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Showing posts from October 3, 2013

Tropical Storm Karen takes aim at U.S. Gulf Coast

Tropical storm Karen heading towards central Gulf: NHC

7:57pm EDT

By Jane Sutton

MIAMI | Thu Oct 3, 2013 8:20pm EDT

(Reuters) - The first cyclone to threaten the U.S. coast this year formed over the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday and was forecast to sweep through offshore oil installations before hitting the mainland between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Some energy companies in the Gulf started shutting down production and evacuating workers from offshore platforms as Tropical Storm Karen approached a region that produces nearly a fifth of daily U.S. oil output.

Three days after much of the U.S. government was closed down over a budget standoff, the Federal Emergency Management Agency began recalling furloughed workers to help prepare for the storm.

Karen, the first storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season to take aim at the United States, had top winds of 65 mph and was centered about 360 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

It wa…

How Brazil's Richest Man Lost $34.5 Billion

By Juan Pablo Spinetto, Peter Millard, and Ken Wells

October 03, 2013

Photograph by Paulo Vitale/Abril Comunicações S.A.

Behind this week’s cover

Eike Batista stands at the center of a specially built air-conditioned stage on his 22,000-acre-plus Açu port project, a massive oil and iron-ore shipping complex about 200 miles north of Rio de Janeiro. 

He’s beaming, flashing victory signs. He has on an orange-and-gray racing jacket of the type he wore as a champion speedboat racer two decades before. It clashes badly with his bright pink tie and gray pinstripe suit, but he doesn’t appear to care—in fact, the loud ensemble only serves to highlight a faux oil-stained handprint across the jacket’s left pocket—a corny hint about why he’s asked everyone here.

It’s a cloudy April afternoon in 2012, but Batista is full of blue skies and endless vistas. To date he’s founded five publicly traded companies and is soon to launch a sixth. His personal wealth is estimated at $34.5 billion; most of his ente…

AUSTRALIA : National mango crop down on last year

ABC Rural Matt Brann

Updated 1 hour 4 minutes ago 

PHOTO: First grade mangoes from the Northern Territory have been selling for up to $80 a tray at the Sydney Markets. (Sue Dodd)

AUDIO: Australia's mango forecast for 2013/14 (ABC Rural)

MAP: Darwin 0800

A poor growing season in the Northern Territory means Australia's mango crop will be well down on last year.

The Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA) is estimating the national crop will be around 6.5 million trays, which is down a million trays on last year.

AMIA chairman Gavin Scurr, says Queensland and parts of Western Australia are on track for a good harvest, but there's been a number of problems with this year's crop in the Northern Territory.

"Queensland and Western Australia are probably similar to last year, so the drop in production at this stage is all in the Northern Territory,"
he said.

"The Territory is looking at producing maybe half of what it did last year, which is obviously disappointing…

BAJA CALIFORNIA : Carlos Slim Buys Struggling Mexico Development

Real Estate News | Latin America Commercial News

By WPC Staff | October 2, 2013 3:07 PM ET

Mexico tourism officials have confirmed that billionaire Carlos Slim, one of the richest men in the world, has bought the Loreto Bay Resort, the struggling project on the Sea of Cortez.

Details of the transaction were not disclosed, but State Secretary of Tourism Ruben Lugo Reachi told reporters that Mr. Slim's company, Grupo Carso, would have the "necessary resources" to jump start the project.

The seller was Mexican home builder Homex, which has been going through its own struggles recently. 

The company posted a 10.1 billion peso ($796 million) loss for the second quarter, as sales slumped and the government switched subsidies from rural to urban areas.

Loreto Bay, which debuted in 2004, is an ambitious attempt to create a master-planned development targeting international buyers in a remote area of Baja California, north of La Paz. 

The Trust for Sustainable Development (TSD), working…

Global Warming Is Real IPCC Repeats--Now Can We Do Something about It?

