Tag Archives: Kiev

It started already

Even as we had seen all the plans regarding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and their ultra-modern city of Neom, it was only last week when the geological studies were reported to have started for all the construction sites (at https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1390921/neom-begins-environmental-geological-surveys-construction-sites). Yet the placement of Neom goes a lot further than most realise. It will also be the gateway to the planned King Salman bin Abdulaziz Bridge, which will take 3 years, span a total distance of 10 miles and it will connect Saudi Arabia directly to the Sinai, to be more precise the bridge will connect to the Sinai a little north of Sharm-El-Sheik, opening up all kind of economic benefits for Egypt. Tourism and connectivity via Sharm-El-Sheik international airport will be boosted to well over 200%, it would also allow Saudi Arabia to delay its airport and use the bridge more effectively. It opens up a lot more when we consider that the setting now opens up directly to Kiev, Istanbul, Bratislava, Budapest, Brussels Talinn, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw, Kuwait, Bagdad, Cairo, Algiers, Sofia, Minsk, and not to forget all the places that Air Cairo lines to, which is a much larger list. When you consider that the construction is about to start on a city well over 500 billion, how much unschooled labour will there be a need for? Did anyone that math in the equation? That is before projects are delayed and hit snags. Yes, Sharm-El-Sheik will prosper and gain a massive amount of value, because in a tourist place like that these people can get the entertainment they are unlikely to see in Saudi Arabia.

There is an addition part in all this. The bridge will go via Tiran Island, I feel certain that a ramp to that place will be booming tourism as well. No matter how that fares, the first steps are now underway and when building starts, we will quickly see the overexcited steps from all kinds of companies trying to get in, because that 500 billion has to go somewhere, does it not? That is before some realise that having concrete facilities near Sharm-El-Sheik might be equally worthy of consideration, because when Neom is there, the shortages in Sharm-El-Sheik will become abundantly clear soon thereafter. When you see the issues in Sharm-El-Sheik, going back to 2015 and before, we get confronted with stories like ‘British passengers reveal Sharm airport staff are STILL taking cash to help them skip busy security queues despite bomb threat‘ (Daily Mail, November 5th 2015), as well as a few other sources, so as the economic footprint increases, the Egyptian government has to either increase their diligence, hire outside expertise or risk losing a lot of money in that entire process. Mainly because adding a few hotels to Neom will be much easier to consider than most realise and Saudi Arabia will be interested in setting a much larger tourism stage. Having a high tech city is one thing, having a truckload of consumers wanting to take some off it back home to show off is another matter on that very same coin.

In this we must also realise the size of Neom, the Neom site is large, large then anything ever seen before, it will stretch the western coastline to the proximity of Jordan, around 50 Km south of it, keeping it 75Km away from Eilat, giving Israel optional opportunities as well, I remember a Dutch guy who opened an ice factory in Eilat 40 years ago, the cubes for drinks, not the gelato. So there are options all over the place, all infrastructure needs that will not initially be available. Opportunities that some have no yet realised, all open for the investors who see the need for thousands of builders needing a watering hole, needing food and needing entertainment. This will enable places like the small city of Haql to experience a Gold Rush growth momentum.

From Haql to Hamid (where the bridge is likely to start) the distance is a mere 125Km, not the greatest road as it adds 10% to the trip, but the 392 will directly link to Saudi highway 5 getting you to Haql and that setting is merely a starter for plenty of other options. You see, when we consider that part, the bridge itself, when the final point gets a 4G tower, it would effectively cover Sharm-El-Sheik as well, I cannot say what the 5G coverage is as I do not have any reliable data on the range of such a tower. The same could be achieved from Tiran Island, covering the tourist spot and the southern part of Neom (based on 4G numbers).

