March 12th, 2012
08:11 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – The letter from the seven airlines complaining about the European Emissions Trading system made me smile. Not that there is anything funny about the prospect of a full-blown trade war between Europe and inter alia, China, the fastest-growing super economy in the world.

Rather because it smacked of too little, too late. Where were these airlines writing their letters when the scheme was being initiated, promulgated and ultimately brought into force?

No doubt they made protests behind the scenes and lobbied like fury - which got them precisely nowhere! The Commission was impervious to the threats of trade wars. They barrelled on regardless of the damage that was being threatened.

I know this because the EU commissioner responsible, Connie Hedegaard, was on Quest Means Business defending the scheme. To her credit, she hasn't wavered. The view in Brussels was, if the ICAO process was going to be delayed and drawn out then the EU would go its own way - and that is exactly what they have done.

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March 12th, 2012
03:04 PM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) - If you look at China’s annual National People’s Congress, now in session, you might think this country is one of the richest in the world.

The NPC's 75 richest legislators - from a total of 3,000 - had a net worth of more than $90 billion in 2011. To put that in perspective, that’s more than half of Greece’s latest bailout of some $170 billion.

Zong Qinghou is the NPC’s richest member and China’s second-richest man, with a net worth of nearly $10.8 billion in cash and assets. If you’ve been to China, you’ve likely eaten or drunk something his company, Wahaha Group, manufactures.
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