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The economy is a mess: Fifty percent of Americans make less than $28,000 a year

income graph
The Social Security Administration has just released wage statistics for 2013, and the numbers are startling. Last year, 50 percent of all American workers made less than $28,031, and 39 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000. If you worked a full-time job at $10 an hour all year long with two weeks off, you would make $20,000. So the fact that 39 percent of all workers made less than that amount is rather telling. This is more evidence of the declining quality of the jobs in this country. In many homes in America today, both parents are working multiple jobs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet. Our paychecks are stagnant while the cost of living just continues to soar. And the jobs that are being added to the economy pay a lot less than the jobs lost in the last recession. In fact, it has been estimated that the jobs that have been created since the last recession pay an average of 23 percent less than the jobs that were lost. We are witnessing the slow-motion destruction of the middle class, and very few of our leaders seem to care.
Syringe

Line Up! 'Millions' of Ebola vaccine doses by end of 2015

Millions of doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine will be produced by the end of 2015, the World Health Organization has announced. It said "several hundred thousand" would be produced in the first half of the year.

And vaccines could be offered to health workers on the frontline in West Africa as soon as December 2014. However, the WHO cautioned that vaccines would not be a "magic bullet" for ending the outbreak. There is no proven cure or vaccine for Ebola.

In response to the largest epidemic of the disease in history, the WHO is accelerating the process of vaccine development. It normally takes years to produce and test a vaccine, but drug manufacturers are now working on a scale of weeks.

Comment: What will you do if they make it mandatory for all Americans to take an Ebola vaccine?

Light Sabers

Multipolar world: China, India launch new Asia Infrastructure Bank

New Asia Infrastructure Bank
© Xinhua
Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei at the signing ceremony of the new infrastructure bank in Beijing on 24th October 2014
In a landmark achievement, 21 Asian nations including China and India on Thursday signed on a new infrastructure bank which would rival the World Bank.

The governments of Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Uzbekistan, Qatar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam signed on as founding members of the new Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing on Friday.

Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said on Friday the "multi-national financial institution which is fair, just, open ... with a good governance structure" will be an "efficient financing platform for infrastructure".

Lou said the AIIB has a different focus than established multilateral organizations such as World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB).

China and other emerging economies, including BRICS, have long protested against their limited voice at other multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank.

The ADB has estimated that in the next decade Asian countries will need $8 trillion in infrastructure investments to maintain the current economic growth rate.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had last October proposed to establish the AIIB to boost Asian economic integration and infrastructure projects like roads, railways, ports across the region. The new Bank has a capital target of more than $100 billion.

US allies Japan and Australia alongwith South Korea and Indonesia are notable absentees from the list of nations who signed up for the China-led Bank. The AIIB will extend China's financial reach and compete not only with the World Bank, but also with the Asian Development Bank, which is heavily dominated by Japan.

In July, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said that he welcomed a new multilateral infrastructure bank, saying there was a "massive need" for new investment in this area.

The BRICS nations have already announced a $100 billion development bank during the 6th BRICS Summit in Brazil this year.
Pistol

Grandfather opens fire at home invaders attempting to rape granddaughter, killing one

© Facebook
Jamie Lee Faison
A grandfather shot back and is believed to have killed a suspect in a home-invasion and attempted rape of his teen granddaughter on Monday night, Robeson County Sheriff's officials said.

The grandfather was also shot - but he also managed to shoot the 2 other suspects in the home-invasion and attempted rape, said Maj. Anthony Thompson with the Robeson County Sheriff's Office.

The incident started around 10 pm at a house on Yedda Road in Lumberton on Monday night when someone knocked on the home of the grandfather, his wife and their 19-year-old granddaughter, according to the sheriff's office.

Two of three men - all wearing black clothes, ski masks and gloves -- stormed into the house and demanded money, officials said.

The grandfather and his wife ended up in the back of the house and were directed at gunpoint to open a safe. The three men were all armed and tried to rape the teen girl, officials said.

The 67-year-old grandfather managed to grab a gun and shot all three of the suspects. The suspects fired back and the grandfather was hit several times, deputies said.

After that, all three wounded suspects fled in the grandfather's gold Cadillac.
Che Guevara

More unrest: Protesters torch city hall, demand justice for missing Mexican students

© Encarnacion Pindado for Fusion
Parents of the 43 missing students held a candlelight vigil in Mexico City on Wednesday night.
Tens of thousands march in Mexico for missing students as Iguala mayor is accused of being 'mastermind' behind disappearances

Tens of thousands marched in Mexico City and Iguala, Mexico on Wednesday to protest the disappearance of 43 student-teachers who went missing on September 26.

Reflecting growing outrage over the failure of Mexican authorities to resolve the case, a group of masked protesters separated from the peaceful demonstration of several thousand in Iguala, broke into the city hall and smashed computers and windows before setting fire to the building.

In Mexico City, students from 29 universities joined 50,000 marchers under the banner: "Alive they took them, alive we want them back!" One man held a sign that read: "Mexico has turned into an immense unmarked grave." A candlelight vigil in the Zócalo, the historic central square, followed the demonstration.
Eye 2

Police in NYC attacked by hatchet-wielding man

© Twitter/@MicahGrimes
A hatchet-wielding man attacked a group of patrol officers in a busy commercial district in Queens on Thursday, injuring two before the other officers shot and killed him, New York City police said. A bystander was wounded in the gunfire.

