Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
World Poverty 'More Widespread'
The World Bank has warned that world poverty is much greater than previously thought. It has revised its previous estimate and now says that 1.4 billion people live in poverty, based on a new poverty line of $1.25 per day. This is substantially more than its earlier estimate of 985 million people living in poverty in 2004. The Bank has also revised upwards the number it said were poor in 1981, from 1.5 billion to 1.9 billion. The new estimates suggest that poverty is both more persistent, and has fallen less sharply, than previously thought. However, given the increase in world population, the poverty rate has still fallen from 50% to 25% over the past 25 years. "This is pretty grim analysis coming from the World Bank," said Elizabeth Stuart, senior policy advisor at Oxfam.
Iran Aims To Send An Astronaut...
Iran's space agency plans to send a manned rocket into space in the next 10 years, state television reported on Thursday. Space agency chief Reza Taghipoor said the exact date of the mission would be determined in the next year. The announcement is the latest signal of Iran's growing ambition to develop a space and satellite program and comes days after the country announced it had launched a dummy satellite into orbit. Taghipoor said the two-stage rocket, launched Sunday, released equipment that beamed flight data back to ground control, though U.S. officials said the rocket fell short of its claimed success.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Slow Economy Take Toll...
The slowing economy is taking its toll on household finances, driving up debt at a faster pace than incomes and assets, new analysis from CIBC World Markets shows. “This is a fact because the economy is underperforming,” CIBC economist Benjamin Tal said in an interview about his analysis of household credit. In the first quarter of 2008, household debt in Canada rose almost 3 per cent but personal disposable income rose just 2 per cent, pushing the debt-to-income ratio up to 130 per cent from 122 per cent a year earlier. At the same time, the level of assets hardly changed during the first quarter of 2008, since the stock market was correcting and house prices were levelling off. So the debt-to-asset ratio rose to almost 18 per cent, a full percentage point higher than in early 2007 and the highest level since early 2003, the report shows.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Gene Hooks Smokers...
Puffing on a first cigarette is a rite of passage for many teenagers, but whether it is enjoyable may be partly down to genetics, researchers suggest. University of Michigan scientists have identified a gene variant found more often in people who said their first cigarette produced a "buzz". These people were much more likely to go on to become regular smokers, the journal Addiction reports. The researchers say the finding may help development of anti-smoking drugs.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Housing Slump Stalks Western Canada
As Canada's housing market shows fresh signs it has exited the boom phase, Merrill Lynch economists are cautioning homeowners to expect a “sustained downturn” in prices. Nearly every major city in the West makes the list of most vulnerable markets, in addition to Montreal and Sudbury, according to a pair of Toronto-based economists at the bank. Soaring prices over much of the past decade have made the country's homeowners substantially richer. The big question is whether a selloff could echo the wrenching downturn in the United States, where prices in Miami and Los Angeles have fallen as much as 28 per cent from the peak and average national prices are down 18 per cent in the past two years.
Wal-Mart Warns Of Democratic Win
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is mobilizing its store managers and department supervisors around the country to warn that if Democrats win power in November, they'll likely change federal law to make it easier for workers to unionize companies -- including Wal-Mart. In recent weeks, thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads have been summoned to mandatory meetings at which the retailer stresses the downside for workers if stores were to be unionized. According to about a dozen Wal-Mart employees who attended such meetings in seven states, Wal-Mart executives claim that employees at unionized stores would have to pay hefty union dues while getting nothing in return, and may have to go on strike without compensation. Also, unionization could mean fewer jobs as labor costs rise.
UK Home Repossessions Rise 48%
The number of properties repossessed by mortgage lenders in the UK has risen by 48% in the past year. The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said there were 18,900 repossessions in the six months to June, up from 12,800 in the same period last year. The sharp rise was due to the economic slowdown making it harder for some homeowners to repay mortgages. Repossessions have been rising since the second half of 2004 but have now begun to accelerate.