Will Quatar Lose the World Cup

It was one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history when the fantastically wealthy Qatar managed to persuade the money grabbing, corrupt FIFA administration that it would be a great place to hold the 2022 World Cup. The small matter of nobody ever watching football in Qatar or it being far too hot to actually play the game properly where of course minor concerns. The practicalities of not being able to play and the local population having little interest where countered by some judicious vote buying.

Anyone and everyone, outside perhaps the upper echelons of FIFA saw the result in it’s true light. A very sad insight into how far the authorities who control the ‘peoples game’ had fallen. It was confirmation for many of us of the rumours of bribery, corruption and fraud which existed in the corridors of FIFA. Most of it was confirmed in full in a report released after pressure from the German Newspaper Bild, who threatened to publish excerpts.

The corruption was on a huge scale, stories like a secret payment of over 2 million dollars made to the ten year old daughter of Brazilian FIFA member Ricardo Teixeira. Other details reported about three senior FIFA figures being shuttled around to meetings in luxury Qatari jet. There’s little doubt that Qatar bought the world’s biggest sporting tournament, yet should it be allowed to keep it in a post-corrupt FIFA world?

Things haven’t really got any better, as far as Qatar hosting the tournament has gone. there’s lots of political instability in the region and many reports of human rights issues in the stadium building. Many people have been killed on the constructions sites and there’s lots of rumours about modern day slavery there. Human rights groups have been repeatedly calling for the tournament to be removed from the country in response to these violations.

The World Cup has a magic which few other sporting tournaments can match. They have the ability to bring huge economic and social benefits to an area, plus the obvious sporting incentives of hosting the tournament. There are football fans across the globe who dream of swapping the evening of watching Match of the Day live from the computer to travelling to somewhere to cheer on their national team. There can be no magic hosting it in Qatar, it’s a stupid place to play football in the Summer and it’s likely only there from bribes and corruption.

Fortunately it seems that the groundswell of opinion of switching the tournament is beginning to take effect. Many reports are now being produced suggesting that it could be moved to somewhere with the existing infrastructure to hold it relatively easily. Places like North america and the United Kingdom have enough stadiums to host the tournament at short notice. Indeed there are many European nations who could either host or share the hosting quite easily.

The latest suggestions have come from a Saudi sports chief who presumably has some connections. It would go a long way to making the public believe that FIFA has really turned over a new leaf.

John Crosswell

Website and Blogger

Confusion in Northern Ireland Politics

It’s sometimes difficult to see political solutions to anything in Northern Ireland particularly at the moment. Many are now talking about the return to direct rule simply because currently there’s no one actually running the province. Of course, this is more of a problem for Sinn Fein than it is for the DUP who in some senses welcome direct rule. The two main parties are so opposed to each other it sometimes seems impossible for there to be any sort of coalition government running Northern Ireland.

Green Party leader Steven Agnew expressed his deep frustration. Again, despite attempts at optics to the opposite, we see the out workings of a talks process which was limited to two parties that have proved time and time again that they can’t deliver, he said. With healthcare, education and everything in Northern Ireland descending into utter chaos, both of these parties have yet again demonstrated weak leadership and inability and unwillingness to take that crucial step forward into the unknown to deliver a peaceful settlement and a functioning Executive. We’ve warned that it’s craziness to carry on doing the same thing again and again and also to expect a different result.

I’m deeply disappointed to have been proven right by the most recent turn of events. I hope that at this point the State Secretary will learn from what’s happened and will now turn into more imaginative solutions which might help to bridge the seemingly impossible chasm between the DUP and Sinn Fein. We trust that the State Secretary will now widen her gaze beyond both of these failed negotiators and will meet to discuss our proposals for a Citizen’s Assembly that could play a vital role in leading Northern Ireland out from the current political impasse. Time to move on’.

These events have been covered extensively in the Irish media and to some extent in the British media. there’s loads of news and information on the Northern Ireland situation on the BBC websites, which you can access ok from the North and the iPlayer is also accessible from the rest of Ireland using this VPN service.

TUV leader Jim Allister said it was time to move on and implement a direct rule. He said: I welcome the fact the DUP has faced some measure of reality. With Sinn Fein never in Stormont to make Northern Ireland work this was a late conclusion to the current unnecessary talks. Nevertheless, they must go further and accept that things can only move forward by fully accepting the demonstrated reality that obligatory coalition may and will never work. This system of devolution is doomed to constant deadlock and failure. Only a coalition of willing has any chance of success. If such isn’t achievable then we need government from the only other place it could come from, Westminster.

British TV is perhaps not the most useful source of information simply because the Northern Ireland situation is often so complex and nuanced however for up to date facts it’s difficult to beat. For those of us interested in Irish politics perhaps the best option from outside Ireland is to invest in an Irish VPN and get access to RTE the Irish broadcaster. However there’s lots of up to date information on UK Television – http://uktvabroad.org/ and there are also the regional programmes broadcast from the BBC.

