998, but took little action to meet Canada’s targets to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

The Conservatives also ignored Kyoto after they came to power in 2006. Canada has since set its own target of cutting emissions by 17 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020 — the same goal set by the Obama administration in Washington.

The Kyoto accord requires countries to make even deeper cuts to their greenhouse-gas emissions, but the Tories say reductions of that magnitude would hurt the economy.

The United States, one of the world’s biggest polluters, has not ratified Kyoto and the Conservatives argue that any agreement that does not include such a big emitter is meaningless.

Canada is among those pushing for a single agreement to replace Kyoto that would include all countries.

Environmentalists have strongly condemned Canada for its position on climate change and its approach to dealing with greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our loss of credibility on these issues didn’t happen overnight,” Queen’s University biology professor John Smol said in a statement.

“It’s partly the result of ongoing neglect of environmental science at the federal level, but it also stems from a long history of broken promises, both to Canadians and to our global peers.”

Meanwhile, Kent also announced Canada will spend a total of $1.2 billion as part of an international “fast-start” plan to help poor countries with their climate change efforts.

Some $400 million covered the period from 2010 to 2012, and another $600 million announced Monday will cover the period from 2011 to 2013.

Top baby names for 2011

Source: Shine

In January, Today’s Parent listed the top names and trends predicted to this year.

Now, as the year comes to a close, Baby Center has released its list of the most popular baby names of 2011.

Sophia and Aiden are still tops, and as Today’s Parent predicted, “last names as first names” were hot (Madison and Jackson) as were Biblical names (Jacob and Noah) and L-names (Lily, Lucas, Logan, Liam).

Boy names that end with “N” still reign supreme: Aiden, Jackson, Mason, Jayden, Ethan and Logan all made the top 10.

As for the ever-present pop-culture influences, this year’s celebs worth naming kids after were Anderson Cooper — both Anderson and Cooper jumped up the list — and royals Kate, William, and royal in-law Pippa.

(By mid-2011, Pippa was the most-searched name on Nameberry.)

Some attribute Mason’s presence on the list to the Kardashian clan’s youngest member. And Jersey is quickly climbing the list, no doubt in part to reality television. (Fortunately, the name Snooki is still off the naming radar, but her real name, Nicole, is regaining popularity.)

And let’s not ignore the Twilight effect, with Isabella and Jacob still showing strong.

Top 10 Girl Names of 2011

1.    Sophia
2.    Emma
3.    Isabella
4.    Olivia
5.    Ava
6.    Lily
7.    Chloe
8.    Madison
9.    Emily
10.    Abigail

Top 10 Boy Names of 2011

1.    Aiden
2.    Jackson
3.    Mason
4.    Liam
5.    Jacob
6.    Jayden
7.    Ethan
8.    Noah
9.    Lucas
10.  Logan

Click here to read the top 100 boys’ and girls’ names in 2011.

Did your child’s moniker make the cut?

Looking forward to next year? Here are Nameberry’s predictions for the top naming trends of 2012.

Chrome overtakes Firefox in browser wars, but neither the top choice

Source: The Right Click

Google Chrome has been fighting for a share of the browser market since it launched back in 2008. For the first time, it seems to be making some real progress.

A recent survey by StatCounter of the top five browsers over the last two years finds that Chrome is fractionally edging out Mozilla’s Firefox in worldwide browser usage. A total of 25.69 per cent were running Chrome as of November 2011, versus the 25.23 per cent using Firefox.

That trend changes from country to country, though. In Canada, Firefox is still the number two browser of choice with 24.18 per cent of users, while only 19.51 per cent are using Chrome in this country.

The undisputed leader, though, remains Internet Explorer across the board. It boasts almost double the percentage of users that Firefox and Chrome do, with 40.63 per cent of people operating IE. Those users, however, have dropped off steadily over the last two years while Chrome has done nothing but grow in popularity.

