Th, Nov 28, 2019 Thanksgiving Day (U.S. Holiday 4th Thu in Nov)

Few American holidays have a history as steeped in myth and legend as Thanksgiving Day, which reaches back nearly 400 years to the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in the Fall of 1621 at Plymouth Plantation in what is now Massachusetts, and at the Berkley Hundred and Jamestown in Virginia.

Jennie A. Brownscombe  •  The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, Massachusetts Read more

VN getting more competitive

The World Economic Forum’s latest global competitiveness list, released on Wednesday, ranked Việt Nam 55th overall, up five places from last year and 20 from five years ago.

The Global Competitiveness Report 2017-18 said the country had made notable improvements in all sectors, notably among the basic requirement factors (75th out of 137), including institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education.

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Australia, Trump, and the TPP

The TPP itself is, in essence, a series of bilateral commitments under a plurilateral umbrella. Attached to it are a series of bilateral exchanges of letters between some of the members on specific commitments, perhaps a similar device could be used to “tweak” the TPP sufficiently to allow US ratification. Alternatively, in the absence of the TPP, there may be scope for the new US Administration to take a greater leadership role in APEC, an organisation which does important work in enhancing regional economic integration and removing behind-the-border barriers to trade. Importantly, APEC does this through promoting business linkages and voluntary means rather than imposing binding legal rules. Read more

Does U.S. medical research subsidize other countries?

The U.S. is the world leader in producing new medicines. The country’s strong intellectual-property laws, coupled with a comparatively free-market pricing system, encourage firms to research new treatments. Companies wouldn’t take on the enormous cost of developing a new drug without a solid chance of recouping their investment. On average, a new medicine takes 10 years and costs $2.6 billion to develop, according to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development.

The problem is that rather than promote innovation, many other countries impose price controls on prescription drugs—including new medicines invented in the United States—to make them artificially cheaper for consumers. If American companies refuse to sell their medicines at these steeply discounted dictated prices, foreign countries threaten to break their patents and produce knockoff versions of the medicines. Read more

The Box: How the Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger

By making shipping so cheap that industry could locate factories far from its customers, the container paved the way for Asia to become the world’s workshop and brought consumers a previously unimaginable variety of low-cost products from around the globe. Read more

Sustainable Seafood – University of California, San Diego

In the Future Thought Leaders series, nationally prominent chefs, fishermen, academics, and activists call on consumers to choose local species of fish when possible to protect the long-term vitality of harvested seafood and the well-being of the oceans. This series was presented by the Berry Good Food Foundation, and the University of California. Some key numbers: 70 to 80% of global fish populations are not sustainably fished. 90% of seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported. 2% of that is inspected by the FDA.

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South China Sea [Bien Dong] Reserves and Resources: U.S. Energy Information Agency

Overview: EIA estimates the South China Sea contains approximately 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in proved and probable reserves. Conventional hydrocarbons mostly reside in undisputed territory. Undiscovered resources could be greater. In November 2012, the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) estimated the area holds around 125 billion barrels of oil and 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in undiscovered resources, although independent studies have not confirmed this figure. Read more

Robert Lighthizer to be nominated as U.S. Trade Representative

President-elect Donald Trump will nominate lawyer Robert Lighthizer as U.S. trade representative, picking an experienced trade official who has questioned the conservative movement’s commitment to free trade. Experts say that veteran attorney Robert Lighthizer is uniquely qualified to transform the rhetoric into actual concrete policy. Where Robert Lighthizer differs from others  is his firsthand experience with the ins and outs of U.S. trade law. Read more