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This is the fourth post in a five-part blog series focused on the energy industry.

As more countries consider the environmental impacts of capturing and using different forms of energy, the era for previous power-houses like coal is coming to a close. This post will explore the accessibility, development, and trading of upcoming fossil fuels around the globe.

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International investing is more appropriate than ever for Asian countries like South Korea, Japan, and India. These emerging markets are predicted to generate big gains for investors due to aspects such as their growing middle-classes, stimulative economic policies, and even the depreciation of the U.S. dollar. 

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This is the second post in a five-part blog series focused on International Education Week.

International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to encourage global education. From November 13-17, individuals and institutions will be promoting international education programs that prepare Americans for a global environment as well as attract future leaders to study, learn and exchange experiences.

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This year, the International Air Transport Association anticipates four billion people will engage in global travel. By the year 2036, it is expected to nearly double to 7.8 billion—half of which will solely be from people living in Asia. High rates of international travel indicate economic well-being, and increased globalization will continue to drive demand. Areas experiencing a spike in international travel will benefit from the influx of money from tourism, but not without enduring the consequences of expansion.

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Universities play a central part in initiating and facilitating global learning. The Centers for International Business Education and Research (CIBERs) were developed to help provide guidance and tools for competitiveness in an international environment. There are seventeen CIBER schools established across the United States, Michigan State University being one of them.

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A business reaching international audiences depends on idea sharing and connectivity for its continued success. Today, social media is increasing audience engagement even further. In fact, the key to a successful social media strategy is effective engagement. With social media's importance continuing to rise, understanding the key concepts will help give your business an edge in this increasingly connected climate. Following is a complete and global guide to navigating social media strategy.

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The process of acquiring a second passport as means of citizenship is continuing to grow in popularity as more countries establish themselves in the industry. For passport owners, the return on investment ranges from increased access and establishment in new markets to owning luxurious homes in coastal regions. For participating countries, the potential for job creation or financial support is among the benefits. The trend has gained significant traction, climbing to what is now a multi-billion dollar industry.

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At one point in the 20th century, over twenty million Americans held jobs in the manufacturing industry. This trend has experienced a steep decline since 1960—in this century alone, five million of those jobs have been terminated. This loss can be attributed to the omnipresence of technology in modern manufacturing as well as the outsourcing of basic manufacturing jobs. For the positions that have remained in the United States, robots and machines have been incorporated to increase efficiency and lower costs. As technological processes develop, automation is expected to increase. As the labor market moves away from manufacturing and toward careers based on skill and training, one question arises: will technology be the answer to our manufacturing losses? 

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There has been an increase in research on how studying and living abroad can affect one's performance at work. In a world more connected than ever before, employers are looking for applicants who can think critically and adapt to an evolving business environment. Experience abroad can help offer unique talking points during an interview, and it might offer the competitive edge that lands the job.

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The Xiongan area outside of Beijing has been deemed the newest special economic zone (SEZ) by the Chinese government. Compared to other countries, China has been the most successful in using SEZs to spur investment and growth—specifically by attracting foreign capital. For example, Shanghai's Pudong New Area was established in the early 1900's and is now the nations hub for financial business. However, there are also significant concerns when establishing a special economic zone that have to be taken into account.

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Some of the biggest names in business have made a statement when it comes to bridging the gender gap. Walmart, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Exxon-Mobile, General Mills, Campbell's Soup, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and Mondoleez have all banded together and committed to sourcing more from women-owned businesses. Walmart has already achieved their goal of buying $20 billion worth of goods and services from women-owned businesses in the United States over the past five years. However, women-owned suppliers still make up only 2% of their global purchases. This group intends to make an impact by encouraging similar companies to realize the many benefits of supporting women-owned businesses.

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Agriculture has been, and always will be, a crucial part of our existence. This industry is continually evolving; in the past, improvements consisted of machinery becoming more effective, or incorporating animals into the seeding and harvesting process. Today, technology is playing the biggest part in how we grow our food. In 1900, around 41% of America's labor force was employed through the agriculture industry alone. Today, due to countless technological advances, the proportion is now below 2%.

