24 Marzo de 2008 PRENSA INTERNACIONAL PERIODICO TITULAR Spitzer Is Accused of Effort to Smear Bruno Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer was deeply involved in his administration’s efforts last year to discredit the State Senate majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno, holding detailed discussions with senior aides, ordering damaging information about Mr. Bruno released, and calling an aide at home repeatedly to check on the progress, according to several people with direct knowledge of the investigation. The governor has previously said he was not personally involved in the effort, suggesting only that he was vaguely aware that his aides had responded to a reporter’s inquiry about Mr. Bruno’s travels on state aircraft. But testimony and other information gathered by the Albany County district attorney, P. David Soares, indicate that the governor’s participation was extensive and reflected Mr. Spitzer’s intense desire to damage Mr. Bruno, the people with knowledge of the case said. The investigation was based on examination of e-mail messages, along with interviews with about a half-dozen senior administration officials, chief among them Mr. Spitzer’s former communications director, Darren Dopp, whom prosecutors decided last month to give immunity from prosecution. A spokeswoman for Mr. Spitzer, who resigned March 12 after reports that he had patronized a high-priced prostitution ring, could not immediately comment on Sunday night. SIN ACCESO AL PORTAL (esta semana se reactiva) Urkullu plantea a Zapatero un "acuerdo singular" que amplíe el autogobierno Ibarretxe mantiene su empeño personal por el "derecho a decidir" de los vascos El PNV tiene algunas tareas pendientes de arreglar en su casa. El partido se presentó ayer ante la militancia para celebrar el día de la patria vasca, el Aberri Eguna, con dos discursos que si no son antagónicos, lo parecen. El lehendakari abrió el acto convirtiendo en un empeño personal el ejercicio del llamado derecho de decisión, mientras que el presidente del PNV, Iñigo Urkullu, enarboló el discurso pactista con el Estado -como ya lo hicieron los presidentes que le precedieron en el cargo - y emplazó al jefe del Gobierno central, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, a un "acuerdo singular" que "dé un paso de gigante en el autogobierno". Consciente de que estaba dando un cambio de rumbo a la hoja de ruta de Ibarretxe, que se basa en que el Estado respete la decisión que adopte el pueblo vasco en referéndum, Urkullu se apresuró a advertir de que si hay posibilidades de obtener un buen acuerdo, el PNV firmará, pese a quien pese. Who Says You Can't Go Home Again? Mortgage-Market Pros Aim to Cash In on Slump 24 Marzo de 2008 For 27 years, former Countrywide Financial Corp. President Stanford Kurland made a fortune helping to build a mortgage-lending empire. Now, as parts of the mortgage market collapse, Mr. Kurland and some former colleagues have a new plan -- make another fortune on the way down. On Monday, the group will announce the launch of Private National Mortgage Acceptance Company LLC, or PennyMac, an investment firm formed as a joint venture between asset manager BlackRock Inc., under Chief Executive Laurence Fink, and Boston investment firm Highfields Capital Management. PennyMac seeks to raise more than $2 billion to buy distressed mortgages on the cheap, work with borrowers to restructure them, and then resell them as performing mortgages at a profit. A number of bottom-fishers are already wading into the mortgage market, but PennyMac is taking a different approach from most. Rather than buying slices of mortgage-backed securities, which are claims to pools of mortgages, PennyMac plans to buy whole mortgage loans -- the old-fashioned mortgages that banks routinely owned before the mortgage- securitization business came along. Patients' Data on Stolen Laptop Identity Fraud Not Likely, NIH Says A government laptop computer containing sensitive medical information on 2,500 patients enrolled in a National Institutes of Health study was stolen in February, potentially exposing seven years' worth of clinical trial data, including names, medical diagnoses and details of the patients' heart scans. The information was not encrypted, in violation of the government's data-security policy. NIH officials made no public comment about the theft and did not send letters notifying the affected patients of the breach until last Thursday -- almost a month later. They said they hesitated because of concerns that they would provoke undue alarm. The handling of the incident is reminiscent of a 2006 theft from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs employee of a laptop with personal information about veterans and active- duty service members. In that case, VA officials waited 19 days before announcing the theft. "The shocking part here is we now have personally identifiable information -- name and age - - linked to clinical data," said Leslie Harris, executive director of the Center for Democracy & Technology. "If somebody does not want to share the fact that they're in a clinical trial or the fact they've got a heart disease, this is very, very serious. The risk of identity theft and of revealing highly personal information about your health are closely linked here." 24 Marzo de 2008 PRENSA INTERNACIONAL / REVISTAS * REVISTA NOTA TITULAR A Monk's Struggle "Since China wants to join the world community," the 14th Dalai Lama said as I was traveling across Japan with him for a week last November, "the world community has a real responsibility to bring China into the mainstream." The whole world stands to gain, he pointed out, from a peaceful and unified China—not least the 6 million Tibetans in China and Chinese-occupied Tibet. "But," he added, "genuine harmony must come from the heart. It cannot come from the barrel of a gun." I thought of those measured and forgiving words—the Dalai Lama still prays for his "Chinese brothers and sisters" every morning and urges Tibetans to learn Chinese so they can talk with their new rulers, not fight with them—as reports trickled out of Tibet of freedom demonstrations that have led to some of the bloodiest confrontations in the region since similar protests preceded a brutal crackdown in the late 1980s. The violence has left 99 people dead, according to Tibetan exile groups; the Chinese government says 13 "innocents" were killed in the riots. When Barry Became Barack It didn't happen overnight. But in college, the young Barry took to being called by his formal name. What this evolution tells us about him. Barry Obama decided that he didn't like his nickname. A few of his friends at Occidental College had already begun to call him Barack (his formal name), and he'd come to prefer that. The way his half sister, Maya, remembers it, Obama returned home at Christmas in 1980, and there he told his mother and grandparents: no more Barry. Obama recalls it slightly differently, but in the same basic time frame. He believes he told his mom he wanted to be called Barack when she visited him in New York the following summer. By both accounts, it seemed that the elder relatives were reluctannt to embrace the change. Maya recalls that Obama's maternal grandparents, who had played a big role in raising him, continued long after that to call him by an affectionate nickname, "Bar." "Not just them, but my mom, too," says Obama. Why did Obama make the conscious decision to take on his formal African name? His father was also Barack, and also Barry: he chose the nickname when he came to America from Kenya on a scholarship in 1959. His was a typical immigrant transition. Wall Street's crisis What went wrong in the financial system—and the long, hard task of fixing it THE marvellous edifice of modern finance took years to build. The world had a weekend to save it from collapsing. On March 16th America's Federal Reserve, by nature hardly impetuous, rewrote its rule-book by rescuing Bear Stearns, the country's fifth-largest investment bank, and agreeing to lend directly to other brokers. A couple of days later the Fed cut short-term interest rates—again—to 2.25%, marking the fastest loosening of monetary policy in a generation. It was a Herculean effort, and it staved off the outright catastrophe of a bank failure that had threatened to split Wall Street asunder. Even so, this week's brush with disaster contained 24 Marzo de 2008 two unsettling messages. One is analytical: the world needs new ways of thinking about finance and the risks it entails. The other is a warning: the crisis has opened a new, dangerous chapter. For all its mistakes, modern finance is worth saving—and the job looks as if it is still only half done. Rescuing Bear Stearns and its kind from their own folly may strike many people as overly charitable. For years Wall Street minted billions without showing much compassion. Yet the Fed put $30 billion of public money at risk for the best reason of all: the public interest. Bear is a counterparty to some $10 trillion of over-the-counter swaps. No Thain, No Gain Can the man who saved the NYSE revive a badly mauled Merrill Lynch. Taking on a wounded bull was the last thing John Thain needed. He'd already played Mr. Fixit at the New York Stock Exchange, where he put back together a storied institution rocked by a front-running scandal and the ouster of a richly paid