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Showing posts from June 10, 2014

Geopolitical Calendar: Week of June 9, 2014

Analysis


EUROPE
June 9-10: Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto will visit Spain.
June 10: The Italian Parliament will hold its first vote on a Senate reform bill.
June 11: The EU Committee of Permanent Representatives I and II will meet in Brussels.
June 12: The EU Environment Council will meet in Luxembourg.
June 12-13: The Third Annual Cypriot-Greek Oil and Gas 2014 Summit will be held in Limassol, Cyprus.
June 13: The EU Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council will meet in Luxembourg.
June 13-15: Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen is expected to step down.

FORMER SOVIET UNION
Unspecified date: European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is expected to visit Azerbaijan.
June 9: Ukraine must pay Russia the remaining part of a $2.2 billion natural gas debt and agree on a payment schedule for April-May natural gas supplies before this date.
June 13: European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will visit Georgia.
June 14: The Ukrainian government plans to end the special ope…

Graphene Incorporation Could Improve Vital Technologies

British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne tours labs at the University of Manchester on Oct. 3, 2011, and observes research into the use of graphene.(STEFAN ROUSSEAU/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


Graphene is often touted as a wonder material due to its impressive strength, flexibility and thermal and electrical conductivity. Graphene and other compounds in the same family have the potential to improve a number of technologies in economic sectors such as computing and commercial electronics, desalination and energy storage.

The material still has limitations, especially in manufacturing, that will delay widespread commercialization. Over the next couple of decades, however, we can expect to see advancements and investments in graphene-based technologies and competing technologies that will eventually lead to far-reaching adoption. As these technologies spread, they could help countries overcome inherent geographic and demographic constraints.

Analysis


Carbon can take many forms dependi…

Brussels Museum Attack Reveals a Lack of Sophistication

Summary


When a 29-year-old returnee from the conflict in Syria walked into the Jewish Museum of Brussels on May 24 and opened fire with an AK-47, the act revealed lethal intent, but also a lack of training and expertise. One of the most surprising things about the attack is that more people were not killed. Even amateurs can achieve devastating results with effective timing, targeting and concentration of force. However, if the shooter is representative of the threat from foreign jihadists returning from Syria, the threat remains very limited indeed.

Analysis


On May 30, French police arrested Mehdi Nemmouche after he was found in possession of an AK-47 rifle and a revolver during a random search at a bus station in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille. Nemmouche was quickly identified as the prime suspect in the May 24 shooting attack at the Jewish Museum of Brussels in Belgium. Nemmouche's AK-47 was reportedly wrapped in a flag bearing the symbol of the Islamic State in Iraq and…

Romania Sees the Opportunity for Energy Investments

Chevron Romania director Tom Holst stands next to drilling equipment in Pungesti, Romania, on April 8.(MIRCEA RESTEA/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


Energy security has become a key issue in Romania as a consequence of the still-deepening row between Russia and the West over Ukraine. Bucharest sees the Ukrainian crisis and the United States' renewed interest in Central Europe as an opportunity to develop its own energy sector and insulate itself from the growing influence of an assertive Russia.

Considering the current political environment in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the growing U.S. support of the Romanian government and its push for Bucharest to open up for foreign investment in the energy sector, the Romanian government will move forward in the coming months with the design of a new regulatory framework to promote more investment in the field.

Analysis


The ongoing crisis in Ukraine has in many ways fundamentally shifted the relationship between the West and Russia. Both par…