The IPCC notes again that climate change is unequivocal so the question becomes what will be done to restrain its impacts

By David Biello

RADIATIVE FORCING This graph sums up the relative change in heat capture as a result of various factors, lead by rising levels of carbon dioxide.Image: Courtesy of IPCC

Global warming is "unequivocal." 

Sea levels are creeping up at the fastest rate in 2,000 years. 

Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere have reached "levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years" (or before modern humans evolved). 

Most importantly "human influence on the climate system is clear" and "continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming." 

Those are some of the key messages in the "Summary for Policymakers" of the physical science of global warming from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released on September 27.

"The planet is red"
in a global map of the change in average surfa…

The US Government Shutdown and its Impact on Trade Flows

The partial shutdown of the US government may or may not affect the present flow of trade into or out of the US. 

However, BDP is monitoring the status of key federal agencies and will provide updates as they occur.

While the following update should provide a sense of what to expect over the next several days, a longer shutdown will bring about additional, more far reaching impacts.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) -

Deemed necessary for law enforcement, safety of life and protection of property, port security operations remain operational. These include port-of-entry operations and border security programs, including border patrol and air and marine operations.

 All CBP and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel in the Department of Homeland Security involved with the movement of cargo via ocean and air are reporting no impact of schedules at this time. 

 Air export cargo screening continues with no curtailment expected in the near future. Examinations, holds and i…

Target Puts Bullseye on Your Organic Food Dollar

By Lisa Marie Chirico | September 27th, 2013

How vigorously will consumers embrace Target’s new organic store brand?

Are you walking on the organic side of your local grocery aisle yet? 

If you count yourself among the growing number of consumers who are making an effort to bring healthier food choices into their diet, Target has its sights set on your business.

 The big-box retailer recently introduced Simply Balanced, their new organic line, that it likely hopes may convince some consumers to skip a trip to their local farmers’ market or Trader Joe’s.

 According to Target, the Simply Balanced collection, that is scheduled for a full rollout next month, will have an assortment of about 250 products, from snacks to frozen seafood. 

Nearly half of the line is organic, and three-quarters of it is GMO-free. 

Simply Balanced also has food labels that are easy to decipher, and affordable price points.

Following the current national trend pushing GMO labeling legislation and eradication, such as W…

Sugar Trade Spurs Land Grabs in Developing Countries, Oxfam Says

By Whitney McFerron - Oct 2, 2013 6:52 AM ET

Global trade in sugar is helping to fuel land grabs in developing countries, and food and beverage companies should do more to protect smallholder farmers from losing their livelihoods, Oxfam International said.

Out of the 31 million hectares (77 million acres) of land used to produce sugar globally, at least 4 million hectares have changed hands in large-scale deals since 2000, Oxfam said in a report today. 

Rising prices and consumer demand have encouraged more large-scale production operations at the expense of smaller farms in countries including Brazil and Cambodia, it said.

“In some cases, these acquisitions have been linked to human rights violations, loss of livelihoods and hunger for small-scale food producers and their families,” 
Oxfam said.

“Small-scale producers are sidelined as the market offers companies huge rewards for exploiting land, but without safeguarding people’s rights.”

While sugar dropped 5.4 percent this year on ICE Futu…

China's Ambitions in Xinjiang and Central Asia: Part 1

Analysis SEPTEMBER 30, 2013 | 0531 Print Text Size  Stratfor

AnalysisEditor's NoteThis is a three-part series on China's evolving strategic interests in Central Asia and in its own far northwest, the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Part 1 looks at Xinjiang's history as a "buffer region" protecting China's core and linking it to Eurasia. This installment also examines recent efforts by Beijing to adapt the region's legacies to new uses. Read more in Part 2 and Part 3. In mid-September Chinese President Xi Jinping rounded out a 10-day tour of Central Asia that included state visits to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Bishkek. At each stop, the new president made hearty pledges of financial support and calls for further diplomatic, security and energy cooperation. In Turkmenistan, Xi inaugurated a natural gas field. In Kazakhstan, he agreed to…