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Do you ever wonder how, or to what extent, your online activity is being tracked? While browsing the internet, ads often pop up on the sides of webpages that are suspiciously similar to recent searches or website visits; this happens because internet activity is tracked and gathered through cookies placed by first or third-party trackers. Third-party trackers first appeared in 1998, and their presence has been steadily increasing ever since. Are cookies placed by trackers something we should be worrying about?

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Traditional grocery shopping will be changing in a big way starting in 2017. Amazon has ventured away from their online domain to shake up the in-person shopping industry. On Monday, Amazon released a video showing off their newest project: Amazon Go. This store has eliminated checkouts, cash registers, and most importantly, lines. What better way to propel an industry into the future than fresh competition.

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Canada is the world's 12th largest coal producer, contributing close to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions overall. However, Canada plans to fully phase out coal power by the year 2030. Canada's largest province, Ontario, phased out coal power in 2014, so the remaining four provinces that still use coal-fired electricity will be the next in line.

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Expanding overseas to new markets can be one of the most crucial decisions a business makes. Often, expanding internationally is what can make or break a business. International expansion consists of more than simply setting up shop in a new country. The expansion process must be purposeful and must be prepared for, otherwise the business will see more money being drained through this new exploration than made. The following is a collection of observations and tips regarding challenges in global marketing and expansion.

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E-commerce has become more and more popular, but some warehouses cannot keep up with the consumer expectation of instant gratification. Online shopping gives consumers the idea that if something is purchased over the internet, it should be delivered quickly and efficiently. Many facilities are still using the man-to-goods model, where the employee goes throughout the warehouse looking for the item(s) purchased by the consumer. Companies like inVia Robotics are changing that.

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It is not a coincidence that there is a positive trend between companies that do good in their community and company success. With this generation of consumers and employees placing more importance on community consciousness than ever before, it makes sense that the companies that are giving back are the ones attracting the most business.

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For years Americans have seen manufacturing jobs relocated overseas in an effort to lower production costs. The loss of these jobs has put millions out of work, and has done nothing to help the economy. There is a push to relocate these lost jobs back to American soil, to help recreate the jobs that have been lost. However, the question is, will the returning of these factories actually create more jobs?

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The recent Takata airbag recall is the largest in United States history with over sixty million recalls. This recall affects numerous car companies, including Toyota, Tesla, BMW, Ford, and Honda, among others. Cars manufactured within the last fifteen years are at risk, therefore, approximately one in five cars on the road today are affected by the recall. With demand for new airbags skyrocketing and supply devastatingly low, drivers are left wondering what to do next.

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Despite the fact that shares of the world's top tobacco companies reached record highs in recent weeks, AXA, one of the world's biggest insurers, has decided to sell all of its assets in the tobacco industry. Over $2 billion in assets will be divested, and AXA will cease all further investment. This huge announcement follows new tobacco laws in the United Kingdom regarding uniform packaging, as well as large graphical health warnings that will go into effect in less than a year. With investors retracting funds and government laws emphasizing health concerns, will this mark the beginning of the end for the tobacco industry? 

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Earlier this month, the FDA announced it will be reevaluating it's term "healthy", and therefore altering which foods will be considered healthful. As ideas of healthy eating change, FDA regulations should be changing as well. The current regulations reflect more of the simplistic beliefs from the 1980's and 90's, when low fat content and high levels of carbohydrates were seen as healthful. Today, those ideas have changed. This adjustment in regulations will not only affect labeling, but also will affect company products and their overall profit.

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Recent pushes for an increase in environmental consciousness have resulted in increased demand for renewable energy. Along with the increased awareness, the Paris Climate Conference highlighted the importance and urgency behind the situation. All of the recent talk surrounding green energy is expected to significantly increase investment and production in the industry, but multiple factors are currently holding back it's success.

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Whether it is an expansion of one company, the merging of multiple, or simply a business deal, international business is an art often underestimated or taken for granted altogether. The opportunities offered by the expansion of markets is unattainable when confined to one area and can offer tremendous rewards if executed properly. Most businesses, however, are unaware of what really sets international business apart from operating locally. Following are observations by a seasoned participant in the teaching, researching, and consulting of international business as well as supporting statistics.

