Archive for October, 2009
Will Gordon Brown’s plans for English exams promote corruption?
Schools promoting English as a foreign language have come under the spotlight. Some are goodm some are bad. Does Gordon Brown’s latest plan to demand English qualifications encourage scam institutions in the UK and particularlyt abroad to flurish? What can be done to prevent abuse? Do the Cambridge exams (FCE/proficiency/IELTS) work?
Is it better to learn English abroad or by immersion in the UK?
Have you looked at recent coursebooks for english teaching?
What do you think of the CELTA?DELTA exams and courses?
How does the chinese or japanese language work?
I’m confused… I’ve heard there are tens of thousands of characters in the Chinese language. I’ve heard that an educated person in Chinese needs to learn around 6000 characters? How is a person supposed to remember over 6000 letters and then use them in words. That sounds crazy! I’m a little confused on how the language is structured. In English there are 26 letters and different combinations make different words, but I’ve heard in Chinese one character can mean a whole word. Also how is Japanese structured? Is it the same as Chinese or is it different.
the hard part is learning japanese because it is mainly build on 4 languages being hanzi one of them. Your logic is flawed. Even though english is composed of 26 alphabets but you still have to remember the order of the letter to make a word, so you will have to remember all the orders for the word. In Chinese, there is also structure meaning some words are combined to form a word. Like metal will combine with another word to form a new word because that new word (a material) is related to metal. So words are combined together that related to the two words that it originates.
Nothing But ‘arab Racism’ & ‘islamic Bigotry’ Created Maintains Drives The ‘middle East Conflict’
Nothing but ‘ARAB RACISM’ & ‘ISLAMIC BIGOTRY’ created maintains drives the ‘MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT’
Simply put, the powerful Arab Muslim majority of the middle east (convinced they “own” the place) is intolerant against the (though democratic and multi-racial, multi-culture, still it’s majority of the population and official identity is) non-Arab, non-Muslim Israel.
THE 1920′ RACIST ATTACKS ON THE JEWS
Ever since the racist Arabs and Islamic bigots started to massacre POWERLESS innocent Jews in the 1920′s, it was always about intolerance, Any wonder now why the global devious Islamo Arab massive machine likes to ignore the 1920′s and rather to talk about the “State of Israel” being (re-)established in 1948 as the “cause”…?Or their unwillingness to elaborate about Hitler’s Mufti, the infamous Arab Muslim fascist ‘spiritual’ leader, that incited the pogrom on the Jews of Hebron in 1929? (the same Haj Amin Al-Husseini that led the Hitler-ist Nazi SS brigade into Serbia to commit crimes against humanity upon Serb Christians and on the Jews in the second world war, also led the ‘Farhud’ pogrom upon Jews in Iraq in 1941).
RACIST CALLS FOR GENOCIDE ON JEWS
If the earlier Arabs’ wars on the Jews were marked by “let’s drive them all to the sea”.As then, now, Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah talks about he’s so happy the Jews are gathered together in one place – Israel so it’s easier to massacre them (genocide!).Or today’s Palestinian Arab Muslims yearning to ‘drink the blood of the Jews’ and broadcast in broad day light their ‘message’ to ‘wipe off the Jews’.In fact, the typical genocidal slogan used: ‘Itbach al Yahood’ = kill the Jews in Arabic, hasn’t changed from the 1920′s massacres on Jews until now when “Palestinians” or other Arabs march “peacefully” against Israel…
THE RACISM THAT EXPELLED 850,000 JEWS FROM ARAB MUSLIM COUNTRIES – 1948
How many know the number of Jewish refugees (of 1948) forced to leave Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, North Africa, etc. with their properties robbed by their Arabian governments? Their only “crime”, “reason” was of course – being Jewish. [You don't notice it today because the loving Jews took in their Jewish brethren and became part of Israel, unlike the Arabs who treated/treat their Arab 'Palestinians' always in terrible terms, those refugees called "Palestinian-refugees", is basically nothing other than a case of an all Arab fault, after the 1948 war, which was of course, initiated by Arabs, where the Arabs attacked and tried to eliminate all Jews, in which they lost, most Arabs that left were told to flee by their leaders to facilitate an all Arab attack on the newly re-established Israel in an attempt to destroy it of course, some chose cowardly to flee on their own [all those that fled to Arab "brethren" countries still suffer mistreatment until today], those that stayed, live inside Israel as equal citizens – a fact about Israel even the Arab lobby’s paid ex president, the Arabist Jimmy Carter admits.Yes, an unrefuted fact, despite the high risks involved, Israel always treated Arabs better than Arabs treat their own people].
