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Monday, May 29, 2006

Venezuela Considers Selling Oil in Euros

Caracas, Venezuela, May 18, 2006

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared on Tuesday that Venezuela would consider putting the sale of its oil in Euros. His comments come after Iran had announced that it too is contemplating switching to the European currency.

“That was an interesting proposal made by the president of Iran,” Chavez told Channel 4 News in London. “We are also free to choose between the dollar and the euro. I think that the European Union has made a great contribution with the Euro.” “

In a way, what the President of Iran is saying… is recognizing the power of Europe, that they have succeed in the integration and have a single currency that competes with the dollar, and Venezuela can consider that, too, we are free to do that,” Chavez added.

According to the BBC, Iran announced earlier this month that they supported the creation of an “oil exchange that traded solely in Euros”. Experts have warned that such a conversion to the European currency could trigger central banks to convert their dollar reserves to euros, thus potentially worsening the already declining US currency.

Although the International Herald Tribune reported yesterday that the US dollar has rebounded this week from its recent lows against the Euro, it still stands at about $1.28 per Euro. The value of the Euro has grown substantially against the dollar since the two currencies were equal, just before the beginning of the US invasion of Iraq.

Already last year, Venezuela made a number of financial moves towards the European currency. In October, 2005, the Financial Times reported that Venezuela had “transferred a large portion of its $30.4 billion of foreign reserves out of US Treasuries and into banks and other financial instruments in Europe, seemingly for political reasons.”

Last December, The Central Bank of Venezuela approved the use of Euros in some financial transactions in what it called, an attempt to “promote the diversification of the economic relations and international finance of the nation.”

The conversion to Euros has been a controversial international issue because of the possible effect it could have on the US currency and international markets. In November of 2000, Iraq switched its oil exchange to Euros, even before most Europeans where using the new currency. Many critics of US foreign policy have pointed to this conversion as a possible impetuous for the US invasion of Iraq a few short years later.

Possibly making the connection, President Chavez, at a speech in London on Sunday, declared that the price of oil would soar to over $100 a barrel if the United States were to declare war on Iran. Even before Iran’s recent announcements on possible Euro conversion, the Bush Administration had been exerting increasing pressure on the oil-rich nation over the development of its nuclear program. The Venezuelan government has publicly declared itself in support of Iran’s peaceful nuclear energy program and opposed to any military action against the middle-eastern country. Article source Michael Fox -

When the price of crude oil reached US$40 a barrel it made the refining of Venezuelan heavy oil a profitable venture.

By adding Venezuela's heavy oil deposits to it's conventional oil reserves, Venezuela would have the world's largest oil deposits.

It is only a matter of time before Hugo Chavez circumvents the US dollar.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

why anthony mundine really is the man...

Posted by my daughter, Veronica (16 years old)

Hello all! As you probably know (and if u dont then where have u been?) Anthony Mundine and Danny Green had their much awaited showdown last week at Aussie Stadium. Initially I was secretly hoping Green would win cause Mundine’s just such a smart ass and incredibly up himself (and played a very unimpressive role on big brother a few years ago). When I took a quick squiz at the crowd last Wednesday I saw a large number of aboriginal people there to support Mundine...yelling and stamping like crazy and with huge grins on their faces when the aboriginal flag danced on stage alongside the hero of the evening. Since then I’ve been thinking about Mundine and what he stands for and I’ve started to admire him a little more...

Sadly aboriginal people, as much as we try to pretend they aren’t, are racially discriminated against in our society day by day. While most people would say this discrimination is in some way justified as a large number of them drink, start fights, are part of gangs etc. the way I see it is that although all this prejudice is based on a kernel of truth, the real issue is that society has grouped these people together in isolated places around Sydney’s poorer suburbs, not allowing a large portion of them to properly integrate into society as we know it, and socially rejecting them to the extent where we have made them live down to our expectations so we can justify our mistreatment towards them. Along with many other devalued groups, society, (although im sure it is mainly subconsciously), base their entire perception of a person on a negative stereotyped image that their parents or the media have painted for them.

This is not something I am miraculously hoping to stop, but rather raise awareness of cause no matter how much we say or think as a nation that because we have charities we are therefore caring towards disabled people, or because we have an annual multicultural day we are therefore fair to aboriginal people – the issue is much more complicated then that. In the end it is more important to be wary of what’s really happening out there and to tell your subconscious mind that you will not listen to it when it paints these negative stereotypes on, for example, a young gay man that you pass (that he will be sexually rampant), an aboriginal person (that they are an alcoholic), of a disabled person (that they are stupid and dirty), of the elderly (that they are a burden), a person of middle eastern appearance (they’re a terrorist), the unemployed (that they are lazy dole-bludgers)...the list goes on! Im sure many of you may not even believe you have any of these subconscious thoughts, but why then is it that in a train you sit a little further away from the physically disabled person and find it overwhelming if they speak to you unannounced...where as if an innocent looking girl like myself did I’m sure no one would not shy away or cross the street to get away from me...(or I’d hope not =P) I don’t mean to speak negatively of today’s society as I honestly believe that no one is a bad person for disliking or labeling a group of people, it just means they have not been well educated on the subject and I fear they will miss out on so many opportunities to meet wonderful people within these groups because they are too scared to be the better person and not judge a book by its cover.

