Agoramania Soap Box
Fighting Corruption Can Benefit U.S. Economy
(NAPSI)—Fighting corruption is essential to improving people’s lives in poorer developing countries, and it can benefit the
That’s the word from experts who estimate that more than 50 percent of
Developmental experts at the World Bank hold that corruption hits poor people the hardest, since the poor rely most on public services and are least able to pay bribes for simple things, such as a commercial driver’s license or a permit to set up a vegetable stand.
Many of the issues that poor countries face—including violent conflict, disease and pollution—are not contained by borders. By addressing these pressing needs in developing areas, the World Bank is working to create greater global stability-and a more solid foundation for economic growth here in the
That’s why many of the Bank’s investments in poorer countries—nearly $72 billion last year—focus on helping the poor while fighting corruption. These investments are paying off with big results. For example:
• More than 3 million teachers recruited and/or trained; more than 2 million classrooms built or rehabilitated, benefiting more than 105 million children per year; and about 300 million textbooks purchased and/or distributed.
• More than 47 million people provided with access to basic health, nutrition or population services; 310 million children immunized; 98 million children with improved nutrition; and about 33 million mosquito nets purchased and/or distributed to prevent malaria.
• More than 113 million people given access to an improved water source and 5.8 million people provided with access to almost 600,000 improved sanitation facilities.
Poor governance and corruption remain among the most challenging problems today for many of the World Bank’s clients, and the fight against corruption won’t be won overnight. But making sure the money goes where it’s supposed to can make a big difference.
The World Bank also maintains an international hotline (1-800-831-0463) for anyone to report incidents of corruption. To learn more about the World Bank and its anti-corruption programs, visit www.worldbank.org/integrity.
Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite!
THIS WAS SENT TO ME AND I THOUGHT PARTICULARLY WORTH PASSING ON TO THOSE OF YOU WHO LIKE TO SHOP
Bed Bug Epidemic
Hi All: A bit of information that you might like to know about. We
have friends here in our community and one of their sons is an
entomologist (insect expert), and has been telling them that there is
an epidemic of bed bugs now occurring in America.
Recently I have heard on the news that several stores in NYC have had to close due to bed bug problems, as well as a complete mall in New Jersey.
He says that since much of our clothing, sheets, towels, etc. now comes
from companies outside of America, (sad but true), even the most
expensive stores sell foreign clothing from China, Indonesia, etc. The
bed bugs are coming in on the clothing as these countries do not
consider them a problem. He recommends that if you buy any new
clothing, even underwear and socks, sheets, towels, etc. that you bring
them into the house and put them in your clothes dryer for at least 20
minutes. The heat will kill them and their eggs. DO NOT PURCHASE
CLOTHES AND HANG THEM IN THE CLOSET FIRST. It does not matter what the price range is of the clothing, or if the outfit comes from the most expensive store known in the U.S. They still get shipments from these countries and the bugs can come in a box of scarves or anything else for that matter. That is the reason why so many stores, many of them clothing stores have had to shut down in NYC and other places.
All you need is to bring one item into the house that has bugs or eggs and you will go to hell and back trying to get rid of them. He travels all
over the country as an advisory to many of these stores, as prevention
and after they have the problem.
Shop safely, America!
US - China Relations
STRATFOR, August 11, 2010
NEW POINTS OF FRICTION IN U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS
An expected visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to the U.S. in Sept. is "highly unlikely,"
according to the South China Morning Post, citing Chinese diplomats who claimed that
lower-level negotiations in preparation for the visit have not finished on time and no
further talks had been planned. Of course, Hu's trip was not set in stone and rumors
have suggested it may be canceled due to running disputes between the two states.
Nevertheless, the latest indications after the G-20 meeting in Canada in late June
suggested the meeting would be held, and now that expectation has been put into doubt.
A failure by Hu to visit the U.S. in Sept. -- which could result in no visit this year despite
U.S. President Barack Obama's invitation in Nov. 2009 -- would be representative of the
widening rifts between the world's two largest economies.
These rifts split the two countries across a range of economic, political and military
policies. The trade relationship is a perennial source of ill feeling, and longstanding v.
disputes in this area are set to heat up again following the latest economic statistics
out of China. In July, the Chinese trade surplus grew by 170 percent compared to last
July, reaching nearly $29 billion, the highest level since Jan. 2009, on robust exports
and lower-than-expected imports. While the outlook for China's domestic economy is
darkening for the second half of the year, the immediate snapshot shows a China that
continues to benefit from surging exports.
