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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Facebook Shares Open on the Nasdaq

Shares in Mark Zuckerburgs dorm room project have opened on the Nasdaq index of shares and the stock currently stands more valuable than some consumer juggernauts like Mc Donalds and Amazon who also trade on the same stock exchange. 

The boss himself was given the honour  of ringing the opening bell remotely from the websites headquarters in California the trading floor being located in New York city. The roaring first day trade of the stock was welcome news for the stock brokers as the Nasdaq was on course for its worst week of 2012 thus far.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Obama 2012 and the Gay Rights Movement: Opinion

Obama annouces his decision on ABC News
I have numerous discussions with people in recent days about the impact or lack there of of President Obama's recent declaration of support for full same sex marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples in America. While listening to major American news outlets people were hailing it a brave decision, his support was never doubted but to fully come out in favour of the proposition will undoubtedly lose some of his support in key swing states not least of all North Carolina, a state which repealed all legal rights between same sex couples to marry or engage in any civil partnerships on the 8th of this month.

However, many of my friends have chosen to take this decision cynically, saying it was needed to shore up the gay vote and that it will result in an influx of money into the campaign from gay rights backers. Let me address why I think both of these points are flawed.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Growing Fears for Greek Exit of the Euro

The office of Greek President Karolos Papoulias has announced that his country will be forced to hold a second general election after the parties failed to agree on a plan to enter a coalition. Talks are currently being held in Athens to form an interim caretaker Government until the next vote likely to be held in the middle of next month.

Fears are growing across the Euro zone that the Greeks will be forced out of the euro following the increasing lack of stability in their political class. There is also an expectation that it will be the extreme-left parties that will benefit most from the forthcoming elections following 5 years of harsh austerity and rising unemployment. . These parties have to various degrees been threatening to undermine the austerity model imposed by the EU and IMF under the terms of the country's bail outs. The election of such leaders and subsequent disputes with the EU could likely precipitate a withdrawal of Greece from the Euro.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

American Politics and the Word Rhetoric Part 2

Presumptive  Republican nominee- Mitt Romney 
Since I last approached this topic a couple of weeks ago here: American Politics and the Word Rhetoric (Part 1) a number of major events have been happening in the murky world of American politics. Firstly, the Republicans now have a presumptive nominee (Ron Paul remains in the race) in Mitt Romney who will most likely take on a newly pro-marriage Barrack Obama in November (read a more specific post about this soon). 

As detailed in the last post I believe in the separation clearly of news and opinion on television and thus the obvious bias of Fox News and MSNBC in my opinion has no place in the national media of any country. These two bodies representing Conservative and Progressive opinion respectively are damaging to the national discussion and thus the productiveness of the entire political establishment.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

American Politics and the Word Rhetoric

The word rhetoric is one which I had never encountered in my life up until I first began to take a deep interest in American politics just over four years ago yet one cannot have a serious discussion about the role of the media in American politics without using it. At the time of writing this, Tuesday March 6th2012, the possible Republican presidential candidates are preparing for the most hyped night of their race for the nomination so far. From where I am in France watching the major news outlets in America covering the race is has it has always been fascinating.

While I have already covered this topic in an earlier post I feel like the time is right to re-visit this issue given the historically low approval ratings of the American people in their congress and the hype surrounding the Republican race at least in the news media, if not in the general public.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kony 2012 and Social Media

My post today is not essentially going to cover anything particularly newsworthy but was instead inspired by the actions of my friends. They did nothing particularly outstanding or noteworthy today that I am aware of but they managed to aid  the film Kony 2012 created by the Invisible Children Group on its way to its current total of over 4,200,00 views in just two days.

The film deals with the crimes of Joseph Kony who has ordered the abduction of thousands of Ugandan children as head of the Ugandan guerrilla group the Lord's Resistance Army (or L.R.A. ) and forced many of the girls into sexual slavery and boys into working as combatants for his ends. He as indicted by the ICC in 2005.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Weekend Randomness: The Domino Mattress World Record

Usain Bolt is crazy jelly!
Since the dawn of time people have worshipped at the altar of their favourite sports stars, from the great legends of folklore to modern sporting icons such as Christiano Rinaldo or Usain Bolt. Every one probably has one moment in their lives where sport played a major roll, where you watched mouth open as the worlds most impressive athletes shaved a few precious seconds off of that world record, claiming a gold medal and glory for the nation. 

