Brazil Part 3

In 2012 start of production at Tupi. Technology needed to tap fields like Tupi, which sit hundreds of miles offshore beneath thousands of feet of rock, sand and salt...

Petrobras, Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Norsk Hydro ASA plan to start pumping oil from eight Brazilian fields in the next 2 1/2 years that will produce a combined 1.02 million barrels a day, enough to supply two-thirds of the crude used by U.S. East Coast refineries.

More discoveries will follow in Brazil's offshore basins, most of which have yet to be opened to exploration, Repsol YPF SA, Galp Energia, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Devon Energy Corp. are among the producers scouring Brazil's waters for reserves.
The finds they've got so far are just the tip of the iceberg, Brazil is going to change the balance of the global oil markets, and Petrobras will become a geopolitical supermajor.

These absurd crude prices are having the effect that other energy sources are being found and developed ending the Western Hemisphere's reliance on Middle East crude...

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Oil Rises to Record

Speculation once more being used to send crude prices to new record as crude oil trading near $120 a barrel in New York, after BP Plc shut a North Sea pipeline and gunmen attacked police guarding Nigeria's largest oil and gas terminal.
BP closed the Forties Pipeline System, carrying 40 percent of the U.K.'s oil production, after a strike at the Grangemouth refinery cut power supplies. Five police were killed in yesterday's attack in the Niger Delta, where output has dropped by 50 percent since April 25, adding to concern about supplies before the Northern Hemisphere summer driving season.
The bulls are still in control so it's no surprise to be near $120 on these supply concerns, Nigeria is back on top of traders' minds. The disruptions are real and this is high-quality crude needed by the U.S. refineries for gasoline production in the summer.
Crude oil for June delivery rose to $119.93 a barrel in after-hours electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest since the futures began trading in 1983. Prices have surged 82 percent in the past year.
The production affected at the moment is pretty substantial, it all counts nowadays. The price would suggest the market is very confortable with speculation..
Brent crude for June settlement rose to $117.50 a barrel London's ICE Futures Europe exchange and was trading at $117.36 a barrel at 3:05 p.m. in Singapore. It reached a record $117.56 on April 25.
Refinery production at Grangemouth will resume on April 29 at 7 a.m. local time. Units crucial to restart flows on the Forties pipeline will have priority, Richard Longden, spokesman for operator Ineos Group Holdings Plc, said yesterday.

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Tupi and Carioca -Brazil Part 2

Brazil's state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA in November said the offshore Tupi field may hold 8 billion barrels of recoverable crude. Among discoveries in the past 30 years, only the 15-billion-barrel Kashagan field in Kazakhstan is larger.
Haroldo Lima, director of the country's oil agency, last week said another subsea field, Carioca, may have 33 billion barrels of oil. That would be the third biggest field in history, behind only the Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia and Burgan in Kuwait.
Carioca is one of seven fields identified so far in the BM- S-9 exploration area, part of a formation called Sugar Loaf.
If additional drilling by Petrobras, as Petroleo Brasileiro is known, confirms the Tupi and Carioca estimates, the fields together would contain enough oil to supply every refinery on the U.S. Gulf Coast for 15 years. Petrobras said it needs at least three months to determine how much crude Carioca may hold.
The U.S. imports about 10 million barrels of oil a day, or 66 percent of its needs, according to the Energy Department in Washington. Saudi Arabia was the second-largest supplier in January, behind Canada.
Persian Gulf nations accounted for 23 percent of U.S. imports, compared with Brazil's 1.7 percent share. Brazilian crude output rose 1.9 percent last year to 2.14 million barrels, according to the International Energy Agency.