This comes at a time when the U.S. has suffered another round of negative news,
including a reinforcement of high unemployment levels. Washington sees the trade
imbalance with Beijing as a contributing factor to its economic pain and a result of
mercantilist policies, and has demanded that Beijing address the problem by at the
very least allowing its tightly controlled currency to fluctuate more freely. Beijing
signaled in June that it would do so, prompting the U.S. to refrain from criticizing
China in a key report, but in the nearly two months since, the yuan has not risen as
much as a full percentage point against the U.S. dollar. Needless to say, Washington
senses that it has become a dupe to empty assurances at a time when President Obama's
popularity is suffering, and U.S. congressional representatives -- many facing elections
in Nov. -- need concrete results to show voters they are stopping Chinese policies from
hurting American jobs. Therefore, the July news will provide U.S. politicians with
more ammunition to bring against China, while heightening China's own economic
anxieties and likely making it more reactive to U.S. demands.
Military tensions have also worsened, beyond the current freeze on military-to-military
talks or spats over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. If Hu does not visit Obama this year, it
will be reminiscent of the fact that in June China canceled a planned visit by U.S.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Military friction has risen as the U.S. has sought
to bolster its alliances in the Asia Pacific region following heightened security risks on
the Korean peninsula, and has reached out to old and new partners as part of its
re-engagement policy with Southeast Asia, including an offer to mediate disputes over
boundaries in the South China Sea.
"Over the past few months it became apparent to Washington that China had even less
intention of cooperating with the U.S. in handling North Korea than in handling Iran."
By issuing numerous diplomatic protestations and conducting a series of military
exercises in its neighboring seas, the Chinese sought to deter the U.S. from moving
forward with what it considered provocative actions, namely deploying the USS George
Washington nuclear aircraft carrier in the Yellow Sea, the maritime approach to China's
capital city and strategic core. China's harsh reaction to the U.S. plan initially appeared
to gain China a symbolic victory. The U.S. appeared eager to avoid confrontation,
whether it feared offending China or merely wanted to let regional tempers cool. But in
recent weeks the U.S. redoubled its response, declaring that it would in fact send the
aircraft carrier to future exercises in the Yellow Sea, and then, on Aug. 8, sending it on
a separate visit to Vietnam to commemorate the restoration of U.S. - Vietnamese ties in
1995, followed by a round of exercises between the USS John McCain and the
Vietnamese navy that began on Tues. Enhanced U.S. cooperation with Vietnam has caused
deep consternation in China, since Vietnam is a traditional rival and the most aggressive
opponent to Beijing's expanding claims of authority in the South China Sea.
The U.S. has accelerated its involvement in Southeast Asia and has sought to build
credibility for this policy with states that fear favoring the U.S. will expose them to
hostility from China while not providing them with compensatory guarantees. While the
U.S. claims the policy merely consists of reaching out to natural partners, maintaining
normal bilateral relations and asserting the U.S. Navy's right to sail on international
waters, China sees it as a siege strategy and an attempt to constrain China's national
security and regional influence. It also views the policy as an early attempt to stop
China from securing its advantage in the region before the U.S. frees up more room
for maneuver by withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan. Most alarming for Beijing
has been the rapidity with which the U.S. has begun to implement the policy. The last
thing China needs, as it heads into a generational leadership transition in 2012, is
intensified pressure on its periphery from the global superpower.
The U.S. has long planned to revamp its policy in Southeast Asia, after effectively
washing its hands of the region after the end of the Cold War. But aside from
increased counterterrorism cooperation with a number of states following 9/11, U.S.
plans have repeatedly been deferred in the face of more pressing matters in the
Middle East and South Asia. There is no shortage of reasons for the U.S. to advance
this policy now, regardless of Chinese objections, since the U.S. foresees a range of
economic benefits and security advantages arising from greater ties with the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations states.
But China's uncompromising response to the ChonAn incident in particular seems to
have given the U.S. greater impetus. Over the past few months it became apparent to
Washington that China had even less intention of cooperating with the U.S. in handling
North Korea than in handling Iran. The U.S. became aware that if it failed to make a
strong show of alliance solidarity, the credit would go to China for deterring it, which
would reverberate throughout the region to the detriment of Washington's engagement
policy and broader interests. The U.S. thus appears to have chosen not only to bulk up
its existing alliance structure but also to speed up the Southeast Asia push that was
already under way. This is adding new points of friction to the U.S. - China relationship,
even as longstanding disagreements show no sign of abating.
