Daily Digest

Daily Digest 8/17 - Food Prices Stay High, The Real Unemployment Rate, Local Courts Face Steep Budget Cuts

Wednesday, August 17, 2011, 9:49 AM
  • Food prices could hit tipping point for global unrest
  • Second Harvest Food Bank Runs Out of Food
  • Food prices stay high: World Bank
  • Food prices worsening crisis in Africa's Horn, World Bank says
  • Rail passengers facing 13% rise in ticket prices
  • Anti-baby boom: Why U.S. birth rate keeps falling
  • Chart of the Day: Is the Real Unemployment Rate 12.5%?
  • Long-term unemployment wreaks mental toll on jobless
  • Dubai traders report 100% rise in gold bullion sales
  • Staten Island meeting on proposed Port Authority toll hikes nearly comes to blows
  • California raising fine for cellphone chats while driving
  • National debt passes 14.6 trillion
  • Local courts face steep budget cuts
  • Detroit Public School Teachers Protest School Cuts
  • Gold futures add $27 to mark a record close

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Economy

Food prices could hit tipping point for global unrest

When food shortages and rising prices drive people to desperation, social unrest soon follows. It's as true today as it was in 18th-century France. According to a new analysis of food prices and unrest, the 2008 global food riots and ongoing Arab Spring may be a preview of what's coming.

"When you have food prices peak, you have all these riots. But look under the peaks, at the background trend. That's increasing quite rapidly, too," said Yaneer Bar-Yam, president of the New England Complex Systems Institute. "In one to two years, the background trend runs into the place where all hell breaks loose."

Second Harvest Food Bank Runs Out of Food (North Carolina)

The Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina announced Monday the only food left in their warehouse is a shipment from the federal government. That will be distributed on Thursday.

The bank provides food to 300,000 people in 18 counties. The bank also provides help to other food pantries across the region.

Food prices stay high: World Bank

There's no relief in sight for the world's poor, with the price of staple foods remaining high. The latest World Bank food price report says that overall food is 33 per cent more expensive than this time last year.

Current prices aren't as high as the spike in 2008, but the World Bank says poor people are living on the edge.

Food prices worsening crisis in Africa's Horn, World Bank says

The Food Price Watch says global food prices in July 2011 remain significantly higher than a year ago. Prices overall remained 33 per cent higher than a year ago with commodities such as maize (up 84 per cent), sugar (up 62 per cent), wheat (up 55 per cent) and soybean oil (up 47 per cent) contributing to the increase.

Crude oil prices are 45 per cent higher from July 2010 levels, affecting production costs and the price of fertilizers, which increased by 67 per cent over the same period.

Rail passengers facing 13% rise in ticket prices (UK)

The cost of rail travel is set to soar by as much as 13 per cent next year following the announcement today of the latest inflation figures, with commuters hit hardest - leading to accusations they are being 'extorted'....The fare rises in January will hit commuters already feeling a squeeze from gas prices, due to rise by up to 18 per cent, and food prices which increased by more than five per cent last month.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT rail union, condemned the likely fare increase. ‘Commuters will be absolutely disgusted to be told that they will be facing a fare rise of eight per cent at a time when salaries are being frozen and rail companies are taking billions out of the industry in subsidies,’ he said.

Anti-baby boom: Why U.S. birth rate keeps falling

Right before the recession hit, the U.S. was undergoing a mini baby boom. Now, birth rates are declining fast.....Meanwhile, the cost of raising a child has risen steadily since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began tracking the data in 1960. From buying car seats and strollers to paying for childcare and schooling, a middle-income family could spend an average of $226,920 to raise a child born in 2010 to age 18 (and that doesn't include overwhelming cost of college), according to the USDA.

Chart of the Day: Is the Real Unemployment Rate 12.5%?

Some people criticize the way the unemployment rate is measured, since it doesn't include Americans who have left the workforce temporarily, but ultimately will want or need to get a job. If you include these people in the calculation, the labor market picture has worsened since last November, as I explained on Saturday. So Federal Reserve economists can't pretend that the unemployment picture has improved since their last intervention. But what if we went all the way back to January 2007?

Long-term unemployment wreaks mental toll on jobless

Statistics show that 14 million unemployed Americans still suffer the effects of the recession. Of the jobless, more than 44 percent have been out of work for 27 weeks or more, a time frame the Bureau of Labor Statistics considers long term.

The average unemployed American has been out of a job for a record 40.4 weeks, a figure that's grown steadily in the past 31/2 years - from 17.5 weeks in January 2008.

Dubai traders report 100% rise in gold bullion sales

Dubai’s gold traders have reported a 100 percent rise in the number of customers buying gold bullion as investors move to seek shelter from US and euro zone debt woes.

Gold has long been seen as a safe haven buy by Asian investors, but traders in Dubai’s gold souqs have reported a steady increase in sales across all nationalities. “Traditionally Indian people bought more gold but now almost every nationality I can think of has bought gold bullion,” said Chatan Dhakan of National Jewellery.