Brazil Oil Finds Part 1

As mentioned several times by our WorldWatch group Brazil's discoveries of what are two of the world's three biggest oil finds in the past 30 years will help end the Western Hemisphere's reliance on Middle East crude... Saudi Arabia's influence as the biggest oil exporter has its days numbered if the fields are as big as advertised, China and India would become dominant buyers of Persian Gulf oil... Brazil may be pumping several million barrels of crude daily by 2020, vaulting the nation into the ranks of the world's seven biggest producers...
The U.S. Navy's presence in the Persian Gulf and adjacent waters would be reduced, leaving the region exposed to more conflict... We could see the world becoming a very violent one, if the United States isn't getting any crude from the Gulf, what benefit does it have in policing the Gulf anymore? All of the geopolitical flux that wracks that region regularly suddenly isn't a US problem.
Part 2 coming shortly..

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Oil below $118

Oil slipped below $118 a barrel on Thursday, as a stronger dollar triggered selling and traders focused on a build in U.S. crude stockpiles.
But prices eased as crude oil stocks surged by 2.4 million barrels, double the forecast level, mainly from gains on the West Coast.
The heavier crude stocks are the main driver for profit taking,
The dollar's recovery against the euro and falls in other commodities such as gold also undermined prices.
Cash gold extended losses in early trade after losing more than 2 percent the previous day. It fell to $903.30/904.30 an ounce from $905.50/906.70 an ounce late in New York on Wednesday.
The euro was steady at $1.5880 , near Wednesday's low of $1.5860 hit on electronic trading platform EBS.
But oil's losses were limited in light of a bigger-than-expected draw in gasoline stocks in the United States, just weeks ahead of the peak summer driving season.
Lingering geopolitical worries also supported prices.
New attacks on Nigeria oil export facilities are likely to partly offset this week's start-up of Saudi Arabia's 500,000 barrel-per-day Khursaniyah field, said Antoine Halff, deputy head of research from Newedge USA, in a report.
Refinery workers at Britain's Grangemouth refinery are due to begin a two-day strike on Sunday that will shut the plant and squeeze fuel supplies in Scotland and northern England.

Grangemouth refinery

Oil steadied on Wednesday as U.S. government data showed crude stocks rising and refiners cranking up runs ahead of the summer driving season, easing supply worries that sent prices to near $120 a barrel. U.S. crude for June was up to $118.03 a barrel at 1:34 p.m. EDT . The May contract expired on Tuesday at $119.37 after briefly hitting a record $119.90.
London Brent crude rose to $116.19 a barrel, after hitting a record $116.75 the previous session. U.S. crude oil stocks rose 2.4 million barrels last week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, above analyst forecasts. [EIA/S] There's plenty of crude out there, analysts and traders are also to blame for the crude price, its in their interest keeping the crude at this level,the more money they make...
The build helped counter concerns about exports from Nigeria and the North Sea that pushed crude higher earlier this week, while a 4.2 percentage point rise in U.S. refinery runs helped counter worries that low levels of fuel production ahead of summer holiday travel. Despite signs refiners were increasing activity, U.S. gasoline and distillate stocks fell more than analysts had expected, helping stem an earlier slide in prices.
Oil prices have jumped more than five-fold since 2002 as speculation has become the driving force behind these abnormal prices.. Rebel attacks on oil pipelines in OPEC member Nigeria helped push markets to fresh highs this week, forcing Royal Dutch Shell to declare force majeure on Bonny Light exports after 169,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil was shuttered.
Further support came from potential disruptions stemming from a two-day stoppage at the Grangemouth refinery in Scotland.scheduled to start on Sunday.


'medical reference software'

Epocrates is a firm that makes medical software for medical professionals and is used with more than 500,000 medical doctors, announced the availability of its medication reference database for the Apple iPhone. The program lets doctors have quick access to medication information including photos of the pills, side effects, and more. In the hospital, when I use my iPhone, I hear this all the time. The two biggest reasons doctors give for not using the iPhone?
1) They don't want to change their carrier to AT&T and
2) The iPhone can't run medical reference software or other third party software.Most physicians have used Epocrates, which is a popular drug reference database accessible through PDAs and the internet. Back when I owned a Treo 650, I used Epocrates all the time.
When I switched to the iPhone, I missed having immediate access to the Epocrates database -- though the inconvenience of having to access Epocrates through the internet was minor.This month, the biggest complaint about the iPhone -- that it can't run third party software -- has been answered with the release of the iPhone SDK (software development kit). And to the surprise of many physicians, Epocrates was one of the first products to be showcased.
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Kitchen of the World