chief executive. Merrill Lynch had similar troubles but was in far worse shape: The maelstrom in the mortgage- backed securities market pushed out Stanley O’Neal, the divisive former chairman, and forced the world’s largest brokerage firm to take $22 billion in writedowns. The company ended with an $8 billion aftertax loss for 2007. Before becoming chief executive on Dec. 1, “I wanted a full look at the books,” concedes Thain, 52. Today there are still roughly $90 billion of dicey loans and derivatives on the balance sheet, almost guaranteeing further writedowns unless the credit markets— miraculously—turn around tomorrow. Thain, who is thin, athletic and distinctly Clark Kentish, ticks through the remaining assets with sangfroid. There are $19 billion in loans, many associated with corporate buyouts. Target's inner circle They're brilliantly creative. They're enviably down-to-earth. They're universally imitated. And they're entering one of the most challenging periods the company has faced in 46 years. (Fortune Magazine) -- You'd think Robert Ulrich would be warming up for his victory lap right about now. The soon-to-retire CEO of Target Corp. should be easing into a lavish farewell tour filled with teary thank-yous, champagne-soaked sendoffs, and a book of leadership secrets. After all, in his 23 years at Target (almost 14 of them as CEO), Ulrich has transformed a Midwestern discounter into one of the most admired and imitated companies in the world. Target now ranks 33rd on the Fortune 500 - making it bigger than Microsoft, Pfizer, and PepsiCo, and more than double the size of Cisco Systems. There's just one thing: Though everyone knows Target (TGT, Fortune 500), hardly anyone's even heard of Ulrich. In fact, those who think his name rings a bell are most likely picturing Robert Urich, the deceased actor from television's Vega$ and Spencer for Hire. Even Ulrich's own employees often don't recognize him during his twice-monthly store walks, when he strolls the aisles dressed in Target's standard red shirt and khakis. Neither he nor his company has ever before graced the cover of a major magazine - highly unusual for a corporation its size. In fact, Ulrich has deliberately stayed so far under the radar that Bob Thacker, a former Target marketing executive now at OfficeMax, dubbed him the "silent Sam Walton." Says Thacker: "He has no public persona." 24 Marzo de 2008 The Financial Crisis This credit quake looks to be the severest threat to the economy in decades, and its tremors are being felt from Wall Street to the Great Wall As recently as 2002, Ben Bernanke was just another smart professor explaining supply and demand curves to college kids. Now he's chairman of the Federal Reserve in a moment of crisis. As Bernanke reinvents the central bank to cope with unprecedented challenges, he has become one of the most important people in the world. In this special report, we explain what changed Bernanke from a cautious technocrat into a reluctant revolutionary. The short answer: Desperate times call for desperate measures. Our lead story explains what makes the credit crunch so dangerous, what the Fed is doing about it, and what the unavoidable side effects will be. The stock market rallied powerfully in the two days after the Fed-brokered agreement by JPMorgan Chase (JPM) to take over Bear Stearns (BSC), the wounded brokerage firm, on Mar. 16. But then it sagged. The second story in our package warns that the financial sector's troubles aren't over. For one thing, there are no other obvious rescuers if another big firm suddenly lurches toward bankruptcy. 24 Marzo de 2008 INDICE GENERAL TEMA Ahead of the Pack WSJ Could Resources Become A Limit to Global Growth? WSJ Ethanol and Beyond WSJ Indonesia's Commodity Boom Is a Mixed Bag WSJ ELECTRICIDAD The Extra Step WSJ Bhutan Holds First Parliamentary Vote WPost Shuttle crew prepares to leave station WPost Musharraf Hails Democracy in Pakistan WPost Shuttle Crew Prepares to Leave Station NYTimes Londres y París impulsan la energía nuclear El Pais Sarkozy afianza el atlantismo El Pais 24 Marzo de 2008 PRENSA INTERNACIONAL ELECTRICIDAD Ahead of the Pack GE's Jeffrey Immelt on why it's business, not personal March 24, 2008; Page R3 General Electric Co. Chairman and CEO Jeffrey R. Immelt has become one of the country's leading advocates of government-mandated caps on carbon emissions. Not because he's an environmentalist -- he says he isn't -- but because he feels government will impose those caps someday so business should get out in front on the issue. Mr. Immelt talked to The Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray and Kimberley A. Strassel. Here are edited excerpts from that discussion. Behind the Push ALAN MURRAY: Jeff, I think you deserve a lion's share of the credit, or the blame, depending on your perspective, for really changing the way that business is thinking about environmental issues and global-warming issues. In 2005, you launched Ecomagination and we had elephants dancing across our TV screens. And then last year you played an instrumental role in bringing together a group of CEOs to form USCAP [the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a group of corporations that have called for a U.S. emissions cap]. To me it almost felt unprecedented to say to the U.S. government, we have to put caps on global warming. Basically, regulate us, please. Why did you do it? JEFFREY IMMELT: The history of our company is one of bringing innovation to market. We saw the technology was there that could drive clean energy. More than half of the company is outside the U.S. We saw the emerging thinking around environmental technology and legislation. We saw seven states in the U.S. that had cap-and-trade systems already, and this impossible labyrinth of regulations coming our way. And we thought this was a way that we could get ahead of it and declare green is green. And that's really the driving force behind how we got started. Jeffrey R. Immelt MR. MURRAY: But you know what people wonder is: Do you do this because you personally, Jeff Immelt, believe that earth is heading for a crisis and you have a responsibility to deal with it? Do you do it because you believe that General Electric has the opportunity to make money selling green technologies, maybe more money than you make selling hydrocarbon-based technologies? Do you do it because it's great public relations? Do you do it because you think carbon caps are inevitable and you want to be at the table and have some effect? MR. IMMELT: I would say that I work for investors. I don't believe in hobbies. MR. MURRAY: This is not personal. MR. IMMELT: I don't think that CEO hobbies have any role in running companies. I'm an investor, I'm a capitalist and I'm a businessman. So I believe that I could generate earnings for my investors through technology. 24 Marzo de 2008 There's no percentage for any CEO in the world to run his or her business thinking that there are not going to be carbon caps someday. Because the day it becomes law, you're five years late. And you either get out ahead of these things or you get stomped by them. High Cost of Inaction KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL: The Congressional Budget Office recently did a report about the leading climate bill in Congress, and they say that it will dramatically raise consumer prices and slow the economy. What effect will that have on GE's earnings? MR. IMMELT: These costs are going to be borne no matter what. I would say we're actually already paying for it. $110 oil, we're already paying for it. Costs are going to go up. The question is do we get ahead of it and bring these [clean] technologies down the learning curve ahead of time, or does it just get thrust on us in an incredibly impossible way? And that's what leaders have to decide. You can't get a coal plant permitted. There's no leadership about what we want to do. So where we are today, I would argue, is like the worst of all worlds. MS. STRASSEL: Living in Washington, it feels as though, in the energy sector in particular, part of people's business plans is to go to Washington and get legislation passed that requires people to buy their products. So one question I would have is how much of Ecomagination is actually underwritten by tax subsidies? And how, as a private investor, do you justify having public taxpayers get into this business? MR. IMMELT: It's a great question, but I would say that government tax policy, or economic policy, ought to reflect the benefits to the economy and what the government wants to have happen. Think about something like the production tax credit [which gives tax credits to alternative-energy companies]. One of the reasons the government wanted to use it was to get more renewable energy in place. We acquired our wind business in 2001. The cost for electricity and wind was about 16 cents, 17 cents a kilowatt-hour. Now it's half that. The production tax credits worked. MS. STRASSEL: Do you think people would buy it without the tax credit? MR. IMMELT: Someday. But I think on this subject we worship false idols. I'm in the commercial aviation business. Guess how we got into that business? Because the Department of Defense in World War II paid for military engines that helped fund the commercial aviation industry. My entertainment business is regulated, my financial-service business is regulated, my appliance