The people who I am writing about today are not those kind of people yet they did manage to smash a world record this past weekend in New Orleans. 850 Americans broke the world record (as approved by an on site adjudicator from the Guiness World Records Group) for the longest chain of mattress dominoes. The preious worldrecord was 550 which had been achieved by a group in Belgium last year. The donated mattresses will now be given to various charaties.  A video of the group can be viewed here . 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Disaster in Congo

Brazzaville- Republic of Congo
As chronicled last year in my article Hell in Congo few places on earth compare to the Democratic Republic of Congo in terms of its atrocious poverty and standards of living. The nation still feels the effects of a War which is said to have ended in 2003 which claimed the lives of more the 4.5million people, the largest death toll in a single war since World War 2.

However, today's post concerns the neighbour of the DRC the Republic of Congo. While the DRC or Democratic Republic of Congo was once a Belgian colony, the Republic of Congoonce belonged to the French and achieved its independence in 1960.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Russia Goes to the Polls

Mr Putin -Not to be Messed With 
Today the worlds largest nation elects its President. The hot favourite is the omnipresident Vladmir Putin who polls suggest is likely to romphome with over 65% in a 5 man race. The country is spread across 11 time zones and there are 110 million people eligible to vote. Mr Putin had been President from 2000-2008 however, constitutional rules meant he could not run for three consecutive terms.

In previous years Russian elections have been dogged by claims of corruption and it appears this year shall be no exception. By midday in Moscow there had already been 1,000 independent claims of corruption, including such claims as bussing groups of supporters to different polling stations so that they may vote a number of times.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hopes for Democracy in China

Wukan, China- 12,000 citizens are expected to vote
The small agricultural village of Wukan, Guangdong is the scene of something seldom witnessed in China today democratic elections. Elections have been held for decades all over China at local levels but they have seldomly been as hotly contested as those taking place today. This is due to recent rare reforms by the ruling authoriatrian Communist Party who have allotted greater powers to the local village leadership councils in the face of growing civil unrest.

Many village residents are furious due to to perceived illegal seizures of agricultural land and Premier Wen Jiabao has told his people that they will vow to give local residents greater protection against rural land seizures, pointing to its failings in this regard in the past.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nuclear Freeze in North Korea?

Earlier this year one of the world's most despised dictators Kim Jong Il passed away leaving his son Kim Jong Un to take his place. Little is known of the country's new leader, he is thought to be in his late 20s and is the youngest son of the late Supreme Leader, who himself inherited the title from his own father in 1994.  The edited footage of the funeral ceremony viewed in the West was a rare glimpse into the seldom seen North Korean society, even if it was a highly staged and orchestrated one.

However, as the memory of the former Supreme Leader faded the world wondered how the young incumbent would deal with power and more importantly the perceived nuclear ambitions of his country. Having been inundated with fresh sanctions following nuclear tests in 2009 the country revealed its ambitions to enrich uranium to a visiting delegation of Americans in 2010.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Republican Presidential Problem

Mitt Romney 
While I am not American I tend to follow political events in the worlds most powerful nation with interest as a citizen of an increasingly globalized world. As always I try to keep Junction News a non bias outlet but it appears to me and indeed even several conservative pundits such as Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh (as summarised by  Ann Coulter that the Republican party's most likely candidate (in my opinion) Mitt Romney has serious issues to overcome if he is to become the next president of the united states.

Few can remember a contest as fluid as the current war between the 4 remaining potential Republican nominees. While Romney has always been touted by many as the eventual nominee the popularity of the other nominees is constantly changing.  Michelle Bachmann, an early favourite among the ultra conservative tea party movement bowed out after a crushing defeat in the first in the nation caucuses in Iowa.  Hermain Cain also found himself riding high in the polls but was forced to end his run without having ever faced the public, following a number of claims he had  been unfaithful to his wife.