Anyway they whole reason i went on this huge rant was to basically say that yes, I originally though Anthony Mundine was an outspoken young man who was all talk (which he has proven us all wrong of), but now I have realised that he is much more then that. He is someone who the people from Redfern can identify with and be proud of...someone from the aboriginal community who is making a name for himself and his people. That it something that I admire of him, because he can talk himself up in the media and make us hate him, love him or in my case hate to love him...but when it comes down to it he is a decent guy making a name and money for himself and his community, while doing something that he loves - and is now officially the best at!
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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Theories on why people are opposed to boxing

A word from the Mother Rectoress:

Well my take on this is that the eyes are the window to the soul and therefore we find it very difficult to comfortably hit someone in the face when they are looking at us. (That and the fact that the head houses the essential brain).

Many people who oppose boxing have never been revealed through it I believe and wish to keep it that way. Boxing is very confronting both spiritually and physically. The fact that people are actually hitting one another (often not hard enough to do damage - if they have the courage and experience to learn the appropriate self control required) is secondary to the real battle that goes on when we are physically and emotionally confronted and exposed to one another in the ring. So anyone who takes issue with fighting needs to CALM DOWN AND GET IN THE RING!!
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The art of fighting without fighting

Some wisdom from William:

If you do not recognise the phrase, Bruce Lee said it in one of his movies,..with a great accent that is unmistakably Mr. Lee. Despite the Hollywood flavour of some of his movies, Bruce Lee had a sophisticated philosophy of fighting, which was paradoxically simple and straight forward. However I will not explain or attempt to portray his philosophy. I did a bit of King Fu (or as a friend would say...Pong Foowee....not sure how you spell it) when I was 13 years. Then I did about 6 months of boxing when I was about 15. It would be over 25 years later before I would place another glove on my hand, which I did about 2 years ago and I did some boxing technique classes. I found it challenging to get the technique and body movement’s right, and I really enjoyed getting fit. But I was not interested in boxing for the sake of learning to hit somebody in the head. I was always attracted to an approach to fighting that emphasised philosophy and discipline aswell.

Sparring was part of the boxing technique class, and if you haven’t sparred for a while, it is a little scary, particularly if you have no interest in knocking the other guys head off. The lack of that ….venom…can place you at a disadvantage, with younger and fitter opponents. However, I learnt that the biggest opponent I faced in the ring was myself. How I boxed, how I responded, was an expression of how I managed my own emotions. Psychology and psychotherapy is a profession that seeks to teach people to manage their own subjective experience. It is very hard to teach people to manage there subjective experience, and academic psychology believes that you can educate people to do this partly by providing information about how thoughts affect how I feel, and how I behave, a much larger topic of discussion. However, the boxing ring is one arena where you come face to face with the challenge of managing your own emotions, and you live it. Your responses and ability to move in the ring is affected your ability to manage fear. Fear, is a useful emotion, and it gives you valuable information in a split second. However, it can also restrict your attention, as does anger. Fear, and the fear reflex allows you to attempt to avoid the fist as it travels towards your head. I don’t recommend blocking with your head, as I tried that but it didn’t seem to work too well. However, it narrows your focus on that fist, and you don’t see opportunities, or how that punch may be a tactic to set you up for another punch. I have found that a peaceful, yet focused mind is really useful, but it is very hard to achieve. This is the magic of the boxing ring. It is all about you. The question is always how you respond. You cannot escape that responsibility easily or cheaply. Not like in daily life where you can hide behind numerous responses, because you never see the consequences of how you decide to respond. I am reminded of father Dave’s reference to cynicism as ones response to life, society and the world. It is easy to be cynical because you don’t see the consequences of your response. The boxing ring is one arena that teaches that what happens depends on how you respond....that there is a consequence and relationship between what you do...and who you are,..and what happens. Or at least it has that potential. The boxing ring is an arena where you are faced with the challenge of how you face your foe. It is a great metaphor for life, because what happens in a round of boxing is unpredictable, and just because you lose one round does not mean the fight is lost. It is a moment-by-moment evolution in which you are a deciding factor and actor.