World Water Crisis

Global Water Crisis

Leading US legal scholar Robert Glennon is currently touring to promote his latest book, a factual study which is being taken so seriously that he is getting air time on some of the highest-rating shows in America – including Jon Stewart’s Daily Show which has had such guests in the last year as the then Senator Barack Obama, the former President Bill Clinton and father of the US political chat show Larry King. Robert Glennon’s issue is linked to one hugely important part of everyone’s life – water. Quite simply, the message goes, America is wasting water. And it’s not just America, either. There are water crises in Asia, parts of Europe and in Africa too. The very real danger is that if people living in countries with what should be a plentiful supply of water don’t stop wasting what they have, then our future could be looking dangerously dry.

Robert Glennon’s book, Unquenchable, is the story of how America is wasting water in ways which are in some cases breathtakingly wasteful and in others seemingly well-intentioned. Witness how the energy lobby in Washington are pushing for the greater use of biofuels, and then consider that to make one gallon of biofuel is said to cost thousands of gallons of water. According to Robert Glennon, America simply does not have that kind of water to give away. It may seem like America, Europe and other areas with a similarly rainy climate are at little risk from drought, but if the current reckless overuse of water continues there could be some damage done that will not be undone in a hurry. We may well find that scarcity will lead to some extremely negative repercussions.

In Africa and parts of sub continental Asia we have seen the results of major drought, as crops wither and die leading to serious famine. The water crisis we are currently seeing – albeit in a very limited way – has the potential to change the face of the world as we know it for the worse, and it is not just Robert Glennon who believes this. It needs to be taken into account now that without government attention and innovative thinking in countries where ready alternatives exist, we will be looking not at a potential crisis, but some years down the line at a financial crisis in some parts of the world and a humanitarian one elsewhere.

It is all the more telling that as America faces up to a real crisis, one nation in a position of relative strength right now is its neighbour to the north, Canada. Currently sitting on around 10% of the world’s water, Canada will feature very prominently in discussions the longer this situation perpetuates itself. It is to be hoped that things will not get so far that Canada is required to help out with America’s water crisis – but with the crises developing elsewhere it must be recognised that the old adage “water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink” has never been more appropriate.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on July 18, 2009.

World's Riskiest Cities for Property Bubble

USB Releases Global Property Index

First Published: Published Date : November 30, 2015

The UBS just launched its Global Real Estate Bubble Index that tracks the risk of property bubbles across the globe by analyzing various metrics. The risk of a property bubbles has increased dramatically for global cities, according to the USB report.

Here are the top ten cities on the list facing bubble risk:

– London

– Hong Kong

– Sydney

– Vancouver

– San Francisco

– Amsterdam

– Geneva

– Zurich

– Paris

– Frankfurt

Some highlights from the report:

– London is the most vulnerable city to have a property bubble.

– Sydney is the world’s most overvalued city.

– US city San Francisco is overvalued, but New York and Boston are fairly valued, and Chicago is undervalued.

– Vancouver prices in 2015 are 25% higher than they were in 2006.

– Sydney prices in 2015 are 30% higher than they were in 2012.

– Amsterdam is the second-most susceptible city on the continent.

– Hong Kong, the second riskiest city after London, has been in bubble risk since 2011.

– In Hong Kong, a worker would need to work 14 years to buy a 60 sq meter apartment.

Brim World Elite Increases Annual Fee Even Before Issuing Credit Cards

Brim World Elite MasterCard Annual Fee Goes Up

Brim credit cards created heavy buzz and brought a breath of fresh air on the Canadian credit card market because of its unheard of features such as no foreign transaction fee, Lounge Key membership, Boingo global Wi-Fi access, plus much more in Canada.

However, the anticipation and love are gone because Brim World Elite MasterCard has increased its annual fee from $120 to $199 even before reaching its customers.

There is no justification to pay $199 when you can pay $140 (Scotia Passport Visa Infinite) or $150 (BMO World Elite MasterCard) and get a lot more.

