Israel's iPad ban

Israel is justifiably proud of its cutting-edge high-tech sector, so Israelis were a bit surprised this week when the government began confiscating iPads from travelers attempting to bring them into the country. No advance notice of the policy was given.  Here's the government's official explanation: 

The iPad device sold exclusively today in the United States operates at broadcast power levels [over its Wi-Fi modem] compatible with American standards. As the Israeli regulations in the area of WiFi are similar to European standards, which are different from American standards, which permit broadcasting at lower power, therefore the broadcast levels of the device prevent approving its use in Israel.

It certainly makes sense that Israel wouldn't want to allow devices with U.S. standards to be sold in Israel, but would a few brought in from abroad -- only about 10 have been confiscated -- really do that much damage to the country's wireless network?

In any case, Israeli Apple fetishists are going to have to wait a bit longer. The iPad's international launch has been delayed a month. 



Quiz: What percentage of world trade is carried on ships?

For those of you who don't subscribe to the bimonthly print edition of Foreign Policy, you're missing a great feature: the FP Quiz. It has eight intriguing questions about how the world works.

The question I'd like to highlight this week is:

What percentage of world trade is carried on ships?

a) 40 percent    b) 60 percent    c) 80 percent

Answer after the jump ...


C, 80 percent, by volume. Ships may move slowly, but they can carry far more cargo than more recently invented modes of transportation such as planes, trains, and trucks, according to the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development in its "Review of Maritime Transport 2009."

When it comes to which countries have the largest fleets of merchant ships, Japan overtook Greece in 2008 to have the largest controlled fleet, as measured by both number of ships and deadweight tonnage. Eighty percent of those 3,720 ships, though, don't fly the Japanese flag, instead flying "flags of convenience," such as that of Panama. In fact, 21 percent of the world's merchant ships fly the Panamanian flag.

And for more questions about how the world works, check out the rest of the FP Quiz.