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Monday, June 8, 2015


My Fall Around the World Trip stops in countries garnering some current attention:

1.  Japan:  In a poll released today, 59% expressed opposition to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's nuclear power policy.  In 2012, the cost of the Fukushima nuclear disaster was speculated to run from $1 trillion to $10 trillion.  It's difficult to estimate actual damage, but the current sense might be between $250 billion and $500 billion.  In comparison, Louisiana cataclysms cost $45 billion for Hurricane Katrina and up to $100 billion for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

2.  South Korea:  Why are the passengers at Incheon International Airport wearing masks?  The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) has arrived in Seoul, Korea, through a businessman who had just visited the Middle East.  There are at this posting 87 confirmed cases, 6 deaths, more than 1800 schools are closed and more than 2500 are quarantined.  Worldwide, there are 1,179 MERS cases in 25 countries, with two in the USA, both being health workers who lived in Saudi Arabia.  Almost all of the 445 MERS fatalities have been in the Middle East.  The ailment, only identified 3 years ago, is caused by a coronavirus very similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), mostly affecting Asia, killing 800.  Both Ebola and MERS have no vaccine for cure, and 30% to 40% who contract the infection die.  Symptoms?  Fever, bought, breathing difficulties...leading sometimes to pneumonia and kidney failure.

3.  Hong Kong:  A South Korean who travelled to Hong Kong came with MERS.  

4.  Those are my first three stops, but let me jump to Germany for the G7 meeting in Bavaria, just south of Munich.  Next year, Japan.  The traditional group photo:

Note, no lederhosen or miesbacher tract (right) or fluffy/colorful shirts.  Hey, this is Germany.  There are eight people because the head of the European Union always comes.  Thus, half the representation is European (Germany, France, UK and EU).

First of all, they won't really do anything.  Mainly the group will posture and continue to thumb their noses at Russia for the Ukraine matter.  Oh, yeah, this was once the G8, but they kicked Russia out.

It was once the G6, until Canada was added.  Why don't they include China and India, which have 36% of the world population, or Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Saudi Arabia?  Someday they will be, with Russia forgiven, and this will become the G15.  Then they will truly be useless, like the United Nations.

5.  As this posting is getting too long, let me just mention New York, for the Belmont Stakes finally produced a Triple Crown winner in American Pharoah, the first in 37 years since Affirmed.  According to Forbes, the horse is now worth $50 million.  About that misspelling of an Egyptian pharaoh, yes, that was a mistake, almost like Google, which was once called BackRub, but Larry Page and one of friends, Sean Anderson, thought really large number made more sense, so settled on Googolplex (one, followed by 10 to the 100th power zeros) or Googol (one, followed by 100 zeros).  By mistake, Sean registered  

I finally add that I will most probably go to a Broadway show when I get to New York City in November, and the TONY Awards were announced last night.  The big winner was Fun Home, a coming of age musical with a closeted dad in a funeral home with a lesbian as the main character.  Well, let me end instead with Kelli O'Hara (won her first TONY after six nominations, here to the left with the King, Ken Watanabe) singing Getting to Know You, from King and I,

There are three ocean storms, and at this time only Tropical Storm Ashobaa approaching the Gulf of Oman will become of hurricane strength.  Tropical Storm Blanca made landfall over Baja at 40 MPH.


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