Monday, August 31, 2009

India: Economic Crisis Forces Businesses To Focus On The Poor



NEW DELHI -- In India, the economic crisis may actually be good news.

During the salad days of the past decade, India's entrepreneurs grew fat selling gas guzzlers and palatial homes to the country's new rich, while ignoring the needs of the biggest segment of Indian consumers: the poor. It was an expatriate Indian, the University of Michigan's C.K. Prahalad, who first posited that there were millions to be made selling to the "bottom of the pyramid."

Now that's starting to happen.

The rich aren't buying, and Indian businessmen are finally starting to look at the teeming masses as something more than cheap labor. The result could be the solution of some of India's most persistent problems -- an abysmal housing shortage, chronic underemployment and an unsustainable rate of rural-urban migration, for instance.

"The slowdown was a great thing to happen to India," affirmed management consultant Harish Bijoor, who said the downturn has encouraged companies to look beyond the "low-hanging fruit" in the urban market to the vast multitude of consumers in India's rural heartland -- which still accounts for more than two-thirds of the country's population and some 60 percent of its gross domestic product.

"There are a whole slew of energy products, both solar and thermal, and cook stoves and all types of things, all of which are aimed at reducing fuel consumption or replacing traditional fuels," said Vijay Mahajan, founder of BASIX, a microfinance company that provides credit to more than a million poor customers. "And there's a whole slew of clean drinking water products. These have both health and economic benefits."


India: Economic Crisis Forces Businesses To Focus On The Poor
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BBC NEWS | Politics | Darling predicts end of recession

The chancellor has reiterated his view that Britain will join other leading economies in moving out of recession "round the turn of the year".
BBC NEWS | Politics | Darling predicts end of recession
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BBC NEWS | Business | Indian economy continues to grow

India's economy grew 6.1% in the second three months of the year compared with the same period last year, which was slightly better than had been expected.

The official gross domestic product figure was down from the 7.8% growth seen in the second quarter of 2008.

Although growth has slowed from last year, the economy is still expanding faster than most other countries.

Indian economists said weakness in agriculture could be offset by growth in manufacturing later in the year.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has projected growth of "six percent plus" for the financial year to March 2010. That is down from the 6.7% logged in the previous full financial year.


BBC NEWS | Business | Indian economy continues to grow
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BBC NEWS | Business | Disney to buy Marvel in $4bn deal

BBC NEWS | Business | Disney to buy Marvel in $4bn deal
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BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Africans 'under siege' in Moscow

Nearly 60% of black and African people living in Russia's capital Moscow have been physically assaulted in racially motivated attacks, says a new study.
BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Africans 'under siege' in Moscow
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Capitalism the villain as Moore movie hits Venice | Entertainment | Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - The Venice film festival has capitalism in its sights this year, with premieres of Michael Moore's documentary on the U.S. economic meltdown and a drama starring Matt Damon as a corrupt corporate whistleblower.
Capitalism the villain as Moore movie hits Venice | Entertainment | Reuters
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Socialist Workers Party - Fight-back Over Fujitsu Jobs, Pay and Pensions

The Fujitsu campaign shows that where unions are prepared to put up a fight, employees flock to join, even in an industry such as IT which has little tradition of trade unionism. Even in a recession unions can grow if they can win for their members, but if they fail to resist the attempt to make workers pay for the economic crisis, they are bound to decline.
Socialist Workers Party - Fight-back Over Fujitsu Jobs, Pay and Pensions
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BBC NEWS | Business | Murdoch attack on 'dominant' BBC

News Corporation's James Murdoch has said that a "dominant" BBC threatens independent journalism in the UK.
BBC NEWS | Business | Murdoch attack on 'dominant' BBC
 
This is rich.

Tiny Murdoch says that private media, i.e. his families media in the UK will preserve freedom and promote democracy as opposed to that "evil" BBC.

Okay, lets take a look at the facts.

Murdock's media has managed to buy up tonnes of newspapers around the world and owns many in the UK.  But its management of newspapers has been far less than impressive.  Under this families domination of print media the UK print press has become a global joke.  The impact has been that all UK papers are now suspect, with even the Obama White House able to dismiss UK papers out of hand.

The BBC does not own print. 

But one area where the BBC and the Murdocks directly compete is TV.  In the UK the BBC has recently launched and re-launched a series of franchises including Little Britain, Led Balloon,  Doctor Who, The Office, Tochwood, and Weakest Link.  These are now the only UK TV exports.  Murdocks TV stations just import programs made in the United States and provide almost no British made products.  In fact a night of Sky One (Murdocks flagship) will be all US made product, with a few shows made in the UK of the quality of Are You Smarter Than a 10 Year Old.

Now I am sure the Murdocks would make more profit if they could produce all the TV shows for the entire world in one nation and export them globally, but is freedom defended if the UK has no imaginative production of its own?

As for News, the BBC remains globally the most respect news outline in human history.  Around the world people was BBC news, listen to BBC radio or go to the BBC web in verious languages for the most objective and trustworthy provider of news on the planet.

Murdock, wll I don't think it is go to insult people no matter how rich they are.  After their deaths history will do that.

Which leaves us to the Internet, and there is a grand slam. The BBC is one of the premier providers of content on the Web, and with iPlayer is one of the few firms to effectively take on Google in this new area.

Murdock purchase MySpace and rapidly let Facebook take its market, and is now trying to implement charges for content which has been free for the past 10 years on the web.

For a moment there I got the impression that Murdock seemed to say he economically could not compete with BBC, which has the advantage of almost being a "government agency".  We all know the massive advantages in business that you get from being part of the government right?

The next moment I almost heard that Murdock was bitching about how the BBC has cleaned his and his dying evil fathers clock.

