A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘east timor

[ISL] Five islands links: Malta, East Timor, Choctaw, Ireland, April Fool’s Day

  • Malta, it seems from this New Statesman take, is facing serious problems of corruption through its role in international finance.
  • The establishment of a new maritime border between Australia and East Timor threatens Australia’s borders with adjacent Indonesia. ABC reports.
  • Ireland has established a scholarship program for Choctaw students as a sign of thanks for Choctaw aid during the Irish Potato Famine. The Irish Post reports.
  • This Slugger O’Toole article suggests that the disparity in living standards and income between the Republic and Northern Ireland is not nearly so vast as GDP would suggest.
  • The Map Room Blog shared this Ordinance Survey’s April Fool’s Day joke, of a fake but realistic island.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait shares stunning deep-field pictures of intergalactic space.
  • Centauri Dreams shares the second part of Larry Klaes’ analysis of Forbidden Planet.
  • D-Brief suggests that controlled kangaroo hunting may be necessary for the ecological health of Australia.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes a new radio telescope in British Columbia that may help solve the mystery of fast radio burst.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that quasars can irradiate a noteworthy fraction of potentially Earth-like planets.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money comes out against the idea of giving Amazon massive tax breaks for HQ2.
  • The LRB Blog bids a fond farewell to Saturn probe Cassini.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper suggesting new ideas–hence, new sources of economic growth–are harder to come by.
  • Maximos62 recounts a quietly chilling trip to East Timor where he discovers a landscape marked by genocide.
  • The New APPS Blog is quite unsurprised by news that Russians may have used Facebook to manipulate the US election.
  • At Out of Ambit, Diane Duane bids a fond farewell to colleague Len Wein.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw does not think Australia is committed enough to affordable housing to solve homelessness Finland-style.
  • Roads and Kingdoms reports from the Suwalki Gap, the thin corridor joining the Baltic States to Poland.
  • Peter Rukavina looks at how a storied land rover was recovered from St. Helena.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel lists the top six discoveries of Cassini at Saturn.
  • Towleroad notes fundamentally misaimed criticism of new AI that determines sexual orientation from facepics.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at contemporary Russian fears about the power of rising China in Russia’s Asian territories.

[ISL] “Is East Timor Illegally Putting Together a National Soccer Team With Brazilian Players?”

Jack Kerr of Vice reports on something that actually does look quite sketchy.

FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation may be turning a blind eye to the illegal movement of players into Asia.

Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor has been improving steadily in recent years, and just recently moved ahead of Indonesia, the country it broke away from at the turn of the century, in the FIFA rankings.

[. . .]

A large part of Timor’s improvement has been done through the recruitment of Brazilians with no discernable links to this poorest nation in Asia. And neither FIFA, the AFC or the local FA will say how they qualify.

According to FIFA regulations, a player born in one country can play for another country if they have lived there for five years as an adult, and get citizenship. But none of Timor’s Brazilian contingent appear not to have lived or played in the half-island nation as adults—if at all.

[. . .]

They would also qualify to play for the Asian side if they had parents or grandparents from there. However, despite a Portuguese colonial legacy in Timor-Leste, there is no strong history of immigration between the two countries.

“Until 2000, I would say there was no migration, and since then it has been limited, mostly via marriage,” says Damien Kingsbury, a Melbourne professor who specialises in politics and security in Southeast Asia, particularly Timor-Leste.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 16, 2015 at 9:31 pm

[BRIEF NOTE] Will Brazilian farmers move to Mozambique?

One thing I’ve observed here for the past few years, as far back as 2003, is the accelerating (and non-exclusive) integration of the different Lusophone countries of the world–Brazil, Portugal, Angola and Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde and Sao Tomé e Principe, East Timor in the Pacific–in any number of domains. After a sufficient amount of time following the end wars of independence in Portuguese Africa and the successful transitions to democracy in Portugal itself and Brazil, the bonds of language and history could return, ultimately under the benign hegemony of a Brazil that has emerged as a great power. This has manifested in any number of ways, from coordinated language reforms to surveillance of and support for troubled democracies to East Timorese purchase of Portuguese government debt.

One new way in which this is being manifested is in the intensification of migratory flows. After a time in the 1990s when Portugal became a country of net immigration, economic malaise in Portugal has definitely accelerated flight of Portuguese around the world, to points in western Europe and the rest of the Lusophone world in substantial numbers as far away as Angola. A new flow may yet form, of Brazilian farmers migrating to Mozambique.

Mozambique invites Brazilian soy, corn and cotton growers to plant on its savanna and introduce their farming know-how to sub-Saharan Africa, the head of Mato Grosso state’s cotton producers association Ampa said on Monday.

