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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO AND MADAGASCAR




I am now in San Francisco (as sung by Jeanette MacDonald, with an appearance by Clark Gable). I was welcomed at the airport by a Shar Pei, then went on to Walnut Creek, where Carl Weinberg (formerly the R&D director for PG&E) and Terry Surles (Argonne, Lawrence Livermore, Sandia, California Energy Commission, EPRI, PICHTR, University of Hawaii) and I had a useful discussion about smart energy systems over lunch at Carl's son's Walnut Creek Yacht Club restaurant.



I then stopped by the Ferry Building and said hi to a seagull (I think) and purchased my dinner: chili of some sort, a locally made blue cheese, croissant, assorted olives, caesar salad and a bottle of Vine Starr meritage, bottled across the bay in Berkeley.

Tomorrow at 4AM Kenji's entourage arrives for our green safari from Reno through Napa Valley.












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The Dow Jones Industrials tumbled 213 (1.9%) to 10,992, but this was largely triggered by world events, as Japan dropped 2.5% to 10,936 and Europe, even more so, mostly due to their problem with PIGS. Gold, though, rose $12/toz to $1167 and crude oil fell below $82/barrel.


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I welcome country #148 to my blog:

MADAGASCAR POPULATION: 20,653,556
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Background
Formerly an independent kingdom, Madagascar became a French colony in 1896 but regained independence in 1960. During 1992-93, free presidential and National Assembly elections were held ending 17 years of single-party rule. In 1997, in the second presidential race, Didier RATSIRAKA, the leader during the 1970s and 1980s, was returned to the presidency. The 2001 presidential election was contested between the followers of Didier RATSIRAKA and Marc RAVALOMANANA, nearly causing secession of half of the country. In April 2002, the High Constitutional Court announced RAVALOMANANA the winner. RAVALOMANANA achieved a second term following a landslide victory in the generally free and fair presidential elections of 2006. In early 2009, protests due to increasing restrictions on opposition press and activities resulted in RAVALOMANANA stepping down and the presidency was conferred to the mayor of Antananarivo, Andry RAJOELINA. Following negotiations in July and August of 2009, a power-sharing agreement with a 15-month transitional period was established, but has not yet been implemented.

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