December 25th, 2013
10:54 AM GMT
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(CNN) - Ukraine's energy dependence on Russia's natural gas is a key factor in Ukrainian politics. CNN's John Defterios explains why.



December 17th, 2013
03:12 PM GMT
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(CNN) - We are aware of the saying “keep all your options open.” Europe is doing just that with a landmark $28 billion natural gas pipeline agreement signed in Baku Tuesday which will open up what is called the Southern Gas Corridor in 2018.

The nearly 20 heads of state, ministers and commissioners did not go out of their way to make the Russian connection with Ukraine as a reason to forge ahead, but one cannot overlook the motivation.

The deal was signed in Baku on the very day Vladimir Putin met with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich to potentially define how Russia may step up assistance to Kiev.

After being frozen out in the winters of 2006 and 2009 with interruptions to gas supplies from Russia through Ukraine, the European Union has stepped up efforts to complete the agreement which was first drawn up in 1996.

Azerbaijan came onto the energy scene when it launched the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan or BTC oil pipeline from Baku to the southern Turkish port of Ceyan with political backing from the United States.

Read more: Will Iran gas deal unleash 'Germany of the Middle East?'

This pipeline network will cover more than 3500 kilometers and stretch from Baku to Italy. BP and Norway’s Statoil are the lead investors taking 25.5% each in the partnership with a handful of others including the Azeri state energy company SOCAR.

Unlike a number of pipeline agreements that have been drawn up, this one will launch with at least nine customers from the heart of Europe guaranteeing revenue when the taps are officially opened up in 2018.

Azerbaijan sits on roughly 1% of the world’s proven gas reserves, so it is not a major player yet. But this production from the Shah Deniz 2 field will double its output by the end of the decade according to Azeri officials.

Read more: Flame towers light up Baku's historic skyline

Russia may not be thrilled about this effort by the European Union to diversify gas supplies, but with 17% of proven gas reserves it will not be unseated as the major supplier to Eastern and Western Europe.



December 17th, 2013
03:05 PM GMT
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Sheraton Hotels & Resorts CEO Frits van Paasschen argues that technology and design can help improve the hospitality experience for customers. CNN's Maggie Lake reports.



December 17th, 2013
02:59 PM GMT
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Mezcal, a Mexican liquor, is produced in an old-fashioned way to focus on quality instead of quantity. The hard liquor, which has been around for decades, has no added chemicals, and producers say there are no negative morning-after effects. CNN’s Rafael Romo tries it out.



December 12th, 2013
01:55 PM GMT
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For the first time ever, an isolated village in Mexico got access to cell phone service. The town cooperated with an innovative company that helps increase access to mobile communication in small and marginalized communities. CNN's Rafael Romo reports.



December 11th, 2013
01:43 PM GMT
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Geographically, Ukraine straddles Eastern and Western Europe, but the President Viktor Yanukovych is finding it increasingly difficult to balance the country’s interests.

Yanukovych came into power touting his close relations with Moscow and he maintains when it comes to energy supplies they are essential for Ukraine and Europe as well. FULL POST

Filed under: BusinessDefteriosGlobal Exchange


December 5th, 2013
12:29 PM GMT
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The Colombian capital of Bogota has rolled out a fleet of electric taxis, made by Chinese automobile company BYD. It is the largest such fleet in South America, and is designed to improve the city’s air quality and reduce pollution. But there are some challenges in maintaining these eco-friendly vehicles. CNN's Nick Parker takes a ride.



December 4th, 2013
02:49 PM GMT
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Meet the man who runs Hong Kong's vast subway system MTR, which carries a staggering 5.1 million people a day. But, CNN discovers, its chief executive Jay Walder is focused on efficiency – which he says translates into profits and sustainability.



December 3rd, 2013
10:45 AM GMT
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Iran's six month agreement with P5 + 1, Egypt's transition after the ouster of Mohammed Morsy and Syria's long and catastrophic civil war have nudged a plan to revitalize the Palestinian Territories right off the global agenda.

I was in the room when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry unveiled, on the evening of May 26, what he saw as an ambitious plan to deliver hope to Palestinians by jump-starting investment.  His speech closing out the World Economic Forum regional meeting at the Dead Sea in Jordan was met with a heavy dose of skepticism because it lacked specifics.

Kerry presented an economic road-map, calling for $4 billion of private investment covering eight sectors from agriculture to tourism. If you build the right framework, according to the top U.S. diplomat, investors will come.  The goal is to boost the economies of the West Bank and Gaza by up to 50% in just three years.

Read more: Will  deal unlock 'Germany of the Middle East'?

While no one can really argue with the spirit of the economic initiative, the reality on the factory floor, whether it is light manufacturing or in telecommunications, is very different. Palestinian businessmen suggest it is time to be more holistic in the approach.  One cannot divorce the peace process from business. FULL POST



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