Borderlands: Hungary Maneuvers

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanI am writing this from Budapest, the city in which I was born. I went to the United States so young that all my memories of Hungary were acquired later in life or through my family, whose memories bridged both world wars and the Cold War, all with their attendant horrors. My own deepest memory of Hungary comes from my parents’ living room in the Bronx. My older sister was married in November 1956. There was an uprising against the Soviets at the same time, and many of our family members were still there. After the wedding, we returned home and saw the early newspapers and reports on television. My parents discovered that some of the heaviest fighting between the revolutionaries and Soviets had taken place on the street where my aunts lived. A joyous marriage, followed by another catastrophe — the contrast between America and Hungary. That night, my father asked no one in particular, “Does it ever end?” The answer is no, not here. Which is why I am back in Budapest. Continue reading “Borderlands: Hungary Maneuvers”

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Van Oord to build largest Dutch offshore wind project

logo-vanoordThe Gemini offshore wind project shareholders, headed by Canada’s Northland Power Inc., announced that they have reached agreement with the banks on the project’s financing. The financial close will contribute EUR 2.3 billion to the overall construction costs of EUR 2.8 billion. Van Oord has a 10% equity stake in this project. The other shareholders are Northland Power Inc. (60%), Siemens Project Ventures (20%) and HVC (10%). The shareholders will contribute equity amounting to a total of EUR 400 million. Gemini will be one of the largest offshore wind projects in the world. Continue reading “Van Oord to build largest Dutch offshore wind project”

Borderlands: The View from Azerbaijan

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanI arrive in Azerbaijan as the country celebrates Victory Day, the day successor states of the former Soviet Union celebrate the defeat of Germany in World War II. No one knows how many Soviet citizens died in that war — perhaps 22 million. The number is staggering and represents both the incompetence and magnificence of Russia, which led the Soviets in war. Any understanding of Russia that speaks of one without the other is flawed. Continue reading “Borderlands: The View from Azerbaijan”

The Middle Class Squeeze: Can The Populist Elizabeth Warren Champion The Little Guy With Big Government?

uscapitolWho will prove the champion of the little guy and gal?  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — on deck for her party’s presidential nomination should Hillary Rodham Clinton bow out — has become the political leader of choice for those who advocate Big Government as that champion. This columnist is skeptical about Big Government improving the lives of the citizens.  Yet … there is a case to be made for Warren.  She is, at very least, a magnificently worthy adversary for advocates of limited government and deserves to be taken seriously. Continue reading “The Middle Class Squeeze: Can The Populist Elizabeth Warren Champion The Little Guy With Big Government?”

Boskalis studies ultra large Dockwise vessel

logoboskalisRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) announced at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston (USA) that it has started a study into a new ultra large V-class Heavy Marine Transport Vessel (HTV). The Dockwise Vanguard which came into service early 2013 is already the world’s largest V-class HTV with a carrying capacity of 117,000 MT and a deck space of 270 meters by 70 meters. Continue reading “Boskalis studies ultra large Dockwise vessel”

Borderlands: The New Strategic Landscape

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanI will be leaving this week to visit a string of countries that are now on the front line between Russia and the European Peninsula: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Azerbaijan. A tour like that allows you to look at the details of history. But it is impossible to understand those details out of context. The more I think about recent events, the more I realize that what has happened in Ukraine can only be understood by considering European geopolitics since 1914 — a hundred years ago and the beginning of World War I. Continue reading “Borderlands: The New Strategic Landscape”

Is James Rickards Right About A Coming Monetary Apocalypse?

By Ralph Benko

gold-standard-liberty-coinIs a monetary apocalypse imminent? James Rickards, bestselling author of Currency Wars, has a new New York Times bestseller out, about the possible imminent collapse of the dollar: The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System  (Portfolio/Penguin). More interestingly, he writes about what could come next: a golden age. Advance praise (“A terrifically interesting and useful book….”) from Brookings senior fellow Kenneth W. Dam, former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and author of The Rules of the Game: Reform and Evolution in the International Monetary System, is an attention getter. Rickard’s Currency Wars was a hot best seller on the New York Times list, and also, more significantly, in the United States Senate. Continue reading “Is James Rickards Right About A Coming Monetary Apocalypse?”

ECLAC adjusts LatAm growth rates

latamLatin American and Caribbean countries will grow an average of 2.7% in 2014 due to limited dynamism of the region’s principal economies, according to new projections from ECLAC. The regional United Nations organization last week released its UpdatedEconomic Overview of Latin America and the Caribbean 2013, which reviews information on the key economic variables of 2013 and presents new growth estimates for the region. Continue reading “ECLAC adjusts LatAm growth rates”

Royal HaskoningDHV to work on Australian port expansion

logo-rhdhv-largeRoyal HaskoningDHV has been appointed as consultants for hydrodynamics and dredge material management for the Port of Hastings container terminal expansion in Victoria, Australia.74 million) package announced in April 2013; allocated over four years from July 2013. The Port of Hastings lies 72 km to the south east of Melbourne Australia, expansion of the container terminal is funded by a AU$100 million (€74 million) package announced in April 2013; allocated over four years from July 2013. Continue reading “Royal HaskoningDHV to work on Australian port expansion”

Top earners capturing growing share of total income in many countries, says OECD

logooecd_enThe share of the richest 1% in total pre-tax income have increased in most OECD countries over the past three decades. This rise is the result of the top 1% capturing a disproportionate share of overall income growth over that timeframe: up to 37% in Canada and 47% in the United States, according to new OECD analysis. Even in countries which have a history of a more equal income distribution, such as Finland, Norway and Sweden, the share of the top 1% increased by 70%, reaching around 7-8%. By contrast, top earners saw their share grow much less in some of the continental European countries, including France, the Netherlands and Spain. Continue reading “Top earners capturing growing share of total income in many countries, says OECD”

Rotterdam to develop Brazilian greenfield port

portocentralOn 29 April the Port of Rotterdam Authority and TPK (Terminal Presidente Kennedy) Logistica signed a joint venture agreement in Vitória, Brazil for the development of Porto Central, a new port in Brazil. TPK Logistica is owned by a group of Brazilian companies with a great deal of experience in the mining, construction and offshore sectors. Continue reading “Rotterdam to develop Brazilian greenfield port”