Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The truth about Chevrolet Optra

When Chevrolet re-introduced itself into the Egyptian market, one felt that Chevrolet is trying to redefine its place in the egyptian market from being strictly dominating in the pick up and trucks market to one that actually plays a role in passenger cars. it introduced 2 models the "Optra" and its smaller hatchback version, the "Aveo". both the optra and aveo have managed to acheive record sales in record time. in comparison to other cars they are affordable, and come in very appealing engine capacities, fuel efficient and are claimed to have pretty cheap spare parts. In other words there is nothing American about them apart from the golden cross generations have grew to identify as the Chevrolet logo.

At a first glance one can't help but mistake it for a Korean car or something from Southeast Asia. Actually if you do so, you would not be totally mistaken. This car is actually
a Daewoo Nubira!
yep , you read it right the first time, theres no need to doubt your eyes, this is a Daewoo Nubira!
The Daewoo Nubira is a lineup of compact sedans and station wagons made by South Korean GM Daewoo. Visually identical models of its second generation are currently also sold as:

in Europe it is Chevrolet Lacetti
in Canada , India, Arabia , Southeast Asia and south africa its the Optra ,
get this, in the US its actually a Suzuki Forenza
as for China, it goes by the name of Buick Excelle

if you look at the picture closely you will notice the suzuki logo on the front of the car, thats how it is introduced in the US , if you are to replace it with that of chevrolet it becomes the Optra or Lacetti,
why do they do this? dont ask me...if you do know please let us know too!
here is what wikipedia had to say about the whole thing:

"The first generation car, model J100, was released to the market in 1997 as Daewoo Nubira, and it was sold until 1999. The car takes its name from the Korean word Nubira, which means "to go everywhere". It was developed as a replacement for the GM T platform-based Daewoo Nexia and designed by Italian IDEA Design. Both sedan and station wagon models were available.
In 2000, the first generation underwent over 90 improvements. Examples of these include an increase in passenger space and reduction in noise, harshness and vibration, particularly from the engine by adding a fourth engine mount and by tuning the intake resonators. In addition, the exterior design was reworked by Daewoo's Worthing Technical Centre in the United Kingdom, creating a more dynamic image.
In 2003, model J200, a new Pininfarina-designed sedan, was unveiled, and the expansion of the lineup followed by a presentation of the new station wagon in 2004. However, in its home market, the Nubira name was dropped in favour of Daewoo Lacetti for this whole range of models.
In Europe the sedan version was also sold as Daewoo Nubira, but late in 2003 it was announced that Daewoo will be rebranded as a Chevrolet on the European markets and sales of the Chevrolet Nubira began early in 2004, initially only in Eastern Europe. Following the rebranding of Daewoo products as Chevrolets across Europe, Nubiras were renamed Chevrolet Lacetti on some markets, thereby expanding the Lacetti lineup to include not only a 5-door hatchback, but also sedan and station wagon models, in line with Korea.
The engines built for the Nubira and its badge engineered twins are the same as in Lacetti hatchback and its badge engineered versions. All of them are gasoline-powered 4-cylinder engines."

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

China, Israel march in step again (An Article by Stephen Blank)

China and Israel are resuming a military relationship. From the 1970s until both sides established diplomatic relations with each other in 1992, Israel sold China an estimated US$4 billion worth of arms.
And once their political relations were normalized, their arms sales relationship become overt. Indeed, that relationship continued until 2000, when Israel attempted to sell China an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), only to run afoul of the United States, which blocked the deal, saying it would give Beijing a strategic edge in any Taiwan conflict. As a result, Israel ultimately had to pay China $350 million in compensation, and there were no known arms sales through 2003. However, now a top-level delegation led by the director general of the Israeli Defense Ministry, General Amos Yaron, Major General (Ret) Yossi Ben-Hanan, head of Sibat, the Foreign Defense and Assistance Export Organization, and Yehiel Horev, the ministry's chief security officer, visited Beijing this week. It was the first time the two nations held high-level military talks in three years. Although this meeting is described as a confidence-building measure to reopen the way to a lucrative defense relationship with Beijing, it has not happened out of the blue.
The meet follows hard on the heels of Israel's sale of the Phalcon AWACs system to India, with US approval, and the visible expansion of Indo-Israeli defense ties to the point where some observers believe Israel is now India's largest supplier. Given the high reputation enjoyed by Israeli defense products and services, as well as Israeli defense firms' needs for markets outside of Israel, it is not surprising that the Chinese government is eager to resume what had been a lucrative relationship, and that Israel is equally interested in finding a way to restore those military ties. But it should be noted that the Israelis have made it clear they will not cross Washington again and take the risk of offering a system to China that Washington regards as a threat to its strategic interests.