But I am sure the "free market" of which Murdock loves so much would never allow the two things to happen.

So I finally figured it out.  Live all conservatives these days Murdock was high as Rush Limbaugh and imagined for a minute he was in an American Town Hall Metting.  He then spewed a few minutes of right wing lideological trash hoping to pick up some of the hot blondes he imagined he saw in KKK uniforms who go in for such madness.
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The Threepenny Opera (1931 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Threepenny Opera (1931 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

When you see Inglorious Bastards you will not P. W. Pabst is repeatedly referenced.  Pabst made my favorite movie, the 3 Penny Opera.  So Pabst was not an active Nazi, and in fact in a scene in Inglorious Bastards where Fredrick Zoller played by Daniel Brühl notes to Shosanna Dreyfus played Mélanie Laurent  that she did not need to put his name up.  This is an interesting reference to those vast number of German's and Austrians who were not persecuted by Hitler but were not clearly supporters.  Pabst's relationship to the Nazi is unclear, and by putting Pabt's movie which started violent pro-Nazi film legend Leni Riefenstahl Tarantino is making an interesting point about the political vaguness of film and film ideology.
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BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Europe looks to buy Soyuz craft

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Europe looks to buy Soyuz craft

Europe is seeking to maintain flight opportunities for its astronauts by buying Soyuz spacecraft from Russia.

The European Space Agency (Esa) has asked Moscow if it is possible to increase the production of the craft from four to five a year.

Esa could then buy its own vehicle, perhaps with the Canadians who are also looking for more seat opportunities.

The expected retirement of US shuttles in 2010/11 means fewer humans will be going into space in the coming years.

The venerable Soyuz craft will be the only way of getting to the International Space Station (ISS), certainly in the short term.

Simonetta Di Pippo, the director of human spaceflight at Esa, told BBC News she was hopeful a deal on Soyuz could be put in place for 2013.

"From '13 on, we would like to have at least one European astronaut per year flying and this can be done in various ways. One of the proposals we are putting on the table is to buy a full Soyuz," she said.

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Antother Town Hall screaming can't form one sentence about politics, claims to have not cared about 9-11



"Hardball": Katy Abram Told Medicare Is "Successful Socialism"

Actually we will likely see more and more of these Town Hall idiots, pushed by Fox News and the GOP, getting on TV and having a chance to state what they want clearly and rationally, and not be able to.

The question is if America is a nation of rational discourse between views (i.e. a Democracy) or a nation of screaming and yelling. I also remember that the Right used to say Liberal just protest where as they think their "free market" ideas. Well times have changed.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Media News and Opinion on The Huffington Post

Media News and Opinion on The Huffington Post
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Tax on City profits is 'crackers' says Boris | News

Boris Johnson today hit out at plans to impose fresh taxes on the City of London as "crackers".

The Mayor went on the offensive after Financial Services Authority chief Lord Turner called for a new levy on the financial services industry.

The FSA chairman stunned ministers and the City by saying that the international competitiveness of the capital should not be seen as a major aim.

He also claimed the financial sector had become "swollen" and had grown "beyond a socially reasonable size" and called for action to curb excessive pay and profits.

The Mayor led the backlash against Lord Turner's radical ideas, which include imposing a global tax on every financial transaction and using the cash to help poorer nations.

"Supporting the City of London is one of my most important responsibilities as Mayor and I take it extremely seriously," Mr Johnson told the Standard.

"Anyone who seriously believes that the competitiveness of the City of London should not be of paramount importance or a major aim of the FSA is crackers. I'm sure that on reflection Adair Turner would not want to imply that."

Lord Turner told Prospect magazine that regulators should be "very, very wary of seeing the competitiveness of the London as a major aim".

He backed the idea of a "Tobin tax" - named after economist James Tobin - a small levy on every financial transaction to raise billions for impoverished countries.

Mr Johnson said that such a move would hit London and help rivals stressed the importance of the huge tax revenues the City brings in Frankfurt and New York.

He stressed the importance of the huge tax revenues the City brings in.

"A 'Tobin tax' would be damaging. The City provides not only jobs but also the tax revenues that fund so many schools and hospitals across the UK," he said.

Mr Johnson said it seemed "perverse" that the City's regulator was proposing a tax that would undermine Britain's financial services.

The sector contributed an estimated £67.8billion in taxes, 13.9 per cent of the total tax take, to the Treasury in the financial year ending March 2007.

The sum would easily pay for the entire schools budget of £49billion.

The Treasury was swift to distance itself from Lord Turner's views.

Even the FSA said its chairman's comments had been made in a personal capacity and did not reflect a shift in policy.

Angela Knight, chief executive of the British Bankers' Association, said the City provided huge numbers of jobs and tax revenues and both could be undermined by extra taxes.

The Corporation of London also hit out at Lord Turner.

Stuart Fraser, chairman of the corporation's policy and resources committee, said: "With the global community struggling to adopt a common approach to vastly more important areas such as climate change, free trade and human rights the chances of a new global tax on financial services being agreed and uniformly implemented are virtually nil.

"For Europe or the West to implement such a tax unilaterally would simply drive the financial services industry to the emerging centres in Asia, where they would be welcomed with open arms."


Tax on City profits is 'crackers' says Boris | News
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

BBC NEWS | Politics | Cameron speaks about loss of son

He (Cameron) admitted she (his wife) would rather stay at home watching television than attending political functions.
BBC NEWS | Politics | Cameron speaks about loss of son

So for the record Cameron and his wife are never seen together because his wife would rather be left at home watching TV and NOT because he is gay.

