Stepping back for a moment from the tension between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia over the role of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi , what are the fundamentals of the relations between our nation and theirs? What should they be, and what could they be? For decades, defining the relationship boiled down to the simple adage of oil for security: “You supply the world with oil. We will provide you with security.” In those days, the threats to the kingdom came from the Arab nationalism of former president Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt, Iraq and Syria, rather than Iran, then still ruled by Mohammad Reza Shah. Things changed with the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the Arab oil embargo , which prompted a dramatic price increase. (The architect, Saudi oil minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani, died this week .) We quickly learned that the oil part of the deal meant “oil at reasonable prices,” and there was little agreement on the definition of … [Read more...] about For better or worse: Which way will US-Saudi relations go under Biden?
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DAVIS, California: The global oil industry stands at a crossroads. Corporate leaders are weighing how closely wedded they should be to their legacy business – finding, extracting and refining fossil energy – versus preparing for an uncertain low-carbon future. There are signs of an impending pivot. Most of the largest multinational oil companies have formally supported the Paris climate agreement. Total has purchased electric power company DirectEnergie and charging solutions provider G2Mobility. Shell has acquired e-mobility company NewMotion; its CEO, Ben van Beurden, has expressed support for a zero-carbon world target. READ: Commentary: Here’s how to accelerate and fund the climate action revolution the world wants The companies least willing to shift focus today tend to be national companies and nationally owned firms, such as those in Kuwait and Venezuela. Such companies control nearly 90 per cent of all the oil in the world. However, some, such as Saudi Aramco, … [Read more...] about Commentary: Big Oil talks a good low-carbon game but does little to back that up
OPINION : Next month Jordan Peterson’s new book Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life goes on sale in New Zealand. It follows the Canadian psychologist’s successful and polarising 12 Rules for Life , which sold some five million copies worldwide, a kind of ‘take-your-hands-out-of-your-pockets’ and ‘stand-up-straight-when-I-talk-to-you’ self-help guide. Compared with 2020’s calamitous events the past controversy over Peterson, now ill with Covid, seems mountains and molehills. To recap. Some overseas booksellers refused to stock Peterson’s first book, and in New Zealand Whitcoulls briefly withdrew 12 Rules from sale because of the Christchurch mosque massacres. But he does court trouble. In Canada, when Peterson tried to speak publicly, protesters shouted him down as transphobic because he refused to use gender-neutral pronouns when teaching at the University of Toronto. He’s also accused of being a white supremacist and Islamophobic for a photograph taken alongside someone … [Read more...] about New Jordan Peterson offering puts booksellers in a tricky position
SINGAPORE: Taking Zoom calls for work can be tricky for Theodore Tan, whose flat in Admiralty is surrounded by units undergoing renovation. “I have to mute myself, I speak only when I really need to and I have to hope there’s no hammering, drilling or hacking going on,” said the 26-year-old researcher who works from home. The peace and quiet he appreciated during Singapore’s COVID-19 "circuit breaker" period have been chipped away since some contractors got the green light to restart renovation work in mid-June. When he received three separate notices of renovation work in his block a few weeks ago, frustration and resignation set in. READ: More than 19,000 home renovation projects allowed to resume work after circuit breaker “Usually, I’d be at my work place five out of seven days a week and I wouldn't experience the noise. But now that I work from home, I experience it all the time,” he told CNA. “It makes it hard to focus, even if I try to play music to block it … [Read more...] about Uptick in complaints about renovation noise as more people work from home
In many ways, the 2010s has been a landmark decade for our planet. The science can no longer be ignored – we now have incontrovertible proof that climate change is real and may lead to an irreversible tipping point in the future. But there is hope, too. Sustainability has become more than something that dreadlocked hippies do. Increasingly, the global population is making personal choices to go green and at the same time, play a part in spreading awareness for this cause. For instance, it is undeniable that teenage activist Greta Thunberg has single handedly made the world think more closely about the urgent need to push for change. The first signs of this paradigm shift happened in the early 2010s, when we were first introduced to the concept of the resource-saving sharing economy via ride-sharing app Uber and home-rental service Airbnb . By the end of the decade, Japanese minimalist Marie Kondo would have charmed legions of people around the world into reexamining … [Read more...] about Looking back at the 2010s: How the luxury industry embraced sustainability