Brazil has been successfully growing crops on its centre-west plains since a breakthrough in tropical soybeans in the 1980s unlocked the productive potential of the expansive region by breeding soy to grow closer to equatorial regions.

While Mozambique possesses similar climatic and soil characteristics, Amapa president Carlos Ernesto Augustin told Reuters that some areas in the country on the southeast coast of Africa even had more fertile soils than Brazil.

“The price of the land there is too good to ignore,” said Mr. Augustin, who added that the risks inherent in buying Brazilian land as a producer were enormous because of high costs and stiff environmental regulations.

Producers who are granted concessions to plant would be required only to pay a tax of 21 reais per hectare ($5.30/acre U.S.), and would receive an exemption from import tariffs on farm equipment.

Prime productive land in Brazil’s developed south can run to 35,000 reais a hectare, compared with 5,000 reais in the extreme frontier regions of the centre-west and northeast savannas, where infrastructure is poor. Brazil’s import tariffs on farm equipment can also be steep.

[. . .]

“Mozambique is probably going to look a lot like Mato Grosso [Brazil’s leading soy state] 40 years ago,” Mr. Augustin said. “We are well-acquainted with the challenges of this type of frontier farming. Transport will be a concern.”

An offer is one thing, and it is true that there is interest on both sides in substantially strengthening ties between rising Brazil and terribly poor Mozambique. Will the offer be taken up by any significant number of Brazilian farmers and agricultural businesses? Will the interest be sustained? Watch this space for more.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 16, 2011 at 7:16 pm

[BRIEF NOTE] Will Brazilian farmers move to Mozambique?

One thing I’ve observed here for the past few years, as far back as 2003, is the accelerating (and non-exclusive) integration of the different Lusophone countries of the world–Brazil, Portugal, Angola and Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde and Sao Tomé e Principe, East Timor in the Pacific–in any number of domains. After a sufficient amount of time following the end wars of independence in Portuguese Africa and the successful transitions to democracy in Portugal itself and Brazil, the bonds of language and history could return, ultimately under the benign hegemony of a Brazil that has emerged as a great power. This has manifested in any number of ways, from coordinated language reforms to surveillance of and support for troubled democracies to East Timorese purchase of Portuguese government debt.

One new way in which this is being manifested is in the intensification of migratory flows. After a time in the 1990s when Portugal became a country of net immigration, economic malaise in Portugal has definitely accelerated flight of Portuguese around the world, to points in western Europe and the rest of the Lusophone world in substantial numbers as far away as Angola. A new flow may yet form, of Brazilian farmers migrating to Mozambique.

Mozambique invites Brazilian soy, corn and cotton growers to plant on its savanna and introduce their farming know-how to sub-Saharan Africa, the head of Mato Grosso state’s cotton producers association Ampa said on Monday.

Brazil has been successfully growing crops on its centre-west plains since a breakthrough in tropical soybeans in the 1980s unlocked the productive potential of the expansive region by breeding soy to grow closer to equatorial regions.

While Mozambique possesses similar climatic and soil characteristics, Amapa president Carlos Ernesto Augustin told Reuters that some areas in the country on the southeast coast of Africa even had more fertile soils than Brazil.

“The price of the land there is too good to ignore,” said Mr. Augustin, who added that the risks inherent in buying Brazilian land as a producer were enormous because of high costs and stiff environmental regulations.

Producers who are granted concessions to plant would be required only to pay a tax of 21 reais per hectare ($5.30/acre U.S.), and would receive an exemption from import tariffs on farm equipment.

Prime productive land in Brazil’s developed south can run to 35,000 reais a hectare, compared with 5,000 reais in the extreme frontier regions of the centre-west and northeast savannas, where infrastructure is poor. Brazil’s import tariffs on farm equipment can also be steep.

[. . .]

“Mozambique is probably going to look a lot like Mato Grosso [Brazil’s leading soy state] 40 years ago,” Mr. Augustin said. “We are well-acquainted with the challenges of this type of frontier farming. Transport will be a concern.”

An offer is one thing, and it is true that there is interest on both sides in substantially strengthening ties between rising Brazil and terribly poor Mozambique. Will the offer be taken up by any significant number of Brazilian farmers and agricultural businesses? Will the interest be sustained? Watch this space for more.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 16, 2011 at 3:16 pm

[LINK] “Dog bites man, East Timor lends money to Portugal”

Over at the Power and the Money, Noel Maurer convinces me that the East Timorese purchase of Portuguese debt actually makes sense from a business perspective.

