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Tatar Khan

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  1. Actually there is such a language, I saw a CBC documentary that focused on the group of people who live in South America who have no words for time such as week, month, season, year. They also do not count their age even.
  2. Here is summary of what will happen in Ukraine http://gameofgeopolitics.blogspot.ca/2014/03/crisis-in-ukraine.html It is just sad too see that western nations are heading for another loss in foreign policy with Russia.
  3. Few weeks ago I went to a presentation by Murray Brewster on Canadian mission in Afghanistan. Murray Brewster is Canadian journalist with Canadian Press who covered from the ground the Canadian mission in Afghanistan from the time Canadian went into the Kandahar province till they left. He heavily criticized the whole mission and here are his points, I have added some explanations Lack of intelligence – there was very little attempts made to disentangle the whole situation in Afghanistan, all violence was blamed on Taliban while in reality a lot of came from warlords, drug lords and different tribes settling disputes with each other. Until, US started the surge there was no attempt to understand the alliances and animosities between tribes, warlords, drug lords or other groups operating in the region.There seemed to be also lack of local knowledge. Examples: Outstretched hand with palm towards the person means stop for westerners in Afghanistan it means come to me. Now imagine what happened at checkpoints before this was known, Anybody approaching a military convoy would be shot at according to the rules of engagement, the reason was of course possibility of suicide bomber just walking up to the convoy and blowing up (my thinking for the rule of engagement) but of course people tried to approach convoys ( I think possibly to beg from the troops) so sign were put up in Pastun saying do not approach. The problem is that 65% of Kandahar residents are illiterate Aid groups quit Kandahar due to risk of being killed however they refused to let Canadian soldiers deliver aid because they did not want to be associated with military, the result was that Afghanis that could have received aid got nothing.Throughout the mission there were surveys done on the streets of Kandahar to find out what Afghanis wanted the most. The listed the following as top 3: 1. jobs, 2. electricity, 3 security.There was a huge problem with unemployment and therefore a lot joined Taliban because they were unemployed. Also foreign aid money did not result in jobs for Afghanis but ended up in hands of foreign contractors who brought their own labour Before the invasion Kandahar had electricity 24h a day after the invasion 2 hours a day. The dam that provided electricity was in neighbouring province. It was build by US in 1950s and Americans decided to refurbish it. The problem was that Taliban understood the significance of the dam and kept it under constant attack The Canadian contribution was Polio vaccines and attempts to build schools for children. They also build a dam for agricultural reasons in attempt to stop Afghani farmers from growing poppies. So Canadians followed their priorities that they saw as important – education and health care. Those are important topics for Canadians but were lower on the list for Afghanis. Canadians also constantly gave Afghanis lectures about corruption and women rights. The problem was that the lectures were not listed to. Afghanis lived in practical world full of corruption around them.As for women rights well that was the topic that went against centuries of tradition and they were not going to listen to Canadians. Actually in their view burka is not a sign of oppression but rather sign of modesty just like longer skirts in western world. And it is western world that is objectifying women by making them parade half naked. (My thoughts) Overall it seems that policy was guided by idealism originating from Canada rather then from the facts on the ground. (End of my thoughts) Overall he also mentioned that the each NATO member did its own thing and there was no united plan for developmentHe mentioned that justifying intervention in Afghanistan was also hard. Anti-Al-Qaida reason dried up in 2002 when it was defeated. Canadians did not feel threatened by terrorists even after Toronto 18 were discovered. And the idea of helping Afghanis to build their country was later used but also not all the way. When the mission in Afghanistan ended Prime Minister of Canada Steven Harper announced that thanks to Canadian efforts Afghanistan no longer a spring board for the terrorists. The problem with that statement was pointed out 3 days later by governor of Kandahar, he pointed out that Al Qaida has re-established itself in south of the province.Currently he sees that political power in Afghanistan would be held by the army. It is numerous and well paid even though quality wise it is not very good. When I asked him about it being like Pakistan, he said that was what he was trying to say.I asked him abut possible industries developing in Afghanistan. He pointed out to its mineral wealth (just a note I found in my research, the mineral wealth was discovered by Soviet geologists in late 1960s, I would like to point out that since then there was a unending stream of companies who went to mine it). His projecting for the mineral wealth was that it would be developed once people stop shooting at each other in Afghanistan. He gave it 75 years. Overall it seemed that western idealism that was causing a lot of problems for the Afghanistan mission, whether it was addressing wrong priorities or the idealism of aid groups not to be mixed with military. What do you think?