Copyright 2010 STRATFOR.
Toxic Seafood Warning
Wow, Americans, just received this information from a friend and it is scary. As someone who loves to order seafood when I dine in restaurants, the thought that 80% of our seafood is imported from foreign countries and loaded with toxins is scary, indeed. Here's the ABC News clip from You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0F8x4i5GYE&feature=related Remember, you are what you eat!
Buy American in the News
Buy American shoppers:
Today we'd like to share with you a timely article which appears in the Personal Finance section of MSN.com. It's written by Karen Aho of MSN money and provides encouraging information to dispel the common plaint of consumers that you just can't find American made products anymore. Ms. Aho goes on to explain the impact of buying unregulated imported goods and offers information on how you can find American made products. You can read the full article here:
Start the New Year Right
Click on the links highlighted below for useful information from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The beginning of 2009 is the perfect time for you to make resolutions for a healthy new year. Small changes can make a very big difference. Get active and eat right! Just taking a few extra steps a day can make a big difference.
Commit to eating right, exercising, getting a good night’s sleep and enjoying a healthy lifestyle. If you’re a smoker, make this the year you quit smoking. Find a resolution friend and encourage each other to keep your resolution. Have a happy healthy New Year!
Chinese Baby Formula Banned in US
The US Food and Drug Administration warned American consumers to be on the lookout for baby formula from China sold illegallly in this country. Although all of the major brands sold in this country deny using and ingredients from China, investigators have found some of the illegal Chinese formula sold under the brand name Sanlu on US shelves in the past, usually sold in ethnic Asian markets. Chinese formula has been blamed for the death of at least one baby in China and illness in others. It is suspected that the formula was tainted with the same ingredient which was recently reported to be poisoning dogs and cats eating food made in China. This was done when milk powder was replaced with cheap, tainted soybean protein. Read more here:
You Are Welcome But Your Bibles Are Not
As reported by the Fox News from an Associated Press article, a group of American Christians had 315 bibles confiscated from them in the airport in China. China, which states it has "freedom of religion" has stated that they haven't confiscated the bibles, they are merely "taking care of them" for the visitors. Yeah, right. Read the full story below and God Bless America!
China Confiscates Bibles From American Christians
Sunday , August 17, 2008
A group of American Christians who had more than 300 Bibles confiscated by Chinese officials when they arrived in China is refusing to leave the airport until they get the books back, their leader said Monday.
Pat Klein said he and three others from his Vision Beyond Borders group spent Sunday night at the airport in the southwestern city of Kunming after customs officers took the Bibles from their checked luggage.
"I heard that there's freedom of religion in China, so why is there a problem for us to bring Bibles?" said Klein, whose Sheridan, Wyoming-based group distributes Bibles and Christian teaching materials around the world.
The Bibles were printed in Chinese, he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
The move comes as China hosts the Olympics in Beijing, where false media reports last year claimed Bibles would be banned from the games. The state-run China Daily reported last month that 10,000 bilingual copies of the Bible would be distributed in the Olympic Village, which houses athletes and media.
In China, Bibles are legally printed at just one plant — the world's largest — run by a communist government-backed Christian association, and are available in many bookstores. But the officially atheistic government prohibits proselytizing and is worried that if the spread of religion goes unchecked, believers might ultimately challenge the Communist Party's authority.
A woman on duty at Kunming airport's customs office confirmed over the telephone late Sunday that 315 Bibles were found in the passengers' checked baggage.
The officer, who would only give her last name, Xiao, denied confiscating the Bibles. She said authorities were just "taking care" of them and provided no further details. She later said she was not authorized to speak to the media and referred questions to the national customs headquarters in Beijing, which did not answer phones on Sunday.
On Monday morning, Klein said Chinese officials had shown the group what they said were regulations that banned bringing Bibles into China, but that the documents were in Chinese. "We are waiting for them to come back with the law in English," he said.
Chinese officials had asked the Christians to leave the room at the airport where they spent the night, but Klein told the officials they did not want to go without the Bibles.
