Monday, July 15

I've been saying the same as this: Wall Street may have to endure a long spell � a decade or longer � in which the stock market, while providing plenty of ups and downs, repeatedly disappoints investors.
Kaohsiung is like this: "My drawers feel like an old wet diaper. It's suffocating, it's sticky. I'm soaking wet at 7 o'clock in the morning, top to bottom."

Sunday, July 14

Contrary to the doomsayers, economic and scientific advances have made it possible for the developed world to be more efficient in its natural resource usage, to find or make new resources, and maintain or revive endangered species.
Supposedly, Americans are fat because they're eating too many carbohydrates. But what about skinny Chinese, Japanese, & Indians?

An update from Dean Ornish, who says that complex carbs are the solution.
According to a UN report,
The UN Development Programme and Unicef have finally admitted in a new report what many scientists and policy wonks have known for years. Chernobyl killed thousands -- not from radiation, but from policy based on radiophobic hysteria.

Tuesday, July 9

Falun Gong hijacks Chinese broadcasts: taking over a satellite signal is difficult for the government to track down and stop.
Local leaders who use their cash and connections to bend the party and government to their will challenge the leadership of the Communist Party, because China has a fragmented power system. Here.

Monday, July 8

According to Yahoo:
China's chief justice has slammed "incompetent" judges for blindly following orders from superiors, and promised sweeping reforms to the way they are recruited and trained, state media said.

Xiao Yang, president of the Supreme People's Court, told a conference on Sunday that incompetent judges were "one of the most vital factors in judicial inequity" the Xinhua news agency reported.

"Courts have often been taken as branches of the government, and judges viewed as civil servants who have to follow orders from superiors, which prevents them from exercising mandated legal duties like other members of the judiciary," Xiao said.

The unusually stern criticism marks yet another attempt by China to improve the quality of its famously ill-qualified judges.

Seventy percent of them have no college degree, only a vocational training degree and not necessarily in law, according to earlier reports by China's state media.

Xiao told the conference that judges should be immune from local interference, be better paid and "revered for their integrity", Xinhua said.

Although China has trimmed the number of judges by 10 percent, of those remaining "many are incompetent to hold the position of judge", he said.

A new class of professional judge should be brought in, "a chosen group of elites who speak the same legal language, think in a unique legal formula, believe in and pursue social justice," Xiao said.

Reforms to speed this change along will include making new judges pass two exams, and forcing incumbent ones to take a law degree within a set time or face dismissal.

Additionally, to prevent outside influence, judges should not be fired or disciplined without due process.

China has pledged many times in the past to improve its legal system, especially the calibre of the 200,000-plus judges that administer it.

The system is heavily influenced by traditional legal values with a high premium placed on rulings that conform with and protect state policies, Western legal experts in Beijing say.

This also opens the way for rampant corruption in the areas of civil litigation where rulings are often awarded to the highest bidders, they say.

Apart from miscarriages of justice to its own citizens, the lack of legal consistency has prompted concern among foreign companies doing business there, some of which complain they have been the victims of arbitrary and biased rulings.

During a visit to Beijing in February, US President George W. Bush stressed to his hosts that as a new member of the World Trade Organisation, China must ensure "a consistent rule of law" to govern commerce.
Rapid globalization of the world economy has sliced the proportion of abject poor across the planet, according to a study from the London-based Center for Economic Policy Research. But this report from Yahoo terms it "controversial", because, according to the European Commission (the European Union's executive body) that commissioned the report, they are unwilling to concur with all the study's analysis, because "In many respects, the findings will prove controversial, at least to those outside the circle of professional economists, contradicting as they do certain deeply held beliefs about the negative consequences of globalization."

Arrgh! Because many people simply believe that it can't be true, the European Commission won't accept it!

Thursday, July 4

An article entitled "The education shibboleth" from the Economist suggests there are drawbacks to encouraging more & more people to attend college. But the author concludes, �Our recent forebears, living in significantly poorer times, were occupied with the cultural, moral and intellectual purposes of education. We impoverish ourselves by neglecting these.