I hope that is clear now.
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Sunday, August 23, 2009

BBC NEWS | Business | Recession in UK seems 'at an end'

Confidence among business professionals has seen the biggest rise for two years, suggesting the UK recession is at an end, a survey has said.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants' index of business confidence rose to 4.8 at the end of June, from -28.2 at the end of March.

However, chief executive Michael Izza warned against "underestimating" the challenges ahead for businesses.

BBC NEWS | Business | Recession in UK seems 'at an end'

So the global Great Recession is at an end.  In the US and UK is latest almost 1.5 years but you didn't know you were in it most of the time.  How long will it take to recover.

I am betting on quicker than anticipated because the level of cuts were so extreme firms are radically understaffed.  They won't be able to meet new orders, so they will have to hire and because they cut so deep expecting things to be worse they will need to over hire to make up for cuts to the meat.

So that is my prediction, lets see.....
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Marx or Smith

40 years ago the English speaking world started a program of "free market" reform. At the start of this 2 different schools of economic thinking made 2 very different predictions.

Followers of Classical Adam Smith theories, to which I was exposed at University of Chicago 20 years ago, claimed that the free market would increase the wealth of almost all people. That the economy would become more and more efficient and the process would allow the state to be reduced because services would be provided for so much less. Growth in the economy would in time (say 20 years) force of relative wages of everyone. Nations that follow free market reforms or what Reagan called the "magic of the market" would produce industrial goods at prices well below other countries and the industry would reboom and unemployment would vanish.

Marxist predicted something else. They said the gaps between rich and poor would get larger and larger and that for the majority of workers wages would decrease in real terms. Markets would enter period of booms and crises requiring the state to bail out Capitalism resulting in increasing State and national debt. Unregulated Capital would take down industries in nations with higher living standards to move factories overseas. The ups and downs of booms and busts would require endless schemes to try and keep the economy going, like Government Bailout, outsourcing, National Debt, and consumer debt. In the end the size of the State would be larger, the amount of freedom and democracy would be less, people would generally be poorer and less secure, and the third world would be mass exploited for cheap labour.

Well just wonder, now that it is 30 years after Reagan promised out that City Upon the Hill, which set of theories explains the last 30 years better?

Also, and interesting question, would even noticing that the Marxist predictions were more accurate than the classical economic predictions make you a traitor in the US?

Health care insurers often dominate market - Health care- msnbc.com

Several studies show that in lots of places, one or two companies dominate the market. Critics say monopolistic conditions drive up premiums paid by employers and individuals.
Health care insurers often dominate market - Health care- msnbc.com
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BBC SPORT | Cricket | England | Victorious England regain Ashes

BBC SPORT | Cricket | England | Victorious England regain Ashes
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Saturday, August 22, 2009

BBC NEWS | Business | Humble pie for bust billionaire



Those who are still struggling to make their first billion dollars can afford to feel smug for a moment.

Billionaire businessman Sergei Polonsky once declared that anybody in his native Russia who failed to make at least $1bn was "a loser".

But that was before his Mirax Group company's assets were frozen by a court for failing to repay a $242m loan.

Mr Polonsky blames the recession, which he urged reporters not to blow out of proportion late last year.


BBC NEWS | Business | Humble pie for bust billionaire
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BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | A step closer to 'synthetic life'



In what has been described as a step towards the creation of a synthetic cell, scientists have created a new "engineered" strain of bacteria.

A team successfully transferred the genome of one type of bacteria into a yeast cell, modified it, and then transplanted into another bacterium.

This paves the way to the creation of a synthetic organism - inserting a human-made genome into a bacterial cell.

The team describe the work in the journal Science.

This advance, the researchers say, overcomes the obstacle of making a new inserted genome work inside a recipient cell.


BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | A step closer to 'synthetic life'
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Las Vegas jobless rate hits all-time high of 13.1 percent - Breaking News - ReviewJournal.com

Nevada's unemployment rose to 12.5 percent in July, while joblessness in especially hard-hit Las Vegas surged to 13.1 percent. It’s the highest jobless rate both statewide and locally since the state began tracking data in 1976.
Las Vegas jobless rate hits all-time high of 13.1 percent - Breaking News - ReviewJournal.com
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Euro zone economy returning to growth, data suggest | Markets | Hot Stocks | Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - The euro zone economy probably crawled back to growth this quarter after its worst recession on record as firms' outlook for the future brightened to the best in more than two years, key surveys showed on Friday.
Euro zone economy returning to growth, data suggest | Markets | Hot Stocks | Reuters
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Retail sales improvement sparks UK recovery hopes

Sales growth has risen to 3.3% for the year to July, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.

Retailers experienced a good month in July, with improved confidence in the housing sector driving large improvements in household goods purchases. Sales in this area were up 4.5% - the highest level of growth seen for 3 years.

Overall month-on-month growth was 0.4%, beating early predictions of a rise of 0.2%. The latest retail data has prompted widespread speculation about whether Britain will soon join France, Germany and Japan in exiting the recession.

Richard Lowe, Head of Retail and Wholesale at Barclays Commercial Bank, credited UK retailers for the upturn, saying that shops ‘have offered some good deals on some good products’.


Retail sales improvement sparks UK recovery hopes
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BBC NEWS | Business | Pace of HBOS decline 'unexpected': Banker blames state for corruption in banks, surprised?

"When we announced the deal in the middle of September, it did not feel like a rescue of HBOS," said Sir Victor.

"It felt like a wonderful opportunity that was available and would only have been available in adversity," he told the BBC's business editor Robert Peston.

But the world changed, when in the middle of October 2008, the government required all the banks to have extra capital.

"The government changed the rules and the world changed," said Sir Victor.