  4. I remember this thing, it wasfrom Univeristy of Toronto and it was kept in Canadian Air & Space Museum, where I volunteered on financial committee and as accountant. That was all before the leasor kicked the museum out. The interesting thing about it was that it only rose a bit off the ground and it had a small engine attached to the back to give it extra boost at take off. The problem with flapping wings is that when wings go down the plane is pushed up and when the wings go up the plane is pushed down. The result is 0 consistent lift but small hopes. These guys solved the problem I think using that booster engine. They did not exactly disclose details of the project to us since it is their research. Now wing flapping works for birds because of their feather structure. The wings plat down and the feathers arranged so they push against the air but when bird raises the wings the feathers allow the air to smoothly move over the wings and through them thus preventing it from pushing the bird down.
  5. The West is not mobilising against Syria for few reasons. One is that Russia and China are blocking it. Russia is doing it very actively. 3 squadrons from 3 different navies (Blatic, Pacific, Black Sea) are throwing training exercises, maneuvers and wargames next to Syrian shores over next 3 months. So Syrian regime got it self a defensive cover. The second is the West's experience with the situations where they helped to overthrow the regime. The gain from that is small. Very little money is being made from Afghanistan, actually it is just a sinkhole we will be throwing money in for decades. The biggest operations there are by Chinese in mining copper. In Iraq the biggest players are not American companies or Western companies but the Russian, Chinese and Iranian companies. In Lybia after regime overthrow there is somuch instability that nothing is going to happen for years. In Egypt the new president and the parliament are not Western leaning either. So in the end, there is high chance that when Syrian rebels win they will not exactly throw themselves open to western commercial interests. The incident with Turkey has made it a secure base for the Syrian rebels to launch raids or retreat to. So this is perfect for guerilla army as it now has a safe haven to hide out in if things get tough.
  6. For more then 3 months students across Canadian province of Quebec has been on strike and has been protesting the tuition fee hikes. The hikes supposed to increase the tuition fees for the university and college students over a period of few years (the period of years changes with each new proposed deal). The students went on strike and has been daily demonstrating against the proposed hikes. Other groups have jumped on the bandwagon and been adding their numbers to the demonstration. Last demonstration attempted to disrupt the Formula One Indy event in the Montreal. In addition, the students are demonstrating against a bill 78 that requires that any demonstration that is more then 50 people should declare its route to police 8 hours in advance. The protestors even launched a constitutional challenge to the bill. The main theme behind the protests is still the tuition fee hikes and the question whether the post secondary education should be free or it should be paid for. Those that want it for free, stress the arguments of accessibility and that the education is a public good. The ones that want to charge for education point at the fact that the post secondary education is an investment that allows to obtain a higher salaries after graduation. I went to university and paid between 5,000 to 6,000 CAD a year, which I self financed through working part time. I do not really see a problem with tuition fee hikes as the fees for Quebec students are currently half of what they were for me and even after the hikes they still would be lower. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/04/26/f-quebec-students-tuition-debate.html So what do you think, should the post-secondary education be free and therefore financed by the state or should it be paid for by the students?