business is regulated, my health-care business is regulated. So for some reason we decide that energy is the one industry in the world where basically the only policy should be the price of the barrel of oil today. I think that's crazy. Realistic Cuts? 24 Marzo de 2008 MR. MURRAY: You've been working for three years trying to reduce GE's carbon footprint. Based on that experience, what do you think when you hear people say we are going to reduce global carbon emissions by 80% by the year 2050? Is that realistic? MR. IMMELT: I'd say you better start today. I've worked for GE for 26 years. In 26 years in my health- care business, which is about a $20 billion business, we're on our eighth iteration of technology. [But] I still sell the same energy products I sold 26 years ago. So there's been no investor climate to drive technology in this field. We haven't built a nuclear power plant in 25 years. We haven't built coal gasification in 25 years. So we better get on it. Now, what trajectory it goes on, is it 80% by 2050, is it 60% by 2050? I think it can be a big number, but technology is the answer. And, as a country, we've become so afraid and averse to allowing the entrepreneurial forces of technology to take place. And in energy they can have a huge impact as time goes on. MR. MURRAY: You mentioned the competitive dynamic in the world today, where we face extreme competition from emerging countries in Asia, and elsewhere in the world. Does it make sense for you to say, OK, in the U.S., we're going to impose a cap on our businesses, but there's going to be no such cap in China, there's going to be no such cap in India? MR. IMMELT: I think what USCAP envisioned, and what legislation will try to do, is to have some market-clearing mechanism for what's going to happen globally. But, I've got to tell you that we'll do, I don't know, $15 billion, $16 billion of Ecomagination products this year. Probably $2 or $3 billion will go to China and India. So it's a great opportunity for this country to develop technologies that are going to be used on a global basis. MR. MURRAY: Eventually be used over there. MR. IMMELT: I think sooner rather than eventually. MS. STRASSEL: When you go to Washington and you talk to the powers that be, do you talk to them about the importance of nuclear power? What's the response you get? MR. IMMELT: What do you do about storage? OK, I think it's a big issue, but I say to them: We haven't built a plant in 25 years. What capitalist in their right mind would spend one penny on storage if you guys aren't going to build any plants? You've got to be kidding me. If nothing happens in the U.S. today, it's going to be gas and wind. I don't care because we make gas and wind. That's OK. MR. MURRAY: Can gas and wind do it? Can they get you where you need to be? MR. IMMELT: I'm a big believer in diversification. Let's get control over our future because we can have coal, we can have nuclear, we can have gas, we can have wind, we can have solar. 24 Marzo de 2008 MR. MURRAY: How do you feel about how this is being discussed in the presidential election right now? MR. IMMELT: Do I have to answer that? MR. MURRAY: Yes, you do. MR. IMMELT: From a competitiveness standpoint, it's really education, health care, energy and financial policies that encourage innovation. Energy is one of the three or four things that actually is really important. Words like energy independence, things like that, just are naive. I'd like to hear what they want to do on a cap-and-trade plan. What they think about nuclear power. Where we're going with clean exploration. There's a technical renaissance that this country can go through that can make us a real leader. MS. STRASSEL: I hate to sound like the capitalist Luddite in the room. But why doesn't the market get to sort this out? If people really believed this is such a huge issue, why won't they pay what needs to be paid for solar, for wind, for ethanol, for all of these diverse energy products? Why, again, do we have to have some sort of centralized program? MR. IMMELT: There's such a time discrepancy in this industry that's unique to the industry that by the time you decide pollution is a problem, by the time you decide that there is real shortage, by the time there's a grid in place in this country that actually facilitates low-cost energy distribution, microturbines, things like that, it ain't going to happen. The government has its hands in almost every industry we're in, whether you want to say it or not, and there's tax deductions for home mortgages. Do people think that the housing industry is government- regulated? You bet it is. Could Resources Become A Limit to Global Growth? WALL STREET JOURNAL March 24, 2008 ONLINE "Limits-to-growth" theories -- which argue that the world may run short of resources -- last made a big splash in the early 1970s, when a group of scientists commissioned by the Club of Rome1, warned ominously2 of an imminent collision between global population growth and finite supplies. Since then, most of the projections made in the famous report -- sometimes referred to as simply "the Club of Rome" -- haven't come to pass. But now, surging food and energy prices are offering new reasons to re-think the relationship between resources and growth flagged by that report. The Wall Street Journal Online asked James Brander, a professor of international business at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business and Matthew Kahn, a professor at UCLA's Institute of the Environment, to discuss limits-to-growth ideas in the context of today's rapid run-up in raw material costs. 24 Marzo de 2008 *** James Brander writes: The Club of Rome is reminiscent of the fable of the "Boy Who Cried Wolf3." There is a real wolf nearby -- in the form of resource degradation and rapidly growing population -- but, like the shepherd boy, the original "Limits to Growth" got the timing wrong and sounded the alarm too early. The main reason for the timing error was failure to account for economic incentives. When oil prices rose in the 1970s, this created incentives to develop more fuel-efficient vehicles, greatly reducing the problem. For most of the 1980s and 1990s, energy and food actually became more abundant rather than less. Incentive-based technological progress stayed ahead of population growth and resource depletion. However, economic incentives cannot be counted on to keep the wolf at bay indefinitely. Real resource prices have finally surpassed previous record levels and per-capita food availability has started to decline, suggesting that the wolf might be getting close. Despite demographic transition to low fertility in East Asia, Europe, and North America, current population growth rates would still triple world population to over 20 billion in about 90 years. This won't happen because it can't happen. The question is whether population growth will fall due to declines in fertility or whether the Malthusian mechanisms4 of epidemics, malnutrition, and violent conflict will carry out the adjustment, aided by global warming. *** Matthew Kahn writes: Imagine a world where everyone in China and India achieves our living standards. In this world, with 7 billion people, if each drives a Hummer 10,000 miles per year, then the world would need 7 trillion gallons of gasoline to meet this aggregate demand. Now, that's an ecological footprint! Now, the New York Times recently reported that the Sun will only shine for another 7.59 billion years5. Even so, if the rest of the world achieves the "American Dream" and attempts to drive their Hummers until the sun finally flickers and dims, we are clearly going to need a lot of gas. Still, it's important to note that expectations of such future scarcity create incentives to innovate. Implicit in the work of authors such as Jared Diamond6 is a type of mass-behavioral-economics myopia where he and a few other "wise men" are the only ones aware of the coming day of scarcity. I am more democratic and optimistic that, if there is a future arbitrage opportunity, a few ambitious young capitalists will seek out a profit and be ready with the next "Toyota Prius" to help mitigate future scarcity challenges. James Brander writes: I agree with Matt. Residents of China and India are unlikely to buy many Hummers -- or other SUVs -- and economic incentives will push them in more environmentally friendly directions. If China were the model, I would be optimistic about the future. Fertility there has declined to about replacement level and real income growth has been very rapid with only modest increases in the "ecological footprint". (For analysis of ecological "footprints," check out the Global Footprint Network8.) 