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September 2010

The

Volume 2 | Edition 1

Frankfurt Globe BP Oil Spill As Bad as it Sounds?

Also Inside: - Pakistan: Country to Swamp - Iraq: ‘After me the Deluge?’ - The Pandemic that Disappeared


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September 2010 - The Frankfurt Globe

contents 5 As Bad as it Sounds? By Christopher Sladdin 11 Pakistan: Country to Swamp By David-Paul Hotze 15 Iraq: ‘After me the Deluge?’ By Albert Reymann 19 The Pandemic that Disappeared By Hannah Raval 22 Change that Helped or Hindered? By Liz Turner 24 A bite of general knowledge By Clemens Pilgram 26 Voice of the Masses By Albert Reymann 26 Dear Aunty Jane 27 Editor’s Notes

Cover Photo: ©BP p.l.c (edited) | Photos: United Nations, edans/Flickr


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introduction Dear Readers, September is renowned in the publishing industry for being the month of Fashion - a topic that we don’t even dare to delve into at The Frankfurt Globe. To our readers however we want this September to be special for a different reason - the launch of a new student-run news magazine that sheds light on how the world may look and react in the future. Despite being a contender for the most lightly staffed magazine in the country, The Frankfurt Globe is made up of a team of highly dedicated correspondents from many different backgrounds who are experts at the industries and topics that they cover.

Photo: Naomi Sladdin

Many of our correspondents take interest in becoming politicians, technology inventors, scientists and doctors in the future and their views are the ones that may surface in ten or twenty years time when the current generation are replaced in their roles by candidates from the next generation - today’s high school and university students. For that reason, The Frankfurt Globe exists to share their opinions and ideas on the topics of today in order to give our readers a glimpse of how the world may think and how it may react to such topics in the future. With that in mind, I invite you to turn the page and immerse yourself in our thoughts and reactions about some of the month’s topics - not all of which may be up your street but trust us when we say that there’s something for everyone’s interests inside. We hope you appreciate the extra thought and dedication that we have put into The Frankfurt Globe over the last month to be able to present you with a beautifully printed version today. We’ve enjoyed making it and we hope you enjoy reading and keeping it! Kind Regards,

Christopher Sladdin Editor in Chief Editor in Chief Christopher Sladdin

Chief Correspondent Albert Reymann

Technology Correspondent Philipp Klimpke

Editor of Photography Johannes Pigge

International Correspondents Canada: Liz Turner

Printing & Distribution MagCloud

Multimedia Editor Alexander Nittel

Political Correspondent David-Paul Hotze

Advertising VisitMalta.com, Ette Jewellery

Proof Editor Chris Turner

Science Correspondents Clemens Pilgram Hannah Raval

Contact editor@thefrankfurtglobe.com auntyjane@thefrankfurtglobe.com


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MONTHLY NEWS ANALYSIS FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE FUTURE GENERATION


The Frankfurt Globe - September 2010

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As Bad as it Sounds? Now that the well has been plugged, Christopher Sladdin reviews the days that have passed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Photo: ŠBP p.l.c


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When the deaths of eleven workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig were first reported in April, nobody expected the disaster to become what we know it as today and yet some can’t help but think that the one hundred days of ‘terror’ in the Gulf of Mexico was not much more than a ‘small’ environmental crisis with a large gathering of media organizations wanting to glitter the front-pages with profit-making news. Nearly 150 Days after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sunk the oil spill that is estimated to have leaked around five million barrels of oil (NOAA/ DOI), the never-ending struggle to cap the

September 2010 - The Frankfurt Globe

leaking blowout preventor situated 5,000 feet before the water’s surface has come to an end with the well plugged and relief wells being put in place for extra safety. As with the leaking oil, the media coverage has also come to a standstill with the Gulf of Mexico barely touching the papers in recent months as the oil spill relief efforts turn to cleaning up the remaining oil and re-establishing the many industries affected on the Gulf Coast. Heavily criticized by U.S. President Obama for their role in the crisis, the oil giant BP took most of the blame for the leaking Macondo well and the deaths of the workers on April 24th and - being the President, his words were those that would stick with the population of not only the Gulf of Mexico but also the rest of the world in the weeks that followed. As if the President didn’t already have his own opinions, he made things clear on a morning news interview telling

viewers that he was asking officials who’s “ass to kick” over the responsibility for the spill and it was just days later that BP volunteered - having spoken with members of the White House, to set up an escrow account to take care of the financial claims being submitted by local business owners. With the oil spill having caused chaos not only for BP and government officials but also for the rest of the industry, BP were rightly the first to step in and deny many of the charges thrown at them by the Federal Committee investigating the spill. Having been responsible for dealing with officials and managing much of the cleanup operation figures released by the company showed that a staggering $3 Billion had been spent on the Gulf Coast Restoration Project since the initial explosion and BP executives were keen to get some of the sum reimbursed by other companies managing the blown-out well but to no avail. The Maccondo well is owned by BP (65%), Anadarko (25%) and MOEX Offshore 2007 (10%). At the time of the explosion however, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig was on lease by Transocean to BP for use at the well site in the Gulf of Mexico putting the obvious blame on BP


The Frankfurt Globe - September 2010

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as the part-owners of the well and the oil rig’s operators making them responsible for the disaster - the opinion also shared by Government Officials at the beginning of their investigation into the incident. In recent weeks as the intense media coverage has died down over the oil spill, government scientists have continued to release facts relating to the oil spilled by the well that have proved BP’s Continued on Page 10 >>

Photo: ŠBP p.l.c


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September 2010 - The Frankfurt Globe

BP OIL SPILL

TIMELINE

APRIL 2010 20 - Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig explodes killing eleven workers.

22 - Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig sinks. First oil slick is sighted measuring five miles in length.

25 - Coast Guard predicts that 1,000 barrels of oil are leaking from the well per day.

25 - BP’s efforts to activate the underwater blowout preventer fail.

6 - First oil washes ashore on the Chandeleur Islands (Breton National Wildlife Refuge).

