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Friday, November 22, 2002

China: boom or bust?

Red Herring has some good articles about China, including two that put the case for boom and bust scenarios.

Intro: technology companies are dashing to China in search of salvation and sales. Red star rising the economy is booming. The coming collapse but on the basis of banking practices, corruption and social division that cannot be sustained.

Red Herring also reports on how big-brand US companies are helping China censor the Internet and track dissidents, and asks what happens to these companies if China guns down workers or starts cracking down on Christian groups.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Tech gloom likely to continue

Because of over-investment in technology in the late 1990s, technology spending is likely to lag even when the US economy picks up, according to Carlos Bonilla, special assistant to President George W. Bush for economic policy. He was speaking at Comdex in Las Vegas, which is the IT industry's most important trade show.

"There is decades' worth of fiber optics out there," he told CNET after the speech. "Elsewhere, there is just a lot of new capital, plant and equipment. As a consequence, (companies) won't feel any great urgency to go and replace it."

CNET headlines its report Bush aide: Tech to lag in U.S. revival. However, looking on the bright side, Comdex's own in-house journal prefers Tech sector on road to recovery, Bonilla says.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

High civilian death toll likely in Iraqi war

Any war in Iraq is likely to prove fatal to large numbers of the region's civilians, according to a report by UK health charity Medact. In the worst-case scenario, nuclear weapons are fired on Iraq in response to a chemical or biological attack on Kuwait or Israel, leaving nearly four million dead. But even in the best case of a rapid Iraqi surrender 10,000 people would die during the period of hostilities.

One reason Medact expects civilian casualties to be so much higher than in the first Gulf War a decade ago is that the general health of the Iraqi population has deteriorated, making the hardships of war more lethal. The report's authors also think that the risk of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons being used is higher.

Even in a conventional war between 48,000 and 261,000 people can be expected to die on all sides - in the fighting itself and in the period of disruption that follows. If civil war breaks out things get worse for Iraqis - according to Medact around 375,000 would die. And if the war goes nuclear ten times that number would end up dead - Medact puts the likely nuclear death toll at 3,900,000.

main conclusions in graphical form (pdf format)
full report
New Scientist coverage with more links.

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