24 Marzo de 2008 Also, China is poised to move along the downward-sloping part of the environmental Kuznets9 curve – where people demand better environmental quality as incomes rise. However, counterbalancing the positive outlook in China is the dismal picture in Africa. According to the World Bank10, per capita real income in sub-Saharan Africa fell between 1980 and 2005, despite starting at very low levels, and despite improvements in technology made available in that period. Population growth11 remains very high and infectious disease, malnutrition, and violent conflict have become more entrenched and could spill over into other regions. Also, West Asia -- the "Middle East" - - and South Asia are ecologically and economically precarious, with water scarcity being one of several major problems12. *** Matthew Kahn writes: Water provides an important example of resource scarcity. It rarely rains in Los Angeles, but golf courses and most people's homes there have green lawns, rather than cactuses. If the people of Los Angeles faced higher water prices13, I bet that we would see households switch away from green grass. This raises the political economy question of which politicians have the backbone to allow prices to reflect scarcity. The easy -- and unsustainable -- path is to vote in favor of keeping prices artificially low. A second, important, set of issues raised by Jim concerns population growth in poor nations. Optimists such as Julian Simon14 have argued that population growth helps to solve environmental problems as each new person represents a lottery ticket who could grow up and give us a cure for cancer or the next Google. In addition, population growth helps to create new markets. If one million new environmentalists are born, this helps to create market demand for green products15 and for-profit suppliers will respond by producing green products to sell to this new birth cohort. Unfortunately, population growth in the developing world is unlikely to trigger such an innovation supply response. *** James Brander writes: As Matt points out, it is important to get prices right. Human ingenuity can do great things and prices are signals showing where ingenuity should be applied. Water is underpriced16. If it were priced to reflect its true scarcity value, we would get more water-saving innovation. However, market-based prices cannot do everything, largely because of "externalities" – non-priced third party effects. An electric utility using coal to produce electricity contributes to global warming and other pollution problems. This effect is not priced – the utility does not normally pay for or cover this cost. If it did, it would face stronger incentives to reduce emissions. When we drive cars in crowded areas, we don't pay for congestion costs imposed on others. Therefore we drive too much. Similarly, we don't pay when we transmit an infectious disease, therefore, we take insufficient precautions. Decisions to have large numbers of children may also impose negative externalities on others -- depending partly on whether those children find cures for cancer, become criminals, or something in between. In an increasingly crowded world, problems caused by externalities are 24 Marzo de 2008 increasingly severe, and showing political leadership in such areas is politically risky. *** Matthew Kahn writes: At UCLA, I meet many students who are quite concerned about climate change. Jim's point about externalities is highly relevant in this case. My students would like to limit growth in order to mitigate the production of greenhouse gases. But they are often vague about the details. Which people should not be born? Whose income should decline in order to achieve their noble goal? California is taking the lead to unilaterally mitigate its greenhouse gas emissions. In 2006, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB3217. This piece of legislation commits California to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. To achieve this goal, California is likely to implement a cap and trade program which will effectively create a new market in the "right to pollute." The new pollution permits will trade at a positive price and this will create incentives to economize on greenhouse gas production. Is it surprising that California's governor is willing to commit his state to be the nation's "guinea pig?" California has shown before that the costs of growth can be offset. In recent years, Los Angeles smog levels have fallen sharply at the same time that there are more cars on the roads and people are driving more. In this respect, effective regulation has helped to offset the quantity of economic activity. But in general, I wonder whether government is up to the task of limiting the costs of growth on a global scale. *** James Brander writes: Potential limits to growth are real. Major resources such as forests and agricultural land are under threat, as are the air and water. Possibly the biggest threat, although a long way off, is a potentially catastrophic rise in sea level18 caused by global warming. However, as Matt points out, public policy interventions can have a big impact. Arguably the recent national U.S. policy stance has been counterproductive, but I agree that California has been a leader in valuable policy interventions. This includes establishing "markets" for pollution rights, congestion pricing for roadways, vehicle emission controls, and other policies. With good policy combined with technological progress, economic growth need not cause environmental damage. On the contrary, improved living standards depend on the environment. We normally fail to measure economic growth properly – ignoring depletion of "natural capital" -- which should be subtracted from net growth as physical capital depreciation is. We should focus on the right measures -- "green accounting19." Fertility reduction is the biggest challenge. Chinese-style state- imposed fertility control will not be acceptable elsewhere, but female education and female control over reproductive decisions are very positive forces in achieving sustainable fertility patterns. In the "Boy Who Cried Wolf" villagers became complacent about the wolf after the false alarms and the wolf ultimately ate the sheep. I hope we fare better than the villagers -- and the sheep. *** 24 Marzo de 2008 Matthew Kahn writes: Will our great grandchildren have a lower quality of life than we do? I doubt it. My optimism about our future quality of life is based on my belief that people are forward looking and entrepreneurial. In 1990, I could not foresee the role that Google would play in my life in 2008. If natural resources grow scarce, we will adjust and in the long run, new substitutes will be introduced. The new pollution markets being introduced to mitigate climate change will provide a great test of this optimistic claim. The "Limits to Growth" debate raises a key issue: how much consumption do we need20 to live a "good life?" Why is the "American Dream" our dream? As China and India grow richer, will their new middle class seek to live a more restrained lifestyle or will they embrace our conception of the "good life?" By making people think through the social consequences of their own consumption goals, the "Limits to Growth" advocates may actually help to mitigate the "crisis." Ethanol and Beyond Patricia Woertz of ADM and Robert Lukefahr of BP on the alternative fuels to keep an eye on March 24, 2008; Page R4 What's the future for biofuels? Advocates say biofuels -- including ethanol -- can play a major role in meeting the world's growing energy needs. Two companies actively involved in producing biofuels are Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. and BP Alternative Energy North America, a unit of British petroleum giant BP PLC. Patricia Woertz, ADM's CEO and president, and Robert Lukefahr, president of BP Alternative Energy, talked to The Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray about biofuels and other matters. Here are edited excerpts from that discussion. Yes to Ethanol ALAN MURRAY: Patricia, some people blame ethanol for the sharp rise in food prices and claim that that creates a devil's trade, food versus energy. And others are arguing it isn't really doing that much to help global warming anyway. So is ethanol an important part of the answer or isn't it? PATRICIA WOERTZ: Well, I think the answer is yes, it's an important part, and I support what [General Electric Co. CEO] Jeff [Immelt] said about diversity of energy supplies. And certainly biofuels -- ethanol being one, biodiesel, others that we're working on -- are a part of the solution and one that's here and now today. MR. MURRAY: Of the research that you have going at ADM right now, what looks the most promising in terms of biofuels? MS. WOERTZ: When people think about cellulosic ethanol, they may think switchgrass fermented to ethanol. But I think of it in three spots. What is the feedstock? What is the conversion technology? And what is the end or intermediate product? And so we look along that matrix of the things that might have the biggest promise for the future. And we have about five of them that are either partnerships or things we're doing alone. 24 Marzo de 2008 MR. MURRAY: Robert, you're in a very interesting position because you're pursuing these alternative energy sources inside a giant petroleum company. Of the technologies you're working on, what do you see that has the potential to make a significant dent in our usage of hydrocarbons? Patricia Woertz ROBERT LUKEFAHR: There's a load of them that have an ability to make a significant dent. Let me start with biofuels. I agree with Patricia that it's absolutely right that biofuel is going to play a significant role. We see it potentially providing as much as 20% or 30% of global fuel needs. So is it going to be all from this current generation of ethanol? Absolutely not. We're working on a range of different molecules, different feedstocks. We've put $500 million into our Biosciences Institute to try and push forward the fundamental science. So we think it's going to be a big part of the energy mix on the fuel side. It's going to take time. In the meantime, ethanol is here today. It's important. It matters. It pushes the ball forward, and we blend and sell 800 million gallons of ethanol a year in the United States. So it matters. Wind has the potential to be 20% of the U.S. electricity. That matters. MR. MURRAY: Twenty percent of U.S. electricity by -- ? MR. LUKEFAHR: Twenty percent of U.S. electricity by 2030. Solar has the ability to be another 20% of electricity over time. So when you start looking at costs of all of these things -- and then we go back to hydrocarbons, and we can clean hydrocarbon. It's going to take time. We sequester carbon today. We've been doing that for a number of years. It's challenging. But there are technical solutions that can be put in place that will actually achieve this objective. We have to have stable, long-term, clear policy so we know what the rules are if we're going to push these things forward. Where's the Research? MR. MURRAY: You also have to have significant research budgets. And I have to admit I was a little shocked to hear Jeff Immelt cite those numbers, about how little money goes into energy research compared to, say, health care. Why is that? MR. LUKEFAHR: I think we've been working with a fairly stable set of technologies for a long time. But we're putting a lot of money into research in these new technologies as we start to shift from hydrocarbons into alternative sources of fuel, and using hydrocarbons in different ways. MR. MURRAY: Is it realistic to talk about a 50% to 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050? Is that a goal that's achievable without undue harm on the economy? Robert Lukefahr MS. WOERTZ: I don't know, but I know it's important that we set some lofty goals. If you don't ask the question almost outrageously about what would it take to get there, what would it take to reduce waste to zero, then we won't have the good discussions about how [to achieve it]. And while it may be unrealistic today, it may not be two years from now. 24 Marzo de 2008 MR. LUKEFAHR: I agree. It's totally unrealistic to think that you can do it if you look at today's technologies, if you look at today's market structures. We can change those things and then start to achieve that. The real question is, is it necessary? Do we believe the science that says if we don't do this we're going to start moving temperatures to a place where it has catastrophic results in the world? We don't know that either. But to the extent that we can go through and start making big changes today that move us toward that goal, I think it's terribly important. AUDIENCE QUESTION: In the information-tech space, companies like Microsoft and Google and Cisco have, in addition to internal R&D, outsourced R&D by acquiring innovative companies. I'm wondering if you see a similar trend in the energy industry? MS. WOERTZ: I think the answer is yes, and maybe not so much as a trend as it's essential. All the answers won't come from big research labs. Partnerships, innovation and resources are the three things I often talk about. And the partnerships are with anywhere from universities to small labs, to small entrepreneurs, to sometimes even one-off individuals, whether they come to work as employees or they're really working in a partnership long-distance on some of these issues. Indonesia's Commodity Boom Is a Mixed Bag By TOM WRIGHT Foreign Demand Gives Boost to the Economy; Shortages at Home March 24, 2008; Page A8 JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Indonesia's economy is riding the recent wave of high global commodity prices as it feeds China, India and Japan with coal, palm oil and natural gas. The economy -- Southeast Asia's largest -- is growing at its fastest pace in a decade. The influx of cash from commodity exports is financing the construction of posh malls and housing complexes across the capital of Jakarta and in a number of resource-rich provinces. Yet the majority of Indonesia's 230 million people are being left behind as the export boom is leading to unintended shortages of select foodstuffs and other key commodities like coal, economists say. Some businesses are moaning about the focus by Indonesia's miners and plantation owners on exports, which fetch higher prices than in the domestic market. Local cement companies and textile producers say they are suffering from unreliable electric power supplies, and they blame steel makers and power producers in China and India who have diverted coal supplies abroad by locking in 20-year supply contracts with Indonesian miners. "It is an irony that Indonesia is one of the largest exporters of gas, coal and crude palm oil, and yet our industries have problems to get reliable supply," says Rizal Ramli, an economist and former economic affairs minister. Indonesia's coal and palm oil industries have been leading the export surge. Coal exports stood at around 150 million metric tons last year, or 75% of its total production, according to data from the 24 Marzo de 2008 Energy Ministry, and exports are expected to grow to 180 million tons this year. Indonesia is also the world's largest exporter of crude palm oil, with shipments reaching 12.4 million metric tons in 2007, 50% higher than in 2004, according to data from producers. Exports last year accounted for about 75% of total Indonesian production. But those figures don't mean much to many Indonesians. Thousands of the country's poor in January protested rising cooking oil and soybean prices -- a consequence of strong overseas demand and higher energy prices. In response, Indonesia's government stepped in last month with a plan to raise export tariffs on crude palm oil, which is refined to make cooking oil, to 15% from 6.5% and increase the supply of subsidized oil and rice for poor families. Those measures have yet to stem the rising food costs, however. Given the strong demand for vegetable oils from China, prices for crude palm oil have almost doubled in the past year, meaning Indonesian producers can pass on the higher export tariffs to overseas buyers. And soaring prices for another product -- fertilizer -- are hurting rice and vegetable farmers, who complain they can't get any fertilizer because state-owned factories prefer to either export it or sell it for a higher price to palm oil plantations in the provinces. The result: lower yields for food crops. Worried About the Harvest On the outskirts of Jakarta, Ibnu Koeri, a rice farmer, is fretting the coming harvest won't produce enough to feed his family. Mr. Koeri's village farming cooperative was unable to get any fertilizer between December and February, just after the crucial planting season. Now, fertilizer is selling at 15% above past levels. "We're worried about the harvest," he says. Indonesia's consumer price index jumped 7.4% year-on-year in January up from 5.8% in June 2007. The index is expected to hit double digits by year's end, raising concerns the central bank will have to raise interest rates, economists say. Meanwhile, Indonesia's overall economy continues to post strong growth. Gross domestic product jumped 6.3% last year, its fastest rate since before the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis. The government has trimmed forecasts for this year to 6.5% from 6.8% due to U.S. economic woes, but its economy is still one of the fastest growing in the world. Indonesia, which has the world's largest Muslim population, faces the risk that uneven economic development could spark social instability and give a louder voice to a small but active group of Islamic hard-liners, some observers say. In recent months, Islamic political parties have been stepping up an antipoverty campaign across Jakarta in an attempt to win support ahead of next year's presidential elections. Industrial groups based in Java are being hit by commodity shortfalls. Executives at PT Indorama Synthetics, a polyester and yarn producer that employs 7,000 people in factories near Jakarta, complain that the company has to scramble monthly to find coal to power its 60-megawatt electricity plant because its regular suppliers are selling their coal overseas instead. Locking In Commodities 24 Marzo de 2008 V.S. Baldwa, corporate secretary at Indorama, points to a deal last year in which India's Tata Power Ltd. bought a 30% stake in two Indonesian coal mines for $1.1 billion, ensuring future coal supplies for the Indian company. "They've been able to lock in commodities at our expense," Mr. Baldwa says. Patrick Walujo, a director of PT Northstar Pacific Partners, a private equity firm with a stake in coal mine PT Adaro Indonesia, explains that local coal mines prefer overseas sales because foreign customers are willing to pay a premium to ensure supply. The government says it will continue to protect the most vulnerable Indonesians through subsidies on fuel, electricity, rice and cooking oil. Fuel and electricity subsidies will total 74.5 trillion rupiah ($8.1 billion), or 9% of total government expenditures in the 2008 budget. And Jakarta is putting pressure on coal and gas producers to reserve more of their output for local use. To make more coal available locally, the government is considering limiting annual exports to 150 million tons. The government itself is currently dependent on expensive imported fuel oil to generate power; it