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  Global Views
Unusual Retrospective View of World in 2006
By Thomas Emmon Pisano
US Correspondent
Peace is urgently needed on this globe troubled by conflicts.

The year 2006 was a year like most years, which preceded it. There was a lot of unrest and violence around the globe, including the many conflicts centered about the Middle East. An absence of peace between Israel and its neighbors, especially Lebanon and Syria was apparent and dominated the international news.

The horrific loss of our American military personnel in the Iraqi war and the saber rattling from the governments of Iran and North Korea highlighted the front pages of most of the world's newspapers. In addition, the insane and useless deaths at the hands of suicide bombers and terrorists around the globe were of prime interest to the readers of the world's periodicals.

We saw the coinage of new phrases like 'conflict diamonds' and 'desktop tools' and the institution of a Tsunami warning system through U.N.E.S.C.O. in the area of the Indian Ocean. Thus preventing a similar disaster, like the one, which hit Sumatra in the recent past.

South Korea felt it strength surge forward again with another year of record growth for the 40th straight year. South Korea has again in the year 2006 remained a member of the Trillion Dollar Club. Since 2004, it has achieved that status in the world of commerce. Today it proudly boasts a gross domestic product of 1.1 trillion U.S. dollars with a labor force of approximately 24 million people. These figures are bolstered by its exports to China at 22% and 15% to the United States respectively. Consequently, South Korea is experiencing a standard of living rivaled only by the United States and other affluent countries of the West.

As the free world seems to be growing, we turn our eyes briefly to Canada and see it has spent a lot of time, money and general resources on a nation wide census this year, which the Canadian government will use to confirm it population estimates of 32.5 million. The Canadian Census Bureau will post a confirmation of these estimates in the middle of 2007.

As a healthy economy is the corner stone of prosperity and the general well being of the people, the Malaysians seem to be a very healthy and happy peoples indeed, with a financial outlook for 2006 and 2007 to be better than expected. This being due to the increased Natural Rubber demands from around the world.

Natural rubber is an important material for almost every high-tech manufacturing process and is now used in every modern electronic device including wireless communications, automobiles and computers, the world would stop functioning with out Natural rubber. From January 2006 to October 2006, Malaysia has produced 1,075,494 metric tons of natural rubber, of which 341,704 metric tons went to the Peoples Republic of China. 55,970 metric tons went to the Republic of Korea and 53,127 metric tons was exported to the United States. At first glance these figures are meaningless to the untrained eye, but raw materials imported by various manufacturing powers through out the world are a way of seeing which countries are large producers of the worlds technologies, and the Republic of China is at the top of that list with its consumption being six and a half times that of any other nation.

China is the major consumer of Malaysia's Natural Rubber for the production of most of the world's durable goods. By the way, the only other source of rubber is synthetic and it is not used as extensively as the natural variety of which Malaysia is the world's major producer. The above facts are from the Malaysian Dept. of Statistics.

Speaking of health for the year 2006, some surprising facts were uncovered concerning the health of the peoples around the world.

The World Health Organization has recognized 20 countries, which are responsible for 80% of the world's tuberculosis, the highest of which is Viet Nam, followed by The Republic of the Philippines, then Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia and Myanmar.

I turn our attention to the other respiratory disease, which is pandemic throughout the world; Tobacco consumption and the burdens it inflicts upon the world in general in the forms of death, loss of beloved family members and the cost that is incurred upon the economy of the world in general. 1.3 billion People are currently users of tobacco in the world this year that is one sixth of the human population.

Of these estimated tobacco users, 47% of them reside in China. 600,000 tobacco users have died in tobacco related deaths this year. Asia expects to loose 4.9 million people to tobacco deaths by the year 2020; these facts were gleaned from the American Cancer Society: Tobacco Control Profile for 2006.

Dr. John R. Sifferin of the A.C.S. said: Tobacco is already the single greatest cause of premature death in the world today…500 million alive now will die from tobacco related deaths in the near future."

Now in retrospect: the homeless population in the United States has increased for the fifth straight year in a row.

China experienced the worst flooding in thirty years in the south this past June killing over 300 people.

North Korea for the first time in history declares itself a Nuclear power, thus bringing the world closer to avoidable destruction.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have not won a World Series since 1988; they came close this year, maybe next year it will happen.

Again, this year there has been no treaty signed between Lebanon and Israel since its invasion of Lebanon's southern border in 1985.

More than 500,000 Palestinians are still refugees and wander the Middle East in search of a ‘home land.'

In conclusion; the state of the world for the year 2006 has seen many things which many of us would like to change for the better, but all in all, it is not a world on the brink of destruction like it has been from time to time through out our history, like during WWI, WWII, or during the Cold War for instance. That doesn't mean we are out of the woods as far as world peace is concerned, but at least there is hope. Isn't hope what we all look for when it comes to the state of the world and its problems, hope for the future of human kind?

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Mr. Thomas Emmon Pisano, an electronics-engineer-turned professional writer, serves as US correspondent for The Seoul Times. A New Jersey native he has lived in California. He has started his writing career in 2003 and has authored four books including “No Murder Too Small” and Big Crimes Small Miracles.”






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