Daily Archives: Nov 6, 2012

Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, was often cast as a champion of the environment. So much, that last month Bolivia passed the world’s first ruling that grants rights to nature.

The law, which the former llama herder and coca grower called a means “to live in equilibrium and harmony with Mother Earth,” gives spiritual value to the land – way beyond its intrinsic environmental, social, and not to mention, economic significance. Read more

We all like a little praise now and then. Uruguay must be beaming.

The International Monetary Fund wrapped up its annual Article IV review of the country’s accounts last week with lavish praiseRead more

Stock pickers might want to make sure that they are following the Twitter feed of Radoslaw Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister.

Those who do would have received a tweet late on Monday afternoon to the effect: “My intuition tells me that [treasury minister Mikolaj] Budzanowski will soon have important information re the price of gas in Poland.” Those in the know tied that comment to the ongoing talks that Poland was conducting with Russia’s Gazprom about lowering the price that Poland pays in its long-term contract. Read more

South Africa once attracted economic migrants from across the continent. The tables are now turning. Growth in South Africa is 2.5 per cent, half that in sub-Saharan Africa and South African companies are now crossing borders to cash in on this growth, according to a Special Report from the FTRead more

Mikhail Fridman, chief executive TNK-BPThe influence of Russia in Belarus’ banking sector is easily spotted. All of Russia’s major banks have subsidiaries in the country and provide them with support.

Russian finance could be set to increase further: Alfa Bank, controlled by billionaire Mikhail Fridman (pictured), is discussing the possible acquisition of another Belarusian lender. But the target, although rumoured, is still unconfirmed. Read more

In a back room at the Ljubljana Tourism office an American traveller is struggling with beginners’ Slovene.

The problem is not caused by the staff’s poor grasp of English (they are all fluent) – but because each Wednesday in summer the office hosts a free, 90-minute Slovene language lesson.

Žepni Tečaj Slovenskega Jezika – a Pocket Course in Slovene – may not get the visitor much beyond a shaky “Two beers, please”, but it shows how hard the city is trying to add new dimensions to a tourist’s stay in the picturesque capital. Read more

South Africa’s currency has a new look from Tuesday, with banknotes featuring former president Nelson Mandela going into circulation. Read more

By Murat Toprak of HSBC

The Turkish lira has risen strongly since Fitch, the credit rating agency, on Monday upgraded the country’s debt to investment grade.

We think this may well alarm the country’s central bank, which has made it clear recently that it does not wish to see a significant strengthening of the currency. If the trend continues, the result could well be an interest rate cut and/or the restarting of dollar buying auctions. Read more

Too bad Barack Obama isn’t running for office in Brazil – the real Barack Obama, that is. The US president is so popular there that more than a dozen candidates at last month’s municipal elections adopted his surname to try and differentiate themselves from the rest of the field. One candidate, according to CNN, even called himself “Barata Obama”, which literally translates as “Cockroach Obama”. Read more

One of the candidates has called Russia the US’s “number one geopolitical foe”. The other has pushed for a “reset” and promised “more flexibility” on missile defence if he is granted a second term.

Yet when it comes down to it, a Romney presidency and an Obama presidency may not look radically different – at least where Russia is concerned. Read more

On Wednesday Indians will wake up to see the results of the US presidential election rolling in – polls close in Ohio at 6am in India, so breakfast here may well see the anointing of the next president. But most Indians won’t even notice – and even for those who do, few believe who wins will have any effect on their lives. Read more

As America votes, Chinese official media and the country’s netizens have offered a wide range of views on events across the Pacific, but one aspect keeps cropping up – the money. Read more

Is Vladimir Putin finally getting serious about corruption? The president on Tuesday dismissed defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov following an investigation into an alleged $95m fraud at his ministry.

The televised announcement was clearly designed to send a strong message about Putin’s intentions. Even if he limits his attentions to the defence ministry – as opposed to launching a wider clean-up campaign – it would be a huge undertaking. The military-industrial complex is among the least transparent and most inefficient sectors of the Russian economy. But Putin’s real intentions aren’t clear. Read more

* Putin dismisses Russian defence minister after scandal

* China takes solar power dispute to WTO

* Petrobras faces R$4.78bn tax claim Read more

Myanmar may finally have completed its shiny new foreign investment law, after much delay. But sceptics still question whether the much-vaunted rush of foreign investment will follow.

Despite pronouncements by companies such as Coca-Cola, Nestle and GE about entering Myanmar, most deals are limited to product supply and distribution. The big western names are yet to commit serious money, let alone build factories. But at least the professional services firms are setting up shop – the latest being PwC, which this week announced the opening of a Myanmar office. Read more