|In front of the Birds' Nest stadium.|
|In front of the Birds' Nest stadium.|
Blog Action Day is a global nonprofit event that wants to unite bloggers, podcasters and videocasters around a common issue, on a specific day, to raise awareness about the topic and trigger a worldwide discussion. This year the issue is poverty and the date is October 15.
The international community has endorsed the Millenium Development Goal of reducing the poverty rate in the developing world by 50% over the 25 years, 1990-2015. While the target is arbitrary, it is nonetheless important to have a stretch goal like this to challenge us all to make the world a better place. To measure progress, naturally we need pretty good estimates of global poverty. The World Bank is the leading bean counter in this exercise. It just today released new estimates of global poverty that have the potential to illuminate the progress, but also the potential to confuse a lot of people. The research department of the World Bank has changed its global poverty line from $1 per day to $1.25 per day and has found about 468 million more poor people than it had previously estimated. About 135 million of these newly found poor are in China. How does one make sense of these new numbers? Here are some pointers:
|The Olympics closing ceremony. Photo courtesy of rich115 under a Creative Commons license.|
What struck me most during the last week of events and at the closing ceremony is that we really are living in a new, multi-polar era without one single dominant country. I was fortunate to see Guo Jingjing win her springboard diving gold; Russia-USA men’s volleyball semifinal; Argentina-Nigeria soccer gold medal game; Jamaican runners dominate the sprints; Ethiopian and Kenyan runners dominate the long distances; and American runners sweep a couple of middle distance events. And while the Americans and Chinese can be justifiably proud of their medal totals, don’t forget that the member states of the EU won vastly more medals and gold medals than either of those countries. (My informal count as of mid-day Friday was that EU states had won 234 medals including 74 gold.)
The short answer appears to be no, but let’s start at the beginning…as anyone who has been following the financial markets now knows, the mortgage market in the U.S.
The Olympics have moved into week 2 with track and field replacing swimming as marquee events and the national stadium (better known as the Bird’s Nest) supplanting the Water Cube as the place to see and to be seen. With two competition sessions per day scheduled at the Bird’s Nest, which holds 91,000 spectators, the crowds at the Olympic Green have gotten much bigger and the atmosphere live
The World Food Programme launched a video competition a few months ago to raise awareness about hunger, and a jury has selected five out of the 70 submissions received. Now it's your turn to weigh in and help declare a winner for the first HungerBytes contest.
|My new Lithuanian friends.|
|The Water Cube (or the National Aquatic Center) is where swimming and diving events are held.|
|I am up in the nosebleed section with the other Beijing locals.|
On the eve of the Olympics, there is a collective holding of breath amongst Beijing office colleagues. Will everything go smoothly? Will it rain tomorrow? Who will light the flame? How will the flame be lit (will the phoenix come home to roost in the bird’s nest or will the sleeping dragon finally awake)?
China’s growth has held up well so far in 2008 (take a look at the Bank's Quarterly Update for more details). Growth rate for the first half was slightly over 10%. Recently there has been concern about the slowdown in the growth of exports: from 28% year-on-year increase in May to 18% in June. But monthly figures are erratic, and I am more impressed that the growth of exports
|The handbook provides a self-assessment process so a city can judge for itself how much it needs to focus on climate change and where to go for help. See more here.
You may want to grab your surfboard to be prepared even though this wave may not yet be visible now. There is little (public) focus on this question in Asia at the moment and I suspect that the reason is simple – over the past ten years we have witnessed a relatively long period of stability and rapid economic growth across Asia. Such a situation can too easily breed complacency and high levels of risk-taking by banks, as well as a more relaxed stance by the r
|The CCTV building in downtown Beijing. The skies returned to gray on Tuesday, yet the air is cleaner than a year ago.|
A recent paper by Berta Martín-López and colleagues in Conservation Biology reports how the size of an animal’s eyes appears to be people’s main measure for determining whether they think an animal is important enough for them to open their pocket books and pay for its conservation. This is something one needs to be wary of.