7 - BP’s Containment Dome fails to plug leak after frozen hydrocarbons clog device.

9 - BP announces ‘Top Kill’ procedure as possible plan to plug leaking well.

10-12 - Chairmen of BP, Transocean and Halliburton take part in congressional hearings.

2 - BP has difficulties cutting pipe attached to well, causing another cutoff plan to fail.

8 - U.S. President Obama says that he wants to know “who’s ass to kick” over spill.

10 - British Prime Minister David Cameron, steps in after concerns over UK Economy.

JUNE 2010 1 - Criminal and Civil Investigations launched by Justice Dept regarding April rig explosion.

JULY 2010 20 - BP documents contain estimates that 100,000 barrels of oil could be leaking per day.

30 - Hurricane Alex slows work at the well site as staff are evacuated for personal safety.

5 - BP announce that costs related to the spill have reached $3.12 Billion.

7 - Tarballs from spill wash up on coast in Texas resulting in all Gulf States being impacted.

3 - BP’s static kill progress prompts White House officials to hail ‘start of the end’ of crisis.

4 - Government officials estimate that 50% of leaked oil has been cleaned/evaporated/etc.

5 - BP announces success of ‘static kill’ operation but will continue to drill relief wells.

AUGUST 2010 2 - BP estimates that 4 Million barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.


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MAY 2010 28 - Coast Guard predicts that 5,000 barrels of oil are leaking per day from the well.

29 - U.S. President Obama promises to clean-up spill using every resource available.

30 - BP take full responsibility for the spill and will pay for the clean-up costs and other claims.

2 - U.S. President Obama visits Gulf to witness clean-up as BP begin to drill the first relief well.

10-12 (cont.) - U.S. President Obama criticizes companies for publicly trading blame for spill.

16 - First oil and gas collected from well using a tube connected to ship 5,000ft above.

26-29 - ‘Top Kill’ procedure takes place but fails to plug well. Cleanup cost reaches $930M.

31 - U.S. Government and BP warn that the well may continue to leak oil until August.

15 - U.S. President Obama talks to the nation about the spill in his first Oval Office address.

16 - BP volunteers to setup $20 Billion fund to pay for damage claims related to the spill.

17-22 - BP’s CEO - Tony Hayward, is ‘grilled’ by U.S. lawmakers over handling of well despite apologizing to those affected. He is removed from the day-to-day clean-up and replaced by Bob Dudley.

12-15 - BP places new cap on well that will allow collection of all oil. Pressure in well tested.

15 - BP stops the oil from the leaking well for the first time in 85 Days but say it is temporary.

23 - Activity at well-site suspended temporarily due to tropical storm Bonnie.

27 - BP says that Tony Hayward will step down and be replaced by Bob Dudley in October.

Photo: ©BP p.l.c


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September 2010 - The Frankfurt Globe

original statements about the size of the spill being over-scaled by the media and federal agencies. Jane Lubchenco - an administrator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), told the press at a White House briefing last month that scientists and experts had been “tracking the oil since day one of [the] spill” in order to form an Inter-Agency report and Deepwater Horizon incident oil budget. On the federal estimate that 4.9 million barrels of oil had been spilt into the Gulf of Mexico prior to the capping of the well at the end of July, NOAA and the

were made and the outlook for local businesses looked bleak, U.S. President Obama visited the region for a holiday to try and persuade people that things were safer than what had been heard. So - as the beaches were cleaned throughout the night along the thousands of miles of coast, and as the oil continues to be skimmed by thousands of vessels involved in BP’s Vessels of Opportunity program, the region is starting to realize that the companies involved - and particularly BP, are there for the long-term recovery of the region and that the ideas and concerns of the Gulf region are being heard

We’re seeing the shrimping and commerical fishing industry pick back up and re-vitalize. - MIKE UTSLER, GULF COAST RESTORATION ORGANIZATION (BP) Department of the Interior (DOI) estimated that almost all of the oil had been recovered through the response effort, evaporation and natural dispersion leaving just 26% of the leaked oil in the Gulf of Mexico - a rather small amount (1.1m barrels) when compared with the size of the spill itself and the Gulf of Mexico as a whole. Although the response effort continues today and will continue to aid the recovery of the Gulf of Mexico for years to come, the media’s response to the disaster has come to a sharp ending leaving the world thinking that - actually, the oil spill was the biggest environmental disaster and that nothing can aid the products it brought with it. In reality however, bystanders around the world who have been paying attention over the last five months will see that the companies and federal organizations involved have worked in unison to get things cleaned up and while the financial and economic impact may look a little ugly the area is starting to return to normal. When fishermen thought that their lives were destroyed and that the industry would never revive itself after the spill, the government stepped in to aid the response ensuring that the industry didn’t see the Gulf Shrimping season go to waste and today, the fishermen are back on the open waters. Tourism looked bleak along the Gulf Coast as reports of oil washing up on beaches were made public by the press and as thousands of holiday cancellations

by executives of the oil firms in the area and those of the Government. Following the spill, drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico looked like an idea of the past as President Obama placed an executive order prohibiting new drilling for a length of time as the investigation into the explosion, sinking and spill of the Deepwater Horizon continued. His order wasn’t only a reminder of the dangerous things that could happen in the Gulf of Mexico however, it was also a reminder to the world that we should be searching for new renewable energies that don’t involve such high risks and the possibility of a loss of lives as was seen by the eleven workers who died on the night of the Deepwater Horizon explosion while drilling for the resources to keep the world moving for yet another day. In the not-to-distant future, the ability to run our planet on fossil fuels will be no more as scientists predict the number of years until the reserves buried underground are completely depleted. Fuel prices continue to rise as the price of drilling rises with the continued need to drill deeper to reach the oil below making the oil corporations wealthier by the day. Just looking at a stock diagram for BP shows the impact that the Deepwater Horizon spill had on the company with a decline in stock value by nearly a half. Another disaster would likely cost the company its life and reputation leaving thousands of employees around the world unemployed thanks to the casual corners taken to cut costs when drilling for oil.