[ALL] JEWS ARE DENIED ENTRY INTO CERTAIN ARAB MUSLIM COUNTRIES AND ARABS INSIDE ISRAEL HAVE FREEDOM TO RACIALLY ATTACK ISRAEL
Why are Jews denied entry into Arab Muslim countries such as: Syria and Saudi Arabia?If the reason would have been: ‘they only oppose Israel’ (which in itself is also, still just bigotry, but that’s besides the point), why not allow non-Israeli Jews in those Arab Muslim countries?But tomorrow you will hear again about [racist] Arabs inside Israel, especially those in power in the Israeli democratic elected equal-for-all parliament, stabbing the backs of their Jews and denounce them in the most vile forms (most favorably: painting Israelis’ fear of Arab terror as “racism”), on international media, especially on Arabic media.More troublesome is of course the wide dangerously-racist conduct by Israeli Arabs in aiding Arab terrorists to mass murder Jews, put it this way, no terror massacre attack on Israeli civilians could have ever been carried out without the clear assistance by the Israeli Arabs living freely inside Israel.
AHAMADINEJAD’S “ISSUE” WITH ISRAEL…
Could you point to me where Islamic republic of Iran’s “border disputes” with Israel are at? the usual excuse the Arab ‘Palestinians’ are masquerading their racist anti Jewish genocide agenda with? or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “reason” for wanting to “wipe off Israel”, [or Islamic Republic's crime in massacring Jews in Argentina in the AMIA building] or why he calls for ‘Death to UK, Death to US’?How more obvious of his goal to create another holocaust does he need to get, if it wasn’t clear enough to us in his attempts to “deny” the first one upon the 6,000,000 Jews [that included ALL types of Jews, religious or not, Zionists or not, those with a certain ideology or those without, that included 1.5 Million kids! That unique historic crime 1939-1945 of attempting to ERASE an entire creed]?So why the reluctance [by some liberal circles] to call an Islamofascist what he really is? [Or What else do you call Bin Laden that "gives" only one option for America, Islamic conversion that is?]Another question related to the Islamic Republic, What’s on the Mullahs in Tehran mind in sending it’s global Mehdi army the terrorists thugs – Hezbollah, to murder for Islamism, in Iraq, Somalia, Lebanon? Is it “aching” for the “poor Palestinians” again?
THE ‘OCCUPATION’ EXCUSE AND THE ARAB MUSLIM ATTACKS BEFORE IT ‘HAPPENED’…
Or the excuse of ‘occupied territories’ that ‘occurred’ in 1967 when Israelis pushed away Arab attackers and captured ‘territories’, So, let’s see what these Arabs, the ones not called ‘Palestinians’ yet, such as in the years of 1920′s, 1930′s, 1940′s, 1950′s, what “drove” them all those years prior to the so called “occupation”, to try to destroy Israel and ‘drive them all to the sea’ (genocide)?
THE SAME ARAB RACISM
Because ‘ARAB RACISM’ that hates all that is non-Arab, wether Africans, such as the largest calamity since WW 2, today’s biggest genocide, the one in Sudan, where the Arab Government of Khartoum, the Arab militias the infamous deaths-squads mass-rapists villages-erasers, the ‘Janjaveeds’, augmented by “imported” Arabs from neighboring Nigeria and Mauritania, an all “Arab supremacist” force ganged up against the indigenous African black poor population, [spilling over into] Chad, or wether one is a Kurd, as in persecuted in totalitarian oppressive regime of Syria, or in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, no other reason why he tried genocide on them, by the same token also explained why he was so pro “Palestinian”, the [typical] Arab racist had no better words to leave the world with, other than with his racist message that “all of Palestine is Arab”, meaning no Jews allowed! That racism in the Arab world that persecutes the [real] indigenous of/in their lands, the Berbers, the history of trouble upon the Maronites in Lebanon, etc. And Why do you think real slavery today in age is only ‘left’ practiced in the Arab world? How much do you know about slavery in Mauritania? or take for example the “sex” and other types of slavery in the “kingdom” of Saudi Arabia (and in other Arab states) upon non-Arabs. (or the persecution of the Al-Ahdam and other minorities).
