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U.N. selecting climate scientist to produce the fifth flagship report

The United Nations panel of climate scientist plans to tackle the way societies adapt to a changing climate and the effects of food insecurity in its next report on climate change, senior officials said on Thursday.   The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is currently selecting 600 to 700 climate scientist from over 3,000 nominations to produce the fifth flagship report, due in 2014, said IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri. Earlier this year the IPCC said that its last assessment report, issued in 2007, had exaggerated the pace at which Himalayan glaciers were melting and overstated how much of the Netherlands was below sea level. Those errors, coupled with persistent doubts in some quarters that human activity is warming the planet, prompted U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in March to announce a review of U.N. climate science by a committee of national science academies to restore trust. Pachauri told a news conference the IPCC was looking forward to the report and recommendations of the committee at the end of August, and noted he had appeared before it a week ago.     The 2014 report will examine increasing acidity in oceans, how societies adapt to climate change, and the impact of…
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Joseph Stiglitz: Free Markets and the Sinking of the Global Economy

No one can say they weren′t warned. A decade ago, newly sacked from his job as chief economist at the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz laid bare how the global economy ideologues at the US ­Treasury and the International Monetary Fund had botched the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. It was a full-on attack from a Washington insider and it hurt, especially when Stiglitz said many of those responsible for forcing countries such as Thailand and Indonesia into deeper, longer recessions were "third-rate graduates from first-rate universities".   He concluded his essay in the New Republic by warning the IMF and the US Treasury that unless they began a dialogue with their critics "things will continue to go very, very wrong". Now they have. The Asian crisis of 1997-98 was merely the warm-up act for the events of the past two and a half years. Problems that first surfaced on the periphery of the global economy gradually worked their way to its core – the United States. The warnings of Stiglitz and a handful of other ­dissident voices were ignored, as a naïve ­belief in the self-correcting ­nature of markets allowed the conditions to develop for the biggest financial and…
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Muhammad Yunus: urge companies to start social business programs

The pioneer of micro credit, Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, is coming to Australia to urge companies to start social business programs. A rare example of a business champion winning a Nobel prize, he is visiting Sydney and Melbourne on March 8 and 9 to speak to people in the private sector "to see if social business makes sense to them".     Professor Yunus believes such projects might work especially well in indigenous Australia. He has developed this new concept over the past two years -- following the resounding success of his micro-credit scheme, for which he launched the Grameen Bank in his home country of Bangladesh. Through social business, he said, firms apply their technology, management and design skills to solving a poverty or ill-health challenge, and retrieve their outlays -- but at cost, without making a profit. In Bangladesh, French dairy giant Danone has formed a social business firm in partnership with Grameen to manufacture and distribute yoghurt, boosted with extra nutrients, to children suffering from malnutrition. German chemical conglomerate BASF has also joined a social business with Grameen to produce mosquito nets impregnated with defensive chemicals to guard against malaria. Other firms have begun delivering…
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Branson warns that oil crunch is coming within five years after the peak oil

Sir Richard Branson and fellow leading businessmen will warn ministers this week that the world is running out of oil and faces an oil crunch within five years. The founder of the Virgin group, whose rail, airline and travel companies are sensitive to energy prices, will say that the ­coming crisis could be even more serious than the credit crunch       "The next five years will see us face another crunch – the oil crunch. This time, we do have the chance to prepare. The challenge is to use that time well," Branson will say."Our message to government and businesses is clear: act," he says in a foreword to a new report on the crisis. "Don′t let the oil crunch catch us out in the way that the credit crunch did." Other British executives who will support the warning include Ian Marchant, chief executive of Scottish and Southern Energy group, and Brian Souter, chief executive of transport operator Stagecoach. Their call for urgent government action comes amid a wider debate on the issue and follows allegations by insiders at the International Energy Agency that the organisation had deliberately underplayed the threat of so-called "peak oil" to avoid panic…
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John Bruton,Elected to Ingersoll Rand Board a leading diversified industrial firm

The Board of Directors of Ingersoll-Rand plc a leading diversified industrial firm, yesterday elected John Bruton, former European Union Ambassador to the United States, as a member of the Board.     Mr. Bruton served as EU Ambassador to the United States for five years, having been appointed to the post in November 2004 after serving as a Vice President of the European People′s Party. Mr. Bruton also served as the Prime Minister of Ireland from 1994 to 1997, and helped transform Ireland into one of the world′s leading economies. While Prime Minister, Mr. Bruton also presided over an Irish EU Presidency in 1996 and helped finalize the Stability and Growth Pact, which governs the management of the single European currency, the Euro. "Ingersoll Rand, the industrial firm, is privileged to benefit from Mr. Bruton′s long and successful career of public service on behalf of Ireland and Europe," said Herbert L. Henkel, chairman of Ingersoll Rand. "Mr. Bruton has extraordinary insight into critical regional and global economic, social and political issues, and his perspective and guidance will be greatly valued as we continue to execute our company′s strategic plan." Mr. Bruton holds a B.A. in Economics and Politics from University…
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Kevin Bertram: Despite Cost, Political Campaigns Try Mobile