"What we found in the HBOS portfolio was I think the problems we anticipated being there. The speed with which those problems came home to roost was greater than we would have anticipated because [of] the fall in GDP, " he said.

He added that the economic slide was "way beyond the expectations of the chancellor of the exchequer or Warren Buffett or you or me".


BBC NEWS | Business | Pace of HBOS decline 'unexpected'
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Home sales soar 7.2 percent in July - Stocks & economy- msnbc.com

Home sales soar 7.2 percent in July - Stocks & economy- msnbc.com
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Lonely Planet: Isolation Increases In US | Newsweek Health | Newsweek.com

There are more than 300 million of us in the United States, and sometimes it seems like we're all friends on Facebook. But the sad truth is that Americans are lonelier than ever. Between 1985 and 2004, the number of people who said there was no one with whom they discussed important matters tripled, to 25 percent, according to Duke University researchers. Unfortunately, as a new study linking women to increased risk of heart disease shows, all this loneliness can be detrimental to our health.
Lonely Planet: Isolation Increases In US | Newsweek Health | Newsweek.com
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Home sales soar 7.2 percent in July - Stocks & economy- msnbc.com

WASHINGTON - The U.S. housing market is improving quicker than expected, with home resales in July posting the largest monthly increase in at least 10 years, as first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of a tax credit that expires this fall.
Home sales soar 7.2 percent in July - Stocks & economy- msnbc.com
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BBC NEWS | Technology | Microsoft previews new controller

Microsoft has allowed the public to get their hands on its new hands-free games controller for the first time.

The US firm showed off the "Natal" technology, designed for use with its Xbox 360 console, at the European games convention gamescom in Germany.

The controller uses a microphone combined with visual and infrared cameras to control the onscreen action.

It was first unveiled at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles in June this year, but had not been on public display until now.

Kudo Tsunoda, Xbox 360's general manager and creative director of Natal, said that as consoles evolved from being a dedicated games machine into "living room entertainment", it was important to develop a new control interface.

"The current controller is a barrier to some people using our console," he said.

"To many users, the vast array of buttons and analogue sticks is plain confusing."

Mr Tsunoda said that Natal would allow casual users to use the console while at the same time delivering "extra fidelity to core users".

Two demos were on show at gamescom for people to try out, including a playable version of Burnout Paradise in which users control cars using an imaginary steering wheel, moving their feet forwards or backwards to control the speed.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Microsoft previews new controller
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BBC NEWS | Business | Manufacturers 'more optimistic'

UK manufacturers are more optimistic about their production outlook for the next three months than at any time in more than a year, a survey has found.

The CBI said 32% of manufacturers expected to see output fall between now and October, while 27% said they were looking forward to a rise.

The resulting balance of -5% was the least negative sine June 2008.

However, current demand remains weak, with 54% of firms saying orders in August were below normal.

"Manufacturers are facing weak demand at home and abroad, and their order books continue to look anaemic," said Richard Lambert, the CBI's director general.

"More positively, expectations for manufacturing output over the coming three months are the least negative in over a year.

"This is partly because many firms have run their stock levels down quite aggressively over the summer, so some manufacturers are now looking to raise production."

BBC NEWS | Business | Manufacturers 'more optimistic'
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BBC NEWS | Business | Decline in UK car output slowing

The number of new cars made in the UK fell 17.9% in July from the same month a year earlier, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

But the drop, to 107,635 cars, was the smallest of the year so far. The SMMT said that reflected the impact of scrappage schemes throughout Europe.

On a visit to a dealership on Friday, Chancellor Alistair Darling stressed that production had risen from June.

In June, 91,718 cars were produced, which was down 30.2% from 2008.

"It's not surprising that in the teeth of a pretty severe downturn, it [car production] has gone down year on year," he said.

"What we are now seeing though is an increase in production over the previous month and that is due to a significant extent to the introduction of the scrappage scheme."

BBC NEWS | Business | Decline in UK car output slowing
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BBC NEWS | Business | Markets rise on US recovery hopes

World stock markets have risen after US central bank chief Ben Bernanke said the world's biggest economy was nearing the start of a recovery.

"The prospects for a return to growth in the near term appear good," Mr Bernanke told a conference in Wyoming.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones index rose more than 1%, while European markets were also sent higher.

But the Fed boss said unemployment, which is expected to top 10% in the US, would fall "only gradually".

However, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet expressed concern at what he saw as premature talk of a full recovery.

BBC NEWS | Business | Markets rise on US recovery hopes
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Bean counting

BBC NEWS | Business | Baked bean sales signal recovery

In official statistics and influential surveys, there have been signs that the worst of the recession may be over, and that is reflected in the all-important baked bean sales figures.

In the three months from April to June, baked bean sales were up 15% compared with the same quarter of 2008, according to figures prepared for the BBC by the market researchers Nielsen.

That sounds impressive, but it shows a slowing in the rate of growth.

Every month from November 2008 to May 2009, sales of baked beans grew by about 20%.

Then the brakes were suddenly put on, with growth of only 9.9% in June and 8.7% in July.

A spoonful of baked beans

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How stress impacts the brain

Sousa of the Life and Health Sciences Research Institute at the University of Minho in Portugal and his colleagues described experiments in which chronically stressed rats lost their elastic rat cunning and instead fell back on familiar routines and rote responses, like compulsively pressing a bar for food pellets they had no intention of eating.

Moreover, the rats’ behavioral perturbations were reflected by a pair of complementary changes in their underlying neural circuitry. On the one hand, regions of the brain associated with executive decision-making and goal-directed behaviors had shriveled, while, conversely, brain sectors linked to habit formation had bloomed.

