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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ecuador airport moved to avoid fatal crashes

Published on 19 Feb 2013 : Pilots landing in Ecuador's capital must weave around hills and buildings - diving sharply to reach the runway. During its 53 years of operation, there have been more than a dozen fatal accidents here - with planes either crashing near the airport, or skidding off the runway. But these days are almost over, the airport in the heart of the capital is closing and a new airport 44km away from Quito begins operations on Wednesday.

Germany's Geographic Challenge.

Published on Feb 18, 2013 : Stratfor examines Germany's need to maintain territorial unity inside the country and preserve a balance of power across Europe.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Nigeria's airplane graveyards

Published on 7 Feb 2013 : Nigerian transport authorities are trying to change the image of their airports. Many travelers complain about the lack of proper facilities and customer care. In fact, at some of the country's airports, travelers will come across veritable graveyards of damaged and abandoned planes.

Growing wealth gap are building in communist Cuba as well.

Not spring in Cuba yet -  Published on Feb 6, 2013 : Complaints about a growing wealth gap similar to those in many of the world's struggling economies are building in communist Cuba as well.This is in spite of reforms by the Raul Castro government, trying to tweak the one-party island's socialist model, to raise living standards.Economic growth last year was a nominal 3.1 percent, falling slightly short of the goal, which this year is 3.7 percent.

Castro has pried up the lid slightly on private initiative. The government still controls four-fifths of the economy, but it has given some 400,000 Cubans a small business licence; More restaurants are popping up around Havana, for instance. The government has promised to expand the range of activities people can try their hand at.

But it is not spring in Cuba yet.

It is hoped a new cornucopia measure to allow unused land to be cultivated will bear fruit, since the revolutionary island cannot grow enough to feed itself.Cuba still has to import 80 percent of what it eats, and that consumes 30 percent of its hard currency, valued at 1.3 billion euros per year.

In a country where the government has controlled wages and prices, and rationed commodities since 1959, some income gaps have narrowed.But even while recent social reforms have improved housing availability for instance, Odlanieris Cordero, a theatre wardrobe manager in the capital cannot get by on the monthly 20 euros she earns. Her husband working in Europe sends money home.

Cordero said: "I can't imagine what life would be without his help."

Cuba did distribute wealth more evenly, though old money and people in politics and the army enjoyed more of it. But there is a fear that the egalitarian ideal is dying.The editor of Temas magazine, Raphael Hernández, warned: "A growing income differential is a concern for everybody. It's a concern for the majority of Cubans. It's a concern for the government. But the question of different salaries, different incomes is part of what is accepted today in Cuba. This is not a classless society. This is not a uniform society anymore."

The most daring reform, some say, is liberalising property. If you owned a place, it used to be illegal to sell it. You could only trade it for another one. Not any more. But today it is almost impossible to buy unless a Cuban has some kind of income advantage over others. As market practices creep in and prices rise, those who can keep up are in a small minority.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A whistle-blower in the house?

Julian Assange runs for Australian Senate

Published on Feb 5, 2013 : Julian Assange is no stranger to controversy and this time the whistleblower is making headlines for a different reason. Australia has confirmed that the WikiLeaks co-founder is running for office. Assange has made a name for himself for exposing government secrets, but now he seeks a senate seat as a member of the WikiLeaks Party. So does candidate Assange have a fighting chance to infiltrate the political world?

Food Gap Between China's Rich and Poor a Problem

Uploaded on 11 May 2011 ; The Chinese middle class is enjoying bounty at the dinner table, but the urban poor are seeing lean times. Observers warn the gap could create problems for China's communist rulers.