THE SAME ISLAMIC BIGOTRY
The other factor ‘ISLAMIC BIGOTRY’, that can’t tolerate anyone that is not Muslim or not the “right kind of Muslim” (as in Shiite massacre Sunnis and vice versa in Iraq, the Islamists’ war in Algeria claiming 100,000 casualties, or attacking ‘moderates’ in Somalia and the terrorism against the Gulf states), that bloodily attacks/attacked non Muslims in the Islamic (oppression) republic of Iran, in Afghanistan, Christians in Iraq, (Christians in Sudan – prior to current ‘conflict’ there), Nigeria, E. Timor, the Islamists being caught in Europe that simply want to murder Europeans [take the ones caught in Austria for example, not even an 'Iraq war' excuse can "work" there...], declared war and kills Buddhists in Thailand, Hindus in India, persecutes Arab Christians in Lebanon and among “Palestinians”, that kills Jews (in Israel or in Diaspora) only for being Jewish.Let’s put it this way, What goes through your mind when you read the ‘often’ brutal attacks by Arabs, Muslims in France or in England (for example) on Jews? is it “freedom fighting” or is it another Pallywood slogan like “fighting oppression”?Or, What did you think of the not-so-isolated cases of ‘Palestinian’ Muslims forcing Christians into Islam, like pointing a gun to Christian journalists ‘Convert to Islam or die!’ or forcing Christian Arabs in Gaza to become Muslim?Or, Is there a difference between the Paris metro bombing , Bali bombing (of Australian youths in 2002), 911 WTC bombing , Madrid bombing , Bombing in Istanbul Turkey , Bombing in Casablanca Morocco , Beslan massacre of kids , London bombing, , multiple bombings in Mumbai, attempts to bomb the UN in Switzerland, bombings, massacres in Tel Aviv, Netanya, Jerusalem, etc.?
GLOBAL ISLAMO ARAB POWER
Ever wandered how come the [issue of victims of Arabs in] Darfur genocide is always subdued when bashing Israel’s defense against ‘Palestinian’ Arab attacks are always brought up? try the ISLAMO ARAB GLOBAL [LOBBY] POWER, the bigoted power [via oil, terrorism and threatening economic power] that (oppresses Israel and) drives the UN agenda, and even has the US foreign policy in check, Could you otherwise explain how come the neo-conservative George W. Bush’s foreign policy so Arabist pro-’Palestinian’, his relentless efforts to establish a NEW THING, never before in history, a ‘Palestine’ state, for the grandchildren of Arab immigrants [immerged mainly in the 1880's] into the historic land of the Jews?The Arabs’ power in pushing the ‘Iraq war’:After Iraq’s Saddam Hussein invasion of Kuwait and threatening Saudi Arabia that brought Bush Sr. attacking Iraq in 1991, Can anyone in his right mind really deny the Arab mighty Gulf states’ hands so deep in George W. Bush’s invading Iraq in 2003?That’s right, and you thought they only control your economy, your pocket and hold you by the ‘throat’ at the pump.
A BIGOTRY THAT IS WILLING TO KILL IT’S OWN PEOPLE TO DEFAME ISRAEL
Those cruel tactics of using it’s own women and children as ‘human shields’ among “Palestinians” and among [Syrian-Iranian Arab Muslim militia terrorists] Hezbollah are no secrets, it demonstrates you again and again, the Arab racism & Islamic bigotry how far it will go to make sure Israel’s image is damaged in world opinion, via most bloody images of injured/dead Arab kids, pointing — of course — to the “bad Israel”.
THE BLIND HATRED MASQUERATING AS ‘ANTI-ZIONISM’
1) When Arabs, Muslims call to kill the “Yahood”, this is exactly what it means, no more no less, but: to ‘kill the Jew’.2) Everyone knows about the ultra orthodox Jews piety and their objection to Zionism, they (most of them) don’t even serve in Israel’s army, yet they, their distinct exclusive neighborhoods, have been targets in Arab Muslim terror attacks to massacre their kids. Even a religious anti-Zionist school [situated as far as] in Montreal Canada has been attacked  by Islamic arsonists.3) Attacking Jews outside Israel, wether a journalist in Afghanistan or a Jew in Paris, or a crowd of Jews in Argentina can never be connected to a so called: “anti-Zionism” ideology.