BP’s dividends may have been cut for part of the year but executives still profit from the company as a whole despite the various problems they’ve faced along the way. The company has seen a complete re-organization of staff as Tony Hayward leaves the position of CEO following his ‘grilling’ by U.S. Investigators to which he was incapable of answering anything but:“I wasn’t involved” to their questioning. The position will now be filled by Bob Dudley - BP’s American drilling manager who played a tough role in the cleanup operations and on-going investigations. Other oil corporations continue to drill in the Gulf of Mexico alongside BP and weren’t affected by the executive order which was placed on new-drilling operations. Oil rigs were to be subject to investigation and checking however following a renewed focus from the Federal committee responsible for oil drilling who were criticized for being too lenient with their safety and planning checks. Tension mounted at the end of August as news broke that a fire had broken out on another oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico situated around 100 miles to the west of the Deepwater Horizon site. As the Gulf region feared for the worst following muddled reports regarding sightings of oil around the rig response efforts continued and various agencies visited the site of the fire resulting in reports that no oil had been spilled and that the rig’s crew were safe having left the rig prior to the fire being putout.

The Gulf Coast is now at rest as the oil continues to disperse and - although BP may continue to be in the area to both drill and help with the region’s recovery, the locals now need to group together to promote the region as it was before - a summer vacation spot with sandy white beaches and good local business, something that never really disappeared apart from in the media reports that were written in the news corporation’s offices.


The Frankfurt Globe - September 2010

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Pakistan: Country to Swamp David-Paul Hotze reviews the humanitarian response effort in flood-torn Pakistan and the scale of the disaster so far as more rains are expected in the weeks to come.

Photo: U.S, Department of Defence


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Pakistan has seen itself wiped off the map for economic security in recent weeks after much of the country was flooded in late July, as the regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and lower Punjab were hit hard by the monsoon rains. With official estimates stating that around two thousand locals have died so far and with around 17 to 20 million injured from the floods, the disaster has seen more people affected by the floods than the Haitian Earthquake earlier in the year and the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004. Over a million homes have been destroyed and what was Pakistan’s improving infrastructure has been left completely destroyed. The UN-secretary Ban Ki-Moon pleaded for a total of $460 Million in aid to be sent to the region by member countries of which nearly a half was successfully transferred to Pakistani aid operations on August 15th. The World Health Organization (WHO) has voiced its concern over the speed at which aid is arriving however stating that the aid is not arriving fast enough and that much of the population has been drinking contagious water in recent weeks leading to widespread disease. Health Organizations also fear that the flood’s damage to Pakistan’s agricultural lands may result in infertile soil for years to come, leaving the country with little hope for recovery. With total dam-

September 2010 - The Frankfurt Globe

age estimated at around $43 billion so far, the Pakistani Government have few options to rely on. Although the cause of the floods is still unclear to scientists, most local residents blame the sudden rains and the devastation they brought to the nation with the monsoon rains. Experts say that this is probably correct but that there is much more explanation necessary to explain the extreme rainfall that fell so far this year. Scientific magazines have stated that the rains are likely connected with the cooling of the jet streams, which are the globally circulating air currents which may also be to blame for the simultaneous wild fires that took hold in Russia leaving much of the west of the country covered in thick smog.

The heavy rainfall that bombarded the Himalayas and other mountains accumulated before flooding the areas below causing chaos amongst the people and the Pakistani infrastructure through the formation of large mudslides and high water levels. The majority of Pakistan’s crop lands where destroyed with over 1.4 million acres of land having been flooded resulting in the deaths of around 10,000 cows - a vital part of a Pakistani family’s life. This is critical not only for Pakistan at the moment but also for the future as the country’s main source of income is agricultural businesses. Agriculture isn’t the only area where Pakistan has taken heavy blows though, as over 10,000 transmission lines have been interrupted and


The Frankfurt Globe - September 2010

power generators have been destroyed leaving the country largely without power, hampering the rescue efforts. Diseases such as gastroenteritis, diarrhea and skin diseases have also been a result of the flood, with many cases developing across the country. Officials have warned that the diseases will certainly take many more victims before the disaster is brought to an end. The population is also at risk from a large population of snakes that have begun to travel across the country following the floods in search of dry land. A fear for politicians sitting far away from the flood-torn country is that of Pakistan’s military and the Taliban however. Thanks to the flood, the Pakistan Military has been completely paralysed leaving

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no forces behind to stop the Taliban insurgency from regrouping in the country. Nonetheless, the Taliban have declared that Pakistan does not need help from the outside world and that they could raise $20 million easily from the use of aid. Around 60 different countries have either sent money or aid packages in the form of food or water cleaning aggregates to Pakistan. The country’s rescue camps however are suffering from over-population and those fortunate enough to be in an area where the response effort is delivering food and drink are fighting for the resources being thrown at them from above - most being unsuccessful in grabbing a piece of food to keep them alive another day. The country, which is home to a

mostly-desert landscape, has few rivers which have proved an attractive location for settlements in the past. Yet the floods will certainly have changed the minds of many over the lives they live and where they live them. As the rains continue to fall on the already unstable country, locals and the world sit waiting to see who will be the next to lend aid to the country, something that many countries are keeping quiet about due to the amount of aid being sent to countries like Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, China and others recently. One thing that can be concluded from the disaster already is that the country that was starting to learn to stand on its own two feet has centuries of hard-labor ahead to re-establish itself as what it was just months ago.

Photo: U.S. Department of Defence


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The Frankfurt Globe - September 2010

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Iraq: ‘After me the Deluge?’ Albert Reymann reviews the progress in Iraq as U.S. President Obama meets his promise to end Operation ‘Iraqi Freedom’ and return the troops to America.