We need a civil rights movement’. People Before Profit’s MLA Gerry Carroll said there needed to be a brand new civil rights movement. Arlene Foster and the DUP have made plain their unwillingness to enact basic rights for individuals. The talks process failed since the DUP continues to hold the rights of people to ransom. Shame on them.”. The DUP can block the talks, but they can’t stop the growing desire for change among the majority of individuals here.”. 50 years ago a mass movement of individuals power has been put on the street to demand fundamental rights in this state. Now’s the time to rediscover that spirit, and build a brand new civil rights movement. One that may reach across the divide and fight for fundamental rights for the LGBT community, for females and for Irish speakers.

More Bitcoin Madness

This website actually gets lots of hits from bemused digital investors seeking advice. Much of it stems from a single post I made a few weeks ago relating to Bitcoin – well here it is. Not exactly useful, or indeed incisive, but Google and other search engines have sent thousands of bewildered investors to my post.

Well firstly I should apologize because that post had very little useful information about Bitcoin simply because I know little about it. However I could actually class myself as a successful investor but more by luck than design. Here’s a little rundown of my experience which might perhaps help some people.

I’ve looked at Bitcoin for years without doing much about it (unfortunately) – but I have stumbled into digital currency. About a year ago I was paid for services rendered (oooh err) in a single bitcoin.  It was actually for promoting a residential VPN service so only slightly shady.

I moaned and complained at the time, and wanted the $500 in cash but didn’t get anywhere. About a year later, I looked at my neglected bitcoin payment and realised it was now worth close to $12000 so preceded to turn it into real money. Imagine picking a share or investment that turned 500 bucks into 12000 in a year with little effort and you can begin to understand the excitement of Bitcoin.

Well firstly I figured out how to cash out, it wasn’t hard. I had my Bitcoin Core wallet – which was free and I installed to accept my payment in the first place. Next step was to find someone who would cash out my coins for me, again I was directed to a company. Their name was Kraken and although they have frequent server problems simply because they appear to be overloaded – it’s a bitcoin exchange and you can find it here https://www.kraken.com/. They seem honest, professional and don’t charge extortionate fees so are worth checking out. Well they worked for me and that’s all I can say.

So I transferred my coin, went through the security checks which took a couple of days and I was ready to go. I placed some sell orders selecting the best price option (the default one) and cashed out my Bitcoin at a huge profit. Then I initiated a balance transfer to my bank account, which I worried about a lot but that actually was fine. It took about 48 hours at which point the money appeared in my bank account – that’s me a digital currency trader and a successful one too!

I should also add, although I wanted my Bitcoin cash in my bank account I was a bit worried about missing out on the potential cash fest so made another move.  With no research I checked out the next rival to Bitcoin which turned out to be Ethereum available at a much more reasonable $400 so I bought one – just to stay in the game.

Just checked and that one coin is now worth nearly $1200 a month later, I can’t imagine how much money the big players are making !!!  Mind you will probably all turn into Tulip dust any day soon at least that’s what I’m told.  Yet I have started watching the news, reading crap digital currency sites and wasting my money on expat TV for news on how the markets going.

Digital Problems and Netflix Frustration

The internet has transformed our world in so many ways especially as a source of entertainment.   For anyone who has to travel with their work, it’s difficult to overestimate the change.  For me I can still remember checking into hotels and desperately trying to find something watchable on the TV that I could understand (i.e in English).  It usually ended up with some lame pay per view movies or a US based news channel available on an obscure satellite station.

Not so anymore, the internet has changed all that and the availability of powerful media devices like tablets and laptops provided the ultimate mobile entertainment center.   Of course, I am grateful and I’m certain travelers everywhere share that sentiment.  However it’s not perfect and that’s because of some stupid outdated copyright models which frankly have no place in the 21st century.

Now take my situation, I love Netflix and over the last 18 months it’s got even better.  Netflix used to only be accessible in the countries it was licensed in.  Forget the global, digital world there were loads of places where Netflix simply didn’t work.  Fortunately it expanded and made their service available in 140+ countries so now wherever you are, it’s pretty likely that your service will work.

However it’s not quite  that simple, because the Netflix account you use will actually change greatly depending on where you are.  This can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you’re travelling to countries where you don’t speak the language.   For example in my latest trip I started in Slovakia, and bored one evening got into a science fiction show called The 100 available on Netflix.  This was great and I started to really enjoy it, and so when I traveled to the UK the week after I thought I had my evening’s entertainment covered but no.  You see Netflix licenses it’s content on a country by country basis and in the UK it lost the rights to broadcast this show to SKY.

It basically changes drastically from country to country what you can access, the only guarantees are the Netflix produced stuff which seems to be available across all accounts.  However some of the regional versions are quite small certainly in comparison to the US version of the site.  It’s not easy to switch either, this article – How to Watch UK Netflix Abroad is  some help.  However you need to use a VPN to hide your IP address and many of those are blocked anyway so will often not work.

It’s a ridiculous situation and one that will hopefully one day will be remedied.  After all a digital product shouldn’t really change depending on your location – after all I would never have subscribed to the Japanese version of Netflix but when I’m there that’s what I get when I log into my account.  Just like a Japanese subscriber would get redirected to a Dutch version when logging into their account in the Netherlands.

