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Daily Digest 12/16 - The Mythical Marginal Tax Rate Cure-All, Oil Spill Threatens Bird Sanctuary

Sunday, December 16, 2012, 2:07 PM

Economy

A Bread Shortage Is the First Big Test of a Transitional Council in Aleppo (jdargis)

In August, the prominent doctors, engineers, pharmacists and businessmen sheltering here established the Aleppo Transitional Revolutionary Council, a kind of city government in exile for the liberated portions of the city. Mr. Khanji, 67, a civil engineer with a long history of opposing the Syrian government, serves as its president.

Dividing their time between Gaziantep and Aleppo, council members found the chaos convulsing their city worrisome. What if all the competing militias on the ground, even if nominally part of the loosely allied Free Syrian Army, continued to fight for the spoils even after the government’s forces were driven from the city?

Militants’ Attack on Airport Leaves 7 Dead in Pakistan (jdargis)

“Three suicide jackets have been removed and defused from killed terrorists,” a senior official from Peshawar’s bomb disposal squad said in an interview. “The fourth bomber exploded his jacket. We have also recovered and defused 11 hand grenades.”

The Mythical Marginal Tax Rate Cure-All (jdargis)

Both sides know that isn't a sufficient explanation. Daniel Mitchell, of the Cato Institute, asserts that Clinton's record of surpluses was a result of spending restraint. There are numbers to support that; it's also true that federal revenue increased 37 percent in the four years after the 1993 tax increase.

Spending Probably Rose in U.S., Home Sales Climbed (jdargis)

A jump in auto sales last month is among the evidence that the world’s largest economy is rebounding from the damage caused by superstorm Sandy. Improving property values and falling fuel costs are helping brace consumers against the more than $600 billion in tax increases and government spending cuts that will take effect in January without action from Congress.

Oil Spill Threatens Bird Sanctuary Off Staten Island (jdargis)

Shooters Island, which is closed to the public and is only visited by scientists and government employees, is a breeding ground for several species of wading birds. Birds that frequent the 35-acre island include the glossy ibis, black-crowned night heron, and species like the snowy egret and great egret, which were nearly extinct before legislation protecting them and their breeding grounds was signed into law.

More than just costs are a concern at Barrick Gold’s $8.5B Pascua-Lama megamine (westcoastjan)

Some critics, like the mayor of Vallenar, Chile, who was once a miner himself, said it’s not safe for anyone to work with heavy machinery and toxic chemicals at that altitude, where winds can gust up to 300 kilometres an hour and rock falls, electrical storms and avalanches are a danger. According to Lucio Cuenca, director of the non-governmental organization Latin American Observatory on Environmental Conflicts (OLCA), at least 14 workers have died on the Chilean side since 1997, when exploration at the mine site began in earnest, several from accidents when their vehicles rolled over, one in a rock fall and five who froze to death. Barrick would not provide figures or details on the deaths at the mine site.

An Afghan Mystery: Why Are Large Shipments of Gold Leaving the Country? (jdargis)

“We are investigating it, and if we find this is a way of laundering money, we will intervene,” said Noorullah Delawari, the governor of Afghanistan’s central bank. Yet he acknowledged that there were more questions than answers at this point. “I don’t know where so much gold would come from, unless you can tell me something about it,” he said in an interview. Or, as a European official who tracks the Afghan economy put it, “new mysteries abound” as the war appears to be drawing to a close.

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