Thus there is reason to believe that there will be limits and restraints to whatever Israel is prepared to offer China. In this connection, Israel's earlier arms sales to China, especially the Lavi jet fighter, have aroused considerable unhappiness among American conservatives, who suspect Chinese military aims - with regard to Taiwan, considered its breakaway province. Some of these Israeli weapons are now turning up as Chinese systems, such as the new semi-stealth fighter, the Jian-10, which causes many difficulties to opposing air forces and air defenses. Nor is this the only such troubling - to Washington - sale. Any future sale that arouses US suspicions about how they could augment China's existing capabilities - again, especially with regard to Taiwan - will certainly affect Israel's ties to the US. There also is as yet no sign of what India's response to this meeting will be. Perhaps Delhi is waiting to see what happens. But it must strike at least some prominent Indian elites as strange that on the heels of Israel's greatest success in its bilateral defense ties with India, that it is turning to China, which many Indian elites consider New Delhi's main rival, to sell it weapons.
Certainly it will be interesting to see how the Israeli government and defense industry handle the complex situation involving Beijing, Washington, and New Delhi. But there is more to this story - arms sales to China - than the Israeli angle. Even as China's indigenous capabilities for producing relatively high-level defense systems grow, and its shipbuilding capabilities become much more impressive, it is conducting a vigorous campaign to broaden the base of its defense imports. Even though it now imports some $2 billion annually from Russia in defense sales, Russian reports confirm that most of what China buys is technology for its own indigenous arms industries - not finished weapons. This apparently coincides with renewed efforts to use foreign technology to develop an impressive and stable indigenous defense technological base. But this turn to technology in its defense relationship with Russia also coincides with a determined effort to break the blockades imposed on it by the West. France clearly wants to sell weapons to China, but the European Union imposed a blockade with American support in 1989 to protest the Tiananmen massacre of pro-democracy protesters. France's desires to gain a market, once again thumbing its nose at the US, and to strengthen the global presence of the EU notwithstanding, the EU is obviously reluctant to terminate the sanctions on arms sales.

Doing so would obviously cast doubt on the seriousness of the EU's commitment to democracy and human rights abroad and to the stability of the cross-Taiwan Strait balance. Moreover, it would introduce another and unneeded source of tension into its relationship with the US over what is for it a peripheral issue - but a vital one for Washington. China's quest for superior Western technologies and weapons - from Israel - also suggests a growing disillusionment with Russian systems and unhappiness with Beijing's exclusion from the global arms market. There is little doubt that Western systems are generally of higher quality than are Russian weapons, that Western producers provide better services and after-sale repairs and possibly more value for the dollar than do Russian systems and services. Thus it is possible - if China is successful in eventually breaking the EU arms embargo and resuming military ties to Israel, that it can find alternatives to Russian producers. If current trends continue, Israel can end up inheriting or displacing much of the Russian market for the export of defense systems to India and China, Russia's main customers. That outcome would represent a disaster for the Russian defense industry and the Russian armed forces, which have few if any sources for developing new weapons, except for those sales.

Thus China's and Israel's efforts to resume their formerly profitable relationship lie at the intersection of some important trends in world affairs, and can have significant repercussions for international affairs that go far beyond the bilateral relationship. Only time will tell how far this rapprochement goes and what its consequences will be, not only for Israel and China, but for all those with an important interest in that relationship. But whatever happens, and however this relationship develops or does not mature, its consequences will most assuredly be profound, with repercussions that go far beyond Jerusalem and Beijing.

Stephen Blank is an analyst of international security affairs residing in Harrisburg, PA.

Money Laundering: When it comes to Washing Dollars do we use Ariel or Persil color?

Money Laundering, the new way for Fatcats to get back at drug dealers, arms dealers, slave traders and practically any conventional "Crook". You see, its sort of a battle between the two. You have your ivy league educated Fatcat who has spent a lifetime in boardrooms, conference calls and power lunches who are making money the "legitimate" are pissed that some street punk who made to the bigtop dodging bullets and drug raids is making ten times the money theyre making in only a tenth of the time! so how do you prevent them from doing that, hmm lets make the trade in drugs illegal.