Many political campaigns have begun to incorporate mobile elements such as mobile sites, SMS, and apps. However the channel has not been universally embraced by new media political consultants - and has even raised some hackles among those who see it as a costly distraction from their bread and butter Internet efforts.   "What I′ve found is that a large portion of new media folks view mobile as [something flashy]," said Kevin Bertram, CEO of Distributive Networks, a mobile marketing firm that does work for political campaigns and corporate advertisers. Because SMS text messaging programs, and development of mobile applications and sites "have fairly high upfront costs, new media consultants are definitely choking at the costs associated with them," he said. Compared to setting up a Twitter account or Facebook page, for example, "Setting up a short code, setting up a platform - it′s a much more significant cost and effort and I think there′s resentment because new media was the red headed stepchild for so long and now that it′s finally getting some respect, people don′t want to give up those hard earned dollars." While he recognizes such financial considerations as "very reasonable," Bertram said, "I think that it′s…
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Ankit Fadia,a clean hacker and bred computer security

Appearances are deceptive. Armed with a perennial innocent smile and loaded with technical knowhow on computer security, 25-year-old Ankit Fadia doesn′t give the impression of a geek but an ordinary student who wouldn′t mind sitting in a dhaba across from a girls′ college feigning to be busy with breakfast. But Ankit, a Delhi-born and bred computer security expert, keeps as far away from the topic of girlfriends and marriage as he does from critics who rave on the Internet about how fake he is. He is the one about whom Bill Gates said in a lighter vein, Because of guys like you, Microsoft has problems, when Ankit, then 14, presented him his first book. The news of Chinese′ attempts to hack the computers at the PMO reminds one of this home grown computer security expert, whose services have so far not been sought.   Says Ankit, China is becoming a very powerful nation each passing day. So far, across the world, computer security was controlled by the EU. The attempt by China to hack into the Indian Government′s computer security network is a loud announcement of their arrival to control the network. But at the same time, he says, no…
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Economic models get it wrong: they ignore the animal spirits

In her recent visit to the Royal Society, Queen Elisabeth asked of economists: why werent they able to detect the impending financial debacle and issue a warning? Her question echoes the publics bewilderment. It has become clear that obsessed with modeling and quantitative analysis, some critical link is yet missing from mainstream economics, for whether they were with banks, funds, research institutions or government agencies, few if any models raised red flags until the financial tsunami had hit the shore.George Akerlof and Robert Shiller give this puzzle a shot in their recent book, Animal Spirits (Princeton University Press, 2009).   They challenge one of the most fundamental axioms of economic theory. Akerlof is chair professor of economics at Berkeley and the 2001 Nobel Prize winner in economics; Shiller is chair of economics at Yale and well-known for his work on the Case-Shiller Index of real estate. In the field, an attack launched by them carries more weight than the Queens confusion.     Never rational According to an over-arching assumption in the most dominant economic theories of our times, actors in the market are self-interested and rational. They are assumed to be armed with both the ability to know what…
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Edward de Bono talks about the importance of creative thinking

Dr Edward de Bono took time out during his visit to Malta this week to give a talk on Tuesday to the students and staff of STC Training in Pembroke. The lecture, entitled ‘Creative Thinking in Education’, was timed to mark the closing months of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009, for which Dr de Bono is an official EU ambassador, and to highlight STC’s entry into the teaching of creative thinking   It focused on the need for creative thinking to be included in curricula as a distinct, but parallel subject. The overriding message of his talk was that, since creative thinking could not be thought of as simply an inherent skill or only for those with a talent for it, it could be successfully taught to and used by people of any age, and from all walks of life or cultural background. The Pembroke-based training centre, which currently has some 1,000 students, is known primarily for offering courses from world leaders in the ICT sector, such as Cisco, NCC Education and Microsoft. However, in recent years it has added complementary skills training in areas such as emotional and social intelligence, creative thinking, motivation and assertiveness, confidence…
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Julie Meyer, entrepreneurs call for reduced government

Whitehall is overly bureaucratic and lacks the initiatives to help wealth-creators grow the economy, according to UK entrepreneurs.   When asked how they would improve the current business environment, the most popular response from the UK’s business owners was to reduce the size of government. The research, conducted by business community Entrepreneur Country, revealed that 80% of entrepreneurs believe their confidence would also be lifted with a Tory government. Some 70% of respondents called for single central place where all business grants could be applied for. While another popular proposal was scrapping NI contributions for start-ups during their first two years of trading. Julie Meyer, chief executive of Ariadne Capital and dragon on the BBC Dragons’ Den Online show, said: “The 2010 elections are crucial for our future economy. We need to see more recognition of, and help for, the UK’s entrepreneurs. “Statistical evidence suggests that a vital 6% of high-growth businesses create a full 54% of all new jobs, so it’s absolutely crucial that entrepreneurs are given as much help as possible. We can’t afford to leave them hamstrung by bureaucracy when they’re trying to build global leading firms”.     Julie Meyer: is one of the leading champions for…