At a news conference at a hospital where one officer was being treated for a serious head wound, Police Commissioner William Bratton said that investigators were still trying to confirm the identity of the assailant and determine a motive.

Asked if the attack could be related to terrorism, Bratton didn't rule it out. He cited the fatal shooting of a solider in Canada earlier this week - what officials there have called a terror attack - as reason for concern.

"This early on, we really cannot say yes or no to that question," Bratton said.

The attack occurred in the commercial district in Queens at about 2 p.m., while four rookie New York Police Department officers on foot patrol were posing for a photo, police said. Without a word, the man charged the officers and began swinging the hatchet, first hitting one in the arm and another in the back of the head, they said.

After the second officer fell to the ground, the two uninjured officers fired several rounds. The bullets killed the assailant and wounded the bystander, police said.

The officer was in critical but stable condition and was expected to undergo surgery. The woman who was struck by a stray bullet also was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the back.
Pistol

Father cleaning gun accidentally shoots 9-month-old son and himself

© WTHR
A 9-month-old Indiana boy was fighting for his life on Thursday after being accidentally shot in the head by his father.

WTHR reported that 31-year-old John Hambaugh, III, was in his kitchen cleaning his gun on Wednesday when the weapon discharged. The round traveled through Hambaugh's left thigh and into his 9-month-old son's head, who was thought to be standing next to his father.

Neighbor Dawn Crecelius recalled that she felt helpless when the child's mother ran out of the home with the boy.

"She was screaming, 'He shot my baby! He shot my baby!' and she was cradling the baby," Crecelius said. "What do you do? What do you do? Cause there's - you can't fix that. You can't help that. If he's choking, you can help that. If he's cut, you can help that. You can't help a baby that's been shot in the head."

Hambaugh and his 9-month-old son were transported to Community Howard Regional Hospital in Kokomo. Hambaugh was expected to make a full recovery, but the child was listed in critical condition on Thursday.

The Howard County Sheriff's Department was continuing to investigate the case.
Star of David

IDF psychopaths blindfold and handcuff 11-year-old mentally ill Palestinian boy as settlers chant 'death to Arabs'

© Screenshot from YouTube user btselem
A video of Israeli Defense Forces degrading detention and mistreatment of a disabled 11-year-old boy has surfaced on Youtube, once again sparking harsh criticism of abuse and indiscriminately violent treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli military.

The video, recorded by a member of the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem on Sunday, shows Israeli soldiers abusing a mentally disabled 11-year-old Palestinian boy next to the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, on the outskirts of Hebron.

The footage shows soldiers violently grabbing the boy following the patrol's chase after Palestinians who were reportedly throwing rocks at vehicles on a main road outside the illegal Jewish settlement of some 7,600 people.

"A developmentally disabled Palestinian boy, who is under the age of criminal responsibility, was briefly detained by the IDF "on suspicion that he had thrown stones," according to B'Tselem.

X

North Korea closes borders to tourists because of Ebola

© Reuters / Fabian Bimmer
Foreign tourists with any travel history are now not welcome in North Korea - concerns about Ebola made Pyongyang bar any tours from entering the country. At least this is what North Korean specialized travel agencies tell media.

"We have just received official news from our partners in the DPRK that, as of tomorrow, tourists from any country, regardless of where they have recently visited, will not be permitted to enter," Gareth Johnson of the China-based Young Pioneer Tours told Reuters.

North Korean state media released a statement on Thursday notifying its readers that checks on travelers were becoming more stringent.
"Travelers and materials are undergoing more thorough checks and quarantine at airfields, trading ports and border railway stations than ever before," the state KCNA agency wrote.

Further agencies reported similar instructions. "We have just received news from our partners in Pyongyang that the country is not accepting any international tourists from tomorrow, effectively closing its borders due to the threat of the spread of the Ebola virus," said a spokesperson for Beijing-based Koryo Tours.
Piggy Bank

Inflation caused by Federal Reserve policies another reason food prices are skyrocketing

food inflation
Thanks to the Federal Reserve, the middle class is slowly being suffocated by rising food prices. Every single dollar in your wallet is constantly becoming less valuable because of the inflation the Fed systematically creates. And if you try to build wealth by saving money and earning interest on it, you still lose because thanks to the Federal Reserve's near zero interest rate policies banks pay next to nothing on savings accounts.

The Federal Reserve wants you to either spend your money or to put it in the giant casino that we call the stock market. But when Americans spend their paychecks they are finding that they don't stretch as far as they once did. The cost of living continues to rise at a much faster pace than wages are rising, and this is especially true when it comes to the price of food.

Someone that I know wrote to me today and let me know that she had to shut down the food pantry that she had been running for the poor for so many years. It isn't that she didn't want to help the poor anymore. It was that she just couldn't deal with the rising food prices any longer. Now she is just doing the best that she can to survive herself.

Comment: Things aren't likely to improve anytime soon, and in fact, could probably get much worse as recent indicators show the US economy is headed for a crisis. Storing food would be a wise thing to do:

A good way to invest your money: Store large amounts of food, like now

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