Cognac’s global reach keeps spreading

While making inroads in urban American culture and gaining a foothold in China, the industry is also innovating its products

Cognac’s global reach keeps spreadingPart 7 of our series The Business of Cognac According to the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC), the industry’s trade association, cognac’s three largest markets are the United States (78.7 million bottles), Singapore (23.6 million bottles) and China (22.6 million bottles). Singapore has the distinction of having the largest per capita consumption of Cognac in the…

Discovering Monet’s lifelong fascination with architecture

London’s National Gallery exhibit offers rare glimpses into the artist’s examination of the play of light on human structures

Discovering Monet’s lifelong fascination with architectureOne of the great things about being a retired museum and art gallery CEO is that you know most of the basic tricks of the trade. For instance, you can get a very quick gauge of an exhibition’s successes and high points by talking with the gallery security staff. So as soon as we had…

Electric cars won’t save the world but they will destroy lives

Cobalt miners in the Congo, which has about 60% of the world’s known cobalt reserves, work for no salary and on a good day make $3 for what they finds. Deaths and injuries are common

Electric cars won’t save the world but they will destroy livesAnyone who says electric cars will save the world is dreaming. The adoption of electric cars over the next 20 years will barely shave a single per cent from the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, the batteries that power these cars rely on a nightmarish swath of human devastation. Most electric car buyers who pride…

Lithuania works to break from the past, set a new course

Transitioning from a communist economy to a free-market system is no simple task

Lithuania works to break from the past, set a new courseTransition economies describes those eastern European countries that were under the grip of the Soviet Union until 1991 and subsequently moved away from a centrally-planned communist economic system toward a free-enterprise market economy. An invitation from the LCC International University in Lithuania to spend three months there as a visiting professor gave me the opportunity…

Cognac’s rise from a regional product to a worldwide phenomenon

Export sales drove the development of the industry, a feature as true today as it was three centuries ago

Cognac’s rise from a regional product to a worldwide phenomenonPart 6 of our series The Business of Cognac From the very beginning, the cognac industry was dominated by cognac houses that acted as intermediaries between the producers of eau de vie and their overseas markets. Many of the first cognac houses were founded by English and Irish entrepreneurs: Jean Martell was from Jersey, while…

Instead of certainty, we should all be longing for a little self-doubt

Instead of living in a time of sober second thought, we exist in a time where the normal and predictable reaction is instant outrage

Instead of certainty, we should all be longing for a little self-doubtIt is a cliché to equate widespread social conflict with times of uncertainty. If only that were so. What ails us now is not living in uncertain times but rather the opposite: certainty abounds, and it is precisely that orientation which will continue to make social and political divisions more acute and less likely to…

What global warming? How about global cooling

Levying carbon tax will just cool the Earth's climate more than it already is

What global warming? How about global coolingIt’s been a long winter. I should know. I’m a former climate research scientist at Environment Canada. And I was an expert reviewer for the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its 2007 Climate Change Report. The wintry weather held its grip over most of Canada well into April, from Vancouver to St.…

What happens if America stops underwriting world order?

Because there are bad guys and bullies out there, a muscular cop – however imperfect – brings a degree of reassurance

What happens if America stops underwriting world order?Pax Americana is the Latin term for the idea that American power underwrites the post-1945 world order. If there’s a major international problem, the underlying assumption is that the United States needs to take the lead in resolving or containing it. Other countries may play a supporting role but the Americans need to do the…

Emerging from a world of suffering with hope

We can’t wallow in despair. We need to look at what we and others are doing right and emulate what works

Emerging from a world of suffering with hopeDespite what we see in our daily newsfeeds, life on Earth is actually improving. On a global level, we see significant drops in child mortality and increases in life expectancy. According to the World Health Organization, more than one billion people have gained access to safer drinking water since 1990. We also see amazing innovations…

Making sense of violent attacks

In the aftermath of this week's tragedy in Toronto, how do we come to the grips with such violence? And who do we blame?

Making sense of violent attacksLike most columnists, I’m usually inspired to write on topics that are aligned with my areas of interest. My usual fare is politics, history and economics, but I’ll sometimes write about art, sport, music, and even animation and comic strips. Every once in a while, I’ll pick an issue that doesn’t perfectly fit in one…
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