Showing posts with label Enniskillen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Enniskillen. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sights & sounds from the G8 in Enniskillen

As the G8 circus prepares to leave town, with the Lough Erne Declaration firmly signed, it is time to reflect on the town and the folks who played host to the leaders of the eight leading industrialised nations. Wherever this blogger went, asked for directions, picked-up something in a shop, had a meal or a beer, you name it – he was greeted by helpful people with welcoming smiles.

The leaders’ motorcades were met with much gusto, especially by local school children “Welcoming the G8” even when there wasn’t a leader inside the cars zipping by! Bless them! On Monday, the townsfolk got a pleasant surprise to see President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron waving to them from a vehicle in the same motorcade.

Later, the two leaders also visited Enniskillen Integrated Primary School, attended by both Catholic and Protestant children, on the outskirts of Enniskillen. It was established, as a place of reconciliation and peace, in wake of the 1987 IRA Poppy Day bombing which resulted in 12 local fatalities. The bomb may have killed and maimed but didn’t break the community here, says one resident. The town itself got a complete makeover with every building spruced-up, primed and painted, according to locals and as is apparent.

However, like any other High Street in the British Isles, Enniskillen is no exception from the economic downturn, with retailers either going under or vacating premises. Yet, instead of boarding these shops up, their glass panes had a fa├žade of wallpaper showing people and products inside, perhaps to convey a positive illusion for cars zipping past.

The protestors were here in numbers too, and in spirit as far away as Belfast and London. Everyone from anti-poverty campaigners to food scarcity examiners, from rights and environmental groups to fair trade advocates were here in numbers. Amnesty International’s protest ‘display’ on the arms-supplying shenanigans by G8 nations was the most eye-catching one for the Oilholic.

There is one mute point though. It seems the militant element largely stayed away and most of the protesters, barring few nutcases, engaged and sent their message out peacefully. That the Lough Erne Resort is surrounded by water supplemented by miles of metal fences, multiple security checkpoints and around 8,000 security personnel, certainly ensured the G8 2013 Summit saw far fewer protestors relative to the norm in recent years.

Swimming, sailing, paddling and canoeing in the waters around Lough Erne Resort were banned for the duration of the summit, but not fishing! That’s all from Enniskillen folks which is getting back to normalcy. Before his departure back to London via Belfast, the Oilholic leaves you with some views from the G8 summit through the lens of his non-professional but supremely effective automatic camera. Click on images(s) to enlarge. Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!
 
A 'wallpapered' shop in Enniskillen
Enniskillen Castle

Waters 'off limits' says PSNI

Police comb River Erne
 
Amnesty Intl makes its point on Syria
Police personnel from around UK make their way back home from Belfast City airport
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




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© Gaurav Sharma 2013. Photos: As captioned, images from the G8 2013 summit in Northern Ireland © Gaurav Sharma, June 16-19, 2013.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The 2013 G8 summit, Syria & crude prices

There is a certain measure of positive symbolism in being here in Northern Ireland for the 2013 G8 summit. Who would have imagined when the Good Friday agreement was signed in 1998, that 15 years later the then sectarian strife-torn province would host the leaders of the eight leading industrialised nations for their annual shindig?

That point was not lost on US President Barack Obama, among the few who didn’t express apprehensions, when UK PM David Cameron announced the venue for the summit last year. Cameron wanted to send a message out to the world that Northern Ireland was open for business and based on what yours truly has seen and heard so far, that's certainly a view many share.
 
Addressing an audience of students in Belfast, Obama said, "Few years ago holding a summit of world leaders in Northern Ireland would have been unthinkable. That we are here today shows the progress made in the path to peace and prosperity [since 1998]."

"If you continue your courageous path towards permanent peace, and all the social and economic benefits that come with it, that won't just be good for you. It will be good for this entire island, for the United Kingdom, for Europe; and it will be good for the world," he added.

Here we all are in Belfast heading to a quaint old town called Enniskillen. Of course, the Oilholic won’t be making his way there in a style befitting a president, a prime minister or a gazillion TV anchors who have descended on Northern Ireland, but get there - he most certainly will - to examine the 'cruder' side of things.

It has barely been a year since the G8 minus Russia (of course) griped about rising oil prices and called on oil producing nations to up their production. "We encourage oil producing countries to increase their output to meet demand. We stand ready to call upon the International Energy Agency (IEA) to take appropriate action to ensure that the market is fully and timely supplied," the G7 said in a statement last August.

Of course since then, we’ve had the US 'Shale Gale', dissensions at OPEC and rising consumption of India and China according to the latest data. The smart money would be on the G7 component of the G8 not talking about anything crude, unless you include the geopolitical complications being caused by Syria, which to a certain extent is overshadowing a largely economic summit.

That wont be a shame because its not for politicians to fiddle with market mechanisms. Nonetheless, the Brent forward month futures touched a 10-week high close to US$107 a barrel on Monday before retreating. Despite a lull, if not a downturn, in OECD economic activity, the benchmark remains in three figures.

Syria's impact on oil markets is negligible, but a prolonged civil war there could affect other countries in the Middle East, worse still drag a few oil producers in. Yet a stalemate between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the West has already become apparent here at the G8. There will, as expected, be no agreement on Syria with the Russians supporting the Assad regime and the West warily fretting over whether or not to supply the Syrian rebels with arms.

Away from geopolitics and the G8, in an investment note to clients, analysts at investment bank Morgan Stanley said the spread between WTI and Brent crude will likely widen in the second half of 2013, with a Gulf Coast "oversupply driving the differential".

The banks notes, and the Oilholic quotes, "WTI-Brent may struggle to narrow below US$6-7 per barrel and likely needs to widen in 2H13 (second half 2013)." That’s all for the moment from Belfast folks, as the Oilholic heads to Enniskillen! In the interim, yours truly leaves you with a view of Belfast's City Hall. Keep reading, keep it 'crude'

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© Gaurav Sharma 2013. Photo: City Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland © Gaurav Sharma, June 17, 2013

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For comments or for professional queries, please email: gaurav.sharma@oilholicssynonymous.com

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