Portuguese bonds are a pretty good investment. The 10-year bond is yielding 6.7% — that’s 2.7 times the yield on German bonds. Unless Portugal repudiates past-due interest payments (and in postwar debt restructurings, only Argentina has done that) bondholders would come out ahead as long as the haircut on debt principal is less than 25%. (To be fair, the math is a bit more complicated, because it depends on when Portugal defaults, but that serves to make the bonds more attractive.) In other words, the East Timorese deal is far from charity.

[. . . The purchase has the obvious additional benefit of buying some Portuguese goodwill, which ain’t nothing, considering that Portuguese aid averaged €42.6 million per year between 1999 and 2009. Moreover, Portugal has been cutting foreign aid significantly, so buying goodwill could have a big return. Considering that East Timor will earn €34.4 million per year on its investment, that is a pretty cheap way to buy goodwill.

From Portugal’s point-of-view, however, there is no charity. First, the loan is a drop in the bucket compared to the country’s total debt of €145 billion. Second, the loan is being made at commercial rates, and will involve buying existing sovereign debt, not the provision of new money. Third, it might not all involve Portuguese sovereign debt: the Timorese authorities have added the following weasel words: “Investments could be made in highly successful public or quasi-governmental enterprises that guarantee high returns.” Considering that $700 million is a legal maximum for East Timor, which has to invest 90% of its assets in U.S. Treasury bonds, the implication is that the Portuguese government will get less than that.

In other words, Portugal will get a small amount of help from a source with every incentive to lend it money regardless of political connections.

At least noteworthy is the fact that East Timor has the money to invest, having put its oil revenues in a well-managed investment fund. If I read Noel correctly, moderate optimism about the long-term future of this fund–and, one may infer, East Timor–is justified.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm

[BRIEF NOTE] Portugal between Eurozone and Lusosphere?

Huh. Inter Press Service’s Mario do Queiroz came up with another interesting story.

With the announcement that his country is ready to buy Portuguese debt, the president of East Timor, José Ramos-Horta, set a precedent in international economic relations that was universally praised in political and financial circles in this southern European country.

The president of one of the poorest countries on the planet, whose per capita income of 600 dollars ranks it 130th in the world, offered a hand to its former colonial power to help it weather the financial crisis.

“I don’t see difficulties for East Timor, in terms of buying Portuguese debt,” Ramos-Horta said Sunday on a visit to the former Portuguese enclave of Macao in China, where he announced that the government of Prime Minister José Alexandre Xanana Gusmão had decided to diversify investments by East Timor’s petroleum fund.

The oil fund was established by the government in 2005 to receive and distribute billions of dollars in tax revenue from emerging oil and gas projects in the Timor Sea, with the aim of ensuring the proper distribution of the earnings.

The president added that other investments could be made in highly successful public or quasi-governmental enterprises that guarantee high returns, such as companies in telecoms or renewable energy, an area in which Portugal is a world leader.

On Monday, State Budget Secretary Emanuel dos Santos described Ramos-Horta’s announcement as “a gesture of friendship.”

According to initial projections, East Timor’s investment in Portugal, slated for next year, could total one billion dollars.

However, the Diario Económico newspaper of Lisbon put the amount at 700 million dollars, because the East Timor oil fund is worth around seven billion dollars and by law, 90 percent of the assets must be invested in U.S. Treasury bonds.

The article goes on to describe new Brazilian and Angolan investment projects in Portugal, a phenomenon also described in an earlier IPS article.

The idea that Portugal may receive substantial amounts of aid-cum-investment from its colonies–all of which have GDP per capitas well below the Portuguese average, recent growth notwithstanding, only one of which has a GDP larger than Portugal’s (although admittedly Brazil’s a huge exception to this)–is an interesting inversion of the standard postcolonial paradigm. It says much about the current weakness of Portugal, and at least as much about the strength of Portugal’s more fortunate ex-colonies. It also suggests that, in one critical way, Portugal’s integration with the European Union and the Eurozone isn’t going to be as complete as (say) that of Greece or many other peripheral Eurozone countries, simply because Portugal is a periphery of the Lusophone world in addition to the Eurozone. Competition’s never a bad thing, at least.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 17, 2010 at 9:23 am

[LINK] Three Inter Press Service Articles

The Inter Press Service has recently posted three articles that struck me as particularly interesting.