Further Reading:

Accessing BBC iPlayer in Ireland – http://www.iplayerabroad.com/bbc-iplayer-ireland/

 

The Legal Risk to Using Torrents

The world of peer to peer downloads is flourishing.  The technology has been around for years and although initially used to generally download copies of pirated software it is now used in the mainstream to distribute patches, software updates and all sorts of digital data.

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It is however still primarily used in the shady corners of the internet, simply because no one is specifically responsible for hosting the copyrighted material.  It’s why the huge torrent sites like the Pirate’s Bay have been able to defend themselves in court, they may enable the ability to download pirated copies of the latest movies but at no point do they host the offending files.  It takes advantage of the global confusion of internet law to provide a service which technically rarely directly breaches any laws.

There is a problem though for the users who download this content, because although the files are shared anonymously by thousands of users across the internet – it is individuals who actually download these files.   This is becoming the focus of copyright holders who are increasingly targeting the individuals who downloading the files, rather than the torrent sites which enable these downloads.

The reason is that using a BitTorrent client affords the user very little privacy, the reality is that it’s very easy to see the exact identity of who is downloading these illegal copies.  So the copyright holders can quickly obtain a huge list of people who have downloaded illegal copies of their content – which is a potential goldmine.  The reality is that all these people saving a few dollars from downloading rather than buying the latest DVD are risking a much larger fine issued directly or via a DCMA notice.   These torrents offer no privacy at all, and although it is possible to enable anonymous torrenting by using encryption and a VPN not many people take this option.

The idea many people have is that they are anonymous sitting at home at their computer screen which is unfortunately a long way from the truth.   The reality is that especially when using home internet connections that

  • They are easily identified.
  • What you do online is very visible.

Not only is this information available it’s also easily accessible to anyone with the right resources either commercially or legally.  People think that if they live in an open, democratic society their privacy will be respected online however that is simply not the case.  In the UK currently one of the biggest pieces of surveillance legislation is being implemented – dubbed the ‘snoopers charter’.

 

Further Reading

Netflix Blocking VPNs, James Williams, Weber Press, 2016

Ricardo’s Theory of Comparative Advantage

In the world of International trade, one fundamental theory has been around for literally centuries, the Theory of Comparative Trade offers a solution to the problem of maximizing world economic output.

The danger of tariffs for this particular argument is in the fact the wrong form of industries will probably be created. Ricardian theory of rent made an amazing revolution within the English economy throughout that time. This theory of comparative advantage was utilized as a way to promote absolutely free trade. There ought to be far reaching administrative reforms within the nation.

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Deficiency of capital is a significant obstacle within the way of financial development. The resources necessary for production are frequently combined with several other advantages that could be inherent in the nation of production. The significant risk in participatory planning is the fact that any failure within the implementation of the project leads to disinterest on the list of community which then shuts down any possibility of further participatory planning process together with the community. Despite the progress of these previous rounds, high tariffs haven’t disappeared entirely and non-tariff barriers continue to be widely used.

The firms couldn’t be expected to effectively service a foreign marketplace that is certainly significantly different from the domestic marketplace because the aptitude compete comes from experience within the house marketplace. As outlined before, farmers needed to find big or find out to stay informed about market trends. The industry info is not adequately supplied. On the opposite hand it is not as likely to gather much global small business expertise.

These marketplace imperfections cover the whole array of supply-and-demand-related principles of the industry. The industry position of the goods is just another comparative advantage for Coopers. Oil is the commodity that is certainly mostly used. I can’t supply any solution to governments.

In summary, over a course of time, there’s a constant stream of money into and from a country. Gradually there’s a possibility of further migration to the nation and because of this population may increase. So, increasing of population will raise the demand within the country. For accelerating the rate of financial development, there ought to be political stability within the nation.

The Tokyo Round made a great start at addressing quite a few nontariff barriers which have become more serious recently. They can be ignorant of the development happening inside their own country including within the world. To guarantee a flow of food into the country, land-poor countries might have to import food so as to develop their economy. According to capita income rises the complexity along with quality level of goods demanded by means of a nation’s residents also rises.

It’s something we’re also seeing in digital markets where you would expect to see a more open and fairer exchange system.  However artificial barriers are happening here to – region locking, blocks based on commercial or residential ip addresses and a myriad of other artificial barriers are being introduced to the internet.

Public participation implies the public’s contribution will help determine the decision. It may be regarded as a way of empowerment and as vital part of democratic governance. Agricultural trade is an alternative area where GATT rules either don’t apply or aren’t effective. If there was not any international trade, all countries would need to fulfill its own needs.

Otherwise there would not be any logical explanation concerning why one nation requires more units of labor to generate an unit of output than another nation. The balance of trade reflected in the present account could be the individual most vital factor in virtually any economy. Thus it is going to be able to generate the goods at a lowly cost by means of a labour intensive way of production. Thus the nation’s endowment determines the relative expenses of labor and capital when compared with other countries.

The exchange rate adjustment caused by inflation could possibly be explained further. Retaliation further lessens the volume of trade.