South Pacific

March 10, 2008

Chevron launches new gas project in Australia

As reported in the International Herold Tribune, Chevron Chevron Corp. has announced plans to develop a liquefied natural gas export venture based on its Wheatstone field off northwestern Australia. The facility will be built on the northwest coast of mainland Australia, the company said, ruling out a location on Barrow Island, the nearby site of Chevron’s Gorgon LNG venture with Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Exxon Mobil Corp. There is still uncertainty as to when Chevron and its partners will approve Gorgon, which would be Australia’s biggest resource development, the Tribune reported, and there have been been persistent speculation of dissent among the joint venture partners as costs on that project continue to rise. Wheatstone, in contrast, is much smaller, with Chevron planning to tap an estimated 4.5 trillion cubic feet of gas. A Chevron team of roughly 100 people will conduct further appraisal drilling on both Wheatstone and the adjacent Iago field this year, along with design studies and site evaluation.

Filed under Australia, Energy Industry by

October 7, 2007

Hollywood steps in it again, or did they?

ABC Studios is taking heat for a comment made by one of the characters in it’s popular “Desperate Housewives” series. The controversial scene occurred when character “Susan” – played by actress Teri Hatcher, tells her doctor: “OK, before we go any further, can I check those diplomas? Because I would just like to make sure they are not from some med school in the Philippines.” Filipinos take pride in the quality of their medical professional, so this caused quite a stir. As reported in Global Nation and the Philippine Daily Inquirer:

Many Filipino-Americans found the apology issued by ABC Studios and the show’s producers insufficient. A broad alliance of Filipino-American groups said it wanted the TV network to take concrete steps to correct its mistake, such as holding cultural sensitivity and diversity awareness training for its management and staff. Rico Foz, executive vice president of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, said the group was demanding that the ABC television network immediately edit out the controversial scene… The remarks sparked protests from the Philippine Congress and presidential palace and prompted a letter to the show’s producers from the Philippine consulate in Los Angeles.

State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) also jumped on the opportunity to make some political hay out of the situation and posted this statement on his website:

As a senator who represents the largest Filipino community outside of the Philippines, I am appalled that the producers and writers at ABC found this type of humor acceptable, This desperate attempt at humor is offensive and has no place in our community. Filipinos, including those trained outside of the United States, have made invaluable impacts on the medical field, and should be valued, not disparaged.

According to Global Nation, Senator Yee has urged the television network that produced the show to issue a public apology its next broadcast in addition to the apology it has already issued.

Not so fast Senator, let’s think this one through. What if the studio was purposely showing the shallowness of this character- which was almost certainly their intent. What if the sentiment that “Susan” expressed also sometimes expressed in the real world- however ill informed and uneducated that might be? Do we really want our entertainment in the future to be the most neutral, politically correct material that writers can create?

This incident came to light just days after Paramount was forced to delay the release of Kite Runner- but that was involving a rape scene that could have exploded ethnic violence. This is just a scene about a mildly bigoted airhead in a nighttime soap opera. It doesn’t rise to the level of where any kind of self censorship should be considered. It could even be argued that ABC Studio’s gave the Philippines medical industry and professionals a chance to assert themselves.

Filed under Hollywood, Media and Entertainment, Opinion, Philippines by

April 19, 2007

Cisco invests in home entertainment wireless company Avega

“Cisco Systems is expanding its home networking efforts by participating in a US$7 million round of funding in Avega Systems, a maker of wireless home technology, the companies said Tuesday. Cisco joined two venture capital firms, Jafco Investment and Technology Venture Partners, in the start-up’s second round of funding, but it did not disclose its share in the investment. Avega, with employees in the United States and Australia, specializes in technology that can wirelessly connect home entertainment gear such as media center PCs, portable media players, cell phones, stereo equipment, networked storage and set-top boxes. “

Filed under Australia, Telecommunications, Venture Capital by

April 11, 2007

Malaysian Trade Minister to visit San Jose

“International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz is leading a trade mission to the United States which begins Monday and will end on April 17. The trade mission will be going to Miami in Florida, Minneapolis in Minnesota, and San Jose in California, the International Trade and Industry Ministry said in statement. The mission comprises 25 representatives from the private sector, state governments, the ministry, Malaysian Industrial Development Authority and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade). They will seek to promote investment and activities in food processing, biotechnology, information and communications technology (ICT), pharmaceuticals, chemical and chemical products, transport equipment, telecommunications equipment, medical instruments and devices, and regional distribution centres and operational headquarters… The ministry said seminars on business opportunities will be held in the three cities and Rafidah will address the local business communities in Miami on April 10, in Minneapolis on April 12 and in San Jose on April 16.”

Filed under Foreign Relations, Malaysia by

March 14, 2007

Bay Area entrepreneurs buy Australian wine importer

“Mitch Clark and Jim Buckley, two Bay Area wine industry veterans with links to both Robert and Michael Mondavi, have purchased Scott Street Portfolio Inc., a wine importing company previously owned by Australia’s Evans & Tate Wine Group… The new owners are renaming the company Avanti Fine Wine Selections LLC. They also plan to expand its scope to include fine wines from California, Oregon, Washington and imports from France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria and South Africa, in addition to Australia.”

Filed under Agriculture and Food, Australia, Wine by

February 20, 2007

Chevron wins new exploration rights off Australia

“Oil giant Chevron Corp. said Monday that one of its subsidiaries won exploration rights in an area off northwest Australia. Chevron Australia won the rights in part of the Greater Gorgon Area, a section of Carnarvon Basin, an area rich in petroleum and gas reserves. This award covers about 1,150 square miles about 60 miles offshore… Chevron Australia is based in Perth, on Australia’s west coast. Chevron Corp. is based in San Ramon.”

Filed under Australia, Energy Industry by

February 17, 2007

Los Angeles Zoo sends rare Rhinoeros to Indonesia

“ANDALAS, the first Sumatran rhinoceros born in captivity in over 100 years will leave his Los Angeles Zoo home of three years later this week to go to Indonesia. Andalas will become the first Sumatran rhino ever to be transported from the United States to Indonesia as part of an international breeding program. He will join two female rhinos, at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in the Way Kambas National Park on the Island of Sumatra.”

Filed under Environment and Climate, Indonesia by

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