  • First came Marcela Valente’s “Blogs – a Shortcut to Fame?”, an article examining how some Argentine writers have been gaining national and international fame thanks to their blogging, winning awards and spinoffs and the like. The writers interviewed don’t expect blogs to displace more conventional forms of literature, but rather to supplement and enrichen the media universe.
  • Servaas van den Bosch’s “China in Africa – South-South Exploitation?” wonders, after observing the situation in Namibia, whether the ongoing influx of Chinese investment in Africa is actually helping the continent as a whole, with the frequent use of imported Chinese workers, the very low wages paid to African workers, and the undermining of local industry with cheap Chinese imports, additionally gaining a back door into European markets through the various Europe-ACP trade agreements.
  • Finally, Mario de Queiroz interviews East Timorese president José Ramos-Horta on the subject of East Timor. Ramos-Horta hopes that oil exploitation and good agriculture will help East Timor grow out of its structural poverty, the products of more than four centuries of Portuguese colonialism on top of the devastating Indonesian occupation and continuing political instability.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 21, 2009 at 10:02 pm

[NEWS] A Monday Miscellany

  • Radio Netherlands has a brief report on identity issues among the “East Indies Dutch,” perhaps more widely known as Dutch Eurasians (in the Anglophone world) or Indos. Descended from centuries of Dutch-Indonesian intermarriage, the hundreds of thousands of Dutch Eurasians were relocated to their nominal homeland after independence.
  • Michael Tutton, writing for the Canadian Press, warns of the major economic problems facing Atlantic Canada as the population ages more rapidly than the Canadian average, not least because of economically-motivated out migration. How will the Atlantic Canadian economy and public services fare?
  • The Payvand takes a look at the various statistical indicators of Canada’s growing Iranian-Canadian community.
  • Reuters covers the centenary of Japanese immigration to Brazil. This immigration has produced a community of a million Japanese-Brazilians, many of whom have since emigrated to Japan in search of work.
  • AFP reports on East Timor’s exceptionally high birth rate, with a reported TFR of 7.7 that’s one of the highest in the world.
  • The Globe and Mail‘s Marcus Gee writes about the various challenges imposed on women in the Japanese workforce, even though the demographic impact of excluding or marginalizing women would be severe.
  • The Financial Times‘s Bertrand Benoit writes about the problems faced by Germany in integrating immigrants that it nver expected to have. The extended conversations with a Ghanaian and a Vietnamese are worth reading.
  • Finally, the Economist seems to be uncommonly hopeful about the fate of the Sorbs, Slavs living in what was once East Germany.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 30, 2008 at 8:10 pm

[LINK] “Lusophone countries to train in Macau ahead of Beijing Games”

The Macau Daily Times had an interesting

With the Beijing Games fast approaching, Olympic Committees around the world have been getting busier.

Athletes from Portuguese-speaking or Lusophone countries Angola, Portugal, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, East Timor and Mozambique will be in Macau training for the Beijing Games, which starts on August 8.

On Saturday, the Portuguese-speaking countries Games Organising Committee (ACOLOP) met for its 12th general assembly, where the forthcoming Lisbon Games were one of the main topics of focus.

“It really empowers us to know that, through sports, we are contributing to bring together brothers and sisters from different continents and sharing a common language”, said Manuel Silvério, president of the Executive Committee, adding that this was “one of the prime objectives of our association: to promote cultures, our language and our friendship”.

The games which will be held next year, was one of the main issues discussed over the weekend, as it is an issue which is considered “important” and a priority for the Portuguese Olympic Committee (COP).

“We want the second Lusophone Games Lisbon 2009 to be the best multisport event Portugal has ever held”, said Vicente Moura, President of COP.

The Lisboa 2009 Games will be held between July 11 and 19 next year, and officials have announced the event will comprise 10 sports, mainly: Football, Futsal, Athletics, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Table Tennis, Judo, Taekwondo, Volleyball, and one demonstration sport, Paralympic Athletics.

However, these are still yet to be confirmed, once members’ opinions are gathered.

Also at the meeting, members chose the Games’ mascot, “Xama”, which means “flame” in Portuguese, and is a “funny orange and yellowish character,” a statement by the committee released yesterday said.

With the second edition of the Lusophone Games about to roll in, the third edition is already being discussed and the General Assembly has already marked the official start for welcoming bids to organise the 2013 Games.

In addition, with Brazil wanting to host the 2016 Olympic Games, members of the general assembly showed their support and encouragement towards the Brazilian nation.

Macau was a Portuguese colony until 1999, hence the choice.

This movement in the Lusophone community reminds me of the use of international sports competitions in other language communities, like the Jeux de la Francophonie in the Francophone world.

To an extent, this news item also points towards the growing number of interactions between China and the Lusophone world. Brazil-China trade is growing so quickly that it is alarming the United States, for instance, and is forming the basis for a trade alliance between these two BRIC countries against protectioniss in the developed world, while oil-rich Angola is enjoying massive if controversial investments from China. Macau might still be a portal between the Lusophone world and Brazil, just with different Lusophone partners and under Chinese sovereignty.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 22, 2008 at 10:34 am