Staten Island meeting on proposed Port Authority toll hikes nearly comes to blows (NY)

Valentin believes the Port Authority will raise tolls regardless of what people said. "What the hell you think we are, growing money on trees?" he asked.And while many of the union workers said they needed jobs, so do Staten Islanders who can't make ends meet with all these climbing expenses, Valentin said."You filled (the room) up with all the orange shirts, you barely got room for us to show up here," he said. "You come out with a big 50 percent [increase] out of nowhere, and we're supposed to just agree with it."Andy Scudera of Dongan Hills also slammed the union members when it was his turn to speak. "You guys want jobs? Fine. Go get them somewhere else. Not off my back," he shouted.A union member shouted back at him shortly after, "If you don't pay for the bridges, they're going to collapse. Do you want a bridge to collapse?"

California raising fine for cellphone chats while driving

Tickets for talking on a cellphone while driving in California are about get a lot more expensive -- and now bicyclists can be cited as well.

The state Senate has sent a bill to Gov. Edmund Brown Jr. that raises the basic fine for a first automotive offense from $20 to $50, The Sacramento Bee reports. For subsequent offenses, the fine would rise from $50 to $100. That's not the worst of it: By the time state and local assessments are added on, the total for a first offense rises to $208 to $328. For additional tickets, make that $328 to $528.

If you're caught talking on the phone while riding on a bike -- Drive On pleads guilty -- a first offense would be $20 for a first offense and $50 for additional tickets. But the extra super-expensive fines aren't tacked on -- yet.

National debt passes 14.6 trillion

Local courts face steep budget cuts (California)

This year, California’s courts are being asked to trim expenses by $350 million as part of the system's share of hits in the newly passed budget.

It’s the highest single-year reduction since the state began paying trial court costs 14 years ago, equating to around a 6.7 percent reduction for all county superior courts. For many, it’s just another push to tighten their belts as they’ve been doing consistently for the last several years.

Detroit Public School Teachers Protest School Cuts

About 400 teachers and employees from Detroit Public Schools gathered outside of the Detroit Federation of Teachers Tuesday to protest recent school cuts. The group is upset over a 10 percent pay cut and requirement that they pay twice as much for their health insurance. These changes are set to go into effect on Aug. 23 and teachers are supposed to report to work six days later.

This rally follows a lawsuit filed last week to block these type of pay cuts. The cuts were deemed necessary by DPS to make up the district's $327 million deficit. Detroit's emergency financial manager Gloria Roberts has the power to override the district's contracts with teachers and force the cuts on them.

Gold futures add $27 to mark a record close

“Whatever quick fix Berlin and Paris cobble together, the gold market will take a lot of convincing that the euro-zone crisis has ended,” said Adrian Ash, head of research at BullionVault.com.

He points out that the gold price has been rising much faster in dollars than euros — up 27% for the year to date vs. 19% in the euro. “Currency debauchment remains more a rumor in Europe for now,” he said. “In the United States, it’s plain fact.”

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

5 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 30 2009
Posts: 4065
pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2237
A couple of interesting

A couple of interesting articles...

"Tepco May Not Clear Radioactive Water in 2011", @

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-17/tepco-may-not-clear-radioactive-water-in-2011.html

Tokyo Electric Power Co. may fail to meet its goal of removing millions of liters of toxic water from basements and trenches at its crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant this year as equipment breakdowns hinder progress.

Radioactive water accumulated at the station has fallen 2 percent to 119 million liters, enough to fill 47 1/2 Olympic- sized swimming pools, from 121 million liters on June 28, according to data released yesterday by the utility known as Tepco. A total of 42 million liters has been treated using equipment supplied by Areva SA and Kurion Inc.

 

"Chavez Preparing Government Takeover of Venezuela’s Gold Mining Industry", @

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-17/chavez-preparing-government-takeover-of-venezuela-s-gold-mining-industry.html 

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ordered his government to repatriate $11 billion in gold held in banks abroad to safeguard the country from the economic crisis and said he’ll nationalize the local gold industry.

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Venezuela Makes A Huge Transfer Of Gold

http://www.businessinsider.com/venezuala-gold-china-russia-england-banks-2011-8

Venezuela Makes A Huge Transfer Of Gold From Switzerland To Banks In China, Russia, And Brazil

 

Just days after returning home from another round of chemotherapy in Cuba, Hugo Chavez has ordered billions of dollars in cash and hundreds of tons of gold to be relocated.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Venezuela will move the cash from Swiss and English banks to Russia, China, and Brazil while moving hundred of tons of bullion from abroad into its own central bank vaults.

No official statement has been released, but following the U.S. debt ceiling crisis senior Venezuelan officials have been vocal about "a crisis of uncertainty" with their dollar based monetary system.

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