Rice advanced to a record as World Bank officials said they are concerned Thailand, the largest exporter, may restrict shipments, worsening a global food crisis. If a key exporter like this limits foreign sales, it would be very much like Saudi Arabia reducing oil exports, China, Vietnam, India and Egypt have curbed overseas sales to safeguard domestic supplies and cool inflation. Rice, the staple for half the world, has more than doubled in the past year.
The grain rose as much as 2.3 percent in Chicago today and has climbed 25 percent this month. Wheat, corn and soybeans gained to records this year, spurring social unrest in countries including Haiti and Egypt. Soaring prices may put basic foods beyond the reach of the poorest people, raising the risk of a silent famine... in Asia, a World Food Program official said April 21.The poor will struggle to afford costlier food even as supplies stay available in shops... Thailand, which ships one-third of the world's exports, may follow its Asian neighbors in limiting sales.... T
he more countries impose export constraints, the stronger the pressures become for Thailand to do the same... According toThailand Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, the nation won't impose curbs on overseas exports, adding there would be no measures by the government that may distort prices. Thailand will lose the name of `kitchen of the world should it reduce shipments... The price of grade-B white rice, the benchmark export variety, reached a record $854 a ton on April 9, the most recent date for which prices are available. This compares with $327.25 a ton this time last year.
Thailand exports almost twice the amount of rice as India, its nearest rival. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said April 20 rising food costs may hurt economic growth and threaten political security. The World Bank has forecast that 33 nations from Mexico to Yemen may face social unrest because of higher food and energy costs.

Oil Above $119 !!!

SPECULATION keeps driving the crude market, there are no limits as to what oil
companies ,crude exporters,traders and governments will do to inflate the final cosumer price to beyond any realistic price...now nothing makes the crude price fall, every excuss is used to force prices to $120 a barrel, no government cares what happens in Nigeria, as long as Shell and others continue with their production, there has always been conflicts in Africa, this conflict is not new...why affect prices now... the Scottish refinery in Grangemouth plan a strike,,,in Scotland.. so what!!! why should this affect crude prices !!! SPECULATION will also say tomorrow that gasoline inventories in the US dropped 2.5 million barrels last week from 215.8 million barrels the week before...
If this situation continues by end of June the world oil demand will drop by 27%, by then a recession will affect most industrialized econimies as is the case with the US. India ,China and the middle East alone cannot conpensate for much longer the fall in demand by the West ... then the bubble will burst ... as crude oil rose to a record above $118 a barrel on concern that a labor dispute in the U.K. and disruptions in Nigeria may crimp oil supply.

Oil rose to $118.05 a barrel in New York as unions planned to strike at a Scottish refinery in Grangemouth that receives shipments of a benchmark crude oil from the North Sea. Royal Dutch Shell Plc said yesterday 169,000 barrels of daily production were suspended because of attacks last week in Africa's largest producer. Crude oil for May delivery rose to $118.05 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract traded at $117.79 at 12:09 p.m. London time. The May contract expires today. The more active June contract was at $117.05 a barrel, up 42 cents, at 12:17 a.m. London time. Brent crude for June settlement rose to a record $115.03 a barrel on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange.
The contract traded at $114.86 at 12:17 a.m. local time. This latest increase will reflect on the final consumer as prices at the pump go up...the most obvious example is in Portugal were they have one of the worlds most expensive oil prices at over €1.41 per litre (95 Octane).

The prices are reviewed on a weekly basis led by the Galp and then followed in the same manner by BP,Repsol,Shell with the approval of the government ...normally Galp is the first to apply the new prices followed by the others with the same prices, their monopoly is to keep prices as high as possible, however this is forbiden by the ECC.