Klein said the customs officers had told him that they could each have one Bible for personal use, but no more than that. He said the officers had videotaped them and were insisting that they leave the airport.
"We don't want to go without taking those books. It cost us a lot of money to bring them here," Klein said. "They're saying that it's illegal to bring the Bibles in and that if we wanted to, we had to apply ahead of time for permission."
China faces routine criticism for human rights violations and repression of religious freedom. Religious practice is heavily regulated by the Communist Party, with worship allowed only in party-controlled churches, temples and mosques, while those gathering outside risk harassment, arrest and terms in labor camps or prison.
A Chinese Christian activist was detained Aug. 10, the opening weekend of the Olympics, on his way to a church service attended by U.S. President George W. Bush in Beijing. A rights group said later that the activist, Hua Huiqi, a leader of the unofficial Protestant church in Beijing, had escaped from police and was in hiding.
Police have denied any involvement in Hua's disappearance.
You CAN Make a Difference
Americans: Someone sent me this email recently and it looks like a grassroots movement is afoot. Can't think of a better way to celebrate our Independence Day:
June 4th to July 4th
Are we Americans as dumb as we appear or is it that we just do not think?
While the Chinese, knowingly export inferior products and dangerous toys and goods to be sold in American markets, we continue to be their biggest market, at the expense of American industry. Yet 70% of Americans believe that the trading privileges afforded to the Chinese should be suspended. Well, why do you need the government to suspend trading privileges? DO IT YOURSELF!!
Simply look on the bottom of every product you buy, and if it says "Made in China" or "PRC" (and that now includes Hong Kong ), simply choose another product or none at all. You will be amazed at how dependent you are on Chinese products, however you will be equally amazed at what you
can do without. Who needs plastic eggs to celebrate Easter? If you must have eggs, use real ones and benefit some American farmer. Easter is just an example, the point is.. do not wait for the government to act. Just go ahead and assume control on your own. If 200 million Americans refuse to buy just $20 each of Chinese goods, that's a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our favor...fast!! The downside? Some American businesses will feel a temporary pinch from having foreign stockpiles
of inventory. "Downside??"
The solution ?
Let's give them fair warning and send our own message. We will not implement this UNTIL June 4, and we will only continue it until July 4. That is only one month of trading losses, but it will hit the Chinese for 1/12th of the total, or 8%, of their American exports. Then they will at least have to ask themselves if the benefits of their arrogance and lawlessness were worth it.
Remember, June 4 to July 4. Send this to everybody you know. Show them we are Americans and NOBODY can take us for granted. If we can't live without cheap Chinese goods for one month out of our lives, WE DESERVE WHAT WE GET!
Pass it on America !!!
Embrace Celebratory Spring Brunches With Cost-Effective Entertaining Tips
(NAPSI)-April showers bring more than May flowers; spring months welcome an array of special occasions to celebrate. Brunch gatherings in honor of Mother's Day, graduations or showers present a flavorful way to bring family and friends together in a cozy setting.
While hosting a large-scale brunch can be costly, there are simple ways to save at the register and still impress your guests:
• Revert to the vintage style and appeal of a custom-made punch. Forego purchasing several types of beverages, which can add to the bottom line of your bill, and instead opt for two or three containers of 100 percent fruit juice, combined with slices of mixed fruit. Serve in a family heirloom punch bowl to add a sentimental element to your special occasion.
• Casseroles offer an affordable and delicious way to satisfy your guests' hunger. Save time and money by preparing one or two large dishes in place of many small items and sides. Hearty egg or noodle dishes are traditional brunch favorites and require few ingredients.
• Look in the frozen food aisle for a variety of high-quality food and beverage options that pack the same nutritional punch at a fraction of the cost, such as 100 percent frozen concentrated Florida orange juice.
• Ask family and friends to each bring a delicious dish to share. You'll save on time spent in the kitchen, as well as on expenses, while benefiting from a variety of cooking styles.
Spring-inspired recipes, such as a festive punch, can add a splash of nutrition and brighten the flavor of your next special-occasion brunch.
"It's easy to prepare mouth-watering recipes that offer both health and cost-saving benefits," says Gail Rampersaud MS, RD, of the University of Florida. "Orange juice is extremely versatile beyond the breakfast table and enhances the health benefits of dishes. On a budget, frozen concentrated orange juice provides the same fresh taste as ready-to-drink orange juice and helps consumers meet almost 25 percent of their USDA daily recommended servings of fruit and vegetables."
