April 16th, 2013
07:53 PM ET

What we're reading

By Fareed Zakaria

U.S. money to Egypt “has been overshadowed of late by another big-pocketed donor: the tiny Gulf nation of Qatar,” writes Mike Giglio in the Daily Beast.

“A monarchy with a population just over 2 million and the world’s third-largest natural-gas reserves, Qatar had already promised Egypt financial aid totaling $5 billion, on top of plans to invest another $18 billion in the country over the next five years. Then, on Wednesday, it sent yet another lifeline, pledging to boost the struggling economy by buying up $3 billion in government bonds.”

“The Qataris are buying influence,” one commentator says. “The big question is, what do they want in return?”

The 10 U.S. states “that experienced the largest percentage increase in their foreign-born population from 2000 to 2009 spent far less on public assistance per capita compared with the 10 states with the slowest-growing foreign-born populations, writes Shikha Dalmia on Bloomberg.

“Restrictionists are trying to torpedo immigration reform by scapegoating poor foreigners for the overextended U.S. welfare state and the country’s job troubles. If these forces succeed, all Americans will pay the price.”

Which source of renewable energy is most important to the European Union? Solar power, perhaps? Or wind? asks The Economist. “The answer is neither. By far the largest so-called renewable fuel used in Europe is wood.”

“In its various forms, from sticks to pellets to sawdust, wood (or to use its fashionable name, biomass) accounts for about half of Europe’s renewable-energy consumption. In some countries, such as Poland and Finland, wood meets more than 80% of renewable-energy demand…After years in which European governments have boasted about their high-tech, low-carbon energy revolution, the main beneficiary seems to be the favored fuel of pre-industrial societies.”

A team of researchers recently surveyed more than 1,000 visitors to online climate blogs that were all relatively positive toward science, “and asked them questions about free-market ideology and their views on climate science,” writes Gary Marcus in the New Yorker. “The investigators also probed for their ‘conspiracist ideation’ by asking questions like the ones above about faked Apollo moon landings and the assassination of Princess Diana.”

“In principle, you could imagine that people’s answers to these questions might be logically independent. One could be a conspiracy theorist about Coca-Cola without having any particular views about climate change, or vice versa…But, overall, the trends were clear. The more people believed in free-market ideology, the less they believed in climate science; the more they accepted science in general, the more they accepted the conclusions of climate science; and the more likely they were to be conspiracy theorists, the less likely they were to believe in climate science.”

soundoff (One Response)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    Mike Giglio of the Daily Beast: Qatar had helped the Libyan opposition topple Gaddafi. What had it got in return? Nothing. It's most unlikely that Qatar would get back the billions it will pump into Egypt.
    Qatar wants to be an important player in the region and seems to have a knack for remaining on good terms with governments which have little in common with each other. It has cordial relations with both Washington and Tehran, and – even more unusually for an Arab state – with both Israel and its two most implacable enemies, Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    April 17, 2013 at 9:30 am |

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