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Mon, 27 Sep 2021
The World for People who Think

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Costs of food and fuel soar in Bangladesh

© Inconnu
Consumers were hit with increased costs of living by as much as 11 percent in 2013 on the back of rising house rent, utility bills and prices of various essential food items.

"House rent is rising, keeping pace with the spiralling costs of fuel, electricity, water and commodities," the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) said in a statement yesterday.

The consumer rights campaigner prepared a report taking into account the costs of 114 food items, 26 essential commodities and 10 utility services, the findings of which was released yesterday.

It estimated the cost of living based on weights of commodities and services in the consumer basket and found that it soared 11 percent in 2013 from the previous year. The prices of food and services rose 12 percent and house rent 10.9 percent in the course of the year.

"Home owners disregard the existing rules for hiking house rents and do as they wish. As a result, many families were forced to shift to suburbs from the main town," CAB said, while urging the government to revise the house rent law of 1991 for public's best interests.

The cost of electricity and fuel also increased in 2013, by 7.3 and 5.65 percent respectively, and water also became dearer.

Stock Up

Inflation remains high as prices keep on rising in Hong Kong

Consumers will have to dig deeper into their pockets from this month with electric bills up by 3.9 percent and with a professor forecasting soaring inflation.

Also digging deeper into their pockets are taxi drivers as the price of liquefied petroleum gas fuel keeps increasing.

Economists expect inflation to remain high this year with price rises on the way for food, daily necessities and public transport.

CLP Power raised charges by 3.9 percent from yesterday, although Hongkong Electric said it has no plans to raise tariffs for five years.

This means that 37 percent of those living in Kowloon and the New Territories will have to pay around HK$20 more each month if they use fewer than 834 units of electricity every two months.

The price of LPG for vehicles has meanwhile increased by about HK$1.20 to HK$5.90-HK$6.40 per liter.

Evil Rays

Women using stun guns on Sacramento shoppers during robberies

© WSports.com
Sacramento Police are trying to track down a group of women who they say are targeting shoppers and robbing them with stun guns.

Three unsuspecting women were attacked in two days - one in the Walmart parking lot on Truxel Road in Natomas, and two others at shopping centers on Florin Road.

Investigators say the attacks happen in shopping center parking lots as women walk to their cars.

In the first incident, police say a woman used a stun gun to knock an elderly woman to the ground and take her purse.

Not even an hour later, a female suspect assaulted a victim with a stun gun multiple times at a shopping center off of Florin Road.

Arrow Down

Just 2% of Britons feel "economic recovery", says trades union study

© Press TV
Just two percent of Britons feel that the country is experiencing economic recovery and many believe that the living standards crisis will continue in 2014, a study shows.

According to a poll by Britain's Trades Union Congress (TUC) published on Tuesday, nearly half of the 1,600 respondents wanted services that had been cut to be restored, and 20 percent of the voters said they expected the benefits of an economic recovery to be fairly shared across society.
Our new poll is bad news for the government. Voters do not expect to benefit from the recovery next year, do not expect their wages to keep up with living costs, and do not trust the government to spread the benefits of recovery fairly," TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said.
Moreover, "by more than two to one, they want to see services restored when the economy grows, not permanently cut," she added.

People 2

Man stabbed with knife he gave girlfriend for Christmas

© Meijer.com
A man was treated at a Seattle hospital for stab wounds the day after he reportedly gave his girlfriend a fillet knife for Christmas. Detectives with the Everett Police Department's Major Crimes unit believe the 18-year-old woman stabbed the man and slit his throat on the evening of December 26.

According to court papers, the man had an 11-inch gash across his throat that included a cut to his trachea. He was also reportedly stabbed in the chest as well as the hands.

According to Everett police, the 25-year-old victim walked into a grocery around 7:45 p.m., bleeding from his neck. He then collapsed onto the floor. Employees called 911 and when police arrived, they found a customer applying a piece of cloth to his neck.

Court papers stated that police found the suspect on scene as well, lying on the floor at the victim's feet. She was covered in blood. She told police that the victim was her boyfriend and that they live together. According to the papers, the woman alleged that the man had repeatedly threatened her with violence, including one episode that occurred that night on the way home from a fishing trip. She reportedly told police that her boyfriend said he would "cut her up and throw her in the river." According to the suspect, she acted out of fear when she unsheathed the knife and stabbed him.


Welcome to the Great European property sale

For a non-EU citizen with dreams of the good life and a few million in the bank, 2014 could be a good year.

First, snap up Maltese citizenship, and thus a European Union passport, for €1.15m (£960,000). Then splurge on a former cardinal's villa in Italy as the principle residence. For a fairytale winter getaway, Polish castles are going for a song. And what could be better for a summer bolt-hole than a Greek archipelago, a snip at €8.5m?

Europe's fire sale, which began as the economic crisis forced governments to find innovative ways to plug holes in their dwindling budgets, has reached new heights as ever-more intriguing state assets are touted for sale.

But a backlash is brewing, with governments and enraged citizens clashing over exactly who has the right to flog a nation's history and culture.