But both players are smart. The Crooks attain their smarts from living on the street, while the Fatcats, get it at 42,000$ per semester. so the Crooks in order to avoid getting "Pinched" decide to cover up their tracks (keep their money in cash stashed in shoeboxes in a rented warehouse on el camino drive). but then the Fatcats found a new way to catch em....Tax Evasion (thats how they caught Capone)

But as the system evolves, so do the Crooks in their ways to outsmart it. they'd establish legal businesses with their drug money. and hire accountants to juice up the books meaning that they have the documentation that a certain business employs 200 employees and committs transactions on a daily basis on 3 of the worlds continents and has been voted by forbes as the best SME in Africa, well in technicality the address of correspondence of this business is actually Pablo Escobar's poor little Grandma that thinks its mail from her grandson's cub scout meetings.

So the Fatcats lobby in Congress, and the UN plaza , that money laundering is an international crime that must be combatted worldwide. they sign treaties, hold conventions, and fill up diplomats' pot bellies with canape's and caviar on taxpayer's expense just to prevent the drugdealers from surpassing the number of zeros they have on their bank balances. You think with all the money, effort and billable hours spend on the world's most expensive legal consultants comes up with a foolproof law that attains legitimacy and acceptance of the people?
well here is what they come up with.

"You can Jail.........anyone...who has.......... anything, to do with money that has come from any form of illegal trade!"

Of course its polished up with all their big words, and fancy terminology (that makes you feel that your college education was pointless). and refer to article 24.1 section a) paragraph ii) sub paragraph 3.217 to make you feel you are reading something important. but let me get this straight.... based on the statement above. if i have money that was made from a drug deal then i am a drug dealer that ought to go to jail? that is indeed justice! i can now rest my head at the end of the day and say we live in a world that is just and punishes the guilty and upholds the rights of the Goddamn innocent!!!!!

In order to be fair, some cutthroats, make a pretty decent living out of washing the blood off arms dealer's money and money laundering can be the only charge available to put them behind bars. where they get a pretty fat cut just for cleaning the money up ( your average laundry man charges a nice 20-40 cents on the dollar and trust me when i say thats not even close to rip off!)

alot of people may ask, why should Money laundering be an issue ? well lemme tell you something, if you thing money laundering doesnt happen in the middle east let me assure you that Egypt's current banking system boasts a 9% market share of the worlds money washing market! (US Department of Treasury) in addition to the top item on the agenda for Mr. Snow right now is to clean up MENA and its terrorism financing.

The problem with our banking system in comparison to the banking system of any decent country in the world, is that although we have alot of bureaucratic red tape, if some colombiano would walk in a bank with 5 honchos each holding a couple of brief cases and asks to deposit 20 million dollars in cash in a new savings account , the teller would notify the branch manager right away, not to arrest the greaseball but to sit down and drink coffee and ask him if he'd like his chequebook in green or blue!
on the other hand try walking into a local savings and loan somewhere in the midwest and tell em you'd like to deposit 2Gs in Cash and the FBI , IRS and all the initials you can name will pop outta nowhere and make your life a living hell.

on an end note, to show you that even some Arab criminals have a sense of Humor, Uday and Qusay Saddam Hussien had alot of dummy corporations in switzerland where they'd wash the money they stole from the iraqi treasury. all these corporations would pour into a Swiss Holding company called "Montana Management Inc." Guess i aint the only Scarface fan out there!


This isnt going to be a place to post complaints to the rest of the world. This is going to be a place where we can all discuss and throw in issues that affect us in one way or the other, please no attempts to try to save the world or make it a better place, because sadly to say we aint big enough to make differences that shall affect anyone more than the people we interact with everyday, (i dont think that is a bad start to begin with)

so please do not under any circumstances post any of the following:

1- Heroics
2- Suicide Notes
3- you can bad mouth people, but for God's sake be discreet and smart about it i dont wanna be visited by National Security every Goddamn Day!

*The Administrator shall use his sole discretion to censor any posting placed on this web page in order to comply with national censorship regulations ie if what i say u said is what u in fact said!
(nah just kiddin!!! say what u want and ill suffer the consequences with you...i aint of the likes of people like Dr. Ali Abo Shady

hope this page opens up your eyes on many things. Enjoy!