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The annual survey for 2008 by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has found Vancouver, Canada to be the most livable city in the world.

Vancouver

The EIU ranked 127 cities, based on their personal risk, infrastructure and the availability of goods and services.

All the cities that fell into the “most livable” bracket were based in Canada, Australia and Western Europe.

THE TOP 10

  1. Vancouver, Canada
  2. Melbourne, Australia
  3. Vienna, Austria
  4. Geneva, Switzerland
  5. Perth, Australia
  6. Adelaide, Australia
  7. Sydney, Australia
  8. Zurich, Switzerland
  9. Toronto, Canada
  10. Calgary, Canada

Sydney

THE BOTTOM 10

  1. Tehran, Iran
  2. Douala, Cameroon
  3. Harare, Zimbabwe
  4. Abidjan, Ivory Coast
  5. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  6. Lagos, Nigeria
  7. Karachi, Pakistan
  8. Dhaka, Bangladesh
  9. Algiers, Algeria
  10. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea


Karachi

Simon Turner

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It’s amazing to look at what has happened over the last 18-24 months with regard to oil pricing. It was announced earlier in the year that it was almost a certainty that the price of petrol/gas would reach $8 a litre in the next 12 months in Australia. Like most other people around the world I braced for the ever increasing oil price, not knowing how consumers would afford such an increase in price.

In mid 2008, it was announced that grocery prices in Australia had increased by around 40% in just 12 months. This came as no shock as families large and small were feeling the effect of the increased price of energy. Whether a car owner or a user of public transport price increases could be felt everywhere – but wages certainly didn’t increase by 40% in the last 12 months as did grocery prices.

I watched with interest as OPEC met to discuss increasing oil production to assist the US and other countries in controlling the ever increasing cost of goods and services caused in no small part by the massive cost of oil (thus energy) which we rely on to survive in our economy. The result was no change in production levels which ensured the continued soaring price of oil and the ultimate crossing of the point of no return. In other words oil reached a point whereby the cost of living became too high for people to survive and the rest is history – we are now living the result of the oil price greed.

There are so many reasons in addition to the price of oil which have caused the world to be in the position that it is currently in however the price of oil has played no small part. I am thrilled to see the pricing fall and I have no sympathy for those countries that showed little foresight in allowing oil prices to remain at unsustainable levels – they now have to deal with pricing which is sure to be a fraction of the highs they enjoyed and I’m sure the price of oil is going to continue to fall – it’s music to my ears!

Greed is never a nice thing to watch and be part of and ultimately it isn’t something that leads to positive outcomes for those with greed in their hearts. As the world, soon to be led by President-Elect Obama, searches for alternative energy sources it may be just a matter of time before oil greed is a thing of the past – let’s hope for all our sake’s!

Michael Marquette

There is nothing worse than hearing that minority groups are working or fighting against each other. Proposition 8 has certainly been one of those issues that seems to have pitted minority groups against each other which personally makes me feel very sad.

I’m sad for many reasons. Firstly minority groups generally have prejudice to overcome as a matter of course without causing further grief for each other. Secondly when I look at history (often in total horror and despair) I look at how hard minority groups have had to fight to gain equal rights – or any rights at all. I guess when I look at these things I feel very lucky, almost embarrassingly so. I am a white male born in Australia to two white married parents. I guess from that perspective I had it very easy.

When I look at how hard women fought for equal pay, the right to vote and even the right to education (many countries still do not recognize this equality) I feel as though I have had it easy. When I think of the Australian Aborigines who were not even considered Australian citizens and thus had no right to vote until 1967 (only 9 years before I was born) I feel like I was born a little luckier than others. When I look at the Tasmanian Aborigines that were literally wiped out – complete genocide (probably the darkest hour in Australia’s history) I feel as though I was born lucky.

When I consider the holocaust and mass genocide of around 6 million Jews I feel lucky to have been born in 1976. I feel immense respect for those who suffered, survived and even prospered through that period through intestinal fortitude that cannot be explained, and commitment to family and friends that is indescribable.

I cannot put myself in the position of a gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender person who again as a minority was fighting in the Stonewall riots in New York or the riots that have become the Sydney Mardi Gras festival, celebrating diversity and freedom in Sydney and throughout Australia. So many people have given so much for the recognition of what we all take for granted and yet there is still so far to go. I want to be part of that going forward and Marquette Turner Luxury Homes as a company is committed to overcoming prejudice of all types.

These are all events endured by minority groups and the last thing that is needed is for minority groups to fight or contest against each other. When we look back at history we learn so much – we need to look at history to learn that we cannot let the same events repeat. I find it hard to believe that it became legal to be gay or lesbian in NSW in 1985 (I was 9 years old).

The main story of the day with regard to Proposition 8 has been the support the Mormons have given to defeat the rights of Gay and Lesbian people to marry. I find it staggering that a church could waste $25 million opposing Gay Marriage when God in my world is wonderful, accepting, joyous, happy and good. Why spend such an enormous amount of money preventing people from having the right to share and express their love in a legally recognized way? Imagine what this money could have done for the many starving people throughout the world?

I respect the fact that the Mormon Church exists and has the right to – past that point I have no interest in bigotry or causing mischief. I respect minorities of all types and in terms of the Christian Church, Mormons are certainly a minority.

I know that the media is reporting that older coloured Americans voted overwhelmingly in favour of Proposition 8. Let’s ensure that we don’t get caught up with minority group against minority group.

We must respect our differences and embrace our similarities – we have more things in common than not. Our similarities outweigh our differences. Please do not allow ourselves to concentrate on differences – we are all human beings – we all deserve the same rights and we all should care for each other. This is my view and the way we treat each other at Marquette Turner Luxury Homes.

Michael Marquette

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