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Global economic perceptions

A new BBC World Service Poll highlights highly divergent economic perceptions across the world. 15 countries see conditions getting better, 17 see them getting worse. The poll also shows that countries that have received World Bank loans are particularly positive about our influence. See also the BBC story, or a previous Gallup poll on global optimism.

Aceh Diary: Dining out

Food in Banda Aceh is GREAT (especially the seafood)! That is, if you can bear going to the same 5 or 6 restaurants day in and out. Many people eventually opt for their own cooking, at least for dinner, since many organizations provide a simple lunch catered or cooked on the premises. Others like us without a kitchen (which we’re renovating), tend to alternate between the few Chinese-style seafood restaurants and venues offering western cuisine frequented by the expat community.

Democracy, conflict and the future

Conflict over resources is inherent in political life. The difference between regimes lies in how such conflicts are handled – by repression under autocracy, by civil war under anarchy and by agreed rules under democracy. Democracy is civilised political struggle. That is what makes it both so attractive and so fragile.

South-south foreign direct investment

A new class of "southern multinationals" [are] reshaping the geography of global investment. These companies are emerging from unlikely latitudes to grab sales from more-famous brands, often using their homegrown experience with Third World obstacles—from corruption to red tape and bad roads—to succeed in foreign emerging markets.

Davos, meet Bollywood

Last year 'Bombay Dreams' ran on Broadway, and now Davos will be overrun by Bollywood. ‘India’ is one of the eight subthemes of this year’s Davos meetings and the country is taking advantage of this audience with the who’s-who crowd of international business to promote itself.

A year of talk followed by…?

2005 was a year of bold statements and agreements by the international development community. In this long talk, Niall FitzGerald, chairman of Reuters, hopes that we now move beyond speeches – and believes that the private sector can help: