Building Boom

Chinese corporations, financial institutions, and the government are involved in billions of dollars worth of large dams in Africa. Civil society and dam-affected peoples’ movements are concerned that China’s own poor record on protecting human rights and the environment could mean trouble for African rivers now targeted for Chinese-built large dams.

Africa is a growing source of raw materials for China’s industrial sector as well as a marketplace for Chinese goods. Chinese companies are heavily involved in many fields: oil, mining, logging, and infrastructure. Unlike western financiers China’s assistance comes with almost no strings attached.

via Chinese Dams in Africa | International Rivers.

I was looking for information on Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam when I came across this information from International Rivers.  I knew China had invested heavily in Africa, but this is a LOT of dams.

According to this article China is involved in building 304 dams in 74 countries, not just in Africa.  Here’s the list.  Most are in Africa or Southeast Asia.  Many of the ones close to home will generate electricity that will be exported to China.

I have so many questions I don’t even know where to begin.  How about you?

And So It Continues

Pro-Russian politicians and activists in Moldova’s breakaway Trans-Dniester region have asked the Russian parliament to draft a law that would allow their territory to join Russia.

via BBC News – Moldova’s Trans-Dniester region pleads to join Russia.

The Most Stunning Thing on the Internet


This Interactive Map of Earth’s Weather Is the Most Stunning Thing on the Internet – PolicyMic.

3 Years and Counting

As of today, 2.5 million Syrians have registered as refugees in neighboring countries or are awaiting registration. Another 6.5 million Syrians are displaced inside the country. That means that about 40% of the entire pre-conflict population of Syria has been displaced.

via A Shocking Statistic About Syrian Refugees in Lebanon | UN DispatchUN Dispatch.

Over 9 million people displaced.   That’s like everybody in Texas who lives west of Dallas and Houston having to move, and living in a tent somewhere.

In Lebanon alone, the number of registered refugees from Syria is approaching 1 million and could grow to 1.6 million at the end of 2014 if current trends continue. Lebanon already has the highest per capita concentration of refugees of any country in recent history, with nearly 230 registered Syrian refugees for every 1,000 Lebanese. That is more than 70 times as many refugees per inhabitants as in France, and 280 times as many as in the United States. The number of registered Syrian refugees hosted in Lebanon would be equivalent to nearly 19 million refugees in Germany and over 73 million in the United States.

See more at:

A Shocking Statistic About Syrian Refugees in Lebanon | UN DispatchUN Dispatch

Crimea: The Revenge Of Geography?

Putin is for the moment in a strong position in Ukraine because Ukraine simply matters to him more than it matters to the United States or even to Europe. And it matters more to him because of geography. Ukraine, for all the familiar reasons, is central to the destiny of European Russia, to Russia’s history and identity and particularly to Russia’s access to the warm waters of the Mediterranean via the Black Sea. And because Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based on the Crimean Peninsula, Putin feels he cannot just stand by and watch his fleet become subject to an emerging, overtly pro-Western state in Ukraine.

via Crimea: The Revenge Of Geography?.

Crimea: The Revenge Of Geography?

More Trouble for Googoosha

BBC News – Switzerland probes Uzbek leader’s daughter Gulnara Karimova.

Prosecutors in Switzerland have opened a money laundering investigation into Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of the president of Uzbekistan.

The charges involve the Swedish-Finnish telephone company TeliaSonera and its attempt to get contracts to expand into Uzbekistan.

Swedish-Finnish company TeliaSonera, which is partly state-owned, was accused in a 2012 Swedish TV report of paying an intermediary company, Takilant, $300m for 3G mobile phone rights in Uzbekistan.

Will she be found guilty of wrong-doing?  Will the people of Uzbekistan care?  Will this hurt her chances of taking over the country when her father can no longer rule?

Let’s Go!

Concert: Alash Tuvan Throat Singing Ensemble

Fri, April 25, 2014
7:00 PM 
Scottish Rite Theater 
207 W 18th St Austin, TX 78701

We are pleased to announce that renowned Tuvan throat singing ensemble Alash will be joining us for a concert this Spring!

The concert will be FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Alash performs traditional music from the Republic of Tuva, located in southern Siberia bordering Mongolia, using throat singing and Tuvan folk instruments, all subtly infused with Western influences. 

The trio of master throat singers has toured the US annually since 2006, playing with Béla Fleck & the Flecktones (who were on tour to promote their CD “Jingle All the Way,” which features Alash on several tracks), at SXSW, at UT several times, and on air at public radio stations across the U.S. (A more complete list can be seen on their website:

More information can be seen at:


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