Market abuses like Libor helped to precipitate and exacerbate the economic crisis that has beset the world over the last few years. Yet, while the victims of this sort of fraud can be measured in millions and damages in billions, convictions remain only too rare and sentences are often lenient, considering the scale of the crimes.
Bailout countries have been on the Troika's leash now for nearly four years, but just how effective have its measures been. The Troika - composed of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - is tasked with getting economies back into shape by proscribing a diet of strict austerity and plenty of strenuous reform measures, but its methodology has been questioned since the start.
Hence, the ambitious TAHMO project we are pioneering which requires the installation of 20,000 measuring stations, each one costing only 500 dollars, at intervals of 30 kilometres. The new weather stations, based upon latest cost-effective technology, will measure all standard meteorological variables (rainfall, radiation, temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction).
You see, Alfred, as the earth warms, the global climate system is spiraling out of control, becoming less stable and increasingly unpredictable. The world's weather is becoming increasingly erratic. In short, the very basis of our societies - a stable and predictable climate - is now rapidly changing beyond our control.
Countries trade with other member states and invest across borders, while Europeans live, study and work abroad. This means that what happens in one country will affect the others. The crisis over the last few years showed the impact a few financially troubled countries can have on the rest of the EU.
I walked around to see how children in Homs are living. In a convent that works with children, situated at the end of a line of fully standing buildings and right before the destruction and rubble begins, I was amazed to find children reading books, listening to teachers, drawing pictures and playing games. The drawings on the walls spoke of smiling faces, waving hands, laughter and messages about the need to forgive. A total contrast to the rubble outside that represents so many battered lives.