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London Stock Exchange (LSE) and Deutsche Boerse, two European stock exchanges, have agreed on terms for a merger. With a combined value of about $30 billion, this merger will create one of the largest exchange companies in the world. It is said that combining the two companies will save them around $500 million a year. This new company, UK TopCo, has attracted attention from U.S. based companies, some more hostile than others. The possibility of upset within the merging companies along with the EU Referendum pose as possibly detrimental threats to this deal. 

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Over the past two decades, China's economic growth has averaged 9.5% and national income has been doubling every eight years. This significant growth can be attributed to China's timely shift from a largely agrarian society to industrial production. However, expansion cannot last forever. The amount of raw materials being produced in China is continuing to increase, but demand for these materials is decreasing. Decreasing demand has contributed to the initial slow-down following China's rapid expansion, but if production itself is not moderated, China's economy could suffer greater consequences.

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Baby Boomers worked in a strict hierarchical structure: you stayed in a position for a certain amount of time before being promoted, you reported to your boss and kept conversations strictly employer/employee related, you worked nine to five in the office, and you rarely left your original firm in search of new opportunities. Millennials are here to change that.

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It is no surprise that education is one of the biggest determining factors of an economy’s success and growth, which is why in fall of 2015, some 20.2 million students were expected to attend an American college or university. Since 2009, there has been an increase of over 4.9 million college attendees. However, education is not nearly as accessible in other parts of the world as it is in the United States, and it is restricting potential growth.

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Since the first automobile was developed, we have been making tremendous steps towards improvement. The insertion of a braking system, turn signals, air bags, radios, automatic windows, cruise control, and parking assistance are a few of the major developments over the years. We have made advancements so that the driver is assisted at their highest level of convenience. We have not, however, thought about taking the driver out of the equation altogether. Nearly 1.3 million people are killed on the world’s roads every year. People are texting, talking on the phone, reprimanding their kids, spilling coffee, and reaching for fallen items, just to name a few. Distracted people are operating 1.3 ton vehicles. People are the problem and driverless vehicles may be the solution. 

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Since American shale oil has joined the oil industry, oil prices have plummeted. Brent crude oil is down more than 60% since last summer, pricing at under $43 a barrel. American light crude oil is trading at the lowest prices in 10 years at under $40 a barrel. Predictions from Goldman Sachs suggest that prices could fall even further. The main concern driving this price drop is supply and demand imbalances--there is too much oil being produced and not enough customers purchasing it all.

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The once mighty emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India, and China are currently experiencing the negative consequences that come with the title "Emerging Markets". Brazil and Russia are experiencing terrible recessions, China is attempting to control a stagnant market, and India is struggling with economic reforms. To give an indication of the severity of the situation, Goldman Sachs, whose former chief economist coined the title given to the BRIC countries, has recently pulled its BRIC fund after years of continued losses. 

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The Arab League considers itself a loose confederation of 22 Arab nations, whose broad mission is to improve coordination and communication among its members in terms of common interest. The League was developed in response to concerns about post-war colonial territory divisions. The initial agreement was signed in Cairo on March 22, 1945 by representatives of the first six member states–Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, and there are indications that they will be signing another agreement on the basis of an Arab military force in the near future. 

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On Monday, October 5, 2015, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was officially signed into existence by the twelve Pacific Rim nations.The countries involved in the deal include the United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, and Brunei. China, the world's second-largest economy and the biggest trading partner for over half of the countries involved in the TPP, was not included in the list, and they are hesitant about showing support for the new deal.

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It has been nearly a year since Emma Watson, the United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador, gave a revolutionary speech introducing the HeForShe campaign. HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality that encourages men and boys around the world to step up and pledge to be advocates for change. Because education is a major determining factor in job positions and opportunities, HeForShe is calling to involve businesses, universities, and governments to help establish equality. HeForShe also encourages advocates to be a part of its IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative that “develops three bold, game-changing commitments to advance and ultimately achieve gender equality for all."