plans to build 10,000 megawatts of new coal-fired plants in the next few years. It also wants to use more of Indonesia's own large natural gas resources for power generation and has warned big buyers like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan to expect lower amounts when their current contracts run out over the next couple of years. "We might require more natural gas domestically," says Mahendra Siregar, a deputy minister for economic affairs. "But we are trying to ensure the overseas interests at the same time." The Extra Step By ILAN BRAT For Abt Electronics, cutting its power use isn't just about costs. It's about doing the right thing. March 24, 2008; Page R12 Like many U.S. retailers, Abt Electronics Inc. has responded to soaring energy prices and environmental concerns by shutting off its lights more frequently and reducing air conditioning and heating. But Abt will soon take a far more visible step: installing a windmill on its roof. Taking the extra step to reduce its environmental footprint is par for the course for Abt, one of the largest single-store electronics retailers in the country, with more than 350,000 square feet under one roof in Glenview, Ill. Propelled by Michael Abt, the oldest of four brothers who run the company with their father, Abt Electronics has undertaken big and small initiatives to cut waste and consume less power. In recent years, the company began using cleaner-burning biodiesel fuel in 65 of the 224 vehicles in its fleet. It installed a giant fan near its warehouse unloading bays to use heaters more efficiently. And it built a recycling center near the store to better handle the tons of packaging the store receives each year. The windmill, along with an array of solar panels, will go up this spring. The setup will cost about $90,000, but Michael Abt estimates the savings on the company's energy bills will offset that cost within about 15 years. Other steps the company has taken have cut costs, too, but that's not the only 24 Marzo de 2008 motivation. "We don't do everything just because of money," says Mr. Abt, 44 years old. "The green thing is the right thing." Growing Ambitions The company's green push began after Mr. Abt joined the family business in 1989. A biology major in the early 1980s at the University of Colorado in Boulder, he says environmentalism is his hobby. He asks senders of junk mail to remove his address from their lists and attends green-technology conferences across the country for fun. His car is a hybrid. He brought little retail experience with him back to Chicago, but "the one thing I could give to the company is to make sure to make it is as green as I could make it," he says. One of the first things Mr. Abt did when he joined the company was to push his family to recycle the mountains of cardboard packaging that piled up in the store's garbage. The company bought a machine that compressed the cardboard into bales that could then be sold for a small price to be recycled. Over the years, Mr. Abt pushed other projects to trim waste and reduce pollution, such as placing bins in the company's office space to collect scratch paper for recycling, and running its delivery fleet on biodiesel. But as energy prices have mounted in recent years and the country increasingly focused on the threats posed by climate change, Mr. Abt has become more ambitious, says Vince Siragusa, a longtime Abt Electronics employee and facility manager. Mr. Abt has proposed more-creative projects and prodded employees to engage more in cutting waste. After returning from a green-resource trade show in Las Vegas in late 2006, he asked Mr. Siragusa to study whether the company could plant grass on its roof to absorb heat and provide more insulation. (The grass turned out to be too heavy.) In 2006, the company decided to build the recycling center, which collects the company's used cardboard, plastic and plastic-foam packaging and prepares it to be sold for recycling. Robert Taylor, Abt's director of operations, says the company now sends garbage to the landfill three days a week instead of six, thanks to the recycling center, helping the environment and saving money. The site also is becoming a community collection point for used appliances, which Abt sells to a company that refurbishes or sells them for scrap. Mr. Abt also has been installing sensors in the warehouse that shut off lights when an area is out of use. He commissioned a thermal scan that showed heat was escaping through a poorly insulated back wall of the building, but he decided the costs of fixing the problem would outweigh the benefits. Price Shock Another catalyst for Abt Electronics came when deregulation of Illinois's electricity market took effect in 2007. The company generates much of its own electricity, but the price of what it buys from the local utility was set to soar to 96 cents a megawatt-hour from 20 cents, says Mr. Siragusa. The facility manager negotiated a two-year contract at a lower rate with a different utility, but, taking his cue from 24 Marzo de 2008 Mr. Abt, he says he decided to go further. Mr. Abt has "really started pushing us to find out what we really can do" to use less energy and reduce waste, says Mr. Siragusa. First, Mr. Siragusa focused on how much power the building drew at different times of the day and year. He realized air conditioning and heating pulled the most power, so for the showroom he lowered the thermostat in winter by two degrees and raised it in the summer by two degrees; for the warehouse, which is in the same building, the adjustments were four degrees. That ended up decreasing energy use by about 25% in the first year, he says. But in the peak of winter in January 2007, employees working near the unloading bays began complaining they were cold, even though four heaters hanging from the ceiling nearby were running much of the day. Mr. Siragusa found that the temperature was 15 degrees near the warehouse floor and closer to 90 degrees near the ceiling. The warm air kept rising away from the workers. After researching for some weeks, he came across a solution: a 24-foot-wide fan that would circulate the air better. The $8,000 device costs three cents an hour to run and keeps that part of the warehouse at about 74 degrees from floor to ceiling. The heaters run for about two hours in the morning and shut off on their own the rest of the day, he says. Abt recently set up another huge fan at a different part of the warehouse that ships out packages. Learning to Balance The green push hasn't always proceeded smoothly. Several years ago, after Abt already was using some biodiesel in its fleet of delivery trucks, Mr. Abt began pushing to boost the concentration of biodiesel in the fuel. His brothers, father and even the company mechanic were wary. They didn't trust the fuel and worried that if the higher concentration caused breakdowns, they wouldn't be able to repair trucks quickly enough to avoid an interruption of deliveries. But Michael Abt insisted, and eventually he won them over. The fuel didn't damage the trucks, but it did become a problem because it freezes at a higher temperature than regular diesel. Last November, a deep freeze in the Chicago region that lasted for several days rendered about a dozen trucks inoperable, delaying deliveries. His family steamed. "It really did cost us money and was not a great thing from the customers' eyes," says Mr. Abt. The experience taught him to balance better the needs of the business with his green initiatives, he says. Now the company's trucks will run on regular diesel during winter months to avoid any weather- related issues. Still, Mr. Abt's influence has pervaded the company. When one of his brothers wanted to build a truck wash for the company's fleet last year, Michael thought it was too expensive. The brother won his approval by telling him that the wash would be able to filter and reuse more than 90% of its water. "My brother played my green angle, which he knows gets to me in the heart," Michael says. --Mr. Brat is a staff reporter in The Wall Street Journal's Chicago bureau 24 Marzo de 2008 Bhutan Holds First Parliamentary Vote By MATTHEW Monday, March 24, 2008; 12:36 AM ROSENBERG The Associated Press THIMPU, Bhutan -- The secluded Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, a land that's made promoting happiness its paramount goal, became the world newest democracy Monday when it held its first parliamentary elections. And few, apart from the king who is giving up his power, seemed happy about the vote that will end more than a century of absolute monarchy. In the run-up to the election, candidates proudly called themselves monarchists, party workers described the poll as "heartbreaking," and voters fretted about what would become of the Land of the Thunder Dragon after it traded its Precious Ruler for politicians. Bhutan has long been a quirky holdout from modernity _ a mountainous land where Buddhist kings reigned supreme, only allowing the Internet and television in 1999 and coming up with the idea of Gross National Happiness, an all-encompassing political philosophy that seeks to balance material progress with spiritual well-being. "People were looking around at what is happening in South Asia and saying, 'No thank you'," said Kinley Dorji, who runs the state-owned newspaper, Kuensel. After the election, the king, 28-year-old Jigme Keshar Namgyal