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Crude Saga

The crude Saga continues with the price reaching the $117,60 a barrel...due to OPEP speculation and greed ... All OPEC members have shown that the only real value they worry about are the ever higher profits..
But this situation has its days numbered as alternative energy sources are introduced and other crude fields are discovered,
as the Tupi and sugar fields...
As and when the bubble bursts the first to feel the consequences will be the crude producers, oil companies and automobile makers, however if this trend of high prices continue, there will be a decline of 27% on the demand of crude by the end of June..this will include India and China as the demand for Diesel in Asia declines as the
begining of the farming season comes to a close...
At 9h27 the West Texas Intermediate for delivery in June rose to a new high of $117,60 a barrel...at the same time Brent crude for delivery in June rose to a new high of $114,65 a barrel... the highest since futures began trading in 1983...
The latest request for a production increase from OPEC came from Japan and England, this request was also placed to OPEC a couple of weeks back by the US government, but so far OPEC preferred to speculate and ignore present world economic situation...

In a visit to Kuwait the now OPEC President Chakib Khelil said that a production increase would not have a impact on prices as there is sufficient crude available in the market...its quite clear this statement is pure speculation and only favors members of the cartel who see their profits grow bigger by the day!!!
Some members of OPEC that continuously inflate world tensions may be the first to suffer the decline in crude demand
and the first to see their already poor economies enter a severe recession, as new energy sources are used to replace the "black gold"...


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Record prices are suddenly creating the sharpest tensions in years between the oil cartel, Europe and United States the world’s largest oil consumer soon China will also be affected . More oil on the global market has been requested, OPEC members chose to leave their production levels unchanged, declaring that the market has plenty of oil already. THI IS PURE SPECULATION...
WorldWatch blames financial speculators, OPEC and American economic problems, which have helped lower the value of the dollar, for the high oil prices ...
OPEC had ignored public calls from the United States and rest of the world to increase supplies. In January, Mr. Bush traveled to Saudi Arabia and urged producers to open their taps. But the plea failed to sway OPEC. When the group met in February, it kept its production level unchanged.
While members of OPEC chose not to increase supplies, they were not entirely oblivious to the political and economic impact of more than $100 oil.
The sharp surge in oil prices in recent days has deterred the group from cutting its production, a move that some members like Algeria and Iran were seriously contemplating a few weeks ago.
With the United States economy in recession, oil prices have risen as investors flee the stock market and seek refuge in hard assets like commodities. The fall in the value of the dollar gives OPEC an incentive to keep prices high. Since oil is sold in dollars, petroleum producers see the value of their exports decline any time the dollar drops.
So its time car producers, oil companies and governments joined forces and found alternative energy sources, the world cannot depend any more on just crude and a handfull of nations to provide energy..its time mankind went forward to the next level...

The falling dollar has complex economic effects in the United States, not all of them bad. The drop is helping to fuel a surge of American exports, one of the few bright spots in a struggling economy.
Higher energy prices, which have been rising relentlessly for nearly a decade, are creating tensions between consuming nations and producers around the world. Oil-rich countries like Russia and Venezuela have become more demanding in their dealings with foreign oil companies, often restricting access to prime drilling locations.
America’s got to change its habits; they got to get off oil, start saving energy, cut back Until we change our habits, there’s going to be more dependency on oil


The worthless dollar.

By now all have seen how the dollar has stopped being the centre of the world, look at china, just this first quarter grew more than 10% .. the dollar fell to a record low against the euro after a report showed European consumer prices climbed more than forecast in March, making it less likely the European Central Bank will follow the Federal Reserve in cutting interest rates. The U.S. currency had its biggest decline versus the euro in three weeks, trading as low as $1.5967, after the European Union said the inflation rate in the region rose to a 16-year high last month, exceeding a March 31 estimate.
The dollar also dropped against the yen before a report that may show U.S. housing starts slid to near a 17-year low. Probably we will see the euro rally some more against the dollar, the ECB will continue to be hawkish as there's little evidence of a let-up in European inflation, as long as the crude stays above the $100 mark and the dollar remains worthless,,, The dollar fell to $1.5947 against the euro as of 10:56 a.m. in London, from $1.5790 in New York yesterday. The dollar also was at 101.01 yen from 101.83.WorldWatch predicts the dollar may fall to $1.62 versus Europe's single currency in the next month....