THE ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE ARAB MUSLIM WORLD
When you see the overwhelming documented Anti-Semitism, hatred against ALL Jews that is, in mainstream Arab Muslim media, most evil type of cartoons (these hypocrites are the same that will call to or justify to kill for any “offensive” cartoon on their Muhammad of course) in their mainstream education instilling blind hatred upon Jews (or on Christians) you feel so overwhelmed that you can never “explain” it by just a “conflict”, because it’s rather the cause of this whole conflict and not the result of it.
THE MUSLIM LIE REGARDING [JEWS'] JERUSALEM
Since when was this never refuted historic city of the Jews a “Muslim issue”? (refreshing memories/history/facts – Israel’s capital – Jerusalem was the Jews’ long before Islam was invented/came about in 620, Yes, Jews’ holy books are filled with Jerusalem as a hope and yearning for it’s rebuilding, but no! the Muslims’ book, the Koran never mentions Jerusalem! nor was Muhammad ever in Israel, Jerusalem) It was only the late ‘Palestinian’ leader, the Egyptian born “turned Palestinian” (another epitome of “indigenous Palestinian” myth) Yasser Arafat, (the notorious liar thief who stole the money from his own population and) rose the Islamic world to the ‘Palestinian’ case as an ‘Islamic’ cause, jumped on the wagon of Jerusalem to sell it well to the Islamic bigotry, an empowered weapon yet, how to de-legitimize Jews from their holy places.
MAKE A LIST OF THE SO CALLED “ISSUES” THAT ALWAYS TRIED TO COVER THEIR TRUE FACE OF BIGOTRY
So, first it was the massacres of the 1920′s, without any excuse, then came an excuse of Israel as a state (what’s really wrong with that other than not being an Arab Muslim, AKA an ‘outsider’?), then after attacking Israel again & again they lost the 1967 war, due to their loss they brought upon themselves an “occupation” or “occupied territories”, now they want Jerusalem as well (Why not? Since Israel is always willing to give…), truth is however, that when “Palestinians” [extremists or moderates] talk among themselves referring to “occupation”, they mean ‘ALL OF ISRAEL’ for themselves, that’s really their ultimate goal, in other words “no place for Jews there”!
ISLAMIC APARTHEID VS PLURALISTIC ISRAEL
Oh! wait, also among their “issues”, in their bombastic Pallywoody language, they dare define the security checkpoints, (you know those that you have in the airport and in other crowded places to check you out for metals and bombing devices?) as “apartheid” or “oppression”, imagine that! when the real Apartheid is practiced of course all over the Muslim world against non Muslims or even against women, trust me! you don’t want to be a Christian in Saudi Arabia or in Gaza, or better yet, see the open vibrant lives of Muslims inside pluralistic Israel and (apart from some pockets in Tunisia/Morocco) see no more Jewish life in the Arab-Islamic Apartheid world!.
NEVER ‘WHAT ISRAEL DOES’ BUT THE VERY EXISTANCE OF ISRAEL IS NEVER ACCEPTED
Could you count the countless gestures Israel always did/does with the Arab-’Palestinians’? I can’t.But take a look at one particular case, at the aftermath of an historic uprooting of Jewish families from Gush Katif in the Gaza peninsula , Do you imagine an uproar at any nation if such a drastic step would be taking?And what did Israel really “get” from all of this [immense sacrifice for peace sake] from the bigoted Arab world?Did any Arab state come forward and denounced the racist years long boycott of the ‘Jewish’ state? or had the guts to establish relation with Israel, Heck! not even having the minimum of decency shedding it’s arrogant racism and “giving” Israel the minimum which every nation has, the right-to-exist!Never mind the very recipients of Israel’s give-away, the Arab ‘Palestinians’ themselves, what did they then or ever ‘give’ for peace sake? On the contrary, as a result the Islamic [more] extremis t terrorist Hamas only grew and won Gaza by popular vote from mainstream ‘Palestinian’ Muslims.
NO RACISM, NO CONFLICT!
As long as the arrogant Arab Muslim world continues to “believe” that the middle east “belongs” only to them, will not change their evil fascism to ‘accept’ the non Arab non Muslim ‘entity’ in the middle east [we are not talking nearly as much as Israeli Arabs are accepted in Israel's democracy and are often first class citizens over Jews especially in land cases plus they are not obligated to serve in Israel's army, like other Israeli citizens do, yet have all the rights], no “concession” by the good guy Israel (the only side that always feels “guilty” and sacrifices for peace, When was the last time Arabs gave anything to the Jews? or, Is there a Jew allowed to live on ETHNIC CLEANSED “Palestinian” territories ‘Judenrein-Palestine’!, while Arabs make up 20-25% of multi-racial tolerant democratic Israel’s population? now, do you still need a better example of Good vs Evil?) will really ‘change’ anything in reality.