  7. Syria is in the news today again after a bloody massacre. The current situation is that Syrian government is blaming the terrorist groups, which are present there. Al-Qaeda is would be present in Syria as one of its goals is overthrow of the dictatorships and monarchs and establishment of Islamic democracies. The opposition to Syrian government is blaming the government for the massacre. The resulting pictures and videos have shocked the world, more specifically the western world, and the leadership of Western world is currently siding with the opposition to Syrian government. UN chief on the ground doesn't have a clear report and the Xinhua, Chinese main news agency, is avoiding placing a blame on either side. Russian news agency RussiaToday while also avoiding the blaming any side is indirectly attacking the West for misrepresentation of the situation on the ground. This of course leaves the Syrians in the middle of the political games of the great powers. Russia has no interest in attacking the Syrian regime because Syria is providing the only currently available international port where it can refuel and service its military vessels. China is also as it is becoming a bigger and bigger power is looking for allies and Syria could also be a great place to refuel and repair its military vessels and thus create ability to put naval presence in Mediterranean. The west on other hand has no love for Assad's regime due to its affiliation with Iran and Russia and also the west has strong pressure from its electorate to do something about the plight of the Syrian people. The plight of the Syrian people is broadcasted through unofficial channels such as Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and so the integrity of the reports could not be verified. The fact that these reports often come from the people representing the opposition to Syrian government puts a stamp of bias on them. The exact situation on the ground in Syria is unclear so far no foreign journalists are allowed to go freely and so far the western journalists and the Russian journalists reported a completely different stories about what is happening in Syria. The question I pose is could the crisis could be resolved or is Syria and its people will become a fodder in the game of the Great Powers with crisis continuing? http://www.cbc.ca/ne...ria-sunday.html http://www.bbc.co.uk...e-east-18229870 http://www.rt.com/ne...annan-plan-307/ http://news.xinhuane...c_131613846.htm
  8. Wow this is very interesting as here in Canada we do not have as much of a problem with illegal immigration. I wonder how much of a problem are the illegal immigration and how much of the impact they have on the country?
  9. Let's take several scenarios about how unemployment can arise. Let's use induvidual perspective: 1. Person leaves job willingly to look for a new one. I know that to some this will sound strange but in Canada here it was common thing to do. I would never attempt such a thing, I would look for new position while still working. 2. Person gets fired over bad actions at his job. 3. Person gets laid off 3.1 Lay off due to technology 3.2 Lay off due to outsourcing Situation 1: is normal and often seen as natural unemployment because it is unemployment that happens because induvidual is moving from one job to another for what ever reason. Some also would leave work to get more education or they want to retire early (not very likely with many theses days). The last two cases do not count towards the unemployment rate because they leave the labor force. Here in Canada the unemployment caused by willing transition of people from one job to another was always seen to be around 4% to 5% Situation 2: the unemployment due to firing, happens because of the employees actions: example I have heard (theft, watching porn on company's computers, sexual advances on the coworkers that the coworker doesn't appreciate - touching, jokes, etc.) Situation 3: Well lay offs happen due to changed technology and due to outsourcing: 3.1: The change of technology" 3.1.1: Change of consumer needs, preference and tastes People change their tastes, or their needs and preferences change. We migrated in music from cassettes to cds to portabel devices with harddrives and from VHS tapes to dvds and not blueray is comming in. The result is that people who manufactures cassettes and VHS tapes are not needed. Radical case is Kodak which went bankrupt because nobody needed their film as people migrated to digital cameras. Change in preferences occur when people go from one product to another. Kids playing Playstation 2 instead of sega's Dreamcast is one of them, or the move in Japan from console gaming to mobile device gaming. Finally the change of needs examples are no longer need of horse and carriage but a need of the car to get around. Another example that is occuring in Canada is lack of need of newspapers for news and move towards the Internet as the platform for latest news. As these things happen people get laid off as their skill set is no longer needed, it should not be expected of the companies to retain them. We would not expect the family to retain services of babysitter after their kid grew up. 3.1.2 Internal change of technology within the company This occurs as the company changes their technology internally. Examples could be major financial institutions that automated the arbitrage trading through use of computers and no longer need all those arbitrage traders. It could be the automation of transaction processing by a telecom company and it therefore no longer needs all those data entry clerks anymore as the transactions flow from the point of sale automatically in the system. Finally there is automation that speeds up the processes so that only 1 person requred to do what 4 needed before for example. It happens all the time in my company, I actually constantly automate some processes