Oil Above $113 !!!!

WorldWatch has verified that the U.S. wants to see the weakening of the dollar continue, crude exporters want to see the price per barril above $100, oil companies such as Exxon, BP,Shell, Repsol, Galp and others want higher profits, governments want more and more taxes, and of course we cannot forget the traders who use SPECULATION as the bargain chip, so in the middle of this chaos is the everyday consumer...not even the third biggest ever crude discovery had a positive downward trend on prices... as crude oil rose to a record on speculation the dollar will extend declines and China will report economic growth of more than 10 percent in the first quarter. Crude oil rose to a record above $113 a barrel in New York on supply disruptions in Nigeria and Mexico and rising fuel demand in China.

Oil climbed to $113.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest since futures began trading in 1983. Mexico, the U.S.'s third-largest crude supplier, shut its fourth export terminal yesterday, while Eni SpA halted output in Nigeria. China said today diesel imports surged 49 percent in March.

Now the excuss used by traders for these prices is that the emerging economies will overcompensate for any possible demand slump in OECD countries...
Crude oil for May traded at $113.40 a barrel, as London prices gained 78 percent in a year and yesterday rose $1.62 to settle at $111.76, the highest close.
Record oil prices are crimping profits at airlines, boosting food costs and contributing to rising inflation across the globe.

Eni's Nigerian venture halted production at some oil wells following explosions on April 12 near the Beniboye area in Delta state, the company said yesterday. The shutdown, blamed on ``sabotage,'' has cost Eni about 5,000 barrels a day in output, the Rome-based company said in a statement posted on its Web site.
Petroleos Mexicanos, the third-largest supplier of crude to the U.S., shut its crude oil export terminal on the Pacific coast yesterday, the fourth terminal to close because of bad weather since April 13.
The terminal at the port of Salina Cruz closed today, Mexico's Merchant Marine reported in a weather bulletin posted on its Web site. The three Gulf of Mexico terminals at the ports of Pajaritos, Dos Bocas and Cayo Arcas remain shut.

Brent crude for May settlement rose as much as $2.01, to $111.85 a barrel, an all-time intraday high, on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange. It traded at $111.69 at 1:11 p.m. local time. The contract yesterday closed at a record $109.84.
Oil has risen 39 percent and the dollar has dropped 12 percent against the euro since the Federal Reserve began lowering interest rates Sept. 18. The euro traded at $1.5836 versus the dollar as of 1:13 p.m. in London from $1.5832 late in New York yesterday.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries today said a decline in global demand for oil during the second quarter could be more ``pronounced,'' should the U.S. economy continue its slide into recession.
In its monthly report, OPEC left its forecast for 2008 oil demand steady at 86.97 million barrels a day, a 1.2 million barrel- a-day gain over 2007.
Quite clear this attitude by OPEC is speculative as always...


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The G-7 statement

The G-7 statement is a big disapoitment its clear that the U.S. wants to see the weakening of the dollar continue, in the short-term the G-7 communiqué will be quite significant...We don't think intervention is imminent but certainly a step-up in rhetoric is to be expected... The dollar rose to a one-week high against the euro after the Group of Seven expressed concern over sharp fluctuations following a 14 percent slump in the currency over the past year.
The G-7 changed its statement on currencies for the first time in four years after the meeting in Washington on April 11, pledging to monitor exchange markets closely, and cooperate as appropriate. The yen rose versus the euro and pared losses against the dollar as a drop in Asian stocks caused investors to pare holdings of higher-yielding assets funded in Japan.