Photo: The U.S. Army/Flickr


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The conflict in Iraq has been an annoying and painful stab to the United States since entering the country in 2003, proving a constant drain of political capital, financial resources and a strain on international relations. Nine years later, U.S. President Barack Obama has completed the withdrawal of all US combat troops from the country. Now, we have the chance to summarize and draw a line under the Second Gulf War and even more importantly look forward. Now is the time for the right people to ask the right questions and demand answers. But also the Americans should ask themselves if this was really the right time to pull out? To begin with, we look back at March 20th 2003, when operation “Iraqi Freedom” was initiated by the then President of the United States George W. Bush and his close ally Tony Blair, then the British Prime Minister. Alongside the two allies were several other allied countries including Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. The objective of the operation was to depose Dictator Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq as well as the supposed anti-American Islamic Terrorists whom he supposedly had close ties to, and remove the suspected Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) from the country, which were later proven to be non-existent and in fact a fabrication of the American and

September 2010 - The Frankfurt Globe

British intelligence services. The Iraqi Military, still not fully recovered from the First Gulf War, was quickly overrun by the combined Allied forces and soon the entire country was under occupation. Almost immediately, a strong Islamic Fundamentalist Insurgency surfaced, taking the form of various Sunni and Shia Militias (some of which are said to have connections to political parties) and several international terrorist organizations including Al Qaida. Even though President Bush had declared “Mission Accomplished”, the United States was in for another seven gruelling years of occupation in a foreign country halfway around the globe, with a hostile people letting them know they had outstayed their welcome and a counterinsurgency that seemed to be producing too little results to justify the ceaseless stream of body bags. Now, all these years later, under the leadership of a new President and the situation appearing relatively stable, the United States has finally pulled its combat troops out of Iraq. Most Americans think it was just about time this mission was finally over, but some say that maybe, just maybe, the US is making a grievous mistake. Is it really the right time? Is the Iraqi government really ready to assume control and keep peace and security in their

country? They certainly don’t think so. The pleas of the Iraqi government to the United States not to remove their troops from the country has been a major reason for continued military presence in the past, but the continual increase in stability and a decrease in terrorist attacks since late 2007 according to Der Spiegel magazine has made many people in the US and the American high command think that the mission has truly been accomplished this time. The political climate in the United States has been strongly against the war for a long time now, and the call for a clear end to this seemingly interminable conflict can no longer be ignored by politicians, the military or anyone in power, especially the President. Strategically, this is a very uplifting move by President Obama, bringing the majority of troops out of the country, leaving 50,000 behind to help as advisors and training personnel, while being able to send more resources towards the conflict in Afghanistan which is not going very well. That is the American perspective. The Iraqi view is a different matter altogether. Many Iraqis were very angry at the American and international occupation of their country, but now that the combat troops have left, they complain that they are being abandoned, left at the mercy of terrorists and faced with possible civil


The Frankfurt Globe - September 2010

war.They think it is the duty of the United States to stay until they see it fit for them to leave, which is to say the instant their particular party has taken power. This, of course, is a very hypocritical and self-satisfied view of the situation in Iraq. It is not the fault of the United States that country hasn’t had a trustworthy government for decades, and neither is it responsible for the religious and ethnic problems that split the country.The US has tried very hard to make up the damages it caused during the invasion and help with the restoration of the country, something they did out of a sense of duty and national pride, showing that the want to maintain their moral high ground. Blaming them for all the deep seated problems of Iraq is simply loading a burden onto someone else who, although a stakeholder in the present situation, is not responsible for the underlying problems in the country. First cursing the occupiers and turning public opinion in the country against them until they finally withdraw, and then call them irresponsible and beg them to return shouldn’t be considered commendable behaviour. The corruption and incompetence in Iraqi politics is extreme, even for Middle Eastern standards. The country is strongly divided by ethnicity (such as Kurds and Arabs), religion (Sunni and Shiite) and only then one can begin to count the po-

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litical discrepancies between the various faction competing for power in the ravaged nation. It is clear to see why the US is keen to leave the country: even if they did maintain their military presence in the country and served as peacekeepers for an indefinite time, it would potentially take decades to reach true stability in the country, not to mention that the Iraqi government would be less pressured to

questioning over his reasoning for war but the Iraqis are thankful for his input nevertheless.The loss of countless American, British and allied soldiers lives may be seen to have had some impact but now that the troops have withdrawn from the country, perspectives may be a little different than had been seen by those before August. The short summary of the situation

Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country. - U.S. PRESIDENT OBAMA find solutions and simply continue to lay responsibility at the feet of the Americans, further slowing the healing process. Today the British are trying to conclude how they got involved in the Iraq war through a government inquiry which has seen the likes of Tony Blair and other senior officials and intelligance officers questioned over their involvement in the initiation of the war in Iraq. Mr. Blair’s recently-published memoir shed more light on his situation stating that the Iraq war became “a nightmare I failed to forsee” and that he didn’t understand Islam at the time of the 9/11 attacks in New York. Meanwhile the past U.S. President George Bush seems to have escaped

is that the Iraqis have wanted the Americans out for years, but now that they are actually leaving, they are afraid of suddenly being responsible for themselves, crying that there will be civil war. If such this should really come about, then we can clearly see that it is the Iraqis themselves who are irresponsible and short sighted, if each group is not willing to come together for the sake of the nation as whole.The US combat troop withdrawal is legitimate and understandable, and if the Iraqi people cannot live without an occupying force anymore, they should perhaps turn to the United Nations Peacekeeping forces.

Photo: The U.S. Army/Flickr


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The Frankfurt Globe - September 2010

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The Pandemic that Disappeared Hannah Raval takes a look back at the Swine Flu pandemic that never took hold around the world.