myself. Situation 3.2 Outsourcing When talking of outsourcing I am not only talking of the outsourcing to China or India that happens but even outsourcing within the country. Example is this a firm that manages investment funds could outsource its accounting for investment funds to a different company. The will continue to pick the investments but the actual accounting would be done by a different company because that company has all the trained staff and advanced software to do that. The lay off of accountants that handled this job at investment fund management firm occurs. This happens a lot, Pepsi and Coca-Cola do not bottle their drinks themselves, they outsource it to another companies. Restaurants will outsource the automated surveys about their service to a company that specialises in survey design and analysis. Computer gaming companies will outsource programming to another countries, Russia has become a popular destination for some of the major game developement due to technological skills in that country. North American companies outsource their call centres to India because it is just cheaper there. FED2k outsources its forum software developement to IP.Board. So layoffs will continue to create unemployment as technology advances or a better specialised companies arise that can perform the same services but better and cheaper. I guess there is a 4th cause of unemployment too. People who obtain skills that are not marketable or needed. I graduated with degree called Bachelor in Arts (here in Canada Arts encompass fields as wide as economics to actual drawing and painting, there is also degree called Bachelor of Science that ecomposses from theoretical sciences to actual engineering, some universities actually have Bachelor of Engineering, finally there is also Bachelor of Commerce, business related fields from finance to marketing to humar resources to accounting). Each of these degrees comes with after tag of what the person specialised in (ex. Computer Engineering, Mechanical Enginnering, Applied Physics, Economics and Finance). As I was graduating with the Bachelor in Arts in Economics and Finance there were other graduating with Bachelor in Arts general studies. Bachelor in Arts general studies means these people failed to find what to specialise in but finally collected enough courses to actually graduate. They were the biggest group at my graudation ceremony. Here is the problem, who is going to hire them. they have no specific skills after completing their univeristy education.This is what I call a bad choice and they are going to find it hard to find jobs because what jobs can they do? The same situation occurs with people who get education that is in low demand. How many graduates needed with specialisation in philosophy. Not that many so a person with degree specialised in philosophy is not going to find it easy finding work because maybe he likes philosophy but overall the demand for those skills comes mostly from schools and universities, and not that many philosophy teachers are needed for each school or each univerisity. So in the end, in a city with 3 universities with 450 schools (City of Toronto, Canada) and from each univesity 50 people with degrees in philosophy graduate, it would require only 3 years to supply 1 philosophy teacher per school. After the 3 years new teachers are not going to be needed untill current ones retire or decide to leave their jobs. So 150 people in the year 4 would find no demand for their skills as the schools are fully stuffed with philosophy teachers. Now with regards to my "bad choices" I find that often people do not blame themselves but blame others. I do not blame myself for things that only after looking back I could see that they were bad choices. Examples could be such things as not staying 5 minutes longer somewhere and missing meeting a person who could have helped me out with something. I am calling bad choices things that I could have done differently if I would have spent more time thinking them through or researching them. Two examples would be my education: When I was graduating from high school I was choosing which university to go to. I got accepted to University of Toronto and Ryerson University. University of Toronto is presitgious university and it accpeted me to the program that I would have graduated from with Bachelor of Commerce in Economics. Ryerson Univerisity is just normal univeristy and me to the program that I eventually graduated from with Bachelor of Arts in International Economics. I chose Ryerson University because I liked the whole premise of International Economics rather then just Economics. If however, I would have reserached the two programs I would have found them to be not so different from each other at all. The information on programs and what courses they included was freely available on the Internet. My bad choice was choosing less prestigious university which made much harder to find a job. My second bad choice was choice of specialisation in Economics. Government of Canada runs several website, one of them called Job Futures, that provides freely available information about future demand for certain skills and professionals. There are also job search engines such as JobBank, Workopolis and Monster that could be used to see if certain skills are in demand. The research through those ones would have told me that when it comes to positions in business and finance the most demanded are people with degrees specialised in accounting, and that people with specialisation in economics are not highly demanded and mostly jobs for them require to have PhD in Economics or at least a Masters degree in Economics (more advanced degrees). There are other bad choices but lets leave it at two On the side note out of our graudating class of 22 people only one person is working in the job that requires economics education. I am currently working in accounting.