In other words, the rodents were now cognitively predisposed to keep doing the same things over and over, to run laps in the same dead-ended rat race rather than seek a pipeline to greener sewers. “Behaviors become habitual faster in stressed animals than in the controls, and worse, the stressed animals can’t shift back to goal-directed behaviors when that would be the better approach,” Dr. Sousa said. “I call this a vicious circle.”

Robert Sapolsky, a neurobiologist who studies stress at Stanford University School of Medicine, said, “This is a great model for understanding why we end up in a rut, and then dig ourselves deeper and deeper into that rut.”

The truth is, Dr. Sapolsky said, “we’re lousy at recognizing when our normal coping mechanisms aren’t working. Our response is usually to do it five times more, instead of thinking, maybe it’s time to try something new.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/18/science/18angier.html?_r=2&em

What went wrong with the GOP

How did these pieces of trash become worthy of TV time?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Barney Frank's Town Hall Snaps
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests


Firstly Frank shows that if you go to a town hall meeting and act like an idiot, you might go to a town hall meeting and be made to look like an idiot.



This video of a woman calling a Jew a nazi for supporting health care reform and then moking his concern over paying $8,000 for 2 hours of emergency room care shows where the GOP has become. This cunts conduct is, in a civilized society, nose broken territory. I can't even imagine the kind of home something like this could have fallen out of. It seems a lot of trash out there is going right wing.

It looks like the Dems are going to have to go it alone to help reduce the crippling impact of having 10s of millions people uninsured or under insured on the US economy.  The GOP has clearly left planet earth.  Perhaps they will form a party of mars.  Perhaps they will follow their beloved leader Bush and all go to Iraq.
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U.S. to trim billions off deficit estimate - White House- msnbc.com

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration will trim its budget deficit forecast for fiscal 2009 to $1.58 trillion, after scrapping money earmarked for bailing out more banks, officials said on Wednesday.

The record deficit has made investors anxious and threatens to thwart Obama's ambitious domestic agenda to overhaul health care, reform education and make the country less reliant on fossil fuels.

Polls show the deficit is one of the top concerns of Americans who fear that it could lead to higher taxes.


U.S. to trim billions off deficit estimate - White House- msnbc.com
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Dems prepare to go it alone on health care - White House- msnbc.com

WASHINGTON - Publicly, President Barack Obama is still calling for a bipartisan bill to overhaul the nation's health care system. Privately, Democrats are preparing a one-party push, which they feel is all but inevitable.

Obama urged religious leaders Wednesday to back his proposals, and he prepared for a pep talk to a much larger audience of liberal activists, whose enthusiasm is in question. Polls continued to show slippage in support for the president's approach, although Americans expressed even less confidence in Republicans' handling of health care.

The administration said it still hopes for a bipartisan breakthrough on its goals of expanding health coverage, controlling costs and increasing competition among insurers. In private, however, top Democrats said a bipartisan accord seems less likely than ever when Congress reconvenes next month.


Dems prepare to go it alone on health care - White House- msnbc.com

The party that balanced the budget alone in the 1990s will have to save health care alone.
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Runner's dad rebuffs doubters: ‘She's a woman’ - Olympic Sports- nbcsports.msnbc.com

Runner's dad rebuffs doubters: ‘She's a woman’ - Olympic Sports- nbcsports.msnbc.com

BERLIN - A day after winning her first 800-meter world title amid a gender-test controversy, the father of South African teenager Caster Semenya dismissed speculation his daughter is not a woman.

The 18-year-old runner’s father, Jacob, told the Sowetan newspaper: “She is my little girl. ... I raised her and I have never doubted her gender. She is a woman and I can repeat that a million times.”

Semenya dominated her rivals to win the 800 on Wednesday despite revelations that surfaced earlier in the day that she was undergoing a gender test. Her dramatic improvement in the 800 and 1,5000, muscular build and deep voice sparked speculation about her gender.

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BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Virginia Tech releases Cho files

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Virginia Tech releases Cho files

Another angry person with a Second Amendment Right
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BBC NEWS | Business | Public sector borrowing soaring

The UK's public sector net borrowing totalled £8bn last month, the first July deficit for 13 years, official figures have shown.
BBC NEWS | Business | Public sector borrowing soaring
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BBC NEWS | Business | Strong rise in July retail sales

The annual figure from July was the highest since May 2008.Among the sectors doing well in July, clothing and footwear sales were up 10.3% from July 2008, while furniture and electrical goods also sold well.The figures have encouraged the view that the UK may return to growth in the third quarter of this year, the BBC's economics correspondent Hugh Pym says.The strong 1.2% monthly rise announced last month for June was also revised upwards to 1.3%.

BBC NEWS | Business | Strong rise in July retail sales


The annual figure from July was the highest since May 2008.

Among the sectors doing well in July, clothing and footwear sales were up 10.3% from July 2008, while furniture and electrical goods also sold well.

The figures have encouraged the view that the UK may return to growth in the third quarter of this year, the BBC's economics correspondent Hugh Pym says.

The strong 1.2% monthly rise announced last month for June was also revised upwards to 1.3%.


BBC NEWS | Business | Strong rise in July retail sales
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BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Half of India affected by drought

BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Half of India affected by drought

Nearly half of India's districts have been hit by drought that could affect the production of rice, the country's farm minister has said.

Sharad Pawar said 246 districts in 10 states had been declared as drought affected. India has some 600 districts.

Separately, authorities in southern Andhra Pradesh state say they are probing whether the suicides of 20 farmers are linked to the drought.

This monsoon season has brought 29% less rainfall than normal.

Rice production in the country could decline by 10 million tonnes this year because of the drought, Mr Pawar said.

India produced nearly 100 million tonnes of rice during 2008-2009, according to official figures.