Wangchuck, will remain head of state and will likely retain much influence. But elected leaders will be in charge. The vote for the 47-seat National Assembly is the latest step in a slow engagement with the world, which Bhutan began in the early 1960s. Back then Bhutan was a medieval society with no paved roads, no electricity and no hospitals. Goods were bartered rather than bought, and almost no foreigners were let in. The country of about 600,000 people now has a cash economy. It's even likely to soon join the World Trade Organization and thousands of tourists are welcomed every year, albeit on heavily supervised and expensive tours. On Monday, voters waited patiently in three lines: one for men, one for women and a third for the elderly or women with children. A poem posted on the wall outside one voting booth praised the king and his ability to lead. But this dedication to preserving Bhutanese culture has a darker side. More than 100,000 ethnic Nepalis _ a Hindu minority _ were forced out in the early 1990s and have been living as refugees in eastern Nepal. Bhutan says most left voluntarily, and refugee rebel groups have set off at least nine small bomb blasts 24 Marzo de 2008 this year in an effort to disrupt the election, killing one person. Bhutan sealed its borders Sunday to head off more attacks and said it will not reopen them until after the vote. Shuttle crew prepares to leave station By Irene Klotz Sunday, March 23, 2008; 9:02 PM Reuters HOUSTON (Reuters) -- Shuttle Endeavour astronauts on Sunday prepared to leave the International Space Station after a successful 12-day visit to install the first piece of a Japanese laboratory and assemble a Canadian maintenance robot. The crew swapped spacesuits, leaving its newest gear and spare parts aboard the outpost, and packed up experiment samples for return to Earth. The shuttle is scheduled to depart the station on Monday. For the first part of the day, the crew enjoyed time off. "We had over 33 hours of spacewalking time (on this flight). It's great to see it behind us. The crew is due for a little rest," lead spacewalk officer Zebulon Scoville told reporters at Johnson Space Center. On a spacewalk that ended on Saturday night, Robert Behnken and Michael Foreman performed chores that included Foreman checking out a balky rotary joint for one of the station's wing-like solar power panels. NASA discovered metal shavings inside the mechanism last year and is trying to trace their source. Space station flight director Dana Weigel said Foreman found no evidence that orbital debris had struck the joint, which eliminated one possible cause. "That's a big help for us. That kind of narrows down one of the chains of the fault tree," she said. The rotary joint was designed to keep the panel pointed at the sun to maximize electricity production, but has been locked in place to prevent further damage. However, the station is growing and its power needs increasing so NASA must soon make decisions about how to repair the joint, Weigel said. "The first decision point is going to be the end of March," she said. One option is simply "to try to clean it up and live with it," Weigel said. Endeavour, after a night launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, arrived at the space station on March 12 with the first piece of Japan's Kibo lab and with Dextre, the Canadian-built maintenance robot. The second of Kibo's three parts, the main laboratory, is scheduled to be transported to the station on a May shuttle flight. The U.S. space agency plans to fly 10 more construction and resupply flights to the station as well as a mission to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope before the shuttle fleet is retired in 2010. Endeavour is due to land at the Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday. 24 Marzo de 2008 Musharraf Hails Democracy in Pakistan By LAUREN FRAYER and Sunday, March 23, 2008; 2:41 AM MUNIR AHMAD The Associated Press ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- President Pervez Musharraf on Sunday hailed the start of a "new era of real democracy" in Pakistan, a day after his foes named their candidate to lead a coalition government united against him. The embattled U.S.-backed leader spoke early Sunday at a military parade celebrating Pakistan's national day. Flatbed trucks rolled past his viewing stand displaying pieces of Pakistan's nuclear- armed arsenal: camouflage-painted Shaheen missiles about 12 yards long. "The journey toward democracy and development we started eight years ago is now reaching its destination," said the former army strongman, who seized power in a 1999 coup. "A new era of real democracy has begun." Musharraf quit the military in November but retains sweeping presidential powers to fire parliament and the prime minister. The parties who defeated his allies in the recent elections are hoping to strip away some of his powers, as well as reverse his decision to purge the courts and review his U.S.-backed terrorism policies. "I hope the new government can maintain peace and the fast pace of socio-economic development in Pakistan," Musharraf said Sunday. "And I hope it will also continue our struggle against the curse of terrorism and extremism with the same force." The party of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto named former parliament speaker Yousaf Raza Gilani as its candidate for Pakistan's next prime minister on Saturday. Bhutto's Pakistan's People's Party won the biggest parliamentary bloc in Feb. 18 elections and is preparing to lead the new coalition government. The party enjoys the customary right to name the prime minister because it won the most seats. Gilani was a close aide to Bhutto and spent four years in jail on allegations he abused his authority as speaker under Bhutto's second term as prime minister in the 1990s. He was freed in 2005. Party spokesman Farhatullah Babar announced his nomination at a news conference Saturday night in Islamabad. "Yousaf Raza Gilani is not afraid to lead and he knows the way," Babar said, reading a statement from Bhutto's widower, Asif Ali Zardari. The PPP is forming a majority coalition with the party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which came in second in the elections. Neither party took enough votes to govern alone. The naming of a premiership candidate was stalled for weeks, fueling speculation that Zardari wanted the job for himself. He now shares control of the party with his and Bhutto's 19-year-old son. 24 Marzo de 2008 Zardari, however, cannot become premier because he did not run for a parliamentary seat. But he could contest a by-election and win a seat to qualify as early as this summer. In that case, Gilani would be a stand-in until Zardari could run. A confirmation vote is scheduled for Monday in parliament, and the prime minister would be sworn in by Musharraf a day later. Gilani will likely face an opposition candidate from Musharraf's Pakistan Muslim League-Q. However, that nomination is largely symbolic because Musharraf and his allies lack a majority in parliament. The choice of Gilani came as a clear snub to PPP vice chair Makhdoom Amin Fahim, who was long presumed the front-runner after leading Bhutto's party during her nearly eight years in exile. Still, Fahim said he would not quit the party. "I have the best wishes for him," Fahim told The Associated Press just after Gilani's name was announced. Bhutto returned to Pakistan last year only to be assassinated in a suicide attack in December. Since then, Zardari has risen to become a key figure in Pakistan's politics, and he may have considered Fahim a threat to his own political ambitions. Bhutto's son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, was appointed party chairman after his mother died, but his father is running things while the 19-year-old continues his studies at Oxford University. Zardari and Sharif, who was ousted in Musharraf's coup, have pledged that their coalition will tackle the massive challenges facing Pakistan, including a wave of Islamic militancy, high inflation and electricity shortages. They have also vowed to work to strengthen democracy. A confrontation still looms between Musharraf and Sharif, who has been one of the most vocal in calling for the unpopular president's resignation or impeachment Shuttle Crew Prepares to Leave Station By REUTERS March 23, 2008 Filed at 9:02 p.m. ET HOUSTON (Reuters) -- Shuttle Endeavour astronauts on Sunday prepared to leave the International Space Station after a successful 12-day visit to install the first piece of a Japanese laboratory and assemble a Canadian maintenance robot. The crew swapped spacesuits, leaving its newest gear and spare parts aboard the outpost, and packed up experiment samples for return to Earth. The shuttle is scheduled to depart the station on Monday. 