April 22, 2014
As Western nations struggle to appease environmentalists, Russia is moving fast to tap huge oil and gas deposits in the Arctic Circle, making its first oil shipment from an offshore drilling platform in the Arctic Ocean on April 18. Moscow is likely now to attempt to fortify its dominant position in the icy region in a bid to protect its interests.
Russia Taps Arctic Oil, Leaving Rivals in Its Wake
The Prirazlomnaya drilling platform, owned by Gazprom, is towed to its home in the Pechora Sea. The Arctic region is estimated to hold 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the US Geological Survey. (Gazprom)
Thanks to Gas, the Levant Just Got a Lot More Complicated
April 3, 2014
Could the highly volatile Levant — where Sunni meets Shia, Kurds clash with Turks, Palestinians battle Israelis, and Arabs fight each other — possibly become more chaotic than it already is? The answer is yes, and the reason is gas.
Why Japan May Be Forced to Save Its Nuclear Power Plants
April 3, 2014
Japan’s economic revival, now decades delayed, may be the driving force that returns the country to nuclear power despite the legacy of Fukushima. The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe needs cheap energy for manufacturing and has signaled its intention to revive the country’s dormant nuclear industry in order to ensure that supply.
China Losing Monopoly Over Rare Earth Elements
April 2, 2014
China’s control over the world’s production of rare earth elements — a series of 17 minerals vital for numerous high-tech industries — suffered a serious blow after the World Trade Organization ruled in late March that Beijing’s export quotas violate global trade agreements. Competition from Australia, Greenland, Russia, and the United States is putting the screws on China and may help ease international dependence on Beijing for the metals.
Can Gold Regain Its Luster? Don’t Bet Against It
April 2, 2014
Special Economic Analysis
by Peter Warburton, PhD

No change in the macroeconomic climate can explain the disgorgement of $40 billion of gold exchange-traded funds last year. Fully one-third of the stock of gold ETFs, measured by weight, has been liquidated in a year. All of the increase from October 2009 has been reversed.
Erdogan’s Assault on Internet Exposes Disdain for Democracy
April 2, 2014
Seeking to stop a damaging corruption scandal from growing larger, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched an all-out assault on Internet freedom, targeting social media sites and then blocking workarounds that kept Turks connected. While heavy-handed censorship might tamp down dissent within Turkey, such tactics damage the country’s image and could deal a mortal blow to the country’s chances of being admitted into the European Union.
US Military Cuts Open Door for Latin American Drug Runners
April 1, 2014
Drug traffickers in Central and South America are finding the going easier along the cocaine trail north into U.S. markets, thanks to deep military budget cuts. Desperate for more ships and surveillance aircraft, U.S. Southern Command is unlikely to receive the help it needs to meet its 2015 goal of reducing by 40 percent the influx of drugs from Latin America to the United States.
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