Letter From New York 03 16 15 Not all bad news…

I woke early this morning, daylight savings time dark outside. Making coffee, I came back to bed and flipped open my laptop to see if Putin had made an appearance. He had. Some said he looked a little pale. Others said he looked very healthy. But he was back on the scene in St. Petersburg, his hometown and Russia’s second city.

He is also appearing in a documentary on Russian television. In the interviews, he rattles the nuclear saber – a very frightening thought. He is very likely communicating that 1) he is in charge and 2) he has no intention of negotiating on Ukraine.

In Ukraine, the feeling is growing that the Minsk accord is “hope, not reality.”

The temperature at the cottage was relatively warm, almost 50 degrees, with a chill wind blowing across town. It’s my plan to make spaghetti carbonara tonight, something I have never tried before.

I am a little late in writing this; I spent some time today working on the speech I will give in India plus I spent some time organizing things I will need to take with me. It’s only a few more days and I will be off.

The dollar is a bit weaker and the markets were happy! The Indian Rupee to Dollar exchange has been pretty steady which makes me pretty happy.

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day and I might try cooking an Irish stew recipe I found online today.

Tomorrow is also voting day in Israel. Netanyahu is proclaiming today that there will be no Palestinian State while he is Prime Minister. The chance of his losing is growing and he has warned his supporters he could lose.

One of the things I found out while reading about the Israeli elections is that American billionaire Sheldon Adelson has founded a free newspaper in Israel that blatantly supports Netanyahu. Wonder what will happen to it if Netanyahu loses?

McDonald’s has been having trouble making marketing magic of late, sales have been down and the Golden Arches have been a bit tarnished the last year or so. Now it is being hit by claims from employees about unsafe work conditions. Allegedly, some employees were told to treat burns with mayonnaise. OHSA is looking into the situation.

The death toll is rising in Vanuatu but nowhere as high as I might have thought. It could still go higher as there is still no communication with outer islands. Almost every house has damage and there is a desperate need for fresh water.

It is now official. This was the snowiest year on record for Boston. It has been a slow moving catastrophe for that town. Floods come quickly with their devastation. This has just gone on and on and therefore the disruption from this winter has attracted less attention.

And also in that city, gay groups are going to be able to march in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

In Egypt, Mohammed Badie, head of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as thirteen others has been sentenced to death for planning attacks on the state. He has been sentenced to death several times but each time the sentence has been commuted to life imprisonment.

The Syrian Civil War has cost approximately 220,000 lives. Speaking on CBS News, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested peace talks could include Syrian President Assad, marking a change of stance toward the Syrian President. Assad welcomes any “sincere” change of attitude.

Sincerely happy is Sir Martin Sorrell, who heads advertising group WPP. He has been awarded a pay package for 2014 that comes out to about $60,000,000. That’s quite a pay packet. WPP’s stock is up over 100% over the last few years.

Not unexpectedly, Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers have sagged since the email flap. They are their lowest since 2008 but the news is not all bad. 57% of Americans said they’d be proud to have her as President.

I’m off now to cook my carbonara and a soft night of British mysteries on Acorn TV.

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