The Australian dollar, a favorite for so-called carry trades, fell 0.6 percent to 92.23 U.S. cents and dropped 0.7 percent to 93.06 yen. The New Zealand dollar declined 0.7 percent to 78.79 U.S. cents and 0.8 percent to 79.42 yen. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 3.1 percent, its biggest decline since March 17.
The dollar wasn't mentioned specifically, suggesting U.S. policy makers still favor a weak dollar to spur the economy, however support for the dollar will be limited because the focus is on volatility, not levels...Traders will be more reluctant to push the dollar lower, even if there are factors that suggest it should fall,

The last time the G-7, which comprises the U.S., Japan, Germany, the U.K., France, Italy and Canada, intervened in the currency market was on Sept. 22, 2000, when they bought the euro after it tumbled 27 percent from its 1999 debut. The euro initially rose 4 percent, only to end that year 13.8 percent lower. The G-7 last propped up the dollar in 1995, when it sank to a post-World War II low of 79.75 yen. The U.S. currency rose 4 percent against the yen that year.
The U.S. economy has entered a recession since the end of last year, which may push down the dollar to 92 yen by June 30....


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Oil Rises

The world economy keeps facing this situation on a regular basis most times caused by speculation and profit taking by all those involved in the energy sector, governments,oil companies, crude exporters and traders and also the fact that the US supplies unexpectedly dropped causing once more crude oil to increase above $111 a barrel in New York and gasoline surged to a record...
Crude oil inventories fell 3.15 million barrels to 316 million last week, metals futures also rose as the dollar fell against the euro, and gasoline pump prices reached a record average $3.343 a gallon in the US whille some countries in Europe have the same pump prices per litre !!! as is the case in Portugal were
they practice one of the most expensive pump prices in the world...
Speculation is once more trying to accelerate prices towards $115, if no action is taken then we will see a deep world recession moving in that will affect crude producers and consumers alike.
Crude oil for May delivery rose to $110.99 a barrel at 11:54 a.m. on 09-04-2008, the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures reached $111.43, the highest since March 17, when prices touched a record $111.80 a barrel.
Speculation is the main reason driving up oil prices,OPEC so far doesn't have anything on the agenda for the informal meeting in Rome, they are also using speculation to profit more and more.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will hold its next formal policy-setting conference in September. Many OPEC ministers will hold informal discussions during a conference in Rome on April 20-22. The group's 13 members produce more than 40 percent of the world's oil.
OPEC has lost control of the oil market to institutional investors who are looking for a sanctuary from the weak dollar and slowing economy, i believe the bubble will break and prices are going to fall to the $85 area before the winter heating season.
Oil's 80 percent gain during the past year is the second biggest among 19 commodities on the Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index, trailing only wheat, which doubled. Rising global demand for raw materials and a weakening dollar have led to record prices this year for raw materials including corn, rice, gold and platinum. Brent crude for May settlement rose to $108.23 a barrel on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange. Futures reached a record $108.77 a barrel in intraday trading.


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Earth's Ozone Part 2

As ozone depletes, humans will more likely suffer from skin cancer, eye damage and other health problems because of higher exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. Land and ocean-based plants also would be hurt.
The atom bomb dropped by the U.S. on Hiroshima, Japan, in World War II killed at least 70,000 people instantly and destroyed two-thirds of the city. Three days later, the U.S. dropped a second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, killing about 40,000 people. Tens of thousands more died from radiation exposure in the months following the blasts.
Using chemistry-climate models and new estimates of smoke levels that would result from fires in cities following a nuclear blast, the researchers from the University of Colorado, University of California and the National Center for Atmospheric Research concluded ozone levels would drop 20 percent globally, 25 percent to 45 percent at mid-latitudes and 50 percent to 70 percent at northern high latitudes. The depletion would last five to eight years, the scientists said.
A hypothetical nuclear attack between India and Pakistan would distribute soot around the globe and atmospheric temperatures would increase 30 percent to 60 percent, leading to the depletion of ozone, the study said. Meanwhile, temperatures on land would drop.
Levels of ozone depletion during a nuclear winter calculated during the 1980s suggested the layer of atmosphere protecting the earth's surface from the sun's ultraviolet rays would fall by a maximum of 17 percent initially before improving to a loss of 8.5 percent during the three following years.