SAY IT OUT LOUD! ISRAEL – THE CLASSIC VICTIM OF BOTH ‘ARAB RACISM’ & ‘ISLAMIC BIGOTRY’
Clearly, Israel, Jews are not the only victims of ‘Arab racism’ & ‘Islamic Bigotry’, but — most probably — there’s no better classic victim of these evil forces, in dealing with a problem you better define it, yes, the “conflict” is nothing but intolerance!How many such clear sane announcements have you been exposed to?Why the PC of so much confusion and dancing around the subject?For any real peace visions, you must include this problem to be recognized at and plans to CHANGE it, rather to root it out!!
ELIMINATE ISLAMIC BIGOTRY = A VISION FOR WORLD PEACE
I HAVE A DREAM…With that dream of Arab-Muslims changing their bigotry to tolerance, hatred & rejection to understanding & acceptance, not just the middle east conflict would then vanish, take a good look around and tell me, just about how many onflicts all around the world are not related to Islamic bigotry?Because the key to world peace [today] or world war is in Muslims’ (mainstream and leadership) hands only!But until you won’t see disappearing the dark cult of hatred being instilled into young minds such as, that ‘the infidel’ is bad, the “apes & pigs” doctrine to be referred to Jews and Christians, glorifying Jihadi mass murderers as “heroes”, and their mainstream media in a full function of demonizing & inciting rather than real reporting, all this peace vision will remain just that, a dream.
About the Author
Could anyone tell me which is the cheapest school of english courses to study in canada?
There is a web site called
it will allow you to access all schools in Canada, their locations and what courses they offer. then you can access those of interest and they will have more detailed information such as costs.
[mage lang="" source="flickr"]learning french in montpellier[/mage]
What about annuaire Montpellier?
Montpellier is one of the most beautiful cities in France. In case you are interested in several aspects about it, you should know that you can find a lot of useful information related on a devoted portal.
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Advertising is also a category on the web site, where you can find more about real estate, employment, automotives, etc. The category is also known as annonces Montpellier in French.
There is also a directory section on the web site. It is translated by annuaire Montpellier. Basically, here you will discover more about a lot of fields. You can be sure that you will get the info you need.
This is an easy solution in case you want to simplify your work and find out more about a lot of things regarding Montpellier. Some other things you will be interested in are the receipts you can learn from the web site, the gifts you can get and what exactly you have to do in order to get them. All you have to do is revealed online.
In the Associations page you will check some of the local supportive companies, in case you are interested in their services, you can contact them using the online info.
The tourism solution is also a very important one in Montpellier. You can check the proper section to observe the options you have. Montpellier is unquestionably a remarkable travel destination. You will see a lot of destinations you can visit and a lot of possible places to spend the nights. Accommodation listed will fit all forms of budgets and even the fussiest tourists will find something to suit their scrupulous needs.
In other words, you can do a lot of stuff in front of your personal computer but most important is that you can add an activity or an event so others can visit your submissions, activity that can help you or them by case.
Online you can also find out more about history of the city. There you can read more than introductions. There is a lot if information listed and the access is free.
The portal was created for visitors. It is a wise way to link thousands of people. The innovation stays in the fact that the system includes an important package of unique information that can be used by attracted visitors.
It is vital to be informed these days. Being informed is not an easy task. There are a lot to know. A specialized web site can solve the issue successfully and undoubtedly. This can be your reliable source of solutions from now on.
About the Author
Do you need a quality vacation? Of course you do. Tourisme Montpellier is one of the solutions you will definitely want to consider.
Where can I learn Italian online?
My school is having a trip to Spain, France and Italy in the spring of 2010. I take Spanish and I’m going to take AP Spanish so Spanish isn’t a problem. I know a little French but I taught myself and I haven’t done anything “french related” in a while. Also, I don’t know one word in Italian. I think it would be a good idea to learn some Italian so when I get interviewed before the trip, it might increase my chances on going on the trip because I’ll speak all three of those languages.
Now where can I learn Italian for free online? I know some colleges offer their courses for free online. But which ones? Where else can I learn it?