Mint Orange Agave Cooler Punch
Makes 2 gallons or 24 (8-ounce) servings
1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, roughly chopped
8 cups ice
4 (12-ounce) containers frozen concentrated orange juice
5 quarts water
3 cups fresh lime juice
3 cups agave nectar
Place mint leaves in the bottom of a punch bowl. With the back of a spoon, bruise mint to break up slightly to release flavor. Add ice.
Combine thawed frozen concentrated orange juice with 3 quarts of water. Add fresh lime juice, agave nectar and remaining water; stir well.
* Agave nectar is a naturally occurring sweetener that has a lower glycemic index value than other sweeteners. It is available at supermarkets and natural foods stores.
Top Five Hidden Home Hazards
This just out from the Consumer Product Safety Commission lists the top 5 home hazards. Not surprisingly, number 2 is recalled products. Each year there are over 400 with 2007 topping off at 447. Which country topped the list as the largest manufacturer of recalled products? China with 298 products on the list. Click here for more on this important information and keep your home safe:
World Net Daily sums it up: Last year Chinese imports were hit for poisoning America's pets, risking America's human food supply and reintroducing lead poisoning to America's children.
A Humorous look at a Growing Reality
We have a solution: Shop at USAB2C.com!
Dan Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock (MADE IN
Teamster Perspective on Chinese Imports
While researching various American Union sites, I came upon this article written by Teamsters General President James Hoffa. He discusses the proliferation of Chinese made products and the deplorable lack of increased action taken on our shores to ensure that imported goods meet minimum safety requirements. Despite their booming trade, substandard conditions continue to exist for these foreign workers without union representation. A must read: http://www.teamster.org/07news/hn_070912_2.asp
Saving Money in the Kitchen
Saving Money In The Kitchen
(NAPSI)-If you'd like to put a few household expenses on the chopping block, consider making a few easy adjustments in your kitchen. These tips from the Cookware Manufacturers Association can be found in the new "Guide to Cookware and Bakeware," a handy kitchen tool itself:
Less Energy Use = Savings
Energy consumed by cooking is a very small percentage of the total energy demand, although cooking foods more efficiently will take a bite out of your energy bill.
• Select quality cookware that heats evenly and rapidly. Aluminum, copper and stainless steel with conductive bottoms are a few of the most efficient materials for quick heating.
• Use properly fitted covers for pots and pans. A well-fitted cover lets you turn the heat off a few minutes before food is completely cooked, because it retains heat in the pot or pan and finishes the cooking for you.
• Consider using portable electric appliances, such as slow cookers, broilers and toasters that require less energy than an electric range unit.
• Decrease cook times by thawing frozen foods before heating, unless the food package or recipe instructions specify otherwise.
• Remember that glass cookware is excellent for use as ovenware and for casseroles. Glass holds heat for a long time after being removed from the oven.
Dining In = Savings
Eating at home can make good economic sense because it is generally cheaper than eating out or buying expensive prepackaged meals. The following tips could make dining in even easier on the pocketbook:
• Think portion control. Dole out smaller serving sizes to your family and have them ask for more if they'd like. You'll probably have less to scrape into the garbage and more to bundle for another meal.
• Save money and your health by replacing cuts of meat with beans and other forms of protein. It's ultimately better for you and cuts costs at the checkout counter.
• Buy the best quality cookware your budget allows. Most kitchen equipment is used frequently and should be durable enough to last many years. Plus, the better your cookware, the more likely you are to cook.
Clever practices and good cookware cut household costs.
World's Largest Cargo Ship Bringing Imported Goods to a Store Near You!
The command bridge is higher than a 10 store building and has 11 crane rigs that can operate simultaneously. Additional info: Country of origin - Denmark, Length - 1,302 ft (Longer than 4 football fields), Width - 207 ft, Net cargo - 123,200 tons (More than and aircraft carrier), Engine - 14 in-line cylinders diesel engine (110,000 BHP), Cruise Speed - 31 knots, Cargo capacity - 15,000 TEU (1 TEU = 20 ft3 container), Crew - 13 people (!), First Trip - September 8, 2006, Construction cost - US $145,000,000+, Silicone painting applied to the ship bottom reduces water resistance and saves 317,000 gallons of diesel per year.