"Due to the expected reduced production of rice, there could be pressure on availability and market price," he added.

'In-depth probe'

With food prices rising, Mr Pawar said the government was planning to release wheat and rice from its stocks in the open market to keep prices in check.

Leading economist and member in charge of food at India's Planning Commission Abhijit Sen told a newspaper that he did not "foresee a situation where we need to import food".

Separately, the government in Andhra Pradesh has announced an investigation into the suicides of 20 farmers in a little over a month.

The opposition parties have said the farmers were taking their lives because of the drought.

Chief minister YS Rajashekhara Reddy said officials were "conducting an in-depth probe into all the suicides by farmers to establish the reason".

Monsoon rains are critical to India's farm prospects, which account for a sixth of its economic output.

Up to 70% of Indians are dependent on farm incomes, and about 60% of India's farms depend on rains. Irrigation networks are dismissed by critics as inadequate.

The summer rains are crucial to crops such as rice, soybean, sugarcane and cotton.

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BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Blackwater 'hired for CIA plot'

The CIA hired contractors from the US private security firm Blackwater as part of a secret programme to track and kill top al-Qaeda figures, reports say
BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Blackwater 'hired for CIA plot'
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BBC NEWS | Scotland | Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West | Tesco to create 800 finance jobs

Tesco has announced plans to create 800 customer service centre jobs in Scotland to support its finance operation.

The supermarket giant said the centre would open in central Glasgow in the first half of 2009.

Tesco wants to offer a full banking service, with its Edinburgh-based Tesco Personal Finance (TPF) already having six million customers.

It hopes to open TPF branches in Tesco stores.

Six are being trialled at the moment, including one at the Silverburn Shopping Centre near Glasgow.

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West | Tesco to create 800 finance jobs
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BBC NEWS | Business | OECD says rich nations stabilised

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has said the economies of its members stabilised in the last quarter.
BBC NEWS | Business | OECD says rich nations stabilised
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Google's IPO, 5 Years Later (VIDEO)

Even after we're all done kicking ourselves for not buying "GOOG" back in 2004, it's very easy to forget just how much of a watershed moment Google's IPO was. The original offering price was a measly $85, which, as the below spot from CNBC points out, implied about a $25 billion market cap. The offering was called overvalued, and audacious and it reminded many of us of the Pets.com-caliber failures of the dot-com crash.
Google's IPO, 5 Years Later (VIDEO)


Lesson: the very best .com IPO happen in 2004.
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BBC NEWS | Entertainment | X Factor 'exploits', says Equity

TV talent shows such as The X Factor are guilty of "cheap exploitation" because they do not pay contestants, performers union Equity has claimed.
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | X Factor 'exploits', says Equity
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Dem lawmaker blasts protester at town hall - Capitol Hill- msnbc.com

Audrey Steele, 82, from New Bedford, said she does not want the government to get involved with health care because "they just make a mess of everything," referring to the $700 billion bailout of financial institutions that was used to pay for lavish conferences and hefty executive compensation.
Dem lawmaker blasts protester at town hall - Capitol Hill- msnbc.com

Can we assume Audrey refuses any help from Medicare?
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Giant rat-eating nepenthes plant named after David Attenborough - Times Online

Giant rat-eating nepenthes plant named after David Attenborough - Times Online

He may be best known for his mellifluous tones and gentle manner, but for one group of botanists Sir David Attenborough clearly conjures up different associations. Explorers who discovered a new species of giant rodent-eating carnivorous plant have named it after the TV naturalist.

Nepenthes attenboroughii, a previously unknown variety of pitcher plant discovered on a remote mountain in the Philippines, is so big that small rodents could be trapped inside and slowly dissolved by flesh-eating enzymes.

It is thought that only a few hundred of the plants exist, growing only on one mountain on the island of Palawan. The species was discovered by a team of scientists who had heard reports from missionaries who got lost in the dense jungle.


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Monday, August 17, 2009

Nixon, Brazil's leader met on Chile intervention - Americas- msnbc.com

WASHINGTON - Two years before the coup that toppled the leftist leader of Chile, President Richard Nixon and Brazilian President Emilio Medici discussed coordinated intervention in that nation and Cuba, according to a newly declassified document.

The formerly Top Secret account of a Dec. 9, 1971, White House Oval Office meeting spells out a desire by the U.S. and Brazilian presidents to foment the overthrow of leftist governments, especially those of Chile's Salvador Allende and Cuba's Fidel Castro.

Declassified in July, the memo is now part of the official history of U.S. foreign policy in a State Department series called "Foreign Relations of The United States."

The National Security Archive, a private group, posted the document on its Web site Sunday.

The still-emerging history of the Nixon administration shows that American officials wanted to stop Allende from taking power in 1970, after the U.S. government had publicly stressed the importance of democratic elections there.

The eventual CIA-supported coup in Chile, led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, overthrew the government of Allende on Sept. 11, 1973.

Brazil's military government
Medici's presidency in Brazil was that of a strong military government marked by strict press censorship, torture and destruction of a guerrilla movement.

In the 1971 Oval Office meeting, Nixon said that "this should be held in the greatest confidence. But we must try and prevent new Allendes and Castros and try where possible to reverse these trends."

Medici said he was happy to see that the Brazilian and American positions and views were so close.

Nixon asked whether Medici thought the Chilean armed forces were capable of overthrowing Chile's Allende, prompting a response from Medici that he felt they were capable.

Medici added that Brazil was exchanging many officers with the Chileans "and made clear that Brazil was working towards this end."

Offer of aid
Nixon said that "if the Brazilians felt that there was something we could to be helpful in this area, he would like President Medici to let him know," the document stated.