Also, what are some good free advance French courses online to brush up my vocabulary and grammar?
www.livemocha.com teaches “courses” in French and Italian. Be warned though, it only teaches phrases, not grammar.
www.french.about.com, however, has many tutorials on French grammar and vocabulary.
[mage lang="" source="flickr"]intensive english course singapore[/mage]
Last Feb. 9th the Italian Environment Minister was questioned by a MP representing Italy’s Radical Party about “closed” coffee-capsule systems: would they not deter consumers from changing brands? And: wouldn’t they turn an otherwise “green” raw material into a pollutant?
It is therefore no surprise that the forthcoming launch of two “environmentally-friendly”, Nespresso-compatible coffee-capsules by the coffee oligopsonist Douwe Egberts and by the French retailer Casino echo these two themes. But: is this really bad news for Nestlé and two steps towards a freer and greener world?
Berlin 2002: Como restaurateur Maurizio Gerosa shakes hands with George Clooney © RTL
Italian MP Elisabetta Zamparutti’s tone while questioning Mrs. Prestigiacomo, the Italian Environment Minister, played on two underlying concepts described in similar tones in the “Nespresso” entry in the English-language version of Wikipedia (consulted on March 13th, 2010). One: the “ecological footprint” of a coffee prepared with capsules is far greater than “all other preparation” methods. Two: as Nespresso machines and capsules are linked to each other, the Nespresso model “is contrary to everything that is done for other types of coffee” – basically it’s against the free market.
Some people abide by these concepts. Hence it is obvious that somebody wanted to capitalize upon the “urge for sustainability” expressed by some segments of the coffee market. It is peculiar, though, that the first to do this is Jean-Paul Gaillard, Nespresso’s leader until 1997. Those were the stormy days of Nespresso’s cold-start in the world of single-portion systems, when Nespresso’s “Club” was launched. The figures speak for themselves: on the first day three members joined, on the second day there were eleven of them, but on the third day: none. Today their non conventional distribution channel profiles customers with an accuracy unavailable to any competitor relying on traditional channels, and presents itself as a marketing case study on a par with Amazon or iTunes Store – as well as the perfect launching pad for any rocket Nestlè should wish to send into “food-for-status” space.
Twenty years after those hard days, Nespresso’s former boss is the first to announce a Nespresso-compatible capsule sold utilizing quite the opposite business model: distributed by supermarkets, leveraging on the installed-field of machines the Nespresso people have built during the past two decades. Patented by Gaillard’s Ethical Coffee Company (ECC), these capsules boxes should finally “free the market” and offer a couple of advantages: they will cost less (20% less, they say) and will offer (being “biodegradable in 60 days“) a sustainable solution, whatever that means.
To the tune of “I do not copy, I innovate“, Gaillard announced that he had “seen a gap in the perforation system of the bottom of the [Nespresso] capsule” and after zigzagging around the “1500 patents” that constitute Nespresso’s IP platform, he used this gap as the basis for ECC’s 2008 patent that is in fact intended to improve “existing capsules”. No names mentioned.
Starting from next May, the French retail chain Casino will distribute – thanks to an 18-month exclusive deal with ECC – the “green” Nespresso-clone. Casino was virtually an obligatory choice, as monsieur Gaillard explains, both “for the vision and the guts” of Casino’s CEO and majority shareholder, M. Jean-Charles Naouri. Naouri is the man known to the French as the “Einstein of the supermarkets” and was – in 2009, according to the magazine Challenges – the 63rd richest man in France.
The reference to M. Naouri’s manly attributes is hardly surprising, since some considered that Nestlè’s lawyers would probably line up to buy ECC/Casino capsules, as part of their vow to defend Nespresso’s IP rights from unlawful attacks. Gaillard, jokingly referring to himself as David (as opposed to Goliath, a.k.a. Nestlè), has indeed chosen a heavyweight to help him carry out his task: the 2nd largest retailer in France – with sales of 26.75 billion Euro and 1,849 million EBITDA, in 2009.
So: is this the ideal path towards a freer, environmentally friendlier world. Or not?
