Archive for the ‘World Beat’ Category

Japanese PM to receive President Obama

November 10, 2009


Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama will meet with president Obama this week in Tokyo to tackle issues such as Afghanistan, the environment, and the economic crisis.

Obama has said to the Japanese public broadcasting service, NHK, that he is willing to pay his respects to the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only two sites that the United States has ever used the atomic bomb against.

Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama was not reached for comment on the issue but it seems Obama is not publicizing this part of his trip.


Prime Minister Hatoyama was the first foreign leader to visit the Obama white house and now he has extended the same hospitality to our president.

During their meeting at the Whitehouse early 2009, Obama stressed that he wished to strengthen Japanese-American relations.

The leaders of the two largest economies will meet later this week and continue to form the bond they created in the first month of Obama’s administration.


Obama has stated that America’s relationship with Japan secures the United States’ place in east-Asia.

The meeting with Hatoyama won’t be without its struggles. Secretary of State Clinton has meet with Chinese and talks with North Korea are always on the table which is not something the Japanese government readily approves of.

Most likely, Obama’s visit will center around the environment as the Copenhagen conference is the next international conference that he will be attending.


Not since George Bush Sr, a former ambassador to China under Nixon, have we seen a president so interested in Asia and its place in the world.

With the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq seizing most of our foreign policy attention its easy to forget how important Asia has been in the past several decades in securing world peace.

Nixon and his triangular diplomacy diffused strong cold war tensions and the trade wars of 80s between America and Japan lead to a great exchange of products and culture.

I hope that Obama will periodically focus on the marvelous potential Asia has in shaping economic and political power world wide.


obamajapan.jpg image by hibiscusphoto


British Economy Becoming More Optomistic

November 10, 2009


A new London Times poll shows that Britons are more optimistic about their economy than any other time in the last 18 months.

The economy has been showing better signs in London as well with overall sales rising at their fastest increase since April and October sales having their highest street sales in seven years.

The pound reached a three month high during this new economic hill, I would not call it a peak.


Even with this sporadic growth and a relative increase in consumer confidence, the Labour Party has proposed for a national investment corporation that will invest public money in industry and enterprise.

This proposal is a similar if a more organized and logical approach to the bail-outs that we have had in the United States.

Instead of investing in failing companies, the British are opting to support what they call “high growth and innovative” companies.

The way to determine this appropriation of public funds is still a matter of debate.

Pollsters may have found out that currently the British feel better about their economy, but that same poll confirmed that two thirds of the country still believe their country will do badly in the next year.


England’s economic psyche maybe a little unstable but it is certainly moving in the right direction. The British Treasury is still pushing hard for billions in investment money arguing that the recovery can be a fragile process.

Does a simple upswing in morale move an economy towards a recovery or is it just cold hard numbers that solve these crises? Concordantly, is the United States bailing its economy in a smart way, by investing in failing companies rather than successful ones?

The greatest so-called capitalist power on the planet is treating its recovery process more like the witness protection program than a true investment deal.

If the American bailout uses American money maybe we should ask for a different investment, perhaps the Brits have some hot tips about the market.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

First Robot Olympics to be held in China

November 10, 2009


The first International Humanoid Robot Olympic Games will be held in the Chinese city of Harbin in June 2010.

The event will showcase robotics creators from around the world and will feature their creations in a competitive setting.

The games will only permit androids, or robots with human features and structure, to be entered into the games unlike the formerly popular Battlebots program on Comedy Central which featured robots with giants saws, hammers, and conveyor belts to name a few.


Organizers of these new type of games states that this competition aims to make robots more efficient and more capable at serving humans at home. (I guess the founders of the games hadn’t heard of the Roomba, no legs but a very efficient vacuum cleaner.

16 events will be held throughout the competition including track and field and football, highly demanding games for even a human body. The robots we will see at this competition will have to have impeccable design and endurance to survive.


Chinese officials estimate that more than a hundred universities will compete in the games from over twenty countries around the world. As an American, I whole heartily expect that MIT will be making an appearance in Harbin.

No specific date has been made for the International Humanoid Robot Olympic Games yet, but the artificial intelligence community is electric with its excitement.