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Monday, November 14, 2011

APEC IN HAWAII

I'm in San Francisco, but APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) is meeting in Honolulu.  This is a group of 21 Pacific-Rim countries representing 54% of the world Gross Domestic Product, largely conformed to promote free trade.  The first real APEC gathering was chaired by President Bill Clinton in 1993 in the State of Washington, although a case be made for Australia in 1989.  These meetings are usually held in the Fall.  Russia will host next year and Indonesia in 2013.

In the earlier days, leaders wore local attire in their group photo, but the last time this happened was Singapore in 2009:


Disappointingly to aloha shirt makers, the following was shot yesterday:


However, this aloha shirt was provided to take home:


There are usually protests, and Hawaii was no exception, although this march was controlled and only involved 300 from a variety of unhappy groups (from AP--note that one group says APEC Sucks):


This is nothing close to Occupy Oakland occurring across the Bay from SFO:


By the way, these "Occupy" protests have become viral, and I saw evidence in numerous sites around the world.  At last count, The Guardian reports 951 cities in 82 countries.  They are supposedly non-partisan, but clearly benefitting the Democratic party if this continues another year.  Combined with the assassination of Osama Bin Ladin, the USA pulling out of the Middle East and the Republicans embarrassing themselves in their survival series, Barack Obama should prevail next year.

Back to APEC in Honolulu, no grand decisions will be made.  I don't recall any occurring in their two decades of summiting.  There is value to leaders smiling at each other, and a few private meetings among them to discuss a particular issue, but, hey, they deserve an annual vacation in an exotic spot in the world.

Lighten up!  There is no major storm anywhere in the world.  The economy is not great, but doing kind of okay.  The weather in San Francisco is spectacular today, and I finally return home tomorrow on flight #20 after six weeks of adventure and dining.

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