Continual campaigning. Working for the dole one day. Union bashing the next. The federal coalition government clearly is in election mode.
There’s Kevin Rudd’s old seat to be determined on February 8 with a really important poll to come if the High Court makes the expected decision on the stuffed up Western Australian Senate count. That’s reason enough, I suppose, for Tony Abbott to still be acting as he did in opposition but there’s probably a little longer term insurance being taken out as well. Much as the Prime Minister would like to avoid another full scale election later this year, he must be aware that one might be necessary if he is going to lead other than a do-nothing government. Clive Palmer is giving every indication that his PUP Senate team will be an extreme irritant after 1 July and Mr Clive is smart enough to realise that his chances of retaining a position of influence are increased if the next lot of Senators are elected with half the quota of his current lot.
Climate change – it’s the real thing. Increased droughts, more unpredictable variability, 100-year floods every two years. That’s the kind of analysis you could expect from some kind of rampant greenie. But a vice president of the Coca Cola corporation? Yes indeed. Jeffrey Seabright, Coke’s vice president for environment and water resources, was listing the problems that he said were also disrupting the company’s supply of sugar cane and sugar beets, as well as citrus for its fruit juices. “When we look at our most essential ingredients, we see those events as threats.”
Coca-Cola has always been more focused on its economic bottom line than on global warming, but when the company lost a lucrative operating license in India because of a serious water shortage there in 2004, things began to change.
Today, after a decade of increasing damage to Coke’s balance sheet as global droughts dried up the water needed to produce its soda, the company has embraced the idea of climate change as an economically disruptive force.
A real job for Anwar Ibrahim? The electoral system and some legal shenanigans might have stymied his chances of getting Malaysia’s top political job but Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is in line for a consolation prize. From this morning’s Malaysian Star:
Note: You will find the front page of this paper, along with others from around Asia, on the website HERE.
Some other news and views noted along the way.
Stephen FitzGerald: Abbott’s relations with China. – “With China, as with Indonesia, disagreements and policy differences can be managed, but it’s the way we’ve gone about it, and the language, and the idea from colonial times that if you speak English to these people loudly and clearly enough they will understand and do what they’re told. And for Beijing, there’s the unmistakable message that on matters it regards as vitally affecting its sovereignty, we stand with a particular US view that doesn’t want to accommodate Chinese power.” – John Menadue’s blog.
Fethullah Gulen: Powerful but reclusive Turkish cleric – “Fethullah Gulen has been called Turkey’s second most powerful man. He is also a recluse, who lives in self-imposed exile in the US. An apparent power struggle between his followers and those around the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has reached a new pitch of intensity and loathing.
“I think we’re eventually going to have to figure out what if anything to do about exploding high-end incomes without clear guidance from the economists. This is a discussion where political and moral considerations may end up predominating. And as Harvard’s Greg Mankiw made clear in his maddeningly inconclusive Journal of Economic Perspectives essay on inequality last summer, these are areas in which economists possess no comparative advantage.”
Hague border verdict set to strengthen Chile, Peru ties – “The Hague-based International Court of Justice awarded more than half of a disputed 38,000-square-kilometer patch of ocean to Peru, but Chile retained the bulk of the valuable coastal fishing grounds within that area. Both countries have pledged to abide by the ruling, which should in the long term improve ties between the two fast-growing economies, whose bilateral trade totaled $3 billion last year and is rising fast. Settling a dispute that had its roots in the 1880s’ War of the Pacific, presiding judge Peter Tomka said the court would leave it to the two countries to mark their maritime borders precisely.”