Photo: SarahMcD/Flickr


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A world of white masks, worried parents and hand disinfectant. That was our world last summer as the H1N1 influenza virus, more commonly known as “swine flu” invaded our planet. Worldwide there are thought to have been around 1.5 million cases, resulting in over 25 thousand deaths and everywhere you turned there were reminders of the viral invader attacking our population.Today however, we wonder what the fuss was all about? On March 17th 2009, the first case of the H1N1 influenza virus was found in Mexico and less than a month later on April 12th, the first death had occurred, resulting in the U.S government declaring a public health emergency nationwide. As the virus continued to spread - first throughout the US and then globally hospitalization continued to escalate. By June 11th 2009, authorities believed there to be 30,000 cases globally, resulting in 141 deaths, prompting Margaret Chan - the director of the World Health Organization (WHO), to declare a “public health emergency of international concern” and the 2009 H1N1 global pandemic began. Just over a year later, the U.S Public Health Emergency expired and on August 10th 2010, WHO declared an end to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Swine flu came and went in the space of one year, terrifying the population into a frenzy of hand washing and shooting tissue sales sky high. Was it the situation of the boy who cried wolf, or did we really have something to worry about? The “swine flu” pandemic was the first pandemic to hit our earth in over 40 years. The 2009 strain was a new version of the Spanish flu virus that hit in 1918 which is thought to have killed over 50 million people worldwide. Keeping this figure in mind, “swine flu” is thought to have killed only 25 thousand people, a fraction of those who died in the Spanish flu outbreak. Statistically, the 2009 strain of H1N1 was only a mere storm in a tea cup however, having said this, there are major contributing factors towards the reduced number of deaths, including the medical

September 2010 - The Frankfurt Globe


The Frankfurt Globe - September 2010

advances of the last century and the $40 billion spent by pharmaceutical companies battling the virus over the last year alone! The recent controversy surrounding the swine flu pandemic has raised the question as to whether pharmaceutical companies used the pandemic as an opportunity to make profit as they jumped at the idea of a new money maker, investing thousands into the research and development of a new vaccine following WHO’s declaration. These companies soon reaped the benefits as the vaccines were sold worldwide for millions of dollars with the pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKlein making $1.7 billion in vaccine sales to governments alone. For the most part however, these vaccines have gone to waste. The British government spent £1.2 billion on the pandemic, which included

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preparations, health awareness advertisements, and most of all vaccines. 5.5 million British citizens received the vaccine, but a further 34.8 million doses have gone unused, wasting over £150 million of the tax payer’s money. Many officials are questioning WHO’s decision in declaring a pandemic, and in April 2011, 29 experts will come together to investigate the extent of the problem. It has emerged, that shortly before swine flu became a major global worry, WHO changed the official meaning of the word “pandemic”, which leads to more questions surrounding the situation. Was it a way of making money or were we in real danger? WHO is maintaining that it was correct to declare a pandemic, as swine flu spread to every country (this being the true meaning of the word “pandemic”). The main problem was the media’s representation of the extent of the problem, which resulted in an unnecessary over-reaction. Billions of dollars may have been spent on preparing the world for a disaster that never truly came, but what if it had? It is said that the only thing that is predictable about flu is that it is unpredictable. Millions may have been wasted preparing for a population wipe out, but should it be millions of dollars or millions of lives being wasted? At the beginning of the pandemic it was estimated that 65,000 lives would be lost due to swine flu in England alone. The outcome is that 457 lives and £150 million have been lost instead. This may have caused a hole in the government’s Christmas bonuses, but if swine flu had been worse than it was and we had not taken the precautions we took, there would be far more holes in family member’s hearts. Statistics for the U.S say that for every 1000 cases of swine flu, 40 people will be hospitalized and 1 person will die. This time we were lucky, as very few people were infected, but we should view the 2009 pandemic as a dress rehearsal for future pandemics.

Every year, seasonal flu comes and goes, killing between 250,000 and 500,000 worldwide. That is between 10 and 20 times the amount of deaths that resulted from swine flu, and yet it goes almost unnoticed by the government or media. One major difference between seasonal flu and swine flu is that swine flu, unlike seasonal flu, has a connection to animals. The H1N1 virus originally derived from a virus that circulates among pigs. The new strand circulates only among humans but is worrisome as it is connected to an animal virus and - unlike seasonal flu, it kills the young and healthy rather than the over 65s who are usually the victims of seasonal flu - a statistic that governments would rather not see, but for the media, sad but true, people are more interested in babies dying than they are pensioners. As the old American saying goes, the year a black man becomes president, pigs will fly. Sure enough, 2009, the year of Obama’s inauguration, pigs flu. So it came and went, in the space of one year, but should we still be concerned about it? Last month WHO declared an end to the pandemic stating that “The new H1N1 virus has largely run its course.” WHO declared an end after finding that many people already have some immunity against the virus thanks to vaccination or infection and there have been no unusual summer breakouts this year. Swine flu may no longer be the dominant virus, but WHO reminds people that the virus is not totally eliminated and there may be a second wave later in the year. WHO estimates that 70 million people worldwide have now been vaccinated and recommend that this year, people receive a vaccination against both swine flu and normal flu. Although a ghost of 2009, “swine flu” will always serve as a reminder of what could happen without any given warning. Like in so many situations, we can just be thankful that the media was wrong and that the H1N1 pandemic killed far fewer than expected. This wont be the last we see of swine flu but for now we are safe, safe from the deadly pig.

Photo: sarihuella/Flickr


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September 2010 - The Frankfurt Globe

