George C. Dimitriou

Technology and Strategy Consulting
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Archive for the ‘Countries visited’

Russia-Georgia Conflict, and More from CRS.

August 19, 2008 By: George Category: Georgia, Russia No Comments →

Noteworthy new and updated reports from the U.S. Congressional Research Service that have not been made readily available to the public include the following:

· Russia-Georgia Conflict in South Ossetia: Context and Implications for U.S. Interests, August 13, 2008.

· Stability in Russia’s Chechnya and Other Regions of the North Caucasus: Recent Developments, August 12, 2008.

· Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests, updated July 28, 2008.

China’s Clean Revolution.

August 13, 2008 By: George Category: China, Climate, Renewable Energy No Comments →

China is already the world’s leading renewable energy producer (In terms of installed renewable capacity, China leads the world, reaching 152 Gigawatts in 2007) and is over-taking more developed economies in exploiting valuable economic opportunities, creating green-collar jobs and leading development of critical low carbon technologies, says a new report to be published by The Climate Group.

The report – China’s Clean Revolution – shows that China’s transition to a low carbon economy is well underway, led by supportive government policies which are not only driving innovation in low carbon technologies but also diverting billions of dollars of investment into energy efficiency and renewable energy.

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China’s Thirst for Oil.

June 13, 2008 By: George Category: China, Countries visited No Comments →

The fear of China “locking up” energy supplies around the world is misplaced, and other countries should work with it to ensure a more cooperative international environment on both energy and wider security issues.

China’s Thirst for Oil,* the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines China’s need for energy and assesses the impact of Beijing’s energy policies on the resolution of conflict by looking at Sudan and Iran as case studies.

China’s need for energy is growing faster than that of any other country. Self-sufficient until 1993, China’s three decades of rapid economic growth have led it to look abroad to meet its energy needs. While its approach until now has been characterised by oil mercantilism, physical control of supplies and distrust of international markets, it is increasingly recognising the value of treating oil as a commodity and adopting a more open approach towards international energy markets and cooperation.

Chinese companies’ investment in oil exploration and extraction in countries and regions suffering from deadly conflict has sometimes led China to take positions counterproductive to conflict resolution, for example in the early stages of the Darfur conflict. At the same time, Beijing is willing to play a more constructive role as it increasingly engages with the international system and learns the limits of a foreign policy based on the traditional principle of non-interference.

International cooperation will be facilitated by a better understanding of Chinese energy policy and behaviour. While many in the country’s leadership recognise that domestic policy must focus more on conservation, efficiency, reducing pollution, diversifying the energy mix and upgrading clean technologies, both policymaking and implementation are hindered by conflicting interests at the central, provincial, local and private levels. The need for a coherent energy policy and institutional apparatus to manage energy is more urgent than ever.

ENISA: Concerted EU Efforts Are Needed To Avoid A ‘Digital 9/11’ And Combat Cyber Threats.

May 29, 2008 By: George Category: Countries visited No Comments →

ENISA, the EU Agency for European Network and Information Security, presented a summary of its ‘General Report 2007’ and showcased some of its activities. The Agency underlined the crucial importance of Network and Information Security (NIS) for the European economy, in particular in regards to the i2010 goals. Today, 30% of global trade is ‘digitally dependent’. Spam costs business about €64,5bn in 2007, double the 2005 figure (Source: Ferris). As only 6% of spam reaches mailboxes, the problem is perceived to be under control. However, it is growing in quantity, size and bandwidth and remains a costly problem, with 94 % of spam being the invisible part of the ‘iceberg’. The Agency highlighted its success in mitigating cyber attacks by supporting the set up of ‘Computer Emergency Response Teams’ (CERTs), akin to ‘digital fire brigades’. In 2005, only eight EU Member States had governmental CERTs, whereas in 2008 the number has almost doubled to 14, with ten more planned within the next one to two years. CERTs are key components in combating cyber attacks such as those in Estonia, or spam generated by ‘botnets’; hijacked computers of which there are 6mn worldwide used by organised criminals for sending spam and committing online fraud.

The Agency stressed the risks of online social networking sites and recommended, for example, a review of the Regulatory Framework of Directive 2002/58 on privacy and electronic communications. ENISA has also produced a feasibility study on a European Information Sharing and Alert System for citizens and small business, with SMEs constituting 2/3 of the EU economy.

World Economic Forum Report: Assessing the State of the World’s Networked Readiness.

April 09, 2008 By: George Category: Countries visited, Digital World No Comments →

Denmark is the most networked economy in the world, followed by Sweden and Switzerland, according to The Global Information Technology Report 2007-2008, released today by the World Economic Forum. Among the top ten, the Republic of Korea (9) and, to a lesser extent, the United States (4) post the most notable improvements (moving up 10 and 3 positions, respectively).

Published for the seventh consecutive year with record coverage of 127 economies worldwide, the Report has become the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of the impact of ICT on the development process and the competitiveness of nations.

Download the full Networked Readiness Index 2007-2008 rankings and read the highlights on World Economic’s Forum website: http://www.weforum.org/gitr

Kosovo: Criminal Justice System Fails Victims

March 28, 2008 By: George Category: Countries visited, Kosovo No Comments →

Kosovo’s government should fully cooperate with the European Union’s newly deployed rule-of-law mission in reforming Kosovo’s criminal justice system that remains extremely weak, despite efforts to strengthen it over the past two years, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. The EU mission (known as “EULEX”) is expected to lead justice reform efforts. The riots in Mitrovica on March 17, 2008, underscore the need for Kosovo to build a strong and effective criminal justice system to deter, investigate and prosecute any such acts of violence.
The 34-page report, “Kosovo Criminal Justice Scorecard,” assesses progress in the justice system since the publication of a May 2006 Human Rights Watch report “Not on the Agenda: The Continuing Failure to Address Accountability in Kosovo Post-March 2004.”

The follow-up report concludes that there has been little progress on some of the key deficiencies in the system, including: inadequate police support for investigative prosecutors, poor coordination between the national and international elements of the system (in which international judges, prosecutors and police officers are supposed to work alongside their national counterparts), and an electronic case-management system that is still not operational, despite the millions of Euros invested in it by various bilateral donors.

NATO Summit in Bucharest, April 2-4,2008

March 28, 2008 By: George Category: Countries visited, Georgia, Romania, Ukraine No Comments →

NATO will hold a summit in Bucharest, Romania, April 2-4, 2008. New threats such as cyber attacks and energy cut-offs have arisen, and the allies will debate means to counter them. They will also decide whether to invite any of the candidates for membership — Albania, Croatia, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) , pending resolution of the Macedonia naming dispute — into the alliance, and review as well the desire of Georgia and Ukraine to be placed in a Membership Action Plan (MAP), a significant step on the road to a formal candidacy for membership.

Some background material from the Congressional Research Service:

· The NATO Summit at Bucharest,2008

· Enlargement Issues at NATO’s Bucharest Summit