24 Marzo de 2008 For the first part of the day, the crew enjoyed time off. "We had over 33 hours of spacewalking time (on this flight). It's great to see it behind us. The crew is due for a little rest," lead spacewalk officer Zebulon Scoville told reporters at Johnson Space Center. On a spacewalk that ended on Saturday night, Robert Behnken and Michael Foreman performed chores that included Foreman checking out a balky rotary joint for one of the station's wing-like solar power panels. NASA discovered metal shavings inside the mechanism last year and is trying to trace their source. Space station flight director Dana Weigel said Foreman found no evidence that orbital debris had struck the joint, which eliminated one possible cause. "That's a big help for us. That kind of narrows down one of the chains of the fault tree," she said. The rotary joint was designed to keep the panel pointed at the sun to maximize electricity production, but has been locked in place to prevent further damage. However, the station is growing and its power needs increasing so NASA must soon make decisions about how to repair the joint, Weigel said. "The first decision point is going to be the end of March," she said. One option is simply "to try to clean it up and live with it," Weigel said. Endeavour, after a night launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, arrived at the space station on March 12 with the first piece of Japan's Kibo lab and with Dextre, the Canadian-built maintenance robot. The second of Kibo's three parts, the main laboratory, is scheduled to be transported to the station on a May shuttle flight. The U.S. space agency plans to fly 10 more construction and resupply flights to the station as well as a mission to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope before the shuttle fleet is retired in 2010. Endeavour is due to land at the Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday. (Additional reporting by Jeff Franks, editing by Todd Eastham) Londres y París impulsan la energía nuclear PATRICIA TUBELLA - La cumbre de Brown y Sarkozy adoptará medidas contra la inmigración ilegal Londres 23/03/2008 La voluntad política de creciente cooperación entre el Reino Unido y Francia va a traducirse en un acuerdo para impulsar conjuntamente una nueva generación de centrales nucleares y exportar esa tecnología al resto del mundo. Según adelantaba ayer el diario The Guardian, Gordon Brown y Nicolas Sarkozy lo confirmarán durante un encuentro bilateral fijado para el próximo jueves y que ha sido bautizado como la "cumbre del Arsenal", porque tomará como escenario el estadio de los Emiratos, que el conocido club de fútbol 24 Marzo de 2008 estrenó el año pasado. La cita primer ministro británico y del presidente francés se enmarca en la visita de Estado que Sarkozy iniciará el miércoles con su esposa, Carla Bruni. El proyecto de imprimir un nuevo impulso a la energía nuclear entronca con los planes anunciados por Brown el pasado enero para promover la apertura de nuevas plantas en su combate contra el impacto climático de la contaminación. En el trasfondo de su decisión, que supone un cambio radical en la política energética del Gobierno laborista, subyace la inquietud por el alza de los precios del petróleo y la caída de la producción de crudo en el mar del Norte. Los británicos pretenden aprovechar la dilatada experiencia en ese campo de Francia, cuya avanzada industria nuclear provee el 79% del suministro de electricidad, frente a tan sólo el 20% en el caso de Reino Unido, cuyas centrales han quedado obsoletas (la última cerrará sus puertas en 2035). Brown ha dado vía a las demandas del sector privado (no habrá financiación pública), encabezadas por el gigante energético francés EDF, junto a la alemana E.ON y la británica Centrica. El pacto franco-británico prevé la venta de este tipo de instalaciones a terceros países durante los próximos 50 años. La propuesta cuenta con el apoyo de la oposición conservadora, pero ha merecido la crítica de la tercera fuerza parlamentaria, los liberaldemócratas, y de los grupos que denuestan la energía nuclear como cara, sucia y peligrosa. La cuestión sigue dividiendo a los británicos, que, según las recientes encuestas, apoya la energía nuclear en un 44%, frente al rechazo de un 37%. Horas después de que Sarkozy ejerza de invitado de la reina en un banquete en el palacio de Buckingham se producirá el cara a cara con Brown, la reunión de dos socios europeos cuya fotografía pretende subrayar el distanciamiento del presidente galo del tradicional eje franco-alemán. Ambos divulgarán también un paquete de medidas, según The Guardian, destinadas a poner freno a la inmigración ilegal, que incluyen vuelos chárter, con origen en el Reino Unido y escala en Francia, para repatriar a los indocumentados de forma voluntaria o forzosa. Los dos países han acordado doblar el volumen de registros en sus respectivos puertos (un millón durante el año 2007) e incrementar la dotación de agentes encubiertos para detectar a las bandas que trafican con los ilegales. Asimismo confirmarán que se han desechado los planes para levantar una reedición del campamento de Sangatte en Calais, que llegó a concentrar a decenas de miles de refugiados hasta su cierre en 2002. Sarkozy afianza el atlantismo OCTAVI MARTÍ - París Francia busca aliados entre los británicos ante la política antinuclear alemana 23/03/2008 Con la llegada al poder de Nicolas Sarkozy, Francia parece querer cambiar de aliados. El tradicional eje París-Berlín ha perdido peso a favor del París-Londres. La maniobra no es nueva -Jacques Chirac ya la intentó, seducido por Tony Blair-, pero ahora es más creíble debido al atlantismo confeso del nuevo presidente. El aumento del contingente francés en Afganistán en 1.000 soldados, anunciado por Sarkozy, es un gesto significativo hacia los británicos, la OTAN y sobre todo Estados Unidos. Al mismo tiempo, Sarkozy quiere aumentar la presencia gala en el sector nuclear civil, donde le son muy útiles los socios británicos, a la vez que modifica su estrategia nuclear militar. En la actualidad Francia cuenta en su territorio con 58 reactores nucleares en funcionamiento que 24 Marzo de 2008 suministran el 78,5% de la energía eléctrica que produce el país. El aumento del precio del petróleo confiere a las criticadas centrales nucleares -residuos radioactivos, problemas de seguridad, etcétera- un nuevo atractivo. Y la experiencia gala hace que Sarkozy impulse acuerdos de cooperación nuclear entre las empresas Areva y Framatome -construcción de centrales la primera; producción, enriquecimiento y tratamiento de combustible la segunda- y países como China, Libia, Suráfrica, India, Argelia, Marruecos o los Emiratos Árabes Unidos. En China los franceses han vendido dos centrales nucleares EPR, las llamadas de tercera generación, por 8.000 millones de dólares (5.500 millones de euros); en Suráfrica la propuesta comercial concierne a doce EPR y la formación de decenas de ingenieros; en el caso de India, el mercado en disputa es de 20 a 25 reactores y entre 50.000 y 70.000 millones de dólares (entre 35.000 y 50.000 millones de euros). "La tecnología nuclear francesa es la más segura del mundo", les dijo Sarkozy a los dirigentes de India al tiempo que les prometía que "Francia defenderá ante la Agencia Internacional de la Energía Atómica (AIEA) que India tenga derecho a una excepción y pueda embarcarse en nuclear civil". India no puede recibir ayuda ni inversiones extranjeras en materia de energía atómica debido a que el país no ha firmado el tratado de no proliferación nuclear. En el caso de Libia la venta acordada de un reactor EPR no se materializará antes de 10 años, no sólo porque el país carece de personal para cuidarse de la gestión de la central sino porque tampoco parece necesitar aún de una instalación de 1600 megavatios. No es en cambio el caso de Abu Dhabi, que desea dos EPR para producir electricidad y para poder desalar agua. El primero de los EPR debiera entrar en funcionamiento en Finlandia, construido por franceses y alemanes. Pero los socios germanos -Siemens- vienen lastrados por la política antinuclear impuesta por el canciller Schröder y ratificada por Angela Merkel. Eso, y la necesidad británica de renovar sus viejas centrales, hace que Sarkozy busque ahora acuerdos con Gordon Brown, tal y como revela el diario The Guardian. Para los franceses, que construyen también un EPR en su territorio, eso puede significar el pasar de centrales de la tercera a las de la cuarta generación, que entrarían en funcionamiento entre 2020 y 2025, centrales menos voraces en combustible y refrigeradas con la ayuda de sodio líquido. En materia de nuclear militar, Sarkozy ratificó el viernes pasado -en el acto de presentación del cuarto submarino atómico francés- su voluntad de impulsar "la prohibición total de pruebas nucleares". Desde 1996, Francia domina la tecnología que permite simular las pruebas o explosiones atómicas. También anunció la decisión de reducir a "menos de 300" el número de misiles armados con cabezas nucleares. Además, sugirió "negociar un tratado internacional para la prohibición de los misiles de corto y medio alcance". En 2006, el presidente Chirac especificó los "intereses vitales" que -en caso de correr peligro- podían justificar una respuesta nuclear gala. Entre ellos estaban "la garantía del aprovisionamiento energético y la defensa de los países aliados". Ahora, Sarkozy prefiere no enumerar causas o intereses vitales, pero sí deja bien claro que las represalias nucleares sólo pueden apuntar a un Estado y nunca a una organización terrorista autónoma. Además, Sarkozy propuso un "diálogo abierto" a los socios europeos en temas nucleares militares, 24 Marzo de 2008 una oferta que, de momento, sólo puede interesar a Reino Unido, el país europeo que más gasta en defensa, seguido de Francia, que dedica a su Ejército el 1,8% del producto interior bruto.
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