Opium poppy cultivation in Myanmar and Lao PDR rose to 63,800 hectares (ha) in 2014 compared to 61,200 ha in 2013, increasing for the eighth consecutive year and nearly tripling the amount harvested in 2006, according to a report published on December 8 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The paper, titled Southeast Asia Opium Survey 2014 - Lao PDR, Myanmar, states that Myanmar remains Southeast Asia's top opium producer - and the world's second largest after Afghanistan. Together, Myanmar and Lao PDR produced an estimated 762 metric tons of opium, most of which - using smuggled precursor chemicals like acetyl anhydride - was refined into an estimated 76 tons of heroin and then trafficked to markets in neighboring countries and outside the region. Jeremy Douglas, the UNODC regional representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, says in a DW interview that not only is the heroin from the "Golden Triangle" - the area adjoining Myanmar, Laos and Thailand - … [Read more...] about Opium production soars in Southeast Asia
Why product fail in market
There were plenty of pamphlets touting environmental concerns and banners proclaiming green credentials at the Frankfurt Auto Show which ended last month. But German carmaker Volkswagen said Tuesday, Oct. 9, it intended to put its money where its mouth is regarding promises to cut carbon dioxide emissions by meeting consumer demand for cars with better gas mileage. "The environment is a topic of discussion in our society and we do not think it is going to come in like a wave then roll back away, as it has in the past," VW spokesman Andreas Meurer said. Still, no one at VW expects the company's single-cylinder car in development, which would require one liter of gas to travel 100 kilometers -- the equivalent of 238 miles per US gallon -- to be a record breaker in sales terms, CEO Martin Winterkorn. The car, whose body will be made primarily of plastic and magnesium, will only reach a maximum speed of 120 kilometer per hour (75 mph). "People taking this car on the autobahn should … [Read more...] about VW’s Planned High-Mileage Car Likely a Niche Product
A "job miracle" seems to have taken place in Britain during the past 10 to 15 years. While the unemployment rate was still more than 10 percent in 1993, that number sank to 4.7 percent by 2004. The United Kingdom managed to cut unemployment in half, in other words. Things look quite different in Germany: While the Federal Labor Office announced Thursday that unemployment had dropped slightly in March, 5.176 million people still remain without work, resulting in an unemployment rate of 12.5 percent. Why has Britain succeeded where Germany has failed? Fewer regulations, more support "If we knew that, we'd just have to copy them," said Holger Schäfer, a job market researcher for the Institute of German Industry in Cologne. "But basically, there are fewer regulations in Britain than in Germany." He added that the British government has merged unemployment and social welfare payments and reduced unemployment money -- a step recently taken by the German government with the … [Read more...] about Europe’s Job Market Lessons for Germany
"Banco Esprito Santo - bankruptcy rumors in Portugal"; "New banking scandal in Bulgaria". These two headlines from the past few weeks have reopened the question of whether Europe's banking system is safe. Wherever a bank gets into trouble in Europe, fears of a renewed financial crisis reawaken. After depositors lost confidence in Bulgaria's Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank) in June on the heels of rumors of financial irregularities, the government first announced it would close the bank. Then it reversed course, and decided to save Corpbank. It went to the financial markets to borrow the money needed to fix the bank's balance sheet - about 1.4 billion euros. "You cannot rule out more such cases - on the contrary," says Andreas Dombret, a member of the executive board of Germany's national central bank, the Bundesbank, one of the European Central Bank's eighteen member institutions. If a country like Bulgaria, the poorest in the European Union, takes on new debts of this magnitude, … [Read more...] about Could another banking crisis happen in Europe?
Kgalema Motlanthe was sworn in as the new president of South Africa on Friday, Sept 26. The former trade union leader and deputy leader of the ANC (African National Congress) is widely seen as a caretaker president until next year's elections, when African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma is expected to take the helm. The charismatic Zuma is a deeply controversial and polarizing figure in South Africa. While the country's poor celebrate Zuma as a savior, the South African business community as well as foreign investors fear a tilt toward the left and away from pro-business policies. Germany, which is South Africa's biggest trading partner on the African continent, is closely following political developments since the recent exit of President Thabo Mbeki, who presided over South Africa's longest period of economic growth before the ruling African National Congress forced him to resign. In 2006, trade between the two countries amounted to 11.5 billion euros ($16.8 billion). … [Read more...] about German Investors Fret About Business Interests in South Africa