  10. In Canada, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty had said "I was brought up in a certain way. There is no bad job, the only bad job is not having a job. I drove a taxi, I refereed hockey. You do what you have to do to make a living." This were his comments that he made to support the government's plan to toughen the rules on receipt of Employment Insurance (in most countries known as unemployment insurance). The comments were made to push at the point that people who receive unemployment insurance refuse to take jobs that are far away from them or that they consider them to be beneath them. I agree with what he is saying. I was unemployed (well more correctly underemployed) for 2 years thanks in part to the Great Recession and in part to my own bad choices. I was in debt, basically living off my credit card, to make my ends meet I worked in ice cream store as cashier. I did not receive unemployement insurance because I did not apply and even if I would have applied I would not have qualified as my part time job (it is hard to get really full time positions in fast food places) income was above of what I would have received as payments from unemployment insurance. The result was that I was not sitting on the neck of the government but was in some way contributing to the economy, the bad effect was that it looked really bad. Most Human Resources departments would not consider a person with university degree for any position if they see that this person is working in a fast food restaurants. They usually see this as evidence that person is lieing about their education as no self respecting university graduate would demean himself to such a position. Now, I do not believe that such a job sould be seen as a dream job by university graduate or as something to be proud but I consider that to be better then just sitting at home. I would like to know what are your thoughts on the idea "the only bad job is not having a job".
  11. The current reports are that the Greeks are withdrawing money from banks. Let's hope it doesn't turn into the run on the banks because that will give a clear signal that the Greeks have no faith in any political party to resolve the situation. That is common problem in other Western nations, especially during the elections. The reason is that putting out a logical message is too hard rather to scream and put out an emotional one. Emotional messages motivate people more then logical ones. The second problem is that logical message will not be understood completely as the modern electorate of all Western countries is just no educated enough in politics, economics, foreign policy theory, finance, sociology, psychology, industrial organisation etc.
  12. I think in situation where Iran gets the nuclear weapons, other countries in the region would not get nuclear weapons, they will just build up their conventional military strength and have US provide the nuclear retaliation capabilities. The reason is that the region is of vital importance due to oil found there and the fact that it can set the price of oil. To the arabic nations there it would be a good deal as the US will bear the cost of the nuclear program to protect them.
