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Daily Digest 2/26 - Potholes Devour Municipal Budgets, Tuitions On The Rise

Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 11:25 AM
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Skyrocketing rents leave growing number of Bronx families in the cold

Rent hikes are pushing Bronx residents to the curb, according to a recent study. The number of homeless families shot up 37% to 633 families from 2005-2010, the alarming study shows.

U.S.D.A. says food prices to rise 2.5% to 3.5% in 2014 (Graph of previous years included)

The all-food component of the Consumer Price Index was forecast to rise 2.5% to 3.5% in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Price Outlook issued Feb. 25. Such a level of price inflation would represent a jump from 1.4% in all-food price inflation in 2013, the report said.

Hundreds of wealthy Russians get UK visas for promising to bankroll £1million of the national debt

Britain has been handing visas to hundreds of wealthy Russian oligarchs in return for them agreeing to bankroll at least £1million of our £1.2trillion national debt. Russian and Chinese businessmen have been allowed to jump to the front of the immigration queue by each ‘investing’ a seven-figure sum in Government gilts.

French to break deficit promise to EU

The EU's winter economic outlook suggested France's deficit will climb to 4pc of output this year and remain at 3.9pc in 2015. Following the release of public deficit figures last year, the French government had promised to keep its deficit beneath the EU's 3pc ceiling, predicting public spending cuts would keep the deficit beneath 2.8pc for 2015.

EU Says Spain Deficit to Widen in 2015 Without Cuts

The European Commission said Spain risks failure in tackling one of the European Union’s widest budget deficits unless it agrees more spending cuts. The commission, the EU’s executive arm in Brussels, sees the shortfall at 6.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2015, above Spain’s target of 4.2 percent, even as growth in the euro region’s fourth-largest economy accelerates.

Standard & Poor’s reaffirms ‘negative outlook’ for city bonds (Chicago)

In 2015, the city is required by state law to make a $600 million contribution to stabilize police and fire pension funds that now have assets to cover just 30.5 percent and 25 percent of their respective liabilities.

Turkey's credit card crackdown irks consumers

Turkey's banking regulator introduced new rules earlier this month to clamp down on the use of widely used credit card instalment plans, in a bid to stem spending on imports and rein in the ballooning current account deficit.....Jewellers complain of a 40-percent drop in sales since the measures were introduced. "Customers are not willing to buy gold because they can no longer pay in instalments," said Zekai Bezci, a seller in Ulus, the historic old town of Ankara.

Growth in Italian economy to be weaker in 2014 than expected

Growth in the Italian economy will be weaker this year than previously forecast and its debt as a percentage of gross domestic product will rise, the European Commission said Tuesday. The EC revised down Italy's 2014 growth forecast to 0.6% from previous estimates of 0.7% and warned that when final figures for last year are settled, those results will likely also be weaker than previously thought.

'They're worse than ever': Potholes devour municipal budgets in U.S.

About three-fourths of U.S. states and many cities have outspent their maintenance budgets dealing with the extreme weather, said Greta Smith, an associate program director with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in Washington. She said this pothole season is “one of the worst in memory.”

Red-Light Cameras Click Less as Cities Get Orwell Off Road

“All it is is a money grab,” said Joe Brazil, a St. Charles County, Missouri, councilman jailed last year for failing to pay a $100 fine in the St. Louis suburb of St. Peters. “It’s almost like racketeering. It’s not about safety.”

UConn says it must raise fees, tuition even further

Officials at the University of Connecticut intend to vote this week to further increase the cost of attending the state's flagship university over and above the 26 percent, four-year increase already approved.

Greece resumes bailout talks with lenders, no hard figures discussed

Greece resumed bailout talks with its international lenders on Monday, hoping to end six months of wrangling over the release of new rescue loans it needs to avoid default. At stake is the disbursement of funds to repay 9.3 billion of bonds maturing in May

Russian banks which lent to Ukraine companies at risk-Fitch

Russian banks have around $28 billion of exposure in total to Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said in November, naming Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank (VEB), Sberbank and Bank VTB as creditors. Banks' exposure may "materially impact the solvency of some institutions" if borrowers suffer as a result of economic stress, Fitch said.

Ukraine Faces High Chance of Default, Russia’s Storchak Says

Russia, which suspended its $15 billion bailout to Ukraine last week, opposes the inclusion of its first $3 billion tranche in a possible restructuring, Storchak told reporters in Moscow today. There’s a “slight” risk Ukraine won’t repay the first installment of the bailout and Russia is under no legal obligation to provide the remainder, he said. “No one expected that the situation would take such a dramatic turn,” he said.

Judge halts use of Ohio village speeding cameras

"The court has great concerns about due process in this case," Sage said. "This is a fundamental value in our system." Motorists can challenge citations, but in an administrative system the judge said favors the village and police, which he said have "a vested interest" in collecting the revenues.

Ukraine Central Bank Seeks to Halt Deposit Outflow After 7% Drop

Ukraine is considering measures to stem withdrawals after as much as 7 percent of deposits were taken from banks during last week’s deadly clashes in the capital, according to the new governor of the central bank.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 2/25/14

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

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Supreme Court ruling expands police authority in home searches

Another blow to the 4th Amendment

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