Nixon told Medici that if money were required or other discreet aid, "we might be able to make it available," according to the document.

On Castro, Medici said the large number of Cubans living in the U.S. claimed they could overthrow Castro's regime, raising the question, "should we help them or not."

Nixon responded that "we should, as long as we did not push them into doing something that we could not support, and as long as our hand did not appear."

Nixon, Brazil's leader met on Chile intervention - Americas- msnbc.com
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Future angst? Brain scans show uncertainty fuels anxiety UHHH DUH

A new study by University of Wisconsin-Madison brain researcher Jack Nitschke shows that the emotional centers in the brain respond much more strongly to disturbing photos if the person didn't know what was coming.
Future angst? Brain scans show uncertainty fuels anxiety

This is another example of science trying to make the obvious seem profound. 
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BBC NEWS | Business | Steel protest ends privatisation

The Chinese government has been forced to cancel the privatisation of a steel firm following worker protests, the country's state-run media has reported.

The cancellation of the deal to sell state-owned Linzhou Steel in Henan province came after staff held an official hostage for four days.

It was the second time in under a month that worker militancy in the steel industry has halted a privatisation.


BBC NEWS | Business | Steel protest ends privatisation
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BBC NEWS | Business | Katona axed from Iceland adverts

BBC NEWS | Business | Katona axed from Iceland adverts

Supermarket Iceland has sacked Kerry Katona from its advertising campaigns, saying it was "impossible" for her to continue in the role.

The move follows allegations in the News Of The World that the former member of pop group Atomic Kitten was taking Class A drugs.

Ms Katona has featured in the ads for four years, since she won the TV show I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.

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Man carrying assault weapon attends Obama protest

PHOENIX (AP) - About a dozen people carrying guns, including one with a military-style rifle, milled among protesters outside the convention center where President Barack Obama was giving a speech Monday—the latest incidents in which protesters have openly displayed firearms near the president.
Man carrying assault weapon attends Obama protest
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Institute of Ideas | Home

This year features strands of debates on reproductive technology, the global economy, energy, and work, and keynotes rethinking the major themes for the year, from privacy and freedon to therapy and the good society.
Institute of Ideas | Home
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BBC NEWS | Business | Half of pension schemes 'to shut'

About half the final-salary pension schemes in the private sector will have closed to existing employees within the next three years, a survey suggests.
BBC NEWS | Business | Half of pension schemes 'to shut'
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Analysis: Few expect boom after this bust - Washington Post- msnbc.com

WASHINGTON - The wounded U.S. economy has shown signs of improvement in recent weeks. But many economists, who were caught off guard by the brutality of the downturn, are accentuating the negative, bracing for head winds that could cause the recovery to be weak.
Analysis: Few expect boom after this bust - Washington Post- msnbc.com
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The Truth About Obama's Health Plan | Newsweek Politics | Newsweek.com

The Truth About Obama's Health Plan | Newsweek Politics | Newsweek.com

This ugly face says one thing: I got my government health care, I supported Bush, and fuck the rest of you.  The ugly face with sister fuck hallow USA is back just when you thought it was safe to go back in America again.
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BBC NEWS | Health | Charity seeks end to lunchbox ham

Parents have been urged not to put ham and other processed meat into their children's lunchboxes to avoid them developing a cancer risk later in life.
BBC NEWS | Health | Charity seeks end to lunchbox ham
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BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Japanese ex-PMs visit war shrine

Two Japanese ex-PMs have visited a controversial shrine honouring Japan's war dead, including war criminals.
BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Japanese ex-PMs visit war shrine
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BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Iraq abandons nationwide census

Iraq has postponed indefinitely plans to hold its first nationwide census in 22 years over fears it could stoke ethnic and political tensions.
BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Iraq abandons nationwide census
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FREE HEALTH:US-STYLE - mirror.co.uk

EXCLUSIVE: In a huge stadium 100s of patients who can't afford medical care get mass treatment

This frenetic scene could be the result of a devastating hurricane or terrorist attack...

Hundreds of Americans are crammed into a temporary health facility while thousands more queue outside.

But this is no emergency. It is an everyday scene in a converted venue that exposes the brutal truth behind healthcare US-style.

The nation has an estimated 47 million people who cannot afford medical insurance, so they have no access to basic medical care.

Yet last week right-wing politicians opposed to Barack Obama's health reforms launched a savage attack on services in Britain.

Tv adverts, paid for by big-shot Republicans, branded the NHS "evil and Orwellian".

But these scenes in Inglewood, a rundown suburb of Los Angeles, are a stark reminder of why President Obama wants change.

It is a drop-in clinic where uninsured and poorly insured people queue to see hundreds of doctors, dentists, optometrists and nurses who volunteer their services without pay.

With a limit of 1,500 patients per day, the clinic can help as many as 10,000 people before it moves on after eight days. The venue, called The Forum, was filled with patients receiving blood pressure checks, sight tests, mammograms, dental work, pain relief, smear tests, and TB jabs.

One volunteer, Kim, recalled the 1970s TV show about medics in the Korean War and said: "It's like an episode of M*A*S*H."

Nurse Cherilyn Lee, who treated Michael Jackson and spoke to him days before he died, is helping out too. She told the Mirror: "US politicians have no right to criticise the NHS.

"There are thousands of people here who need all kinds of medical treatment. It's unacceptable."

The clinic was set up by the charity Remote Area Medical to help people such as Beverly Alessandra, 61.

She had a heart attack two years ago and, with no health insurance, cannot afford the medication that stops her veins clogging.


