Daily Digest 12/5 - 120m EU Residents At Risk Of Poverty, Crop Failures Push Food Costs Up
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo lobbied Congress on Monday for billions of dollars to help rebuild from Superstorm Sandy, saying the U.S. House leader wanted a reconstruction bill passed by year's end. Cuomo, a Democrat, put the damage from the late October storm at $40 billion to $50 billion for New York alone, with the total likely to rise. "We need help. These are big numbers, even for New York," he told a news conference while flanked by members of the state's congressional delegation.
Christie said he remains committed to working with congress, the federal government and President Obama to “get the funding support New Jersey expects and deserves in the aftermath of this catastrophe.”
Greece’s slow and burdensome bureaucracy is estimated to cost the cash-strapped country a total of 14 billion euros a year, ($18.26 billion) or 6.8% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – almost double the European Union average of 3.5%. That was the conclusion of a recent meeting between Administrative Reform Minister Antonis Manitakis, Development and Competitiveness Minister Costis Hatzidakis and a team from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Athens.
Spain is in the throes of second recession in three years and has 25 percent unemployment. The government's tax revenue has plummeted during the downturn as Spain's companies struggle and consumers rein in their spending.
Greek hospitals are in such dire straits that staff are failing to keep up basic disease controls like using gloves and gowns, threatening a rise in multi-drug-resistant infections, according to Europe's top health official. Greece already has one of the worst problems in Europe with hospital-acquired infections, and disease experts fear this is being made worse by a severe economic crisis that has cut health care staffing levels and hurt standards of care. With fewer doctors and nurses to look after more patients, and hospitals running low on cash for supplies, risks are being taken even with basic hygiene, said Marc Sprenger, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
So far this year, City of Colorado Springs has spent more than $500,000 to replace stolen copper wire being taken from street lights. It's a growing problem for taxpayers, and a story News 5 has been following for years. Both the City and Colorado Springs Utilities have had enough of copper thieves.
In the long run, property owners — not the school system — are likely to be on the hook for bigger tax bills if the agency’s revenues can’t cover future bond payments, Lockyer told the LA Times. In California, 200 school districts have borrowed more than $2.8 billion since 2007, using CABs with some maturities longer than 25 years. Ultimately, they will have to pay back about $16.3 billion in principal and interest.
The statistics, released via a Freedom of Information request made by Ed Pinkney, the founder of Mental Wealth UK, a student mental health charity, was made public through the Office for National Statistics website last week. According to the data, between 2007 and 2011 the number of suicides by male students in full-time higher education rose by 36 per cent, from 57 to 78. The number of female student suicides per year almost doubled over that time period, from 18 to 34. According to Mr Pinkney, the figures come in the light of growing pressures on students caused by rising costs and gloomy job prospects.
Congress will consider overhauling debt collection in the $100 billion-a-year U.S. student loan program, replacing it with automatic withdrawals from borrowers’ paychecks tied to their income -- a system used in the U.K.
Spain on Tuesday softened its insistence it would meet its year-end deficit target of 6.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product and said the good performance of its regions in cutting spending was not a guarantee that the objective would be achieved. At a news conference in Madrid, Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro declined twice to confirm Spain would meet the European Union-agreed target and instead referred to the European Commission forecast of a budget gap of 7.0 percent of the economic output.
Consumers are expected to be hit by widespread food price hikes because crop failures have forced Britain to import foreign grain, the cost of which is at an all-time high. Experts have warned that wheat and barley prices are set to climb even further in the coming months, with knock-on effects hitting many food and drink items. The Financial Times said analysts have warned that "everything from bread and biscuits to beer to beef" would rise in price.
Young people and families with children are increasingly facing homelessness, according to a study, which says rising numbers of people are finding themselves without a roof over their heads. The report, by academics from Heriot-Watt University and the University of York, says all forms of homelessness are continuing to rise in England, and argues that "deepening benefit cuts are likely to have a much more dramatic impact on homelessness".
Unable to sell big increases in tuition, universities are tacking on fees to join their most popular programs. At the University of Cincinnati, for example, undergraduates at five undergraduate colleges pay fees of $188 to $504 per semester. That includes students in business, music, design, architecture, engineering and nursing.
The number of EU citizens at risk of poverty or social exclusion rose in 2011 to nearly 120 million, the Eurostat statistics agency said on Monday as the debt crisis continues to sap the economy. It said in 2011, 119.6 million people or 24.2 percent of the population in the EU's 27 member states were at risk of poverty, social exclusion or living in very low-employment households, up from 23.4 percent in 2010 and 23.5 percent in 2008, writes LETA/AFP.
In 2009, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, seeking a method less expensive and damaging to wildlife than dynamiting to clear rocks from the Mississippi River, committed $5.7 million to an experimental grinding process. The project, financed by President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus program, was futile and called off after two efforts, one in 2011 and another earlier this year, totaling about four weeks.
Hedge funds are preparing to resist Greece's attempt to cut its debt by holding out against a government bond buyback in the hope of bigger gains further down the line.
Hughes is part of a class-action suit, alleging fraud against the City of New York and its 150 red light cameras. They helped generate more than $235 million in fine revenue during the last five years -- $47 million in the last year alone. Attorney Joseph Santoli said, "The city, in this case, and many other municipalities have a great incentive to shorten the duration of the yellow lights."
Officials project the five red light cameras will produce more than $1 million in revenue for the city in the 2013 fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2013. That includes $2,500 in interest earned on the account. Funds from the red light camera citations are used for many things throughout the city, including flashing lights and pavement markings at crosswalks, electronic speed limit signs with radar and new school zone signs.
The global water services industry is on pace to double its annual revenues to $1 trillion by 2020 largely driven by scarcity issues and growing demand for water treatment, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch global research report. “A Blue Revolution – Global Water,” which is based on views of 35 analysts covering 60 companies from 18 countries, found demand for water will outstrip supply 40 percent by 2030 and close to half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. Water supplies will be increasingly tapped by agriculture, housing and industry, according to the report.
A strike hobbling the nation’s largest port complex, affecting an estimated $1 billion of cargo a day, has halted paychecks for thousands of Southern California logistics workers before the holidays. The walkout by clerical employees at the ports of Los Angeles-Long Beach has idled thousands of workers without pay, including almost 8,000 truckers, according to Robert Curry, president of California Cartage Co., one the largest freight handlers there.
"One cannot say it often enough that the European sovereign debt crisis won't be solved with one magic bullet - sometimes it's eurobonds, sometimes it's debt haircuts," she insisted. "This crisis can only be solved through a long and arduous process."
The chancellor noted that "the outlook for economic developments next year will not be as good as this year and this is even more true for our European neighbors."
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