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The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics

submitted by Albert Gomez

ellenmacarthurfoundation.org - January 19, 2016

Applying circular economy principles to global plastic packaging flows could transform the plastics economy and drastically reduce negative externalities such as leakage into oceans, according to this new report.

The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics provides, for the first time, a vision of a global economy in which plastics never become waste, and outlines concrete steps towards achieving the systemic shift needed.

The report was produced by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with analytical support from McKinsey & Company, as part of Project MainStream, a global, multi-industry initiative that aims to accelerate business-driven innovations to help scale the circular economy. It was financially supported by the MAVA Foundation.

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China Is Headed for a Debt Meltdown Like the U.S. in 2008 - But Worse

               

Empty apartment developments stand in the city of Ordos, Inner Mongolia on September 12, 2011. MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images) | MARK RALSTON via Getty Images

huffingtonpost.com - by Robert Hockett - January 8, 2016

World attention has focused in recent months on an acute refugee crisis occasioned by the mass migration to Europe of hundreds of thousands now fleeing the Syrian civil war. Less noticed has been another refugee crisis at least as ominous as that underway in the Middle East and Europe -- the fleeing of money from China.

What's going on, and why is it ominous? . . .

. . . where Chinese money is going -- to U.S. real estate and other asset markets. . . .

. . . First, it is fueling new real estate bubbles in the U.S. . . .

. . . Second, the shift of investment flows from Chinese to American assets is placing downward pressure on Chinese currency values, and will place upward pressure on the dollar -- yet again. This will ultimately worsen America's trade balance with China, harming America's own economic recovery and fueling mutual Chinese-American resentments -- possibly culminating in financially destabilizing competitive currency devaluations, trade war, or both. . . .

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The Geopolitics of Cheap Oil

             

THE WASHINGTON POST VIA GETTY IMAGES

huffingtonpost.com - by John Feffer - January 7, 2016

The market was supposed to save the planet.

That, at least, was the argument of many economists grappling with the problem of climate change. As fossil fuels became scarcer, they pointed out, the price of oil and natural gas would go up. And then other options, like solar and wind, would become cheaper, particularly as investment flowed into that sector and drove down the cost of new technologies.

And voila: The invisible hand would gradually turn down the global thermostat.

It’s a ridiculous argument.

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Five Key Challenges for New UN Refugee Chief

The UN's new High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.  
Photo: Amanda Voisard/UNHCR

irinnews.org - BY Kristy Siegfried

OXFORD, 5 January 2016 (IRIN) - Getting back to work following the end-of-year break can be tough. But spare a thought for Filippo Grandi, who arrived in Geneva this week to begin his five-year term as head of the UN’s refugee agency.

Not only is he replacing António Guterres, who held the office of High Commissioner for the past 10 years and was widely revered, but he is doing so at a time when record numbers of people around the world are fleeing persecution and conflict and in need of UNHCR’s protection and support. . . .

. . . Here are five of the greatest challenges likely to preoccupy him in the coming months:

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A Different Sort of Aid for Syria?

           

Some aid organisations are helping residents of Homs' Old City start over.  Photo: B. Diab/UNHCR

CLICK HERE - REPORT - UNDP - March 2015 - Syria - Alienation and Violence - Impact of Syria Crisis Report 2014 (66 page .PDF report)

irinnews.org - by Charlotte Bailey

BEIRUT, 4 January 2016 (IRIN) - Given the brutality that has come to characterise Syria’s four-year war, it is understandable that discussion of the conflict has focused on violent deaths.

But there is another scourge destroying lives in the country: economic ruin and crippling poverty – what a UN-backed report called “an equally horrendous but silent disaster.”

Some aid organisations and policy experts are finding that with more than four out of five Syrians in poverty, traditional humanitarian aid, while necessary, just isn’t enough. So they’re advocating for, and implementing, livelihood projects – intervention to assist people’s abilities to support themselves.

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Global Stock Markets Dive on China Worries

         

The index was at the lowest level in nearly three months.  Associated Press

Wall Street has continued the rout on global share markets, with the Dow Jones, S&P 500 closing down more than 1.5% and Nasdaq down 2%.

bbc.com - January 4, 2016

It followed sharp falls in China, where trading on the main stock markets was halted early after indexes tumbled 7%.

A survey indicating China's manufacturing sector contracted again last month was blamed for the falls. . . .

. . . On Wall Street, all 10 major S&P sectors were lower, led by the 2.4% fall in the technology sector. Bank stocks were also hard hit, with JP Morgan down 3.65%.

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(ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLES WITHIN THE LINKS BELOW)

CLICK HERE - The Guardian - US stock markets open with worst performance since 2008

CLICK HERE - Huffpost Business - China Halts Trading After 7 Percent Plunge

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NGOs Speak: Their Most Pressing Humanitarian Priorities for 2016

             

South Sudan tops many aid agencies' humanitarian priority lists. as a three-year civil war exacts a heavy toll on the citizens of the country.  (Nichole Sobecki, AFP)

Following a call from the UN for a record $20.1 billion, 15 of the world's leading aid agencies were polled on their top humanitarian concerns.

mg.co.za - by Tom Esslemont - December 28, 2015

There’s one prediction for 2016 that most aid workers can make with confidence – that the new year will usher in rising humanitarian needs.

Besides displacement caused by long-term conflicts in places like Syria and South Sudan, there is also the threat of more violence in Central African Republic and hunger caused by El Nino, which is expected to bring more drought to already-parched southern regions in Africa and potential flooding in the east. . . .

. . . A Thomson Reuters Foundation poll asked 15 of the world’s leading aid agencies to name their top three humanitarian priorities for 2016. Not surprisingly, Syria topped the list of concerns. But what were the others?

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Spain Votes ‘No’ on Failed Economic Policies

                

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy at a press conference in Madrid on December 21, 2015.  His Popular Party lost its parliamentary majority in elections the previous day.  Cesar Manso/AFP/Getty Images

Spanish voters reject the two-party system that presided over austerity and mass unemployment

huffingtonpost.com - by Mark Weisbrot - December 23, 2015

In Spain's elections last Sunday, the two parties that have ruled the country for the past three decades took serious losses. This has important implications for the future of not only the country but also the rest of Europe. It is yet another example of how and why the eurozone remains in political upheaval, six years after the global recession. 

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Vodafone Launches Mobile Cash Transfer System in Ghana Where 15M People Do Not Have a Bank Account

             

Moving money: The service, called M-Pesa, will be branded Vodafone Cash in the West African state

thisismoney.co.uk - by City & Finance Reporter for the Daily Mail - December 7, 2015

Vodafone has launched its mobile cash transfer system in Ghana where 15m people do not have a bank account.

The service, called M-Pesa, will be branded Vodafone Cash in the West African state. It allows mobile phone users to load money on to their phones, just as pay-as-you-go customers can top up their credit. 

They can send the funds anywhere in the country with a text message. Recipients can pick up the cash at shops that offer the service.

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Unmitigated Climate Change to Shrink Global Economy by 23 Percent, Researchers Find

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production

reuters.com - by Ben Gruber - November 16, 2015

Berkeley, California (Reuters) When the world heats up, economies around the globe will cool down. That's according to a new study which predicts that rising temperatures due to climate change will wreak havoc on economic output.  

"Our best estimate is that the global economy as a whole will be 23 percent smaller in 2100 than if we would avoid climate change entirely," said co-author of the study Solomon Hsiang, an associate professor of public policy at the University of California Berkeley. 

The study looked at the relationship between temperature and economic activity in 166 countries over a 50 year period.

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CLICK HERE - Berkeley News - Study finds climate change will reshape global economy

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