Author Archives: Paul Cochrane

Clear view on billboards

Clear view on billboards

Earlier this year, Sao Paolo’s conservative mayor Gilberto Kassab made a radical decision when he introduced a Clean City Law that banned all public advertising in the metropolis, saying it constituted as “visual pollution.” All 15,000 billboards, outdoor video screens and ads on buses were removed. The advertising industry threw up their arms in horror

Phishing for your money

When I was in London recently I tried withdrawing some cash from my British bank, but was denied access. On calling the bank I was asked if I had made several transactions — when “no, no, no and no” were my replies I was informed I’d been defrauded. Thousands of dollars had been taken from

The need for transparency in the Gulf oil markets

While the Middle East makes baby steps towards implementing greater financial transparency, accountability and the rule of law, the region’s best-known commodity — oil — lacks transparency in the way tenders are allocated and, more disturbingly, in actual reserve estimates. Information on oil, the lynchpin of the Gulf economies and the catalyst for numerous conflicts,

Is it all about Iran’s energy?

As the rumors of a strike on Iran continue, with US saber rattling an almost weekly occurrence — lately over Hizbullah agents in Iraq, and al-Qaeda allegedly using Iran as a staging ground — a question begs to be asked, is this as much about energy as Tehran’s nuclear ambitions? Iran is sitting on huge

Iraqi refugee catastrophe

One of the world’s largest refugee crises is underway in theMiddle East. It has been going on for the last four years,but judging by the scant attention the issue receives inWashington DC, London and in the Western media, you wouldn’tthink so. I’m referring to the Iraqi refugee crisis. According to UN figures there are an

Ruffing it, Bahrain style

A recent trip to Bahrain, what should have been a fairlyrun-of-the-mill interview with a CEO to discuss the launchof the Middle East’s first sports car plant turned intosomething rather different from the usual chat over coffeein a hotel lobby. I was informed just an hour before the interview by theassistant to Alois Ruf, the owner

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