No matter how it is all pushed, it has started, well, it started some time ago, but with the geological surveys a new chapter is starting, I reckon that when the first studies have been completed and accepted, the setting of concrete will not be far off. It is in this stage where we saw just a month ago (at https://neomsaudicity.net/), “Italian construction company Salini has announced plans to join NEOM project and expand into the Middle East, which includes project contracts in the Gulf, especially Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates“, and Salini is doing just fine. When we are given: “The company has also prequalified for the first phase of the $ 1 billion Avenues project, which is to be made up of two hotels, a shopping center, and an administrative building. It is part of 2,410 active projects in the Saudi Arabia since April, worth $ 190 billion“, we see that growth will be on the front bench of the board of directors of Salini Impregilo for years to come, which I expect will also come with additional growth projects in Sharm-El-Sheik. I reckon that this headway is the best news that Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was seen in close to a decade, yet they are one of many, and all of them will be needing people, so as the billion dollar contracts are handed out, and when we consider the Business Insider headline: ‘a $500 billion mega-city that’s 33 times the size of New York City‘, how long will it take until these companies realise that there are deadlines and that they are understaffed? That’s not merely construction and engineering. How about all these Arkey systems, Autodesk and Autocad placements? What do you think will happen when the IT division shuts down for whatever reason and local IT support will be required? That is merely beyond the commonplace Office software, that part you can evade with cloud services and in a pinch rely on your Google account. CAD software and design software is another puppy and when the heat strikes the power falters and systems need ghosting and restoring, it will be all about local manpower and things will always go wrong at the wrong moment. So, when you score your billion dollar contract and the infrastructure takes a dive, how prepared are you? How strong are the infrastructure settings for replacing it all? So even as the Neom News site gave us in April “NEOM Announces first 6 Jobs“, we need to realise that they will need another 15,000 trained professionals in that location soon enough. I wonder where these people will go shopping for the shortage. There is every chance that some of them will rely on poaching soon thereafter, which optionally raise staff costing by 200%-500% (depending on expertise needed), at that point consider the other parts that every building, every mall and every infrastructure needs. Neom city will soon become one of the largest employer hotspots for the next decade.

 

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Facts, Fiction or Fantasy

It is the elementary consideration of the three F’s, when we look at the information in regards to the Ukraine. It is not whether we give value or credibility of the news we see coming from Sky News, the Dutch NOS, BBC, CNN or even Fox News. There is a side that remains largely unspoken by many of them.

We see the news on how it is written on how these poor, poor Ukrainians are getting pummelled back into the anti-freedom group called ‘the Russian Federation’. Is that actually a truth?

Yes, we all notice on how well organised and well-armed these pro-Russian antagonists are, but are we seeing all the information correctly? Consider that not a few or a dozen people are in favour of these so called referendums, no; the people are out and about in hundreds and thousands. Many are singing their ‘old’ Russian songs and anthems. This is at the heart of the missing information. Consider that we see a lot more US involvement, whilst Kiev is now asking for the ‘Blue Helmets’ (UNIFIL) intervention. These people are about to get more support in 2 weeks, then the entire Syrian nation got in three years. I hope you remember that little escapade. It is still going on and the amount of casualties remain rising in Syria.

So, why are we all up in arms about Ukraine? Is it because some in Kiev want the European values and we are so upset about those who do not want to share ‘our’ way of life? Consider that the news has all been about implying that these acts are all orchestrated by the Kremlin and whilst it sounds really fun to hear about some politician who is about to get his assets frozen, nothing real can be done. By the way, can anyone tell me when the American Politicians or Wall street big bosses got their assets frozen?

The Ukrainian mess is blowing out of proportions in two ways. The first was the start of the Crimea and in specific the way the west and others responded to the events. I will always consider the fact that Russia did have some involvement here to some extent. The reason is that not having their fingers on the pulse whilst there is a massive naval base there is just not an option. They might not have intervened, or they remain silent on actions, but they knew what was going on. It was in their interest to pretend to be the non-observant here. Yet, that story does not reflect on the other parts of the Ukraine. A simple look at the map can tell us that. The Crimea was a military power point; the rest of the Ukraine is not. It is so simple for Russia to stand at a distance as see this all go up in flames and then offer ‘humanitarian’ aid.

The part that western news is ignoring is the shouting of the people that they have had enough of Kiev corruption. In their mind this will only lead to even worse times. Can we even blame them? Look at what the IMF has wrought (not through their actions through), Greece, Italy, Ireland, Spain and Cyprus. Massive debts, then IMF/EU financial support and after that austerity and continues after it started to choke a population. Government administrations get re-elected, no one goes to jail and some end up with a massive amount of money and favours. Is it such a leap of faith that Ukraine, a nation where corruption is such an issue, a place where now its population is just too scared to see what happens next? Consider the news in the last week, where we read that Christine Lagarde stated that the IMF was no longer forcing structural changes (http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/04/13/imf-no-longer-forces-structural-change). Was that just a small illumination of change as fear is gripping certain population groups? Consider the statement that was given last week that ‘the IMF was a victim of US politics‘, it is enough to scare many people. The statements of the IMF, which were also stated by Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey, that the US seems to be playing their own political games on regards to the IMF. None of these issues were raised, even though it is stated in several sources that the Ukraine is about to receive 9 billion in aid from the IMF. Now, I am not objecting in regards to the aid, yet, whilst it is known by all the players above a certain levels (at least 4 levels below Lagarde, Obama and Putin), that the Ukraine has a history and environment of corruption. None of that is properly addressed, so whilst 9 billion will go to the Ukraine, how much will end up out of the hands of the corrupt? Misreading gas meters, government invoices and the list goes on, how much of those will get paid by the 9 billion? Still wondering why the Ukrainian people are so anxious?