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Earth's Ozone Part 1

A nuclear war involving 100 Hiroshima-size bombs would open a massive hole in the earth's ozone layer, exposing life to dangerous levels of the sun's rays, a new study shows.
Smoke caused by the atomic explosions would trap heat in the stratosphere and lead to the deterioration of more than 20 percent of ozone globally, according to a study published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings suggest a more severe ``nuclear winter'' resulting from a massive nuclear war than was predicted in the 1980s.
``There would be an ozone hole everywhere outside the tropics,'' said lead author Michael Mills of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. ``The human health consequences would certainly be large increases in skin cancer and cataracts. The impacts could be greater on ecosystems.''
The study supports research published last year that said a nuclear conflict between Pakistan and India involving 100 Hiroshima-size bombs would cause enough smoke to cool the earth's temperature to the dramatically lower temperatures, shortening growing seasons and rain levels in some areas.
Although the risk of global nuclear war has diminished since the 1980s, the proliferation of nuclear weapons has produced greater risks of a regional nuclear conflict.

...part 2 soon..

SPAIN..Nerja Property

Most people anywhere in the world want to own a property. A small piece of land or a apartment. But we all want to own something. Its one dream which is shared by people across the world. After all everyone wants to own a place where he can raise his family away from the gaze of the world. Talking about owning a property one place that is on top of the demands of people around the world where every one wants to invest in property is Nerja. Located on the Costa del Sol a bout 50 kilometres from Malaga, Nerja means "place of water". Famous for its lovely weather Nerja property is attracting people big time. No wonder quite a few people are lining up to buy a piece of land or some property in this most beautiful of all places on earth.
It is the popularity that the place enjoys that has seen the transformation of this small sleepy village into a vibrant town. Today the place is laced with all sorts of comforts and is a dream investment for either commercial or residential purposes. No surprises then to find a lot of investment drilled into this sector. And with the way the popularity of this place is rising it sure is to attract huge investment in future as well.
Nerja property can not only be divided on commercial, residential basis but residential property can further be divided into two categories. One when people purchase it and other when it is taken on rent. Both the categories have many takers and attract huge attention.
However, people would do well to take care of a few things. First of all it must be understood that like any other purchase investing in Nerja property can also be successful if people do a thorough research before buying anything or use a Nerja Estate Agent.. If it happens then there can be no denying the fact that investment in Nerja can prove to be immensely beneficial for anyone.

U.S. Economy to Stall

As mentioned several times on this blog and now finally confirmed the economic growth in the U.S. will come to a halt in the first six months of 2008 as consumer spending cools, as several Europe countries follow the same trend.
The US economy will not expand at all from January through June, according to the median estimate of 62 economists surveyed from April 2 to April 8. A majority now projects the U.S. is, in a recession.
Job losses, falling home values and credit restrictions are plaguing consumers already burdened by soaring food and oil bills. Federal Reserve Chairman will cut interest rates again, the American consumer is pretty dismal right now as they have three to six months to work out the recession.
Increases in fuel prices are hitting the consumer hard as demand is deteriorating rapidly... The US will have the smallest two-quarter gain since the six months that ended March 1991.
Perhaps spending will pick up in the latter half of 2008 as Americans receive tax-rebate checks under the $168 billion stimulus package passed by Congress and the administration, however i think the plan is unlikely to have a lasting effect as debt- ridden consumers will probably use some of the money to pay off loans or shore up savings.
The Fed will trim the benchmark rate by a half point to 1.75 percent by June and keep it there the rest of the year, the fastest drop in borrowing costs in two decades.
Consumer confidence will keep dropping to a 16-year low as the average price of regular gasoline will hit record of over $3.34 a gallon... and employment will continue to over 5.5 percent during this year..