Well, on the subject of “free competition” let us follow the advice of the experts. For instance the President of one of the world’s largest agro-industrial companies, Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM). A forthright speaker and a generous bi-partisan political contributor, Dwayne Andreas stated in a 1995 interview, that “the only place where you see a free market is in the mouth of politicians“. Indeed, although the term “perfect competition” would lead us to think that it represents the ideal market structure, empirical observation leads us to agree that companies naturally aim at attaining a monopoly. This is the perfect market structure from a seller’s standpoint – for it’s the provider (supply) who sets the prices. And this is a whole different ball-game from perfect competition, where it’s the client (demand) who sets the prices.
Therefore it is difficult to switch from one mobile-phone operator to another, and my freely downloaded Opera browser prompts me to use it as the default choice. Similarly, in Italy, both coffee roasters and vending operators tend to free-loan coffee machines to restaurants and offices, so that they can create an exclusive relationship. Even Casino negotiated an exclusive deal with Galliard – and the ECC capsule is patented, so that (if ECC’s patents stand on solid grounds) ECC’s technical solution may be not used by other players.
In brief, it is normal to surround your business with barbed wire: it is reasonable for companies to be allowed to recover R&D (and marketing) investments, so that other companies cannot piggy-back on a company’s investments and – quite simply – start selling a compatible, less expensive (and/or more profitable) product. Also, machines using closed systems (see for instance PC printers) tend to be sold at attractive prices that often do not make it possible to fully recover the costs associated with launching a product on a national (or international) scale. The machine, indeed, is more of an investment than a cash-cow, even for coffee-roasters: only huge capsule volumes make for “big business”, but huge volumes involve huge investments (especially when launching into the in-home coffee market). It is therefore to be expected that coffee players protect their systems – it would be rather risky not to.
As for the other main topic, the environmental impact of coffee-capsules, let me use a privileged observation point – the one I am writing from: flying at 24.000 feet above Lake Neuchatel. I am right on top of the new quadrangle of “international espresso”, as defined by the four cornerstones of Avanches (the Nespresso production plant), Orbe (Nestec’s R&D center), Friburg and Paudex (respectively the headquarters of ECC and Nespresso). If we drew a circle around those four small Swiss villages, within a radius of a mere 25 kilometres we would find (at least in terms of patents) more capsule technology and coffee inventors than in any other part of the world.
But I digress. Back in the plane the flight assistant is serving airline lunches in single-use containers and I am counting the objects destined to become garbage: the entire tray and its cover, a paper napkin, two spoons plus knife and fork and their packaging, two cups, the plastic “tablecloth”, five single-portion containers (pepper, salt, sugar, butter and coffee whitener), the packaging of the chocolate chip biscuit, one container for the main course, including the lid (some people – as the food is of pretty average quality – don’t even care to lift the lid and the crew throws the whole thing away). In total I have counted nineteen items ready for disposal: actually twenty, if you consider yourself a gourmet.
Let me put this a different way: when we talk about the environment, we would do better not to mince our words. In 2010, our existence is swamped by environmental luxuries our world might not be able to sustain in the long run: cotton swabs and diapers and pocket paper tissues, pre-washed pre-cut pre-packaged salads, Kiwi and strawberries and lamb-chops from Lake Taupo flown across the globe, papayas and tangerines that land in our plates from Ecuador, Australian Wagyu beef steaks served on Engadin tables. In addition (half-empty, gas-guzzling) cars or public buses do not fit into the environmentally-friendly picture we would love to believe is a true portrait of our world. And should we dare to mention bio-fuels? Even Vancouver 2010, heralded as the “green Olympics”, prompted environmentalists to hold massive demonstrations against the allegedly catastrophic eco-balance of the event.
Talking of closed systems, take safety razors: they create a lot of waste plastic and metal, compared to good old fashioned cut-throats. And what about the printer cartridges in my office? Whenever one colour runs out, the outer box is so big it doesn’t fit in the waste paper basket. I mean: I throw away almost two pounds of paper, plastic, ink and heaven knows what else – and that is per single colour. Made in Singapore, that cartridge will enjoy one or two months of glory in Milan and then it will be buried (or incinerated) in don’t-ask-me-where.
All this waste is a great help to the general economic system – yet it remains what it is: unsustainable waste. Let’s lay things on the line: our capitalistic way of life with its steadily growing consumption patterns is destined – in a short span of time, at least short in historical terms – to change into a conservation and selective model of consumption. But, while we wait for the old model to die, there is one thing that coffee capsules do, and help the coffee industry with it: to lead the concept of “drinking a good coffee” back to its sacred, ritual roots. Because coffee drinkers should not forget what coffee used to be: a pleasurable luxury, an intense ritual for our senses.
