Today let’s talk about fracking. It’s a subject that is constantly in the news. However, what is fracking? Well, fracking or hydraulic fracturing is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release the natural gas inside.
The process involves using a lot of water that at the fracking site is mixed with up to 600 different chemicals; including lead, uranium, and mercury. The fracking fluid is then pressure injected into the ground through a drilled pipe. When this mixture reaches the end of the well it causes the nearby shale rock to crack, creating fissures where natural gas flows into the well.
In the Central European country of Slovakia, a mobile phone banking revolution is taking place. Thousands of people are now regularly making payments using their mobile phone. It’s all down to new technology that several Slovakian banks have introduced.
The system being used in Slovakia is called Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. This offers users a user-friendly solution to the mobile payment hang-up, but it requires coordination between banks and mobile operators, as well as infrastructure in shops. Slovakia is considered the European leader in adopting innovative solutions.
Category: Economic / Banks / Business
Want a mortgage in Britain? If you apply for one now you are likely to be asked some new bizarre questions! This is because the UK property market is overheating. There is a ‘super bubble’ in the London area.
The tsunami like effect is rippling outwards, right across the South East of Britain. Its effect is pushing property prices up. London has seen prices increase in the last year by approximately 17%. Year-on-year prices rose across the UK by an average of 8%. Prices are expected to increase another 10%.
Category: Economic / House Prices / Mortgages
Today let’s talk about cars. It’s a topic we all like to discuss with our friends - so why not in an English lesson? Car sales statistics for April 2012 have recently been published so I thought it a good idea to compare the UK and USA figures. The UK figures do, I believe, represent the number of vehicles registered in April rather than those actually sold.
Category: Cars / Car Sales / Top Ten
Should Britain leave the EU? Britain’s Daily Express newspaper thinks so. It recently explained why and hopefully it now makes an interesting theme to discuss. The British newspaper demanded ‘our country’ back from the EU! They called it ‘a crusade for freedom’. They wish to see Britain break free from the ‘EU dictatorship’.
Certainly many in Europe and beyond now jokingly call the EU the ‘E.U.S.S.R.’. This point definitely rings alarm bells in Eastern European countries, who clearly remember the U.S.S.R. and communism, and whose citizens now see the EU for what it really is.
Is the EU a Big Brother state like the U.S.S.R. once was? The Daily Express states those behind the EU have been intent on one goal: the creation of a single political and economic European state with absolute sovereignty over the nations under its control
Category: Europe / EU / Economic & Business
Less than one hundred years ago Africa was still being colonised by the western imperial powers. Large parts had still yet to be discovered. The British Empire was nearing its peak with red covering many countries on the new map of the African continent. France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Belgium all had colonies there. Yet today where are they all?
Having kicked out their imperial western masters and gained their independence today’s African leaders have turned their backs on the west. Instead they have set their eyes firmly towards the east. China has emerged as the new Asian tiger – or should that be dragon. Hungry for raw materials, land and energy China has for a number of years now been quietly doing massive amounts of new business all over the African continent.
Thousands and thousands of Chinese have been relocated to Africa to organise and deliver many precious raw materials. China desperately needs them due to its own shortage of raw materials. Over the last decade a staggering 750,000 Chinese have resettled in Africa. Many more are coming. Africa is rapidly becoming a new Chinese colony or satellite state.
The heat wave that has gripped Russia this summer continues. As a result devastating fires continue to burn continuously right across Central Russia. The fires have caused havoc. There has been no rain for months. In parts, the land resembled the results of implementing a ‘scorched earth policy’. Thousands of people have lost their homes in 14 regions of Russia over the past few days. Up to 2,000 homes have been destroyed in the blazes.
Category: Russia / Moscow / Devastating Fires
Should Zimbabwe be allowed to resume diamond sales? That’s the question delegates from 70 countries at talks in Israel recently had to decide. The organisation that controls the international diamond trade failed to find an answer after allegations of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe’s mines.
Members of the watchdog, known as ‘the Kimberley Process’, said discussions had been ‘clouded’ by the arrest and imprisonment of a human rights activist. Farai Maguwu had alleged that forced labour, rape, torture and harassment were being used to develop Zimbabwe’s new lucrative Marange diamond mines.
Zimbabwe’s ability to export Kimberley certified diamonds – ‘the Kimberley Process’ - was suspended after the army seized control of Marange, allegedly massacring up to 200 miners two years ago. The country has accused the west of trying to hold back its economic development.
The diamonds from the Marange field could see the country become one of the world’s top six exporters of diamonds and generate US$1.7bn a year. But human rights groups want Zimbabwe to remain banned from selling “blood diamonds” - those which are used to fuel a conflict.
Category: Zimbabwe / Blood Damonds / Kimberley Process
A new dispute is escalating in the South Atlantic between Argentina and Britain over the disputed Falkland Islands. This time, it is about black gold – oil. So far, it is only a diplomatic war of words between the two countries. The trigger for the latest bout of words was a ship called Thor Leader. Its cargo was pipes bound for the Falkland Islands where an oil drilling platform is about to start drilling for oil.
Argentina has accused Britain of illegally promoting drilling operations. Geologists have estimated there could be up to 60 billion barrels of high grade oil in the 200 square mile seabed zone surrounding the Falkland’s. That could make the Falklands one of the world’s largest oil reserves, comparable with the North Sea, which so far has produced about 40 billion barrels of oil.
Ailing low cost Central European airline SkyEurope has finally gone bankrupt. After struggling for months it finally admitted defeat at the beginning of September. The airline that existed for 7 years has had ongoing financial problems. It is yet another casualty of the economic recession that has seen other low cost carriers recently slash routes and jobs.
The collapse left thousands of passengers stranded abroad. The airline that flew across Europe from its hub bases in Prague, Bratislava and Vienna ceased trading after airports banned SkyEurope planes over non-payment of debts at the beginning of September.
Having been banned from Vienna Airport in August the airline shifted its flights to nearby Bratislava in Slovakia. It faced a similar ban at Prague airport unless regular payments were made. A day later Slovakia revoked its operating licence as a result of the bankruptcy. Previously SkyEurope had had planes impounded in Paris and Bulgaria over non payment of airport fees...