None of these matters are looked at (with proper levels of investigation) by the press, which makes for some of these newscasts a negotiable level of ‘pro-western’ advertisements, making the situation worse.

What the press is unwilling to illuminate, is that at the centre of these troubles are the pro-western politicians. They had no issue disposing of its former president, yet when they themselves are rejected by the Crimea and as it seems by the people at large, everyone shouts foul!

That part is an issue, no matter how many journalists ignore it. It is of course also a nice point of light as well; my income might drastically improve if the cold war is back. There is of course the badge of benefits we see with new movies (like a new impossible mission going up against their old adversary), the video games and in my case more data analyses. All those international locations that would need Palantir Government installed, trained and consulted upon.

Is this the reality? I do not know, the pressure between east and west is growing, so it remains a consideration. Consider however the events in Syria and that red line that was drawn (by the US), nothing happened. Is it because US intervention might get some of their oil benefits revoked? Is Syria not an interesting nation? (Which seems odd, as the pressures there would influence their long-time ally Israel.) So what is the press not investigating and what are we not getting told in this instance?

Consider that when you watch the news tonight and listen to what they say exactly, because you will hear suppositions and carefully phrased implied events, but where were the facts and more important, why are we not getting all the facts? That last one is important, as it turns a fact driven newscast into a work of fiction or even fantasy, which is getting the Ukrainians so angry and bothered.

In the end I still ask the question that is at the centre of this all. Why did the EEC not let the Ukraine be? This is not a statements against dealing with the Ukraine as a business partner, but in the light where the economies are down to such a degree, when the EEC is still dealing with the new partners and the overall debt levels are far exceeding acceptable levels in many of the EEC nations, growing is not a solution, it is a sure path to implosion, which will leave most of the EEC in a destitute state. That part is also seen as the two big national influencers, namely the French ‘Front Nationale’ and the British UKIP. When they do get the referendum to fall in their favour, the EEC will be in a mess that they will not be able to fix. Is the adding of as many nations as possible a desperate act to float the EEC at that point? (That was an actual question I am phrasing myself!)

The last one is likely to be a mere speculation (read fiction), from my side. Yet, considering the steps as we saw the EEC change and grow from 2008 onwards, after economic blow after blow. Now Greece is selling bonds again, whilst at present, their economy is in no way ready to deal with the old debts as well as the additional new ones. Are you still surprised to see the Ukrainian actions?

I am not stating that Russia is in such a great state, but there is every indication that they are not in a bad state either (with massive parts if Europe depending on Russian Gas), add to that, the fact that the Middle East is now diversifying by making Russian arms deals and other deals, which should indicate that they will order less from the west. Cars, electronics and other needs are now more and more moved to Asian makers like China, India, Myanmar et al. Some was already there, but slowly the list of migration is growing. Australia will lose massive amounts of jobs as the car industry moves away (not one brand, but all brands within the next 36 months). We see that airlines are slimming down and as the news reaches us day after day, often just after some ‘good’ news reached us, the balance is not looking good. The west is becoming less and less the place to be.

I do agree that the economy is slowly getting better, but it is also changing. Both have an impact on most of us and I still believe that actual economic improvements are not enjoyed by many of us until late 2015. All these factors are linked, as they are told to all. This is because the Ukrainian people are also watching the news, reading it on the internet and the picture shown is not a good one. So, when they felt that they were about to get the short end of the stick, they all rose up, because the devil you know (Russia) beats the devil you don’t (EEC). That part the big bosses all forgot about and when they applied pressure, they lost the Ukraine. Now the escalations there might not be so much orchestrated, but the stories, as they came from their ‘new’ government is sounding less and less honest in their ears. They want the old days back and in all fairness, can we blame them? Moreover, are the involved nations even happy to add another nation who is on the brink of bankruptcy?

These questions have not been dealt with at all. The last one is one we should all ask ourselves. Why intervene in the Ukraine, whilst politicians have no solution at all for those in hardship and dying in Syria? That issue reflects directly on the people of Jordan and Palestine, especially after a second chemical attack, whether we believe these events to be stories of fact, fiction or fantasy. We are witnessing iterations of ‘the cost of doing business’ on a global scale. It is however the local people who pay the bill through taxation and the Ukrainians seem to be very unhappy about the changes and the bill they will get presented with.

 

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