Change that Helped or Hindered? Technology brought major change to the music industry but whether or not it did them any good is another question. Liz Turner reports. Think about the songs on your digital music player, whether it is an iPod or another type of MP3 music player. Now think about how many of those songs you downloaded from the internet. How many did you pay for? How many were downloaded for free? How many might you have borrowed from a friend? The average MP3 player has a total of 1,770 songs on it. Of those 1,770 songs, it is estimated that 842, or 48 per cent, of those songs were illegally downloaded from the internet or “borrowed” from a friend. Music sales have been steadily declining since 2001 and there are many reasons behind it. Everything seemed to start in June of 1999, when Napster was created. Napster was an online music sharing service that allowed songs to be stored on a central network system of servers.The actual sharing of music files happened between the user’s actual computers. No one had to pay anything to access these music files and you could access and download as many as you wanted at one time. In 2001, Napster was caught up in a copyright infringement suit because it allowed people to illegally obtain music by not making any one pay. Soon after that infringement suit, Napster was shut down. Major powerhouse groups, including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), have been working around the clock to prevent services like Napster from ever being created. The RIAA is an organization that wants to help the music industry thrive and protect the abilities of their members to “invest in the next generation of music”. They recently had an analysis completed by the Institute for Policy Innovation, which came up with a massive amount of valuable information. From this analysis, they found that the economic loss every years totals to $12.5 billion. 71,060 US jobs, $2.7 million dollars in workers earnings and $131 million dollars in corporate income and production taxes are lost each year from illegal downloading. In an effort to decrease the expenses that the record companies had to

pay and increase their earnings, the music industry has reduced the volume of music it was releasing each year, but increased its legal expenses.This only further proves that piracy deprives the music industry of its resources to find and develop new and upcoming talent. It was initially thought that because of programs like Napster running on the internet, CD sales were declining rapidly because people could easily download the songs they wanted without having to pay for the whole CD. Interestingly enough, an examination was completed on the RIAA’s marketing and sales charts. This examination showed that the decrease in CD sales actually happened after Napster was shut down. Oddly enough, during the two-and-a-half years that Napster was running, CD sales had increased by over $500 million dollars from what they were previously in 1998. The line of when to pay for music and when not to pay for music is a fine one. The question is whether a person should pay every time he uses a song or just for the times that a song is used commercially. For many who work in the music industry, the money they make off of sales are what pay their bills. DJ and electronic composer Alex Amato needs that paycheck. He insists that is quarterly BMI royalty checks are his key to survival. “It’s like my Willy Wonka ticket.” He says. To make ends meet between those quarterly checks, he waits on tables and manages a restaurant near his house. On the other side of that fine line is Harvard law Professor Lawrence Lessig. What he fears is “That we evolve into a permission culture, where every single use of music creates an obligation to pay. I wish the line could be as clear as commercial exploitation – you’re running a dance club, using it in a movie. The author ought to have the right to be paid for that. But I don’t think that the right should translate into the right to control whether my kid uses the music for a collage he makes for a class about his trip to Costa Rica!” Since the music industry has been

losing so much money recently, the big music production companies, like Virgin Music, Sony BMG and Universal Music are desperate to strike up agreements with online vendors instead of solely relying on CD or EP purchases. This is where major companies like Apple come in. Arguably one of Apple’s most profitable markets, the iTunes Store opened on April 28, 2003 with only 200,000 items to purchase. At the time, that seemed like almost too many items in one online place. After only seven years of being online, iTunes can boast that it now have 13,000,000 songs alone, not including all of the movies, television series and apps. iTunes also recently sold its 10 billionth song. Not bad for a company that is not even a decade old! Even though not all artists or songs are included in the iTunes catalog, it is still the largest online music vendor in the United States as of 2008. The catalog is updated every day with new songs while the actual store is updated with new material every Tuesday. This includes the “Discovery Download of the Week” and “Free Download of the Week”, which is where iTunes selects an “up-and-coming artist” and makes an agreement where one of their songs is available to all users free of charge. Of course, as with any major company, there have also been some complications with the iTunes store. Apple has a program implemented within its iTunes store called the “Fair Play Digital Rights Management (DRM)”. This program has many restrictions: users can only access their songs downloaded from iTunes on a maximum of five computers, only seven CDs can be burned with the same song on it and these tracks ban only be played on iPod products or computers with iTunes on them. Other online music competitors have accused Apple of using the “Fair Play” program to create a monopoly and a lock-in for iPod and iTunes users. This program has allowed Apple to virtually control the entire music world. Other companies have tried to create programs that allow you to convert your iTunes


The Frankfurt Globe - September 2010 purchases from the “Fair Play DRM” protected format to a format that can be played on other MP3 players, but Apple has filed lawsuits against any company that has tried to do this. This “Fair Play” system could be one of the many reasons that more people are illegally downloading songs. In 2008 alone, 40 billion songs were downloaded illegally. It is thought that the ease at which music can be downloaded has contributed enormously to the notion that it is there for anyone to take at anytime. As a report completed from the music industry this past January states, “A generation of young music fans is growing up with the expectation that music should be instantly available, with near-limitless choice and access and, of course, free.” Although many billions of songs are downloaded, there is a faint light at the end of the tunnel. Mr. Fergal Sharky, former Undertones lead singer and current chief executive of the company British Music Rights, found out something interesting from the company’s research of the general public. He says, “The positive message is that 80 percent of downloaders said they would pay for a legal subscription-based service, and they told us they

23 would be willing to pay more than a few pounds a month. The type of service that he is talking about is an online program that would have millions of songs in its online catalog, and with a flat rate per month, users could access as many or as few of these songs as they would like. This type of service could benefit both the music industry and the general population. The music industry would get their hard-earned money and the people who paid for the subscription would get all of their desired songs for a flat rate. All-in-all, illegally downloading songs, no matter how many are downloaded, are hurting the music industry. Money is lost, jobs are lost, and less music is produced and released each year. Does this mean that software programs like Napster are completely wrong in providing a service

in which people can download songs off the internet for free? The answer is that those companies just had to change their business plan a little. Offer a flat rate per month to access all of those songs, and both parties would have benefitted. In our day and age, though, who knows what will happen in the future? Perhaps illegally downloading is where the music industry will end up.