Yes. Use European-level labour costs throughout the value chain (and not – as it is often the case today – underpaid labour, at least by “first-world” standards) and coffee as a commodity would cost three or four times more than it does today. Judged from this perspective, coffee-capsules avoid wasting a precious commodity. A coffee-capsule raises to new heights a noble raw material that the 21st and 20th century have reduced to a banalised swill prone to free-refills.
As my Dutch friends like to joke: “Since Senseo kicked in heavily, soft-pads have seriously affected the consumption of Holland’s biggest coffee drinker“. And who might this be? “The sink“. Yes: single-portions have drastically reduced the amount of stale coffee gurgling down sinks in the bathrooms of homes or convenience stores. The same applies in Italy and the Latin countries, where coffee consumption uses different paraphernalia but wastage is again a problem – happily curbed by coffee-capsules.
Moreover: a capsule-machine is more energy-efficient than a traditional coffee machine, where high wattage and repeated brewing cycles are required to reach that thermal balance needed to brew a perfect cup. Also let me mention what would be the end result of replacing the millions of capsule-machines installed in Europe and elsewhere with fully-automatic coffee-machines – which means changing from a simple water-heater to a complex unit full of mechanisms and (because of them) very prone to technical break downs. This would mean beefing up the technical staff, as well as increased transportation costs and related environmental costs: the bottom line being a more expensive cup of coffee.
On top of all this (and now I am thinking about Kimbo’s MaxEx or Illy’s Iper-Espresso), capsules – to date – guarantee an additional bonus: great brewing technology.
So it’s easier to take pot shots at the economic and environmental cost of coffee-capsules than it is to draw informed conclusions. M. Gaillard’s capsule has “opened” the world of Nespresso to competition by drawing up an exclusive contract with Casino, patenting around its features and offering “a capsule biodegradable in 60 days” – even though I have never heard of a fully environment-friendly, oxygen-impermeable, economically-sustainable packaging material.
One thing is for sure: the ECC/Casino capsule will cost less because – as Gaillard explains – the business model hinges on 9000 stores promoting and selling (at their cost and at once) a product that took almost 25 years (and a lot of effort) for Nespresso to introduce to the world. What a sharp idea.
This is probably the reason why the Belgian economic magazine Trends-Tendances wondered whether the move might not have been piloted by Nestlè. Their idea? ECC is a smoke-screen created not so much to hurt Nespresso but to penetrate Senseo’s market: Douwe Egberts’ system selling their soft pads at between 16 and 39 eurocents per cup, mainly in Benelux and France.
Such a scenario would be enticing for anybody who has invested in Nestle’s shares: a) the biodegradable arena fenced off by patents (at least to a certain extent); b) ECC’s Troy horse opening a pathway to supermarkets for Nespresso-compatible coffee, and c) definitely (and literally) the first cartridge shot against Sara Lee – the one company (with Nestlè and perhaps Kraft) able to impose a single-portion format on European retail chains. All the above d) right in the heart of Nespresso’s stronghold, France, and e) leaving Nespresso’s brand-clout intact – distributing its “exclusive” capsules to the “privileged few” (simply a manner of speaking).
Monsieur Gaillard’s upbeat tone would lead us to believe that Nestlé is not behind this one. For sure we know Douwe Egberts/Sara Lee are not caught asleep at the wheel: indeed, hardly a month after Gaillard’s public announcement, the American-Dutch conglomerate (whose food and beverage division alone declared sales of 3 billion USD in 2009) has announced it will market a Nespresso-compatible capsule with its high-profile brand, “l’Or“.
The move is ripe with symbolism: a few days after Easter 2010, Sara Lee will launch its effort to resurrect customers who fell prey to the darkness and “slavery” of the Nespresso club. That is roughly one month before the Casino/ECC launch. And using one of Gaillard’s refrains (environmental and economical sustainability) – in Sara Lee’s case guaranteed by the Utz certification.
Last but not least, this story brings some good news for Italy, after Nespresso had proudly stated it had surpassed Lavazza’s machine sales “in the cradle of espresso” – the Italian market. Indeed, as the specialized press has reported, one of ECC’s private equity funds appears to be Alessandro Benetton’s.
So: the tournament is not over yet. We know, instead, that its start is set for next May. And it will not be a tournament for pushovers.
(First published in Italian on April 2nd, 2010 in Comunicaffè)
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