In 2012, the UN said that Denmark was the happiest place on earth. This year, Denmark returned to the UN with some nice Danish pastries, and a territorial claim to the North Pole based on its relationship with Greenland, a Danish autonomous territory. [more inside]
Exxon mobil has signed a development agreement with the Kremlin-majority-owned Rosneft to develop the Bazhenov oil shale reserves in Siberia (PDF), which are estimated to hold 2 million million barrels of oil equivalent -- that's about 64 years of current consumption.
Current TV previously & previously, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
House of Happiness - photos by Rena Effendi of women in the Ferghana Valley, part of central Asia's ancient Silk Route now known as "the heroin highway" - "a geographical and cultural mishmash where three countries and many ethnicities cluster." More about the photos. (Some photos NSFW) [more inside]
Ahead of the global climate talks, nine photographers from the photo agency NOOR photographed climate stories from around the world. Their goal: to document some of the causes and consequences, from deforestation to changing sea levels, as well as the people whose lives and jobs are part of that carbon culture. Warming threatens lifestyle of Russian herders | Refugees flee drought, war in East Africa | Greenland’s shrinking ice hurts natives [more inside]
Moscow is home to the largest number of billionaires and in Russia, there are nearly 100 billionaires. Due to recent economic developments and the drop in oil prices, the oligarchs, who rose to prominence under Gorbachev, have lost a combined total of $200 billion. Help is here.
As many peoples eyes will be elsewhere the readers of the blue may not have seen the red flowing in the streets of Mother Russia. Russia’s two main bourses, RTS and MICEX, said on Wednesday they were suspending trade until further notice. How bad? Russian shares suffered their steepest one-day fall in more than a decade on Tuesday, losing up to 20 per cent, as a sharp slide in oil prices and difficult money market conditions triggered a rush to sell. [more inside]
Did Vladimir Putin really turn around Russia's economy? Washington Post's Fred Hyatt attempts to refute the conventional wisdom that Putin was responsible for Russia's turnaround from the economic instability of the "disastrous" 90s by offering a thorough counter argument to prove that Putin's effect on the economy was just the reverse. [more inside]
Global warming -- the upside: the entrepreneurs poised to make millions from new ports and shipping lanes in the formerly ice-bound Arctic circle. A fascinating New York Times article on the international land-grab following the news (reported here, discussed here, whitewashed here, et. al.) that the polar ice caps and Siberian permafrost are melting. Goodbye Gulf Stream, hello Club Med Santa-style -- first SUV to the North Pole wins!
According to this editorial, the Russians have outmaneuvered the US oil interests by encouraging the Northern Alliance to take Kabul. "The alliance is now Afghanistan's dominant force and, heedless of multi-party political talks in Germany going on this week, styles itself as the new "lawful" government, a claim fully backed by Moscow."