FREE HEALTH:US-STYLE - mirror.co.uk
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

THE RECESSION IS OVER

The world economy has just dodged one of the biggest bullets in a Century.  Will reforms prevent it from happening again?
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Daily Express | World News :: Top economists say UK recession is over

BRITAIN’S worst recession for more than half a century is over, City experts predicted last night.

In a welcome blast of optimism, two senior economists said that the country has pulled out of the slump and economic growth has returned.

Shares soared in the City yesterday following a rash of positive financial data.

France and Germany officially emerged from recession in the spring, statistics confirmed, and the positive news from Europe helped the FTSE rise 38.7 points to 4755.46. At one stage it hit 4780 – a new high for the year.

Experts insist Britain is closely following the leading European economies into brighter times. Jim O’Neill, chief economist at investment bank Goldman Sachs, believes growth returned to the UK economy in June.


Daily Express | World News :: Top economists say UK recession is over
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Family Guy at Comic Con

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Seth MacFarlane outs baby Stewie in 'Family Guy': He's gay, MacFarlane says in Playboy interview

Seth MacFarlane outs baby Stewie in 'Family Guy': He's gay, MacFarlane says in Playboy interview
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Good news could spell trouble for GOP - Patrick O'Connor - POLITICO.com

Don’t expect Republicans to credit President Barack Obama for the recent signs of life in the long-ailing U.S. economy, but don’t expect them to applaud more bad news either – at least not publicly.

The still-reeling economy is riding a rollercoaster of economic indicators these days. A better-than-expected jobs report sent stock markets higher earlier this month. But Friday’s lower-than-expected consumer confidence number sent those same markets lower, and employers are continuing to shed hundreds of thousands of jobs each month, albeit at a slower pace than earlier this year. Many economists are predicting a jobless economic recovery over the next of year, as businesses begin to get back on their feet, but hold off on adding jobs.

The rising unemployment rate may be politically perilous for Democrats right now, but Republicans don’t want to look like they're cheering for failure. So their playbook is: Downplay the effect of the stimulus and talk up its cost, and respond to positive economic signs by arguing that Republican solutions would have worked faster and cost less.

"The most important thing for Republicans is to differentiate between job creation and the economy growing,” said John Feehery, a longtime aide to former Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert.


Good news could spell trouble for GOP - Patrick O'Connor - POLITICO.com
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Gay Marriage Fight, "Kiss-In" Protests Smack Mormon Image

Gay Marriage Fight, "Kiss-In" Protests Smack Mormon Image

By JENNIFER DOBNER, Associated Press Writer

SALT LAKE CITY - The Mormon church's vigorous, well-heeled support for Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California last year, has turned the Utah-based faith into a lightning rod for gay rights activism, including a nationwide "kiss-in" Saturday.

The event comes after gay couples here and in San Antonio and El Paso, Texas, were arrested, cited for trespassing or harassed by police for publicly kissing. In Utah, the July 9 trespassing incident occurred after a couple were observed by security guards on a downtown park-like plaza owned by the 13 million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The court case was dismissed, but the kiss sparked a community backlash and criticism of the church.

"I don't think that kiss would have turned out to be the kiss heard round the world if it were not for Proposition 8," said Ash Johnsdottir, organizer of the Salt Lake City Kiss-In.

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BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Obama attacks insurance premiums

US President Barack Obama has stepped up his drive for healthcare reform, attacking excessive premiums charged by insurance companies.

Speaking in Colorado, Mr Obama said that under his plan companies would not be allowed to charge exorbitant fees nor place arbitrary limits on coverage.

Mr Obama is making a series of "town-hall" speeches to back his campaign.

Extending coverage to the millions of Americans who lack health insurance is Mr Obama's top priority for 2009.
BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Obama attacks insurance premiums
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BBC NEWS | Business | Loans to homebuyers '23% higher'

The number of mortgages for homebuyers granted in June rose by 23% compared with May, according to UK lenders.
BBC NEWS | Business | Loans to homebuyers '23% higher'
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BBC NEWS | Business | UK repossessions eased in spring

The number of homes repossessed in the UK fell 10% in the second quarter of the year compared with the previous three months, lenders say.
BBC NEWS | Business | UK repossessions eased in spring
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BBC NEWS | Business | Japan economy set to show growth

Japan's economy is tipped to show growth for the three months to June, after showing four consecutive quarter-on-quarter contractions.
BBC NEWS | Business | Japan economy set to show growth

By our count currently Japan, Germany, Hong Kong, and Japan are out of Recession.  China is likely out of Recession, and the US and UK may be out or within a few months of being out.  So the largest global nationalisation of wealth in history seems to have a fairly solid set of accomplishments under it's belt.
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BBC NEWS | Business | US industrial output on the rise

US industrial production rose 0.5% in July, stronger than expected and the first rise in nine months.
BBC NEWS | Business | US industrial output on the rise
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BBC NEWS | Business | US industrial output on the rise

US industrial production rose 0.5% in July, stronger than expected and the first rise in nine months.
BBC NEWS | Business | US industrial output on the rise
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Miley Cyrus' Performance at the Teen Choice Awards - FOXNews.com

Miley Cyrus' Performance at the Teen Choice Awards - FOXNews.com - Slide 5 of 6

Are we getting old is is pop culture getting more sick and pathetic?
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Browns' Tweet nothings for NHS | Mail Online

David Cameron was fighting last night to prevent the Tories again being labelled the 'nasty party' after one of his Euro MPs denounced the National Health Service.

The Tory leader slapped down Daniel Hannan after he went on U.S. television to brand the NHS a '60-year failure' that he 'wouldn't wish on anybody'.

Mr Cameron has staked his election prospects on convincing voters that the Tories would protect the Health Service.
Browns' Tweet nothings for NHS | Mail Online
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