Eastern Europe's investment

WorldWatch received regional reports indicating that Eastern Europe's investment- led boom is now a fizzle...Three years after Toyota Motor Corp. and PSA Peugeot Citroen opened their Czech auto plant, Jiri Cerny, the venture's vice president, says it's getting harder to find workers and he may have to import them from Mongolia.
Companies that were attracted to formerly communist nations in eastern Europe by the promise of cheap and plentiful labor are finding less of both, as faster growth drives up wages and open borders encourage emigration. That is leading some businesses to rely more on automation and others to look for employees abroad or even quit the region..the Baltics and Balkans regions threatened by a ``hard landing,'' the International Monetary Fund and Standard & Poor's warn.
TPCA, the Toyota-Peugeot joint venture about an hour outside of Prague, shows the strains created by this new investment. Along with average wage growth of more than 40 percent since the Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004.
TPCA said ``It's difficult; we are always looking for employees, we're thinking about Vietnam right now, as well as Mongolia,''
The Czech economy and those of most other former East Bloc countries expanded in the fourth quarter at several times the 2.2 percent rate of the 15 EU members that use the euro. Neighboring Slovakia had the fastest annual pace, at 14.3 percent. Bulgaria, the EU's poorest member, and the former Soviet states of Latvia and Lithuania grew at rates above 6 percent.

The region's hottest economies also have some of the highest inflation rates, led by Latvia's, at 16.7 percent in February, and Bulgaria, with a rate of 13.2 percent. Since 2001, the average monthly gross wage in Latvia has soared 139 percent. At the same time, wood costs rose and finding affordable labor became almost impossible....
Latvia went from being one of the cheapest places in east Europe to do business to one of the most expensive.
Even though wages in the region are rising, workers are leaving for still-higher pay in richer western European nations such as Ireland and the U.K. In Latvia, the average monthly gross wage of 403.9 lati ($908) is a fraction of the 2,915 euros ($4,575) in the 15 euro nations, according to Eurostat, the EU's statistical office.
Some companies will just keep moving east in search of cheaper labor, the local government of Lodz, Poland, is trying to head off such an exodus by offering incentives including tax breaks to keep workers and companies in the country.
Just a few years ago, Germans and other Europe nations like Portugal were worrying that companies will go to Romania or Poland, now in Romania or Poland, they are worrying that companies will move to Ukraine, Belarus or further east.
This is like a huge snow ball, in a couple of years they will be back in Portugal or Germany...but the company profits will have decreased by then...


Venezuela Cement Industry

This time the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez plans to seize cement operations in the country, threatening the assets of the nation's largest producer, Cemex SAB of Mexico.
The move will also affect Lafarge SA of France and Holcim Ltd. of Switzerland, these cement companies keep polluting the environment and have failed to invest in new technology like most companies do...
Chavez has given pro-nationalization speeches to draw on popular Venezuelan opposition to state asset sales to foreign companies in the 1990s. Last year, the state took over four heavy crude oil joint ventures as well as the nation's biggest electricity provider and telephone company. Seizing Total SA's stake in a project cost Venezuela $834 million in oil shipments.
Hugo Chavez said he would ban asphalt exports and is restricting shipments of food abroad, all part of his effort to overcome shortages amid the fastest economic growth in the Americas. Chavez has accused building-material suppliers of running a monopoly and slowing the construction of homes and roads. This is a monopoly most international companies have...
Cemex is the largest domestic supplier of cement and ready-mix concrete in Venezuela, with annual cement production capacity of 4.6 million tons and 33 ready-mix plans, according to its Web site.
Holcim, the world's second-largest cement maker, is taking the threat serious. The Swiss company operates two cement plants in Venezuela, one in San Sebastian and another in the Cumarebo region. Together, the factories produce 2.4 million tons and employ more than 500 people.
The French company generates 90 million euros ($141 million) in revenue from Venezuelan operations. Its two plants have the capacity to make 1.6 million tons, or 23 percent of the potential output in the country.......


Please note these details may be subject to change THE NEWEST NATION IN EUROPE… PORTAXLAND This European Nation has so many t...