  13. I am not so sure that cancellation of soveriegn debt would remove need for austerity measures. The reason why the money was borrowed in the first place is not addressed by cancelleing the sovereign debt and nationalising the banks. Countries borrowed money because they did not have the money in the first place and they stayed in debt because they did not have any instruments to generate enought tax revenue to repay the debt. It is basically same as with regular people and regular companies. Let's demonstrate through the following example: Example 1: Average person Let's say I want to take courses to obtain an accounting designation (ex. Chartered Accountant in many Commonwealth countries or CPA in USA, or CGA or CMA in Canada), but I don't have the several thousand dollars that those courses cost. I go and get a loan at the bank and promise to repay it because with accounting designation I can make more money and so repay the loan. If I could generate the necessary money through my usual revenue source then I would not have needed the loan. Now 4 scenarios can happen: Scenario A: I pass the courses and get the designation and get a better job and I am able to repay the loan. Notice that in this case the bank contributed to improvement in the economy, as the person with accouting designation has more knowledge and his work is of higher quality and better then of the person without one. Scenario B: I pass the courses and get the designation, but I don't get a better job. I made a bad decision there are lots and lots of people with accounting designation and there is more of them then there is a demand. (This scenario is less likely in corporate and sovereign lending as the banks tend to evaluate the feasibility of the proposed projects and also the feasibility of repayment if the projects fails). This means, I am back at my job and I have to pay back the loan, ussually means that I maybe have to work more hours or reduce my spendings (Austerity measures). Scenario C: I don't pass the courses and don't get designation because I don't try hard enough.(This is the reason why some soveriegn loans and corporate loans are given in tier system with extra funds released when certain milestone is reached). I have to repay back the loan. This means, I am back at my job and I have to pay back the loan, usually means that I maybe have to work more hours or reduce my spendings (Austerity measures). Scenario D: I just blow the money on fancy car. The result I still owe the loan and I would have to pay it back. The only way to do that is again I have to work more hours or reduce my spendings (Austerity measures). The problem with countries with high debt is that they did not have the money to finance their government programs, because they did not have enough tax revenue. They borrowed on the premise that their new programs will benefit the economic growth and therefore their tax revenue will expand. The problems with social programs that is not always the case. Emperically the social programs so far showed that often they fail to generate the economics growth that would create the necessary tax revenue to finance them. The result is that even if the sovereign debt are removed the fact that there are no tax revenue to sustain all government programs without new borrowing stays. The reason the countries now as you say afraid of the "market's" opinion is that financial institutions have began to treat the governments same way they treated the corporate and personal lending clients. The banks and the government of different countries want to be assured that they will be repayed. The reason this change of thinking came about is the realisation that the premise that government debt is safe because if necessary government can raie taxes or cut programs to repay it turned out to be untrue even for developed economies. Governments find it very easy to lower taxes and increase spendings and have very hard time increasing taxes and lowering spendings. Therefore I would require my government to do a strong assessment of the capabilities of repayment by the country it is lending to, because it is my tax money being lent that could otherwise go towards something else here at home. Same with the banks, I expect the bank that I use to do a strong assessment of the capabilities of repayment by the country, because if my bank folds because of that bad decision, I will lose the money I deposited in that bank. In addition, I also think that cancellation of the sovereign debt and the nationalisation of financial system will cause inflation.
  14. Well this is really bad. I can see the market indexes dropping tommorrow all over the world. It seems that EU won't be able to bail out Greece for much longer. It is not surprising that fascist and neo-nazi party got seats in parliament. Greece now has strong anti-foreigners sentiment as it is the foreigners that are pushing austerity on them. The high uemployment creates the resentment of immigrants because Greeks see immigrants as those who took their jobs. Also Golden Dawn campaigned on anti-austerity program too. However, as long as the party remains in small minority it is not a danger as its support will slowly fade away as the economic problems would get sorted out.
  15. I think when it comes to Iran, we should see it as a perfect example of the state that uses rhetoric to the most extent. They are great at their anti-western show, but I don't think we should see it as anything more then the rhetoric. Such a country can not afford to be a completly loyal to its rhetoric or it would not be able to properly interact with other countries in the world. Therefore the religious extremes would not be influencing the Iran's foreign policy, that is not to say that it will stop to broadcast anti-western rhetoric. I don't see either Israel or Iran becoming India and Pakistan for the simple reason that they do not have the border disputes. The only problem with nuclear armed Iran is that it would become a regional power in the Near and Middle East, fulfilling it dream since 1950s and something that the West has been trying to avoid for about the same time. The result would be military build up by Iran's neighbours and most likely USA would end up giving extra guarantees to its allies in the region to protect them. Possible stationing of nuclear weaponry somewhere in the region to allow retaliatory strikes against Iran.
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