For example, Brim WE MasterCard provides only LoungeKey lounge membership, not free passes. The 2 other competitors’ credit cards provide 6 and 4 free lounge passes. Their insurance benefits are comparable or even better then Brim’s WE MasterCard. Scotia Passport Visa Infinite also provides zero foreign currency transaction fees.

The only thing the Scotia and BMO credit cards (those mentioned above) are missing is the Boingo global Wi-Fi access. However, that does not justify the higher annual fee. You can get the same Boingo global Wi-Fi access by just having the free version of Brim credit card.

I called up Brim to hear their version of the story behind the annual fee increase. The rep was friendly but failed to provide strong reasons justifying the increase. You can listen in the conversation here in the video:

What's the Justification Behind Skyrocketing Annual Fee

I don’t see any point in keeping my Brim WE MasterCard beyond its first year. I will switch to the regular free version and still will have access to free Boingo global Wi-Fi. For free lounge access, I am happy with my Scotia Passport Visa Infinite and BMO World Elite MasterCard. Also, Scotia Passport offers no zero foreign transaction fee as well.

5 Best Android Free Live Wallpapers

My Top Favourite Android Live Wallpapers 

First Published: Jan 21, 2012

Live wallpapers can add totally different dimensions to your phone or tablet screens. After searching for hours, these are my top five picks for live wallpapers. 

Lightwell Live Wallpaper CE by DeDee - A great piece and visually pleasing. This wallpaper shows your current location, how long you are at your location, time, battery status, etc. It is not live in the sense that it does not move on screen, but information changes on your screen based on your movement and location. Very easy on the battery and does not slow down the device. 

Puddle Drops by Schuler Mobile - Having this wallpaper is like having a live pool on your screen. This wallpaper simulates falling water drops on screen. Tap or shake your device to create more drops. Looks really good on a tablet screen.    

Radar Live Wallpaper by Biturix - Make your phone or tablet look like a real radar with this app. Radar beam speed, objects on radar, and color are customizable. Easy on battery. 

Blue Skies Live Wallpaper by Kittehface Software - This wallpaper makes you feel like you are flying through the clouds. Looks good, but drains battery and slows down device. 

My Beach Free by DualBoot Games - Have your own secluded beach on your screen while clouds floating above you and ocean waves breaking onto the shore. Looks very good, but drains battery and

SPG American Express Offers Free Marriott Night

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express Will Give Anniversary Free Hotel Night

When the Chase Marriott Premier Visa Credit Card closed its doors in Canada, I was devastated because I lost my free anniversary night at Marriott properties across the globe. This was one of my reasons to keep paying $120 on this card each year.

However, due to the Marriott and SPG merger, I was hoping the SPG Amex credit card will offer the free night once the merger completes. And it looks like that’s what is going to happen starting August, 2018.

I received a letter from American Express Canada mentioning that once the SPG and Marriott rewards program combine in August, there are some changes coming to the SPG Amex Card. Here are some of them:

- Earn rate will be 5 points per dollar spent at eligible Marriott + SPG properties

- 2 points per dollar on everything else

- Free annual night every year (Cannot exceed 35,000 points redemption value)

-  Silver Elite Status

And some more benefits. To earn Silver Elite Status, you would generally be required to stay 10 nights per year. But you will be given this elite status just for having the SPG Amex card.

I made up my mind before that I would cancel the Starwood Amex card if it does not provide free nights after the merger. But I don’t need to cancel it anymore, as I got what I wanted.

It makes sense for me to keep this card, paying $120 per year, just for the free night. Depending on where I redeem the free night, I can easily extract $150 to $400 per night or possibly more based on the Marriott/Sheraton property location and time.

The SPG Amex card does not provide any other mentionable benefits, such as travel insurances, no foreign currency fee, or concierge services. But only the free night and Silver Elite Status are enough for me to hold on to this card.

SPG Amex Free Marriott Night