Power, waxing and waning, in the news:
-- The Oyu Tolgoi mine in the Gobi Desert is expected to produce 450,000 tons of copper and 330,000 ounces of gold a year when it is running at full capacity in 2020. The deposits, which run to 20 miles beneath the desert, are about the size of Manhattan. The Anglo-American mining firm Rio Tinto wishes the Mongolian government would just let the company go about its business. China is licking its chops. The Mongolians hope the mine will raise the standards of their nomadic, herding people ... and not just leave them with the dregs of wealth and power.
a national inquiry that is expected to uncover what PM Julia Gilliard has called some "very uncomfortable truths" opened in Melbourne. Five thousand or more people are "expected to provide evidence of 'abuse and consequential trauma.'" The inquiry into child sex abuse "will look at religious groups, NGOs [non-governmental organizations] and state care providers as well as government agencies." The impetus for the hearings came in the wake of revelations about ancient abuses within the Roman Catholic Church, a gold mine of accrued power and influence. Gillard called the investigation "an important moral moment" in Australia.
-- In Jasper, Alabama, where times are hard, Jeffrey Nelson was up against a lot of bills, like a lot of people. Nevertheless, he was able to get a car (an earlier one had been repossessed) by putting up a shotgun as down payment. If you thought the sub-prime lending business had been chastened by a worldwide financial collapse, think again: The profit-promising realm in which tax-payers are left holding the bag for Wall Street has reached out into auto-lending ... with a vengeance. The United States has yet to reference "an important moral moment."
-- Mongolia, Australia, Alabama ... ebb and flow ... the shorthand version of which, for my money, was enunciated by the Somali security officer who, when describing the reasons for piracy off his shores, said: "If you do not share your wealth with us, we will share our poverty with you."
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