Internet Explorer’s continued dominance is unsurprising; after all, it’s still the default browser in the Windows operating system. If you’re a big fan of the Chrome experience, though, Google offers a way to throw Windows out the… window… altogether. Earlier this year, Google began shipping Chromebooks, which run the Google Chrome OS, although tech bloggers remain unimpressed with the cloud-only laptops.

Of course, desktop and laptop computers aren’t the only browser battleground anymore. While Safari might only have 5.92 per cent of the market share on full browsers, Apple’s browser handily dominates the mobile and tablet market for the same reason Internet Explorer remains so widely used.

In November, 55 per cent of tablets and other mobile devices were running Safari for mobile, according to Net Marketshare. Opera Mini holds 20.1 per cent of the global market, Google’s Android Browser commands 16.4 per cent and Symbian Browser brings up the rear with 3 per cent.

Half of Canadian manufacturers expect to hire next year, says PwC study

Darryl Hincock, from South Brooke, Nfld., inspects his haul vehicle before starting his shift as a driver at an oilsands mine near Fort McMurray

Source: The Canadian Press

Half of Canadian manufacturers surveyed in a poll say they’re looking to hire next year, but they expect to face trouble finding workers with the right expertise.

A third-quarter report by PwC says a flurry of activity in the Canadian mining, energy and aerospace industries is creating demand — but employers say there’s a lack of skilled workers.

The study found 45 per cent of manufacturers say the limited number of workers has proven to be a “significant barrier for growth.”

“The Canadian economy is experiencing a significant shortage of skilled workers at all levels, from welders and engineers to HVAC technicians,” said Calum Semple, a consulting partner at PwC.

“This is an opportunity for Canadians looking for skilled employment to boost their incomes, but they may have to be willing to be retrained and relocate, as many of these job opportunities are not in the big cities.”

Key areas where companies say they are looking for workers include in technicians (45 per cent) and skilled labourers (26 per cent), the report said.

The study also found that a third of manufacturers who responded said they are planning new and major capital investments in 2012.

PwC conducts a quarterly manufacturing barometer survey that includes 38 Canadian-based manufacturers.

Despite Quebec’s demands, Ottawa vows to destroy gun-registry data

Written By: Rhéal Séguin

Source: The Globe and Mail

 

If Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to abolish the long-gun registry, the data should be preserved and transferred to Quebec to allow the province to build its own system, Premier Jean Charest says.

“The registry exists. It is there – and those who work with the police tell us that the registry is useful,” Mr. Charest said in the National Assembly. “It is only common sense that the data be preserved and that [Ottawa] work with us to transfer the data.”

For the fifth time in as many years, the Quebec National Assembly on Thursday voted unanimously to condemn abolishing the long-gun registry and voice its opposition to Ottawa’s decision to destroy the database.

In a letter to federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, Quebec called the legislation unacceptable, arguing that it goes against the objective of reducing criminal activities in the province.

“Quebeckers contributed to setting up the arms registry with their tax dollars,” the Quebec government stated in the letter to Mr. Toews. “We ask that your government amend the bill to withdraw provisions relating to the destruction of the data and undertake discussions as soon as possible to transfer information in the gun registry regarding Quebec citizens.”

The Harper government showed no sign of backtracking and moved to shut down debate on the bill Thursday, the fifth time in 35 days it has moved for closure or time allocation on controversial pieces of legislation.

Industry Minister Christian Paradis said his government will move to destroy all the data compiled and gave no indication his government would bow to Quebec’s demands.

“We will not do indirectly what we said we do directly,” Mr. Paradis said in a Radio-Canada interview in defending the need to abolish the registry and destroy the data.

Mr. Paradis says his government has full authority to implement the provisions of the bill, including destroying the data. There is nothing Quebec can do to stop it, he added.

Mr. Charest refused to say what he plans to do when pressured by the opposition to explain his next steps.

The Quebec government, he said, is examining all possible avenues to prevent Ottawa from destroying the data, including legal action.