Photo: Orin Zebest/Flickr


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September 2010 - The Frankfurt Globe

A bite of gene A Selection of Scientific Facts

History Exploration of the skies took place long before Neil Armstrong first set his foot on the moon in 1969, even long before the Russians won the space race in 1957 by launching Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth. For thousands of years, humans have tried to explain what was going on above their heads. The ancient Egyptians believed that the Earth is a surface, over which Nut, goddess of the sky, who gives birth to the sun every morning only to swallow it at sundown, is balanced. Greek philosophers Hipparch and Aristotle established geocentrism, according to which a round Earth is in the centre of the universe, with the sun, the moon and the planets revolving around it. This model was widely accepted as the truth in Western culture until Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler placed the sun in the middle of the world in the late 16th century. The sun in turn lost its central position after Edwin Hubble showed it is part of a galaxy, which in turn is only one in billions of other galaxies. Ever since, there have been no major changes to our perception of the universe, scientists are merely filling in the details. While astronomers and philosophers were revising their views on where exactly our planet is to be placed on a map of space, physicians like Sir Isaac Newton and William Moore came up with theories and equations that proved themselves vital to mankind actually setting foot in space. Science fiction master-

pieces like H.G. Wells “The War of the Worlds” or Jules Verne’s “From the Earth to the Moon” inspired rocket pioneers like the American Robert H. Goddard to develop rockets that were capable of hauling larger weights. Sadly, these developments were used for purposes other than science, most notably by the German Wernher von Braun, who, before switching sides and helping NASA build what was later known as the “moon rocket” gave Nazi Germany the deadly V-2, a longrange missile that was used in World War II to bomb London and Antwerp, resulting in over 7000 civilian deaths. As an Iron Curtain divided the world into a capitalist West and a communist East and tensions arose, both sides ran extensive and expensive rocket development programmes, for scientific, prestige but most importantly for military purposes. While the USSR was faster at launching a satellite (1957), a dog (also in 1957), a human being (1961) and a female human being (1963) into space, the United States ultimately won the space race when Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 21, 1969. Over 600 million people heard and saw Neil Armstrong say his famous sentence “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. Many satellite launches, moon landings, probe missions, scientific discoveries and dreams of humans on Mars later, space agencies have shifted their focus towards less prestigious and more relevant goals, such as communication satellites

for TV broadcasting or low gravity experiments in space stations orbiting the Earth. Without the developments made through the Cold war and the space race, a lot of consumer technology wouldn’t have been possible, examples ranging from microcomputers, wireless communication and flat-screen TVs to medical milestones like ultrasound scanners, implantable heart aids or automatic insulin pumps. While scientists and politicians are cutting space agency budgets to take on other, more pressing issues such as the economy or climate change, man may still dream of setting his foot somewhere further from home ...


The Frankfurt Globe - September 2010

25

eral knowledge By Clemens Pilgram

Facts

1

For many centuries, the catholic church had complete control over all scientific activities in Europe. In fact, many important astronomers were punished for their heretical claims, one of them being Galileo, the inventor of the telescope, who was sentenced to spend the last nine years of his life under house arrest. The first apology from the Vatican came from Pope John Paul II in 1992, 350 years after Galileos death.

2

Early Greek philosophers believed that the earth was a surface and the sky was a dark-blue sphere, into which the stars (golden nails) were hammered.

3

Ptolemy, who supported a geocentric model of the world worked out the order in which various objects orbit the earth: Innermost came the moon, then Mercury,Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, outermost the stars and a dark sphere. Apart from the fact that only the moon actually orbits our planet, the sun being in the centre of our solar system, there being no such thing as a dark background sphere, the stars not orbiting us and the earth being where he suspected the sun, he was right. His calculations for the planets and stars positions relative to the earth proved themselves reliable enough to be used by astrologers for centuries.

4

Ever been caught out in the cold without food or drinks, far from civilisation after your bike or car broke

down? James Lovell, John Swigert and Fred Haise had it worse. While on the way to the moon, their spaceship, Apollo 13 lost both its oxygen tanks to an explosion on April 14, 1970, two days after launch while the astronauts were almost 200 000 miles from home. All three astronauts returned to earth safely three days later.

5

Want a city named after yourself, to your honour? How about being the first man to fly into space, orbit the earth and return alive? The town of Gzhat in Western Russia was renamed to “Gagarin” after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin died in a plane crash in 1968, seven years after his space flight.

6

Many people confuse astronomy with astrology. Rightly so, seeing as many influential astronomers were also astrologers, the best example being Johannes Kepler, whose ground-breaking works on the movement of planets included religious passages. Simple difference: Astronomers will make their own decisions and look up to the stars to know what is going on up there, Astrologers will tell you what might happen and how you should behave, based upon superstition and star maps proven wrong centuries ago. Still, searching Google for astrology will give you “about 132 million results”, as opposed to about 31 million for astronomy. Kind of sad if you ask me. Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr


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September 2010 - The Frankfurt Globe

Voice of the Masses By Albert Reymann

Dear Aunty Jane Q: My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right? A:  Dear Happy, what a lovely state to be in! I think some people are naturally contented and you seem to be one of them. Lucky you. You can have a positive influences on your friends and those around you if you let your happiness shine through. A word of caution though, as you grow older, give some thought to your direction or aim in life. A fulfilled life is full of purpose and energy and opportunities taken. Ambition in the correct dose is a healthy thing. Furthermore, all life has a meaning, maybe yours is to be a source of positive energy and happiness to those around you, a welcome ray of sunshine on a grey day. Smile on! Q: Personally, I don’t think there’s intelligent life on other planets. Why should other planets be any different from this one? A:  Dear Philosopher, after chuckling at your question, I began wondering about those planets out there in the galaxy and what form of life is possible on those distant globes. Science has not yet brought evidence of life, intelligent or otherwise, on the stars. It’s a nice thought to think of Mars men and women on Facebook but somehow I think that it would only happen in films. As to the intelligent life on this planet, if you look hard there is

Photo: Johannes Pigge

some evidence of it. Mankind makes many mistakes but is not totally without hope! So keep up the hard work at school and secure the future for us earthlings! Q: A female friend is no longer willing to talk to me at school although I don’t see anything that I did wrong. Is there anything I can do to help? A: Dear Slighted, relationships are hard work! I cannot tell if you are a boy or girl, and this does affect the kind of friendship we are talking about here. If you are a girl, then the best thing would be to try once more to talk to your friend and ask right out what the problem is. Maybe there has been some gossip you haven’t heard and your friend thinks you have done something, which you haven’t. The best way to get to the bottom of the problem is to speak openly about it. If you are a boy then things could be a little more complicated. It may well be the gossip problem mentioned above. It may be though that your friend expects more than just a friendship from you and is hurt that you aren’t showing more interest! If she fancies you then she might be embarrassed to talk to you. Feelings do funny things to girls! (and boys too). Still the best way to find out is to ask her. Do not try to do this in front of a group of friends but on a one to one basis if possible. If necessary, you could ask a friend to ask her. Remember that where feelings are involved it is easy to hurt someone, so be gentle.