The Maltese passport bonanza has provoked public outcry and forced the government to rethink its plans. Outraged locals have scuppered the sale of an Italian island to a businessman from New Zealand. Even if governments can overcome political opposition to "selling the family silver", the privatisation expert Professor William Megginson says they face an array of hurdles ranging from a simple lack of interest in unattractive state assets to hazy ownership rights.


Boston: Woman crushed by drawbridge in horrifying accident


The woman was walking across the East Boston bridge about noon on Tuesday when the booth operator did not see her and opened the bridge for a boat to pass. When he heard her screams he started closing the bridge, which inadvertently crushed her.
A woman walking across a Boston drawbridge was crushed to death Tuesday after an operator raising the bridge for a boat to pass heard her screams and lowered it, accidentally trapping her between the two plates, investigators said.

The woman was crossing the bridge around noon when a bridge operator, not aware that she was on the bridge, began raising it for the boat in the Chelsea River. The woman grabbed hold of one of the sides of the bridge and the operator immediately lowered it when he heard her scream, but she became trapped in between the plates and suffered massive trauma, police said.

"I couldn't see her, but I could hear her," witness Waldina Garcia, 47, told the Boston Globe. "She was screaming and screaming and screaming."

Dollar Gold

Brainwashed by the cult of the super-rich

© Alamy
We are invited to deceive ourselves into believing we are playing for the same stakes while worshipping the same ideals, a process labelled ­'aspiration'.'
Last week, Tory MP Esther McVey, Iain Duncan Smith's deputy, insisted it was "right" that half a million Britons be dependent on food banks in "tough times". Around the same time, the motor racing heiress Tamara Ecclestone totted up a champagne bill of £30,000 in one evening. A rich teenager in Texas has just got away with probation for drunkenly running over and killing four people because his lawyers argued successfully that he suffered from "affluenza", which rendered him unable to handle a car responsibly. What we've been realising for some time now is that, for all the team sport rhetoric, only two sides are really at play in Britain and beyond: Team Super-Rich and Team Everyone Else.

The rich are not merely different: they've become a cult which drafts us as members. We are invited to deceive ourselves into believing we are playing for the same stakes while worshipping the same ideals, a process labelled "aspiration". Reaching its zenith at this time of year, our participation in cult rituals - buy, consume, accumulate beyond need - helps mute our criticism and diffuse anger at systemic exploitation. That's why we buy into the notion that a £20 Zara necklace worn by the Duchess of Cambridge on a designer gown costing thousands of pounds is evidence that she is like us. We hear that the monarch begrudges police officers who guard her family and her palaces a handful of cashew nuts and interpret it as eccentricity rather than an apt metaphor for the Dickensian meanness of spirit that underlies the selective concentration of wealth. The adulation of royalty is not a harmless anachronism; it is calculated totem worship that only entrenches the bizarre notion that some people are rich simply because they are more deserving but somehow they are still just like us.

Stock Down

Retirement unlikely for 78 million blue-collar Americans

Tom Edwards grew up in a family that's been cutting trees and hauling timber in the Pacific Northwest for more than a century. The Spanaway, Washington resident says he has worked as a logger since he was a kid - it's just what an able-bodied youngster was expected to do.

Now, at 53, with business in a slump and little money in savings, he's pessimistic about his chances of retiring.

"It's never going to happen. By the time I reach retirement age, there won't be Social Security. There's not going to be any money," Edwards said. "I'll do like my father did: I'll work 'til I die."

Across the U.S., such concerns are common among blue-collar baby boomers - the 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964. Many have jobs that provide paltry pensions or none at all, as many companies have been moving toward less generous retirement packages in the past decade.

Many boomers expect to work the rest of their lives because they have little cash put away for their old age and they worry Social Security won't cover their bills. Some hope to move to jobs that are less physically demanding.

The share of U.S. workers who are 55 and older is expected to continue growing, according to the The Oxford Handbook of Retirement 2013. The group comprised 12.4 percent of the workforce in 1998. The share jumped to 18.1 percent in 2008 and is expected to be almost 25 percent by 2018.

The book is edited by Mo Wang, co-director of the Human Resource Research Center at the University of Florida's Warrington College of Business Administration. In an interview, Wang said it's a misconception that lower-wage workers are slackers in preparing for retirement.

Arrow Down

Michigan says children need to be protected from seeing 'WAR SUX' on a license plate

David DeVarti
© YouTube
David DeVarti
DetroitT - The state of Michigan is defending its rejection of an anti-war license plate, saying children riding in cars need to be protected from seeing "WAR SUX."

Attorneys for the secretary of state's office asked a judge this month to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses officials of violating the First Amendment by broadly controlling speech. David DeVarti, a Washtenaw County man, wanted the six-letter plate but was turned down.

In a recent filing in Grand Rapids federal court, the state, among other reasons, said the plate would be offensive to children who amuse themselves by reading plates on passing vehicles.

"And because vehicles often travel in residential neighborhoods, youth may be exposed to license plates from their yards or driveways," said Ann Sherman, an assistant attorney general.