The province’s Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Yvon Vallières, didn’t rule out asking the court for an injunction to protect the information from being destroyed. He believes that Quebec can make a legal case to support its demands.

The killing of 14 women at the Montreal’s École Polytechnique by Marc Lepine in 1989 sparked an outcry of anger over violence against women and launched a public debate over gun control, which led to the creation of the gun registry. That debate still remains fresh in the minds of many Quebeckers who continue to support tough control legislation and the need to maintain a gun registry.

Action démocratique du Québec party house leader Sylvie Roy, said the federal government’s behaviour was clearly “arrogant,” while Québec Solidaire member Amir Khadir noted that if Quebec was an independent country, “we wouldn’t find ourselves in this type of situation today.”

Quebec and Ontario refuse to pay costs of federal crime bill

Written By: Jennifer Ditchburn

Source: The Globe and Mail

 

Both Ontario and Quebec are balking at paying the costs associated with the federal government’s new crime bill, joining other provincial and opposition politicians worried about the tab for expanding the prison system.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday it’s incumbent on Ottawa to foot the bill for measures that were entirely its own idea.

 

“It’s easy for the federal government to pass new laws dealing with crime,” Mr. McGuinty told reporters in Ottawa.

“But if there are new costs associated with those laws that have to be borne by taxpayers in the province of Ontario, then I expect that the feds will pick up that tab.”

Mr. McGuinty’s comments came just hours after Quebec’s Justice Minister made a passionate appeal for a “time-out” on Bill C-10 at a Commons committee. Jean-Marc Fournier told MPs that the bill would actually lead to more recidivism because it did not focus enough on the rehabilitation and reintegration of criminals.

He estimated that the proposed legislation, which includes more mandatory minimum sentences, would cost Quebec hundreds of millions for new prisons and operational costs.

“I’m going to tell you, red light, we’re not going to pay them, is that clear enough? We won’t pay them,” Mr. Fournier said. “If the federal government is convinced that it is an efficient law in terms of public safety, so then free up the budgets to help the provinces, especially those who say it won’t be case.”

Neither Mr. McGuinty nor Mr. Fournier explained how their provinces would force Ottawa to foot the bill. Courts in those provinces would be obliged to obey changes to the Criminal Code.

Fournier noted that Quebec has the lowest crime rates in the country and a criminal justice system that has been studied by other countries. He said measures in C-10 on youth crime had the overall effect of treating more young offenders as adults, something Quebec is completely opposed to.

“Focusing all the energy on imprisonment can only be a short-term, superficial, soft-on-crime solution,” Mr. Fournier said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has estimated the cost of the omnibus bill, with its nine distinct areas, would cost $78.5-million over five years, but hasn’t estimated how much the provinces will have to foot. Parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page, who is coming up with his own estimate this month, has said the government’s figure included no methodology or supporting information.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said the provinces have been well aware of the direction the government was taking, as many of the measures have been in the federal legislative pipeline for some time.

He suggested that they would be able to absorb the costs associated with the bill with the funds they get from the Canada Social Transfer.

“I note, in the last budget, an over $2.4 billion increase here and I know this will be very helpful to the provinces who have for the most part the responsibility of the administration of justice,” Mr. Nicholson said Tuesday in Montreal.

“I’m, of course, a supporter of the increases that I’ve seen over the years of transfers to the provinces. And I think that’s important.”

There have been some murmurs of concern from other provinces as well since the bill was introduced in late September.

The Nunavut government has been told to expect a 15 per cent rise in the inmate population, even as the territory’s one jail is already housing double the number of prisoners it was designed to take.

Janet Slaughter, deputy minister of justice, said the territory still has no facility for counselling and addictions – the driving force behind much of the criminal activity in Nunavut.

In British Columbia, the opposition NDP has said it’s opposed to the federal bill and have raised concerns about downloaded costs on the province.

B.C. Attorney-General Shirley Bond has said her staff is studying the bill’s impact.

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