U.S. food portions: Monuments of decadence? | U.S. | Reuters
Portion sizes in the United States not only exceed those in less-developed countries, but also in the developed world. In fact, Americans have the highest per capita daily consumption in the world, eating 3,770 calories a day, more than a Canadian at 3,590 calories or an Indian at 2,440, according to data from the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization.
Americans are putting more thought into food buying. High food prices coupled with a slowing economy have led 71 percent of Americans to eat out less and 48 percent are buying fewer groceries, according to the Food Marketing Institute.
Fuel Subsidies Overseas Take a Toll on U.S. – NYTimes.com From Mexico to India to China, governments fearful of inflation and street protests are heavily subsidizing energy prices, particularly for diesel fuel. But the subsidies — estimated at $40 billion this year in China alone — are also removing much of the incentive to conserve fuel.
The oil company BP, known for thorough statistical analysis of energy markets, estimates that countries with subsidies accounted for 96 percent of the world’s increase in oil use last year — growth that has helped drive prices to record levels.
In most countries that do not subsidize fuel, high prices have caused oil demand to stagnate or fall, as economic theory says they should. But in countries with subsidies, demand is still rising steeply, threatening to outstrip the growth in global supplies.
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Is Afghanistan a Narco-State? – NYTimes.com
Karzai was playing us like a fiddle: the U.S. would spend billions of dollars on infrastructure improvement; the U.S. and its allies would fight the Taliban; Karzai’s friends could get rich off the drug trade; he could blame the West for his problems; and in 2009 he would be elected to a new term.
This is not just speculation, even when you stick with unclassified materials. In September 2007, The Kabul Weekly, an independent newspaper, ran a blunt editorial laying out the issue: “It is obvious that the Afghan government is more than kind to poppy growers. . . . [It] opposes the American proposal for political reasons. The administration believes that it will lose popularity in the southern provinces where the majority of opium is cultivated. They’re afraid of losing votes. More than 95 percent of the residents of . . . the poppy growing provinces — voted for President Karzai.” The editorial recommended aerial eradication
Globalizations means fewer wars, less death | ScrippsNews
The “Human Security Brief 2007,” compiled by Canada’s Simon Fraser University, details the continuing overall decline in global conflict that began with globalization’s rapid expansion around the planet in recent years, to include the complete absence of classic state-on-state war since 2003.
As a result, total deaths from conflicts are now lower than the world has ever seen. For anyone looking for a “new world order” after the Cold War, this is it: far fewer wars and much less death from them.
Better yet, when Iraq’s bloody civil war is factored out of the equation, deaths from terrorism have declined globally since 9/11 by roughly 40 percent.
500 truckloads of sand stolen! – JAMAICAOBSERVER.COM
PRIME Minister Bruce Golding, of Jamaica, has ordered a probe into the theft of an estimated 500 truckloads of sand from a prime 64-acre property at Coral Spring near Duncans in Trelawny, which now seriously jeopardises a proposed $8-billion beachfront development.
Democracies Can’t Compromise on Core Values – WSJ.com
To Europeans, identity and democracy are locked in a zero-sum struggle. Strong identities, especially religious or national identities, are seen as a threat to democratic life. This is what Dominique Moisi, a special adviser at the French Institute of International Relations, meant when he said in 2006 that “the combination of religion and nationalism in America is frightening. We feel betrayed by God and by nationalism, which is why we are building the European Union as a barrier to religious warfare.”
This attitude can be traced back to the French Revolution, when the forces fighting under a universal banner of “liberty, equality and fraternity” were pitted against the Church.
In contrast, the America to which pilgrims flocked in search of religious freedom, and whose revolution amounted to an assertion of national identity, has been able to reconcile identity and freedom in a way no country has been able to match.