The drama unfolding on the German political stage about Thilo Sarrazin has been widely discussed by the German media since the publication of his book “Deutschland schafft sich ab” in which Mr. Sarrazin expresses many highly controversial views related to immigration which many call politically incorrect. This has led to his probable sacking by Bundespraesident Wulff and general disapproval from most of the media. The reaction from the general population has, however, been completely different. There have been opponents to his ideas, of course, but there has also been a massive wave of approval that rose all the way to the political arena, with various politicians rising to defend him because they either agree with his views or because they want to increase their popularity with their Sarrazin-supportive constituents. What really makes this story important is that a great many Germans seem to agree with his views, and although many of the facts and figures listed in the book seem unsustainable, it does distill very well the strong sentiment of frustration present among regular Germans. Mr. Sarrazin speaks, among other things, of why he feels Germany is betraying itself by letting so many immigrants into the country and then simply accepting their unwillingness to assimilate to the local culture and their insistence on the country to adapt to them. He speaks out particularly strongly on the fast growing Islamic community in Germany which already numbers around four million. The notion that Sarrazin is speaking the opinion of masses who are suppressed by politicians and political correctness is simply wrong. His book is full of factual errors and complete fabrications to support his often narrow minded points and probably wouldn’t even be so luscious news material if there wasn’t so much public backing for him. This, however, is probably due to the media. Coverage of honour killings, mosque-building, tensions and criminality among Muslim immigrant youths is semi permanent in Germany, while the great benefits these people bring to the country go mostly unmentioned. The image this gives to the people is what results in the great public outcry we are seeing now.


The Frankfurt Globe - September 2010

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Editor’s Notes By Christopher Sladdin

In today’s world, internationalism and choice is something that the world’s population craves, whether it be the selection of sandwiches in a local store or a copy of a latest best seller in a language other than the one it was written in.The world’s population also expects the same global view and variety from the news industry. This edition of The Frankfurt Globe like many others is something that my fellow staff and I take pride in having worked hard in recent weeks to make it more international and with a wider range of topics in order to cater for as many reader’s personalities, wants and needs as is possible by an up-and-coming news group. Choice isn’t, however, always an option. Last summer, many were shocked to hear of the death of the renowned singer Michael Jackson, but at the same time, many weren’t so interested. During the week that followed, newspapers around the world reported the ‘latest’ on his death in front-page features that covered the news stands as if everything else in the world ceased to exist although in reality, the world’s economy and industries carried on battling the global issues of the day - many of which continue to be fought a year later. This summer, things seem to have changed for the better, but as parents tell their children all too often; nobody is ever perfect. Recent months have plagued the news industry with too many stories on nearly every topic imaginable in need of coverage from around the world - the death of twenty concert-goers in Duisburg, the floods in Pakistan that destroyed the lives of millions, the landslide in China, the continuing efforts in the Gulf of Mexico and President Obama’s supposed draw-down of troops in Iraq are just a few topics that the summer will be remembered for. It should come as no surprise therefore, that on my Lufthansa flight home from Manchester last month, I was greeted with a rather large copy of the Independent on Sunday to read - over 100 pages in fact. In the so-called ‘Western World,’ where technology is to be found on every street-corner, we have grown accustomed to expecting the news to come to us rather than us going to find the news -

Photo: Christopher Sladdin

the latter is the job of a journalist. With many newspapers offering RSS Feeds or more sophisticated models of electronic reading such as the New York Times’ Times Reader, it is quite strange when one is not surrounded by news whatsoever as I was while travelling through southern France in a camper-van without an internet connection for two weeks. As a student who tries hard to stay on top of the news whenever possible especially when preparing an upcoming magazine, being out of touch with the world around me took a while to adjust to although admittedly, I tried to get a glimpse of whatever newspaper or magazine was available when a rare newsstand was found. As one would expect in France, there were plenty of French newspapers available in the local shops and streets but something that the French, like so many other countries, are good at is reporting only the news that is relevant to them. For this reason, the news of the fatal stampede at the Love Parade in Duisburg failed to reach my eyes and ears and it was only two weeks later when I returned to Frankfurt that I actually heard of the eighteen deaths. For such an event to escape the eyes of the world is appalling and the industry ought to be ashamed for such a mistake. Just months ago, the Rolling Stone’s article on the then American Chief in Afghanistan - Stanley McChrystal, attracted the attention of the world’s media in every publication imaginable, including - I might

add, this one, yet that wasn’t even news. Instead it was a story that foretold the way American officials behave when not in the presence of their superiors. It might be interesting and the loss of one man’s job might seem amusing, but the deaths of eighteen innocent members of the public should be a lot more important and bears many key lessons in how councils, event organizers and local security forces should prepare for such circumstances. Before becoming a journalist while still in middle-school, I was strongly encouraged to read the newspapers and watch the evening news by teachers, as many of the stories being presented would help me learn through moral reasoning and the mistakes others have made. Although at the time I had no interest in doing so whatsoever, when reading the papers today it does show just how much there is to learn through other’s misfortunes and ideas. This is why my team at The Frankfurt Globe have set themselves the goal of sharing their thoughts and ideas on current events with the world. Every month brings new stories, ideas and problems to the world and people have to work together to solve them. In a decade’s time, the likes of President Obama or David Cameron will be disappearing from the scenes as a new generation takes over. This generation is made up of people like those who write for this magazine who share their ideas on today’s world and how it could look tomorrow. editor@thefrankfurtglobe.com


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September 2010