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Archive for June 6th, 2006

News.com:

The launch of Google Spreadsheets puts the search engine in even more heated competition with Microsoft, whose desktop-based Excel spreadsheet program is a standard office tool.

Google, which acquired the Writely Web-based word processor in March, is unleashing Web-based services of programs that propelled Microsoft to dominance on the desktop. Microsoft is responding by revamping its business to focus on Web services under the Windows Live and Office Live monikers.

NOTE: After Google bought Writely.com, they shut the new registers on-line. It is not open to new registers yet.

 

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China’s oil policy

From Washington Post:

Throughout China’s modern history, and particularly under Communist Party rule, the country’s leaders have sought self-sufficiency — a drive fueled by nationalist pride and the experience of colonialism, which fed notions that the outside world wants to prevent China’s rise as a great power.

Under the rule of Mao Zedong, China — under the banner of fending for itself — focused on oil production in its northeast, near the city of Daqing. The government’s current push to secure foreign oil fields is driven by worries that there may one day be too little oil to meet worldwide demand and that foreign powers — in particular the United States — will choke China.

“If the world oil stocks were exceeded by growth, who would provide energy to China?” said Shen Dingli, an international relations expert at Fudan University, who advises the government on security policy. “America would protect its own energy supply. The U.S. is China’s major competitor.”

Such fears involve Taiwan, the self-governing island claimed by China. The United States has pledged to help Taiwan should China attack. Officials in Beijing envision being cut off from energy supplies by the U.S. Navy in the event of war.

Many energy experts say owning oil fields provides no real energy security. It does not cushion against a rising cost of energy because no one country is large enough to determine the market price. Neither does it ensure access, because getting oil where it is needed depends largely upon shipping lanes policed by the U.S. Navy.

“There’s an illusion that ownership ensures either volume or price,” said William H. Overholt, director of the Rand Center for Asia-Pacific Policy in Santa Monica, Calif. “Oil is an internationally traded commodity. The key is having secure lines of supply from the Middle East.”

Even the chairman of Cnooc asserted in an interview that buying foreign oil fields would give China additional security, dismissing the notion that anything other than commercial interest motivates his company’s $18.5 billion bid for Unocal.

“In today’s world, as long as you have money, you can buy oil from anywhere,” Fu Chengyu said.

Fu maintained that Cnooc’s interest in Unocal is purely commercial. The Chinese company is eager to have Unocal’s substantial oil and gas reserves in Southeast Asia to help feed the liquid-natural-gas terminals it is developing in coastal China.

For China’s leaders, however, buying foreign oil and gas fields in the name of energy security has become a central mission. Throughout the 1990s, China made deals to lock in long-term supplies and buy installations from Africa to Latin America. In 2002, Cnooc became the largest offshore oil producer in Indonesia when it bought a field from the Spanish firm Repsol YPF SA.

The Iraq war substantially intensified the foreign push. Most immediately, it destroyed China’s hopes of developing large assets in Iraq. China had been waiting for the end of sanctions to begin work on the Al-Ahdab field in central Iraq, under a $1.3 billion contract signed in 1997 by its largest state-owned firm, China National Petroleum Corp. The field’s production potential has been estimated at 90,000 barrels a day. China was also pursuing rights to a far bigger prize — the Halfayah field, which could produce 300,000 barrels a day. Together, those two fields might have delivered quantities equivalent to 13 percent of China’s current domestic production.

But the larger impact of the war was on China’s understanding of the rules of the global energy game.

The turning point in China’s energy strategy was the Iraq war,” said Tong Lixia, an energy expert at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, which is affiliated with China’s Commerce Ministry. “After 2003, both the companies and the government realized China could not rely on one or two oil production areas. It’s too risky.”

Read it all.

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Tiananmen

Yesterday was the anniversary of the brutal repression of the Chinese youths in Tianamen. This video is just a remembrance for them and a touch of attention for the rest of the people who are just forgetting about them:

Found at Barcepundit.

You can read also Global Voices Online and see how the Square is today.

Probably, they have not heard of the massacre… because nearly ALL MSM have not mentioned it at all. So people forget, things that ought not to be forbidden.

AND GOOGLE’s complicity:

Even Google, who compromise to offered its Chinese search engine services in censored and uncensored version simultaneously are no exception from the powerful censor. Many areas in mainland China have reported failures to connect to Google in the past few days, while the censored and China-hosted Google.cn is still available. Andrew Lih has blogged a stories about it. Shizhao also warned that people be careful using Google Desktop, since the application robots will crawl sensitive news from websites like BBC, causing the Great Firewall to trigger off.

BBC? My goodness…

Anyway, as a result of this duality about the “censored and the uncensored versions”, the images shown in each of the searches differ. The uncensored version, contains photos like the one in the left. While the censored one has photos like the one in the right.

As you can see, it’s truly shameful for Google.

 

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From BBC:

Two people have been wounded in a bomb attack blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels outside a naval base near the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, the army says.

The bomb exploded as a bus pulled up outside the Welisara navy camp, injuring the driver and a conductor.

Officials say the bomb, believed to be an anti-personnel mine, was intended to hit a naval convoy.

Violence between rebels and the army has escalated this year, with more than 200 people killed in the past month.

The navy camp targeted on Tuesday is close to a highway connecting Colombo with the country’s only international airport.

No group has said it carried out the attack, but the government pointed the finger at the rebels.

“It is obviously the work of the Tamil Tigers,” navy spokesman PDK Dassanayake told the AFP news agency.

“We are not sure if they targeted a civilian bus or were aiming at a navy vehicle. But they carried out the attack in a built up area risking the lives of civilians.”

The attack comes two days before the Sri Lankan government and the rebel leaders are due to meet for talks in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, to review their faltering ceasefire.

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From BBC:

Directors of airports operator BAA have backed a takeover by Spanish building group Ferrovial, the BBC has learned.

Following a secret “auction”, BAA has agreed to a 950p a share offer, which values the firm at £10bn, BBC business editor Robert Peston said.

Ferrovial had until midnight on Monday to table a final offer for BAA, which operates seven UK airports.

Ferrovial had been battling against a consortium led by US investment bank Goldman Sachs to win control of BAA.

According to reports , Goldman Sachs had tabled an offer for the group, which involved paying 940p for each BAA share and a special dividend of 15.25p per share.

However, that offer is unlikely to be enough, according to the BBC business editor.

Other newspapers treating this issue:

English press: Mirror, Scotland on Sunday, IC Essex, Daily Mail, IC Solihull.

Spanish press: El Mundo, ABC, La Razón, Libertad Digital, El País.

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